Libmonster ID: U.S.-1424
Author(s) of the publication: I. GLUSHKOVA

Indra, Lakshmi, Ganesha and Kubera are the gods of Hinduism that thousands of Indians have turned to at different times, but with the same hopes. Today, when money is a concrete measure of human success, and the consumer society dictates its own rules, the celestials who give material goods are in demand more than ever. Anyone who ignores generally accepted norms faces both the condemnation of people and the disfavor of the gods.

The third person on Forbes ' list of the world's richest people in 2005 is Lakshmi Mittal. The empire of this steel-making king from the Banya trading caste stretches from Trinidad to Kazakhstan. Its last acquisitions were plants in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and, finally, in 2005, the Ukrainian Kryvorizhstal. By the way, one of his first purchases on the territory of the former USSR was the famous Karaganda plant. Lakshmi Mittal is 53 years old and has no plans to retire. Perhaps one of the reasons for the success of the talented businessman, who has been living in the UK since the early 1990s, lies in his own name. His parents gave him the feminine name "Lakshmi" for two reasons. In some Indian castes, the evil eye is removed from young boys, thus "disguising" them as girls. And yet - the same name of the Hindu goddess of happiness and material prosperity. From the mercy of this sparkling four-armed beauty in gold and silver jewelry, standing on a lotus flower, depends on the increase of wealth and well-being in the family. And the famous Indian cosmetics company Lakme has three happy components in its brand at once: a divine halo, an association with continuous prosperity and a French fragrance. The fragrance was accidentally introduced by the masterpiece of the French composer Leo Delibes, who heard the name "Lakshmi " as" Lakme " and named this name created in 1883. the opera.

FROM INDRA TO LAKSHMI

In ancient India, they were sure that people's lives directly depend on the will of the gods, so propitiation of the celestials was the core of the worldview and everyday practice of the Indians who lived in the II millennium BC. e. About how the propitiation procedure took place, says the Rig Veda, which scientists call the last cultural monument of the Indo-European community and the first-actually Indian literature. This collection consists of 1028 hymns sung during the performance of sacrifices: to delight the ears of the gods, the Indians sang about their divine greatness and sent gifts to the sacrificial fire, which, according to their ideas, the fire-Agni delivered to the gods in heaven. In return, the donors expected relief from all the miseries of human life and did not doubt that they would receive a hundredfold from the gods. Most of the hymns are addressed to the mighty Indra-the thunderer, the leader of the gods, whom the ancient Indians primarily associated with the idea of fertility. He was lured by his favorite intoxicatingly hallucinogenic drink soma (So they went to

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To Indra are my / Songs of praise sent from here / So that he will wrap up on drinking soma. // Indra on drinking soma / We call here with praises, / Hymns, Well, of course he will come! // O Indra, these soma juices have been squeezed out. Take them into your womb, O wise one, O rich in rewards!* III-43, 3-5) and directly told about their expectations {Help us all the days, / O Indra, with wealth over the edge, / Us-with all sorts of support! // Open for us, like an archer, / Those pens full of cattle, / With new supports, O Indra! IV-31, 11 - 13). So the principle of "you are for me, I am for you", which is true for all time, worked immutably.

Gradually, by the beginning of our era, the main gods of the Vedic pantheon were displaced from their leading positions by new gods: some of them previously appeared on the periphery of the Rig Veda, often under different names, while others penetrated modern Hinduism from other sources. "Sarvejanaha kanchanam ashreyanthi" - "Everyone in this world is hungry for wealth," says the Sanskrit saying, and the Hindu (as well as the Buddhist and Jain) who hopes for wealth, even today directs his thoughts to Lakshmi. In the Vishnu Purana, written much later than the Rig Veda, it is from the mouth of Indra that the recognition of Lakshmi's unquestionable superiority sounds: O blessed one, from your benevolent gaze men always gain wives, children, housing, grain, wealth and so on! O goddess, men who are overshadowed by your eyes easily get physical strength, health, power, the death of enemies and happiness!** (122 - 123).

The word" lakshmi "appears in the Rig Veda, but it meant only good luck. There is also the word "sri", which meant beauty and abundance , and in the official name of the state of Sri Lanka this word has the same meaning, that is," beautiful-abundant " Lanka. Subsequently, both words were personified and turned into two names of the same goddess. And then there was the myth of its appearance on earth.

