Lalita Sahasranama (Introduction)

I am going to venture into a long series of articles, on Lalitā Sahasra Nāma – The thousand names of Lalita Dēvi. This will be written in parts of 16 names per article (some times depends on the length of descriptions of the names). Such a division will give me time to condense my understanding in a systematic way and also to you, the time to assimilate my exposition. I will try to bring out the beauty that I see, as well as some esoteric points, if HER grace allows me to realize any. I chose ‘LS’ because, the 1000 names of Lalita capture the quintessence of the nature of GODDESS in all the scriptures and I am one of the ardent disciples of Mother-Goddess. Her very benevolent nature and her very loving sense, kindles tears of joy in me! These 1000 names are nothing but 1000 pointers to that ‘BEING’, whom we can not describe in words. But 1000 pointers, will let us travel at least from here (state of ignorance) to there (the state of closeness to GODDESS) in the boat of devotion, over the ocean of this LIFE.

‘Lalitā Sahasra Nāma’ (LS) occurs as an episode of instruction to sage Agastya from his master Hayagrīva (the horse-faced incarnation of Viṣṇu), in one of the eighteen purāṇās authored by sage Vēda Vyāsa, named “Brahmāṃda Purāṇa”. One day, sage Agastya asks Hayagrīva as to why he did not teach him ‘LS’. This is where, the master tells him that the thousand names are of highly occult in nature and describes some pre-requisites. As he satisfactorily affirms that Agastya has all those qualities, he starts to teach him.

The prologue to the teaching is as follows:

“…Under the orders of The ONE Goddess, her emanations – called ‘Vasinyādi Vāk Dēvatās’ (eight emanations), compose the LS. This was planned to be recited on the day of her Coronation as the QUEEN of the UNIVERSES. Many Brahmās, Viṣṇūs and Rudrās along with respective armies and battalions of other devās attend the coronation. When they first recite, the so many trinities and their battalions, bow at her feet in veneration! …”

This story, which I abridged above, contains few fine philosophical and if you may allow me to call, scientific points. One of those finest points is the existence of multi-verse. We all know that Brahma, Viṣṇu and Rudra rule the three states of a Universe, namely – Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution. But in telling that so many trinities have attended, the existence of infinite multiverses is predominantly visible.

Also, unlike other ‘Thousand Names’, which are generally composed by sages or rishis, this LS, is said to be composed by emanations of GODDESS herself. This is a peculiar and unique aspect of LS. The term ”VĀK (literal meaning SPEECH)” actually implies an UTTERANCE. The utterances of Universe(s) occurs with eight modes of expressions of GODDESS. These modes are named as Vāk Dēvatās. But, SANSKRIT is a divine language, at-least to the composers of this purāṇa (as they call it Dēva Bhāṣa) and this ‘language’, is what is used in human utterances. Because, of the aphorism of “Yat pindē Tad Brahmāndē” — ” Man is made in the image of GOD”, the different dēvīs of utterances also preside over different sets of alphabet or “AKṢARA (meaning that which can not be perished, and hence these are not alphabet but principles behind the utterance of alphabet)” of Sanskrit (or you can see it as eight fold division of sanskrit alphabet) which are uttered forth from a human facial region – vocals to palate to teeth. For completeness, let us name the dēvatās and map their presidency over the alphabet:

  1. Vasini   —  16 Vowels
  2. Kāmēśi —   Ka Kha Ga Gha Ǹ
  3. Mōhini —   Ca Cha Ja Jha Ñ 
  4. Vimala —   Ṭa Ṭha Ḍa Ḍha Ṇa 
  5. Aruṇa  —  Ta Tha Da Dha Na
  6. Jayini   —   Pa Pha Ba Bha Ma
  7. Sarvēśi —  Ya Ra La Va
  8. Kauḷini — Śa Ṣa Sa Ha KṢa

