PSK Prasad was well-known engineering manager in the discipline of Quality and Reliability engineering. He did his post graduation in Q & R Engineering from the Birmingham University -England. He was professionally very active; gave several technical courses, seminars, lectures; participated in various defence and Indian Standards Committees. He wrote several technical papers, which were published in journals in India and abroad.
Retired on Ist August 1985 on reaching the superannuation age, as the head of the Quality Assurance Division of Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore, India. After that, he worked as a consultant for some time to many electronics institutions in India and abroad.
In August 1988, he moved to Canada, Since then he was residing in Canada. From 1990 to date, he was deeply involved in the study of Bhagavad Gita and Vishnu Sahasra Naamam
Besides "Vishnu Sahasra Naamam Explained to the Modern Man", he also wrote, 'Bhagavad Gita Explained to the Modern Man" and "Bala Gita" for children - all in English.
I am not a Sanskrit scholar. I am a common man - like any other common man of the modern times. Like any other common man of modern times, I also have only a rudimentary knowledge of Hindu Saastras. Like any other common man of modern times, I have a difficulty in understanding scholarly renderings of religious topics. I prefer them to be explained to me in simple terms - and with consistency and wherever possible, with logic.
I started this project some time in 2002 at a request from my wife, Sitha Devi, who has been doing Lalitaa Sahasranaamam daily for some years. We both were born in Andhra Pradesh but we spent a very large part of our lives in Bangalore - because I was employed over there. Because we lived in India until my retirement, we both are religious practices. But our children, Srinath, Vijay Kumar, Rajani Kanth and Sashi Kala have been living on the American continent - ever since they graduated in engineering in India. They do have a little understanding of our traditions and religious practices - but it does not really amount to much. But their children, who were all born and are being brought up on the American continent, do not understand any thing at all - about our traditions, religion or culture. Further, they know only English - and no other Indian Language.
It is for the sake of my children and grand children, who cannot read or write any Indian language, that this book has been written completely in English. Even the Sanskrit verses also have been written in English. This has been the practice in my other books also - which are, "Bhagavad Gita, explained to the Modern Man", "Vishnu Sahasranaamam, Explained to the modern Man" and "The Baala Gita, for children".
For most people, who now live abroad, or even those who live in big cities in India, all religious topics have to be explained, not only in simple terms, but also from the very basic or elementary levels. This book addresses this kind of readership. This book is not meant for scholars. If you are a scholar, please do not proceed further.
I have treated rather routinely - Naamas (6 to 51) describing the physical features of the goddess, Naamas (65 to 83) describing the battle with Bhandaasura, Naamas (85 to 89) relating to the Pancha Dasaaksharee Mantra, Naamas (90 to 110) describing the Kundalini Sakti and Naamas (475 to 534) describing the various aspects of the Devataas seated in the seven Chakras in the path of the Kundalini. Some Naamas needed no explanations - the meanings given were self-explanatory. Some others had been explained very briefly since I felt the they do not merit longer explanations. There are a few Naamas, which I felt should be explained in detail. A few others, however, needed in my opinion, more elaborate explanations, using Vedaantic concepts - to bring out the real and hidden significance of the those Naamas. But these are not many.
I have deliberately tried to introduce in this book, whenever there is an opportunity to do so, information about our religion, mythology, traditions and Vedaanta-but only briefly. If this information is lengthy or introduced without a justifiable need, it may turn away the attention of my reader - and I fear that I may lose him. All the same, I want the reader to gain as much information of this kind as possible. An example of this is in the Naama, "Dakshinaamuurti" (725).
The modern man looks for logic and consistency. He cannot accept inconsistency or illogic - at all. He will not also accept any thing - on the basis that "some Puraanas say so" or "Some Pundits say so", experiences - which would make him readity accept; what he reads. He neither has the time nor the patience to go religious topics. I believe that the explanations given here are reasonably accurate and consistently rational -to hold his interest. In fact, this is the whole purpose of this book.
For instance, if we say the goddess fulfills all our wishes (Varadaa, 331), or gives us kingdoms (Raajya Daayinee, 685), or gives us empires (Saamraajya Daayinee 692), etc, the modern person does look believe such things - but it is not easy to convince the modern person about the veracity of such statements. He seeks reality checks - because this is not our experience in real, everyday, life. Therefore, the explanations to such Naamas have to be written properly and sensibly - explaining what conditions apply before the goddess considers granting such things.
I used two books as my references to know the meanings and other relevant information about the Naamas and about the goddess Lalitaambikaa. One was "Sree Lalitaa Sahasranaamam" printed in English by the Ramakrishna Math, edited by Swami Tapasyaananda. The second book was "Sree Lalitaa Sahasranaamam Vivaranamu", written in Telugu by Dr GLN Sastry, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. But books were very helpful - and I am ever so grateful to these two authors. But I have considered the meanings give in the book edited by Swami Tapasyaananda as my Benchmark. Almost all the explanations I had given were related to the meanings given by Swami Tapasyaananda. Also, wherever I found necessary, I had quoted the verses from the Bhagavad Gita as my authority - to justify the explanations given to the Naamas.
The meanings of the Naamas have been given below each Naama in the book. These meanings are not exact translations of the Sanskrit words. But they convey the "common sense meaning" of the Naama, which is what I presumed that the modern man wants - and in my view, these are better than the exact translations of the Sanskrit words. These meanings are also given in a prose order. I feel that this approach makes it easy for the modern, scientifically oriented person, to understand and grasp the real significance of the Naamas.
In these meanings and subsequent explanations, I used the term "goddess"-which refers to the goddess Lalitaambikaa. Also, wherever I used the term "Jeeva", it refers only to human beings -both male and female. Nevertheless, I used the pronoun "he" only to refer to the Jeeva - for simplicity and to avoid cluttering up the text.
I have put hyphens in the Sanskrit verses - to make it easy to pronounce during the chanting of the Stotra - especially for those who are not familiar with the Sanskrit language. One could recite the Slokas or chant the Naamas individually. This takes only about twenty-five minutes (after some practice), which is not much in twenty-four hours -for those, of course, who have faith inn it and also are interested in doing it daily.
In either form of worship, Lalitaa Sahasranaamam is a powerful tool for spiritual progress. The faith and commitment of the devotees would become even deeper, if they understand the meaning of the Naamas. Then, they would begin to truly appreciate the glories, powers and greatness of the goddess. This daily Stotra or chanting brings peace, tranquility and confidence to the devotees.
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