Once the gods grew old and died like ordinary people, and then Vishnu advised them by churning (churning) the ocean to get the drink of immortality from it. Since the task was not an easy one, the gods invited the demons to participate as well. As a whorl, they used an uprooted mountain, to which they tied a fire-breathing snake: the gods were pulling on one side, and the demons were pulling on the other. As a result of incredible efforts, the waters of the ocean began to churn into oil and fourteen treasures appeared on the surface one after another: then the goddess Sri rose from the waters, resplendent with beauty, confusing thoughts, she stood in a shining lotus, in her hands she had a lotus (V.-P., 98). This was Lakshmi, whom Vishnu took as his wife, and the gods, having deceived the demons, drank all the drink themselves and only then became immortal. Sometimes Lakshmi is depicted as a humble wife kneading her husband's feet , and she is also a role model for Indian wives.

According to another myth, in the process of creating the world, Lakshmi appeared floating in the primeval waters, also on the petals of a blooming lotus. Therefore, she is usually depicted on a lotus and even has one more name among others - Padma (lotus). In Indian philosophy, the lotus has become a symbol of the right attitude to wealth. Wealth should be used - it can be a means, but it should not be turned into an obsession - it should not become an end. Just as the lotus is never at rest in the water, so Lakshmi, having an "unstable" character, can turn away from the person at any moment.

HOLIDAY OF FORTUNE

The God Vishnu used to visit the earth in various forms during difficult times for people. Once, when everyone was exhausted from the tyranny of the demon Ravana, Vishnu was born as Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, and married Sita, in whose form the same Lakshmi appeared on earth. In order for Rama to fulfill the mission entrusted to him by the gods and free the earth from Ravana, he had to have a personal motive, so in the plot of the ancient Indian epic poem "Ramayana", first Ravana kidnaps Sita, then Rama discovers her in Ravana's kingdom in Lanka, and finally, a noble prince kills a demon in a difficult battle. The couple appears in their native Ayodhya on the new moon, when the moon shrinks to a narrow strip of the month, and residents welcome the return of Sita-Lakshmi with lighted lamps. Bright light dispels the darkness of the night, identified with evil, and symbolizes the victory of the forces of good over the forces of evil, and in Ayodhya begins the golden time of universal prosperity.


* Hymns from the Rig Veda are translated by T. Y. Elizarenkova.

** Quotes from the Vishnu Purana are translated by T. K. Posova.

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According to another legend, it was on this day that Vishnu, already in another guise-the dwarf Vamana-defeated the demon Bali, who had captured the gods, and freed his wife Lakshmi. Whatever the explanation behind the Diwali or Deepavali pedigree, this official all - India festival-literally "string of lamps" (diwa or deepa + vali) - is celebrated annually in October and November, when field work is completed and one of the annual crops is harvested. However, popular culture associates it with the memory of mythological events, united by the figure of Lakshmi, who always returns to people. Traditional bronze lamps with oil-soaked wicks were often cast in the form of a figure of Dipalakshmi, a beautiful female goddess, or Gajalakshmi - an elephant Lakshmi-surrounded by two elephants with trunks raised above her on both sides: elephants symbolize Lakshmi's connection with Indra, who had an elephant as a mount. the elephant Airavata, which appeared during the churning of the ocean, is also super-rich, since not everyone can keep elephants.

Throughout Diwali, which lasts for five days, modern India is already drowned in the light of electric bulbs, as the belief inspired by another legend persists that premature death will not affect anyone who keeps the lamps lit during these days. Lamps are lit in the streets and in the houses, over the entrance to which they hang a kind of large Chinese lantern to illuminate the road of Lakshmi, whose arrival the Indians are looking forward to, and on the main night they leave the doors of their homes ajar for her.

Diwali is the main holiday of Indian business, and every day has a painted ritual. It starts with a thorough cleaning - whether it's a shop, factory, bank, or private apartment-and decorating the premises. Lakshmi will not come to an unkempt and uncomfortable house. In front of the entrance, complex patterns are sprinkled with colored powder on the ground and a swastika turned to the right is renewed over the door - a sign of happiness that is inextricably linked with Lakshmi; women in Orissa also draw footprints leading to their doors so that Lakshmi knows where to go. Bankers, moneylenders, money changers, and financial advisors conduct a "money service," which is a full-fledged liturgical ritual in which money becomes the object of worship. On the same days, it is customary to: make new deals, start new ledgers (the third page of which is filled with the word "Sri"), purchase new equipment (from tailor's scissors to the conveyor line), buy new kitchen utensils, as well as jewelry and clothing. The consumer boom, which in turn brings large profits to commercial and industrial capital, is explained by the fact that items purchased at a favorable time are considered capable of bringing prosperity and good luck in the future. It is at this time that it is clearly seen that the main engine of the economy is not production, but consumption, and the main success in business is the quality of products.

