||Aum Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
||Aum Namo Narayanaya||
In the pursuit of happiness and prosperity there are certain prayers that shall and will not be missed in a Hindu home. The very thought of these prayers rings in a sense of auspiciousness and a feel-good energy starts to permeate the household. Mothers awake before the crack of dawn and after taking their bath, adorn their saris and set about earnestly in preparation of the prasad and items for the pooja. Whilst the items are on the stove, the veranda is swept and washed with water mixed with turmeric in preparation for the kolam or rangoli. A veil of penetrating light sneaks its way underneath the heavy darkness, toppling it off its feet, freeing day from its colossal cover.
By 6:30am the prasad has been layed before a garlanded image of Mother Luxmi, the smoke and fragrance of the loban signals the entire family to present themselves before the image of the divine mother to receive Her gracious and bountiful blessings in their lives.
Mother Luxmi is the Shakti or consort of Maha Vishnu and is propitiated as the goddess of wealth. A puranic story explains Her origin from the churning ocean. When the asuras and devas were trying to attain the nectar of immortality from the milky ocean, many things emerged from the ocean -some deadly, like the halala poison. However emerging from this process was also the most beautiful and radiant Mother Luxmi who was the embodiment of all wealth.
I recall many years ago, an elderly devotee of a Temple I visited asked how we can associate with Gods (referring to Rama and Krishna as it was Gita Week) when they are always born in rich families and Kingdoms, adorned with the best jewellery and clothing even in Temples, yet we find people around Temples with tattered clothes and begging for food. Many around the periphery of the conversation seemed to resonate with his thoughts and showed approval of his argument by slight movements of their heads.
If only this devotee understood that in the heart of Maha Vishnu resides Maha Luxmi, and that they are inseparable. If Mother is the embodiment of all wealth, prosperity and auspiciousness… can the Lord be anything but radiant, splendid and gloriously adorned? If we all read the story of Balaji of Tirupathi, we find that when Mother had left him and came to earth after She was insulted by the feet of Sage Bhrigu who kicked Maha Vishnu in the chest - the abode of Maha Luxmi… his life was thrown in darkness and he was wandering the earth aimlessly unkempt, untidy and undernourished searching for Her. After they reunited and married, She took her rightful place in his heart and he became the Murthi at Thirupathi which rightfully today is the richest Temple in the world.
On Saturday, I was part of a mobilization campaign by a community based organisation called TADF who organised a motorcade through the different communities in Tongaat targeting drug dealers and peddlers. I found that these opportunists nestled themselves amongst the destitute and poor; within untidy, unkempt buildings devoid of flowing natural light. I recall once Sri Ramakrishna was leaving a devotees home and while coming down the stairs Master noticed that there was no light on the ground floor. He said to the devotees: “These places should be well lit. A house without light becomes stricken with poverty. Please see that it doesn’t happen again.”
These words of the Master are endowed with deep meaning. A person who begs is not necessarily poor. There is a wide and an unconnectable gulf between a beggar and renounced Sage. Both have nothing but the clothes on their backs, both beg for their food, and the nearest shelter near nightfall becomes their home for the night. But if one looks at the countenance of a Sage, it is full of aishwarya - shining with the brilliance of Maha Luxmi… while the beggar is full of darkness, hollow and doused with suffering.
As Master said where there is no light there is poverty. Every human being is blessed with this body which is the only perfect instrument to radiate and display the true divinity that everyone is. Like the ocean that was churned, there are lots of bad as well as good qualities within us. With deep faith in God, we must all churn our hearts and offer all the negative and bad qualities to God, like how the halala poison was consumed by Lord Shiva for the benefit of the world. Whilst churning, the divinity will arise like Mother Luxmi… enthrone her in your heart like Maha Vishnu. Wherever She is enshrined, the heart and the being is lit and aishwarya (prosperity) inundates the person… and wherever he/she goes, become auspicious. Therefore everyone must pray toGod, everyone must have faith in God and everyone must surrender to God. There is no other way. When the heart and mind is filled with devotion for God, that being becomes the magnet for auspiciousness and prosperity.
Therefore doing seva only without helping people connect with God, is like filling a lamp with oil and placing a wick but not lighting it.
Swami Vimokshananda’s blog this week on this very topic was reminiscing His childhood days when He used to perform Luxmi Pooja with His family. He recalls how He was asked by His mother to ask any boon of the Mother, as during this period Mother is very gracious. Maharaj ends His blog by saying: “I asked ’nothing’ at every step that I take, at every turn that I pass, at every situation that I am placed, I can patently feel the presence of Her benign grace because, I am certain, I asked nothing; everything She provides!”
We see even in the lives of Swami Vivekananda, Master and other great Saints and Sages who have the capacity to command wealth and other luxuries from God and Nature, yet ask for pure and divine love for the feet of God. Because in their enlightened minds they understand and realise that when the Lord resides in your heart, you have no fear as all your needs are taken care off.
May we clean our hearts and enshrine Mother Aishwarya Luxmi in it so that all our needs are taken care of, is my sincere prayer.
With love and prayers always