ഹ്രീം – ബീജാക്ഷരം (ലളിതാ ത്രിശതി 217 – 218) Hrīm – The Sacred Syllable (Lalita Trishati)

The next two mantras are
Om hrīṁkārakandarā siṁhyai namaḥ
(who is the lioness living in the cave called Hrim)
Om hrīṁkārāṁbhōja bhr̥ṁgikāyai namaḥ
(who is the bee playing in the lotus flower called Hrim)

A possible explanation for the mantra hrīṁkārakandarā siṁhi can be as follows, There is a cave on top of a mountain. There is a cave on top of the Himalayas. Devi is the lioness whose den is the cave. Usually, people do not climb up to the top of the mountains.

Even if they do, if they spy a cave they will never enter it. This is a hint that people who are immersed in worldly affairs do not enter the spiritual path. Mountaineers who take up the risky climb, are very rare. Of those brave souls who reach the top of the mountains, only a very few venture inside any caves that they might see.

This is because they do not want to encounter any wild and carnivorous animals that might inhabit the cave. Animals, who know that it is the den of the lioness, stay away from their surroundings.

Elephants, strong and powerful, might venture near. But they will meet their death at the hands of the lioness. It is said that the lioness will take the pearls that are to be found inside the head of noble elephants.

bhajanti tvāṃ dhanyāḥ katichana chidānanda-laharīm
Fortunate are those few, who worship Thee, the inundation of Bliss-Consciousness – Soundarya Lahari 8

To make the comparison, not many people devote themselves exclusively to realize the universal truth, that is the divine consciousness embodied as Parashakthi, who is the reason and the foundation of this universe. It is very rare that people go mountaineering, climb to the top, and with great courage enter alien caves.

It is only through “abhyāsātiśaya jñātā (who is known only through the strenuous practice of spiritual discipline)”- (990).

Devi is the lioness whose abode is the cave on the peak of the perilous mountain. It is almost impossible, and it is extremely difficult to approach Devi. We chant “Durgama”, “Durga” (189,190). She can be approached only with extreme effort. “Sulabhagatihi” (683) She who can be attained through an easy and brilliant path.

ābāla gopa viditā (who is known well by all)” (994)
She can be known with ease by small children and cowherds. A high level of education or Scholarship in Sanskrit and the scriptural sciences or Vedas are not essential to attain Devi. Devi is Lalitha. (The pleasant and playful one.) But even then, it is foolish to think that Devi can be attained by those who live ordinary lives.

hrīṁkārakandarā siṁhi” Devi is the lioness whose abode is the cave of Hrim, who lives inside the cave of the intense spiritual practices. Devi is the lioness who can be attained only through intense spiritual practices.

The next mantra is hrīṁkārāṁbhōja bhr̥ṁgikā
Devi is the honey bee coming in search of the lotus that is the “Hrimkaram”.

The lotus is most beautiful and is filled with more honey than other flowers. Bees come in search of lotus flowers before flying off to look for honey in other places.

The lotus flower is the symbol of liberation, Ashtasiddhi (eight mystical perfections or divine powers) and Ashtaishwarya (the eight types of wealth.) Devi comes to this lotus flower. Devi comes in search of this lotus flower.

Spiritual aspirants who practice the “Hrimkara Sadhana” attain Devi with more ease than aspirants who follow other methods of spiritual practice. We Take refuge in god. God must also come in search of us.

We must become ideal spiritual practitioners so that we become beloved to god and god comes in search of us. We must become ideal spiritual practitioners so that we become beloved to God and God comes in search of us.

Self-realization or union with the universal being is possible for those who have ideal qualities. The Lotus has all such ideal qualities. The Lotus incorporates within itself the eight mystical perfections, the eight types of wealth, and the salvation of the self. Devi becomes drawn to such a flower.

Therefore, those who worship and continuously chant this mantra will effortlessly gain the merit needed for the blessings of Devi. Devi will come in search of them.

hrīṁkārāṁbhōja bhr̥ṁgikā” – She who can be attained effortlessly by intense spiritual practitioners, who possess ideal qualities. Those who worship the ‘Hrimkara Mantra’ gain Devi with more ease.

We are hearing the various explanations of the mantra. ‘Hrimkaryai Namaha’ in the Lalitha Sahasranama


ഹ്രീം – ബീജാക്ഷരം (ലളിതാ ത്രിശതി 209 – 214) Hrīm – The Sacred Syllable (209 to 214 in Lalita Trishati.)

We are listening to the commentary of the mantra
Om hrīmkāryai namaḥ (who is in the form of the syllable hrim.) in the Lalita Sahasranama.

We are looking into the mantras in the Lalitha Trishati that details the different aspects of this mantra. The next mantra in the Lalitha Trishathi is Om hrīṁkārakandāṁkurikāyai namaḥ (… who is the germinating tendril of the tuber called Hrim)

Devi is the sprout of “Hrimkara”. From the tuber root, sprouts two leaves on the slender stem. This is called the ‘ankuram’. It is this slender sprout that grows into a strong plant and a stout tree.

A tree grows strong branches and its branches bear fruits. It becomes an immense presence, giving shade and support to all. In the same manner, Devi is the seed and the sprout to this Universe.

We see the universe as “Many”. We see the roots, the trunk, branches, the fruits as Many and different from each other. But the source of all this is the seed and the sprout that is Devi.

The next mantras are
Om hrīṁkāradīr-ghikāhaṁsyai namaḥ
(who is she swan playing in the pond called Hrim)
Om hrīṁkārōdyānakēkinyai namaḥ
(who is the peahen playing in the garden of Hrim)

These mantras are also connected to natural sights. A lake in which we can see swans swimming. At times we can see a swan all by itself, in the lake. Devi is the lovely swan in the lake of Hrimkara. (hrīṁkāradīr-ghikāhaṁsi).

