• Aishwarya Lakshmi, one who gives Prosperity and Riches (aishwarya).
• Saubhagya Lakshmi, one who bestows good fortune (saubhagya) and overall prosperity.
• Rajya Lakshmi, one who blesses a native with secular power and a territory which they ‘rule’ over. This could be literal or figurative area (rajya) in which one enjoys absolute power and precedence.
• Vara Lakshmi, one who blesses and bestows boons (vara).
Laxmi is the consort to Lord Vishnu who is the sustaining force in this Universe and Laxmi (wealth and affluence) allows enablement of sustainment.
The name Laxmi comes from the sanskrit root word ‘lak’ which is indicative of knowing one’s goal or objective. She is typically shown with four hands which signify the four main goals of having a human birth- viz- dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (desires) and moksha (enlightenment- freedom from this cycle of birth and death).
Laxmi is usually shown carrying a lotus in one or two hands. Lotus symbolizes knowledge, self-realization and moksha (liberation). It indicates that though her presence is sought after for sustaining oneself in this world, her true blessing is to provide us self-realization and enlightenment. She does that with the help of her elder sister Alaxmi, who symbolizes poverty and lack of affluence.
Laxmi uses an Owl, a very intelligent bird that sees only at night time as her vehicle. It signifies that Laxmi is the fruit (the result) that we receive from all our karma (actions) that we perform during the day. This is also the reason that Laxmi is believed to visit our homes in the evenings and night.
Owl is blind during day time. It is a reminder for us to not be ‘blinded’ by our wealth, knowledge and affluence. It is believed that the owl which is always pictured with Ma Laxmi is her elder sister Alaxmi and that they both work in close dynamics!
Lakshmi is sometimes shown with one or two elephants, sometimes spraying water or showering flowers. Elephants symbolize work, activity and strength. When they are showering water or flowers, it is to indicate rain, fertility and abundant prosperity.
Also, Lakshmi typically wears a red or green sari (Indian dress) embroidered with golden threads which symbolizes beauty and wealth. Laxmi is many a times shown standing to indicate that her presence in one’s life is very transitory.
Her face and hand gestures indicate compassion, giving and charity. She is shown carrying either a pot of gold coins or pouring out gold coins, indicating the wealth her presence brings in our life.
In today’s materialistic societies, we typically think of Ma Laxmi mainly as the giver of money and riches. It would be helpful to realize that true fortune is not just money but a combination of various aspects of Ashta Laxmi.