Welcome to Gems of Yoga! Fire up, the sun and moon in you!!

Event Information
January 1, 2018 at 8:00 pmtoDecember 31, 2020 at 11:00 pm
Gems of Yoga Dubai
By Donation

Sunita is doing her Sadhna .If you are a Tripura Sundari devotee and would like to create a Sri Yantra Synergy then please join her on Full Moon Days and Fridays for this Chanting Event,
Cost: By Donation
Pre-requisite:
Reading Of the Below Articles
Chanting: Lalita Sahasranama
It is safe and does not require Deeksha.

Event Activities
1
READING & UNDERSTANDING 7 VERSES
2
COMING REGULARLY FOR THE CHANTING
This is when full moons will occur in 2018, according to NASA:
Date Name U.S. East UTC
Jan. 1 Wolf Moon 9:24 p.m. 02:24
Jan. 31 Snow Moon 8:27 a.m. 13:27
Mar. 1 Worm Moon 7:51 p.m. 00:51 (3/2)
Mar. 31 Sap Moon 8:37 a.m. 13:37
Apr. 29 Pink Moon 8:58 p.m. 01:58 (4/30)
May 29 Flower Moon 10:20 a.m. 15:20
Jun. 28 Strawberry Moon 12:53 a.m. 05:53
Jul. 27 Buck Moon 4:21 p.m. 21:21
Aug. 26 Sturgeon Moon 7:56 a.m. 12:56
Sep. 24 Harvest Moon 10:53 p.m. 03:53 (9/25)
Oct. 24 Hunter's Moon 12:45 p.m. 17:45
Nov. 23 Beaver Moon 12:39 a.m. 05:39
Dec. 22 Cold Moon 12:49 p.m. 17:49

Friday, January 5, 2018
Friday, January 12, 2018
Friday, January 19, 2018
Friday, January 26, 2018
Friday, February 2, 2018
Friday, February 9, 2018
Friday, February 16, 2018
Friday, February 23, 2018
Friday, March 2, 2018
Friday, March 9, 2018
Friday, March 16, 2018
Friday, March 23, 2018
Friday, March 30, 2018
Friday, April 6, 2018
Friday, April 13, 2018
Friday, April 20, 2018
Friday, April 27, 2018
Friday, May 4, 2018
Friday, May 11, 2018
Friday, May 18, 2018
Friday, May 25, 2018
Friday, June 1, 2018
Friday, June 8, 2018
Friday, June 15, 2018
Friday, June 22, 2018
Friday, June 29, 2018
Friday, July 6, 2018
Friday, July 13, 2018
Friday, July 20, 2018
Friday, July 27, 2018
Friday, August 3, 2018
Friday, August 10, 2018
Friday, August 17, 2018
Friday, August 24, 2018
Friday, August 31, 2018
Friday, September 7, 2018
Friday, September 14, 2018
Friday, September 21, 2018
Friday, September 28, 2018
Friday, October 5, 2018
Friday, October 12, 2018
Friday, October 19, 2018
Friday, October 26, 2018
Friday, November 2, 2018
Friday, November 9, 2018
Friday, November 16, 2018
Friday, November 23, 2018
Friday, November 30, 2018
Friday, December 7, 2018
Friday, December 14, 2018
Friday, December 21, 2018
Friday, December 28, 2018
Here's how a full moon works:
The moon is a sphere that travels once around Earth every 27.3 days. It also takes about 27 days for the moon to rotate on its axis. So, the moon always shows us the same face; there is no single "dark side" of the moon. As the moon revolves around Earth, it is illuminated from varying angles by the sun — what we see when we look at the moon is reflected sunlight. On average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, which means sometimes it rises during daylight and other times during nighttime hours.
Here’s how the moon's phases go:
At new moon, the moon is between Earth and the sun, so that the side of the moon facing toward us receives no direct sunlight, and is lit only by dim sunlight reflected from Earth.
A few days later, as the moon moves around Earth, the side we can see gradually becomes more illuminated by direct sunlight. This thin sliver is called the waxing crescent.
A week after new moon, the moon is 90 degrees away from the sun in the sky and is half-illuminated from our point of view, what we call first quarterbecause it is about a quarter of the way around Earth.
A few days later, the area of illumination continues to increase. More than half of the moon's face appears to be getting sunlight. This phase is called a waxing gibbous moon.
When the moon has moved 180 degrees from its new moon position, the sun, Earth and the moon form a line. The moon’s disk is as close as it can be to being fully illuminated by the sun, so this is called full moon.
Next, the moon moves until more than half of its face appears to be getting sunlight, but the amount is decreasing. This is the waning gibbous phase.
Days later, the moon has moved another quarter of the way around Earth, to the third quarter position. The sun's light is now shining on the other half of the visible face of the moon.
Next, the moon moves into the waning crescent phase as less than half of its face appears to be getting sunlight, and the amount is decreasing.
Finally, the moon moves back to its new moon starting position. Because the moon’s orbit is not exactly in the same plane as Earth’s orbit around the sun, they rarely are perfectly aligned. Usually the moon passes above or below the sun from our vantage point, but occasionally it passes right in front of the sun, and we get an eclipse of the sun.
Each full moon is calculated to occur at an exact moment, which may or may not be near the time the moon rises where you are. So when a full moon rises, it’s typically doing so some hours before or after the actual time when it’s technically full, but a casual skywatcher won’t notice the difference. In fact, the moon will often look roughly the same on two consecutive nights surrounding the full moon.

Here you see the full moon calendar with the full moon dates of 2019 and exact times and dates in an overview.

Monday, 21 January 2019, 06:16:06 am [**]
Tuesday, 19 February 2019, 04:53:36 pm
Thursday, 21 March 2019, 02:42:54 am
Friday, 19 April 2019, 01:12:12 pm
Saturday, 18 May 2019, 11:11:24 pm
Monday, 17 June 2019, 10:30:42 am
Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 11:38:18 pm [*]
Thursday, 15 August 2019, 02:29:18 pm
Saturday, 14 September 2019, 06:32:48 am
Sunday, 13 October 2019, 11:07:54 pm
Tuesday, 12 November 2019, 02:34:30 pm
Thursday, 12 December 2019, 06:12:18 am

The full moon calendar 2020

Here you see the full moon calendar with the full moon dates of 2020 and exact times and dates in an overview.

Friday, 10 January 2020, 08:21:24 pm
Sunday, 9 February 2020, 08:33:18 am
Monday, 9 March 2020, 06:47:48 pm
Wednesday, 8 April 2020, 04:35:06 am
Thursday, 7 May 2020, 12:45:18 pm
Friday, 5 June 2020, 09:12:24 pm
Sunday, 5 July 2020, 06:44:30 am
Monday, 3 August 2020, 05:58:48 pm
Wednesday, 2 September 2020, 07:22:06 am
Thursday, 1 October 2020, 11:05:18 pm
Saturday, 31 October 2020, 03:49:12 pm
Monday, 30 November 2020, 10:29:42 am
Wednesday, 30 December 2020, 04:28:18 am


Time specified in Central European Time (CET) or Summer Time (CEST)

FRIDAY CALENDER
Time specified in Central European Time (CET) or Summer Time (CEST)
Friday, January 4, 2019
Friday, January 11, 2019
Friday, January 18, 2019
Friday, January 25, 2019
Friday, February 1, 2019
Friday, February 8, 2019
Friday, February 15, 2019
Friday, February 22, 2019
Friday, March 1, 2019
Friday, March 8, 2019
Friday, March 15, 2019
Friday, March 22, 2019
Friday, March 29, 2019
Friday, April 5, 2019
Friday, April 12, 2019
Friday, April 19, 2019
Friday, April 26, 2019
Friday, May 3, 2019
Friday, May 10, 2019
Friday, May 17, 2019
Friday, May 24, 2019
Friday, May 31, 2019
Friday, June 7, 2019
Friday, June 14, 2019
Friday, June 21, 2019
Friday, June 28, 2019
Friday, July 5, 2019
Friday, July 12, 2019
Friday, July 19, 2019
Friday, July 26, 2019
Friday, August 2, 2019
Friday, August 9, 2019
Friday, August 16, 2019
Friday, August 23, 2019
Friday, August 30, 2019
Friday, September 6, 2019
Friday, September 13, 2019
Friday, September 20, 2019
Friday, September 27, 2019
Friday, October 4, 2019
Friday, October 11, 2019
Friday, October 18, 2019
Friday, October 25, 2019
Friday, November 1, 2019
Friday, November 8, 2019
Friday, November 15, 2019
Friday, November 22, 2019
Friday, November 29, 2019
Friday, December 6, 2019
Friday, December 13, 2019
Friday, December 20, 2019
Friday, December 27, 2019


Friday, January 3, 2020
Friday, January 10, 2020
Friday, January 17, 2020
Friday, January 24, 2020
Friday, January 31, 2020
Friday, February 7, 2020
Friday, February 14, 2020
Friday, February 21, 2020
Friday, February 28, 2020
Friday, March 6, 2020
Friday, March 13, 2020
Friday, March 20, 2020
Friday, March 27, 2020
Friday, April 3, 2020
Friday, April 10, 2020
Friday, April 17, 2020
Friday, April 24, 2020
Friday, May 1, 2020
Friday, May 8, 2020
Friday, May 15, 2020
Friday, May 22, 2020
Friday, May 29, 2020
Friday, June 5, 2020
Friday, June 12, 2020
Friday, June 19, 2020
Friday, June 26, 2020
Friday, July 3, 2020
Friday, July 10, 2020
Friday, July 17, 2020
Friday, July 24, 2020
Friday, July 31, 2020
Friday, August 7, 2020
Friday, August 14, 2020
Friday, August 21, 2020
Friday, August 28, 2020
Friday, September 4, 2020
Friday, September 11, 2020
Friday, September 18, 2020
Friday, September 25, 2020
Friday, October 2, 2020
Friday, October 9, 2020
Friday, October 16, 2020
Friday, October 23, 2020
Friday, October 30, 2020
Friday, November 6, 2020
Friday, November 13, 2020
Friday, November 20, 2020
Friday, November 27, 2020
Friday, December 4, 2020
Friday, December 11, 2020
Friday, December 18, 2020
Friday, December 25, 2020
3
Coming to Gems Of Yoga for Chanting LALITA SAHASRANAMA

Reciting Lalita Sahasranama
Lalitha Sahasranamam consists of one thousand names of Lalithambigai. Lalithambigai is the maya part of the Brahman. She is the vimarsha form and is the cause for illusion or duality. The prakasha form of the Brahman is called Shiva and the vimarsha form of the Brahman is called Shakthi. Shiva is nirguna (without qualities) Brahman and Shakthi is saguna (with qualities) Brahman. The universe cannot function without the combination of the two. Shiva is not created by anybody and there is nothing above him in hierarchy. Therefore he is called athi or the first. Since he does not have a parentage, he is called anathi (orphan). Shiva created Shakthi to create, sustain and dissolve this universe. Therefore all the activities of this universe are under her control only.
Why Shiva has chosen Shakthi? Shiva wanted to create somebody who can nurture this universe with motherly love and affection. Shiva also knows (Brahman is the knower of all) that only a woman can take care of this universe, like her own child. That is how Shakthi came into existence. That is why we call the earth as mother earth; we call the nature as Mother Nature. Every mother has their own role to play in nurturing her children. In the same way the Supreme Mother has her own role in sustaining us, in protecting us. Her administration is based on the law of the Lord which is called karma. She is called by various names such as Lalithambigai, Rajarajeshwari, Shakthi, Mother, etc.
We have already discussed about her prakasha vimarsha maha maya swarupini form. Please go through the earlier postings to know more about her prakasha vimarsha maha maya swarupini. You can use the google search engine at the end of this site. This Lalitha Sahasranamam is said to have been recited by eight vak devis (vak devis – considered as authorities of sound and verses, Knowledgeable) in the presence of Lalithambigai at Her own request. This thousand namas or names were recited in the form of verses. These verses are also called mantras and compared to the verses of the Vedas. Every single nama has powerful meaning. If you look at these meanings, you will certainly understand the concept of vimarsha or shakthi form of the Brahman, which is also called as saguna Brahman. Her kundalini form has been beautifully described. It will be interesting to observe how the kinetic energy of the Brahman functions, as every aspect of the administration of this universe has been discussed in detail in this sahasranamam.
We will shortly take up for discussion each nama or name and understand the meaning. As there are 1000 names, our discussions will continue through several postings. Our discussions on the Brahman will also continue. Kindly go through the Dhyan slokas and also about prakasha and vimarsha forms of the Brahman. This is an effort to understand the saguna Brahman that is easy for manifestation.

Lalitha Sahasranama – Purva Bhag

Sahasra means thousand and nāmā means name. Lalitha Sahasranamam means one thousand names of Lalitambika.  This Sahasranāma finds a place in Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa, one of the eighteen purāṇa-s or epics scripted by Vedavyāsā who is popularly known as Mahaṛṣi Vyāsā (maha means great and ṛṣi means sage). Vyās also means arranger or compiler. He was the son of the sage Parāśara and Satyavatī, and half-brother of Vicitra-vīrya and BhīṣmaVyāsa is also said to be an incarnation of Lord Viṣṇu (Śrīmad Bhāgavata I.iii.20). There are seven celebrated sages known as sapta ṛṣi-s (sapta  means numeric seven) and they are Gotama, Bharadvāja, Viśvāmitra, Jamadagni, Vasiṣṭha, Kaśyapa and Atri (however there are differences in the names. This Sahasranāma in the form of 183 verses finds a place in the second part of Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa.  These 183 verses are converted into 1000 nāma-s.    Purāṇa-s are told like stories making the reading interesting and at the same time convey the teachings of Veda-s.  Hindu philosophy mainly revolves around the four Veda-s.  Since Veda-s are difficult to understand for a commoner, the crux of the Veda-s is provided in the form of Upaniṣad-s.  Upanishads  make attempts to interpret the Brahman, the God.  Such interpretations are only by means of affirmations and negations as any attempt to interpret or describe the Brahman becomes an ineffectual exercise. The Brahman that Upaniṣad-s  talk about is formless divine energy beyond the comprehension of normal human brain.  The philosophy of self-realization revolves around these Upaniṣad-s.  Self-realization is the logical conclusion of spiritual quest. It is the final step of understanding the Brahman.  In modern times, Self-realisation is also known as God realization and Kṛṣṇa  consciousness.

Though this Sahasranāma finds a place in Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa scripted by Vedavyāsa originally this was composed by eight Vāc (वाच्) Devi-s (also referred as Vāg Devi-sVāc means speech, voice, language).   In the presence of Lalitāmbikā, the Supreme Goddess and affectionately called as ‘the Supreme Mother’ in whose praise and at whose command this Sahasranāma was composed was recited.  The names of these eight Vāc Devi-s are: Vaśinī, Kameśvarī (not to be confused with Kameśvarī, the wife of Śiva), Modhinī, Vimalā, Arunā, Jainī, Sarveśvarī and Koulinī.  These Vāc Devi-s reside in Śrī Cakra (please refer nāma 996) in the seventh āvaraṇa (āvaraṇa can be interpreted as rampart or roundabout), in the middle of which Lalitāmbikā resides.  Śrī Cakra has nine āvaraṇa-s and its worship is known as navāvaraṇa pūja.  Lalitāmbikā has conferred on these Vāc Devi-s the art of speech to be passed on to Her devotees.  Lalitāmbikā called these Vāc Devi-s personally and asked them to compose a verse, the recitation of which endows Her blessings.  The verse was recited by Vāc Devi-s in Her royal court in Her presence, where all gods and goddesses had already assembled.

The pūrva bhāg begins with Agastya’s address to Hayagrīva.  Agastya was a great sage of ancient times, short in stature.  He is believed to be alive even today, according to the theory of immortality.  Agastyameans the one who stabilized mountains. It is said that Vindhya hill was growing in size continuously and it was Agastya who arrested its growth.  It is also said that Agastya was born out of a pot.  He is one among the twelve best known Śrī Vidyā worshippers.  Hayagrīva has a horse face and one of the ten incarnations of Lord Viṣṇu.  Hayagrīva is known for his supreme knowledge and is one of the exponents of śāstra-s (commands or precepts).

There is a story in Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (II.v) about a learned person with horse head.  There was a sage by name Dadhyac, an exponent in Atharva Veda who taught madhu vidyā to Lord Indra.  Indra asked Dadhyac not to teach this madhu vidyā to anyone else after teaching him.  If Dadhyac taught this anyone else, his head would be chopped off by IndraAaśvin deva-s somehow wanted to learn this madhu vidyā.  They told Dadhyac that they would first replace his head with a horse head and that he should teach them madhu vidyā with the horse head (detailed in Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad II.v.16).  Once it is taught, Indrawould chop of his head and that Dadhyac would lose only the horse head.  The horse head would then be replaced by his original head.  Everything happened according to their plan and Aaśvin-s were taught madhu vidyā by sage Dadhyac. In the said Upaniṣad, V.v.16 ends with pra yadīmuvāca.  In this word kāmakalā bīja īṁ ईं (pronounced as eeṁ.) is secretively placed.  Kāmakalā is discussed in nāma 322 in this Sahasranāma.  This īṁ is considered as the most important aspect of Śrī Vidyā.  However, the riṣi who taught madhu vidyā is not the incarnation of Viṣṇu.  Hayagrīva, the incarnation of Lord Viṣṇu initiated Agastya into Śrī Vidyā worship through Lalitā Sahasranāma.

The following story is found in Devi Bhāgavata (I.5). Viṣṇu was very tired after waging a war with demons. He sat in padmāsana (well known cross legged or lotus posture) resting his head on one side of the bow after placing the other side of the bow, firmly on the ground.  Indra and other gods wanted to perform a great yajña and came to seek blessings from Viṣṇu as He is the Lord of all yajna-s.  They went to Vaikuṇṭha, the abode of Vishnu.  But He was not there. They found out He was resting elsewhere and reached there.  They decided to wait till He woke up.  Since the yajña was to be urgently performed, they could not wait any longer and they asked termites to bite the bow string of Viṣṇu’s bow.  The string was snapped and in the force it chopped off Viṣṇu’s head.  Gods and goddesses searched for His head, but that was not to be found. They all prayed towards Lalitāmbikā who asked them to bring a horse head and fix it on Viṣṇu.  Viṣṇu was then known as Hayagrīva.  He got Śrī Vidyā initiation from Her and this avatār of Viṣṇu is known for the highest wisdom.  Based upon this story Hayagrīva is worshiped for gaining knowledge.  Hayagrīva in turn initiated Agastya into Śrī Vidyā cult. Please note the contextual difference from what is narrated in the ‘the presentation’ section.

Hayagrīva told Agastya the entire details about Lalitāmbikā such as Śrī Puram, Her abode, Panchadasi mantrajapa and pūja methods, inner yajña and ritual yajña.  The importance of conceiving oneness between Śrī CakraŚrī GuruŚrī VidyāŚrī Devi (Lalitāmbikā) and the self is the important aspect of Sri Vidya worship.  Hayagrīva has already taught Agastya the one thousand names (nāma-s) of two ministers of LalitāmbikāMaṇtrinī (Rāja Śyamalā) and Dhandinī (Vārāhī). These two goddesses have been referred to in this Sahasranāma.  Agastya asks Hayagrīva why he has not been taught with the one thousand names of Lalitāmbikā, and wanted to know whether he was not worthy of knowing it.  Hayagrīvaanswers Agastya by addressing him as the spouse of Lopāmudrā, who is also a well known follower ofLalitāmbikā.  Hayagrīva answers Agastya by saying that Śrī Vidyā should not be taught without asking for it as this is very secretive in nature.  Since Agastya has asked for it now, Hayagrīva agreed to teach him this Sahasranāma.  Hayagrīva further informs Agastya about the eligibility for knowing this Sahasranāma.  One should have extreme faith in Śrī Mātā.  One should have been initiated into Pañcadaśī mantra by a learned guru. One should have dedication and perseverance. He should have no bad habits and should always be pure.  The reasons for such conditions are also elaborated.

The rituals performed as per tantra śāstra-s are said to yield quick results.  Particularly, LalitāSahasranāma is considered as the best.  There are ten Sahasranāma-s in praise of Her various forms.  They are GaṇgāGāyatrīŚyāmalāLakṣmī, KāliBālā, Lalitā (the present one), RājarājeśvarīSarasvatīand Bhāvanī.  Mantra is the term used for worshipping gods and Vidyā is the term used for worshipping goddesses.  In the case of Śrī Vidyā, it consists of both mantra component and vidyā component highlighting the importance of Śiva-Śaktī  union.  As far as Pañcadaśī mantra is concerned, there are twelve types of Pañcadaśī and popular among them is Kādi vidyā, which is also known as parā vidyā.  Pañcadaśī mantra though appears to have only fifteen bīja-s, in reality it consists of thirty seven letters comprising of fifteen vowels, sixteen consonants, three bindu-s and three nāda-s totalling to thirty seven (Varivasyā rahasya II.27).  These thirty seven represent thirty six principles or tattva-s. The thirty seventh tattvā is Para-Brahman represented by the bīja a (अ).  Lalitā Triśatī is based entirely on Pañcadaśīmantra. After performing pūja with Triśatī mantra-s, no other arcana-s should be performed and pūjashould be concluded with offerings and āratiPañcadaśī mantra is discussed in the introduction chapter.

Lalitāmbikā is extremely pleased when this Sahasranāma is recited either verbally or mentally and when one performs arcana with lotus flowers, tulsi leaves, bilva leaves, etc.  In daily ritual, first Śrī Cakra should be worshiped followed by Panchadasi mantra japa and finally recitation of Lalitā Sahasranāma.  If for any reason, one is not able to perform all the three, one should certainly recite this Sahasranāma without fail.  It is not necessary that one should perform arcana, whereas one should certainly recite Sahasranāma.  Any additional stotra (hymns of praise) will surely add additional benefits, but if one fails to recite Sahasranāma it is considered as sin.  Lalitāmbikā Herself says that She would grant all the boons, if one recites this Sahasranāma once in his life time.  Now Hayagrīva begins to recite Lalitā-Sahasranāmafor initiating Agastya.

Lalitha Sahasranama – Introduction to Dhyana Verses

here are four dhyana verses (descriptive verses for visualisation) of Lalitāmbikā in Lalitā Sahasranāma.  The first one starting with sindūrāruṇa-vigrahāṃ probably is the one composed by the eight Vāc Devi-s.  The second one beginning with aruṇām karuṇā-tarangitākṣīm is said to have been composed by Dattatreya (Dattareya is considered to be a God who is an incarnation of the Divine Trinity BrahmaViṣṇuand ŚivaDatta means given, granted or presented. Datta is called so because the divine trinity have born themselves in the form of a son to the sage couple Atri and Anasuya and his parentage forms the second part of his name Atreya).  The fourth sakumkuma-vilepanām has been composed by Ādi Śaṃkarācārya. No information is available about the origin of the third verse beginning with dhyāyet padmāsanasthām. In all the dhyāna verses there is unanimity about Her red complexion, which resembles the sun at dawn.  Lalitāmbikā is a sculptured beauty.  More than Her complexion or beauty, Her qualities are paramount.  She is the universal mother, which is emphasized by the fact that Her Sahasranāma begins by addressing Her as Śrī Mātā, which means universal mother.  She is seated on a throne and Goddesses Lakṣmī and Sarasvatī standing on each side of the throne fans Her.  She is also called parā bhaṭṭārikā meaning the queen of queens.  She is also known as parā ŚaktīParameśvarī and Rājārajeśvarī.  She is the consort of ParamaśivaRudra is different from Paramaśiva. She is worshiped in the form of Śrī Vidyā and Daśa Mahā Vidyā.  Both the forms of worship consist of many secrets that are to be learnt from a learned Guru.  The latter form of worship consists of tantric rituals.  But they are extremely powerful and desired results are imminent.

In the Supreme form, Śiva and Śaktī are called Mahā Kāmeśvara and Mahā Kāmeśvarī.  They are the Ultimate and the Absolute.  In the absolute form, She is called prakāśa vimarśa mahā māyā svarūpini. Both of them in this absolute form have four hands and hold the same weapons – pāśaaṅkuśa, bow made of sugar cane and arrow made of flowers.  Both of them have moon in their crowns.  Mahā Kāmeśvara is pure, transparent and colourless form.  He is seated on a throne, with left leg folded and his right foot placed on the ground.  She, the red complexioned beauty incarnate, radiating with smile that is filled with joy and grace, ever ready to help Her devotees, walking towards Mahā Kāmeśvara with full of bashfulness.  His pure, transparent and colourless form gradually turns red with every step She puts forward towards Him.  Even swans, praised for their agile walk are ashamed of themselves on noticing the way She walks towards Him. Mahā Kāmeśvara beams with loving smile on seeing Her.  She sits on His left thigh with Her right leg folded and left foot placed on a golden vessel filled with rubies.  The moment She placed Her left foot on this vessel, the red colour of the rubies reflects everywhere.  When She sits on His lap, His form also turns red.  Both of them are radiating and when gods and goddesses look at them, they mistake the bright red radiation emanating from them as sun.  This divine couple always stays united and that is why in this Sahasranāma, the penultimate nāma is called śivaśaktī aikya rūpiṇī.  This nāma complies with the above description.  This form is called the Absolute form.  It is presumed that there is nothing beyond this Śivaśaktī aikya or the Absolute form.

But this Sahasranāma ends with Lalitāmbikā.  Does this mean that Her Lalitāmbikā form is superior toŚivaśaktī aikya form?  The answer would be a firm Yes.  Otherwise, Vāc Devi-s would not have placed this nāma as the last one.  They could have made this as the penultimate and Śivaśaktī aikya rūpiṇī as the last.  They did not do so.  In the body of the Sahasranāma there are nāma-s saying Pañca pretā sanāsīnāand Pañcabrahma svarūpiṇī.  The first one means that she sits on BrahmaViṣṇuŚivaMahādeva and Sadāśiva.  The deeper and impressed meaning of this nāma will be discussed later.  Brahma, the creator; Viṣṇu, the sustainer;Śiva, the destroyer; Mahādeva and Sadāśiva are the two forms of Śiva one removing the illusion and another providing knowledge and blessings.  When Lalitāmbikā is sitting on them, Her power becomes undescriptive by human comprehension.  She is the ultimate. She is everything.  She is you and She is me. She can give us whatever we pray for.  She can be approached like our own mother.  Everyone is Her child.  Let us bow before Her Absolute form in right earnest.  Rest, she will take care.  In the higher form of learning, Śiva is known as subject and Śaktī is known as object.  Śiva is quiet and does nothing and Śaktī is the performer and is calledprakṛti or māyā.  Śiva is like Ātman within us and Śaktī is like our body and mind, always active to performkarma-s or acts.  Lalitā Sahasranāma’s dhyana verses give huge and valuable inputs about Her gross appearance.  When we meditate on Her, we can meditate on this form.

Lalitha Sahasranama – Dhyana Verses

VERSE 1

sindūrāruṇa-vigrahāṃ tri-nayanāṃ māṇikya mauli sphurat
tārānāyaka-śekarāṃ smitamukhīṃ āpīna vakṣoruhām|
pāṇibhyāṃ alipūrṇa-ratna-caṣakam raktotpalam bibhratīṃ
saumyāṃ ratna-ghaṭastha-rakta-caraṇāṃ dhyāyetparāmambikām||

सिन्दूरारुण-विग्रहां त्रि-नयनां माणिक्य मौलि स्फुरत्
तारानायक-शेकरां स्मितमुखीं आपीन वक्षोरुहाम्।
पाणिभ्यां अलिपूर्ण-रत्न-चषकम् रक्तोत्पलम् बिभ्रतीं
सौम्यां रत्न-घटस्थ-रक्त-चरणां ध्यायेत्परामम्बिकाम्॥

Sindūrāruṇa-vigrahāṃ – sindūram means the kumkum kept on women’s forehead, which is red in colour. ārunammeans the colour of sun rise, which is also red.  The complexion of Lalitā is red.  Why Her complexion is referred twice – one is the reference to the colour of the kumkum, and another reference is to the colour of sun at the time of its rise?   Vāc Devi-s could have felt the need to emphasize the deep red colour of Her complexion and could have thought that one example was not enough and hence two examples could have been cited. vigrahāṃ means Her form.  trinayanāṃ means three eyed.  Third eye mentioned here is not in its literal sense.  It is the eye of jñāna.  If one acquires jñāna, his third eye will be opened on its own.  That is why Gods are described with three eyes.  These three eyes represent the sun, the moon and the agni (fire), possibly indicating ājñā cakra.

māṇikya mauli sphurat – She is wearing a crown studded with ruby stones (ruby stones are red in colour) where the planet moon (mouli) is also placed.  tārānāyaka-śekarāṃ – tāra means stars.  Moon is said to be the chief of stars (nāyaka). She is wearing in Her crown the chief of stars, viz. moon.   The moon’s placement is emphasized by referring to the moon twice. This could mean that the rubies are shining in bright red in the moon light.  smitamukhīṃ – smita  – smile, mukhīṃ – face. She has a smiling face or She is always smiling.  Generally all the Gods have smiling faces.  Then what is special with Lalitāmbikā?  The answer is given in forty eighth nāma mahā lāvanya śevadhī.  She is the embodiment of all the beauty of the universe and there is no other beauty that can be compared to Hers.  She is referred to as the Brahman in various nāma-s.  “The Brahman” is the ultimate of blissfulness.  Lalitāmbikā is the combination of beauty and joy.  Beauty is with reference to the physical body and joy is related to the mind. Her joyful mind is reflected in Her physical body and adds lustre to Her beauty.  It is said that face is the index of mind.  One can easily ascertain the quality of a person from his face.  There will be tejas or the refulgency in his face, who performs a lot of upāsana.  (upāsana – five types of worship, (abhigamana or approach, Upādāna or preparation of offering, Ijyāor oblation, Svādhyāya or recitation, and Yoga or devotion). When one begins to radiate such tejas by worshipping Her, it clearly indicates that the he is pursuing the right spiritual path.

{Idol worship:  Worshipping an idol is individual’s choice.  It depends upon one’s mental makeup.  If one finds envisioning difficult, he can with the aid of an idol or a picture visualize that form of God.  But, when one takes up idol worship, he has to necessarily follow the rituals prescribed in śāstra-s.  When pūja and other rituals are performed with great devotion and sincerity, one can over a period of time certainly observe changes in the face of the idol or picture.  The spiritual energy generated during the rituals gets transferred to the idol and a two way communication begins to unfold between the idol and the seeker.  Spiritual transformation has to be gradual. It is better to begin with idol worship in the initial stages of spirituality. Ultimate in spirituality is to realise the Brahman within. One has to cross different stages such as japa, meditation through inner search and exploration and perpetual meditation one leading to the other.}

āpīna vakṣoruhām – fully developed bosoms [this is because She has to nourish the entire universe as the Supreme mother, Śrī Mātā (nāma 1)] pāṇibhyām – holding in Her hands. alipūrṇa –  full of honey, the spirituous liquor.  Ali also means bees. rathna caṣakam – a cup made of rubies.  In one hand She is holding a cup made out of rubies with honey filled to the brim. On smelling the honey in the cup, bees fly around. raktotpalam bibhrathīm – She holds in another hand a red coloured flower.  In this dhyān śloka (hymn of praise), She is described with two hands only.   But in the next dhyān śloka, She is described with four hands and in Her ṣodaśi form She is described with sixteen hands. soumyāṁ – beauty.  rathna ghatastha – a pot consisting of rubies.   raktha caraṇām – She is placing Her red coloured left foot on this pot. dhyāyet – meditating on Her form. parā ambikām – parā (nāma 366) means the highest, Her highest and Supreme form.

This dhyāna śloka gives Her following form.  Her complexion is red and all things associated with Her are red in colour.  She is the embodiment of beauty.  In one hand She holds a cup made of ruby, filled with honey and in another hand She holds a red coloured flower.  She is keeping Her red coloured foot on a pot containing rubies.  It is difficult to say why Her feet are red in colour.  Is it due to the radiation of rubies reflecting in Her lustrous feet. Now doubt arises as to which is shining, is it the rubies or the feet of Lalitāmbikā placed on the pot full of rubies or is it due to the henna applied on Her feet or is it because Her complexion being red, Her feet are also red in colour in match with Her complexion?  Possibly nobody can answer.  What we know is that everything associated with Her is red in colour.  This is the first of Her dhyān ślokā.

VERSE 2

aruṇāṃkaruṇā-taraṃgitākṣīṃ dhṛta-pāśāṅkuśa-puṣpa-bāṇa-cāpām|
aṇimādibirāvṛtām mayūkhai-rahamityeva vibhāvaye bhavānīm||

अरुणां करुणा-तरंगिताक्षीं धृत-पाशांकुश-पुष्प-बाण-चापाम्।
अणिमादिबिरावृताम् मयूखै-रहमित्येव विभावये भवानीम्॥

  aruṇām – like rising sun, the colour of the sun at dawn which is red; karuṇa – compassion; tarangitākṣīm – waves from Her eyes;  Waves of compassion emanating from Her eyes (like waves continuously). dhṛta – supported by; pāśa– noose, a type of weapon (pāśam also means anything that binds a soul); aṅkuśa – another type of weapon, like an arrow; puṣpa – made out of flowers; bāṇa – arrow i.e. arrows made out of flowers or using flowers as arrows; cāpām – bow;  She has bow made out of a sugarcane and arrows made out of flowers. aṇimādibir – aśṭamā (eight) siddhi-s like animā, mahimā, garimā, laghimā, prāpti, prākāmyā, iṣṭvā and vaśtvā.āvṛtām – surrounded by.  She is surrounded by eight types of siddhis like animā, etc referred above. mayūkhaiḥ– a ray of light or beam of light; aham – I; ityeva – like this; vibhāvaye –  beatitude  (a state of supreme happiness); bhavānīm – Bhavānī, another name of Lalitāmbikā.  Bhavānī is the 112th nāma in this Sahasranāma.

The meaning for this verse is – I meditate on Bhavānī, the supreme happiness, whose colour is like the sun at dawn i.e. red in colour and from whom rays of light are emanating.  This confirms Her red complexion discussed in the previous verse.  Her compassion for Her devotees comes out of Her eyes like waves of ocean.  In this verse She is described with four hands.  In the rear hands She has two weapons called pāśam (like a rope) and aṅkuśa (a sharp edged metal weapon normally used to control elephants).  In the front hands she holds a bow made out of sugar cane and arrows made out of flowers.  A detailed study of Her weaponries is discussed later in this Sahasranāma. They represent four of Her premier assistants.  She is surrounded byaṣṭama siddhi-s.  Each siddhi is represented by a goddess in Śrī Cakra.  I meditate on Her form called Bhavānī, a state of supreme happiness with beams of light.

VERSE 3

dhyāyet padmāsanasthāṃ vikasita-vadanāṃ padma-patrāyatākṣīṃ
hemābhāṃ pītavastrāṃ kara-kalita-lasaddhema padmām varāngīm|
sarvālaṃkāra-yuktāṃsatatamabhayadāṃbhakta-namrām bhavānīṃ
śrividyāṃ śāntamūrtiṃ sakala-sura-nutāṃ sarva saṃpat pradātrīm||

ध्यायेत् पद्मासनस्थां विकसित-वदनां पद्म-पत्रायताक्षीं
हेमाभां पीतवस्त्रां कर-कलित-लसद्धेम पद्माम् वरान्गीम्।
सर्वालंकार-युक्तां सततमभयदां भक्त-नम्राम् भवानीं
श्रिविद्यां शान्तमूर्तिं सकल-सुर-नुतां सर्व संपत् प्रदात्रीम्॥

dhyāyet – meditating;  padmāsanasthāṃ – seated on a lotus flower or seated in a posture called padmāsanā;vikasita-vadanāṃ – charming face.  vikasa: also means moon.  It can be construed that Her face looks like a full moon. padma– lotus; patrāya – petal;  tākṣīm – eyes.  Her eyes look like long petals of a lotus flower. hemābhāṃ – golden complexioned; pītavastrāṃ – wearing clothes with gold sheen; kara-kalitha – holding in Her hand; lasad– shining;hema – gold (hema also means a beautiful woman); – padmām – lotus.  She is holding a shining golden lotus in Her hand. Vara + angīm – most beautiful + body parts.  She has the most beautiful body. Sarva + ālaṃkāra + yuktām – all types of + ornaments + bejewelled.  She is adorned with all types of ornaments. satatam – continually; abhayadām – bestowing protection.  She constantly protects Her devotees. bhaktha – devotees; namrām – bowing down; She bows down to listen to Her devotees. bhavānīm –Bhavānī, the wife of BhavanŚiva  is also known as Bhavan.  Bhavan’sconsort is Bhavānī.  śrī vidyām –mantra and tantra śāstra-s of Śrī Vidyā.  Śrī Vidyā is the worshiping ritual of Śaktī. She is in the form of mantraand tantra śāstra-s.  Śānta + mūrtim – form of tranquillity or without any agitation. Sakala + sura + nutām – worshiped by all gods and goddesses. Sarva + sampat – all types of wealth; pradātrīm – giver (giving is emphasized).

The meaning of this verse is: She is seated on a lotus.  She has a charming face.  Her eyes appear elongated and look like petals of a lotus.  She has golden complexion and Her clothes have gold sheen.  She holds a golden lotus.  She has a sculptured figure. She is wearing all types of ornaments.  She constantly protects Her devotees. She bows down to listen to the needs of Her devotees.  She is the embodiment of all mantra-s andtantra-s of Śrī Vidyā.  She is calm and composed.   She is worshiped by all gods, which emphasises Her Supremacy.   She endows wealth to Her devotees.

VERSE 4

sakuṃkuma-vilepanāṃ alika-cumbi-kastūrikāṃ
samanda-hasitekṣaṇām saśara-cāpa-pāśāṅkuśa
aśeṣa-jana-mohinīṃ aruṇa-mālya-bhūṣāṃbarāṃ
japā-kusuma-bhāsurāṃ japavidhau smaredaṃbikām

सकुंकुम-विलेपनां अलिक-चुम्बि-कस्तूरिकां
समन्द-हसितेक्षणाम् सशर-चाप-पाशांकुशाम्
अशेष-जन-मोहिनीं अरुण-माल्य-भूषांबरां
जपा-कुसुम-भासुरां जपविधौ स्मरेदंबिकाम्

sakuṃkuma – with kumkumvilepanāṃ – anointing; alika + cumbi – attracted by bees; kastūrikāṃ –vermilion;samanda + hasita + ekṣaṇām (samanda-hasitekṣaṇām)– benignant+ smile + looks;  saśara – with arrow; cāpa– bow; pāśa – a weapon; aṅkuśa –  a weapon (these two weapons are already discussed in second śloka);  +aśeṣa + jana + mohinīm –  attracts people without exception; aruṇa – red; mālya – a type of sandal wood from Malaysian mountains; bhūṣa – ornaments; aṁbarām – without the use of magical feats or incantations  (attractions by sheer presence); japā-kusuma – red hibiscus flower; bhāsurām – decorated; japa + vidhau – as per the rules of japaor mantra chanting; smared + ambikām – think about Her.

The meaning of this verse is:  She is anointed with kumkum and vermilion, which gives a pleasant fragrance, towards which bees are attracted. She looks at Her devotees with a benignant smile.  She holds in Her hands bow and arrow, two weaponries. She attracts everybody; which means everybody is attracted to Her irrespective of being Her devotee or not.  She is wearing a red garland made out of special sandal wood.  Excellent ornaments adore Her and She has the complexion like a hibiscus flower.  One has to meditate on this form of Lalitāmbikā during japa time.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 1 – 2

 

Śrī Mātā श्री माता (1)

We address our mother as mātā.  Mātā means mother.  The prefix Śrī is important here.  Śrī (श्री) represents the highest form of motherhood.  The human mothers can take care of their children with love and affection. But they cannot remove the miseries and sufferings of their loved ones, which they are destined to undergo.  Since Lalitāmbikā is much more than a human mother is, She has the capacity to remove sorrows and miseries of Her children.  Children mean all the living beings in this universe, as She is the mother of the entire universe that includes the galaxy.  She is addressed as mātā as She is the Creator, sustainer and also the dissolver.  The universe was created out of Her.  The universe acts as per Her instructions.  When the dissolution takes place, the universe merges back into Her.  The cycle of saṃsāra (the world which has phenomenal existence and also meaning transmigration) repeats itself by birth, sustenance and death.  Saṃsāra is called as an ocean.  It is difficult to swim against the current of saṃsāra.  The current of saṃsāra is produced by sense organs.  These sense organs in turn influence the mind that causes desires and attachments.  Only Śrī Mātā is capable of helping us to cross the hurdles of saṃsāra and reach the destination (realization of Brahman).  This is possible only by worshipping Her.

Śrī Mātā is also said to mean the mother of the Goddesses Śrī Lakṣmī (goddess of wealth), Sarasvatī(goddess of knowledge) and Rudrānī (the goddess of dissolution) the wife of Rudra.  Rudra is different from Śiva.  Therefore Śrī Mātā means the mother of these three goddesses.

Durvāsā is a great saint. He composed Śrī Śaktimahimnaḥ Stotram containing sixty one verses in Her praise.  He surrenders to Śrī Mātā by saying “Oh! Mātā! the Supreme compassionate! I had born to a number of mothers.  In future also, I may be born to a number of mothers.  My mothers are countless, as I had different mothers for my different births.  I am so scared to be born again and to undergo the associated sufferings.  Oh! Mātā! I am surrendering to you.  Please give me relief from my future births.”

When Śrī is added as a prefix to any word, it shows the greatness.  There are five such words with Śrīprefixed in the worship of the Devi.  These five together are called Śrī Panchagam.  They are Śrī Puram (the place where She dwells), Śrī Cakra, the palace where She lives with Her body guards, Śrī Vidyā, the ritual worship, Śrī Sūktam,  verses in praise of Her and Śrī Guru, the spiritual teacher who initiates his disciple into Śaktī worship.  The main element of Śaktī worship is tantra śāstra.

Śrī also means Veda-s.  Veda-s originated from the Brahman. Lalitāmbigai is the Brahman as repeatedly stressed in this Sahasranāma.  Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI.18) says, “He first created Brahma and then presented the Veda-s to Him. I, a seeker of liberation, take refuge in that luminous Lord who reveals the knowledge of the Self in the mind.”

It is also said that this nāma means the Pañcadaśī mantra.

It is pertinent to note that this Sahasranāma begins by addressing Lalitāmbikā as the mother of all, which emphasizes Her compassion for the universe and all its beings.  Since She is addressed as Śrī Mātā, this nāma refers to creation, the first act of the Brahman.

Śrī Mahārājñī श्री महाराज्ञी (2)

Again this nāma also begins with Śrī.  Mahārājñī means the queen of queens, the empress.

Most of the nāma-s of this Sahasranāma contain powerful bījākśara-s.  It is difficult to segregate these bīja-sfrom the nāma.  Bīja-s or bījākśara-s are either single Sanskrit alphabet or the combination of alphabets making a compound alphabet.  Each of these bīja-s is considered as highly secretive in nature, very powerful and can bestow powers on a person who regularly chants these bīja-s duly understanding its meaning.  Specific rules are prescribed for pronunciation.

Ṣodaśī mantra is considered as the supreme of all the mantra-s in the worship of Devi.  Ṣodaśī means sixteen kalā-s or letters.  Kalā* means the sixteen days of waxing or waning moon i.e. full moon to new moon or new moon to full moon.  There is another mantra called Pañcadaśī consisting of fifteen letters.  If one more bīja is added to fifteen lettered Pañcadaśī, it is called Ṣodaśī.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 1) says, “Oh! Mother, the letters of the three groups constitute Your mantra.” (A detailed study of Pañcadaśī mantra is provided in the introduction chapter and in nāma-s 85 to 89) If one chants the Ṣodaśī mantra for the prescribed number of times, (900,000 times) he or she will have no more births.  This sixteenth bīja of Ṣodaśī is hidden in this nāma.  Normally, this should be learnt only from a Guru.  The sixteenth bīja consists of the first four letters of this nāma Ś + r + ī + ṁ = Śrīm, (श्रीं) the Lakṣmī bīja, the bīja of sustenance.

The first nāma talks about Her creative power and the second nāma talks about Her power of sustenance.  As a mother She creates and as the supreme queen, She sustains the universe.

{*Further reading on kalā:  Kalā is the dynamism peculiar to Nature, also known as prakṛti.  This does not mean the prakṛti that exists at the level of Śiva , but Śiva , when envisaged in union with the energy, is eminently endowed with the creative dynamism that Nature will exhibit at Her own stage of differentiation. Śiva  is always two fold, with attributes and without attributes. Śiva  without attributes is considered as the Supreme amongst the creation and is distinct from prakṛti.  When Śiva  is endowed with attributes, it means that He is endowed with kalā-s.

Sixteen kalā-s mean the sixteen vowels, which are full (owing to their ambrosial nature) and where the knowable predominates. Being Śrī Mātā, the Divine Mother, whose name is constituted by these kalā-s (letters).  Impulsion is the culmination of the expansion of kalāKalā also means a small part of anything, any single part or portion of a whole, especially a sixteenth part, a digit, or one-sixteenth of the moon’s diameter, a symbolical expression of the number sixteen. }

Śrīmat Siṃhāsaneśvarī श्रीमत् सिंहासनेश्वरी (3)

Lalitāmbikā as the queen of queens is sitting on a lion.  Lion is associated with ferociousness and is known as the king of animals. The supreme queen is using lion as her vehicle. This description of Lalitāmbikā talks about Her role as the supreme dissolver.  Simha in Sanskrit means lion.  The root for the word siṃha is derived from the word himsa.  Himsa in Sanskrit means destruction.   Śrīmat + siṃha + āsanam + Iśvarī.  Śrīmat means the supreme respect given to Her in Her capacity as the destroyer of the universe, simhameans lion, āsanam means seat (here it means throne), Iśvarī means the ruler.

The first three nāma-s of this Sahasranāma begin with the letter Śrī. Śrī means prosperity, wealth, etc.  This bīja Śrī represents the goddess Lakṣmī, the goddess of wealth.  She is the wife of Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu.  This nāma also conveys that the worshipper of Lalithai will attain all material prosperity.

According to Jñānārnava, one of the ancient texts, there are eight mantra-s called simhāsana mantra-s to be performed on the four sides of the bindu in the Śrī Cakra and one in the bindu itself.  Twenty four goddesses are worshiped in this simhāsana mantra. This nāma also means that Lalitāmbikā is the Īśvarī for these twenty four goddesses.

The first three nāma-s refer to the Supreme nature of Lalitāmbikā, the creator, the sustainer and the dissolver.  As far as Her act of dissolution is concerned, She destroys those who commit sinful acts.  But She ensures that Her true devotees merge with Her.  This merger is called laya or absorption.

Cidagnikuṇḍa-saṃbhūtā चिदग्निकुण्डसंभूता (4)

Cit + agni + kuṇḍa + saṃbhūta Cit means the nirguṇa Brahman or the Brahman without attributes (the foundational consciousness).  Agni kuṇḍa means a fire altar, in which fire sacrifices are done by offering oblations.  Saṃbhūtā means born.  Agni kuṇḍa or the fire altar means the dispeller of darkness.  Darkness means lack of knowledge or ignorance which is called a-vidyā (vidyā means knowledge).  This should not be interpreted as the one who was born out of the fire.  She is the supreme consciousness who dispels ignorance.  She dispels ignorance through Her form of pure consciousness, who illuminates within, dispelling the darkness of māyā.

The same explanation is given by Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad Gīta (IV.37), “Like a fire turning the fire logs into ashes, the fire of knowledge burns to ashes all the karma-s (sarva karmani).”  Complete knowledge of the pure Brahman residing within, destroys all our karma-s whether good or bad.  One should have no balance in karmic account to avoid further births.

Devakārya-samudyatā देवकार्यसमुद्यता (5)

She has manifested Herself to help deva-s (gods and goddesses).  What is the help She can do for devās?  It goes back to a story where deva-s were engaged in a war with the demons who are called as asura-s.  She helps deva-s to win the battle with the demons.  Deva-s do not perform evil deeds, therefore She always helps deva-s.   When She is said to be a part of the Brahman, why She should manifest afresh to destroy the demons?  When She is said to be the part of the Brahman, it refers to Her prakāśa form.  Prakāśa (the principle Self-revelation; consciousness; the principle by which ever other thing is known.) form represents Śiva and vimarśa (Self-consciousness as opposed to Self-revelation of Śiva ; the awareness of Śiva , full of knowledge and actions that bring about the world process) form represents Śaktī.  Since She is a part of the Supreme Śiva who Has created Her as His vimarśa form, the prakāśa form of Lalitāmbikā is subtly highlighted here without explicitly saying so.  This nāma discusses Her prakāśa form.

There is an important saying in Yogavasiśtā, “I have two forms, ordinary and supreme.  The ordinary form of mine is with hands and legs.  This form of mine is worshiped by ignorant men.  The other one is my supreme form, the formless form without a beginning and an end.  This form of mine has no qualities or attributes and is called the Brahman, Ātman, Paramātman, etc.”

In this nāma demons or asura-s means avidyā or ignorance.  Deva-s means knowledge or vidyā.  She helps those who seek knowledge about the Brahman.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 6 – 11

 

 

Udyadbhānu-sahasrābhā उद्यद्भानुसहस्राभा (6)

Udyad – rising; bhānu-sun; sahasra – thousand or countless; abhā – light.  Lalitāmbikā appears as bright as thousand suns rising at the same time.  The colour of the rising sun is red.  The complexion of Lalitāmbikā is red as described in the dhyāna śloka of this Sahasranāma (sakuṅkumavilepanām).  Almost all the tantra śastra-s and ancient scriptures talk about Her complexion as red.  In the previous nāma Her prakāśa form was discussed and in this nāma Her vimarśa form is being described.  She has three forms – the prakāśaform or the subtle form, the vimarśa form or the physical form and Her parā form or the supreme form.  The prakāśa form of Her is said to be made of various mantra-s, the supreme one being mahā ṣodaśī mantra.  Her vimarśa form is Her physical form.  She is worshiped in thousands of forms.  Her supreme form is realised through mental worship.  These forms and the associated red colour are for easier contemplation.  From the next nāma onwards, Her physical form is being described.  The red colour also indicates care.  She looks after Her devotees with great care and affection like a mother.

Kṛṣṇa says (Bhagavad Gīta II.12) “If hundreds of thousands of suns were to rise at once into the sky, their radiance might resemble the effulgence of the Supreme Person in that universal form.”

Caturbāhu-samanvitā चतुर्बाहुसमन्विता (7)

The physical appearance of Lalitāmbikā begins here.  She has four arms.  These four arms represent Her ministers, through whom She administers.  These Devi-s who assist Her are described in the next four nāma-s.

Rāgasvarūpa-pāśāḍhyā रागस्वरूपपाशाढ्या (8)

Rāga means desire or a wish.  Pāśa is a type of rope used to pull an object.  She pulls all the desires of Her devotees using this rope.  There are three śakti-s (śakti in this context means power) – iccā, jñāna and kriya.  This nāma talks about iccā śakti or the desire.  She never allows Her devotees to sink with desires.  This arm is Her left upper arm and is represented by Aśvārūdā Devi.

Krodhākāraṅkuśojvalā क्रोधाकारङ्कुशोज्वला (9)

She holds an elephant hook in her right upper arm.  Krodha means hatred and akāra means knowledge.  This nāma talks about subtle body.  Knowledge is always subtle.  She uses this elephant hook to destroy the hatred if developed in Her devotees and gives them knowledge.  A bīja of Kālī, kroṁ (क्रों) is hidden in this nāma.  Kālī is the destroyer of all evils.  This right lower arm is represented by Sampathkarī Devi.

Manorūpekṣu-kodaṇḍā मनोरूपेक्षुकोदण्डा (10)

Mind involves both saṃkalpa and vikalpa.  Saṃkalpa means resolve, process of thought.  Vikalpa means difference of perception.  Both are opposite to each other.  Mind is also subtle like knowledge.  Mind is reflected through the five sensory organs.  It has both saṃkalpa and vikalpa quality as it acts through the impressions received from sense organs that get fine tuned in the form of thought and finally explodes in the form of actions.  Ikṣu means sugar cane and kodaṇḍa means a bow.  She is holding in Her left lower arm a bow of sugar cane.  Why sugarcane bow?  If sugarcane is crushed, sweet and tasty juice is obtained from which sugar is manufactured.  It means if one crushes his mind (controlling the mind), he gets the sweet reality of the Brahman.  This arm is represented by Mantrinī also known Śyāmala Devi.

Pañcatanmātra-sāyakā पञ्चतन्मात्रसायका (11)

Pañca means five and tanmātra-s are sound, touch, sight, taste and smell, the subtle modifications of the five basic elements ākāś, air, fire, water and earth.

The earlier nāma spoke about the bow and this nāma talks about Her arrows.  She has five arrows.  These five arrows are made of flowers.  The five flower arrows represent five subtle elements. These five flowers or arrows are described differently in various tantra śāstra-s.  These five flowers are lotus flower, raktakairavaflower, kalhara flower, indivara flower and flowers of mango tree.  These five flowers represent excitement, madness, confusion, stimulation and destruction.  The arrows are used in wars targeting the enemies.  Lalitāmbikā targets Her devotees with these arrows to destroy the illusion or māyā as the five subtle elements are associated with māyā.  This is Her right lower hand.  Vārāhī Devi is represented by this hand.

Nāma-s 8,9,10 and 11 have secret bījākśara-s.  For example, eighth nāma has hrīṃ bīja which is known as māyā bīja.  The eighth nāma begins with rāgasva which is formed of ra + aga + sva.  Aga means Śiva.  The bīja for Śiva is hāṁ (हां).  This is to be taken as ha.  The next is ra (र) and this is to be taken as it is.  Svameans the letter īṁ (ईं) with a bindu (dot) on the top.  The bīja hrīṁ (ह्रीं) is thus formed by ha + ra īṁ and pronounced as hrīṁ. Like this in the other three nāma-s such bījākaśara-s (da, ra, ka, la, ya, sa, va, ā, ī, ū) are hidden.  That is why Lalitā Sahasranāma is considered on par with Veda-s.  Most importantly, this Sahasranāma should not be recited with rāga or svara (musical notes).

Lalitha Sahasranamam 12 – 18

Nijāruṇa-prabhā-pūra-majjad-brahmāṇḍa-manḍalā निजारुणप्रभापूरमज्जद्ब्रह्माण्डमन्डला (12)

Her red-rose like complexion radiates the universe with red colour.  From this nāma onwards, the gross description of Lalitāmbikā begins.  When physical description of a God is made, it is from foot to head and for Goddesses it is from head to foot.  For Lalitāmbikā, the description begins from Her head.   For Śiva the descriptions are both from His head as well as His feet as He represents both Śiva and Śaktī(ardhanārīśvara form, Śiva and Śaktī combined in a single form, half male and half female, conjoined vertically).  In Pañcadaśī mantra there are three parts or kūṭa-s (divisions).  Out of the three kūṭa-sVāgbhava kūṭa is meditated upon Her head, which is in line with the tradition of describing Her from head to foot.

Campakāśoka-punnāga-saugandhika-lasat-kacā चम्पकाशोकपुन्नागसौगन्धिकलसत्कचा (13)

Campaka, aśoka, punnāga, saugandhika are the four types of fragrant flowers that adorn Her hair.  But Her hair does not get fragrance because of these flowers, whereas these flowers get their fragrance from Her hair.  Her hair is always sweet smelling.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 43), says.”Your dense, greasy and soft braid of hair, resembling a group of blue lotuses in bloom, dispel our ignorance.  I think the flowers of the trees in the garden of the foe of Vala abide therein to attain their innate fragrance.”  Wetness indicates Her compassion and softness indicates Her motherhood.

Durvāsa ṛṣi (Sage Durvās) in his ‘Śaktī Mahimna’ meditates on Her sweet smelling hair in his heart cakra.

The idea behind these description is when Her hair can drive away ignorance (knowledge is considered as supreme in realising the Brahman), what Her total form can do for Her devotees.  These four sweet smelling flowers mean the four deceptive components of antaḥkaraṇa viz. mind, intellect, consciousness and ego.

Kuruvinda-maṇiśreṇī-kanat-koṭīra-maṇḍitā कुरुविन्दमणिश्रेणीकनत्कोटीरमण्डिता (14)

Kuruvinda is a rare type of ruby, which is red in colour.  This particular type of ruby is said to enhance love, wealth and devotion for Viṣṇu (Viṣṇu is Her brother).  These rubies adorn Her crown.  When She is meditated upon with this red crown, spirituality and prosperity will increase. Saundarya Laharī (verse 42) says, “Why will not he, who extols your golden crown, closely stud with the twelve Suns (twelve āditya-s – dvādasa āditya-s, each āditya representing one solar month ) transformed into gems, form the idea that the digit of the (crescent) Moon, variegated by enveloping lustre of the inlaid gems, is but the bow of Indra (rainbow)?”   Śrī Śaktī Mahimnaḥ (verse 42) also describes Her crown.

Aṣṭamī -candra-vibrāja-dhalika-sthala-śobhitā अष्टमीचन्द्रविब्राजधलिकस्थलशोभिता (15)

Her forehead appears like the moon on the eighth day.  Eighth day from the full moon or new moon is called asḥṭamī.  The moon appears beautiful with even curves on both sides on eighth lunar day.

Mukacandra-kalaṇkābha-mṛganābhi-viśeṣakā मुकचन्द्रकलण्काभमृगनाभिविशेषका (16)

She is wearing a kastūri (kastūrikā a fragrant paste) tilaka (a mark on the forehead made with coloured earths, sandal-wood, or unguents, either as ornament or as a sectarian distinction) and this is compared to the spot that we see in the moon.  In Śrī Śaktī Mahimnaḥ (verse 39), Her face is meditated upon.

Vadanasmara-māṅgalya-gṛhatoraṇa-cillikā वदनस्मरमाङ्गल्यगृहतोरणचिल्लिका (17)

Her face is compared to the palace of lord Manmatha (the god of love – cupid) and Her eyebrows are compared to the festoons adorning his house.  Cillikā means eyebrows. It is said that Manmatha constructed an auspicious palace, copying the face of Lalitāmbikā.

Vaktra-lakṣmī-parīvāha-calan-mīnābha-locanā वक्त्रलक्ष्मीपरीवाहचलन्मीनाभलोचना (18)

Her eyes appear like fishes moving in a pond.  Her face is compared to a pond and Her eyes to fishes.  Fishes move very quickly.  She also moves Her eyes quickly as She has to shower Her grace on the entire universe.  The fish eggs become fertile by mere glance of mother fish.  In the same manner She by Her mere glance nourishes the universe.  Because of the beauty of Her eyes She is also known as Mīnākṣī,Mīnalocanī, etc.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 19 – 25

Navacampaka-puṣpābha-nāsadaṇḍa-virājitā नवचम्पकपुष्पाभनासदण्डविराजिता (19)

Her nose resembles like a newly blossomed champaka flower.

Tārākānti-tiraskāri-nāsabharaṇa-bhāsurā ताराकान्तितिरस्कारिनासभरणभासुरा (20)

She is wearing a nose stud that outshines the stars.  Her nose stud is made up of rubies and pearls.  Tārāmeans stars   Tārā also means two goddesses Maṅgalā and Śuklā. Śuklā has later come to be known as Śukrā. Possibly these Maṅgalā and Śukrā could mean the two planets Mars and Venus.  Each planet governs certain precious stones.  Planet Mars rules ruby that is red in colour and Venus rules diamond (Mani Mālā II.79).  It can also be said that these two planets adorn Her nose.  This also indicates that worshipping Her wards off the evil effects of planets.

Kadamba-mañjarī-klpta-karṇapūra-manoharā कदम्बमञ्जरीक्ल्प्तकर्णपूरमनोहरा (21)

She is wearing the petals of kadamba flowers in Her ears or flowers kept in Her hair flow down to Her ears.  These flowers are grown outside Her Cintāmani graha (The palace where She lives).  These flowers have divine fragrance, which is derived from Her ear lobes.

Tāṭaṅka-yugalī-bhūta-tapanoḍupa-maṇḍalā ताटङ्कयुगलीभूततपनोडुपमण्डला (22)

She is wearing sun and moon as Her ear rings.  This means She controls all the activities of the universe, as sun and moon are responsible for sustaining life.  It is also said that sun and moon represent her eyes, earrings and bosoms.  The bīja klīṁ (क्लीं) is symbolises Her two bosoms, which represent the two semi circles in the klīṁ bīja.  The klīṁ bīja is also known as kāma bīja.  Further details are to be learnt from a Guru. Most of the nāma-s of this Sahasranāma subtly convey various bīja-s and hence this Sahasranām is considered as very powerful.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 28) says, “Brahma, Indra and other celestials perish even though they have drunk nectar which confers immunity from frightful grey hairs (of old age) and death.  If the longevity of Śivadespite His swallowing the terrific poison is not limited by time, it is because of the greatness of your ear ornaments.”

Padmarāga-śilādharśa-paribhāvi-kapolabhūḥ पद्मरागशिलाधर्शपरिभाविकपोलभूः (23)

Her cheeks are shining, soft and reflecting.  Padmarāga is a type of ruby, red in colour. Ruby is of four types: vipra, kuruvinda, saugandhika and mansa-khanda, out of which vipra is superior. Wearing afflicted rubies cause irreparable damages in one’s life.   Her cheeks are reflecting red colour as Her complexion itself is red.  The other ornaments that have been described above are also red in colour.  The sun and the moon in Her ear lobes make Her cheeks shining red.  Everything associated with Her is red.  As discussed earlier, red indicates compassion.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 59) says, “Your face is cupid’s four wheeled chariot, having the pair of your ear ornaments reflected in the expanse of your cheeks.  Cupid, the mighty warrior sitting on it plots revengefully against the Lord Śiva, resting on the chariot of the Earth having the Sun and Moon for its wheels.”

Navavidruma-bimbaśrī-nyakkāri-radanacchadā नवविद्रुमबिम्बश्रीन्यक्कारिरदनच्छदा (24)

Her lips outshine fresh coral and the bimba fruit (momordica monadelpha).  Bimba fruit is normally compared to beautiful lips.  Both are red in colour.

Śuddha-vidhyāṅkurākāra-dhvijapakṅti-dvayojvalā  शुद्धविध्याङ्कुराकारध्विजपक्ङ्तिद्वयोज्वला (25)

Her teeth appear like Śuddha-vidyā, which means Śrī Vidyā.  Śrī Vidyā is considered as the most secret and powerful ritual worship of Lalitāmbikā.  This involves a lot of rituals and each ritual has its own meaning and interpretation. Śuddha means pure, vidyā means knowledge and Śuddha-vidyā means pure knowledge.  This is considered pure because this upāsana mārg or the cult of Śrī Vidyā worship emphasizes the non-duality, ‘I am That’ concept.

The ṣodaśī mantra is considered as the seed for Śrī Vidyā.  It has sixteen bīja-s.  When a seed grows into a sprout, it has two leaves.  Therefore 16 x 2 gives 32, the number of teeth in human beings.   Even though teeth have two rows placed in upper and lower jaws, the jaws are attached to each other internally.  In the same way soul (jīva) and (Brahman) God are considered as different out of ignorance when both remain the same.  Śrī Vidyā worship is to be done in seclusion, understanding the significance and meanings of the procedures.  Then only the worship yields results.

In the mantra initiation procedures of Devi, there are thirty two types of dīkśa (types of initiation). Yet another interpretation is also possible.  This Sahasranāmam starts only with 32 letters out of the 51 alphabets in Sanskrit. This 32 represents Her teeth.  This could also mean that the initiation into Śrī Vidyā cult is to be done verbally by Guru to his disciple.

{Further reading on Śuddha-vidyā: This is the fifth tattva, counting from Śiva.  In this tattva, the consciousness of both “I” and “This” is equally predominant. Though the germinal universe is seen differently, yet identity runs through it as a thread.  There is identity in diversity at this stage.  Kriya is predominant tattva here.  The consciousness of this state is ‘I am, I and also this’.  Vidyā tattva consists of Śuddha-vidyā, sahaja vidyā and kañcuka (limited knowledge). Vidyātattva consists of śuddhavidyāsahajavidyā and vidyākañcukaŚuddhavidyā here is the same as sadvidyā (fifth tattva), while sahajavidyā is natural knowledge (not a tattva). Natural knowledge implies the emergence of His Freedom. As sahajavidyā(natural knowledge) is also known as śuddhavidyā (pure knowledge).}

Lalitha Sahasranamam 26 – 31

Karpūravīṭikāmodha-samākarṣi-digantarā कर्पूरवीटिकामोधसमाकर्षिदिगन्तरा (26)

Karpūravītikā is a combination of fragrant ingredients, used to chew along with the betel leaves.  The ingredients used are – saffron, cardamom, clove, camphor, kastūri, nutmeg and mace or myristica fragransor jātipattrī (arillus of the nut also known as myristica officinalis).  The ingredients are finely powdered and mixed with powdered sugar candy.  This Karpūravītikā powder when used with betel leaves for chewing gives immense fragrance and delicious taste).  When She chews this, it provides fragrance to the entire universe.  Please refer nāma 559 also.  In Lalitā Triśatī (containing 300 nāma-s based on Pañcadaśī mantranāma 14 also coveys the same meaning.

Possibly this could mean that She attracts ignorant men by this fragrance.  Knowledgeable men can reach Her by devotion whereas ignorant men require inducement to obtain Her grace.  This inducement is the fragrance mentioned here.

Nija-sallāpa-mādurya-vinirbhartsita-kacchpī निजसल्लापमादुर्यविनिर्भर्त्सितकच्छ्पी (27)

Sarasvatī’s veena (veena is musical instrument with strings) is called kachapi.  It produces a superb melody, in the hands of Sarasvatī Devi, the goddess for fine arts.  The voice of Lalitai is more melodious than Sarasvatī’s veena.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 66) says:  “While Vāni (Sarasvatī) is singing with veena about the various glorious deeds of Śiva and you begin to express words of appreciation, nodding your head, Sarasvatī quickly covers Her veena in its case.  The sweetness on the strings of the veena is ridiculed by the soft melody of your eulogistic words.”

The explanation provided to the earlier nāma is applicable here too.  She attracts the ignorant by the melody of Her voice.

Mandasmita-prabhāpūra-majjatkāmeśa-mānasā मन्दस्मितप्रभापूरमज्जत्कामेशमानसा (28)

Smita means smile and mandasmita means a special benevolent smile.  Kāmeśa is Śiva.  When Lalitai is sitting on the left thigh of Śiva, they are known as Kāmeśvara and Kāmeśvarī.  This form is different from their Ardhanārīśvara form.  Śiva is immersed in that beautiful special smile of Lalitai.

Kāma also means bindu, a dot.   Bindu is a part of kāmakalā bija (īṁ ईं).  This bīja has two bindu-s, each representing the sun and the moon.  The bindu refers to ego.  Kāma and kalā both mean desire.   Mind is the cause for desire.  When the mind of Śiva Himself is influenced by the smile of Kāmeśvarī, it only speaks about Her glory.

She attracts ignorant men by Her smile and offer them salvation by infusing wisdom.

Anākalita-sādṛśya-cibuka-śrī-virājitā अनाकलितसादृश्यचिबुकश्रीविराजिता (29)

She has the most beautiful chin.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 67) says “Your incomparable chin that is touched by the forepart of the hand of Śiva is raised frequently out of His eagerness to drink the nectar of your lower lip.”

Kāmeśa-baddha-māṅgalya-sūtra-śobhita-kandharāकामेशबद्धमाङ्गल्यसूत्रशोभितकन्धरा (30)

Her neck is adorned with the māṅgalya sūtra (married women wear this) tied by Kāmeśvara.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 69) says “The three lines on your neck indicating the number of strings in the auspicious cord fastened at the time of your wedding shine like boundaries, delimiting the position of the gamut, the repositories, of the treasures of various kinds of melodious rāga-s (tunes).”

The tying of māṅgalya sūtra is not discussed in Veda-s and possibly a custom followed in later days. As per sāmudrikā śāstra, (interpretation of features of the body) three fine lines in the forehead, eyes or hip indicate prosperity.

Kanakāṅgada-keyūra-kamanīya-bhujanvitā कनकाङ्गदकेयूरकमनीयभुजन्विता (31)

kanaka – golden; aṅgada – bangles or bracelets; keyūra is a type of ornament worn in the upper arms.  She is wearing these ornaments.  Possibly, this could mean the following.  Both these ornaments are made out of gold and worn in the arms.  Though they differ in form, the ingredient gold is the same in both.  Though the forms of living beings are different, the innermost Brahman remains the same.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 32 – 40

 

Ratna-graiveya-cintāka-lola-muktā-palānvitā रत्नग्रैवेयचिन्ताकलोलमुक्तापलान्विता (32)

She is wearing a gems embedded golden pendent and a pearl necklace.  These ornaments are dangling in Her neck.

The dangling of these ornaments is compared to mind.  Those who are not capable of meditating Her full form (head to foot) are said to be low class devotees and called as lola-s.  Those who are able to meditate on Her full form are said to be high class devotees and called as muktā-s Lola-s or muktā-s get the benefits (pala) of their prayers according to their category. This is the meaning of lola-muktā-palānvitā.  While worshipping Her, one has keep to keep his mind steady, without distractions.

Kāmeśvara-premaratna-maṇi-pratipaṇa-stanī कामेश्वरप्रेमरत्नमणिप्रतिपणस्तनी (33)

She offers her two bosoms to Kāmeśvara (Śiva) in return for His love. The subtle meaning is that She will give Her blessings to Her devotees, twice the amount of devotion offered to Her.

Nābhyālavāla-romāli-latā-phala-kucadvayā नाभ्यालवालरोमालिलताफलकुचद्वया (34)

Her two bosoms are the fruits of the creeper (refers to hair) that springs from Her navel.  The significance of this nāma is on the navel and heart cakra-s.  Meditating on the heart cakra by upwardly moving the kuṇḍalinīfrom navel cakra, gives fruits of meditation.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 76) says “The God of love afflicted by the fire of Śiva’s anger took shelter in your navel.”

Lakṣya-roma-latādhāratā-samunneya-madhyamā लक्ष्यरोमलताधारतासमुन्नेयमध्यमा (35)

Her waist is to be known only from creeper like hair as described in the previous nāma.  The secretive meaning is that ātma is subtle and can be known only by keen observation (through meditation).

Stanabhāra-dalanmadhya-paṭṭabandha-valitrayā स्तनभारदलन्मध्यपट्टबन्धवलित्रया (36)

The golden belt that She wears supports Her waist as it bends under the heaviness of Her bosoms, resulting in three folds in Her stomach area.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 80) says “Your bosoms rubbing at the upper arms, abounding the bodice and the God of love, in order to protect Your hip from breaking has bound Your hip with three fold strands.”

The possible interpretation could be that Her compassion to the universe is vast which is referred to as heaviness here.  The three lines in Her hip indicate Her three activities – creation, sustenance and dissolution.  Her time for compassion is more than Her other activities.  After all She is the Supreme Mother.

Aruṇaruṇa-kausumbha-vastra-bhāsvat-kaṭītaṭī अरुणरुणकौसुम्भवस्त्रभास्वत्कटीतटी (37)

She wears a red silk cloth around Her waist. Red colour means compassion.  Everything associated with Her is red in colour, indicating that Her form is full of compassion (one of the reasons of being Śrī Mātā).  It can be said that She performs Her three acts (creation, sustenance and dissolution) with compassion. This could also refer to one of the Vāc Devi-sArunā.  This Sahasranāma was composed by eight Vāc Devi-s.  They are Vasini, Kāmeśvari  (not Śiva ’s wife), Modhini, Vimalā, Arunā, Jainī, Sarveśvariī and Koulinī. ArunāVāc Devi is in Her waist.

Ratna-kiṅkiṇikā-ramya-raśanā-dāma-bhūṣitā रत्नकिङ्किणिकारम्यरशनादामभूषिता (38)

She is adorned with girdle studded with mini bells and gems.  Devi’s Pañcadaśī mantra consists of three parts or kūṭa-sVāgbhava kūṭa was discussed from nāma 13 to 29.  Madhya kūṭa was discussed from 30 to 38 and Śaktī kūṭa will be discussed from 39 to 47. Devi’s face is vāgbhava kūṭa, from face to hip is madhya kūṭa (also known as kāmarāja kūṭa) and Śaktī kūṭa is hip downwards. The entire Pañcadaśī mantra is hidden in nāma-s 13 to 47.  Her gross description is also discussed from nāma-s 13 to 54.

Kāmeśa-jñāta-saubhāgya-mārdavoru-dvayānvitā कामेशज्ञातसौभाग्यमार्दवोरुद्वयान्विता (39)

The beauty of Her thighs is known only to Her consort and Creator Kāmeśvara.  This indirectly refers to the secretive nature of Śaktī kūṭa of Pañcadaśī that begins from this nāma.

Māṇikya-mukuṭākāra-jānudvaya-virājitāमाणिक्यमुकुटाकारजानुद्वयविराजिता (40)

Each of Her knees is like a single piece of ruby (again red colour) appearing like a crown.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 41 – 46

 

Indragopa-parikṣipta-smaratūṇābha-jaṅghikā इन्द्रगोपपरिक्षिप्तस्मरतूणाभजङ्घिका (41)

Her calf muscles look like the quiver of Manmatha, the god of love.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 83) says “In order to win the heart of your Lord Śiva, the five arrowed cupid God of love has made your legs into an arrow case with ten arrows (toe nails).”

Gūḍha-gulphā गूढगुल्फा (42)

She has round and well shaped ankles that are hidden.

Kūrma-pṛṣṭha-jayiṣṇu-prapadānvitā कूर्मपृष्ठजयिष्णुप्रपदान्विता (43)

The arch of her feet is more beautiful and curvier than tortoise’s shell.  But Śaṇkarā expresses his anger for comparing Her feet to that of tortoise shell, which is hard.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 88) says “The toes of your feet is the one that sustains this universe (he is not even comparing the entire feet, he says only about the toes).  Lord Śiva knows the softness of your feet that is why He held your feet with great care during your marriage ceremony.  How dare they (possibly Vāc Devi-s) compare such soft feet to that of tortoise shell?”  This also confirms that Sahasranāma is much older than Saundarya Laharī.

Nāma-s 41, 42, and 43 are as per the features described in sāmudrikā lakśanā (study of body parts).

Nakhadīdhiti-saṃchanna-namajjana-tamoguṇā नखदीधितिसंछन्ननमज्जनतमोगुणा (44)

The rays of Her nails remove the ignorance of those who bow before Her.  When Deva-s and asura-s (demons) pay their reverence to Her by bowing, the rays of the gems emanating from their crowns are in no comparison to the rays emanating from the nails of Her feet.  The rays that come out of Her nails destroy the tamo guṇa (inertia) and ignorance of those who worship Her.

It is also said that She does not bless with Her hands, but with Her feet.  She does not have abhaya and varada hands.  Normally one can notice that most of the Gods have four hands, out of which one is meant for blessings and another for giving boons.  Lalitai does not have these two hands as She has four powerful goddesses (nāma-s 8, 9, 10 and 11) in Her four hands.  The two acts of blessings and granting boons are done by Her lotus feet.

Pada-dvaya-prabhā-jāla-parākṛta-saroruhā पदद्वयप्रभाजालपराकृतसरोरुहा (45)

The beauty of Her feet is much more than a lotus.  Generally lotus flower is compared to the eyes and feet of gods and goddesses.  In Saundarya Laharī (verse 2) says “Gathering tiniest speck of dust from your lotus feet, Brahma creates the worlds, Viṣṇu sustains them and Śiva pulverising them into ashes besmears His body with them.”

There are opinions that She has four feet.  They are known as śukla, rakta, miśra and nirvāna. The first two rest in ājña cakra, the third on the heart cakra and the fourth on the sahasrāra.  Each of these feet is ruled by BrahmaViṣṇu, Rudra and Sadāśiva.  They stand for creation, sustenance, dissolution and the last one for liberation (or recreation).

In Hindu mythology, every act of Nature is represented by a god or goddess.  For example, water is represented by lord Varuṇa, fire is represented by Agni, wealth by Kubera, death by Yama etc.  It is nothing but worshiping the Nature and the cosmos.  Since there are so many forces and energies in the universe, each of them is represented by a god.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 3) says, “The particles of dust at your feet serve to remove the inner darkness of the ignorant.”

