Sri Matre Namaha
Ashvarudha-dhisthitashva-kotokotibhi-ravrta – The Sixty Seventh name in Lalitha Sahasranamam.
Asvarudhaya adhisthitanam asvanam kotigunita kotibhih avrta
She who is surrounded crores of cavalry of horses
She is surrounded by many crores of horses conducted by Asvarudha. Asvarudha is the name of a goddess famous in the tantras. Her Mantra is composed of 13 syllables and she is the mistress of the horses of the Goddess. It is described in BrmdP and TripSidh.
The senses are called horses. Arudha rider, i.e., the controller of senses. If we take the word arudhah in plural form, the meaning is – She directs endless sense impressions in many minds simultaneously.
Lalitha is surrounded my many horses headed by Ashvaruda devi, about whom we have discussed in nama 8. Ashvaruda devi is the chief of the horses used in the war. The face of this devi also looks like a horse. Ashvaruda’s mantra consists of 13 bijas and considered to be very powerful. Out of the thirteen bija-aksharas four are recited in the beginning and in the inverted order at the end. This is called mantra samputam. Samputam means caged. Such types of mantras fructify quickly. Senses are compared to horses as they run faster and without control, if let loose. Mind is the jockey of the horse as mind alone can control the senses. Shiva sutra 1.12 says ‘visvamayo yogabhumikah’. The meaning is slightly complicated but we certainly need to understand this. The literal meaning is ‘the stations and stages of yoga constitute, fascinating wonder’. Stations mean chakras. In these stations consciousness arrives and moves to the next station or higher chakras.
The consciousness above sahasrara or the consciousness outside the physical body of the yogi is called turiya stage. In this stage yogi’s senses are totally under the control of his inner self which is also called supreme consciousness. In this stage the yogi realises the bliss. In other words realising our own inner self is the ultimate joy that leads to bliss. Station could also mean a well activated ajna chakra, where one could control his senses. Stages mean the level of consciousness. The highest stage of consciousness is called turiya stage. For more details please go through the posting ‘our brain and mind’. The will power with which a yogi establishes his commune with Shiva is called Uma or kumari. A yogi treats everything as the same. He does not distinguish between external and internal, I and his, good and bad, etc. This explanation is not out of place here as this nama talks about controlling our senses that wander like horses. We have discussed the rewards for controlling the senses. On several occasions we have learnt that shakthi is responsible for taking us to Shiva, the supreme Brahman. Shakthi is maya. Unless maya is dispensed with, the supreme self cannot be realised. The will power for establishing commune with Shiva is provided only by Shakthi who is called Uma in Shiva sutra.
Therefore, Lalitha manifested in different forms and names is the cause for sense-impressions and She alone can remove those impressions, to proceed to higher planes of consciousness and to establish commune with Shiva. Once Shiva is realized, bliss is enjoyed. Katha Upanishad says senses are horses and the body is the chariot. Objects are the road and self is the enjoyer (owner of the chariot and horses). Knowledge is incapable of discriminating between good and bad and when connected with uncontrollable mind, then it is like a charioteer or the driver who has to deal with the uncontrollable horses (mind out of control causing all types of miseries). We have already dealt with this in the series on Katha Upanishad. Such explanations are found in Devi Mahatmiyam (Durga saptasati) and Bhagavad Gita as well.
It is said she is surrounded by cavalry of horses.Here horses denotes power. So she is surrounded with tremendous amount of power.The power of Japa. The Name of God, especially when it is given to us in the form of what is known as a mantra, is a power by itself. It has a Shakti of its own, and this is the reason why bhaktas, sages and saints have told us that even a mere repetition of the Name of God has the capacity to produce an effect of its own, though you may not be really meditating, though you may not be in a position to contemplate the actual meaning hidden behind it. The mantra-shakti, or the power of the mantra, arises on account of the fact that is beautifully and scientifically described in a science known as mantra-shastra, which is akin to the science of chemistry in our own ordinary life.
Chemical elements act and react upon each other. You know the action between an acid and alkali, for instance. Sometimes the chemical reaction is such that it can produce a tremendous effect. mantras produce such effect, similar to the reaction of chemical elements, because of the peculiar combination of letters. The mantra-shastra is a secret which tells us that every letter of the alphabet is a condensed form of energy. Sounds are really energy manifest. The sound is not merely an empty form of verbal manifestation, but energy that is made to express itself in a particular shape. And when this packet of energy, this tied up form of force, which is a particular letter of the alphabet, is made to come in contact with another packet of energy called another letter, they collide with each other act upon each other or fuse into each other, so that the utterance of a group of letters, which is the mantra, produces, by the process of permutation and combination of these letters, a new form of energy which gets infused into our system.
Because it has arisen from our own mind, thought and the recesses of our being, we get charged with that force, as if we have touched a live electric wire. There is special name given to this science, as gana-shastra, in tantrik parlance. Words are forces, thoughts are things. They are not empty sounds. It is because of the fact that thoughts and expressions are powers by themselves, that the words of saints lake immediate effect. The words that a saint or a sage utters are not empty sounds that he makes. They are forces that are released like atom bombs, and they can manifest themselves in the physical world, and events can take place. That is why people go to a saint for asirvada, or blessings. His words are forces, powers that he releases to take immediate effect, or even a remote effect, as the case may be.
The utterance of a mantra is the release of an energy, not only inside our own personalities, but also in the outer atmosphere of which we form contents. japa sadhana not only brings a transformation in your own inward personality, but also sympathetically produces an equal effect in the society of which you are a part. So japa sadhana is also a social service. It is not merely a personal sadhana, inwardly practised by your own self in your puja room, but it is a great Seva that you do to mankind also. An aura is produced around that sadhaka who takes to japa sadhana honestly and sincerely. You purify not only your nature inwardly but also you purify the atmosphere outside. You become a source of inspiration to people when you actually take to japa sadhana with concentration of mind and with real faith in the efficacy of the practice. God’s Name is a wonder. It is a miracle by itself.
“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of,” said the poet. The prayers that you offer to God are definitely capable of producing the desired result. What works is not your personal strength or your individual thought, but that which your thought is able to rouse into activity and which is omniscient.
Your prayers or the invocations that you make through mantra sadhana or Japa are converted into an impersonal force, which is the power of God, and the miracle is worked by God Herself. You cease to be the ultimate agent of the action. Your agency is only incidental. What really works is something higher than yourself. God Herself seems to be doing sadhana for ourselves. Who can do things in this world other than God? The whole universe is divinity, resplendent, gorgeous in its glory and abundance. We have forgotten that we are an integral part of it. And in japa sadhana, particularly, we try to attune ourselves, attune our inner psychological constitution with that Omnipresent structure of the cosmos which is ishvara shakti, or Divine Will operating. You can appreciate how important japa yoga is. In the Mahabharata, in the Shanti Parva an entire chapter is devoted to this exposition of japa sadhana. Japaka Upakhyana is worth reading. No wonder that Bhagavan refers to this system of yoga as the best, in the Bhagavadgita -yajnanam japayajnosmi. So here the cavalry of horses is referred to the power and force that we produce when reciting a japa or mantra.