Thursday, June 28, 2007
Hindu Gods and Goddesses
Krishna is the eight incarnation of lord Vishnu and was born in the Dvarpara Yuga as the "dark one". Krishna is the embodiment of love and divine joy, that destroys all pain and sin. Krishna is the protector of sacred utterances and cows. Krishna is a trickster and lover, an instigator of all forms of knowledge and born to establish the religion of love.
Krishna was born as the 8th child of Devaki, sister of the cruel demon king Kamsa. The sage Narada had predicted that Kamsa would be killed by his nephew, so the king killed Devaki´s first six children. The 7th, Balarama escaped and the 8th, Krishna, was secretly exchanged for a cowherds daughter.
Krishna was brought up in a cowherds family. As a child, Krishna had great love for his foster-mother Yashoda.
Click for a larger image of Krishna and RadaLater Krishna loved to play the flute and to seduce the village girls. Krishna is the deity of Hasya or Humour and a messenger of peace. His favorite was Rada. This is known as the Krishna Leela.
After Krishna killed Kamsa, he became king. In the great Mahabaratha epic, Krishna spoke memorable words on the essence of Bhakti Yoga or the Yoga of Devotion. They are at the centre of the Bhagavad Gita.
Ganesha — the elephant-deity riding a mouse — has become one of the commonest mnemonics for anything associated with Hinduism. This not only suggests the importance of Ganesha, but also shows how popular and pervasive this deity is in the minds of the masses.
The Lord of Success
The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. In fact, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja.
The devotees of Ganesha are known as 'Ganapatyas', and the festival to celebrate and glorify him is called Ganesh Chaturthi.
Significance of the Ganesha Form
Ganesha's head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha's left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties.
The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our petition. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. And he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse.
How Ganesha Got His Head
The story of the birth of this zoomorphic deity, as depicted in the Shiva Purana, goes like this: Once goddess Parvati, while bathing, created a boy out of the dirt of her body and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access, and struck off the boy's head in rage. Parvati broke down in utter grief and to soothe her, Shiva sent out his squad (gana) to fetch the head of any sleeping being who was facing the north. The company found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its life and made him the leader (pati) of his troops. Hence his name 'Ganapati'. Shiva also bestowed a boon that people would worship him and invoke his name before undertaking any venture.
However, there's another less popular story of his origin, found in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana: Shiva asked Parvati to observe the punyaka vrata for a year to appease Vishnu in order to have a son. When a son was born to her, all the gods and goddesses assembled to rejoice on its birth. Lord Shani, the son of Surya (Sun-God), was also present but he refused to look at the infant. Perturbed at this behaviour, Parvati asked him the reason, and Shani replied that his looking at baby would harm the newborn. However, on Parvati's insistence when Shani eyed the baby, the child's head was severed instantly. All the gods started to bemoan, whereupon Vishnu hurried to the bank of river Pushpabhadra and brought back the head of a young elephant, and joined it to the baby's body, thus reviving it.
Ganesha, the Destroyer of Pride
Ganesha is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is the personification of material universe in all its various magnificent manifestations. "All Hindus worship Ganesha regardless of their sectarian belief," says D N Singh in A Study of Hinduism. "He is both the beginning of the religion and the meeting ground for all Hindus."
Shiva is the destroyer of the world, following Brahma the creator and Vishnu the preserver, after which Brahma again creates the world and so on. Shiva is responsible for change both in the form of death and destruction and in the positive sense of the shedding of old habits. In Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram or Truth, Goodness and Beauty, Shiva also represents the most essential goodness.
Shiva is the god of the yogis, self-controlled and celibate, while at the same time a lover of his spouse (shakti). Shiva's first wife was Sati and his second wife was Parvati, also known as Uma, Gauri, Durga, Kali and Shakti. His sons are Ganesha and Kartikeya. Shiva lives on Mount Kailasa in the Himalayas.
Shiva's main attributes are the trident that represents the three gunas and the snakes that show he is beyond the power of death and poison and also stand for the Kundalini energy. The vehicle of Shiva is the white bull called Nandi (the joyful). He is often seated on a tiger skin or wears a tiger skin, with the tiger representing the mind.
