Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of wealth and the Hindu Goddess of beauty.
Lakshmi typically wears a red dress embroidered with golden threads, symbolic for wealth. Her husband Vishnu, maintains human life with justice and peace.
The word Lakshmi originates from “Lakshya” which means “goal”. Therefore by semantics Lakshmi is the goddess of the supreme “goal”. Another Sanskrit word “Laksha” means a lac (lakh) or a hundred thousand). Many believe that the word “Lakshmi” is derived from “Laksha” signifying the power of wealth.
Traditionally Lakshmi represents the eight forms of wealth, which include cattle, food grains, metals, minerals, as well as creativity, stability, courage, strength, progeny, victory, knowledge, wealth. She is also the source of other forms of wealth such as intelligence (buddhi), mental brilliance (medhas), strength (balam), courage (viryam), progeny, good health, cleanliness, happiness, pleasure, and so on.
As the Hindu Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi also symbolizes good luck (in fact the word luck is derived from Lakshmi only.) It is also believed that by worshipping Lakshmi one can drive away misfortune and inauspiciousness.
The Goddess Lakshmi represents prosperity and activity for achievement of liberation and attainment of self-realization.
Four Arms & Four Hands: In Goddess Lakshmi’s case upper left back hand represents Dharma (duty). The lower left frontal hand represents Artha (material wealth). The right lower frontal hand represents Kama (desire) and the upper back right hand represents Moksha (salvation).
Half open Lotus (Upper left hand)
In the upper left hand Goddess Lakshmi holds a half-blossomed lotus, which has a hundred petals. The number 100 represents the state of Sadhana. Notice that this lotus is not in full bloom. It has streaks of white. The red in it represents Rajoguna, the functional aspect, and the white represents Satoguna, the purity aspect. In other words this symbolizes progress in both mundane and spiritual areas of life.
Gold Coins (Lower left hand)
Pot in her Upper Right Hand
The pot of nectar represents her ability to liberate people from suffering as well as free them from the Karmic cycle of birth and death. Her consort is Vishnu, the preserver, and the two of them look after both material wealth and vital for the continuity of life upon earth, to perform obligatory duties, to look after cattle and progeny, to entertain the guests and serve those who seek help.
Abhaya Mudra (Right lower hand)
Now we come across the right lower hand, which is held in Abhaya Mudra (the pose signifying assurance of freedom from fear). The Gita says fear is caused by unfulfilled desires. The ultimate gift of the goddess is the blessing of deliverance from fears.
Lotus & the Red Dress
The Red Sari: Lakshmi is shown wearing a red sari. It is again the colour of Rajas, which means creative activity. The golden embroidery indicates plenty. This re-affirms the idea of prosperity in general. This is in keeping with her being the Goddess of prosperity.