The bhakTi

User’s Manual
VOLUME 3 | LakshMi
With Your Bhakta & Yoga Guide stuart Rice
Copyright © 2008 stuart Rice • bhakTi
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced mechanically,
electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying without written
permission of the publisher. The original purchaser is authorized to make one
printed copy for personal use.
Original book design by Calyx Design
Contents
Welcome to the Lakshmi User’s Manual 1
a Brief introduction to Vedic spirituality 1
a Brief introduction to Mantra 2
The Golden shakti 3
Birth from the Ocean of Milk 4
The Shakti of Narayana 5
Lakshmi Puja 6
Lakshmi Mantras: Direct abundance 8
My Personal Experience of Lakshmi Mantra 9
Why Use Lakshmi Mantra 10
Using These Mantras 14
Conclusion 15
abouts 16
About The T-Shirt 16
About bhakTi 17
The Shi va’ s User’ s Manual | 1
Welcome to the Lakshmi User’s
Manual
You’ve bought the T-shirt—now learn more about how to work
with Lakshmi, the Goddess of Abundance. This radiant and beau-
tiful goddess helps us to recognize the resources and gifts that
we have been given to achieve our highest life’s purpose. So read
on, and fnd out how to make Shri Mahalakshmi your co-pilot on
the winding road of life!
A Brief Introduction to Vedic Spiritu-
ality
The Indian subcontinent is home to a rich and varied set of
spiritual traditions, the four most well-known of which are Hindu-
ism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. All four of these traditions
derive from the great Vedic culture that developed in Indian over
thousands of years. Ancient Indian wise men, known as rishis,
spent their time observing the world and engaging in medita-
tions during which they literally heard transcendental truths from
the universe. These observed and heard truths gave rise to Vedic
philosophy, systems of mathematics and astronomy, and one of
the most advanced medical treatment systems in existence at the
time.
In Vedic spirituality, there is a single God known as brahman or is-
vara. However, for Vedic philosophers, brahman is completely im-
personal and all-pervading, the sustaining fabric that makes the
universe possible. Because of its impersonal nature, brahman is
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very diffcult for most people to grasp or comprehend. Therefore,
the rishis personifed specifc aspects of the universe and world.
The observed and experienced cycles of creation, sustenance, and
dissolution or decay were personifed as Brahma, Vishnu, and
Shiva. These three personifcations also have multiple shadings,
depending upon the context in which they are discussed or wor-
shipped. For example, Shiva is the Lord of Destruction, but also is
personifed as the destroyer of spiritual poison (sin), a wild yogic
ascetic (or sadhu), and the embodiment of worldly enjoyment.
A later development was the understanding of shakti, or the
creative, feminine impulse, as an integral part of the world. This
gave rise, and prominence, to the various Goddesses, personify-
ing other aspects of the universe. As manifold as the masculine
manifestations, several key manifestations such as Lakshmi (the
principle of abundance), Durga (the principle of protection), Kali
(the principle of transformation), and Saraswati (the principle of
speech) reoccur in various forms in Vedic thought and writings.
In Vedic spirituality, it is expected that each person will form a
personal connection to brahman through one of these personif-
cations. The term for this is ishta-devata (“chosen deity”). Al-
though the individual directs his or her actions or prayers to this
representation of the divine, it is clearly and deeply understood
that this representation of the divine is a inseparable component
of brahman. Without brahman, neither the individual person nor
the divine representation would exist.
A Brief Introduction to Mantra
In Vedic spirituality, certain sounds represent the concentrated
essence of an aspect of the universe. In their meditation, the
ancient yogins heard these sounds as a kind of music emanating
from brahman. The fundamental unit of these sounds is ॐ, often
rewritten as AUM or OM. From AUM springs all other sounds.
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All of the sacred chants and texts of India begin with an invoca-
tion of the sound of AUM as a way to connect to the energy of
brahman.
The science of subtle sound is known as mantra. Mantra is
a form of empowered speech or chant that unlocks or draws
closer some specifc aspects of the universe. According to the
Vedas, there are nearly 70 million mantras, a practically limitless
amount. A mantra can consist of a single word, a short grouping
of sounds, or an entire chant that interweaves both sacred sounds
and words in Sanskrit. Typically, the sounds that are themselves
mantras, such as shrim (the seed sound of abundance), have no
literal translation. Shrim is not the word for “abundance” but the
vibrational quality that when invoked manifests abundance in
the life of the invoker.
