Aravindan Neelakandan's series on the Sri Lalitha Sahasranama has a new title, 'Sahasra'. This Navratri, we bring to you one article each from this series, each day.
She is the Goddess, the Supreme Consciousness that pervades the whole of existence – from the tiniest quarks to the infinite multiverses; from the faintest stir of life in a proto-cell to the grandest manifestation that evolution may yet usher in.
She is the source of sentience, that emergence of awareness that animates the matter called the body of any organism. She reveals Herself when She chooses, and blesses the organism with a glimpse of Her glory that is contained in it.
Then the organism, be it human or dolphin, carbon-based or silicon-based, on planet Earth or a planetary system in Andromeda galaxy, it matters not, any organism that has an awareness of its own, being nourished by Her, seeks to know Her and become one with Her.
For the human species or at least for humans, and we know not others, it is a battle. The inner quest is also a raging battle.
The Daivic forces, the good elements of the psyche, operate well in positive circumstances. But the darker elements of negativity, in the form of external environment or inner conflicts, can come as a great Asura.
Then the battle spiritual happens. More one is the seeker of truth, more intense the battle. And the Asuric powers have always the greater strength.
At such a time, the seeker turns to Her. Invokes Her. Through his or her tapas, from the Agni of Consciousness the Goddess emerges with a brilliant radiance of a zillion sun-dawns.
She emerges inside the seeker. The sadhak, who has surrendered to Her, now becomes Her soldier. It is now Her battle. From Her vision emerges Ganesha, the auspicious Godhead that destroys all negativity in the spiritual battle.
Without Ganesha one cannot emerge victorious in that conflict. Ganesha emerges from the face of the Goddess Sri Lalita Tripura Sundari. Ganesha is Her son. She rejoices in His victory as He shatters all the obstacles created by the negative forces within.
What are these negative forces that stagnate the seeker?
The Puranic context explains this inner battle. Bhanda, the Asura, whom the Devi battles, arises out of the ashes of Kama whom Siva burns with His third eye.
From the ashes of the burnt Kama, the libido—pleasure seeking vital force—arises as an Asura who goes on to spread chaos.
The Goddess battles this Asura. As the battle rages, the Asura succeeds in planting a yantra – Vigna Yantra – an instrument that creates obstacles for the Divine forces. These obstacles have eight angles and eight tridents, which are ‘laziness, disinterest in fighting, an inferiority complex that 'we cannot do it', fatigue, feeling sleepy, unconsciousness, lack of motivation like cowards and loss of self respect.’
To remove the obstacles, the Goddess looks lovingly at the most enchanting face of Siva. Siva, who destroyed Kama with His third eye, now looks at the Goddess with Divine Love. This is the Love that subsumes as well as transcends the libido, whose pale shadow is libido. This is Love and this is wisdom. From this union arises the most auspicious elephant-form – the embodiment of Pranava, Sri Ganesha.
Now, Ganesha battles for the Devi. He shatters into pieces the yantra that creates the eight obstacles.
It is the 77th name of the Devi in the Sri Lalitha Sahasranama – Kaameshwara-mukhaaloka-kalpita-shreeganeshwara.
As Kaameshwara, Siva is both, most-enchanting and also the conqueror-master of all pleasure-seeking movements throughout existence and hence, He is impersonal.
The term 'mukhaaloka' shows that impersonal Siva becoming a personal experience for the seeker. 'Kalpita' here denotes the mastery through Her grace, of the five organs of cognition, five organs of action, the four modalities of the psyche, five movements of the Prana, Kama, Karma and Avidya – the Maya.
In that non-dual vision that becomes possible only because of the Goddess, the Divine Ganesha, who conquers all obstacles like a wild elephant, emerges.
Ganesha is thus the combination of both Siva and Shakti manifesting in the inner battlefield for the sake of the sadhaka. The Brahmanda Purana which contains the thousnad names of the Divine Mother has this to say about this mystical event:
The Devi Lalita looking again at the face of Her Lord, smiled, and from the rays of that smile a certain Divine God arose, having the head of an elephant with ichor flowing from the temples.
One should remember that the field of this battle is within. It happens in the inner space. And also in the liminal space where the physical and the psyche melt into each other. So this is not just symbolic. It is, in a way, more real than the apparent reality we face every day.
On Day 1 of Navratri we invoke the 77th Name of the Goddess, who through Her loving non-dual vision summons Ganesha, to fight your spiritual battle and also the battle of life.
For this article, the author referred to:
Sri Lalita Sahasranamam commentary written by Sree Ganapatisubramanian and Sree M.Sundararaman based on Sree Bhaskararaya's Soubhagya Bhaskaram. (Trans. Sree Ramamurthy N)
Sri Lalita Sahasranama - Bhaskararaya's commentary (English Trans. R. Ananthakrishna Sastry)
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