Lakshmi in Sanskrit is derived from its elemental form lakS, meaning "to perceive or observe".This is synonymous with lakṣya, meaning "aim" or "objective". The Hindu Sacred Texts Vedas call Mahalakshmi as Lakshyayidhi Lakshmihi which means she is the one who has the object and aim of uplifting mankind.
Goddess Mahalakshmi is called as Shri or Thirumagal(திருமகள்) because she is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities or Gunas and also because she is the source of strength even to Lord Narayana. She is the consort of Vishnu and married Rama (in her incarnation as Sita) and Krishna (as Radha and later Rukmini).
In Durga Puja in Bengal, Lakshmi is considered to be a daughter of Durga along with her sister Saraswati and her brothers Ganesha and Karthikeya.
Explanation of Mahalakshmi
Mahalakshmi is the presiding Goddess of the Middle episode of Devi Mahatmya. Here, she is depicted as Devi in her universal form as Shakti. The manifestation of the Devi to kill Mahishasura is formed by the effulgences of all the gods. The Goddess is described as eighteen-armed, bearing a string of beads, battle axe, mace, arrow, thunderbolt, lotus, bow, water pot, cudgel, lance, sword, shield, conch, bell, wine cup, trident, noose and the discus sudarsana. She has a complexion of coral and is seated on a lotus. She is known as Ashta Dasa Bhuja Mahalakshmi.
She is seen in two forms, Bhudevi and Sridevi, both either side of Sri Venkateshwara or Vishnu. Bhudevi is the representation and totality of the material world or energy, called the aparam Prakriti, in which She is called Mother Earth. Sridevi is the spiritual world or energy, called the Param Prakriti. Most people are mistaken that they are separate beings although they are one, Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the power of Lord Vishnu.
Mahalakshmi's presence is also found on Lord Sri Venkateswara (at Tirumala) or Vishnu's chest, at the heart. Lakshmi is the embodiment of love, from which devotion to God or Bhakti flows from. It is through Love/Bhakti or Lakshmi that the atma or soul is able to reach God or Vishnu. Lakshmi plays a special role as the mediator between her husband Lord Vishnu and his worldly devotees. While Vishnu is often conceived of as a stern, easily perturbed patriarch, Lakshmi represents a more soothing, warm and approachable mother figure who willingly intervenes in the lives of devotees on his behalf. Often, it is Lakshmi who acts as the advocate for the request of a given mortal. When asking Vishnu for grace or the forgiveness of sins, Hindus often approach him through the intermediary presence of Lakshmi. She is also the personification of the spiritual energy within us and the universe, called Kundalini. Also, she embodies the spiritual world, also known as Vaikunta, the abode of Lakshmi-Narayana or Vishnu, or what would be considered Heaven in Vaishnavism. She is also the divine qualities of God and the soul. Lakshmi is the embodiment of God's superior spiritual feminine energy, or the Param Prakriti, which purifies, empowers and uplifts the individual. Hence, she is called the Goddess of Fortune. Due to her motherly feelings and being the consort of Narayan (Supreme Being), she is believed as the Mother of the Universe.
There are innumerable Slokas in praise of Goddess Mahalakshmi. Some of the most famous prayers for worshipping Goddess Mahalakshmi are: Sri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam, Sri Lakshmi Sahasaranama Sthothra by Sanathkumara, Sri Stuti By Sri Vedantha Desikar, Sri Lakshmi Stuti By Indra, Sri Kanakadhara Sthothra by Sri Aadhi Shankaracharya, Sri Chatussloki by Sri Yamunacharya, Sri Lakshmi Sloka by Bhagavan Sri Hari Swamiji and Sri Sukta which is contained in the Vedas. The famous Lakshmi Gayathri Sloka " Om Mahalakshmichae Vidmahe sri Vishnupathinichae Dhi-Mahi Thanno Lakshmi Prachodayat" is a powerful prayer contained in the Vedic Sri Sukta, which when chanted everyday 108 times is known to grace the chanter with immediate grace of the Goddess within 90 days.
There is another famous prayer pronounced by the great sage Agastya: Agastya Lakshmi Stotra. Although Mother Lakshmi is worshipped as the goddess of fortune, when she is worshipped with Narayana, the worshipper is blessed with not only wealth but also peace and prosperity. They can be worshipped in various forms, such as Lakshmi Narayana, Lakshmi Narasimha, Sita Rama, Radha Krishna, or Vithal Rukmini. Another, lesser known, form of Lakshmi is worshiped in Karnataka as Hattilakamma, which is a furious form of Lakshmi and also two sisters Doddamma and Chikamma which are a form of Durga. Here people offer blood to these goddesses, and smear the same on wall with hands. Its believed that by doing so all the desires are fulfilled within three days.
oṃ śrīṃ hrīṃ klīṃ tribhuvana mahālakṣmyai asmākam dāridrya nāśaya pracura dhana dehi dehi klīṃ hrīṃ śrīṃ oṃ ।