Shiva has many forms, which are visible in his Panchavaktra form with 5 heads, a combination of all Shiva energies : Aghora (resides in the creamation grounds), Ishana (most often appears as the shivalingam), Tat Purusha (meditating), Varna Deva (the eternal Shiva) and Saddyojat or Braddha Rudra (the old wrathful form). The last also forms the connection to the Rudraksha mala - a rosary made of the dried fruits of the Rudraksha tree.
Shiva & Parvati dancing in the Himalayas - Click for a larger imageShiva Nataraj's dance represents both the destruction and the creation of the universe and reveals the cycles of death, birth and rebirth. His Dance of Bliss is for the welfare of the world. In the pose of Nataraj, the King of Dance is giving darshan to his beloved devotees within the "Hall of Consciousness", which is the heart of man. Under his feet, Shiva crushes the demon of ignorance called Apasmara Purusha, caused by forgetfulness. One hand is stretched across his chest and points towards the uplifted foot, indicating the release from earthly bondage of the devotee. The fire represents the final destruction of creation, but the dance of the Nataraj is also an act of creation, which arouses dormant energies and scatters the ashes of the universe in a pattern that will be the design of the ensuing creation.
Shiva is conceived in his unborn, invisible form as the Lingam. It is always accompagnied by the Yoni, which is the female principle, surrounding the base of the Lingam. The Lingam represents the male creative energy of Shiva.
When Ganga incarnated on Earth, Shiva captured her in his hair to avoid that she would flood all of Earth (See the Life of Ganga).
Shiav worshippers are among India's most ascetic yogis, their body smeared with ashes, dressed in saffron colors and wearing a Rudraksha mala.
Sri Hanuman was born of Anjani from Pavana, the wind-god. He was named Hanuman after the name of the city of Hanumpur over which his maternal uncle Parti Surya ruled. Hanuman's body was hard as a stone. So Anjani named him Vajranga. He is also known by the names "Mahavir" or mightiest hero (because he exhibited several heroic feats), Balibima and Maruti.
The world has not yet seen and will not see in future also a mighty hero like Sri Hanuman. During his life he worked wonders and exhibited superhuman feats of strength and valor. He has left behind him a name which, as long as the world lasts, will continue wielding a great influence over the minds of millions of people.
He is one of the seven Chiranjivis. He was the only learned scholar who knew the nine Vyakaranas. He learnt the Sastras from the sun-god. He was the wisest of the wise, strongest of the strong and bravest of the brave. He was the Sakti of Rudra. He who meditates on him and repeats his name attains power, strength, glory, prosperity and success in life. He is worshipped in all parts of India, particularly in Maharashtra.
He was born at the most auspicious hour of the morning of the 8th of the Lunar month, Chaitra, at 4 o'clock on the most blessed day, Tuesday.
He had the power to assume any form he liked; to swell his body to an enormous extent and to reduce it to the length of a thumb. His strength was superhuman. He was the terror of Rakshasas. He was well versed in the four Vedas and other sacred books. His valor, wisdom, knowledge of the scriptures and superhuman strength attracted everybody who came near him. He had extraordinary skill in warfare.
He was the chosen messenger, warrior and servant of Sri Rama. He was the votary and devotee of Lord Rama. Rama was his all in all. He lived to serve Rama. He lived in Rama. He lived for Rama. He was a minister and intimate friend of Sugriva.
From his very birth he exhibited extraordinary physical strength and worked many miracles.
When he was a child he put the sun into his mouth. All the gods were very much troubled. They came with folded hands to the child and humbly entreated him to release the sun. The child set free the sun at their request.
Hanuman saw Sri Rama for the first time in Kishkindha. Sri Rama and Lakshmana came there in the course of their search of Sita whom Ravana had carried away.
A Rishi pronounced a curse on Hanuman for his wrong action, that he would remain unconscious of his great strength and prowess till he met Sri Rama and served him with devotion. As soon as Hanuman beheld Sri Rama he became conscious of his strength and power.