Siñjāna-maṇi-mañjīra-maṇḍita-srīpadāmbujā सिञ्जानमणिमञ्जीरमण्डितस्रीपदाम्बुजा (46)

She is wearing anklets made out of precious gems that shine.

It is to be noted that five nāma-s 42 to 46 describe only about Her feet.  When Her feet alone are described in such a detailed manner, it is beyond human comprehension to think about Her powerful form.  This is made so by Vāc Devi-s, to impress about Her prākaśa vimarśa mahā māyā svarūpinī form.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 46 – 52

Siñjāna-maṇi-mañjīra-maṇḍita-srīpadāmbujā सिञ्जानमणिमञ्जीरमण्डितस्रीपदाम्बुजा (46)

She is wearing anklets made out of precious gems that shine.

It is to be noted that five nāma-s 42 to 46 describe only about Her feet.  When Her feet alone are described in such a detailed manner, it is beyond human comprehension to think about Her powerful form.  This is made so by Vāc Devi-s, to impress about Her prākaśa vimarśa mahā māyā svarūpinī form.

Marālī-manda-gamanā मरालीमन्दगमना (47)

Her walking gait is like a female swan.  When She comes out of the kunda (nāma 4) and walking towards gods and goddesses, Her gait is described like this.  The fact is that Her gait cannot be compared to that of swans, as Her gait is incomparable.  In order to give an idea about Her gait such visual comparisons are made.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 91) says, “Oh! Goddess of graceful gait! Your household swans, as if intent on practising to balance their steps with tripping gait, do not abandon your feet.”

With this nāma the subtle description of Śaktī kūṭa of Pañcadaśī is concluded.

Mahā-lāvanya-śevadhiḥ महालावन्यशेवधिः (48)

She is the treasure house of beauty.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 12) says “The best of thinkers such as Brahma and others are at great pains to find a suitable comparison to your beauty.  Even the celestial damsels, out of great eagerness to get a glimpse of your splendour, mentally attain a condition of absorption into Śiva, which is unobtainable even by penance.”

Sarvāruṇā सर्वारुणा (49)

Sarvam + aruṇam = everything in red.  Everything associated with Her is red.  This fact has been highlighted in various nāma-s.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 93) says karuṇā kācid aruṇā meaning that Her compassion which is red in colour is beyond comprehension.

The same nāma is in Lalitā Triśatī (138).  Yajur Veda (4.5.1.7) ‘saysasau yastāmro aruṇa uta babhruḥsumangalaḥ’ (this comes under Śrī Rudraṁ 1.7) which says that aruṇa (the colour of the sun at the time of dawn) is copper red in colour which is auspicious. ‘The colour of red is auspicious’ says Śruti (Veda-s).   No other authority is needed to ascertain Her complexion.

Anavadyāṅgī अनवद्याङ्गी (50)

Every part of Her body is flawless and in accordance with samudrikā lakśana or śāstra.  She is nirguṇa Brahman (without attributes) as well as saguṇa Brahman (with attributes).  When She is known as saguṇaBrahman She is with form and attributes.  Saguṇa Brahman is discussed here.  Brahman is always flawless.

Sarvābharaṇa-bhūṣitā सर्वाभरणभूषिता (51)

She is adorned with all types of ornaments.  The Kālika Purāṇa mentions forty types of ornaments.  Parasurāma Kalpa Sūtra, one of the authoritative texts on Śrī Cakra pūja (ritual worship) mentions more number of ornaments that adorn Her.  The nāma 140 in Lalitā Triśatī conveys the same meaning.

Though many believe that the description of her physical form ends with this nāma, some scholars are of the opinion that physical description ends with nāma 55 only.  However 48 to 51 describe Her form of prakāśaand vimarśa combine.

Śiva-kāmeśvarāṅkasthā शिवकामेश्वराङ्कस्था (52)

Her seating posture begins from this nāma.  She sits on the left thigh of Śiva.  This is the form of saguṇa Brahman.  Śiva is prakāśa form and self illuminating and Śaktī is His vimarśa form.  It is good to meditate upon this posture of Them.  Why She is sitting on his left thigh?  Heart is on the left side and She is said to be Śiva’s heart (could also mean love).

Kāma means handsome, desire, god of love ManmathaKāma also means knowledge.  Śiva means auspicious. Īśvara means the supreme ruler.  Knowledge is said to be the form of Śiva.  Perception of heart and mind is the knowledge.  Here all the qualities of the saguṇa Brahman are covered.  This is saguṇaBrahman because it talks about forms and qualities.  Nirguṇa Brahman does not have form and attributes.  When māyā or illusion is still associated with Brahman it is called saguṇa Brahman.  This saguṇa Brahmanis called Śaktī or prakāśa vimarśa mahā māyā svarūpinī.  Why kāmā is mentioned here?  This kāmā does not mean Manmatha, the god of love.  It means the supreme, not the desire with which this word is associated.  The desire of the Brahman to create the universe is executed through Śaktī, the auspicious form of the Supreme ruler Śiva.  This nāma actually talks about static and kinetic form of energies in unison.  This also could mean the creation of the universe.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 53 – 54

Śiva शिवा (53)

There is no difference between Śiva and Śaktī; hence she is called as Śiva.  Śiva also means auspiciousness.  She is the embodiment of auspiciousness.  She is the icchā form of Śiva.  There are three types of śakti-s – icchā (desire), jñāna (knowledge) and kriyā (action).  Since Śiva is the Brahman and as such He does not have any desires.  But His icchā form is reflected in the form Lalitai.  Here desire means desire to self-realization. “Yatā Shivā –tatā Devi; Yatā Devi- tatā Shivā” is the saying.  Wherever Śiva is, there will be Śaktī and wherever Śaktī is, there will be Śiva.  That is why it is said there is no difference between Śiva and Śaktī. Elsewhere it is said that Pārvatī and Parameśvara cannot be separated from each other. This is compared to a word, which cannot be separated from its meaning.  They are considered as father and mother of the universe.  Scriptures say that there is no difference between Umā (Śaktī) and Śankarā (Śiva).  Śankarī is the consort of Śiva and is known as Śiva – Śankarī.

She is the māyā Śaktī that is connected to one’s consciousness.  How does she look like?  She is knowledgeable, self-illuminating (remember our discussions on self-illuminating Brahman), without qualities, the cause of destruction of saṃsārā (desires and related issues) and the bliss.  She is Śiva, the supreme Devi, the ocean of mercy and compassion.  Men of intellect get everything out of Her.

There are two important points mentioned here.  One is that, Lalitai is in no way different from Śiva.  Both Śiva and Śaktī are in a single form only.  Only out of ignorance, we worship them as two separate individuals.  Secondly, assuming that we continue to worship Her individual form that has been described in the above verses, still we get all auspicious things.  This aspect is discussed in subsequent nāma-s also.

Svādhīna-vallabhā स्वाधीनवल्लभा (54)

Her consort (Śiva) belongs to Her alone.  This confirms the interpretation of the previous nāma.  We have been discussing that Śiva alone created Her to take care of His three acts.  For this exclusive purpose, Śivacreated Śaktī, the kinetic energy as opposed to the static energy of Śiva.  As She is the only creation of Śiva, it is said that Śiva belongs to Her alone.  Śiva is the cause of this universe and Śaktī is His power.  Without this combination, the universe cannot exist.  This is also confirmed by Saundarya Laharī (verse 1). Without being united with ŚaktīŚiva cannot even make a single move.

Possibly this can also be interpreted as follows:  Brahman is omnipresent.  Soul is the jīva where karma-s of living beings are embedded.  Neither Brahman nor soul in their individual capacity can create a life.  Brahman needs the soul to function with a gross form and the soul needs the Brahman to get a birth.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 1) says that Śiva cannot act alone.  In the same way Śaktī also cannot act alone.   Since the verses are about Śaktī, generally negative points (not qualities) in such cases are vetoed. It is poetic way of expression.

With this verse, the physical description of Lalitai is concluded.  From nāma-s 53 to 64 it is going to be the description of Śrī Nagara, the place where Lalitai lives.  It can be observed in nāma-s 13-54, while describing physical form of Lalitai, some of them are delicate to discuss.  Not only in this Sahasranāma, but also in Saundarya Laharī such descriptions are found.  Generally a question arises, whether such descriptions are justifiable, beyond a certain level.  There could be two possibilities for such narratives.  One is the possibility of poetisation, which is generally allowed in poems.  One can apply this to Saundarya Laharī, composed by Ādi Śaṅakara.  How a great sage like Śaṅakara can make such descriptions?  Śaṅakarā is no ordinary person.  He is said to be the incarnation of Lord Śiva.  If this is true his descriptions can be accepted, subject to the question why he should express such things in public.  It is difficult to know the right answer.  There should be something extremely subtle in such descriptions, which cannot be comprehended by ordinary humans.  Take this Sahasranāma composed by Vāc Devi-s, who are always with Lalitai.  Further, this Sahasranāma was recited in the presence of Lalitai Herself.  If She found something wrong with the verses, She could have burnt these Vāc Devi-s.  She did not do so.  So, it is clear that such descriptions are approved by Lalitai Herself.  Her Pañcadaśī mantra is meditated upon Her bodily parts which are considered to be highly secretive in nature, though discussed moderately in this edition.

Following could be the reasons for such descriptions in this Sahasranāma and elsewhere. The first point is, in any poetic visualization, such narratives are permitted.  Poetic skills are expressed through such descriptions.  Second thing is to test a devotee whether he gets excited on such descriptions.  This is a sort of test before proceeding to higher awareness.  Thirdly, such descriptions are part of māyā played by Śaktī.  Unless māyā goes away from a person, realizing the Brahman is not possible and hence such descriptions fall under the gaze of māyā.  It could also mean the kuṇḍalinī energy and its path.  But beyond such reasoning one can think of, none has authority or right to analyze such narrations.  One has to understand that the world of illusion is full of desires and one has to cross such desires to reach higher planes of consciousness only after knowing such realities, as realising the reality alone leads to the Brahman.  Before closing the discussion on this subject, one should not forget that nirguṇa Brahman is formless and to realize nirguṇa Brahman, one has to realize the saguṇa Brahman (with qualities and form) first.  Possibly such narrations could help those not-so-intelligent (those who never heard about the Brahman) people to at least visualize the saguṇa Brahman, perhaps a stepping stone to spirituality.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 55 – 58

 

 

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Lalitha Sahasranamam 55 – 58

Sumeru-madhya-śṛṅgasthā सुमेरुमध्यशृङ्गस्था (55)

From this nāma   till 63, the narration of Her abode begins.

Sumeru means in the midst of mountains called meru.  She lives in the centre of Meru Mountains.  Vāc Devi-s in nāma   52 said that Lalitai is seated on the left thigh of Śiva, union of static and kinetic energies.  Now they are discussing about her palace.  Meru mountain range has three peaks and if a line is drawn connecting them, a triangle is formed.  In the midst of this triangle there is a taller peak than the rest of the three where in Lalitai resides.  Sage Durvāsa in his master piece Lalithāstavaratna says “I salute the three peaks (the shorter ones) which are abodes of BrahmaViṣṇu and Śiva.  In the midst of these peaks, there is another peak much higher than the other three.  The golden rays are beautifying this peak and I worship it.”

Possibly this could be the description of Śrī Cakrā.  In the middle of Śrī Cakrā there is a triangle and in the centre of this triangle there is dot called bindu in which Lalitai lives with Her consort Mahā Kāmeśvara.   Nāma 52 is contemplated on this bindu.

Śrīman-nagara-nāyikā  श्रीमन्नगरनायिका (56)

She owns this auspicious and wealthy city called Śrī Nagara.  There are two narrations about this Śrī Nagara.  One is found in Durvasa’s Lalithāstavaratna and another in Rudra Yāmala (as told to Pārvatī by Śiva).  The former says that Śrī Nagara was constructed by celestial architect Viśvakarma.  Rudra Yāmala says that Śrī Nagara is in the midst of ocean of milk as an island called Ratnadvīpa  (island formed out of precious gems).  In the midst of Śrī Nagara there is another city called Śrī Vidya that is surrounded by twenty five walls, each wall representing a tattva.  So, She is the queen of such a place, from where She performs all Her three acts of creation, etc.

Cintāmaṇi-gṛuhāntasthā चिन्तामणिगॄहान्तस्था (57)

She lives in a palace constructed out of Cintāmaṇi, one of the most valuable gems.  This gem is supposed to give whatever is desired.  This palace is on the northern side of Śrī Nagara, the city.  All the gods and goddesses go to this place to worship Her.  This is supposed to be the place of origin of all mantra-s.  Worshipping this place eradicates all mental afflictions.

Pañca-brahmāsana-sthitā पञ्चब्रह्मासनस्थिता (58)

She is seated on a throne made up of five Brahmans.  The five Brahmans are Brahma, Viṣṇu, RudraĪśānaand Sadāśiva (Some used to say Brahma, ViṣṇuŚivaMahādeva and Sadāśiva).  ŚivaMahādevaSadāśivaKāmeśvara are the different forms of Śiva.  Each form represents different acts.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 92) says that “Brahma, Viṣṇu, RudraĪśvara form the support of Your throne and Sadāśiva is the seat of Your throne”.  This nāma affirms Her highest authority of the universe.  But, Surely Vāc Devi-s could not have meant to name BrahmaViṣṇu etc as support of Her throne and Sadāśiva as Her seat.  There is another interpretation for this Pañca-Brahman.  This could possibly mean the basic elements.  We have five cakra-s in our body (mūlādhāra to viśuddhi) and each of these cakra-s represent one element.  Mūlādhāra – earth element, svādhiṣṭhāna – water element, maṇipūraka – fire element (some are of the opinion that svādhiṣṭhāna is fire element and maṇipūraka is water), anāhata – air element and viśuddhi –ākāś or ether element.  Lalitai is sitting on these five elements, each element forming four legs of Her throne and one forming the seat.  This seems to be appropriate as She is the creator and creation is made out of the five basic elements only.  After crossing these cakra-s, one has to proceed to ājñā cakra where mind is controlled and then proceed to the crown cakra where the union of Śiva and Śaktī takes place.  This explanation suits the interpretations of certain other nāma-s in this Sahasranāma.   Nāma-s 249 and 947 also speak about this concept.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 59 – 63

Mahāpadmāṭavī-saṃsthā महापद्माटवीसंस्था (59)

She dwells in a great forest full of lotus flowers.  Lotus flower grows only in water.  Nature’s bounty has been mentioned here.  Big mountains with high peaks were referred earlier.  Now indirectly the water bodies are mentioned.  Mahāpadma also refers to a type of elephant.

This nāma talks about the crown cakra or sahasrāra, situated above the six cakra-s of our body.  A minute aperture in the centre of sahasrāra is called brahmarandhra or padmāṭavī.  The divine energy enters human body through this aperture only.  Human contact with higher planes is established through this aperture.  This aperture is connected to all the six cakra-s.  Lalitai conjoins Her consort Śiva in sahasrāra.  This nāma talks about Her domicile in the middle of a thousand petal lotus or sahasrāra.

Kadaṃbavana-vāsinī कदंबवनवासिनी (60)

She lives in the middle of kadaṃba trees whose flowers have divine fragrance.  Her Cintāmaṇi graha is surrounded by a forest of kadaṃba trees.  Nature’s greenery is mentioned here.  By such narrations, Vāc Devi-s describe Her pṛthivī tattva, the Nature.  She is also called Mother Earth.  There are about twenty five walls around Her Cintāmaṇi graha, each wall representing a tattva. This Kadaṃba vana (kadamba forest) is situated between the walls of gold (eighth wall) and silver (seventh wall).

It is interesting to note that all the goddesses of Śrī Cakra intersect each other in the place between seventh and eighth walls.  There are twelve Vedic (solar) months corresponding to English calendar.  These twelve months are grouped under six ṛtu-s, each ṛtu consisting of two months.  Each ṛtu is ruled by a god.  These six gods along with their wives live in their palaces situated between third and eighth walls or forts of Śrī Pura.

In between the walls of gold and silver Mantrini Devi who is also called Śyāmala Devi has a palace where She resides.  She is the authority of ninety bīja-s of Brahma Vidyā.   Refer nāma 10.

Vāc Devi-s narrate how Lalitai controls even minute things.  From the literal angle certain nāma-s may appear insignificant.  But each and every nāma of this Sahasranāma has inner and secretive meaning and also a bījākṣara.  By and large, such secretive meanings are not disclosed to everyone.  People knowing the secretive nature of this Sahasranāma are extremely rare to find.

Sudhā-sāgara-madhyasthā सुधासागरमध्यस्था (61)

She resides in the middle of the ocean of nectar.  Sudhā means nectar, sāgara means ocean and madhyasthā means centre.  Sudhā-sāgara is a place in sahasrāra.  Just before sahasrāra, there is a place called soma cakra.  When kuṇḍalinī reaches this soma cakra, due to the extreme heat, a liquid flows down through the throat (nāma 106).  This liquid is called sudhā as its viscosity and taste resembles nectar.  This liquid is also called amrṭavarśinīAmrṭam also means nectar.   She being present in the middle of this soma cakra in the midst of ocean of nectar causes this nectar to flow into all the 72,000 (nāḍi-s) nerves of human body.  It is said that, if this nectar flows into our body, it does not cause death to the physical body.  However this is possible only during advanced stage of kuṇḍalinī meditation.  This is said to be the reason for long life of great sages.

Sudhā sindu also means the bindu in the centre of Śrī Cakra.  This is mentioned in Saundarya Laharī (verse 8).  This nāma attains great importance because it talks about amrṭavarśinī and the bindu.

Kāmākṣī कामाक्षी (62)

She has lovely eyes.  Her eyes are full of grace, compassion and mercy for the universe.  That is why, Her eyes are so beautiful.  She fulfils all the desires of Her devotees by Her looks alone.  Normally, our thoughts are reflected through our eyes.  Kāmā is the combination of two bīja-s kā + .   means Sarasvatī and    means Lakṣmī.  These two goddesses are said to be the eyes of Lalitā.  Kāmā also means Śiva.  This can mean that She is the eyes of Śiva.

Kāmadāyinī कामदायिनी (63)

She fulfils whatever  is desired.  There are several interpretations for this nāma.  Kāma means Kāmeśvara, a form of Śiva.  Dāyini means giver.  It has been discussed earlier that Śaktī alone leads to Śiva and there is no direct access to Him. She takes Her devotees to Śiva, the supreme prakāśa form, the nirguṇa Brahman(Brahman without attributes).  She is like a veil around Śiva and unless this veil is removed, Śiva cannot be realized.  This veil can be removed only at Her will.

Brahma, the creator gave Her two names Kāmākṣī and Kāmeśvarī.  This is because of Her omniscient nature.  Brahma honoured her with these two names, because He was so impressed with all Her activities, which She does by mere glance.  This interpretation indicates Her vimarśa form.  Dāyini also means inheritance.  She inherits Śiva, meaning that Śiva belongs to Her (possible obsession!).

The 59th  nāma secretly refers to Vārāhi Devi, 60th  nāma   refers to Śyamalā Devi, 61st  nāma   to KāmākṣīDevi and 62nd  nāma refers to Mahā-tripura-sundarī (nāma 234, another form of Śaktī).  These references are highly subtle in nature.

With this, the description of Her physical or gross form ends. Nāma-s 64 to 84 narrate the slaying of demon Bhandāsura. Here begins the narration of Her Supreme form and these recitals are also equally secretive in nature.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 64 – 65

 

Devarṣi-gaṇa- saṃghāta -stūyamānātma-vaibhavā  देवर्षिगणसंघातस्तूयमानात्मवैभवा (64)

From this nāma, till nāma 84, Her slaying of demon Bhaṇḍāsura is described.  Deva + rṣi + gaṇa.  Devameans gods and goddesses, rṣi means sage and gaṇa means demigods.  Agni purāṇa says that there are seven types of gaṇa-s.  For example Rudra gaṇa-s mean the assistants or helpers to Śiva.  There is a separate stanza (11) in Śrī Rudraṁ offering prayers to Rudra gaṇa-s.  Rṣi-s mean great sages like Vasiṣṭha, Nārada, etc. Nārada is also called Deva rṣi.  She is worshipped by gods, goddesses, sages, demigods and goddesses.  Stūyamānātma means worshipping.  Vaibhavā means all pervading.  Only Brahman or Pramātman is all pervading.  Deva-s and rṣi-s will not worship anybody below the grade of the Supreme Brahman.  So this indirectly implies Her status of nirguṇa Brahman.

It is also said that sage Nārada (deva) approached Lalitai to slay demon Bhaṇḍāsura who was causing immense trouble to Deva-s and rṣi-s.  The deeper meaning of this nāma is – demons here mean the ego arising out of ignorance.  Lalitā is approached by them to absolve them of their ego, as She alone is capable of absolving them.  Sins are committed because of ego.

Bhaṇḍāsura-vadhodyukta-śakti-senā-samanvitā भण्डासुरवधोद्युक्तशक्तिसेनासमन्विता (65)

She is ready with Her army to wage a war against Bhaṇḍāsura.  Her army consists of various goddesses mentioned in Śrī Cakra.  There is a story associated with this nāma. Manmatha, the god of love was burnt by Śiva to ashes.  Gaṇeśa, playfully collected the ashes of Manmatha and created a man.  Brahma, the lord of creation on seeing Gaṇeśa’s act said bhaṇda bhaṇda meaning well done.  That was how the demon was named as Bhaṇḍāsura.  Since Manmatha was burnt by the fierce fire of the third eye of ŚivaBhaṇḍāsurawas said to be all powerful.  He was an embodiment of evils.

Bhaṇda also means bondage.  Śiva Sūtra (I.2) says jñānam bhandaḥ.  The explanation given to bhandaḥ is limited knowledge.  This means ignorance is the cause for bondage.  Bondage refers to attachments, desires etc.  Since lack of knowledge is the cause for duality, it is called bondage.  If one has knowledge, he will say I am That (Brahman).  Innate nature or unconditioned state of mind is called ānava mala. It refers to the limitation pertaining to empirical individual.  It is the primal limiting condition which reduces universal consciousness to a jīva or individual soul. This state of mind is called innate because, the mind does not realise the Brahman and as a result gets bonded.  Liberation is needed to get out of this bondage.  This liberation is possible only with knowledge.  There is another interpretation for such a situation in Śiva Sūtra(I.6) which says that by intense awareness, the various śakti-s (various acts of Śaktī) are united causing the disappearance of the universe (māyā or illusion and duality), leaving the Supreme Consciousness (the Brahman) to be realized.  This process is nothing but Self-realization.

The secretive meaning of this nāma is – Lalitai is ready to give us liberation from the cycles of birth and death, provided we have inclination to know about Her.  Bhaṇḍāsura is an embodiment of ignorance and resultant evil acts.  She is ready to wage a war against ignorance and its associated acts.  Śakti-senāmeans Her different acts, not just creation but sustenance and dissolution as well.  Her different acts are symbolically represented by various goddesses represented in Śrī Cakra (nāma   996).

Lalitha Sahasranamam 66 – 67

Sampatkarī-samārūḍha-sindhura-vraja-sevitā सम्पत्करीसमारूढसिन्धुरव्रजसेविता (66)

She is worshipped by herds of elephants headed by Sampatkarī.  Sampatkarī Devi has already been discussed in nāma 9.  There is also a mention about Sampatkarī Vidyā, which is considered as very powerful.  There is a three syllable bījākśarā hidden in this nāma   that is used in sampatkarī vidyā.  Though this bījākśarā is considered very secretive in nature, this has been already discussed in nāma   9.  The bījākroṁ (क्रों) is formed out of three alphabets –ka + ra + ma with a bindu.  The alphabet ka stands for joy and fame.  The alphabet ra is considered as powerful as it is the bīja of agni, the fire.  Any mantra with rabestows supernatural powers.  The alphabet ma stands for comforts in the present and future births. The repeated chanting of kroṁ will give all-round prosperity and happiness.  No mantra will fructify without ātmabīja, which should be initiated by one’s Guru.

The knowledge, the knower and the known together are called a triad.  The knowledge of realising that all the three are the same is called sukha-sampatkar.    Śiva Sūtra (I.19) says śaktisandhāne śarīropattiḥ.  This means ‘single pointed union (union with intensity and constant awareness) with Śaktī.  {śaktisandhānā means that one need not pray to Śiva  asking for favours.  If one is able to energise his thoughts, what is sought for is achieved. Sandhānā is one of the essential factors of spirituality.   Conglutination of fixedness and intensity of awareness are the primary factors in spiritual progression.  Without developing the abilities of sandhānā, it is said that initiation into mantra will not fructify and consequently mantra’s contrivance will never be attained.}

If Lalitai is meditated upon with the bīja kroṁ the meditator will be endowed with everything that is desired.  This could also be interpreted as advancement to the higher level of spiritual realization.

Āśvārūḍhā-dhiṣṭhitāśva-koṭikoṭibhi-rāvṛtā आश्वारूढाधिष्ठिताश्वकोटिकोटिभिरावृता (67)

Lalitai is surrounded my many horses headed by Aśvārūḍhā Devi, about whom we have discussed in nāma 8.  Aśvārūḍhā Devi is the chief of the horses used in the war.  The face of this Devi also looks like a horse.  Aśvārūḍhā’s mantra consists of thirteen bīja-s and considered to be very powerful.  Out of the thirteen bījākṣara-s, four are recited in the regular order at the beginning and in the inverted order at the end.  This is called mantra sampuṭa.  Sampuṭa means caged.  Such types of mantra-s fructify quickly.

Senses are compared to horses as they run faster and without control, if let loose.  Mind is the jockey of the horse as mind alone can control the senses. Śiva Sūtra (I.12) says, ‘vismayo yogabhūmikāḥ’. The meaning is slightly complicated but one certainly needs to understand this. The literal meaning is ‘the stations and stages of yoga constitute, fascinating wonder’.   Stations mean cakra-s.  In these stations consciousness arrives and moves to the next station or higher cakra-s.  The consciousness above sahasrārā or the consciousness outside the physical body of the yogi is called turya stage.  In this stage yogi’s senses are totally under the control of his inner self which is also called supreme consciousness.  In this stage the yogi realises the bliss.  In other words realising our own inner self is the ultimate joy that leads to bliss. Station could also mean a well activated ājña cakra, where one could control his senses.  Stages mean the level of consciousness.  The highest stage of consciousness is called turya stage.  The will power with which a yogi establishes his commune with Śiva is called Umā or Kumārī.  A yogi treats everything as the same.  He does not distinguish between external and internal, I and his, good and bad, etc.

This explanation is not out of place here as this nāma talks about controlling senses that wander like horses.  There are plenty of spiritual rewards for controlling the senses. Śaktī alone is capable of taking one to Śiva, the Supreme Brahman. Śaktī is māyā. Unless māyā is dispensed with, the Supreme Self cannot be realised. The will power for establishing commune with Śiva is provided only by Śaktī who is called Umā in Śiva sūtra-s.

Therefore, Lalitai manifested in different forms and names is the cause for sense-impressions and She alone can remove those impressions, to proceed to higher planes of consciousness and to establish commune with Śiva.  Once Śiva is realized, one eternally remains in bliss.

Katha Upaniṣhad says senses are horses and the body is the chariot.  Objects are the road and Self is the enjoyer (owner of the chariot and horses).  Knowledge is incapable of discriminating between good and bad and when connected with uncontrollable mind, then it is like a charioteer or the driver who has to deal with the uncontrollable horses (mind out of control causing all types of miseries).  Such explanations are found in Devi Māhātmya (Durgā saptasatī) and Bhagavad Gīta as well.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 68 – 69

Cakrarāja-rathārūḍha-sarvāyudha-pariṣkṛtā चक्रराजरथारूढसर्वायुधपरिष्कृता (68)

Cakrarāja is the chariot of Lalitāmbikā in which She travels along with all types of weapons.  Weapons mean the ways of attaining suddhavidyā or pure knowledge which is called the knowledge of the Brahman.  This chariot consists of nine tiers.  There are other two chariots that accompany this Cakrarāja the details of which will be discussed in the next two nāma-s.  This Cakrarāja is said to mean the Śrī Cakra, the place of Lalitāmbikā.  Pariṣkṛtā means adorned.

A brief knowledge of Śrī Cakrā becomes a necessity to understand this nāma. Śrī Cakrā consists of nine partitions or angles broadly divided into five Śaktī cakra-s and four Śiva cakra-s.  The triangles facing upwards are called Śiva cakra-s, and the triangles facing down are Śaktī cakra-s.  Śrī Cakrā contains forty four triangles in which forty three goddesses (44th is Lalitai) and seventy nine yoginī-s (demi-goddesses) live.  All the gods and goddesses are said to reside in Śrī Cakra and that is why it is said that one can perform pūja to any god/goddess in Śrī Cakra.  The nāma 996 Śrī Cakrārāja nilayā confirms Her domicile in Śrī Cakra.

Cakrarāja also means the six cakra-s (mūlādhārā to ājña). Ratha means base or foundation.  Arūḍha means control and sarvāyudha means pure knowledge which is called suddhavidyā.  The six cakra-s form the foundation to attain pure knowledge through which mind can be controlled in the sixth cakra. The five psychic cakra-s represent the five basic elements and the ājña cakra represents mind.  Therefore to control the basic elements and the mind, pure knowledge becomes essential.  When cakra-s are controlled, siddhi-s are attained.  When we discuss about suddhavidyā let us also know what Śiva Sutra (I.21) says.  It says ‘śuddhavidyodayāccakreśatva siddhiḥ’.   This means that only through suddhavidyā (pure knowledge), mastery can be attained over śakti-s.  Śaktī-s here means the cakra-s.  When one is able to attain mastery over the cakra-s, through the pure knowledge, he can attain the state of Śiva.  State of Śiva means oneness with Śiva.  In this stage except Śiva nothing exists.  Possibly this could mean that he sees everything and everybody as Śiva.  This stage is called oneness with universal consciousness.  Suddhavidyā is possible only if māyā goes.  Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gīta “all sacrifice of work culminates in transcendental knowledge”.  The word transcendental means the knowledge of the Supreme.  The ultimate meaning is that when mastery over the cakra-s and mind is attained, there is nothing one needs to do except to be with the Brahman always.

One has to really admire Vāc Devi-s about their knowledge of expressing the secrets of Self-realization in such a subtle way.

Geyacakra-rathārūḍha-mantriṇī-parisevitā गेयचक्ररथारूढमन्त्रिणीपरिसेविता (69)

In the previous nāma it is seen that two chariots always accompany the Cakrarāja chariot.  Out of the two, the first one is being discussed here, which is called Geyacakra chariot.  This is the chariot of Mantrinī Deviwho is also called Śyamalā Devi, about whom we have discussed in nāma10.  Mantrinī Devi who ownsgeycakra worships Her is the literal meaning.  As Mantrinī is one of Her ministers, Mantrinī Devi holds Lalitai in high esteem and chooses to worship Her.  Worshipping is different from respecting.

We have seen that there are seventy nine yoginī-s in Śrī Cakrā.  yoginī-s are the great worshippers of Lalitāmbikā.  These yoginī-s are also called mantrinī-s (different from Mantrinī or Śyamalā Devi).  They are the masters of Śrī Vidyā rituals.  This nāma   could possibly mean the Śrī Vidyā worship by these yoginī-s.   Geya also means important.  Geyacakra means important cakra, which is Śrī Cakra.  Those who meditate Her in Śrī Cakrā attain mantra siddhi easily.  Such a person who attained siddhi is called mantrinī.  She is worshipped by those who attained mantra siddhi of Pañcadaśī or ṣodaśī as these are the two main mantra-s of Lalitāmbikā.  The importance of worshipping Śrī Cakrā is emphasized here.  Human body is compared to Śrī Cakrā in many scriptures.  The nine partitions of Śrī Cakrā are compared to nine parts of our body –  the orifice in the crown cakra is head,  ājña cakra is forehead, viśuddhi cakra is neck,  anāhata cakra is heart, maṇipūra cakra is navel, the hip (possibly includes both svādhiṣṭhāna and mūlādhāra cakra-s) and thighs and the feet.  It is pertinent to note that the divine energy enters our body through the orifice in the sahasrārāand excess energy if any is grounded through our feet.

Śiva Sūtra (II.3) talks about the secret of mantra-s.  The illuminating “I” consciousness existing as an essential constituent of various mantra-s (like Pañcadaśī and ṣodaśī), whose essence is the knowledge of realizing the Brahman, is the secret of mantra.  Therefore mantra-s are not just the combination of letters, but the Śaktī Herself.  Hence these letters are called Mātṛka (Mātṛka means coming from or belonging to a mother. Please refer nāma 1 Śrī Mātā, the Supreme Mother).   In the initial stages of spirituality, chanting of mantra-s is considered essential.

In this nāma, the importance of mantra and considering our own body as one with Śrī Cakra are emphasized.  Considering our body as the one with Śrī Cakra means that She is not different from us, the main principle of Self-realization.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 70

Kiricakra-rathārūḍha-daṇḍa-nāthā-puraskṛtā किरिचक्ररथारूढदण्डनाथापुरस्कृता (70)

Kiricakra ratha is the chariot of Daṇḍanāthā Devi who is also called Vārāhī Devi.  This Devi is considered as very powerful and was already discussed in nāma 11.  Kiri means Vārāha.  Vārāha means boar (pig).  Her face is like a pig.  Her chariot is also in the shape of a pig.  She is called Daṇḍanāthā because she always carries a daṇḍa (staff) with her.  Kiri means rays of light and light here means creation.  Possibly this could mean that light is the beginning of creation.  The holy Bible says (Genesis.I.3) “And God said, let there be light:  There was light”.  Cakra means the cycle of creation, sustenance and dissolution.  A yogi sits on kiri cakra chariot, meaning that he undergoes the process of creation, sustenance and dissolution.  But he is not subjected to the fear of death.  How somebody can be beyond death?  Death means the destruction of the physical body and not the ātma or soul.   A yogi is not concerned about his physical body.  Why he is not concerned with his physical body?  This is answered by Śiva Himself in Śiva Sūtra that a yogi considers pleasure and pain as external not affecting his ātma or Self.  Only if he is associated with antaḥkaraṇa,(mind, intellect, consciousness and ego) he will feel the pain in his body.  For him, his physical body is not an object worth considering.  As he is free from the bodily afflictions, he feels that he is alone, fully connected to the Supreme Brahman.  This was possible to him because he was able to identify his consciousness with the Supreme consciousness, which is called ‘the merger’ or ‘the union’ (union of Śaktīwith Śiva).  Vārāhī Devi is said to be in our ājña cakra.  This nāma indicates the importance of our inner Self and our physical body has nothing to do with the ātma.  Though the physical body suffers on account of our karma-s, the ātman is eternally pure and the unification of our self consciousness with the Universal Consciousness leads to the liberation, a stage without birth and death.

Nāma-s 68, 69 and 70 talk about the chariots of LalitāmbikāMantrinī (Śyamalā) and VārāhīMantrinī and Vārāhī occupy the next secondary position to Lalitāmbikā, the Supreme.  Without worshipping these two and without their permission, none can go anywhere near LalitaiMantrinī Devi is the Chief of Her ministers.  The entire administration of the universe is under the control of Mantrinī, which is confirmed in nāma 786 Mantriṇī-nyasta-rājyadhūḥVārāhī is the chief of Her army.  Vārāhī has the capacity to drive away the evil forces.  If Vārāhī is worshiped on the 18th day of the month of āṣāḍha (July-August), it is believed that those who have difficulties in getting married will get married.  These three chariots are always close to each other.  As discussed earlier, the chariots mean our mind, possibly the stages of our mind.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 71

Jvālāmālinikākṣipta-vahniprākāra-madhyagā  ज्वालामालिनिकाक्षिप्तवह्निप्राकारमध्यगा (71)

Jvalāmālini, one of the tithi nityā Devi-s constructed a fortress of fire and Lalitai resides in the midst of this fortress.   Tithi Nityā Devi-s are the goddesses of each lunar day.  From full moon to new moon there are fifteen days in between and the sixteenth day will be either full moon or new moon.  Each of these days is called a tithi and each such tithi is ruled by a goddess.  Jvālāmālini is the goddess of fourteenth tithi, called caturdaśi.  Lalitāmbikā is called mahā nityā representing both full moon and the new moon (16th day).  These goddesses are worshipped in the innermost triangle of Śrī Cakra, five on each side of the triangle.

During the war with BhandāsuraLalitai asked Jvālāmālini to construct a huge fort of fire to protect Her army.  Jvalāmālini means the five Śaktī triangles of Śrī Cakraakṣipta means mixed, vahni (also meaning fire) prākāra means the four Śiva triangles of Śrī Cakra and madhyagā means resides in the middle. Lalitairesides in the middle of the five Śaktī and four Śiva konā-s or triangles.  This point is called bindu or a dot (nāma 905).

Jñāni is a wise man and the knower of the Brahman.  That is why Kṛṣṇa said He likes jñāni-s.  They have also to undergo the cycles of birth and death, as they have not yet merged with the Brahman.  But in each of their births, jñāni-s continue to realize the Brahman.  As a jñāni, he is in the midst of flames of fire, which destroys ignorance (by its light).  Jvalāmāla means garland of fire.  Jñāni who is wearing this garland of fire, realises the Brahman.  The garland of fire around his neck destroys the darkness of ignorance.  When jñānirealizes the Brahman, he is aware of the Creator of this universe, as Brahman is the Creator.  Vahniprākārameans surrounded by fire.  Here we have two objects.  One is jñāni and the other is the flame of fire.  The sparks that come out of the fire exist for some time and then turn into ashes.  But the fire, from which such sparks originate continue to remain and witness the birth, sustenance and destruction of the sparks that originated from it.  The flame of fire is merely witnessing the activities of the sparks, without itself partaking in the activities of the sparks.  The fire is compared to the Brahman that remains unaffected by any actions and continues to remain as a mute spectator, witnessing the actions happening around.  This concept is more fully described in Spanda kārika (this can be construed as a commentary on Śiva Sutra-s which deals with dynamic aspect of the Divine).  It says that there are two stages – one is doer who is the subject and another is the deed, the object.  Out of the two, deed is perishable as it is associated with object (sparks of fire), the subject or the doer is not perishable (the flames of fire).    Śiva Sutrā also confirms the stage of such jñānis.  It says these jñāni-s are like Śiva, but remain in a body that is perishable, retaining their consciousness with Śiva.  His physical body is the only difference from him and Śiva. The jñāni who experiences such pure consciousness does not depend upon any objects for his sustenance.  This means that a jñāni does not depend on anything for his survival as long his consciousness is with Śiva.  This consciousness is verily food for him.

The deeper meaning of this nāma is that Lalitai performs all the three acts, creation, sustenance and dissolution.  Though She is the cause for all the three acts, She does not participate in any individual action but remains as a witness to such actions.  These are the qualities of Brahman; hence She is portrayed as Brahman.  More importantly, a jñāni does not depend on or concerned with any external factors, nor is he associated with such factors as his awareness is about the Brahman only.

{Further reading on jñāni: A jñāni is one who pursues the path of wisdom known as jñāna mārg. Jñāna is known as knowledge, is typically pure consciousness. The mahā vākya, I am Brahman (ahaṁ bṛhmāsmi अहं बृह्मास्मि) can be resolved under two conditions, ‘I am He’ and ‘I am His’. Both lead to realisation of the Brahman, but under different circumstances.  ‘I am He’ signifies the identity of the individual soul with the Brahman leads to the realisation of nirguṇa Brahman (Brahman without attributes). This path is full of challenges and not easily persuable.  Perseverance and dedication are key factors to pursue this path. One’s intellect plays a dominant role here, coupled with the level of true devotion one develops. The second path ‘I am His’ is comparatively an easier approach, but not necessarily an inferior approach.  This stage is associated with one’s personal deity or iṣṭa devata.  Here, Brahman is approached through one’s iṣṭa devata.  Realisation of saguṇa Brahman leads to the Ultimate Realisation, which means realisation of Brahman.  This is a circuitous approach, but the destination is the same.  This path is known as bhakti mārg.

There is also a firm view, that the second path is the appropriate path to realise the Brahman, though it is circuitous. While pursuing this path, one undergoes all sorts of experience.  He begins with rituals, proceeds, to japa, meditation and finally he begins to search the Brahman within.  This transformation happens over several births.  Direct approach is extremely difficult and one needs to have tremendous amount of knowledge, will power and mind control.  A true jñāni can be described as the one who is able to unite his mind with the wisdom and bliss of his soul after undergoing several  but gradual transformation of his mind, as God realisation happens only in the arena of mind.}

Lalitha Sahasranamam 72 – 76

Bhaṇḍasainya-vadhodhyukta-śakthivikrama-harṣitā भण्डसैन्यवधोध्युक्तशक्थिविक्रमहर्षिता (72)

When Her śaktī-s (army) destroyed the army of the demon Bhaṇḍasurā, She was delighted.

Bhaṇḍa also means ignorant soul afflicted with duality, sainya (army) also refers to duality (identifying the self as different from the Brahman), and vadha means destruction.  Lalitai is delighted when one destroys duality.  When duality is removed, it is an indication of the removal of the veil of māyā.  The duality can be removed only by internal exploration with the help of mind.

Nityā-pārākramāṭopa-nirīkṣaṇa-samutsukā नित्यापाराक्रमाटोपनिरीक्षणसमुत्सुका (73)

Nitya means tithi nitya devi-s (refer nāma 71).  Lalitai was happy on observing the valour of these fifteen tithi nityā devi-s during the war.

When duality is destroyed and the veil of māyā is removed, the knowledge of Brahman continues to increase over a period of time.  Spiritual progress achieved cannot be reversed that easily (though it can be reversed in exceptional circumstances).  This is the secretive meaning of this nāma.

Bhaṇḍaputra-vadhodyukta-bālā-vikrama-nanditā भण्डपुत्रवधोद्युक्तबालाविक्रमनन्दिता (74)

Bālā is daughter of Lalitai and is nine years old.  Bhandāsura had thirty sons.  In spite of Lalitai advising Her daughter not to go to the battle field, Bālā prevailed upon her mother and waged a war against all the thirty sons of Bhandāsura and destroyed them.

In Śrī Vidya cult, the first initiation is always the mantra of Bālā.  If one attains siddhi in Bālā mantra, he can attain super natural powers by using rare herbs.  Certain herbs have divine qualities and are capable of conferring superhuman powers to a person provided he has attained siddhi in Bālā mantra.

Bālā is the aṅga devata of Lalitāmbikā.  Lalitai, Mantrinī and Vārāhī have aṅga devi-supāṅga devi-s and pratyaṅga devi-s.  Annapūrna Devi is upāṅga Devi and Aśvārūdā Devi is the pratyaṅga Devi of Lalitāmbikā.  (aṅga, upāṅga and pratyaṅga refer to gross, subtle and subtler limbs of Devi)

The sons of Bhadāsura represent the thirty tattva-s. Unless we cross these tattva-s, realization cannot take place.  A small effort (referring to Bālā) from us will destroy the evil effects of the tattva-s.

Mantriṇyambā-viracita-viśaṅgavadha-toṣitā मन्त्रिण्यम्बाविरचितविशङ्गवधतोषिता (75)

She was delighted with the destruction of demon Viśaṅgavadha by Mantrinī (ṣyamalāDevi.  Viśaṅga and Viśukra are the two brothers of Bhandāsura.  There were created by Bhandāsura from his shoulders.

There is bīja ‘vi’ (वि) in this nāma  .  The root of this bīja is the alphabet ‘va’ (व).  Va indicates two things.  It helps in attaining super natural powers.  Secondly it eradicates evil influences.  Mantrinī Devi represents the potency of mantra-s.  Viśaṅga means desires arising out of the evil effects of sensory organs.  Mantrinī Devi destroys such desires of the devotees of Lalitāmbikā.

Viśukra-prāṇaharaṇa-Vārāhī-vīrya-nanditā विशुक्रप्राणहरणवाराहीवीर्यनन्दिता (76)

Viśukra is the brother of Bhandāsurā (refer the previous nāma). Vārāhī Devi slayed Viśukra and Lalitai was happy with the bravery of Vārāhī Devi.

Nāma-s 74, 75 and 76 talk about Bālā, Mantrinī and Vārāhī Devis.  Stain or impurities in Sanskrit is known as  mala.  The three Devi-s destroy the mental impurities that accrue through our sensory organs.  These impurities or stains are called mala, the worst of which is ego.  In the case of Bālā it can be interpreted as balā or strength.  One needs to have sufficient physical strength to receive the divine power, which is infused through our crown cakra and back head cakra.  Mantrinī possibly could mean the potency of Devi’s mantraslike Pañcadaśī or ṣodaśī.  According to several ancient texts, each mantra is be recited up to a particular number of times, followed by other rituals called puraścaraṇa Vārāhī is supposed to be the most powerful of the three Devi-s.  She cannot tolerate any indiscipline.  Possibly, Vārāhī could mean certain austerities to be followed in the worship of Devi.  The three qualities viz. the physical strength, control of the mind (controlling the mind happens through the recitation of mantra) and observing certain austerities (sensory organs) make a man realize the Supreme Self within.  When such a stage is reached, the devotee uses his body merely as a sheath to get final liberation and merge with Her.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 77 – 80

Kāmeśvara-mukhāloka-kalpita-śrīgaṇeśvarā कामेश्वरमुखालोककल्पितश्रीगणेश्वरा (77)

Gaṇeśhā was born out of a mere glance of Lalitai at Kāmeśvara.  Gaṇeśhā is the first son of Śiva and Pārvathī.  Bhandāsura during the war was witnessing the destruction of his army.  In order to avoid further causalities to his army he ordered a yantra by name jaya vignaṁ to be kept in the midst of the army ofLalitai.  Yantra-s are powerful, only if impregnated with potency of mantra-s.  When this yantra was kept, the army of Lalitai started losing their self-confidence.  Mantrinī Devi, who is an authority of mantra-s, noticed this and reported to Lalitai.  This yantra can be removed by the one who has won over puryaṣṭaka which consists of the following eight- 1) five organs of action (karmendriya-s), 2)  five organs of senses (jñānaendriya-s), 3) antaḥkaraṇa (four in numbers – manas, buddhi, cittam and ahaṃkāra or ego), 4) fiveprāṇa-s (prāṇa, apāṇa, etc), 5) five elements (ākāś, air, etc) 6) desire, 7) ignorance and 8) karma.  The total components of   puryaṣṭaka are twenty seven and with this the attributes of Śiva is added, takes the total to twenty eight.  The mūla mantra of Mahā Gaṇapati is twenty eight.  When all the twenty seven components of puryaṣṭaka are destroyed, it leads to attributes of Śiva.  The attributes of Śiva (saguṇa Brahman) leads to pure Śiva or nirguṇa Brahman (Śiva without attributes).  The bliss of realization is attained followed by emancipation.

Śiva Sūtra (III.42) says “bhūtakañcukī tadā vimukto bhūaḥ patisamaḥ paraḥ” which is translated as “for him (means a yogi), the five elements are only coverings.  At that very moment, he is absolutely liberated. Supreme and just like Śiva.”

This nāma talks about the stages that to lead to emancipation.

Mahāgaṇeśa-nirbhinna-vighnayantrā-praharṣitā महागणेशनिर्भिन्नविघ्नयन्त्राप्रहर्षिता (78)

This is in continuation of the previous nāma. Gaṇeśa was created to remove the yantra, jaya vignaṁ planted by Bhandāsurā.  Gaṇeśā removed that yantra and helped the army of Lalitai to regain their self confidence. Lalitai was delighted with Gaṇeśa, when he removed the yantra.  We have to observe the beauty of these two nāma-s.  All evil activities are represented by this yantra.  Māyā is the cause of evil acts.  This māyā is caused by Lalitai and She alone can remove the veil of māyā.  Once She decides to remove the veil, pure Śiva is realized.  But Lalitai, on Her own, will not remove the veil.  She will remove the veil of māyā depending upon one’s efforts.  That is why, She is addressed as Guru (nāma 713), later in this Sahasranāma.

Bhaṇḍāsurendra-nirmukta-śastra-pratyastra-varṣiṇī भण्डासुरेन्द्रनिर्मुक्तशस्त्रप्रत्यस्त्रवर्षिणी (79)

She counters the weapons used by Bhandāsura, by using Her own.  Here, two types of weaponaries are mentioned.  One is astra that is thrown at the enemies in a battle field.  Modern day bombs can be compared to this.  Another is śastra, which is always held in hand, like a gun.  The weaponaries of Lalitaiaids our efforts in attaining bliss by destroying avidyā.  Weapons coming out of Her hands are aimed at us in destroying the illusion of duality.   Nāma-s 77, 78 and 79 together convey the steps to be initiated in Self-realization and how She helps one in reaching his supreme goal.

Karāṅguli-nakhotpanna-nārāyaṇa-daśākṛitiḥ कराङ्गुलिनखोत्पन्ननारायणदशाकृतिः (80)

She created ten incarnations (dasa-avatāra) of Śrī Nārāyaṇa from Her nails.  Bhandāsura created ten demons like Rāvana and others from his missile Sarvāsurāstra.  These ten demons were killed by Lord Mahā Viṣṇu during His ten incarnations.  Nārāyaṇa means jīva and Īśvara.  Daśākṛitiḥ means five stages of man like awake, asleep, deep sleep, turya (string together the first three. It is a metaphysical consciousness) and turyātīta (level of consciousness above the level of turya.  No duality exists here) and the five functions of Brahman namely creation, sustenance, destruction, absorption (blessings) and merger.  The five stages of man and the five functions of God together are called daśākṛitiḥ.  Possibly Nārāyaṇa mentioned here does not mean Lord Mahā Viṣṇu.  Viṣṇu is the brother of Lalitai and hence Vāc Devi-s would not have meant to mean this way.   The right explanation would be that She creates the five stages of man and five functions of Brahman from Her nails.  The creation from the nails means the ease with which She creates these ten.

It has already been discussed about Her prakāśa and vimarśa forms.  Every nāma in this Sahasranāmamakes a mention to either of these forms.

{Further reading on turya and turyātīta: Turya is the fourth state of consciousness, the state higher than the normal three states of consciousness, awake, dream and deep sleep.  Turya binds all these states together.  The state of turya is the sate of metaphysical consciousness that is different from psychological consciousness or the empirical self.  This remains as a witness of the divine.

Turyātīta is the state of mind beyond turya where the differenciated perception is totally rescinded.  For the one who has attained this state, the entire universe appears as One, leading to perpetual blissfulness.}

Lalitha Sahasranamam 81 – 82

Mahā-pāśupatāstrāgni-nirdagdhāsura-sainikā महापाशुपतास्त्राग्निनिर्दग्धासुरसैनिका (81)

She burnt the army of the demons with the astra called mahā-pāśupatā.  This astra produces fire that causes the destruction of the entire enemy camp.

Liṇga Purāṇa says that pāśupatā is a rite that is divine and conducive to liberation from the clutches of bondage.  This is a propitiation rite to ŚivaŚiva is worshiped in different forms such as Śiva, Mahādeva, Sadāśiva, Paśupati, Kāmeśvara, etc and each form has distinct interpretation.  Śiva is the lord of all the creations of the universe hence called as Paśupatī.   Paśu refers to living beings.   Nāma-s 271 and 272 describe the difference between Īśvarā and Sadāśiva.

As per Liṇga Purāna, pāśupatāsta mantra is a six syllable mantra “Om nama Śivāya” (ॐ नमशिवाय).  In general Om is not taken into account in any of the mantra-s as all the mantra-s begin with Om.  A (अ) + U (उ) + M (म) and bindu constitute Om which indicates creation, sustenance and destruction, the three acts of God. That is why OM is a prefix to all the mantra-s. Nama Śivāya mantra is called pañcākṣara (five syllables).  In pāśupatāsta mantra Om is also taken into account and hence called six syllable mantra.  This mantra is for Sadāśiva, the higher form of Śiva. (The five faces of Śiva are Īśānā, tatpuruśā, aghorā,vāmadevā and sadyojāthā). These weaponaries mean mental progression from duality to non-duality (destruction of duality).  The progress of the mind depends upon practice.  Enemy camp means ignorance arising out of duality.  With persistent practice, duality gives way to non-duality.

Kāmeśvarāstra-nirdagdha-sabhaṇḍāsura-śūnyakā कामेश्वरास्त्रनिर्दग्धसभण्डासुरशून्यका (82)

Śūnyaka is the capital of Bhandāsura.  Bhandāsura was burnt along with his capital city by the fire fromastrā of Kāmeśvara.  The last nāma mentioned about the astrā of Paśupati and in this nāma   the astrā of Kāmeśvara is discussed.  With this nāma the war with Bhandāsura ends with the killing of Bhandāsura and his warriors along with the destruction of his kingdom.

Kāmeśvara form of Śiva is considered as the supreme form than the Paśupati form of Śiva.  Kāmeśvaraform is the Brahman.  Since the attributes are being discussed in this nāma, possibly the present refers to saguṇa Brahman.  When we talk about Brahman, it always means the highest level of consciousness.  The supreme form of consciousness is not discussed here as Vāc Devi-s continue to discuss Her attributes thereby referring Her form of saguṇa Brahman.

There is a definition for Kāmeśvara.  He is liked by all and all like Him.  Thus He becomes both subject as well as object.  Object is Śiva and liking is the subject. Generally, Śiva is always referred as the subject. Vāk Devi-s end this part of Sahasranāma with a subtle hint on renunciation.  Renunciation is one of the steps to realise the nirguṇa Brahman. All renunciations are in favour of the Supreme Self (nirguṇa Brahman).  This is confirmed in Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (II.4.5) which says, “The Self should be realised, should be heard of, reflected on and meditated upon.  By realisation of the Self, all is known.”  There is nothing beyond that.

Kāmeśvara is the Supreme Self or the Brahman. Bhandāsura refers to ego. Army refers to the subtle body (mind).  When ego and activities of subtle body are removed, what remains is only the Brahman.  Since Bhandāsura has been destroyed along with his army, what remains is the śūnya or void. This means the thought of duality has gone paving way for realization of the Brahman.  The destination can be achieved by meditation and internal exploration.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 83 – 84

Brahamopendra-mahendrādi-devasaṃstuta-vaibhavā ब्रहमोपेन्द्रमहेन्द्रादिदेवसंस्तुतवैभवा (83)

The victorious Lalitai is praised by BrahmaViṣṇu (Upendra means Viṣṇu.  Refer Viṣṇu Sahasranāmanāma   57, Mahendra (a form of Śiva) and other gods like Indra, etc.   As She is considered as the Supreme power, Gods like BrahmaViṣṇu and Śiva praise Her. Saṃstuta means praise.  Saṃstuta also means internally.  Vaibhava means omnipresence.  She is worshiped by all, as She is known as the Supreme Ātman.  As She is the omnipresent Brahman, Her existence is described both internally (through mind) and externally (through senses).  Brahman exists everywhere both internally and externally.  This aspect is discussed in the next nāma   also. The power of the kinetic energy is explained here.

Haranetrāgni-sandagdha-kāmasaṃjīvanauṣadhīḥ हरनेत्राग्निसन्दग्धकामसंजीवनौषधीः (84)

Manmatha, the god of love was burnt by the third eye of Śiva.  Śaktī resurrected Manmatha.  Sañjīvana is an herbal medicine that causes resurrection.  Therefore She is praised as sañjīvana for Manmatha.  The motherly nature of Lalitai is highlighted here.  Manmatha is the son of Śiva and Śaktī.  When father is angry with his child, only the mother comes to its rescue.  When Śiva was angry with ManmathaLalitai came to his rescue.  Śiva is a strict disciplinarian.

There is a saying that when Śiva is angry, Guru can save a person and if Guru is angry Śiva cannot and will not save that person.  Here Lalitai is in the form of a Guru which is substantiated in nāma 603.  Śiva was angry with Manmatha and burnt him.  But as a Guru, Lalitai saved Manmatha.  But this explanation contradicts the general statement that Paramaśiva is the Supreme Guru or āti guru (the first Guru).  Śiva is worshiped in Śrī Cakra in guru maṇḍala as Paramaśiva-anandanāda,

Hara also means the real nature of the self.  Neta means showing the way.  Agni, the fire exists everywhere and also causes destruction (one of the acts of agni is destruction, apart from creation).  Śiva Sūtra ends by saying that that consciousness of a yogi exists both inwardly and outwardly.  Agni also exists both inwardly and out worldly.  Agni is used in the all the three acts of God.Therefore, haranetrāgni means that which shows the path to the supreme Self, causing the destruction of desires (kāma) etc which acts as blockades to  realisation.  The existence of agni everywhere could also mean the existence of ignorance everywhere (because of the presence of ignorance, agni has to exist to dispel ignorance).  Ignorance is compared to darkness and the darkness is removed by the presence of agni.

The secretive meaning is that liberation means knowing the inner self which is possible only by eradication of ignorance or avidyā.  When ignorance is removed, what remains is knowledge or vidyā.  That is why the worship of Lalitai is called Śrī Vidyā.  Burning of Manmatha is the removal of avidyā and his resurrection is vidyā.  Manmatha before his killing was an embodiment of avidyā that mainly comprises of ego and resurrected Manmatha was with pure knowledge.  His ego was burnt by Śiva and knowledge was given to him by Śaktī.

This nāma possibly could mean the power of the third eye or ājñā cakra wherein the Supreme Guru Śivagives His commands, either directly or through great sages and saints to His devotees towards Self-realization.  If one attaches importance to the usage of netra (eye), it could mean the third eye or ājñā cakra.  In ājñā cakra the two nāḍi-s iḍā and piṅgala meet the suṣumna.  Suṣumna is considered as the Brahma nāḍi.  Iḍā and piṅgala could mean jīva or soul.  The merger of soul with the Brahman is called Self-realization. Self-realization is conveyed here.

Saundarya Laharī begins by saying “Śiva becomes capable of creating the universe, only when united with Śaktī, but otherwise, He is incapable of even a throb.” (verse 1).

With this nāma, the verses about war with Bhandāsura ends.

The mantra form of Lalitai begins from the next nāma.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 85 – 89

Śrīmadvāgbhava-kūṭaika-svarūpa-mukha-paṅkajā श्रीमद्वाग्भवकूटैकस्वरूपमुखपङ्कजा (85)

Beginning this nāma, Her Pañcadaśī mantra is being explained. Pañcadaśī mantra has been explicated in detail in the introductory chapter.

Now, the description of Her subtle form begins.  Her subtle form comprises of three divisions viz. subtle, subtler and the subtlest.  Subtle form is Pañcadaśī mantra.  Her subtler form is kāma-kalā, nāma 322. kāmakalā-rūpā.  Her subtlest form is kuṇḍalinī śaktī (nāma 110). In this nāma, Her face is compared to the first kūṭa viz. vāgbhava-kūṭa of Pañcadaśī mantra, which gives knowledge and wisdom.  The prefix Śrīmad is used here to indicate the power of Pañcadaśī mantra as a whole.  Śrīmad also indicates the respect given to the mantra.  Since this kūṭa is described first, this prefix is added to this nāma.

kaṇṭhādhaḥ kaṭiparyantha-madhyakūṭa-svarūpiṇī कण्ठाधः कटिपर्यन्थमध्यकूटस्वरूपिणी (86)

Madhya kūṭa or the middle group of Pañcadaśī mantra refers to that portion between Her neck and the hip.  Previous nāma is jñāna śaktī, this nāma is icchā śaktī and the next nāma is kriyā śaktī.

Śakti-kūṭaikatāpanna-kaṭyadhobhāga-dhārinī शक्तिकूटैकतापन्नकट्यधोभागधारिनी (87)

Śaktī kūṭa, the last of the three kūṭa-s is compared to Her hip downwards.

Mūlamantrātmikā मूलमन्त्रात्मिका (88)

Mūla means root.  Mūlamantra means root of the mantra.  Mantra here means Pañcadaśī.  She is the root of the Pañcadaśī mantra, which is the root of all other mantra-s.  In fact, Her kāmakalā is the root of Pañcadaśī mantra, which is discussed in nāma 322.

The Pañcadaśī mantra is superimposed on Her physical form.

Mūlakuṭatraya-kalebarā मूलकुटत्रयकलेबरा (89)

Traya means three. The three kūṭa-s of Pañcadaśī mantra is mentioned here. Kāmakalā is the root of Pañcadaśī mantra. Therefore, it implies that both Her physical and subtle forms represent kāmakalā.  Out of the three subtle forms, the first subtle form is Pañcadaśī mantra that we have discussed from nāma 85 to 88.  The second subtle form (subtler form), kāmakalā form is discussed here.  In a nutshell, kāmakalā is the union of haṃsa and sohaṁ (haṃsa mantra – referring to the universal and the individual Spirit.) having three bindu-s and a triangle.  This is the actual physical diagram of Lalitāmbikā. The bīja involved is īṃ ईं. This bījais extremely powerful and will surely cascade down prosperity if one knows how to use this bīja in ṣodaśīmantra.  However this is to be learnt from one’s Guru.

With this nāma, the description of Her subtle and subtler forms end.  We now proceed to discuss Her subtlest form viz. kuṇḍalinī from nāma 90 to 111.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 90 – 91

 

Kulāmṛtaika-rasikā कुलामृतैकरसिका (90)

From this nāma onwards till 111, the subtlest form of Lalitāmbikā will be discussed.  Her subtle form is mantra form, either Pañcadaśī or ṣodaśī, Her subtler form is kāmakalā form and Her subtlest form is kuṇḍalinī.  Apart from these twenty two nāma-s, detailed descriptions of each cakra-s are mentioned in nāma-s from 475 to 534.  But these nāma-s are classified under the head yogini nyāsa and more to do with physical description of the cakra-s.

She likes the taste of kulā.  Kulā means the nectar or the ambrosial essence that flows from the sahasrāra.  When kuṇḍalinī reaches the crown cakra and conjoins with Śiva a few drops of nectar like fluid, ambrosia will flow into the throat.  This is also called amṛta varśini.  She likes this kulā, not because of its taste, but because of her union with Śiva.  This kulā will flow only if kuṇḍalinī reaches sahasrārā.  She would never like to move away from Śiva.  That is why is she is also called mahā suvāsini (nāma 970) meaning the supreme amongst women of class (supreme sumaṅgali).  kulā also means absorption of earth.  It indicates mūlādhāra cakra.  Mūlādhāra cakra is connected to earth element.  The path of kuṇḍalinī from the mūlādhāra cakra to the sahasrāra is also called kulā.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 10) says ‘kulakuṇḍe kuhariṇi’ which means, a small orifice in the perineum.  Through this orifice, kuṇḍalinī ascends to the higher cakras.  Sages live only on this ambrosial essence, which never causes death even to the physical body.

There is yet another interpretation.  Kulā also means a triad (it is called triputi, meaning three words that leads to a single goal.)  In this case knower, known and knowledge are known as a triad.  Knower is the sādhaka, knowledge is the path that leads the sādhaka to the known and known is Lalitāmbikā.  There should be no difference between these three and this knowledge alone leads to self-realization.  At this stage, the duality ceases to exist and non-duality dawns.

Kulasaṅketa-pālinī कुलसङ्केतपालिनी (91)

In this nāma kula means race or family.  She guards the secrecy of the kula or the family of Her worshippers.

Everything that belongs toHer is highly secretive in nature.  For example Her Pañcadaśī and ṣodaśī mantra-s, Her kāmakalā form, Her kuṇḍalinī form, the ritual worship called navāvarana pūja etc.  Out of all this, her kāmakalā form and Pañcadaśī mantra are highly secretive in nature.   The secrecy is on account of two factors.  One is that such mantra-s should not be elaborately discussed because, if they fall in the wrong hands, by mastering such mantra-s they could harm the society.  Secondly, Her physical and kāmakalāforms are highly intimate in nature and hence cannot and should not be described in detail.  But if they are continued to be kept as secrets, those who really want to understand the inherent meanings of such descriptions may not have the opportunity to know them.  Hence, an attempt is being made in this book about providing certain details that are very essential to interpret a nāma.  This nāma says that She Herself protects these secrets from those who are not worthy of knowing them.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 92 – 96

Kulāṅganā कुलाङ्गना (92)

She hails from the family of chaste women.  Such women protect the honour of the lineage they hail from and protect the lineage of the families of their husbands as well.  In another interpretation it is said that, such women cannot be seen much in public.  Lalitāmbikā, being supreme amongst such women protect Herself with the veil of avidyā or ignorance.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 9) says “in sahasrāra you conjoin with your consort Śiva secretively.”  It is explained that by breaking the six psychic planes, conquering twenty fivetattva-s, She, in the form of kuṇḍalinī reaches sahasrāra and there unites with Sadāśiva tattva. This union is considered as a separate tattva known as sādākhya tattva.  This tattva is also known as Para-Brahman, the complete identity of Lalitāmbikā with Sadāśiva.  This stage is also known as tādātmya. Such is the interpretation of Śrī Śaṁkara for chaste women.

Śrī Vidyā ritual worship is considered as the most secretive.  This ritual is called navāvaraṇa pūja.  If this is performed in the right way, it will surely bestow everything on earth to the person who performs this worship.  Most of the navāvaraṇa pūja-s performed today is purely for pomp and vanity.  Pomp and vanity have no place in the worship of Lalitāmbikā.  Secondly, there are many deviations from the prescribed rituals.  Any ritual not performed according to the prescribed methods does not yield results.  For the sake of convenience, nothing can be compromised in rituals.

Kulāntasthā कुलान्तस्था (93)

Kulā also means scriptures.  She resides in the midst of these scriptures.  This nāma could possibly mean Devi Sarasvatī, the goddess of letters, as She is supposed to be the root for all scriptures.  This also means the spinal cord or suṣumna  and is called the path of kulā.  In the triad we have seen earlier (nāma   90), that she is in the form of worthy of knowing (known).   She is the object of the knowledge of kulā.  Kula means Śaktī.  Śaktī prevails everywhere i.e. omnipresence.  This situation is well described in Kena Upaniṣad as ‘pratibodha-viditam’ which means ‘known at all levels of sādhaka’s consciousnesses.

Kaulinī कौलिनी (94)

She is the core of kaula worship.  Kaula worship is a tantric worship under śākta method (methods of worshipping Śaktī is called śākta worship).  Since She is the centre of this worship She is called kaulīnī.  As She is worshiped everywhere (omnipresence), She is called as kaulīnī (as per triad – worshipper, worshipped and worship).  Tantra śāstra define Śaktī as kulā and Śiva as akula.  The union of Śiva and Śaktīis called as kaula and She is called kuṇḍalinī.  This union takes place in sahasrāra.  There is a reference in some tantra texts to one more thousand petal lotus, just below the thousand petal lotus, is the sahasrāra.  In the centre of the second sahasrāra, Kula Devi is worshiped and in the petals kula Śaktīs are worshiped.  Kaulīni also means this kula Devi, the goddess of one’s lineage.  One of the Vāc-Devi-s, the authors of this Sahasranāma is known as Kaulīnī.  The external worship of cakra-s, possibly meaning that Śrī Cakra is also called kaulīnī.

Kulayoginī कुलयोगिनी (95)

Kaulā means mental worship.  Here it means offering mental worship to Her in the six cakra-s. Mental worship can be performed only through yoga.  Kula means mūlādhārā cakra and akula means sahasrāra. The link between these can be established only by yogic methods.  That is why she is called as Kulayoginī.

Akulā अकुला (96)

She does not have genealogy, hence akula.  She was created by Śiva and hence no parentage.  Akula also means beyond kula, the six cakra-s.  Akula is beyond the six cakra-s, which means, beyond sahasrāra.  Sahasrāra is not considered as a cakra.  It is said that suṣumna has two lotuses at both the ends, one at top in the crown which has thousand petals and is called akula sahasrāra.  Since She resides here, She is called akula.  The other one is at the bottom and has two petals and this is called kula sahasrāra.  Kula sahasrāra does not mean the mūlādhāra cakra that has four petals.

From nāma 90 to 96 it can be observed that how a single word kula has been used in seven contexts.  The beauty of this is, nāma 90 starts by saying that She likes the taste of the ambrosia and nāma 96 ends by saying that she is beyond kula.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 97

Samayāntasthā समयान्तस्था (97)

She is centre of samayā doctrine.  Samayā means internal or mental worship, while kula means external worship. Mental worship is more powerful than external rituals.  The internal worship has been emphasized by five great sages – VāsiṣṭhtaŚukaSanakaSanāndana and Sanathkumāra.  They have prescribed procedures for internal worship and their writings are called tantra-pañcaka meaning five tantra-s.  This nāma underlines the equality between Śiva and Śaktī.  This equality is classified under five heads.  Śiva is called Samayaḥ and Śaktī is called Samayā as per Sanskrit grammar.  The five fold equalities are:

  1. In terms of equality of place of worship such as worshipping both of them in Śrī Cakra or in Liṅga form.  In the bindu,the centre point of Śrī Cakra,both of them are worshipped.  In psychic cakra-s of kuṇḍalinī also, they are worshiped – Śaktī uniting with Śiva at sahasrāraŚrī Cakra worship is mostly external and kuṇḍalinīworship is always internal.
  2. In terms of functions such as creation, sustenance and dissolution.  Since there is equality between the two, their functions remain the same.  They are called father and mother of the universe.  They cannot be separated under any circumstances.
  3. In terms of actions such as dancing.  The significance of dancing by them will be dealt with in later nāma-s.  When a woman dances, it is called nāṭyāand when a man dances it is called tāṇḍavā.  Śivatāṇḍavā is well known.
  4. In terms of names such asBhairavaand BhairavīParameśvara and ParameśvarīRājarājeśvara and RājarājeśvarīŚiva and Śiva (Lalitai is called as Śivā in nāma 53); Kāmeśvara and Kāmeśvarī etc. (When one says Śiva Śivā it does not mean Śiva alone.  The second Śiva is pronounced as Śivā with an extra a (aa = ā).  Śiva the Supreme means fortunate, happiness, welfare, liberation, final emancipation, auspicious. Śivā means the energy of Śiva personified as His consort. Therefore when one says Śiva Śivā it means both Śiva and ŚaktīShe alone holds independent Power of Autonomy (svātanraya śakti) and He has given a Power of Attorney to Śaktī permitting His Power of Autonomy to be used by Her.
  5. In terms of forms such as their complexion, their weaponries, etc.  In terms of complexion both appear as red.  Lalitaiis red in complexion.  Śivais pure white like a spatika (crystal).  The specialty of spatika is that it gets reflected with the colour of the properties nearby. When Lalitai sits by the side of Śiva or on the lap of Śiva, His translucent crystal complexion also appears as red.  The gods and goddesses who witness this glorious scene compare this to the rising sun.  This scene could lead to an inference that Śaktī is more potent than Śiva as Śiva only reflects the colour of Śaktī.  Both of them hold the same four weaponries.

It is always ideal to worship both Śiva and Śaktī together.  They should never be separated either in worship or in meditation.  In worshipping Viṣṇu, Lakṣmī should never be separated from Him.  Lalitai sits on the left thigh of Śiva and Lakṣmī is in the chest of Viṣṇu (śrīvatsa).  There is yet another form of Lakṣmī sitting on the lap of Viṣṇu known as Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa.

{Further reading on kula and kaulaKula means race, community, etc.  Those who worship Śaktī are called kula.  They are also known as śaktā-s, their tenets being contained in the, tantra-s. Their rituals are of two kinds, the impurer called vāmācāra, and the purer dakṣiṇācāra. Kaula generally rferes to those who worship Śaktī and in particular the followers of vāmācāra.}

Lalitha Sahasranamam 98

Samayācāra-tatparā समयाचारतत्परा (98)

Worshipping Lalitai in the cakra-s of kuṇḍalinī, beginning from mūlādhāra cakra is called samayācāra.  This is explained in Rudrayāmala, an ancient scripture, as told by Śiva Himself to Śaktī.  This nāma means that She likes samayācāra worship.  This worship can be done only mentally.  Initiation from a Guru is the first step in this worship.  This initiation will culminate in pūrṇa abhiṣeka (mantra bath) that will be performed by guru to the disciple.  The initiation by the guru will make the kuṇḍalinī ascend from the perineum to the six cakra-s.  Guru will guide his disciple at each level and at each cakra.  Guru will not perform the mantra bath on the disciple unless he is convinced that the disciple has attained a particular stage from where, the disciple could carryon on his own.  Guru also will not perform this ritual unless the disciple pursues the right path of Self realisation.  After this ritual of mantra bath, there is yet another ritual called mahā veda samskāra, a fire ritual.  This mahā veda saṃskāra will be done only on the day of mahā navami (ninth day of Dasara celebrations) which occurs once in a year. (After completing all such formalities, the sādhaka(practitioner) will have to go to an isolated place and commences his samayācāra meditation, i.e. meditation on the six cakra-s and the sahasrāra.  There is a prescribed procedure for this worship.

Kuṇḍalinī is aroused from the perineum and taken to mūlādhāra cakra.  She is in Her subtle form viz. mantraform in this cakra.  From mūlādhāra cakra, She is taken to the next higher cakra viz. svādhiṣṭhāna cakra.  She has to be mentally worshipped in this cakra.  She is in Her subtler form viz. kāmakalā form at this stage.  After the worship at this cakra, She is adorned with rich clothes and ornaments. Remember that everything associated with Her is red in colour. She is then taken to maṇipūraka cakra.  At this stage, changes occur in the gross body of the sādhaka.  People around him start noticing these changes.  In this cakra, She is offered arghya, pādya, etc (washing Her hands and feet) and She accepts the offerings made by the sādhaka. Then She is made to adorn the throne that has been discussed in nāma 3.  In this cakraShe is in Her subtlest form viz. Kuṇḍalinī.  Kuṇḍalinī energy gets the name of Kuṇḍalinī only from the navelcakra.  From this cakra onwards, She becomes very powerful.  It is to be remembered that this is a mental worship that happens within.

Then she is taken to the heart cakra or anāhata cakra, where She is offered betel leaves (karpūra vītikā –  nāma 26).  She is then taken to viśuddhi cakra where is worshiped with āratiĀrati means offering (showing) various types of lamps lit with pure ghee (clarified butter).  Each such ārati has its own significance.  For example pañca ārati means the five elements, ‘pūrṇa kumbha ārati signifies that everything was created out of totality and everything merges in totality.  From viśuddhi cakra, she is then taken to ājñā cakra, where is offered ‘karpūra ārati.  karpūra ārati means ārati lit with camphor.  Ārati with camphor has a lot of significance (Pure camphor is not easily available nowadays.  If pure camphor is not available, it is better to use a ghee lamp, which does not cause pollution.  The soot coming out of impure camphor affects the purity of the energy level that prevails during rituals.)  She is adorned with garlands of sweet smelling flowers and perfumes.  She is to be visualized as a bride at this stage.  She is then taken to sahasrāra where Śiva is waiting for Her.  When She enters sahasrāra, a veil is placed around them and the sādhaka awaits Her return.  Once She returns from sahasrāra, She is taken back to mūlādhāra cakra.

This nāma means that She likes this type of worship.  Kuṇḍalinī meditation is highlighted here. Śaktī alone can take one to Śiva, the Supreme Brahman.  The Supreme Brahman is Śiva and Śaktī is māyā.  There is yet another interpretation possible for this nāma.  Kuṇḍalinī represents jīva-ātma or soul.  Soul is a dynamic energy where our karma-s are embedded.  When the soul merges with Paramātma or the Brahman, this is called ŚivaŚaktī union.  The merger of jivātma with Paramātma is discussed in this nāma.  Further it is also emphasized that emancipation can take place only if Kuṇḍalinī reaches sahasrāra.  Repeated practice of this samāyāchara worship is necessary to stay with the Brahman forever.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 99 – 103

Mūlādhāraika-nilayā मूलाधारैकनिलया (99)

She resides in mūlādhāra cakra.  Mūla means root and ādhāra means support. That is why mūlādhāra cakrais called the base (foundational) cakra.  A detailed study of mūlādhāra cakra is made from nāma-s 514 to 520.

Brahmagranthi-vibhedini ब्रह्मग्रन्थिविभेदिनी (100)

She pierces the brahma granthi.  There are three knots called granthi-s in three places in the path of Kuṇḍalinī.  These granthi-s are to be pierced to make the Kuṇḍalinī ascend to the higher cakra-s.  First of such granthi-s is found above the mūlādhāra cakra and below the svādhiṣṭhāna cakra.  Kuṇḍalinī has to pierce the brahma granthi to reach the svādhiṣṭhāna cakra.

