Sitar, Tamboura and Synthesizers
The Hindu Goddess Lakshmi bestows all that we hold good in an earthly life - love, grace, prosperity, pleasure, beauty, abundance. Because of her distaste for the ancient god Indra's power-hungry ego, she disolved herself in the Ocean of Milk. In the Hindu tradition each new incarnation of the universe involves churning the Ocean of Milk. At some point after Lakshmi's disappearance, the lack of Lakshmi as well as a variety of other cosmic wonders that had grown scarce, left the gods and demons so dismayed that they conspired together to churn the Ocean of Milk until Lakshmi reconstituted. Apparently it took quite a long time and an enormous amount of effort but eventually the churned ocean produced Lakshmi, and a host of assorted marvels such as Surabhi the cow of abundance, Sura the goddess of wine, Parijata the celestial tree which bears every flower and fruit one desires, Rambha the cosmic dancer, Chandra (the moon), and Dhanwantri the celestial physician with his bottles of medicines, one of which immediately captured everyone's attention. Dhanwantri possessed a container of Amrita, ambrosia, the drink of the gods, the elixir of immortality. Of course everyone ran for the bottle of Amrita. Only Vishnu had the presence of mind to distract the demons by taking on the form of Mohini, the demon's favorite mystical diva of the time. With a little slight of hand Vishnu/Mohini gave alcohol to the demons while pouring the Amrita for the gods. When things settled down a bit, the three main gods for creation, preservation and transformation, Bhrama, Vishnu and Shiva took a good look at Lakshmi and their hearts filled with desire. Lakshmi examined the three gods closely. Bhrama was already having a difficult time with his consort the talented Saraswati, and Shiva had impetuously claimed the moon for himself when she popped out of the churning ocean, making it awkward for him to take Lakshmi as well. Lakshmi respected Brahma, but probably had enough of creative egos after her experience with Indra. There are many stories of Lakshmi's love and devotion to Shiva, but Shiva was not the stable family man her talents preferred. In the end only humble Vishnu created a balance for Lakshmi's gifts to the world. It was Vishnu who brought a contented smile to Lakshmi's face.
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