In Lanka, Hanuman exhibited his immense strength and extraordinary powers. He destroyed the beautiful grove which was a pleasure resort of Ravana. He uprooted many trees and killed many Rakshasas. Ravana was very much infuriated at this. He sent Jambumali to fight against Sri Hanuman who took the trunk of a tree and hurled it against Jambumali and killed him. Ravana sent his son Aksha to fight against Hanuman. He was also killed. Then he sent Indrajit. Hanuman threw a great tree upon Indrajit. Indrajit fell down senseless on the ground. After some time Indrajit recovered his consciousness. He threw the noose of Brahma on Hanuman. Hanuman allowed himself to be bound by the noose. He wanted to honor Brahma. Indrajit ordered the Rakshasas to carry the monkey to his father's court. Even a hundred Rakshasas were not able to lift Hanuman.
Hanuman made himself as light as possible. The Rakshasas then lifted him up. When they placed him over their shoulders he suddenly became heavy and crushed them to death. Then Hanuman asked the Rakshasas to remove the rope. They removed the rope and Hanuman proceeded to the council hall of Ravana.
Ravana said, "O mischievous monkey, what will you say in your defence? I will put you to death." Hanuman laughed and said, "O wicked Ravana, give back Sita to Lord Rama and ask his pardon; otherwise you will be ruined and the whole of Lanka will be destroyed." These words of Hanuman made Ravana very furious. He asked the Rakshasas to cut off the head of Hanuman.
Vibhishana intervened and said, "O brother, it is not lawful and righteous to kill a messenger. You can inflict some punishment only."
Ravana consented. He wanted to deprive Hanuman of his tail and make him ugly. He ordered the Rakshasas to wrap Hanuman's tail with cloths soaked in oil and ghee. Hanuman extended his tail to such length and size that all the cloths in Lanka would not cover it. Then he reduced his tail of his own accord. The Rakshasas wrapped the tail with cloths soaked in oil and ghee and lighted the cloths. Hanuman expanded his body to an enormous size and began to jump from place to place. The whole of Lanka caught on fire. All the palatial buildings were burnt down to ashes.
Hanuman then jumped into the sea in order to cool and refresh himself. A drop of his perspiration fell into the mouth of a great fish which gave birth to a mighty hero named Makara Dhvaja. Makara Dhvaja is considered the son of Hanuman. Thereupon Hanuman went to the Asoka grove and told Sita all that he had done.
Then he crossed the sea through the air and came to the place where his army was placed. He told them all that had happened. Thereupon they all marched quickly to carry the good news to Sri Rama and Sugriva. They reached the city of Kishkindha. Hanuman gave Sita's ring to Lord Rama. Sri Rama rejoiced heartily. He praised Hanuman and embraced him saying, "O mighty hero I cannot repay your debt."
When all the brothers and sons of Ravana were killed, Ravana sent for his brother Ahi Ravana who was the king of the nether world. Ahi Ravana came to Lanka. Ravana asked his help to fight against Sri Rama and Lakshmana.
Ahi Ravana consented to help his brother. At the dead of night he assumed the form of Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana and an ally and devotee of Sri Rama. He reached the place where Rama and Lakshmana were sleeping. Hanuman was keeping watch. He thought that it was Vibhishana who was coming. Therefore he allowed him to enter the camp. Ahi Ravana quietly took the two brothers upon his shoulders and repaired to his kingdom.
When the day dawned, Hanuman found out that Sri Rama and Lakshmana were missing. He found out that Ahi Ravana had carried them to his kingdom. At once he proceeded to the nether world and received information that Ahi Ravana had made arrangements to kill the two brothers in sacrifice. Hanuman assumed a tiny form, entered the temple and sat over the image of the goddess. The image went down into the earth. Hanuman took her seat. When Ahi Ravana was about to sacrifice the two brothers, Hanuman appeared in his own form and killed him. He installed Makara Dhvaja, his own son on the throne, took the brothers on his shoulders and brought them to Lanka.
Hanuman killed many heroes in the great war. Dhumar, Vajro, Roshat, Ankhan and several other great warriors were killed by him.
When the great war was over, Vibhishana was installed on the throne of Lanka. The time of banishment was about to be over. Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Sri Hanuman sat in the Pushpaka Vimana or aeroplane and reached Ayodhya in time.
