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akshayatritiya

The Story Of Kolhapur Maha Lakshmi & Akshaya Tritiya

By Subodini Menon

Goddess Maha Lakshmi is one of the major deities worshipped on Akshaya Tritiya. Lord Ganesha, Lord Maha Vishnu and Lord Kubera are the other major deities that are worshiped on this day. Akshaya Tritiya is a very auspicious day when the members of the Hindu community come together and pray to the all mighty to bless them with prosperity and material wealth.

As Goddess Maha Lakshmi is the deity of wealth and prosperity, it is only apt that she be remembered and worshipped on this golden day. As a rule, people visit temples to earn the blessings of their favourite deity. Akshaya Tritiya is a good day to visit a Maha Lakshmi Temple. With her grace and mercy, you shall be blessed with a fruitful and happy Year ahead.

The temple that we shall be talking about today is arguably the most famous Maha Lakshmi temple of all. It is none other than the Maha Lakshmi temple of Kolhapur. Hundreds of devotees throng to the Kolhapur Maha Lakshmi temple to pay their respects to Goddess Maha Lakshmi. The crowd only grows on the day of Akshaya Tritiya.

The Story Of Kolhapur Maha Lakshmi

The temple has an interesting history and legend associated with it. Did you know that the Goddess Maha Lakshmi is fondly called 'Amba Bai' in the Kolhapur temple? The story of the Kolhapur Maha Laksmni starts with a doubt that arises in the mind of Sage Bhrigu.

He wanted to know who among the Trimoortis was the most superior. He first went to Brahma and acted badly towards the creator. Lord Brahma was very enraged, but Goddess Saraswati pacified him. Sage Bhrigu understood that Lord Brahma did not have anger under his control and cursed him that he would never have a temple.

Next, Sage Bhrigu went to Lord Shiva. But he couldn't even see the Lord as he was stopped by Nandi from entering. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were having their private time then. Sage Bhrigu felt insulted and cursed Lord Shiva that he would forever be worshipped as a Linga.

The next stop was Lord Maha Vishnu. Lord Vishnu was asleep on his serpent and Goddess Maha Lakshmi was massaging his feet. Angry, Sage Bhrigu rushed in and kicked Lord Vishnu in his chest.

Contrary to what the Sage expected Lord Vishnu quickly arose and apologized to the sage for having been sleeping. He then enquired whether his hard chest had hurt the feet of the sage. Humbled, Sage Bhrigu left the place full of praises for Lord Vishnu.

While this should have been the end of the story, it does go on. Goddess Maha Laksmi felt insulted by the way the sage behaved with her beloved husband. She argued that Sage Bhrigu must have been punished. But Lord Maha Vishnu did not agree.

Furious at her husband's action, she left Vaikuntha and settled in the city of Kolhapur. It is said that she began a furious penance at Kolhapur that ended with Lord Maha Vishnu taking the avatar as Lord Venkatachalapati. He pacified and married Goddess Lakshmi in the form of Goddess Padmavati.

The Idol

The idol of Kolhapur Ambabai is made out of black stone. It is around 3-feet tall and has four arms. In each of her hands, she holds a Matulinga (a fruit similar to lemon), a mace called kaumodaka, a shield called Khetaka and a bowl called the panpatra. A lotus called the Padma-Ragini is present. A Shiva Ling and a cobra are also present around the idol. Behind the Goddess, stands a proud lion which is her vehicle.

One Of The Shakti Peethas

The Maha Lakshmi temple is also one of the Shakti peethas. It is said that after killing Daksha, Lord Shiva picked up the body of his burnt wife, Sati, and danced around in a ferocious tandava. The tandava endangered the whole creation. In order to pacify Lord Shiva, Lord Maha Vishnu cut the body of Sati Devi into many pieces with his Sudarshana Chakra.

The pieces of the body fell on to the earth and became the Shakti peethas. The Kolhapur Maha Lakshmi temple is the place where the three eyes of Sati Devi fell on to the ground. This fact makes the place all the more holy.

Mantras To Gain The Blessings Of Ambabai Of Kolhapur

1. || Om Sarvabaadhaa Vinirmukto, Dhan Dhaanyah Sutaanvitah Manushyo Matprasaaden Bhavishyati Na Sanshayah Om ||

2. || Om Shree Mahalakshmyai Cha Vidraahe Vishnu Patrayai Cha Dheemahi Tanno Lakshmi Prachodayat Om ||

3. || Om Shring Shriye Namah ||

4. || Om Hring Kling MahaLakshmyai Namah ||

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