Lalita-Sahasranama A Comprehensive Study of One Thousand Names of Maha-Tripurasundari (With Original Text in Sanskrit, Roman Transliteration and Detailed Explanation of Each Name)
From the Back of the Book:
In the Hindu sacred literature, Sahasranamas: the texts embodying literally "the Thousand Names" of a deity, constitute a genre in their own right. And Lalita-Sahasranama (LS) is a veritable classic in the traditional writings of the kind - a classic widely acknowledged for its lucidity, clarity and poetic excellence.
A medieval work of unknown authorship eulogizing Sakti: the Mother Goddess, this Sahasranama is not justa masterly exposition of Sri Lalita's cult, but also sets out the deity's diverse epithets - like, for instance, Kundalini, Nirguna, Saguna, Parasakti or Brahman - which continue to evoke reverence as mantras with 'mystic powers'. Also included among these names are the goddess's other panegyric description that have come to have profound, esoteric connotations in tantric practices - epitomizing, thus the fundamental tenets of tantrasastra.
Here is a brilliant critical edition of Lalita-Sahasranama meticulously analyzing, for the first time, each of Sri Lalita's thousand names - by a variety of themes, like the Goddess's conceptual representations, anthropomorphic forms, disposition, abodes, kinships/consorts, ritualistic worship, and her supremacy in pantheonic hierarchy. Also explaining and interpreting anew these thousand names on the basis of time-honoured commentaries, Dr. Joshi underscores the high importance of Lalita-Sahasranama in philosophy, tantra, yoga, sahasranama literature, and ritual of various descriptions.
The book includes the original Sanskrit text of LS, its romanised transliteration and, additionally, an Appendix listing Sri Lalita's thousand names in the A-Z sequence.
About the Author:
Labhshankar M. Joshi is a 1953-born, distinguished Sanskrit scholar, with specialized interests in Vedantic philosophy, yoga, astrology and tantrasastra, For about two decades now, he has given courses in Yoga and Yoga Philosophy at Yoga Niketan - a professional institute of Baroda. And, besides his active involvement with a number of national/international astrological societies, has been an "invited speaker" of the All India Radio as well. He holds Ph.D. on tantrasastra.
Currently teaching Sanskrit at the M.S. University, Baroda, Dr. Joshi has already authored three books and numerous articles on astrology, yoga and tantra.
THE Lalitasahasranama occupies a very important and an eniable position in the Sakti-cult. It is next to the Visnusahasranama in the field of stotra literature and in mantrasastra. The devotees of srividya chant it regularly. Thoughitis more popular in South India, it is getting popular in the northen part also. The commentary called Saubhagyabhaskara by the most eminent and versatile tantric scholar Bhaskararaya Makhmdra has paved a long way to make it popular in the tantric circle. The blessed stotra works wonderfully in fulfiling not only material wants of devotees such as removal of fever and other diseases, long life, begetting son, removal of sins and acquiring merit (punya), removal of evil effects of planets, subgugation of ladies and kings, destructions of enemies, etc. but also bestows highest bliss (moksa) on the devotees.
The present book provides an elabrate and complete study of the Lalitasahasranama in its five chapters. Dr. Joshi discusses its date, home, and authorship and presents textual as well as critical and analytical study of the text. Dr. Joshi has explained and translated each and every name, by dissolving compounds. This he has done in Roman script so that foreigners may be able to grasp it promptly. He has also prepared a chart of the Kundalint Yoga described in the Lalitasahasranama. This will help readers to understand the topic at a glance.
Dr. Joshi has spared no pains in presenting the book. His hard labour will be amply rewarded when it will receive warm reception in the circle of the scholars and devotees.
SANSKRIT language indisputably occupies the stage of sanctity among the languages used the world over. There are works in this language pertaining to innumerable branches of knowledge that are so varied and rich that they can only be tasted and not studied in detail in a single effort. 'Sanskrit literature' is vast and engrossing in its variety and form. Of the many great Sanskrit literary works that have come down to us, one is the classic Lalita-sahasranama (LS), the magnum opus of an anonymous writer.