The coronation ceremony of Lord Rama was celebrated with great eclat and pomp. Sita gave Hanuman a necklace of pearls of rare quality. Hanuman received it with great respect and began to break the pearls with his teeth. Sita and other ministers who were sitting in the council hall were quite astonished at this queer act of Hanuman.
Sita asked Hanuman, "O mighty hero, what are you doing? Why do you break the pearls?" Sri Hanuman said, "O venerable mother, it is the most valuable necklace indeed as it has come to me through thy holy hand. But I want to find out whether any of the pearls contain my beloved Lord Rama. I do not keep a thing devoid of him. I do not find him in any of the pearls." Sita asked, "Tell me whether you keep Lord Rama within you." Sri Hanuman immediately tore open his heart and showed it to Sri Rama, Sita and others. They all found Lord Rama accompanied by Sita in the heart of Sri Hanuman.
Lord Rama rejoiced heartily. He came down the throne and embraced Hanuman and blessed him. Sri Hanuman passed the rest of his life in the company of the Lord.
When Sri Rama ascended to his supreme abode, Sri Hanuman also wished to follow him. But the Lord asked him to remain in this world as his representative and attend all the assemblies of men where discourses on his deeds were held and heard, and help his devotees in cultivating devotion.
He is a Chiranjeevi. He is everywhere. He who has eyes and devotion beholds him and receives his blessing.
Hanuman ranks first amongst the heroes of the world. His heroic deeds, wonderful exploits and marvelous feats of strength and bravery cannot be adequately described. His sense of duty was extremely laudable. He had great skill in all military tactics and methods of warfare. His crossing the sea of thirty miles in one leap and lifting the crest of a mountain in the palm of the hand, his carrying of the brothers on his shoulders from the nether world to Lanka are all astounding, superhuman feats which baffle human description.
He conquered innumerable difficulties which cropped up in his way through his courage, patience and undaunted spirit. He made untiring search to find Sita. At the time of danger he exhibited marvelous courage and presence of mind. He was steady and firm in his actions. He was always successful in his attempts. Failure was not known to him. He gave up his life in the service of the Lord. He had not a tinge of selfishness in his actions. All his actions were offerings unto Lord Rama. No one reached the peak in Dasya Bhava like Sri Hanuman. He was a rare jewel among devotees, the supreme head among Pundits, the king among celibates and the commander among heroes and warriors.
O mighty Hanuman, untiring and devoted Sevak of Sri Rama, joy of Anjana, king of Brahmacharins, show us the secrets of Brahmacharya and the ways to attain purity in thought, word and deed. May India have such heroes and Brahmacharins ever more!
Where Hanuman is, there are Sri Rama and Sri Sita and wherever Sri Rama and Sri Sita are praised and their deeds recited, there Hanuman is.
Glory to Hanuman, the blessed devotee of Lord Rama. Glory, glory to Sri Anjaneya, the mighty hero, undaunted warrior and learned Brahmacharin, the like of whom the world has not yet seen and will not see in time to come.
Ram is the 7th incarnation of Vishnu and the central figure of the Ramayana epic. The Ramayan is the very soul of India. It is a complete guide to God-realization, the path to which lies in righteousness. The ideals of man are beautifully portrayed in it. Everyone should emulate those ideals and grow into ideal human beings and ideal citizens.
Ram, by Sapna JohariRam took birth to free the earth from the cruelty and sins of the demon King Ravana (Ravan). Ravana had practiced austerities in order to propitiate Shiva and Brahma, who had granted him immunity from being killed by gods, gandharvas or demons. One of the gods had to take on a human form in order to be able to defeat Ravana.
Ram was born as the first son of Dasharatha, king of Ayodhya. Ram's mother was Kausilya. Ram had three brothers : Bharata (Bharat) born from the second wife Kaikeyi, and Lakshmana (Lakshman) and Shatrughna born from the third wife Sumitra.
One day Saint Vishwamitra visited Ayodhya and asked Dashratha to send Ram and Lakshmana with him because the Yakshini (demon) Tarka - with her two sons Mareech and Subahu - were terrifying him and the other saints at his ashram. They were not letting them worship and meditate. Ram went with Lakshmana and Vishwamitra to kill Tarka. On the way to Saint Vishwamitra's ashram there was a dense forest. When they entered the forest Tarka came to kill them but Ram killed her and her son Subahu with a weapon given to him by Vishwamitra. Ram also shot an arrow at Mareech and threw him 100 yojan far away.
