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Lakshmi (also known as Laksmi, Laxmi, MahaLakshmi, Prakruti, Hattilakamma, Padma, Sri, Shri, or Shree) is a Hindu goddess or devi of wealth, good fortune, splendour, and business success, and also a goddess of beauty, charm, and grace. To Hindus she represents abundance in all of its forms, as well as good luck in love. Her name, Laksmi, derives from a Sanskrit word that originally mean an omen, sign or mark, but evolved to mean an aim, an objective, or a goal, and thus she represents attainment and achievement of success. As one of the great gooddesses of the Hindu pantheon, she is known by many names, including Mahalaksmi (the great aim), Shakti (power), and Shri or Shree, the latter referring to her as the source from which many of the other devas derive their power and potency. Some also worship Lakshmi in her form as the goddess Prakruti -- the essence of nature and physicality.

Lakshmi is the consort of the deva Vishnu. Every time that Vishnu descends to earth as an avatar, he is accompanied by an avatar of Lakshmi, whose gentle aspects may be called upon for intercession with her husband. As Vishnu's consrt, Lakshmi has incarnated as the princess Sita, who married Vishnu's avatar Rama; she later incarnated as the cow-herd maiden Radha, the consort to Vishnu's avatar Krishna. She is considered the source of bhakti (devotion) so many believe that all loving kindness begins with her; however, in some parts of India, Hindus venerate her under the name Hattilakamma, which refers to her wrathful or furious form. Lakshmi is closely associated with the lotus flower (padma) and she may be pictured seated among lotuses in the lotus position of yoga or standing amidst lotus blossoms. In some Hindu religious traditions the world is understood to be a lotus coming into bloom on Vishnu's navel, so Lakshmi's association with this flower indicates her devotion to Vishnu and her role in sustaining the physical world. She is often pictured with a pair of elephants, but her vehicle is an owl. She is typically shown pouring out an endless supply of golden coins with her bottom two hands, while her upper hands may hold lotus blossoms or in some cases weapons. The colors of pink and magenta figure prominently in her images, especially when she is paired with white-garbed Sarasvati.

Hindu scriptural tales are complex and often contradictory, so, depending on context and story, Lakshmi can appear as a beautiful and gentle maiden, a grain-giving mother-goddess like Durga, or even a battle warrior wielding an axe, like {Durga]] or Kali. In some stories, Lakshmi is a sister to the goddess Sarasvati, who closely resembles her; the two sisters may be depicted side-by-side, Sarasvati in white on a white lotus, and Lakshmi in pink on a pink lotus. Lakshmi has also been called a daughter of Durga or Parvati, and thus a sister or half-sister to Lord Ganesha, with whom she and Sarasvati may appear in iconographic images. In the Devi Mahatmya -- the great Indian epic devoted to the Hindu goddesses -- she appears as Mahalakshmi, an eighteen-armed battle goddess who protects the devas by defeating the asura (demon) Mahisha, a story more centrally associated with Durga.

Within the Hindu religious tradition, Gaja Lakshmi Puja and Kumar Purnima are festivals in Lakshmi's honour which are celebrated in Eastern India at the time of the full moon in the month of Aswina (September- October). She is especially revered by those in the business community, who set up temporary shrines for her in public. Young children are given new clothes and celebrate with family and friends, but older girls, dressed in their new garments, rise at dawn to make food offerings to the sun, then fast for the day, singing and playing games of chance, and celebrate the rising of the full moon at sunset with more food offerings, which they themselves are given to eat at the close of the ritual. Another great festival of Lakshmi is Manabasa Gurubara Lakshmi Puja, a rice-harvest celebration that encompasses the month of Mrigashīrsha (December–January) and is primarily officiated by housewives and mothers who celebrate each Thursday of the month by re-plastering the walls of their homes, festooning the roof and eaves with flower garlands, and decorating the floors with floral designs drawn with rice powder mixed with water, called Jhoti. Using the hand as a stamp, they lay down tiny "foot prints" leading from the doorstep to family's home altar to signify that the devi Lakshmi has entered the house. Offerings of rice cakes and sweetened rice-milk are offered and partaken of by all.

Hoodoo psychic readers, spirit workers, and root doctors who petition the Hindu gods and goddesses on behalf of clients may work with Lakshmi when there are pending spiritual and magical issues involving money drawing, prosperity, and luck as well as love, romance, and marriage.

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