By David R. Kinsley
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Additional info for Hindu goddesses : visions of the divine feminine in the Hindu religious tradition
In images of the Laksmi-Narayana type, Laksmi is usually depicted seated on Visnu's left thigh. Her right hand is around his neck while his left arm encircles her waist. 45 Sometimes the two are shown holding hands,46 and it is not unusual for them to be shown gazing into each other's eyes. The intimacy of the two, indeed, their underlying unity, is dramatically shown in images in which they are merged into one bisexual figure, Visnu constituting the right half of the figure and Laksmi the left.
Myths of Siva's exclusion from the sacrifice thus has considerable historical justification. Siva was undoubtedly a non-Aryan indigenous deity who was looked upon with considerable suspicion by the Brahman custodians of the sacrificial cult. His association with world renunciation, asceticism, and the powers of fertility as symbolized by the linga probably marked him as a deity who belonged to the fringes of society from the point of view of the Brahman establishment. The antagonism between Siva and Daksa probably reflects this underlying conflict.
When Sri comes forth from the ocean, she is naturally attracted to Visnu, the god who is obviously superior to the others. Conversely, Visnu, as the divine overseer of the event, is the natural recipient of the treasures that result from the churning. As the master of ceremonies, Visnu is entitled to the lovely goddess who emerges as a result of the efforts of the gods and demons. Visnu's royal nature is also significant in Srl's association with him. ) Visnu is considered the divine king par excellence.