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Lalita Sahasra Nama - An Introduction

Lalita Sahasra Nama - An Introduction

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Published by Saravana Kumar

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Published by: Saravana Kumar on Oct 17, 2011
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Lalita Sahasranama
The holy conversation between aVedic seer and a deity blessed by theDevi sets the stage for the world toreceive the secret names of theDivine Mother.
The thousand names of the goddess ispopularly known as Lalit
ā
Sahasranama.But the name by which it is referred to inthe Tantra is Rahasya N
ā
ma Sahasra orGuhya n
ā
ma sahasra: the thousand secretnames; a thousand occult names.The central characters in the prologueof Lalita Sahasranama are Hayagr
 ī 
va andAgastya. Knowing their greatness makesone appreciate the grandeur of thisunparalleled hymn, which is a sequel tothe Lalitop
ā
khyana forming part of theBrahm
ā
nda Pur
ā
na.Agastya was a Vedic seer and reputedrevealer of several hymns in Rig-Veda. Heis said to be the offspring of Mitra andVaruna. He is also called Kala
sīs
uta,Kumbha Sambhava and Ghatodbhava. Ashe was very small when he was born, hewas called M
ā
na. The Pur
ā
nas representhim as the son of Pulastya, the sage fromwhom the Rakshasas sprang. He was oneof the narrators of Brahma Purana. He isalso the authority on medicine, not tospeak of Nadi Sastra which goes by hisname.In Mahabharata we have the followinglegend. One day while walking through aforest, Agastya saw his ancestors
1 
suspended by their heels in a pit. Theytold him that they could be rescued fromtheir miserable plight if he married andbegot a son. Thereupon he created abeautiful girl out of the most gracefulparts of different animals. He combinedthe distinctive beauties of the animals,such as the eyes of the deer, the gait of the lion and so on, in her manifestation.She was named Lop
ā
mudra because theanimals were subject to loss {lopa} whenthe sage created her. He then passed herinto the palace of King of Vidarbha, whohad had no issues. Mudra also meanshappiness and hence Lopamudra meaningunending flow of happiness. Lop
ā
mudraalso happens to be the propounder of H
ā
diVidya
2
.The child grew up into a fine woman.One day Agastya came to the king's courtand demanded that she be given to himin marriage. The king was in a fix. When
1 Vālakhilyas2 Tripura is worshipped with 3 different classesof mantras or schools of study. They start withKa, Ha, and Sa and are hence named Kādi,Hādi and Sadi Vidyas
 
Lopamudra herself consented to be thesage's wife, the king was obliged toconsent. Agastya and Lopamudra figureas two famous exponents of Sri Vidya.Agastya's exploits are famous. He wasliving in Kasi and was asked to go toSouth to solve a problem created by themountain Vindhya. Vindhya had becomeenvious of Mount Meru, the highest peak.Not to be outdone, Vindhya majesticallygrew to an equal height and obstructedthe movement of the sun and the moon.As a result the world was plunged intochaotic darkness.When Agastya had to go down toSouth, he had to cross Vindhya. Heordered the mountain to bend down andstay so until his return to Kasi. ButAgastya chose to settle down in theSouth, so poor Vindhya had to stay put.Agastya derived his name by this exploit- a slayer of the mountain. Agam sth
ā
yatiiti Agastya.The demons Kalakeyas hidthemselves in the ocean and troubled thegods by occasional forays. When thedevas implored his help, Agastya drankthe ocean in one gulp. Caught in the dryocean bed the demons were annihilatedby the devas. According to the Puranas,Agastya was the incarnation of Fire.
Hayagriva - Vishnu Himself 
Vishnu keeps continually awake inorder to protect the world. Once he wastired and fell asleep, resting his head onhis mighty bow. Brahma, Rudra andothers wished to wake him up. Theyinduced the white ants to bite through thebow string promising them in return aportion of the sacrifice. When the whiteants did their job the bow went off with abang and took off the head of Vishnu.They searched all over for Vishnu's headbut in vain. Upon worshippingTripurasundari, she appeared to them anddirected that a horse's head be joined tothe trunk, there by Vishnu would revive.That was Hayagriva
3
, a deity blessed bythe Devi.Agastya said: "O Horse-faced Lord!You are an adept in all sastric lore. Youhave related to me the wondrous story of Lalita. You have told me in detail the birthof the Mother, the episode of hercoronation and her slaying of Bhandasura.You have described in detail the glory of Sripura {Sri Chakra}. You have alsoexpounded the greatness of the 15-syllabled mantra, Panchadas
ā
kshari. Inthe Nyasakanda you have delineated theinner and outer methods of worship. Inthe Pujakanda you have described the
3 Horse symbolizes Prana sakti and denotes areservoir of power. All the rituals start withawakening of Prana Sakti, which we call PranaPratishta and the mantras or the versesdenote the awakening of the AswaroodhaShakti. Horse also connotes our Manas orMind.
 
great worship, the Mahayaga. In thechapter on Purascharana (repetition} youhave told us the rules of Japa"."You have also briefed us well in theperformance of Homa. In theRahasyakanda, you have taught us thefundamental identity between Chakraraja,Panchadasakshari, Devi, Guru and thedisciple. You have blessed us with varioussets of prayers and revealed the thousandnames of Mantrini and Dandini. But thenames of Lalita, you have refrained toreveal. There lingers a doubt in me. Is it alapse of memory or a deliberate neglect?Am I not worthy to hear those blessednames of the Divine Mother? May I knowthe reason for this omission?"
Glories of Sahasranama
Hayagriva, greatly delighted at thispersistent disciple, addressed him asfollows: "O Agastya, Consort oLopamudra! Listen to me attentively. I didnot speak to you of those thousand namesbecause I consider them a secret. Nowthat you have asked me with suchdevotion, I shall surely impart them toyou. If a disciple is devoted, the teachershould impart it even if it is a secret. Butit should not be taught by you to anyonewho has no devotion. This is not to berevealed to a rogue or a wicked man or atany time to one who is devoid of faith.""This Sahasranama may be given toone who is pure, who is a devotee of theDivine Mother, and who is initiated into SriVidya. There are many thousands opowerful names of Lalita in the Tantras.But among them, this is the best. Amongthe mantras, Sri Vidya is the best. And inSri Vidya, the Kadi Vidya is the best. Asthe Sripura is the greatest among cities;among the Shaktis, Lalita reigns supreme.Among the Sri Vidya Upasakas, Para Sivais the prime devotee
A chanting of this hymn pleasesLalita to no end. Nothing pleases hermore. Therefore this hymn should becontinually chanted to gain the favorof Lalitambika."
"Worship Mother Lalita invoking her inSri Chakra. Offer her bilva, tulasi andlotus and recite the thousand names. Atthe end of the worship, recite the i5-syllabled mantra. The worship and japaare conducive to Mother's instantaneousgrace. At the end of the japa recite thethousand names once again. In case it isnot possible to do the ritual worship or japa, recite the names. This is equallymeritorious. "In order to do good to her seekers,Lalitamba commanded her servitorgoddesses headed by Vasini
4
, theGoddess of Speech, to compose a laudwith a thousand names which woulddelight her. The goddesses then createdthis hymn. These Vagdevatas or Godesses
4 Vagdevatas are Vasini, Kameswari, Modini,Vimala, Aruna, Jayini, Sarveswari and Koulini.

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