The third day of Diwali is considered the culmination of lavish puja services in homes and shops near temporarily installed statues of Lakshmi, surrounded by garlands of flowers, smoking incense and silver and gold coins. In Northern India, especially in the state of Gujarat, where the Banya class is traditionally strong, the new calendar year starts from this moment. On the fourth day, the stock exchanges are briefly opened, closed, like all institutions, during the Diwali celebration: this time is considered muhurta, an astrologically justified favorable moment, and stock trading operations should be profitable for both those who sell and those who buy. Punjab, where the strict moral code of the Sikh community prevails, these days - especially on the darkest night-gambling is allowed: previously it was dice, now cards. A rational explanation for this relaxation of the foundations is seen in the fact that if you left the door of the house open at night, you need to be on your guard. In Karnataka, just these days, new crops are coming to the markets, and here more than anywhere else, Lakshmi is remembered as an agricultural goddess and asked to protect her from natural disasters and other misfortunes. In Mumbai (Bombay), the financial heart of India, holiday lighting is particularly sophisticated. It seems that the city of 15 million people is crying out: come to us, Lakshmi, come to us, it's brighter here! To ensure that the goddess does not lose her way, the illusion of turning festive nights into days is supplemented by artificially created roar: firecrackers fly into the sky, thousands of fireworks are scattered around.

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It is interesting that Lakshmi has an older sister, who is also called "Elder Lakshmi" or "Alakshmi", where the prefix " a-" serves as a negation of "not", that is, Alakshmi means misfortune and loss of prosperity. She is the "eldest" because she appeared earlier than Lakshmi in the churning of the ocean, and frightened the gods with her ugly appearance: she is still depicted as lop-eared and lop-lipped, with red eyes and yellow hair, dressed in black clothes and iron jewelry-this is what a degraded person who has squandered all the money can look like. The gods refused her, and Vishnu had difficulty marrying her to some sage, since Lakshmi's younger sister could not enter into a matrimonial relationship earlier than the older one. The sage, however, ran away after a while, leaving Alakshmi waiting for him under a fig tree. To console her sister, Lakshmi arrived under the tree with Vishnu and promised Alakshmi that only those who performed a proper service in honor of Alakshmi before Lakshmi's puja would be lucky. Some regions of India prefer to burn images of Alakshmi before installing a festive figure of Lakshmi in the house.

BETWEEN GANESHA AND KUBERA

Until recently, there were practically no separate temples dedicated to Lakshmi in India, but her statue is found among the various sculptures in almost every Hindu temple erected in honor of any other god: prosperity and good luck are necessary for everyone. In some of them, for the same reason, you can see images of the ugly Alakshmi.

In addition to Alakshmi, who must be approached by those who crave material and other well-being, among Lakshmi's constant companions, who also cannot be ignored, is not Vishnu's spouse at all, but two, at first glance, no less ugly than Alakshmi, creatures - the fat-bellied and short-legged Ganesha and Kubera. At the same time, the first one has the head of an elephant, and the second one has three legs, but only eight teeth.

In truth, Ganesha is needed by everyone and for any reason, because this zooanthropomorphic deity repairs and removes obstacles, and therefore he is also known by many other names that tell about these very abilities of his. A prayer service to Ganesha should generally precede any undertaking - whether it's digging a well or passing an exam - and even more so, such a responsible and expensive event as Lakshmi puja begins with an appeal to Ganesha to remove all obstacles on the way to being heard by the goddess. In addition, it is impossible not to take into account the hypostasis of Gaja-Lakshmi, which is common in India, that is, Lakshmi surrounded by two elephants showering her with wealth, which inevitably leads to the association of Lakshmi with Ganesha. Therefore, the elephant-headed god is often depicted next to Lakshmi and they enlist his protection with pleasant gifts (he likes red flowers and sweets that resemble radishes in shape).

