INTRODUCTION TO LALITA SAHASRANAMA STOTRA

                       Introduction to Lalita Sahasranama stotra
Lalita Sahasranama, thousand names of Goddess  Lalita, starts with the name ‘shreemata’, the Divine Mother. We may as well call this ‘thousand names of the Divine Mother’.  Lalita sahasranama stotra is embedded in the very heart of Brahmanda Purana. According to this Purana these names were  authored by Vamshinee and other vagdevis (the presiding deities of speech) as ordered by Lalita Devi who, in her infinite mercy, wanted her devotees to attain Her by chanting these names.  Because of the very secret nature of these names it was named ‘Rahasya nama sahasram’.
Just as Vishnu Sahasranama is sacred for the Vaishnavas,  Lalita Sahasranama  is sacred for the shaktas, worshippers of the Divine Mother.  Many of the names in Vishnu Sahasranama   are repeated.  For example, pranadah and sreeman  occur four times each. The eleven names  ajah, padmanabhah, pranah, bhoktaa, madhuh, vasuh, vaasudevah, vishnuh, veerahaa, veerah, satyah appear three times each. Seventy seven names occur twice each, some examples being achyutah, anaghah, anantah, analah, anirdeshyavapuh, aniruddhah, anirvinnah, anilah, aparaajitah, amitavikrmah, ameyaatmaa, amoghah,  akshobhyah etc. This is not considered improper as the same name has different meanings each time it is used..  This is because the words  are capable of being interpreted differently each time, a unique property found in the Sanskrit Language.
No name is repeated in the Lalita sahasranama.  Moreover in the lalita sahasranama stotra there are no conjunctions like cha, api cha,  eva cha  all meaning ‘and’ in English. However these conjunctions do occur in a few places in Vishnu sahasranama stotra as in  ‘putatma paramatma cha’,  ‘kshetragnokshara eva cha’, ‘adrushyo vyaktarupashcha’
‘vishnu sahasranama’  is one of the so called five jewels (pancha ratnaani) of Mahabharat, the Gita, Vishnu sahasranama, Bhishma stavarajah, anusmruti  and Gajendramoksham.  Lalita sahasranama is the very  crest jewel of Brahmanda Purana.
Vallabhacharya,  the great Vaishnava saint, says in the first verse of his Madhurashtakam :
                अधरं मधुरं वदनं मधुरं नयनं मधुरं हसितं मधुरं ।
                हृदयं मधुरं गमनं मधुरं मथुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरं  ॥      
      Adharam madhuram vadanam madhuraam
         nayanam madhuram hasitm madhuram |
         hrudayam madhuram gamanam madhuram
         madhuradhipaterakhilam madhuram ||
Lips are sweet, face is sweet, eyes are sweet, smile is sweet, heart is sweet, the gait is sweet-  the Lord of Mathura, Krishna’s everything is sweet.  All the eight verses in this madhurashtakam end with the refrain ‘madhuradhipaterakhilam madhuram’. Krishna is the very embodiment of sweetness.
The same idea  is expressed by adi sankara  in the following sloka in his  Tripurasundari vedapada stotram
 ललितेति सुधापूरमाधुरीचोरमम्बिके |
  तव नामास्ति यतीन जिह्वा मे मधुमत्तमा ||
 
