The custom of Sri Mahalakshmi worship is very old. She is the one of the most popular Hindu Goddesses. Mahalakshmi is the goddess of fortune and auspiciousness. She is the shakti (source of strength) of Lord Vishnu and is the bestower of all wealth and pleasure. She is the medium through which God's grace can be obtained.
Her four hands represent the four goals of human life (dharma, kama, artha / sense, and moksha). She is very closely associated with the lotus. She is the one who sits on the lotus, has a lotus in her hand. She is the consort of Lord with lotus eyes. Hence she is also known as Padma, Kamala etc.
Maha Lakshmi was one of the fourteen precious things emerging from the ocean of milk during the churning of ocean.
She incarnated as Sita in Rama Avatar and the Holy Basil plant (Tulsi) is also believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi.
In south India, goddess Shri MahaLakshmi is also worshipped in the form of Sridevi and Bhudevi.
Friday is the most auspicious day to worship Goddess Shree Maha Lakshmi. Praying to her with devotion will always fulfill our wishes. Sri Adi Shankaracharya composed Kanakadhara Stotram in praise of the Goddess Sri Mahalakshmi and prayed her to shower the wealth to a poor lady. One who recites Kanakadhara Stotram daily with pure devotion on Goddess Mahalakshmi offering milk and flowers will be blessed without doubt.
Manifestations of Goddess Lakshmi (Ashtalakshmi):Ashtalakshmi represents the eight forms or aspects of Goddess Lakshmi.