Lalita-sahasranama is the gem of Tantrasastra, as it eulogies Sakti, an important member of the Hindu pantheon. Its position is higher than other sahasranamas. The LS itself says that among the texts on sahasranamas; ten sahasranamas on Goddesses, namely, Ganga, Bhavani, Gayatri, Kali, Laksmi, Sarasvati, Rajarajesvan, Bala, Syamala and Lalita, are the leading ones. But the LS is the best among these texts. LS is the key to open the treasure of knowledge pertaining to the Tantrasastra. Famous for its lucidity and clarity, the LS has a special aura in its form as it incorporates the major significant tenets which are embodied in the vast bulk of the Tantric literature. The one thousand names in the text contain within themselves the fundamentals of the Sakta Philosophy. And so, the LS is the best guide for those who are desirous to know the fundamentals of Tantrasastra.
Though the LS is written with special reference to the slaying of Bhandasura, the demon, it possesses various epithets of Goddess Lalita which embody secret doctrines underlying the Tantras. They elaborate various aspects of the goddess such as Nirguna, Saguna, Parasakti and Kundalini,
Here, I have made a sincere and humble attempt to justify the place of the LS in Tantric branch of Sanskrit literature. But I feel as Kalidasa has said in the Raghuvamsa - titirsurdustaram mohadupena’smi sagaram. The importance of this study lies in the fact that the LS, though commented upon by Bhaskararaya has escaped the analytical and critical pen of scholars. A complete study of the Lalita- sahasranama has not been done so far. Here an attempt has been made to present the various aspects like Kundalini, Nirguna Brahman, Parasakti (i.e., primordial energy) of the goddess, with a view to enlightening the devotees for their spiritual advancement. I have also arranged topicwise the thousand names of the Goddess Lalita and their critical analysis presented for the first time. This work, which attempts to present in short the fundamentals of Sakta philosophy, is perhaps the first comprehensive and critical study of the LS by itself.
The study is presented in six chapters. Chapter 1 deals with the origin and development of sahasranama literature and the importance of the LS. Chapter 2 focuses on the date, home and authorship of the LS. The complete LS in its original form in Sanskrit along with its transliteration in English is given in chapter 3. Chapter 4 is the the texual study of the one thousand names of Goddess Lalita, in which the thousand names are interpreted and explained with dissolution of compounds after Bhaskararaya, the famous commentator on the LS. In chapter 5, the critical and analytical study of the thousand names is attempted. Chapter 6 concludes the study by explaining the significance and place of the LS in the Tantric and sahasranama literature and points out the literary beauty of the LS. The study ends with an Appendix that lists alphabetically the thousand names of the Goddess.
I have studied all the available works written on the LS in different languages and also the other relevant works on Tantrasastra so that my study of the text is complete. I am indebted to all the scholars whose works are listed in the bibliography. I have extensively used the excellent Saubhagya-Bhaskara of Bhaskararaya, the versatile genius of ancient literature, which gives lucid and detailed expression of each and every name of Goddess Lalita.
Where the quotations are concerned, I have tried to identify a majority of the quotations from the works on Tantra. Some of the quotations from the Puranas could not be identified to the fullest satisfactions. I have contented myself by referring all the unidentified quotations to page numbers in the LSNB (NSP, Bombay, 1919) which I have followed throughout my study. The book named Lalitasahasranama (Yoga Annotation) by T.V. Ramanaiyah is an attempt to interpret the LS from the Yoga point of view. But in most of the cases, his interpretations are far-fetched and unconvincing. Hence they are not mentioned in the present work.
I feel that the present work could not have been completed had it not been for the help of many to whom I am indebted.
The paternal and personal care of, Dr. Arunodaya N. Jani, formerly Head, Department of Sanskrit and Director, Oriental Institute, Baroda, and at present Senior Scholar in Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya, M.S. University of Baroda, Baroda, is enshrined in my heart. From Dr. Jani, a renowned scholar in Tantrasastra, I have had the privilege of gaining invaluable masterly guidance. I am indebted to him more than I can express in words.
My thanks to the M. S. University ofBaroda for kindly permitting me to publish this study.
I am also heartily grateful to my father Late Pandit Mohanlal Shastri who, in spite of his old age and indisposition, has always been by my side, guiding me. Only with his blessings I could complete this work.
I express my heartily thanks to Mr. S.K. Mittal, Director, D.K Printworld for the publication of this book in the best possible manner.
I shall consider myself well- rewarded if this book proves to be of great benefit to those for whom it is meant.
FROM the dawn of creation man has expressed his gratitude towards the highest being. The feeling in his heart to express his sense of wonder and gratitude to god worked as the seed of an idea which gradually developed into 'words of praise'. The stotra, therefore, may be the first outburst of the human being. It can be said that the origin of the stotra is as old as the Rgveda.
