Soundarya Lahari – Shloka #4: The Power and Glory of Lotus Feet of Shridevi !

Picture of Shri Lalita Mahatripra Sundari Devi

Supremely  Beautiful in All Three Worlds:  Shridevi Lalita Mahatripura Sundari

Twadanyah paanibhyam abhaya-varado daivataganah
Twam Ekaa naivasi prakatita-varaabhityabhinaya |
Bhayat tratum datum phalam api cha vancha samadhikam
Sharanye lokanam tava hi charanaveva nipunau ||
– Soundarya Lahari 4

Benefits: Removal of all Fears and Curing of Diseases.

Meaning:
Shridevi ! All deities except you bestow boons and provide shelter from fear by varada and abhaya gestures. (Because)
O, refuge of all! your lotus feet themselves are capable of fulfilling all desires and protect from fears!

Insights:

  1. This splendid shloka unveils unmatched power of Shridevi’s feet when compared to other deities. All deities need their hands and gesture to give boons and to protect. But, Shridevi does not require them. Why? Her lotus feet themselves are immensely capable to bestow boons and to give refuge! As discussed earlier, the gestures varada and abhaya provide material prosperity(bhoga) and liberation(moksha) from endless birth and death cycle.
    ..
    .According to this verse, Shridevi’s lotus feet themselves do the function of varada-abhaya gestures. So, they bestow us both material prosperity and liberation. What more to expect anyway?
    .
    So, the message of this shloka extremely clear:  we need to pray Shridevi and take the refuge at her lotus feet to have a prosperous life during our existence on the Earth and to get liberation afterwords.
    .
  2. Esoteric Meaning of Twam Ekaa: Look at the phrase Twam Ekaa meaning you are the only One. It shows the uniqueness of Shridevi. She is the Adishakti, i.e. ultimate primordial force. Nobody else can be like her. The word Ekaa meaning One confirms that Shridevi herself is the only One Ultimate Reality or Brahman.
    .
    Who is the Brahman after all? The answer is: Brahman is nothing but Twam, i.e. real you, the Individual Self. Nobody else!  This is the clear message of our Upanishats. The word Ekaa refers to Shridevi, who is the only One, i.e. Universal Self. Now if you connect these two words, meaning becomes: 1. Real you is nothing but Shridevi. 2. Shridevi is that One Supreme Brahman or Universal Self. 3. Individual Self (Twam, you) is the Universal Self(Ekaa, i.e. Shridevi).
    .
    Thus, this important phrase  intrinsically conveys the non-dual philosophy of our Great Universal Master Shri Shankara Bhagavatpadah. It says: Individual Self is nothing but the Universal Self. In other words, real you within you is same as God. What a profound message!
    .
  3. The phrase Sharanye lokanam means refuge of allincluding all the deities too. The deities which show different gestures by their hands themselves take refuge of Shridevi’s lotus feet! In other words, Shridevi’s lotus feet themselves are able to dispel fear and to give boons for everybody including other Gods.
    .
  4. Let us analyze the phrase: Bhayat tratum, means to protect from fear. What do we need to be afraid of? It is the fear of being in the infinite and endless birth and death cycle. Who has the power to protect or liberate from it? The lotus feet of Shridevi Lalita Tripura Sundari!  So, the lotus feet of Shridevi gives us liberation. In essence, this phrase indicates the Shridevi Parvati who is in-charge of liberation(moksha).
    .
  5. Consider this portion of the verse: datum phalam api cha vanchasam-adhikam, meaning – to give the fruit and (to fulfill) desire in abundance. Ponder on the words phalam(fruit), vanchasam(desire) and adhikam (means abundance, plenty, prosperity etc.).
    .
    What does it suggest? who is the ruler of abundance and primary force, desire(Ichha)? It is none other than Shri Lakshmi! So, this phrase in the shloka says Shri Lakshmi’s power is present in the lotus feet of Shridevi which bestows material prosperity to the devotees.
    .
  6.  Now, let us take a moment to listen to what the Scripture Durga Saptashati says:
    .
    Daaridrya-dukha-bhaya-haarini kaa twat anyaa |
    Meaning: (Shridevi!) Who else can eliminate poverty, sorrow and fear, except you?
    .
    It essentially states: Shridevi Durga eliminates poverty by gracing the devotees with prosperity by her Shri Lakshmi aspect. She also dispels sorrow and fear, by her aspect of Shridevi Parvati. The word except you in the verse excludes other deities. As discussed earlier, other deities themselves pray Mother Shridevi for her kind Grace.
    .
    It nicely echoes the discussion on points 4 and 5 above. But there is a contrast.
    .
    Durga Saptashati verse quoted here says Shridevi bestows prosperity and refuge to her votaries. But, the verse of Soundarya Lahari proclaims that Shridevi’s lotus feet themselves are capable of doing it!
    .
    What is the take home from the above two different views?
    .
    Message is very simple and clear: Shridevi as a whole has infinite power! Hence, She is also called Shakti(power) and Mahadevi(Great Goddess).

If you are our vigilant reader, you may ask a question now:

In an earlier article it was mentioned that Shridevi assumes varada – abhaya gestures. This verse apparently contradicts it. What is the reality?

There is absolutely no contradiction whatsoever. We need to understand this verse from the correct perspective. That’s all.
.
This particular shloka is addressed to Shri Lalita Mahatripura Sundari(meaning most beautiful Devi in three worlds) form of Shridevi. Hence the name of the hymn is Soundarya Lahari, i.e. wave of beauty.

In Shri Tripura Sundari form, She has four hands holding goad, noose, sugarcane bow and bunch of five flower arrows in right back, left back, left front and right front hands respectively (refer to the picture above). She does not show any gesture!

So, the current shloka refers to this Tripurasundari form only. In this form, the lotus feet of Shridevi Lalita itself provide everything, rendering the gestures superfluous! However, it must be noted that Shridevi does show varada – abhaya gestures in many of her other forms.  Got it clear?

Did you enjoy reading this article? Are you a devotee of Greatest Mother Shridevi Durga?

If so, you may be interested in knowing more about the beauty and power of Shridevi by reading other articles on Soundarya Lahari in a category here.

Words of Beauty: Here are the bunch of words that provide a nice melodious rhythm to the verse: tratum-datum; sharanyecharanaveva. Relish and Enjoy!

Let us pray and take refuge in the lotus feet of  Great Mother Shridevi !

Om Namah Shivaya ||

– Kalidas

This entry was posted in Soundarya Lahari and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.