The next important topic in Lalita Sahasranama is the form of the goddess composed of five Brahmas. There are two mantras –
(who sits on the seat formed by five corpses.)
pañca brahma svarūpiṇi
(whose form is composed of the five Brahmas.)
pañca yajña priyā
(who is fond of the five forms of sacrifices)
pañca preta mañcādhi śāyini
(who reclines on a couch made of the Five Corpses)
(who is the fifth)
(who is the Goddess of the five elements)
(who is worshipped using five objects of worship)
pañca kṛtya parāyaṇā
(who is devoted to the five functions (mentioned in the mantras above).)
There are several mantras indicating the five organs of actions and the entire cosmos consisting of the five elements.
शिवः शक्त्या युक्तो यदि भवति शक्तः प्रभवितुं
न चेदेवं देवो न खलु कुशलः स्पन्दितुमपि। – Soundarya Lahari.
In the first stanza of Soundarya Lahari, it is mentioned that Shiva cannot even move without Shakti, the Divine Mother. Goddess is also devoted to the five functions – Creation, Preservation, Annihilation, Blessing & Disappearance. These five functions are carried out by Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Ishana, and Sadashiva.
The divine mother is glorified as “pañcami- pañca bhūteśi pañca saṅkhyopacāriṇi”.
The Divine Mother is ‘pañca yajña priyā’ – fond of five forms of sacrifices.
Thus, as Shankararachrya has said in the hymn Saundarya Lahari, without the blessing of the Divine Mother even Shiva will not be able to move.
śivaḥ śaktyā yukto yadi bhavati śaktaḥ prabhavituṃ
na chedevaṃ devo na khalu kuśalaḥ spanditumapi |
We are going to discuss another important area of Shri Lalita Sahasranama. We usually notice only gross things. In Katopanishad it is said ‘paranchikani vyatrinat swayambhu, thasmat paranpashyati antaratman’, the attention of almost every one of us is directed outside.
We are not very much interested in paying attention to ourselves. We never try to understand the principles of this universe. We are going to discuss the part where the principles of the universe are mentioned. There are three mantras,
(whose body is matter.)
(who is the wife of Shiva.)
kṣetra kṣetrajña pālini
(who is the protector and knower of matter, thus the protector of body and soul.)
The commentary of the mantras can be compared to the commentary of the chapter ‘Kshetra, Kshetrajna Yoga’ in Bhagavad Gita. The Divine Mother is Kshetraswarupa, whose body is matter. The Divine Mother is also Kshetreshi, the ruler of the matter, the body of all beings.
She is Kshetra Kshetrajnapalini – protector of body and soul. This is the general meaning of the mantras. There are several meanings of the word, ‘Kshetra’ the most common meaning is ‘temple’. In Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna says
इदं शरीरं कौन्तेय क्षेत्रमित्यभिधीयते |
एतद्यो वेत्ति तं प्राहु: क्षेत्रज्ञ इति तद्विद: || – Gita 13.2
This body is termed as kṣhetra (the field of activities), and the one who knows this body is called kṣhetrajña (the knower of the field) by the sages who discern the truth about both.
Like I said earlier, because our attention is always to the outside, we do not notice many things. If we ask a child what is greater 8 or 9? The child will easily answer it is 9. But if we ask about greater numbers the child may get confused. Like that we do not give attention to the subtle things.
Till now we were discussing form, bhakti, upasana, mantras, and other modes of worship. We might be able to get concentration if we have devotion or perform worship or chant mantra. Chanting a thousand names lead us to the principle of deity with a form.
The most common meaning of Kshetram is the temple, another meaning is ‘field’. In Bhagavad Gita, the lord says that this body is Kshetram. When we say temple we think of the temples in Kashi, Kanchi, Rameshwaram, etc.
The spiritual energy of these temples is immense because of the greatness of those who have consecrated the temple, the systematic worship that is performed there, the power of the devotion, and the spiritual practices of the devotees. In general, we can say that the goddess in such a temple is ‘Kshetreshi’.
It can also be said that this body is ‘kshetram’ and the individual soul that is present in this is ‘kshetrajna’ (in-dweller). Our goal in life is to know the ‘kshetrajna’ (in-dweller). Our goal in life is to know the God that dwells in our hearts and the all-pervading God is the same.
‘Field’ is another meaning of the word ‘kshetram’. A farmer is toiling in the field; it will be fruitful only if what he is doing is systemic. First, he has to plough, weed, then add manure, water sow the seeds, put a fence to protect the sapling etc. If taken care he will get the yield when the time comes.
But if the order is broken he will get nothing. If at first, he sows the seed and then plough, then add water and manure and then plough again he will get only weeds as yield. Proper order should always be there.
Worship of god is a science; we have to practice it in the right way. It will not be fruitful if we do it in the way we like. The lord says in Bhagavad Gita
नेहाभिक्रमनाशोऽस्ति प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते |
स्वल्पमप्यस्य धर्मस्य त्रायते महतो भयात् || – Gita 2.40
Working in this state of consciousness, there is no loss or adverse result, and even a little effort saves one from great danger.
Spiritual practices like chanting of mantra repeating the divine names, remembrance of God, listening to scriptures, meeting God-realized persons, keeping the company of devotees, and ideal people – very little of these is enough.
गङ्गाजललवकणिका पीता । – Bhaja Govindam 20
One who has studied the Bhagavad Gita just a little, drunk even a drop of Ganga water is enough. Even if this is very little, it will save us from great fear. It transforms us. It even grants us liberation.
The Divine Mother is Kshetraswarupini – That which is present in the great temples, in our mind and hearts is Divine Mother herself. She is Kshetreshi (the body of all beings) and kshetra kshetrajna palini (protector of the body and soul).
There is nothing other than the Devine Mother in the whole universe. That which is present in the great temples, in our mind and hearts, and that which pervades the whole universe is Devine Mother herself.
We will discuss the principles and greatness of the Devine Mother further in the coming days.