Alakshmi-The Goddess of Misfortune and Strife
Alakshmi or Jayestha is the elder sister of Goddess Lakshmi. She represents everything that is opposite of Lakshmi. She is the Goddess of misfortune, strife, poverty, 'durbhagya' or bad luck, inauspiciousness and extreme ugliness of both external and internal nature.
Where did Alakshmi come from? :
Alakshmi is said to have emerged with Ma Lakshmi during the churning of the ocean of milk or 'samudra manthan'. While Lakshmi emerged with the 'amrit' or nectar, Alakshmi emerged with the 'halahal' or poison.
yet some believe, Lakshmi was born from the radience of Lord Brahma's face while Alakshmi was born from the darkness of his back.
Personification of Alakshmi:
Alakshmi represents extreme ugliness. She is depicted as an old, haggard, dirty, messy woman riding a donkey. Her skin is dark, leathery and shrivelled. Her hair is dishevelled and matted, full of dirt and grime. She likes to live where people are full of ego, vanity, and selfish mindset.
Co-existence of Lakshmi and Alakshmi:
Alakshmi is said to co-exist with Lakshmi. Where there is Lakshmi, there is Alakshmi. Some legends believe she is invisible in existence while some believe she is always near Lakshmi in the form of a owl.
Alakshmi brings, discord, strife, jealousy, mlice and hardship where ever she goes. Proximity to her gives rise to lack of knowledge, vision and positive thinking. She divides families and destroys wealth. She plants distrust and misunderstanding among family members, friends and relatives.
Who follows and propogates Alakshmi?:
Some people who allow Alakshmi to live in their lives and propagate her principals are people who are extremely selfish. They have wealth but live in poverty. They never seem to have enough since they have a beggar's mindset. They can sit on a pile of gold yet they remain stingy.
These people's miserliness makes them squander their wealth to all the wrong people and wrong projects and purpose. They have highly inflated egos and think they always know best. They wonder how other people have so much to spend and consider every expenditure extremely extravagant and unnessary. These people find it very easy to take the path of 'Adharma' or sin.
Legends about Alakshmi:
Alakshmi symbolically represents a big lesson to us. She signifies that when one is blessed with Lakshmi or wealth, one should not become arrogant, evil, or full of pride. One should instead strive for a feeling of thankfulness and gratitude. Only this thinking will double Lakshmi and keep Alakshmi at bay.
Legend-1: A Traders Tale:
Once Goddess Lakshmi visited a trader. He was extremely happy to see her and welcomed her in his home. However, he was soon dismayed to see that behind the radient goddess followed her extremely ugly sister, Alakshmi.
The trader was smart. He quickly regained his wit and bowed to both the goddesses with respect. He then uttered that Lakshmi looks beautiful as she enters a home and Alakshmi looks beautiful as she leaves a home. In saying so, Lakshmi or wealth and splendour moved with him to his home while, misfortune, dischord, and poverty moved away from his home.
Legend-2: How Lord Vishnu controls Alakshmi:
It is said that Alakshmi can only be kept at bay by Goddess Swarsati or sound knowledge and good judgement. Everyone knows that 'wealth corrupts' yet we need wealth and riches for nearly every aspect of our lives. It is thus very important to have a sound understanding of goddess Alakshmi. Be aware of her destructive nature and know that caution and awareness are one's only solution to preserving wealth.
Lord Vishnu knows this secret. It is believed, Goddess Swarsati stays hidden on Vishnu's tounge and through knowledge keeps him steadfast on the path of 'Dharma' or righteousness. He is never swayed by the cunning tricks of Alakshmi and so Ma Lakshmi never leaves his side - ever.
How to Pray to Alakshmi?:
One should always acknowledge Alakshmi as she accompanies Lakshmi everywhere. she is the negative energy or force that silently comes with rising wealth. one must be very careful to not let riches corrupt them. Auspicious wealth has invisible seeds of sinful pride, arrogance, sloth, surrounding it.
Ritually, one keeps sweets in the house for Lakshmi Ma while lemons and chillies are kept outside the house for Alakshmi. Symbolically, Lakshmi is welcomed through the decorated main front door and Alakshmi is seen off through the little back door. One should also practice cleanliness, discipline, selflessness, and hardwork. Further, keeping Swarasati or sound knowledge and judgement awake in one's heart and mind will protect and grow one's wealth.