I attempt to discuss the glory of Mother Goddess Lakshmi also called Sri. In Srivaishnavism Lord Narayana and Sri together constitute the “Paratatva” or supreme reality.
Lord Narayana is also referred to as “Sriyahpathi” or Consort of Goddess Lakshmi or Sri. Taittiriya Samhita also refers to Lakshmi as “Ruler of the Universe” (Asyesana Jagato Vishnupatni).
The word Lakshmi, according to the author of Etymology Yaska mean the following:
1) She is secured by Lord Vishnu as his Consort – Labhat
2) She serves to identify Lord Vishnu – Laksanat
3) She is sought for by the souls for prosperity and wealth – Lapsyanat
4) She exhibits her identity mark by her presence on Narayana’s Chest – Lancanant
5) She brightens the universe by her lustre – Lasate
6) She is always associated with Lord Vishnu – Lagyate
7) She is always embarrassed that she has not done much for her devotees – Lajjate
In addition to the above seven Sayana adds two more qualities:
1) She possesses all auspicious qualities – Lakshanavati
2) She shows concern for all living beings – Laksyati
3) She is extremely beautiful and referred to as Padmini and has golden complexion – Hiranyavarnam Harinim.
4) Her eyes resemble lotus petals – Padmadalayatakshi.
5) She is also eternal – Nitya.
Vishnupurana refers to her as “You are the mother of the Universe and Hari, the lord of the celestials, is the Father – Tvam Mata Sarvalokanam deva devo harih pita.
Like Lord Narayana She has all the six qualities of Knowledge (Gyana), Strength (Bala), Lordship or Sovereignty (aisvarya), Virility (Vira), Potency (Sakti),
She is also addressed as Bhagavati. She rules the entire universe.
Srisukta says “Iswarim Sarva Bhutanam” Lord Narayana and Lakshmi are inseparable in all the five forms of Para, Vyuha, Vibhava, Antaryami & Archa, Lord Vishnu has.
Goddess Sri while maintaining equality with Lord Narayana has 3 additional roles to play, viz:
a) She intercedes on behalf of the souls before the Lord,
b) She is the direct means for liberation, &
c) She is also the goal of liberation.
Sriman Narayana is the loving consort to You;
Adisesha, the chief of serpents is Your bed, Garuda the chief of birds who has the Vedas as his body, is Your seat and vehicle; the primordial substance which deludes the world is your veil;
Brahma, & all the devas along with their consorts are Your multitudes of servants and your divine name is Shri:
You who are complete in auspicious qualities ; How will we, who are so ignorant, describe You, who has such greatness?