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Hindu goddess Lakshmi, painted by Raja Ravi Varma 1948-1906I was surprised just now to read that the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi — like Aphrodite — emerged from the ocean, standing on a lotus. This key goddess in India is considered to be the goddess of prosperity, providing all the riches and resources humans need for a complete life. Lakshmi isn’t only concerned with materials possessions. She is also known as the goddess of purity.
BBC Religion explains that Lakshmi left the world of the gods and entered into the Milky Ocean, angry with the arrogance of Indra, the warrior god who she protected.
Without her, the gods were no longer blessed with success or fortune.
The world became darker, people became greedy, and no offerings were made to the gods. The gods began to lose their power and the asuras (demons) took control.
Indra asked Vishnu what should be done. He told Indra that the gods would need to churn the Milky Ocean to regain Lakshmi and her blessings. He then told them the Ocean held other treasures which would also help them. This included the elixir of life, a potion bestowing immortality, which would enable them to defeat the demons.
This Churning of the Ocean took 1000 years to bring Lakshmi back to India.
To this day, it’s believed that Lakshmi supports those who work hard, but leaves when these qualities are no longer abundant in her people. She is particularly worshipped during the festival of Diwall, the Hindu festival of lights, which will be celebrated this year on Nov. 3.
Lakshmi is one of our GlamTribale goddesses. My decision to choose Lakshmi was made out of great respect for her mythology and a sincere desire to introduce her to a Western audience. My choice was also guided by a fierce comment and article that I wrote Hindu Shiv Sena Protests Swimsuits; How About Bride Burning?