Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu, is revered as goddess of beauty, good fortune and prosperity. She is perhaps the most worshipped of all goddesses.
At one time, Lakshmi departed from the three worlds, leaving everyone devastated. The Lord of the gods, Indra was most concerned. When Lakshmi appeared during Samudramanthan, Indra offered prayers that pleased her. She granted him two boons. The first was that she would never leave the three worlds. The seconds, she agreed that she would not forsake anyone who chanted the twelve-letter mantra given by him and repeated it devotedly during daily prayers. Thus began the practice of praying to Lakshmi.
Lakshmi emerged from the ocean when the gods and the demons chuned it during samundramanthan. Since she came from the sea, she is known as the daougther of sea. Since the moon also emereged from the sea, he is accepted as her brother. She immediately chose Vishnu as her consort, saying she would always reside in his chest. Only Vishnu was capable of controlling Maya(illusion) and accepted her.
Lakshmi is described as an attractive lady with a golden complexion, who is well dressed and bedecked with precious gems and jewels. She wears a lotus garland around her neck. Motherly yet youthful, her expression is calm and peaceful. She is often shown sitting or standing on a lotus, which she adores. With her four arms, she may be holding a lotus, the bilva fruit, conch shell or the Kalash(vessel) containing amrit. She reflacts a royal temperament as well as a spiritual outlook. Very often, two elephants are shown on either side pouring water from vessels belonging to heavenly maidens.
Sometimes she is shown with eight hands holding weapons like a bow and arrow, mace, discus, or the like. This is her form as Mahalaxmi, an avtar of Durga.
Worship of Lakshmi
Since everyone desires prosperity, all Hindus are devoted to her and seek her blessings. Every Hindu home has a picture or idol of Lakshmi. Although the majority of devotees seek her for prosperity and wealth, Lakshmi is equally the goddess of purity and divinity.
She is often seen with other gods. Ganesh Is a popular favourite. During Diwali, every Hindu offeres special prayers to Lakshmi seeking wealth and prosperity. It is believed that Lakshmi visits all homes during Diwali.