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Mahalakshmi - Is There A Difference Between Hindu Goddess Lakshmi and Mahalakshmi?

In Hinduism, Mahalakshmi is the supreme Mother Goddess and is believed to be the root of all creations. The popular Hindu Goddess Lakshmi who is the goddess of wealth, auspiciousness and fortune is only an attribute of Mahalakshmi. There is a difference between Lakshmi and Mahalakshmi. But today both forms mean the same for majority of the people.

Mahalakshmi as Supreme Mother Goddess is similar to Durga and this form is mentioned in Tantric texts and is popular in western India, especially in Maharashtra.

As per some school of teachings, there is a difference between Lakshmi and Mahalakshmi.

Mahalakshmi
Popular image of Goddess Lakshmi

Difference Between Lakshmi and Mahalakshmi

Mahalakshmi is the Supreme Mother Goddess.
Goddess Lakshmi is an amsha avatar or a manifestation of Mahalakshmi.

The form of Mahalakshmi is impossible to imagine or comprehend.
To help devotees, worship and offer prayers, Mahalakshmi took the form of Goddess Lakshmi.

Mahalakshmi is the Mother without whom creation is impossible.
As Lakshmi, she takes care of her devotees on earth by nourishing them.

Mahalakshmi is prakriti.
Lakshmi is only an aspect of prakriti.

Living beings of Kali Yuga are filled with ignorance and therefore they cannot know Mahalakshmi.
In Kali Yuga, human beings have downgraded Mahalakshmi to Lakshmi (wealth).

Moksha is possible only with the blessings of Mahalakshmi.
Worshippers of Lakshmi will take countless birth. They will always be tormented by desires.

Mahalakshmi in Scriptures

Mahalakshmi is an attempt made by human mind to find the root of all creation and define the formless responsible for it. Scriptures like Lakshmi Tantra and Pancharatra mentions that she is Prakrti, Maya and Shakti. That which is animate and inanimate rise and fall in her.

But in Vaishnava tradition Mahalakshmi is the consort of Lord Vishnu and is the only way to reach Narayana (Vishnu) and attain Moksha – escape from the endless cycle of birth and death. In this form, she is the bountiful aspect of nature and she represents righteousness and compassion but is associated with Vishnu.

Vishnu here is the fatherly figure and Lakshmi is motherly figure. Forgiveness for sins committed (breaking Dharma) has to be given by Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi helps each devotee by pleading his/her case. This is the reason why great Vaishnava saints like Vedanata Desika mentions it is easy to approach Lord Vishnu through Goddess Lakshmi.

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