Meaning of Sri Sukta
Goddess Lakshmi along with Lord Vishnu represent as Being and Becoming. Goddess Lakshmi stands as the magnificence, abundance and grandeur of Narayana.
The four types of Purusharthas - Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha, mentioned in the scriptures describe the principles of living that enables one to be aligned properly not only in the body, mind and spirit inwardly, but also outwardly in respect of the manifold articles of Creation, animate, inanimate, organic or inorganic. In the Sri-Sukta the prayer to Lakshmi is an appeal to God through the visible form of His magnificence and glory which is the Universe. Goddess Lakshmi is prosperity, and is considered as the wealth of life. Here wealth does not mean mere gold and silver, it also stands for all forms of happiness, satisfaction, abundance and status. The Sri-Sukta is the invocation of God Himself as the Great Glory of His Creation, His lordliness, sovereignty and supreme suzerainty. The Sri-Sukta of the Vedas is recited with benefit especially on Fridays, together with formal worship of the Goddess, for peace, plenty and all-round prosperity.
Text and Symbolism
Raja Ravi Varma's painting of Lakshmi, showing the motifs of lotus and elephant mentioned in Sri Sukta
The goddess Sri appears in several earlier vedic hymns, and is the personification of auspicious and royal qualities. Sri Sukta is perhaps the first text in which the homology between Sri and Lakshmi is drawn, and the goddesses are further associated with the god of fire, Lord Agni. Since the later epic period (ca 400 CE), Sri-Lakshmi is particularly associated with Vishnu as his wife or consort.
Sri Sukta invokes Goddess Lakshmi who shines like gold, wears gold and silver garlands and blooms like the moon. She is the embodiment of wealth. Through her blessings one can achieve wealth, cattle, horses and men.
The second stotra of Sri Sukta invokes Shri or Lakshmi, who has a line of horses in front of her, a series of chariots in the middle, and is being awakened by the trumpeting of elephants. Here the goddess is seen as an embodiment of Absolute Bliss. She has a pleasant smile on her face and a luster like that of burnished gold. The goddess is seated on the lotus and is beautiful like the lotus.
The third stotra of Sri Sukta invokes Sri for shelter in this world. The goddess here is considered as divine who shines bright and is also adored by the gods.
In the fourth stotra of Sri Sukta the devotee prays to Lakshmi to drive him out from all misfortune and poverty. For this he even calls upon Kubera and Kirti for his help.
In the fifth stotra of Sri Sukta the worshipper prays to Lakshmi to bless him and help him obtain and enjoy the fulfillment of desires, the truth of our speech, the wealth of cattle and the abundance of varieties of food to eat.
The sixth stotra of Sri Sukta tells that goddess Lakshmi has progeny in Kardama. Hence the devotee prays her to reside in her. He prepares garlands of lotuses for Mother Shri and prays her to reside in his ancestral line.
The seventh mantra of Sri Sukta invokes, Lakshmi who shines like gold, is brilliant like the sun, who is powerfully fragrant, who wields the rod of suzerainty, who is of the form of supreme rulership, who is radiant with ornaments and is the goddess of wealth.
Finally the worshipper commune himself with the Great Goddess, and meditate on the Consort of Vishnu and wished peace to prevail everywhere.