In the garden of Hrimkara Devi is the resplendent peacock (hrīṁkārōdyānakēkini). These mantras describe the happiness experienced by those who are enmeshed in worldly affairs when they can see a Mahatma. They have never before seen such a sight, the experience indefinable, sublime happiness when they meet Amma.

They have walked from morning to night on a barren road, hungry, thirsty and tired and then they spy a clear water lake. They rest by its side, drink the clear water, and happily watch the swans swimming regally in the lake. They feel rested and refreshed.

Swans live only in clear water lakes. Swans have another ability. When milk water is given to them, they will drink only the milk, and leave the water untouched. Life consists of the good and the bad, virtue, and vice.

We might, even though we might know it to be a vice, become enslaved to alcohol or some other ruinous habits. We lose our sense of discernment. Swans are a symbol of discernment.

A sincere spiritual practitioner must be able to eschew vice and embrace virtue. This is the lesson given to us by the Swan. In the manner that a tired traveler rests. And regain strength under the shelter of the shade of the tree, the darshan of Mahatma rejuvenates himself. When we take refuge in Parashakthi, we can regain happiness, as Devi uplifts us from the great sorrows of life.

We go in search of solitude in gardens when we long for some rest or relaxation from an unquiet mind. We see huge trees, creepers, and flowering bushes in a garden. We see green meadows. But the crowning glory of a garden is the presence of peacocks. The peacock travels among the trees and on the green meadows.

The Universe is made up of manifold manifestations of Devi. It is her energy that permeates everywhere. Devi compared to the peacock that roams free everywhere in the garden and adds beauty and brilliance by its presence.

Devi is the self that shines through every being and everything, she is the pure Self of the Universe. She is the beauty and cosmic power that engenders the universe. The two mantras direct us to think constantly of Parashakthi or the cosmic power behind this Universe.

The next two mantras of the Lalitha Trishathi are
Om hrīṁkārāraṇya hariṇyai namaḥ
(who is the doe (female deer) playing in the forest of Hrim)
Om hrīṁkārālavālavallyai namaḥ
(who is the ornamental climber in the flower bed of Hrim)

A forest is made of thousands of trees, creepers, bushes, plants, and animals. Initially, one is afraid to enter the forest. But being captivated by the beauty of the forest one ventures in. You feel safe at the entrance of the forest.

But as you venture into the deep and dark interiors, suddenly you become aware of your aloneness, of the tigers, bears, and elephants that roam freely in the forest. Fear overtakes you.

In the same manner, initially, you hesitate to enter this world of illusions and delusions, then we slowly step in, we experience the ties of family, sorrow and happiness visit our lives and we become unable to free ourselves of our various bonds.

We feel as if we are trapped within a forest. If we are trapped within a forest and we come across a deer, our heart lightens up. The doe is traveling alone, it has beautiful eyes and a graceful figure and its peaceful presence assure us that no carnivorous animals are present in the vicinity and gives happiness to our heart, in the forest of the world.

Devi is the doe in the forest of “Hrimkaram”. This mantra advises those who are trapped in the worldly life, to take refuge in Devi. We shall hear the glorious attributes of Devi, in further classes.


ഹ്രീം – ബീജാക്ഷരം (ലളിതാ ത്രിശതി 205 – 208) Hrīm – The Sacred Syllable (205 to 208 in Lalita Trishati.)

We were seeing the meaning of the mantra
Om hrīṁ kāryai namaḥ
(who is in the form of the syllable hrim.)
We were discussing the connected mantras in Lalita Trisati related to hrīṅ kāryai namaḥ and continuing with

Om hrīṁkārakuṇḍāgni śikhāyai namaḥ
(who is the flame of the fireplace (homa kundam) called hrim)

The most important part of the fire offering happens in the sikha (the top of the flame). The fire should be live without smoke and the tip of the flame is where the offerings are made. If the fire is not continuous or smoky it is not considered as auspicious.

Devi is compared to the most important part of the offering as the flame. This means Devi is the central aspect of the hrimkara japa sadhana. If we are chanting this by remembering Her form, it will brant us both materialistic and spiritual well-being. This is what this mantra signifies.

The next 3 mantras are familiar to us as see those in nature

Om hrīṁkāra śaśicandrikāyai namaḥ
(who is the nectar-like rays of the light of the moon called Hrim)

A person who is tired of his day’s activities, who is exhausted and worried is relieved at the sight of a soothing full moon. In a similar way, people who are delved into sadhana of chanting Her names, are relieved from worldly sorrows. Like a joyful spring after the hot summer. The chanting of a mantra received from their Guru will bestow happiness and contentment. It is like the soothing rays of the full moon.

The next mantra is Om hrīṁkāra bhāskararucayē namaḥ
(who is the luster and brightness in the sun called Hrim)

Ruchi in Sanskrit has two meanings. One is taste and another meaning is brightness. Like the clouds that clouts the Sun, the ever-shining knowledge within us are blocked by our ignorance. To understand that knowledge within us we don’t need any other knowledge as it is self-effulgent. But it is hindered by the clouds of our ignorance.

The chanting of mantras continuously and contemplating the spiritual principles will help us to remove the darkness of ignorance and reveal the light of knowledge. This highlights the importance of Sadhana and the Mantra Japa. This mantra helps us to remind that principle whenever we see the natural elements.

The next mantra is Om hrīṁkārāṁbhōdacañcalāyai namaḥ
(who is the lightning in the black clouds called Hrim)

Ambhodam is thunder clouds, cancalam is the lightning. When it rains, we see the clouds when the lighting struck. It is the lighting that shows the presence of clouds. In the same way in this materialistic world, we are unable to decipher the principle of Devi.