Another worth noting point here is that, in another mode of expressing the above set of alphabet, the ‘vowels’ are ascribed to Śakti and the consonants to Śiva. This is because, none of the consonants can be actually pronounced without the help of a vowel. Like, take ‘Ka’ for example. It is composed of ‘K + A’. Can we utter just the ‘K’ ? And just the vowels can not ‘mean’ anything as they are just the mono-tones. Thus as ‘Kāḷidāsa’ aptly says that Śiva and Śakti are like Meaning and Word – inseparable — “Vāgarthāviva Saṃpṛktau….” or Śankarācārya explains “ŚivaŚaktya yuktō yadi bhavati ….”, that Without Śakti, Śiva can not move at all. This explanation helps us to see how the aspects of Śakti is the dominant personality in “EXPRESSIVE” nature of the universe (like my other articles on Goddess point out). One should always keep in mind that the difference between the two – Śiva and Śakti only exists as long as the creation or EXPRESSION exists. Once the creation is in dissolution, the only state that exists is Sadā-Siva or Sadā-Śakti which are equivalent. This is called – “SAMAYA”, meaning equivalence. Thus, that approach of Dēvi (Goddess) worship, which keeps this SAMAYA aspect as the very background of the worship, is called “SAMAYĀCARA TANTRA”. This will keep reverberating in LS, and when appropriate, I will point it out.

The main goal of my attempt is to bring out the beauty of the LS. The depth is unfathomable, and as they say “Beauty lies in the eye of the Beholder”, let us see how it all unfolds. Now that, we got some idea on how this LS started and some interesting points to contemplate upon, let us jump into the Set of the THOUSAND NAMES OF LALITA.

 Next article: Lalita Sahasranama (names:1 to 30)

Sources for this series range from audio lectures of eminent scholars like Sri Sāmavēdam Ṣaṇmukha Śarma to many books like Sri Anantakrishna Sastry’s English rendering of Bhaskara Raya’s Commentary, Sri G.L.N Sastry’s Lalita Sahasra Nama (TELUGU), and other books. But the main source is the GODDESS who inspires me from within and without, so I bow at her lotus feet and thank through her, all the sources of wisdom (books and authors) whose help I am taking, in this blog series. 


  1. It’s truly divine… Brother will be waiting for the next blogs… And what a description about Vowels and Syllables… The Divine Parmatma is also called “Akshar” meaning one who does not disintegrate. Akshar also has its literal meaning which your blog propounds beautifully… Thank you for this insight…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. Good insight!
      Akshara Brahman and Khsara Brahman are two names for manifest and eternal paramatman. Because the syllables originate from him, describe him and are verily him, they are also called Aksharas…There is a whole branch of science of syllables in TANTRA.

      Thanks a lot 😊. Surely, do let me know your opinions and suggestion like always. They are valuable and refreshing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha… Me neither. But lalita Sahasra Nama, Sri chakra, Sri vidya are very intimately related. And Sri Vidya is Queen of Tantras. So touching one string, produces sounds from others aswell 🙂 m forced to unveil as I go deeper into the subject, by very nature of this interconnectedness.


  2. Thank you so much for this beautiful introduction. I just chanted Mother’s Names and am so excited that it was composed/expressed by Her own emanations. There is no end to learning about Her and no end to our love for Mother Divine, in whose lap we play as little children. May She bless you with deep understanding and inspire you to share it with all of us. Thank You. Jai Jagadambe Maa!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is Her blessing that we can love Her, truly, madly and deeply! Jai Maa! You have one reader waiting to learn more about Her names, whenever She grants you the time and inspiration. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Going to come back to read tomorrow, its late now. Just read about “Sri Mata” — Sri Ramakrishna says if we think of Mother in our heart before sleeping She can come in our dream! 🙂 Om Sri Mata! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. i am sorry for the trouble. I changed it now. It should be accessible. Initially I wrote only 16 and then 30 and now 111 (but this is not in blog as I am planning a 1st volume out of it). So, later I clubbed the 30 names into one article and forgot to edit the hyper-link. SO sorry.

      I think you will enjoy that article! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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