Women are not often seen as Enlightened beings. Instead they are often relegated to supporting roles or are created perfect from the start so they can be arm candy for a hard-working god. Lakshmi, a Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity, is no one’s arm candy. She does not start with a perfect life, but as someone confronted by choices between good and evil. In the stories she chooses good, even if it is the harder path, then must work to realize her choice. Her courageous choices demonstrate the value of her work and the power she develops for herself.

Lakshmi is sometimes called Sri. Where some Goddesses are attached to Gods as just romantic servants, Lakshmi is instead prayed to directly by those seeking strength. The name Sri has now become a title or honorific to denote greatness. Worshipers ask for her strength and always honor her with gratitude for the gift. While she is later romantically linked to Vishnu, she first becomes powerful and stands on her own.

Some may believe that women are less able than men to achieve freedom, but nothing can be further from the truth. Women are no more or less able to attain, but they are more likely to lend their strength to others before using it for their own work. Lakshmi is an example for women (and men if they are so inclined) that contradicts this impulse. She owned her power, found freedom, and then supported others. She is not seen as selfish for this; she is Sri, a great being.


Image created by Suweidario

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