Devi is the foundational principle of this entire. The universe and She is the lightning or the light that shines everything else in this universe. Devi is the prime object of contemplation in the path of hrimkara sadhana.

Whenever we see the sun, moon, rain clouds, lightning, these mantras helps us to remember Mother.

cacatmikā-sarva lokeśi-viśva dhāriṇi, all these mantras of Lalita Sahasranama reminds us She is pervading in the entire universe.


ഹ്രീം – ബീജാക്ഷരം (ലളിതാ ത്രിശതി 201- 204) Hrīm – The Sacred Syllable (201 to 204 in Lalita Trishati.)

We were discussing on the commentary to the mantra
Om hrīmkāryai namaḥ
(who is in the form of the syllable hrim.)

In Lalita Trisati, the syllable hrim is used in 60 different ways and we started seeing a brief commentary on those mantras. Earlier we discussed on 80-100 mantras from Trisati. Now we will see the mantras 200-220 from Lalita Trisati.

The next three mantras are
Om hrīṁkāriṇyai namaḥ
(… who is the personified by the bija ‘Hrim’; the eleventh letter of the panchadasakshari mantra)
Om hrīṁkārādyāyai namaḥ
(… who is the origin of Hrim and Om)
Om hrīṁmaddhyāyai namaḥ
(… who is in the midst of Hrim)

hrīṁkāriṇi means one who created the bija mantra hrim. These mantras are not created to exhibit the Sanskrit prowess by the sages, rishis are said to be the seers of the mantras, not the creators. Certain aspects of rituals and sadhana are created, for example, Kadi Vidya and Hadi Vidya in Shakta tradition is attributed to Kamadeva & Lopamudra respectively.

In reality, all the mantras have originated from the pure consciousness that is Devi. Hence Devi is hrīṁkāriṇi and hrīṁkārādyā. Hrīṁmaddhyā also means that this syllable, Hrim is at the center of everything.

Objects in this universe are of two types, one being made of pure energy and the other made of the five elements. Supreme Consciousness, Devi is considered as the primordial cause of these two classes. In Tarkka Shasthra, there are two causes described, 1. Upaadaana Kaaranam, 2. Nimitta Kaaranam.

Upaadaana Kaaranam means, for example, mud and a mud pot. Without mud, a mud-pot cannot exist. Without the thread, a cloth cannot exist. Without gold, ornaments cannot exit. In a similar way, this universe cannot exist without Devi.

Nimitta Kaaranam is, the one who makes the ornaments or furniture, lie black-smith, carpenters etc. That is also Devi as She is creatrix. Hence it is said that there is nothing other than Devi in this universe. She is both the Nimitta & the Upaadaana.

So, hrīṁmaddhyā denotes that Devi is at the center of everything, the cause of the universe. From the next mantra onwards in Lalita Trishati, there are beautiful 36 examples being described.

The natural forces that we see in our daily lives like rain, moonlight, cyclones, sunrise & set, wild animals in the forest, whatever we see around, the following mantras reminds us that all these are nothing but Devi’s various manifestations.

The next mantra is Om hrīṁśikhāmaṇayē namaḥ
(… who wears hrim in her head as ornament)

We wear many kinds of ornaments and among the parts of our body, the head is considered as the most important as it is the seat of vision, taste, hearing, and intellect. Hastasya Bhooshanam Daanam, means, for the hands, the beauty comes from doing charity & serving others and not by wearing any ornaments.

In a similar way it is through the senses on our head we perceive this universe and our thoughts take place. Hence the ornament worn on the head is very important. Devi wears a beautiful crown on Her head and on that crown is the most valuable jewel (Choodamani).

Hence hrīṁśikhāmaṇi means, hrim is the most important among other mantras. It is like the jewel on the crown. We are seeing those part that explains about the importance of practice of mantra.

We are discussing the meaning of the mantra Om hrīmkāryai namaḥ from Lalita Sahasranama. This entire part depicts the importance of Hrimkara mantra and it’s practice. This is expanded to 60 mantras in Lalita Trishati. These can be considered as the commentary for the Hrim syllable. We have seen a brief meaning of a few of those mantras.

The next mantra is
Om hrīṁkārakuṇḍāgni śikhāyai namaḥ
(… who is the flame of the fire place (homa kundam) called hrim)

The fire oblations (homa) begins with the construction of the fire pit (homa kunda). Cleaning the space, building-up the homa kundam in the most revered way. Using the right and auspicious materials to perform the oblations. Using the right chanting of mantras and offering the sacrifices. All these lead to the said benefits of the homa.


ഹ്രീം എന്ന ബീജാക്ഷരം (ലളിതാ ത്രിശതി 80- 100) The Sacred Syllable Hrīm (80 to 100 in Lalita Trishati.)

We were discussing the mantra, om hrīmkāryai namaḥ
We already said that in Lalita Trishati the mantras from 80 to 100 are about ‘hrīm’.

The following are the mantras – hrīṁkāra rūpā – hrīṁkāra nilayā – hrīṁpadapriyā – hrīṁkāra bījā – hrīṁkāramantrā – hrīṁkāralakṣaṇā – hrīṁkārajapa suprītā – hrīṁmati – hrīṁvibhūṣaṇā – hrīṁśīlā – hrīṁpadārādhyā -hrīṁgarbhā – hrīṁpadābhidhā – hrīṁkāravācyā – hrīṁkāra pūjyā – hrīṁkāra pīṭhikā – hrīṁkāra vēdyā – hrīṁkāra cintyā – hrīṁ – hrīṁśarīriṇi. These are the 20 mantras from 80 to 100 in Lalita Trishati.