Kubera, on the other hand, has always been a recognized god of wealth in its most primitive form - it is he who disposes of gold bars and precious stones. He once owned the very" beautifully abundant " Lanka, which was later selected by his half-brother Ravana, and possessed a wonderful aerial chariot, moving on which he dropped down grains of gold, silver and pearls. Ravana also took possession of the chariot, but then Rama and Sita returned to Ayodhya in it, so Kubera is associated with Lakshmi not only as a symbol of material well-being, but also as a general dislike for Ravana, who caused trouble for both of them.

In India, the god Vishnu in one or another of his vo-

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Hundreds of temples are dedicated to the area, and Lakshmi is almost always near it. However, in the richest temple in the country, located in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Vishnu under the name of Tirupati "lives" alone. One "lives" and Maha-lakshmi is the Great Lakshmi from the neighboring state of Maharashtra. Legends say that both wanted to have an incredibly lavish wedding, and Vishnu borrowed money from Kubera. Impressed by her future husband's" financial " habits, Lakshmi said that she would move in with Vishnu only when he paid off the entire debt. As more and more gifts, including personal ornaments, are brought to the temple by crowds of visitors who want to help their beloved god, Vishnu manages to reduce, but not pay off, his debt, and therefore the couple's meeting is postponed.

Calendars - one of the permanent attributes of modern business-often on the title cover depict the beautiful Lakshmi surrounded by Ganesha and Kubera. Silver and gold coins are spilled from the hands of the goddess. Thus, the Indians are further reminded of the role that metal money plays during Diwali. A huge scandal recently broke out about this metal in India: it turned out that most of the coins thrown on the market these days (primarily silver - they, and not gold, were the main currency in ancient and medieval India) - do not meet the quality indicators. The forgeries produced in Calcutta contained only 8% silver, in Bombay - 35%, in Surat - 40% and in Delhi - 50%, but externally their dimensions and legends fully corresponded to the real ones; some were additionally decorated with images of gods involved in money.

The holiday shopping boom, as well as the habit of storing savings in the form of silver and gold jewelry, the prices of which are constantly increasing, lead to the fact that coins with images of Indian gods are scattered with a bang. Market experts estimated the total weight of coins sold on Diwali at the beginning of the first decade of the new century as exceeding 200 tons. The impunity of counterfeiters who attract consumers with "holiday discounts" is also promoted by the circulating myths that coins with images of Lakshmi, Ganesha or Kubera cannot be sold or melted down, but must be given away, and therefore only 3% to 5% of such coins get back to the market. By the way, the situation with fakes became clear only when the" donated " coins were tried to sell to jewelers. So this is the case when the quality of the purchased products is mostly unknown, but if the information is leaked to the press, the consequences will not be slow to affect.

If Ganesha can boast of a large number of temples dedicated to him personally, then Kubera is just now building the first temple in the country - in the south, in the state of Tamilnadu: the gods of Hinduism are incredibly productive and active - they live not only in myths and legends recorded in sacred books, but solve their problems parallel to the life of Indians of the XXI century.

ONLINE SERVICE

Artha - "material gain" - has been recognized in India since ancient times as one of the main goals of human existence. It is recognized as such even today, although the twenty-first century, of course, makes adjustments in the relationship between people and gods. The age of consumerism dictates its own rules, money is needed more and more, and therefore the importance of such gods as Lakshmi, Ganesha and Kubera increases. At the same time, a person is not so free to manage their time, finding themselves at the mercy of various obligations in a globalist-oriented society, or prefers to direct their free hours to finding new sources of income.

For the convenience of believers and, of course, for the economic benefit of the founders, historically innovative temples are being built in India, which contain not only non-family-related gods, such as Lakshmi and Kubera (puja in the only Lakshmi and Kubera temple in India is advertised as restoring lost wealth), but also a whole set of well-known ones-working for different life events are aspects of the same God.

In the same state of Tamilnadu, in Chennai (Madras), in 1978, the Ashtalakshmi - Eight Lakshmi temple was built, and soon the temple legend was invented, claiming that it was in this place that Lakshmi came ashore from the Indian Ocean, whipped up by the gods, with the cup of immortality in her hands. The Eight itself consists of the Primordial Lakshmi, as well as Lakshmi, who brings food and removes drought; Lakshmi, who destroys fear and inspires courage; Gajalakshmi, who ensures good luck and prosperity; Lakshmi, who is responsible for the well-being of the home and offspring; Lakshmi, who brings victory over enemies; Lakshmi, who increases wealth, and Lakshmi, the goddess of knowledge and knowledge. rational thinking.