 Laliteti sudhaapoora maadhureechoramambike |
 Tava naamaasti yattena jihwaa me madhumattamaa ||
O Mother! Your name ‘lalita’  steals the very sweetness of  nectar.  The very utterance of this name is so sweet that my tongue, as it were, becomes steeped in honey.  The line ‘jihwaa me madhumattamaa’  is a vedic quotation from the mantra:
शरीरं मॆ विचर्षणं
जिह्वा मॆ मधुमत्तमा 
कर्णाभ्याम् भूरिविश्रुवम्
ब्रह्मण: कॊशॊऽसि मेधया पिहितः  
Shareeram me vicharshanam
Jihwaa me madhumattamaa 
Karnabhyaam bhoori vishruvam
Brahmanah kososi  medhayapihitah
Each of the verses ( 2 lines or 4 lines) in the  Tripurasundari vedapada stotram end with a different vedic quotation.
The name lalita  itself embodies the ideas of  beauty, grace, love, compassion, softness and other such delicate feminine qualities.  Adi Sankara, in his Soundarya Lahari, describes the quality of sweetness in the speech of Lalita Devi
विपञ्च्या गायन्ती विविधमपदानं पशुपतॆः
त्वयारब्धॆ वक्तुं चलितशिरसा साधु वचनॆ |
तदीयैर्माधुर्यैरपलपित तन्त्री कलरवां
निजां वीणां वाणी निचुलयति चॊलेन निभृतम् ||
  Vipanchyaa gayantee vividhamapadaanam pashupateh
  Twayaarabdhe vaktum chalitashirasaa saadhuvachane
  Tadeeyairmaadhuryairapalapita tantreekalaravaam
  Nijaam veenaam vaanee nichulayati cholena nibhrutam   
     
