You are on page 1of 2

Panchastavi is a peerless treatise of five hymns sung in Yogic

language in praise of the divine mother Sri Lalita Mahatripurasundari. It is devotional in


nature and yogic in content. It is indeed a composition revealed to a great seer. An
earnest student of utmost piety could make out esoteric explanations of
allegoric descriptions regarding Kundalini in a variety of ways from
the very melody of these verses of different rhymes, only with spontaneous help from an
advanced yogi of the Shakta tradition. Reading the verses, or hearing them sung is like
coming upon priceless gem hidden in the cavernous interior of the Himalayas, as
the Upanishadic utterance corroborates.
"The daring intellect gives up all joy and sorrow for developing concentration of the mind
on the self-luminous Deity by meditating on the Eternal Being, who, hidden with the
knowledge of the world, located in the intellect in the
intellect and lodged inaccessibly, is hard to see".
Shakta school holds Advaita as the ultimate reality in an
equal perspective with Kashmir Shaivism and of the same ideal as of
the monastic Vedanta. This is evident from the sacred and mysterious
monosyllable (Pranava) attributed to each thought and consisting of
the corresponding seed-letters (Bijaksharas). The Pranava of Vedic
thought is AUM. Correspondingly, the Shakta and Shaiva schools
use `Hrim' and `Aham' respectively. Since all the Pranavas end in the
Bindu, it is natural that the Bindu is the material cause for all the
factors. It is the unconditional Brahman or the all-pervading Supreme
Truth from which emanate all the conditional entities. Paraa-Bindu is
the immeasurable entity into which this entire manifestational
phenomenon finds repose. This power of creation and absorption, quite
inseparable from its holder Shiva, is called Shakti. The
magnificence, grace and beauty of this primordial Power make up
eternal bliss. In consequence, there is a latent agreement among all
mankind and this truth must be the one we seek. Accordingly,
religions in general are at one with each other. Each has a
philosophy antagonistic to the special dogma of the other. The Vedic
Rishis have already declared, "The Brahman is surely different from
the known, and again, it is above the unknown -- such was the
utterance we heard of the ancient teachers who explained it to us".

(Kena 1.4). The Panchastavi manures growth in consciousness to that


sublime truth.
Shiva is the transcendent self, the divine power of
conservation and Shakti is immanent, the divine energy of pulsation
(Spanda). The appearance of both is like the two sides of the same
coin. The Tantra declares, "His energies are evident in the multiform
manifestation and the holder of the energies is Maheshwara -- the Lord
of the Lords, Paramashiva himself". the Upanishad says, "His
(Paramashiva's) Parashakti is manifold, as described in the Veda, the
natural energies of knowledge, power and action" (Swe Upa IV 10).
These conjoint with the powers of concealing (Pidhaana) and favoring
(Anugraha) of Shiva constitute the fivefold glory of Sri Parashakti.
This is further made clear by Kshemaraja in one of the
benedictory verses in his commentary on Stavachintamani of Bhatta
Narayana: "We bow to Shiva who, enjoining his fivefold glory, reveals
the spiritual Shakti, the power of consciousness and bliss".
Parashakti is therefore Yoni, the original source, the Supreme Mother
whose five glories Chit, Ananda, Iccha, Jnana and Kriya, are praised
through the five celebrated Hymns of the Panchastavi from the fifth
to the first respectively.
There is also a belief regarding these five hymns among the
Kashmiri Pandits, among whom this book of hymnal prayers has been
very popular. It is said that the five hymns were representatively
given out through a threshing plate or mortar, a grindstone, a
hearth, a pot and a broom. The scriptures indicate that the use of
these articles becomes the cause of committing indirect sins in
households. Performing the five kinds of sacrifices may ward off the
effects of sins. This was the advice of Sri Shankaracharya to a
Vaishnava whom the former had defeated in Shastrartha.
The five sacrifices, Pancha Mahayajna, ward off the five kinds of sins, the
causes of sufferings, ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion and
desire to cling to life (Yoga sutras II.3).
1. Brahma Yagna -- Recitation or study of the Vedas removes ignorance.
2. Deva Yagna - Oblation made to the gods through fire, remove
egoism.
3. Pitr Yagna -- Obsequial offerings remove attachment.
4. Manava Yagna -- Hospitality removes aversion.
5. Bhoota Yagna -- Love for all beings removes the desire of clinging
to life.