Dea on Garuda

O Mahalakshmi I salute thee,
Mounted art thou on the back of Garuda,
Thou art a terror most formidable to Asura Kola,
Thou removest all sins,
O Dea Mahalakshmi, obeisance to Thee,
Mahalakshmi, thou knowest all.

Garuda is the great Bird (depicted sometimes as an eagle, sometimes as an owl) Sri Lakshmi’s seat thereon indicates her transcendence of the material world and is also seen as the vantage-point from which She rescues Her devotees from the turbulent ocean of Samsara. Garuda is also a warlike creature thus emphasising again the Vikhelic and protective nature of Dea.

Sri Lakshmi is the destroyer of the demon (asura) Kola, who is the symbol of ignorance. Thus her defeat of the demon, while mythologically represented as a single event is in fact a continuing reality. Ignorance here is especially that ignorance (avidya) which keeps us ensnared in the illusion of Samsara. We must understand that Vikhelic, or warlike, symbology, while it may have literal protective qualities against the actual dark forces of the cosmos, also refers to the struggle against what is imperfect in ourselves.

For the full hymn and commentary:
The Great Hymn of Mahalakshmi