Invoking Lakshmi

The Goddess of Wealth in Song and Ceremony

By Constantina Rhodes

Subjects: Religion, Hindu Studies, India And South Asian Studies, Goddess, Asian Religion And Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438433202, 291 pages, July 2011
Hardcover : 9781438433219, 291 pages, October 2010

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Table of contents

Introduction: The Goddess Arrives in Delhi
What Does It Mean to Invoke a Goddess?
On the Format of This Book
Sources: Sanskrit Texts and Popular Worship Manuals
Part One: The Divine Personalities of Laksmī
1. The Awseome Power of Auspiciousness: Laksmī of the Vedic Traditions
The Primordial Lotus Goddess
The Goddess of Auspiciousness: Śrī's Essence, Laksmī's Form
Alaksmī the Inauspicious
2. Living the Good Life: Laksmī of the Purānic Traditions
The Burgeoning World of the Purānas
Laksmī and the Lords of the Three Realms: Indra, Visnu, and Bali
All Women are Embodiments of Laksmī
Laksmi, Embodiment of the "Four Wealths" (Caturārtha)
The Absence of Laksmī: Is Lady Luck a Fickle Goddess?
3. Living the Powerful Life: Laksmī of the Tantric Traditions
The World According to Tantra
Laksmī as Kundalinī
Laksmī, Śiva, and the "Ten Great Wisdom Goddesses" (Daśamahāvidyās)
The Grace-Bestowing Mother
Laksmī as Siddhi: Magical Attainment, Spiritual Power
Part Two: The Power of Poetry to Summon the Goddess
4. The Power of the Vedic Hymns: Generating Auspiciousness
Reciting the Hymns (Sūtkas)
Ritual Application of the Vedic Hymns
5. The Power of Purānic Songs: Drawing Down the Goddess
Reciting the Songs of Praise (Stotras)
The Propitious Glance of the Goddess
Fruits of the Recitations (Phala)
6. The Power of Tantric Songs: Waking Up the Goddess
Alchemy of the Goddess: The Magic of Transformation
Vibratory Essence: Engaging the Sound Forms of Laksmī
The Potency of a Woman's Recitations
Literary Genres of the Tantric Songs
Structure of Tantric Songs
Part Three: Ceremony
Introduction: Invoking Laksmī In Ceremony: Laksmī Pūjā
Creating Space to Receive the Goddess
The Ancient Art of Hospitality
Structure of the Ceremony
Laksmī Pūjā Text
Preparation and Purification
Heart of the Ceremony: Receiving the Goddess
Outline of the Laksmī Pūjā
Part Four: Song
Vedic Hymns to Laksmī
Hymn to Śri (Śrī Sūktam)
Hymn to Laksmī (Laksmī Sūtkam)
Purānic Songs of Laksmī
Song for Laksmī, Gracious Bestower of Blessings (Prasannavaradā Śrī Laksmī Stotram)
Song for the Glorious Lotus Goddess (Śrī Kamalā Stotram)
Lord Indra's Song for Laksmī (Devarāja Indrakrta Laksmī Stotram)
The Heavenly Gods' Praise Song for Laksmī (Śrī Daivakrta Laksmī Stotram)
Eight Verses Praising Mahālaksmī (Mahālaksmyastakam Stotram)
Tantric Songs to Laksmī
The Secret Heart of Laksmī (Śrī Mahālaksmī Hrdayam)
Praise-Song for the Bestower of Wealth (Dhanadā Stotram)
Song-Amulet of the Bestower of Wealth (Dhanadā Kavacam)
Praise-Song for the Lotus Goddess (Kamalā Stotram)
108 Names of the Glorious Lotus Goddess (Śrī Kamalā Astottaraśatanāma Stotram)
Song-Amulet of the Lotus Goddess (Kamalātmikā Kavacam)
Song for the Laksmī of Spiritual Power (Śrī Siddhalaksmī Stotram)
Song for the Glorious "Eyes of Indra" (Śrī Indrāksī Stotram)
Song-Formulary of the Glorious Mahālaksmī (Śrī Mahālaksmī Pañjara Stotram)
Secret Laksmī Incantation That Yields Immediate Results (Sadyah Phaladā Laksmīstava Hrdayam)
Epilogue: The Goddess Returns Home
Transliterated Sanskrit Texts
Laksmī Pūjā Text
Verdic Texts
Purānic Texts
Tantric Texts

A multi-faceted portrait of Lakshmi, Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. Includes translations of verses used to invoke this goddess.


Beautiful, beloved Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, happiness, and abundant good fortune. This fascinating book is the first comprehensive guide to this celebrated goddess, her worship, and the deeper spiritual domain of prosperity she reveals. Constantina Rhodes presents over five hundred elegantly translated Sanskrit verses, including devotional songs, mantras, visualizations, and ceremonial instructions that devotees use to invoke Lakshmi.

Rhodes uses these texts to develop a richly detailed portrait of Lakshmi, revealing unexpected dimensions of this enigmatic deity. Even as Lakshmi is best known as a goddess of wealth and well-being, she also maintains a strong esoteric presence, expressing herself as Siddhi, the magnificent Tantric goddess of spiritual power, and as Kundalini Shakti, the transformative cosmic force that exists within each individual. These identities express the "prosperity consciousness" that is the essential nature of the goddess and the divine source of all wealth. Invoking Lakshmi is not only a matter of calling upon the external form of the goddess but also of aligning one's consciousness with the very essence of prosperity

Constantina Rhodes teaches in the Program in Religion at the City University of New York's Hunter College. Her books include Shaiva Devotional Songs of Kashmir: A Translation and Study of Utpaladeva's Shivastotravali and Meditations on Shiva: The Shivastotravali of Utpaladeva, both also published by SUNY Press.


"Rhodes is a skilled scholar of ancient texts … She is also a fine writer and a person who has a very deep appreciation of Hindu spirituality herself. In this highly readable book on the goddess Lakshmi, Rhodes analyzes and integrates material from a wide range of traditional sources … Highly recommended. " — CHOICE