Maṇipūrāntha-ruditā मणिपूरान्थरुदिता (101)

She appears in the navel cakra.  It was seen in nāma 98, that She is well decorated and sits on the throne in the navel cakra.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 40) beautifully describes maṇipūraka cakra.  “I worship that redoubtable dark-blue cloud, abiding forever in you maṇipūraka cakra, endowed with lightning in the form of Śaktī, whose lustre controverts darkness, with a rainbow caused by the sparkling variegated gems set in the jewels (of the Kuṇḍalinī ) and showering rain over the worlds scorched by Hara (fire) and Mihira (sun; certain dictionaries say moon).”  In deep stage of meditation, one will be able to see bright light in the form of a bow.  A detailed study of this cakra is made from nāma-s 495 to 503.

Viṣṇugranthi-vibhedinī विष्णुग्रन्थिविभेदिनी (102)

She pierces the second knot called Viṣṇu granthi, which is just above the navel cakra.  Lord Viṣṇu resides inmaṇipūraka cakra and that is why the knot above this cakra is called Viṣṇu granthi.  Lord Viṣṇu is the authority for the sustenance of this universe.  When a sādhaka could cross the navel cakra, it means that he exists beyond sustenance.  Sustenance is only for ordinary living beings.  Beyond sustenance means sages and yogi-s.  They can sustain themselves on the ambrosia, the nectar that has been discussed earlier.

Ājñā-cakrāntarālasthā आज्ञाचक्रान्तरालस्था (103)

She resides in ājñā cakra which is also known as third eye.  This is the last of the six cakra-s and this cakrabelongs to one’s guru from where he gives his commands to the sādhaka.  In this cakra, a sādhaka gains a little knowledge about the Brahman.  In the previous five cakra-s, all the basic elements were identified.  But this cakra is related to mind. Mind is the instrument for acquiring knowledge.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 36) describes this cakra.  “I worship the supreme Śiva (paraṃ śaṃbhuṃ) who abides in your ājñā cakra, covered by parā-cit on the sides and having the splendour of billions of sun and moon.” This verse underlines the mental worship of both Śiva and ŚaktīĀjñā cakra is associated with mind.

Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna (Bhagavad Gīta XI.8), “You cannot see me with your physical eyes.  I now give you divine eyes (the third eye or the ājñā cakra)”.  Ājñā cakra is described in detail in nāma-s 521 to 528.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 104 – 107

Rudragranthi-vibhedinī  रुद्रग्रन्थिविभेदिनी (104)

She breaks the Rudra granthi and proceeds to sahasrāra.  This is the last of the three knots.  It has already been seen that Pañcadaśī mantra has three kūṭa-s and each kūṭa ends with hrīṃ (ह्रीं).  Therefore, Pañcadaśīmantra has three hrīṃ-s.  Each hrīṃ represents one granthi or knot.  The bīja hrīṃ represents the candra kalā, (divisions of moon) whereas the other bīja-s in each of the kūṭa-s represent agni (fire), sun and moon (Please refer details at the end of nāma 84).  Once this granthi is crossed, Kuṇḍalinī reaches sahasrārawhere she unites with Śiva.  However, there are minor cakra-s in between ājñā and sahasrāra.  The union of Śiva and Śaktī is represented by the bījā hrīṃ.  Pañcadaśī mantra represents only the six cakra-s and three granthi-s.  It does not mention about sahasrāra, which is beyond the subtler (kāmakalā) and subtlest (Kuṇḍalinī) forms of Lalitāmbikā. Once this last granthi is passed over, all the vāsana-s (impressions) go away leading to supreme knowledge.   Till this point Kuṇḍalinī had to cross too many resistances to reach Her final destination.  In the next nāma Her destination is explained.  During the last leg of one’s journey to his domicile, (for example the flight is about to land) one always feels the happiness of seeing his dear ones.  This is the sort of happiness She derives at this stage.  She grants whatever boons one asks for at this cakra.

Sahasrārambujārūḍhā सहस्राराम्बुजारूढा (105)

She has now reached Her destination, the sahasrāra, where Śiva is waiting for Her.  Sahasrāra is just below the brahmarandhra, an orifice in the skull that connects to cosmos (The existence of this orifice has not been medically proved.  Perhaps this is like the pores that exist in our skin through which sweat comes out.  But one can distinctly feel the cosmic connection through this orifice).  The union of Śiva and Śaktī takes place at sahasrāra.  The sādhaka, who all along was worshipping only the Śaktī, begins to worship Her along with Her creator, Śiva.  There are fifty alphabets in Sanskrit (in another version it is fifty one including one more ḻaळ).  Based on these alphabets and multiplying this fifty by numeric twenty (made up of five basic elements, five karmendriya-s, five jñānendriya-s and five tanmātra-s) one thousand is arrived.  This one thousand is said to be the number of psychic petals of an imaginary lotus flower in sahasrāra.

Please refer ‘further reading on Sanskirt letters’ at the end of nāma 833).

Sudhāsārabhi-varṣiṇī सुधासारभिवर्षिणी (106)

There is one soma chakra in the middle of sahasrāra.  When Kuṇḍalinī reaches this cakra, out of the heat generated by Her presence, the ambrosia which is stored there gets melted and drips through the throat and enters the entire nervous system.  Soma cakra is discussed in nāma 240.  Tantric interpretation of this ambrosia differs from this interpretation.    Saundarya Laharī (verse 10) says, “You drench the nādi-s(nerves) in the body with the flood of nectar gushing through Your feet.”

{Further reading on ambrosia:  The followers of samayācāra, (worshipping Her through the cakra-s of Kuṇḍalinī, beginning from mūlādhāra is called samayācāra. Please refer nāma 98) both the planet moon and cit-candra-mandalā (nāma 240) (cit means foundational consciousness) at sahasrāra represent Śrī Cakra as both have similar qualities. Both shed nectar.  Her lotus feet deemed to shine in the moon region of śrī Cakra.  Moon is the master of all medicinal herbs that are said to ooze divine water known as nectar.}

Taḍillatā -samaruciḥ तडिल्लतासमरुचिः (107)

She shines like a line of lightning.  In the advanced stage of Kuṇḍalinī meditation, one can realize the entire spinal cord glowing like a flash of lightning.  Till this nāma, this kind of epithet was not used, but used here for the first time as She is now with Her spouse.  She shines like a lightning when She is with Śiva.  There are instances of comparing the Brahman to lightning.  Kena Upaniṣad (IV.4) explains Brahman beautifully.  It says “It is like a flash of lightning…Just as lightning comes in a flash and removes darkness; Self realization dawns in a fraction of a second and removes the darkness of ignorance”. Mahā Nārāyana Upaniṣad (XIII.11) (Nārāyaṇa sūkta) says vidyallokhā meaning flash of light.  Therefore it is apparent that Lalitāmbikā is referred to as the Brahman in this nāma.  This nāma fortifies the argument that both Śiva and Śaktī are the Brahman. Śiva is the nirguṇa Brahman and Śaktī is saguṇa Brahman (nirguṇa means without attributes and saguṇa means with attributes). Śaktī attains potency only if She remains with Śiva.  Śiva also becomes inert without Śaktī. This argument is strengthened by this nāma as She is compared to lightning only during Her union with Śiva.

Some texts use Taṭillatā instead of Taḍillatā.  However this difference does not alter the meaning.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 108 – 111

Ṣaṭcakropari-samsthitā षट्चक्रोपरिसम्स्थिता (108)

She is above the six cakra-s starting from mūlādhāra to ājñā cakra-s.  She is now at sahasrāra, which is not a cakra.  As sahasrāra is above the six cakra-s, hence this nāma.  There is another interpretation possible.  It has been seen earlier, that She is the Brahman when united with Śiva.  To realise the Brahman in sahasrāra, one has to cross the lower cakra-s, all of which are associated with worldly acts.  Sahasrāra is above the worldly acts.  That is why She is said to be above these six cakra-s, meaning that the Brahman is above the six cakra-s.

Mahāsaktiḥ महासक्तिः (109)

Maha means festivals and asaktiḥ means great liking.  She has a great liking for festivities.  Here festival means Her union with Śiva.  Festivities are of two kinds.  One that is celebrated internally (associated with mind) and another is external worship (associated with body). If this nāma is interpreted, based on Saundarya Laharī (verse 9) mahīṁ mūlādhāre, (meaning – the earth is placed in mūlādhāra) then it means only internal worship, worshipping Her subtlest form Kuṇḍalinī.  She likes internal worship.  Maha means supremacy, ā means on all sides and Śaktī means supreme.  Her supreme power is spread across everywhere. In this context, this nāma means that She is the Supreme power.

Kuṇḍalinī कुण्डलिनी (110)

She is in the form of a three and a half coiled snake in mūlādhāra cakra.  Her subtlest form is described in this single nāma.  Her subtler form kāmakalā (nāma 322) is also described in a single nāma.  But Vāc Devi-s used nāmas 13 to 54 to describe Her subtle form.  This also goes to prove the importance of internal worship or meditation than the external rituals.  The vital energy of prāṇa is called kuṇḍalinī.  This lies in the mūlādhāra cakra in the midst of fire that keeps biological body warm.  Any modification in the intensity of this fire causes sickness.  The sound of the Kuṇḍalinī can be felt by anyone.  If one closes both his ears tightly, he can listen to a hissing sound, the sound of Kuṇḍalinī from within.  The base cakra is a triangle where icchā, jñāna and kriyā śakti-s (desire, knowledge and action) form the three sides.  From these three śakti-s(potencies) the sound of OM au and m is generated.  Yoga-vāsiṣṭha (the compendium of teachings of sage Vāsiṣṭha to Lord Rāma) in nirvāna prakaraṇa (the last of six chapters) talks about Kuṇḍalinī.  Sage Vāsiṣṭhasays to Lord Rāma “Like the coiled body of a serpent when it sleeps…like a plantain flower it is exceedingly delicate within…hissing like an angry female serpent…causing fluctuations in the mind. All other nādi-s are connected with this. This becomes purified only by the rays of jñāna or knowledge….thus this Śaktī rejoices in the name of puryaṣṭaka.  Should the upward and downward actions of this Kuṇḍalinī śakti be arrested by the control of prāṇa and this prāṇa be made to rest in the heart, diseases will never affect those who have such control.”  Yoga-vāsiṣṭha also talks about siddhi-s.

Kānci Paramācāryā in his magnum opus ‘Voice of God’ observed the following about Kuṇḍalinī yoga: “Kuṇḍalinī yoga is not the only path available to the seeker.  Choose any path other than it, adhere to it with a mind that is one-pointed and with faith and sincerity.  As you advance to a high state on this path, your breathing will change automatically and it will be similar to that of one practising yoga-s.  You may even be aware of it; the breathing will change on its own” and after saying that one’s breath will undergo modifications, he says, “….the movement of breath will impinge on the nerves in the roof of our head and touching the feet of Ambāl (referring to Śaktī) create a flow of ambrosia.  Even in worldly life when we are in ecstasy of delight our breathing stops and we faint.  In this there is reflection of the emotion experienced by us during kumbhaka (holding breath).  During this time we excalim: ‘Ah, I feel cool in the crown of my head.’  This also means that a tiny droplet of the ambrosia has trickleld on the nerves in the crown of the head. I have said this to show that even by following the path of devotion you can have inward experience of sublime nature.”

Viṣṇu Sahasranāma nāma 907 is kuṇḍaline.

{Further reading on puryaṣṭaka: (as told by sage Vāsiṣṭha to Lord Rama in Yoga-vāsiṣṭha – VI.5).  Brahman who is without beginning or end and which is the seed of the universe, becoming differentiated is jīva (soul); subjecting itself to the idea of separateness, it becomes ahaṃkāra (ego) with manana (contemplation), it becomes manas (mind); with the certainty of intelligence, it becomes buddhi (intellect); then the five elements (sound, etc) through indriyā-s (sensory organs).  With the thought of the body, it becomes the body itself; with the thought of a vessel, it becomes the vessel.  A form (subtle body), having such a nature is called puryaṣṭaka body or eight constituents of the body.  The eight constituents are mind, ego, intellect, sound, touch, sight, taste and smell, the last five together known as tanmātra-s.}

Bisatantu-tanīyasī बिसतन्तुतनीयसी (111)

She is like the minute fibre of a lotus stalk. This is the last of the nāma-s that describe Her subtlest form.  She is like a young girl in the lower cakra-s as She makes sound in the mūlādhārā cakra, gets dressed like a bride in the navel cakra and proceeds to meet her spouse Śiva in sahasrāra.  There are many references for this description.  These descriptions ultimately point to the path of Kuṇḍalinī, the inner canal of the spinal cord which is extremely subtle and almost invisible. When Kuṇḍalinī ascends through this middle canal without any blocks or deviations, it shines like a lightning.  Since it has such immense potency, it confers on the sādhaka certain siddhi-s before it reaches the crown cakra.  If the sādhaka misuses such powers, he will not be able to realize the Brahman and also gets punished.  Though She has the burning desire to conjoin Her spouse, She certainly knows how Her power has been utilized by the sādhaka during Her sojourn in various cakra-s of the sādhaka.  She never forgets the duties allotted to Her by Śiva.

Possibly, the Vāc Devi-s used two nāma-s to emphasise both Her minute (this nāma), and mahat or supreme (nāma 109) forms, as otherwise there is no necessity for them to talk about anything else after describing Her subtlest Kuṇḍalinī form (nāma 110).

Nārāyaṇa sūkta describes Kuṇḍalinī thus: “The place for His meditation is the ether in the heart, the heart which is comparable to an inverted lotus bud. It should be known that the heart which is located just at the distance of a finger span below the Adam’s apple and above the navel is the great abode of the universe.  Like the bud of a lotus, suspends in an inverted position, the heart surrounded by arteries.  In it or near it there is a narrow space (suṣumna).  In it everything is supported.  In the middle of that remains the non-decaying, all knowing, multi faced, great fire, which has flames on every side, which enjoys the food presented before it, which remains assimilating food consumed and which warms its own body from the insole to the crown.  In the centre of that fire, which permeates the whole body, there abides a tongue of fire, of the colour of shining gold, which is the topmost among the subtle, which is dazzling like the flash of lightning that appears in the middle of a rain-bearing cloud, which is as slender as the awn of paddy grain and which serves as a comparison to illustrate subtlety.”

Possibly this nāma could also mean the citrini nādi, which is the central canal of the spinal cord through which Kuṇḍalinī ascends and descends.

With this nāma the description of Her Kuṇḍalinī form ends and from the next nāma, the description of Her blessings begin.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 112 – 114

Bhavānī भवानी (112)

Beginning from this nāma till nāma 131 the significant aspect of blessing Her devotees is described.

Bhava means Śiva, particularly his form of Mahādeva and ana means infusing life.  She, the wife of Śivagives life to all or as Śrī Mātā, She gives life.  Since She gave back life to Manmatha (Manmatha is also known as Bhava) she is addressed as Bhavānī.  Śiva is known as Bhava because the universe was created from Him (bhava means produced from) and being sustained by Him.  Though grammatically, Bhava and Bhavānī may differ, but the actions of both Bhava and Bhavānī remain the same.  .

The famous verse of Saundarya Laharī (verse 22) says “Bhavānī tvaṃ” meaning You are Bhavānī.  The verse further says, “When one is desirous of paying to You as Oh! Bhavā’s consort! May You cast Your gracious glance on me, Your servant utters the name of Bhavā’s consort (meaning Bhavānī). You, at that very moment grant him the state of absorption into You.”

{Further reading on absorption:  Absorption means the metnal state that is completely filled with God consciousness.  Individual consciousness submerged in God consciousness is absorption. The word Bhavānī is used in the above verse is intended by the devotee as an address to Lalitāmbikā in the vocative case.  But, as a verb in the first person of the imperative mood, it would mean ‘let me become’.  As soon as the first two words Bhavānī tvaṃ are uttered, She rushes to grant him absorption in Her own Self. She becomes so elated and happy of being addressed as Bhavā’s consort, She does not even wait for the verse to be completed. She acts immediately on listening to those two words Bhavānī tvaṃ, interpreting them as ‘Let me become Thyself’.  This translates into mahā vākyā “Tat Tvam Asi”.  This process is called sāyujyathat gives immediate liberation. This way of contemplating Her is more efficacious than japa and homa.  Liberation is of four types: Sālokya, co-existence with the Lord in His world.  Sārūpya, attaining the same form as that of the Lord.  Sāmīpya, proximity as that of the Lord. Sāyujya, absorption into the Lord Himself. The first one progressively leads to the last one.  But the thought process of identifying the self with the Lord (sāyujya) leads to fast track emancipation.}

Bhāvanāgamyā भावनागम्या (113)

She is to be realized through the mind.  Internal worship or mental worship known as meditation is referred here.  If this interpretation is correct, then it gives the same meaning as that of nāma 870 antarmuka-samārādhyā.  Possibly this nāma refers to ‘Bhāvanā Upanishad’ which describes Her internal worship through Kuṇḍalinī meditation.  In the advanced stages of Śrī Vidyā worship all the external rituals such as navāvarana pūja (Śrī Cakra worship) etc. cease on their own leading the sādaka to internal worship through meditation internal exploration in terms of Bhāvana Upaniṣad.  This Upaniṣad emphasizes the union of knower, knowledge and the known.

There is another interpretation for this nāma.  It says that meditation is of two types. One is meditating with the help of mantra and another is meditating with the meaning of mantra. For example, one can meditate by reciting Pañcadaśi mantra mentally.  The second type is to understand the meaning of mantra and meditating on the meaning of such mantras.  The latter is considered as more powerful.  Śrī Vidyā cult attaches a lot of importance to Guru and therefore one has to go by what his/her Guru says.

But the transition from external rituals to internal worship (meditation) is very important, without which She can never be realized.  This nāma says that She can be realised only through unstained awareness.

Bhavāraṇya-kuṭhārikā भवारण्यकुठारिका (114)

She axes the forest of saṃsāra.  Saṃsāra refers to transmigratory existence, which arises because of indulgence in worldly activities such as desire, attachment, love and affection causing bondage.  Saṃsāra is compared to forest.  Forest consists of many trees.  If one wants to clean a forest he needs to axe each and every tree in the forest.  It is not just enough to axe the trees.  He has to remove the roots too; as otherwise, trees will grow from the roots again.  Unless every aspect of saṃsāra is removed at the root level, the bondage is bound to rear its ugly head again causing transmigration.

But She does not axe saṃsāra for all.  She does it for those who address Her as Bhavānī and for those who follow the Bhāvana Upaniṣhad.  It is to be understood that those who mentally worship Her in terms of Bhāvanā Upaniṣhad, alone, address Her as Bhavānī and reap the benefits.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 115 – 119

Bhadrapriyā भद्रप्रिया (115)

She likes the act of benefaction.  She is keen to shower Her blessings on Her devotees.  Devotees are those who try to attain Her by any of the means discussed earlier.  The act of benefaction is done by Her sacred feet.

Bhadramūrtiḥ भद्रमूर्तिः (116)

She is an embodiment of auspiciousness (nāma 200). This is because she is also addressed as Śrī Śiva (nāma 998) which means auspiciousness.  The Brahman alone is auspicious.  Therefore, She is addressed here as the Brahman. Viṣṇu Sahasranāma also says maṅgalānām ca maṅgalaṃ meaning the best amongst the auspices.  Her very form is auspicious.

Bhakta-saubhāgya-dāyinī भक्तसौभाग्यदायिनी (117)

She confers prosperity on Her devotees.  There is a reference to saubhāgya aṣṭagam (eight things that gives prosperity) in Agni Purāṇa.  They are sugarcane, peepul tree, sprouted jīra seeds, coriander, cow’s milk (and its modifications curd, butter and ghee), everything that are yellow in colour, flowers and salt.  All these indicate auspiciousness and prosperity.

The next three nāma-s discuss about bhakti (devotion).

Bhakti-priyā भक्तिप्रिया (118)

She is fond of devotion. Śivānanda Laharī (Lahari means rise up as if in waves) (verse 61) describes devotion.  “The way needle seeks magnet, the way creeper seeks tree, the way river unites with ocean and the way the mind seeks the lotus feet of Śiva are called devotion”.  Sage Nārada said ‘Devotion is beyond three guṇa -s – rajas, tamas and sattva.  It is beyond desire.  It grows every second.  It remains connected with the Brahman.  It is subtle and realized out of experience.  Once realized, he always remains with That.’ Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa compares devotion to the flood that flows powerfully into the ocean in spite of the dams built to control the floods.  Our mind, he continues, is not flowing but stagnant like a pond.  Our mind gets stagnated towards devotion, which has to grow every second.

Viveka cūḍāmaṇi (verse 31) says that “amongst things conducive to liberation, devotion alone holds the supreme place.  The seeking after one’s real nature is designated as devotion. Others maintain that the inquiry into the truth of one’s own Self is devotion”.

The point driven home in this nāma is that nothing prevents a true devotee in realizing Her irrespective of the hurdles.  She is delighted with such devotion and such devotees.  Devotees are those who worship Her through mind to seek Her within.

Bhakti-gamyā भक्तिगम्या (119)

She can be attained only by devotion.  Since She likes pure devotion in terms of the previous nāma, She can be attained by such devotion only.  Upaniṣad-s explain devotion in detail.

Brahma Sūtra (III.ii.24) says, “Brahman is realized in samādhi, as known from direct revelation and inference.”

Cāndogya Upaniṣad (II.23.1) says “brahmasṃsthomṛtatvameti” meaning one devoted to Brahman attains immortality. Attaining immortality means Sāyujya discussed in nāma 112. This is possible only through devotion.

Katha Upaniṣad (II.i.1) says “Self-created God has also created the sense organs with the inherent defect that they are by nature outgoing. This is why beings see things outside and cannot see the Self within.”

Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II. i) says satyaṃ, jñānam, ananthaṃ Brahma, meaning truth, knowledge and infinite is Brahman.

Patanjali in his Yoga Sūtra (I.23) says, “by devotion to Īśvarā”.

Kṛṣṇa confirms this by saying (Bhagavad Gīta XVIII.55) “One can understand me by devotional service and when he is in full consciousness of me by such devotion, he can enter my kingdom”.  “Only by undivided devotional service I can be understood as I am….and can thus be seen directly…” (XI.54)

Lalitā Triśatī (nāma 192) says that She can be attained only by devotion.

{Further reading on devotion: Brahman can be realised either through bhakti mārg (the path of devotion) or through jñāna mārg (the path of knowledge). In devotional path, the divine grace is an essential factor.  While pursuing the path of knowledge, self-effort is primary.  In bhakti one affirms this world, affirms himself and his life and work with a devoted remembrance of his iśta devata.  Among all the disciplines of worship, bhakti is considered as Supreme.  The desperate longing and intense love for Iṣṭa devata is known as bhakti. The intense search for our true nature is bhakti. The one noticeable, yet significant difference between bhakti and jñāna is the difference in the perception of the Supreme.   In bhakti one perceives Iṣṭa devata and in jñāna he looks for the formless Brahman.}

Lalitha Sahasranamam 120

Bhakti-vaśyā भक्तिवश्या (120)

She is controlled by devotion or She is attracted by devotion.  vaśya means attraction or keeping under control.

Śivānanda Lahari (Śivānanda Lahari is in the praise of Śiva and Saundarya Laharī is in the praise of Lalitāmbikā.  Both have one hundred verses each and composed by Ādi Śaṃkara) verse 62 refers the Divine Mother as bhakthi  janani meaning  ‘Mother thy name is devotion’ and bhaktārbhakam rakṣatimeaning that She nurses the devotee as Her child.  When somebody is overwhelmed with the feeling of devotion, tears roll down his eyes, his voice gets choked and goose bumps appear.   This could be followed by a body shudder.  

The next verse of Śivānanda Lahari refers to the story of Kannappa Nāyanār (KN).  He was a great devotee of Śiva and his devotion is beyond explanation.  KN used to worship Śiva in the form of a liṇga.  KN does not know any rituals as prescribed by śāstrā-s.  He used to offer raw meat to Śiva and Śiva also gladly accepted his offerings.  One day, KN noticed blood oozing out from one of the eyes of Śiva.  KN tried to arrest the oozing by trying different methods.  But none of them worked.  Then he thought for a moment and immediately, he took one of his own eyes and placed in the place of oozing eye of Śiva.  The oozing stopped immediately.  Now, the other eye of Śiva also started oozing blood.  This time KN did not try any other methods.  He placed his big toe on the oozing eye of Śiva as a marking, as he will not be able to see anything, as he was about to remove his another eye also.  At that time, Śiva appeared before him.  Such is the type of devotion which Ādi Śaṃkara refers to in his verses.  The verse says ‘the one who follows KN, his (follower) footwear is used as kuśa grass (darbha) for the kalasa (a pot containing water with mango leaves and coconut on the top with a cluster of kuśa grass.  When mantra-s are recited, the energy of the mantras gets transmitted to the water inside the vessel.  This water is used for purification purposes and also used to purify a sādhakaand is called mantra bath.  Kuśa grass or darbha is used for all purification purposes) that is used to give a Vedic bath to Śiva”.  This is called devotion.  True devotion is nothing but sincere love.

Those who are ignorant say that Śiva and love are different.  Those who are knowledgeable say that both Śiva and love are the same- says Tirumūlar, the great Tamil saint. Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa Paramahaṃsasays that those who are the masters in Veda-s and śāstra-s say this is right and that is wrong.  Assuming there are defects in the ways of worship by such devotees, God will never mind the defects as He wants only sincere devotion.  He is ready to bless us, but we are not ready to get His blessings.  This is because, the path followed by us is wrong.

Kṛṣṇa says, (Bhagavad Gīta (IX.30) “Even if the vilest sinner worships me with exclusive devotion, he should be accounted as a saint. He is positive in his belief that there is nothing like devoted worship of God,” and Kṛṣṇa proceeds to say in the next verse “that my devotee never perishes”. Kṛṣṇa says in (XI.54), “Only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am” says the Lord.

All the scriptures and Śrutiī-s make a clear definition of devotion.  Devotion can therefore be defined “as the subject where the feelings of ardent love blossoms within, expecting nothing in return, crossing the boundaries and limitations of all the prescribed rituals and gets transformed into an object where there is a desire to stay put with that object forever”.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 121 – 123

Bhayāpahā भयापहा (121)

She dispels fear.

Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.9) says “having known the Brahman, he is not afraid of anything as there is none by his side”.  He is with the Brahman who is always a witness; therefore Upaniṣad says that there is none with him.  Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (I.iv.2) says, “If there is nothing else except me, where is the question of fear”.  The cause of fear is the existence of a second person.  The existence of second person is felt only out of ignorance.  In fact, there is no second in this universe.  It is only the same Supreme Self within, who prevails in everybody which is mistaken for the second.  This happens out of māyā.

The very recitation of Her name will dispel fear.  Viṣṇu Sahasranāma nāma 935 is ‘bhāyapahā’.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 4) says, “Your feet are by themselves powerful to protect those in grip of fear.”   But Śaṇkarā says that cycle of birth and death afflicted with saṁsāra (bondage) is known as fear.  Śaṇkarā’s interpretation of fear is also confirmed by Sage Durvāsā in his Śrī Śakti Mahimnaḥ.  He says jarāṁṛuti nivāraya, praying relief from the fear of birth and death.

Those who worship Her do not have the fear of birth and death.  Mere recitation of Her name will dispel this fear.

(Further reading on fear:  Fear is the worst destroyer of spirituality. Fear is a product of mind. Not only it obstructs the spiritual path, but also it destroys the progress made. Fear not only afflicts the mind, though it is a product of the mind, it affects one’s health as well. Most of the fears are unfounded and a result of our imagination. Fears are mostly related to physical body. For example fear of an accident, fear of an unexpected fall, fear of disease or injury, fear of an enemy etc. Sometimes fear arises out of ego. Fear of hurting one’s prestige in the society, fall in status, etc are classified under this category. Basically it is important to note that fear arises out of attachment to the physical body and ego. The latter also includes finance management. There are only two possible remedies one can think of. One is to undergo the agony of fear and the other is destroying the cause of fear by visualization. When there is fear, the entire energy will be drained out. After all, everything is pre-determined by karma-s and whatever is to happen is bound to happen. If one develops positive thoughts, positive actions will manifest and if negative thoughts are nurtured, manifestation of miseries and sufferings happen.  To a great extent one can eliminate fear by positive thoughts. Thoughts are always very powerful.

All of us never escape the clutches of fear, but most of us encounter fear and make it powerless. There should be some cause for fear. If one is are able to destroy that cause, the effect of fear will not manifest. Let us take a simple example. If someone is pulling a car out of the garage with a fear that he might meet with some accident, his fear will manifest and cause some accident. In this situation, his thought manifests as action. On the contrary, if one thinks that he will have a safe day, the day is bound to be safe. Let us take another example. One’s superior is going to give his report on his promotion. On some earlier occasions he had misunderstandings with his superior and he did not like his attitude. Possibly he may not give a good report about him for his promotion. In this case if he meditates and infuses positive energy to his superior he can be rest assured that his superior will not give any adverse report about his, as his positive energies will induce him to make out a good report. By infusing positive energies, one can have positive results in most of the situations. Mentally one can burn the cause of fear by visualizing fire burning the cause. Practicing this type of meditation is a sure way to success. There is no need for separate place to do this meditation. One can take a minute or two, find out a place where one can get some fresh air, by closing the eyes and visualise that the cause of fear is being burnt by flames of fire.

{Remember one thing always. Nobody can harm you either emotionally or physically. You are a divine soul and abundant divine energies are always around you to protect. This divine energy prevents committing evil acts and protects you from evil influences. After all what you sow is what you reap.}

Śāṃbhavī शांभवी (122)

Śiva is known as Śāṃbhu and His wife is Śāṃbhavī.  Viṣṇu Sahasranāma nāma 38 is Śāṃbhavaewhich is interpreted as ‘the one who gives comforts to devotees’.  In that way both Śiva and Lalitāmbikā give comfort to their devotees.

There is a mudra called śāṁbhavi mudra which is generally used in Kuṇḍalinī meditation.  Focusing both the eye balls internally towards ājña cakra and lifting the consciousness upwards, by correspondingly raising the eye balls is śāṁbhavi mudrā.  There are other interpretations also.

There are three types of dīkṣā-s (initiations) and one among them is śāṁbhavi dīkṣā.  The other two are śākti and māntri.

Worshippers of Śiva are called śambhavā-s.  She is the mother of śambhavā-s.  Saundarya Laharī(verse 34) says, śarīraṁ tvaṁ śambhoḥ meaning ‘You (Śaktī) are the body of Śiva.  The next verse says śiva  yuvāti bhāvena meaning ‘assuming the role of Śiva’s wife’.  Such narrations are in plenty to affirm that She always remains as a part of Śiva, both physically and mentally.

Śāṃbhavī also refers to a young girl of eight years.  There is a ritual by name kanyā pūja explained in Devi Bhāgavata (III.25 and 26) about worshipping Her in the form of girls of of different ages.  If such a ritual is performed as per the prescribed method, it is said that the devotee will become prosperous and wealthy.

Śāradārādhyā शारदाराध्या (123)

Śāradā means Sarasvatī, the Goddess of speech.  She is worshiped by Sarasvatī.  Śāradā could also mean Vāc Devi-s, the authors of this Sahasranāma.

She is worshipped for nine days in the month of October/ November called navarātrī or śāradanavarātrī, meaning nine nights.  Śaktī worship is always done in the nights as per tantra śāstra.  It is said that Viṣṇu is to be worshipped in the morning, Śiva in the evening and Lalitāmbikā in the night.  Apart from the śārada navarātrī, there is one more navarātrī called vasanta navarātrī celebrated in the month of April/May. Possibly this nāma could mean Śāradā navarātrī.

Kālikā Purāṇa says ‘Once upon a time in spring, in the ninth day you were awakened by gods.  Hence you are known to the world by the name Śāradā”.

This nāma means that she is worshipped by the knowledgeable (knowledge gained from Veda-s and śāstra-s).

Lalitha Sahasranamam 124 – 128

Śarvāṇī शर्वाणी (124)

Śiva has eight cosmic forms that correspond to the five basic elements (akāś, air, fire, water and earth), soul, sun and moon (Liṅga Purāṇa I.28.15-17).  Bhīma form is akāśUgra-wind, Rudra-fire, Bhava-water, Śarva-earth, Paśupatī-soul, Īśāna-sun and Mahādeva-moon. Śarva form of Śivarepresents water element and Śarva’s wife is Śarvānī.  Their son is Mars, one of the nine planets referred in astrology.

{Further reading on planetary propitiation: For performing remedies for the afflicted planets, one has to thoroughly study the afflicted planet/s and perform propitiation accordingly.  The ill effects of the planets will not be totally eradicated by merely performing rituals or visiting certain specified temples. The day and time of the propitiating ritual to be performed   is to be fixed taking into account the star lord and its sub lord.  For example, in a horoscope planet Mars is afflicted, performing remedies on a Tuesday may not be correct.   The appropriate day would be the day connected to the star lord or sub lord of planet Mars.  Poor feeding and animal feeding are very important in eradicating the evil effects of a planet. The ideal thing would be to go to orphanages and feed them personally.  Satiated hunger expressed in their faces is capable of eradicating any type of planetary afflictions.  Mantra japa is another useful way to ward off the evil effects of planets.  Planetary propitiation should be done in person and not through someone else. Planets are incapable of causing any afflictions to those who repose unshakable faith in God}

Śarmadāyinī शर्मदायिनी (125)

Śarma means happiness.  She confers happiness on Her devotees.  Conferring happiness is Her habit as She is the Divine Mother.

Please refer nāma-s 192, 953 and 968 which convey the same meaning.

Śāṃkarī शांकरी (126)

Wife of Śaṇkarā, a form of Śiva, is known as Śāṃkarī.  Śam means happiness and karā means doer.  Therefore Śaṇkarā is known to give happiness and his wife Śāṇakarī has the same quality.  Śiva and Śaktī do not have any difference in qualities between them. That is why Śiva and Pārvatī are said to be father and mother of the universe.

Śrīkarī श्रीकरी (127)

Śrī means all types of prosperity.  It also means wealth, happiness, beauty, attraction, auspiciousness, etc.  Since She is the embodiment of all these qualities and also endows these qualities on Her devotees, She is known as ŚrīkarīViṣṇu Sahasranāma 611 is Śrīkarā which means the giver of wealth to His devotees.  In fact, there is no difference between Viṣṇu and Lalitāmbikā.  Viṣṇu is also known for auspiciousness etc. There is brother- sister relationship and Viṣṇu is elder to Lalitāmbikā.   Other nāma-s in this Lalitā Sahasranāma confirm this. They are 267. Govinda rūpinī, 298. Nārāyanī, 893. Viṣṇu-rūpinī, etc.  Śrīkarā’s sister is Śrīkarī.

Sādhvī साध्वी (128)

She is chaste (please refer nāma 709).  When someone has huge wealth he is called Lakṣmī pati, meaning husband of Lakṣmī, Śrī Mahā ViṣṇuPati is generally used to refer husband of a woman.  In ancient Sanskrit pati was used to mean a good sign, good fortune, prosperity, success, happiness Lakṣmī resides in the chest of Viśnu.  Lalitāmbikā and Śiva are attached to each other so deeply, the one without the other cannot even carry out their duties.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 96) explains this nāma. “Oh! Foremost among the chaste! How many are the poets who do not court Brahma’s wife (meaning knowledge).  Who does not become the lord of Lakṣmī with only some riches? But, except Śiva nobody can attain you.” The interpreters intend to say that nobody can claim Lalitāmbikā like other Gods and Goddesses as She is beyond comparison with them.  The problem in the interpretation arises with the Sanskrit word ‘pati’ which generally means husband.  But there are other meanings for this word such as master, lord, owner, possessor etc.   Therefore pati in this context does not mean husband but refers to a person who owns wealth or who has knowledge and wisdom, or who has mastered the art of speech. This verse is a poetic parlance.

Lalitāmbikā is called as chaste because, She always remains with Śiva.  She considers Śiva as pati deva which means a wife who regards her husband as divine.  This is the right explanation for this nāma as She was created by Śiva and therefore She considers Śiva as Her divine husband. ‘Pati vedanaḥ’ means Śiva.  Vedanaḥ means perception or knowledge and pati vedanaḥ means possessor of knowledge.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 129 – 133

Śaraccandranibhānanā शरच्चन्द्रनिभानना (129)

Her face appears like the moon in spring season.  Śarad means second half of October, November and first half of December.  In a natural horoscope, each rāśi represents a solar month.  Two solar months make a ṛtu and six ṛtu-s make a year.  During śarad ṛtu (autumn or fall season) the moon appears brighter and without blemishes.  Please refer nāma 133 also.

Śātodarī शातोदरी (130)

She has thin waist.  These two nāma-s (129 and 130) are connected to Her kāmakalā form, the details of which will be discussed in kāmakalā rūpā (nāma 322) .

Śantimatī शन्तिमती (131)

She is never harsh to Her devotees.  She tolerates certain acts of Her devotees that are not considered appropriate.  Śanti means peace.  She appears peaceful and tolerates only certain acts of Her devotees.  She too has a tolerance level.  Once that level is crossed by Her devotees, She does not hesitate to initiate corrective measures.  The corrective measures are carried out through Her ministers like Aśvārūdā or Vārāhi Devi-s.

With this nāma, Her act of benediction ends.  Nāma-s 132 to 155 discuss Her as Nirguṇa Brahman or Her formless form.  Worshipping Her as Nirguṇa (without attributes or qualities) form is considered as an important aspect of worship and the result of such worship is described in nāma-s 156 to 195.  It is also interesting to note that Vāc Devi-s have chosen to discuss her nirguṇa worship first and saguṇa(with attributes) worship later (196-248).

Nirādhārā निराधारा (132)

She is without support.  She does not depend upon anybody.  Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VII.24.1) asks “That which is infinite is immortal and that which is finite is mortal.  It rests on its own power – or not even on that power (as it depends on nothing else, not even its own power). This is known as nirādhārā.

Śaktī is worshipped both internally and externally; but internal worship leads to quicker realisation.   External worship is further divided into two categories- Vedic and Tantric.  Internal worship is also divided into two categories, one is with form and another is without form.   Worshipping Her internally without attributing any form is considered to yield desired results leading to quicker realisation of the Self.

The pure form of consciousness is ŚaktīŚiva Sūtra (1.1.) says caitanymātmā.  This means that pure consciousness is Ātma. Only by worshipping Her, detachment from saṁsāra becomes possible, which ultimately leads to liberation.

Nirañjanā निरञ्जना (133)

Añjanā means a black paste (eye liner or collyrium) that is applied to eyes of women.  Hanuman’s mother’s name is Añjanā. “Añjanā nandanaṁ vīraṁ” says a verse.  When añjanā is applied to eyes, they look beautiful.  Her eyes look beautiful without añjanā is the textual meaning.  But añjanā also means ignorance as ignorance is always compared to darkness and knowledge to light.  Nir means without.  She is without ignorance.  Vāc Devi-s would not have coined this nāma to mean that She is without ignorance.  Ignorance and knowledge are associated with human and not with the Divine Mother as She is the embodiment of knowledge.  Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI.19) gives answer to this argument.  It Says ‘niṣkalaṁ, niṣkriyam, śāntam, niravadyaṁ, niranjanaṁ”. This means that Brahman has ‘no form, no action, no attachment, above reproach and without any blemish’.  It also says niranjanaṁ which means without any blemish.  Therefore it is to be inferred that Lalitāmbikā is the Brahman.  This nāma says that Her formless (nirguṇa Brahman) form is without any blemishes. Please refer nāma 354 for further details.

In Kuṇḍalinī meditation, when one reaches ājñā cakra, one will be able to see light.  In the initial stages, this light may have some blemishes and these blemishes vanish along with the practice. This is called Her blemish less form, as Kuṇḍalinī is Her subtlest form.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 133 – 138

Nirañjanā निरञ्जना (133)

Añjanā means a black paste (eye liner or collyrium) that is applied to eyes of women.  Hanuman’s mother’s name is Añjanā. “Añjanā nandanaṁ vīraṁ” says a verse.  When añjanā is applied to eyes, they look beautiful.  Her eyes look beautiful without añjanā is the textual meaning.  But añjanā also means ignorance as ignorance is always compared to darkness and knowledge to light.  Nir means without.  She is without ignorance.  Vāc Devi-s would not have coined this nāma to mean that She is without ignorance.  Ignorance and knowledge are associated with human and not with the Divine Mother as She is the embodiment of knowledge.   Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI.19) gives answer to this argument.  It Says ‘niṣkalaṁ, niṣkriyam, śāntam, niravadyaṁ, niranjanaṁ”. This means that Brahman has ‘no form, no action, no attachment, above reproach and without any blemish’.  It also says niranjanaṁ which means without any blemish.  Therefore it is to be inferred that Lalitāmbikā is the Brahman.   This nāma says that Her formless (nirguṇa Brahman) form is without any blemishes. Please refer nāma 354 for further details.

In Kuṇḍalinī meditation, when one reaches ājñā cakra, one will be able to see light.  In the initial stages, this light may have some blemishes and these blemishes vanish along with the practice. This is called Her blemish less form, as Kuṇḍalinī is Her subtlest form.

Nirlepā निर्लेपा (134)

She is without attachments.  Lepā means stain or pollution which is impure.  Attachment is caused by bondage and bondage is the result of karma-s.  Karma-s arise out of actions.  She is beyond karma-s arising out of actions.  This could be interpreted in two ways.  She is attached to Her devotees.  Many devotees are able to manifest Her in their bodies.  In such situations, She becomes one with the bodies of Her devotees.  The karma-s of such devotees do not affect Her.  In fact, if a devotee has such an opportunity, he is absolved of all his karma-s.  This is because of the fact that the divine energy can enter into a body, provided that body is suitable in all respects (such as strength, internal and external purity) to withstand the potency of divine energy.  Some ancient scriptures point out that the body of a devotee becomes pure by merely acquiring knowledge about Her.

The second interpretation is in line with what Kṛṣṇa says (Bhagavad Gīta V.10) ‘One who performs duty without attachment, surrendering the result to the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action’.  Kṛṣṇa also says ‘There is no work that affects me nor do I aspire for the fruits of action’ (Bhagavad Gīta IV.14).   Lalitāmbikā perfectly fits this explanation.  She performs Her action as directed by Her Lord Śiva, hence karma-s arising out of such actions do not affect Her.  This is the case of yogi-s also.  Yogi-s perform worldly duties, perform rituals, sacrifices, external worships, etc but they surrender the results unto God, either good or bad arising out of such actions.  The attire does not make a yogi.  Only thoughts and actions make a perfect yogi.  If one acquires complete knowledge about the Brahman and remain with the Brahman, karma-s do not affect him.

Nirmalā निर्मला (135)

Mala means dirt arising out of impure matter, where the afflicted mental state of an empirical individual is disabled by his own impurity causing attachment to actions viz saṁsāra.  She is without such dirt.  In the last nāma impurity arising out of mind was discussed and in this nāma impurities arising out of matter is being discussed.  It is to be recalled that mind and matter is Śaktī.  Mala is a sense of imperfection that leads to ignorance about the soul and hampers the free expression of the Supreme Self.  This ignorance is caused by ego which is called mala or ānava-mala.

This nāma says that if one gets out of attachments towards matter by dissolving his ego, knowledge is attained.  Presence of mala causes avidyā (ignorance) which leads to confusion, dirt and darkness.  This darkness can be dispelled by meditating on Her, thereby acquiring knowledge.

It is interesting to note that all the nāma-s that talk about nirguṇa Brahman either directly or indirectly refer to meditation.

{Further reading on mala: Mala is known as innate ignorance that conceals the true nature of the Self.  It is mere consciousness of the supposed imperfection and limitation which is responsible for the rise of countless individual selves.  It is the instrumental cause of the impurity or mala.  One’s karmic account is the main cause for the level of innate ignorance. This ignorance is of two types, internal and external.  One is due to the revival of old vasānā-s (impressions) and another one arises from the contact of a certain sense with a certain external object.  Again intellectual ignorance is different from spiritual ignorance.  Intellectual ignorance is dependent upon the connection of the individual self with the body, with which it co-exists. But, in the case of spiritual ignorance, it is independent of intellectual ignorance. It is due to this difference, liberation cannot be attained only by intellectual knowledge. Liberation can be obtained only with the combination of intellectual knowledge and spiritual knowledge.}

Nityā नित्या (136)

Nitya means eternal and without changes.  As nirguṇa Brahman is being discussed, one of the qualities of the Brahman is explained here.   Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (IV.v.14) describes the Brahman as “the Self is indeed immutable and indestructible”.  Brahman is beyond changes and exists everywhere, omnipresent.

Nitya-s are the fifteen deities representing fifteen lunar days.  They are worshipped while worshipping Śrī Cakra.  Each of these deities has mūla mantra and is capable of giving different siddhi-s.

{Further reading on Nitya-s:  Nitya is said to be the highest object of worship and the ultimate philosophical principle in kula system.  The world kula stands for Śaktī.  Apart from the fifteen nitya-s, sixteenth nitya is Lalitāmbikā Herself, who is also known as Mahā Tripurasundarī.  Out of these nitya-s, the last three nitya-s are more concerned with internal worship. There are nine tantra-s that deal with these nitya-s.  It is also said that the power of Śaktī is known as nitya.]

Nirākārā निराकारा (137)

She is formless. Ākāra means form, figure, shape, etc. This is an important aspect of nirguṇa Brahman(nirguṇa means devoid of all qualities or properties).  The qualities of the formless Brahman are being described one after another.

Nirākulā निराकुला (138)

She is without agitation.  Ākulā means confounded, confused, agitated, flurried, or disordered. Nirnegates all that is meant by ākulā. This means that She is not agitated, not confused etc.  She is the cause for these attributes, but She is not affected by these attributes.

Though She is associated with ignorance or avidyā, still she is not agitated.  She is associated with ignorance means She is the cause of avidyā.  When She is in the form of māyā or illusion, She causes ignorance.  Māyā prevents the sādhāka to acquire knowledge.  This nāma means that even though ignorance is caused by Her, She is not agitated by this ignorance.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 139 – 142

Nirguṇā निर्गुणा (139)

She is unconditioned with guṇa-s.  Guṇa is of three types sattvarajas and tamas.  These guṇa-s are responsible for the formation of gross body and originate from prakṛtī (the source of objectivity) which is also known as māyā.  Since She does not have a gross body, She is called nirguṇa.  The Brahman alone is without guṇa-s, as Brahman does not have a gross form.  Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI.11) says ‘ekah devaḥ’ God is one without a second.  Though devaḥ also means luminous, here it  means only the Brahman as Brahman alone is self illuminating.  After identifying the Brahman, the Upaniṣad talks about the qualities of the Brahman.  It says ‘without attributes and unconditioned’.  All these confirm Her as the Brahman.

[Further reading on guṇa-s:  Guṇa can be interpreted as constituent qualities. There are three kinds of guṇa -s.  They are sattva, rajas and tamas.  Sattva guṇa means quality of purity and knowledge.  Rajo guṇa means activity and passion.  Tamo guṇa means inertia and ignorance.  The Brahman is the embodiment of sattva guṇa, whereas the empirical souls are associated with more of other two guṇa-s.  Prakṛtī is the primordial, unmanifested, and the most subtle metaphysical principle that has the potentiality to manifest into an enormous empirical universe. In the process of creation, the universe remains in a potential state within prakṛtī, so long as the three guṇa-s remain undisturbed. When the equilibrium of the guṇa-s is disturbed, prakṛtī begins to unfold Her metaphysical categories causing the process of creation.]

Niṣkalā निष्कला (140)

She is without bodily parts.  This nāma is an extension of the previous one.  Because of being nirguṇa, She is niṣkalā.  Kalā means parts.  Brahman has no parts in literal sense.

Kṛṣṇa gives more clarity on these two nāma-s.  He says “the living entities in this conditioned world are my eternal fragmental parts.  Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with six senses that include mind” (Bhagavad Gīta X).

This is beautifully explained in Vijñāna Bhairava (verse 146) thus: “Unswerving buddhi (intellect) without any image or support constitutes meditation.  Concentration on an imaginative representation of the divine with bodily parts is not meditation.”  This is possible only with knowledge.

Brahma Sūtra also says (II.iii.43) “The individual souls are parts of the Brahman because of the mention that they are different.”  The individual is a part only apparently, for the part-less Brahman can have no part in literal sense.

Thus it is amply made clear that the Brahman is without form and meditation with form is not a meditation on the Brahman.  Chādogya Upaniṣad (VIII.vii.1) further explains the Brahman as “free from sin, old age, death, sorrow, hunger and thirst.  It is the cause of desire for truth and commitment to Truth.  This Self has to be sought for and thoroughly known.”

Śantā शन्ता (141)

The absence of negation is to be noticed in this nāma.   Prefix niṣ or nir means negation of the quality mentioned in that nāma.   For Example kalā means parts and niṣkalā means without parts.  This nāma means that She is calm and tranquil.

The saying of Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad VI.19 referred in nāma 133 is also applicable to this nāma. All these qualities of the Brahman are cited by Vāc Devi-s in this Sahasranāma.  One more quality of the Brahman, the tranquillity is described here.  Please remember that we are now discussing the qualities of nirguṇa Brahman (the Brahman without form and attributes).  To make us understand nirguṇa Brahman better, certain qualities are negated and certain other qualities are affirmed in Upaniṣads as well as in this Sahasranāma.

When one is bound by the clutches of bondage, there cannot be any tranquillity.  Tranquillity is considered as an essential quality for self-realization.

Niṣkāmā निष्कामा (142)

She is without desire.  This is the reason for the previous nāma.  When one has desires, he cannot have tranquil mind. There is no question for any desire for nirguṇa Brahman, the Absolute.  Brahman cannot have any desires and this has been confirmed in earlier nāma-s.  These nāma-s are in line with Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (II.iii.6) which says ‘neti neti’ meaning not this, not this.  The Upaniṣad is zeroing on the Brahman by negating many known qualities.  Finally this verse says ‘satyasya satyaṃ’meaning “The Truth of truth”.  It has identified truth as one of the qualities of the Brahman. The same Upaniṣad further elucidates the Brahman (V.i). “That (the Brahman) is infinite and this (universe) is infinite.  The infinite proceeds from infinite.  Then, taking the infinitude of the infinite (universe), it remains as the infinite (the Brahman) alone.”  The original verse goes like this:

पूर्णमदः पूण्नमिदम् पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते।पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥

Pūrṇamadaḥ pūṇnamidam pūrṇātpūrṇamudacyate|
Pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate||

This nāma is in confirmation of Her Brahmanic status. During the course of this Sahasranāma, one can find a number of such affirmations.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 143 – 146

Nirupaplavā निरुपप्लवा (143)

She is perdurable, yet another quality of the Brahman.  The same meaning is conveyed in nāma 180.

There is another interpretation, which says that She produces ambrosia that spreads to the 72000 nerves in human body. This refers to Her subtlest Kuṇḍalinī form. When Kuṇḍalinī reaches sahasrāra, it produces ambrosia that drips through the throat and spreads throughout the nervous system. This nāma is split into nir (the word nir has many meanings and in this context, it means body) + upa(approaching) + plavā (dripping). This means that when Kuṇḍalinī approaches sahasrāra the ambrosia starts dripping into the body system.

Nitya-muktā नित्यमुक्ता (144)

She is eternally free, another quality of the Brahman.  To realise the Brahman, one has to be free from bondage.

Nirvikārā निर्विकारा (145)

She is devoid of modifications (vikāra means modification).  Brahman does not change.  There are two aspects of creation viz. puruṣa and prakṛtī.  Puruṣa is the Supreme consciousness that is free of bondage, full of knowledge and creative power. This can be interpreted as the divine or active principles from the minute portions of which the universe was formed. If one has the power to create, he has to possess the requisite knowledge for creation.  If creator does not possess sufficient knowledge, his creation goes haywire.  Puruṣa is not associated with body, senses and mind.  It does not undergo modification but constantly witnessing those countless modifications that happens around it.  Prakṛtī is opposite of puruṣa.  It is the root cause of creation and undergoes changes continuously.  It is associated with three gunas.  When puruṣa and prakṛtī conjoin, universe is created.

Devoid of changes here mean with regard to twenty three tattva-s.  They are mahat [It is a product of prakṛti. It the great principle, of buddhi, the Intellect, or the intellectual principle. According to the Sāṃkhya philosophy the second of the twenty three principles produced from prakṛti and so called as the great source of ahaṃkāra, (ego) self-consciousness and manas, the mind], ego and five tanmātra-s (sound, taste, smell, light and touch).  These seven are called cause.  Five organs of perception, five organs of action, five basic elements and mind make the balance sixteen.  These sixteen are called action.  Therefore prakṛti is made up of cause and action and puruṣa is devoid of this.  But for creation both puruṣa and prakṛti are required.  This points out to Śiva-Śaktī union.

But, in this nāma She is addressed as puruṣa, the Brahman. Puruṣa and prakṛti are discussed in detail in later nāma-s.

Niṣprapañcā निष्प्रपञ्चा (146)

Prapañca means expansion, development or manifestation.  She is without such attributes.  Since the Brahman is ādhi (the first) and anādhi (without parentage) it does not have any control and does not require any modifications or changes.  This is because the Brahman is complete or full which is called pūrṇam.  Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad (verse 7) says ‘total cessation of the world as such, the embodiment of peace (here word śāntam is used. Refer nāma 141 ‘śāntā’), the total of all that is good (word ‘śivam’ is used here), one without a second (this is because of  ādhi and anādhi), the fourth state (turya state, the other three being, sleep, dream and deep sleep stages which are called jākrat, svapna, suṣupti).  Think this turya as the Self and this is to be realized’.  The Brahman is beyond the three stages and can be realized only in the turya or the fourth state.  This state is the embodiment of peace and all that is good.  These stages are discussed in detail from nāma 257.

All these interpretations go to indicate the nirguṇa Brahman.  This nāma means that She is without any expansion as the Brahman will never undergo changes or modifications.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 147 – 153

Nirāśrayā निराश्रया (147)

Āśraya means dependence (that to which anything is annexed or with which anything is closely connected or on which anything depends or rests).  Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.7) uses the word ‘anilayane’ meaning not resting on anything and free from modifications.  She does not depend on anything.  She being the Brahman does not depend upon anything and on the contrary, everything depends upon Her.  This nāma more or less conveys the same meaning conveyed in nāma 132.  Possibly, āśraya in this context could mean the gross body that supports the soul.  Since She is beyond soul (Brahman and soul are different.  Soul is called jīva), there is no question of Her gross body.  Since She is devoid of gross body, it connotes that She is the Brahman.

Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VIII.i.5) says, “The body may decay due to old age, but the space within (the Brahman) never decays.  Nor does it perish with the death of the body.  This is the real abode of the Brahman.  All our desires are concentrated in it.  It is the Self – free from all sins as well as from old age, death, bereavement, hunger and thirst. It is the cause of love of Truth and the cause of dedication to Truth.”

This nāma says that She is not dependent on anybody.

Nitya-śuddhā नित्यशुद्धा (148)

She is eternally pure.  Impurity is associated with the gross body and the embodiment of purity is within the impure gross body. Brahman is always pure as It is not subject to changes or modifications.  Impurity arises only if an object undergoes changes.

Nitya-buddhā नित्यबुद्धा (149)

She is eternally wise.  Knowledge is gained by experience whereas being wise (jñāna) is inbuilt.  Knowledge is acquired from the wise.  Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (IV.iii.30) says ‘the knower’s function of knowing can never be lost, because it is imperishable.  But there is not that second thing separate from it which it can know’.   The Brahman is self illuminating intelligence.

Niravadhyā निरवध्या (150)

She is inviolable and without defects. Avadhyā means incapable of being transgressed or dishonoured.   Defects arise out of ignorance or ignorance is the cause of differentiating between defect and perfect.  There cannot be any defect in the Brahman as it is eternally pure.  Defects arise out of impurities such as desire, ego, etc.

Nirantarā निरन्तरा (151)

Antara has many meanings such as in the middle, inside, within, among, between, on the way, by the way, near, nearly, almost, in the meantime, now and then, for some time, between, during, without, etc. She is without such divisions.   Brahman will neither divide nor multiply, as He does not change.  It is permanent.

Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.7) says “If he makes even a smallest discrimination from the Brahman, he is afraid of the Brahman” (discriminating self from the Brahman).  Here the fear means rebirth.  The point driven home is the omnipresent nature of the Brahman.  The Brahman within all living beings, be it a plant, an insect, an animal or a human is the same, irrespective of the gross form.   The time, distance and religion do not modify the Brahman.  But it is the ignorance that make one consider Brahman as someone different from what he perceives.

Niṣkāraṇā निष्कारणा (152)

She is without cause. Kāraṇa means that which is invariably antecedent to some product. She is beyond descendance yet another quality of the Brahman. But the universe descends from Her.

Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI.9) says “There is none in this world who is His master or who governs Him, and here is nothing by which He can be identified.  He is the cause of all.  He is also the lord of the jīva(soul), who is the lord of the sense organs.  No one is His creator and no one is His controller”.

She is invoked in Śrī Cakra by addressing Her as kāranānanda vigrahe (कारनानन्द विग्रहे).It means that She is the blissful elementary matter for manifestation of the universe. Therefore, She is the cause for the universe and there is no cause for Her.

Niṣkalaṅkā निष्कलङ्का (153)

She is without any stains.  Stains arise out of sins.   That is why those who do not commit sins are considered on par with God, as such persons are extremely rare to find.  Īśa upaniṣad (verse 8) uses two words to describe the Brahman without stains.  The first one is śuddham which means pure.  The other one is apāpaviddha meaning unblemished (no race of ignorance).  The Brahman is pure and unblemished.  The sense of dualism is the cause for sins.  These sins cause blemishes.  Blemishes could be of anything viz. anger, hatred, jealousy, etc.  These blemishes are responsible for not realising the Brahman within.  These are called stains and She is devoid of such stains.

{Further reading on sin: With ethicization, morally good or bad actions are systematically converted into religiously good or bad actions.  In as much as any social morality must punish those who commit wrong and reward those who conform, so must a religious morality.  Implicit in these notions of reward and punishment are such ideas as religious merit and sin.  That is the consequences of the rights and wrongs for which one is being rewarded or punished can br conceptualised for present purposes of merit or sin. Sin is directly related to one’s karmic account.}

Lalitha Sahasranamam 154 – 157

Nirupādhiḥ निरुपाधिः (154)

She is without upādhiUpādhi means limitations. Due to upādhi an unlimited thing appears as limited. For example, the sky or a ākaś appear as limited whereas in reality, it is infinite. Upādhi can also be explained as the imposition of a character on an object which really does not possess.  For example, a hibiscus flower placed with a crystal.  Crystal is colourless.  Because of the red colour of the hibiscus, the crystal also appears red in colour. This is also upādhiUpādhi is made up of upa which means near and ādhi means attributes.  Ignorance is called upādhi as the effect of ignorance is reflected in the speech and actions of an ignorant person.  She is without such upādhi or She is without limitations.  Brahman is beyond limitation.

Śiva is devoid of colour and transparent.  He appears like a crystal.  Śaktī is red in colour as per dhyān verses of this Sahasranāma. When She sits by the side of Śiva, He also appears to have red complexion. Gods and goddesses confuse this scene for the rising sun.  This is also upādhi.

Nīriśvarā नीरिश्वरा (155)

Iśvara means superior or master. She does not have a superior.  She is the Supreme ruler.  One may argue that Śiva is above Her in hierarchy.  Śiva has certain well defined acts that include creation of Śaktī out of His prakāśa form, acting as the static partner in creation but Himself not partaking in the acts of creation, sustenance and dissolution.  Śiva does not interfere with Her administration (vimarśaform of Śaktī). Hence it is said that She does not have a superior.

Though there are many other interpretations for these nāma-s, this book has taken into account the explanations available to qualify the Brahman.  When the qualities of the Brahman are being discussed, it is inappropriate to interpret nāma-s in a way different from what they are intended for.

With this nāma the description of qualities of Her nirguṇa Brahman form ends.  Though the Brahman does not have qualities, one could be wondering why Vāc Devi-s mention about the qualities of the Brahman.  As said earlier, for a common man, the Brahman can be qualified by negations, as the Brahman cannot be realized by sensory perceptions.  Hence prefixes niṣ or nir (negation) is used in all these nāma-s (132-155 except 141).  Knowledge of the Brahman starts with ‘not that’ and ends with ‘I am That’.  The first that is negation and second That is affirmation. Any affirmation is possible only if one has comprehensive knowledge of the subject concerned.  Nāma-s 156 to 195 discuss about the fruits of worshipping Her formless form.

Nīrāgā नीरागा (156)

Rāga means desire.  She is without desire.  Though this nāma and a few subsequent nāmas may appear similar to the previous group, in fact they are not so.  Antaḥkaraṇa consists of four components mind, intellect, consciousness (in a manifested form in the mind) and ego.  These four in no way are connected to the Atman or the Brahman.  The components of antaḥkaraṇa are impediments to self-realization. Apart from antaḥkaraṇa there are six other deterrents viz. desire, anger, jealousy, confusion, pride and envy.  These six need no explanation as a mere look at these words will show how dangerous they are.  These nāma-s explain the means to get disassociated from these.  First, Vāc Devi-s explained the concept of the Brahman and now they proceed to explain how to realise the Brahman, a true step-by-step guidance to Self-realization.

Rāgamathanī रागमथनी (157)

She destroys the desires of Her devotees.  This is the first of various benefits accruing out of worshipping Her Brahman form (the formless form).   Desire is the prime impediment in spiritual pursuit that keeps a person bonded to worldly attachments.

Patañjali Yoga Sūtra (II.3) says, “The five pain bearing obstacles in one’s life are ignorance and its effects.  The effects are egoism, attachment, aversion, clinging to life.”

Lalitha Sahasranamam 158 – 164

Nirmadā निर्मदा (158)

She is without pride. Mada means pride. When someone has something that others do not have, it gives rise to pride.  She has everything and everything comes out of Her (hiranya garbha or the golden egg or womb. It is the matrix of the imperishable substance, the Brahman. It is said to be the luminous ‘fire mist’ or ethereal stuff from which the universe was formed and generally applied to Brahma. This is described in the Rig-Veda as born from a golden egg, formed out of the seed deposited in the waters when they were produced as the first modifications of the Self-existent.) There is no necessity for Her to become proud of something.

Madanāśinī मदनाशिनी (159)

She destroys pride of Her devotees. Annihilating pride is one of the preconditions for realizing the Brahman.  What is followed is preached.  She is without pride and She wants Her devotees also to be without pride.

Niścintā निश्चिन्ता (160)

She is without worries.  Worries arise out of recollecting the past.  Since She transcends time and space, She does not have a past.  It can also be said that in spite of the responsibility of administering the universe, She is without worries because, She has intelligently delegated Her work to Her ministers like Vārahī and Śyāmalā.  This can be known while worshipping Śrī Cakra through navāvaraṇa pūja.  This is in confirmation of nāma 155 Nīriśvarā,

Nirahaṃkārā निरहंकारा (161)

She is devoid of ego.  Ego arises out of three guṇa-s viz. sattva, rajas and tamas, already discussed in nāma 139. Nirguṇa, which says that She is without these three guṇa-s.  Since She does not have guṇa-s, it implies that She is devoid of ego.

Nirmohā निर्मोहा (162)

Moha means bewilderment, perplexity, distraction, infatuation, delusion, etc all leading to follies. She is without any confusion, a product of mind.  Mind is the most important factor in realising God.  Only the attunement of mind to thoughtless state leads to Self-realization.  Īśa upaniṣad (verse 7) asks “when a person knows that he himself has become everything and knows oneness of things, how can he hate or love anything?”  Love and hate leads to confusion.  Kṛṣṇa says, (Bhagavad Gīta XIV.22-25) “One who is unwavering and undisturbed through all these reactions of the material qualities remaining neutral and transcendental, knowing that the modes alone are active; who is situated in the self and regards alike happiness and distress; who looks upon a lump of earth, a stone and a piece of gold with an equal eye…such a person is said to have transcended the modes of nature’.  Such a person does not have confusion (nāma 162), ego (nāma 161) and worries (nāma 160).

Mohanāśinī मोहनाशिनी (163)

She destroys such confusions in the minds of Her devotees.  When a devotee is without confusion, he moves forward in the spiritual path.   Īśa upaniṣad (7) says, ‘ekatvam anu pashyataḥ’ which means seeing everywhere the same thing, the Brahman.  It was seen earlier that Śakthī alone is capable of taking one to the Brahman.  When Śakthī, who is also called māyā moves away, leaving a person before the Brahman (Śiva) She enables him to realize the Brahman by himself.  Self illuminating Brahman is realized only when illusion (māyā) is destroyed.

Nirmamā निर्ममा (164)

She does not have self concern.  If there is self concern, one identifies himself as different from the Brahman.  This is called dualism and should not be pursued.  If one looks at this nāma from the point of view of the first nāma Śrī Mātā, as the Supreme Mother she does not care for Herself.  Her concern is only about Her children, all the living beings in this universe.  From the point of view of the Brahman, self-concern is yet another quality that is being negated here.

It is interesting to note that commencing from nāma 164 one nāma says that She does not have that quality and the next nāma says that She destroys such qualities in Her devotees. For example nāma 166 is niṣpāpā (without sins) and the next namā 167 is pāpa-naśinī (destroys sins of Her devotees).

Lalitha Sahasranamam 165 – 169

Mamatā-hantrī ममताहन्त्री (165)

She destroys selfishness of Her devotees.  Self interest causes ego, one of the impediments to realization.

Niṣpāpā निष्पापा (166)

She is without sins. Pāpa means sin.  Sins arise out of desires.  It has already been discussed that She is without desires (156 Nīrāgā).  Kṛṣṇa says, (Bhagavad Gīta IV.14) “There is no work that affects me, nor do I aspire for the fruits of action.”

Pāpanāśinī पापनाशिनी (167)

She destroys the sins of Her devotees. Devotee is the one, who always thinks about Her not only at the time of reciting mantra-s, not only at the time of performing rituals but at all the times.  For such a devotee mantra-s and rituals become meaningless.  It is also presumed that Her devotees will not perform those actions that are termed as sins.  If knowingly someone commits a sin, She will not come to his rescue.  But why does She want to destroy the sins of Her devotees?  Kṛṣṇa answers this question in Bhagavad Gīta (IV.14) “One who understands this truth (refer the previous nāma) about me, does not become entangled in the results of reactions of work (results of reactions mean karma-s.  The concept of karma is based on Newton’s third law – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  This equal and opposite reaction is karma.).She wants Her devotees to pursue the path of liberation for which sins are impediments.  How does She consume their sins?  Chāndogya Upaniṣad (V.xxiv.3) says, pāpmānaḥ pradūyante, which means all sins are burnt up.  The Upaniṣad  further says ‘such sins are burnt like dry grass thrown into a fire’.  The point driven home here is that when She is worshipped with all sincerity, the devotee gets rid of all his sins except prārabdha karma-s(the sum total of all karma-s accumulated over several past births) that have to be experienced.

Niṣkrodhā निष्क्रोधा (168)

She is without anger.  Even at the time of total dissolution (mahā-pralayā), the Brahman is without anger.  Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gīta (IX.29) “none is hateful to me, none is dear to me”.  This is one of the qualities of the Brahman.  Brahman is like a mirror.  Unless one stands before a mirror, he cannot see his image.  Unless one is devoted to Her, he cannot realize Her grace.  Whether one is devoted to Her or not, She is without anger.

Krodha-śamanī क्रोधशमनी (169)

She destroys anger of Her devotees.  Anger is one of the six deterrents (desire, anger, jealousy, confusion, pride and envy) to self-realization.  It is said that any worship done with anger destroys the effect of such worship.   Kṛṣṇa cites the reasons for anger (Bhagavad Gīta II.63, 64) “while contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment to them and from such attachment desire develops, and from desire anger develops and from anger total dissolution arises…”  This is the reason for considering sensory organs as evils.  Kṛṣṇa also says that material mode of passion is responsible for all the sufferings.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 170 – 175

Nirlobhā निर्लोभा (170)

She is without greed.  She is extremely liberal with Her devotees.

Lobhanāśinī लोभनाशिनी (171)

She destroys greed of Her devotees.  Kṛṣṇa says “There are three gates leading to the hell – desire, anger and greed.  These should be given up, as they lead to the degradation of the soul” (Bhagavad Gīta. XVI.21) and hence She destroys greed of Her devotees.

Niḥsaṃśayā निःसंशया (172)

She is without doubts.   Doubts arise while seeking knowledge.  When She is the embodiment of knowledge, there is no question of doubts for Her.

Saṃśayaghnī संशयघ्नी (173)

She clears doubts of Her devotees.  She is capable of clarifying the doubts of wise men, as She is the embodiment of knowledge as per the previous nāma.   She assumes the form of Guru as per nāma 603. gurumūrtiḥ.  The one who is called as Guru should be without doubts, should clarify the doubts of his disciples instantaneously and expecting nothing in return.   It is said that ‘spirituality cannot be sold’.  At the same time, it is to be understood that those who seek knowledge should monetarily compensate the Guru, as he also needs money to sustain himself.  But at no point of time the disciple should exceed his capacity in compensating the Guru and a real Guru will gladly accept whatever is offered by his disciples.

 Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (II.ii.8) explains this. “If a person can realize the Brahman, the cause and the Brahman, the effect as own Self, all the peculiarities of his character disappear and all his doubts are dispelled.  One should seek a Guru who falls within the ambit of this saying.”

Kṛṣṇa says (Bhagavad Gīta IV.34), “Understand the true nature of knowledge by approaching illuminated soul.  If you prostrate at their feet, render them service, and question them with an open and guileless heart, those wise seers of Truth will instruct you in that knowledge.”

In today’s context Gurus are known under three categories.  In the first category are those who initiate mantra-s.  Most of them are exponents of mantra-s, but they do not proceed beyond mantra-s.  In the second category are those who teach yoga including the most fancied and the most sought after kuṇḍalinī yoga. The third category consists of true Gurus who impart knowledge of the Brahman out of their own experience.  But this category is extremely rare to find.  Śiva has imparted the knowledge about Guru to His consort Pārvatī through 274 verses and this teaching is known as Guru Gīta.

This nāma means that there is no difference between Her and Gurus (third category, the true spiritual masters.)

Nirbhavā निर्भवा (174)

She is without origin.  She is ādhi (first) and ‘anādhi’ (without parentage, having no beginning).  It is generally said that Śiva is without origin, as nobody has created Him.  Here, Lalitāmbikā is said to be without origin because, there is no difference between Her and Śiva.  Their unified form is called as the Brahman.

Kṛṣṇa says (Bhagavad Gīta XIII.12), “That supreme neither Brahma, who is the lord of beginningless entities, is said to be neither Sat (being, existing) nor Asat (unreal, non-existing). This saying of Kṛṣṇahas conceptualised the crux of all the Upaniṣads.

Bhavanaśinī भवनशिनी (175)

She destroys the cycles of birth and death of Her devotees.  This cycle of birth and death is called saṃsāra.  This nāma means that when She is worshipped in Her formless form, one becomes free of bondages.  Bondage is the cause for saṃsāra or bondage itself is saṃsāra.

Kṛṣṇa says, (Bhagavad Gīta XII.6 and 7) “Those who depending exclusively on me, and surrendering all action to me, worship me constantly meditating on me with single minded devotion absolves them from the ocean of birth and death.” This also defines a true devotee.

It is also said that if one performs caṇḍī homa on ninth lunar day (navami tithi) he is absolved of the afflictions of saṃsāra.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 176 – 181

Nirvikalpā निर्विकल्पा (176)

Vikalpa means false notions. It also means alternative.  The idea of ‘horse having horns’ is called Vikalpa.   She is without such ideas.  Nir-vikalpa means devoid of name, form, class, etc.  In meditative parlance, it is known as indeterminate perception or nirvikalpaka pratyakṣa and the next higher stage is called is nirvikalpa samādhi.  Samādhi is a stage where the mind is stilled in conjunction with a single object.  Nirvikalpa samādhi refers to a state where there is no discrimination between the subject and object.  It is an awareness of identity or non-difference.

vi + kalpa is vikalpa Vi means opposition and kalpa means theory and vikalpa as a whole means opposition to the theory.  Here, theory means the Brahman.  Therefore this nāma says that She is the Brahman and there is no opposition to this theory of addressing Her as the Brahman.  The nāma also means that anything, be it a subject or an object is inseparable from Her.

Patañjali yoga Sūtra (I.9) says, “Verbal delusion follows from words having no corresponding reality.”

Brahma Sūtra (III.ii.14) says “Brahman is only formless to be sure, for that is the dominant note.”  Here ‘dominant note’ means the teachings of Upaniṣad-s.

Nirābādhā निराबाधा (177)

She remains undisturbed.  She is not disturbed by illusions.  Illusion arises out of wrongly identifying an object.  For example, identifying in darkness a piece of rope as snake is illusion.  This illusion causes fear, desire, etc.  Since She Herself is the cause of such illusions (māyā), there is no question of any illusion for Her.  Moreover, the Brahman does not have qualities such as illusions.

Nirbhedā निर्भेदा (178)

She is without differences.  Possibly this difference could mean the difference between Her and Śiva.  That is why, it is said that wise men do not find any difference between Śiva and Śaktī.  Their unified form is known as the Brahman and there is no difference between them.  The qualities of this unified form are being described in this Sahasranāma.   Though all the nāma-s in this Sahasranāmaaddresses Lalitāmbikā, it should not be construed that they are addressed to Her in Her individual capacity.  They are addressed to the ŚivaŚaktī combine.  Saundarya Laharī says that neither Śiva nor Śaktī can act, without depending on each other.  Kūrma Purāṇa says that the Supreme Śaktī is infinite, devoid of all differences and destroyer of all differences (described in the next nāma).

Bhedanāśinī भेदनाशिनी (179)

She is the destroyer of differences, in the minds of Her devotees.  Difference means duality.  When difference is destroyed, there is no second.  The difference can be destroyed by acquiring knowledge and She provides this knowledge to Her devotees.  The phala śrutī (the concluding verses, conveying the benefits of reciting this Sahasranāma) of this Sahasranāma says that there is no difference between Her and Her devotees.  Authors of this Sahasranāma or any other important verses like this Sahasranāma always add a few verses after the conclusion of the main body of Sahasranāma and these verses are called phala śrutī or the concluding part.  The verses in the concluding part normally prescribes how this Sahasranāma is to be recited, on which days to be recited and also indicates the benefits accruing out of such recitations.  An abridged version of phala śrutī is provided at the end of this book.

Nirnāśā निर्नाशा (180)

She is indestructible.  Brahman is beyond destruction.  Infinity, thy name is Brahman!

Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.1) says, “satyaṁ jñānam anantaṁ brahma”, which means that Brahman is truth, knowledge and infinite.

Mṛtyu-mathanī मृत्युमथनी (181)

She destroys the death of Her devotees. Mṛtyu means death. Only someone without death alone can give the boon of deathlessness.  Death also means rebirth. She does not allow Her devotees to be reborn. This means that She destroys the karma-s of Her devotees.  Devotee does not mean a person who performs rituals.  One who is able to identify himself with Her is called a devotee and this stage can be attained only by perpetual meditation.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 182 – 185

Niṣkriyā निष्क्रिया (182)

She does not get involved in actions.  She is the kinetic energy and vimarśa form of the Brahman or Śiva and as such She cannot be without action.   As discussed earlier, Brahman is the combination of static and kinetic energies.  It is obvious that kinetic energy is always associated with action.  But, if one looks at this nāma from the angle of nirguṇa Brahman (the formless form) She does not get involved in action, as the Brahman does not get associated with actions but acts only as a witness.

Secondly, only the physical body is subjected to actions and such actions may be good or bad.  Depending on such actions, karma-s accrue to the soul.  Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VIII.xii.1) says, that one without a physical body is not affected by good or evil actions.  Karmas affect only the physical body.  The Upaniṣad points out that a Self-realized person though has a gross body, he does not take cognizance of his body as he does not consider himself different from the Brahman.  For such persons, their actions do not create karma-s.

