Hi Friends! Due to some turn of unexpected life events (good or bad, only SHE knows!), I was occupied in it and hence the delay. But first, let me wish one and all a very happy Dīpāwaḷi – The amazing festival of Lights 🙂 On this auspicious occasion, I pray to the Goddess for the welfare and upliftment of her creation into her divine light of Universal Love.
In the last article Mystic Passages 2 – Sri Suktam (part-1) we have seen a sound basis that is required for our venture into the hymns themselves. In this part-2, we shall explore the beauties of Goddess as expounded by that hymn of Śrī Sūktam. This commentary itself is my offering of worship to HER, on this day!
Hiraṇya Varṇāṃ Hariṇīṃ Suvarṇa Rajatasrajāṃ
Chandrāṃ Hiraṇmayīṃ Lakṣmīṃ Jātavēdō Mamāvaḥ
Word to Word Meaning:
Hiraṇya = Golden; Varṇāṃ = Color; Hariṇīṃ = Having yellow hue; Suvarṇa = Golden; Rajata = Silver; Srajāṃ = Ornaments or Necklaces; Chandrāṃ = SHE being akin to the Moon or pleasant; Hiraṇmayīṃ = Having golden lusture; Lakṣmīṃ = SHE being Lakṣṃi; Jātavēdaḥ = The lord of FIRE or AGNI; Mama+Āvaḥ = Aid her in possessing me.
Oh! The lord of Fires! She who is Lakṣmi, she who is the lord of solar and lunar natures, she who is decorated with golden and silver ornaments, she who has a golden hue, may you aid me in possessing HER!
The intricate aspects in this stanza can be broken into the following set of observations:
- The addressed deity is the fire lord – AGNI, as the “Jāta Vēda”.
- The subject of the hymn is GODDESS herself.
- The GODDESS, whom we want to possess, has the aforementioned “qualities” (being of golden hue, etc).
- Somehow, we need help of AGNI to achieve this. That means, without him, we can not possess HER.
To dive deeper into the the intricate aspects:
This word implies the one who is born out of the Vēda or the one who brings forth the Vēda. What is Vēda? As pointed in one of the previous articles 23) The Vedas, it is not a book of collection of hymns, but the “wisdom” that is lit by the fire of self-realization. So, VĒDA is nothing but our very existence. Vēdic books or hymns or texts are but physical means that aid an aspirant to unlock the inner-self, which is the true VĒDA.
The lord AGNI is not the mere fire that we see every day, but the one who brings forth the creation into existence or dissolves it into non-existence. So HE acts as a gateway between the “perceivable” and the “un-perceivable”. But, HE stays put even while the creation dissolves! That is why, HE is said to bring forth the VĒDA (our very self) into existence. The same characteristic is followed by the “physical fire” that we light every day with out lighters and matches. From where does the light come? The light of fire that we see, where does it reside? Physics tells us that when an electron jumps from one level to another level of energy, the light photon is released. But even we do not know where this photon exists as such (only a jump reveals it, before the jump, no one knows whats the state!). So, FIRE naturally brings forth the “hidden light”! But, this is physical aspect of cosmic fire. One must, on parallel lines, think of cosmic FIRE – AGNI.
Naturally, we need to ask and pray HIM for any favor, because, only HE can bring something from the domains which we can not perceive. GODDESS permeates this whole creation. But, we have a layer of ignorance or EGO (as the sense of I AM) that shields us from realizing this. We need a helping agent. We are asking the cosmic fire AGNI to let this layer be pierced and make us realize that “we are verily HER”. This is nothing but “possessing HER”. How can a glass possess the ocean? only when it is immersed in it!
–> It seems that SHE is of “Hiraṇya Varṇāṃ”. In the articles 28) The SIX Keys (Part-1) and 28) The Six Keys (part-2), we have seen that “Varṇa” has two meanings: Either it may mean a SYLLABLE or a COLOR.
–> In terms of color, “Hiraṇya” means golden – as in Hiraṇya Garbha or the golden orb, etc. So, SHE is of Golden HUE! Gold is the color of a risen SUN. A risen SUN is symbolic for a creation that is manifested, while a rising SUN (red or Aruṇa) is symbolic for the awakening of consciousness (from sleep to wake) and a set SUN or Night is symbolic for a creation that is dissolved into background. So, here, we are requesting cosmic fire to let the lord of created worlds be possessed by us. All the splendors of creation exists only when it lasts, right! So, we are praying for the light of wisdom that lets us see HER glory in all that exists as “this and that”.
–> In terms of SYLLABLE, “Hiraṇya Varṇāṃ” implies the a compound word obtained from the base syllables: “Hi” and “Ra” which is the seed word of “Hrīṃ“. This is very sacred syllable in Śrī Vidya or any Mantra Sastra or Tantra Sastra. So, the goddess that we are inviting into us is, in a way, the soul of this vibratory seed – Hrīṃ.
–> It seems that SHE is decorated with golden and silver ornaments – “Suvarṇa Rajatasrajāṃ“. Gold is associated to SUN while silver is associated to MOON – by their color as well as by their occult natures. In our body, the “Iḍa” and “Piṃgaḷa” nāḍīs (the channels of subtle energy, as per the tantra sastra – refer “The Serpent Power” of Arthur Avalon for more details) have the Solar and Lunar natures respectively. So, these nāḍīs are nothing but the ornaments that SHE wears! If SHE wears them, SHE is amidst them, right! What is amidst these nadis? The very SERPENT FIRE of “KUṆḌALINI” and hence SHE is verily the Kuṇḍalini.