A key difference between mantra and prayer is that prayer typi-
cally takes the form of asking for some specifc outcome or boon
from the divine. A mantra, on the other hand, specifcally and
directly draws an aspect of brahman to the invoker. However, the
other aspect of mantra is that it works in its own way depending
on the needs of the speaker. For example, two people invoking
the mantra for abundance (shrim) or the mantra for protection
(dum) may experience the benefts of these mantras in very dif-
ferent ways. One person might receive an unexpected monetary
raise at work, while the other might fnd that a friend who has
been draining their energy and time suddenly stops calling or
showing up, giving them another form of abundance.
Each god or goddesses has multiple mantras that are invoked for
specifc situations and circumstances. These mantras are most
powerful when the god or goddess invoked is also the ishta-deva-
ta (“chosen deity”) of the speaker, although any mantra invoked
will begin to create an effect in the life of the speaker.
The Golden Shakti
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One of the most sublime hymns to Lakshmi—the Sri Sukta—de-
scribes her in these terms:
Invoke for you O Agni, the Goddess Lakshmi, who shines like gold,
yellow in hue, wearing gold and silver garlands, blooming like
the moon, the embodiment of wealth. O Agni! Invoke for me that
unfailing Lakshmi, blessed by whom, I shall win wealth, cattle,
horses and men. I invoke Lakshmi, who has a line of horses in her
front, a series of chariots in the middle, who is being awakened
by the trumpeting of elephants, who is divinely resplendent. May
that divine Lakshmi grace me. I hereby invoke that Shri (Lakshmi)
who is the embodiment of absolute bliss; who is of pleasant smile
on her face; whose lustre is that of burnished gold; who is wet as
it were, (just from the milky ocean) who is blazing with splendor,
and is the embodiment of the fulfllment of all wishes; who satis-
fes the desire of her votaries; who is seated on the lotus and is
beautiful like the lotus.
Of the many goddesses that represent aspects of the Shakti Ma,
Lakshmi represents all that is beautiful, virtuous, and radiant.
She fgures prominently in many stories, in which she incarnates
along side her divine consort, Vishnu.
Birth from the Ocean of Milk
There are many stories regarding Lakshmi
and her emergence into the world. One of
the most well-known is from the story of the
asuras and devas (demons and angels, re-
spectively) churning the ocean of milk. In
this story, the angels had lost their power by
angering a powerful sage, and consequently,
hosts of demons were allowed to invade the
angels’ realm. For help, the devas went to Vishnu, who recom-
mended that they drink amritam, the divine nectar that would
confer strength and immortality. Naturally, the demons also
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wanted access this miraculous substance. So Vishnu, in his
cleverness, enlisted the demons assistance in releasing the nectar
from the ocean of milk in which it sat.
The angels and the demon began to churn the ocean of milk,
following the directions of Vishnu. As they churned, a number
of miraculous things began to emerge—a divine horse, divine
elephants, and then a radiant being. This beautiful woman ap-
peared standing on a lotus fower, carrying lotus fowers in her
hand and wearing a lotus wreath around her neck. Immediately,
the sages began singing her praises. The elephants from the
ocean of milk showered her with water, blessing her with sacred
energies of the Ganges.
Later, Lakshmi would take Vishnu as her husband. Lakshmi, as
the goddess of abundance and virtue, complemented the role of
Vishnu as the sustainer of the world, and the restorer of balance.
The shakti of Narayana
In other versions of Lakshmi’s story, she appears at the very
beginning of creation. In this story, Lakshmi is the shakti, the cre-
ative power, of the Narayana, the source of creation (brahman).
In the beginning, there was darkness
signifying the presence of Absence. In
the midst of this blackness appears a
slumbering blue fgure, foating in this
darkness. Out of the navel of this fgure
sprouts a lotus fower, growing and
growing, until it opens. Out of the open
fower begins to emerge a four-headed
being. As this fgure begins to emerge,
from the head of the sleeping fgure emerges two negative be-
ings, swimming in the darkness towards the four-headed being.