         Lalita Devi is holding court where all her retinue is assembled including Goddess of  Learning Vani and Goddess of wealth Lakshmi. Vani plays  the Veena praising the exploits of  Lord Shiva.  Lalita Devi  nods her head in approval and starts saying a few words of appreciation.  .But the few words uttered by Lalita,  who had not completed what she wanted to say,  were so sweet in themselves that, in comparison, Vani felt that the notes from her veena were jarring.  She quietly and quickly covers the instrument with its cloth and stops playing.  .  
Lalita also implies leela, playfulness as may be seen from the following names from the lalita Sahasranama:
लीलाकॢप्तब्रह्माण्डमण्डला –  creating (sustaining and destroying) all these worlds in the cosmos is nothing more than leela  ( child’s play) for her.
लीलाविग्रहधारिणी  – She playfully takes many forms (for killing the asuras and also for saving her devotees.) .  लीलाविनोदिनी – she revels in her playfulness.
She is gladdened by the exploits of sakti, Nityaa, baalaa, mantrinee, vaaraahee who are her own creations (लीलाविग्रहधारिणी) as described in the following names from the sahasranama :
               भण्डसैन्यवधोद्युक्तशक्तिविक्रमहर्षिता
               नित्यापराक्रमाटोपनिरीक्षणसमुत्सुका
               भण्डपुत्रवधोद्युक्तबालाविक्रमनन्दिता
               मन्त्रिण्यंबाविरचितविषंगवधतोषिता
               विशुक्रप्राणहरणवाराहीवीर्यनन्दिता
Lalita Devi is happy to see the valour of shakti who is engaged in destroying the army of Bhandasura.  She sees with interest the exploits of Nitya and appreciates Baalaa’s efforts at finishing off the son of Bhandasura.   She is glad that Vishanga  has met his end at the hands of Mantrinee and Varahee  has taken the life of vishukra.
One of the names is करांगुलिनखोत्पन्ननारायणदशाकृतिः  meaning that the ten avataras  of Narayana (Vishnu)  emerged out of the nails of her ten fingers.
In Devi bhujamga stotra  Adi Sankara describes the leela of the Divine mother in the following sloka:
             विनोदाय चैतन्यमेकं विभज्य
             द्विधा देवि जीवः शिवश्चेति नाम्ना ।
             शिवस्यापि जीवत्वमापादयन्ती
             पुनर्जीवमेनं शिवं वा करोषि॥
O Mother!  Playfully you divide the One Consciousess (चैतन्य) into two, namely, jiva and shiva  thus bringing  jivatwa ( the state of being Jiva ) even to shiva. Then, by your grace,  you make the jiva Shiva again.  All this is your leela only.          
One of the names of Lalita Devi is ’पञ्चकृत्यपरायणा’ meaning she is engaged in five main occupations as part of her leela, Creation, Sustenance, Destruction, Covering (the Truth) and Anugraha (grace).  The following are these names
सृष्टिकर्त्री 
ब्रह्मरूपा
गोप्त्री
गोविन्दरूपिणी
संहारिणी
रुद्ररूपा
तिरोधानकरी
ईश्वरी
सदाशिवा
अनुग्रहदा
As Brahma the Mother creates the worlds( सृष्टिकर्त्री), as Vishnu she sustains them (गोप्त्री), as Rudra she annihilates them (संहारिणी), as Ishwari she conceals Herself (तिरोधानकरी)  and as Sadashivaa she blesses her devotees and reveals Herself to them. .
Lalita Devi is the repository of all auspicious qualities.  Inauspicious qualities don’t touch her.  She also does not allow such qualities to touch her devotees. The following names stand testimony to this statement:
नीरागा      She is without desires
रागमथनी’   She prevents desires from arising in the minds (of Her devotees)
निर्मदा      She is without conceit
मदनाशिनी   She destroys the conceit (in her devotees)
निर्मोहा      She is without delusion
मोहनाशिनी   She removes the delusions (of her devotees)
निर्ममा      She is without possessiveness
ममताहन्त्री   She wipes out possessiveness in her devotees
निष्पापा     She is without sin
पापनाशिनी   She  removes the sins of her devotees
निष्क्रोधा     She is without anger
क्रोधशमनी    She extinguishes the anger (of Her devotees)
निर्लोभा      She is without greed
लोभनाशिनी   She destroys the greed (of her devotees)
निस्संशया    She is without doubts
संशयघ्नी     She removes the doubts (of her devotees)
निर्भवा       She is without samsara (cycle of births and deaths)
भवनाशिनी    She frees (Her devotees) from samsara  
निर्भेदा       She is without any difference
भेदनाशिनी      She destroys the differences ( in Her devotees)
The following names in the Lalita Sahasranama eulogise bhakti, loving devotion to the Divine Mother:
भक्तसौभाग्यदायिनी  She gives Her devotees all good things in life
भक्तिप्रिया          She is pleased by devotion
भक्तिगम्या         She is attained by devotion
भक्तिवश्या         She is amenable to devotion
भक्तिमत्कल्पलतिका She is the wish-yielding tree to the devotee
