Definition - What does Lakshmi mean?

Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of material and spiritual prosperity and the wife of Lord Vishnu. She is usually depicted with four arms to represent the goals of a successful life, which she has the power to grant:

  1. Dharma (righteous living)
  2. Kama (worldly pleasure)
  3. Artha (prosperity)
  4. Moksha (spiritual liberation)

Her name comes from the Sanskrit laksya, meaning “aim” or “goal.” Lakshmi is also called Shri or Sri, the female energy of the Supreme Being. She may also be called Lokamata, or “mother of the world."

In yoga, there are poses and gestures that honor Lakshmi. These postures focus on opening the heart to inner beauty and abundance.

Yogapedia explains Lakshmi

Lakshmi is often addressed as Mata (mother), rather than just Devi (goddess), because she is the mother goddess. She is also the goddess of most Hindu households and a favorite among women.

As the wife of Vishnu, she serves as the mediator between him and his worldly followers. For example, when asking Vishnu for grace or forgiveness, the worshippers may ask Lakshmi to intervene on their behalf. Lakshmi is often worshipped in tandem with her husband as Lakshmi-Narayana. Hindu mythology states that when Vishnu visited the earth as different incarnations, Lakshmi followed as different avatars as well:

  • Sita, wife of lord Rama
  • Rukmini, wife of Krishna
  • Dharani, wife of Parashurama
  • Padma, wife of Hari

This goddess is most often depicted seated on a lotus flower. So, in yoga, the lotus pose (padmasana) is often associated with her. It is an asana frequently used in meditation and can be combined with one of several mudras (gestures) that represent the qualities of the goddess. In the Vishnu-Lakshmi mudra, for example, the thumb of each hand presses against the middle and forefingers, while the ring and little finger remain comfortably extended.

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