The Owl as the Vahana of Lashmi
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Devi Lakshmi or Mahalakshmi is one of the Holy Trinity of Hindu Goddesses. The Hindu Goddess of prosperity and wealth, she can be found in Buddhism and Jainism.
The name Lakshmi is derived from the Sanskrit root, 'laksh', which means observation, perception or concentration, and the ability to aim towards objectives or goals. In Hindu myth , She emerged from the Milky Ocean during Samudra Manthan, and went on later to wed Vishnu. Her shortened name, 'Shri', also stands for auspiciousness. Married women in India are addressesed by the title 'Shrimati'.
The Owl, or the Ulooka in Sanskrit, is Devi Lakshmi's vahana [mount or familiar]. Though this bird appears to be the unlikeliest vehicle for the Goddess, there is a deep spiritual significance as to why this creature is her mount.
The owl, in the Bhagavad Gita is likened to an enlightened person and especially one who remains steadfast in the face of either adversity or joy. The owl has a sort of stoical attitude to life engendered by wisdom. Thus in Hindu mythology the Goddess Lakshmi is said to be the mistress of spiritual wisdom. By keeping the owl as her vehicle, she symbolically indicates the wisdom within and also her ability to keep ignorance under control.
The Ulooka is also a bird that sleeps during the day and flies and hunts through the night. In Hindu symbolic thought this ability to ignore the pleasures of the day but seek the spiritual wealth of the night is part of the sadhu’s and spiritual seekers journey. This concept of the night being symbolic of the search for nirvana or enlightenment is not restricted to Hinduism......the Night is symbolic in even Christian mystic thought with the spiritual path – hence St John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul.