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Posts Tagged ‘Laxmi’

More Prayer’s For The Day, BBC Radio 4, Broadcast over a week in October 2009. It is a nice slot and an opportunity for me to meditate on life and on connecting it with Krishna, as well as practising writing.

Today is the festival of Diwali, an Indian religious festival that has become famous in this country as the Hindu festival, although it is a special day for other traditions as well.

Originally, it is said, this festival was a vaishya festival, a religious celebration for the merchant, banking, and farming communities. Thus the emphasis on the worship of Laxmi,  the Goddess of Wealth, and the end of the accounting year for so many businesses.  The generosity of the vaishya community is also shown at this time by generous gifts of gold and jewellery, especially to the female members of the family.

But Diwali now has significance in many communities and cultures, not only in India, but around the world.  Last week, Diwali was magnificently celebrated in Trafalgar Square in London.  It has also been a traffic stopper in other parts of London, and in Leicester, and Birmingham.

Only a few years ago we had the first Diwali celebration in the House of Commons.  Now the main political parties are hosting their own vote-winning Diwali events – a few years being a long time in politics.

While I get invited to all of these events, I can still discern, in the mists of memory, a festival that drew family together as no other.  It was a time to spend at home, to think of God, to think of good, to give and receive gifts, and to massage family relationships.

As the Hindu community integrates more in Britain the nature of the Diwali Festival has changed.  It is bigger, bolder, and brighter, but I pray that as we celebrate we will remember to think of God, to commit to goodness in our lives, and to earn the respect of our family. Hare Krishna.

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Yesterday the five-day festival of Diwali began with the worship of Laxmi, the Goddess of Fortune, the custodian of wealth and prosperity – and in our present uncertain financial climate Laxmi may find many worshiping at her altar.

At this time many Hindus will ritually wash coins, symbolising their wealth, and offer it back to Laxmi, to purify their use of her boon, and to attract more. It is a commitment to become good custodians of our acquired wealth.

Any banker will tell you that money makes the world go around – but who listens to bankers anymore. Our gurus, the Beatles, have advised that money can’t buy us love – and still we want it, loads of money. We hope for it, pray for it, and work for it.

While promoting the worship of Laxmi, Hindu texts caution that wealth can degrade us. If we want it we can have it, but there is a price. When we get it, sages suggest, we become more susceptible to pride and greed. Our peace of mind evaporates as we now have more to worry about; and our ability to trust is compromised as we can’t tell who likes us and who just likes our money.

Importantly, Laxmi is unattached to wealth or prosperity of any kind, a fact which leads the capitalist in me to ask, “If, Laxmi, the Goddess of Fortune has no interest in money, what does she have that is more valuable”? Well, Laxmi is totally in love with the Main Man, the Supreme Lord Himself, Vishnu. She considers love of God to be the most valuable gift.

Dear Laxmi Devi, please help me achieve real prosperity by introducing me to the All Attractive Person, your Love. Your words of introduction will be more valuable than gold. Hare Krishna.

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