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Avatars of Lakshmi Home -› Hindu Trinity -› The Preserver -› Lakshmi -› Incarnations
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Although much is not said about the various incarnations of Lakshmi, the mythology brings into light the various legends where Lakshmi has been born in various names. More than avatars or incarnations these are mere instances when Lakshmi took various forms in order to fulfill the wishes of the one's who worshipped her.

A long time ago there was a king by name Rathadhwaja. In his family, worship of Lakshmi had a long tradition. The king gave up the worship of Lakshmi due to indifference. Consequently he lost the grace of Lakshmi. The enemies invaded with an army. Rathadhwaja was defeated in war and lost the kingdom.

Rathashwaja had two sons Kushadhwaja and Dharmadhwaja. They felt sorry for their father's mistake. They observed rigorous penance, meditating for Lakshmi. When she appeared they prayed, "Bless us so that we get back our kingdom. Grant us a favor by being born as our daughter." Lakshmi granted the boons. They bravely fought, won the kingdom again and were living happily.

Malavati was the name of Kushadhwaja's wife. Goddess Lakshmi, in fulfillment of the boon granted by her, entered the womb of Malavati in subtle form and was born as a daughter. It is said that even at the time of birth she was reciting Vedic verses clearly. Therefore, the parents named her 'Vedavati'. Kushadhwaja looked after her and brought her up with great affection. Vedavati grew up to be a beautiful, virtuous girl. She came of age. Both gods and demons came forward to wed her. She did not accept anybody. She went away to Pushkara, a place of pilgrimage and undertook a rigorous penance praying for Vishnu's becoming her husband. The penance dragged on for a long time. One day a voice from heaven was heard: "Vedavati, you have to be born again. In your next birth, Vishnu will also be born and he will become your husband." Even then, Vedavati continued her penance without losing heart.

Ravana was in aerial chariot, PUSPAK, and in course of travel came there. Thinking that a guest had come to the hermitage, Vedavati was hospitable to him. Then Ravana asked her about her life. Vedavati said: "I am the daughter of king Kushadhwaja. My name is Vedavati. I have undertaken a penance with a view to getting Sriman Narayana himself to become my husband." On hearing this Ravana laughed derisively and said: "You, beautiful woman, should you, a young woman, observe penance? You talk about Narayana! Who is he? Has he as much wealth as I have? Is he strong? I am Ravana, king of Lanka. Marry me and be happy." Replied Vadavati, "Ravana, don't talk so. Narayana means the king of the universe, Vishnu. Should you abuse him? A big fool you are." Realizing that she was not amenable to persuasion, Ravana caught her head and dragged her by hair. Enraged Vedavati immediately sheared her hair with her hand. Due to the influence of penance her hand itself cut her hair like a sword. She turned to Ravana and said, "You scoundrel, are you compelling me? By your touch my body became tainted. Be looking on, now itself I will give up my body. I will take birth as the daughter of another righteous person and will myself be the cause for your death." Immediately she jumped into a burning fire in the hermitage and gave up her life. Ravana returned to Lanka grief stricken.

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