O nce, the great sage Durvasa on a sojourn came upon Lord Indra and offered him a garland of flowers. The King of Devas Lord Indra took the garland while still mounted on his elephant Airavata. He then placed the garland on Airavata’s forehead, who promptly threw it down on the ground.
THE VOICE WITHIN
Furious at this disrespectful treatment of his gift, sage Durvasa cursed Lord Indra thus: “Intoxicated with power and in your arrogance, you have not respected the garland which was the dwelling of the Goddess of Fortune. You have not bowed in front of me, and just like you have cast the garland to the ground in your excessive pride, your kingdom too will be ruined.”
Crestfallen, Lord Indra returned to his capital Amravati. The changes for the worse soon followed. The gods in heaven and men on earth soon began to lose their good sense, morality and vitality. As minds became corrupted, people stopped giving to charity and began engaging in excessive sensory pleasures, a material culture prevailed and desires became uncontrollable. And in Devalok, the gods became more and more enfeebled.
It was not long before the Asuras seized the opportunity. They invaded Devalok and routed the gods, who in turn sought refuge in Lord Vishnu. Moved by their plight, Lord Vishnu suggested the churning of the primordial Ocean to extract amrita, the elixir of life that would restore their powers and make them immortal.
Thus began the churning of the Ocean, from which arose various divine principles and amrita. Lo and behold, Goddess Lakshmi too emerged from waves, seated on a full-blown lotus. She chose Lord Vishnu as her consort and the Universe rejoiced. The gods were revived and prevailed over the Asuras in a grand battle.
The ancient scriptures thus teach us that the churning of the ocean and the battle between the gods and the demons keep occurring in the mind of every human being. Whether known or unknown to us, the unlimited consciousness is always in a flux, the tug of war between good and evil is continual and never ending.
And about Goddess Lakshmi, there is infinitely more to Her than mere material wealth. When the Goddess of Fortune forsakes someone, it leads to loss of good sense and mental peace, lack of willpower and vigor, ibility to perform noble deeds, and consequently poverty and a meaningless existence.
Without Goddess Lakshmi’s blessings, the tamasic element domites over the sattvic element. And She forsakes even the gods when they become arrogant. To invite Her blessings therefore, the seeker must ensure that in the endless clash between good and evil, that side has to be chosen that promotes good, whatever be the pain and sacrifice.
Devotees of Goddess Lakshmi observe special rituals, clean and light up their home, decorate and illumite their entrance. She is believed to be extremely sensitive to anything amiss in a home, and departs whenever there is lack of cleanliness, love, respect, generosity, peace and harmony.
The true devotee knows that Goddess Lakshmi can only reside in a place where virtue, compassion, truth and righteousness prevail. If She is pleased, she bestows 16 varieties of prosperity which extend to material wealth, good health, mental peace and the ability to perform good deeds.