Lakshmi: mother archetype as fruitfulness

Lakshmi by Raja Ravi Varma, painted between 1848 and 1906. US Public Domain via wikimedia.
Lakshmi by Raja Ravi Varma, painted between 1848 and 1906. US Public Domain via wikimedia.

Carl Jung associates the mother archetype with “fertility and fruitfulness” [1]. In the painting above, we see the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi offers a wonderful image of the fertility and fruitfulness of the mother. The Rig Veda says that “auspicious fortune is attached” to the name Lakshmi. The Sanskrit word Lakshmi comes from the words lakṣ and lakṣa, meaning “to perceive, observe, know, understand” and “goal, aim, objective” [2]

In the image above, Lakshmi is shown with four hands representing the four goals or aims of human life: dharma, kāma, artha, and moksha [1]. Lakshmi is said to be the power and strength of Vishnu. She manifests through the gunas: sattva (truth, reality), rajas (passion, action), and tamas (darkness, illusion).

What follows is the Vande Mataram, a Sanskrit poem written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1882) which speaks to the fruitfulness of the mother”

I bow to thee, Mother,
richly-watered, richly-fruited,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
The Mother!

Her nights rejoicing in the glory of the moonlight,
her lands clothed beautifully with her trees in flowering bloom,
sweet of laughter, sweet of speech,
The Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss!

Terrible with the clamorous shouts of seventy million throats,
and the sharpness of swords raised in twice seventy million hands,
who sayeth to thee, Mother, that thou are weak?
Holder of multitudinous strength,
I bow to her who saves,
to her who drives from her the armies of her foes,
The Mother!

Thou art knowledge, thou art conduct,
thou art heart, thou art soul,
for thou art the life in our body.
In the arm, thou art might, O Mother,
in the heart, O Mother, thou art love and faith,
it is thy image we raise in every temple.

For thou art Durga holding her ten weapons of war,
Kamala (Lakshmi) at play in the lotuses
And speech, the goddess, giver of all lore,
to thee I bow!
I bow to thee, goddess of wealth
pure and peerless,
richly-watered, richly-fruited,
The Mother!

I bow to thee, Mother,
dark-hued, candid,
sweetly smiling, jeweled and adorned,
the holder of wealth, the lady of plenty,
The Mother!

Reference:

  1. The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1)
  2. The Esoteric Codex: Deities of Knowledge by Burham, Page 133
  3. Sri Suktam from the cincinnatitemple.com

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