Now we will discuss very briefly the meaning of these 20 mantras. The first mantra among these is “hrīṁkāra rūpā”. Hrim is the 5th seed syllable of the Pancha Dashakshari mantra (mantra with 15 syllables). The meaning of the mantra is – ‘Hrim’ is one of the forms of the Divine Mother.

The next mantra is “hrīṁkāra nilayā”, which means that the abode of the Divine Mother is ‘Hrim’. During the day time, we go out to work or to some other place. Where ever we go, we come back home for rest. We get peace when we come back home. Like that the abode of Devine mother is always Hrim.

The next mantra “hrīṁpadapriyā” – Devine mother Loves those who chant this mantra knowingly or unknowingly. The Devine mother loves this term Hrim. It can be also interpreted as the ultimate position, the most exalted state of liberation. The state of Hrim is liberation and the Devine Mother loves those who try to attain that.

The mantra that comes after this is hrīṁkāra bījā – The seed of the big Peepal tree is very small. From such a small seed grows the big tree with its trunk, branches, roots, and fruits. Many birds rest in that tree. The big tree exists in the small seed. Like that the whole universe exists in the mantra ‘Hrim’. The Divine Mother is “hrīṁkāra bījā”.

The next mantra is “hrīṁkāramantrā”. It is enough to chant just this mantra ‘Hrim’. This “hrīṁkāramantrā” protects those who meditate on it. Hrim Kara is the characteristic feature of the Divine Mother. As discussed earlier there are four syllables in hrīṁ – h, r, i, m.

The mantra denotes the trinities of Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara, and the most exalted Devine Mother, and the cosmos which is the aggregate of three qualities, followed by that which transcends all these – The Self. We can say that if ever there is any characteristic feature for the Divine Mother it is Hrim.

The mantra “hrīṁkārajapa suprītā”- The Devine Mother is very much pleased with those who do their spiritual practices systematically and those who practice the chanting of ‘Hrim’ considering it as the Divine Mother.

The mantra “hrīṁvibhūṣaṇā” – If we describe someone as wearing a necklace or earring, we will have a picture of that person in our mind. Like that the whole universe is the Divine Mother’s adornments.

The Shakta Philosophy says that the Divine Mother who has no name or form has evolved as the universe with names and forms. It doesn’t deny the universe saying that it is all Maya, illusion. In Shakta Philosophy everything has its significance saying that the entire universe is the manifestation of the Divine Mother.

The meaning of the mantra “hrīṁvibhūṣaṇā” is that all animate beings and inanimate things in the universe are the decorations of the Divine Mother. When we understand that these animate beings and the inanimate things are the ornaments of the Divine Mother, we will never hate anything in this universe.

The next mantra is “hrīṁśīlā”. The trinities are mentioned here. Here creation, preservation, and destruction are happening without any break. That is Divine Mother’s deed. The mantra “hrīṁśīlā” denotes the Divine Mother’s action of creation, preservation, and destruction.

The next mantra is “hrīṁpadārādhyā”. The Divine Mother is glorified by all those who worship this mantra. They chant the mantra with the Goddess in their hearts.

“hrīṁgar-bhā” is the next mantra. The whole universe is in the womb of the Divine Mother. She is the cause of creation, preservation, and destruction. Thus this mantra is very suitable for her.

“hrīṁpadābhidhā” – The Divine Mother is indicated with the word Hrim. “hrīṁkāravācyā” – The meaning of the word Hrim is Divine Mother. “hrīṁkāra pūjyā” – The Devine Mother is to be worshipped with Hrim.

“hrīṁkāra pīṭhikā” – The Goddess sits in the seat called Hrim. “hrīṁkāra cintyā” – The Divine Mother is to be meditated as Hrim. “hrīm” – The Divine Mother is addressed as Hrim. “hrīṁśarīriṇī” – The body of the Divine Mother is Hrim. These are very brief meaning of the Hrim mantras.

There are five seed syllables, Hrim, Shrim, Klim, etc which are called Pancha Pranava mantras. The Divine Mother is worshipped with all these.

The Hrim mantra is also the combination of Shiva and Shakti. Hrim is also considered as the combination of knowledge and ignorance. Thus this mantra “om hrīmkāryai namaḥ”. LalitaSahasranama explains to us the importance of mantra worship.


ഹ്രീം എന്ന ബീജാക്ഷരം – The Sacred syllable Hrīm

Mantra Chanting is an important topic in Sri Lalita Sahasranama. So far we have discussed the creation and evolution (of an individual soul), the relevance of Vedas and Agamas, Dharma (righteous deeds) and the goal of life which is liberation. Chanting mantra as a spiritual practice is most essential for the evolution of an individual soul.

Worship helps you to attain liberation very fast, and chanting mantra is most suitable for that. In the 1000 names of the Divine Mother this is mentioned briefly in the mantras like “hrīmkārī, hrīmatī” etc.

For a spiritual practitioner material possessions are not important. His wealth is his mantra. He gains as much as he chants his mantra. It never goes in vain. So we will discuss that in detail here. There is a mantra in Lalita Sahasranama

om hrīmkāryai namaḥ
(who is in the form of the syllable hrim.)

This mantra is also there in many other hymns. Like ‘Hrimkara Mantrojwala’ in the hymn Meenakshi Pancharatna. This is discussed in more detail in Lalita Trishati. Lalitha Trishati is the 300 names of the Divine Mother. In those three hundred names 60 mantras are about the syllable ‘Hrim’.

