Epithets of Goddess Mahalaxmi
BY: DR. DIBAKAR MISHRA
Aug 11, BHUBANESWAR, ORISSA (SUN) A two-part summary of select epithets to the Goddess Mahalaxmi.
The Goddess Mahalakshmi is connected with 'Mahat Lakshana', i.e. having noble characteristics. Lokamataa: 'World Mother'. She is the mother of all the people of the world, distributing affections and nourishment equally to everybody. Ramaa: 'Beautiful'. She likes to be connected with the beautiful (ramya) nature (prakrti) of human life.
Pankajabasini: 'Pankaja' is lotus which comes out of the mud (panka). The Goddess likes it very much to settle on this, for which She is called 'Pankajabasini'. The cause of selecting the lotus for settling on is to teach the world that although it is born from the dirty mud, still the lotus can be blessed for its cleanliness, softness, beauty, purity, splendour and fragrant disseminating qualities. Hence one should not be disheartened for bad family background only, but try to be clean in habits, pure in heart and noble in behaviour.
Padmalayaa: Here 'Padma' is lotus and 'Alaya' is adobe. Goddess Laxmi has selected "padma" for Her "alaya", for which She is called Padmalayaa. In the true sense, 'Padma' is compared with a clean and sacred heart and the Goddess always wants to make this pure heart her abode. In other words, the man with a clean heart can get the blessings of Goddess Mahalaxmi for ever.
Kamalaa: 'Kamal', the flower, being very soft, sacred, pure, clean, splendid and fragrant disseminating, has been liked very much by the Goddess Mahalaxmi, for which She is known as 'Kamalaa'. This gives the indication that the man who seeks blessings of Goddess Mahalaxmi should become like a flower.
Chanchalaa: The Fickle Goddess. Her movements being very fickle (chanchal). She immediately leaves the man whose character starts to become impure.
Chapalaa: The unstable Goddess. She leaves the men like lightening (chapalaa) who start to become impure, immoral, a deserter, proud and arrogant.
Ksheerabdhi Tanayaa: 'Daughter of Ocean'. 'Ksheerabdhi' is Ocean and 'tanayaa' daughter. She is Ksheerabdhi Tanayaa because She was produced from Ocean when its water was churned out for nectar to make persons immortal. She appeared before the world being ornamented with precious gems and jewels, giving indications that the Ocean is the treasure of gems and jewels from time immemorial.
Men Blessed by the Goddess
According to Hitopadesha - Mitralava, "Goddess Laxmi blesses the man who is industrious and of very promising character. It is the version of the cowards that the wealth is given by Fortune. So discard the fortune and achieve success through your own efforts. If the success is not achieved after all of your efforts, then find out, there must be some faults some where."
Men Debarred from Blessings
Persons not industrious, who are devoid of duties, lazy, coward, desperate, selfish, jealous, tempted, irritable, greedy, envious, despotic, mean, hypocritical, cruel, tyrant, thief, liar, ungrateful, incontinent, inhuman, too much miser, deceitful, crooked, unruly, notorious, stupid, impudent, sinful, devilish are debarred from blessings of Goddess Mahalaxmi.
Outwardly, Mahalaxmi Purana contains a very beautiful story of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Goddess Mahalaxmi, in which Mahalaxmi was driven out from the temple (Srimandir) by the two Lords with the allegation that She frequently visited the cottages of very low class people who were untouchable, and without being purified enough entered the temple palace to cook food and feed the two Lords. They gave her much insultation, calling bad names to Her father and drove out, after disornamenting Her, with caution not to keep steps in temple premises in future.
The bride Mahalaxmi, even after being so much tortured, begged apology to the Lords, but they turned a deaf ear to Her prayer and closed the temple door mercilessly. She cursed them to suffer for this injustice and inhuman behaviour by not getting food to eat till They repent for their misdeeds and request Her to serve the food for Them.
Mahalaxmi ordered the 'Betals' to take away all the belongings of Srimandir, including food stocks, grains, jewels, clothes, and a golden cot in the dead of the night, when the Lords would be sleeping, and dry the water source completely so as to make non-availabile a drop of water in the morning.
The Betals worked strictly according to the orders of their Mistress, and the two Lords Jagannath and Balabhadra became street beggars, begging alms from door to door. But They were mercilessly driven out by all the citizens taking them to be thieves, Their robust health and appearance having no resemblance with beggars. They adopted all possible means of begging but were not successful in getting alms continuously for twelve years, and suffered from starvation. At last they reached the door of an aristocratic house on the seashore in the guise of Brahmins and begged for food to eat, and this was actually the house of Goddess Mahalaxmi, built by Viswakarma in the boundary of Varun's kingdom.
Mahalaxmi, being aware of all the facts, asked the two Lords through her maids, who were 'Chandal' by caste, the most untouchable persons of the society, how the two brothers, being Brahmin by caste, would take meals in their house. The two brothers decided to cook foods themselves if all the commodities like rice, vegetables, firewood and utensils would be supplied to them by the Mistress of the house, and accordingly they made their request. Orissa Review * December - 2007
Goddess Mahalaxmi arranged a supply of everything for them that they needed, and at the same time prayed to the Wind God to blow violently so that the wood would not burn to heat the water and turn black, creating heavy smoke and troubling the two brothers by causing a flow of tears from the eyes. They tried one after the other to keep the fire burning, but failed to achieve success. The elder brother, out of rage, took a piece of wood in his hand and giving a strong blow to the earthen pot, broke it down into pieces.
Now the two God brothers, finding no other alternative to save their lives, requested the maids to tell their Mistress that they were prepared to take meals in the house, even if they were chandal. The heart of the Goddess was immediately melted with those surrendering words and out of joy, she cooked many things instantly for the Gods and had them served through the maids.
From the mode of preparation of different delicious foods and from the style of serving the same, the two brothers recognised well the Mistress of the house to be none other than the Goddess Mahalaxmi. They begged an excuse for their faults with repentance and took Her on a procession to the Grand Temple, accepting all the terms and conditions brought by the Goddess against untouchability, inhumanity, high-handedness, casteism and many other points. From that day forward, the people of all castes and creeds, from Brahmin to Chandal, began taking of foods cooked in Srimandir together, without the slightest hesitation. The Mahalaxmi Puja has continued to be performed in each house in the month of Margashira, every year.