182 – The twin sisters

We make such a fuss about twins. A good twin and an evil twin. Then there were all those novels and films written and made about lost twins, identical twins and twins hurting each other unknowingly. I was a twin and I have twin sons. What is interesting is that they buy similar things though they live in different continents and sometimes identical events happen to them. They are fraternal twins.

I will now describe to you the most powerful twins in the universe, Goddess Lakshmi and her twin sister Alakshmi. Vishnu the preserver of the universe is responsible for balance and harmony. With harmony comes disharmony. And therefore the Goddess has two forms, Lakshmi and Alakshmi. Lakshmi is magnanimous, fecund and verdant. She is responsible for the waxing of the moon, daylight, the high tide, the rains, and harvests.

Alakshmi is associated with famine, night, waning of the moon, low tide, hot dry summers, and freezing winters. Lakshmi is bedecked in gold and red. She sits on a fragrant lotus, holding a pot overflowing with gold and grain. She is the ultimate for prosperity, pleasure and power. She is mercurial and enchanting. Holding on to her is very difficult. White elephants are standing on either side of her and they are bowing to her and offering her water. Besides her sits her twin sister Alakshmi, goddess of hardship, tragedy, misfortune, and starvation, as an owl and demanding acknowledgement.

Who was more beautiful

There is a story about the twin sisters and a wealthy merchant. Lakshmi and Alakshmi accosted a rich merchant and asked him who was more beautiful, out of the two of them. Now the merchant being a cunning fellow knew that he had to give the correct answer or he would lose his gold and become a beggar. He answered that Lakshmi was beautiful, when she entered his palace and Alakshmi when she left his palace. He gave the correct answer, and he became even richer.

Lakshmi is offered sweets and flowers, and Alakshmi is associated with sour and pungent things. Lakshmi enters a home and eats sweets, while Alakshmi eats lemon and green chilies at the entrance and leaves satisfied. Therefore both are respected and acknowledged, but only one is welcome. Lakshmi is on the highest rung in the hierarchy of wealth and power, and Alakshmi is all that society shuns.

Is it correct?

Are we all like this? Do we worship mammon and power? Do we shun poverty and hardship? In order to live a life do we not have to go through all the hoops of fire? We learn from suffering and it makes us strong and compassionate. Helping others who are in distress and enabling them to have a better quality of life is our role. Swami Sivananda and Swamiji speak about love, serve and give. We must learn to apply it in our daily lives and live by it.

The core of Lakshmi’s heart demands devotion and when we apply the saying, love, serve and give, she is there for us.

Aim Hrim Klim


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