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Shiva’s Home vs Kubera’s Kitchen


One day, Kubera paid a visit to Kailasa, the abode of Shiva, the hermit-god, where he met Shiva’s elephant-headed son, the corpulent Ganesha,the god of wisdom.

Kubera thought to himself, “Ganesha clearly loves food and Shiva can clearly not afford to feed him to his heart’s content.”

So as a favor to Shiva, Kubera offered to feed Ganesha one meal.

When Ganesha accepted the invitation and entered Kubera’s kitchen, Kubera said, “Eat to your heart’s content.”

Kubera soon regretted his words.

Ganesha’s appetite was insatiable. He ate everything that was in the kitchen and still asked for more. Food had to be bought from the larder and then from the market. But Ganesha was still hungry. “More please,” he said raising his trunk. Read more of this post

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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:

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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

Self Sufficiency


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The Fluid Nature Of Wealth


wealthymattersChanchala, 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

Lakshmi, Saraswati And Wealth


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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

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