Tihar is celebrated for five days. On the third day, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped for one’s well-being. Lakshmi, also referred to as Shree, is the goddess of wealth and fortune. However, many people erroneously take wealth for money.
People don’t seem to understand the meaning of wealth. But wealth comes in many forms such as good health, good family, good friends, sharp intellect, one’s solid reputation, high status, set of skills, and so on. As the house, the car and a bank account are one’s property, they too are one’s best assets, i.e. Shree.
Money comes and goes like the fickle character of Lakshmi. She never stays in one place for long. If she did, then the whole economy—local or global—would be stagnant. This would be unhealthy for the world economy.
I am not comfortable about individuals who see Lakshmi only in the form of cash instead of taking the beautiful qualities of Lakshmi who stands for Shree.
Lakshmi is the Goddess of the rich and the poor. By her grace the poor have become rich and the rich richer. So everyone needs Lakshmi regardless of one’s religious persuasion or faith. That’s why even the Buddhists, the Jains and the Sikhs celebrate Diwali—a festival of lights held by most Hindus in honor of Lakshmi.
A photo of Lakshmi hangs in a shop no matter who owns it—a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Jain, a Sikh, a Christian or a Muslim. In that sense, Lakshmi is democratic—a goddess who is non-denominational, non-apartheid, non-segregationist and non-aligned, although having a Hindu origin.
During Lakshmi Puja, I have seen individuals offering wads of cash displayed on a platter. Do we really think Lakshmi needs cash? Let us not forget that she is the goddess of wealth. Trillions and trillions of dollars, Euros, Rubles, Liras, Rupees, Bhats, Paseos, Yens, Dinars and so on are her money. She has an infinite supply of them.
Any large amount of money we offer to Lakshmi is pittance—it’s like offering a candle to the Sun. Then, why empty one’s bank account to fill a platter with large bills? To me it seems fruitless, unless the individual is attempting to show off. Instead of being pleased with the individual who offers a platter of dollars, Lakshmi is likely to leave the house as soon as she sees an abundance of cash. She is going to say to herself, “This individual obviously doesn’t need my help. I will go to one who does need my help.”
So please be modest—don’t flash your cash—it could be counterproductive. All Lakshmi needs is our love, devotion and items that she really likes—fruits, flowers, and yes lots of sweets, all prepared by hand with love and care. Family members and friends can partake the food and rejoice. And this is the true spirit of Lakshmi Pooja to create joy, love and camaraderie.
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