Sita and Ram in the gardenLater Ram went with Saint Vishwamitr to Mithila where the wise King Janak ruled. King Janak had organized a svayamvaraa (an acient custom wherein the bride chose her husband of her own accord from amongst a number of suitors). It was announced that whosoever will bend the bow of Lord Shiva will marry King Janak's daughter Sita. Sita was an incarnation of Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu. But none of the suitors was able to lift Lord Shiva's bow, except Ram. Ram lifted the bow with his one hand and bended it so hard that it even broke.
Sita and Ram in the forestSo Ram got married to Sita, and his brothers got happily married to Sita's sisters. After returning and living happily in Ayodhya the old King Dashrath decided that it was time to give his kingdom to his beloved son Ram. There Kaikeyi, the third and youngest wife of the King, claimed the throne for her son Bharat. A long time before the young Queen had saved the King's life and he had promised to fulfill her two wishes. Manthara, the crooked and evil-minded maid-servant of Kaikeyi influenced the queen to claim her wishes now in favor of her son and to request Dashrath to banish Ram from the kingdom for fourteen years, and to install Bharat on the throne instead. The King was shocked, his heart was broken, but he knew that truth is the highest Dharm, and that he had to fulfill his promise to his wife. So Ram went to exile happily, knowing that to obey and serve his father was the highest duty of a son.
After Ram left to the forest, Dashrath died from the pangs of separation from his beloved son Ram. Bharat went to the forest to meet his brother Ram and to request him to come back to Ayodhya. When Ram refused to return, in honor of the promise to his father, Bharat took Ram's "khadau" (wooden sandals) and placed them symbolically on Ayodhya's throne. Until his brother returned from the exile Bharat served the kingdom as a true and honest caretaker of Ram.
Once Surpnakha, the sister of Ravana, passed by the place where Ram was living. She saw Ram and became impressed by his beauty. She transformed herself into a beautiful lady and went to Ram and asked him to marry her. When Ram refused and told her he is already married to Sita, she became angry. Coming back to her original form she ran towards Sita to kill her. When Lakshman saw that he cut her nose and one ear. Surpnakha then send her brother Khardushan with fourteen thousand rakshasas to avenge her. But all were killed by Ram.
Jatayu leaving his bodySurpnakha now sought vengeance through her older brother Ravana, but only got his interest by pointing out that the beautiful Sita would be a fitting wife for him. Ravana lured Ram and Lakshman away from Sita by sending an enchanted deer of extreme beauty and then took Sita to his kingdom of Lanka. On the way, Jatayu, a vulture bird and old friend of Ram's father Dashrath, fought Ravan but was fatally wounded. He lived only long enough to tell Ram what had happened upon his return.
In Lanka, Ravana tried to threathen Sita into marrying him, but was rejected again and again. Meanwhile, Ram made an alliance with the monkey King Sugreeva, who had been exiled from his kingdom by his brother Bali. Ram helped Sugreeva to regain his kingdom and in return Sugreeva raised an army of monkeys and bears, led by Hanuman. When they reached the sea, Hanuman flew across. On the way he had many adventures, which can be found on the Hanuman page.
Hanuman captured in LankaIn Lanka, Hanuman promised Sita that help would come soon. When he was then captured by the rakshasas, Ravana ordered them to set fire to Hanuman's tail, wrapping it with oily rags. But Hanuman increased the length of his tail so much that there seemed no end to it. He escaped and used his burning tail to set fire to all of Lanka.
Meanwhile, Ram's army had build a huge bridge between Lanka and the mainland. They crossed the ocean and attacked Ravana's army. During the battle, Lakshmana was heavily wounded, but he was cured by a magic herb which Hanuman flew all the way to the Himalayas to obtain. Not finding the herb at first, Hanuman brought the entire mountain just to be sure. Finally, all rakshasa generals were killed and the battle become a single combat between Ravana and Ram. Finally, Ram killed Ravana with a special weapon given to him by saint Agastya.