In alarm, the four-headed being attempts to stir the sleeping blue
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fgure awake. Suddenly, a female fgure emerges and speaks to
the four-headed being, “What is it?”
The four-headed being points to the negative beings and say,
“They mean to do me harm; please destroy them.” The beings
speak saying, “We have done nothing.” In response, the woman
speaks to the beings, “I understand everything. You are banished
to the farthest reaches of the universe which will be created. It
will take you eons before you will return to where life shall be. So
be it.” Immediately, the beings disappear.
The four-headed fgure, now fully emerged from the lotus, speaks
to the woman and asks, “Who are you?” She replies, “I am Lak-
shmi. I am the power of he who slumbers, just as I shall be your
power in another form.”
The four-head fgure suddenly feels a presence along side of him.
He turns, and fnds yet another feminine fgure. This feminine
fgure speaks, saying, “I am Saraswati, the source of your power,
and you are Brahma. Lakshmi, through me, will act through you.”
Immediately, Brahma feels irresistible desire to speak, and intones
a deep OM. From this pulse, the entire universe begins to emerge,
encased in a bubble of light. From the heart of blue fgure comes
a bolt of energy that strikes the bubble and scatters the universe
around the darkness.
“So,” says the voice of Lakshmi, “you desire to create the world.
Therefore, I will be the power in the world, until such time as the
entire universe returns onto you. Some call you Narayana, some
Mahashiva. It matters not. You are what You are, and I am Your
Power.”
Lakshmi Puja
A puja is a ceremony used to honor a god or goddess, as well as
a way to gain his or her blessing. This puja sequence honors the
Goddess Lakshmi. It is often performed on her most sacred day
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in India, known as Diwali. This festival of lights honors several
key events and fgures in India’s history, and culminates with the
day honoring Mahalakshmi.
This puja should be performed during diwali. You can also per-
form this puja when initiating a new venture that you hope to be
successful. Many of the items mentioned in this sequence can be
found at Indian groceries or speciality stores.
Spread a new cloth on a raised platform. Place a handful of 1.
grains in the center and, on this, place a pitcher made of gold,
silver, copper, or terracotta. Fill three-fourth of the pitcher with
water and place a betel nut, a flower, a coin, and some rice
grains in it. Arrange mango leaves in the pitcher.
Place a small dish on the pitcher and fill it with rice grains. 2.
Draw a lotus with turmeric powder over the rice grains and
place a small statute or image of Lakshmi over it, along with
coins.
In front of the pitcher, place a statue or image of Ganesha. 3.
Also place ink and books related to your business or occupa-
tion on the platform.
Light a lamp and begin the puja by offering turmeric, kumkum 4.
(a blend of spices), and flowers to the platform on which the
pitcher is placed.
Then offer haldi, kumkum , and flowers to the water that is to 5.
be used for the puja. Invoke the river goddesses to be part of
this water.
Sprinkle this water on all puja utensils to purify them. 6.
Offer haldi, kumkum , and flowers to the pitcher on which the 7.
idol of Lakshmi is placed.
Invoke goddess Lakshmi by reciting the Vedic mantras ad- 8.
dressed to her (see below). Alternately, simply take some
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flowers in your hands, close your eyes, and think of goddess
Lakshmi being showered with gold coins by two elephants
standing on either side of Her and chant Her name. Then offer
the flowers to the statue or image.
Place the idol of Lakshmi in a plate and bathe it with water or 9.
milk. Wipe the idol clean and place it back on the pitcher.
Offer perfume, a mala, and flowers to the Goddess. 10.
Light an incense stick and dhoop . Make an offering of sweets, 11.
or fruit.
Then worship the ink and business books. Open the first page 12.
of each book and write ‘’Shubha Labh ‘’ on it and draw a swas-
tika in the clockwise direction.
Make an offering of puffed rice and batasha. Pour some 13.
puffed rice, batasha, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds over the
idol. Collect some of this as a sacred offering and place it in
the safe where you keep money and jewelry.
Finally, listen to the hymn ( 14. arati) to Lakshmi. While listening to
this arati, focus on the sources of abundance in your life, and
commit to a continuous awareness of that abundance.
Take some time at the end of the puja to feel the energy that
you have created, and to feel it resonate within you. Recall this
energy when you are feeling a sense of lack in your life.
