Saturday, November 5, 2011



In India there lived a very intelligent and well-respected man, who was the prime minister of a king. One day he thought himself, "Why am I doing this job? I am doing it only for money. I should give it up and simply worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Then wealth will come to me."


The next day he resigned his position and went to live by a river. Every day he repeated the mantras to Lakshmi and worshipped her according to the Vedic tradition. The Vedic rituals are very scientific. In ancient times, the sages used to worship the god of rain, and the result was that there were no droughts. In the same way, it was believed that if someone worshipped the goddess of wealth, he would be rewarded with wealth.


Twelve years went by, and not only did the prime minister not receive anything, but he used up all his money and became beggar. Finally he thought, this is useless. No wealth is going to come to me. I will take sanyasa initiation and become a monk.


So he went off and took initiation into monkhood. A few days later, he was sitting on top of a mountain, meditating. At the end of his meditation, he opened his eyes and saw a beautiful woman standing before him. She was shining as if it was made of gold. He was astounded by her beauty.


"What are you doing here?" he asked.


"I am here to see you," the woman said, "You invited me, and I have come."


"What are you talking about?" asked the monk. "I never invited you. I'm a monk."


"Did you recite the hymns to Lakshmi for twelve years?"




"I am Lakshmi."


The monk prostrated before her and said, "I worshipped you for so long, but you never come. Why have you come now?"


"You had accumulated so many sins and so many karmas that your worship could not bear fruit. Finally, when you took sanyasa, all your sins were burnt up and you became completely pure. That is why I have come to you now."


"But I no longer have any use for you," said the monk.


"Still, I cannot leave you," Lakshmi said, "You performed the worship, and now you have to experience the fruits."


"In that case," said the monk, "give me the wealth of knowledge."


Lakshmi agreed to do this. The monk became a storehouse of knowledge and received the name Vidyaranya, which means 'the forest of knowledge.'


He wrote a great book called the Panchadashi, which is still studied by everyone who learns Sanskrit. This book is available in English at the following link:

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