Kṛṣṇa explains this in Bhagavad Gīta (III.17). “He, who takes delight in the self alone and is gratified with Self, and is contended in the self, has no duty.”

Niṣparigrahā निष्परिग्रहा (183)

She does not get anything in return for the actions She perform.  This is in conformity of interpretation of the previous nāma.  This nāma says that She performs actions (creation, sustenance and dissolution).  The point driven home in the previous nāma is that She does not get involved in Her actions.  When She is without actions (even any one of the actions), the universe ceases to exist.  For doing such actions, She does not get anything in return.  The appropriate interpretation would be that She does not expect Her devotees to perform ritual worship by offering flowers, food, etc thinking that they are expressing their gratitude to Her.  This nāma reiterates that ritual worship, at the most could only be a stepping stone towards Self-realization.  If one is stranded here, it is obvious that he cannot reach Her.

Nistulā निस्तुला (184)

She is incomparable.  Comparison can be only between two equals.  Since She is the Supreme and does not have equals there is no question of comparing Her.

Nāma 389 also refers to Her incomparability.

Nīlacikurā नीलचिकुरा (185)

Nīla means indigo colour and cikurā means hair of the head or tuft of hair.  She has indigo coloured hair.  This meaning seems to be inappropriate here.  A proper interpretation of this nāma seems to be difficult.  This nāma becomes out of context, when Vāc Devi-s are narrating the benefits of worshipping Her nirguna Brahman form.  At the same time, Vāc Devi-s would not have placed this nāma here without knowing its significance.  Some are of the opinion that Vāc Devi-s while concentrating on the effects of worshipping Her formless form, realised like a flash, the beauty of Her hair and this could be the reason for placing the nāma here. This is also described in Lalitā Triśatīnāma 150 kacajitāmbudā.

The possible interpretation could be:  Ājñā cakra is associated with indigo colour (nīla).  Nīla-cikuracould mean the back head cakra, situated just behind ājñā cakra at the back of the head (just above medulla oblongata) that is fully covered by hair.  Priests have their tuft in the back head cakra.  When back head cakra is well developed, one can see anything happening in the world.  It also helps in establishing cosmic commune.  This cakra is considered to be highly secretive in nature.  Some are of the opinion that tuft is kept here in order to prevent others from noticing this place.  The area in which this cakra is located protrudes predominantly, when fully activated. Cikura also means a mountain, possibly indicating this protrusion.  This cakra receives cosmic energy.  In other words, by developing nīla-cikura (back head cakra), one can realize Her Self illuminating form, which is indigo in colour.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 186 – 192

Nirapāyā निरपाया (186)

She is without destruction, the prime quality of the Brahman. Apāyā means destruction, death, annihilation.

Niratyayā निरत्यया (187)

She does not transgress Her limits.  It has already been seen that She functions as per the law of karma-s, the law of the Lord.  Law of karma is enacted by Her, and She does not transgress Her own laws.  She sets an example for others to follow.

Durlabhā दुर्लभा (188)

She is difficult to attain.  Though this nāma says that She is difficult to attain, it does not say that She is not attainable.  She can be attained by internal search and exploration and not by external rituals.  For attaining Her, one need to have dedicated and persistent practice of meditation, by which higher level of consciousness is attained, where She is realised.

Durgamā दुर्गमा (189)

She is not easily accessible.  She can be approached only by tough sādhana or practice.  Sādhanameans meditating on Her Self-illuminating form.  She has three forms viz. gross or physical form that is worshipped by performing external rituals.  Second is Her ‘kāmakalā’ form which is subtle and Her kuṇḍalinī form which is considered to be Her subtlest form.  She is not accessible by performing only external rituals.  She can be accessed through tough sādhana by meditating on Her other two forms.  Her worship should commence with rituals, gradually transforming into meditating Her subtlest form.  When such a transformation happens in a devotee, She becomes a-durgama, meaning She is easily accessible.

Durgā दुर्गा (190)

There is a reference to Durgā in Mahānārāyaṇa Upaniṣad (Durgā sūktaṃ).  Durgā means dispeller of difficulties.  Her Durgā form is described as fiery and radiant in nature.  Those who take refuge in Her are saved by Her from their difficulties.  Reciting Durgā sūktaṃ regularly eradicates miseries.  The first verse of sūktaṃṃrityuñjaya mantra (tryambakaṁ yajāmahe) and Gāyatrī mantra (leaving vyākṛti-s) together make 100 bīja-s (sadākṣari) and when this is recited, it is supposed to ward off all miseries.  Durgā refers to Her act of protection, both physical and mental.  A strong mental and physical balance is required to realize Her through inner search.

Sadākṣari Mantra:

त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्।
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् म्रित्योर्मुक्षिय मांरुतात्॥
तत् सवित्र् वरेण्यम्।भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि।
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्॥
जातवेदसे सुनवाम-सोम-मरातीयतो निदहाति वेदः।
स नः पर्षदति दुर्गाणि विश्व नावेव सिन्धुं दुरितात्यग्निः॥

tryambakaṁ yajāmahe sugandhiṁ puṣṭivardhanam|
urvārukamiva bandhanān mrityormukṣiya māṁrutāt||
tat savitr vareṇyam|bhargo devasya dhīmahi|
dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt||
jātavedase sunavāma-soma-marātīyato nidahāti vedaḥ|
sa naḥ parṣadati durgāṇi viśva nāveva sindhuṁ duritātyagniḥ||

Duḥkhahantrī दुःखहन्त्री (191)

She dispels sorrows of Her devotees.  Saṃsāra is the cause for sorrows.  Saṃsāa means getting affected by attachments and desires.  That is why Kṛṣṇa says “this is the actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact” (Bhagavad Gīta VI.23).  Saṃsāra is called ‘sāhara’ or ocean.  If one plunges into this ocean, it is difficult to swim across to reach the shore.  Saṃsāra should not be confused with one’s family.  She dispels the sorrows of those who do not get attached to material world.

Sukhapradā सुखप्रदा (192)

She confers happiness.  When sorrow is removed what remains is happiness.  But, She confers eternal happiness by forbidding Her devotees from rebirth.  This is considered as one of the best boons She gives to Her devotees.  But She has Her own way of preferring such devotees.  Such devotees should have tasted the sweetness (knowing the self is called as sweetness) and the source of sweetness (Taittirīya Upaniṣad II.7).  They are ‘ānandī bhavati’ i.e., happy.  Since She acts as per the law of karma-s (refer nāma 187. niratyayā), Her selection of devotees purely depends upon their sādana (practice).  For such sādhaka-s alone, She confers happiness that arises out of having no future births.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 193 – 200

Duṣṭadūrā दुष्टदूरा (193)

She is far away from sinners.  Duṣṭa means spoilt and corrupted and they do not even think about Her.  They can never attain Her.  This implies that they cannot have liberation.

Durācāra-śamanī दुराचारशमनी (194)

Performing those actions that are prohibited by scriptures is called ‘dur-ācāra’.  Ācāra is known as customs or traditions.  These customs are of two types.  The customs that are prescribed by Veda-s belong to the first type.  In the second category are the customs that are introduced recently, not prescribed by Veda-s.  The customs that were introduced in recent times do not have significant spiritual values.  A prayer done for a minute with deep devotion is much more powerful than performing expensive rituals.  Veda-s never said that one should spend beyond his means to perform rituals, most of which are hyped in recent times.

Doṣa-varjitā दोषवर्जिता (195)

She is devoid of blemishes, yet another quality of the Brahman.  Blemish arises out of hatred, desire, etc.  Here, blemish refers to mind and not the gross body.  She does not have any blemish and this has been discussed in earlier nāma-s in this Sahasranāma.

With this nāma the effects of worshipping Her formless form (nirguna Brahman) ends.  Nāma-s 196 to 248 discuss about Her various forms known as saguṇa Brahman or the Brahman with attributes. Worshipping God without form is called nirguṇa worship and considered as superior. Worshipping God in various forms is called saguṇa worship. Religious faiths are based on saguṇa worship (with forms and attributes).

Sarvajñā सर्वज्ञा (196)

She is omniscient.  Only the Brahman alone can be omniscient.  Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (I.1.9) says “That Brahman, which is all-knowing in general way and which is also all-knowing in detail whose austerity is knowledge and from that (para) Brahman comes this (apara) Brahman and also such categories as name, form and food.”  The Upaniṣad specifically uses the word tapaḥ, meaning the highest form of meditation known as penance. Parā Brahman is the nirguṇa Brahman (without attributes) and aparā Brahman is saguṇa Brahman (with attributes).

Sāndrakaruṇā सान्द्रकरुणा (197)

She is compassionate.  This is mainly because of being ‘the Divine Mother’.  “She has more than any other, the heart of the universal Mother.  For Her compassion is endless and inexhaustible; all are to Her eyes Her children and portions of the One (meaning the universal Brahman).  Her rejections are only postponement; even Her punishments are a grace.  But Her compassion does not blind Her wisdom or turn Her action from the course decreed (law of karma)”.  These beautiful words are of Sri Aurobindo in his book ‘The Mother’.

Samānādhika-varjitā समानाधिकवर्जिता (198)

She has no equals.  Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI. 8) says, “He has no body and no organs.  No one is His equal. No one is His superior either.  He possesses many powers of knowledge and powers of action.”  The Upaniṣad talks about the nature of the Brahman.

Arjuna addresses Kṛṣṇa like this in Bhagavad Gīta ( XI.43) “You are the Lord of incomparable might, in all the three worlds there is none else even equal to You; how then, any better?” She has all these qualities.

Sarvaśakti-mayī सर्वशक्तिमयी (199)

She is the power of all śaktī-s.   There are two different meanings for the word śaktī.  Śaktī means power.  As far as She is concerned, Her power is the divine power.  She uses this divine power for Her acts of creation, sustenance and dissolution.  Since Her saguṇa (form) is being discussed, it can be said that She has ministers such as Vārāhī, Śyamalā, or even Her ten forms which is popularly known as dasa mahā vidyā, who are Her śaktī-s.  In this context śaktī-s mean these goddesses who function under Her control.  In literal sense, She is in the form of all such goddesses, in view of the omnipresent nature of the Brahman. Since She is the embodiment of all śaktī-s, She is known as Śaktī.  This is the reason for addressing Her as Sarvaśakti-mayī.

Sarva-maṅgalā सर्वमङ्गला (200)

She is the embodiment of all auspiciousness. She is addressed as Śrī Śiva in nāma 998. Śiva means auspiciousness.  Since She is the source of auspiciousness, She is capable of giving the desired auspiciousness to Her devotees.  The same nāma is there in ‘Lalitā Triśatī’ as nāma 124.  There is a famous verse ‘sarvamṅagala māngalye śive sarvartha sādhike| śaraṇaye triyambake gouri nārayaṇinamostu te|| . (Durga saptasati 11.10, Markandeya Purāṇa Chapter 88, verse 9). The meaning for this famous verse is “Oh! Nārāyanī! The cause of creation, sustenance and dissolution; ever existing; the source of all virtues; thy form itself is made up of these virtues (excellent qualities); I worship you.”

Lalitha Sahasranamam 201 – 207

Sadgati-pradā सद्गतिप्रदा (201)

She guides Her devotees in the right path to reach the right target (salvation).  The target is realizing the Brahman.  To realize the Brahman one needs to have higher spiritual knowledge.  This knowledge is provided by Her.  She can only provide the knowledge, but receiving the knowledge and act as per the knowledge gained, is in the hands of Her devotees.  Sadgati is the path pursued by wise men. This is the stage where ignorance is destroyed and knowledge alone prevails.  Viṣṇu Sahasranāma nāma 699. sadgatā.

Kṛṣṇa explains this in Bhagavad Gīta (XVII.26). “The name of God Sat is employed in the sense of truth and goodness.  And the word Sat is also used in the sense of praiseworthy act.”

Liṅga Purāṇa (II.15.3) says, “The wise speak of Śiva of the form of sat (existing) and asat (non-existing).”

Sat means all-pervading and is both eternal and non-eternal. It is also said that Sat and Asat refers to manifest and unmanifest.

Sarveśvarī सर्वेश्वरी (202)

She is the supreme ruler of the universe and leads the beings to the Brahman as discussed in the previous nāma.  Ruler is the one who is concerned about his citizens. She has no superior or equal as discussed in nāma 198. Hence She is the Supreme ruler.

Sarva-mayī सर्वमयी (203)

She exists in all forms, the omnipresent nature of the Brahman.  It would be appropriate to say that She exists in all the souls.  Without soul, life cannot exist.  As discussed earlier, soul is different from the Brahman.  Coming together of soul and the Brahman is creation, sustenance and dissolution.  Sarva could also mean the thirty six tattva-s or principles, discussed later in this book.

Sarva-mantra-svarūpiṇī सर्वमन्त्रस्वरूपिणी (204)

She is the embodiment of all mantra-s.  This is one of the reasons why tantra śāstra is based on Her various forms, as mantra-s have vital role in tantric rituals.  It is said that all the mantra-s are placed around the Pañcadaśī mantra, which is the centre of all mantra-s.

This nāma could also be interpreted this way.  There are fifty one letters in Sanskrit.  All these fifty one letters are twined together in the form of a garland and worn by Her.  So any mantra has to originate from these alphabets.  This is the reason for addressing Her as Sarva-mantra-svarūpiṇī.   This nāma and the next one are extensions of the previous nāma.

Sarva-yantrātmikā सर्वयन्त्रात्मिका (205)

She is in all the yantra-s.  Different gods and goddesses have different yantra-s.  Yantra is normally a metallic plate made out of gold, silver or copper or a combination of these, wherein several lines are drawn to crisscross each other. The potency of a mantra is infused into a yantra by means of rituals. These yantra-s represent the respective gods.  A properly consecrated yantra becomes powerful and its power increases along with the increase in the counts of mantra-s.  Since She is sarva-mayī (nāma 203), She is said to be in all yantra-s.

Sarva-tantra-rūpā सर्वतन्त्ररूपा (206)

She is in the form of all tantra-s.  There are various types of tantra-s and She is the focal point in all these tantra-s.

[Further reading on tantra: Tantra are class of works teaching mystical formularies (mostly in the form of dialogues between Śiva and Śaktī and said to treat five subjects, 1. the creation, 2. the destruction of the world, 3. the worship of gods, 4. the attainment of all objects, especially of six superhuman faculties (siddhi-s) 5. the four modes of union with the Supreme Spirit by meditation.  Tantra can be defined as the practice in an effort to gain access to and appropriate the energy of illuminated consciousness of the Brahman that courses through the universe, giving its creatures, life and potential salvation.  Humans in particular are empowered to realise this goal through strategies of embodiment, i.e. of causing that divine energy to become concentrated in or another or sort of template , grid, or macrocosm – prior to internalisation in or identification with the individual microcosm.

Tantra is generally considered as beliefs and practices which, working from the principle that the universe we experience, is nothing other than the concrete manifestation of the divine energy of the Brahman that creates and sustains that universe, seeks to ritually appropriate and channel that energy, within the human microcosm, in the creative and emancipator ways.]

Manonmanī मनोन्मनी (207)

She is in the form of manonmanī (beyond perception).  There are eight smaller cakra-s between ājñācakra and sahasrāra and the one, just below the sahasrāra is called manonmanī.  It is also known as unmani.  As this cakra is closer to the sahasrāra, where She is going to conjugate with Śiva, no activity takes place in manonmanī, which is beyond time and space.  This is the last point where She is known as Śaktī.  In the next stage at sahasrāra She becomes ŚivaŚaktī.  This point is also known as the mouth of Rudra.  In Śrī Rudram, one of the forms of Śiva is called Manonmana and His wife is Manonmanī.  There is a mudrā called manonmanī, which is used in advanced stages of meditation.  When this mudrā is used, one almost loses his consciousness, ready to merge with the Supreme.  At this state the triad of meditation, meditator and the object of meditation are dissolved to form the Supreme oneness and the flow of ambrosia is realised.

Śiva is known as Manonmana.  The supra mental śaktī of Paramaśiva in its primal movement towards manifestation, through inseparable from Him is known as unmanā or unmanī.  This is beyond time and space and is immeasurable.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 208 – 213

Māheśvarī माहेश्वरी (208)

Wife of Māhesvarā, a form of Śiva.  Mahānārāyaṇa Upaniṣad (XII.17) says, “He is the Supreme Lord who transcends ॐ which is uttered at the commencement of the recital of the Veda-s and which is dissolved in the primal cause during contemplation.”   His wife is Māheśvarī.   Māheśvara form of Śivais the Supreme form.  He is beyond the three guṇas- sattva, rajas and tamasLiṅga form of Śiva is Māhesvara form.  Liṅga Purāṇa says that all the deities are present in Liṅga form of Śiva, a resemblance to Śrī Cakra.

Mahādevī महादेवी (209)

Śiva is also known as Mahādeva, His moon form (this is said to be the eighth form of Śiva. His wife is Rohinī and their son is Budha, the planet Mercury) and his wife is Mahādevi.  Maha also means the Supreme.  She is the Supreme and hence called Mahādevi.

Śiva has eight forms and they are – 1. Sarva – earth form, 2. Bhava-water form, 3. Rudra – fire form, 4. Ugra – wind form, 5. Bhīma– water form, 6. Paśupati – soul form, 7. Īśāna – sun form and 8. Mahādeva –moon form.   These eight forms of Śiva are His cosmic forms (Liṅga Purāṇa).

It is pertinent to note that both Śiva and Śaktī have moon in their crowns.  Moon indicates two qualities, one is its coolness and another is intelligence.

Mahālakṣmī महालक्ष्मी (210)

The great (mahā) wife of Viṣṇu.  Śiva manifests in the form of Viṣṇu for sustenance and His wife is Mahālakṣmī.  Liṅga Purāṇa says that Mahālakṣmī is the mother of the universe.  “May Lakśmī who is endowed with all attributes, who has all three characteristics, who is the goodness that bestows all and who is omnipresent, dispel my sin” is a hymn in Liṅga PurāṇaMahālakṣmī also means a girl of thirteen years. If Mahālakṣmī is worshipped on every 13th lunar day (trayodaśa) with Her bīja (śrīṃ- श्रीं), there will no dearth of prosperity and auspiciousness.

Mṛḍapriyā मृडप्रिया (211)

Śiva is also known as Mṛḍan, His sattvic form.  Since She likes Śiva, She is called Mṛḍapriyā.  Mṛḍameans happiness, a quality of sattva guṇa, showing compassion or mercy, gracious and priyā means dear.  This nāma means that Śiva caresses this universe and as His wife, She loves this act of Śiva.  After all, She is the Supreme Mother.

Mahā-rūpā महारूपा (212)

She has a great form.  It is to be observed that all these nāma-s begin with Mahā indicating Her Supreme stature.  Kṛṣṇa explains this Supreme form as “The total material substance called Brahman is the source of birth and it is that Brahman that I impregnate, making possible the births of all living beings’ (Bhagavad Gīta. XIV.3).

Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (I.i.9) says, “tasmadetadbrahma nāma rūpamannaṃ ca jāyate”, which means from that Brahman (parā Brahman) this Brahman (aparā) with name, form, food emerge.’ ‘She has this kind of mahat’form.  This supreme mahat form is the cause for creation.

Mahat means abundance. It also refers to the buddhi, or Intellect, or the intellectual principle. (according to the Sāṃkhya philosophy the second of the twenty three principles produced from Prakṛtiand so called, as the great source of ahaṃkāra, ‘self-consciousness’ (ego), and manas, ‘the mind’.)

Mahāpūjyā महापूज्या (213)

She is worshipped by great souls like saints and sages.  Saints and sages have more knowledge than most of the demigods and goddesses.  They will not worship anybody unless they are worthy of worship. There are interpretations saying that BrahmaViṣṇuŚiva worship Her.  This means that Gods who have been assigned various duties, worship Her. This is yet another affirmation regarding Her supremacy.

There are references to gods, goddesses and others who worship Her using mantra-s, metals and gems.

1.Śiva – mantra, 2. Brahmā – stone, 3. Viṣṇu – blue stone, 4. Kubera – gold, 5. Viśvedevās – silver,

  1. Vāyu– copper, 7.  Vasu– brass, 8.  Varuna – crystal, 9.  Agni – gems, 10.  Śakra – pearls,
  2. Sūrya– coral, 12. Soma– lapis, 13.  Planets – lazuli, 14.  Demons – tin, 15.  Piśācas – adamantine, 16.  Mātṛgaṇa-s – iron.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 214 – 218

Mahāpātaka-naśinī महापातकनशिनी (214)

She destroys great sins.  There are certain rules for expiations of sins.   Sins are committed knowingly and unknowingly.  There is no remedy for committing a sin knowingly. The worst sin is brahmahatyā, which means murdering the one who is an exponent of Veda-s.  It is said that there is no remedy for this sin.   For such sins, karmic account swells and accordingly one has to undergo sufferings either in this birth itself or in subsequent births.   (A study of birth chart will reveal whether a person has such karmic afflictions, based on 5th and 9th houses.  Though various remedies are prescribed to eradicate such afflictions, the best remedy is to feed the deserving poor and starving animals. For brahmahatyā doṣa, it is said that there is no remedy at all.)   One has to surely undergo sufferings for such sins either committed in this birth or in previous births and such sufferings cannot be mitigated by performing remedies.   This nāma says that She can absolve even the worst sins of Her devotees.

Mahā-māyā महामाया (215)

Māyā means illusion.  She is known as mahā-māyā svarūpinī.  The entire universe functions on the basis of māyā or illusion.  If She does not cast Her effect of māyā on this world, there will no activity at all.  Her spell of māyā makes us to seek the Brahman, Her another form, prākaśa vimarśa mahā-māyā svarūpinī.  Even the sages and saints are no exception to Her spell of māyā.  The intensity of māyā is felt depending upon one’s karma.  The ‘hrīṁ (ह्रीं)’ bīja is called māyā bīja (please refer to the discussion on Pañcadaśī mantra).

{Further reading on māyā:  In advaita philosophy (non-dualism) to some thinkers the terms māyā andavidyā mean the same thing. But some advaitins differentiate them and say that māyā is an auxiliary to Īśvarā and avidyā is an auxiliary to soul. The main function of māyā is projection, projecting the Brahman in various shapes and forms.  But avidyā can both obscure and project, but covering is the main function of avidyā. According to some, the substrate of avidyā is soul and according to some others, avidyā resides in the Brahman.

The root of māyā is mā which means ‘to measure’. The infinite Brahman appears as if measured due to the effect of māyā. The root mā also means, leading to the ideal of illusionary appearance.  The word māyā can be split into mā yā.  Then it means that which is not, but appears to be.

Māyā is regarded as Śaktī, the attribute of the Brahman.  Brahman is essentially without attributes and is known as nirguṇa Brahman.  But viewed in relation to māyā, it is saguṇa Brahman or with attributes.  Just as a magician conjures up many things by his magical power which he really does not possess, so Brahman with māyā śaktī projects the appearance of the world.  As things conjured up by the magician are false, so the projected world is ultimately false.

The phenomenal world is mere illusion or māyā.  It is in reality non-existent. It appears to exist only because of the external objects that are related in the self, behind the mind.  It is nothing but a mere illusory projection of ātman.}

Mahā-sattvā महासत्त्वा (216)

Sattvā is one of the three guṇa-s, the other two being rajas and tamas.  Out of the three, sattva guṇais supreme. When this guṇa is dominant in a person, he cannot commit any sins either knowingly or unknowingly.  She chooses these persons to shower on them Her special grace.  Here She is referred to as an embodiment of the qualities of sattva guṇa such as understanding the reality, emitting positive energy from one’s own self, the mental and physical strength due to the positive vibrations etc.

Mahā-śaktiḥ महाशक्तिः (217)

Śaktī means energy.  Because of Her sattvic guṇa, She possesses supreme energy, with which She controls the universe.  The universe functions only with the energy of the Brahman.  For example, the gravitational force that keeps the planets in a place, thereby avoiding collision and resultant great dissolution. Therefore, She by Her supreme energy keeps this universe afloat.

Mahā-ratiḥ महारतिः (218)

She gives immense happiness and delight to Her devotees. (rati means pleasure, enjoyment, delight in, fondness for). This is possible because She has that kind of potential energy, full of happiness and delight.  After all, She is the incarnation of auspiciousness.  Her form, Her radiance, Her qualities, Her supreme care (being Śrī Mātā or the divine mother) all these lead to happiness when one cogitates Her sincerely.  There is also another reason for this.  Śiva is known for His auspiciousness.  His wife is also full of auspiciousness as She is always with Him.  998th nāma of this Sahasranāma is Śrī Śivameaning auspiciousness. Nāma 53 is Śiva.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 219 – 228

Mahā-bhogā महाभोगा (219)

She is the embodiment of immeasurable happiness. All that prevails in this universe is wealth for Her, as She presides over the universe.

Mahaiśvaryā महैश्वर्या (220)

She depicts the all pervading attribute of the Brahman, the manifestation of universe.  This is called vibhūti, the supra normal splendour of the Brahman. She is the svātantryaya śakti (the power of autonomy, the Absoslute freedom, vimarśa śakti) of Śiva and She manifests the universe through this power.

Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gīta (X.18, 19), “there is no limit to my magnitude. I am the universal Self seated in the heart of all beings; so I alone am the beginning and middle and also the end of all beings.”

Iśvaryā means wealth, the wealth in the form of Her grace.

Mahā-vīryā महावीर्या (221)

There are several meanings for the word vīrya.  Generally it means courage, power, lustre, dignity, energy, etc.  She is the reservoir of all these qualities and She provides these qualities to Her devotees depending upon the depth of devotion.

Mahā-balā महाबला (222)

Bala means strength.  She is mighty, the quality of the Brahman.  But based on the explanation given in nāma 219, Her thought alone gives comforts, wealth, courage etc.  Vāc Devi-s describe the qualities of the Brahman through these nāma-s.  The Brahman is explained in two ways.  One is by negation, saying this is not Brahman or that is not Brahman.  Another is by affirmation of certain attributes like courage, auspiciousness, intellect, happiness, etc.  But in reality, the Brahman is to be realized out of nothingness.

Mahā-buddhiḥ महाबुद्धिः (223)

She is intelligence personified.  Intelligence is another quality of the Brahman.  Intelligence can be explained as knowing That which explains everything else.  Chāndogya Upaniṣad  (VI.1.3) says, “That teaching by which what is never heard of becomes heard, what is never thought of becomes thought, what is never known becomes known.”  Such intelligence can be given only by Her and that is why She is called as mahā-buddhiḥ.

{Further reading on buddhiBuddhi is a product of mind.  In the process of evolution, antaḥkaraṇa  originates first.  Antaḥkaraṇa works internally as against other tattva-s that work externally through senses.  Antaḥkaraṇa consists of mind and its modifications.  They are cittā (the individual conscience), buddhi (intellect), manas (mind) and ahaṁkār (ego).  Chitta is the blemished reflection of pure consciousness. The other three, buddhi, manas and ahaṁkār are highly subtle in nature.  Buddhiis also known as mahat.  Mahat literally means great. It is the source of mind and ego.  It is the cause of phenomenal universe. It not only helps in comprehending the material world, but also helps in establishing commune with the Brahman.  Without intellect, Brahman can never be realised. Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad  (VI.5) says, “It is the ignorance that leads to being born again and again.”  Ignorance can be conquered only by intellect.}

Mahā-siddhiḥ महासिद्धिः (224)

She is the ultimate form of attainment.  Siddhi means supreme felicity, bliss, beatitude, complete sanctification, final emancipation obtained through penance.  There are eight important siddhi-s known as super-human powers or aśtamā sidhhi-s (aśtamā means eight).  These eight sidhhi-s are aṇimā, laghimā, prāptiḥprākāmyam, mahimā, īśitvaṃ, vaśitvaṃ, kāmāvasāyitā.

Kṛṣṇa says in Uddhava Gita (X.3) “Those who are expert in concentration and yoga call the powers eighteen in number.  Eight of these are pertaining to me and the remaining ten are to a perfection of sattva.  Minuteness, immensity, lightness of the body (aṇimā, laghimāmahimā), connection of being with his organs known as attainment (prāptiḥ), capacity to derive enjoyment from everything heard or seen (prākāmyam), exerting an influence on all, known as rulership (īśitvaṃ), non-attachment to sense objects called self control (vaśitvaṃ) and consummation of any and every desire (vaśitvaṃ) are considered as my natural powers.”

But these super human powers are trivial to a true devotee.  Undoubtedly She confers on Her devotees who pursue the path of meditation, these aṣṭama siddhi-s.  But a true devotee does not bother about these super human powers and dumps these illusionary powers with the sole aim of realizing Her.

Mahā-yogeśvareśvarī महायोगेश्वरेश्वरी (225)

She is the ruler of yoga and sought after by great yogis.  Yoga is the practice by which an individual consciousness is merged with the universal consciousness.  Yoga means to unite.  It is the union of body, mind and Spirit.  Those who have attained this state are called yogis.  Such yogis seek Her benediction through meditation to stay attuned with Her.

Mahā-tantrā महातन्त्रा (226)

Tantra is a way of worship.  She Herself is the great tantra or all tantra-s lead to Her.

{Further reading on tantra: Practicing rituals strictly in accordance with the procedures laid down by Tantra śāstra-s will yield a faster effect, than following the procedures laid down by Veda śāstra-s. It cannot be said that tantric rituals are disowned by Vedas, as the Atharva Veda discusses certain rituals including usage of various herbs. Barring a few rituals, certain herbs and amulets, Atharva Vedadoes not discuss any elaborate tantric practice. Therefore it should not be construed that the tantric rituals have the stamp and authority of Vedas. Tantra śāstra-s have been wrongly interpreted, making others frown upon the laid down procedures. There is a lot of misconception about tantra śāstra-s. In fact the rituals laid down by tantra śāstra-s are tougher and needs immense suffering and sacrifice to achieve the desired results. The main components of tantra śāstra-s are mantra and yantra. Tantra itself is a combination of various scientific factors. For example astronomy, astrology, anatomy, study of herbs (ayurveda), geometry (for drawing yantra), etc are certain basic principles of tantra śāstra. One need to be better informed for practicing tantric rituals. The one important factor of tantric ritual is worshipping a form of Goddess as opposed to the teachings of Upaniṣad. All the tantra śāstra-s are said to have been told to Pārvatī by Her consort ŚivaŚiva himself says that in kaliyug, tantra śāstraworks better than other śāstra-s. It is difficult to trace the origin of tantra śāstra-s. But it is prevalent in most of the Asian countries such as India, China, Japan, Tibet, etc. Buddhism also has mantra-s of tantric nature like Hinduism.

The importance of Vedic rituals is losing ground simply because in the present times, nobody is able to follow the procedures prescribed by Veda-s as they are elaborate. Purity of mind and body is paramount in Vedic rituals as opposed to tantric rituals, though tantra also lays down its own rules for purity. Again mantra-s prescribed by Veda-s are different from the mantra-s prescribed by tantra-s. The Vedic mantra-s may not have the same potency as that of tantric mantra-s in today’s scenario. Tantra śāstra-s, even today are kept as a closely guarded secret mainly on two accounts. If procedures are properly followed, the effect of such rituals is imminent. It could be possible that certain practitioners might use this for a destructive purpose. Secondly, a person who knows all the tantric rituals do not want to share his acquired knowledge with someone else purely out of ego.

The master-disciple relationship (guru-śiṣya) is the most important factor in tantra sastra. Master always chooses his disciples. Once the choice is made by the guru, the disciple is first initiated into a mantra. Guru alone decides the nature of mantra to be initiated. Most of the tantric mantra-s are aboutŚaktī. In fact, some call Śaktī worship itself as a tantric ritual. But in reality it is not so, as Śaktī is worshiped both by Veda-s and tantra-s. The idea behind Śaktī worship is her kinetic nature and secondly She is affectionately called as ‘Ma’ meaning mother, who is capable of fulfilling the desires of Her children. The procedure of initiation of a mantra is not a mere formality, but accompanied by a number of rituals. Each disciple will have different mantra-s. These mantra-s are to be recited for a prescribed number of times. Once this is done, other formalities follow. The difference in interpretation of tantra lies only in the so called other formalities.}

Mahā-mantrā महामन्त्रा (227)

She is the embodiment of all mantra-s.  All mantra-s originate from the fifty one alphabets of Sanskrit.  These fifty one letters are worn around Her neck in the form of a garland and all the mantra-s originate from this garland. This nāma could also mean Her Pañcadśi and ṣodaśī mantra-s, that are considered supreme amongst all mantra-s.

{Further reading on mantra-s:  In tantric philosophy, mantra-s play a very significant role, as tantrism attach greater significance to the powers of words (known as vāc). Vāc is predominantly identified with Śaktī. In Sanskrit, each alphabet or a compound alphabet is known as bīja and a number of bīja-sconstitute a mantraBīja is explained as the mystical letter or syllable which forms the essential part of the mantra of any deity.  Bīja is also explained as the primary cause or principle, source or origin. Bījais like a seed.  The effect of mantra-s can be compared to the manifestation of a gigantic tree from a tiny seed.   Tantrism is designed in such a way that it infuses sound energy to mantra-s that manifests in whatever way it is used for. Mantra-s do not get energised by mere mundane repetition. The procedures of energising mantra-s are dealt elaborately in various tantra texts.  Characteristic feature of tantra śāstra is the appropriate usage of powers of mantra-s. Every ritual used in tantra is accompanied by formation of mantra-s.  The powers of mantra-s are so great that they can become fully functional, provided they are enunciated in the prescribed way.  Mantra-s are the continuation of divine energy, restricted to either a particular deity or the Brahman or the Absolute, depending on the mantra-s used.  For example, Pañcadaśi and ṣodaśī are capable of providing only the final liberation of the soul.  They will not give siddhi-s. The choice of mantra-s is normally decided by one’s guru, depending upon on disciple’s ambition and capabilities.}

Mahā-yantrā महायन्त्रा (228)

Two interpretations are possible for this nāma.  Mahā-yantr could mean Śrī cakrā in the midst of which She lives.  Śrī cakrā is considered as the Supreme of all yantra-s, hence mahā-yantra.  Secondly, Her form Itself represents Śrī cakrā.

{Further reading on yantra:  If tantramantra and yantra are made to act in unison, the results are achieved much faster. In particular, the combination of mantra and yantra is an essential requisite to attain the benefits as prayed.  Yantra is nothing but a diagram, mostly containing criss crossed lines and bīja-s. A properly consecrated yantra becomes a shelter of the concerned deity and becomes a sanctified energetic source, through which the practitioner can establish cosmological contact with the concerned deity. There are various preconditions for formulating a yantra such as, materials for writing, the ink, the type of pens to be used, auspicious time, etc.  The consecrated yantra should be kept secretively in a sanctified place, as these yantra-s emanate divine energy. Astrological remedies are also possible by using proper yantra-s and mantra-s.}

Lalitha Sahasranamam 229 – 234

Mahāsanā महासना (229)

Āsana means seat.  She has a great seat is the literal meaning.  Her āsana is the seat of thirty six tattva-s.  The third nāma already discussed about Her corporeal seat.

{Further reading on 36 tattva-s or principles: 1, 2, 3, 4. antaḥkaraṇa  that comprises of mind, intellect, consciousness and ego. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Organs of perception or cognitive senses (jñānedriyā-s), ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.  Cognitive faculties or tanmātra-s, sound, touch, sight, taste and smell. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. Organs of actions known as karmendriyā-s, mouth, feet, hands, organ of excretion and organ of procreation. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. Action faculties, speech, movement, holding, excretion and procreation. (1 to 25 known as ātma tattva-s.) 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. Time (past, present and future), niyati (order of sequence), kalā (induces action), vidyā (induces intelligence), rāgā  (desire), puruśā (soul), māyā (illusion, causing ignorance) (25 to 31 known as Vidyā tattva-s.)  32, 33, 34, 35, 36. Śuddhavidyā (induces more intelligence than action), Īśvara(induces more action than intelligence), Sadhāśiva (induces both intelligence and action in equal proportion), Śaktī (induces action), Śiva (induces pure knowledge).}

Mahā- yāga-kramārādhyā महायागक्रमाराध्या (230)

Worshipping sixty four yoginī-s (demigoddesses who are assistants to Her) is called mahā-yaga and if performed according to the laid down procedures, gives immediate results.  This worship falls under the category of tantra śāstra as navāvaraṇa pūja.

In Śrī cakra, each of the eight āvaraṇa is presided by a yoginī. It is said that each of these yoginīs has eight deputies making sixty four yoginīs in all.  Yoginī-s are explained as demigoddesses attending on Śiva and Śaktī.

There is another interpretation. There are eight forms of Bhairava known as aśta Bhairava.  Their consorts are known as aśta mātās. Sixty four Bhairava-s and sixty four Yogini-s are born to them.

The Bhāvanopaniṣad prescribes Her mental worship.  This is also called mahā-yāga.  Yāga generally means fire rituals and navāvaraṇa pūja, though all fire rituals are not called yāga.  Krama means going, proceeding or course.  The nāma means that She is worshipped through navāvaraṇa pūja.  The secretive meaning is that She is worshipped mentally as prescribed by Bhāvanopaniṣad (भावनोपनिषद्)

{Names of sixty four yoginī-s:  (The names of yoginī-s differ from text to text.) 1. Brahmāni, 2. Candikā 3.  Raudrī, 4.  Gauri, 5.  Indrānī, 6. Kaumāri, 7. Bhairavī,  8. Dusgā, 9. Nārasimhī, 10. Kālikā, 11.  Cāmundā, 12.  Śiva-dūtī, 13. Vārāhī, 14. Kauśikī, 15. Mahā-iśvari, 16. Śankari, 17.  Jayanti 18.  Sarva-maṇgalā, 19. Kāli, 20. Karālini, 21. Medhā, 22. Śivā, 23. Śākambari, 24. Bhīmā, 25. Śantā, 26. Bhramāri, 27. Rudrāni, 28. Ambikā, 29. Kśamā, 30. Dhātri, 31. Svahā, 32. Svadhā, 33. Parnā, 34. Mahāundarī, 35. Ghora-rūpā, 36. Mahā-kāli, 37. Bhadra-kāli, 38. Kapālini, 39.  Kśemakari, 41. Candrā  42.  Candrāvāli,  43. Prapancā,  44. Pralayantikā,  45.  Picuvaktrā,  46. Piśāci, 47. Priyankari, 48. Bāla-vikarmī, 49.  Bāla-pramanthani, 50.  Madana-unmanthani, 51. Sarvabhūtā-damani, 52 Umā, 53.  Tārā, 54. Mahā-nidrā, 55. Vijayā, 56. Jayā, 57. Śaila-putrī, 58. Zayanti,  59. Dusjayā,  60. Jayantikā,  61. Bidāli, 62. Kūśmāndī, 63.  Katyāyani, 64. Mahāgauri.}

Mahā-bhairava-pūjitā महाभैरवपूजिता (231)

She is worshipped by the great Bhairava.  Bhairava means, the highest reality.  The word Bhairava is made up of three syllables – bha + ra + va.    Bha means bharana, the act of sustenance; ra means ravana, the act of withdrawal or dissolution and va means varana, the act of creation.  These three are the acts of the Brahman.  Bhairava form of Śiva is considered as the Supreme form as it is the combination of His prakāśa and vimarśa forms (prakāśa is Self-illuminating and vimarśa manifests the entire universe with that Light).  In other words, the Bhairava form is the united form of Śiva and Śaktīor Bhairava and Bhairavī.  The entire cosmic manifestation of subjects and objects arise only from the union of Bhairava and Bhairavī, also known as Śiva-Śaktī aikya (aikya means union – nāma 999).

Maheśvara-mahākalpa-mahātāṇḍava-sakṣiṇī महेश्वरमहाकल्पमहाताण्डवसक्षिणी (232)

Śiva dances fiercely at the time of great dissolution (mahākalpa) and none was around except Lalitāmbikā, who just witnesses this terrible act of Śiva.  The great dissolution means the universe ceases to exist and nothing remains except Śiva and Śaktī.  The dissolution is called the fourth act of the Brahman, the other three being creation, sustenance and destruction.  The difference between destruction and dissolution is noteworthy.  Destruction is transmigration of a soul.  The soul leaves the body to be born again.  Death is only for the physical body.    Dissolution or annihilation or the deluge means the death of entire physical body as well as all the souls.  When dissolution happens, nothing exists.  Everything dissolves into Śiva in the presence of Śaktī, who witnesses the great dissolution.

In some of the texts Kālarātrī is referred to as the wife of Bhairava.  Kālarātrī Devi is both a destructor and a protector.  Her mantra is considered as extremely powerful and said to give immediate results (refer nāma 491 for further details on Kālarātrī).

Mahā-kāmeśa-mahiṣī महाकामेशमहिषी (233)

The consort of Mahā Kāmeśvara is known as Mahā Kāmeśvarī.   Mahiṣī means queen, the queen of Śiva.   Vāc Devi-s after describing the great and terrible dissolution immediately mention about an auspicious scene, the Kāmeśvarī form of Lalitāmbikā.  But who is that Kāmeśvarī?  The next nāma answers this.

Mahā-tripura-sundarī महात्रिपुरसुन्दरी (234)

She is described as the most beautiful woman of the three worlds.  The three worlds are vyāhṛti-s (bhūr,  bhuvaḥ, svar) of Gāyatri mantra. The significance of the Tripurasundari form is the stage of the sādhaka where the knowledge, the knower and known are merged together to form one single entity, the Brahman.  She produces all things that are in a threefold state.  This is called Self-realization.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 235 – 238

Chatuḥ-ṣaṣṭyupacārāḍhyā चतुःषष्ट्युपचाराढ्या (235)

She is worshipped with sixty four (chatuḥ-ṣaṣṭi) types of metaphorical expressions, which are called upacāra-s.  For example offering Her scents, flowers, bangles, fanning Her, etc.  Sixty four such offerings have been prescribed for Her.  This nāma talks about the pūja ritual.

Catuḥṣaṣṭi-kalāmayī चतुःषष्टिकलामयी (236)

She is in the form of sixty four types of arts.  Kalā means art.  There are sixty four types of arts in tantra śāstra-s.  No concrete evidence is available to confirm or dispute these sixty four types.  But these arts originate from aṣṭama siddhi (the eight super human powers).  Śiva Himself declares to Pārvatī about these arts.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 31) says Catuḥ-ṣaṣṭyā tantraiḥ sakalam meaning that these sixty four tantra-s constitute everything. The above referred verse says, “Having deluded the entire universe with the sixty four tantra-s, which are devoted to producing various siddhis relating to each, the Lord of jīva-s (souls) again brought into this universe, due to Your compulsion, Your mantra (Pañcadaśī), which is the sole means of achieving, by itself all the objects of human desires.”  These tantras originate from the Pañcadaśī mantra and culminate in the Pañcadaśī mantra.  This is evident from the fact the same Saundarya Laharī verse says ‘idam te tantram’ possibly meaning the Pañcadaśī mantra that is declared in the next verse of Saundarya Laharī.  Since there is no differentiation between Her and the Pañcadaśī mantra, She is said to be in the form of all the sixty four types of tantric arts.

Following are the sixty four arts: gītam, vādyam, nṛtyam, nātyam, ālekhyam, viśeṣaka-cchedyam, taṇḍula-kusuma-balivikārāḥ, puṣpāstaranam, daśana-vasanāṅgarāgāḥ, maṇi-bhūmikā-karma, śayana-racanam, udaka-vādyam, udaka-ghātaḥ, citrā_yogāḥ, mālya-granthana-vikalpāḥ, keśa-śekharāpīḍayojanam, nepathya-yogāḥ, karṇa-pattra-bhaṅgāḥ, gandha-yuktiḥ, bhūṣaṇa-yojanam, indrajālam, kaucumāra-yogāḥ, hasta-lāghavam, citraśākāpūpa-bhakṣya-vikāra-kriyā, pānaka-rasarāgāsava-yojanam, sūcīvāpa-karma, vīṇā-ḍama-ruka-sūtra-krīḍā, prahelikā, pratimā, durvacakayogāḥ, pustaka-vācanam, nāṭakākhyāyikā-darśanam, kāvya-samasyā-pūraṇam, paṭṭikā-vetrabāṇa-vikalpāḥ, tarkū-karmāṇi, takṣaṇam, vāstu-vidyā, rūpya-ratna-parīkṣā, dhātu-vādaḥ, maṇi-rāga-jñānam, ākara-jñānam, vṛkṣāyur-veda-yogāḥ, meṣa-kukkuṭa-lāvaka-yuddha-vidhiḥ, śuka-sārikā-pralāpanam, utsādanam, keśa-mārjana-kauśalam, akṣara-muṣṭikā-kathanam, mlechitaka-vikalpāḥ, deśa-bhāṣā-jñānam, puṣpa-śakaṭikā-nimitta-jñānam, yantra-mātṛkā, dhāraṇa-mātṛkā, saṃpāṭyam, mānasī_kāvya-kriyā, kriyā-vikalpāḥ, chalitakayogāḥ, abhidhāna-koṣa-cchando-jñānam, vastra-gopanāni, dyūta-viśeṣaḥ, ākarṣaṇa-krīḍā, bālaka-krīḍanakānivaināyikīnāṃ-vidyāṇāṃ-ñānamvaijayikīnāṃ-vidyānāṃ-jñānam.  However, the list varies from text to text.

Mahā-catuḥ-ṣaṣti-koṭi-yoginī-gana-sevithā महाचतुःषष्तिकोटियोगिनीगनसेविथा (237)

Mahā-catuḥ-ṣaṣti-koṭi means sixty four crores or 640 million.  Yoginī-gana are demigoddesses.  She is worshipped by these 640 million demigoddesses also known as yogini-s.  In Śrī Cakra, there are eight mātṛkā devi-s (also known as aṣḥta māta-s) like, Brāhmī, Māheśvarī, Kaumārī, Vaiśṇavī, Vārāhī,Indrāṇī, Cāmuṇdā, Mahālakśmī.  The aṣḥta māta-s have eight deputies called as yogini-s which make sixty four yogini-s.  Each of these sixty four yogini-s has one crore or ten million attendant yogini-s.  Thus the calculation of 640 million yogini-s is arrived.  These yogini-s attend to different aspects of administration of the universe.

In Śrī Cakra there are nine āvaraṇa-s (coverings or roundabouts). Each āvaraṇa is controlled by a yogini.  The ninth āvaraṇa is controlled byLalitāmbikā Herself.  Taking into account the other eight āvaraṇa-s, It is said that each āvaraṇa has ten million yogini-s. The number sixty four should have some significance.  This numeric is used in three consecutive nāma-s 235, 236 and this nāma.  It is possible that the numeric sixty four refers to sixty four tattva-s.  The products of five basic elements like ether, etc combined with antakaraṇa (mind, intellect, consciousness and ego) making a total of sixty four.  In fact, the entire human activities are controlled by these 64 tattva-s.

Please also refer nāma 230.

Manu-vidyā मनुविद्या (238)

Vidya means Śrī Vidya, the ritual worship of Śrī Cakra.  The base of Śrī Vidya worship is Pañcadaśīmantra.  There are twelve types of Pañcadaśī mantra introduced by Manu, Kubera (the god of wealth), Chandra (moon), Lopāmudrā (wife of sage Agastya), AgastyaManmatha (the god of love), Agni (the fire god), Surya (sun), Indra (chief of gods), Skanda (Lord Kārttikeya, son of Śiva and Pārvatī, also known as Subrahmaṇya), Śiva (Her consort) and Durvāsa.  The basic mantra in all the twelve remains the same.  In this Sahasranāma all these names are referred and the first of such reference is this nāma.  This nāma refers to the worship done by Manu.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 239 – 248

Candra-vidyā चन्द्रविद्या (239)

After Manu, the worship by Candra is referred in this nāma.

{There are fifteen main worshippers of Lalitāmbigai and each one of them worshipped Her with their own Pañcadaśī mantra-s without making any changes in the bīja-s. Hence, there are fifteen types of Pañcadaśī mantra-s. (However, different texts provide different versions.

Corresponding Sanskrit Alphabets For Reference:

Ka   e   ī   la hrīṁ ha sa ka ha la hrīṁ sa ka la hrīṁ

क  ए  ई ल  ह्रीं   ह  स क ह ल ह्रीं   स क ल ह्रीं

  1. Viṣṇu:  ha sa ka la hrīṃ, ha sa, ka ha la hrīṃ, sa ka la hrīṃ, sa ha ka  la hrīṃ, sa ha ka ha la  hrīṃ, sa ha sa ka la hrīṃ |
  2. Śiva:  ha sa ka la hrīṃ, ha sa ka ha la hrīṃ, sa ka la hrīṃ, ha sa ka la ha sa ka ha la sa ka la  hrīṃ
  3. Brahmaka e ī la hrīṃ, ha ka ha la hrīṃ, ha sa ka la hrīṃ|
  4. Manuka ha e ī la hrīṃ, ha ka e ī la hrīṃ, sa ka e ī la hrīṃ|
  5. Chandrasa ha ka e ī la hrīṃ, ha sa ka ha e ī la hrīṃ, ha sa ka e ī la hrīṃ|            
  6. Kubera: ha sa ka e  ī la hrīṃ, ha sa ka ha e ī la hrīṃ, sa ha ka e ī la hrīṃ|
  7. Lopāmudrāha sa ka la hrīṃ, ha sa ka ha la hrīṃ, sa ka la hrīṃ|
  8. Agastyaka e ī la hrīṃ, ha sa ka ha la hrīṃ, sa ha sa ka la hrīṃ|
  9. Nandikeśvara:sa e ī la hrīṃ, sa ha ka ha la hrīṃ, sa ka la hrīṃ |
  10. Sūryaha sa ka la hrīṃ, sa ha ka la hrīṃ, sa ka ha la hrīṃ|
  11. Skanda: ha sa ka la hrīṃ, ha sa ka sa ka la hrīṃ, sa ha ka ha la hrīṃ|
  12. Manmathaka e ī la hrīṃ, ha sa ka ha la hrīṃ, sa ka la hrīṃ|
  13. Sakaraka e ī la hrīṃ, ha ka ha la hrīṃ, sa ka ha la hrīṃ|
  14. Durvāsaha sa ka la ha sa ka ha la sa ka la hrīṃ|
  15. Yama: ka ha e ī la hrīṃ, ha la e ī la hrīṃ, sa ka e ī la hrīṃ|

Candra-maṇḍala-madhyagā चन्द्रमण्डलमध्यगा (240)

Candra-maṇḍala refers to the sahasrāra.  She is in the middle of the sahasrāra.  In the middle of the crown cakra there is an orifice called bindu.  She is in the form of this bindu.  In fact, in ritual worship of Śrī Cakra, this bindu is the focal point where She is worshipped.  The Candra-maṇḍala itself is Śrī Cakra.  The moon has sixteen kalā-s and on the full moon day, She is said to be in the form of moon with all the sixteen kalā-s.   Reciting this Sahasranāma on full moon days will bring in all auspiciousness.

Śiva is said to reside in the head of agni (fire) and Śaktī is said to reside in the head of the moon and together they sustain this universe (it means that the universe is being sustained by fire and moon referring to Śiva and Śaktī.) This leads to the conclusion that Candra-maṇḍala is Śrī Cakra Itself.

Cāru-rūpā चारुरूपा (241)

She is the beauty incarnate. Cāru means pretty.

Cāru-hāsā चारुहासा (242)

Her smile is in line with Her appearance.    Her smile (hāsa) is compared to the moon.  Her smile is the cause of bliss experienced by Her devotees.

Cāru-candra-kalādharā चारुचन्द्रकलाधरा (243)

She is wearing the crescent moon in Her crown.  Cāru means moon light.  All the above nāma-s deal with the moon.  The full moon represents supreme consciousness.  If She is meditated upon on the full moon night, one will attain mantra siddhi at the earliest.  On full moon days, sattvic guṇa becomes predominant.

Cāracara-jagannāthā चारचरजगन्नाथा (244)

She controls both sentient and insentient things of the world. She is the cause for both static and kinetic energies.  Pure static energy is Śiva and Śaktī is predominantly kinetic energy, though static energy of Śiva is also present and their union is the cause for creation.  Sentient and insentient means these two energies.  She administers this universe as ŚivaŚaktī.

Cakra-rāja-niketanā चक्रराजनिकेतना (245)

Śrī Cakra is known as Cakra rājam, the supreme of all cakra-s.  She resides in this Śrī Cakra along with all Her ministers, warriors, etc.

The sahasrāra is often referred as Śrī Cakra.  By activating the sahasrārā, one will be able to control his physical and mental activities. This is called siddhi and often bound to be misused causing the spiritual down fall.    The ministers and assistants, who are referred as yogini-s, mean different level of human consciousness. The point driven home in these nāma-s is that one has to bring the mind under his control to make significant progress in spirituality.  This mind control automatically happens when kuṇḍalinī reaches sahasrāra.  Practicing meditation on full moon days will enable the kuṇḍalinī to ascend to sahasrāra with ease.  Not even a single nāma in this Sahasranāma is without secretive interpretation.  Such meanings are not discussed openly due to various reasons and continue to remain as hidden treasures.

Pārvatī पार्वती (246)

She is the daughter of Himavān, the king of mountains and wife of Śiva. Nāma 634 also conveys the same meaning.

Padma-nayanā पद्मनयना (247)

Her eyes are compared to lotus flower.  Lotus blossoms at the time of moon rise.  This nāma further confirms the effect of meditating on full moon day.  When Her eyes are compared to lotus flower, it also implies that Her eyes are wide open at the time of full moon.  Please read this along with the notes at the end of nāma 245.  Vishnu’s eyes are also compared to lotus flower.

Padmarāga-sama-prabhā पद्मरागसमप्रभा (248)

She is compared to a special type of ruby called padmarāga which is deep red in colour.  Or this could also mean that She is like a red lotus. Padma means lotus, rāga means red and prabhā means light, splendour, radiance, beautiful appearance; lights variously personified.  The deeper meaning of this nāma is the description of Her subtlest kuṇḍalinī form.  Kuṇḍalinī is deep red in colour at the base of the spine.  When She ascends, the brightness of the red gradually decreases and at sahasrāra when She conjoins with Śiva, She almost becomes colourless.  In sahasrāra, the practitioner will be in absolute bliss.

With nāma 248 the discussion on Her saguṇa Brahman (with forms and attributes) form is concluded and the discussion on Her five great acts begin from nāma 249.  The Brahman has five acts to do.  One is the creation of the universe, second is its sustenance, the third is dissolution or death of  individual lives, the fourth is  called tirodhāna known as annihilation or total disappearance of the universe  and the fifth is called anugraha the act of re-creation facilitated by incantations..  The nāma-s from 249 to 340 discuss on the ‘Pañca -Brahma svarūpa’ known as the five acts of the Brahman.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 249 – 250

Pañca-pretāsanāsīnā पञ्चप्रेतासनासीना (249)

She is sitting on a throne held by five corpses.  These five corpses are Brahma, Viṣṇu, RudraMahādeva and Sadāśiva.  Brahma looks after creation, Viṣṇu looks after sustenance, Rudra causes death, Mahādeva conceals the dissolved universe (tirodhāna) and Sadāśiva again re-creates the universe (anugraha).  It is said that these five Lords cannot function without their Śaktī-s or consorts.  Commentators refer to the consorts of these five Gods and without them it is said that these Gods cannot perform their duties. When they are in inert condition, they are referred as corpses. Śaktī-shere should mean the various manifestations of Lalitāmbikā. Vāc Devi-s surely would not have meant to refer other gods and goddesses in this Sahasranāma.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 1) speaks about this.  “Śiva becomes capable of creating the universe, only when united with Śaktī, but otherwise, He is incapable of even a stir. How then could one, who has not acquired merit (puṇya) worship you at least praise you, who is adored even by ViṣṇuŚivaBrahma, and others.”

The nāma means that acts of these Gods cannot be carried out without Her authority.  Please also read the note at the end of the next nāma.

Pañca-brahma-svarūpiṇī पञ्चब्रह्मस्वरूपिणी (250)

This nāma is an extension of the previous one.  The previous nāma underlined the importance of Lalitāmbikā in all acts of the Brahman and this nāma asserts that She is the Brahman.  If the earlier nāma is not read along with this nāma, its significance would be lost.

These two nāma-s explain the cosmic creation.  The Brahman has five functions to perform.  They are creation, sustenance, destruction, annihilation and salvation.  Each of these activities is governed by different Gods.  Brahma for creation, etc has been explained in the previous nāma. These different Gods are only manifestations of the Brahman.   Though one talks about various forms of gods, all these refer only to the Brahman, who does not have any form and is omnipresent. This concept is further explained in this book under different nāma-s.  In fact these Gods, Goddesses, ministers, yogini-s mean different natural activities that take place in the universe.   That is why Nature is called as Mother Nature and worshipped as a Goddess as acts of the Brahman are unfolded only through Nature and in the arena of Nature.

The five acts of the Brahman is a cyclic process.  Creation here means the creation of the universe in the broader perspective.  It does not mean the birth of an individual.  Sustenance also means the sustenance of the universe as a whole.  The birth and death of human beings as well as billions of other species is just a trivial part of the activities that happen in the universe.   The first amongst the creations are the five basic elements viz. ākāś, air, fire, water and earth.  Then the modifications of these elements take place gradually, which is called evolution.  Such evolution happens both in physical and subtle planes.  The highest known gross form of evolution is man and the highest form of subtle evolution is his mind.

The universe thus created is being administered by the Brahman Himself.  In order to maintain a proper balance, creatures are allowed to shed their physical bodies.  Souls make the physical bodies to function and hence soul is called kinetic energy.  The souls originated from the hiraṇyagarbha or the golden egg. This is so called, as it is born from a golden egg, formed out of the seed deposited in the waters when they were produced as the first creation of the Self-existent This seed became a golden egg, resplendent as the sun, in which the Self-existent Brahma was born as Brahmā the Creator, who is therefore regarded as a manifestation of the Self-existent. This is held as the fourth act of the Brahman, tirodhāna, or the great dissolution or the act of concealment.  The difference between destruction and annihilation is significant.  Destruction is the death of a single organism and dissolution is the Supreme process of the Brahman, wherein He makes the entire universe to dissolve and merge unto Himself.  At this stage the universe becomes non-existent.  There will be no continents, no mountains, no oceans, none of the basic elements (Pañca bhūta-s) exist.  Such an act of the Brahman is called mahā-pralayā.  This happens when Śiva begins His mahā-pralaya tāṇḍava or the cosmic dance.  When Śiva performs this dance of annihilation, He becomes terribly ferocious.  While He continues His dance, the universe gradually gets dissolved unto Him.  The reverse modifications take place and penultimately there exists only the five basic elements.  Finally these five elements too, dissolve into Śiva.  Except Śiva and Śaktī none exists at this stage. Śaktī is the lone witness to Śiva’s cosmic dance (nāma-s 232 and 571).

Śaktī, is very compassionate.  After all She is the divine Mother.  She has the intent to re-create the universe.  Since Śiva continued to be terribly aggressive, She could not even look at Him.  Now Śivaand Śaktī are not united.  The great dissolution takes place only if Śiva and Śaktī are separate.  When they are together, Śaktī never allows Śiva to carry out the act of annihilation.  When the great dissolution has commenced, Śaktī could only witness such an act and this was discussed in nāma 232.  There is another nāma 571 mahā-prayala-sākṣiṇī to confirm this.  Somehow She wanted Her children to exist.  Towards the end of Śiva’s tāṇḍava, She started dancing (nāṭya) along with Śiva.  But there was no ferocity in Her dance.  On seeing Her dancing, the aggressive Śiva started returning to His auspicious form.  Śiva was holding the hiraṇyagarbha or the golden egg where the dissolved universe was concealed.  At the request of Śaktī, the golden egg was given back to Her by Śiva and this is called anugraha or salvation.  Salvation is a stage before the commencement of the next cycle of creation.  Now Śaktī takes over from Śiva and administers the universe with His power of autonomy or svātantrya śaktī.

Now, it is apparent that act of the Brahman cannot happen without śaktī.  Hence, it is said that without Her involvement no body including Brahma, Viṣṇu, RrudraMahādeva and Sadāśiva can function.  They are called ‘Pañca-Brahman-s’ meaning the five acts of the Brahman.  Since She becomes the cause of these five acts She is called Pañca-brahma-svarūpiṇī.

{Further reading on hiraṇyagarbha: Brahman has four distinctive states.  They are avyakṭā, Iśvarāhiraṇyagarbha also known as sūtrātma and virāṭ. The first state is avyakṭā, the unmanifest stage (nāma 398). This is also known as turya stage, beyond the three normal stages of consciousness. The next state is Iśvarā (nāma 271). This state is the cause of the universe and is associated with māyā. The third state is hiraṇyagarbha, which binds the universe together.  The final state is virāṭ, transfiguration of the divine happens that is visible to our eyes.  The virāṭ is also known as vaiśvānarā, meaning relating or belonging to all men, omnipresent, known or worshipped, everywhere, universal, general, common, etc.}

Lalitha Sahasranamam 251 – 254

Cinmayī चिन्मयी (251)

She is in the form pure consciousness. Cin here means cit.  Pure consciousness is that stage of awareness, where there is no differentiation between the known, the knower and the knowledge.  The absence of this triad while realising the Brahman, is pure cit (also chit) or consciousness.  Please refer nāma 254 also.

{Further reading on consciousness:  Consciousness can be explained as an alert cognitive state in which one is aware of himself and his situation. Brahman is pure consciousness known as cit.  When cit becomes reflected as cosmic conscience in the form of God, it does not lose its omniscience and omnipotence.  When cit is reflected as individual conscience, it degenerates from absolute consciousness to limited individual consciousness.  This is known as citta (individual conscience) and is different from cit.  The cosmic conscience, the Brahman initiates macrocosmic manifestation of prakṛti while the individual conscience initiates the microcosmic manifestation.  Both cit and citta set in evolutionary forces into motion. There are different levels of consciousness, the lowest being the stage of action and the highest being turya and finally turyātīta.}

Paramānandā परमानन्दा (252)

She is the embodiment of happiness.  This nāma is an extension of the previous nāma.  When consciousness is pure, it leads to bliss, which is known as the supreme happiness.

The stage of pure consciousness can be attained only if māyā is discarded.  To discard māyā or illusion, one needs to cogitate Her all the time.  This does not mean that one should stop his quotidian activities, sit in a secluded place and think about Her.  The prescribed actions should continue with the clear understanding that such acts are being done on Her behalf.  This is the concept of Self-realization.  When all the acts are done on Her behalf, the question of happiness or sorrow does not arise, as the results arising out of such actions are surrendered unto Her.  Because one is not the doer, the karmas arising out of such actions do not accrue to him.  One’s body may suffer, but not his mind.  His mind treats both happiness and sorrow on the same footing.  To attain this stage, one should get away from the clutches of māyā.  This stage is where one feels ‘I am That’.

Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VII.23) says “That which is Infinite is the source of happiness, which is to be sought after”.

Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gīta (VI.20), “The mind curbed through practice becomes still in which Ātmanis realised and the soul rejoices.”

Vijñānaghana-rūpiṇī विज्ञानघनरूपिणी (253)

She is the essence of pure consciousness.  Essence means the subtle form of consciousness.  Ānanda or supreme happiness is the gross form of consciousness.

This is beautifully explained in Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (II.iv.12) says, “Pure and subtle form of consciousness is like dropping a pinch of salt in water.  It gets dissolved and cannot be removed from the water.  A pinch of salt (subtle) makes the whole pot of water (gross) taste salty.  In the same way, the Self comes out as a separate entity (separate entity means me and mine or ego) is destroyed.  Then what remains is the Supreme Self alone. Once this state of oneness is attained, there is no question of even the consciousness.  But how is this pure consciousness?” This Upaniṣad further says (III.iv.2) “This is your Self that is within all.  Everything else (the gross body) is perishable.”

There is another interpretation.  Vijñāna means soul or jīva and vijñānaghana means the total sum of souls.  Such sum of souls is called the hiraṇyagarbha or the golden egg (please refer nāma 232).  Vijñāna can be defined as ‘the absolute freedom revealing itself in the three actions of the Brahman – creation, sustenance and dissolution.  The entire manifestation consisting of subject and object is a reflection of vijñāna.”

This interpretation is elaborated in Praśna Upaniṣad (V.2), which says, “sa etasmājjīvaghanātparātparaṁ” which means He (Brahman) is superior even to hiraṇyagarbha, the sum total of all beings.”

Dhyāna-dhātṛ-dhyeya-rūpā ध्यानधातृध्येयरूपा (254)

She is the form of a triad – the meditation, the meditator and the object of meditation.  This triad leads to another triad – the knower, the known and the knowledge.   Higher level of spiritual knowledge can be attained only through dhyāna or meditation.  Meditation is only a process of powerful concentration.  Reading books and listening to sermons are not knowledge.  Knowledge is attained through internal quest and exploration.  The store house of knowledge is not extraneous, but within.  The store house is nothing but the Supreme Self.  Please refer nāma 251 also.

Patañjali Yoga Sūtra (III.2) explains this further. “Unbroken flow of that concentration in that object is called dhyāna.”

Kashmiri Saivism has unique advaita philosophy known as trika, a triad formed out of Śiva, Śaktī andnara or soul.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 255 – 256

Dharmādharma-vivarjitā धर्माधर्मविवर्जिता (255)

She is above dharma and a-dharma.  Dharma is the result of good acts and a-dharma arises out of evil acts.  Accrual of sins is the result of adharma.  It is argued whether an action is dharma or adharma depends upon the type of job one undertakes.  For example, a hangman executing a convict is not adharma and on the other hand an ordinary citizen commits a murder amounts to adharma.  Generally, dharma is what is preached by scriptures.  It may also be argued that dharma and adharmaare the cause arising out of the three guṇa-s.  She is beyond guṇa-s; hence, these do not apply to Her.

There is another interpretation for dharma, religious abstraction, causing bondage.  Opposite to bondage is liberation.  Bondage and liberation are only for souls and not for the Brahman, as Brahman is the embodiment of absolute purity.  Here, Her Brahman form is referred.   The ultimate Reality is the situation, where there is no bondage and desire.  Desire to attain liberation is also bondage.  If one has absolute faith in Her, he should not even aspire for anything, including liberation.  She knows what to give and when.

There is a difference between mukti (final liberation) and mokṣā.  Liberation means that a soul will have no more re-births. But, mokṣā refers to a soul going to Heaven for sojourn to be reborn again.  It is the transmigration of the soul.  This means that the soul is not ripe enough for absorption into the Brahman due to its karmic account.  This aspect is discussed with more details subsequently.

Viśvarūpā विश्वरूपा (256)

Beginning from this nāma, next 19 nāma-s till 274 talk about the difference between the soul and the Brahman.

Viśvarūpā means omnipresent.  This nāma discusses the manifold nature of the Brahman. The omnipresence is the unique nature of the Brahman.  The creation of the universe was discussed in nāma 250.  The Brahman has different forms and shapes as the Brahman exists in every living and non-living being in this universe.  In the case of non-living beings, they do not have souls and hence no action takes place on their own.  There is no place in the universe, where the Brahman does not exist.  The creation takes place first in the form of total darkness.  From this darkness intellect arises.  From intellect the ego and this ego gives rise to the modifications of the five elements which ultimately creates lives in this universe.  This universe is manifested through three different factors viz. gross, subtle and casual which give rise to vaiśvānarā, hiraṇyagarbha and Īśvarā.  These three exist in three stages of a human life awake, dream and deep sleep.  Scriptures accept only creation, sustenance, and destruction.  But tantra śāstrās talk about additional two acts of the Brahman tirodhāna and anugraha (details of these two acts are discussed in nāma-s 270 and 273.  For basic information, please refer nāma-s 249 and 250) corresponding to additional two stages viz. turya and turyātīta.  Turya is the transcendental stage.   The consciousness transcending the turya stage becomes devoid of duality. In the next and the ultimate stage the consciousness further gets purified and merges into the Supreme Self.  This state of consciousness is called turyātīta.  The union of soul with the Brahman takes place here and finally gets bonded in kaivalya, the ultimate state. The journey of the soul stops here and it ceases to exist.  One has to take efforts to have such a union and it does not happen automatically like the first three stages of sleep, dream and deep sleep.  The vaiśvānarā, hiraṇyagarbha, and Īśvarā are the three Gods, Brahma, Viṣṇu and Rudra.  They are popularly known as the lords of creation, sustenance and contraction.    Generally, one is aware of the first two stages viz. awake and dream stages.  In the third stage of deep sleep none is aware of what is happening around, the stage of unconsciousness.  A yogi can reach the other two stages, as he knows consciously that he is Śiva himself.  Śiva Sūtra (III.25) says, “Śiva-tulyo jāyate”, which means ‘that yogi becomes like Śiva.’  When his consciousness realizes the Brahman, the effects of his karmas wither from him and he reaches a stage where there is neither happiness nor sorrow.  When the mind ceases to think or when the mind disassociates from the sensory organs such a stage is attained.  Only in this stage, Viśvarūpa is realized.  She is the Viśvarūpa, the omnipresent.

In Bhagavad Gīta (XI.16), Arjuna addresses Kṛṣṇa, “Oh! Lord of the universe, I see you endowed with numerous arms, bellies, mouths and eyes and having innumerable forms extended on all sides.  I see neither your beginning, nor middle and nor even your end, manifested as you are in the form of universe.”  Viśvarūpā is used here to mean Kṛṣṇa’s manifestation in the form of whole universe.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 257 – 263

Jāgariṇī जागरिणी (257)

The three stages viz. awake, dream and deep sleep are now being discussed from this nāma till 263.

She is in the form of waking state in the living beings.  In Śiva Sūtra (I.8) says, “jñānaṁ jāgrat”.  The stage of jāgrat (the stage of awake) is explained thus: ‘The knowledge obtained by consciousness by direct contact with the external objects’.  Here the subject (mind) is in direct contact with the object (material world) and knowledge is derived with the help of sensory organs.   In the previous nāma, She was addressed as ‘Viśvarūpa’.  Her Viśvarūpa form exists in the form of jāgrat in all living beings.  This and subsequent nāma-s emphasize the omnipresent nature of the Brahman.

Svapantī स्वपन्ती (258)

She exists in dream state too. [During dream state, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) continues to exist but at lower intensity.]  The knowledge gained through external objects is transmitted to mind, causing impressions in the mind.  But during dream state, these impressions manifest subconsciously as dreams.  Dream is nothing but the contemplation of the mind that could not be executed, in not only this birth, but also the previous births.  Dream is the store house of thoughts, accumulated over a period of time.  In this state, there is no reasoning to interfere, thoughts remain only as thoughts.  Thoughts do not get converted into action.  Impressions on the mind remain only as impressions. Impressions revolve in mental horizon.  Mind in this stage does not use sensory organs.    Here the subject is not in direct contact with any objects as sensory organs are not involved.  The modification of consciousness in this stage is assumed by intellect gained in the waking stage.  That is why most of the dreams are around the objects that are already known to us.   The transformation from gross to subtle begins at this stage.  The mind does not actively participate in dream state.  It remains passive and just watches the dreams as a witness.  Exactly this situation is to be attained when one is awake, not getting affected by the materialistic impressions of the mind.  This becomes the ultimate step for Self realisation.  She is the cause for this stage.

Taijasātmikā तैजसात्मिका (259)

The individual soul associated with the dream state discussed in the previous nāma is called taijasa.  In the state of awake, gross body is active and in the state of dream, subtle body (sūkṣma śarīra) is active.  Taijas operates through the egoistic impulses with the aid of sense faculties and vital airs.  Its consciousness turned inward, enjoying exquisite dream memories.  Because of its association with the subtle body, it remains associated with hiraṇyagarbha state, the aggregate of all subtle bodies. When the individual consciousness withdraws from the gross body and becomes identified with the subtle body, the waking state disappears and the dream state emerges.  In this state, the consciousness remains restricted to mind, intellect, consciousness and ego (these four together are called antaḥkaraṇa).  Taijasa is the word derived from tejomaya (nāma 452), which means splendour or light, shining, brilliant.  She manifests in this stage.

Suptā सुप्ता (260)

The third of the three known stages called ‘suṣupti’, the state of deep sleep or the state of unconsciousness.  In the stage of deep sleep, one is not aware of anything around him. In this state mind also rests.  No traces of the previous two stages are felt here. During this state, REM is either absent or present in lowest intensity. In this stage, casual body is also rested.  She is present in this stage as well, the confirmation of Her omnipresence.

Prājñātmikā प्राज्ञात्मिका (261)

She is known as prājñātmikā in the suṣupti stage, the stage of deep sleep. This is an extension of the previous nāma. Prājñā is the manifestation of individual soul in the casual body.  As such, it is associated with the Brahman, the aggregate of entire casual bodies. If Brahman controls the universe, at microcosmic level, prājña controls individual existence.

Vāc Devi-s after having described the three known stages, now proceed to explain the fourth state of consciousness called turya.

(Further reading on the three normal stages of consciousness as elaborated in (Śiva Sūtra-s I.8, 9, 10)

Jñānaṁ jāgrat ज्ञानं जाग्रत् (sūtra 8)
Svapno vikalpāḥ  स्वप्नो विकल्पाः (sūtra 9)
Aviveko māyāsauṣuptam  अविवेको मायासौषुप्तम् (sūtra 10)

Jñānaṁ means knowledge.  Jāgrat refers to the state of wakefulness or the normal active stage with alert stage of consciousness (8).

Svapna means dream. Vikalpāḥ refers to internal perception.  External perception happens through senses and internal perception happens through mind (9).

Viveka means discrimination.  Aviveka means absence of discrimination. Māyā means illusion.  Sauṣupta means deep sleep. Indiscrimination happens naturally in the deep sleep state or māyā (10).

These three aphorisms are considered together because they refer to the successive stages of mundane level of consciousness.  Every person undergoes through these three successive levels of consciousness almost daily. The first stage refers to the normal active stage of awareness, without which no action can take place.  Here sensory perceptions play the lead role. Second stage is the stage where one enters the dream state, a prelude to the next stage of deep sleep.  Here, mentation plays a significant role, as dreams unfold only through mind.  The last of stage of normal consciousness level is deep sleep, where even the mind ceases to function.

During the first stage, the mind responds to the sensory inputs (8th aphorism).  Mind is extremely active during this period as it has to act on multitude of sensory stimulations it receives when a person is in active or alert cognitive state.  During this state, mind and senses are interdependent.  Communication between senses and mind happens in tremendous swiftness.  The sensory perceptions leave lasting impressions in the mind known as thoughts that manifest as dreams in the second stage of consciousness, the dream state, as conveyed through 9th aphorism. The third state of consciousness is a sort of delusion, as during the stage of deep sleep one forgets his own inherent nature.  Both his senses and mind are completely rested.  The 10th aphorism compares this stage to māyā, the deceptive state.  It is only due to the veil of māyā, one forgets his inherent nature. It is only māyā that makes a person slide down into fathomless bondage and desire.  According Trikaphilosophy, māyā also is the will of Śiva, which Advaita also endorses. All the three states co-exist at all the time, but only one state is predominant.  This is like three types of guṇa-s.  All the three guṇa-s prevail at the same time, but only one among them is predominant.  This is also the case with five basic elements, ether, air, etc.  But there is a significant precept in the tenth aphorism. It says that absence of higher level of consciousness is equivalent to the state of deep sleep.  To put it other way, it says that ignorance (avidyā) is nothing but the state of deep sleep, where neither mental activity nor physical activity takes place.  What is being discussed in these three aphorisms is only the mundane level of consciousness.  There are higher levels of consciousness turya and turyātīta that will be discussed later in this book.

