We often argue whether God is having a form or is She formless? Amma often says ” Don’t think whether God is with or without attributes. Both are in fact the same. Some part of the ocean freezes to become icebergs. That doesn’t make it different from the ocean. It is still a part of the vast ocean. The waters from the ocean vaporise forms clouds and come back as rains. In the same way, God can attain any form to Grace us. By attaining any form the formless principle is not being affected”. The divine being manifests in front of us as avatars just to Grace and bless us.
In India there are many popular Sahasranamas out of which those of Vishnu, Shiva, Ganapati & Lalita are considered the most famous. Ganga, Kalika, Gayatri, Saraswati, Sita, Shyamala, Rajeshwari, Bhavani, Bala, Parvati, Meenakshi, Radhika, Durga, Lakshmi, are a few among the Sahasranamas of divine mother. Among these, Lalita Sahasranama is the most famous.
The word Lalita means simple. “Laliteti Sundaram” is another definition meaning Lalita means beautiful. “Lalanat Lalita” means the one who is always with us in whatever actions we do. A child plays and walks with the mother without any fear or hesitation, in the same way, this mantra depicts the accessibility of Laita Devi, who is ever approachable for whatever needs and ready to walk alongside with us in any circumstances.
Eventhough we adore the supreme being as Nirguna (who is beyond all three gunas of nature, namely, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas), Nishkala(who is without parts), we also praise Her as Nama Narayana pita (who is pleased by the repetition of Her names) . Even if She doesn’t have any names and forms, She takes a form and come running towards the cry of Her beloved Children. Hence the first mantra of Lalita Sahasranama is Sri Mata. There are so many names in LS that denotes the motherly nature of Devi, namely Amba, Ayi, Ambika, Dhaatri, Jagad Dhatri, Prasu, Viyadadi Jagad Prasu, Veera Mata, Janani, Jagad Janani etc.
The effort a Mother takes to give birth to a child is enormous. It is because for this reason great souls. like Sri Sankara, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sri Ramana Maharshi etc were eager to serve their biological mothers. An ordinary mother takes care of our well being in this birth but the Divine Mother is always with us during all our births and tries to uplift us. Not only that this creation and the Mother are not different. We say it as Karya-Kaarana Bandham (Relationship between the effect and the cause). Like gold is needed to create ornaments, Gold is the cause and ornaments are the effect. Mud is the cause and pot is the effect. In this universe the Divine Mother is the cause and effect. Anything that is sentient or insentient is the Divine Mother. She sees everything as Her own and it is because of this we call her Jagad Janani, Jagan Mata etc.
We add the syllable Sri in front of LalitaSahasranama and also in front of Mata. This is the peculiarity of the Indian tradition. When we talk about Sannyasins, we usually address them as “Anantha Sri Vibhooshitha”, those with infinite auspiciousness. When a mother gives birth to a child, She doesn’t know what kind of child she is giving birth to. But by addressing the Divine Mother Sri Mata, we depict the Divine power behind the creation, the energy that had complete knowledge on this creation. In Soundarya Lahari, it is said that without the blessings of Devi, even the trinity (Brahma, Vishnu & Maheshwara) cannot perform their duties.
sivah saktya yukto yadi bhavati saktah prabhavitum
na ced evam devo nakhalu kusalah spanditum api
Without Her blessings, even the Parameshwara cannot pulsate!
Hence this creation is done with the complete knowledge unlike an ordinary mother giving birth. Devi does the Creation (Srishti), Sustenance(Sthithi) and Dissolution(Samhara) through the trinity.