This was a moment of great rejoicing. Ram and Sita were finally crowned King and Queen of Ayodhya, though people were doubting that Sita had preserved her virtue while being Ravana's captive, which is another story in itself.
Durga is an incarnation of Devi or the Mother Goddess, a unified symbol of all divine forces. For Shaivas Durga is the wife of Shiva. For Vaishnavas and Shaktas Durga is another form of Uma or Parvati.
The Hindu Goddess Durga manifested when evil forces threathened the very existance of the Gods. To destroy these demons, all gods offered their radiance to her creation and each formed part of Durga's body. Durga also obtained very powerful weapons, such as the chakra from Vishnu and a trident from Shiva.
The name "Durga" in Sanskrit means "invincible". The syllable "du" is synonymous with the 4 devils of poverty, sufferings, famine and evil habits. The "r" refers to diseases and the "ga" is the destroyer of sins, injustice, irreligion, cruelty and laziness.
killed the powerful demon Mahish and all his great commanders. Demonic forces are self-destructive but very powerful. Divine forces are constructive but slow and efficient. When demonic forces create imbalance, all gods unite, becoming one divine force called Shakti or Durga.
Kali is a ferocious form of the Divine Mother, who sent her Shakti, the Mother Gauri, to free the gods from the dominion of the demonic forces Shumbh and Nishumbh, who had conquered the 3 worlds of earth, the astral plane and the celestial plane.
Kali is the goddess of time and of the transformation that is death (Kala). Lord Shiva and Mother Gauri in their destructive form are known as Mahakala and Mahakali or Kali.
Kali is the Kundalini energy that paralyses the attachments produced by the solar and lunar currents (both demons mentioned above). This attachment causes fear of death. In the ignorant ones she creates fear, while for others Kali removes the avidya (ignorance) that makes us fear death, the basic insecurity of the First Chakra , a fear rooted in the brain stem or primitive brain.
The Hindu goddess Kali is the first of the ten Mahavidyas - the others are Tara, Shodashi, Bhuvaneshwari, Bhairavi, Chinnamasta and Dhumavati, Matangi, Kamala and Bagla Mukhi. Therefore Kali is also known as Adya, the firstborn.
KRING KRING KRING
HING HRING DAKSHINE KALIKE
KRING KRING KRING HRING HRING
HUNG HUNG SWAHA
Laxmi - The Goddess of Wealth
Laxmi is the beloved of Lord Narayan, also popularly known as Lord Vishnu. Everybody wants to please the Goddess of wealth and keep her appeased so as to have lot of wealth and peace.
According to the sculptures and paintings that have come down from ancient times, Owl is the carrier of Goddess Laxmi. If she travels with Lord Vishnu, she travels on the Garuda (Eagle). This travelling on both the animals has symbollic significance: An owl is supposed to be blind during the day and a wealthy person without the right kind of intellect cannot see beyond his richness. Therefore whenever Laxmi (The Goddess of Wealth) travels without Lord Vishnu she makes the person whom she visits metaphorically blind. However when the Goddess Laxmi travels with Lord Vishnu, She travels on a Garuda, which is the symbol of wisdom.
As a female counterpart of Lord Vishnu, Mata Lakshmi is also called "Shri", the female of the Supreme Being. Goddess Lakshmi means "Good Luck" to Hindus. The word "Lakshmi" is derived from the Sanskrit word "Laksya", meaning `aim` or `goal`, and she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual. Also `lakh` which means "one hundred thousand" as a monetary unit in India, is the first part of Lakshmi`s name, symbolizing her blessings that pour forth abundantly.
The story of Lakshmi`s birth begins when the Devas (minor gods) were in a race against the Asuras (demons) to obtain amrit (the nectar of immorality). The Devas consulted Vishnu who was on earth as Kurma, a tortoise. They decided they would churn the oceans for the amrit. They created to churn by the threading the serpent Vasuki around Mount Mandara. Kurma dived to the ocean floor and balanced Mount Mandara on his back.
