Oil on Canvas, 1999
45 x 75 cm
Collection of Suman Ratna Dhakhwa
In Hinduism, Mahālakṣmī, also known as Lakshmi, is held in the highest regard. She is regarded as one of the Hindu pantheon’s most revered and significant deities. Mahālakṣmī is connected to affluence, prosperity, abundance, fertility, and fortune. Her name, “Lakśmī,” is derived from the Sanskrit word “lakṣa,” which means objective or purpose, denoting her role in bestowing blessings and happiness.
Mahālakṣmī is depicted as a beautiful goddess dressed in regal attire and adorned with jewels. She is frequently depicted seated or standing on a lotus flower in full bloom, which symbolizes purity, transcendence, and spiritual enlightenment. The lotus also represents the ability to transcend material desires and attain spiritual enlightenment.
One of the eighteen Mahāpurāṇas, the Viṣṇu Purāṇa is mainly devoted to Lord Vishnu’s deeds, the universe’s guardian and preserver. The Viṣṇu Purāṇa relates the narrative of Mahālakṣmī’s birth to the Samudramanthan, the churning of the cosmic ocean. Legend has it that the gods and demons teamed up to churn the ocean in search of the celestial nectar Amṛta, which would provide both immortality and enormous strength, during a time of great conflict. Several celestial and divine beings, including the deity Mahālakṣmī, emerged from the ocean during the churning. According to the Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Mahālakṣmī emerged from the milky-white ocean while perched atop a completely bloomed lotus flower. Her brilliance shone so brightly that it illuminated the entire universe.
In Hinduism, the Aṣta Mātṛkās (also known as the Eight Divine Mothers) are a collection of goddesses regarded as the divine consorts or manifestations of various male deities. As one of the Aṣta Mātṛkās, Mahālakṣmī is regarded as Lord Viṣṇu’s consort. She represents his divine feminine energy and is connected to fortune, success, and abundance. While Lord Vishnu is the universe’s preserver and protector, Mahālakṣmī nurtures and bestows riches and prosperity upon his devotees.