The Lalitasahasranama-stotram of Thousand Names of the Divine Mother is a thrilling text. Each name expresses the incomparable glory, goodness and grace of the Divine Mother. The text teaches the universal motherhood ideal. To know that we are children of the same mother and to behave accordingly may be the only remedy for the mounting violence and inhumanity in all parts of the world.
In this edition of the Lalitasahasranama, each verse is rendered into simple English, reorganizing it as a prayer to the Divine Mother. The Notes are mainly translations of some of the authoritative texts quoted by commentators for the purpose of elucidation. The experiential words of Sri Ramakrishna on the Motherhood phenomenon, culled from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, which forms the first Appendix, gives a new dimension to the publication. The Namavali is added for use in the Sahasranamarcana.
About the Author:
Prof. U. R. Anantha Murthy, lately Vice-chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University, a thinker and an author of distinction, says in the foreword: 'Swami Gabhirananda is a gifted writer who can restore the Indian heritage in all its wholeness to us......can save us from the greatest of disasters for our culture-vismrti or insensitivity to values.'
My heartfelt thanks and appreciation are due to the following persons who helped me unstintedly in the publication of this special psalm in praise of the Divine Mother.
1. Professor U. R. Anantha Murthy, Mysore University, a thinker and an author of distinction, and who was lately Vice-chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University, for the valuable foreword.
2. Swamis Varadananda and Yogeshananda of the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago, U.S.A. Sri Anna N. Subramanian, an advanced Srividya upasaka, Madras; Dr N. V. Nalini, Reader in Sanskrit, University of Madras; and Dr P. Ramachandran, Department of English, Sri Kerala Varma College, Trichur, who carefully went through the manuscript.
3. Three devotees of the Divine Mother who substantially financed the project, but who prefer to be anonymous.
I was most fortunate in my four years as Vice-chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University that I got to know Swami Gabhirananda both as a sacred person and as an author. He wanted me to do many things in the University, but my efforts did not succeed. Yet this never diminished the Swamiji's affection for me. Now he has requested me to write a foreword to his translation of Lalitasahasranama-stotram. I am unworthy to take up this task.
It is no mere humility which makes me say so. Although I am a writer in one of the languages of this country and I have been brought up in an orthodox atmosphere, I have not so far related myself to my past with the wholeness which is essential for my growth. I do not regret my criticism in my novels of my culture which flourishes in its degenerate form, but I do not want to quarrel with my past as an outsider; I want to be a 'critical insider'.
Swami Vivekananda was supremely a critical insider to our whole culture. That is why he could transform it. This realization makes me seek out souls like Swami Gabhirananda who can interpret our great past to me. I spurned that past at one time because of its evils like caste system, its treatment of widows, its heartless attitude to the untouchables. My vehemence was justified from an emotional point of view. But I have always been aware that our culture and spiritual heritage are greater than what we see of it in our times. Swami Gabhirananda is a gifted writer who can restore the Indian heritage in all its wholeness to us.
The Swamiji makes us realize in this translation how subtle and sensitive our Stotra literature is. We repeat these invaluable gems of spiritual value without understanding their meaning: that is why the thoughtful among our youths turn their faces away from the best in our past. Such translations as these by Swami Gabhirananda can save us from the greatest of disasters for our culture--vismrti, insensibility to values.
U. R. ANANTHA MURTHY
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