Lakshmi Mantras: Direct Abundance
Of all the Gods and Goddesses for whom I have done mantra,
Lakshmi is the one with whom I feel the most personal and direct
connection. This is partly due to the fact that Lakshmi is the
ruling goddess of my Vedic astrological chart. It is also because
I have committed much of my mantra practice to mantras and
prayers dedicated to this most merciful and radiant goddess.
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My Personal Experience of Lakshmi Mantra
When I began my practice of mantra, it was specifcally to and
for Lakshmi. I was beginning a new life, and I asked my spiritual
advisor how I should honor my new space. She suggested setting
up an altar to the Goddess. I purchased a statue of Lakshmi from
a local store and a low table on which to place her. I was laying
out my apartment using feng shui, and I ended up placing the
altar in my marriage corner. A friend consequently joked that I
was marrying myself to Lakshmi. At the time, that was probably
a true statement.
On the altar table I placed two lotus shaped candle holders, as
well as fresh arrangements of fowers. I also placed two stones,
one in green and in pink (Lakshmi’s predominant colors). I
clothed the statue in a scarf, and also placed two images of Lak-
shmi on either side of her.
I began my practice of Lakshmi mantra by performing 108 repeti-
tions of her basic mantra (see below). I found that while doing
this, I would sometimes feel a great deal of peace and comfort;
at other times, I would be on an emotional roller coaster. In spite
of these emotional highs and lows, my mantra practice became a
rock that gave me strength and steadiness throughout my day.
As I continued my mantra practice, I began to notice the steady
fow of abundance that was moving towards me. It came in the
form of spiritual abundance frst. I began to experience a rush
of understandings regarding the energetic aspects of my body,
such as the chakras. I also received knowledge of new spiritual
traditions. This opened up a whole new direction for my practice
of yoga, giving it a richness and shape that it did not have previ-
ously.
Abundance also arrived in the form of relationships: new friends
and the restrengthening of old relationships. As Lakshmi is also
the goddess who gives new romantic relationships, I also ended
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up meeting a wonderful person who ended up becoming my
partner. Each of my new and rekindled relationships added to my
sense of abundance in my life.
I continue to give my energies to Mahalakshmi, and to thank her
for all the ways that abundance manifests in my life. She is a
source of great comfort and beauty in my life, and I give to her all
the fruits of my successes in all areas of my life, and thank her for
the times when I do not succeed, so that I can learn from them.
Om shri mahalakshmi-ki jai!
Why Use Lakshmi Mantra
From my experience, all mantra is effective, even when you do
not have a direct relationship with the energy on which you are
calling. Also, I have found that mantras aligned with a specifc
divine representation manifest in a way that refects the god or
goddesses qualities. For example, you want to do some mantra
work to overcome an issue or confict at home with a partner who
isn’t, ultimately, right for you. If you use mantras associated with
Lakshmi, the representation of abundance, you will begin to see
the abundance of positive things in your life that you may not be
able to enjoy because of the relationship; this will give you a gen-
tle prompting that maybe you need to reconsider how you value
yourself and the relationship. If you use mantras associated with
Kali, on the other hand, you and your partner will get right down
to brass tacks, push egos and feelings aside, and really asses if
this is even the right situation for each of you. If it isn’t, you’ll
likely feel empowered to part ways and get back on track.
Working with Lakshmi is usually a very supported and pleasant
experience. Any issues related to abundance can be directed
to Lakshmi and she will respond in the way that is most helpful
for your dharmic growth. Lakshmi’s abundance is said to take
multiple forms, based on the forms in which she appears. Some
of these forms include abundances of:
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Food 1.
Courage 2.
Children 3.
Victory 4.
Spiritual Knowledge 5.
Property 6.
Money 7.
Any or all of these may come to you with Lakshmi mantra.
One thing to remember about Lakshmi is that she embodies
virtue and beauty, and consequently appreciates those things in
her worship. For this reason, it is said in India that Lakshmi will
not come to those who do not attend to the order or cleanliness
of their home. In vedic philosophy, these principles are known as
sukha and sauca. Maintaining the physical and spiritual cleanli-
ness of your inner and outer spaces will allow Lakshmi’s energy to
work more effciently and effectively.
