January 12, 2017 1 Comment
Chanchala, the restless and whimsical one, who does not like to stay in one place, is one of the names of Lakshmi . She loves to move around and so people are advised not to keep images of her in the house where she is shown standing; she may feel unwelcome and she may leave. So in traditional images she is always shown seated comfortably on a lotus.
The whole point of this rather visual characterization is to inform people that wealth loves to move. The value of wealth emerges only when it exchanges hands. Lakshmi’s symbol is her foot print and it is always drawn pointing into the house. The idea being to align the restless and mobile nature of the goddess with our own desire to see fortune favor us.
Realizing the criticality of Lakshmi’s movement, rituals were created to encourage the flow of wealth in society. Typically, on festival days people were advised to wear new clothes. New clothes meant income for the weaver which in turn meant income for dyers, spinners and farmers who grew the cotton and silk. People were also encouraged to break old pots and buy new pots in festival time thereby boosting the income of potters and the economy. In festivals like Dhanteras, people are encouraged to buy metal, especially iron and gold which in turn helped metal smiths and miners.Another important ritual was the exchange of gifts, especially food items, either prepared at home or bought from the sweet shop and shared with friends and neighbors. During festival time, the arts were encouraged thereby providing livelihood to artists. Musicians, dancers, singers, street performers were invited by landlords to entertain the village. Read more of this post