The Sri-Sukta of the Veda is recited with benefit especially on Fridays, together with formal worship of the Goddess, for peace, plenty and all-round prosperity. Lakshmi, who is usually identified as the Spouse of Vishnu, or Narayana, represents the glory and magnificence of God. Narayana and Lakshmi, actually, stand for Being and Becoming. The Creator in all His glory manifests Himself in the variety of Creation. Generally, spiritual seekers make the mistake of imagining that God is outside the world and the world has to be rejected in spiritual pursuits. This is an inadequate view, because the world is the glory of God, as light is the glory of the Sun and light cannot be disassociated from the Sun. The values and glories and the abundances of this vast Creation cannot be separated from God, the Almighty, even in our love for God. Narayana represents God, Lakshmi the magnificence, abundance, plentifulness and grandeur of Narayana. The tradition among the Vaishnavas especially is that Narayana cannot be approached except through Lakshmi, even as some devotees hold that Krishna cannot be approached except through Radha, or Rukmini. This is to say that the Absolute can be reached only through the relative. The Invisible can be contacted only through the visible. The Universe of perception and experience includes the very meditator, the seeker, the student or the devotee. Only an over-enthusiastic devotee can imagine that he is outside the world and then erroneously reject the values of life, forgetting thereby that in the act of such rejection he has rejected himself also, he being a part of this Creation. A truly transcendent devotion to God is impracticable, for God is not merely transcendent; He is also immanent.
The four Purusharthas - Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha - mentioned in the scriptures, very wisely lay down the principles of an integration of living, so that we have to be aligned properly not only in our body, mind and spirit inwardly, but also outwardly in respect of the manifold articles of Creation, animate, inanimate, organic or inorganic. The prayer to Lakshmi in the Sri-Sukta is a supplication to God through the visible form of His magnificence and glory which is this indescribable Universe. Lakshmi is prosperity, and all the wealth of life is nothing but prosperity. By wealth we are not to understand merely gold and silver, and the like. All forms of happiness, satisfaction, abundance and status come under Lakshmi, the Divine Glory. Any form of superior grandeur, greatness and glory is Lakshmi. Who can say that these are undesirable, when they are reflections of God Himself? Has not Bhagavan Sri Krishna told us in the Gita that wherever there is glory, grandeur and excellence in a superb form of manifestation, it is He that is manifest there? Actually, there is nothing in the world which deserves our rejection in the end. We have also to learn that meditation, or Yoga, is not a rejection of realities but an inclusion of all existence, a harmony established between ourselves and the vast atmosphere around us. So the glory of the earth is not always an obstacle to God-realisation, but actually the great values of life are indicators of the majesty and beauty of God. As the ray of the Sun gives as a suggestion as to what the Sun is, the world points to us what God could be. Prakriti and Purusha are not two different things. The world and God are inseparables.
Narayana and Lakshmi, says the Vishnu-Purana, are like fire and heat, flower and smell, oil and greasiness, water and liquidity, sun and light, etc. And by such comparisons it is made out that the two are in fact One Being envisaged as a twofold aspect for meditation and worship. The Sri-Sukta is the invocation of God Himself as the Great Glory of His Creation, His lordliness, sovereignty and supreme suzerainty. The emotions of man, when they are religiously roused, have a tendency to consider the world as an evil and God as an other-worldly goal of life. This is an over-estimation of the path that is to be trodden and an under-estimation of the world. Neither is it advisable to over-estimate the world nor under-estimate supersensible realities. The path of truth is a via media, or a golden mean. May we humbly surrender ourselves to this great mystery of God's Glory as Lakshmi, revealed to us as prosperity all round, through which we reach the Eternal Abundance, Narayana.
Invoke for me, O Agni, the Goddess Lakshmi, who shines like gold, yellow in hue, wearing gold and silver garlands, blooming like the moon, the embodiment of wealth, O Agni! Invoke for me that unfailing Lakshmi, being blessed by whom, I shall win wealth, cattle horses and men.
I Invoke Shri (Lakshmi), who has a line of horses in her front, a series of chariots in the middle, who is being awakened by the trumpeting of elephants, who is divinely resplendent. May that divine Lakshmi grace me. I hereby invoke that Shri (Lakshmi) who is an embodiment of absolute bliss; who is of pleasant smile in her face; whose lustre is like that of burnished gold; who is wet, as it were, (just from the milky ocean) who is blazing with splendour, and is the embodiment of the fulfilment of all wishes; who satisfies the desires of her votaries; who is seated on the lotus and is beautiful like the lotus.
I resort to that Lakshmi for shelter in this world, who is beautiful like the moon, who shines bright, who is blazing with renown, who is adored (even) by the gods, who is highly magnanimous, and grand like the lotus; - may my misfortunes perish; I surrender myself to Thee. O, Thou resplendent like the Sun! By Thy power and glory have the plants, (like) the bael tree, have grown up. May the fruits thereof destroy through Thy Grace all inauspiciousness rising from the inner organs and ignorance as well as from the outer senses.
O Lakshmi ! I am born in this country with the heritage of wealth. May the friend of the Lord Siva (Kubera) and Kirti (fame) come to me. May these (having taken their abode with me) bestow on me fame and prosperity. I shall destroy the elder sister to Lakshmi, the embodiment of inauspiciousness and such evil as hunger, thirst, and the like. O Lakshmi ! Drive out from my abode all misfortune and poverty.
I invoke hereby that Lakshmi (Shri), whose (main) avenue of perception is the odoriferous sense (i.e., who abides mainly in cows); who is incapable of defeat or threat from anyone; who is ever healthy (with such virtuous qualities as truth); whose grace is seen abundantly in the refuse of cows (the cows being sacred); and who is supreme over all created beings. O Lakshmi ! May we obtain and enjoy the fulfilment of our desires and our volitions, the veracity of our speech, the wealth of cattle, the abundance of varieties of food to eat! May prosperity and fame reside in me (thy devotee)!
Lakshmi! You have progeny in Kardama. (Hence) O Kardama, may you reside in me. Make Mother Shri with garlands of lotuses to have Her abode in my (ancestral) line.May the (holy) waters create friendship (they being of an adhesive nature). O Chiklita (Progeny of Shri)! Reside at my home; and arrange to make Divine Mother Shri to stay in my lineage !
Invoke for me, O Agni, Lakshmi who shines like gold, is brilliant like the sun, who is powerfully fragrant, who wields the rod of suzerainity, who is of the form of supreme rulership, who is radiant with ornaments and is the goddess of wealth. Invoke for me, O Agni, the Goddess Lakshmi who shines like gold, blooms like the moon, who is fresh with anointment (of fragrant scent), who is adorned with the lotuses (lifted up by celestial elephants in the act of worship), who is the presiding deity of nourishment, who is yellow in colour, and who wears garlands of lotuses.
Invoke for me O Agni, that Goddess Lakshmi, who is ever unfailing, being blessed by whom I shall win wealth in plenty, cattle, servants, horses, and men.
We Commune ourselves with the Great Goddess, and meditate on the Consort of Vishnu; May that Lakshmi direct us (to the Great Goal).
Om; May there be Peace, Peace, Peace.