1. After having seen Sri (Lakshmî), the goddess of the earth, highly pleased, questioned (in the following manner) that goddess, who was stroking the feet of Vishnu, the god of the gods, who was shining with the splendour of her austerities, and whose face was radiant like melted gold.
2. 'O charming lady! Thy hands are as beautiful as the expanded red lotus. Thou art holding the feet of him whose navel resembles the expanded red lotus. Thou art constantly residing in an abode resembling the expanded red lotus. Thy waist has the colour of the expanded red lotus.
3. 'Thy eyes resemble blue lotus-flowers; thy hue is radiant like gold; thy robe is white; thy body is adorned with gems; thy face is radiant like the moon; thou art resplendent like the sun; thy power is immense; thou art the sovereign (or producer) of the world.
4. 'Thou art repose (final liberation), the highest among the (four) objects of human pursuit; thou art Lakshmî; thou art a support (in danger); thou art Srî; thou art indifference (the freedom from all worldly pursuits and appetites, which is the consequence of final emancipation); thou art victory;
[4. The 'four objects of human pursuit' are, kâma, 'desire' (and its gratification), artha, 'gain,' dharma, 'religious merit,' and moksha, 'final emancipation.' The goddess is called Lakshmî, because she is the aim (lakshyate) of all beings. She is called Srî, because she serves Purushottama (Vishnu), or because she is the resort of all. (Nand.)]
thou art beauty; thou art the splendour (of the sun and moon personified); thou art renown; thou art prosperity; thou art wisdom; thou art the power of expression; thou art the Purifier.
5. 'Thou art the food of the manes; thou art forbearance; thou art the earth (or the repository of wealth); thou art fixity; thou art the basis (or stability); thou art the source of the benefit derived from sacrifices; thou art highest prudence; thou art wide-spread renown; thou art freedom from envy; thou art the food given to the gods; thou art mental power; thou art intelligence.
6. 'As the first of the gods (Vishnu) pervades the whole aggregate of the three worlds (sky, atmosphere, and earth), even so doest thou, O black-eyed bestower of gifts. Yet I inquire for the dwelling, in which thy superhuman power is residing.'
7. The goddess of the earth having thus spoken to her, Lakshmî, standing by the side of the chief of the gods, enunciated the following answer: 'I am constantly at the side of the brilliant destroyer of Madhu, O goddess, who shinest like gold.
8. 'But learn from me, where I reside (besides), O support of the world, from the instruction of him, whom I am constantly reflecting upon in my mind, and whom the virtuous call the husband of Srî, and from my own recollection.
9. 'I reside in the sun, in the moon, and in the cloudless atmosphere in which the flock of the stars is spread out. (I reside) in that cloud, from which the waters of the rain pour down, in that cloud
[6. Lakshmî is said to pervade everything, like Vishnu himself, because she is his Sakti, i. e. his energy or active power personified as his wife. (Nand.)]
which is adorned with Indra's bow and in that cloud from which the rays of lightning flash forth.
10. '(I reside) in bright gold and silver, and in spotless gems and clothes, O goddess of the earth. (I reside) in rows of whitewashed palaces and in temples decorated with the attributes of deities.
11. '(I reside) in fresh cow-dung, in a noble elephant in rut, in a horse exulting in his vigour, in a proud bull, and in a Brâhmana who studies the Veda.
12. 'I reside in a throne, in an Âmalaka (Dhâtrî) shrub, in a Bel tree, in an umbrella, in a shell (trumpet), in a lotus-flower; in blazing fire, and in a polished sword or mirror.
13. 'I reside in jars filled with water and in painted (halls), in which there are chowries and fans; in splendid golden vessels, and in earth recently thrown up.
14. '(I reside) in milk, butter, fresh grass, honey, and sour milk; in the body of a married woman, in the frame of an unmarried damsel, and in the frame of (images of) gods, of ascetics, and of officiating priests.
15. '(I reside) in an arrow, in one who, has returned (victorious) from battle, and in one who has fallen on the field of honour and proceeded to a scat in heaven; in the sound of (repeating) the Veda, in the flourish of the shell (trumpet), in the sacrificial exclamations addressed to the gods and to the manes, and in the sound of musical instruments.
16. '(I reside) in the consecration of a king, in the marriage ceremony, in a sacrifice, in a bridegroom, in one who has washed his head, in white flowers, in mountains, in fruits, in (islets in the
middle of a river and other) pleasant spots, and in large streams.
17. '(I reside) in lakes filled with water, in (pure) waters, and in ground covered with fresh grass, in a wood abounding in lotuses (and fruits), in a newborn infant, in a suckling, in one exulting in joy, in a virtuous man, and in one wholly bent upon practising the law.
18. '(I reside) in a man who observes approved usages, in one who constantly acts up to the sacred law, in one modestly, and in one splendidly attired, in one who keeps his organs of sense and his mind under control, in one free from sin, in one whose food is pure, and in one who honours his guests.
19. '(I reside) in one who is satisfied with his own wife (and does not covet other men's wives), in one bent upon doing his duty, in one eminently virtuous, in one who refrains from eating too often (i. e. three or four times a day), in one constantly adorned with flowers, in one who associates with such as anoint their limbs with fragrant unguents, in one who is scented with perfumes (himself), and in one adorned (with bracelets and ear-rings).
20. '(I reside) in one habitually veracious, in one friendly towards all creatures, in a married householder, in one forbearing, in one free from wrath, in one skilled in his own business, and in one skilled in other men's business, in one who never thinks of any but propitious things, and in one constantly humble.
.21. '(I reside) in women who wear proper ornaments always, who are devoted to their husbands, whose speeches are kind, who keep up saving habits, who have sons, who keep their household utensils in
good order, and who are fond of offering domestic oblations.
22. '(I reside) in women who keep the house clean (by scouring it, plastering it with cow-dung, and the like), who keep their organs, of sense under control, who are not quarrelsome, contented, strictly, observing the law, and charitable; and I always reside in the destroyer of Madhu.
23. 'I do not remain separated from Purushottama for a single moment.'