In the latter case, although it emphasizes rational, pragmatic thinking, clearly aimed at obtaining artha, one can guess the motive of rivalry between Lakshmi and Saraswati, the classical goddess of knowledge and eloquence, who was traditionally worshipped by those who believed in the primacy of knowledge, especially Brahmin theologians and scientists. It is clear that knowledge and wealth are not always compatible, but knowledge can also lead to a direct path to wealth-this is evidenced by the experience of Indian programmers in the American Silicon Valley.

In India itself, the development of vehicles at some stage played a role in increasing the flow of pilgrims to famous temples, but the easy accessibility of the sacred thereby transferred it to the rank of ordinary. As mundane as a mobile phone. Obstacles can now be removed easily and simply: just send an SMS to the specified number and transfer the required amount from the card, so that the prayer of a person who has no time, and his specific request will be heard by Ganesha. On the eve of a number of religious holidays, these phone numbers are full of advertisements in Indian newspapers and on television channels, and special websites provide a similar service.

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In general, the number of sophisticated sites dedicated to Hinduism is growing day by day. And this is primarily due to the success that India has achieved in computerization, how many talented programmers of Indian origin extract their artha in the range from Japan to the United States, and how quickly the eternal Vedic and Hindu gods respond to new trends. Site visitors are offered everything. Along with individual pujas to various gods, whole puja packages are advertised, for example: Lakshmi package or Lakshmi package/Ganesha, or Lakshmi / Kubera, or even a comprehensive package for Wealth in general, offering not one, but several services that will be held in certain temples 48 hours after payment for the service. In addition to the typical Hindu pujas, homas are also offered-fire sacrifices, which were famous for the Vedic religion, described in the hymns of the Rig Veda. For example, sacrifices are primarily recommended for those who expect a speedy repayment of debts. To find your way around the range of offers and evaluate their effectiveness, we provide, first, the life stories of those who have already used this or that package, and secondly, we offer the "Puja Wizard" button, which takes you into details the relationship between human needs and divine capabilities and tells you which package you want. it is preferable for good luck in operations with securities, and which one-so as not to make a mistake with partners. A price list for all services - ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 10,000-is present next to each offer, as is the ability to convert Rs to a freely convertible currency. A special feature of "online stores" is the presence in many of them of a "Spiritual Products Department", offering both numerous and diverse items from the Lakshmi series necessary for puja or homa in a package with the image of the goddess, and rather secular pendants and keychains symbolizing the" joint benevolence " of Lakshmi and Ganesha in relation to Tom who wants to buy them.

A special type of service is offered by astrological sites, many of which are aimed solely at promoting the artha of site visitors. Suggestions include making business horoscopes, career predictions, and specific recommendations for purchasing real estate or a new car. If, for example, someone is in doubt about whether to start a new business or continue doing the same, when they should start a new business or make additional investments in the old one, whether to enter into a partnership and trust the partners, whether to expect success, or, finally, if someone cannot explain the reasons for the collapse. don't worry - "we will help you find the right answers to these and other questions. We'll take care of your worries." Pay online and you'll be fine, the gods will help you.

Such a life position reflects not only continuity in relation to the previous cultural models - Vedic and classical Hindu, but also is a certain psychological training that helps the Hindu to cope with the problems of modern civilization and personal troubles. The same Indian programmers who have settled down in Silicon Valley, changing their Indian clothes for Western ones and acquiring other habits, prefer to hedge against financial surprises and fiscal surprises with pujas and homas. Why not use the services of one of the Hindu priests who followed the same programmers to the same California, where more than 1,000 high-tech companies are already owned by immigrants from India?

It's no secret that in addition to knowledge and talent, business requires an element of luck - you just need to be in the right place at the right time - so why not use the resources of your native culture and get a portion of blessings for a new online business portal or any other project? Even abroad, not to mention India itself, businessmen will try to set up an altar in the office-even if only on a box from under the copier, on which they will put a framed oleograph of Lakshmi and a figure of Ganesha, put a copper plate-mantra with Kubera's favorite numbers and 108 American dollars in silver or quarters, symbolizing 108 more gods at once that you can contact with a request for support. One of them will hear. On the surface, it looks like a corporate ethic on the march: a collective commitment to success and efforts to reduce risk. In any case, the economic performance of Indians is higher than ever.


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