What is discussed above pertains to normal human beings.  But, yogis are exceptions.  Their level of consciousness is totally different from the consciousness level of ordinary humans. Yogis are those who are able to connect microcosm with macrocosm and remain in that position perpetually.  Yogin means yoking.  His concentration is always focused.  Even in active state (Jāgrat), he remains connected with Śiva, the Ultimate Reality.  His sensory perceptions are limited to merely maintain his gross body that merely acts a cover for Śiva within.  None of the gross matters is of any interest to him.  In the absence of extraneous impressions in his mind, in his dream state also, he remains united with Śiva. His internal perceptions do not undergo any significant changes to cause a dream other than Śiva.  His sensory perceptions would have almost lost their intended utilities and therefore do not cause any significant impressions to dream about something else other than his own Śiva.   Without any modifications, his consciousness enters the stage of samādi, in his deep sleep state.  He enters the state of samādi at his own will and in fact most of the times he remains in the stage of samādi.  Samādi is attained by constant practice of cessation of all mental activities, in which the mind retains only the unmanifested impressions.  The difference in perceptions happens only if any alternate object is available for consideration.  But he does not have an alternate matter to consider.  He considers everything as Śiva.  He has realised that he is not different from his own Śiva.  For him the knowing, the knower and the object of knowing are not different.  He has developed unbroken flow of concentration in Śiva.  He enters the higher tiers of consciousness turya and turyātīta at his own will and for him the transition from one level of consciousness to another level of consciousness happens with ease.  To attain this stage, his free-will would have played a preponderant role.}

Turyā तुर्या (262)

This is the fourth stage of consciousness.  It cannot be experienced automatically.  This stage can be attained only through meditation.  This stage is not related to any of the three earlier stages.  In the waking stage we are associated with consciousness.  In the dream stage our mind is associated with our consciousness.  In the third stage of dream-less sleep, consciousness has no part to play as the mind at this stage is at rest.  But in turya stage, one has to tune his mind to become unaware of consciousness.  This can be attained only by practice.  In this stage one is neither the Brahman nor his own self.  If one is able to advance to the next stage of turyātīta, he merges with the Brahman.  If he falls from turya stage, he is again bound by worldly actions and the associated miseries.  She exists in the form of turiya stage.

This state of consciousness is witnessing the consciousness of the other three stages (in the deep sleep, consciousness is inactive). The consciousnesses in the other three stages are subjected to modifications.  In this stage, the consciousness alone remains looking up for something Superior that has not been experienced by it so far.  Therefore the normal consciousness ceases to exist in this stage.  Only when we talk about consciousness, we talk about subject and object.  There is no subject and object and in fact nothing exists.  This stage of ‘nothing exists’ leads to the transformation of awareness.  This can possibly be interpreted as a seed ready to sprout.  The transformed consciousness leads to the single pointed or focused consciousness to know about the Brahman or even ready to merge with it. The final stage is yet to be reached in this state.

(Further reading on turya as enumerated in Śiva Sūtra (I.7):

Jāgratsvapnasuṣuptabhede turyābhogasambhavaḥ. जाग्रत्स्वप्नसुषुप्तभेदे तुर्याभोगसम्भवः (sūtra I.7)

There are three stages of consciousness, jāgrat, (normal active stage, or stage of awakening) svapna(dream stage) and suṣupti (deep sleep stage). These three stages are the normal level consciousness of a man. Bheda means difference. Beyond these three levels of normal consciousness, there are two more levels of consciousness. Out of these two, this sūtrā discusses about the fourth level of consciousness known as turyaĀbhoga (आभोग) means ecstatic stage (abhoga अभोग means non-enjoyment). Sambhavaḥ means existing.

This sūtra says that even during the first three stages of consciousness, the fourth stage of consciousness, the ecstatic turya exists. When spiritual transformation happens in a person, there is a meeting point between the material awareness and the spiritual awareness. Beginning from that point, when the upward movement in the spiritual path really begins, one’s ego begins to dissolve. When ego begins to fade away, it leads to universal attitude of the soul, when the knowledge of the omnipresent nature of the Brahman begins to unfold. This is what is to be precisely practiced in meditation. The fourth stage of consciousness continues to prevail in the other three mundane stages of consciousness, as one is bound by ajñāna (ignorance) and consequent egotism. When ego begins to get dissolved, the spell of ajñāna also begins to fade away, paving the way for the realisation of the Self. This transformation happens in the stage of turya.

Turya state is un-inferable, inconceivable and indefinable where manifold sensory perceptions paves way for the realisation of the ŚivaMāṇḍūkya Upaniṣad (7) says, “Turya is not conscious what is happening within. It is also not conscious of what is happening externally. It is not conscious of anything in between. It is also not a mass of consciousness. It is not conscious of all objects simultaneously; it is not unconscious either. It is invisible, not susceptible to any kind of usage, not within the reach of any organ of action or perception or thought. In it there is only consciousness of the Self and there is a total cessation of materialism as such. It is the embodiment of peace and all that is good. It is one without a second. “

The fourth state of consciousness is always present in all the men as a witness to all the three mundane levels of consciousness. This is in contrast to the first three level of consciousness that prevails one at a time. When one is awake, he cannot sleep, when one is dreaming he cannot be awake and when one is in the state of deep sleep, he can neither be awake nor dream. But, turya is present in the first three states of consciousness, sheathed by māyā, thereby making it unrealizable. This can be realised only in the advanced stages of meditation. Preliminary stages of meditation merely formulate groundwork and lay proper foundation for the realisation of Śiva. If the foundational consciousness is weak, the most powerful Śiva cannot manifest. When proper preparatory work is completed, turya takes over the consciousness, and the emancipation happens thereafter. It does not mean that his body ceases to exist (death), but his consciousness is purified by his preparatory work, making it easier for turya to take complete control of his consciousness. He still experiences the first three stages of consciousness, the exception being that the quality of his consciousness has undergone complete transformation, moving closer and closer to Śiva, awaiting the final realisation of Śiva at anytime.}

Sarvāvasthā-vivarjitā सर्वावस्थाविवर्जिता (263)

Previous nāma-s confirmed Her existence in all the four stages.  Now it is said that She is beyond these stages, again the quality of the Brahman.  Since, She being the Brahman, is merely witnessing these four stages by residing within us and She does not associate Herself with these stages.  This is because the Brahman has no attributes and forms.  In the earlier four stages, there existed consciousness. Turyātīta is the fifth stage, where there is no consciousness at all.  This stage is beyond consciousness.  When this stage is reached, there is no question of return to the lower four stages.  Unless one experiences turya stage for some time, this fifth stage cannot be attained.  The dictum that, practice alone makes a man perfect, is the best fit here.  Here there is no duality.  ‘Sarvam Īśvara mayam jagat’ meaning everything is Īśvara or the Brahman.  He becomes Śiva Himself.  He will not make prayers, he will not perform japa, he will not go to places of worship, and he will not perform rituals.  Whatever he does, he knows it is done for Śiva only.  When he eats, Śiva eats.  When he bathes, Śiva also takes bath.  No duality, no māyā, no discrimination.  He will not wear a red or white robe.  He will dress like anyone else.  He walks and talks like us.  It is extremely difficult to recognize him as Śiva.  As Śiva exists everywhere, this yogi also coexists one amongst us.  This stage is beyond all the other four stages and She exists in this stage too.  Here Śiva also means Śaktī.

Śiva Sūtra-s (III. 27, 28 and 29) enumerate the qualities of a person who has reached this stage.  He is always of full of Supreme I consciousness and feels ‘I am the highest Ātma and I am Śiva.’  He realises that knowledge of the Self is the gift that he disseminates.  He has attained mastery over śaktī-s (meaning powers), and becomes an instrument of knowledge and wisdom.

Sage Patañjali underlines the importance of purity of mind in his Yoga Sūtra-s.  He says (I.47), “The concentration without discrimination being purified citta becomes firmly fixed.” The pure form of consciousness is known as dhyātmprasādaḥ. In the next aphorism (I.48), he says, “the knowledge in That is called filled with Truth.” This is the stage without ego.  This is called Truth because there is nothing beyond this point.  She is present in this stage also.  These nāma-s repeatedly affirm Her Supreme status.  The singular fact that is to be remembered is that Śiva and Śaktī do not have any ideological differences and the one without the other becomes inert. Their conjugation causes creation.  This is discussed in the next nāma.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 264 – 265

Sṛṣṭi-kartrī सृष्टिकर्त्री (264)

Beginning this nāma, till 274 the five actions of the Brahman are being discussed.  Earlier the five stages of consciousness were discussed.  Now the five acts of the Brahman are being described.  VācDevi-s have formulated this Sahasranāma in such a way that it talks about every aspect the Supreme Brahman (saguṇa and nirguṇa forms of Brahman).  If one could understand impartations of all the nāma-s of this Sahasranāma, it tantamount to knowing all the Upaniṣad-s.  Bhagavad Gīta is yet another treasure in Self-realization.

In this nāma, the creative aspect (sṛṣṭi) of the Brahman is referred.   The creation happens out of Her tamo guṇa.  The three main acts of the Brahman viz. creation, sustenance and dissolution are represented by three forms of God viz. BrahmaViṣṇu and Rudra.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 24) talks about the three acts of the Brahman.  “Brahma creates this universe.  Viṣṇu sustains it and Rudra dissolves it.  Annihilating them, Īśvara conceals Himslef as well.  Sadāśiva approves of them pursuant of your command conveyed through your creeper-like (a symbolic description of Her eye-brows) eye-brows moved for a moment.”

{Further reading on guṇa-s: There are three types of guṇa-s.  Guṇa-s mean qualities or attributes, which form the inherent nature of prakṛti.  The three guṇa-s are sattvic or sattvarajas or rajo and tamas or tamo. In each of these guṇa-s, the other two guṇa-s are also present. Sattva guṇa is where quality and purity of knowledge attains the highest level, with the least presence of other two guṇa-s. This is where spiritual growth begins to bloom.  Rajo guṇa is predominant when action and passion are predominant. It is associated with earthly plane and mundane knowledge. It involves higher passions with worldly pursuits. This is where goals are set and in order to achieve the set goals, attachment, self-conceit, arrogance, unjustness, contempt, slander and consequent sorrow and miseries are felt.  This is the stage where major portion of the karmic account builds up.   Tamo guṇais inertia and ignorance. This is associated with much lower planes than earth.  Illusion and ignorance are predominant here.  Sluggishness, infatuation, confusion, stupidity, aversion, recklessness, vulgarity, grief, pain, anxiety, hatred, violence are some of the predominant qualities of this guṇa.}

Brahma-rūpā ब्रह्मरूपा (265) 

She is in the form of the God of creation Brahma.  Brahma has four heads.  The four heads could mean the components of antaḥkaraṇa mind, intellect, consciousness and ego.  Without these four, creation is not possible.  There are many stories about Brahma’s four heads. He had five heads, possibly meaning the five elements or five prāṇa-s (prāṇa, apāna, vyāna, samāna and udāna) that are needed for creation.  The fifth head was cut off by Śiva for having shown disrespect to Him.  There is yet another story, which says that Brahma had split his body horizontally into two, a male and a female form (different from ardhanārīśvara form of Śiva where Śiva’s body is dissevered vertically, the other half occupied by Śaktī).  Brahma is said to be the great-grandfather, Viṣṇu the grandfather and Śivathe father of this universe.

(Further reading on the process of creation (in brief): The soul, which is also known as puruṣa can manifest only if interacts with prakṛti, which is also known as Nature, the creative self-unfoldment. When the soul gets associated with prakṛti, the latter unfolds first into subtle non-materialistic form and later into gross form.  When gross form is formed, it gives rise to three types of bodies called gross (sthūla), subtle (sūkṣma) and cause (kāraṇa).  Gross is the outer body, subtle and cause are the inner bodies.  Until a soul is liberated, subtle and cause bodies continue their association with the soul.  Only the gross body is perishable. The imperceptible impressions of many lives become embedded in these bodies, thereby causing predominance of certain qualities in the mind in each rebirth. They are the seeds of karmas that are embedded in a soul.}

Lalitha Sahasranamam 266 – 267

Goptrī गोप्त्री (266)

She is the protector, sustaining this universe.  Protection is the second act of the Brahman.  Protection is Her sattva guṇa.  Light and harmony are the qualities of sattva guṇa.  She not only protects but also nurtures this universe.  After all, She is the Divine Mother Śrī Mātā.  Protecting and nurturing are the instinctive duties of a mother.

Govinda-rūpiṇī गोविन्दरूपिणी (267)            

Govinda is ViṣṇuViṣṇu is the protector of this universe.  When one needs health, wealth and prosperity one has to worship ViṣṇuViṣṇu should not be worshipped alone to get material prosperity and should be worshipped along with His consort Lakṣmī and this form is known as Lakṣmī Nārāyana.  This form is considered as the most auspicious form.  If one needs to get rid of some difficulties, one has to pray Lakṣmī Nārāyaṇa form of Viṣṇu.  Narasiṃha, also known as Nārasiṃha form of Viṣṇu is considered as the only terrible form; otherwise Viṣṇu is considered as the most auspicious God.

Viṣṇu is known through Veda-s and Upaniṣads.  Go (गो) means vāc or words.  Since the qualities of Viṣṇu cannot be described by words He is called Govinda.  Go also means earth.  Since He sustains the earth, He is called Govinda.  When the great dissolution took place (refer nāma 232), Viṣṇu lifted and saved the earth (earth is only a part of the universe) from water that prevailed everywhere.  Because He saved the earth, He is called Govinda.

In Viṣṇu Sahasranāma the nāma ‘Govinda’ appears twice viz. nāma-s 187 and 539. (Such repetitions are not found in Lalitā Sahasranāma, which is its unique feature.)

{Further reading on Viṣṇu:  Viṣṇu (विष्णु) administers the universe, which has seven worlds.  These seven worlds are the seven vyāhṛti-s of Gāyatri mantra.  In reality, these worlds represent the seven mental planes of human consciousness, from macro level to micro level.  The lower and gross level of consciousness is the lowest world and the highest micro level of consciousness is called the upper world. Possibly, the seven worlds could refer to the six cakra-s and sahasrāra.  Unless the level of consciousness undergoes modifications, refinement and purity, Self-realization is not possible.  Viṣṇuadministers this universe based on the “Law of Karma”.  He cannot and will not bypass this law even by a fraction of an inch. The worlds that He administers have different predominant aspects.  For example, in earth matter is predominant.  The higher planes have life energies, emotional energies, and mental energies.  The level of energies that prevails in these seven worlds becomes subtle and refined from the gross level (association with matter) as one traverses these worlds towards the highest.  Viṣṇu is known for His sayana or the yogic sleep.  This famous posture means that all pervading Viṣṇu rests on the blissful ocean of eternal existence.  Viṣṇu means all pervading.  Sri Aurobindo says “Viṣṇu paces out the vast framework of the inner worlds in which our soul-action takes place.  It is by Him and with Him that we raise into His highest seats where we find waiting for us the Friend, the Beloved and Beatific (bestowing celestial Joy) Godhead”.  This celestial joy is known as bliss.

 

Lalitha Sahasranamam 268 – 270

Saṃhārinī संहारिनी (268)

She causes destruction.  Destruction is different from dissolution. The difference between destruction and dissolution is significant.  Destruction is the death of a single organism and dissolution is the Supreme process of the Brahman, wherein He makes the entire universe to dissolve and merge unto Himself (nāma 270).  This nāma refers to the death of gross bodies and She as the administrator of the universe also causes death.

Rudra-rūpā रुद्ररूपा (269)

She is in the form of Rudra, while causing death.  Her form is known as Rudra when She causes the death of individual lives.  Rudra does not mean the lord of death.

Rudra is the destroyer of miseries.  Ru refers to pains arising out of miseries arising out of improper usage of sensory organs and dra means to disperse.  Rudra means driving away miseries.

Chāndogya Upaniṣad (III.13.3) says, “Rudra-s are connected with religious rites.  The prāṇa-s are called Rudra-s because they make everyone in this world cry.”

{Further reading on Rudra:  The subtle form Rudra is the cosmic energy that is capable of destroying evil energies.  The gross form of Rudra is a form of Śiva.  He is known for perfect discipline.  He destroys anything that obstructs the path of perfection.   But for sure He is compassionate and merciful.  The literal meaning of Rudra is moving around crying.  As a matter of fact the cry of Rudra is the creation.  Rudra also means the prāna or the life force (Chāndogya Upaniṣad III.16.3).  When a child is born, it starts crying, only when it inhales prāṇa or the first breath.  This is the exact time of birth of a child that should be noted for casting birth charts.  Often, reference is made to eleven Rudra-s and they are called ekādaśa Rudra-s.  They are in fact created from the Ardhanārīśvara form of Śivaand Śaktī (male-female combined form divided vertically).  It is also said that Rudra was born out the third eye of Brahma, the lord of creation.  Rudra is responsible for the union of individual soul with the Supreme soul by means of OM.  Probably this is the reason why Rudra is called as the lord of death.  The famous ‘tryambaka mantra’ of Śrī Rudram in Yajur Veda and Rig Veda conveys the following meaning. “Oh!  The Lord of three worlds, bestower of grace, provider of fullness and strength, may I be detached from the bondage of death like a ripe cucumber (A ripe cucumber bursts and comes off from the plant automatically.  There is no need for plucking) from shell, but not from immortality”.  Shell means the physical body and seeds and pulp of the cucumber is compared to the soul.  The verse seeks Rudra’s grace to prevent a pre-mature death.   Immortality is not sought and cannot be sought also.  This goes to prove that Rudra is not the lord of death.}

Tirodhānakarī तिरोधानकरी (270)

She causes annihilation and makes the universe disappear.  Tirodhāna is the fourth act of the Brahman, which is called the great dissolution or the pralaya.  Why this dissolution is necessary when every living being is subjected to death?  The presence of ego makes a man live, as ego is a part ofantaḥkaraṇa (mind, consciousness, intellect and ego).  Without ego the man cannot exist.  The ego is present in the soul and not in the physical body.  The presence of ego in the soul hides the Brahman from realization.  The souls never get destroyed and subject to their karmic account either they are re-born or merge with the Brahman.  The law of karma says that a soul can have only three solutions.  One is to merge with the Brahman, second is to reborn and the third is to get dissolved during the great dissolution.  A majority of the souls are re-reborn.  To remove the evil effects of ego in the souls, the great dissolution takes place.  Such great dissolutions take place after billions of years.  The soul can be destroyed only by the Supreme Brahman.  The Supreme Brahman simply acts as a witness and does not get involved in the actions associated with the souls.  At one point of time, He wakes up and causes the great dissolution by taking back all the atoms of the universe.  The great dissolution happens when lesser number of souls merges with the Brahman and more souls are reborn.  Such a situation arises, only when more sins are committed.  In fact the great dissolution means the total destruction of ego from the universe.  Not even a single life exists after the great dissolution.  The Brahman draws the entire universe unto him and at the time of recreation, this takes the shape of the golden egg or hiraṇyagarbha.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 271 – 274

Īśvarī ईश्वरी (271)

The one who does the act of tirodhāna explained in the previous nāma.  Īśvara tattva is the 26th tattva(principle) out of the 36 tattva-s, where the power of knowledge is predominant.  Īśvara controls everything. Īśvara is parāhaṃtā, meaning Supreme individuality. Viṣṇu Sahasranāma nāma 36 is also Īśvara.

Sadāśivā सदाशिवा (272)

Look at the beauty of placement of nāma-s.  As deliberated earlier, the Brahman has got five duties to perform.  The first four have been discussed in the previous nāma-s.  In these nāma-s, first the action was referred followed by the form of the Brahman who looks after that particular action.  For example take nāma-s 264 and 265.  Nāma 264 is sṛṣṭi-kartrī, the act of creation and 265 is brahma-rūpā the form of god who performs the act of creation.  It is the case with other three.  While talking about the gracious re-creative aspect of the Brahman, the form of God is referred first, then the action.  Possibly Vāc-Devi-s could have thought that merely uttering this nāma alone would give salvation.

She is in the form of Sadāśivā.  Sadā means ever and Śiva means auspicious.  The Sadāśivā form of the Brahman is the most auspicious form and She is said to be in that form.  In the stage of Sadāśivātattva, icca śakti or the will (to create) is predominant.  The concept of “I am this” begins to dawn (this stage is not “I am That”), where perfect purity is not yet attained. In this stage universal consciousness is discovered.  The individual consciousness has not yet merged with the universal consciousness.  Śaktī is the intent of the Brahman to recreate.   The power of will of the Brahman at this stage is to bless the universe for recreation and this act is being described in the next nāma.

The power of will of the Brahman has three distinct categories, śuddhavidyā, Īśvara and Sadāśiva.

Anugrahadā अनुग्रहदा (273)

The action of the gracious Sadāśiva, the blessing aspect for recreation is being referred.  Anugrahameans grace, promoting, etc.  When the universe got dissolved, there exists nothing.  The atoms of all the souls got compressed and embedded in the hiraṇyagarbha or the golden egg.  The blessing aspect of the Brahman is the act of recreation after the dissolution.  This act of recreation is done by Śaktī, the Supreme Mother. Sadāśivā form of the Brahman is endowed with compassion.

The importance of Guru is stressed in ancient scriptures.  While worshipping Śrī cakra, Guru lineage is worshipped first.  Guru is first worshipped in the form of praṇava (OM), then in the forms of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudrā, Mahādeva and Sadāśiva.  These five forms of the Brahman, discussed in the previous nāma-s are worshipped in the form of Guru.

Pañcakṛtya-parāyaṇā पञ्चकृत्यपरायणा (274)

She is the abode of all the five functions discussed above.  Nāma 250 Pañca-brahma-svarūpinīalready said that She is in the cause of all these five acts.  All these five acts are carried out by Her as prākaśa (cit) vimarśa (śaktī) mahā māyā svarūpinī.  She is also known as Cit Śaktī.  Cit means the consciousness that is absolute and unchanging.

Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam, a Kashmiri saivaism text on Self-realisation says that Śaktī brings about the universe by Her own free will and not by extraneous powers.  The universe is already contained in Her implicitly and She makes it explicit. Even in a soul, He (meaning Śiva) does the five kṛtya-s.  He does the five-fold act of manifesting, relishing, thinking out, settling of the seed and dissolution. One fails to recognise His own powers (five kṛtya-s), because of ignorance. (kṛtya कृत्य means to be performed; whereas kṛtyā कृत्या means wickedness)

Lalitha Sahasranamam 275 – 276

Bhānu-maṇḍala-madhyastā भानुमण्डलमध्यस्ता (275)

She is in the middle of solar orbit. Chāndogya Upaniṣad (I.vi.6) says, “There is deity within the orbit of the sun, who is seen by yogis. His whole body glitters like gold.”  ‘Obeisance to that form in the sun’s orbit the one, who is the embodiment of all the Veda-s, who showers his brilliance all over the different worlds (These worlds are the seven vyāhṛti-s of pūrṇa Gāyatrī mantra.  Worlds refer to seven worlds above and seven worlds beneath totalling to fourteen. These imaginary worlds are the modifications of one’s consciousness. The worlds could also refer to three types of mundane consciousness, awake, dream and deep sleep).

Anāhat cakra is also called bhānu-maṇḍala and kuṇḍalinī also glitters like gold.  Possibly, this nāma could mean Her kuṇḍalinī form.

Bhairavī भैरवी (276)

Wife of Bhairavā (Śiva) is Bhairavī.  They are inseparable.

It is interesting to know about the Bhairava form of Śiva.  Bha means sustenance of the universe, rameans the great dissolution and va means recreation.  This form of Śiva is considered as one of His subtle forms and is beyond the essence of energy of Śaktī (not beyond Śaktī Herself) and is the manifestation of the Supreme Brahman.  This is a stage beyond all the stages of consciousness.  No tattva-s, no mantra-s, beyond OM, in fact Bhairava is beyond everything.

There is a series of yogic practices referred in Vijñānabhairava, a famous and ancient Kashmiri text on yoga (verse 24).  ‘There are two points in our respiration.  One is the outer space where exhalation ends and the other is the point within our respiratory system where the inhalation ends.  In both these points, the breath takes rest for a split second.  The rest does not mean that it stops for a split second, but remains in the form of Śaktī in a stage of suspended animation.  One should concentrate on this Śaktī to realize the Brahman.  This Śaktī is called Bhairavī.  This masterly interpretation also confirms the prakāśa and vimarśa aspect of the Brahman. Śaktī is moving up and down as prāṇa and therefore vimarśa form. Prakāśa is the static Self-illuminating Ātman within. This is the reason why yoga teaches on the concentration of breath.

The form of Bhairava that we see in temples is not the Bhairava discussed here.  These forms of Bhairava are protectors of temples and the community living around temples.

In general it should be understood that the union of Śiva and Śaktī is known as vāc.  Śiva is the meaning of a word and Śaktī is root of the word.  It is also said that Śiva and Śaktī cannot be separated.  They are united firmly like a word and its meaning.  One cannot separate the meaning from the word.  It is the same concept with Bhairava and Bhairavī.

A girl of twelve years is called as Bhairavī.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 277 – 280

Bhagamālinī भगमालिनी (277)

Bhaga has many meanings. Goddess Savitṛī is also addressed as Bhaga. It also means good fortune, happiness, welfare, prosperity, dignity, majesty, distinction, excellence, beauty, loveliness, etc.

She is in the form of Bhagamālinī, one of the tithi nitya devi-s.  There are fifteen tithi nitya devi-s, one nitya devi-s for each lunar day.  Tithi means one lunar day. In her mantra ‘bhaga’ appears several times.  Hence this tithi nitya devi is called Bhagamālinī.  They are worshipped during Śrī Cakranavāvaraṇa pūja.

In Liṅga Purāṇa there is a reference (I.99.6, 7) to a goddess called Bhagā.  “She is the mother of the universe.  Her   name is Bhaga.  She is the threefold pedestal (the bottom portion of Liṅga) of the deity, in the form of Liṅga”.  This description perfectly fits Umā and Maheśvarā (Śaktī and Śiva). The pedestal on which Liṅga is placed is called Bhagā.

Bhagā also means the six qualities of Śaktī which is explained in nāma 279.  She is wearing a garland twined with these six qualities of prosperity.

Padmāsanā पद्मासना (278)

She is seated on a lotus or She is sitting in the posture of padmāsana (a yogic way of sitting, cross legged).  Padma means lotus.  When one is seated in padmāsana, the posture will appear like a lotus.  The leaves of lotus creeper are compared to prakṛti (the source of objectivity), its filaments to vikṛti (categories, changed condition), and its stalk to knowledge.  Padma also means the Goddess of wealth Lakṣmī.  In this context it indicates that She distributes wealth to Her devotees.  Here wealth does not mean material wealth only, but also the intellectual wealth, the capacity to have higher level of consciousness, needed to realise the Brahman.  It could also mean the Brahma, the lord of Creation.

Bhagavatī भगवती (279)

She is endowed with auspiciousness and power of autonomy of Śiva.

This nāma is an extension of nāma 277.  Bhaga refers to six qualities of Śaktī viz. supremacy, righteousness, fame, prosperity, wisdom and discrimination.  The nāma means to highlight certain important qualities of the Brahman.  She is endowed with these qualities.  There is another set of six qualities and they are creation and destruction, waxing and waning, knowledge and ignorance. It is also said that She is worshipped by all gods and goddesses, therefore She is known as Bhagavatī.  In Viṣṇu Sahasranāma, nāma 558 is Bhagavate which carries the same meaning.  The masculine gender of Bhagavatī is used in Viṣṇu Sahasranāma.

Padmanābha-sahodarī पद्मनाभसहोदरी (280)

She is the younger sister of Lord Viṣṇu.  Brahma and LakṣmīViṣṇu and UmāŚiva and Sarasvatī are twins.  They represent creation, sustenance and destruction. Sarasvatī got married to BrahmaLakṣmīto Viṣṇu and Umā to Śiva.  This is a beautiful description of interdependence of creation in mythology.

The Brahman is divided into two aspects.  One is the form of righteousness (dharma) and another is the possessor of righteousness.  The dharma portion of the Brahman is divided into two, male and female.  Viṣṇu, the male form of dharma portion of the Brahman is sustainer of this universe.  Śaktī,the female portion of the righteousness became the wife of Śiva.  She is called Umā.  Śiva, His wife Umā and Viṣṇu combine is referred as the Brahman in this nāma.

The three nāmas 278, 279 and 280 subtly convey the first kūṭa (vāgbhava kūṭa) of Pañcadaśī mantra(क ए ई ल ह्रीं).  That is why these nāma-s do not convey any serious meaning as seen in other nāma-s.  In fact, these nāma-s convey the secretive mantra form.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 281 – 286

Unmeṣa-nimiṣotpanna-vipanna-bhuvānavalī ऊन्मेषनिमिषोत्पन्नविपन्नभुवानवली (281)

Unmeṣa means opening eye lids and nimiṣ means closing of eye lids.

The creation and dissolution of the universe happens at the wink of Her eyes.  When She opens Her eyes, universe is created and when She closes Her eyes, universe is dissolved (vipanna).  She does these crucial acts with great ease.  This nāma actually highlights the ease with which the Brahman creates and dissolves this universe.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 55) also speaks on the same tone.  “The sages have said that the world gets dissolved and created with the closing and opening of your eyes respectively. I suppose that your eyes have dispensed with winking in order to save from dissolution of this entire world which has had its through the opening of your eyes.”

This nāma conveys the subtle nature of the cosmic creation. Kashmiri texts interpret Unmeṣa as the externalising of icchā śakti, the commencement of world process. Unmeṣa also means the unfoldment of spiritual consciousness, which is attained by focussing on the inner consciousnss.

Sahasra-śīrṣa-vadanā सहस्रशीर्षवदना (282)

Sahasra in this context means infinite and literally means thousand. She has countless heads and faces.  The next two nāma-s also have the same meaning.  Unable to describe Her supremacy by words, Vāc Devi-s have used an envisioned form here that encompasses summate supremacy.  In fact, it can be considered as true in literal sense.  Since the Brahman has so many acts to do in different places at the same time, the Brahman needed countless numbers of heads.

The countless number of heads for the Brahman is described in Veda-s and Upaniṣads.   Bhagavad Gīta (XIII.13) says “He dwells in the world, enveloping all – everywhere, His hands and feet; present on all sides, His eyes and ears, His mouth and heads”.

The Brahman has no form and therefore has no sensory organs.  The Brahman can be explained in two ways; one is by negation and the other by affirmation.  These nāmas explain the Brahman by affirmations.  These descriptions are called cosmic intelligence, hence beyond human comprehensionMahānārāyaṇa Upaniṣad (I.13) says “He (the Brahman) became the possessor of the eyes, faces, hands and feet of all creatures in every part of the universe (विस्व्तश्च्क्ष् विश्व्तोमुखः)”.   Thus, the Upaniṣadconfirms that the Brahman exists in every living being of this universe.  Puruṣasūkta also says ‘Puruṣa(the Brahman) has thousands of heads, thousands of eyes, thousands of feet’.  Each element of universal creation is individualized Cosmic Consciousness.

Sahasrākṣī सहस्राक्षी (283)

She has thousands of eyes. Viṣṇu Sahasranāma 226 also conveys the same meaning.

Sahasrapād सहस्रपाद् (284)

She has thousands of feet. Viṣṇu Sahasranāma 227 also conveys the same meaning.

Puruṣasūktam opens by saying “सहस्र-शीर्षा पुरुषः । सहस्राक्षः सहरपात्॥“

The first kūṭa of Pañcadaśī mantra is discreetly revealed in nāma-s 278 to 280.  The second and third kūta-s (ह स क ह ल ह्रीं। स क ल ह्रीं॥) of the mantra is revealed in nāma-s 281 to 284.

Ābrahma-kīṭa-jananī आब्रह्मकीटजननी (285)

The Supreme creator.  She creates from Brahma to the smallest insect. Brahma here means humans. Human form is said to be supreme creation of God.  Look at the placement of these nāma-s.  After having described the Brahman from nāma 281 to 284, Vāc Devi-s in this nāma have consolidated their description, by mentioning the creative aspect of the Brahman.  The Brahman was descried with countless heads, ears and feet only to highlight the ease with which creation is being made by Her.

Varṇāśrama-vidhāyinī वर्णाश्रमविधायिनी (286)

Varṇāśrama means the order of life as expounded in Vedās.  Veda-s classify people based upon their knowledge and capabilities.  For example, soldiers are needed to protect borders of countries, agriculturists are needed to grow grains for consumption to make a living, traders are needed to buy requirements, and priests are needed to perform rituals.  Veda-s say that the classification is not based upon their birth, but on the ability of a person to perform certain duties.  It would not be logical to expect a trader to protect borders effectively.  Therefore the inclination, capacity, knowledge and experience are the parameters by which a person is classified.  Such classifications are applicable only to the human race.  Since She is not different from Veda-s and all the Veda-s originated from Her, it is said that She has made these classifications.

Having created the universe, She also created the Veda-s to effectively administer the universe. Veda-s lay down rules and regulations to be followed in a human life. Path shown by Veda-s is known as dharma or righteousness. If one trespasses prescribed righteousness by Veda-s, he gets afflicted by karma-s that leads to several transmigrations.

Kṛṣṇa explains this in Bhagavad Gīta. “The duties are allocated according to guṇa-s springing from their own nature (XVIII.41). Each one attentive to his own duty, he gains the highest success.  How far one is devoted to his inborn duty, thus far he attains success (XVIII.45). If I did not perform actions in a balanced way, the universe would be annihilated and I would be the cause of improper admixture of duties (III.24).”

Lalitha Sahasranamam 287 – 289

Nijājñā-rūpa-nigamā निजाज्ञारूपनिगमा (287)

She conveys Her commands through Veda-s.  Derivatives of Veda-s prescribe the actions to be done and not to be done.  Such actions depend upon the classifications based on the previous nāma.  If all men perform all the actions prescribed in Veda-s, there can be no perfection. For example, a person cannot be an expert in medical, legal and financial fields all at the same time.  To attain proficiency in one’s field, more experience is required.  This is the reason behind nāma 286. Though Veda-s themselves do not discuss much on such acts, (karma kāṇḍa -s of Veda-s discuss certain gross actions) the derivatives of Veda-s like śāstra-s and Purāṇa-s clearly spell out the kriya-s (performance towards atonement) and karma-s (actions causing future reactions afflicting karmic account) to be done and not to be done.  But it is widely believed that śāstra-s are of later origin and do not derive significantly from the teachings of Veda-s and Upaniṣads.  By and large this argument is to be accepted, as they do not typically teach the ways to realising the Self within.  Therefore it is to be understood that there is a huge difference between Her commands through Veda-s directly, and through śāstra-s indirectly.  Here it means Her commands are only through Veda-s.  Following śāstra-sdepends upon one’s outlook, tradition and lineage.  Her commands through Veda-s are conveyed to those who are exponents of Veda-s such as sages and saints.  It is also believed that such sages and saints prescribed śāstra-s.  Many are of the view that śāstra-s initiate a person to pursue religious path and later into spiritual path.

Puṇyāpuṇya-phalapradā पुण्यापुण्यफलप्रदा (288)

Puṇyāpuṇya consist of two words puṇya + a-puṇya.  Puṇya means the good or right, virtue, purity, good work, meritorious act, moral or religious merit, and a-puṇya means the illusionary puṇya.  Illusionary puṇya or apuṇya is not exactly pāpaApuṇya is done out of ignorance and it is not as bad as committing sins or pāpa. Such discriminations are made based upon the teachings of Vedas. Brahma Sūtra (II.i.34) says, “No partiality and cruelty because of His taking other factors into consideration.  For so the Veda-s show.”

What is sown in is reaped.  Results arising out of such actions are transferred to one’s karmicaccount.  The end result of karmic account is rebirths and its associated pains and sufferings.  Such results accrue at Her command as She is the Lord of karma-s.

Brahma Sūtra (III.ii.7) confirms this. It says, “फलमत् उपपतेः (phalamat upapateḥ)” which means “The fruit of action is from Him, this being the logical position.”

Śruti-sīmanta-sindūrī-kṛta-pādābja-dhūlikā श्रुतिसीमन्तसिन्दूरीकृतपादाब्जधूलिका (289)

This nāma describes Her as the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute.  Veda-s are considered as the most sacred texts of all.  In this nāma the four Veda-s are personified as goddesses.  When these goddesses pay respects to Her by bending and placing their heads at Her feet, the reflection of red colour radiating from the ‘dust’ of Her feet make marks on the parting hair on the heads of these goddesses and appear like vermilion placed on the forehead of married women.  The word ‘dust’ is symbolically mentioned here.  The meaning of dust in this context is as follows:   Upaniṣads are considered as the head of all Veda-s as they teach ways and means to realize the Brahman.  Even these Upaniṣads are not able to describe the Brahman in His original form.  Such descriptions are made only by negations and affirmations.  It is the case with Veda-s as well.  Veda-s never make a perfect description of the Brahman.  This is because the real form of Brahman is beyond comprehension for the normal human mind.  Since the Veda-s are represented by these goddesses, they feel ashamed in their inability to describe Her in words.  They are satisfied by wearing the dust in Her feet in their parting hair and get satisfied that they are at least able to wear the dust that gives them some knowledge (the knowledge of the Brahman) about Her.

Saundarya Laharī (verses 2 and 3) describes Her feet. “Collecting microscopic particles of the dust falling from your lotus feet, BrahmaViṣṇu and Śiva carry out their actions.”  The next verse says. “The particles of dust of your lotus feet serve to remove the internal darkness of the ignorant.”

Nāmas 287 and 288 dealt with the karma kāṇḍa of the Veda-s and this nāma deals with jñāna kāṇḍa.

 

Lalitha Sahasranamam 290 – 294

Sakalāgama-saṃdoha-śukti-saṃpuṭa-mauktikā सकलागमसंदोहशुक्तिसंपुटमौक्तिका (290)

Her nose ring has been discussed in nāma 20.  The ring made of pearl encompasses the āgama-s prescribed Veda-s. Āgama-s are traditional doctrines or precepts that lay down guidelines for various rituals, mostly with temples.  It is a huge subject and is the combination of vāstu śāstra, astrology, astronomy etc.  Earlier nāma-s said that even Veda-s could not describe the Brahman.  In the same way āgama-s also could not describe the Brahman. Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.9) says, “Words together with thoughts return from Brahman unable to reach it.”  Therefore, the Brahman could not be reached by Veda-s, formed out of words.  The Brahman is beyond words.  The words or thoughts can make one realize something to which he has familiarity or experience.  But the Brahman cannot be realized this way.  The only way to realize the Brahman is by internal search and exploration. When compared to the Brahman, the Vedās or śāstra-s are insignificant.

That is why this nāma says such Veda-s or śāstra-s etc are within the tiny piece of Her nose ring.

{Further reading on āgamaAdvaita philosophy acknowledges six types of knowledge. They are perception (pratyakṣa), inference (anumāna), verbal testimony (śabda or āgama), comparison (upamāna), postulation (arthāpatti), and non-apprehension (anupalabdhi). Śabda as a source of valid knowledge means āgama, authentic word that is free from all defects.  It is a canon of knowledge recognised by most Indian systems of thought that the words of such persons as are free from delusion, error, deceit and defects of the senses and the mind are source of valid cognition.  Thus, reason is implicit in faith.  It is not unreasonable to rely on the reliable.  Generally, āgama can said to mean Vedic testimony.}

Puruṣārtha-pradā पुरुषार्थप्रदा (291)

Puruṣārtha is the fourfold values of human life.  They are dharma (righteousness or virtues), artha(wish or purpose), kāma (desires and pleasures) and mokṣa (the liberation).  It is clear that the ancient scriptures do not prohibit these great human values.  What they say is not to get attached to them.  On many occasions this concept is misquoted.  She is the giver of this puruṣārtha.

There is another interpretation. Puruṣā means Śiva (Śaktī is prakṛti), artha means salvation and pradameans giver.  Śiva gives salvation through Śaktī.  The importance of Śaktī is emphasized or probably the interdependence of Śiva and Śaktī is cited through this nāma.

Pūrṇā पूर्णा (292)

She is the perfect (without blemishes) totality of everything. Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (V.i.1) says

पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्ण्मुदच्यते। पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥

pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidaṃ pūrṇātpūrṇmudacyate| pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate 

“That (the Brahman) is infinite and this (universe) is infinite.  One infinite, proceeds to the other infinite.  Then taking the infinitude of the infinite (universe), it remains as the infinite (the Brahman) alone”.  There is no better verse than this to explain the all-pervading Brahman.  She is “That” (the Brahman, as Brahman alone is perfect and complete).

Bhoginī भोगिनी (293)

Bhoga means luxuries.  She is the enjoyer of all luxuries.  The embodiment of luxuries (She), enjoying the luxuries (of Her creations).  Possibly this nāma is derived from the previous nāma saying that the Brahman proceeds to the Brahman itself.  Here the term luxury could mean Her creations and She enjoys the acts of Her creation.  There is a saying that God watches all our actions.

Bhoginī is the name of a female serpent, indicating Her kuṇḍalinī form.  But this explanation at this point seems to be inappropriate.

Bhuvaneśvarī भुवनेश्वरी (294)

Bhuvana means the universe.  She is the ruler (Īśvari) of this universe.  Seven worlds below the planet earth including earth and seven worlds above the earth are together called universe.  These fourteen represent the products of the five tattva-s and antaḥkaraṇa.

hrīṃ” (ह्रीं) is known as Bhuvaneśvari bīja, also known as māyā bīja.  This bīja has the potency of creation and is considered as one of the powerful bīja-s, as it is the combination of Śiva bīja ()Agni (रं) bīja and kāmakalā (ईं).  When She is enjoying all the luxuries, She ought to be a great ruler and this is what is stressed here.   Bhuvaneśvara is Śiva and His wife is Bhuvaneśvarī.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 295 – 298

Ambikā अम्बिका (295)

The mother of the universe.  This is different from the first nāma Śrī Mātā.  There She was referred as the mother of all living beings of the universe.  Here She is called as the mother of the universe itself comprising of both living and non-living beings.  This nāma mentions about Her creative action that comprises of iccā, jñāna and kriyā śaktī-s (desire or will, knowledge and action).   There is also a saying that Śiva represents day and Śaktī represents night, basically due to Her māyā.

Anādi-nidhanā अनादिनिधना (296)

She has neither a beginning nor an end.  The nature of the Brahman is described, who alone is infinite.

Elation is said to be of two kinds.  The first kind is having a feeling of Self-realisation, though one is miles away from realising the Brahman.  This illusion is considered as an impediment to God-realization (Self-realization).  Since this is the cause of māyā, She will remove this kind of māyā for those, who are worthy of making spiritual progress.  The second type is that certain siddhi-s that are derived during spiritual progression.  For example the intuitive power, sudden realization of the Brahman like a flash possibly from the words of one’s guru or somebody, an unexpected meeting with a sage who could transfer the divine energy by a mere look, etc.   Sudden chance, which makes a person to reach new heights both materially and spiritually also, happens at Her discretion.  Since She is the cause for such elations and there is no beginning or end for such of Her activities, She is called anādi-nidhanā.

Anādi means existing from eternity and nidhana means domicile.  Nidhana also means destruction. Sāṃkhya sūtra (III.38, 39 and 40) refers to three types of destructions (in fact, they are not destructions but distractions), “Inability is twenty eight fold; Acquiescence is nine fold; Perfection is eight fold.”  Inability means depravation. One can worship Her using his organs of perception (jñānendriya-s), five cognitive faculties (knowledge) and the mind.  If they become dysfunctional, She cannot be worshipped. The cause of dysfunction is known as aśaktī. There are two other distractions.  One is tuṣṭi, satisfaction personified.  This arises out of illusion.  For example, having a false feeling of emancipation is tuṣṭi, which is again divided into two types.  The third is siddhi-s, the acquisition of supernatural powers by magical means or the supposed faculty so acquired (the eight usually enumerated are given in the following verse, “aṇimā laghimā prāptiḥ prākāmyam mahimā tathā īśitvaṃ ca vaśitvaṃ ca tathā  kāmāvasāyitā”. These siddhi-s are hindrance to the Ultimate realisation.

Haribrahamendra-sevitā हरिब्रहमेन्द्रसेविता (297)

Hari (Viṣṇu), Brahma and Indra worship Her. In Śrī cakra pūjaHari, Brahma and Indra are all worshipped.  The importance of Śaktī worship is underlined in this nāma. The Gods mentioned here are no demigods, but the creator and upholder and the lord of all gods and goddesses.  They too, on their own merits are powerful.  Śiva is not mentioned here possibly due to two reasons.  He being Her consort, is not worshipped by Her or there is no difference between Śiva and Śaktī.  The second interpretation seems to be appropriate.  It has been discussed earlier that Brahman is the combination of static and kinetic energy.  Though kinetic energy originates from the static energy, the latter cannot function without the aid of the former.  This concept is explained here.  Hari (Viṣṇu), Brahma and Indrashould not be taken in literal sense.  In fact, Veda-s talk about them more frequently than Śaktī.  It is also to be understood that mastery of Veda-s alone do not help to realize the Brahman.  One has to go beyond Veda-s to understand the Creation and the Creator.  Both Creation and the Creator refer to the Supreme Mother or “Ma” as She is fondly called.

The same interpretation is conveyed in Śivānanda Laharī (verse 4) for Śiva. “Thousands of Gods abound, offering trifling gifts to them who pray and never even in my dreams would I pray or request gifts from them. Śiva who is close to ViṣṇuBrahma and other Gods, but is difficult for them to near Him, I would beseech and beg always for His lotus feet.”

Nārāyaṇī नारायणी (298)

This nāma can be explained in several ways. Śivānanda Laharī (Śivānanda Laharī consists of one hundred verses on Śiva.  Saundarya Laharī consists of one hundred verses on Śaktī) verse 82 says, that Hari (Viṣṇu) and Haran (Śiva) are conjoined in several ways.  It says “ardhavapuṣa bharyatvamāryāpate” which means Viṣṇu holds the position of Śiva’s wife as Śiva holds Viṣṇu in His left vertical half.  This is the place of Śaktī in ardhanārīśvara form of Śiva.  The Form of Śiva and Viṣṇu combine is called Śaṇkara Nārāyaṇa.  This clearly indicates that there is no difference between Viṣṇu (also known as Nārāyaṇa) and Lalitāmbikā.  This conception is further confirmed in this Sahasranāma itself in nāma-s like Govinda-rūpinī (269), Mukunda (838) and Viṣṇurūpinī (893).

Nārāyana is the combination of two words nara + ayaṇa.  Nara here means the Brahman.  Since water first originated from the Brahman, water is also called nara.  Water is said to be first abode of the Brahman, hence the Brahman having the abode of water is called Nārāyaṇa.  Since there is no difference between Lalitāmbikā and the Brahman, She is addressed as Nārāyaṇī.

Viṣṇu Sahasranāma nāma 245 is Nārāyaṇa. The following is the explanation given to that nāma. “The creation is made out of that Ātman (the Brahman).  Such creations are known as nārāni.  The abode of nārāni is called Nārāyaṇa.  The feminine gender of Nārāyaṇa is Nārāyaṇī.  This nāma also reconfirms Her Brahmanic status.  There are several such confirmations in this Sahasranāma.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 299 – 300

Nāda-rūpā नादरूपा (299)

She is in the form of sound. Varivasyā Rahasya, the text that explains Pañcadaśi mantra (I.12 and 13) says, “The form of hrīṃ (ह्रीं) is composed of twelve letters: vyoman (h), agni (r), vāmalocanā (ī), bindu (ṃ), ardhacandra, rodhinī, nāda, nādānta, śaktī, vyāpikā, samanā and unmanī.”  The aggregate of the last eight is known as nāda. Out of the last eight, the subtlest is unmanī and they are placed above the bindu (dot).

{Further reading on sound:  The supreme divine energy is called Parā-Śaktī.  Parā-Śaktī is the divine Mother and naturally has concern for the universe.  In the state of parā (nāma 366), Śaktī is in the initial stage of manifestation.  The next higher stage of parā is paśyantī (nāma 368) where there are questions and answers.  Questions and answers leads to knowledge.  In stage of paśyantī, there exists no difference between the word and the object of reference.  The next stage is madhyamā(nāma 370) where the difference begins to arise between the word and the object of reference, but only in the levels of antaḥkaraṇa.  In other words, the difference between the paśyantī and madhyamāis only subtle and not reflected at the gross level (meaning delivery of speech).  In the last and final stage called vaikharī (nāma 371), the difference becomes gross and the sound is deciphered.   But it should be understood that Parā-Śaktī Herself does not undergo these changes, but such changes happen at Her command in the inward psychic apparatus of an individual.  She is known by these names during the different stages of evolution of speech.  These stages are discussed in the subsequent nāma-s.  The transition between madhyamā and vaikharī contains eight stages and the third stage is called nāda and their samaṣṭi (aggregate) is also known as nāda.  In general this nāma says that She is in the form of sound. She is Śabda Brahman. Further details are discussed in the respective nāma-s.}

Nāma-rūpa-vivarjitā नामरूपविवर्जिता (300)

She is without name (nāma) and form (rūpa). Vivarjitā means devoid.  She is beyond names and forms, an exclusive quality of the Brahman.  Every creation has two aspects. One is cit and another a-citCit means the universal consciousness and a-cit means individual consciousness.  Both cit and a-cit are derived from the Supreme Consciousness or the divine consciousness.  Cit is again sub-divided into existence, knowledge and bliss.  The Brahman is the cause for these three.  A-cit consists of nāma and rūpā (name and form) and this is opposed to cit in the sense, it does not represent the Brahman.  When the union of empirical “I” with the “I” consciousness of Śiva takes place, creation happens.  The derivatives of “I” consciousness of Śiva are existence, knowledge and bliss.  Name and form are the products of empirical consciousness.  Since the nāma says She is beyond nāma and rūpā (name and form), it is implied that She belongs to Cit, the Supreme Consciousness which is also known as the Brahman.  Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VIII.14.1) says, “That which is described as space manifests names and forms. These names and forms are within Brahman.  Brahman is immortal.  It is the Self”.  Vāc Devi-s utilize every opportunity to mention Her as the Supreme Brahman.  The Brahman can be described either through negations or through affirmations.  Here the quality of the Brahman is described by negation.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 301

Hrīṁkārī ह्रींकारी (301)

She is in the form of māyā bīja hrīṁ.  Hrīṁ is also called śākta praṇava or śaktī praṇava, which means that the worshippers of śaktī, call hrīṁ as praṇava bīja of Śaktī.  This is also known as Bhuvaneśvarī bījā (Nāma 294 is Bhuvaneśvarī).  Praṇava is the supreme ॐ.   The power of hrīṁ bīja is as powerful as ॐ.   That is why in Pañcadaśī mantra every kūṭa or group ends with the bīja hrīṁ.  Hrīṁ is the combination of ha (ह) + ra (र) + ī (ई) + ma (म) + bindu (‘).  Ha refers to manifestation, ra indicates involution (action of enfolding, the action of māyā), ī indicates perfection and the bindu, a dot on top of the bīja controls all the three.  Therefore hrīṁ means manifestation, involution and perfection.  The appearance of the bodily form enfolded by perfection is the literal meaning of the bīja hrīṁ.  This means that māyā or illusion is causing a veil around the Brahman and this veil can be removed only if one realizes the Supreme Consciousness of Śaktī.  Unless the kinetic energy (Śaktī) is fully realized, it is not possible to feel the pulsation of Śiva, the static energy.  In fact this bīja can also be called as Śiva-Śaktī bīja as ha stands for Śiva bījā and kāmakalā – īṁ (ईं) stands for Śaktī bīja.  The bīja ra (र) conjoins these two bīja-s to form a single Śiva-Śaktī bīja.  The role of ra in any bīja is significant.  The sound of ra is the chief of all the sounds.  Whenever hrīṁ is chanted, it endues peace and auspiciousness.

In any bīja the bindu is important and most of the bīja-s have bindu.  For example take the letter ha (ह).  When a dot is placed at the top of this ha it becomes haṁ (हं).  Without bindu an alphabet remains as an alphabet and becomes a bījā only if a ‘dot’ is placed above the alphabet.  The bindu though tiny, is yet very powerful.  There are three major sub divisions in a bindu leading to the union of Śiva and Śaktī, from where the three exclusive actions of the Brahman viz. creation, sustenance and destruction originate.  The three major sub divisions are bindu representing Śivabīja representing Śaktī and nādarepresenting their union.  A bindu above ha, one of the alphabets of hrīṁ spells like haṁ.  This bīja haṁ, a component of hrīṁ represents creation (h), sustenance (a) and destruction () the three functions of the Brahman.

The bindu undergoes subtle changes from its origin to delivery.  It originates as Parā Śaktī and gets modified as paśyantī, madhyamā and delivered at vaikari, (Please refer nāma 299 for additional details.)  At the time of delivery it undergoes modifications through eight stages) by deriving power from five basic elements and gets blessed by Brahma, Viṣṇu and Rudra.  It begins its journey from the heart cakra with the letter ‘a’ (अ), moves to the throat cakra and conjoins with ‘u’(उ) and further goes up to palate where it conjoins with ‘ṁ’ (मं), the three components of OM (a + u + ).  From the palate it moves to forehead where it derives its cosmic energy received through the crown cakra, enters the world of śūnya (cosmic vacuum) where no energy operates, moves further up  towards the top of the skull establishing a link through brahmarandhra with mahā śūnya (the great cosmic vacuum), where the Creation takes place.  When it moves further, the creation becomes transcendental energy and the life begins to exist out of the Self illuminating cosmic brilliance.  That is why bindu is said to be in the form of a luminous dot like the sun, born out of the union of Śiva and Śaktī.

There is no differentiation between the bīja hrīṁ and Śiva-Śaktī combine, the point of origin and the point of annihilation of this universe.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 302 – 306

Hrīmatī ह्रीमती (302)

Hrī means modesty. Veda-s describe Her as endowment of modesty, mind, satisfaction, desire and nourishment. All these indicate māyā. Her māyā or illusory form is described in this nāma.  It is also said that Her modesty prevents Her in participating in the rituals performed with pomp and vanity. She is ashamed of participating in such rituals. The worship of Śaktī should always be secretive in nature.   She has a liking for such secretive worships and these worships are performed only internally.  By worshipping Her internally, one realizes Her subtle forms viz. kāmakalā and kuṇḍalinī forms.  Realization through internal worship is much faster than by performing external rituals.

Hṛdyā हृद्या (303)

She resides in the heart. Soul is said to be in the centre of the heart. Heart also stands for compassion and love.  Since She is the Divine Mother, these qualities are in built in Her.  Or it could also mean that She is loved by everybody.

Katha Upaniṣad (II.i.13) says, “The thumb sized puruṣaḥ (soul) is seen as smokeless flame rests in the centre of the body.”

Heyopādeya-varjitā हेयोपादेयवर्जिता (304)

She has nothing to reject and nothing to accept. Rejection and acceptance (do this and do not do this) are laid down by scriptures. The source of these scriptures is the Veda-s and based on certain procedures followed by our ancestors. These are the rules and regulations that permit certain actions and prohibit certain others. These are also known as śāstra-s. Śāstra-s generally can be explained as compendium of rules or a book of treatise. Many of the śāstra-s are based on the procedures followed by our ancestors.  The guideline that was applicable centuries ago may not be applicable in today’s situation.  Therefore, there is no point in following śāstra-s without understanding their significance.  Adjusting to the present day living is not a sin.  Such rejections and acceptances are applicable only to human beings and not to the Brahman.

Rājarājārcitā राजराजार्चिता (305)

She is worshipped by king of kings and emperors.  This nāma is to be read with the next nāma.  Rājarājā means king of kings, Śiva.  Since She is the dear wife of ŚivaŚiva worships Her seems to be an appropriate interpretation.  Women are worshipped for their mother hood and Śiva who is the universal teacher follows what He preaches.

There is another interpretation for this nāma. Rājarājā means Kubera, Manu and ten others making twelve Rājarājā-s.  Please refer nāma 238 for further details.  Each of them worships Her in their own way and accordingly their Pañcadaśī mantra also gets modified without changing the basics of the mantra (the fifteen bīja-s).  All the twelve names find a place in this Sahasranāma. She is said to have been worshipped by these twelve Rājarāja-s. They are known as Rājarāja-s because of their sincere devotion to Her and She confers on them the status of king of kings.

Rājñī  राज्ञी (306)

The queen. This is in line with the previous nāma.  Being Śiva’s (Rājarāja or king of kings) wife, She becomes the queen for the kingdom of this universe.  The universe is ruled by Śiva and Śaktī.  Possibly this could also be a reason for calling Her as the universal Mother or in the shortened form as .  When one calls Her as , he will have a feeling that She belongs to you and closer to you.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 307 – 310

Ramyā रम्या (307)

She is the most beautiful of all.

Rājivalocanā राजिवलोचना (308)

The choice of words by Vāc Devi-s is amazing.  Rājiva means deer, fish or lotus, depending upon the context and locanā means eyes.  Eyes of Mā look like the eyes of deer or appear like a fish or look like a lotus flower.  They could have addressed Her as Mīnākṣī (refer nāma 18) (eyes look like fish) or could have used kamala-nayanā (eyes look like lotus) (refer nāma 62).  They have used only Mṛgākṣī(nāma 561) meaning eyes look like the eyes of deer and this nāma to describe Her eyes.

The intended meaning of this nāma is that Her eyes are not comparable to anything.  Her eyes are full of grace and compassion.  By mere winking of eyes, She performs three actions of creation, sustenance and destruction (nāma 281).  Rājiva also means king and rājivalocanā means eyes of one who is dependent on king.  It has been already seen that Śiva is known as Rājarāja and dependent refers to His devotees.  She blesses His devotees with the grace of Her eyes.

Rañjanī  रञ्जनी (309)

She gives happiness to Her devotees during this birth and also in the Heavens, possibly meaning no-rebirth.  The appropriate interpretation of this nāma would be:  Rañjana means the act of colouring and also pleasing, charming, rejoicing, delighting, befriending, etc. From this point of view, everything associated with Her is red.  Śiva is beyond colour and is pellucid like crystal.  When She sits with Him, Śiva’s complexion also turns into red.  His crystal complexion becomes radiant with the red complexion of the Supreme .  Saundarya Laharī (verse 92) explains this scenario in a different way. “Śiva with His clear lustre has transformed Himself into an apparent bed-cover reddened by your reflected lustre, as the embodied erotic sentiment and yields joy to your eyes.”

Ramaṇī  रमणी (310)

She plays around.  She plays with Her devotees.  Devotees are everything for Her.  She gives happiness to them and She plays with them too.  Providing happiness to one’s children and playing with them is one of the motherly qualities.  Her motherly attribute is highlighted here.  But devotees always keep a distance from Her out of fear and respect.  This is the biggest setback in God realization.  Fear and respect should pave way for love and affection.  Unfortunately, She is being considered as a different entity from one’s own self.  When we say that She is omnipresent, why should we consider Her as a different person?

This is what Chāndogya Upaniṣad VIII.12.3 says “In the same way, the joyful self arises from the body and attaining the light of the Cosmic Self, appears in his own form. This is the Paramātman, the Cosmic Self.  He then freely moves about eating, playing, or enjoying himself with women, carriages or relatives, not remembering at all, the body in which he was born.  Just as horses or bullocks are harnessed to carriages, similarly life remains harnessed to the body due to karma”.

The articulation by this Upaniṣad clearly proves that Self is not different from the Brahman.  If one feels the difference, it is due to māyā or illusion.  When we eat meat, She also eats meat with us.  When we relish onion, She also relishes onion with us.  When we are poor, She is also poor and when we are rich She is also rich.  This is the uniqueness of omnipresence.

Arjuna says to Kṛṣṇa after seeing his universal form (viśva-rūpa-darśan) “Overjoyed I am, that gazed upon a vision never seen before, yet my mind is afflicted with fear.  Be merciful to me and show only your God form (the original form of Kṛṣṇa)” (Bhagavad Gīta XI.45).  We should never feel that God is different from our Self.  The God within you and within him is one and the same. The only difference is the soul.  Certain souls realize God and certain others do not realize God and this purely depends upon one’s karma.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 311 – 316

Rasyā रस्या (311)

She is in the form of essence of Ātman.  The meaning of rasa (essence) can be understood from Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.vii) which says raso vai saḥ.  The meaning is “That is to be identified with sweetness.”  It further says that “anyone who has this sweetness is happy” and the source of sweetness comes from the Self.  Happiness is bliss and it says that bliss can be attained only if individual Self is realized. ‘That’ means the Supreme Self.  The nāma says that She is in the form of That Supreme Self.  The Supreme Self is the condensed form of the universe realized as the empirical Self.

Raṇatkiṅkiṇi-mekhalā रणत्किङ्किणिमेखला (312)

She is wearing a waistband with small bells hanging from it. The same narration also finds a place in Saundarya Laharī (verse 7) which says, “Your slender waist which is adorned by jingling girdle string (belt-like gold wait ornament called odyāṇa) having small tinkling gold bells attached.” Therefore the recital given here cannot be the intended interpretation. Possibly this could mean the origin of sound.  When She walks, these tiny bells make tinkling sound from where the sound originates. The sound originates from the naval chakra, where the waist belt is worn.  It is also said that the sound originates from the drum (damaru) of Śiva.  In the same way it can be said that sound originates from Her waist belt.

It is also said that these descriptions enable the beginners to visualise Her gross form.  She has four types of forms, gross (sthūla), subtle (sūkṣma rūpa), subtler (sūkṣmatara) which is also known as Her kāmakalā dorm and Her subtlest form is kuṇḍalinī form.  Her gross form is described in nāma-s twelve to fifty one.  Her subtle form (mantra-s) is described in nāma-s 85 to 89.  Her subtler form (kāmakalā) is described in 88 and 89.  (Nāma 322 is kāmakalā rūpa.) Finally, Her subtlest form kuṇḍalinī is described in 90 to 111.  (Psychic cakra-s are discussed in 475 to 534).

Ramā रमा (313)

Ramā means Lakṣmī, (consort of Viṣṇu) the goddess of wealth.  She is in the form of Lakṣmī and bestows wealth on Her devotees.  The wealth indicates both materialistic wealth and spiritual wealth.  Nāma-s 313, 314 and 315 together form kāmakalā bīja ‘ īm̐ ’ (ईँ).  This nāma gives the alphabet ‘Ī’ (ई).

Rākenduvadanā राकेन्दुवदना (314)

Her face is compared to the full moon.  Full moon is without blemishes.  The full moon represents the dot (bindu) above the letter ‘Ī’ which gives rise to the bīja  īṁ (ईं). At this stage the letter Ī (ई) has only a dot above it making it as īṁ (ईं), which is yet to transform as kāmakalā.

Ratirūpā रतिरूपा (315)

She is in the form of Rati, the wife of love god Manmatha, who is also known as Kāma (lust). In the earlier two nāma-s, the bīja īm̐ originated and delivered as a bīja in this nāma.  Rati and her spouse Kāma or Manmatha are known for their lecherousness.  The kāmakalā is full of auspiciousness and subtly indicates the creation.  The bīja īṁ formed in the previous nāma transforms into kāmakalā in this nāma. īṁ becomes īm̐.  Kāmakalā is discussed in detail in nāma 322 kāmakalā rūpā.

Ratipriyā रतिप्रिया (316)

She is fond of Rati, the wife of Kāma.  There is a yakṣiṇī (lower form of demigoddess) called Ratipriyāwho gives wealth. She is said to be Kubera’s wife. Kubera is the chief of yakṣa-s.  Ratipriyā’s mantrais short and one should chant this mantra in the night sitting on the top of a banyan tree.  It is said that the She will appear in person and gives wealth.  Her mantra is ‘om raṁ śrīṁ hrīṁ dhaṁ dhanateratipriye svāhā’ (ॐ रं श्रीं ह्रीं धं धनते रतिप्रिये स्वाहा॥).  This is to be chanted 100,000 times followed by puraścaraṇa.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 317 – 321

Rakṣākarī रक्षाकरी (317)

The one who protects.  She is the sustainer of this universe, hence this nāma.  There is another interpretation.  In specified fire rituals, oblations also consist of herbs.  When they are burnt into ashes by the tongs of fire, the ashes are filled in an amulet and worn on the self of a person for the purpose of protection from evils.  As ashes are used for protection and in that sense She is the protector.  Secondly, ashes also mean the mortal remains of one who existed earlier.  In this sense She is the destroyer. Out of the three actions of the Brahman, two are mentioned here.  She is in the form of such oblations that will be discussed in later nāma-s (535 and 536).

Rākṣasaghnī  राक्षसघ्नी (318)

The destroyer of demons.  Kṛṣṇa says (Bhagavad Gīta IV.8) “I appear from age to age to protect the virtuous and to destroy the evil doers in order to re-establish righteousness”.  This is the famous saying of Bhagavad Gīta:

paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām|
dharmasaṁsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge||

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम्।
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे॥

Demons mean the evils.  It is believed that when evil prevails everywhere, the great dissolution of the universe takes place and the creation happens again.

Rāmā रामा (319)

She is the embodiment of women.   Liṅga Purāṇa says that all men are Śaṃkara (Śiva) and all women are Śaktī.  It is also said that women should be respected.  If they are ill-treated, their lineage would be destroyed.  Ram means to delight.  It is agni bīja (रं).  Agni bīja is considered as a potent bīja and when combined with other bīja-s, it increases their potency.  Bīja-s in right combination with agni bījaprovides blessedness.  Yogi-s enjoy when they are submerged in bliss, when Śaktī and Śiva unite at sahasrāra.  They are delighted in the stage of bliss, hence she is known as Rāmā.

(Lord Rāmā is the delight of yogis; hence He is known as Rāmā.)

Ramaṇa-lampaṭā रमणलम्पटा (320)

She enjoys Her moments with Her consort Śiva at sahasrāra.  She enjoys the marital bliss. She loves to play around with Śiva.  She makes women devoted to their husbands, since She is the embodiment of women (previous nāma).

Kāmyā काम्या (321)

Kāmyā means longing for.  She is desired by the seekers of liberation.  Liberation is possible only through knowledge and She is that knowledge (nāma 980).  The 12th night of dark lunar fortnight is known as kāmyā.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 322

Kāmakalā rūpā कामकला रूपा (322)

She is in the form of kāmakalā.  This is Her subtler form which is known only to Her spouse Śiva.  The subtlest form is Her kuṇḍalinī form in sahasrāra, where She conjoins Her spouse.  Kuṇḍalinī in lower cakra-s does not become subtlest and it attains the subtlest form only in sahasrāra. Kāma refers to the object of adoration, the object that is desired.  Here, Śiva becomes the most desired of all, as He is the Supreme Reality or Paramārtha.  Śiva being the Supreme Ruler, He is addressed as Kāmeśvara.  By addressing Him thus, He not only becomes the object of desire (Kāma), but also becomes the Supreme Ruler (Īśvara). This how He becomes Kāma + Īśvara = Kāmeśvara. Kalā refers to vimarśaform of ŚivaMahātripurasundarī. Śiva alone is Self-illuminating and Śaktī illuminates the universe with the brilliance of Śiva. Their conjoined form is Kāmakalā.

Kāmakalā consists of three bindu-s (dots) forming a triangle and below this triangle there is an inverted triangle (hārda-kalā) where the three kūṭa-s of Pañcadasī mantra are placed.  From this lower inverted triangle all triads are born which ultimately leads to the creation of this universe.  The two parallel dots are Her bosoms by which this universe is nurtured and a single dot above these two dots is Her third eye.  Kāma means intent to create and kalā refers to a part of the main object, in this case, Śiva. The conjugation of Kāma and kalā leads to the manifestation of Kāmeśvara and Kāmeśvarīforms.  Śiva and Śaktī unite only in their kāma forms i.e. kāma + īśvarī and kāma + īśvara.  These two, are Their highest forms that cause Creation.  She is known as ‘Mahā-tripura-sundarī’ in the Kāmakalāform and is also known as bindutraya samaṣti rūpa divyākṣara rūpiṇi.  Mahā means supreme, tripurameans three cities (could mean entire triads, the cause for creation that are ruled by Her).  The deeper meaning of tripura is Her three actions viz. creation, sustenance and destruction.  Sundarī means beauty.  So ‘Mahā-tripura-sundarī’ means the beautiful and Supreme Mother, who creates, nourishes and dissolves.  These three acts are subtly mentioned in Kāmakalā.

The three bindu-s are extremely powerful.  They represent sun, moon and fire. Bindu is called the highest light.  The highest form of light naturally should be the origin of light from which all others should have emerged.  Self illuminating light is Śiva and that is why He is called as prakāśa form.  Śaktī reflects and distributes the light received from prakāśa form and that is why She is called as vimarśa form.  Vimarśa can be explained as knowledge with reasoning. The light of Śiva will not be reflected unless Śaktī is by His side.  These three bindu-s are therefore the three different forms of Śaktī and each of which represent three divine energies viz. Vāma, Jyeśta and Raudrī.  These goddesses represent Her three acts of creation, nourishment and absorption.  This is as far as the upper triangle is concerned.  It must be remembered that there is no triangle here but only three bindu-s (Bindu-s are further elaborated in nāma 905).  It is called as a triangle because if these dots are joined by straight lines, a triangle is formed.

This upper conceived triangle is coupled with the lower hārda-kalā or the lower inverted triangle.  Each of the three lines of the triangle represents the three kūṭa-s of Pañcadasī mantra.  From this lower triangle which is formed out of the three kūṭa-s of the supreme Pañcadasī mantra, all other mantra-s are born leading to the creation of the universe.  Thus the lower triangle is known as the organ of creation from which the universe was created.  In the upper triangle the two lower bindu-s mean the sustenance or nourishment and the upper most triangle is the bindu for destruction.  These bindu-sare also known as sun, moon and fire possibly indicating sustenance (sun-without which the universe cannot function), sustenance (moon – moon is the symbolic representation of love) and fire (one of the qualities of fire is destruction).   This can be in fact compared to the three kūṭa-s of Pañcadasī where the kūṭa-s are also known as agni (fire) kūṭa, Sūrya (sun) kūṭa and Chandra (moon) kūṭa.

The same interpretation is given in Saundarya Laharī (verse 19) which says, “The one who meditates on your Kāmakalā form, treating your face as the bindu (the upper bindu) and the pair of your bosom (the two lower bindu-s) and the half of the letter H below it (the lower triangle), at once impassions women, is but a triviality.”

It is not appropriate to provide a detailed interpretation, which should be known only from a learned guru of Śrī Vidya cult.  But those who do not have a guru, but are deeply attached to Śrī Mātā, the Divine Mother MĀ, should not be deprived of the opportunity to know the significance of Kāmakalā.Hence, a moderate interpretation is given here.  The usage of this Kāmakalā in ṣoḍaśī mantra in an appropriate place will provide early siddhi of the mantra.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 323 – 329

Kadamba-kusuma-priyā कदम्बकुसुमप्रिया (323)

She is fond of kadamba flowers, amidst the tress of which She lives (nāma 60).  The same nāma appears in Lalitā Triśatī as nāma 11.  Lalitā Triśatī consists of 300 nāma-s.  This 300 is arrived at by multiplying fifteen bīja-s of Pañcadaśī by twenty.  The first bīja in Pañcadaśī is ‘ka’ (क).  The first twenty nāma-s begin with this bīja and the next twenty nāma-s begin with next alphabet of Pañcadaśī ‘e’ (ए).  Triśatī is considered very powerful as it originates from the Pañcadaśī mantra.

There are said to be five types of sacred trees and kadamba tree is one among them.  These five sacred trees said to represent the four components of antaḥkaraṇa viz. mind, intellect, consciousness and ego and the fifth being the heart where the soul is said to reside (Some modern interpretations point out that the soul resides within the pineal gland, the gland of divinity).  The smell of these flowers is compared to the modifications of the mind.

Kalyāṇī कल्याणी (324)

She is the embodiment of auspiciousness.  Kalyāṇa means illustrious, noble, generous, virtuous, good etc. Rig-Veda (ऋग्वेद) I.31.9 uses the word Kalyāṇa. The Veda says, “तनूक्र्द बोधि परमतिश्च कारवे तवं कल्याण वसु विश्वमोपिषे tanūkrda bodhi paramatiśca kārave tavaṃ kalyāṇa vasu viśvamopiṣe”, where Kalyāṇa is used to mean worthy.  The same nāma appears in Lalitā Triśatī as nāma 2.  The power of auspiciousness in the form of positive energy can be realised through powerful vibrations.

Jagatī -kandā जगतीकन्दा (325)

She is the cause of the universe. The cause for the origin of the universe is attributed to the Brahman. Her Brahmanic stature is repeatedly emphasized in this Sahasranāma through various attributes. She is ‘prakāśa vimarśa mahā māyā svarūpinī’ by which She creates the universe.

Karuṇārasa-sāgarā करुणारससागरा (326)

The ocean of compassion. Karuṇa means compassion, rasa means essence and sāgara means ocean. Compassion is Her natural quality, because She is the universal mother.  Lalitā Triśatī nāma 9 is ‘karuṇāmrta sāgarā’, which conveys the same meaning. Śaṇkarā, the great saint has given the following interpretation:  “Ocean, without making a move is the cause for rain and the entire universe sustains on this water.  A drop of water gets itself detached from the clouds and enters a different plane (leaving ākāś and reaching earth) merely to sustain this universe.  The water itself does not get any benefit out of its own action.  Such is Her compassion.”  This compassion is called the Supreme because, She does not differentiate. As far as She is concerned, all are equal before Her, yet another reasoning for addressing Her as the universal Mother.

Kalāvatī कलावती (327)

She has sixty four types of arts or She is the possessor of these sixty four types of arts, which have been already discussed in nāma 236 and the interpretation is reproduced here.  (She is the embodiment of sixty four types of arts.  Kalā means art.  There are sixty four types of arts in tantra śāstra-s.  No concrete evidence is available either to confirm or dispute these sixty four arts (arts can be explained as either science or art or doctrine. They are all in the form of dialogue between Śiva and His consort Pārvatī.   But, these sixty four types of arts originate from aṣṭama siddhi-s (the eight super human powers).  Śiva himself tells Pārvatī about these sixty four arts.

Saundarya Laharī verse 31 says, “catuḥ-ṣaṣṭyā tantraiḥ sakalm” meaning that the sixty four tantra-sconstitute everything.  The sixty four tantra-s originate from the Pañcadaśī mantra and culminate in the Pañcadaśī mantra. This is evident from the fact that the same Saundarya Laharī verse says ‘idam tetantraṃ’ possibly meaning the Pañcadaśī mantra that is declared in the next verse of Saundarya Laharī.  Since there is no differentiation between Her and the Pañcadaśī mantra, She is said to be in the form of all the sixty four types of tantric arts.  These sixty four types of tantric arts are declared to the world by Śiva at the instance of His consort.  The difference between nāma-s 236 and 327 is very subtle.  The former says that She is in the form of these sixty four fine arts and this nāma says that She has these sixty four types of arts.   The difference is between possession and reflection or prākaśa (Self illuminating) and vimarśa (reflecting).

Kalālāpā कलालापा (328)

Her speech itself is an art.  Lalitā Triśatī nāma 156 is also ‘Kalālāpā’. Kalā generally means sixty four types of fine arts.  But, kala refers melodious voice. Ālāpa also means speech. This nāma refers to Her melodious voice as art or Kalā.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 38) mentions eighteen types of arts “as a result of whose conversation, the maturation of the eighteen arts takes place”.  These eighteen arts are interpreted in different ways.  The first one says, that the sixteen bīja-s of ṣodaśī mahā mantraDevi and one’s guru make the eighteen.    This is called aṣṭādaśaguṇitavidyā अष्टादशगुणितविद्या. Another interpretation refers to eighteen types of vidyā-s – śikṣā, kalpa, vyākaraṇa, nirukta, jyotiṣa, candas, Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sāma Veda, Atharva Veda, pūva and uttara mīmāṁsā, nyāya, purāṇa, dharma śāstra, Āyurveda,dhaṇurveda, gāndharva and nīti śāstra.  This means, that from the melodious speech of Devi, the eighteen vidya-s originate and by attaining these vidya-s a person is able to distinguish between good and bad through the means of his mind.

Kāntā कान्ता (329)

She is beautiful.  Nāma 324 discussed about vibration of Her auspiciousness.  This nāma says that Her beauty is vibrating and radiating.   This is with regard to Her gross form.  This nāma also talks about Her Brahman form. Ka means the Brahman and antā means the ultimate.  Therefore kāntā also means the Supreme Brahman, the Ultimate (refer nāma 325).