In the first 100 names, the mantras from 80 to 100 is about the mantra ‘Hrim’. After that mantras from 200 to 220, and the last 280 to 300 are about ‘Hrim’ mantra. So mantras from 80 to 100, 200 to 220 and 280 to 300 are about ‘Hrim’. From this we can understand the importance of this mantra.

‘Hrim’ is the fifth syllable in the form of worship called Sri Vidya. So this mantra is present in Sri Vidya also. We can see in various temples that this mantra is inscribed like ‘Om Hrim Parashakthyai Namaha’ or ‘Om Hrim Namah Shivaya’. The relevance of Lalita Sahasranama is that many mantras from this hymn are used by spiritual masters for initiating their disciples.

Another meaning of the word ‘Hrim’ is shame. Dignified people will surely feel ashamed if they knowingly did something that they should not do. Because of this feeling of shame we understand our mistakes and would never repeat them. This is one meaning of the word ‘Hrim’.

In the mantra ‘Hrim’, there are 3 notes – ‘h, r, i’ followed by ‘m’. All these seed letters include in the mantra. In general, these syllables denote the three qualities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas followed by that which transcends all these – The Self.

The mantra also denotes the principles of Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara and the most exalted Divine Mother and creation, preservation, destruction and Pure Consciousness. Thus these seed syllables are very meaningful.

We must not think that these syllables are meaningless sounds. All the seed syllables have particular meaning. Suppose we take some medicine. The doctor prescribes some medicine. We do not care about components of the concoction. We take it as prescribed by the doctor. And we surely have its benefits.

Like that we receive mantra from the Guru and we practice it as instructed by the Guru. The guru explains the meaning of the mantra and how to practice it. Because the guru is so pure we also receive a fraction of their immense energy.

Those who practice the chanting of mantra will be able to attain liberation in this life itself. Thus this mantra teaches us the importance of the practice of mantra. This mantra – Om Hrimkaryai namah of Lalita Sahasranama helps us to understand the importance of chanting mantra.

By the spiritual practice of the mantra we are freed from all types of fears. Fear here means worldly fear. Chanting mantra relieves us from the distress of worldly life. At the same time, it releases us from the cycle of life and death. It is also said that whoever sings its glory are freed from worldly pains.

Amma gives a beautiful example. We write a notice on the wall, “Stick no bills”. This one sentence written on the wall keeps the rest of the wall without any writing. Like that, we receive a mantra and chant it. We meditate on its meaning.

This thousand Names of the Divine Mother is a garland of mantras. Different names are given as per the letters of the mantra. Spiritual practices of goddess are called ‘Vidya’. When it is more than 24 letters it is called a chain of mantras. This thousand names of Divine Mother are a chain of mantras.

We chant it, meditate on its meaning. Because of this we are relieved from worldly fears. Even if we know that we have Amma’s blessings. Amma will always protect us, mantras liberate us from this world. This mantra, ‘om hrīmkāryai namaḥ’ helps us to proceed in the spiritual practice.

To Be Continued……


നാദരൂപാ നാമരൂപ വിവർജ്ജിതാ – Devi as Form of Sound and Formless

The next mantra in Lalita Sahasranama is about nāda (sound). This is a topic that we normally do not think about. Devi is praised as nāda rūpā – nāma rūpa vivarjitā (299, 300).

The Lalita Sahasranama reveals that naadam (sound) has four classifications. “parā pratyak citī rūpā – paśyanti para devatā – madhyamā vaikharī rūpā – bhakta mānasa haṁsikā. The four forms of sound are classified as parā, paśyanti, madhyamā, and vaikharī. We do not usually think about the sound that is unmanifest or inaudible. We consider sound to be only that which is audible to our ears. This gross, manifest, and audible sound is called Vaikhari.

Sound has subtle and unmanifest stages also. Parā is the state of utmost subtlety (366). Paśyanti is the second level of sound after parā (367). Madhyamā – she who stays in the middle between the subtle and the gross (368). Vaikharī is the sound in the gross, manifested form audible to the ear (371).

Let us take an example. We see people going to Amma for darshan. Sometimes Amma asks clear questions. We answer. Amma responds to our answers. We can see this happening. But at other times, when there is a large crowd, we see something else. People might be going to her with great distress, but as they near Amma, the whole atmosphere changes, they become charged with awe-filled love and fall silent.

People from many countries come to her, and often we do not know the language they speak. Not all westerners speak English, so we are unable to even translate their words. We might be able to answer a few questions, not many doubts can be cleared by us. But each one of them, when they come back after Amma’s darshan is happy and uplifted. They come back with peaceful hearts. What can be the reason?

Sometimes Amma responds to us even before we speak. Sometimes she finishes the sentences that we started. Sometimes, we will have no clarity on a particular matter, but Amma will explain various angles to it that we could never conceive. How is it possible?

I enquired about a Brahmachari. How do you talk about various issues with Amma? He said I pray intensely to Her to guide on my path and then I go for darshan. Amma comprehends not just the spoken word. I try and tell her everything in my own fashion, but Amma understands and gives me clear directions”.

It is not only the audible words that Ishwara comprehends, he grasps the feeling, the motivation behind the spoken words. In Sanskrit the sound Vishnu has to be pronounced as “Vishnave”. The sound Rama has to be pronounced as “Raamaya”. A devotee, who did not know Sanskrit chants Vishnaya, instead of Vishnave. It is wrong according to the rules of grammar. But it does not matter. Even if the ignorant chants Vishnaya and the scholar chants Vishnave, the merit accruing to both will be the same. The Lord understands the emotions behind the words.

Therefore, Devi is both the manifest sounds that we hear and the thoughts that are unmanifest. Devi is adored in the form of sound in the mantras “parā, paśyanti, madhyamā and vaikharī.” Shri Lalita Sahasranama describes this subtle form of Devi.

