Mystic Passages 2 – Sri Suktam (part-4)

Hi Friends! It has been an interesting couple of months and sorry for the delay. New life events occurred under goddess’s grace. What I learnt from them is that, we have to never let go of the silent hand that we hold onto her – no matter what. She will surely show us the way of happiness. We just need to really really let all the mental burden onto her – not to retain even a micro gram with us! This is the only way (for me Atleast!) for perfect blissful turn of events. 

Anyways, last time, we have left at 4th stanza of Śrī Sūktaṃ. Let us continue with a small recap.

Recap:

The stanza 3 suggested the way we need to meditate on Goddess in the center of our heart amidst the roaring awakening of Kundalini while the stanza 4 gave a metaphysical address viz., her husband’s heart or the in-dweller of the Solar orb or on a Lotus seat, etc., so that we could find her in our states of meditation. These two help the invoker of those stanzas to properly fix the mental gaze onto HER and an occultist to properly dive into the beauty of the esoteric mysticism.

Let us explore further!

Stanza-5:

Chandrāṃ Prābhāsāṃ Yaśasā Jvalantīṃ

Śriyaṃ Lōkē Dēva Juṣṭāmudārāṃ |

Tāṃ Padminīṃ Īṃ Śaraṇamahaṃ

Prapadyē Alakṣmīṛmē Naśyatāṃ Tvāṃ Vṛṇē ||

 

Word to Word Meaning:

Chandrāṃ = Like moonPrabhāsāṃ = Having a glow; Yaśasā = Fame; Jvalantīṃ = She shines; Śriyaṃ = That goddess of Śrī/Lakṣmi ; Lokē = This world; Dēvajuṣṭāṃ = Worshiped by the Angels; Udārāṃ = Being kind; Tāṃ = Such a one; Padminīṃ = Having the property of  a lotus; Īṃ = A seed syllable of Goddess; Śaraṇaṃ+Ahaṃ = I surrender; Prapadyē = Take refuge; Alakṣmīḥ = The poverty (of qualities); = My; Naśyatāṃ = Destroy; Tvāṃ = You; Vṛṇē = Hover.

Import:

SHE, goddess of Splendor, is akin to the MOON, glows with the brilliant rays, has the nature of fame that spreads in all directions (pervasion) in this world. SHE is being worshiped by all the dēvās (Angels). SHE is kind and has the property of a lotus as well as the form of the seed syllable ‘Īṃ’. I take refuge in such a one and surrender my ego to her, by meditating HER as that which surrounds and fills me, so that SHE can destroy my poverty.

Explanation:

The main aim in this stanza is the elimination of poverty – Alakṣmi. What is poverty? It is the absence of certain aspect of a splendor. Poverty can be of economy, resources, qualities, etc. All of them put together form “Alakṣmi” – an antonym for “Lakṣmi”. The final goal is for the destruction of this POVERTY. Where does this poverty exist? We have mental qualities like unnecessary desires (desire to eat for life is OK, but desire to satiate palate is not) or hatred or evil tendencies, etc., which exists inside us, as well as physical qualities like disease, bad situations, worst relations, etc. Before embarking further, we need to know what good and bad are!

One may ask how can one decide what is GOOD and what is BAD. Every prayer, such as this one, is uttered by a person from their point of view and hence, when they want their poverty to be removed, they want their “defined poverty” to be removed. Every person, though defines good and bad in their own way, try to pursue always “the good” that they defined. One person may think serving people is good and hence cutting wood may be his job to provide wood for the public. But another person, an environmentalist, considers protecting nature is his job and hence protecting trees from getting into destruction is good. But, both pursue their own GOOD, do they not? So, a “GOOD” can be defined now as that which is innately existing in every one as the driving force and a gauge stick for their life choices. It may not be guaranteed that one always follows GOOD, but one always measures their actions with the gauge-stick of this defined GOOD, trying to orient as much as possible towards its standards, and hence, it not only forms a driving force, but also a gauge stick!

*PS: One must remember, there is no universal GOOD or BAD. GOOD and BAD does not exist in a situation, but in our association to situations. Universe is a series of situations and we experience it as life, pain, pleasures, etc.! So, GOOD and BAD belongs to our domain of mind. 

Now that we defined what GOOD is, the exact opposite is the BAD. Then, poverty or Alakṣmi is that which has a rarity of GOOD and abundance of BAD. The invoker of this stanza is praying for a removal of such a condition which is both internal as well as external. So, what or who can remove such a poverty that permeates our existence? Anything that has lordship over this. To have a lordship over poverty, they must be having infinite treasures of abundance of GOOD as well as they must be permeating, otherwise, the solution will be partial! LAKṢMI, being the quality of pervasion (wife of Viṣṇu – see previous stanzas) is perfect lord for this task. SHE has all the aforementioned qualities. So, SHE hovers around the invoker, permeates their existence and immerses the aspirant into her LAKṢMI-NESS. When one is so immersed, all the deficiencies of poverty will be removed and the desired “GOOD” will be bestowed. 