–> It may also imply that the Solar and Lunar natures of this created world are her decorative items. A solar nature represents a direct ray while a lunar nature represents a reflected ray. So, a SOLAR nature implies the birth of Souls/Selves and the lunar ray implies the birth of MIND that reflects the light of soul into comprehension. In this way, SHE is the one who is the lord of all the souls and minds of this cosmos!
–> SHE is “Chandrāṃ” meaning that she is as pleasant as the MOON or SHE is having the moon phases as her glory of CHANGE (Lalita Sahasranama (names:1 to 30)). Or, SHE is the sister of MOON i.e., she is born out of the ocean of immortality along with the MOON (Chandra Sahōdari).
–> SHE is “LAKṢMĪṂ” it seems. LAKṢMI is the wife of Viṣṇu, the lord of perversion. If Viṣṇu is the lord of perversion, Lakṣṃi, being his “expressive nature” is verily the aspect of perversion. So, SHE is the aspect of filling. A desire in our mind implies a vacancy of something that we have an urge to fill it. So, LAKṢMI is prayed for the riches which, we think will fill our mental gaps or desires. Eventually, after many life times, we will realize that the whole cosmos is HER splendor as PERVERSION of our very SELF and then we have really invited HER into US!
So, we pray to the cosmic lord of FIRE that such a GODDESS be possessed by us.
Tāṃ Ma Āvaha Jātavēdō Lakṣmī Manapagāminīṃ
Yasyāṃ Hiraṇyaṃ Viṃdēyaṃ Gāmaśvaṃ Puruṣānahaṃ
Word to Word Meaning:
Tāṃ = That; Ma = Me; Āvaha = Let me invite HER; Jātavēdaḥ = Oh the cosmic Fire; Lakṣmīṃ = The godess Lakṣmi; Anapa Gāminīṃ = Who will never leave me; Yasyāṃ = By whom; Hiraṇyaṃ = Gold; Viṃdēyaṃ = begotten; Gāṃ = Cows; Aśvaṃ = Horses; Puruṣān = People; Ahaṃ = By me.
Oh! The lord of Fires! Let me invite that GODDESS, who will never leave me and by whom, I can get Gold, Cows, Horses and People!
The direct import seems a little greedy. May be it is fine for a person who has mundane desires. But this hymn is composed by a “Seer or a Sage” in a state of highest realization. So, one needs to unlock “his/her intention” rather than attribute our own meanings to the words. Let the direct import be one of the interpretations for the sake of the mundane and let us dive into a deeper core.
In the first stanza, we have started to ask cosmic FIRE to invite HER into our perception or immerse our inner self into her glory. We have also described, to be sure, whom we want to invite. The second stanza is also in those lines, but describes her a little more. WE want to invite such a goddess – LAKṢMI, who will never leave us. That means, once we possess her, we do not want to leave HER. That is to say that we want to be forever immersed in the light of her realization and never be pushed back into the darkness of objectivity!
It seems that SHE bestows us with GOLD, COWS, HORSES and PEOPLE. There are two ways to look at these.
The Mundane Way:
–> Gold implies riches. Cows implies cattle and hence crops and food supplements. Horses implies a kingdom’s swift protective defense armies. People implies the willingness of humans to our request of help. These are but very basic elements for a satisfactory living of a social structure. Without these, a society will go into chaos.
The Spiritual Way:
–> “Hiraṇya” as pointed earlier, is related to risen SUN and hence implies the SOLAR RAYS or the agents that ignite our existence. A solar ray is also called a “RIK”, as in Rig Vēda. So, a Rig Vēdic hymn, such as this one, indeed speaks of this SOLAR RAY in all its hymns. This is the RAY that we speak of in the Gayatri Mantra (21) Gayatri & The Mantra).
–> Also, as pointed earlier, “Hiraṇya” also implies the sound potencies of “Hi” and “Ra”. Hi = Ha + I; “Ha” is the syllable of exhalation and hence symbolizes something being exhaled or created or manifested. “I” is a vowel which denotes ŚAKTI aspect or that without which the creation can not sustain. So a manifested entity to be sustained requires “Ha” and “I”. “Ra” is the vibratory trill in our vocals that is physical manifestation of sound. So, the subjective manifestation denoted by “Hi = Ha + I” is brought to physical domains by the syllable “Ra”. Thus, “Hiraṇya” implies the physical manifestation of creation. This itself is a treasure for us, is it not?!
–> “Gāṃ” is cow in literal sense. But “Gau”, the root, implies a “RAY”. This is the ray of LIFE. “Aśvaṃ” implies the senses or the mind that steers the senses. More details on these have been dealt in the previous articles: 28) The Six Keys (part-2) and Mystic Passages 1 – Aswini Suktam.
–> “Puruṣa” is wrongly translated at many places, by the profane, as “MEN”. Puruṣa is made up of two words: Pura + Īśa. Pura means a city or abode. This body is an abode. The creation is an abode. Īśa means a lord. Who is the lord of this creation or this body? That LORD, whom we call “HE or THAT or SHE”, is PURUṢA. Now one can see why translating PURUṢA as MEN is utterly wrong (does the sense of “I AM” has a gender? No!). So, in this context of spiritual sense, obtaining the element of PURUṢA implies that we will realize the lord of our bodies or this creation. How can we realize? Only by her grace, who is HIS consort! Only through the aspect of MOTHER can we approach the aspect of FATHER, is the sweet axiom reverberated here.
Thus, we request AGNI to invite such a goddess who will never leave us and who bestows the basic elements of our existence!
Stay tuned for the next set of stanzas! Initially I thought of just commenting of few stanzas, but the urge to comment on all is strong. So, I think I will, if SHE allows, comment on all the remaining 13 riks soon. Thank You!