The next mantra, that comes after “nāda rūpā” is “nāma rūpa vivarjitā” (299-300). In the Lalita Sahasranama, we have seen that each mantra has its own unique meaning, but at the same time, many mantras can be strung together to praise the different attributes of Devi and some mantras seemingly contradict each other. The mantra “nāda rūpā” praises Devi who is of the form of Sound.

The next mantra says that she is one who has no name or form. We might consider that the two mantras seemingly contradict each other. The scriptural sciences say that there are five aspects to the Universe. They are Asthi, Bhaathi, Priyam, Naamam, Roopam.

Asthi proves the existence of an object. Bhaathi – that which is known by the intelligence. What we can understand. Priyam – it is because we love life and we love ourselves that we continue to exist. Asthi, Bhaathi, and Priyam are three aspects connected to the Chitgranthi – they are connected and tied inextricably to the awareness or consciousness principle.

Naamam and Roopam, name and form, are possible for inanimate objects also. All objects are perceived by the senses, have name and form. Naama and roopa are connected to inert matter, insentient objects. In-universe there is sentient, animate life that is permeated by the eternal, indivisible consciousness.

There are also insentient and motionless objects that are connected to the inanimate world. It is called ‘Jadagranthi’. It is Devi who is the indweller, the individual self in each living being.


നാദരൂപയായ ദേവി – The origin of the sound is Devi

In the Lalita Sahasranama, we have heard the descriptions of the mantras

“ābrahma kīṭa Janani – varṇāśrama vidhāyini – nijājñā rūpa nigamā – puṇyāpuṇya phala pradā”

Devi is not only the creator who is the mother to all, from Brahma to the littlest living thing, she established the social order, the four varnas, and four Ashramas necessary for each stage of life. She is not only the creator, but each birth is granted by her to experience the result of past actions from previous lives.

Devi guides them to exhaust their karma and attain liberation, which is the ultimate goal of life. She is also
nijājñā rūpa nigamā (287),
puṇyāpuṇya phala pradā (288)

Through Nigamas, Agamas, Shastras, (Hindhu scriptural sciences) and sacred rituals Devi guides us into upholding the right values in life.

One of the most essential qualities of the devotees of Devi is that they must bear no malice, nor should they demean, whether it may be the arts, or people of different religions, whether they are devotees of Shiva or Vishnu. All paths ultimately lead to Devi. This is called “nahi ninda nyayam” where no person, art, or object is demeaned.

The philosophy advises us to adore the Devi within our hearts, dress in a manner befitting the devotees of Shiva by wearing rudraksha and sacred ash, and live in the manner of a devotee of Vishnu, following their food habits, restrained behavior, and sweet words. This is advised by the Shakthas.

Devotion to Shiva, Vishnu, or Devi is not separate from one another. A true devotee of Devi would want to hear numerous stories of Vishnu, sing hymns in praise of him and chant his names.

There is a very popular evening prayer chanted in Kerala “Shiva Rama Govinda Narayana Mahadeva Krishna Hare Hare Krishna Mahadeva Narayana Govinda Rama Shiva” This is chanted as the evening prayer. The holy names of Shiva, Rama, Govinda, Mahadeva, Krishna are not different from each other. They should all be chanted. There should be no discrimination between Shiva and Vishnu and Shakti .

The next mantra in Lalita Sahasranama is about nāda (sound). This is a topic that we normally do not think about. Devi is praised as

nāda rūpā – nāma rūpa vivarjitā (299, 300). The Lalita Sahasranama reveals that naadam (sound) has four classifications.

“parā pratyak citī rūpā – paśyanti para devatā – madhyamā vaikharī rūpā – bhakta mānasa haṁsikā.

The four forms of sound are classified as parā, paśyanti, madhyamā, and vaikharī. We do not usually think about the sound that is unmanifest or inaudible. We consider sound to be only that which is audible to our ears. This gross, manifest, and audible sound is called Vaikhari. Sound has subtle and unmanifest stages also.

Parā is the state of utmost subtlety (366). Paśyanti is the second level of sound after parā (367). Madhyamā – she who stays in the middle between the subtle and the gross (368). Vaikharī is the sound in the gross, manifested form audible to the ear (371).

Let us take the example of the sun before and after sunrise. There is darkness before sunrise, nothing is clear to us. We are unable to see anything with our eyes. After a while, a dim light seeps in. Things become clearer as the sky becomes lighter and the sun dawns up in the sky. In midway, the sun is blazing high above us, where everything is clear.

In the same manner, Vaikharī is the sound that our external ears are capable of hearing in the grossest, audible, and manifest form. Madhyamā is twilight. The time of the day just before twilight, when things can be dimly perceived is Paśyanti, para is the unclear, unseen.

In the individual, the power of speech resides in the kundalini and our prowess in speech depends on the latent tendencies of our past lives. The source of sound resides at such a subtle level. We call it para. Paśyanti has a simple form, but it has not become a sound or a syllable.

Such a stage is called Paśyanti. Madhyamā is the middle stage, where sound becomes more amplified and clear. Vaikharī is the sound that we hear, that becomes manifest as audible syllables. The origin of the sound is the kuṇḍalini (110) arising from the ‘anāhatābja’ Ajna chakra, (103) viśuddhi cakra (475) in Lalita Sahasranama.


ദേവിയുടെ പാദധൂളി – Dust of Devi’s Feet

Let us listen to the mantra

Om śruti sīmanta sindūrī kṛta pādābja dhūlikāyai namaḥ
(The dust from whose feet forms the vermillion marks at the parting line of the hair of the Sruti devatas (Vedas personified as goddesses).) Lalita Sahasranama 289

The Vashinyadi Vagdevatas portrays a beautiful scene. The meaning of the mantra is this. The Shruti devatas are standing before Devi, but a bit distant from her. With palms joined in devotion and tears overflowing from their closed eyes, they stand absorbed in their closed eyes, they stand absorbed in their love for Devi.

