Sunday, October 17, 2010

Indian Culture: Hindu Religious Practices: Sahasranamas. Lalitha Sahasranama

 17th October 2010
I consider myself an agnostic, however, I do find myself dabbling in religious thought and spiritual pursuits.. I do not practice most rituals except to be part of a group and to join in when family members get together. I realize the social function that these rituals perform and respect it for that.  
Today is  VijayDashmi, which falls after the 9 day Navratri festival. It is also celebrated all over North India as Dussehra . While Vijay dashmi and Dussehra are celebrated for various reasons, the common theme is the victory of good over evil. In the North, it is believed that Lord Rama vanquished Ravana and in the East, it denotes the killing of the demon Mahisha by Goddess Durga.

During Navratri, it is common to hear prayers in praise of the female form which is worshiped as Goddess Saraswati( Goddess of learning), Lakshmi ( Goddess of Wealth) and Durga (Destroyer of Evil). Sankaracharya, the renowned philosopher saint who expounded the thesis of Advaita, composed the Lalitha Sahasranama which is a 1000 name evocation of the female Goddess Lalitha ( a version of Goddess Durga) who is described as the consort of Lord Kameshawara, a  form of Lord Shiva. I always felt that there was an allegorical truth behind this prayer and my cousin provided it.  Lalitha Shasranama, has a nama which goes thus, "Kameshwara, mukhaloka kalpitha Shree Ganeshwara". It suggests that Vigneshwara, or Lord Ganesha the destroyer of obstacles, was born, when Shiva or Kameshwara, looked at the face of the Universe( mukha aloka) and decreed(kalpitha), the birth of Vigneshwara. The implication, I think is that if one were to contemplate the Universe and try to be one with it, the key to removing obstacles, manifests itself. Vigneshwara incidentally also overcomes "ignorance"( the rat). I believe this to be true. On many occasions problems which were vexing, have been solved when one has thought about it dispassionately and sometimes it manifests itself in what someone says innocently about something that is completely unrelated. I guess things sometimes happen when you let them and don't force them:) The eternal truth is not to be hung upon results and cosequences, but to do things with joy, playfully, savoring the task and with complete presence of mind... the power of now... Kameshwara mukhaloka kalpitha .. shree ganeshwara....

The link below gives you all that you need to know about the Lalitha Sahasranamam

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