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Goddess Lakshmi and elephants – Symbolism of white elephants along with Mahalakshmi

Goddess Lakshmi is often depicted with two white elephants pouring water. This form of Goddess Lakshmi is known as Gajalakshmi. In some images four elephants are shown pouring water on Goddess Mahalakshmi. The four elephants are symbols of Kama (desire), Dharma (duty), Artha (wealth), Moksha (enlightenment). Goddess Lakshmi blesses the individual who finds the right balance of Dharma, desire, wealth and moksha.

Gaja Lakshmi is also the Goddess of elephants – symbol of fertility.

Another symbolism suggests that the water showered by the white elephants symbolize rain without which prosperity and wealth has no value.

Another legend has it that two elephants welcomed Goddess Lakshmi by performing jal abhisheka (pouring water) when she was churned out of ocean during Samudra Manthan (churning of the milky ocean in Puranas).

A popular belief in Hinduism is that there are eight pairs of elephants standing on eight corners of cosmos holding up the sky. These eight elephants are known as ‘dig gaja.’ The elephants that performed jal abhisheka on Goddess Lakshmi are one of the eight pairs of ‘dig gaja.’ The elephants worshipped her because they realized her power to enrich and nourish the world.