भक्तमानसहंसिका    She revels as a swan in the mind-lake of the devotee
भक्तनिधि          She is like a treasure to her devotees
भक्तचित्तकेकिघनाघना She is like the dark clouds for the heart-peacock of the
                  Devotee (She gladdens the heart of her devotees)
भक्तहार्दतमोभेदभानुम- She is like the rays of the sun in dispelling the
द्भानुसन्ततिः         darkness (ignorance) in the heart of the devotee
Everything about Lalita Devi is the best and the greatest as brought out in the following names:
She is the consort of Maheshwara (माहेश्वरी),  she is the greatest goddess (महादेवी), her form is great because it is cosmic (महारूपा), she is worshipped by the great saints (महापूज्या), she destroys the greatest of sins (महापातकनाशिनी),
Her Maya is great (महामाया),  she is of supreme sattwic nature (महासत्त्वा), she has great strength (महाशक्तिः), she confers on her devotees the greatest bliss (महारतिः), her enjoyment is supreme (महाभोगा), Her authority is unchallenged (महैश्वर्या) ,Her valour is unsurpassed (महावीर्या), Her strength is great (महाबला), Her intelligence is the sharpest (महाबुद्धिः), He achievements are unparalleled (महासिद्धिः) and  She is greater than the great yogis (महायोगेश्वरेश्वरी).
The lalita sahasranama also describes the forms and the attributes of the Mother on which a sadhaka (practitioner) of Kundalini Yoga has to meditate at each of the chakras (psychical centres in the body) which are thought of as lotus-shaped as described in the following names:
मूलाधारांबुजारूढा   The Mother is seated in the (four-petal) Muladhara Lotus
पंचवक्त्रा          She has five faces
अस्थिसंस्थिता      She is the presiding deity of bones
अञ्कुशादिप्रहरणा    Her chief weapon is ankusha  
वरदादिनिषेविता     She is attended to by varada  and other shaktis of hers
मुद्गौदनासक्तचित्ता    She is fond of mudgaudana  (rice cooked with green grams)
साकिन्यंबास्वरूपिणी Sakinee is the name of the form she adopts in this chakra
स्वाधिष्ठानांबुजगता   She is seated in the (six-petal) Swadhishthana Lotus
चतुर्वक्त्रमनोहरा     With four faces she captivates the devotee’s heart. 
शूलाद्यायुधसंपन्ना    She is equipped with the trident as her chief weapon
पीतवर्णा           Her colour is yellow
अतिगर्विता         She is very proud
मेदोनिष्ठा           She is the presiding deity of the fat in the body.
मधुप्रीता           She is fond of madhu
बन्धिन्यादिसमन्विता She is waited upon by Bandhini and other shaktis of hers
दध्यन्नासक्तहृदया    She is fond of curd rice
काकिनीरूपधारिणी    kakinee is the name of the form she adopts in this chakra
मणिपूराब्जनिलया    She is seated in the (ten-petal) Manipura Lotus
वदनत्रयसंयुता       She has three faces
वज्रादिकायुधोपेता    vajrayudha is her chief weapon
डामर्यादिभिरावृता    She is surrounded by Damari and other Shaktis of hers
रक्तवर्णा           Her colour is red
मांसनिष्ठा          She is the
presiding deity of muscles
गुडान्नप्रीतमानसा   She is pleased with rice cooked with jaggery (gud)
समस्तभक्तसुखदा    She bestows happiness on all her devotees
लाकिन्यंबास्वरूपिणी  Lakinee is the name of the form she adopts in this chakra
आनाहताब्जनिलया     She is seated in the (twelve-petal) anahata Lotus
श्यामाभा             She is of dark complexion     
वदनद्वया             She has two faces
दंष्ट्रोज्ज्वला           She has bright white sharp canine teeth
अक्षमालादिधरा        She wears the akshamala among others
रुधिरसंस्थिता         She is the presiding deity of blood
कालरात्र्यादिशक्त्यौघवृता She is surrounded by Kalaratri  and other shaktis of hers
स्निग्धौदनप्रिया       She is fond of cooked rice with ghee
महावीरेन्द्रवरदा        She grants boons to Mahaveerendras
राकिण्यंबास्वरूपिणी   Rakinee is the name of the form she dons in this chakra
विशुद्धिचक्रनिलया     She is seated in the (sixteen-petal) visuddhi Lotus
आरक्तवर्णा          Her complexion is light red
त्रिलोचना           She has three eyes
खत्वांगादिप्रहरणा     She strikes with Khatwamga  weapon
वदनैकसमन्विता      She has one face.
पायसान्नप्रिया       She likes rice cooked in milk
त्वक्स्था            She is the presiding deity of the skin (sensation of touch)
पशुलोकभयंकरी      She is terror to those who, being human, live like animals.
अमृतादिमहाशक्तिसंवृता She is surrounded by Amrita and other shaktis of hers
डाकिनीश्वरी          Dakineeshwaree is the name of the form she dons in this
                   chakra
आज्ञाचक्राब्जनिलया   She is seated in the (two-petal) Ajna  Lotus   
शुक्लवर्णा           Her complexion is white
षडानना            She has six faces
मज्जासंस्था        She is the presiding deity of majja  which envelopes bones
