Soundarya Lahari – Shloka #15: Devoted Prayer to Shridevi Graces the Brilliant Poetic Power!

Picture of Shridevi Lalitambika

Supreme Mother Shridevi Lalita Maha Tripura Sundari

Sharaj-jyotsna-shuddham shashi-yuta-jata-juta-makutam
Vara-traasa-traana-sphatika-ghutika-pustaka karaam |
Sakrn na thva nathva katham iva sathaam sannidadhate
Madhu-kshira-drakhsa-madhurima-dhurinah phanitayah ||
– Soundarya Lahari 15

Benefits: Ability to Write Poems and to Become a Scholar.

Meaning: O Shridevi ! You have a cool and pleasing luster of autumnal moonlight. You wear crescent moon on plaited locks on your head.
You display varada (boon giving) and abhaya (“don’t fear”) gestures by two of your hands. You are sporting rosary of crystal beads and a book on other two hands.
If good people pray you even once,
you bestow such a poetic power that torrents of sweet words excelling even honey-milk and grapes start flowing from their mouths!

Insights:

  1. If devotees pray the form of Shridevi with varada-abhaya gestures and holding crystal rosary and a book even once,  She bestows them with extraordinary poetic skills.  This form of Shridevi resembles that of Shri Saraswati Devi. It may be noted that this form  is different from that of Shri Mahatripura Sundari who does not show varada-abhaya gestures as discussed earlier. .
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  2. By the way, Shridevi is also called Vak(Speech) in our Holy Vedas. Even the Great Poet Kalidasa prayed Shridevi as Vak in his famous Vagarthaviva shloka. According to a legend, Great Poet Kalidasa was a dull person. But, he was a staunch devotee of Shridevi too. He obtained great poetic skills by praying Shridevi. This is the testimony to the power of Shridevi’s Grace that is elaborated in this shloka.
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  3. Esoteric Meaning #1: The words vara, trasa-trana and pustaka-karam have been strategically used to indicate three powers of Shridevi. Let us understand how.
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    Vara means varada (boon-giving) gesture. It implies the Shri Mahalakshmi aspect of Shridevi, who bestows prosperity to her devotees. Trasa-trana means abhaya(“don’t fear) gesture of Shridevi which protects from dangers. What is the biggest danger, after all? It is being in the infinite birth and death cycle.  So, Shridevi’s aspect of Shri Mahakali grants us liberation(moksha) from this dangerously vicious cycle. Now, look at the word pustaka-karam(holding a book in a hand). It indicates Shri Mahasaraswati attribute of Shridevi, which confers the knowledge.
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    Thus, the shloka implicitly says that even if we pray Shridevi only once, She would grant us the knowledge, prosperity and liberation. What else do we need?
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  4. Esoteric Meaning #2: Focus on the words Shashi-yuta jata-juta, meaning “with the Moon and plaited hair”. The Moon is symbolic of Shridevi’s Mahalakshmi aspect that bestows prosperity and material comforts(bhoga) to her votaries. The Divine Scripture Rigveda says:
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    Chandram hiranmayim Lakshmim Jatavedo ma avaha | – Shri Sukta from Rigveda
    Meaning: O Agni, bring me Shri Lakshmi who is the Moon and the embodiment of gold.
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    Generally, saints and ascetics, who are in the path to liberation have plaited hair. So, the word plaited hair esoterically indicates Shridevi’s Mahakali aspect that grants liberation(moksha) to her devotees.
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  5. Esoteric Meaning #3: The word makuta means crown. It indicates the ruler or the queen. So, by the discussion above, it echoes that Shridevi is the ruler of both material prosperity(bhoga) and liberation(moksha). Thus, She has the power to confer both of these to her staunch devotees.

In a nutshell, the shloka suggests that if we pray Shridevi even once with complete devotion and surrender to her, She grants us gift of eloquence, literary skills, knowledge, prosperity and liberation.

So, let us pray her many times with devotion to get her complete Grace!

Words of Beauty: The following words offer sweet melody and rhythm to the verse: sha-rat, shu-ddham, sha-shi; ju-ta, maku-ta; tra-sa, tra-na; spha-tika, gu-tika; na tva-natva; ka-thamiva, sa-tham;ma-dhuri-ma, dhuri-nah. Relish and enjoy!

Om Namah Shivaya ||

- Kalidas

Further Reading:

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Om Namah Shivaya ||

- Rudraksha Yoga

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