As Diwali approaches, everyone prepares to worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. But in India, our concept of wealth has always meant much more than money. The Ashtalakshmi* pointed to wealth in many other tangible and intangible forms: “Wealth” in the context of Ashta-Lakshmi means prosperity, good health, knowledge, strength, progeny, and power. The Ashta Lakshmi are always depicted and worshipped in a group in temples.
Adi Lakshmi the Primeval Lakshmi or Maha Lakshmi an ancient form of Lakshmi as daughter of sage Bhrigu.
Dhana Lakshmi for money and gold
Dhanya Lakshmi as Goddess of grain” Giver of agricultural wealth.
Gaja Lakshmi giver of animal wealth like cattle and elephants. Swami Chidananda interprets Gaja Lakshmi as giver of power of royalty. According to Hindu mythology, Gaja Lakshmi brought back the wealth lost by Indra (king of demi-gods) from the ocean.
Santana Lakshmi bestower of offspring.
Veera Lakshmi or Dhairya Lakshmi bestower of valour in battles and courage and strength for overcoming difficulties in life.
Vijaya Lakshmi or Jaya Lakshmi giver of victory, not only in battles but also over conquering hurdles in order to beget success.
Vidya Lakshmi the bestower of knowledge of arts and sciences
So real wealth embraces much more than your bank account. On a macro level economic growth is an increase in the value of goods and services that a country produces and sells, compared to the previous year. This does not really define the wealth of a country or even a business. Imagine a man selling all the machines in his factory and saying that he made a profit. Often, economic growth is measured in this way, ignoring the loss of natural, social and cultural capital.
To measure how a country is doing you have to ask what is growing not just how much it is growing. The more trees we cut down, the more the economy will grow, because GDP counts only what we extract. It does not measure the impact of the destroyed forest. The more minerals we extract from the earth, the more the economy will grow, because we are not measuring the impact of the devastation, we wreck on the earth.
The more trees we cut down, the more the economy will grow, because GDP counts only what we extract. It does not measure the impact of the destroyed forest. The more minerals we extract from the earth, more the economy will grow, because we are not measuring the impact of the devastation, we wreck on the earth. Devastation that will impact unborn generations, when the water from our rivers are too polluted to drink, plastic bottles of water grow the economy…….
Even then, the wealth earned out of the misery of others, is still not distributed, but kept safely in the hands of a few. “Sometimes there is economic development by creating goods of higher value……..Like hand bags created in Vaniyambadi in Tamil Nadu and sold on the catwalks of Paris. Or textiles woven in the unsanitary bylanes of Benares and sold in New York at many times the price,” “It would be good if some of this money went to those weaving, or working in leather or embroidering. It does not”.
We need to ponder on the unforgivable deaths of hundreds of millions of lives through war, civil strife, acts of terrorism, starvation and malnutrition, each of basic health care services and other man made calamities. Bhutan has borne the brunt of flash floods, landslides, windstorms, fires and earth quakes.” “South Asia is home to 41% of the world’s poor people.” Says PM of Bhutan, Honourable Jigme Y Thinley”
Economic growth and happiness are not synonymous. Our greed for money and a greed for power is destroying the very essence of the human being. This wanton greed is responsible for the destruction of the Mother earth’s eco system which sustains the very life on this planet.
So this Diwali, focus on real wealth and enhance the well being of your family and your community. Bring Lakshmi home!