She opened her eyes drowsily and looked straight into a hundred and twenty crore staring eyes. They were arrayed ad infinitum to either side of Her, while She hovered above the centre of the line, at the point of origin of the world, at the centre of the Ocean of Milk. The foam of the Ocean was the colour of her skin, the precise colour of that pale golden cream which rises on patiently boiled milk. The ocean was still frothing, though the churning had paused momentarily. Below Her was craggy Mandara, below that was the ocean , and within its depth She sensed two ancient reptilian Eyes.
The winds began to blow, vying among themselves to bring to Her delicate porcelain nose the best of the fragrances they had gleaned in their roaming over the vast empty expanses of the universe. Of them, She chose one, a fragrance that was light, pink, and carried with it a puzzling sense of being on the point of decadence, the rot that was just about to set in from over-ripeness. At once a large pregnant bloom opened its pink petals under Her, and She sat back on its domed centre.
The Apsaras, themselves newly born of the foam that birthed Her, appointed themselves Her maids-in-waiting. They hurriedly picked a hundred more lotuses and wove them into garlands to lay about Her golden neck. The lord of the waters brought up gold and kuruvinda rubies from the depths of his dominions. The gold he first drew into thread, then wove it to make Her raiment, setting it with the rubies and stringing yet more of the gems to lay with the lotuses about Her shoulders and arms.
The Elephant Clouds came riding upon the winds. From their trunks they rained Purity over her head. It washed down inside Her, glowing and fiery, becoming one with the creaminess of ocean foam and lotus petals. It infused Her till it became Her essence. It was then She truly awoke. Lakshmi. The name She would privilege above all Her others. The wall She did not know existed dissolved now. She saw the universe within Herself, and realizing it, became the universe itself, its equal owner.
In that universe lay the Ocean of Milk, frothing from the churning. At the eye of that giant whirlpool was a tiny circle of peace where He lay. He was the equal owner of the universe, lying on a Snake bed, while at the same time He was a hoary turtle bearing Mandara on His back. On His chest shone the Kaustubha. Within it She saw Herself, mirrored as in the bowl of a spoon, and She knew She had always been there, since the beginning of time.
* * * *
Elsewhere, out of the foam of Oceanos, a pink seashell arose, carrying a vision of Beauty on its iridescent back. Zephyr blew his soft breath upon Her, and Her hair blew up in gentle brown ringlets, in perfect Boticellian fashion. The waves of the ocean lapped at Her little feet and She archly moved them closer together, poised on one gracefully bent knee. While the Graces rushed up to give Her the golden garments they had woven, Venus-Aphrodite had a nagging sense of Déjà Vu.