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Diwali Thoughts


 

Happy Diwali !

Here are some profound thoughts on commerce and wealth drawn from mythology to reflect on this Diwali.

I’ll be sure to follow-up with an English synopsis ASAP.My apologies to all readers who don’t speak Hindi.

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The Pallava’s Lakshmi


Lakshmi, her imagery and the way we tell stories about her are  India’s way of communicating ideas about wealth, good fortune and prosperity.

Now close your eyes and try to bring up the topmost mental image you have of Lakshmi. In these days of internet conveyed pop-culture, its probably something like this:

wealthymatters

Perhaps your Lakshmi wears a green sari, that’s more common in some regions. Perhaps pink as the Chinese today make fibre images that way to match the pink lotus! Read more of this post

Lakshmi, Saraswati And Wealth


wealthymatters

The common belief is that Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) and Saraswati (goddess of knowledge) always fight and avoid staying in the same place. This is based on the observation that rich businessmen tend to be uneducated and educated people tend to be poor. This is also based on the assumption that Saraswati is the goddess of education, learning and training. This understanding of Saraswati is rather pedestrian, and lacks insight. Read more of this post

Lakshmi And The Owl


wealthymattersIn Orissa and Bengal, Lakshmi images include a white owl. In local belief, white owls have come to be associated with auspiciousness and good luck because of their association with the goddess. Who is this owl? Scriptures do not clarify.

Some say, Lakshmi rides the owl; others believe the owl simply accompanies her, while she rides on a elephant, the latter being a more appropriate vehicle for the goddess who is associated with wealth, power, and royal splendour.

Owls are solitary creatures, who sleep all day and prowl at night. Because of their nocturnal activity and screeching call, they have been associated with bad luck and death, leading to the conclusion that she is Alakshmi, Lakshmi’s elder twin, the goddess of strife and misfortune. But because of its round eyes that never move and stare straight ahead, the owl has been associated with wisdom . The term “lord with circular eyes” (Choka-dola) is used to refer to Jagannath, the form of Krishna-Vishnu worshipped in Puri, Orissa, leading to speculation that the owl actually represents Lakshmi’s consort, Vishnu. Favoring this line of thought, is the fact that in Hindu mythology, the vahana or vehicle of a deity is always male, not female. But the idea that Lakshmi would ride her own husband, though acceptable to feminists, is abhorrent to traditionalists. They insist that the owl accompanies the goddess; she does not ride it. If she does not ride the owl, then it could be  either Vishnu, or Alakshmi. Read more of this post

Ancient Indian Seers On Wealth


wealthymattersDecoding Lakshmi-Devdutt Pattanaik

A bowl of rice will provide equal satisfaction to a rich man and a poor man, to a saint and a sinner. A bowl of rice does not judge the person who consumes it. The same applies to a piece of cloth. A piece of cloth will provide comfort to whosoever drapes it, man or woman, irrespective of caste, creed or religion. And a house will provide the same quality of shelter to all, without any discrimination. We may judge a bowl of rice, a piece of cloth or a house, but the rice, the cloth and the house will never judge us. For rice, cloth and house are forms of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.

It annoys us to find Lakshmi with people we don’t like, people who we deem to be criminals and sinners. We believe that Lakshmi should abandon amoral and perverse people. But there she is, with them, and we find it exasperating, irritating and so unfair. In mythology, all villains seem to be rich. Ravan lived in the city of gold and Duryodhan lived like a king till the day he died. Contrast this with Ram who had to live, for no fault of his, in the forest for fourteen years and the Pandavas who were born in the forest and had to live in the forest, in abject poverty, for most of their lives. Why is it so? Does Lakshmi like bad people? Or is she just indifferent to the notions of ethics and morals and propriety and virtue that matter so much to us? Read more of this post

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