Also, Lakshmi is not a goddess who will do for those who refuse
to do for themselves. She supports those who work actively and
continuously on themselves and their goals. For this reason, it is
also important to engage in the right actions while propitiating
Lakshmi. Do not just sit there waiting for abundance! Take ac-
tion towards abundance, and Lakshmi will facilitate a successful
outcome.
Basic Mantras for abundance
The most basic mantra for Lakshmi consists of her seed sound.
This seed sound represents the essence of abundance, and can be
used as a starting point for working with the goddess.
Mantra: Shrim
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This is bija mantra, or seed sound, of Lakshmi Pronounced like
“shreem”, this sound is said to represent the energy of Lakshmi.
Shrim will create a feld around you that attracts the principle of
abundance and repels thoughts of limitation and lack.
Mantra: Om Shrim Mahalakshmiyei Namaha
An expanded version of the seed sound presented above. Ma-
halakshmi is another form of the name of Lakshmi. The sound
“yei” activates the energy of the mantra. The word “namaha”
means “to honor.” This mantra activates and honors the energy
of Lakshmi and welcomes her into our lives.
Mantra: Om Gum Shrim Klim Mahalakshmiyei Swaha
Lakshmi and Ganesha are often connected. Ganesha is the god
who clears the way for new beginnings. His seed sound is gum
which unblocks the path towards success. Klim is principle of
attraction, a sound that draws energies towards us. Combin-
ing these seed sounds with Lakshmi’s bija mantra helps to open
the path when there are great obstacles. While this mantra still
requires us to focus on the right actions, it will help create a
greater sense of abundance when we face obstacles that seem
insurmountable.
Deeper Mantra Work
These mantras are more complex versions of the basic mantra.
While they are not necessarily more effective than the mantras
above, they evoke more nuanced versions of the Lakshmi’s ener-
gies. They are also excellent mantras when you are ready to
deepen your practice of Lakshmi mantra.
Mantra:
Om Shrim Hrim Shrim Kamale Kamlalaye Praside Praside
Om Shrim Hrim Shrim Mahalakshmiyei Namaha
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This mantra is a longer form of the foundational mantra “Om
Shrim Mahalakshmiyei Swaha.” Hrim is another seed mantra
that calls upon the divine soul to remove the illusion of the world.
“Kamale” means the one who sits in lotus, referring to Lakshmi as
the lotus dwelling one. “Praside” means to be gracious. The frst
line asks for the beautiful, lotus-dwelling Lakshmi to be gracious
to us as we pray to her for assistance. The second line invokes
the foundational mantra to Lakshmi. This mantra requires more
surrender from us, as we lay our desires at the feet of the goddess
to do with as she will.
Mantra:
Siddhi Buddhi Pradadevi, Bhukti Mukti Pradayini
Mantra Murte Sadadevi, Mahalakshmi Namostute
This mantra comes from the Shri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam Stotram,
the “Eight-Lines in Praise of the Goddess Lakshmi.” Composed
by Indra (the lord of the devas), the Ashtakam Stotram highlights
different aspects of goddess’s manifestations. In this mantra, In-
dra praises Lakshmi in this way: “O Devi, you are accomplishment,
wisdom, enjoyment, and liberation; you whose form is expressed
sublimely through your mantra, I bow to thee.” This mantra calls
upon all of Lakshmi’s gifts of abundance, giving us success in
both spiritual matters and material ones.
Mantra:
Om Lakshmi Vam Sri Kamaladharam Svaha
This mantra helps to attract specifcally material wealth into one’s
life. The sound vam can mean “to emit” or “send forth.” It also
can be the seed sound of the water element. Dharam can mean
“possessing” and also refers to gold given to represent earthly
wealth. Thus, the esoteric meaning of this mantra can be said
to mean, “I offer this prayer to the Water-Born, Lotus Dwelling
Lakshmi to bring forth earthly richness. Remember when using
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this mantra that earthly wealth may or may not proceed if it is
not karmically or dharmically necessary for you.
