The concept of Mahalakshimi-the theme of this book is one of the richest in Hindu literature. Mahalakshmi is the Goddess of prosperity, splendour, and glory. In the connotation of Sri, as distinguished from that of Lakshmi, she is identified with auspiciousness. Sri is also represented as the ruling power.
IN the scriptural development of the concept, we come across different myths about the origin of Mahalakshmi. She is variously described as the daughter of Daksha-Prajapati, the daughter of Bhrgu, and as an emanation from Sati, the consort of Siva. While some Puranas describe her as the wife of Dharma, the most popular interpretation is that of Lakshmi as the consort of Vishnu.
The article, "Sri Lakshmi's Origin in the Vedas," brings out the gradual development of Sri and Lakshmi as deities. Though both these terms are often used interchangeably, most of the passages in the Vedas refer to them with different meanings in different contexts.
Later in the Puranas, Lakshmi is fully developed as a Goddess. She arose from the Milky Ocean when it was churned by the devas and asuras. Invariably, Lakshmi accompanied Vishnu as his consort in the different human incarnations as avatars.
The article on Lakshmi as Supreme Power notes that in the Lakshmi tantra, exclusive worship is bestowed on Lakshmi rather than Vishnu, while Alavandar's Chatusloki highlights that Lakshmi is inseparable from Vishnu.
An aesthetic presentation of special paintings of Sri Sukta, an appendage to the Rg Veda, by Sri G. L. N. Simha, is given with commentary. It has been printed with the kind courtesy of Ramsons Kala Prathistana, Mysore.
This book also brings out the importance and significance of two well-known Mahalakshmi temples-in Kolhapur and Mumbai. The historical significance of the temple in Mumbai, which has the prime distinction of featuring the trinity-Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati-on the same pedestal in the sanctum sanctorum is beautifully brought out in one article.
The other article describes the beauty and style of the temple in Kolhapur and takes you on a tour of the of the inspiring epithets in Mahalakshmi Sahasranama that are associated with the goddess in this temple are given in another article.
The festivals and vratas connected with Lakshmi, with particular reference to Deepavali, the formost festival of India, also find a place.
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