top of page

The Secret of Abundance

Musings by Veronica

OM hrim shreem Maha Lakshmiyei Namaha

There's a story we often tell in yoga about tapas (the heat/friction involved in the process of purification or transformation). In the story there is a sculptor who a beautiful piece of marble that they want to carve. The slab is too big to move so it is split in two and brought back to the sculptor's studio. The sculptor begins to work with the first piece of marble, but each time he uses his tools to begin to chisel and carve the marble, he hears moans and groans of pain. Disturbed by the sounds, the sculptor puts that piece aside and begins to carve the second piece of marble. This one makes no sound and in time a magnificent statue is created. The sculptor is very proud of the piece and wants people to be able to enjoy it, even make offerings to the being in whose likeness it was formed. So he takes the second piece of marble and lays it in front of the statue for people to stand on while they enjoy the statue. Many, many people come and shower the statue with offerings and praise and attention. At the end of the day, when everyone has left, the piece of first piece of marble says to the statue, "I don't understand. Why does everyone come to admire you, worship you, praise your beauty while they just stand on me with no thought at all? We are made of the same marble, so why do you get praise and I am ignored?"

The statue replies, "When the sculptor was working with you, you complained at every bit of pain and so you could not be transformed and the sculptor let you stay as you are. I bore the pain with patience and without complaint and something beautiful was revealed. That is what is different."

We usually tell this story to illustrate the concept of how to gracefully accept the conditions that irritate us and to use our irritation as an opportunity to practice those qualities that are challenging to remember in those moments- patience, compassion, tolerance, gratitude. The key to tapas is accepting what comes as a way to refine our own understanding of ourselves, to apply what is in alignment with dharma when it is the most inconvenient and unsatisfying. What if, instead of tapas, we look at this story as what it means to manifest or to make something "real"? "Real" is a tricky word in yoga. We are told that what we perceive as reality in the material world is not quite "real" because it is always in a state of fluctuation. It is always changing. What you see as a tree today may in fact be a chair tomorrow and then nothing but a pile of ashes in a few years (if the chair ends up in a fire). So which form is real? When does the tree cease to be a tree and become something else? The answer we are given is that, the essence of the tree has not changed at all- it is what it is regardless of how the external form is changing. This Truth is the same for all things that exist. What you see on the outside may always be transforming, but the essence of what it is remains unchanged. External reality itself is like the manifestation of a great sculptor. The material is Brahman (formless, eternal energy). As it appears as many forms, relationships form, evolution occurs and fulfillment happens as a form reaches the pinnacle of its potential. And then eventually the form dissolves and what is left is what always was- Brahman.

Lakshmi is the energy of manifestation. She is the means through which things are ushered into the material world. She bridges the space between imagination, intention, and desire and the physical world. She is also the energy that creates and sustains the conditions that maintain balance in the physical world (like her consort, Vishnu, She upholds the integrity of dharma). When we look at Lakshmi as abundance or prosperity, and those things are left as vague abstracts, it is a little like making a wish and hoping someone will come along and fulfill it for us (i.e. make it so that we can feel fulfilled). Lakshmi does not wait on us. She aligns herself with what we truly wish to make real in the world and empowers us (and the world around us) to manifest the conditions needed to bring those desires to fruition. What we forget is that this process is not without effort or participation. We have to be willing to accept abundance into our lives and our inner worlds and that means we have to be willing to change, to move with conditions in the world to make our desires possible. It is not Lakshmi who decides what our prosperity is going to be- She simply gives us what is in alignment with what we believe is "real" and what we say we "want" (whether those wants are verbalized or not makes no difference). To be truly connected to abundance we have to be like the marble in the story- we have to be willing to change and to let change occur. If you've ever seen a beautiful diamond (or any gem) or a pearl, what you are admiring is the result of extended periods of pressure and irritation! A diamond doesn't form naturally from the Earth without pressure. A pearl is an oyster's way of shielding itself from an irritant that it cannot get rid of. Beauty is made from unexpected, and probably undesired, conditions. And ALL of it- the diamonds and pearls, the irritants, the pressure, the oyster, and what it still takes to make those gems shine- is Lakshmi. When we celebrate not just the final result of effort, but the actual moment- to- moment process of becoming, then our abundance becomes REAL (no quotation marks) and can never leave us. And fulfillment comes in all forms and in all ways because we become the vessel of manifestation. Lakshmi, the grace and infinite potential of Brahman, moves through us and touches the world with Her shimmering glow. All things, even the irritants, become blessings.

In the mantra above are the bija (seed sounds) for Maya ("illusion") and for Lakshmi herself in Her greatest, most auspicious form (Maha). May all of your truest desires be made real and may you be willing to become the holder of your bliss and your fulfillment. May enlightenment fall upon you unexpectedly and when you are the least prepared. May you become engrossed and in awe of the step on the path you are currently taking and bless the road ahead and that which is past. May you remember that you are Brahman shining through the diamond of the Atman (individualized Soul), illuminating the world to reveal its beauty in all forms and in all ways.

Happy Navaratri!

OM shanti, shanti, shanti

P.S. I almost titled this "Dirt, Sweat, & Tears"- the most profound offerings we can make to ourselves as we seek to become Real(ized) and manifest who we truly are.

90 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All



bottom of page