Thursday 7 November 2013

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 226

The relevance of Soundarya Lahiri in Diwali 

06.11.2013, Mumbai

The origin of Shakti worship can be traced to such Vedic texts as Sri Suktam, Durga Suktam, Bhu Suktam and Devi Upansihads. In Mahabharata, there is a reference to Shakti worship - Before entering the Matsya Kingdom for spending the last year of his exile, Dharmaputtra prays to Durga and before the commencement of Kurukshetra war, Lord Krishna asks Arjun to get off the chariot and pray to Goddess Durga. In the Ramayan too, Lord Ram invokes the blessings of the Divine Mother before his battle with Ravan. Rukmini worships at the shrine of Ambika before her marriage. Shakti is worshiped as Uma in the Himalayas, Amba in Kashmir, Visalakshi in Varanasi, Bhavani in Maharashtra and Kali in Bengal and by various other names in different parts of the country.

As opposed to other religious texts glorifying the Devi, Adi Shankaracharya calls her “O! Parabrahmamahisi” which means you are more than Vakdevata/consort of Brahma, Lakshmi/consort of Vishnu and Parvati/consort of Shiva. Thou art the Fourth/Turiya of inconceivable and limitless majesties, the indeterminable Mahamaya who revolves the wheel of this world.

Legend has it that the seer was on his way to Mount Kailasa where he was gifted with the manuscript of Soundarya Lahari by Mahadev himself. Lord Nandi unwilling to part with the esoteric verses took back a part of it and what remained in the hands of Shankara was a treasure comprising 41 verses. Compelled to complete the 100 verses Shankaracharya composed 59 additional verses extolling the beauty and grandeur of Lalita Tripurasundari. These verses are called Keshaadipada / head-to-toe description of the Mother and offer samsara. In the path of liberation, there are no material pleasures but for those engaged in the worship of Tripurasundari liberation is a way of life!

Bhawana Somaaya/ @ bhawanasomaaya

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