Lalitha Sahasranamam 330 – 334

Kādambarī-priyā कादम्बरीप्रिया (330)

Kādambara is spirituous liquor distilled from the flowers of the Cadamba. The rain water which collects in hollow places of the tree Nauclea Cadamba (botanical name) when the flowers are in perfection and impregnated with honey is known as Kādambarī.  It is a type of intoxicating drink.  It is one of the five ‘M’s that we have discussed under tantra sastra.  In navāvarana pūja (ritual worship of Śrī cakra pūja) a special drink (viśeṣa arghya) is prepared and offered to the Goddess.  Generally special drink consists of components of these five M-s – madhya (wine) māmasa (meat) matsya (fish) maithuna(procreation) and mudrā (reckoning of fingers).  This sort of worship is called left hand worship.  To practice this, one needs to have a masterly guru.  In general this practice is not ideal for regular worship and not encouraged.  The Supreme Goddesses is known for Her liking for such intoxicating drinks.  In reality this does not mean intoxicating drink; but it refers to the ambrosia that is generated when kuṇḍalinī reaches the sahasrāra.  Or it could also mean the devotion expressed by Her devotees and She gets intoxicated by such true devotion (refer nāma 118 bhakti-priyā).  It is also interesting to note that there are other nāma-s in this Sahasranāma about Her liking for intoxication that convey different interpretations depending upon the context.

Varadā वरदा (331)

The one who grants boons. In Viṣṇu Sahasranāma nāma 330 is also Varadā. Granting boons is the general quality of all Gods and Goddesses.  In certain forms of Gods and Goddesses the right palm is used as a gesture of granting boons.  There is a special significance for this nāma.   She does not grant boons through Her palms.  Her sacred feet give boons.  She is kāmadāyinī (nāma 63).  Otherwise nāma 83 will not have any meaning.  The significance of this nāma is further strengthened by nāma 117.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 4) perfectly describes this nāma.  It says, “You are the refuge of all the worlds!  All gods except you vouchsafe protection to devotees and grant their desires by gestures of their hands.  You alone do not show varada and abhaya gestures.  It is so because Your feet are by themselves powerful to protect those in the grip of fear and grant more that what is desired for by devotees.”   Such niceties describe the ease with which She grants boons.

It is also said that She is to be worshipped by concentration (through meditation) on ninth lunar day (navami) when She becomes the giver of boons to all the worlds.

Vāma-nayanā वामनयना (332) 

Literally this nāma means ‘beautiful eyes’.  Vāma also means fruits of action and nayat means leading to. Vāma-nayanā therefore means ‘the fruits of one’s actions lead to Her’, indicating the final liberation.

This is substantiated in Chāndogya Upaniṣad in IV.15.2.  It says ‘saṁyād-vāma’ (concentration of all good things) which means that one who knows the Self (Her Brahman form as the Supreme Self) becomes a container of all good things.  He carries the fruits of good things according to what they deserve (as per their karmic account).  The next verse of the Upaniṣad says ‘sarvāni vāmāni nayati’which means the source of all that is good and pure, indicating the Brahman. The word vāmāni is used in the Upaniṣad to mean the One who carried the fruits of good work to all beings according to what they deserve.  He is the support of all that is good.

Vāruṇi-mada-vihvalā  वारुणिमदविह्वला (333)

Vāruṇi is the extract of dates that is allowed to brew and when consumed causes inebriation.  By consuming this, She forgets the surroundings and concentrates on Her inner Self (possibly meaning Śiva) is the literal meaning of this nāma.  This will be further explained in nāma 878.

There is a nāḍi (nerve) called vāruṇi which can be controlled by breath. This nāḍi plays a significant role in excretion of bodily waste.  If this nāḍi is brought under control by proper breathing exercises, one will never feel tiredness in the body.  Sages keep this nāḍi under their control to cope up with longer duration of meditation.  She is said to be in form of this nāḍi.  This nāma could not have been conceptualised by any human brain to convey such an intricate meaning, other than Vāc-devi-s.

Viśvādhikā विश्वाधिका (334)

She is beyond all tattva-s. There are thirty six important tattvas commencing from Śiva tattvadownwards till pṛthivi (earth) tattva.  She transcends all these tattva-s.  All the living beings exist because of these tattva-s only. Thirty six tattva-s comprise of basic five elements, four components of antaḥkaraṇa, seven components of māyā tattva and five components of Śiva tattva.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 335 – 337

Veda-vedyā वेदवेद्या (335)

She can be known through Veda-s.  All the Veda-s lead to the Supreme Reality, the Brahman.  Brahman is the embodiment of Veda-s.

Kṛṣṇa says, (Bhagavad Gīta XV.15) “By all the Veda-s, I am to be known. …I am the knower of all Veda-s”.

Veda-s can be known only through knowledge.  In other words, unless one has knowledge, the Self-realization is not possible.  Brahman is the essence of that knowledge.  There is a difference between Veda-s and VedāntaVedānta refers to the teachings of Upaniṣads.  Study of Upaniṣads gives the necessary impetus to the knowledge.

It is also said that Śrī Cakra has four gates on the four sides and each gate represents one Veda.  Knowing Her through Veda-s is called Śuddha Vidya (the perfect knowledge) in contrast to Śrī Vidyathat deals predominantly with rituals.

No doubt, some good interpretations on Veda-s are available, but the fact is that Veda-s are beyond human interpretation.  If one looks at the Veda-s, one may tend to believe that they talk about external fire rituals. In fact they do not. They convey several subtle interpretations and only out of such interpretations, Upaniṣads originated.  Upaniṣads do plain speaking and to the point. They make attempts to qualify the Brahman by affirmations and negations.  She is in the form of essence of Veda-s.

{Further reading on Veda-s:  The Veda-s (वेद) are the most important treatise to the humanity.  They are in classical Sanskrit language that was widely used in ancient Aryan times. The Vedic verses can be interpreted from various angles like literature, spiritual, religious, grammar, philosophy etc.  Though there are interpretations on Veda-s available today, it is doubtful whether they truly convey the intended meaning.  This is not because of defective interpretations or lack of efficiency of the interpreters, but mainly due to the abilitie-s of Veda-s to communicate both gross and subtle renditions.  A careful reading of Vedic verses reveals that they deal with symbolic separation of bodily organs of the performer and offered to higher energy fields for purification.  Veda-s never advocated physical slaying of animals. But it is wrongly interpreted that various organs of an animal are offered as oblations.  Veda-s originated from divine commune.  For a long time, they were not penned down as the verses and were channeled from a master to his disciples.  The sages have chosen the oral path for communication as these verses relied more on orthoepy to prevent any distortions.   Most of the texts of Veda-s are in the form of verses.  These are called mantra verses and their oral delivery largely depends on phonics and rhythm.   There are portions of prose as well and they are known as Brāhmaṇa (ब्राह्मण) passages.  These passages explain the procedures for rituals and dwell more on the practical side.

There are four Veda-s, Rig, Yajur, Sāma and Atharva (ऋग्, यजुर्, साम, अथर्व). The first three are known as trividyā (त्रिविद्या) (literal translation – three types of knowledge).  Atharva Veda is not included here because of its late origin.  The origin of the other three Vedas is not known.  But the fact remains that they defied Nature’s fury and continued to guide even in this contemporary world.  Vedas are also known as Śruti-s (श्रुति).  Veda-s in their original form is too difficult to comprehend as they are considered to have been delivered by God Himself to the ancient sages and saints. The sages conglomerated the speech of God, by colligating their highest level of cosmic intelligence with the Supreme Consciousness.  They memorized these verses and imparted them to their disciples orally.  If the sages had chosen to contrive the Vedas into manuscripts, they could have been destroyed or modified, unable to stand the vagaries of the Mother Nature.  It is beyond the human power to decrypt the speech of God.  To make it possible to some extent, the study of Vedas were divided into various categories and each category was analyzed by the experts in the respective fields. This study is known as vedāṅga (वेदाङ्ग) that integrates study of phonetics, ritual injunctions, linguistics, grammar, etymology, lexicography, prosody, astronomy and astrology.

The elaborate study of Veda-s would not have been initiated, had it been easier to understand them. Vedāṅga attempted to corroborate various expert interpretations, thereby making it possible to first understand the gross interpretation and later its subtle conveyance.    It was concluded that Vedas discuss about every act of a human being, from birth to death.  This conclusion was divided into three broad categories known as jñāna, karma and upāsana.  Jñāna means wisdom.  It is not the knowledge of literacy. This knowledge is known as wisdom.  Knowledge is of mundane type, the psychological result of perception of learning and reasoning.  Wisdom has the ability to apply knowledge gained for the purpose of practical judgment, discrimination and insight.  This is the reason why wisdom is considered superior to knowledge.  The Veda-s both directly and indirectly advocate acquiring of wisdom. As wisdom can be acquired only through experience, they prescribe karma-s.  Karma-s mean actions.  By repeated actions, experience is gained and by such experience, one is able to discriminate between good and bad.  Next is upāsana which means performance, performance of rituals.  Upāsana differs from karma.  Karma means actions for sustenance.  Upāsana means actions performed to realize God.  The Veda-s give innumerable interpretations to the concept of God.  The basic idea of the Veda-s is to make one realize God, which they call as the Brahman.  To realize the Brahman, the Veda-s insist that one should be proficient in all the three categories.  Therefore, it is made imperative to understand the Veda-s, in their archetypical form, as the verses of Veda-s have deeper implications.}

Vindhyācala-nivāsinī विन्ध्याचलनिवासिनी (336)

She lives in Vindhyā mountains.  In Durgā Saptasati (Seven hundred verses like Bhagavad Gīta and is a part of Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa) XI.41, She says “I will be born in the house of Nandagopa (father of Kṛṣṇa) and will live in Vindhyā mountains, during which time I will kill these two demons (two demons called Śumba and Niśumba)”.  This verse is a definite clue identifying Kṛṣṇa as Lalitāmbikā. This could be the reason for various nāma-s in this Sahasranāma identifying Her with Viṣṇu.  There are certain instances where She is said to be the sister of Viṣṇu.  In this Sahasranāma, nāma 280 says that She is the sister of Padmanābha, one of many names.

Vidhātrī विधात्री (337)

Dhātrī means the motherhood.  She being (Śrī Mātā) the Supreme Mother, She nourishes this universe. Dhātrī also means gooseberry (Emblica Officinalis or amla) and in this context it is said that She likes gooseberries. This tree is said to be a sacred tree attributed to Goddess Lakṣmī.  The lord of creation, Brahma, is known as Vidhātra and his wife is Vidhātrī.  The Supreme Śiva in the form of Brahman creates this universe, as Viṣṇu maintains it and as Rudra destroys it.  His consorts in these three stages are known as Sarasvatī, Lakṣmī and Rudrāṇī.  There are other nāma-s (457, 823, 826, 985) with the same meaning, that come up later in this Sahasranāma. In Lalitā Sahasranāma no nāma is repeated for the second time.  But there are certain nāma-s that could convey the same meaning.  If one goes deep into each nāma, one can realize that such nāma-s also convey different meanings altogether.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 338 – 340

Veda-jananī वेदजननी (338)

Creator of Veda-s.  Literally this can be explained as ‘She gave birth to Veda-s’.  Veda-s originated from the Brahman in the form of sound.  This sound was realized by the ancient sages and taught to their disciples orally.  Only in the recent past, Veda-s are made available in textual forms.  More than the text, the orthoepy is important in Veda-s and any wrong recitals or wrong notes (svara) leads to undesired results.  This was the reason for teaching Veda-s orally.  Veda-s originate from ŚabdaBrahman (śabda means sound).

Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (I.i.5) gives a different interpretation. “There are two categories of knowledge, secular or aparā and spiritual or parā.  Aparā comprises of four Veda-s, phonetics, rituals, grammar, etymology, metre and astronomy. But parā is that by which one knows the Brahman, which is ever the same and never decays.”

But, Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (II.iv.10) puts this in a different perspective. “Rig Veda, Yajur VedaSāma Veda, Atharva Veda, history, mythology, arts, Upaniṣads, pithy verses, aphorisms, elucidations and explanations are like the breath of this infinite Reality. They are like the breath of this Supreme Self.”

Puruṣa-sūktam gives yet another interpretation.  It says that ‘the Veda-s originated from sarvahutayajñā that was conducted by gods and great sages, invoking Puruṣa as the lord of this fire ritual.  This Puruṣa is called the Brahman, from whom the Veda-s originated.

Even though the interpretations are different, all of them concur that the Veda-s or its subtle form sound, originated from the Supreme.

Viṣṇu-māyā विष्णुमाया (339)

She is the māyā of Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu is all-pervading maintainer of the universe.  Brahman’s sustaining act is known as Viṣṇu.  Nārāyaṇa Sūktam says ‘Viṣṇu exists both internally and externally (of our physical body)’.  Śaktī is in the form of māyā or illusion that forms a sort of veil around the Brahman.  Unless the veil is removed, one cannot realize the Brahman and this is the reason why so much importance is attached to Śaktī worship. Śiva has given His independent autonomy (svātantraya śaktī) to Śaktī to administer the universe.

Kṛṣṇa says (Bhagavad Gīta VII.14) “It is difficult to transcend my māyā consisting of three qualities (three guṇa-s).  Only those who surrender unto me can become free from the clutches of māyā”.  This verse of Gita should be considered as very significant.  In a single verse Kṛṣṇa explains the concept of māyā and way to overcome it.  Māyā is the combination of three guṇa-s viz. satvic, rajas and tamas.  Manipulating these gunas cause manifestation.  If one is able to transcend these three guṇa-s, the first step of removing the veil of māyā is achieved.  The next step is to surrender unto Him.  Kṛṣṇa says “māmeva ye prapadyante māyāmetāṁ tarantidya मामेव ये प्रपद्यन्ते मायामेतां तरन्तिद्य.”  This means ‘those who surrender unto me certainly overcome this illusion’.

Vilāsinī विलासिनी (340)

Vilāsa means playful.  One interpretation is that She is interested in fun, associated with lusty acts with Śiva.  Possibly this could mean that such acts are not considered as sins, as projected.  If such acts do not exist, where is the question of procreation?  If no procreation is happening, one of the God’s acts, the creation itself will be in jeopardy.  Even the ancient scriptures do not advocate abstaining from such acts.  But, at the same time they do prescribe certain rigorous rules and regulations that are to be strictly adhered to.

Vilāsa also means the power of projection which is called vikṣepa śakti (power of projection, through which the projection of the world is possible).  This is the true act of māyā, veiling the Ultimate Truth and projecting It is as something else, thereby causing illusion. This interpretation seems to be appropriate as this nāma follows the earlier nāma Viṣṇu-māyā’.  When She is in the form Viṣṇu’s māyā, (Viṣṇu is all-pervading) naturally She causes illusion.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 341 – 345

Kṣetra-svarūpā क्षेत्रस्वरूपा (341)

Since the next few nāma-s deal with Her Kṣetra form, understanding Kṣetra becomes important.  Kṣetra is the physical body and kṣetrajña is the soul. Kṣetra is made up of thirty six tattva-s (some take only twentyfour) or principles. There is an exclusive chapter (XIII) in Bhagavad Gīta on this subject.  Kṛṣṇa opens this chapter by saying that “the body is called kṣetra (where karma-s are created and its effect executed) and which cognizes this is called kṣetrajña”.  Liṇga Purāna also says ‘the Goddess (Śaktī), the beloved of the slayer of the three cities (Śiva) is Kṣetra while the Lord (Śiva) is Kṣetrajña’. Kṣetra is gross and kṣetrajña is subtle. Kṣetra is perishable, whereas the knower of Kṣetra, kṣetrajña is eternal and imperishable.

Kṛṣṇa concludes chapter XIII by saying, “Those who know the difference between kṣetra and kṣetrajñaand the phenomenon of liberation from Prakṛti with her evolutes, reach the supreme eternal spirit.”

She is said to be in the form of such kṣetra. This nāma means that She is the embodiment of all gross forms of this universe.

Kṣtreśī क्ष्त्रेशी (342)

Wife of Kṣetrajña (Śiva) is Kṣtreśī (Śaktī). It is like Bhairava and Bhairavī. It must always be remembered that there is no difference between Śiva and Śaktī.  Or it may also be said that She is the Īśvarī of all kṣetra-s (possible extension of the previous nāma).

Kṣetra-kṣetrajña-pālinī क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञपालिनी (343)

The protector of both kṣetra and Kṣetrajña.  She protects both viz. the gross body and the soul.  Kṣetrajña-pālinī could mean the protector of the soul or the protector of Śiva.  Being Śiva’s wife She has to necessarily protect Him.  Being Śrī Mātā or the divine Mother, She has to protect Her children.  That is why Śiva is called as the universal father and Śaktī as the universal mother. (Poet Kālidāsa says in his Raghuvaṃśa  “jagataḥ pitarau  vande pārvati parameśvarau जगतः पितरौ  वन्दे पार्वति परमेश्वरौ ।“)

Kṣaya-vṛddhi-vinirmuktā क्षयवृद्धिविनिर्मुक्ता (344)

She is beyond growth and decay. These are associated with all mortals. One has to look at the beauty of this nāma.  In nāma 341 She was addressed as the gross body, Kṣetra-svarūpā. In 342 She was addressed as Kṣtreśī, wife of Kṣetrajña (Śiva). In the next nāma 343 She was called as the protector of both the Kṣetra and Kṣetrajña (body and soul) and in this nāma Vāc Devi-s address Her as the One without growth or decay, the qualities of the Brahman.  Without calling Her as the Brahman She is being addressed by Her various actions.

Kṛṣṇa explains soul thus (Bhagavad Gīta II.23): “The soul is never born or dies; nor does it become only after being born, imperishable, eternal and free from birth and decay…..”

Bṛrhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (IV.iv.22) says “It is the controller of all…It does not grow better through good work nor worse through bad work”

Kṣetra-pāla-samarcitā क्षेत्रपालसमर्चिता (345)

She is worshipped by Kṣetra-pāla-sKṣetra, as discussed in nāma 341 is the body. Pāla means the Protector. This body is protected by pañcabhūta (the five elements viz. akash, air, fire, water and earth). Each of these elements is represented by a demigod.  She is worshipped by them. This appears to be the appropriate interpretation.

There is an interesting story associated with this nāma. Goddess Kālī was created by Śiva to slain a demon called Dāruka.  Even after killing him, the ferocity of Her anger could not be controlled. The entire universe was rattled by Her anger. To appease Her anger Śiva Himself assumed the form of an infant. After all She is the Supreme Mother.  She started feeding the child (Śiva). While suckling, Śiva also sucked Her anger. This child is called Kṣetrapāla, because He protected this universe from a catastrophe. She was worshipped by this Kṣetrapāla.

The place where major yajña rituals take place is also called kṣetra and the god who protects it is called Kṣetrapāla and She is worshipped by him.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 346 – 351

Vijayā विजया (346)

She is always victorious.  She wins all Her battles against evil doers who are known as demons.  It can also be said that She has conquered Śiva’s love, hence victorious.  During dasara festival, 10thday evening (known as vijaya dasami, meaning victorious 10th day of dasara festival) twilight time is considered as the most auspicious time to commence any event.  There is a tithi nitya devi(worshipped in Śrī Cakra) by name Vijayā.

Vimalā विमला (347)

She is devoid of impurities.  Mala means impurities arising out of ignorance.  When She is the embodiment of knowledge, there is no question of impurities arising out of ignorance.  The same meaning is also conveyed in nāma 135. Vi (वि) as a prefix to a word conveys the opposite meaning of the word. For example, mala means impurities and vi-mala means devoid of impurities.

Interpretation for nāma 135 nirmalā is repeated here.  Mala means dirt arising out of impure matter.  She is without such dirt.  In nāma (134) impurity arising out of mind was discussed and in nāma 135 impurities arising out of matter is being discussed.  It is to be recalled that mind and matter is Śaktī.  Mala is a sense of imperfection that leads to ignorance about the soul and hampers the free expression of the Supreme Self.  This ignorance is caused by ego which is called āṇava-mala.

This nāma says that if one gets rid of attachments towards matter and by dissolving ego, knowledge is attained.  Presence of mala causes avidyā (lack of knowledge) which leads to confusion, dirt and darkness.  This darkness etc can be dispelled by meditating on Her, thereby acquiring knowledge.

Vandyā वन्द्या (348)

She is adorable.  We adore someone by merely seeing him and without even knowing him.  This happens because he draws divine energy from the cosmos and this gets reflected through his body as vibrations.  Such vibrations are normally drawn through an orifice in the crown cakra and also through medulla oblongata which is situated beneath the back of our head.  The third eye, the pineal gland and the back head cakra are placed in a straight line.  When one is able to look within through the ājñācakra, the energy generated passes through the pineal gland and gets released through the back head cakra and in the process cleanses bio-plasma body.  This process not only accelerates one’s spiritual progress but also rarely confers some super human powers (siddhi-s).

She is the embodiment of all the energies of the universe.  She draws Her energy from the Supreme Śiva and transmits to the universe for its sustenance.

Vandāru-jana-vatsalā वन्दारुजनवत्सला (349)

This can be considered as an extension of the previous nāma.  She loves Her devotees like a mother who loves her children.  The vibration of love is emanated through one’s body like fragrance of a flower.  Because of caring and loving nature also She is known as Vimalā (nāma 347).  One can notice this in daily life.  When one serves food for his dog, by impulse he develops love for his dog and this is radiated through his body.  The dog reads his vibrations and feels his love and wags its tail as a token of reciprocating his love.

Vāgvādinī वाग्वादिनी (350)

She prompts speech or She is in the form of speech itself.  Goddess Sarasvatī is referred to as the goddess of speech.  This nāma could mean that Sarasvatī acquired the control of speech from Her (like allocation of portfolios in a government).  Since She is the origin of speech, She is Vāgvādinī.

Vāmakeśī वामकेशी (351)

Wife of Vāmakeśvarā is Vāmakeśī.  Śiva introduced twenty eight tantra-s (as per Śaivasiddhānta) to the universe and one among them is called Vāmakeśa tantra.  This deals only with Her worship, hence She is called Vāmakeśī.  Vāmakā means a man.  Śiva is considered as the chief among men (īśvarā), hence He is known as Vāmakeśvarā (vāmaka + īśvarā).  His wife is Vāmakeśī.  It is like Bhairava and Bhairavi.

There are two nāma-s in Lalita Sahasranāma beginning with Vāmakeśa.  The first one is this nāma, Vāmakeśī and the other one is nāma 945. Vāmakeśvarī.  Vāma has innumerable meanings such as beautiful, splendid, Śiva, Durgā, Lakṣmī, Sarasvatī, a beautiful woman, wife, left side, etc.  Keśameans hair.  Then this nāma means that She has beautiful hair.  But this interpretation does not align well with the preceding and succeeding nāma-s. Nāma 350 refers to Goddess Sarasvatī and nāma 352 could mean Durgā.  If these interpretations are correct, then this nāma should refer to Goddess Lakṣmī, which seems to be appropriate.

Nāma 945 is Vāmakeśvarī which refers to Vāmakeśvara tantra.  This tantra is said to be the sixty fifth tantra apart from the sixty four discussed in Saundarya Laharī verse 31 and nāma 236 of this Sahasranāma.  Vāmakeśvara tantra is said to be the most important tantra for Śrī Vidyā worship.  This tantra discusses on internal worship of Śaktī Vāmakeśvarī is said to be the source of this Universe.

Śaktī asks Śiva in Vāmakeśvara tantra “Lord, you revealed to me all the sixty four tantra-s.  But you have not told me about sixteen Vidyā-s.”  Śiva answers by saying that this has not been declared yet and is hidden so far.  Then Śiva begins declaring this tantra to Devi.  Everything in this tantra has been revealed in a very subtle manner.

To cite an example the bīja hrīṁ is declared as the form of Vidyā protecting the self is Śivaagnimāyāand bindu.  Unless one knows the bīja-s of these gods and goddesses, it is difficult to make out the hidden bīj.  Śiva bījā is haAgni bījā is ramāyā bīja (root of īṁ ईं or kāmakalā) is ‘ī’ and bindu is the dot.  By joining all this, the bīja hrīṁ is arrived.  Śiva declares a number of uncommon yet powerful bīja-s in this tantra.

Vāma-s mean those who worship Her through left hands. They do not follow the five principle yajñā-sthat will be discussed in nāma 946 subsequently.  She is the Goddess for these left hand worshippers.  She is also known as Vāmeśvarī, which refers to Her divine power which projects the universe out of Śiva (the Brahman without attributes) and produces the reverse (vāma) consciousness of difference.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 352 – 354

  Vahni-maṇḍala-vāsinī वह्निमण्डलवासिनी (352)

She lives in the sphere of fire. Vahni means fire. The sphere of fire is said to be in mūlādhāra cakraand in ākāś or ether.  Already nāma 99 mūlādhārika nilaya explained that She resides in the base cakra. The other interpretation that She resides in ākāś is based on the saying that agni prevails in ether as well. Vahni also means numeric three. This numeric three could mean the moon, the sun and the fire one below the other in the spine. The moon is in sahasrāra, the sun in anāhata and the fire in mūlādhāra. She is in the form all these three. The Pañcadaśī mantra consists of three kūṭa-s and this nāma could mean that She resides in this mantra. Possibly this could be the reason why Pañcadaśīmantra is considered as the supreme mantra.

Bhaktimat-kalpa-latikā भक्तिमत्कल्पलतिका (353)

Kalpa is a divine creeper that grants boon to those who sit under it.  In the same way She gives boon to Her devotees. Latika means spread over. This indicates that Her devotees are spread over across the earth (devotees is a general term representing the whole humanity).  Kalpa also means imperfection. Those who worship Her with imperfect devotion are made to acquire perfect devotion over several births and She gives them final liberation. There is difference between final liberation and reaching the Heavens which is called mokṣa. The final liberation means no re-birth and mokṣa means after exhausting all good karma-s in the Heaven (the heaven can be explained as a place where certain souls are rested for some period of time). Other souls are reborn immediately after leaving a body. The soul reaching the Heaven, does not attain perfection to become eligible to get liberated.  Such final salvation is possible only with Her grace. This is the inherent meaning of this nāma.

Kṛṣṇa says (Bhagavad Gīta XV.10) “The yogis striving for liberation see Him existing in themselves; but those who are un-purified and undisciplined are unable to perceive Him even when they struggle to do so.”

Paśu-pāśa-vimocanī पशुपाशविमोचनी (354)

The concept of self-realization is best explained in Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (I.iv.10). It says “This self was indeed Brahman in the beginning.  It knew only Itself as, ‘I am Brahman.’  Therefore, It became all. And whoever among the gods knew It also became That; and the same with sages and men.” When one realizes the Brahman, he becomes everything. Those who do not have the requisite knowledge to know the Brahman are called paśu-sPaśu generally means cattle; but in the present context it can be explained as the individual soul as distinct from the divine Soul of the universe. In other words, paśu here means those who do not possess knowledge about the Brahman. Pāśa means bondage arising out of ignorance. The cattle need just food and beyond food they do not think about anything, because they are incapable of thinking. That is why those who do not possess wisdom for knowing the Brahman are called paśu-s.

Liṅga Purāṇa says paśu-s are the individual souls and pāśa is the bondage and such bondage of paśu-s are destroyed by Paśupatī, the Lord of all paśu-s (Śiva).

It is better to know a little more on paśu as this word is more frequently used in many UpaniṣadsŚivaSutra I.2 says jñānam bandhaḥ.  Jñānam means vitiated knowledge and bandhaḥ means bondage. Limited knowledge is ignorance.  Ignorance is the cause for bondage that veils the true Brahman. This phenomenon is called āṇava mala. Mala has been explained as ignorance that hampers the free expression of the Brahman.  Āṇava mala means innate ignorance of the soul. Āṇava is the word derived from the root aṇu which means the empirical individual.  This āṇava mala   is subdivided into two. The first one is the ignorance innate in the very being of the individual Self and other is ignorance inherent in the intellect or buddhi. The āṇava mala is the cause of bondage. Those who are afflicted by such āṇava mala undergo birth and death. This nāma says that She removes this āṇava mala for Her devotees, which is a precondition for final liberation.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 355 – 361

Saṃhṛtāśeṣa-pāṣaṇḍā संहृताशेषपाषण्डा (355)

She is referred in this nāma as the destroyer of heretics. Heretics are those who do not follow the principles laid down by Veda-s.  Fourteen places (which include the four Veda-s and their extensions are referred to as the principle domains of dharma. Those men who cross the boundaries of the principles of dharma are called pāṣaṇḍa or heresy. She destroys all those who act against the principles of Veda-s.

Sadācāra-pravartikā सदाचारप्रवर्तिका (356)

She removes the innate ignorance of the soul to realize the Brahman.  In this nāma, She is said to induce the ignorant men to perform noble acts. Sat refers those who perform noble deeds and ācārameans the righteous acts performed by them. She makes the ignorant people (ignorant means lack of knowledge of the Brahman.  It could also mean the concept of duality) to pursue the righteous path to realize the Brahman.  The principles of righteousness are expounded in epics.  These principles form the basis of dharma śāstra (refer previous nāma).

Tāpatrayāgni-santapta-samāhlādana-candrikā तापत्रयाग्निसन्तप्तसमाह्लादनचन्द्रिका (357)

Ancient scriptures talk about three types of afflictions, pertaining to body, elements and deities.  These three are compared to three types of fires.  These three types of fires cause serious damage to the one who undergoes the sufferings of bondage called saṁsāra.  She is like the moon light (grace) that gives happiness to those affected by the said three afflictions.  The meaning of the nāma is that by Her sheer grace She destroys the miseries caused by these three afflictions and showers happiness to Her devotees.

The three types of miseries are:  1. ādhyātmika – this comprises of the four components of antaḥkaraṇa, five karmendriya-s and five jñānendriya-s.  2. ādhibhautika – comprises of five basic elements and sense organs.  3. ādhidaivata – influence of super human powers.  All the three are called afflictions because they function on the basis of data provided by the sense organs.

Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (IV.iv.25) says, “That great birthless Self is un-decaying, immortal, undying, fearless…”

Taruṇī तरुणी (358)

She is eternally youthful. Eternal youth is possible only in the absence of modifications, an exclusive quality of the Brahman. The Brahman is non-decaying and immortal said Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad.  The eternality of the Brahman is discussed in nāma-s 136, 292, and 344.

Tāpasārādhyā तापसाराध्या (359)

She is worshipped by ascetics. The ascetics are highly respectable as they abstain from all pleasurable objects in order to seek the Supreme Brahman. They do not worship demigods or goddesses as their only aim is to realize the Ultimate Reality. Worship by such ascetics goes to confirm that She is the Brahman.

There is yet another interpretation. Tāpa means bondage which is the root of all miseries.  Sārādhyā is split into sāra (essence) + ā (deep) + dhyā (dhyān or meditation).  The bondage arising out of saṁsāracan only be removed by meditating on Her.  Through the essence of deep meditation, bondage can be removed.

Tanumadhyā तनुमध्या (360)

She has slender waist. Please refer nāma 85 also. There is a meter by name tanumadhya. Meter or chandas refers to the number of alphabets or words in a verse as per Sanskrit literature.  She is said to be in the form of this meter. Kṛṣṇa says, (Bhagavad Gīta X.35)” Gāyatrī candasāmahaṁ (गायत्री चन्दसामहं)” that He is in the form Gāyatrī meter.

Tamopahā तमोपहा (361)

Tamas means ignorance and its main components are mental darkness, ignorance, illusion, error. Tamo guṇa is one of the three guṇa-s.  An ignorant person is said to have tamo guṇa.

There is a beautiful explanation for ignorance or darkness in Īśā Upaniṣad (verse 9). “Those who mechanically perform rituals go into darkness which is like being blind. But, those who merely worship God go into deeper darkness”.  Mundane worship never gives result. Any worship for material prosperity or personal upliftment will never be rewarded.  Such men are called ignorant.  She is said to remove this ignorance.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 362 – 365

Citiḥ चितिः (362)

She is in the form of eternal knowledge. Cit can be explained as pure knowledge that helps in realizing the Brahman. The opposite of cit (vidyā) is nescience (avidyā or ignorance about the Brahman).  Her vimarśa form is discussed here.  Brahman has two forms prakāśa or the static and self illuminating energy and vimarśa or the kinetic and reflecting energy.  The one without the other is not capable of sustaining this universe and this interdependency is called as the union of Śiva and Śaktī.

{Further reading on cit: Brahman is the essence of sat (eternity), cit (pure or foundational consciousness) and ānanda (the bliss).  Cit is also known as spiritual conscience, which is also known as citātma.  When citātma is reflected in universal nescience, it assumes the role of God.  When citātma is reflected in individual nescience the role assumed as the individual souls.  Both God and souls are nothing but mere reflections of purest form of consciousness of the Brahman. But there is a distinction between God and soul.  God is the Lord of prakṛti and soul becomes liable to the bondages of prakṛti.}

Tatpada-lakṣyārthā तत्पदलक्ष्यार्था (363)

Tat means that and pada means word. Tatpada (that word) means THAT referring the Brahman. Lakṣyārthā means indirect reference.  Tat-tvam-asi or you are That is said to indicate that you are the Brahman where ‘That’ refers to the Brahman.  This goes to prove the omnipresence nature of the Brahman and His non-dualistic nature.   The previous nāma discussed about the two forms of the Brahman.  Prakāśa form is without attributes and is eternally pure and vimarśa form is with attributes and though pure is subjected to modifications exclusively for the purpose of administering the universe. Though they are interdependent, in literal sense there appears to be no difference between these two as they are embodiments of pure knowledge or cit.  In fact this undifferentiated form of the Brahman is known as That or Cit.  In order to avoid any confusion arising out of the previous nāma, this nāma confirms Her nir-guṇa (unconditioned) Brahman status.

Cideka-rasa-rūpiṇī चिदेकरसरूपिणी (364)

She is the essence of knowledge.  The difference between knowledge and the essence of knowledge is to be understood.  The knowledge of the unconditioned Brahman or the Prakāśa form of the Brahman is different from the conditioned Brahman or the vimarśa form of the Brahman.   The Brahman with attributes and without attributes remains the same, so also their purity of knowledge.  This is the reason for establishing the identity of the both as one.   This nāma says that She is not different from Cit (nāma 362) or That (nāma 363), the qualities of the Brahman.  There is no difference between conditioned and unconditioned Brahman as any modifications take place purely at the will of Brahman for the purpose of creation, sustenance and dissolution.  When knowledge is extracted, the essence of knowledge is obtained, possibly from its gross form to its subtle form.  But, the foundational nature of both gross and subtle forms of knowledge is not different. This can be compared to milk and its derivatives.

Svātmānanda-lavī-bhūta-brahmādyānanda-santatiḥ स्वात्मानन्दलवीभूतब्रह्माद्यानन्दसन्ततिः (365)

The sum total of bliss of Gods like Brahma and others is only a droplet of Her bliss. All gods and goddesses enjoy the ānanda or bliss.  Brahma and other gods indicate the three actions of the Brahman viz. creation, sustenance and dissolution.  Every action of the universe is said to be controlled by a form of god or goddesses. For example Brahma is said to be in charge of creation, Viṣṇu for sustenance and Rudra for destruction, Varuṇa for waters, Agni for fire, etc.  But what is bliss?  Our real nature is always in the state of bliss or happiness or ānanda whatever you call it.  But this perennial nature of bliss is disturbed by the powerful tools of desire and associated losses.  Desire is always for the one that one does not possess and loss is a situation where, what one had earlier is not with him now.

Taittirīya Upaniṣhad (II.8) beautifully describes bliss.  “To give the idea of bliss that Brahman represents, take a young and honest man with a commanding personality, well versed in the scriptures, well built and strong.  Suppose he owns the wealth of the entire world, then take his maximum stage of happiness as one unit and multiply it with infinity, is the bliss of the Brahman”. In the next verse, the Upaniṣhad says “…being free from desires, he first attains the self represented by the vital breath, then the self represented by the mind, then the self represented by the intellect and the self represented by bliss and finally merges into the cosmic self or the Brahman”.

The bliss is the penultimate stage of the final salvation. Such a sort of bliss can be experienced only during the last stages of merger into the Brahman, the final stages of liberation, the state of kaivalya.

This nāma is in confirmation of nāma 363 which says that she is in fact the Supreme Brahman or the Brahman without attributes.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 366

Parā परा (366)

In the next few nāma-s Her Śabda (sound) Brahman form is going to be discussed. The literal meaning of ‘Brahman’ is growing, developing, swelling, expanding, evolving etc.  This nāma refers Her un-manifested form (of the Brahman).

In order to understand this nāma and the next few, origin and evolution of sound becomes a necessity.

Prakāśa and vimarśa form of the Brahman are quite frequently referred to while discussing the Supreme Reality or the Absolute. Generally it is to be understood that prakāśa form represent Śivaand vimarśa form represent Śakthī. Śiva or Parameśvara (parama means the highest) is pure and unblemished self-illuminating light and Śakthī or vimarśa is the realisation of this pure light. Prakāśaand vimarśa cannot be separated. There is a Sanskrit saying that word and its meaning cannot be separated; in the same way Pārvatī or Śakthī and Parameśvaran or Śiva cannot be separated from each other. When there is a brilliant light, one needs to have knowledge to realise it as light. Suppose, there is a candle burning, and on seeing the candle with light, one can say that the candle gives light. When one wants to see a candle light, he needs to have a lighted candle. The light and its visibility though separate, are interdependent. Visibility is the expression of light and without the source of the light, visibility becomes impossible.  In the same way, light is of no use, if it is not reflected making the visibility possible. Both light and its expression together is known as light. This is called prakāśa vimarśa māyā or the Absolute. Sound originates from this Absolute form.

This Absolute form is also called parāvāc form. This parāvāc is primeval stage. The sound in this stage can be called as a seed that has not yet germinated. When the seed begins its germination, the stage is called paśyantī (nāma 368).  At this stage the seed has the desire to grow. The stem becomes visible and the seed is set to commence its journey of growth. Though it is known for certain that there is going to be a tree at a future date, one does not know how the tree would be, big or small, fruit bearing or barren etc. When the sapling grows to a certain height, one is able to see its leaves, he will be able to identify what type of tree that would be. This stage is called madhyamā (nāma 370). The sapling further grows to become a tree, when one is able to see its flowers and fruits. He is able to recognize the nature of this seed totally now. The complete form of the tree is known at this stage. This is called vaikharī stage. These three stages originated from the form of the Absolute, the seed in this example. Absolute form is called as parāvāc. Parā mean the highest form or the supreme form and vāc means sound. Parāvāc means the supreme form of sound. From this parā form or the seed form sound germinates, grows and yields words.  The result is a full word with meaning.

In a human being this parāvāc is said to be in the form of kuṇḍalinī (nāma110) energy posited in mūlādāra cakra or base cakra. From the base cakra, the seed of the sound begins its ascent, reaches manipūraka cakra or navel cakra in the form of paśyantī, moves to anāhat cakra or heart cakra in the form madhyamā and reaches viśuddhi throat cakra as vaikharī where the final cleansing takes place. From the throat cakra the physical form of words are delivered. The vibration of kuṇḍalinī energy is the seed of the sound. When a desire of speech arises, it manifests as Śabda Brahman at mūlādhāra and moves up to take a physical form and delivered through throat cakra in the form of vaikharī. Śabda Brahman is the Brahman in the form of sound. Like universe manifesting from the Brahman, words originate from Śabda Brahman. In reality, these two Brahman are not different.

To understand this better, we have go back to the creation.  In terms of Sāṁkhya philosophy, the creation is based on twenty five tattva-s or principles (against twenty four tattva-s normally considered).  The addition here is Īśvara tattva.  These twenty five principles are 1. Puruṣa (the individual soul), 2. Prakṛti (nature), 3. Buddhi (intellect), 4. Ego, 5-9. Jñānendriya-s (cognitive senses, like ear, nose, etc), 10-14. Karmendriya-s (action senses like legs, hands, etc), 15-19. Tanmātra-s(subtle primary elements like taste, smell, etc), 20-24. Mahā bhūta (five basic elements like ākāś, air, etc) and finally as 25th tattva, Īśvara.  Here Īśvara means the Brahman and puruṣa means the individual soul that gets various shapes and forms.  The concept of Brahman is beyond all the other twenty four tattva-s.  Puruṣa and Prakṛti both are aboriginal principles, but there exist certain differences between them.  Puruṣa is known as jīva-ātma or the individual soul which is a conscious spirit with positive principle. Prakṛti is unconscious matter with negative principle.  When puruṣainteracts and conjoins with prakṛti (opposite energies are attracted to each other), the prakṛti manifests into other twenty one tattvas and binds the puruṣa or soul into subtle and then to gross matter.  The gross matter is the physical form of man and subtle matter is antaḥkaraṇa a (mind, intellect, consciousness and ego).  The stage before this union is called avyakta (nāma 398) or un-manifested form.  In the stage of avyakta, when modifications in the form of manifestation is about to happen, māyā spreads its veil depending on the karmic density of the soul.  This is how the creation is explained in the scriptures.

This un-manifested form or avyakta is called kāraṇa bindu because it is smaller than an atom.  Bindumeans a dot and kāraṇa bindu means origination of cause.  When the time is ripe for kāraṇa bindu to manifest, it pulsates and vibrates getting ready to manifest and this gives rise to another dot called kārya bindu or effect dot, where the cause is manifested as effect.  From this effect-dot or kārya bindu, arises another dot called nāda bindu or sound-dot.   The sound is ultimately delivered through nāda bindu after undergoing further refinement.  The kāraṇa bindu resides in mūlādhāra cakra and during it’s ascend undergoes these modifications and delivered in the form of audible sound.

Parā has three stages.  Its original parā form is considered as supreme and is full of energy.  In order to manifest, it gradually loses its supremacy and energy level and becomes parā-parā the mediocre level of supremacy.  It further loses its strength at the exact time of manifestation and becomes aparāwhere it loses its supremacy and become manifested.  These three stages are known as ŚivaŚaktīand nara (man).  This way also She is known as parā.  As the subsequent nāma-s discuss further about the evolution of sound from its parā or supreme form, therefore contextually this nāma is to be considered from the angle of Śabda Brahman only.

Rig Veda (I.164.45) also discusses this modification and it says,

catvāri vāk parimitā padāni tāni vidurbrāhmaṇā ye manīṣiṇaḥ |
guhā triṇi nihitā neṅgayanti turiyaṃ vāco manuṣyā vadanti | |

चत्वारि वाक् परिमिता पदानि तानि विदुर्ब्राह्मणा ये मनीषिणः |
गुहा त्रिणि निहिता नेङ्गयन्ति तुरियं वाचो मनुष्या वदन्ति | |

“Four are the definite grades of speech; those learned who wise know them; three deposited in secret, indicate no meaning; men speak the fourth grade of speech. Four grades of speech are – ॐ, Bhūḥ Bhuvaḥ Suvaḥ and these are known as Parā, paśyantī, madhyamā and vaikharī.  Parā is the innermost at the origin; paśyantī pertains to heart, madhyamā to intellect and vaikharī the phonetically expressed through organs of speech.”

This nāma refers to Her parā form.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 367 – 371

Pratyak-citī-rūpā प्रत्यक्चितीरूपा (367)

Pratyak means turned towards the inner soul and cit means consciousness.  She is in the form of inner consciousness which is known as inner Self. Pratyak is opposed to parāk, which means turned outwards that happens with the help of senses. Inner consciousness is considered as the supreme level of consciousness. Life energy interacts with internal awareness, paving way for higher level of consciousness.  The lower or higher level of consciousness purely depends upon the purity of the mind.  Purity of the mind depends upon the level of usage of sensory organs.   Looking within means, the process of interaction between life energy or prāṇa with consciousness or cit.  This is called the Supreme Self or the Brahman in un-manifested form, which is the essential nature of the Brahman.  When She is referred to as the inner consciousness, it means Her un-manifested Brahman form, discussed in nāma-s 397 and 398.

This is beautifully explained in Katha Upaniṣad (II.i.1) which says “The Self-created Lord has created the sense organs with the inherent defect that they are by nature outgoing.  This is why beings see things outside and cannot see the Self within.  Rarely is there found a wise person seeking immortality, who can withdraw his sense organs from external objects to the Self within.”

Paśyantī पश्यन्ती (368)

Nāma 366 said that paśyantī is the second stage in the evolution of sound.  The union of Śiva and Śaktī is the primary stage of sound which is called parā.  This primary stage leads to the next stage called paśyantī where the first differentiation begins to appear in the process of evolution of speech.  In this level, the sound becomes more perceptible but continues to be inaudible, though not yet isolated.  The previous nāma suggested that one should look within to explore the inner consciousness.  But what happens if inner consciousness is explored?  It leads to the beginning of differentiation in the form of visionary wherein the Self begins to realize all others as its own.  This nāma says that She is in this form of speech.  The concept is that She is the beginning and end of speech.  It can also be said that speech originates and dissolves in Her.

Paradevatā परदेवता (369)

She transports power to other gods and goddesses, meaning that She is the supreme amongst gods and goddesses.

Madhyamā मध्यमा (370)

The next higher level of paśyantī is madhyamā.  This stage is called intermediary stage between the origin and the end of speech.  Here the duality begins to appear.  This is the stage where the individual consciousness, the psychological result of perception, learning and reasoning, where the mind develops capacity to analyze and differentiate has not reached the empirical level.  At this level, intellect, one of the components of antaḥkaraṇa begins to influence the consciousness which is in the impersonal stage of development.    This is a stage where one can talk to himself.  Mantra-s are chanted and recited in this stage only.  This is because, while reciting mantra japa-s, only the inner Self alone should listen to the mantra-s and not anybody else, not even one’s etheric body.  In this stage only the uttering self alone can listen to the sound. Whisper develops from this stage.  Step by step of Her manifestation in the form of sound is discussed in these nāma-s

Vaikhari-rūpā वैखरिरूपा (371)

Vaikhari is the fourth and final form of sound in its evolution.  This is the state wherein the sound is heard. This is called vaikhari because the sound is produced by a modified form of prāṇa called vaikihari. This is the stage which is called aparā or non-supreme stage in the evolution of sound where there exists fully developed materialization, combined with time and space, the components of māyā.  In fact the theory of evolution of speech purely depends upon the materialistic treatment of prāṇa or life energy.  The whispering sound in the stage of madhyama fully transforms into speech and delivered in the form of vaikhari.  It is said that will (icchā) forms the basis of speech to finally merge with consciousness.   Importance of consciousness is repeatedly emphasised.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 372 – 375

Bhakta-mānasa-haṁsikā  भक्तमानसहंसिका (372)

There is a small story about associated with this nāma. Brahma, the God of creation created a lake called Mānasarovar at the top of mount Kailāsa. The water in this lake is known for its highest purity. The lake exists even today.  Swans always prefer purity and hence flock around this lake. The lake is compared to the mind (which has to be pure) and the swans (normally a pair of swan) are compared to jīvātma-s (souls) and Paramātma (the Brahman)} are compared to Lalitāmbikā. This story says that Brahman has a great liking for a pure mind and chooses to stay there forever, guiding the aspirant from within.

Saundarya Laharī verse 38 provides further information on this nāma. In Hinduism, highly evolved souls are called paramahaṃsa-s (a religious man who has subdued all his senses by abstract meditation) which refers to the qualities of swans. The swans have a few exceptional qualities. If water and milk is mixed, swans consume only the milk leaving water alone. This is interpreted as that one should take cognizance of only good things, leaving bad things aside, though the world exists as the mixture of the two. Whenever swans are mentioned, they are always referred to in pairs, out of which one represents sense of hearing and another sense of seeing. Out of all the senses, only these two cause serious erosion of moral values. Like swans one should take notice of good things in life. That is why She is referred as swan.

Nāma 816 is muni-mānasa-haṁsikā.

Kāmeśvara-prāna-nāḍī कामेश्वरप्राननाडी (373)

She is the vital force of Kāmeśvara, the Supreme form of Śiva. This nāma is taken from Veda-sŚrī Rudraṁ says (Yajur Veda IV.v.10) “Oh! Rudra! We invoke the auspicious form of yours, that is auspicious and ever healing along with the great auspicious form of Śaktī”.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 28) also speaks about the importance of Śaktī in sustaining ŚivaŚivaswallowed the dreadful poison that was formed while churning the ocean of milk. It was due to the auspiciousness of Her ear ornaments, Śiva was saved from the disastrous effects of that poison. The point driven home here is that the eternal Śiva cannot function without Śaktī and by the effect of Her māyā the universe exists today. That is why She is called the life energy of Śiva

Kṛtajñā कृतज्ञा (374)

She is aware of all the actions of the universe. She is capable of transcending the secrecy or privacy, which ignorant men think that nobody is capable of hearing or seeing (recollect those two swans).

There are nine witnesses to all our actions. They are sun, moon, the lord of death (Yama), time (kala) and five basic elements ākāś, air, fire, water and earth. All these nine are under the control of Śaktīand that is why She is said to be the witness to all the actions of the universe. This can also be interpreted as ‘she is the one who imparts knowledge’. In other words when one performs his karmas without expecting anything in return, pleased with his selfless nature, She imparts the Supreme knowledge (knowledge of the Brahman). In Viṣṇu Sahasranāma 82 is Kṛtajñā.

Cāndogya Upaniṣahad (IV.iii.8) says, Prāṇa, speech, the eyes, the ears and the mind – these five represent our physical self (ādhyātimka).  Air, fire, sun, moon and water represent Nature (ādhidaivika) that surround us. The ten together are to the dice throw called kṛta.  It is also said that ādhyātimka and ādhidaivika together represent the universe and hence is known as Virāt (the Supreme Intellect located in a supposed aggregate of gross bodies). Living beings are known as ādhibautika.

In terms of Cāndogya Upaniṣahad (IV.i.4) Kṛtajñā means a person who includes within himself all the good things that other people do.  He is the sum total of all good things in the world.

Kāma-pūjitā कामपूजिता (375)

She is worshipped by the lord of love Manmatha. We have seen earlier that She is worshipped by twelve gods and godlessness, sages and saints through Her supreme Pañcadaśī mantra and Manmatha is one among the twelve (refer nāma 239). Manmatha is also known as Kāma and the worship by Kāma is called Kāma-pūjitā. 586th nāma is Kāma-sevitā.

There is yet another interpretation. In Śaktī worship there is a reference to fifty one holy places (Śaktīpīṭha) that are considered sacred. But internally, there is a reference to four places called kāmagiri pīṭha (this nāma), pūrṇagiri pīṭha (next nāma), jālandhara pīṭha (nāma 378) and oḍyāṇa pīṭha (nāma 379) corresponding to base cakra, navel cakra, heart cakra and throat cakra. Sound evolves from the base cakra undergoes refinement and delivered as speech through the throat cakra. The four pīṭha-s referred above represent Parā, paśyantī, madhyamā and vaikharī.   This has already been discussed in nāma-s 366 to 371.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 376 – 380

Śṛṅgāra-rasa- saṁpūrṇā शृङ्गाररससंपूर्णा (376)

She is in the form of essence of love.  Previous nāma discussed about four pīṭha-s and in particular the previous nāma referred to kāmagiri pīṭha or mūlādhāra cakra.  In this nāma a reference is being made to the pūrṇagiri pīṭha or the navel cakra. The previous nāma made a reference to kāmagiri pīṭha.  Parā vāc that originated from the mūlādhāra cakra or kāmagiri pīṭha, enters the next phase of evolution at the navel cakra or this pūrṇagiri pīṭha. The dot which was known as kāraṇa bindu at the navel cakra-s becomes kārya bindu in this cakra. Details of these bindu-s have been been discussed in nāma 366.

Lalitāmbikā is said to be the embodiment of extracts (rasa) of finer things in life. There are said to be eight to ten types of rasa-s, though only nine types of rasa-s are generally mentioned. These ten rasa-s are love (śṛṅgāra), heroism, disgust, anger, mirth, fear, pity, amazement, tranquillity and warmth.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 51) refers to eight types of rasa-s that She exhibits at different times.  She exhibits the essence of love with Śiva, heroism while destroying evils, disgust while dealing with ignorant, fear on seeing the snakes on the person of Śiva, anger with goddess Gaṅgā (as Śiva holds her in His hair), amazement on seeing Śiva’s third eye, warmth while being with Her true devotees and lāsya rasa (expressing emotions as if dancing) while looking at Her attendants. This nāma talks about the essence of love that She exhibits while being with Śiva, all alone. The love between Śiva and Śaktīis beautifully described in various scriptures.  The essence of love or śṛṅgārarasa is the cause for other rasa-s. Though these narrations go well while visualizing Her form, Her Absolute form is beyond all these qualities and attributes

There is one more interpretation for this nāma. Śṛṅgāra means primary, arara means veil, sampūrṇameans the Brahman. If interpreted this way, then it means that She is in the form of pure Brahman nirguṇa Brahman and also in the form of the Brahman with attributes (māyā form).

It is also said that pūrṇagiri pīṭha is referred in this nāma.

Jayā ज़या (377)

She remains victorious.  She is the embodiment of victory.  Possibly this could also indicate that Her victorious form can be realized only if one wins over his senses. Senses are considered as the worst enemies to Self realization as the mind gets corrupted due to their evil influence.  But, if the mind is conditioned, such evil influences will not cause any affliction to its serenity.  Viṣṇu Sahasranāma 509 is Jayā and the interpretation given is ‘the one who wins over all lives’.

Jālandhra-sthitā जालन्ध्रस्थिता (378)

A reference is invited to jālandhara pīṭha or the heart cakra, where the sound is further refined, to become madhyama, the penultimate stage of sound before its actual delivery.  This is one of Her Śabda Brahman forms.

Oḍyāṇa-pīṭha-nilayā ओड्याणपीठनिलया (379)

She abides in the oḍyāṇa-pīṭha, the fourth pīṭha of the gross body. The fully developed sound at this stage is delivered in the form of vaikari.  The oḍyāṇa-pīṭha, corresponds to the throat cakra or viśuddhi.

Bindumaṇḍala-vāsini बिन्दुमण्डलवासिनि (380)

She dwells in the bindu maṇḍala. The bindu is the central dot of Śrī Cakra where She resides along with Her consort Kāmeśvara. This point of Śrī Cakra is considered as the most powerful point because it is the abode of both Kāmeśvara and Kāmeśvarī.

The bindu is also referred to the orifice in the sahasrāra also known as brahmarandhra through which commune with God is established. The cosmic energy enters the human body only through this orifice in the crown cakra and medulla in the back head cakra. When these two places are exposed to Mother Nature and early morning sun, sufficient cosmic energy can be drawn by the gross body to have a disease free life.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 381 – 382

Rahoyāga-kramāradhyā रहोयागक्रमारध्या (381)

This nāma and the next one discuss about worshipping Her secretively. Secretive worship means worshipping Her internally without resorting to external rituals. Worshipping Her within is considered as a powerful tool to realize Her, as only Her subtlest forms can be worshipped within.  Her subtlest form is Her kuṇḍalinī form. In sahasrāra or the crown cakra, She conjoins with Śiva and worshipping this ŚivaŚaktī union is considered as the secretive worship. Obviously, others cannot partake in this internal worship.

The internal worship, be it Her gross form, or Her subtler kāmakalā form or Her subtlest kuṇḍalinī form attains great importance. In the external rituals, the sādhaka or the practitioner is associated with actions. The concentration gets diverted and diffused from the focal point of the worship to the mundane form of the ritual. In the internal worship, the entire focus is fixed on Her and there are no distractions. Though distractions cannot be avoided in the beginning stages of internal worship, when the practice is intensified leading to the stage of bliss, a sort of addiction is developed by the practitioner to be with that bliss. The stage of bliss cannot be described in quotidian language and to understand it, one has to really make sincere attempts while pursuing the path of spirituality. Secondly, the stage of bliss does not vary depending upon the forms of God.  Bliss is a unique phenomenon, applicable to all forms of worship.

In Śri Vidyā cult, there are two types of worship.  One is called samayācāra worship, the internal worship. The other is kulācāra worship or the external rituals.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 8) makes a reference to this samayācāra or internal worship.  “You are seated in the middle of the ocean of nectar (sahasrāra), with Śiva tattva as the base and Sadāśiva tattva as the cushion, offering bliss.  Only the blessed ones meditate on this form of yours” says this verse.

A question may arise, being Śiva’s wife how She can sit on a couch with Śiva as its base and Sadāśiva (the higher form of Śiva) as the cushion.  In scientific parlance, two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.  Therefore it becomes possible to interpret that Śiva and Śaktī are no way different from each other.  That is why Śiva Śaktī union assumes great importance. Scriptures also point out, that the state of bliss can be attained, only by those who always remain with Her thought and not by those who solely resort to materialistic living.

Rahastarpaṇa-tarpitā रहस्तर्पणतर्पिता (382)

In the initial stage of pursuing spiritual path and in order to control the mind, recitation and repetition of mantra-s is practiced, so that the mind does not get diverted to extraneous thoughts. Such mantra-sshould be recited after understanding the meaning of the mantra.  In the case of Pañcadaśī mantra, there are fifteen bīja-s in that mantra and each bīja has different meaning and significance. This has been dealt with in the introductory chapter. Two things are important while reciting a mantra. The first one is dhyāna verse or the meditative verse that describes the form of the god or goddess.  This helps in visualizing the form of the deity.  Second is the mantra itself that infuses life to the visualized form. This situation is applicable only in the initial stages and as one progresses, further guidance is received from the concerned deity itself by way of communion. This nāma says that such mantra-sshould be recited only mentally.

There is another interpretation for this nāma. This nāma could also be interpreted as ‘secretive oblations’ offered into the internal fire (fire generated and persists at the mūlādhāra cakra to keep the body alive). The oblations consist of the thirty six tattva-s or the principles that are responsible for our karma-s, either good or bad.  In Śrī vidyā navāvaraṇa pūjā there is one separate ritual called ‘internal oblation’ or tatvaśodhana wherein all the dualities are sacrificed as oblations in the internal fire.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 383 – 390

Sadyaḥ-prasāidinī सद्यःप्रसादिनी (383)

She bestows Her grace immediately for those who seek Her within.  This has been discussed in the two previous nāma-s.   By such internal worship, Her immediate grace is imminent.

Viśva-sākṣinī  विश्वसाक्षिनी (384)

She is the witness of the universe.  This is the unique quality of the Brahman without attributes, the supreme form of the Brahman.  Only the Supreme Brahman stands as a witness to the happenings of the universe, without himself partaking in any of the activities.

Sākṣivarjitā साक्षिवर्जिता (385)

But She is without witness.  The existence of the Supreme form of the Brahman cannot be witnessed by anyone, as this form of the Brahman has no known source of origin.  Another quality of the pure Brahman is referred here.

ṣaḍaṅaga-devādāyuktā षडङगदेवादायुक्ता (386)

ṣaḍ (six) + aṅaga (parts) means six parts.  For every mantra there are six parts and each such part is under the control of a god/goddess called aṅaga devatā-s of the presiding deity.  These six parts are heart, head, tuft of hair, arms, eyes and weapons.  Before and after the recitation of a mantra, the deities of these parts are worshipped in our bodies by touching the respective body parts with fingers.  This is with regard to the external worship.  Śiva has six types of known qualities and they are omniscience, completeness, supreme level of consciousness, freedom, everlasting power and infinity.  These six are the qualities of the Brahman without attributes or prakāśa form of the Brahman.  This nāma says that She is surrounded by these six aṅaga devatā-s.

It is important to remember that She is described both as Brahman without attributes or the prakāśaform and as Brahman with attributes or the vimarśa form.

ṣāḍguṇya-paripūritā षाड्गुण्यपरिपूरिता (387)

She is endowed with six qualities that are considered auspicious.  They are prosperity, righteousness, fame, material wealth, wisdom and dispassion.  Dispassion because, She will not show any special favours to a select few, transcending the law of karma.  She does not encourage favouritism.

Nitya-klinnā नित्यक्लिन्ना (388)

Her ever compassionate nature is referred here.  This is an extension of nāma 326. karuṇā-rasa-sāgarā.  Nitya-klinnā is the name of a tithi nityā devi (third day of the lunar fortnight).

Nirupamā निरुपमा (389)

She is without comparison.  Brahman is infinite and a person with finite (limited) cannot describe Him.  Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (IV.19) says, “There is no way of describing Him.  All you can say about Him is that He is what He is”.

Śaṃkara says “There is nothing like Him and nothing to which He can be compared.  He is one without a second.  He is limitless.  The only way you can describe Him is to refer to His uniqueness, which is really saying nothing.”

There is a story about this concept.  Two brothers were sent by their father to a guru to pursue the spiritual path.  When they returned, father asked both of them to describe God.  The elder brother gave an extensive lecture about God.  When the younger one was asked, he kept quiet.  Their father said ‘You are not saying anything because, you realized that God is a subject about which nothing can be said without making a mistake’.  This is the concept of God.  Nobody can describe the Brahman in totality.  At the most one can discuss about Him only by affirmations and negations.

Nirvāṇa-sukha-dāyinī निर्वाणसुखदायिनी (390)

Nir (freed) + vāṇa (derived from bāṇa, meaning body).  When mind is freed from body, it leads to bliss.  When higher level of consciousness is reached, physical body is forgotten.  When bodily afflictions are dissolved, what is derived is eternal bliss.  She confers this bliss to those who worship Her as per nāma-s 381 and 382.

This stage is described by Kṛṣṇa “He who is happy within, who rejoices within, he obtains Absolute Freedom or mokṣa. Only that yogi who possesses the inner bliss, who rests on the inner foundation, who is one with inner light, becomes one with Spirit.  With sins obliterated, doubts removed, senses subjugated, the sages contributing to the welfare of the mankind, attain emancipation in the Brahman”. (Bhagavad Gīta V.24 and 25)

Lalitha Sahasranamam 391 – 395

Nityā-ṣoḍaśikā-rūpā नित्याषोडशिकारूपा (391)

This is a reference to the sixteen deities representing sixteen lunar days and they are worshipped in Śrī Cakra.  The sixteenth deity is Lalitāmbikā Herself.  These fifteen deities are said to represent fifteen bīja-s of Pañcadaśī mantra and Lalitāmbikā as the sixteenth deity representing ṣodaśī mantra.  ṣodaśī mantra has sixteen bīja-s, the additional bīja being श्रीं (śrīṁ), the  Lakṣmī bījaṣodaśī mantra is considered as the most powerful mantra of all.  This is the mantra meant only for the final liberation.

ṣodaśī also refers to a type of sacrifice called agniṣṭoma, a fire ritual where the performer  maintains the sacred fire, the offering is the Soma, the deities to whom, the offering is made are Indra and other gods. The number of priests required is sixteen, the ceremonies continue for five days. This is based on strange mantra-s, full of interpolations, which are not found in Rig Veda, though they are referred in Śrautra Sūtra-s and Brāhmaṇa-s of Rig Veda and also occur in Sāma Veda and Atharva Veda.  Both chants and recitations are complex and are considered particularly sacred and powerful.

This nāma says that She is pleased with those who recite Her ṣodaśī mantra than performing thousands of fire rituals discussed earlier. During the dark fortnight (waning) of the moon, Lalitāmbikā i is said to be in the sun (Sūrya maṇḍala) and during bright fortnight (waxing) She is said to be in the moon (Candra maṇḍala).  It has also been said that those who got initiated in Pañcadaśī mantrashould use bright fortnight for perfecting this mantra and those who got initiated in ṣodaśī mantrashould use dark fortnight for perfecting this mantra (attaining mantra siddhi).  Those who recite Pañcadaśī mantra should practice it in day corresponding to the sun and those who practice ṣodaśīmantra should recite it in the night, corresponding to the moon.

Śrīkaṇṭhārdha-śarīriṇī श्रिकण्ठार्धशरीरिणी (392)

She has half the body of ŚivaŚrīkaṇṭha is another name of Śiva.  Śrī also means poison and kaṇṭhameans throat.  Since Śiva holds poison in His throat, He is known as ŚrīkaṇṭhaŚrīkaṇṭha also means beautiful neck.  She has half the body of Śiva.  Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (I.iv.3) describes this condition thus:  “He (puruṣa or soul) desired a mate (prakṛti).  He became as big as, man and wife embracing each other.  He parted this very body into two.  From that came husband and wife.  This is one- half of oneself, like one of the two halves of split pea.  Therefore this pea is indeed filled by the wife.  He was united with her.  From that men were born.”

There is another interpretation for this nāma.  The first alphabet of Sanskrit is अ (a) which is also known Śrīkaṇṭha.  The first alphabet is said to be in the form of para (nāma 366) form of sound which gets modified into vaikharī (nāma 371) at the time of delivery of speech.  Since the first alphabet is considered as half of other alphabets put together, She is known as Śrīkaṇṭhārdha-śarīriṇī.  The first letter is also known as śrīkaṇṭhārdha.

Prabhāvatī प्रभावती (393)

She is endowed with the power of effulgence.  She is surrounded by eight devi-s each representing one of the aṣṭama siddhi-s.  They are very powerful and illuminant and known as aṇimā, laghimāmahimā, īśitva, vaśitva, prākāmya, prāpti and sarvakāma.  These eight devi-s are called prabha.   Prabhāvatī is the One who is surrounded by prabha-s.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 30) says, “What wonder is there in ārati to the one who constantly meditates on you, surrounded by rays emanating from your feet as aṇimā and others…”

Prabhārūpā प्रभारूपा (394)

The luminous light emanating from Her and was referred to in the last nāma, is said to be powerful in this nāma.  These devi-s derived their illumination from this brightness.  She is said to be in the form of Supreme light.

Chāndogya Upaniṣad (III.14.2) describes this light “He is controlled by the mind.  He has a subtle body and He is luminous (bhārūpaḥ).”

Prasiddhā प्रसिद्धा (395)

She is well known to everybody as She is highly celebrated.  She is in the form of inner Self of all living beings. When someone says ‘I’, it actually means Her, as She is the Self.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 396 – 397

Parameśvarī परमेश्वरी (396)

She is the supreme ruler.  She is Supreme on two counts, one on Her own and second because of being the consort of Supreme Śiva.  Śiva is Parameśvara and His wife is Parameśvarī.  ViṣṇuSahasranāma 377 is Parameśvarā.  It is interpreted as the able administrator.

Bhagavad Gīta XIII.27 says, “He sees truly who perceives the Supreme Lord (Parameśvara) present equally in all creatures, the Imperishable (Parameśvara) amidst the perishing”.

Mūlaprakṛtiḥ मूलप्रकृतिः (397)

This nāma provides the reasoning for the previous nāma.  She is the Supreme ruler (Parameśvarī) because She is the root of origin.  Prakṛti at best can be explained as Nature.  It can also be called as māyā.  Prakṛti in combination with the individual soul, mind, intellect and ego form the creation.  In fact soul has to depend on prakṛti to manifest.  Prakṛti holds the three guṇa-s or qualities, sattva, rajas, andtamas and three types of creative actions icchā, jñāna, and kriya (desire, wisdom and action) śaktī.  At the time of manifestation of origin of life, the prakṛti beholds the individual soul by its sheer enticing powers of the guṇa-s and creative actions (the powers of māyā or illusion), makes the soul to manifest.  The soul on its own is passive in nature and has to purely depend upon the prakṛti to get the karma-s embedded in it to unfold.

Prakṛti is said to be the kinetic form of energy.  This is also known as māyā or the Brahman with attributes or Śaktī or vimarśa form of the Supreme.  Without this kinetic Śaktī, the creation can never take place.  Apart from playing a significant role in creation, the prakṛti plays a vital role in sustaining the creation.  At the time of origin of the universe, the Supreme Self alone prevailed.  When the origin manifests into creation, it first becomes space then air, fire, water and earth.  From earth plants, animals, man etc unfolded.  This is the teaching of Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.1).

Prakṛti in its un-manifested form is called avyakta (next nāma).  This is the state of prakṛti where all the three guṇa-s are found in equilibrium.  Any change in this equilibrium of guṇa-s in prakṛti leads to desire, wisdom and action.  This in combination with ego and intellect give rise to further creation.  Therefore, prakṛti is the root of all creations.  This is also known as the Brahman with attributes or saguṇa Brahman.  This is also known as prakāśa-vimarśa mahā māyā svarūpinī or Śaktī.  Since Śivahas to totally depend upon this Śaktī for His creative aspect, She is known as the consort of Śiva.  Beyond the state of avyakta there is the Brahman without attributes.  Katha Upaniṣad says (III.10) “The Self is beyond thought and speech; the eyes cannot perceive it”.  The Brahman is the root of all creations as there in nothing beyond that. Śaktī is called mūlaprakṛtiḥ because She is the part of Brahman or the vimarśa form of Brahman, without which creation is never possible.

Chāndogya Upaniṣad VI.ii.3 says “The Existence (the Brahman) decided, I shall be many, which refers to prakṛti.  Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (I.i.8) also confirms the above statements of Katha Upaniṣad and Chāndogya Upaniṣad.  It says, “Brahman grows by penance.”  Whatever be the sayings of the scriptures, the root of creation is prakṛti on whom Brahman depends extensively to create and sustain the universe.  This the meaning of this nāma.

{Further reading on soul and prakṛti: Soul: In the creation of God, there are countless souls (puruṣa-s) that manifest as the living beings. These souls do not undergo any changes at any point of time. They do not have energy and will and are passive in nature. Since it is said to be smaller than an atom, it is not visible even under a powerful microscope. Though clinically the presence of soul has not yet been established, sufficient research is underway to interpret the phenomenon. As the soul is considered as the divine secret, the ultimate result of any clinical study is doubtful. However, elaborate non-clinical studies more or less describe the soul in a unified voice. Soul is considered as the reflection of the transcendental essence of the Brahman. This goes to prove the statement that souls do not have energy and will of their own. This phenomenon of the Brahman – soul concept can be explained like the moon deriving its light from the sun. The light of the moon is illusionary making one to believe that the moon has its own light. However, the fact is that it gets reflected by the light of the sun. Moon is not self illuminating. So, by and large, the soul and the Brahman are not different, though there are certain subtle differences. Probably, the one main difference is the karma. The Brahman is not bound bykarma, whereas the individual soul is bound by karma-s. There is another school of thought (The second and most important part of the Mīmāṃsā or third of the three great divisions of Hindu philosophy called Vedānta either as teaching the ultimate scope of the Veda or simply as explained in the Upaniṣad-s which come at the end of the Veda), which advocates that the Brahman takes the form of Ātman or the individual soul, enabling the individual beings to act, but remains unconnected to the actions or to the results of actions. Puruṣa is the term used by Sāṃkhya school of thought (one of the three great divisions of Hindu philosophy and so called either from, discriminating in general, or, more probably, from reckoning up or enumerating twenty-five tattva-s twenty three of which are evolved out of prakṛiti the primordial essence or the first-producer viz. buddhi (intellect), ahaṃkāra (ego), the five tanmātra-s, the five mahābhūta-s (air, fire, etc)and mind and the twenty fifth being puruṣa) and Ātmanis the term used by the Vedāntic school of thought. Both these terms refer to the individual soul. The soul continues to exist in a gross body as long as the body functions. Once the gross body ceases to function after death, the soul also leaves the body along with prāṇa which is also known as the vital force. The fate of the soul after death is determined by the law of karma that remains embedded in the soul, wherever it goes. Karma is like a voice recorder in an airplane, where in the results of all the actions and thoughts are recorded. If someone believes that he is doing an action unaware to anybody, he should always bear in mind that his actions are recorded in his karmic account. It is to be understood that karma is the result of various decisions made by the mind that ultimately determines the destiny of the soul after death. That is why pursuing spiritual path and firmly establishing spiritual progress are considered as essential factors in reducing the impact of karmaKarmic account is not only historical but also contains long forgotten evolutionary aspects as well. Therefore, ultimately the soul unfolds its actions in a physical body depending upon its karmic account. In such a situation, the soul does not undergo any change or modification based on the fact that it is a mere reflection of the Brahman or the Supreme Spirit. The soul can manifest only if it is associated with prakṛti.

Prakṛti: The soul or puruṣa can manifest only if it interacts with prakṛti, which is also known as the nature or creative self-unfolding act. This interpretation itself will explain the nature of prakṛti. It is only the prakṛti that unfolds the act of creation. When the soul is associated with prakṛti, the latter unfolds first into the subtle non-materialistic form and later into the gross form. The gross form can be identified under three broad classifications such as sthūla (gross), sūkṣma (subtle), and kāraṇa(casual). A comparison can be drawn between an automobile tyre and the three types of bodies. An automobile tyre has an outer portion made up of rubber, beneath that lies the tube that holds the air inside. A car cannot run without the effective and coordinated functions of all the three. The outer tyre is the gross body, the tube holding the air is the subtle body and the air that is the inner most and invisible is the casual body. Similarly, without these three forms, existence is impossible. These bodies, in reality, are the reflections of the levels of consciousness. The respective bodies can be recognized only if the consciousness level is modified, refined and purified. Purer is the level of consciousness higher is the level of spirituality and finer is the type of body. These three types of bodies are the reflections of the prakṛti and this reflection is known as māyā or illusion.

The gross body reflects the materialistic world, the subtle body reflects the world of vitality and the casual body reflects the casual world. These three stages are realized in the three states of awake, dream and deep sleep. The gross and subtle bodies are the effects of the casual body. The basis of these types of bodies is the casual body, or the casual manifestation of consciousness. In certain schools of thoughts, a reference to another state called the fourth state or turya state is mentioned. In fact, this turya state is to be accepted by all. Only in this state, where the consciousness transcends all bodily afflictions gets purified and becomes fit enough to be called Cit (the Absolute or the foundational consciousness). Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad (I.7) authoritatively describes this turya state. “Turya is not consciousness of what is happening within. It is also not the consciousness of what is going on without. It is not consciousness of anything in between. It is not the consciousness of all objects simultaneously. It is not unconsciousness either. It is invisible, not susceptible to any kind of usage, not within the reach of any organ of action. It is beyond perception of any organ, beyond thought and not to be indicated by any sound. In it there is only consciousness of the Self and there is a cessation of the world as such. It is the embodiment of peace and all that is good. It is one without a second. The fourth state is turya. Wise people consider this to be the Self. This Self is to be realised”. The Self in turya state is the purest form of consciousness. In this stage, the consciousness remains all alone, without any affiliations.

The prakṛti is potentially a powerful tool that binds the soul to manifest in the form of bodies discussed above, just to manifest and unfold the karma-s embedded in the soul. When the soul is under the lustful embrace of prakṛti, the soul that was part of the Supreme Brahman forgets its own nature, and identifies itself with ego. The deceptive and illusionary nature of prakṛti engulfs the soul with all sorts of addictions, afflictions and confusions and makes the soul totally discombobulated. This particular stage of the soul is said to be ignorant or the state of avidyā contrary to vidyā or knowledge. The pure soul now stands veiled by the effects of prakṛti called māyā or illusion.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 398 – 402

Avyaktā अव्यक्ता (398)

This could be considered as further extension of the previous nāma.  Avyakta is the state of prakṛti in its un-manifested form, with the three guṇa-s in equal proportions. Avyakta is the first stage of the Brahman that cannot be explained, as this is the purest form of Brahman, without parentage.  This stage is also known as turya or the fourth state of consciousness, the other three being sleep, dream and deep sleep.  It is the non-dualistic state, where the Brahman without a second is realized.

This stage is explained by Brahma Sūtra (III.ii.23) which says tadvyaktamāha hi (तद्व्यक्तमाह हि).  This means “That Brahman is un-manifest”.  This is further explained as ‘It is not comprehended through the eye, or through speech, or through other senses.  Nor it is attained through austerity or karma.  It is imperceptible, for It is never perceived’.

When the nirguṇa Brahman (the Brahman without attributes) desires to create, the māyā undergoes modifications and this modified stage of māyā is called avyakta.

Vyaktāvyakta-svarūpiṇī व्यक्ताव्यक्तस्वरूपिणी (399)

It is vyakta (manifested) + avyakta (un-manifested) svarūpiṇī.  She is both manifested and un-manifested form.  Since this form is the first of manifested form, it is called mahat which means great.  It is the fundamental tool of the phenomenal universe.  This mahat is endowed with supreme knowledge.  The undifferentiated prakṛti is mahat. From mahat, further evolution takes place.  Vyaktameans perishable and a-vyakta means imperishable. The soul-Brahman relationship is cited here. In general, this stage provides happiness and the final salvation.  This nāma means the first signs of creation and final liberation are both caused by Lalitāmbikā.

Vyāpinī व्यापिनी (400)

She is all pervading.  Because She is mūlaprakṛtiḥ and avykatā, She is all pervading.  She is also called eka elsewhere, because She is the one who is all pervading, the nature of the Brahman.

