WHY? Why is Lakshmi and Ganesha Worshiped Together on Diwali?
I am starting a “WHY?” blog series to help educate all of us on some of the practices and celebrations of India, Hinduism and the traditions of Yoga. As I delve deeper into things I find of interest to support my own practice and what I teach to my students, I find it is always helpful to share it with others.
I am launching the “WHY” series during this celebratory time of Diwali. On the day of Diwali, it is a custom to worship Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha together. It is well-known that Goddess Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth, fortune, luxury and prosperity (both material and spiritual) while Lord Ganesha is revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the ‘Deva’ of intellect and wisdom. People worship these two deities together to welcome wealth along with intelligence. Since no celebration is deemed complete without invoking Lord Ganesha, Diwali is no exception either. Ganesha is considered as the remover of all obstacles. Hence, He is worshipped first to get rid of all the obstacles that hinder our growth. Along with that, worshipping the forms of Goddess Mahalakshmi is the most crucial part of Diwali. It is said that on the night of Diwali, Goddess Lakshmi visits each house and blesses everyone with great wealth. But the question remains as to why Lakshmi and Ganesha are worshipped together and there is an interesting story behind the worship of Lakshmi and Ganesha on Diwali.
According to the scriptures, once Goddess Lakshmi grew very arrogant about Her wealth and powers. While having a conversation with Her husband, Lord Vishnu, She kept praising Herself, claiming that She is the only one worthy of worship. She is the one who bestows everyone with money and wealth. On hearing the non-stop self praise, Lord Vishnu decided to get rid of Her arrogance. Very calmly, Lord Vishnu said that in spite of having all the qualities, a woman remains incomplete if she does not bear children. Motherhood is the ultimate joy that a woman can experience and since Lakshmi did not have children, She could not be deemed complete. On hearing this Goddess Lakshmi was extremely disappointed. With a heavy heart, Goddess Lakshmi went to Goddess Parvati to seek help. Since Parvati had two sons, She requested the Goddess to let Her adopt one of Her sons to experience the joy of motherhood. Parvati was reluctant to let Lakshmi adopt Her son because it was known that Lakshmi does not stay in one place for long. So, she would not be able to take care of Her son. But Lakshmi assured Her that She would take care of Her son in every possible way and bestow Him with all the happiness. Understanding Lakshmi’s pain, Goddess Parvati let Her adopt Ganesha as Her son. Goddess Lakshmi became extremely elated and said that She will bestow Ganesha with all Her accomplishments and prosperity. Those worshipping Lakshmi for wealth would first have to worship Ganesha to seek Her blessings. Those who will worship Lakshmi without Ganesha will not be blessed by the Goddess. Hence, Lakshmi is always worshipped along with Ganesha on Diwali. Gaining wealth without intellect will only result in misusing the wealth. So, one must first acquire the intelligence to spend the wealth in the right manner. Therefore, Lakshmi and Ganesha are worshipped together.
Namaste – Linda Prosché C-IAYT, E-RYT500 www.lindaproscheyoga.com
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