One must note that, a hymn is like a knife. One can cut vegetables or carve a craft item or kill a living being with a knife! So, if we desire and define the GOOD and pray, we will be bestowed with what we defined! If we leave it for HER to decide and just surrender, the ABSOLUTE non-duality will be bestowed which is beyond any relative good and bads. That is why it is being stated here that the invoker is “surrendering and taking refuge in her“. This is very important! Even Patanjali’s yoga aphorisms start with “Surrenderence to Īśvara or the LORD” or the song of the lord – GITA too stresses on surrenderence to the “I AM” in us!

The rest of the stanza deals in glorifying her splendors:

  • SHE is akin to MOON and akin to a lotus is very esoteric in nature. In 33) The Coiled Serpent – Kundalini you will see that the 6 centers in our spinal column, along the Nāḍī of suṣumna, act as wheels/chakrās when dormant and lotuses when evolved. The 7th lotus that exist just above the physical head is Sahasrāra, which showers the ecstasy of GOD realization is depicted as showering “Moon LIGHT” in tantras, for the calm and pleasant nature of such state. So, the goddess being akin to moon light and lotuses implies the evolution of kundalini from base center to the top center which connects the circuit letting the nectar of BLISS shower unto us!
  • SHE spreads like fame in the world, because SHE is pervasion herself!
  • SHE is worshiped by angels because they are part of HER. Here, worship can be understood as working her WILL in utter obedience.
  • SHE is also KIND. Udārām implies kind in general terms. But if its is broken into “Ut + Ara = Ut(Upward) + Ara(Rays)” one understands that SHE is the one having upward rays. What has upward rays? It is consciousness of a realized state. A dormant state (animal state) of existence is horizontal whereas a realized state (evolved human state) is vertical. Thus, SHE is the cause of all our evolution by the rise of Kundalini from the base to the top – UPWARD path!
  • ‘ĪṂ’ is a seed syllable. ‘OM’ is the syllable of Puruṣa while ‘ĪM’ is the syllable of Prakṛti in our scriptures. It points to the “glory” and “splendors” of the one that pervades and manifests this creation. So, in word – ‘ĪṂ’, the sage conveys all the magnum opus of such splendor as the very object of the hymn – Lakṣṃī or Śrī!

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Stanza-5:

Āditya Varṇē Tapasō Dhijātō 

Vanaspati Stava Vṛkṣōtha Bilvaḥ |

Tasya Phalāni Tapasā Nudaṃtu

Māyāṃta Rrāyāśca Bāhyā Alakṣmīḥ ||

Word to Word Meaning:

Āditya = Sun; Varṇē = Hue; Tapasaḥ = For the sake of penance; Adhi+Jātaḥ = Who is born to preside over; Vanaspatiḥ = A kind of plant species by that name; Tava = You; Vṛkṣaḥ = Trees; Athaḥ = Later; Bilvaḥ = Bael tree; Tasya = Its; Phalāni = Fruits; Tapasā = By  penance; Nudantu = Eliminate; Māyā = The Illusion; Aṃtarāyāḥ + Ca = From within and; Bāhyā = From without; Alakṣmīḥ = The Poverty.

Import:

 SHE is glowing with the luster of the son(s) of Aditi. By her penance SHE brought forth the plant species of Beal and presides over it. When we consume the fruits of it, while we are in penance, it will eliminate all the evil qualities that are in and around us.

Explanation:

 Aditi is the non-dual existence of existence. This is what exists when the unmanifest alone was there (before creation). A + Diti = That which has no dual to it. When the creation had to occur (owing to a divine drama), the first spur occurs in Aditi which gives rise to 12 sons who are called Adityas. Aditya = Son of Aditi = SUN. The 12 suns are not the physical sun’s but the 12 properties that govern a solar system(s). Among them, Surya is the first son and is responsible for the physical manifestation of LIGHT. This light brings forth the creation from the dark abyss of background. This symbolically occurs as our “wake”, everyday after our slumbering sleep. So the luster of son of Aditi implies the luster of a rising SUN which is Reddish or precisely “Aruna”. The same is extolled in Lalita Sahasram aswell! So, itseems that SHE glows with the capacity of rising sun that wakes the creation and its beings into existence!

“Vanaspati ” is such a plant species which bears a fruit without bearing a flower. This is to symbolically say that we can reap the fruits of devotion without much time being spent in evolution (symbolically a flower – which blooms). So, a meditation of SRI brought such a capacity into the world (symbolically the Beal fruit) and a meditation of us unto Her lets us taste the fruit of Beal or her realization without much delay!!

What are the effects of such a tasting? We are naturally surrounded and filled with “Maya” or the layer of illusion. What kind of illusion? The illusion that we are different from each other – A Duality at play. Tasting the fruit of devotion and a penance unto her will eliminate that layer of illusion and lets us become verily HER.

This is the essence of this hymn. They are repeatedly asking us and also hinting as to how to achieve her grace. The physical Beal tree and its fruits are often used in worship of Goddess for the aforementioned reasons. Though we explored metaphysically, it is believed that the physical plant leaves/fruits also have significant effect on the ones who are in constant meditation of SRI or Goddess! 
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