Soundarya Lahari – Shloka #5: Divine Shridevi as the Source of Fascinating Attraction and Illusive Power !

Picture of Shri Lalita Maha Tripra Sundari

Charmingly Beautiful Our  Great Mother Shri Lalita Maha Tripura Sundari (Source: Google)

Harih tvam aradhya pranata-jana-saubhagya-jananim
Puraa nari bhutva Pura-ripum api kshobham anayat |
Smaro’pi tvam natva rati-nayana-lehyena vapusha
Muninam apyantah prabhavati hi mohaya mahatam ||
– Soundarya Lahari
5

Meaning:
Shridevi ! Worshiping thee, who are the bestower of prosperity on all your votaries, Lord Vishnu was able to assume a charming a female form. Thus, he stirred the waves of passion in the mind of even Lord Shiva!
Also, adoring thee Manmatha(Kama; Cupid, God of love) got a beautiful form which is feast for the eyes of his consort Rati Devi. By his form, he is able cause deep infatuation even in the minds of sages!

Our Insights:

  1. Once demigods(Devas) and Daemons(Dananavas) together churned the ocean of milk to get the nectar(amrita). Anybody who drinks Amrita becomes immortal. A fight ensued between both Devas and Danavas while sharing the nectar.To resolve the conflict,  Lord Vishnu took a female form Mohini to distribute the nectar only to  demigods(Devas). All Danavas were mesmerized by looking at Mohini and they could not know that the nectar is not getting served to them!
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  2. As we know, Lord Shiva is Yogeeshwara(The Supreme Teacher of traditional yoga) and is beyond all passions and desires. Mohini was so charming that even Lord Shiva was attracted to her to go behind her!
    Great sages  have also conquered all the desires. However, Cupid(Manmatha) is so enchanting that he stimulates the feeling of infatuation even in their minds!
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    The phrase mohaya mahatam means extreme desire or extreme illusion. Shridevi herself is called Great Illusion(Mahamaya). So, it illustrates the illusive power of Shridevi. When She could bring the illusion to Lord Shiva who is her own spouse, what about human beings? So, this phrase emphasizes great illusive power of Shridevi.
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  3. This Shloka says that Mohini and Manmatha got their fascinating beauty and charming power by worshiping the Great Mother Shridevi. Since Shridevi is granting these powers to these deities, as a source of beauty, how fascinating and attractive She could be? We can’t even guess, right?
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  4. No doubt, by definition, Shri Tripura Sundari Devi  is extremely beautiful in all three worlds. Moreover, She is kind and magnanimous to grant exceptionally attractive beauty and charming power to her staunch devotees. She not only has the supreme beauty, but she gives it to us too! In other words, She is very kind and magnanimous towards her votaries.
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  5. The first two lines of the verse, talk about Lord Vishnu who acquired fascinating beauty aspect of Shridevi. The next two, deal with the illusive power aspect of Shridevi. So, beauty and power features of Shridevi and Soundarya Lahari have been described exceedingly well in this verse.  If you are interested to know more on the concept of Shridevi’s extrinsic beauty and intrinsic power aspects, you may read a separate article here.
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  6. Pranata-jana-saubhagya-jananim means Shridevi is the source of prosperity to her devotees. Soubhagya means prosperity and janani is who generates it, or source. The phrase saubhagya janani therefore means source of prosperity. This phrase extols the Shri Lakshmi aspect of Shridevi that graces prosperity to devotees.
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  7. Pranata-jana-saubhagya-jananim means Shridevi is prosperous mother for devotees. The word saubhagya means prosperity and janani means Mother. So, the meaning of saubhagya-jananim becomes prosperous Mother. This meaning focuses the affectionate and caring motherly nature of Shridevi towards Her devotees.
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  8. The word pranata-jana is very significant. It means devotees.  Shridevi bestows prosperity to her devotees. Also, She showers Her motherly care only onto her devotees. Not on everybody!
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    How do we get the meaning that others are excluded? If prosperity and motherly care are for everybody, then the verse would say jana(i.e. people), not pranata-jana meaning devotees. So, the message of the shloka is that we must be Shridevi’s devotees and pray her to get Her Grace followed by prosperity.
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  9. The phrase Rati nayana lehyena means feast for eyes of Rati Devi, who is the consort of Cupid(Kama Deva). Actually, Rati Devi herself is known as the icon of beauty. Even she is looking at beautiful Kama Deva to appreciate his fascinating splendor.
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    How did Kama Deva get this charming beauty? He got it from the source, i.e. the most beautiful in three worlds, Shridevi Maha Tripura Sundari. Not just like that. He prayed her with complete devotion. So, again the message is loud and clear: prayer with devotion and humility is the most important way to get Shridevi’s Grace.

Words of Beauty: The following bunches of words contribute to beauty and melodious rhythm of the verse: jana-jananim; puraa-Puraripu;tvam-natva; mohaya-mahatam. Relish and enjoy!

Let us pray the Divine Mother Shridevi for her Grace.

Durgam Devim sharanamaham prapadye |

Meaning: I take the refuge of Shridevi Durga (for her Grace).

Om Namah Shivaya ||

– Kalidas

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