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Lalitha Sahasra Naama
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A Short Note On Sakta Cult

Lalitha Sahasra Naama is one of the principal texts of Sakta Cult the other two being are Durga Sapta Sati and Soundarya Lahari. Generally, only two Sahasranaamas ( thousand Divine names), i.e., Lalitha Sahasra Naama and Vishnu Sahasra Naama are popular in India though all deities like Siva, Laksmi, Parvathi, etc are having their own Sahasranaamas and corresponding rituals. When Vishnu Sahasra Naama helps the devotee to attain spiritual well being and subsequent Moksha(salvation) the Lalitha Sahasra Naama imparts saadhaka both spiritual and material upliftment.

 

Lalitha Sahasra Naama is a part of Brhmaanda Puraana one of eighteen epics. Known as Lalthopakhyaana, it consists of 40 chapters. It is the form of dialogue between Saint Agasthya and Lord Hayagreeva, who is the horse headed incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Text of Lalitha Sahasra Naama consists 320 verses in three chapters. This text was first recited and strung into a garland of mantras by Vasini and other Vagdevathas on the command of Mother Goddess herself as remembered in the Nyaasa. The metre is Anushtup and Devatha is Lalitha Parameshwari. The other details in nyaasa are Vagbhava koota (the first of three kootas) as seed, the Kaamarajakoota (the second) as Sakthi and the Sakthikoota (the third) as spike or Keelakam. The purpose of the recitation is given in nyaasa is to accomplish the grace of Goddess Lalitha and to procure the benefits accompanying.

 

There is Lalitha Thrisathi, which consists of three hundred sacred names of Mother in Lalithopakhyaana. This mantra has a close relationship with seed syllable, Panchadasi. Each set of verses start from each syllable of Panchadasi. It is also as potent as Lalitha Sahasra Naama.

 

In spite of being, only a part of Brahmaanda Puraana, Lalitha Sahasra Naama enjoys august status in Saktha tradition and has merited plenty glosses and commentaries among which the following are well known:

 

1.     Soubhaagya Bhaaskaram: An elaborate and much dependable commentary by celebrated tantrik saadhaka, Bhasuranda Natha whose earlier name was Bhaskara-raya-makhin.

 

2.  Vidyaaranya-Bhaashya:  Vidyaranya Muni who was the disciple of Anandaaranya        

Poojyapaada who wrote commentary on Lalitha Sahasra Naama in nine chapters.

    

      3.  Vimarshaananda’s commentary consisting 200 verses in nine parts.      

           Vimarshananda is said to be the disciple of Vimalanda Natha 

   

      4.  Saubhaagya Rathnaakaram: A commentary in 36 tharangas by Vidyaranya

           Natha, a disciple of Sachidananda Natha.

 

5.     A commentary of Bhattanarayana, disciple of Sivananda Natha in 2500 verses

 

All above authors are tantriks belonging to different margas and preserve esoteric doctrines preserved by their own traditions, and they classify the thousand names in different ways. The Soubhaagya Bhaaskaram is considered as the best of these commentaries. The author, Bhaskara-raya or Bhasurananda, who was versatile scholar and accomplished saadhaka lived between 1690 and 1785 A.D.He is also well known for his other works like Sethu Bandha, Varivasya Rahasya, etc.

 

The construction of Lalitha Sahasra Naama

 

The thousand names are classified into 10 groups. Following are the beginning of each of ten centum:

 

1.     Sri Maatha

2.     Mani pooraantharuditha

3.     Sadgathi prada

4.     Hrimkaari

5.     Vividhaakaara

6.     Gudanna preetha maanasa

7.     Daraondolitha deerkhaakshi

8.     Desa kaala paricchinna

9.     Pushta

10. Naadaroopini

 

It is also to be noted that no name is used for a second time with the same meaning.

 

The Practice Of Lalitha Sahasra Naama

 

Before starting to recite Lalitha Sahasra Naama, you have to understand the meaning of each of the thousand divine names. True, nobody can understand the full meaning of these expressions completely. According to Bhaskara-raya, there are 16 types of significance for each expression. It is very difficult to understand all these sixteen meanings of each name. However, at least you must know general meaning of the sacred names.

 

The ritualistic practice of Lalitha Sahasra Naama consists shodasopachaara or panchopachaara puja on Sri Chakra, recitation of beeja mantra, i.e., Shodasi or Pachadashi for a minimum of 108 times and then recitation of Lalitha Sahasra Naama Sthothram. If pooja is done on full moon night, the saadhaka must visualise and identify him with Goddess in the lunar orb and chant thousand sacred names. The daily puja is always recommended. However, some body can not do this, he may do it on every Friday and full moon night. Alternatively, he can do this at least on his birthday.

 

Lalitha Sahasra Naama can be recited as mantras also chanting individual names unlike the Lalitha Sahasra Naama Sthothram. You will have to add prefix “Om” and suffix “Namaha:”. For example, “Om Shree Mathre Namaha:” Then, the name ‘Shree Maatha’ converts itself to a highly potent mantra. The Actual Lalitha Sahasra Naama is in the form of a garland of thousand names. That is why, in the nyaasa it is said, “Shree Lalitha Sahasra Naama Sthothramaala Manthrasya…”

 

In this busy and tiring present day world not every body may get time to do the elaborate pujas and rituals. Nevertheless, you can devote 20 to 30 minutes to recite Lalitha Sahasra Naama in the early morning or evening after taking bath and sitting in front of lighted lamp. Do not think of the benefits. They will automatically come to you. Do not ask for any thing. You will get every thing in right proportions.

 

If you do not a have a book on Lalitha Sahasra Naama try to get one which gives the meanings of expressions clearly. Read it carefully with clear understanding of the meaning. A good book will also give you an idea how to recite it.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

I know very well that I have touched only the water of the ocean. How can I put the whole ocean in small bottle? How can I put the entire matter in this small page what Bhaskara-raya and other authorities could not do even after writing volumes on Mother? Still, I feel amply rewarded if I am successful in inoculating a bit of interest in people who are in dark to know about The Mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lalitha Sahasranama contains 1000 names of Goddess Lalitha. When uttered with prefix 'Om' and a suffix 'Namha" each nama becomes a manthra and worthy to do puja on Sri Chakra. The Rishi of Lalitha Sahasranama is Vasini, metre is anushtup and Devatha is Lalitha Parameswari.

A lot of books are available on Lalitha Sahasranama. It is always better to have one with meanings of names,etc. 

Lalitha Thrisati

Lalitha Thrisati is a variation of Lalitha Sahasranama. This contains 300 divine names of Lalitha. This strotra is arranged in such a way that every line starts with a syllable of Moola manthra. Thrisati is also as divine as Sahasranama

Ashtotharasatanama

Still another variation is Lalitha Ashtotharasata nama. This contains 108 names of Devi. When the devotees do not find sufficient time for elaborate Lalitha Sahasranama puja, it is advisable to recite Astotharasatanama morning and evening.

Aim    Klim     Sau