Lakshmi provide the inhabitants of the cosmos food, clothing, shelter, and all things that make life more comfortable. She also offered wisdom, strength, beauty, luck, sovereignty and splendour— The good things in life.
Blessings of Appeal Pt.2
The practice of personifying the beauty and bounty of earth as a Goddess was prevalent in all ancient cultures.
The Greeks had Core, the Corn-Goddess, who was known to Romans as Demeter.
The Egyptians had Isis, Sumerians had Innana, Babylonians had Ishtar, Persians had Anahita and Vikings had Freia.
Shri-Lakshmi is the Hindu form of the timeless Mother-Goddess who nurtures and nourishes all life. In India, not only Hindus but also Buddhists and Jains adore Lakshmi. Buddhism and Jainism are primarily monastic orders that turned away from Vedic rituals and Brahmanical dogmas about 2,500 years ago. They, however, could not abandon this delightful Goddess.
In the Buddhist Jatakas, there are tales of Men and Women who request the Goddess Lakshmi to drive away the Goddess of misfortune, Kalakanni. Images of Kubera, the pot-bellied Yaksha-King and treasurer of the Gods, who is closely associated with Lakshmi, adorn most Buddhist shrines.
In holy Jain texts, it is said when an exalted soul like a Tirthankara is about to be born his mother dreams of many auspicious things, including the Goddess Shri. Symbols of wealth and royal power commonly associated with Lakshmi are auspicious to both Buddhists and Jains.
These include: • the pot • pile of gems • a throne • flywhisk • conch • a fish • a parasol • nagas • yakshas • footstool • a horse • an elephant • a cow and • the wish-fulfilling tree.
An Ancient Goddess Shri-Lakshmi has a long history testified by the fact that her first hymn, the Shri Shukta, was added to the Rig Veda, the oldest and most revered of Hindu scriptures, somewhere between 1000 and 500 BC.
Considering her popularity amongst Buddhists and Jains, it has been proposed that her worship may predate the Vedic culture and may have developed independently before she was brought into the Vedic, Buddhist and Jain folds.
Scholars are of the view that initially, the words Shri and Lakshmi referred to anything that was auspicious or brought good luck or bestowed riches and power.
Later the two words were personified into two Goddesses who eventually merged. Thus, Shri-Lakshmi came into being. Fragmentary verses in the Shatapatha Brahmana, written not long after the Vedas, talks of the birth of Lakshmi from the mouth of Prajapati to provide the inhabitants of the cosmos food, clothing, shelter, and all things that make life more comfortable. She also offered wisdom, strength, beauty, luck, sovereignty and splendour—the good things in life.