हंसवतीमुख्यशक्तिसमन्विता She is attended on by hamsavati and other shaktis
रिद्रान्नैकरसिका    She likes rice cooked with turmeric
हाकिनीरूपधारिणी    She is known as Hakini  in this form
सहस्रदलपद्मस्था     She is stationed in the thousand-petal lotus
सर्ववर्णोपशोभिता    All the colours are in her
सर्वायुधधरा        She has all the weapons   
शुक्लसंस्थिता      She is presiding deity of semen
सर्वतोमुखी        She has faces looking out in all directions
सर्वौदनप्रीतचित्ता    She is pleased with all types of food prepared with rice.
याकिन्यंबास्वरूपिणी  She is known as Yakinee in this form
The Divine Mother has many more beautiful names in the Lalita Sahasranama Stotra.   A few more names are given below with their meanings:
ध्यानध्यातृध्येयरूपा    The act of meditation, the one who meditates and that
                    which is meditated upon  –   all three are nothing but  
                    Lalita Devi..  
धर्माधर्मविवर्जिता       She is beyond dharma or adharma (virtue or vice)
उन्मेष-निमिषोत्पन्न=विपन्न-भुननावलिः Whole worlds are created and annihilated
                                 by the wink of her eyes
आब्रह्मकीटजननी – She is the mother of right from Brahma to the lowest insect.
नामरूपविवर्जिता – she is without name or form
क्षयवृद्धिविनिर्मुक्ता – She is devoid of waning or waxing
पशुपाशविमोचिनी – She frees beings from the bondage of samsara
पंचकोशान्तरस्थिता – She is at the core of the five sheaths – ie. the
                  physical, the pranic, the mental, the intellectual and the 
                  bliss sheaths.
इच्छाशक्ति-ज्ञानशक्ति-क्रियाशक्ति
स्वरूपिणी                  She is the embodiment of will power, power of
                          knowledge and power of execution
सुखाराध्या                  She is easily worshipped and pleased  
देशकालापरिच्छिन्ना           She is not limited by space and time
सर्वोपाधिविनिर्मुक्ता            She is devoid of any limiting attributes
अनित्यतृप्ता                 She is pleased even by evanescent things like
                          a leaf, a flower, a fruit or even water
क्षिप्रप्रसादिनी                She is pleased very quickly
अंतर्मुखसमाराध्या            She can only be worshipped and pleased by
                          turning one’s senses inward   
बहिर्मुखसुदुर्लभा              She cannot be attained by those whose senses
                          are turned outward.
संसार-पङ्क-निर्मग्न-समुद्धरण-पण्डिता She is adept in extricating those who are
                               caught in the mire of samsara
व्याजकरुणामूर्तिः           Her mercy flows freely not waiting for any cause
The greatness of Lalita cannot be adequately described in a finite number of names. Adi Sankara in his Ananda Lahari  says “ O Bhavani ! when Brahma with his four faces, Siva with his five, Karthikeya with his six and Adisesha  with his one thousand faces are unable to praise you enough where is the occasion for  any one else to attempt this.”
              भवानि स्तोतुं त्वां प्रभवति चतुर्भिर्न वदनैः
              प्रजानामीशानः त्रिपुरमथनः पंचभिरपि ।
              न षड्भिः सेनानी दश शत मुखैरप्यहिपतिः
              तदन्येषां केषां कथय कथमस्मिन्नवसरः॥          
Sankara himself answers this question in his Devi Bhujanga Stotra:
              इति प्रेमभारेण किञ्चिन्मयोक्तं
              न बुद्ध्वैव तत्त्वं मदीयं त्वदीयं ।
              विनोदाय बालस्य मौर्ख्यं हि मातः
              तदेतत् प्रलाप स्तुतिं मे गृहाण ॥  
O Mother ! whatever little I have said, without knowing the Truth (Reality) about you or myself, is because of my deep love for you. Surely, the foolish actions of the child .cause only  amusement to the Mother (not anger).  Please therefore accept this prattle of a stotra composed by me .Finally  Sankara says:
        
              यत्रैव यत्रैव मनो मदीयं तत्रैव तत्रैव तव स्वरूपम् ।
               यत्रैवे यत्रैव शिरो मदीयं तत्रैव तत्रैव पदद्वयं ते ॥
        Yatraiva yatraiva mano madeeyam tatraiva tatraiva tawa swarupam
         Yatraiva yatraiva shiro madeeyam tatraiva tatraiva padadway
O Mother! Wherever my mind is let there be Thy form and wherever my head is let there be Thy feet. ( In other words “O Mother! let my mind always dwell on your beautiful form and let my head always bow at your lotus-feet” )
 
 

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3 Comments on INTRODUCTION TO LALITA SAHASRANAMA STOTRA

  1. Anonymous says:

    very beautiful commentary. I can relate to theses stotras better now. Thank you for sharing….

  2. Anonymous says:

    VERY NICE. MOST INFORMATIVE

  3. Vaikash says:

    Many thanks for sharing…………