Introduction to Sri Lalita Sahasranama


Introduction to Sri Lalita Sahasranama

Sri Lalita Sahasranama is a text from Brahmanda Purana; a sacred text to the worshippers of the Goddess Lalita Devi. Lalitha is the Goddess of bliss, an epithet for Shiva’s wife Goddess Parvati. Etymologically, “Lalitha” means “She Who Plays”.

Lalita Sahasranamam contains the thousand names of the Universal Mother goddess Lalita. The names are organized in hymns (stotras). It is the only Sahasranama that does not repeat a single name.

Lalita Sahasranama begins by calling the goddess Shri Mata (Revered Mother), Shri Maharajni (Revered Empress) and Shrimat Simhasaneshwari (The goddess in the most revered throne).

She is described as a Udayatbhanu Sahasrabha (the one who is as bright as the rays of thousand rising suns), Chaturbahu Samanvita (the one who has four hands) and Ragasvarupa Pashadhya (the one who is the embodiment of love and the who is holding the rope).

Chidagnikunda Sambhuta (one who was born from the altar of the fire of consciousness) and Devakarya samudyata (one who manifested Herself for fulfilling the objects of the Devas) are among other names mentioned in the Sahasranama.

Lalitha Sahasranama is said to have been composed by eight Vaag Devis (Vaag Devathas).These Vaag devis are Vasini, Kameshwari, Aruna, Vimala, Jayinee, Modhinee, Sarveshwari, Koulini.

The text is a dialogue between Hayagriva, an (avatar) of Mahavishnu and the sage Agastya. The temple at Thirumeyachur,near Kumbakonam is said to be where Agastya was initiated into this Sahasranama. Another alternative version is the Upanishad Bramham Mutt at Kanchipuram is where this initiation happened.

The Sahasranama is held as a sacred text for the worship of the “Divine Mother”, Lalita, and is used in the worship of Durga, Parvati, Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Bhagavathi. A principal text of Shakti worshippers, it names her various attributes, and these names are organized in the form of a hymn.

This Sahasranama is used in various modes for the worship of the Divine Mother. Some of the modes of worship are parayana (Recitations), archana, homa etc.

The slokas are organized in such a way that Devi is described from “Head to Feet” (kesadhi padham).There are basically five works (pancha krtyam). They are creation (srishti), protection (sthiti), destruction (samharam), hiding (thirodhanam) and blessing (anugraham).Devi herself has been described as “Pancha krtya parayana” in the sloka