Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity. Wealth plays an important role in the preservation of life upon earth. And she provides all beings with both material and spiritual abundance. For Hindu families, she symbolizes good luck, and is worshiped daily within their homes. The word Lakshmi is derived from the Sanskrit word Laksya, meaning “aim” or “goal.” They say she was born from the primordial ocean. Lakshmi is the wife of the god, Vishnu, one of the primary deities. In ancient Indian scriptures, all women are said to be incarnations of Lakshmi. The marriage between her and Vishnu is the paradigm for rituals and ceremonies for the bride and groom in Hindu weddings. Lakshmi is also part of the holy trinity of goddesses, Tridevi, with Parvati and Saraswati.
Lakshmi is depicted wearing a red dress, and either seated or standing on a lotus. She has four arms in which she holds lotus buds and cascading gold coins. Her four hands represent the four ends of human life: dharma or righteousness, kama or desires, artha or wealth, and moksha or liberation from the cycle of birth and death. The lotus stands for beauty, purity, and fertility. The cascades of gold coins suggest that those who worship her will gain wealth. Her embroidered red clothing symbolizes activity, and the golden lining indicates prosperity. Two elephants are often shown next to the goddess and spraying water. They represent how consistent efforts based in wisdom and purity will lead to material and spiritual prosperity.