Lakshmi (लक्ष्मी) is a goddess of love and prosperity, and the embodiment of beauty, grace, and charm. She is the wife of Vishnu and is usually depicted sitting or standing on a fully bloomed lotus, holding a lotus flower in one of her four hands as a symbol of beauty, purity, and fertility. She is believed to bring good luck to all who worship her.
EDIT: It was in no way my intention to imply that Hinduism is an extinct system of beliefs, which it absolutely isn’t. In this case I considered the particular deity as a part of the mythology within the religion, and didn’t intend to suggest that the religion itself is forgotten and not practised today. A thank-you to masalamermaid for pointing out my mistake and their eloquent explanation of why they were offended. If I left the impression of considering Hinduism as a mythology and by doing so offended anyone, I take full responsibility for said mistake. It was truly not my intention to offend anyone and I apologize.
“The meanings of Diwali, its symbols and rituals, and the reasons for celebration are innumerable. Diwali celebrates Lord Rama’s glorious and long-awaited return to his Kingdom of Ayodhya after his fourteen long years of exile in the forests. It commemorates Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon Narakaasura who had kidnapped and terrorized the gopis of Vrindavan. When the evil Naraka was finally killed by Bhagwan Krishna and Satyabhaama, he begged pitifully for mercy; thus, upon his entreaties, it was declared that this day of his death would be celebrated with great joy and festivity. It is also celebrated as the day Bhagwan Vishnu married Maha Lakshmi.
Diwali is also associated with the story of the fall of Bali - a demon king who was conquered by Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu appeared to the demon king Bali in the form of a dwarf and requested only three steps of land. The evil and egotistic Bali granted the drawf’s meager request of only three feet. Suddenly, Lord Vishnu took on His grand size and placed one foot on the Earth, another on the Heavens and His third on the head of the evil Bali.
In general, Diwali signifies the triumph of good over evil, of righteousness over treachery, of truth over falsehood, and of light over darkness.
Additionally, Diwali is the holy time in which we offer our prayers to Maha Lakshmi and we worship Her with piety and devotion. Maha Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, bestowing these abundantly upon Her devotees.
On Diwali, we must pray to Maha Lakshmi to bestow real prosperity upon us, the prosperity that brings light to our lives and sparkle to our eyes. We must pray for an abundance of faith, not money; we must pray for success in our spiritual lives, not a promotion at work; we must pray for the love of God, not the love of the beautiful girl or boy in our class.
Diwali is a holiday of joy; it is the time when we gather with loved ones, celebrating our family, our friends and the prosperity God has bestowed upon us.
Diwali also marks the new year. In the joyous mood of this season, we clean our homes, our offices, our rooms, letting the light of Diwali enter all the corners of our lives. We begin new checkbooks, diaries and calendars. It is a day of “starting fresh.”
On this day we clean every room of the house; we dust every corner of the garage, we sweep behind bookshelves, vacuum under beds and empty out cabinets. But, what about our hearts? When was the last time we swept out our hearts? When did we last empty them of all the dirt and garbage that has accumulated throughout our lives?
That is the real cleaning we must do. That is the real meaning of “starting fresh.” We must clean out our hearts, ridding them of darkness and bitterness; we must make them clean and sparkling places for God to live. We must be as thorough with ourselves as we are with our homes. Are there any dark corners in our hearts we have avoided for so long? Are we simply “sweeping all the dirt under the rug?” God sees all and knows all. He knows what is behind every wall of our hearts, what is swept into every corner, and what is hidden under every rug. Let us truly clean out our hearts; let us rid ourselves of the grudges, pain, and anger that clutter our ability to love freely. Let us empty out every nook and cranny, so that His divine light can shine throughout!”
"There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading in the same direction, so it doesnt matter which path you take. The only one wasting time is the one who runs around and around the mountain, telling everyone else that their path is wrong.”
Bhagavati Mahalakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity, does not merely mean the Goddess of wealth in a material sense. Lakshmi does not mean only gold and silver. Lakshmi means prosperity in general, positive growth in the right direction, a rise into the higher stages of evolution. This is the advent of Lakshmi. Progress and prosperity are Lakshmi. ~ Krishnananda