They look as if they have just prostrated to Devi and stood up. Their foreheads and the parting line of their hair are decorated by the sacred vermilion dust from the lotus feet of Devi. This shows that they have just prostrated to pay their obeisance to Devi, who is their mother. With deep devotion, are standing a little away from Devi.

From their demeanor, we can see that they consider themselves incapable of understanding and adequately describing the true form of Amma. The meaning of this mantra is explained thus. Shrutis are the Vedas personified as goddesses. The sacred dust from the lotus feet of Devi is glowing as the vermilion marks in the line parting the hair of the Sruti Goddesses. This is the most easily understood meaning.

Vedas consist of three parts. They are Karma Kandam, Upasana Kandam, and the Jnana Kandam. The noblest is considered to be the Upanishads. It is the Upanishads that convey to us the unity or oneness of the Jiva to the Brahma. They teach us that the Jivatma (Individual Self) and the Paramatma (Absolute reality) are not two, but one.

The Upanishads (A collection of scriptures that contain the central philosophical and scriptural science of ancient Bharatham) propound the theory that the Brahman (Absolute reality) and the Jivatma (the self) are one and only. Therefore, the Upanishads are called the most important part or the head of the Vedas.

The Upanishad deities (mother) prostrated before Devi. The sacred dust from the lotus feet of Devi was transferred to their foreheads. It was only through Her blessing that they could understand the finite portion of her true form.

The Upanishads describe Devi by saying, “Not this, Not this”. They say “I am not Earth, I am not Ether, I am not Air, I am not Fire, etc.” It is by saying that “I am not this” “I am not that”, that they are trying to describe Her true form. “I am not the Mind, I am not the Senses, I am not Intelligence, I am not Ego”.

Absolute reality is described through the “neti neti vaadam” (“the not this not this” search or analytical meditation). In the Lalitha Sahasranama, Devi has been described as

Om brahmātmaikya svarūpiṇyai namaḥ
(whose nature is the union of Brahman and Atman)

Devi is the Shakti which is not separate from Shiva or the Supreme. Amma is Enthroned in a manner which convinces us that she is the one absolute reality that we have been searching for.

This is the reason that the Vedas are standing in front of Devi, with folded palms, bowed heads, and tear-filled eyes. They stand at some distance away from Devi. We must never think that the master who made us realize the self is the same as us.

The attitude of non-duality is not proper in the presence of the Master. Therefore, Shruti goddesses stand a little distance away from Devi.

“We have not been able to completely understand and describe the true form of Devi. But we have been able to get a glimpse of Her glory. It is due to the auspiciousness, the sacredness, of the dust from Her lotus feet that is smeared upon our head.” Their posture communicates this thought.

Shankaracharya describes the greatness of the dust of the lotus feet of the Devine in the “Saundarya Lahari”.

तनीयांसं पांसुं तव चरणपङ्केरुहभवं
विरिञ्चि: सञ्चिन्वन् विरचयति लोकानविकलं ।
वहत्येनं शौरि: कथमपि सहस्रेण शिरसां
हर: संक्षुद्यैनं भजति भसितोद्धूलनविधिम् ॥ – Soundarya Lahari 2

Lord Brahma, the creator of yore, selects dust from your feet, and creates the worlds, The great Adisesha with his thousand heads, Somehow carries dust of your feet, With great effort, and the great Lord Rudra, takes it and powders it nicely, and uses it as the holy ash.

The second verse says that Brahma gathered a minuscule amount of the dust of Her lotus feet. Thus he created the universe and all the other worlds from the sacred dust of Her lotus feet. ‘Bhur Bhuvah Swahaha’ is the upper worlds, the nether worlds are Paathala, Athala, Vithala, Suthala, etc.

Devi was walking in the garden of Sri Nagara, accompanied by Her cohorts of Yoginis. This was a very rare happening and Brahma was present there, as Devi walked with her companions (The Yoginis). Brahma was able to see very clearly the lotus feet of the Devi.

He prostrated happily at the sight of Her lotus feet. With great devotion, he gathered a minute mote of dust. With the unparalleled power of the sacred dust, he created all the worlds. He became renowned and glorified as the creator of all the worlds.

Vishnu on seeing the renown of Brahma decided that he also wanted to take part in this bewitching game of Devi. Vishnu also gathered a mote of sacred dust from her lotus feet, He took on the incarnation of Shouri, the thousand hooded AdiShesha. He bore the weight of the worlds with his thousand heads.

When Lord Parama Shiva observed the glory of Lord Brahma and Maha Vishnu, he also decided to play a part. He wanted a role in Her divine play. He prostrated before Devi Parameshwari, he gathered a mote of sacred dust from her lotus feet and mixed it with the sacred ash that he smeared upon his body.

With great respect, he smeared the sacred ash all over his body. He became the destroyer. Creation, Maintenance, and Destruction are three of the divine attributes of the divine dust from the lotus feet of Devi. In Lalita Sahasranama, one of the mantras is

Om tirodhāna karyai namaḥ
(who causes the disappearance of things.)
Lalita Sahasranama 270

The illusionary power of Maya is annihilated by the blessings conferred by Devi. She grants the knowledge of oneness. Creation, Maintenance, Destruction, the annihilation of the illusionary power of Maya, and the blessings which confers the knowledge of the union of the individual Self with the Supreme are all attributes of the sacred dust from the lotus feet of Devi.

