It is said that goddess Lakshmi resides where there is virtue, righteousness
and honesty. There are few legends, which brings this into light.
|LAKSHMI - THE GODDESS
Prahalad and Lakshmi
Prahalad was a virtuous, righteous boy. Virtue means good character and good
behavior. With the help of virtue the three worlds fell into his hands. Indra
became sad, went to his teacher Brihaspati and narrated his difficulty. Said
Brihaspati, "Indra, Rajyalakshmi will reside in a place of virtue. You did
not maintain your virtue. Prahalad is a virtuous man. Therefore he secured heaven." "Then
tell me the nature of virtue," requested Indra. Brihaspati told him a few
precepts and asked him to go to Shukracharya if he wanted to know more.
Indra went to Shukracharya and requested him to explain virtue. Shukracharya
briefly described virtue and said, "Prahalad knows well the real nature
of virtue. He knows it and practices it. Please ask him." Indra disguised
himself as a Brahmin, went to Prahalad and requested him to expound the nature
of virtue. Accepting him as a teacher, he was rendering service to Prahalad.
After sometime, Prahalad was pleased and explained fully the nature of virtue.
Prahalad had full control over his body, conquered anger and maintained good
behavior. Indra was convinced that it was only due to virtue that Prahalad got
the kingdom of heaven. Indra then decided that he could not hope to get the kingdom
of heaven unless Prahalad was diverted from the path of virtue.
One day Prahalad, pleased about Indra's enthusiasm and devotion, said, "Dear
Brahmin, I admire your devotion. What do you want? Make a request and I will
grant it." Indra was waiting for such an opportunity and he said, "Will
you give whatever I ask for?" Said Prahalad, "Sure as anything, I will
give it. I have never uttered a lie." Then Indra sought a boon, "Maharaja,
make me a gift of your virtue." Bound by his promise, Prahalad said, "All
right. I hereby gift to you my virtue."
What is meant by saying that Prahalad made a gift of virtue is - Teacher Prahalad
blessing Indra always to be virtuous, and Prahalad agreeing not to be always
bound by righteousness and further that he is prepared to tread the unrighteous
way if necessity arises; on the whole, losing his firm resolve regarding virtue.
Indra gladly walked away. On the other side Prahalad was sorry and afraid. "For
a long time I have led a virtuous and righteous life. I have now been unfaithful
to it," he grieved. Suddenly, super-brilliance came out of his body and
formed a separate body. Asked Prahalad: "Who are you?" In answer the
man of the super-brilliance said, "I am the god of virtue. You forsook me.
You have given me as a gift to that Brahmin. In future I will stay with that
Brahmin," and vanished. Likewise, righteousness and truth appeared in the
form of a man and left him.
Then a heap of brilliance appeared to flow out of Prahalad's body. A goddess
was seen in front of him. When Prahalad asked, "Who are you?" That
goddess said: "Prahalad, I am Lakshmi. I am to be found where there are
virtue, righteousness and truth." Then Prahalad asked: "Goddess, you
are Lakshmi the goddess of the world. Why do you want to go away from me? Who
was that Brahmin who was serving me?" Then Lakshmi informed him that Indra
himself had come in the guise of a Brahmin, and walked away.
Within a few days, Indra was against Prahalad in a war. Prahalad looted the kingdom
of heaven. By the grace of Lakshmi, Indra again became the king of heaven.