The word stotra is derived from stu 1 (stun stutau) which means 'to praise'. The stotra is defined as stavate anena iti stotram, i.e., the stotra is that by means of which the divinity is praised. It is also defined as guninisthagunabhidhanam stotram. i.e., the statement of attributes of the god who is the receptacle of such attributes (qualities). They are called 'songs of praise by some scholars. The name stotra itself denotes that it is the means to praise, adore or propitiate. Thus a short hymn composed to praise a diety is called stotra. The stotras are either epithets descriptive of the power and greatness of the deity addressed or collection of names, at times strung into verses.
The stotra is a variety of literature generally included either in Laghukavya or Gitikavya by the Indian as well as Western scholars. But according to some scholars, it is of the nature of religious poetry. As far as its origin is concerned we can trace it back to the Vedic time. M. Krishnamachariar is of the view that "the Religious poetry in India is as old as Indian thought. Samhitas of the Vedas, particularly of Atharvana, contain eulogistic invocations of various deities and these eulogies abound in the literature of Upanisads, Epics and Puranas." Prof. Keith notes "The production of hymns of praise to the gods naturally did not cease with the Vedic poets, though gradual change of religion evoked an alteration of the gods who received adoration." But S.K. De remarks that "the production of hymns in praise of deities obtained from the Vedic times, but the ancients possessed the secrets of making their religion poetry and their poetry religion."
Thus the origin of stotras, as in the case of other forms of our literature, is found in the Vedic literature. In the Rgveda, we find indrasya nu viryani pravocam yani cakara prathamani vajri - "I will sing heroic deeds of Indra". Similarly, we find the stotra form in suktas describing heroic deeds, valour, etc., of the gods such as Varuna, the Asvinikumara and others.
Another type of stotra, in which a person sings the greatness of god, is found in the 'Satarudriya' of the Yajurveda as namah somaya ca rudraya ca namastamraya ca .... where the prowess and valour of Rudra is expressed in 265 epithets in all. This is also a peculiar variety of stotra literature. Over time, both the kinds, i.e., stotra describing qualities and deeds and stotras possessing epithets, developed into a regular literary form. Out of the second variety (i.e., namavalyatmaka), theAstottara-satanama came into existence. Thus, the stotras possessing 8,10,25,100 or 1000 names came into existence. In this way, the stotras in the form of namavali of-various deities like Siva, Visnu, Amba, Ganesa, Sakti, etc., came into existence.
In some of namavali stotras the importance of the stotra is established at the beginning by a dialogue between two locutors; the middle portion contains the actual names of the deity addressed; and the-benefits of the recitation of that stotra are explained at the end. Some of them are prefaced with the viniyoga which mentions Rsi, Chandas and Devata and its employment. Thus, the stotra containing 1000 names is called sahasranama.
The Epics show the existence of such hymns (i.e., stotras), and the Puranas and the Tantric literature afford many specimens of them. Thus) there came to be numerous collections of a hundred or thousand names of a god or goddess.
The development of stotras took place in three successive stages: (1) the Vedic age, (2) the Puranas and the Tantras, and (3) the independent tradition of stotras.
It has already been stated that the origin of the concept of thousand names is found in the names of Rudras (in Yajurveda) which show the powers and functions of Rudra. Thereafter, in the Valmiki-Ramayana we get the Sita-sahasranama in which we find thousand names describing the powers of Sita. In Mahabharata we find two well- known sahasanama stotras, viz., Visnu-sahasranama and sita sahasranama. Of these, the Visnu-sahasranama is the most popular sahasranama. Here, each name has philosophical meaning. In many Puranas, we come across sahasranamas in praise of various deities. One such Purana is the Brahmanda Purana, where we find the text in focus in this study, viz., the Lalita-sahasranama (LS).
|2||Date, Home and Authorship of the LS||13|
|3||Text of the Lalita-Sahasranama||21|
|4||Textual Study of the 1000 Names||67|
|5||Analytical Study of the 1000 Names||385|
|Plates of Cakras||427|
|Appendix -Alphabetical List of the 1000 names||435|
Item Code: IDF717 Author: L.M. Joshi Cover: Paperback Edition: 2017 Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd. ISBN: 9788124603536 Language: With Original Text in Sanskrit, Roman Transliteration and Detailed Explanation of Each Name Size: 8.5" x 5.5" Pages: 491 (Col.illus.: 7) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 660 gms