In the grip of Kurma`s cosmic clutch, the mountain could not sink into the ocean bed. The gods churned and received the Nectar of Immortality from Lakshmi Devi and then fourteen treasures came to their hands. Lakshmi Chose Lord Vishnu as Her Consort. Vishnu carried Lakshmi from the ocean into His heaven. Each time Vishnu descends on earth as an avatar an avatar of Lakshmi accompanies him.
Maa Santoshi is an emblem of love, contentment, forgiveness, happiness and hope. It is so believed that fasting and praying for her for 16 consecutive Fridays brings peace and prosperity in ones family.
Santoshi Maa inspires an individual to cherish family values and to come out of the crisis with one's determination. Santoshi Maa is widely worshipped through out India and by Indians residing outside India.
JAI SANTOSHII MAATAA,
MAIYAA JAI SANTOSHII MAATAA
APANE SEVAKA JANA KII
SUKHA SAMPATI DAATAA
Glory, all gory to you, O Mother Santoshi; being a goddess of compassionate and contended disposition you bestow on your faithful devotees both joy and wealth.
SUNDARA CHIRA SUNAHARII, MAAN DHAARANA KIINHON
HIIRAA PANNAA DAMAKE, TANA SHRINGAARA LIYO
You are elegantly attired, O Mother, in a golden garments and bedecked with lustrous jewels diamonds and emeralds.
GERUU LAALA CHATAA CHAVI, ABDANA KAMALA SOHE
MANDA HANSATA KARUNAAMAYII, TRIBHUVANA MANA MOHE
The red ochre splendour of your lotus-face looks splendid while, O Compassionate Mother; your faint, feeble smile enthralls all the three spheres.
SVARNA SINHAASANA BAITHI CHANVARA DHARE PYAARE
DHUUPA DIIPA MEVAA BHOGA DHARE NYAARE
While you are seated on your golden throne, a beloved votary of yours is waving a chowry; incense a lighted lamp, honey, dry fruits and other delicious offerings are lying as food presented to you.
GUDA AURA CHANAA PARAMA PRIYA, TAAMEIN SANTOSHA KIYO
SANTOSHII KAHALAAII BHAKTANA VIBHAVA DIYO
Jaggery and unfried gram are your supreme favourites and satisfy you most; being the very incarnation of contentment, you endow your devotees with great affluence and prosperity.
SHUKRAVAARA PRIYA MAANATA, AAJA DIVASA SOHII
BHAKTA MANDALII CHAAII, KATHAA SUNATA MOHII
You regard Friday as especially consecrated to you; it being the same day (Friday) today, a company of your votaries has assembled and yielded to the charming account of your miracles.
MANDIRA JAGAMAGA JYOTI, MANGALA DHVANI CHAAII
VINAYA KAREIN TERE BAALAKA CHARANANA SIRA NAAII
The temple lights are glimmering while the atmosphere all around is charged with auspicious sounds. With bowed heads your children are paying homage to you.
BHAKTI BHAAVAMAYII PUUJAA ANGIKRUTA KIIJAI
BAHU DHANA DHAANYA BHARE GHARA SUKHA SAUBHAAGYA DIYE
You relieved the impoverished and ailing humanity of its distress and replenished the homes of the unfortunate with plenty of foodgrains and blessed them with happiness and good luck.
DHYAANA DHARO TERO MANAVAANCHITA PHALA PAAYO
PUUJAA KATHAA SHRAVANA KARA GHARA AANANDA AAYO
He who meditated on your never failed to receive your blessing of contentment (for he had his desires, ambitions and all fulfilled). Blessed are the homes of those who adore you and listen to the story of your marvellous acts.
SHARANA GAHE KIILAAJA RAKHIYO JAGADAMBE
SANKATA TUU HII NIVAARE DAYAAMAYII AMBE
Pray protect, O Mother, the honour of him who seeks refuge in you being full of the milk of divine kindness, you alone can deliver me from these deepening crisis.
SANTOSHII MAAN KII AARATII, JO OII JANA GAAVAI
RIDDHI SIDDHI SUKHA SAMPATI, JI BHARA KE PAAVAI
The devotee, who performs this ceremony of singing the arati song in adoration of Maan Santoshi is blessed with prosperity, accomplishment, happiness and wealth to his heart’s content.