Vividhākārā विविधाकारा (401)

She has many forms.  All these forms arise out of mūlaprakṛti (nāma 397).  She takes different forms while performing different functions.  As the creator, She is the Supreme Mother or Brahma rūpa (nāma 265).   As the sustainer, She is Viṣṇu rūpinī (nāma 893).  As the destroyer, She is Rudra rūpā (nāma 269).  As a witness to the total dissolution, She is mahā pralaya sākṣiṇī (nāma 571).

This nāma encases all Her forms.  As seen above, each of Her acts is represented by a form.  She is also addressed as bahu-rūpā in nāma 824.

Vidyāvidyā svarūpinī विद्याविद्या स्वरूपिनी (402)

She is the form of knowledge and ignorance.  Vidyā is not just knowledge.  It is the supreme knowledge leading to self-realization.  Avidyā is the opposite of vidyā.  Īśa upaniṣad (11) explains vidyā and avidyā thus; “He who worships gods and goddesses (vidyā) and also performs sacrifices (avidyā) attains immortality by sacrifices (avidyā) and attains bliss by worshipping gods and goddesses (vidyā).”  Vidyā is pure knowledge leading to the Brahman or the Supreme Self.  Avidyāmeans ignorance about the Brahman.  In the stage of avidyā, one continues to be associated with performing rituals like fire rituals, external worship etc.  But when these two (one is the knowledge about the Brahman and second is performing prescribed rituals without attachment to the fruits of actions) are combined, that is performing rituals etc, without any selfish motive and without any attachments to the end result of an action, along with internal search and exploration through meditation, one is said to benefit from both, leading to bliss.  But only when avidyā dissolves into vidyā, the final liberation is attained.  She is in the form of both knowledge and ignorance.  She is the giver of knowledge (path to spirituality) as well as ignorance (delusion). Ignorance about Brahman is caused by māyā.

Kṛṣṇa says, (Bhagavad Gīta V.12) “Offering the fruits of actions to God, the karmayogi attains everlasting peace in the shape of God-realisation; whereas he who works with a selfish motive, being attached to the fruit of actions through desire, gets tied down.”

Mahā-kāmeśa-nayana-kumudahlāda-kaumudī महाकामेशनयनकुमुदह्लादकौमुदी (403)

Mahā-kāmeśa is Śivanayana – eyes, kaumuda – the moon of second half of November and first half of December (the month of Kārttika), kumuda – lotus flower.  On seeing LalitāmbikāŚiva’s eyes become wide open like lotus flower blossoming when the moon shines.  Śivas happiness is reflected through his eyes on seeing Her.  The moon in the month of Kārttika is said to be bright.

There is another interpretation.  Kumuda is made up of ku + mud.  Ku means inferior and mud means pleasure.  Therefore, kumuda means worldly pleasures.  Worldly pleasures are always considered as inferior because it ultimately leads to miseries and pains.  Lalitāmbikā, being the Supreme Mother, takes pity on those who indulge in worldly pleasures and take them to Śiva for final liberation.  This means that She makes them to pursue the spiritual path for ultimate liberation.

If Her motherly care is properly understood, anyone can get rid of his difficulties.  The only thing that is required from his side, is to realize Her.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 403 – 410

Mahā-kāmeśa-nayana-kumudahlāda-kaumudī महाकामेशनयनकुमुदह्लादकौमुदी (403)

Mahā-kāmeśa is Śivanayana – eyes, kaumuda – the moon of second half of November and first half of December (the month of Kārttika), kumuda – lotus flower.  On seeing LalitāmbikāŚiva’s eyes become wide open like lotus flower blossoming when the moon shines.  Śivas happiness is reflected through his eyes on seeing Her.  The moon in the month of Kārttika is said to be bright.

There is another interpretation.  Kumuda is made up of ku + mud.  Ku means inferior and mud means pleasure.  Therefore, kumuda means worldly pleasures.  Worldly pleasures are always considered as inferior because it ultimately leads to miseries and pains.  Lalitāmbikā, being the Supreme Mother, takes pity on those who indulge in worldly pleasures and take them to Śiva for final liberation.  This means that She makes them to pursue the spiritual path for ultimate liberation.

If Her motherly care is properly understood, anyone can get rid of his difficulties.  The only thing that is required from his side, is to realize Her.

Bhakta-hārda-tamo-bheda-bhānumad-bhānu-santatiḥ भक्तहार्दतमोभेदभानुमद्भानुसन्ततिः (404)

She dispels the darkness of ignorance of Her devotees. This is compared to the sun dispelling the darkness when it rises.  She being the supreme mother does this out of compassion.  The very thought of Her, dispels ignorance.

Kṛṣṇa describes this compassion in Bhagavad Gīta (X.11) “Out of mere compassion for them, I, dwelling within their hearts, destroy the darkness born of ignorance by the luminous Lamp of knowledge.” The darkness referred here is born out of ignorance.

Śivadūtī शिवदूती (405)

She requested Śiva to be Her messenger to two demons. Since Śiva Himself acted as Her messenger or She made Śiva as messenger,  She is known as Śivadūtī.  Śivadūtī is one of the fifteen tithi nitya devi-s in Śrī Cakra.

Śivārādhyā शिवाराध्या (406)

She is worshipped by Śiva Himself.  Śiva by meditating on Her, obtained his Ardhanārīśvara (half Śivaand half Śaktī) form. As a result of meditating on Her, Śiva became the lord of all siddhi-s. These siddhi-s or superhuman powers originate from Her, through Her subtlest kuṇḍalinī form.  This nāma conveys this subtle message.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 1) says “Śiva united with Śaktī is able to manifest.  Otherwise, Śiva does not even know how to pulsate”.

Śivamūrtiḥ शिवमूर्तिः (407)

Her form itself is Śiva.  In fact, there is no difference between Śiva and Śaktī.  Śiva means auspiciousness.  Because She is the embodiment of auspiciousness, She is called Śivamūrtiḥ.

Rig Veda says (X.92.9) “With reverence, we present your hymn today to the mighty Rudra, the ruler of heroes, the rapid and ardent deities with whom the gracious (Śivaḥ) and opulent (Rudra) who derives his renown himself, protects us from the sky.”  Śiva is full of grace and happiness and considered as the Supreme protector.  When She is said to be in the form Śiva Himself, it is considered as a great honour for Her.  This could also mean nirguṇa Brahman or Brahman without any attributes. This Sahasranāma ends by saying Śrī Śiva (998), Śiva-Śaktī aikya rūpinī (nāma 999) and Lalitāmbikā(nāma 1000).

Śiva also means the liberation and mūrtī means form.  The final liberation is attained only by self-realisation which is possible only through knowledge or vidyā.  That is why Her worship is known as Śrī vidyā or the supreme knowledge.

Śivaṁkarī शिवंकरी (408)

She dispenses happiness.  Śiva means auspiciousness and karī means giver.  She does this to Her devotees by dispelling their ignorance called avidyā.  When avidyā is dispelled, knowledge is attained paving the way for Self-realization.  She is sarva maṅagala māṅgalye (the provider of all types of happiness) says Durgā Saptasati.

Śivapriyā शिवप्रिया (409)

She is the beloved of Śiva.  Śiva is loved by Her.  Śiva is dear to Her. Their love is mutual, as otherwise, Śiva would not have given His left vertical half to Her.

Śivaparā शिवपरा (410)

Having compared Her to Śiva, now Vāc Devi-s proceed to say that She transcends Śiva Himself. Parācan be explained as follows:  Pertaining to the ultimate or supreme as opposed to the immanent here and now aspect of reality which is aparā.  Brahman can be conceived from two angles.  One is Parā Brahman, the Supreme of the two and other is aparā Brahman, the deficient of the two.  The former is devoid of attributes and hence is inconceivable.  Since She transcends the stage of Śiva, She is considered as the Supreme Brahman. This is because Śiva becomes inert without Her.  That is why She is known as Parā.  Knowing Her is parā vidyā or the supreme knowledge. The appropriate interpretation of this nāma is that She reveals the Supreme or Parā Śiva or Paramaśiva to Her devotees.  Paramaśiva can be explained as ‘the Absolute, understood as the casual substance for everything apparent’. This explanation is also in agreement with Her prakāśa vimarśa mahā māyā svarūpinī form.

Nāma-s 405 to 410 explained Her attributes with particular reference to Śiva.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 411 – 415

Śiṣṭeṣṭā शिष्टेष्टा (411)

Śiṣṭa-s are those who follow the righteousness prescribed by śāstra-s.  Śiṣṭa-s is also explained to mean those who control their senses and knower of Veda-s.  Their actions are based on the śāstra-sthat are derived from Veda-s.  She likes these śiṣṭa-s. Viṣṇu is known for His righteousness.  It is also said that one should worship God, as prescribed by their respective orders and not simply by flowers, etc.  Viṣṇu Sahasranāma nāma 310 is also Śiṣṭeṣṭā and the interpretation given there to, is that He (Viṣṇu) likes men of knowledge (jñāni).

Kṛṣṇa Himself says this in Bhagavad Gīta (VII.17) “Chief among them is jñāni, ever constant and one pointed in devotion.  I am exceedingly dear to him and he is exceedingly dear to me”.  Kṛṣṇa did not stop with this.  He proceeds to say “A man so illuminated is hard to find and such a stage is reached after many incarnations” (VII.19).

Śiṣṭapūjitā शिष्टपूजिता (412)

She is worshipped by such śiṣṭa-s referred to in the previous nāma.  Jñāni does not worship someone who is not worthy of worship.  He will worship only the Supreme Self, the Brahman.   This nāma is an extension of the previous nāma which confirms Her Supreme stature.

Aprameyā अप्रमेया (413)

She cannot be measured.  Brahman alone cannot be measured.  Because She is aprameyā, She is worshipped by jñāni-s and śiṣṭa-s.

Viṣṇu Sahasranāma nāma 46 is also aprameyā.  He cannot be known through senses as He is devoid of qualities such as sound, etc.  He cannot be visualized because He is beyond visualisation.  He cannot be known through examples because there is nothing to make a comparison (this is based on the simple logic that a rat cannot be compared to a lion though both have four legs, a tail etc.).  He cannot be known either by affirmations or by negations as we do not have any basis for such affirmations and negations.  But Veda-s and Upaniṣads try to explore (though by affirmations and negations, as the perceptive knowledge can be inferred only by such affirmations and negations only) Him as “That” and says that He exists as self-illuminating light witnessing the activities of His creation.

Kena Upaniṣad (I.6) explains this point more elaborately.  “Know that alone to be Brahman which the mind cannot comprehend and which yogi-s say makes the mind function.  Brahman is not this sense world, which people worship”.  The Upaniṣad continues to say “If you think (guru addressing his disciple) ‘I know the Brahman well’ then it is for certain that you know little about the nature of the Brahman.  You know only Its manifestation in the individual self, the gods, and the phenomenal world.  Therefore, Brahman should still be thoroughly investigated”.   But, we need some basic inputs to know Him.  This is explained in the next nāma.

Svaprakāśā स्वप्रकाशा (414)

She is Self-illuminating.  Brahman alone is self-illuminating and all other illuminating objects like sun, moon, stars etc derive their light only from the Brahman.  Only because of this self-illuminating light, we are able to see this materialistic world.

This concept is explained in Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (IV.iv.9) which says “revealing His own lustre by His own light”.  This is the state where the light is free from everything else, let it be even the five basic elements.   He is not afraid of any one, because, there is no one besides Him.

Kaṭha (कठ) Upaniṣad says (II.ii.15) “In the presence of Brahman the sun does not shine, nor the moon and stars, nor does the lightning, let alone this fire.  When Brahman shines, everything else follows.  By Its light all these are lighted”.   This nāma also reaffirms Her as the Brahman.

{Further reading on Self-illumination: The soul which is also known as jīva when placed in an empirical self, the divine transcendental light ever shines within its glory, but unfortunately hidden from our perception because of our thought constructs.  This Self-illuminating light is known as prakāśa form of the Brahman and referred to as Śiva.  This is also known as the Supreme consciousness or Supreme light of consciousness.  When there is a harmonious synthesis of prakāśa form of Śiva and vimarśaform of Śaktī, manifestation of the universe takes place. Vimarśa form reflects the Self-illuminating light of prakāśa form and the one without the other becomes incapable of causing manifestation.}

Mano-vacāmagocarā मनोवचामगोचरा (415)

The qualities of aprameyā (nāma 413) are now being explained.  She is beyond mind and speech. This stage has been explained by Kena Upaniṣad which has been discussed earlier.  If She is known as the One beyond the perception of mind, everything else is struck down as they are only intersections of mind.

Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.ix) also explains this situation.  “That from which, words come back, they turn away. How can words express the Self?  Can that which is finite express the Infinite?  No.  It is beyond words, beyond thought.  The mind also cannot grasp this Brahman. You can think of something that is familiar, that is known to you, but how can you think of something about which you have had no experience at all?  Our thoughts are always limited by experience”.

This nāma says that She can be realized only through pure knowledge, the knowledge to which we are never exposed to.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 416 – 417

Cicchaktiḥ चिच्छक्तिः (416)

Cit means pure consciousness and the pure knowledge. The Brahman (without attributes or nirguṇaBrahman) is made up of three important aspects.  They are sat (perpetual existence), cit (the present nāma – pure form of consciousness) and ānanda (the bliss).  These three attributes together is called saccidānanda (सच्चिदान्द) and the Brahman is also known by this name.  Saccidānanda means existence (sat), consciousness (cit) and bliss (ānanda)The pure consciousness here means the spiritual consciousness. Only the pure and un-afflicted knowledge is capable of producing spiritual consciousness.

{Further reading on Cit.  It is also known as cidātma.  When this is reflected in universal nescience, it is known as the Īśvara and when reflected in individual nescience it is known as soul. Īśvara is not the Brahman as it is the reflection of universal nescience.  There are two aspects to this interpretation.  Here, Īśvara is said to be only reflective in nature and not self-illuminating. Self-illumination is the exclusive quality of the Brahman. Secondly, the Brahman can never be associated with nescience.  This Īśvara is said to be the Lord of prakṛti or the Nature.  When the soul or individual nescience comes into contact with prakṛti, the soul induces evolution of a new physical body, for the karma-s embedded in it to manifest. However, Īśvara remains in an unconditioned form, but the soul continues its conditioned form afflicted by the lower levels of consciousness, which is also known as individual conscience.  Īśvara remains un-afflicted by the influence of three guṇa-s and the soul gets influenced by three guṇa-s, leading to creation.  Īśvara can be interpreted as the cosmic counter part of soul.  Īśvara and prakṛti in combination with other twenty four principles or tattva-s cause the creation.  Therefore, we get introduced to a new principle in this nāma that is known Īśvara tattva or the principle of Īśvara in this Sahasranāma.

Since Īśvara is said to be the Lord of prakṛti, it can also be called as the aggregate aspect of māyāand the individual souls are aggregative.  This principle or tattva of Īśvara is one among the four distinctive states of the Brahman, the other three being avyakta (nāma 398), hiraṇyagarbha (nāma 638). it is within the subtle body.  It binds all the constituents of the universe together) and virāt (nāma 778. the universal cosmic form).

Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (V.1) also refers to this phenomenon.  ‘Para Brahman is higher than hiraṇyagarbha.  Knowledge and ignorance are both hidden in Para Brahman.  Ignorance is the cause of birth and death, but knowledge leads to immortality.  He who controls ignorance and knowledge is separate from both.  That is Brahman (pure and without attributes) the supreme’.

This nāma says that She is in this form of ciccakti (cit śakti).

Cetanā rūpā चेतना रुपा (417)

It is called caitanya, the pure and unconditioned form of consciousness, in its functional state.  It can also be explained as the purer form of the preceding nāma.  The entire universe emerges from this caitanya that has two sides.  The first one is gross and the other one is subtle.  The gross form is made up of name and form and the subtle form is made up of mind and its modifications called antaḥkaraṇa (mind, intellect, consciousness and ego).  The gross form gives direct experience and the subtle form gives internal experience.  In the stage of caitanya, both objective and subjective worlds get formulated as experiences. Her cetana form or caitanya form is also known as Her vimarśa form.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 418 – 421

Jaḍa-śaktiḥ जडशक्तिः (418)

She is the power of inanimate energy (jaḍa).  Generally, two types of energies are referred to in the process of creation.  One is the non-pulsating (inanimate) energy and the other is pulsating energy.  Both are creative energies. The latter is also known as dynamic aspect of the Brahman.  This nāma discusses on the non-pulsating nature of creation.  Inanimate energy or aparāprakṛti is considered to be of the lower grade when compared to parāprakṛti or pure energy (nāma 366 is parā).  These two forms of prakṛti are the different modifications of māyā or illusion, which forms part of the Brahman.  Without māyā, the Brahman on its own cannot function.  In nāma 416 She was referred to as Cicchaktiḥ.  This nāma refers exactly the opposite of Cicchakti.  But the creation is not possible without the combination of Cicchakti and Jaḍaśakti.

Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gīta (VII.4 and 5) “My manifested nature has eight fold differentiations: earth, water, fire, air and ākāś (ether) in combination with mind, intellect and ego (three of the four components of antaḥkaraṇa).  This is my lower nature (aparāprakṛti).  But understand that my different and higher nature (parāprakṛti) is the jīva, the self-consciousness and life-principle that sustains the cosmos”.

Jaḍaśakti forms part of the saguṇa Brahman (the Brahman with attributes).  This saguṇa Brahmanuses both inanimate and animate energies for creation. This is based on the principle that two factors are needed to create a third.  Jaḍaśakti is responsible for creating the objective world (conscious mind is objective in nature) that is described in the next nāma.

Jaḍātmikā जडात्मिका (419)

She exists as the objective world of māyā that has been discussed in the previous nāma.  Except the Brahman, everything else is called māyā.  When the universe is called as object, then realizing the Brahman can be called as the subject.

{Further reading on subject and object: Let us now understand the subject and object concept of the Brahman. What we are not able to see is not an object. If Brahman is object it has to be seen first before realizing. We are not able to see Brahman. Scriptures also never gave any form to Brahman. Secondly anything could be an object except our own self. Why ‘I’ is not called the object because we use our knowledge in realising the Brahman. How do we get our knowledge? We get knowledge from the objects around us. Tree is an object and we gain knowledge about tree by seeing it. We use our sensory organs to gain knowledge. Knowledge is gained out of the objects only. All objects will perish one day as they exist physically. In the same way, if you look at Brahman as an object, He has to exist physically. If He exists physically, he has to perish one day. Brahman is not visible to us nor is he going to perish like all other living beings. This is yet another confirmation that Brahman is not an object. Only for our convenience we make Him as object by defining various forms. But these forms are not without deeper significance which we shall discuss later. On the basis of the foregoing we can conclude that Brahman is not an object. If He is not an object, then is He the subject?  Let us find out.

Subject is defined as matter for discussion and a cause to experience. Brahman is the subject taken up for discussion and we are waiting to experience the Brahman. Therefore Brahman could be the subject. But we need more proof to confirm this. You call a tree as an object. How do you know it is an object? You are able to see the tree, the object with your eyes. Who is experiencing the vision of the tree? It is you, your sense organ eye experiencing the vision of the tree. So it is you who is experiencing. Does it mean that you are the subject? Possibly yes. You could be the subject. If you are subject, then what is the position of the Brahman? We have been referring the Brahman as the subject. When Brahman, the Supreme is the subject, how can you too be the subject? Does it mean that the subject, you as an individual and the Brahman are one and the same? Does it mean that the knower and the known are the same? Who is the knower? You are the knower. Who is the known? Brahman is the known. How we can call the Brahman as the known? We cannot call him the known at this stage. He can be called as known only after really knowing him. Discussion about the Brahman does not mean that you know him. By these discussions we are only trying to realise the universal existence of the Brahman. The Brahman within you or me or the tree is one and the same as He exists much smaller than an atom.}

Gāyatrī गायत्री (420)

She is in the form of goddess Gāyatrī or Gāyatrī mantra.  Chāndogya Upaniṣad (III.12.1) says “All that exists in this world, whatever there is, is Gāyatrī.  It is the word that is Gāyatrī, for the word gives names to all things and it also tells them not to fear.” The Upaniṣad also says that the Gāyatrī mantraprotects and saves a person who repeats this mantra.

There is a story in Padma Purāna about Gāyatrī which goes like this:  When Lord Brahma was performing a fire ritual, He called his wife Sāvitri.  She said that she would come with Lakṣmī and other goddesses.  Brahma became wild and substituted a cowherd’s daughter (Kṛṣṇa’s dynasty) for his wife.  He named her as Gāyatrī.  Accompanied by her, Brahma decided to hasten the fire ritual. At that time, Viṣṇu told Brahma to marry her in the gandharva form of marriage (mental union of a man and a woman) and Brahma thus married Gāyatrī.

Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gīta X.35 ‘among poetic meters I am Gāyatrī.  Kṛṣṇa elaborates in chapter X, verses 21 to 41 ‘His prominent manifestations among the beings, forces and objects that are the causes and the results of His creative, preservative and terminative activities of the cosmos’.   Therefore, Gāyatrī is considered as the powerful of all the poetic meters.  Lalitāmbikā is said to be in the form of Gāyatrī.  The appropriate way of interpretation is that Gāyatrī is one among the multitude manifestations of Lalitāmbikā.

{Further reading on Gāyatrī mantra:  Gāyatrī mantra is considered as one of the holiest and powerful mantra-s that finds a place in three Veda-s and a few Upaniṣads. The main difference between Veda-s and Upaniṣad is that the former talks about the Brahman and the latter shows the ways and means of realising the Brahman revealed by the Veda-s. In practical applications, Upaniṣads play an important role than the Veda-s as Veda-s mostly talk about mantra-s and rituals. Amongst all the mantras, Gāyatrī mantra is considered as the most sacred one. Let us now understand Gāyatrī mantra.

Each mantra is made up of certain number of syllables and a mantra with twenty four syllables is called Gāyatrī chandas. This mantra was first realized by sage Viśvāmitra. He attained enormous siddhi-s by chanting this mantra. The twenty four syllables are placed in three lines or pāda-s and each pāda has eight bīja-s. The mantra proper is preceded by ॐ and then by three vyāhṛti-s. Vyāhṛti-s represent the three types of worlds. (The names of the seven worlds are bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, svaḥ, mahaḥ, janaḥ, tapaḥ, satyaṁ. The first three are called the great vyāhṛiti-s and recited after ॐ by many, before commencing their daily prayers and are personified as the daughters of Savitṛi and Pṛiśni.) Then follow the Gāyatrī mantra proper. ॐ or praṇava is the first manifestation of Śabda Brahman. Before ॐ could manifest into A, U and M it was in the form of nāda-bindu (un-manifested form of sound), the creative power of the universe. All sounds originated from Śiva’s drum. We have already seen that Śiva is the static energy, originated on His own. Śaktī was created out of this static energy by means of abnormal pulsation. Possibly this is the only instance when the static energy pulsated. The pulsation of Śiva manifested as Śaktī and from Śaktī all other manifestations such as prakṛti originated. From prakṛti, five elements originated. This is how the creation was commenced by the Supreme Śaktī, in her vimarśa form. From the nāda-bindu (Śiva and Śaktī combine) three syllables A, U and M originated, representing various triads. These are Brahma, Viṣṇu and Rudra (one of the forms of Śiva is Rudra and this Rudra should not be confused with ekādaśa (11) Rudra-s); creation, sustenance and dissolution; past, present and future and desire, knowledge and action. Thus the Gāyatrī mantra begins with OM, the original manifested sound of the Brahman.

Next to praṇava are three vyāhṛti-s bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ and svaḥ. These vyāhṛti-s represent further manifestation of OM and this manifestation is called origin of speech and said to represent the three worlds of this universe. These three worlds originated from the three letters A, U, M of OM or अ, उ म of ॐ.  From these vyāhṛti-s , was derived the Gāyatrī mantraGāyatrī mantra is the origin of three Veda-s (Rig, yajur and Sama Veda-s).  Three loka-s or worlds mean the three stages of consciousness. Bhūr means the lower level of consciousness and lower planes. Bhuvar means the ordinary or normal level of consciousness that is associated with our day to day activities. Svar means higher level of consciousness. Thus, the three vyāhṛti-s in fact mean the modifications in the level of consciousness. Three loka-s are also commonly enumerated, viz. heaven, earth, and the atmosphere or lower regions.  Bhūrloka, the earth; Bhuvar-loka the space between the earth and sun inhabited by sages and saints; Svar-lokaIndra’s Heaven above the sun or between it and the polar star.

After OM and three vyāhṛti-s, the famous Gāyatrī mantra of twenty four syllables are placed. It has three pāda-s or lines. The first line of eight bīja-s is tat saviturvareṇyaṁ तत् सवितुर्वरेण्यं. tat means that, savitur means the Creator, vareṇyaṁ means the Supreme. The first pāda means ‘That Supreme creator’. The second pāda or line of eight bīja-s is bhargo devasya dhīmahi भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि. bhargomeans illuminating form, devasya means that belongs to the Brahman, dhīmahi means meditate. The second pada means we meditate on the illuminating form that belongs to the Brahman. The third pādaor line of eight bīja-s is dhīyo yo naḥ pracodayāt धीयो यो नः प्रचोदयात्. dhiyo means the modifications of the mind, yo means that Brahman, naḥ means ours, pracodayāt means inducing. The third line means modification of our mind is induced by that Brahman. As a whole this is the meaning of Gāyatrī mantrawithout vyāhṛti-s and pranava. “We meditate on that illuminating form of the Supreme Creator, who induces modifications in our mind (mental modifications).” It is to be understood that such mental modifications do not happen if our consciousness is in the same frequency as that of the Brahman. Mental modifications happen only in the lower planes.

Any mantra with gāyatrī meter will have twenty four bīja-s and this meter is supposed to protect our gross body. The gross body is nourished by the vital force or prāṇa and the first pāda of Gāyatrī mantra represents this vital force. The second pāda gives knowledge. Knowledge means, knowledge about the Brahman. This knowledge is gained through Veda-s and Upaniṣads. In ancient days, a disciple is sent to a Guru for learning Veda-s at a very young age. As the first step towards learning Veda-s, the disciple is initiated into Gāyatrī mantra. The third pāda of this mantra refers to turya stage, a stage beyond the three stages of sleep, dream and deep sleep. The process of Brahman realisation or Self-realisation happens if this fourth state of turya is reached and transcended. Only when one moves away from all types of consciousness, the Supreme Self-illuminating Brahman can be realized. When the mind gets totally detached from consciousness, the state of void is reached.

Gāyatrī mantra is often said to represent the sun. In fact this is true to a large extent. Sun fits perfectly the description of the Brahman. Without sun, the world cannot function. The energy itself is derived from the sun. Sun is also self illuminating like the Brahman. The light of the sun alone illuminates other objects, or other objects are known only with the rays of the sun. Since all the qualities of the Brahman perfectly fit the sun, it is referred to as the creator. That is why the word savitur in the first pāda is said to mean the sun. But it should not be construed that Gāyatrī mantra is about sun. Sun is one of the creations of Śaktī and it is not the Brahman that we are discussing. The main qualities of the Brahman like illumination, creation etc happens only through the light of the sun and we realize that these acts happen because of sun’s energy. The internal Self illumination that is several times powerful than the sun and when realized within, is known as Self. Therefore, Gāyatrī mantra is about the Supreme Brahman. That is why the mantra itself uses the word ‘meditate’. Only through meditation, modifications of the mind can take place that can ultimately lead to un-conscious state of the mind where the self illuminating Brahman is realized.

If Pañcadaśī mantra of Lalitāmbikā is recited once, it is equivalent to three recitations of Gāyatrī mantra. Each line of Pañcadaśī mantra is equivalent to one recitation of pūrṇa Gāyatrī mantra. The Gāyatrī mantra has got several curses from various gods and sages. The sage Viśvāmitra himself has cursed this mantra and there are certain mantra-s that are to be recited to remove all such curses. Unless these curses are removed, none can attain siddhi in this mahā mantra.}

Vyāhṛtiḥ व्याहृतिः (421)

She is in the form of vyāhṛti-s of Gāyatrī mantra as discussed in the previous nāma.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 422 – 423

Sandhyā सन्ध्या (422)

Sandhyā means non-separation.  It means non-separation of our mind with caitanya which is said to be in the sun.  Caitanya is nothing but cit (pure consciousness) in its operational state that has been already discussed in nāma 416. Both the external experience caused by the senses and the internal experience caused by the mind happen only in cit or consciousness.  It is here that both subjective and objective worlds develop as experience.  So consciousness can also be called as the place of all experiences.  Vedānta calls this as the Brahman and science terms this as consciousness.  Non-duality is referred to by different names and forms and the word sandhyā is one among them.  Everything that exists in this universe is only the manifestation of this cit or the Brahman.  When sun itself gets its light only from the Self-illuminating Brahman, why caitanya is said to be in the sun?  The answer is obvious.  Everyone knows that earth cannot survive without sun.  Secondly, sun is visible to our eyes.  Since it is difficult for most of us to manifest the Brahman without form, for easy visualization, Brahman’s domicile is referred to as the sun and its rays are referred to the various creations of the Brahman.  The time of dawn and dusk is also known as sandhya.  Meditating during these times is said to provide the necessary impetus to the process of non-separation. Śiva SūtraIII.25 declares the result of such non-separation.  It says,”Śivatulyo jāyate शिवतुल्यो जायते”. This Sūtratalks about final stages of liberation of a yogi. A yogi, who has not merged with Śiva but appears like Śiva.  The difference between merging with Śiva and appearing like Śiva is significant.  Merger with Śiva happens only in the stage of kaivalya, the ultimate stage.

Therefore, this non-separation means that our mind should stand united with the Brahman, destroying the evil effects of māyā or illusion.  Destruction of duality is advocated in this nāma.  Sandhya is also known as the kinetic power of Śiva or the vimarśa form of the Brahman.  The prakāśa form of the Brahman is Śiva.

There is a story which says that Sandhya is the daughter of Brahma, the Lord of creation.  She was born to Brahma during his meditation.  She performed supreme penance and left her mortal body to be reborn as Arundhatī, {the little and scarcely visible star Alcor (belonging to the Great Bear, and personified as the wife of one of its seven chief stars, Vasiṣṭha, or of all the seven, the so-called seven riṣi-s}, wife of sage Vasiṣṭha.

The three important nādi-s in kuṇḍalinī meditation iḍāpiṅgalā and suṣumna meet at ājñā cakra.  This place is called sandhya as sandhya also means joining.

Dvijabṛnda-niṣevitā द्विजबृन्दनिषेविता (423)

She is worshipped by those who recite Gāyatrī mantra.  Those who recite Gāyatrī mantra are called dvijā-s or twice born.  Twice born because, first birth through the mother and second birth is the initiation of Gāyatrī mantra.  It is generally said that without initiation, Gāyatrī mantra should not be recited.  Generally, father initiates Gāyatrī mantra to his sons.

Nāma-s 421, 422 and 423 said to mean the three stages of consciousness viz. sleep, dream and deep sleep. Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (IV.iii.18) compares the first two stages of sleep and dream to that of a fish.  It says “As a fish swims alternatively to both the banks of a river, so does this infinite being moves to both these states.  In the first stage, awareness (with reference to mind) is total.  In the second stage, awareness is partial.  We are not aware of the happenings in the stage of deep sleep.”  This stage is described in Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (IV.iii.19).  “As a hawk flying in the sky becomes tired, and stretching its wings, is bound for its nest, so does this infinite being run for this state, where falling asleep, he craves no desire and sees no dream”.

But Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VI.viii.1) explains all these three stages. “When we are awake, both body and mind are functioning.  When we are dreaming, body is not functioning and the mind is still functioning (partially).  In the deep sleep stage, the mind also ceases to function.  When a person is said to be sleeping, he becomes one with the Self and he attains his real Self.”

In the stage of deep sleep, we become unconscious.  This is the stage where the individual consciousness stands merged with cosmic energy and in the process derives the necessary energy for sustenance of the body.  This is the stage where one realizes the Brahman.  For the world, he is said to be in the stage of unconsciousness, but he knows that his consciousness stands united with the Brahman. This process is called transcending consciousness, the stage of turya and beyond.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 424 – 428

Tatvāsanā तत्वासना (424)

Tattva-s mean the principles, either twenty four or thirty six. She is seated on these tattva-s or these tattva-s form Her throne. Tattva-s function both internally and externally. Mind, intellect, consciousness and ego together called antaḥkaraṇa or internal tools, work internally. Senses work externally. Senses are the extensions of the five basic elements.

Five basic elements are ākāś, air, fire, water and earth.  Five karmendriya-s are mouth, legs, hands, organ of excretion and organ of procreation.  Five jñānendriya-s are ears, eyes, nose, mouth and skin.  Five tanmātra-s are sound, taste, smell, light, and touch.  All these make twenty and with antaḥkaraṇa, they become twenty four.  The principles or tattva-s become thirty six if we add five tattva-s of Śiva and seven tattva-s of Śaktī (1. prākaśa 2. vimarśa 3. sādākhya, 4. aiśvarya, 5. Śuddha vidyā, 6. kāla, 7. vidyā, 8. rāga, 9. kāla, 10. niyati, 11. puruṣa and 12. prakṛti).

It can also be said that She is beyond these tattva-s.    A reference can be made to nāma-s 906 and 907.

Tat तत् (425)

The Brahman is referred to by three qualities.  They are ‘om’ ‘tat’ ‘sat’ (Om tat sat).  Tat means “That”.   She is That and this That means the Brahman.  Viṣṇu Sahasranāma nāma 731 is also Tat.

Bhagavad Gīta (XVII.25) says “The seekers of liberation then perform various rites of sacrifice and austerities while concentrating on Tat without desiring results”.  The highest level of God consciousness is called Tat.  She is said to be in the form of the highest level of consciousness. The purest level of consciousness is Brahman.

Tvam त्वम् (426)

Tvam means you, indicating Her.  Here tvam means the Brahman and is aptly described in KenaUpaniṣad (I.4) which says “That Brahman is different from all known and familiar objects.  It is beyond even unknown objects.”  Self realisation is nothing but union of this “That” and “I”.  This reality will dawn one day like a sudden flash.

There is a great saying “Tat tvam asi” (Tat means That (Brahman), tvam means you and asi means are) which means ‘you are That’.  That means the Brahman.  You are That Brahman, the famous mahā vākya.

Ayi अयि (427)

Ayi is a way of addressing mother or sister.  Since She is the supreme mother of the universe, She is addressed as ayi.  When someone is addressed as ayi, it expresses more love than respect. This also means auspiciousness.

It is pertinent to note that nāma-s 425, 426 and 427 together form ‘tattvamayi’ and this is nāma 907 of this Sahasranāma.  This is the beauty of this Sahasranāma. As it progresses, the interpretation of nāma-s also transform from gross to subtle, indicating the spiritual progression.

Pañca-kośāntra-sthitā पञ्चकोशान्त्रस्थिता (428)

She resides in the five sheaths.  These sheaths form the covering of human organism, which is also called piṇḍa śarīra.  The soul is covered by three overlapping vestures.  They are causal body, subtle body and gross body.  The casual body is the innermost and gross body is the outermost.  The gross body is perishable, subtle body sustains for longer time and the casual body is permanent till the final liberation of the soul. The soul along with karmic account is embedded in the casual body.  According to Vedānta philosophy, there are five superimposed sheaths known as kośa.  The inner most is ānandamaya kośa (the sheath of bliss), which corresponds to the casual body.  The next three layers are vijñānamaya kośa (the sheath of intellect and knowledge), manomaya kośa, the sheath of mind, prānamaya kośa, the sheath of vital airs like prāna, apāna, etc.  These three, vijñānamaya kośa, manomaya kośa and prānamaya kośa correspond to the subtle body. The fifth and the outer sheath is annamaya kośa, the sheath of food that corresponds to the gross body. The entire sheathing structure of the human organism hides the soul or puruṣa or the self, deep within and falsely projecting itself as the microcosm and bringing forth the illusion of the world as the macrocosm.

Apart from the above interpretation, there is another explanation.  While performing navāvaraṇa pūja, after the ninth āvaraṇa  there is a ritual called pañcapaṁcikā pūja.  Here, five Devi-s are worshiped one above the other, at the bindu (the central point of Śrī Cakra).  The details may not be necessary for the interpretation of this nāma, as the main interpretation should be based on the five sheaths of the body.  These coverings could also mean five different stages of samādhi.  To reach the final stage of nirvikalpa samādhi, one has to transcend the other stages of samādhi.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 429 – 441

Niḥsīma-mahimā निःसीममहिमा (429)

Her greatness has no boundaries, as the Brahman is omnipresent.  Niḥsīman means immeasurable.

Nitya-yauvanā नित्ययौवना (430)

She is eternally youthful, as She is beyond space and time.

Mada-śālinī मदशालिनी (431)

She is in the stage of ānanda, the stage of bliss.  Normally, bliss is a stage where one’s thoughts are totally unified with the Brahman, resulting in emotional happiness.  But being the Brahman Herself, She is in the stage of bliss by associating Her thoughts with Her spouse and creator Śiva.  Though She is in the stage of bliss, She continues to perform Her duties of creation, sustenance and dissolution.  This is a typical example of karma yoga that Kṛṣṇa talks about in Bhagavad Gīta.

The effects of this bliss on Her person is described in the next two nāma-s.

Mada-ghūrṇita-raktākṣī मदघूर्णितरक्ताक्षी (432)

Her eyes have natural red tinge.  This tinge is due to the reflection of redness associated with Her.  This nāma says that Her eyes are red due to bliss.  One’s eyes will turn red after a deep and intense meditation.  This naturally happens due to the heat generated in the body during meditation.  Drinking plenty of water and consuming fresh fruits always help in controlling this heat. By transforming this heat into energy, one can develop healing abilities.

Mada-pāṭala-ganda-bhuḥ मदपाटलगन्दभुः (433)

Because of Her blissful state, Her cheeks blush with red colour.  If a person regularly meditates, his body turns into golden sheen.  This is because, during intense meditation, the consciousness detaches from external objects and focuses internally, providing sheen to the body, as the awareness moves towards the Self-illuminating light of the Brahman.

Candana-drava-digdhāṅgī चन्दनद्रवदिग्धाङ्गी (434)

Her body is smeared with sandal paste.  Sandal paste is said to cool down the internal body heat.

Cāmpeya-kusuma-priyā चाम्पेयकुसुमप्रिया (435)

She is fond of campaka flower (michelia Campaka).  Her liking for this flower is already mentioned in nāma 13.

Kuśalā कुशला (436)

She is skilful.  Because She handles all the three acts of divinity with such an ease, She is addressed as skilful.

Komalākārā कोमलाकारा (437)

She has beautiful and tender body.  She has a graceful form.

Kurukullā कुरुकुल्ला (438)

Kurukullā is a goddess who dwells in Śrī Cakra between the boundaries of ego and consciousness.   The Bhāvanopaniṣad considers goddess Vārāhi as father and Kurukullā as mother.  It says, “Vārāhi pitṛurūpā kurukullā balidevatā mātā (वाराहि पितृरूपा कुरुकुल्ला बलिदेवता माता).” This is based on the principle that our body consists of sensory organs along with flesh and blood that cause the feeling of bodily lust.  The physical description of Kurukullā is terrifying, probably indicating that lust is one of the factors that form a stumbling block to the spiritual progression.

Kuleśvarī कुलेश्वरी (439)

She is the ruler of the triad kula.  The triad consists of cognisor, cognized and cognition (the psychological level of perception).  She controls this triad that leads to Self-realisation.  If all the three become one, She is realised.

Kulakuṇḍālayā कुलकुण्डालया (440)

Kulakuṇda is a small orifice in mūlādhāra cakra, where She takes rest.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 10) also says, “Reaching your own ground mūlādhāra and coverting yourself into a serpent with three coils and half, You sleep in the crevice in the centre of mūlādhāra lotus.”

A practitioner’s spiritual pursuit begins from Kulakuṇda that transcends upwards to turya and turyātītastages where bliss and salvation take place.

Kaula-mārga-tatpara-sevitā कौलमार्गतत्परसेविता (441)

She is worshipped by those who follow the kaula tradition. This nāma means that She is worshipped through the methods followed by one’s lineage. The worship differs based on the rituals followed.  In Her worship there are three main paths called samaya, kaula and miśraSamaya path follows the teachings of Veda-s.  Kaula way of worship is purely based on tantric rituals.  This is considered as the lower level of worship as it advocates the five M-s or makāra-s [makāra-s because they begin with letter M in Sanskrit and they are mudra (finger gestures), fish (matsya), meat (māṃsa), mada, (a type of intoxicating drink) and conjugation (mithuna).  Sometimes, mudra or finger gestures replace mada], never accepted by Vedic scholars. However, this worship has its own tough rituals.  The third is miśraor the mixed way of worship, consisting of both Vedic and tantric rituals.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 442 – 452

Kumāra-gaṇanāthāmbā कुमारगणनाथाम्बा (442)

Mother of Kārttikeya or Skanda and Gaṇeśa.

There is a deeper meaning to this nāma. The nāma is split into ku (inferior) + māragaṇa (modification of intense passion or emotion) + nāthā (lords of the above) + ambā (the one who binds).  This gets translated as ‘the lord of the inferior and intense passion or emotion, who causes binding to the materialistic world, known as ego.  Kumara is said to be the lord of ego. Viṣṇu or Śiva is known as Puruṣa.  Lakṣmī or Pārvatī, their consorts are known as avyakta (the un-manifested form of prakṛti). Ego arises during the union of puruṣa and avyakta.  Puruṣa is the king, avyakta is the queen and ego is the chief of army.

Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gīta (X.24), “among generals, I am Skanda.”  It is also said that by worshipping Skanda, one can destroy one’s ego.

Kānchi Śaṃkarācārya said, “Whatever God one may choose for worship only if Gaṇeśa’s benedicition is obtained first, prayers will fructify without hindrance.”

Tuṣṭiḥ तुष्टिः (443)

Beginning with this nāma, next seven nāma-s describe Her seven specific qualities.

She is in the form of happiness.  This happiness is due to contentment.  She is only a giver.  She derives happiness in giving.

Puṣṭiḥ पुष्टिः (444)

She is in the form fullness,  fullness of the body and mind.

Matiḥ मतिः (445)

She is in the form of intellect.  Intelligence is gained by experience when puruṣa or the soul manifests.  She is in the form such intelligence.  It is also said that Śiva is called mati because of His knowledge about Veda-s.

Dhṛtiḥ धृतिः (446)

She is in the form of courageousness and steadfastness, the qualities that are required to administer the universe.

Śāntiḥ शान्तिः (447)

She is known for Her quietude.  Śānti means the eternal peace of mind derived from controlling senses.  Fifteen inches from the tip of the nose is where the soul gets purified (this could also mean the exhalation of carbon dioxide and inhalation of air containing more oxygen).  This is called sixteenth kalā and this kalā is known as Śānti.  She is in the form of Śānti, purifying the souls, subject to their karma-s.

Svastimatī स्वस्तिमती (448)

The Absolute Reality.  The absolute reality is beyond empirical reality and manifestations.  Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (II.i.20) refers this situation as “Truth of truth (the absolute reality), has a transcendental import and it is difficult to understand”.

Kāntiḥ कान्तिः (449)

This nāma refers to the Self-illuminating nature of the Brahman.  This is the will of the Brahman to sustain.  Because of this illumination, sun shines and sustains the universe.

With this, the seven nāma-s describing of Her seven qualities end.

Nandinī नन्दिनी (450)

A type of holy cow that is capable giving whatever is asked for.  This also means the river Gaṅgā.  She is in the form of river Gaṅgā who is known for her purifying qualities.

Vighnanāśinī विघ्ननाशिनी (451)

The one who destroys all obstacles.  She destroys the obstacles while acquiring knowledge of the Brahman.

Tejovatī  तेजोवती (452)

She is radiating.  This nāma is more or less in line with nāma 449 kāntiḥ discussed earlier.  But there is subtle difference between these two.  The earlier nāma is the will of the Brahman and this nāma talks about the creative aspect of the Brahman.  Both for creation and sustenance, light is required.  This nāma more explicitly explains Her luminous nature, from which other luminaries derive light. This nāma further confirms the fact that Brahman alone is Self-illuminating.

Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (III.viii.9) says, “the sun and moon are in their positions under the mighty rule of this Immutable.”

Lalitha Sahasranamam 453 – 455

Trinayanā त्रिनयना (453)

Three eyed.  Her three eyes are sun, moon and fire.  In the subtler sense, this can also mean Her kāmakalā form (nāma 322).  Śiva has three eyes representing speech, inference and observation.  Since She is not different from Śiva, She too has three eyes.  This has been more fully described by sage Patañjali in his master piece yoga sūtra-s (I.7).  To know that something is right, one has to depend upon three factors viz. pratyakṣa or direct perception, anumāna or inference and āgamāḥ or spiritual knowledge (spiritual knowledge is also known as wisdom).

Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (II.iv.5) expounds it further by saying “by the realisation of the Self through hearing, reflection and meditation all this is known.”  These three are said to be the three eyes of spiritually awakened persons.  Trinayanā could also mean ājñā cakra or the third eye that is capable of developing one’s clairvoyance.

There are three types of Her worship and they are left hand worship, right hand worship and Vedic worship.  She leads these worshippers in the proper way in any of the paths chosen by them. Though the paths are different, the ultimate destination is the Brahman.  Typically, these paths mean the mental attitude of the pursuer.

Lolākṣī-kāma-rūpinī लोलाक्षीकामरूपिनी (454)

She is in the form of desire of women. Lolākṣī means a woman. This desire is explained by Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad Gīta (VII.11)”I am that desire in men which is in keeping with dharma (righteousness)”.  The desire that Kṛṣṇa refers to is the liberation.  Probably Her desire is for Śiva (nāma 320), as otherwise She has everything and there is no need for any desires for Her.  It is also interpreted that Her desire is not for Śiva alone, but for everyone.  As an indicative nature for the all the living beings, the word women is used. This could be based on the principle that without desires of women, procreation is not possible, highlighting the holiness of motherhood.

She is also said to be in the form of a deity called Yogeśvarī, the goddess of desire.  There are eight mothers (aṣṭa māta-s), representing eight different human qualities.  They are 1. Yogeśvarīrepresenting desire, 2. Māheśvarī for anger, 3. Vaiṣṇavī for greed, 4. Brāhmaṇī for passion, 5. Kalyāṇīfor bewilderment, 6. Indrajā for envy, 7. Vārāhī for disdain and 8. Yamadaṇḍā for death.  There are variations in their names from the one mentioned above, while worshipping them in Śrī Cakra. They are worshipped in Śrī Cakra as Brāhmī, Māheśvarī, Kaumārī, Vaiṣṇavī, Vārāhī, Māhendrī, Cāmunḍāand Mahālakṣmī.  These goddesses are worshiped in the first āvaraṇa in Śrī Cakra worship.

Aṣṭa māta-s also refer to eight veins on both sides of human neck.

Mālinī मालिनी (455)

She is wearing garland. This garland is made up fiftyone alphabets of Sanskrit. Since She is ŚabdaBrahman, all the alphabets originate from Her and it is logical to say that She wears these alphabets in the form of a garland (refer nāma-s 366 – 371).  Mālinī is the goddess of fifty one alphabets of Sanskrit. Mātṛkā Mālinī connotes the fifty one alphabets of the Sanskrit in the regular order. Mātṛkā means unknown mother or the divine mother.  Mālinī means the one who holds the universe within Herself.  As opposed to Mātṛkā Mālinī, Mālinī refers to fifty one letters of Sanskrit alphabet in an irregular order. Following is an example – न ऋ ॠ ….द फ

There is a story in Varāha Purāṇa.  Mālinī is a close friend of Lalitai.  At the time of Lalitai’s marriage with ŚivaMālinī held the foot of Śiva firmly and refused to release it.  Śiva asked Mālinī to release His foot for which He was willing to grant any boons. Mālinī asked Śiva to shower on her friend Lalitai, all His prosperities in exchange for releasing His foot.  Śiva told Mālinī that He had already conferred His fortunes on Her and that She can now release His foot.

There is a tantra by name Mālinī tantra.  Mālinī also means the successive destructive way of I consciousness.

Mālinī also refers to a girl of seven year old.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 456 – 463

Haṁsinī हंसिनी (456)

In the form of haṁsa mantra, also known as ajapa mantra, a method of mantra recitation from dawn to dawn concentrating on the psychic cakra-s.  Ajapa japa also relies on inhalation and exhalation.

Swans are known for their agility of walking.  Poetic parlance of Saundarya Laharī (verse 91) describes this situation as ‘the swans that are nurtured in the house of Paramaśiva (Her house as well) practice your walking agility’.

Mātā माता (457)

The first nāma of this Sahasranāma is Śrī Mātā meaning universal mother. Lalitā Sahasranāma is the only Sahasranāma where a nāma is not repeated twice.  In this nāma, Śrī that was a prefix in the first nāma is not used.  Another example like this are nāma-s 53 Śiva and 998 Śrī Śiva. In view of the contextual reference of this nāma i.e. while dealing with mantra-s (nāma-s 453, 455, 456), this nāma can be interpreted as ‘She is the mother of mantra-s’.  She is also known as Mātṛkā meaning the mother of letters.

Malayācala vāsinī मलयाचल वासिनी (458)

In Kerala, a state of India, She is worshipped as Bhagavatī.  The state of Kerala is known as Malayācala.  Malayalam is the language spoken in Kerala.  Malayācala mountain has rich growth of sandalwood trees and therefore, has natural fragrance.  This place is also known as the garden of Indra, the chief of demigods and goddesses.  The subtle meaning conveyed by this nāma is that She has natural fragrance emanating because of mantra-s.  By drawing a comparison to natural fragrance, the power of mantra-s is portrayed.

Sumukhī सुमुखी (459)

She has a beautiful face.  Face is the reflective part of wisdom.  Chāndogya Upaniṣad (IV.14.2) says “your face is shining like that of a knower of Brahman.  Who has taught you?”  (The Upaniṣadproceeds to say that a person who has known the Brahman remains pure and nothing could taint him.  He is incompetent of doing anything wrong).  If one advances spiritually, his face becomes radiant and glows.  Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI.15) also says “I, a seeker of liberation, take refuge in that luminous Lord, who reveals Self-knowledge in the mind”.  Self can be identified only with luminosity.  ViṣṇuSahasranāma nāma 456 Sumukhā which gives the same meaning.

Mantra initiation should be taken only from these types of gurus, not from the one who is associated only with rituals.  Only then, the purpose of initiation is attained.

Nalinī नलिनी (460)

Her limbs are compared to a lotus flower.  Nāma 278 said that She is seated on a lotus seat. This nāma says that She Herself looks like a lotus flower.  The beauty of Her sculptured figure is described by making a subtle comparison to a lotus flower.

River Gaṅgā is also known as Nalinī.  It is said that there is a river by name Gaṅgā in the heaven, which is also known as Nalinī.

Subhrūḥ सुभ्रूः (461)

She has beautiful eyebrows.  Nāma 17 already described about Her eyebrows by drawing a comparison to festoons.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 47) beautifully describes Her eyes.  “Oh! Umā! Ever bent on dispelling the fears of the world!  I take your two slightly knit eye-brows to be the bow of the consort of Rati.” The verse says that Her eyebrows are arched like a bow and the two eyes appearing like bees down below and Śrī Śaṃkara superimposes a bowstring connecting the two eyes.  The bow thus formed is ready to destroy fear of Her devotees.  Like anger, fear is also one of the worst enemies of mankind.

Śobhanā शोभना (462)

Her exceptional beauty is portrayed. Vāc Devi-s have failed in their attempts to describe Her beauty by drawing comparisons to the objects of mankind.  Since they could not amply describe Her beauty, they ended up with this nāma while delineating Her beauty. Śobhanā means the beauty embodied and endowed with auspiciousness. This is called the divine beauty. The word śobha also means divine, anything propitious, auspicious, welfare, prosperity, moral good and virtue.

Suranāyikā सुरनायिका (463)

She is the head of Deva-s.  Deva-s mean all types of gods and goddesses that include BrahmaViṣṇuRudraSarasvatīLakṣmī, etc. The difference between Gods and demigods is that the former directly partake in the three important activity of the Brahman, creation, sustenance and dissolution, whereas the latter do not. Typically the difference is between the highest authority and a mediocre authority.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 464 – 468

Kālakaṇṭhī कालकण्ठी (464)

Śiva is also known as Kālakaṇṭha because of blue colour of the poison in his throat. Kaṇṭha means throat. This poison is called kālakūṭa or kālahāla the deadliest poison got out of churning ocean, which was swallowed by Śiva.  She being the wife of Śiva is known as Kālakaṇṭhī.  It is also said that when Śiva was consuming the poison, She held His throat, preventing Him to swallow the poison.  Kālakaṇṭhī, a deity, is said to be the creation of Śiva along with Kālī for destroying demons.

Kala also means soft sound and kaṇṭhī means throat.  This could mean Her sweet and soft voice (refer nāma 27).

Kāntimatī कान्तिमती (465)

She is resplendent and radiating.  Refer nāma 449 Kāntī. Matī means many things, such as intelligence, etc. This nāma says that Her intelligence is radiating.

Kṣobhiṇī क्षोभिणी (466)

She causes creative pulsation or throbbing in Śiva for creation. Kṣobha means shaking or agitation.  As a result of this throbbing Śiva makes the souls or puruṣa-s to merge with prakṛti to commence the process of creation.  The soul or puruṣa can manifest only if it interacts with prakṛti, which is also known as the Nature.  This process is known as the creative Self-unfolding act.  It is only the prakṛtithat unfolds the act of creation.  When the soul is associated with prakṛti, the latter unfolds first into the subtle non-materialistic form and later into the gross form.  Once the gross forms emerge, the karma-s of souls begin to manifest, thereby initiating the activities of creation.  This process is known as spanda, the dynamic aspect of Śiva.

Śūkṣmarūpiṇī शूक्ष्मरूपिणी (467)

This nāma refers to Her subtle form.  As already discussed, She is known through three forms.  The first one is Her gross (sthūla rūpa) form that is described in the dhyāna verses of this Sahasranāma.  Her subtle form is kāmakalā (nāma 322) the sūkṣma rūpa, the present nāma.  Her subtlest form is Her kuṇḍalinī, the parā-rūpa ( nāma 366) (kuṇḍalinī – nāma 110). All these three forms are amply discussed throughout this Sahasranāma.

Kaṭha (कठ) Upaniṣad explains this subtle form (I.ii.20).  It says aṇoḥ aṇīyān meaning smaller than the smallest.  The Self is smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest and from this arises all existence and the one who knows this process is called self-realised person.

Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (I.i.6) says susūkṣmaṁ which again means smaller than the smallest. It is eternal, the cause for creation and He is realised by those who long for Him.

Viṣṇu Sahasranāma 457 is sūkṣma conveying the same meaning.  Arjuna addresses Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad Gita (XI.18), “Your form is difficult to see because of its glaring effulgence, spreading on all sides, like blazing fire on the immeasurable radiance of the sun.  Yet I see this glowing form everywhere”.

Sūkṣma is also known as a type of internal fire oblations, in the ever existing fire of kuṇḍalinī, in mūlādhāra cakra.  As this is performed mentally, it is called sūkṣma homa (homa is the act of making an oblation to the Devas or gods by casting clarified butter into the fire)

Vajreśvarī वज्रेश्वरी (468)

She is the sixth nitya devi worshipped in Śrī Cakra in jālandhara pīṭha, situated in viśuddhi cakra, also known as throat cakra.  Again, in the Śrī Cakra worship, in the eighth āvaraṇa, there is a deity by name Mahā-Vajreśvarī who is worshipped in the innermost triangle of Śrī Cakra.  This devi represents vidyā tattva, sustenance of the universe, dream state, jñāna śakti, Her kāmakalā form, etc.  Śrī Cakraworship is to be looked into from an entirely different angle.  There are so many deities representing various acts of the Brahman. Each such activity is realised by way of worshipping in the form of deities.  Without understanding such acts of the Brahman, mere ritualistic worship does not lead to realization.  After worshipping the attributes of the Brahman, in the centre of Śrī Cakra, at the bindupoint Śiva and Śaktī are worshipped, the focal point of Creation in the form of prakāśa and vimarśa.

There is an invisible river called Vajra where pleasant musical notes of swans are flowing.  On the banks of this river, there is a deity called Vajreśī adorned with diamond ornaments.  She is worshipped by lord Indra, the chief of demigods and goddesses.

It is also said that Indra obtained his famous and the deadliest of his armouries called vajrāyudha after performing penance on Her.  She was pleased with Indra’s penance and gave him this armour and then only Indra could return to his world.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 469 – 474

Vāmadevī वामदेवी (469)

Wife of Vāmadeva, yet another form of Śiva.  In Hindu mythology, Śiva has five faces namely ĪśānaTatpuruṣa, Aghora, Vāmadeva and Sadyojāta.   Each of these faces represents five elements like ākāś, etc.  Ancient scriptures say that only three faces of Śiva are visible.  The fourth one is on his back and the fifth face called Vāmadeva is on the top of His head.  This head represents the element of ether or ākāś.  Liṅga Purāṇa describes Śiva’s Vāmadeva form like this:  ‘He was adorned in red ornaments.  He wore red garlands and clothes.  His eyes were red.  He was valorous.’ Vāmadevamantra of Śiva is “ॐ namo brahmane Vāmadevāya. ॐ नमो ब्रह्मने वामदेवाय”.  It is said that if one regularly chants this mantra, he is absolved of his sins and is not born again.

The combined form of Śiva and Śaktī is known as Ardhanārīśvara form.  This form is also known as Vāmadeva form, because She occupies His left portion. It can also be said that Śiva’s Vāmadeva form is red because, She is occupying His left side and Her red complexion gets reflected in His crystal white colour.  Left is also known as vāma and hence Vāmadevī.  She is also worshipped through vāmācāra, the rituals performed with left hand.  Even today, this type of worship is being followed widely, though it is against the teachings of Veda-s.

Vayo’vasthā-vivarjitā वयोऽवस्थाविवर्जिता (470)

She is beyond the effects of aging.  This is the quality of the Brahman, who does not undergo changes.

Siddheśvarī सिद्धेश्वरी (471)

She is the Īśvarī of Siddha-s.  Siddha-s worship Her.  Siddha-s are those who have attained the powers of aṣṭama siddhi or eight types of super human powers.  Such powers are attained only through kuṇḍalinī meditation.  As per the concept of Siddha-s, Śiva stays in the crown cakra or sahasrāra without any movement.  It is only Śaktī, in the form of kuṇḍalinī moving towards Śiva. She is worshipped in the form of kuṇḍalinī by such yogis.  Hence, She is called Siddheśvarī.

Siddha-vidyā सिद्धविद्या (472)

The eternal mantra of Pañcadaśī is called siddhi-vidyā.  All mantra-s have the potency of facilitating auspiciousness to a person who recites mantra-s with dedication and devotion.  Mantra of god (he) is known as mantra itself and mantra of goddesses (she) is known as vidyā.  When someone is to get an initiation of mantra, his guru will test the suitability of a mantra to that person.  If a mantra does not suit a person, it causes more harm than good.  That is why, knowledgeable gurus initiates their disciples with an ātma bīja (the letter of the soul), and prefixing this ātma bīja to any mantra will only rains in auspiciousness.   For quicker results, the ātma bīja can also be prefixed and suffixed to a mantra or a mantra can be encased between ātma bīja-s, by prefixing and suffixing.  However, such intricate subjects are to be decided by one’s guru.

But, Pañcadaśī mantra is exempted from testing its suitability.  This mantra will not cause any harm under any circumstances.  Pañcadaśī mantra has been described in detail in the introduction. Normally mantra-s are initiated during an auspicious time.  For Pañcadaśī mantra, such astrological calculations are not necessary.  This is based on the principle that all the planets function under Her control.

Siddha-mātā सिद्धमाता (473)

She is worshipped as their mother by Siddha-s or yogi-s.  Even for a sannyasin, mother remains as an exception.  The supremacy of motherhood is well known. Siddha-s renounce everything and always stay connected with Śiva and Śaktī.  There are certain yogi-s who get into deep meditation, without even taking food for years. They are able to survive because of the power of kuṇḍalinī, through which they stand connected to the cosmos.  Such yogi-s address Her as Ma and hence She is known as mother of such yogi-s. Already, Her supreme motherhood has been discussed in nāma-s 1 (Śrī Māta) and 457 (Māta).  She protects such yogi-s as their mother.

Yaśasvinī यशस्विनी (474)

The most renowned.  She is famous because of Her multitude of capabilities. Śiva, after creating Her, does not get involved with any of the activities of the universe. She administers the entire universe independently.  Mahānārāyaṇa Upaniṣad (I.10) beautifully explains this situation. It says “No person ever grasped by his understanding the upward limit of this Paramātma, nor his limit across, nor his middle portion. His name is ‘great glory’.” Such is the type of Her greatness.

2.

Lalitha Sahasranamam – Introduction to Yoginis

 

From nāma 475 to 534 (60 nāma-s) discuss in detail about the six cakra-s or psychic centres of kuṇḍalinī andsahasrārā. Each cakra or psychic centre is presided over by a deity called yogini and there are seven suchyogini-s.  The seven cakra-s in the body (considering sahasrāra as a cakra for easier understanding) represent particular body element such as skin, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow and semen or egg.  Each yogini is described in 10 or 9 or 7 nāma-s.  It is to be clearly understood that these nāma-s are not direct reference toLalitāmbikā.  Since Lalitāmbikā is described to be in the form of kuṇḍalinī energy, and the kuṇḍalinī energy has to transcend these cakra-s to reach sahasrāra from mūlādhāra, worshipping the presiding deities of thesecakra-s have been undertaken Vāc Devi-s.  However, the order of worship neither commences from the basecakra to the crown cakranor from the crown cakra to the base cakra.  It begins with viśuddhi cakra, goes down to the lower cakra-s then to ājñā and ends with sahasrāra.  Each of these yogini-s has their own dhyānaverses,japa mantra-s, etc.  They have their own assistants and the most important among them is also referred against each of the yogini-s.  Their complexion, their armouries, qualities, the food they like, etc have also been described.  Sanskrit acoustics has fifty alphabets.  All these fifty alphabets are placed in the six cakra-s.  A detailed discussion is provided on the number of Sanskrit alphabets in nāma 833. The order in which they are mentioned in this Sahasranāma is based on two concepts.  Each of these yogini-s has many faces.  The yoginiat viśuddhi cakra has one face and the yogini at sahasrāra has many faces.  Probably Vāc Devi-s could have prioritized these yogini-s based on the number their faces.  Alternatively, Vāc Devi-s could have chosen this order based on the type of bodily element, each of these yogini-s represent.  First, we have skin followed by blood, muscle and other elements one below the other.  The food that we consume is literally cooked by the internal fire in our stomach called jadarāgni.  This ‘cooked food’ undergoes suitable changes, modifications and conversions and infused to the respective bodily elements and the finest essence of all is converted into semen and eggs (they are sometimes wrongly interpreted as ojas) that are capable of reproduction. Bhavanopaniṣad (verse 4) says that father of these elements is goddess Vārāhī (nāma 70) and mother is goddess Kurukullā (nāma 438).

Sanskrit has fifty alphabets that are divided into sixteen vowels known as ‘letters of life’ (verbatim translation) and the balance is called ‘letters of body’.  Each cakra has certain number of lotus petals and each of these petals represent a particular alphabet of Sanskrit.  For example, the throat cakra or viśuddhi cakra has sixteen lotus petals, which represent sixteen vowels.  The explanation provided here is nothing to do with kuṇḍalinī meditation.  What we are going to discuss is concerned about the presiding deity of each cakra and related narrations.  It has already been discussed that Her subtlest form is kuṇḍalinī.  With this brief introduction, we now proceed to discuss about yogini-s presiding over the seven cakra-s (including sahasrāra) in the next sixty nāma-s.

Before we proceed with the next 60 nāma-s, it is to be understood that these nāma-s do not refer Lalitāmbikā,but Her important attendants known as yogini-s.  They refer only to the presiding yogini-s of mystic cakra-s, through which Śaktī  passes through, to reach Śiva  at the crown cakra.   There are six cakra-s that are subtle in nature in the spinal cord, beginning with the base cakra or mūlādhāra and ending with ājñā cakra or third eye.  The crown or the sahasrāra is not called as cakra.  Vāc Devi-s now commence their description of these cakra-s in detail.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 475 – 484

Vishudi-chakra-nilaya (475)

Before we proceed with the next 60 namas, it is to be understood that these namas do not refer Lalithambigai, but Her important assistants known as yoginis. They refer only to the presiding yoginis of kundalini chakras, through which Shakthi passes through, to reach Shiva at the crown chakra. There are six chakras that are subtle in nature in the spinal cord, beginning with the base chakra or muladhara and ending with ajna chakra or third eye. The crown or the sahasrara is not called as chakra. Vak devis commence their description of these chakras in detail.

Vishudi chakra is also known as throat chakra. Vishudi chakra is smoky purple in colour. It appears like a sixteen petal lotus with sixteen vowels of Sanskrit with bindus (dot) inscribed on each of the petals. Each of these chakras has one predominant bija and bija for vishudi chakra is ‘ham’. This bija is white in colour and covered by akash tatwa and seated on a white elephant. Vak Devis begin with vishudi chakra, through which speech is delivered in the form of vaikhari (nama 371). The descriptions of these chakras begin with the name of the chakra and ends with the name of the yogini who is the presiding deity of that chakra. For example, this nama says ‘vishudi-chakra-nilaya’ which means ‘she resides in vishudi chakra’. But who resides in this chakra is mentioned only in nama 484, which says ‘Dakinishvari’, the name of the yogini who controls this chakra. Unless all the namas (normally 7 to 10 namas for a chakra) pertaining to a particular chakra are studied, understanding of a particular chakra will remain incomplete.

Arakthavarna (476)

The yogini’s (Dakini) complexion is mild red.

Trilochana (477)

Dakini has three eyes.

Khatvangadi-praharana (478)

‘Katvangam’ is a club fitted with human skull.

Vadanaika-samanvita (479)

She has a single face. The order of priority of the chakras is based upon the number of faces each yogini has. Dakini is single faced and she represents akash tatwa.

Payasanna-priya (480)

Payasam is a kind of semi solid sweet normally offered to gods and goddesses on festive occasions. This is made out of rice or cereal cooked with sugar and milk. This nama says that yogini of vishudi chakra Dakini is fond of this sweet.

Tvakstha (481)

She (Dakini) presides over skin and sensation of touch. Skin being the outermost covering of a living being is another reason for Vak Devis to commence the narration of the chakras commencing from Vishudi chakra.

Pashuloka-bhanyankari (482)

Pashu means those who are ignorant. Here ignorance means lack of knowledge about the Brahman or those who are afflicted with duality. Dakinishwari is frightful to those who are ignorant. This type of ignorance is explained in Brahadranyaka Upanishad (I.iv.10) thus.”Even the gods cannot prevail against him, for he becomes their self. While he who worships another god thinking, ‘He is one, and I am another’ does not know. He is like an animal to the gods.”

The same Upanishad further explains about the fear arising out of ignorance. “He was afraid. Therefore, people are afraid to be alone. He though ‘If there is nothing else but me, what am I afraid of?’ From that alone his fear was gone, for what was there to fear? It is from a second entity that fear comes” (I.iv.2).

Taittiriya Upanishad also explains this fear (II.7). “When a person rests fearlessly in that Self, he is no longer afraid of anything. So long as he sees the least difference between himself and the Cosmic Self, he is not altogether free from fear. A person may be learned, but if he still thinks he is separate from Brahman, Brahman itself becomes a source of terror.”

The presiding deity of vishudi chakra Dakinishvari causes this fear arising out of ignorance. If proper steps are initiated to realise the Brahman within, such sort of fear can be overpowered which otherwise will remain as a huge hindrance while pursuing the path of spirituality. Nama 354 is ‘pashu pasha vimochini’ referred to Lalithambigai and this nama refers to Dakinishvari. There is difference between these two namas. In 354 Lalithambigai’s ability to remove the ignorance is mentioned, whereas in this nama Dakishivari is simply mentioned as the goddess who induces a sense of fear amongst the ignorant. This difference indicates the quality of the Supreme Brahman and an ordinary yogini.

Amrtadi-maha-shakthi-samvrta (483)

Dakinishvari is surrounded by sixteen shakthis. Each of these sixteen shakthis presides over each of the sixteen petals. Each vowel is represented by a shakthi. Names of these shakthis begin with all the sixteen vowels. For example, alphabet ‘a’ is presided over by shakthi Amrutha, the next vowel ‘aa’ is presided over by ‘Aakarshani’, etc. Shakthis in this context refer to the lower level of goddesses controlled by Dakinishvari. This nama specifically says that these shakthis are powerful by using the word ‘maha’ which means great.

Dakinishvari (484)

The name of yogini who has been described from nama 475 to 484 (10 namas) is Dakinishvari, the presiding deity of vishudi chakra.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 485 – 494

Anāhatābja-nilayā अनाहताब्जनिलया (485)

Anāhata cakra is known as heart cakra, which is below the throat carka or viśuddhi cakra in the heart area (nāma 475) in the spinal cord.  There is an imaginary lotus with twelve petals that is dull red in colour.  This is the cakra where sound is produced without any friction.  This sound is called Śabda Brahman.  Veda-s says that the soul which is also known as puruṣa resides here.  “The thumb sized puruṣa is seen as a smokeless flame in their hearts” says Kaṭha Upaniṣad (II.1.13).  Below this anāhata cakra, there is a small eight petal lotus where one’s Iṣṭa Devata is meditated.  The difference between soul and Iṣṭa Devata is clearly distinguished here and should not be confused with the Brahman.  The first twelve consonants with bindu-s are conceived in each of the petals.  The pericarp of the lotus is a hexagonal structure.  This cakra represents air element and yaṁ (यं) is the bīja for this cakraYaṁ bīja is the bīja meant for protection and is capable of fulfilling desires.  Ātma bīja for an individual is elicited by taking into account various such factors. Yogini who presides over this cakra is Rākiṇī (nāma 494). It is to be noted that the names of the yogini-s who preside over all these cakra-s differ from the texts that deal exclusively with kuṇḍalinī.  For example, in this Sahasranāma the yoginiof this cakra is referred as Rākiṇī, whereas in other texts her name is mentioned as Kākiṇī.  Kākiṇī is the presiding yogini of svādhiṣṭhāna cakra in this Sahasranāma.

This nāma says that Rākiṇī, who is depicted in the next nine nāma-s resides in the heart cakra is ever alert to pave way for Lalitāmbikā to reach the sahasrāra.  Every time when She passes through this cakra, the soul which is embedded here gets blessed by Her. When this happens, the intensity of the karmic manifestation gets reduced, thereby making a person devout.

Śyāmābhā श्यामाभा (486)

The description of Rākiṇī now begins.  She has greenish dark complexion and of sixteen years of age.

Vadanadvayā वदनद्वया (487)

Rākiṇī has two faces. Yogini Dākinīśvarī of viśuddhi cakra has one face (nāma 479) and as per the ascending order of faces on which the cakra-s are denoted in this SahasranāmaRākiṇī has two faces.

Daṁṣṭrojvalā दंष्ट्रोज्वला (488)

Rākiṇī has terrifying teeth (also referred as tusk) like that of a wild boar.

Akṣamālādi-dharā अक्षमालादिधरा (489)

Rākiṇī is wearing a garland made of fifty one beads, representing all the fifty one alphabets of Sanskrit.  Since sound is heard in this cakra without arising from any cause of friction (normally sound can be produced with the aid of any two objects, for example clapping, wherein we need to use both the palms).  Since this cakra is capable of producing sound on its own (during deep meditation, the sound of ॐ is heard from this cakra) and sound is carried by air, the Vāc Devi-s have fittingly chosen Rākiṇī for wearing this garland of letters.

There is an Upaniṣad called Akṣamālika Upaniṣad that discusses about fifty one alphabets of Sanskrit.  It says that one should make a garland (mālā) of fifty one beads made up of different gems and metals strung with gold or silver string.  This should be consecrated by the procedures laid down therein.  Any japa done with this mālā would make any mantra fructify early.  In general, all japa mālā-s should be consecrated before using it for counting.  Such mālā-s should be treated as sacred as mantra-s.

Rudhira-saṁsthitā रुधिरसंस्थिता (490)

Rākiṇī presides over blood, the element next to the skin. This is another reason for Vāc Devi-s to formulate anāhata cakra next to viśuddhi.

Kālarātryādi-śaktyaughavṛtā कालरात्र्यादिशक्त्यौघवृता (491)

Rākiṇī is surrounded by twelve of her assistants like Kālarātrī devi, each presiding over a petal.  It is said that Kālarātrī devi was born out of tamo guṇa of Rudra who is described like this. “She is three eyed, whose lustre is like that of rising sun, whose plaits are loose and dishevelled, who is in black garments, who holds in her four hands LiṅgaBhuvana, truncheon and boon, who is brilliant with the lustre of different kinds of ornaments, who is cheerful and is served by the group of deva-s and whose body is torn and bruised by the arrows of the mind-born lord of love.”  Recitation of her mantra causes destruction of one’s enemies.  She is also said to be a form of Durgā.

It is also said that on the eve of one’s death, this devi appears in dream bespeaking the death.

Kālarātrī also refers to a particular night in the life of a man on the seventh day of the seventh month of the seventy-seventh year, after which period a man is exempt from attending to ordinances prescribed by dharma śāstra-s.

Snigdhaudana-priyā स्निग्धौदनप्रिया (492)

Rākiṇī is fond of rice mixed with ghee.  This food item is capable of producing quality blood.

Mahāvīrendra-varadā महावीरेन्द्रवरदा (493)

She (Rākiṇī) grants boons to warriors.  Here warriors mean eloquent orators and such eloquence is the boon given by Rākiṇī.  This epithet augurs well with mālā made of fifty one alphabets, the element of air and the manifestation of anāhata sound.

Śiva Sūtra (I.11) says “Being an enjoyer of the rapture of ‘I’ consciousness in waking, dreaming and deep sleep stages becomes the warrior of his senses.”  Vīra mean the senses and one who wins over these Vīra -s is called vīrendra.  In this context, vīrendra means all those who are able to reach the fourth state of turya where bliss is enjoyed.  The next higher stage of turya is known as turyātīta where Self-realisation takes place.  These are the stages of one’s own consciousness.

It is also said that one who has transcended the concepts of “I” and “this” is called Vīra and she derives pleasure in granting them boons (she holds boon in her hand – nāma 491).

Rākiṇyambā-svarūpiṇī राकिण्यम्बास्वरूपिणी (494)

She assumes the form of Rākiṇī, who has been described from nāma 485 to 494 (ten nāma-s).

Lalitha Sahasranamam 495 – 503

Maṇipūrābja-nilayā मणिपूराब्जनिलया (495)

Maṇipūraka cakra is the navel cakra and the yogini who presides over this cakra is Lākinī.  From this nāma till nāma 503 (nine nāma-s) describe this yogini.  This cakra has ten lotus petals and each petal is inscribed with another ten consonants with bindu-s (dots). The pericarp of this cakra is in the form of an inverted triangle, which is red in colour.  Each of the three sides of this triangle has swastika symbol.  This cakra represents the element of fire and the bīja of fire raṁ (रं) is placed in the centre of the triangle. The bīja raṁ is extraordinarily powerful and aids in acquiring supernatural powers.  Thisbīja is capable of providing powers of creation and destruction, depending upon its combination with other bīja-s.  Most of the important bīja-s like hrīṁ, śrīṁ, etc contain raṁ bīja.  This bīja is said to have the power of twelve suns.  This bīja can play a vital role while formulating ātma bīja.  Scriptures on kuṇḍalinī also refer this yogini as Lākinī. Meditating on this cakra gives powers for creation as well as destruction. jaṭharāgni, the internal fire that enables digestion in our body functions from this cakra.  The fire that generates lust is also situated here.  Normally, a fully awakened kuṇḍalinī does not descend below this cakra.

Vadanatraya-saṁyutā वदनत्रयसंयुता (496)

Lākinī has three faces; hence, this cakra is discussed as the third cakra in this Sahasranāma.

Vajrādikāyudhoepetā वज्रादिकायुधोपेता (497)

Lākinī has thunderbolt and other weapons.  She has four arms, two of them holding a thunderbolt and a śakti weapon. The other two hands have vara mudra (a mudra that grants boon.  Almost all the gods and goddesses have this mudra) and abhaya mudra (a mudra that protects by dispelling fear).

