I had not been to the Ashta (eight) Lakshmi (wealth) temple in ages. Infact, I have no recollection of my last visit to this beautiful temple by the shore. It was by chance when mom and I were visiting the Arupadai Veedu (six abodes of Lord Muruga) that we decided to drop in to the Ashtalakshmi temple down the road.
The temple history states that it was constructed on the behest of Kanchi Chandrashekarendra Saraswati swamigal, famously known as Maha Periava. Each form of the goddess was breathtaking. Ashtalakshmi refers to the eight forms of wealth such as education, wealth, courage, food, bravery, offspring and success. The shrines are built at different levels, which was quite interesting to observe. We also prayed at the Lakshmi Narayana sannidhi, Guruvayrappan (Krishna), Anjaneyar (Hanuman, the monkey god), and Ganapathi (Elephant God).
As much as I enjoyed visiting the temple, I was disappointed by the attitude of the priests. Their eyes were fixated on the purse and few of them emotionally push you to keep some money at the feet of the goddess to earn wealth and prosperity. One of them were also open enough to announce to his colleague that three tourist buses have arrived and they need to make arrangements.
It seems to be the case in a large number of temples these days. I wonder if it because they are poorly paid or is it plain greed?