Throughout January, we’re focussing upon Deities traditionally revered during times of new beginnings and important events. Figures such as Ganesh and Lakshmi are two of the most popular deities to chant to in order to encourage the time ahead to be full of positivity.
After Ganesh, Lakshmi is the most widely revered deity when it comes to times like the new year. Lakshmi is the goddess of abundance, fortune, wealth (both financially and spiritually), prosperity and beauty (both inside and out).
As we’ve discussed before, female deities are often represented as having multiple arms in order to perform multiple tasks and essentially to get more done…. Their superhuman bodies and powers show them to be far more evolved and powerful than human beings, but it’s important to remember that the images of deities are highly symbolic – no one’s trying to make you believe there are blue men, ten-armed women or someone with an elephant’s head walking around…. it’s about what they represent.
Lakshmi’s four hands represent the four goals of human life considered important to the Hindu way of life in Indian philosophy – dharma, kāma, artha, and moksha. Dharma literally means ‘that which upholds’ but is often translated as ‘life purpose’ – it’s the very thing that makes us get out of bed in the morning, the thing we’re passionate about sharing with the world and our reason for being here. Kāma means desire and longing, and really refers to the enjoyment of life through the senses – experiencing and celebrating everything life has to offer. It is crucial though, that this doesn’t sacrifice any of the other ‘goals of human life’….
Artha means ‘essence, sense or meaning’, and refers to those things we do in order to live the life we want to live. In one sense it could refer to having a job which sustains the lifestyle you wish to lead, and in another sense it could mean something like having a place to live and a family to provide a sense of security in life. Finally, the word Moksha kind of triumphs over all the previous goals, as it means ‘liberation, freedom, or emancipation’ from the bonds of life, death and rebirth. Essentially, Moksha takes us way beyond the house, the job, finances and desires, and brings us towards self-realisation and freedom.
That’s the thing about Lakshmi – if you chant to her, you’re not just asking for material wealth, you’re asking for abundance and prosperity in all areas of life – physical, emotional, and spiritual. Especially after Diwali, the Festival of Lights – which welcomes the new year in Hinduism – shop owners often chant to Lakshmi and ask for abundance in their business for that year.
How to Work With Lakshmi
There are a couple of ways to work with Lakshmi: We can revere her and ask for abundance in life, but we can also embody her qualities of abundance and generosity and learn from her, which brings us to realise that we are already enough as we are right now. Nothing added and nothing taken away.
In classic January fashion, many of us are cursing ourselves for those few extra mince pies, one too many drinks, and feeling the ‘come down’ after the busy-ness of Christmas festivities. It’s this time of year when we become most body-conscious and ignorant to the fact that we are in fact a soul and not just a body, and that who we actually are is so much more powerful, important and amazing than the casing of skin we see in the mirror. January is the time when we look outside of ourselves for happiness – literally. The body becomes the thing we focus on and try to change, our new year’s resolutions put added pressure on to make us become ‘better’, and the whole ‘new year new me’ thing totally disrespects all the obstacles and experiences the ‘old you’ had to overcome and learn from in order to get here right now.
The only way we are able to be our most powerful, useful and realised selves, is by firstly putting a stop to the “I’ll be happy when” phrase, and the negative self-talk. We do nobody any favours when we play small and do not allow ourselves to be our fullest, most natural selves, and we certainly don’t help ourselves on the path to happiness that way either.
The second way to live a life of abundance? To embody that abundance within yourself. “I am enough”, could be written on every wall in the world, but we’d still neglect to memorise it when we need it most. This is definitely not about ‘self love’, but about the simplicity of self respect – allowing yourself to be yourself in order to stop playing small and start living life.
Lakshmi is also fondly known as the ‘Goddess of generosity’ since her dharma is to give out this fortune and prosperity. Similarly, we can notice in ourselves that by knowing we are enough and that we have enough, we can give our time, energy and attention more freely to others, embodying this generosity. One small way of helping other is to allow them to know they’re enough, and the cycle of abundance is encouraged to continue and grow….
Invoking Lakshmi Through The Power of Chanting
Sound is phenomenally powerful, and our bodies are especially receptive to sound. Sound is made up of vibration, and water reacts to the vibtration of sound in a far more effective way than air does. Because of this, our bodies – which are made up of around 70% water – respond to sound in a very significant way. Our cells, organs, blood and bones are all effected by the sounds we hear and the sounds we make. When we match a thought or intention with that sound, our body feels what we’re doing in a very real way. The vibration of sound resonates through the physical body, changing the structure of the water within it, and the thought or intention we set as we chant gets stamped on the mind.
A Lakshmi Chant For Abundance and Prosperity
“Om Mahalakshmyai vidmahe
Vishnu patnyai dimahi
Tanno Lakshmi Prachodayat”
“Om Shreem Mahalakshmiyei Namaha”
These chants would traditionally be repeated 108 times, an auspicious number in the Yogic tradition. If 108 is a little too much, chant for a multiple of 108 such as 18, 36, 54, 72 or 90.