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Lakshmi and Virtue Home -› Hindu Trinity -› The Preserver -› Lakshmi -› Lakshmi and Virtue
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Lakshmi - goddess of virtue
It is said that goddess Lakshmi resides where there is virtue, righteousness and honesty. There are few legends, which brings this into light.

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.

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