ḍāmaryādibhi-rāvṛtā डामर्यादिभिरावृता (498)

Lākinī is surrounded by ten of her assistants like Damarī.

Raktavarnā रक्तवर्ना (499)

Her complexion is blood red in colour.

Māṁsa-niṣṭā मांसनिष्टा (500)

Lākinī presides over flesh.  Flesh is found beneath skin and blood.  This is yet another reason for Vāc Devi-s to discuss maṇipūraka cakra as the third cakra in this Sahasranāma.

Guḍānnaprīta-mānasā गुडान्नप्रीतमानसा (501)

Guḍānna refers to rice cooked with jaggery (jaggery is unprocessed sugar made out of sugarcane). Lākinī has a liking for this preparation.

Samasta-bhakta-sukhadā समस्तभक्तसुखदा (502)

Lākinī confers happiness to all the devotees of Lalitāmbikā.

Lākinyambā-svarūpiṇī लाकिन्यम्बास्वरूपिणी (503)

She (the yogini) is in the form of Lākinī or her name is Lākinī.  (Lākinī + ambā = mother Lākinī)

Lalitha Sahasranamam 504 – 513

Svādhiṣṭānāmbuja -gatā स्वाधिष्टानाम्बुजगता (504)

Yogini of svādhiṣṭāna cakra is known as Kākinī.  From this nāma till nāma 513 (ten nāma-s) describes this yogini.  This cakra is in coccyx area just above mūlādharā cakra and has six lotus petals.  Each of these petals is inscribed with the next six consonants with bindu-s above them.  The pericarp of this cakra appears like an eight petal lotus with half moon in the centre.  Inside this half moon, the bīja of Varuṇa (lord of water) vaṁ (वं) is placed.  Varuṇa bīja vaṁ in proper combination with agni bīja raṁgives certain supernatural powers.  Varuṇa bīja also indicates prosperity.

Caturvaktra-manoharā चतुर्वक्त्रमनोहरा (505)

Kākinī has four beautiful faces, hence described by Vāc Devi-s as the fourth cakra.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 14) mentions about certain rays that radiate from the psychic centres.  From mūlādhārā to ājñā cakra the verse mentions about 360 rays corresponding to 360 degrees of a circle or 360 days of a calendar year (for certain calculations the number of days per year is taken as 360 only).

Śulādyāyudha-saṁpannā शुलाद्यायुधसंपन्ना (506)

Kākinī has four hands that hold trident, noose, skull and elephant hook (aṅkuśa) as her weaponries.  Some other scriptures mention conch shell, discuss, club (gada), and lotus as her weaponries.  There are certain variations between Lalitā Sahasranāma and other scriptures on kuṇḍalinī about the description of the presiding deities of the cakra-s.

Pītavarṇā पीतवर्णा (507)

Kākinī has golden complexion.

Ati-garvitā अतिगर्विता (508)

Kākinī is extremely proud.  She is proud of her beauty.  But Lalitāmbikā is not proud (nāma 158. Nirmadā, says that She is without pride.  When one has something that others do not have, it gives rise to pride.  She has everything and everything comes out of Her.)

Medo-niṣṭā मेदोनिष्टा (509)

Kākinī presides over fat.  Fat is fourth layer beneath our skin hence this cakra is mentioned as the fourth cakra by Vāc Devi-s.

Madhu-prītā मधुप्रीता (510)

Madhu means honey.  Kākinī is fond of honey.  Madhu also means liquor (liquor also referes to the liquid in which vegetables or meat have been cooked) obviously indicating that Kākinī is fond of this kind of liquor.

In fire rituals to appease certain goddesses, along with ghee (clarified butter), honey and milk are also mixed in small quantities.  Offering honey to goddesses is also referred in the Veda-s.

Bandhinyādi-samanvitā बन्धिन्यादिसमन्विता (511)

Kākinī is surrounded by six assistants like Bandhinī.  Each of her assistants presides over each of the petals.  Apart from Bandhinī, other important deities are Badhrakālī and Mahāmāyā.

Dadhyannāsakta-hṛdayā दध्यन्नासक्तहृदया (512)

Kākinī is fond of curd rice.

Kākinī-rūpa-dhariṇī काकिनीरूपधरिणी (513)

The presiding devi of svādhiṣṭhāna cakra is Kākinī who has been described in these ten nāma-s.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 514 – 520

Mūlādhārambujā-rūḍhāa मूलाधारम्बुजारूढा (514)

Yogini who presides over this chakra is Sākinī, who is described in the next seven nāma-s till nāma 520.  This cakra is situated at the perineum area and has four lotus petals that are red in colour.  Each petal is inscribed with four consonants with bindu-s.  The pericarp of this cakra is square in shape with eight spears protruding outwardly.  Inside this pericarp, the bīja of this cakra laṁ (लं) is placed.  There is a red inverted triangle within the pericarp that flashes like lightning.  Inside this triangle, the powerful klīṁ bīja (क्लीं), also known as kāma bīja, is placed.  The bīja for earth is laṁ and this is appropriate because mūlādhāra cakra is the lowest cakra which is also known as the base cakra. Inside this triangle, there is a Liṅga (one of the prominent forms of Śiva).  Kuṇḍalinī energy in the form of a snake coiled around this Liṅga three and half times.  There is a hole which is called dvāra in Sanskrit in this cakra, through which Kuṇḍalinī ascends and descends.  Under normal circumstances, the mouth of this hole is blocked by the head of this snake.  This is the most important cakra as it holds the life energy in the form of Kuṇḍalinī here. Lalitāmbikā dwells in this cakra in the form of Kuṇḍalinī, Her subtlest form. Ancient scriptures refer the presiding deity of this cakra as Dākinī who is the presiding deity of viśuddhi cakra as per this Sahasranāma.

The bīja laṁ is used for acquiring material prosperity.  The other bīja klīṁ which is placed inside the triangle also gives prosperity.  It is to be noted that kāmakalā (nāma 322), the subtler form of Lalitāmbikā is different from kāma bīja klīṁ referred here.

Pañca-vaktrā पञ्चवक्त्रा (515)

Sākinī is five faced, hence described in this Sahasranāma as the fifth cakra.  Each of these faces represents five elements like ākāś, air, etc.

There is a yantra called pañca-vaktrā, which is five faced, which was given by Śiva to Rāvaṇa, in appreciation of his penance. This is mentioned in the epic Rāmāyaṇa,.

Asthi-saṁsthitā अस्थिसंस्थिता (516)

Sākinī presides over bones, the fifth layer from the skin. This is also one of the reasons for taking up this cakra as the fifth in this Sahasranāma.

Aṅkuśādi-praharaṇā अङकुशादिप्रहरणा (517)

Sākinī has weapons like elephant-hook.  She is said to have four arms and apart from elephant-hook, she also carries lotus, book and cin mudra (mudra of knowledge or jñāna mudra).  But scriptures disagree with these armories. Scriptures talk about śūla (trident), staff (a long stick with a flag tied at the top.  Generally it is carried by sanyāsi -s), gourd (kamaṇḍalu, a copper or brass vessel with a nostril like opening containing water) and rudrākṣa mālā. These are the symbols of a sanyāsi.

Varadādi-niṣevitā वरदादिनिषेविता (518)

Sākinī is surrounded by her assistants like Varadā and three others.  The three others are Śrī (possibly indicating prosperity as Śrī means Lakṣmī), Śandā and Sarasvatī (goddess of knowledge).

Mudgaudanāsakta-cittā मुद्गौदनासक्तचित्ता (519)

Sākinī is fond of food of made of green gram. The combination of mudgaudannā is rice mixed with green gram, jaggary, coconut, jīraka, ghee and milk.  For offering this to goddess, there is a specific method by which this is to be prepared.

Sākinyambā-svarupiṇī साकिन्यम्बास्वरुपिणी (520)

The presiding deity of the mūlādhāra cakra is in the form of Sākinī who has been described in these seven nāma-s.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 521 – 527

Ājñā-cakrābja nilayā आज्ञाचक्राब्ज निलया (521)

The next seven nāma-s discuss about the presiding deity of ājñā cakraHākinī.  Ājñā cakra is considered as the most important cakra and is located between the two eye brows.  This cakra has two lotus petals and bīja-s haṁ (हं) and kṣaṁ (क्षं) are inscribed in those white petals.  The yogini’s complexion is white and she has six faces with three eyes on each, all red in colour.  She has six arms and is majestically seated on a white lotus. Each of her six hands holds varada mudra (granting boons), abhaya mudra (dispelling fear), a rudrākṣa rosary, a human skull, a small drum and a book. The mind in its subtlest forms dwells here. The most important bīja of all, ॐ is placed here and when kuṇḍalinī reaches this cakra, superhuman powers are granted to the practitioner. The pericarp is in the form of inverted triangle.  Above this triangle, a half moon is located. During proper meditation on ājñā cakra, the first illumination would be only a half moon, above the triangle. This moon transforms into an illuminating flame during further progress in meditation, indicating the progress of Self-realization.  The illumination of the flame is extraordinarily bright because sun, moon and fire unite in this cakra(iḍa, piṅgala and suṣumna).  Both Śaktī and Śiva begin to manifest here.  One’s guru lineage is worshipped in this cakra.  Guru, irrespective of the place of his existence, gives command to his disciples through this cakra.

These are the words of Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad Gīta (VIII.9, 10): “One should know the Brahman as the knower of all in inconceivable form, shining like the sun, beyond all materialistic attributes.  One who at the time of death by his yogic powers fixes his consciousness between his two eye brows (ājñā cakra), with mind fixed on the Brahman attains Him.”

Śukla-varṇā शुक्लवर्णा (522)

Hākinī has fair complexion.  This could be due to the purity of ājñā cakra.

ṣaḍānanā षडानना (523)

Hākinī has six faces and hence described as the sixth cakra in this Sahasranāma.  Ājñā cakra is the controlling centre for the five lower cakra-s, each of which representing five mahā bhūta-s or elements.  Ājñā cakra, the sixth cakra controls the mind.  Hence, Hākinī is described with six faces, one representing mind and other five representing five elements, particularly tanmātra-s such as sound, taste, etc.

Majjā-saṁsthā मज्जासंस्था (524)

Hākinī presides over bone marrow, the sixth layer from the skin hence ājñā cakra is discussed as the sixth cakra in this Sahasranāma.

Hamsavatī-mukhya śakti-samanvitā हम्सवतीमुख्य शक्तिसमन्विता (525)

Hākinī is attended by two of her assistants.  They are Haṁsavati and Kṣamāvati, representing the twobīja-s haṁ (हं) and kṣaṁ (क्षं).   In all these cakra-s, the names of the assistants to the yogini-s begin with the respective alphabets inscribed in the lotus petals of the concerned cakra-s.  Alphabets, complexion of the yogini-s, faces and hands of the yogini-s, the shape of the pericarp of the cakra-s have great relevance to the attributes assigned to these cakra-s.

Haridrānnaika-rasikā हरिद्रान्नैकरसिका (526)

Hākinī is fond of rice cooked with saffron.

Hākinī rūpa-dhāriṇī हाकिनी रूपधारिणी (527)

The yogini who has been described in the preceding six nāma-s is known as Hākinī.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 528 – 534

Sahasradala-padmasthā सहस्रदलपद्मस्था (528)

The next seven nāma-s discuss about yogini Yākinī, the last among the yogini-s who are being discussed. Sahasrāra or the crown cakra is presided by yogini YākinīSahasrāra is in the form of a thousand petal lotus. This is not categorized under cakra-s and sahasrāra is difficult to explain.  The commune (the divine energy) between the soul and the cosmos happens through an extremely small aperture at the top of the head known as brahmarandhra (ब्रह्मरन्ध्र).  This pericarp of the sahasrāra is said to be more lustrous than a full moon.  The rays of this moon is multi coloured, predominantly VIBGYOR, the seven colours of the rain bow. The colour of these cakra-s begin with red at mūlādhāra, orange at svādhiṣṭhāna, yellow at maṇipūra, green at anāhata, blue at viśuddhi, indigo at ājñā and violet at sahasrāra.  Though violet is said to be the overriding colour of sahasrāra, multi colour is visible during its activation.  Śaktī-s union with Śiva takes place here.

There is a bindu in the midst of sahasrāra and is called śūnya, or emptiness which is the root of liberation and is in the size of a ten millionth of the width of human hair. Śiva is manifested here as the pure Brahman, and Śaktī conjoins Him unfolding eternal bliss leading to final liberation.  The mind that was totally purified at ājñā cakra begins to realise the oneness of self (ātma) and the Brahman (paramātma).  The practitioner who could activate this orifice is not born again.   He is freed from all his karma-s.

Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gīta (XVIII.49), “A person can attain liberation by freeing himself from karma-s by practicing renunciation.”  At this stage, the practitioner does not use his free will (surrenders his free will to God) and functions only at the will of God.  Such a situation is possible only if sahasrāra is well activated. Śaktī who has ascended from mūlādhāra unites with Śiva at sahasrāra and the blissful ambrosia is released and is felt at the throat, providing the divine nourishment which makes the practitioner to realise “I am That”, indicating the end of one’s spiritual quest.  The union of Śaktī (I) and Śiva (That) takes place here in their subtlest forms.

All the alphabets are placed continuously in all the petals of the lotus.  It is also said that the alphabet kṣa (क्ष) is excluded from the fifty one alphabets of Sanskrit, thereby making it only fifty letters. These fifty alphabets are placed twenty times in succession to make one thousand.  The feet of the Brahman (some refer this as the feet of one’s Guru and either way there is no differentiation in the subject conveyed as Guru and the Brahman are not different) is worshipped here causing removal of sañcita karma (the total sum of karma of all previous births that have not yet fructified).  In the pericarp of sahasrāra there is a moon and inside this moon there is a triangle and inside this triangle, there is unmani, a tattva that nullifies all the adversities of mind. Unmani is explained as the supranormal Śaktī of Paramaśiva in its primal movement towards manifestation, though inseparable from Him and is known as unmanā or unmani This is one of the foremost reasons for attaining bliss, as the influences on mind is overruled here.

Sarva-varṇopa-śobhitā सर्ववर्णोपशोभिता (529)

Yākinī shines in all colours.  varṇa also indicates letters that are inscribed in the one thousand petals.  There is also an interpretation that letters are placed first from a (अ) to kṣa (क्ष) and then kṣa (क्ष) to a (अ) and again from अ to क्ष and so on.

Sarvāyudha-dharā सर्वायुधधरा (530)

Yākinī has all types of weaponries.  In sahasrāra, everything is infinite because sahasrāra is beyond any human explanation.  Further, the experience at sahasrāra will differ from person to person.

Śrī Rudraṁ (Yajur Veda IV.v.10.verse 12) says ‘a thousand fold in thousands are the missiles in your arms.’

Such references are available in plenty in Veda-s and Upaniṣads.

Śukla-saṁsthitā शुक्लसंस्थिता (531)

Yākinī is in the form of subtlest product of the human body – semen or ova. Yākinī represents the creation of human body and destruction of the human mind.

Sarvatomukhī सर्वतोमुखी (532)

Yākinī has infinite faces.

‘Infinite faces facing all directions’ is the concept of the Brahman.  Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (I.13) says “having eyes everywhere, having hands everywhere, having feet everywhere.”

Bhagavad Gīta XIII.13 says “He dwells in the world, enveloping all, His hands and feet present everywhere.  His eyes and ears, His mouth and heads present on all sides.”

Puruṣa sūktaṁ opens by saying “Puruṣa (the Brahman) has thousands of heads, thousands of eyes, thousands of feet.”

How does that Puruṣa appear, answers Bhagavad Gīta XI.12 by saying “if a thousand suns appeared simultaneously in the sky, they might dimly resemble Him.”

Sarvaudana-prīta-cittā सर्वौदनप्रीतचित्ता (533)

Yākinī likes all types of food.

The important point to be noted with sahasrāra is the nature infinitude. The yogini presiding over sahasrāra is beyond everything.

Yākinyambā-svarūpiṇī याकिन्यम्बास्वरूपिणी (534)

Yogini presiding over sahasrāra is known as mother Yākinī, who has been described from nāma 528 till 534 (7 nāma-s).

With this, the description of yogini-s is concluded.

3.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 535 – 540

Svāhā स्वाहा (535)

After describing yogini-s, Vāc Devi-s continue with their description of Lalitāmbikā.

Lalitāmbikā is in the form of oblations offered to gods and goddesses. The mantra-s for such oblations end with svāhā.  More details are provided in the next nāma.

Liṅga Purāṇa (13.9) says wife of Paśupatī (the fiery form of Śiva) in the form of fire is Svāhā and the mother of Lord Kārttikeya.

Svadhā स्वधा (536)

She is in the form of oblations offered to the departed souls of ancestors (pitṛ) and such mantra-s end with svadhā.

Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa (26.6-9) personifies a grahasta (a married man leading family life) as a holy cow.  Cow’s back is Rig Veda, her loins is Yajur Veda, her face and neck is Sāma Veda, her horns are pious acts, her hair are the words of wise men, her ordure and urine are tranquillity and prosperity, her four feet are the four classes of humanity, svāhā, svadhā, vaṣaṭ, and hanta are her teats. The epic proceeds to say that such a man should nourishe gods, ṛṣi-s, pitṛ-s, fellow men and other living beings as his own body (This act of a grahasta is called pañca-yajña. (refer nāma 946 pañca-yajñapriyā).

It is also said that Svāhā and Svadhā are the two wives of Lord Agni.

Amatiḥ अमतिः (537)

She is in the form of avidyā or ignorance. The creation in the beginning was devoid of consciousness, known as avyakta form (nāma 398). From mūlaprakṛti (nāma 397) avyaktamahat (intellect), (nāma 774) ego, etc were created.  The intellect in such un-manifested stage is known as amati.  This is the stage of prakṛti where all the three guṇa-s are found in equilibrium.  Any change in this equilibrium of guṇa-s in prakṛti leads to desire, wisdom and action.

Medhā मेधा (538)

She in the form of amati, transforms into medha or intelligence, along with evolution. This is also to confirm Her existence from the beginning of creation.  These two nāma-s explain the development of intellect from its un-manifested form to manifested form.  She is in the form of both, which go to prove Her Brahman form or the omnipresence nature.  Medha particularly refers to individual intelligence.

Mahānārāyaṇa Upaniṣad (49.1) says “May the all-penetrating goddess of intellect who is beneficial, favorably disposed to and delighting in us, visit us” (Medha sūktaṁ 1).

Atharva Veda (VI.108) says “Oh! Wisdom (medha)! Come first to us with cows, with horses, you with the sun’s rays, you are reverent to us.  The next verse proceeds to say “I call first, unto the aid of gods, wisdom filled with Brahman, quickened by Brahman, praised by seers………”

Intellect is considered as one of the important factors to realise the Brahman.

She is said to be in the form of such an intellect.

Śrutiḥ श्रुतिः (539)

Śruti means Veda-s.  She is in the form of all the four Veda-s or all the Veda-s represent Her form.

Smṛtiḥ स्मृतिः (540)

Veda-s are difficult to understand and the message of the Brahman is conveyed through them in secretive manner.  Veda-s need proper interpretation to understand their conveyance. Smṛti-s, derived from Veda-s deliver the message of the Brahman in understandable terms. She is in the form of such Smṛti-s. Smṛti also refers to the power of recollection and memory. Upaniṣads are classified under Smṛti-s.

Kṛṣṇa says (Bhagavad Gīta X.34) “I am the power of speech, memory, intelligence, grasping faculty……..”

Lalitha Sahasranamam Meaning 541 – 545

Anuttamā अनुत्तमा (541)

No one is superior to Her, an exclusive of the qualitiy of the Brahman.

This situation is best explained in Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI.8) which says “No one is His equal; no one is superior either.  He possesses many gifts of a high order.”

The same situation finds a place in Bhagavad Gīta (XI.43). “Unparalleled by any other in the three worlds, who may surpass Him, the Lord of power incomparable.”

Anuttamā also means intellect not derived from others.  She is the embodiment of intellect.

Puṇyakīrtiḥ पुण्यकीर्तिः (542)

She is known for virtues.  She gives fame to Her devotees.  The very thought of Her, sanctifies a person.

Viṣṇu Sahasranāma nāma 688 is Puṇyakīrti which means He is capable of eradicating sins of His devotees.

Puṇyalabhyā पुण्यलभ्या (543)

She is attainable through virtues.  Puṇya means virtues.  It is said that ‘She is attained by those who are virtuous and have knowledge of Veda-s.  Those who are desirous do not see Her.’

Saundarya Laharī (verse 1) explains this.  ‘You are worshiped even by BrahmaViṣṇu and Rudra. Unless one has accumulated virtues of previous births (good karma-s), how can anyone be capable of singing Your praise or prostrate before You.’

Puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanā पुण्यश्रवणकीर्तना (544)

Recitation of verses in praise of Her (like this Lalitā Sahasranāma), or listening to such praises are virtuous acts.

Viṣṇu Sahasranāma 922 conveys the same meaning. The uttara-bhāga (the concluding part) of ViṣṇuSahasranāma verse 2 and the concluding part of this Lalitā Sahasranāma also conveys the same meaning.

Pulomajārcitā पुलोमजार्चिता (545)

Indrāṇī is the wife of Lord Indra and Her father is known by name Puloman.  She is an ardent devotee of Lalitāmbikā.  This nāma is included in this Sahasranāma to highlight the importance of morality and the benefits attained on worshipping Lalitāmbikā.  This nāma means that She is worshipped by the daughter of Puloman, i.e. Indrāṇī

There is a story in Devi Bhāgavata (chapter VI) which goes like this: There was a demon by name Puloman.  He had a daughter known as Śaśī. Indrā killed Puloman and married his daughter Śaśī. Thus, Śaśī became IndrāṇīIndra befriended with another demon by name Vṛiddāsura.  Vṛiddāsura’s father Dvaṣṭā forewarned his son not to entertain friendship with Indra.  As the fate would have it, Vṛiddāsura did not listen to his father’s advice.  At an appropriate time, Indra killed the demon with the help of LalitaiViṣṇu and others.  Since Indra killed his friend through foul means, he was afflicted with brahmahatyā doṣa (sins accruing on account of murdering a Vedic scholar) as cursed by Dvaṣṭā.  Nobody came to his rescue.  When Viṣṇu and Lalitai helped Indra, everyone helped him.  But when Viṣṇu and Lalitai were no longer willing to help him, none came forward to help him.  As a result, Indra left his empire, came to the earth and started living in a lotus stem.  Nobody could find him.  The absence of Indra was felt in the universe.  There was no rain which resulted in acute famine all over.  Demigods, goddesses and sages appointed a demon by name Nahuṣa for the post of Indra, to overcome the famine.  Nahuṣa, impressed by the beauty of Indrāṇī wanted to flirt with her.  Knowing this Indrāṇī went to Brahma.  He could not offer a lasting solution.  Then along with demigods, etcIndrāṇī went to Viṣṇu for a solution.  Viṣṇu advised all of them to worship Parāśaktī.  With Her grace, Indra was found by Indrāṇī.  Indrāṇī told Indra that her chastity is in jeopardy with Nahuṣa occupying Indra’s throne.  Indra told her that their time is not auspicious and that she should go back to Indraloka.  He also told her that to protect a woman’s chastity nobody can be of help except her own will power and determination.  She went back to Indraloka and told Nahuṣa that she would oblige him if he comes to her place in a palanquin carried by the seven great sages (sapta riṣi-s).  Accordingly, Nahuṣa summoned sapta riṣi-s.  Sapta riṣi-s obliged Nahuṣa as they were aware of what is in store for Nahuṣa.  Out of the seven riṣi-sAgastya was very short and when he walked with the palanquin, it tilted towards his side.  Angered by this, Nahuṣa beat Agastya and kept his foot on his head.  Agastya is a very powerful sage who had once consumed the entire water of all the oceans.  Agastya cursed Nahuṣa to become a python and immediately he fell down in a forest with the body of a python.  Knowing this, Indra returned to his kingdom.  Indra was restored to his throne with the grace of Lalitāmbikā.

Lalitha Sahasranamam Meaning 546 – 549

Bandha-mocanī बन्धमोचनी (546)

She liberates from bondage. Bondage is caused by ignorance or avidyā. Bondage means a soul remaining afflicted by desires and attachments. She removes such bondage for those who surrender to Her, beginning of the process of liberation.

Barbarālakā बर्बरालका (547)

In some texts, this nāma is mentioned as bandhūrālakā. She has curly hair that appears like waves and flowing into Her forehead.

Vimarśa-rūpiṇī विमर्शरूपिणी (548)

Brahman is the combination of prakāśa and vimarśa forms. Prakāśa is the Self-illuminating light the origin of which is not known. It is the beginning of creation or creation begins from prakāśa. Without this Self illuminating eternal light, nothing can exist. It is Śiva. The reflection of Śiva is known as vimarśa, which is known as Śaktī.  Without the presence of vimarśa or ŚaktīŚiva cannot act.  Śiva is the creator and Śaktī is the doer.  It is said that ‘if ultimate Reality were merely prakāśa without vimarśa, it would be hibernating.’  Without Śiva or prakāśa form of the Brahman, the presence of Śaktīor vimarśa of the Brahman is not possible. Without Śaktī or vimarśa of the Brahman, the creation is not possible as without ŚaktīŚiva becomes inert.  Śiva is devoid of activity with singular exception of Śaktī got abstracted from Śiva.  That is why soul is said to the representative of Śiva, as soul on its own cannot act unless combined with prakṛti or Nature.  If Śiva can be called as the Brahman, then Śaktī is to be called māyā. Without the presence of māyā, activities in the universe cannot happen, as māyā is the expressive nature of the Brahman. This appears logical as the Creator status of the Brahman is not divested. Though Śiva has desired to create, He executes His acts of creation only through Śaktī which makes Śaktī the most sought after form of the Brahman. Śaktī in Her capacity as the administrator of the universe has multifarious activities such as creation, sustenance, fusion, total dissolution and finally re-creation (nāma 274). Śiva therefore is the static energy and Śaktī becomes the kinetic energy. When these two energies join together it known as ‘ŚivaŚaktī’ (nāma 999) or Ardhanārīśvara form (half male and half female)

This nāma mentions Her creative aspect.

Vidyā विद्या (549)

Vidyā means ‘to deliberate’. She is the giver of knowledge that is capable of providing final liberation. This is an extension of the previous nāma.  After having spoken about Her vast powers in the previous nāma, Vāc Devi-s talk about the final liberation in this nāma, which can be granted only by Her. Final liberation cannot be attained without understanding the Brahman for which the highest form of pure knowledge or Śuddhavidyā is required. This nāma says either She is in the form of that supreme knowledge or She gives that supreme knowledge for those who seek it.

Śiva Sūtra 21 says, Śuddhavidyodayāccakreśatvasiddhiḥ (शुद्धविद्योदयाच्चक्रेशत्वसिद्धिः). “Full acquisition of mastery over the collective whole of the śaktī-s through the appearance of Śuddhavidyā or pure knowledge.” It is said that She is the highest of vidyā-s and on the appearance of this vidyā, a practitioner acquires infinite knowledge and siddhi-s. This becomes possible because, by providing this pure knowledge She makes a person to think about Śiva in the form of primordial light, thereby becoming Śiva Himself.

Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad talks about two types of knowledge, one is apara the lowest and another is parāthe highest. She is in the form of this parā knowledge.

Lalitha Sahasranamam Meaning 550 – 556

Viyadādi-jagat-prasūḥ वियदादिजगत्प्रसूः (550)

She is the Creator of the five principles of ākāś (ether) air, etc.  According to Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.1) “From that Self (the Brahman) sprang up ākāś, from ākāś air, from air fire, from fire water and from water earth.”  During great dissolution, the reverse process unfolds.”  She is referred as that Self or the Brahman.  This nāma augurs well with nāma 397 mūlaprakṛti.

Sarva-vyādhi-praśamanī सर्वव्याधिप्रशमनी (551)

She cures all diseases. By sarva-vyādhi it means disease of both body and mind. It is not enough to have purity of mind alone.  One need to have a healthy body to realise the Brahman within. The divine energy is extraordinarily powerful and body should have the stamina to withstand the cosmic energy.  Nāma 876 nirāmayā says that She is without disease.

Sarva-mṛtyu-nivāriṇī सर्वमृत्युनिवारिणी (552)

Mṛtyu means death.  There are different types of deaths such as premature death arising out of accidents, disease or untimely deaths.

Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (IV.15) explains about death thus: “If you know your oneness with Him, you become free from shackles of death.”

Kaṭha Upaniṣad (I.iii.15) also endorses this view.  “Having known that Self, one can be free from death.”

The concept of self-realisation is conveyed in this nāma.  If one becomes immortal, it is against the laws of the Divine.  Mṛtyu means averting rebirths.  Birth and death is only for gross bodies. When immortality (eternal) is referred, it always means the Supreme Self.  A soul manifests in the form of gross body to undergo pleasure or pain according to its karmic account.  At the time of death, soul leaves the body and enters another body till its entire karmic account is exhausted.  The death here indicates the final liberation of the soul to merge with the Brahman.  The nāma means that She is liberator of such souls.

Karma is like fuel of a vehicle.  The vehicle runs till the fuel lasts.  Fuel is the karmic account and the vehicle is the body.  The quantum of distance traversed by the vehicle is directly related to fuel.  Similarly, the karmic account determines the duration of a bodily form.

Agra-gaṇyā अग्रगण्या (553)

She is the First, first among the entire creation.  Śiva has no parentage.  Śiva created Her in the form of kinetic power to create and sustain this universe.  This nāma refers to Her own creation.  At the time of first creation, none was there except Śiva and Śaktī.  At the time of annihilation only Śiva and Śaktīalone remain.  Śiva and Śaktī continue to remain during the end of one yug and the commencement of next yug (discussed in nāma 555.)

Śivananda Laharī (verse 100) conveys the same meaning.  “Gods like Brahma know You as the first amongst the most worshipful ones.  You are known as the best among the best of grains.”

Acintya-rūpā अचिन्त्यरूपा (554)

She is in inconceivable form, a quality of the Brahman.  Reference can also be made to nāma-s 139 and 415 which say that She is beyond comprehension by mind.  This is one of the unique qualities of the Brahman and confirms that the Brahman is amorphous and omnipresent.  She is beyond all qualities and guṇa-s.  Forms appear only if the soul interacts with prakṛti along with elements.  She is the embodiment of all souls and She Herself is the prakṛti.

A soul is known as puruṣa and is supposed to be masculine.  On the other hand prakṛti is described as feminine.  Any creation unfolds only if puruṣa and prakṛti conjoin which accentuates the significance of ŚivaŚaktī union in the form of Liṅga, and considered as not only powerful, but also highly auspicious.

Kali-kalmaṣa-nāśinī कलिकल्मषनाशिनी (555)

She destroys the sins committed during kali yug.

The following reading from Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa (Chapter 43 Verses 26-30) is about the duration of each yug.  At the end of each yug the total dissolution takes place and the next re-creation is known by the succeeding yug.  Currently we are going through 5111th year of kali yug ((2010-11) out of 360,000 human years.

“360 human years is equal to one divine year.  12,000 divine years (4,320,000 human years) consists the four ages called Kṛita yug (4000 divine years), Tretā yug (3000 divine years), Dvāpara yug (2000 divine years) and Kali yug (1000 divine years). The balance of 2000 divine years has been calculated for twilight period of each yug.”   Out of the four, kali yug is supposed to have more sinners and She in the form of Goddess Kali destroys sins committed during kali yug.”

An age of the world, long mundane period of years, of which the first three have already elapsed, while the Kali, which began at midnight between the 17th and 18th of Feb. 3102 B. C. is that in which we live. The duration of each is said to be respectively 1,728,000, 1,296,000, 864,000, and 432,000 years of men, the descending numbers representing a similar physical and moral deterioration of men in each age. The four Yuga-s comprise an aggregate of 4,320,000 years and constitute a great Yugaor Mahā-yug.

Kātyāyanī कात्यायनी (556)

She is the sum total of the effulgence (tejas) of all gods and goddesses. Vāma Purāṇa says that brightness which is the best is known by the name Kātyāyanī.  Kātyāyanī is the presiding deity of oḍyāṇa pīṭhā, situated at ājñā cakra.  Other pīṭhā-s are kāma giri pīṭhā at mūlādhāra cakrapūrṇa giripīṭhā at anāhata cakrajālandhara pīṭhā at viśuddhi cakra.

There is another interpretation. ka (क) means Brahma, the Creator or head or a stone. She rests on this ka; (with particular reference to stone meaning the universe) therefore She is known as Kātyāyanī.

Lalitha Sahasranamam Meaning 557 – 562

Kālahantrī कालहन्त्री (557)

Kāla means death. She is the destroyer of death. She destroys death for those who are Self-realized. Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad says kālakāraḥ, which means that the Brahman is the creator of time.  Death occurs only when the soul is about to transcend its prescribed time fixed by the law of karma also known as the law of the Lord.  Please refer nāma 552 sarva-mṛtyu-nivāriṇī for additional details.

The unique nature of this Sahasranāma is no nāma has been repeated. But there are instances where the same meaning has been conveyed through more than one nāma.  This is to emphasize the importance of certain activities that are considered as more important.  For example through nāma-s 552 and 557 it is said that She destroys death.  The secretive meaning of these nāma-s is Self-realisation.  Those who have realized Her within transcends death, which means that they are not reborn.  Every living being born in this universe has to necessarily undergo the process of death, the dissolution of the respective physical bodies. Self-realization can be attained by removing avidyā or ignorance.

Kamalākṣa-niṣevitā कमलाक्षनिषेविता (558)

She is worshiped by Viṣṇu, the lotus eyed.  Saundarya Laharī (verse 5) confirms this by saying haristvām ārādhyā meaning Viṣṇu worshiped you.  It is said that Viṣṇu by worshipping Her, got His mohinī (nāma 562) form (form of a woman) to destroy the demons.  Possibly sanctity of the woman hood is highlighted by Vāc Devi-s in this nāma. Women are always treated as sacred attributes by Indian scriptures. Kamalākṣa means lotus eyed. Viṣṇu has beautiful eyes resembling lotus flower.

Tāmbhūla-pūrita-mukhī ताम्भूलपूरितमुखी (559)

She is fond of chewing betel leaves with karpūra vīṭikā (nāma 26).  The betel leaves turn Her lips into red colour.  This nāma says that Her face shines with betel leaves In Her mouth.  The fragrance of betel leaves with karpūra vīṭikā emanates pleasing fragrance.

Dāḍimī-kusuma-prabhā दाडिमीकुसुमप्रभा (560)

She radiates like a pomegranate flower.  They are dark red in colour.  The flowers of pomegranate are considered as the most auspicious amongst the flowers for worshipping Her.  Next is hibiscus flower, which too has deep red petals and is widely used for worshipping Her.  The last verse of Abhirāmi andhādhī (A poetize consisting of 100 Tamil verses in praise of Her.  This is more or less like Saundarya Laharī) also compares pomegranate flower to Her complexion.  Everything associated with Her is red.  Her red complexion has been repeatedly emphasized in this Sahasranāma.  The reason for such repetitions is provided in nāma 557.

Mṛgākṣī मृगाक्षी (561)

Her eyes appear like that of a deer.  Since the description of the Brahman is not possible, a reference is always made to the best known object.  A deer’s eyes look gorgeous and will always be revolving, glancing at all the sides at the same time. Lalitāmbikā being the administrator of the entire universe looks all-round for two reasons.  First, She administers the universe by personally overseeing all the activities.  Secondly, while doing so, She liberates Her true devotees by glancing at them.  She does not want them to wait even for a second to attain liberation. She grants them liberation by a mere glance.

Lalitā triśatī nāma 103 hariṇekṣṇā conveys the same meaning.

Mohinī मोहिनी (562)

She bewitches. Unable to find proper words to describe Her beauty, Vāc Devi-s used this word. Bewitchment is not possible without being splendiferous.  She is the beauty incarnate, because Her beauty is made up of knowledge, efficiency and compassion.

When Viṣṇu got His mohinī form by worshipping Her, He bewitched the demons (refer nāma 558).

Lalitha Sahasranamam Meaning 563 – 571

Mukhyā मुख्या (563)

She is the first in the universe.  Mukhya also means important.  She is authoritative amongst all gods and goddesses.  Taittirīya Upaniṣad (III.x.6) says “I am That which was born before anything. I was born before the gods and goddesses”.  This nāma says that She is not only first among the creations, but also part of creation itself and assumes importance amongst all gods and goddesses.

Mṛḍānī मृडानी (564)

Mṛḍa means Śiva.  Consort of Mṛḍa is Mṛḍānī.  It also means giver of happiness that is provided by the vimarśa form of Śiva, i.e. Śaktī.

Mitra-rūpiṇī मित्ररूपिणी (565)

Mitra means a friend.  Sun is considered as a friend of the universe, as it sustains existence.  She is in the form of sun.  Sun is the best friend of all organisms.  In Śrī vidyā worship, Śiva is represented by agniŚaktī is represented by moon and the union of ŚivaŚaktī is represented by sun.  This nāma indicates Her closeness and easy accessibility to those who seek Her.

Nitya-tṛptā नित्यतृप्ता (566)

She remains eternally contended, because She has no requirements. Non-requirement is one of the qualities of the Brahman.  It is said “That is infinite and this is infinite.  The infinite proceeds from the infinite, taking the infinite of the infinite, it remains as the infinite alone.”  Because She being infinite, She remains eternally contended.

Nāma 815 is anitya-tṛptā, (this is a typical example of usage of double negatives to mean a positive factor) which means She is contended even with perishable offerings.  Based on this interpretation, the present nāma can be explained as ‘She remains contended with eternal non-perishable offering, which is Ātman.’

Bhakta-nidhiḥ भक्तनिधिः (567)

She is the treasure house for Her devotees.  She shares this treasure with Her devotees whenever sought for vide nāma 989.

Niyantrī नियन्त्री (568)

She is the guide to the universe.  Since She administers the universe, She is addressed in this nāma as its guide.

Nikhileśvarī निखिलेश्वरी (569)

This is an extension of the previous nāma. Because of being the only guide to the universe, a quality of the Brahman, She assumes the position of Supreme Ruler, which is conveyed in this nāma.  Nikhila means complete or total.

Maitryadi-vāsanā-labhyā मैत्र्यदिवासनालभ्या (570)

She can be attained through qualities like kindness, etc.

Patañjali yoga sūtra I.33 says “Friendship, mercy, gladness and indifference being thought of in regard to subjects, happy, unhappy and good and evil respectively, pacify the mind stuff.”  For attaining perfection, one has to remove evil thoughts. One should not become felicitous on knowing the sufferings of another. One should not become jealous on knowing the wealth of another. When someone is suffering, one has to help him to come out of his sufferings.  Converting hatred into love, converting sadness into happiness etc are some of the ways to attain perfection.  But practicing positivism to countervail the effects of negativities, mind attains perfection, which leads to the stage of samādhi.  Such devotees can easily reach the stage of bliss and ultimate merger with the Brahman (kaivalya).

This nāma says that She can be attained by developing positive thoughts.  She can be attained by positive vāsanā-s or impressions.

Mahā-pralaya-sakṣiṇī महाप्रलयसक्षिणी (571)

Mahā-pralaya is the total dissolution that has been discussed in nāma 232 maheśvara-mahākalpamahā-tāṇḍava-sākṣiṇī. When annihilation unfolds, the entire universe gets dissolved into Śiva.  This happens exactly in the reverse process of creation.  At the time of creation ākāś was born out of the Brahman, air was born out of ākāś, etc.  At the time of annihilation, air gets dissolved into ākāś and ākāś gets dissolved into Śiva.  This process is known as involution as opposed to evolution, a process that happens during creation.

This nāma says that She is the only witness to the great dissolution. Such a great dissolution unfolds at the command of Śiva. He begins His famous cosmic dance during annihilation.  Macrocosm gets dissolved into Śiva and She is the only witness to such a mind boggling event.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 26) describes this event. “BrahmaViṣṇuYama, KuberaIndra all gets annihilated. But your consort Śiva plays around with you.”

Lalitha Sahasranamam Meaning 572 – 574

Parāśaktiḥ पराशक्तिः (572)

She is Parāśaktī. Consort of Paramaśiva is Parāśaktī. She is the supreme (parā) Śaktī. Reference to nāma 366 parā can be made. In a human body there are ten substances called dhātu-s. Skin, blood, flesh, fat and bone originated from Śaktī. Marrow, semen/ova, prāṇa and jīva (soul) originated from Śiva. The tenth dhātu is Paraśaktī.

Śiva can manifest only if He is conjoined with Śaktī. This is explained in Saundarya Laharī (verse 1) which says, ‘Śiva united with Śaktī, becomes able to manifest. Otherwise, Śiva cannot even pulsate.’ Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (VI.8) says ‘He possesses powers of knowledge and powers of action, all of which are natural to Him’. This is not possible for Him without His Śaktī.

Parā-trīśikā-vivaraṇa (an ancient treatise of Kashmir Saivism) says the following. “The revered goddess and the supreme divine consciousness that at once transcends three divisions of creation, sustenance and destruction is Parāśaktī. She moves freely in all fields of knowledge. Entire universal existence has two aspects. One is the original universe and another is its reflection. The original universe is Parāśaktī and the entire manifestation is said to be Her expression. In the womb of Parāśaktī lies parā-vāc, from where the speech originates. The reduced consciousness, because of its retention within itself of all objectivity, is like the udder of celestial cow kāmadhenu. It upholds the multitude of entire objectivity, becomes manifest, wide spreading jñāna śaktī. Without bringing about the limited experience of the knower and known, reside in the pure state of awareness, it is the perfect Parāśaktī of seventeen kalā-s. “

Parāśaktī is the Supreme Divine kinetic energy and His mirror image which becomes responsible for all the acts of Divine. It is said in Liṅga Purāṇa that powers of all objects of existence in the universe is Śaktī and the objects themselves are Śiva.

Parā-niṣṭhā परानिष्ठा (573)

Niṣṭha means steadfast position. The mind of a self realized person becomes steadfast, perpetually united with the Brahman. For reaching this stage, the highest level of knowledge is required. Kṛṣṇa explains this in Bhagavad Gītā (IV.33). “Sacrifice performed with knowledge is superior to material sacrifices. All actions (cause, effect and karma) consummated in entirety in knowledge.” For changing over from external rituals to internal search, knowledge is important. Without acquiring such supreme knowledge, one continues to be associated with materialistic rituals failing to realize the Brahman within. The latter is capable of giving salvation at a faster pace than the former, which is an extremely slow process. Internal search requires nothing except a steadfast mind whereas for the materialistic rituals time, space and wealth become essential requirements. The kind of knowledge can be obtained only from ancient scriptures. Particularly, Upaniṣads provide extraordinary inputs to understand the Brahman and seek Him within. The acquiring of knowledge leads to experience. When this knowledge and experience turns steadfast, it is called parā-niṣṭhā. She is in the form of parā-niṣṭhā. Without Her help, reaching this stage is not possible. She is the embodiment of power (parā-śaktī) and knowledge (parā-niṣṭhā).

Prajñāna-ghana-rūpiṇī प्रज्ञानघनरूपिणी (574)

An extension of the previous nāma, which said that knowledge and experience are the essential components for self-realisation. This nāma goes to explain the kind of knowledge discussed in the previous nāma. Prajāna-ghana-rūpiṇī means concentration of superior knowledge. Superior concentrated knowledge means the knowledge that remains unpolluted by ignorance. Knowledge becomes polluted by senses.

Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (V.v.15) says “the Self without interior or exterior. It is entire and pure intelligence alone.” When everything dissolves into this pure knowledge, Self-realisation begins to happen. She is in the form of such pure and concentrated knowledge.

Lalitha Sahasranamam Meaning 575 – 577

Mādhvīpānālasā माध्वीपानालसा (575)

She is in languorous stage, because of consuming an intoxicated drink made out of honey (some texts quote that it is mixture of grape extract and honey). The secretive meaning of this nāma is that She is in a state of samādhi and enjoying the ultimate bliss. She always meditates on Her creator Śiva. During the higher levels of kuṇḍalinī meditation, a honey like fluid, generally called ambrosia drips into throat, also known as madhu (madhu means honey) because of its taste and viscosity that resemble honey. Madhu is known as spiritual intoxicant and said to possess intoxicating qualities of eight kinds. The secretion of ambrosia happens in the stage of bliss where a person remains lackadaisical as his consciousness remains fixed with the Brahman. She is said to be in this stage of bliss, the eternal happiness.

Though this nāma is interpreted as above, in reality She is the cause of bliss.  Without Her knowledge, blissfulness cannot be attained. This nāma confirms earlier discussions that She gives what She has.  She is the possessor of everything and She is capable of giving anything.

Mattā मत्ता (576)

Because of consuming the drink referred in the previous nāma, She is in the stage of intoxication. This intoxication is because of the reasons given in the previous nāma. It is also said that She represents ego of Śiva. Since She is in the stage of introversion, She appears inebriated.

These two nāma-s possibly elucidate the stage of bliss and its importance. Bliss can be attained by either progressing in kuṇḍalinī meditation or remaining as an introvert and exploring the Self within.

Matṛkā-varṇa-rūpinī मतृकावर्नरूपिनी (577)

She is in the form of 51 alphabets of Sanskrit called matṛkā. These fifty alphabets are split into six groups and worshipped in the six cakra-s from mūlādhara to ājñā. These alphabets have different colours and is said to be closely related to cosmological studies. A comparative narration is drawn between Śiva and Śaktī and vowels and consonants. Vowels are always active and dynamic in nature and therefore vowels are compared to Śaktī; consonants are compared to Śiva. Without Śiva-Śaktī combine, the universe cannot exist, as they are two different aspects of the Brahman. In the same way, sound cannot exist without vowels-consonants combine. The sound originates from Śabda Brahman whereas the universe originates from the Brahman. She is the Śabda Brahman.

She wears a garland made up of fifty one alphabets, which was discussed in nāma 489 akṣa-māladi-dharā. Another interpretation says that She is the Mother (matṛkā) of all letters (varṇa-rūpinī). This theory goes to prove that She is the creator of all the alphabets. These alphabets are the foundation of Śrī Cakra. Based upon the theory that Śrī Cakra is a human body, these alphabets form the foundation of human existence. The difference between animals and man is the decoding and understanding of sound, which becomes possible because of Śabda Brahman. Meditating on matṛkā-s and Śrī Cakra as one, is a way of worshipping Śrī Cakra. This is called Kailāsa prastāra. There are two more prastāra-s. They are meru- prastāra where tithi nitya devi-s and Śrī Cakra are meditated upon as one and meditating Vāc devi-s (authors of this Sahasranāma) and Śrī Cakra as one is called bhū- prastāra. Prastāra means flight of steps.Please refer nāma 833 for Sanskrit alphabets.

Lalitha Sahasranamam Meaning 578 – 585

Mahā-kailāsa-nilayā महाकैलासनिलया (578)

Mahā-kailāsa is the abode of Śiva. This is far away from the existing Kailāsa mountains. In fact, mahā-kailāsa is beyond human comprehension. Śiva has various forms and mahā-kailāsa is the abode of Paramaśiva.  Since Lalitāmbikā is always present with Śivamahā-kailāsa is referred to as the abode of Lalithāi as well.  This interpretation is given in epics.

The orifice (bindu) in sahasrāra is known as mahā-kailāsa.  Sahasrāra is beyond the six-cakra-s (mūlādhāra to ājñā) in the human body.  Śiva is visualised here in the form of a bindu (dot). Since She conjoins Śiva here in Her subtlest form, it is also referred as Her abode.  In the previous nāma three prastāra-s were discussed and one among them was Kailāsa prastāra, which is beyond the reach of Vāc Devi-s, the authors of this Sahasranāma.  They have used prefix mahā to mean Her best qualities and there are thirty seven such nāma-s in this Sahasranāma.

Mṛuṇāla-mṛdu-dorlatā मृणालमृदुदोर्लता (579)

Her arms are tender like lotus stalks.  Her subtlest form is kuṇḍalinī.  This form is compared to that of a lotus stem in nāma 111.

Mahānīyā महानीया (580)

She is adorable. Whatever praise one showers on Her, She becomes worthy of it. Possibly this could be the reason for using prefix mahā (great) in a number of nāma-s.

Dayāmūrtī दयामूर्ती (581)

She is the embodiment of compassion, which is one of Her predominant qualities.  This is the reason for commencing this Sahasranāma with Śrī Mātā, the compassionate mother of the universe.  To emphasize Her compassion, this quality has been repeated in nāma-s 197, 326 and 992. Compassion becomes Her predominant quality because She also sustains those who do not think about Her even for a moment.  This means that they are losing out opportunities of liberation, offered by Her.

Mahā-sāmrājya-śālinī महासाम्राज्यशालिनी (582)

She magnificently controls all the planets forming part of this universe. Normally sāmrājya refers to cluster of kingdoms. For Her, kingdoms mean planets and earth forming only a tiny part of the universe controlled by Her.  Even the mahā-kailāsa is ruled by Her in Her capacity as the consort of Śiva.

Ātma-vidyā आत्मविद्या (583)

This nāma and the next two nāma-s talk about three types of vidyā-s (knowledge).

Ātma vidyā means the knowledge about the Brahman, Brahma vidyā.  Brahman is also known as Ātman.  Nāma 727 is Śiva jñāna pradāyinī, which means that She imparts knowledge on Śiva who is known as the Brahman without attributes.  Since She imparts knowledge (vidyā) of the Supreme Ātman, she is addressed as Ātma-vidyā.

Turya Gāyatrī is also said be Ātma-vidyā.  Turya Gāyatrī is

ka-e-la-hrīṁ-vākbaveśvarī-vidmahe ha-sa-ka-ha-la-hrīṁ-kāmeśvarī-ca-dhīmahī ।

 sa-ha-la-hrīṁ-tanna-śaktiḥ-pracodayāt 

क-ए-ल-ह्रीं-वाक्बवेश्वरी-विद्महे ह-स-क-ह-ल-ह्रीं-कामेश्वरी-च-धीमही । स-ह-ल-ह्रीं-तन्न-शक्तिः-प्रचोदयात् ॥

There is a mantra called ātma-aṣṭākṣara mantra.  The mantra is

om-hrīṁ-hamsaḥ-sohaṁ-svāhā॥ ॐ -ह्रीं-हम्सः-सोहं-स्वाहा ॥

(this mantra is a part of Śrī vidyā cult).  She is said to be in the forms of turīya Gāyatrī and ātma-aṣṭākṣara vidyā (aṣṭākṣara means eight alphabets).

Mahā-vidyā महाविद्या (584)

Knowing Ātman within, is the process of Self-realization and such knowledge is known as mahā vidyāas per the previous nāma.  This nāma says that Ātma-vidyā is the best of all vidyā-s (knowledge).  Knowing the Ātman within makes a person not to distinguish between pleasures and pains.  Such a person always stays connected with Her and enjoys perpetual bliss, leading to no more births.  Pleasure and pain are felt only if one is born.

There is another interpretation which says that Vanadurgā vidyā is mahā vidyā. There is a scripture by name Vanadurgā saptasatī consisting of seven hundred verses. Almost every verse consists of mūla mantra. This is extremely powerful and its recitation is sure to drive away all evil forces. Mūla mantraof Vanadurgā consists of thirty seven bīja-s and is as follows:

 uttiṣṭa puruṣi kiṁ svāpiṣi bhayaṁ me samupasthitaṁ yadi śakyamaśakyaṁ vā tanme bhagavati śamaya svāhā ||

ॐ उत्तिष्ट पुरुषि किं स्वापिषि भयं मे समुपस्थितं यदि शक्यमशक्यं वा तन्मे भगवति शमय स्वाहा॥

Śrī-vidyā श्रीविद्या (585)

Śrī-vidyā is Pañcadaśī mantraViṣṇu purāṇa refers to four types of vidyā-s. They are yajñā-vidyā(deals with karma-s), mahā-vidyā (rituals), guhya-vidyā (secretive worship), ātma-vidyā (knowledge of Self). Pañcadaśī and ṣodaśī mantra-s are considered as most secretive. These mantra-s, if properly initiated and recited as per the prescribed rules, one is bound to attain liberation.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 586 – 587

Kāmasevitā कामसेविता (586)

Kāma means the lord of love, Manmatha.  She is worshipped by ManmathaPañcadaśī mantra was formulated by twelve of Her great devotees and Manmatha is one among them.  Names of all the worshippers have been mentioned in nāma 228.

Kāmaḥ (कामः) also means Mahā Kāmeśvarā (the highest form of Śiva) who is also Her devotee.  Possibly this nāma could also refer to His worship (this is based on the fact that Śiva cannot function without Śaktī).  Śiva and Śaktī alternatively assumed the roles of guru and disciple.  On many occasions Śiva initiated Śaktī and on certain occasions Śaktī initiated Śiva on various aspects of mantra śāstra-s. In pūrva bhāg of Lalitā triśatī (verse 13), it is said that Lalitā triśatī was told to Hayagrīvā jointly by Kāmeśvarā and Kāmeśvarī.  Lalitā triśatī is extremely auspicious and contains three hundred nāma-s.

Kāmaḥ signifies Manmatha without bodily form (man means mind and matha means agitating. Therefore Manmahta refers to agitating mind due to desire) There is a story in Liṅga Purāṇa, chapter 101 regarding the bodiless form of ManmathaŚiva was doing penance forgetting his wife Umā.  Brahma and Indra summoned Manamatha and his wife Rati to break Śiva’s penance and to unite Umāwith ŚivaManmatha and his wife Ratī reached the cave where Śiva was doing His penance.  Śivaknew the purpose of Manmatha’s visit.  The fire blazed from Śiva’s third eye and burnt Manmatha.  Ratī who stood by Manmatha’s side inconsolably cried.  Śiva took pity on her and gave Manmatha a bodiless form for the purpose of dalliance.  This nāma says that body is not necessary for mental worship.  Bodily form is required only to perform rituals that are only secondary in nature when compared to mental worship (meditation). This nāma also implies that without understanding the essential natures of Śiva and Śaktī (prakāśa and vimarśa forms), worship may not fructify.  For further reading on Manmatha please refer nāma-s 84 and 375.

Saundarya Laharī (verse 5) says that Manmatha got his power to induce coquetry by worshipping Śaktī.

Pañcadaśī mantra has fifteen bīja-s.  If the repetitive bīja-s are removed, the balance would be nine bīja-s.  Mahā Lakṣmī (consort of Viṣṇu) taught 108 nāma-s of Lalitāmbikā (nine bīja-s multiplied by numeric twelve making 108) to Manmatha beginning with these nine bīja-s of Pañcadaśī.

Śrī-ṣoḍaśākṣarī-vidyā श्रीषोडशाक्षरीविद्या (587)

ṣoḍaśī mantra is superior to Pañcadaśī ṣoḍaśan means sixteen and ṣoḍaśaḥ means sixteenth.  ṣoḍaśī mantra is derived by adding one more bīja to Pañcadaśī mantra.  In fact, ṣoḍaśī mantraconsists of twenty eight bīja-s and formed like this. The first Om is excluded for computation, as all the mantras begin with ॐ.

  1. Om
  2. śrīṁ – hrīṁ – klīṁ – aiṁ – sauḥ:श्रीं ह्रीं क्लीं ऐं सौः (5bīja-s)
  3. om – hrīṁ – śrīṁॐ ह्रीं श्रीं (3 bīja-s)
  4. ka – e – ī – la- hrīṁक ए ई ल ह्रीं (5 bīja-s)
  5. ha – sa – ka – ha – la – hrīṁह स क ह ल ह्रीं (6 bīja-s)
  6. sa – ka – la – hrīṁस क ल ह्रीं (4bīja-s)
  7. sauḥ – aiṁ – klīṁ –  hrīṁ – śrīṁसौः ऐं क्लीं ह्रीं श्रीं (5 bīja-s)

If this mantra is observed, one can find lines 4, 5 and 6 are the Pañcadaśī mantra and each line representing one kūṭa of Pañcadaśī.  If lines 2 and 7 are observed, the bīja-s contained in the 2nd line are placed in the 7th line in reversed order.  For example, the last bīja in line two is sauḥ: and this is placed as the first bīja of the 7th line.

This mantra is known as ṣoḍaśī because of sixteen bīja-s, each kalā (kalā means a part) representing a kalā of moon. This is arrived at by adding Lakṣmī bīja śrīṁ (श्रीं) at the end of Pañcadaśī mantra.  These sixteen bīja-s are arrived at by considering each kūṭa of Pañcadaśī mantra as one bīja.  This way, lines 4, 5 and 6 are considered as one bīja each, thus forming three bīja-s. The sixteen bīja-s are arrived by adding 5+3+1+1+1+5 (from line 2 to 7).  There are two ॐ in this mantra.  The first ॐ is not considered for calculation.  The second ॐ in line 3 is replaced by ātma bīja of the practitioner and this is decided by one’s guru.  Such a decision can be made by a guru if he is conversant with mantra-s and bīja-s.  A wrong bīja is capable of destroying the practitioner.

ṣoḍaśī mantra is meant exclusively for liberation and those who seek liberation alone should be initiated in this mantra.  ṣoḍaśī mantra is the ultimate of all mantra-s and there is no other mantrasuperior to this.  It is said that ṣoḍaśī mantra yields fruits after reciting 900,000 times.  Those who are initiated into this mantra are not supposed to prostrate before anyone except his guru.

Śaktī is worshipped in ten different forms and this is known as daśa mahā vidyā and ṣoḍaśī is one among them.  ṣoḍaśī vidyā has too many prescribed rituals.

{Further reading on bīja sauḥ सौः This bīja sauḥ सौः is known as prāsāda (ŚIva sūtra II.1). It contains within itself the entire panorama of manifestation. This bīja represents all the thrity six tattva-s. This bīja is also known as hṛdaya bīja, the heart of Śiva. It is also said that, whoever masters this bīja will be identified with Supreme I consciousness.}

Lalitha Sahasranamam Meaning 588 – 593

Trikūṭā त्रिकूटा (588)

She is in the form of triads. In spirituality there are a number of triads. OM consists of three letters a + u + m. In Gāyatrī mantra three worlds are mentioned bhūr, bhuva and suvaḥ. Gods of creation, sustenance and death are known as Brahma, Viṣṇu and Rudra. Three stages of consciousness awake, dream and deep sleep. Three guṇa-s sattva, rajas and tamas. Three stages of time past, present and future. Pañcadaśī mantra consists of three kūṭa-s agni, surya and candra. icchā śakti, jñāna śakti and kriyā śakti-s. Triads are associated only with Her.

In this nāma She is said to be the Lord of creation, sustenance and dissolution. This nāma endorses nāma 249 pañcapretāsanāsīnā. A reference can also be made to nāma 626.

Kāmakoṭikā कामकोटिका (589)

The Brahman has two forms. One is Śiva (nirguṇa Brahman or Brahman without attributes and another is Śaktī (saguṇa Brahman or Brahman with attributes). The Śivaśaktī aikya form is known as Brahman. Śiva-Śaktī aikya happens in two forms. One is Śaktī sitting on the lap of Śiva and another is Ardhanārīśvara form, where one vertical form is Śiva and another is Śaktī. This is referred to in this nāma. Kāma refers to Śiva and koṭi means vertical.

Lalitā Triśatī nāma 259 is kāmakoṭi nilayā which conveys the same meaning.

Kaṭākṣa-kiṅkarī-bhūta-kamalā-koṭi-sevitā कटाक्षकिङ्करीभूतकमलाकोटिसेविता(590)

By Her mere glance She is attended by millions of Lakṣmī-s, the Goddess of wealth. If Lakṣmī glances at a person his richness grows. This nāma says that Lalitāmbikā is attended to by countless number of Lakṣmī-s, signifying Her incomprehensible nature of wealth and prosperity.

Śiraḥsthitā शिरःस्थिता (591)

She is in the head. Head means the sahasrāra at the top of the head. Apart from Śiva and Śaktī, one’s Guru is also worshipped in sahasrāra. This nāma could also mean that She is the supreme Guru who is worthy of worship in sahasrāra.

Guru is the one who not only initiates into mantra-s but also imparts knowledge about the Brahman. A learned guru always makes his disciple to progress in both. Based upon disciple’s progress, guru advises his disciple to gradually move away from rituals to internal exploration, paving way for the ultimate Self-realization. No progress in Self- realization can be achieved if one continues to be associated with ritualistic worship alone. Only those gurus who are capable of imparting such supreme knowledge about the Brahman are to be worshipped in sahasrāra, as sahasrāra is the sanctum sanctorum of human body.

Candra-nibhā चन्द्रनिभा (592)

The shine of the moon is visualized just below sahasrāra. The visibility of moon is a strong indication to know the progress achieved in kuṇḍalinī meditation. The third kūṭa of Pañcadaśī mantra is candra kūṭa. She is like this moon. A reference can also be made to nāma 240.

Bhālasthā भालस्था (593)

She is in the form of the bindu of bīja hrīṁ in ājñā cakra. Hrīṁ bīja is formed out of twelve components, out of which three are letters and the rest are subtle modifications of sound. The bindu of bīja hrīṁ is placed above the alphabet ī (ई). In Śrī Cakra, Śiva is in the form of bindu and Śaktī is in the form of innermost triangle. This nāma says that She resides in ājñā cakra in the forehead.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 594 – 600

Indra-dhanuḥ-prabhā इन्द्रधनुःप्रभा (594)

Indra dhanu in literal sense is Indra’s bow.  But, in this context it indicates rainbow.  In fact, this nāma is an extension of the previous nāma.  There is a rainbow just above the bindu of hrīṁ (ह्रीँ) that has been referred in the previous nāma.  The bindu itself shines.  Apart from bindu, this rainbow like structure that is quarter of the size of the bindu also shines.  The bindu and rainbow like formation which is also known as ardhacandra (half the shape of the moon thereby forming a rainbow), are visualised while worshipping kāmakalā form of Lalitāmbikā. 

Reference to rainbow is used as it consists of seven colours (VIBGYOR) that get exploded at sahasrara.  These colours originate here.

Varivasyā-rahasya (I.22) says, “The bindu, in circular form, shines forth like a lamp with its seat in the middle of the forehead.”

Hrdayasthā ह्र्दयस्था (595)

She resides in the heart.  Kaṭha Upaniṣad (II.2.12) says ‘residing in heart’.  The same Upaniṣad says again in (II.1.12) says ‘Brahman resides in the centre of the body in the size of a thumb.’  This nāma reaffirms Her stature as the Brahman.

This nāma could mean that she is to be meditated in heart cakra.  One of the ancient scriptures says that one who knows the heart of Brahman enjoys eternal happiness.  The heart of the Brahman is the store house of universal love.

Raviprakhyā रविप्रख्या (596)

The second kūṭa of Pañcadaśī mantra is situated in anāhata cakra.  This is called sūrya kūṭa.  This nāma says that She shines like the sun, residing in one’s heart.  She shines in every kūṭa, but the nature of illumination differs.

Trikoṇāntara-dīpikā त्रिकोणान्तरदीपिका (597)

She shines like a flame in the triangle of mūlādhāra cakra.  The first kūṭa of Pañcadaśī mantra, the agni kūṭa is mentioned here.

{Further reading on nāma 591 to 597: In these nāma-s the subtle nature of the three kūṭa-s of Pañcadaśī mantra, are explained.  The first kūṭa is visualised in the centre of mūlādhāra cakra as a flame of fire.  The second kūṭa is visualised in the form of a rainbow in anāhata cakra.  The third kūṭais visualised at a place just below the sahasrāra.  The Pañcadaśī mantra sprouts as the first kūṭa in the mūlādhāra cakra develops further by adding the second kūṭa in the anāhata cakra and blossoms fully just below sahasrāra, where the third kūṭa is added.  This is beautifully explained in Mūka-Pañcaśatī(I.50) which says “In the centre of the heart, in the middle of the forehead and in the centre of the head, She shines like sun, Indra’s dhanu and moon.” (mūka means dumb)}.

Dākṣāyaṇī दाक्षायणी (598)

She was born to Dakṣa and got married to Śiva.  This nāma talks about Her lineage.

Certain fire rituals are performed on full moon and new moon days continuously.  These are known as darśa-pūrṇa-māsa yajña and the oblations offered during these rituals are known as Dākṣāyanayajña.  These yajnas are considered as powerful and She is said to be in the form of those yajña-s.

Dakṣa also means strength of will, energy and disposition. It also refers to the strengthening intellectual faculties.

It is also said that Dakṣa has twenty seven daughters who became the wives of Moon and they form the asterisms. He is also identified with Prajā-pati and known as Dakṣa Prajā-pati.

Further reading on darśa-pūrṇa-māsa yajna: Darśapūrṇamāsa is one of the śrauta rituals. There are three main categories. The first is called iṣṭi or haviryajñā in which the oblations are of rice or barley.  The second is animal sacrifice and the third is soma ritual. In the first category there are five types of rituals and they are agnyādheya, punarādheya, agnihotra, darśapūrṇamāsa and cāturmāsyaDarśapūrṇamāsa is full and new moon ceremonies incorporate recitations from two Veda-s, Rig and Yajur and require the services of four priests. The full and new moon sacrifice (darśapūrṇamāsa) is the paradigm of all the iṣṭi-s.}

Daitya-hantri दैत्यहन्त्रि (599)

Daitya means evil and represented as demons in epics.  She is the slayer of all evil acts (demonic qualities).  Reference can be made to nāma 318.

Dakṣa-yajña-vināśinī दक्षयज्ञविनाशिनी (600)

She destroyed the sacrificial rites of two Dakṣa-s.  There existed two Dakṣa-s.  One is known as Dakṣa Prajā-pati, a superhuman character and another is the human incarnation of the former.  They did not respect Śiva.  In all the yajña-s, a portion of the oblations are offered to all gods and goddesses.  Due to their egoistic nature they did not give such oblations to Śiva.  Śiva got wild and their yajña-s were destroyed by Śiva’s army.  She is said to be the cause behind such destruction.  This nāma signifies this cause.  Two Dakṣa-s existed at different times.  Śiva cursed superhuman Dakṣa to be born as a human.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 601 – 605

Darāndolita-dīrghākṣī दरान्दोलितदीर्घाक्षी (601)

She has shapely eyes that almost touch Her ears. Her eyes rotate all-round to dispel the fear of Her devotees.

In Mūka Pañcaśatī (मूक पञ्चशती) there are 101 verses praising Her eyes. In Saundarya Laharī also there are verses praising Her eyes.  Her eyes express Her compassion and concern for Her devotees and that is why She is glancing all round to shower Her grace on those who surrender to Her. Her compassion is predominant in Her capacity as the Universal Mother or .  When someone calls Her as  Her eyes move towards the direction of the sound. This is the reason for frequent rotation of Her eyes on all directions.

Darahāsojjvalan-mukhī दरहासोज्ज्वलन्मुखी (602)

This nāma describes Her smile. This smile attracts everyone to become Her devotee.  One’s compassion and mercy are expressed through eyes and smile.

Gurumūrtiḥ गुरुमूर्तिः (603)

She is in the form of Guru.  In Śrī vidyā cult, Guru, mantra and the deity should not be differentiated.  Varivasyā-rahasya (which explains Pañcadaśī mantra in detail) verse 102 says, ‘The identity of the Mother, the Vidyā, the Cakra (Śrī Cakra), the Guru and the disciple himself should be practiced.’  The earlier verse (101) says that ‘one’s Guru is identical with DevatāVidyā and Śrī Cakra….with the grace of Guru, the practitioner attains identity therewith.’

Guru means dispeller of darkness. Guru also means a person who possesses the Supreme knowledge about the Brahman. In this context, She is said to be the Supreme Guru.

Viṣṇu Sahasranāma nāma 209 addresses Viṣṇu as Guru.

Guṇanidhiḥ गुणनिधिः (604)

She is the storehouse of guṇa-s. Guṇa-s are of three types: sattvicrajas and tamas.  When these guṇa-s or qualities vary in proportions, countless guṇa-s arise.  All the combinations of guṇa-s arise from Her.

Sāṁkhya sūtra (I.128) says, “Through the properties of lightness, etc. The constituents agree with, and differ from each other.”

Guṇa-s also mean conglomeration of nine qualities. Śiva, is said to possess nine qualities. These nine qualities are: 1. time (kalā), 2. lineage (kulā), 3. names (nāma), 4. Knowledge (jñāna), 5. consciousness or mind (cit), 6. nāda (subtle sounds arising within the body while practicing prāṇāyāma), 7. bindu (consisting of sixteen kalā-s that include prāṇa, sincerity, five elements, indriya-s – karmendriya-s and jñānendriya-s, mind, food, vitality, penance, mantra-s, karma-s, worlds and names.  8. kalpa and 9. jīva.  These nine qualities are different from their common usage.

There is a story associated with this nāma.  Guṇa also means rope.  During great annihilation, Viṣṇuattained the form of a fish (matsya avatār), bundled the entire seeds of jīva-s, placed them in a boat and pulled them with a rope that was tied to the nose of the fish.  Devi took the form of the rope making the rope strong.

Praśna Upaniṣad, chapter (VI.2) says, “saḥ puruṣo yasminnetāḥ ṣoḍaśakalāḥ prabhavantīti”, which means ‘sixteen parts emerge from this Self.’  ṣoḍaśakalāḥ means sixteen parts.  These parts are explained in (VI.4).  “That Puruṣa (nirguṇa Brahman) created Hiraṇyagarbha (prāṇātmā); from Hiraṇyagarbha came faith; from faith came space; from space, air; from air, fire; from fire, water; from water earth; from earth, organs.  Next He created mind and then food; from food, virility, austerities, the Veda-s, the sacrifices, heaven, other worlds and then various designations.”

Gomātā गोमाता (605)

She is the Mother of all cows. Cows are considered sacred. This nāma also could mean the holy cow kāmadhenu capable of yielding any quantity of food at anytime. The word go (गो) is frequently used in Veda-s, meaning knowledge while practicing inner yajñā and in outer yajñā it means four legged animals. The word gauḥ also means speech, rays, heaven, etc indicating that they have originated from Her.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 606 – 610

Guhajanma-bhūḥ गुहजन्मभूः (606)

Guha means hide, conceal or secret.  Janma-bhūḥ means the birth place.  A soul is born, covered or concealed by avidyā or ignorance.  These souls are born from Her, the Brahman.

This is explained in Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (II.i.20) which says “from a fire tiny sparks fly in all directions, so from this Self emanate ……..all beings.”  Souls are the tiny sparks and the Self is the Brahman, our own Lalitāmbikā.  This particular angle of creation is elaborated in almost all the Upaniṣad-s.  If this nāma is viewed through the interpretation of the first nāma Śrī Mātā, the universal mother giving birth to all beings perfectly fits into the teachings of the Upaniṣad-s.

Guha also means Kārttikeya (He is also known as Subrahmaṇya and Skanda). This nāma also could mean that She had given birth to Kārttikeya.  Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gīta (X.24), “senānīnāmahaṁ skandaḥ”, which means “among generals, I am Skanda.”

Deveśī देवेशी (607)

She is the Īśvarī for Deva-s (gods), which means that She is the Supreme among all gods and goddesses.  She is the source for all divinities.

Daṇḍa-nītisthā दण्डनीतिस्था (608)

Daṇḍa-nīti means encumbering those who resort to evil ways and making them to pursue the path of goodness.  She punishes those ignorant men who are unwilling to pursue the virtuous path. Kṛṣṇasays in Bhagavad Gīta (X.38) ‘I am the rod of punishment’.  According to The Bible ‘rod’ means the law of karma.  The Bible says “I will fear no evil: thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Old Testament. Psalms 23:4).  God administers the universe through the law of karma and those who follow the virtuous path need not worry about the divine punishment. “Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them” (The Bible. OT. Job 21:9) and “how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger” (Job 21:17).

This is the reason for carrying a rod when a Judge enters a court hall.  This is practiced by several parliaments when a presiding officer enters the parliament.  They are the sustainers of justice.  In the same way She administers the universe with Her justness (law of karma).

Daharākāśa-rūpiṇī दहराकाशरूपिणी (609)

In the hearts of all beings is Her subtle form.  Better interpretations are available in various scriptures.

Kaṭha Upaniṣad ((I.iii.1) mentions this place as “In this superior space of the heart, present in the cave of the intellect”.  It further says (II.i.12), “Of the size of a thumb, the Brahman resides in the centre of the body”.

Chāndogya Upaniṣad says “This body is the city of the Brahman.  Within it is an abode in the shape of a lotus (meaning heart) and within that there is a small space (Please note the word.  It is ‘space’ and not ‘place’.  Space is infinite and place is definite).  One must search within this space and earnestly desire to know what is there? (Self-realization)”

Brahma sūtra (I.iii.14) says “dahara uttarebhyaḥ दहर उत्तरेभ्यः” referring to the small space in the heart.  It proceeds to say, “That is which is inside, that is sought for, that is surely to be inquired into”, indicating the process of Self-realisation.

This nāma says that She is in That form (the Brahman), that can only be realized.  This nāma also reiterates Her status as the Brahman.

Pratipan-mukhya-rākānta-tithi-maṇḍala-pujitā प्रतिपन्मुख्यराकान्ततिथिमण्डलपुजिता (610)

Pratipad means the first lunar day and rākā means the full moon.  In Śrī Cakra, She is surrounded by fifteen tithi nitya devi-s, five on each side of the inner most triangle. The bindu, the central point of Śrī Cakra, where Śaktī is sitting on the lap of Śiva is covered by this inner most triangle.   Each of the lunar day is represented by one tithi nitya devi.  In Śrī vidyā cult, all these deities are worshipped during ritual worship of Śrī Cakra.  Lalitāmbikā is worshipped as mahā-nitya.  This interpretation is as per tantra śāstrā-s.  Tithi maṇḍala is also referred to in Veda-s, which mentions fifteen names representing fifteen lunar days or tithi-s of waxing moon.  In addition to the names of the fifteen deities, Veda-s also refer to one more deity by name Sadā (meaning perpetually) which is known as the 16thkalā of moon.  Moon has sixteen kalā-s. Each kalā is represented by a goddess beginning with Amṛtāand ending with Pūrṇāmṛtā and their names are prefixed with each vowel (there are sixteen vowels in Sanskrit).

A reference can be made to nāma 391.

Lalitha Sahasranamam 611- 614

Kalātmikā कलात्मिका (611)                                             

She is in the form of kalā-s.  Kalā means digit or minute parts of an entity.  The moon has sixteen suchkalā-s, the sun has twelve kalā-s and agni (fire) has ten kalā-s.  When it is said that the moon has sixteen kalā-s, it means moon is made up of sixteen parts.  During waning period of moon one kalā is reduced on each day leading to no moon (new moon day or amāvāsya) on the 15th day.  Similarly one kalā is added each day during waxing period of moon leading to the full moon comprising of all the fifteen kalā-s.  The 16th kalā of the moon is Lalitāmbikā who is present in the moon without waxing and waning.  This is yet another example to confirm that the Brahman is without any modification.  This nāma says that She is present even in the subtlest part of an object confirming the omnipresent nature of the Brahman.  Examples of the moon, sun and fire are taken because of their illuminating nature.  They are not self-illuminating in nature but simply reflect the illumination of the Brahman.

There are four stages of consciousness.  They are awake, dream, deep sleep and turya stages.  Each of these stages has four kalā-s making a total of sixteen kalā-s.  The awake stage is said to be in the form Lalitāmbikā. The four kalā-s of awake stages are rising, waking, consciousness and mental action.

In nāma 236, 64 kalā-s s have been referred.  In that context, kalā-s means art.  There are many such kalā-s referred to in the scriptures.

Kalānāthā कलानाथा (612)

She is ruler of kalā-s discussed above.  All subtle matters that make a gross matter are administered by Her.  Hence, She is known as the ruler of kalā-s.

The chief of kalā-s of the moon is known as Kalānātha, which also means the lord of digits of the moon.  The disc of the moon is compared to Śrī Cakra.  Since She resides in Śrī Cakra, She is also known as Kalānāthā.

Kāvyālāpa-vinodinī काव्यालापविनोदिनी (613)

Kāvyā-s mean the great epics. Epics have eighteen types of qualities. The Rāmāyaṇa of the great sage Vālmīki has all the eighteen qualities and is said to be the first among the epics.  She is delighted when She listens to such great epics that fulfil all the eighteen qualities.  The eighteen qualiti