Knowing this, the Shruti goddesses prostrated before the holy feet of Devi. They wore on their forehead, as sacred vermilion marks, dust from the lotus feet of Devi. They stood a little apart from her, bashful and silent, with the attitude that, they knew only a very little of her glory.

In the mantra “śruti sīmanta sindūrī kṛta pādābja dhūlikā”, we see a beautiful visual representation of Devi with the Sruti(Vedic) goddesses.


പുണ്യാപുണ്യ ഫലപ്രദാ – Devi Dispenses Fruits of Actions

We understood the meaning of the mantra

Om nijājñā rūpa nigamāyai namaḥ
(whose commands take the form of the Vedas.)

We must follow and obey the cosmic laws laid down in the Vedas. We shall hear a detailed explanation of this mantra.

nijājñā rūpa nigamā – puṇyāpuṇya phala pradā”.

The meaning of “puṇyāpuṇya phala pradā” is ‘She who dispenses the fruits of actions that are meritorious, and of actions that are not’. When life is lived in obedience to Vedic dharma, happiness is gained. It leads to punya (merit gained by good deeds).

Sometimes we knowingly commit bad deeds that are called “prajñāparādham” in Sanskrit. Our intelligence and our memory warn us to refrain from certain actions. But, in spite of it, we perform the action.

A perfect example is drinking hard liquor. It is wrong whichever way we look at it. It destroys our memory and brings us disrepute. But even though we know of the harm it does, we continue to drink.

We call such actions “prajñāparādham”. Devi gives sorrow, or demerits to those who knowingly perform sinful actions. The simplest meaning of this mantra is “She who dispenses the fruits of actions that are meritorious and not meritorious”.

Devi will give us birth in accordance with the karma of our previous lives. She gives auspicious lives to those who have performed good actions and sorrow and distress to those who have committed evil, in their previous lives. Devi is a witness to all our actions.

There is something we will understand when we listen to this mantra. Lalita Sahasranama was composed by Vashini and the other Vagdevetas. They stand near Devi, their palms joined in devotion, and chant Lalita Sahasranama in Her praise.

They are standing very near to Amma. Standing so close to her, they cannot say that results are dispensed in accordance with the performance of good and bad deeds.

In Amma’s eyes, there are no sinners. They are standing in close proximity to Her and chanting the mantras. They are the deities of Speech. Words are under their command. They could very easily have chanted “puṇyāpāpa phala pradā”. But they did not do so.

We will understand why, when we go near Amma. We cannot go near Amma and say, “he is cruel, he is evil, etc.” Because we are all the children of Amma. Very rarely, thieves enter the ashram. We are unable to say anything negative, even about them to Amma.

Amma calls them Her “thief children” everybody is Her children. In Lalita Sahasranama, there is a mantra, “heyopādeya varjitā”. The meaning is “She who has nothing to accept or reject”. “dharmādharma vivarjitā” She who transcends both virtue and vice”.

In mantra “puṇyāpuṇya phala pradā”, because Vashini and other deities of the word were standing next to Devi, they did not utter the word “papa” (sin). They said Devi is one who gives results in accordance with the merits and demerits of the deed done.

There is an incident that happened in the life of Sri Sankaracharya. He understood that his mother was on her death bed. He had taken Sanyas only after making a vow to his mother. That he would be there on her death bed.

He transported himself through the skies to reach the bedside of his mother Aryamba. She reached the adobe of Lord Vishnu, as she breathed her last with her mind fixed upon the lord.

As Shankaracharya started the preparations to perform her last rites, the Brahmins objected. They raised objections, “How could a renunciate, who was above the four varnas, participate in cremation, the burning of the body? ”

Shankaracharya replied, “I have nothing to reject or accept as I have transcended the gunas”. I have transcended the result of actions. I have given my word to my mother”. He performed her cremation with a lit log from the plantain tree.

Therefore, in the mantra “puṇyāpuṇya phala pradā” Devi stands as the witness to all actions, either meritorious or not, and dispenses the results for such actions. She remains a witness, as the fruits of actions are dispensed in accordance with Karmic rules, and guides her children towards spiritual growth.

Devi transcends both virtue and unrighteousness. She transcends rejection and acceptance. She transcends good and evil. Because She pervades the whole and dwells in everything. Devi is the ultimate cause of the universe, as it was Her will that created this universe. Therefore, Devi transcends virtue and vice.

But even though She transcends virtue and vice, good and evil, it is only through the meritorious deeds of countless previous lives that humanity is able to attain Devi. Only such people will be able to realize Devi.

In “Soundarya Lahari”, Adi Shankara describes Devi as

शिवः शक्त्या युक्तो यदि भवति शक्तः प्रभवितुं
न चेदेवं देवो न खलु कुशलः स्पन्दितुमपि ।
अतस्त्वामाराध्यां हरिहरविरिञ्चादिभिरपि
प्रणन्तुं स्तोतुं वा कथमकृतपुण्यः प्रभवति ॥ – Soundarya Lahari 1

Lord Shiva, only becomes able to do the creation in this world along with Shakthi. Without her, Even an inch he cannot move, And so how can, one who does not do good deeds, Or one who does not sing your praise, Become adequate to worship you, Oh, goddess of mine, Who is worshipped by the trinity.

The power of action (Shakti), latent in the undivided consciousness, devoid of all attributes (Shiva) “O mother, though of infinite glory, how can ordinary mortals prostrate before you, sing hymns in your praise, or meditate upon you?”

“How is it possible for those who have not accrued merit from their previous lives?” It is only through the merit gained from countless lives that one is able to prostrate before Devi, worship Her through music, and meditate upon Her effulgent form.

It is only through Her infinite grace and blessings that we are able to bow down, with palms joined in devotion, before her glorious form.