Soundarya Lahari – Shloka #98: Shridevi is nothing but Universal Self, the Ultimate Reality!

Shridevi and Hindu Trinity- Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva(Credit: Lightgrid)

The Divine Mother Paramaeshwari Shridevi with Hindu Trinity- Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.

Giram aahur Devim Druhina-grihinim aagamavidho
Hareh pathnim Padmam Hara-sahachareem Adhri-thanayaam |
Thuriyaa kaapi thwam dhuradhigama-nisseema-mahimaa
Maha-maya vishwam bhramayasi parabhrahma-mahishi ||
Soundarya Lahari 98

Benefits: Redemption of the Soul(i.e. the Individual Self).

Meaning:  O Queen of Parabrahman! The scholars of Agamas[1] call you as the Vak, Goddess of letters who is the wife of Lord Brahma. They call you as Padmaa(Shri Lakshmi) who is the consort of Lord Vishnu and Devi Parvati who is the consort of Lord Shiva.
You are the fourth one(beyond these three),  who is inaccessible and supremely powerful.  You are the consort of the Universal Self Lord Shiva. You being Mahamaya(Great Goddess of Illusion) perplex the entire Universe!

Insights: What a wonderful description of Shridevi ! It has some profound esoteric messages. Let us understand it with clarity.

  1. The first two lines of the verse mention: the scholars of the Scriptures Agamas say that Shridevi is nothing but the powerful deities Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi and Mahakali who are rulers of knowledge, wealth and liberation respectively.
    The third line states  Shridevi is the someone fourth(turiya kaapi) who is beyond these three forces.
    Who is She then? The last line of verse itself has the answers: She is the consort of Parabrahman(the Universal Self), the Ultimate Reality. The Parabrahman is none other than Lord Shiva. ………..
    We need to understand that the word ‘consort’ means power. So, the word Parabrahmahishi suggests Shridevi Parvati who is the power of Lord Shiva.
  2. Esoteric Meaning #1: Focus on the phrase Turiyaa kaapi twam duradhigama. It means you are the fourth one who is inaccessible, i.e. Durga(inaccessible)! So, Shridevi is none other than Mother Durga who is beyond the three principal powers.
    Think about it. Why is she called inaccessible? Shridevi’s power is present in all beings, like oil in a sesame seed. We cannot feel her because of lack of the Highest Knowledge. We mistake temporary world to be permanent due to the illusory power of Mahamaya(Goddess of Illusion) who is the eternal Shridevi herself.
    Now our real question is: How can we access the inaccessible Shridevi Durga? Soundarya Lahari reiterates the answer in many verses: we can surely merge with the Ultimate Reality Shridevi by completely surrendering to her with full devotion.
  3. Esoteric Meaning #2: Different scholars of Scriptures Agamas know Shridevi as limited to Vak Devi, Padmaa Devi or Parvati Devi. Actually, She is Nisseema mahimaa. Literally, She is the Great without bounds, i.e. infinitely powerful.  She is the fourth superpower who is beyond these three deities. The verse nicely illustrates the illusion created by Mahamaya Shridevi that deludes even the scholars from knowing this secret truth.
  4. Esoteric Meaning #3: The verse clearly says that according to the Scriptures the three forces Shri Mahasaraswati, Shri Mahalakshmi and Shri Mahakali  are different aliases for essentially one and the same supreme power called Shridevi. Also, Shridevi is beyond these three forces and the consort or power of Parabrahman(the Universal Self).
  5. Esoteric Meaning #4: The verse specifically mentions the names of deities Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva of Hindu Trinity by words Druhina, Hareh and Hara respectively. It is to emphasize the greatness that Shridevi is the embodiment of these three powers and also the fourth superpower of Parabrahman, who is beyond Hindu Trinity.
  6. Esoteric Meaning #5: Focus on the word Hara-sahachareem, meaning wife of Lord Shiva. Literally it means that one who goes together with Hara. This word is strategically use to suggest the togetherness and oneness of Lord Shiva and Shridevi Parvati.
  7. Esoteric Meaning #6: Ponder on the phrase Mahamaya vishwam bhramayasi meaning as Mahamaya Shridevi deludes the entire universe. This is a very significant statement.
    Without Shridevi’s power of illusion, the world cannot run. In other words,  people will not have an opportunity to do good/bad deeds!  Everybody will be going on the path of liberation!
    So, the illusion of my house, my relatives and my friends etc. are important to play a particular role in the drama of day to day life. The moment we get the Grace of a Sadguru, the veil of illusion will be destroyed to pave us the way towards the real yoga to merge with the Ultimate Reality Shridevi.
  8. Esoteric Meaning #7: Look at the phrase Vishwam bhramayasi which also means revolving the world. It says that the supreme primordial force Shridevi is responsible for revolving the world in cyclic manner by creation, sustenance and destruction, presided by Hindu Trinity. As discussed earlier, Shridevi has Hindu Trinity within herself and She is beyond them. In other words, the deities are like organs of Shridevi.

Words of Beauty: Here are some bunch of words that offer melodious sound and rhythm: Dru-hina, gri-hinim; pa-tnim, pa-dmam; Hareh, Hara, saha-chareem; duradhiga-ma, nissee-ma, mahi-maa;bhrama-yasi, para-brahma; parabrah-ma, ma-hishi. Notice that the entire shloka is full of homophonic phrasal words with beauty and powerful meaning. Splendid! Par excellence! What more to say! Relish and enjoy!

Let us pray the Supreme primordial power Adishakti Parameshwari Shridevi for her kind Grace:

Chiti roopena ya kritsnam etad vyapya stitha jagat |
Namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namo namah ||
– Tantrokta Devisuktam

Meaning: Salutations to Her(Shridevi), who pervades the entire universe as Chiti[2]Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her and Salutations to Her..(…again and again, forever…)..


  1. The Agamas are Hindu Scriptures that deal with elaborate rituals of various deities in detail.
  2. Chiti  is the power of Chit(consciousness). It is the one of the powers of the Ultimate Reality, others being Sat(eternal) and Ananda(bliss). Chit enlivens everything and activates everything to work: it makes or ears hear, eyes see, brain to think and so on. Read our article on the Ultimate Reality for a detailed discussion.

Om Namah Shivaya ||

– Kalidas

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