Jyestha the Goddess of misfortunes
Jyestha oftened referred to as Alakshmi or Mudevi (Moodevi) is the elder sister of Lakshmi – the goddess of all wealth and fortunes according to the Hindu scriptures.
A stone relief of Jyestha (goddess)
She is depicted with a pot belly and accompanied with two attendants behind her. She is seen holding a lotus in her right hand and a water pot in her right hand, sometimes a broom along with them.
During the churning of the cosmic ocean, first emerged the poison of halahala. Along with that emerged Jyestha, meaning the ‘elder one’, as she was the one who appeared first. Later on when the poison was devoured by Lord Shiva, came the elixir which was accompanied by Goddess Lakshmi.
Jyestha – having been born along with the emission of poison halahala, was dark complexioned and of ugly appearance. When asked to Gods as to what would be her purpose, Lord Vishnu ordered her to dwell in inauspicious places where malicious people lived. She followed the order and since thus became the symbol of ignorance, lack of knowledge, darkness, poverty, sluggishness, sickness, lies, quarrel, uncleanliness and all possible misfortunes.
Jyestha, sister of lakshmi devi seen near the bottom right corner during churning of cosmic ocean: Wikipedia
As lakshmi was born along with the elusive elixir of immortality, she was destined to be the symbol of knowledge, wealth, prosperity and health. She is considered the younger sister of Jyestha, as she was birthed from the cosmic ocean later to Jyestha.
All malicious and unfortunate events that occurs in human life are attributed to the presence of or due to the actions of Jyestha. A sick person or one who is too lazy to take care and keep themselves clean are said to be under the influence of Jyestha.
Goddess of misfortunes – Jyestha
(This image may be copyrighted) Source: lite.epaper.timesofindia.com
Women of ancient India were known to worship Jyestha with offerings requesting her stay away from their lives. When the head of the household, say the wife is controlled by Jyestha, then the whole family would become despicable. There are certain acts of sloth which initiate the control of Jyestha in one’s life specifically of women. Few such include waking up late after sunrise, refraining from taking early bath, not wearing clean clothes, excessive talking, excessive mindless spending, abstaining from lighting oil lamps before sunset to rid away darkness and such.
An Interesting Story
There exists a folk tale on how the influence of Jyeshta (Mudevi) can debilitate one’s life and that of Sri Devi (Lakshmi) can flourish the same.
Once Lakshmi and her sister Alakshmi (moodevi) visited earth together. A farmer was having a bad time as the monsoons failed and the harvest was very poor. He began to shout at his wife it was because of marrying her that he was facing a series of unfortunate events. He said that she had turned into Alakshmi with such scorn. Alakshmi, who was hearing this with Lakshmi, was very upset that her name was used in such contempt and in times of despair. She told Lakshmi that she will make the farmer’s bad luck go away and thus be relieved from disrespect.
Alakshmi made a pot of gold coins appear in front of the farmer as he was ploughing the fields. He was so glad that his miseries have come to an end. He took the pot back home and explained the incident to his wife. He then asked her to get a weigh balance from the neighbor so they could weight their fortune.
The farmer’s wife went next door and requested their weigh balance. The cunning neighbor lady, in order to find out what they were going to measure, put a sticky mashed tamarind ball on one of the pans in the balance and gave it to the farmer’s wife. When the farmer’s wife returned the balance, as expected, there was gold coin accidentally sticking to the pan. Thus the neighbor lady found out that the farmer and his wife have struck gold. So she and her husband cunningly planned to steal the gold from them.
The next day, when the farmer and his wife were out at the fields, the neighbor lady and her husband broke into their neighbor’s house and stole the pot of gold. The farmer and his wife were totally shocked to see that their gold was lost. He once again got furious and called his wife Alakshmi (moodevi) and it was her fault that their fortune was lost.
Lakshmi and Alakshmi were both witnessing the series of events. Alakshmi told that she would once again help the farmer out of his misery. She made a gold ring appear on the farmer’s path. He was so happy to find it, took it back home and told his wife. He then started wearing it on his finger. One day as he was bathing in a pond, the ring slipped from his finger and got lost. All his best efforts to find it ended up in vain. He went back to his wife and as usual called her Mudevi and insulted her.
Alakshmi in track of the happenings, was determined to reverse the farmer’s misfortunes and make him stop calling his wife by her name. She made a golden necklace appear in the farmer’s way. The farmer took possession of it and wore it around his neck. He went to the pond to bathe. Fearing that the necklace might get lost, he left the necklace at the shore. When he took a dip into the waters and came out, the necklace was gone this time too. He returned back home with disappointment and treated his wife harshly again.
Alakshmi was so sad that none of her attempts to clear the misery of the farmer were successful. Lakshmi devi, who watched all the events with silence, told her sister Alakshmi that it was destiny that Alakshmi could not make anyone’s life better. She also told Alakshmi that if she wanted someone’s life to be prosperous, she should leave them. So she asked Alakshmi to divert her attention from the farmer’s family and that Lakshmi would take care of it.
Alakshmi then stopped trying to help the farmer and then Lakshmi started to watch over the farmer’s daily activities. That morning, the farmer bought a fish from a young boy who was fishing in the village pond. He gave the fish to his wife and asked her to make a meal. The wife asked the farmer to get a coconut from the tree so she could use it to cook the fish. The farmer climbed the coconut tree in his yard and to his surprise found his lost golden necklace on a crow’s nest there.
While this happened, the wife discovered that her husband’s lost golden ring was inside of the fish’s belly she was cutting. Both the husband and wife started screaming in joy, “I found it, its here. I found it!”. The farmer’s neighbor who stole his gold pot came out on hearing the screaming. They saw the farmer on top of the coconut tree, looking towards them and shouting, “I found it!” .
The neighbor couple were panic stricken that the farmer has seen the gold hidden under their roof top through some hole. They thought that the farmer was going to call the villagers and give them street justice for stealing his gold pot. They silently placed the pot of gold in the farmer’s front porch and left the village without notice.
The farmer and his wife’s happiness knew no bounds when they recovered their stolen pot of gold in their front porch. The farmer in the moment of joy, apologized to his wife for calling her ‘Alakshmi’ and that she was the real ‘Lakshmi Devi’ of the family.
Thus Alakshmi’s absence is the only way for prosperity in life.