Mantra:
Om Mahadevi Cha Vidmahe Vishnu-patni
Cha Dhimahi Tanno Lakshmihi Prachodayat
This mantra is known as the Gayatri for Lakshmi. The gayatri
mantras are ancient hymns to the gods and goddesses. The Lak-
shmi Gayatri translates to “May we honor the Goddess Lakshmi,
the wife of Vishnu. May the blessed Lakshmi enlighten us!” This
is a wonderful mantra if you feel deeply connected to Lakshmi
and seek to create a long term practice devoted to her. Using
this mantra will propitiate the goddess in all matters related to
abundance.
Using These Mantras
The more you use a mantra the more powerful its effects will
be. You can begin with 18 repetitions of the mantra frst thing in
the morning, ensuring that you keep your attention focused on
your purpose in using the mantra. Remember when setting your
purpose that the specifc outcome is based on what you most
need, not what you most want. Regardless of your intent, remem-
ber that Lakshmi values both clarity and purity, so making your
practice space both clean and beautiful facilitates the power of
her mantras.
If you would like to create a more powerful practice surrounding
a particular Lakshmi mantra, you can perform your mantra at
the hour before dawn or at dusk, both of which are considered
particularly pure (or sattvic) times of the day. If you have an
altar or other sacred space, you can place an image of Shiva on
it, along with a small offering of milk, sandalwood, honey, ghee,
and a lit candle. The offering does not need to be large, but
it should heartfelt. Take a moment to center yourself in both
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breath and mind, sitting quietly and setting your intention. Begin
by intoning AUM and then perform 108 repetitions of your cho-
sen mantra. At the end of 108 repetitions intone AUM again and
then rest quietly in the vibration of the mantra. Bring your hands
together at your heart (anjali mudra) and bow your head to end
your practice.
Conclusion
Lakshmi is a radiant and pure goddess that represents all sources
of abundance in our lives. She stands ready to help those who
are willing to do the work to evolve and change themselves. For
people who prepare their body, mind, and home through atten-
tion to cleanliness, spaciousness, and beauty, she is an ever-will-
ing supporter.
Lakshmi reminds us that there are many forms of abundance, and
that by experiencing and embracing all of them, we can lead
truly rich lives. May the blessings of this most compassationate
and loving mother rain down on you continuously!
Om shri shri shri 1008 shri mahalakshmi-ki jai!
The Shi va’ s User’ s Manual | 16
Abouts
about The T-shirt
The T-shirt that started it all! When I frst conceived the idea for
T-shirts, I began with the idea of doing some simple phrases with
cool graphics. But when Richard Miller of Calyx Design and I be-
gan to bounce ideas of each other, I envisioned a series of shirts
refecting the graphic styles of different eras.
For Lakshmi, I frst started with the idea of her in a 1950s era car,
and the idea of the goddess as my co-pilot. Richard really ran
with it, coming up with the idea of Lakshmi as a Doris Day-like
Hollywood (Bollywood!) starlet. The gloves, the eyeglasses, the
billowing scarf, the fabulous vintage car—it was all so perfect. I
must admit, I thought we were done with the frst draft. Richard
spent some time cleaning up the illustration, and making Lak-
shmi even more fabulous.
I was so pleased with the T-shirt. It was awesome to see Lak-
shmi in all of her glory, and it launched the whole line of bhakTi
initial Draft
© Calyx Designs
4UVBSU 3JDFi-BLTINJ JTNZ $PQJMPUw5TIJSU
v1.1. rough slotch
7.15.08
,
>HPEJ
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FPJ
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0FILQ
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apparel. Offerings and much love to Mahalakshmi for all of her
blessings!
about bhakTi
bhakTi is a company that focuses on creating tools for mind/
body expansion. Founded in 2008 by Stuart Rice as a sole propri-
etorship, bhakTi is committed to providing classes, workshops,
immersions, retreats, and products that move the heart, mind,
and spirit of each person who works with us.
The word “bhakti” in Sanskrit means “devotion,” and is also a par-
ticular yoga path marked by a commitment to a path of love and
service. Our logo includes the face of Hanuman, the consummate
spiritual warrior who found his life purpose by serving the divine
faithfully and completely. From his devotion came the ability to
perform incredible feats. Hanuman’s life and his use as our logo
reminds those of us at bhakTi that the smallest act becomes great
when it is infused with love.
Our website at stuartrice.com contains a full list of our current
services and products. Please visit us soon and fnd the tools to
open your mind and heart!
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