Looking for an extra special and auspicious gift this ? The UK’s Royal Mint has come up with what it hopes will be the answer in the form of a first-of-its-kind gold coin featuring the Hindu Goddess of Wealth – Lakshmi.
The “Lakshmi” bar, a 20 gram gold bar with the Hindu Goddess of Wealth engraved intricately into the precious metal, was designed by Royal Mint designer Emma Noble and follows a close collaboration with the Shree Swaminarayan Temple in . The bar is on sale for £1,080 and characterised by the Royal Mint as reflective of its ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion and an expansion of diverse cultural celebrations in the country.
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Andrew Dickey, Divisional Director for Precious Metals at the Royal Mint, said: “With gold being a traditional and auspicious gift during the Diwali festival, we wanted to develop a product that incorporates both beauty and tradition, but with a modern twist.
“The bar is a shining example of this and we were delighted to work with Nilesh Kabaria of the Shree Swaminarayan Temple in Cardiff to ensure that we represent the Hindu Goddess of Wealth accurately and appropriately.”
The bar, which can be bought from the official Royal Mint website and features an Om symbol on its gift packaging, follows the success of the Mint's 1 gram and 5 gram gold bars in henna-inspired packaging launched last year which proved incredibly popular in the lead up to . The bullion bar will also be blessed at the Shree Swaminarayan Temple’s Diwali ceremony as part of their “Lakshmi Poojan”, attended by Royal Mint representatives on November 4.
Nilesh Kabaria, from the temple, said: “It’s wonderful to see an international brand such as the Royal Mint taking such a considered and active approach to celebrate the Hindu culture within their product range.
“I love the intricate detail that Emma has been able to include on such a small surface, and on my recent visit to see the bar being struck, I was amazed to see the final version with every detail in perfect harmony.”
The Royal Mint says the inspiration came from Lakshmi’s important role in Hindu culture and her iconography used on auspicious gifts used to celebrate special occasions such as weddings and births.
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The bar represents Lakshmi with her four arms symbolic of the four goals of humanity that are considered good in Hinduism – dharma (pursuit of ethical, moral life), artha (pursuit of wealth, means of life), kama (pursuit of love, emotional fulfilment) and moksha (pursuit of self-knowledge, liberation).
In Lakshmi's iconography, she is either sitting or standing on a lotus and typically carrying a lotus in one or two hands. Her lotus carries symbolic meanings of knowledge, self-realisation and liberation in context, and represents reality, consciousness and karma (work, deed) in the Tantra. She is seen surrounded by elephants, which symbolise work, activity and strength, as well as water, rain and fertility for abundant prosperity. An owl signifies the patient striving to observe, see and discover knowledge particularly when surrounded by darkness. As a bird reputedly blinded by daylight, the owl also serves as a symbolic reminder to refrain from blindness and greed after knowledge and wealth has been acquired.