Sri Matre Namaha
Shanta – The One Hundred & Fourty Oneth name in Lalitha Sahasranamam.
Samavati ya sa
She who is tranquil
She who is peace
Sakara anto yasya, tadrupa
She is of that form at the end of which letter sa occurs. i.e., the Amrtabija mantra
asanta iti va – reaching to the end of the quarters, i.e., she is all pervading
First, notice the absence of negation in this nama. Any prefix with nish or nir means negation of the quality mentioned in that nama. For Example ‘kala’ means parts and ‘nish-kala’ means without parts. This nama means that She is calm and tranquil. Svetashvatara Upanishad VI.19 says ‘nishkalam, nishkriyam, shantam, niravadyam, niranjanam’. This means that the Brahman is without form, without action, tranquil, above reproach and without any blemish’. All these qualities of the Brahman are cited by Vak Devis in this Sahasranamam. One more quality of the Brahman tranquil is described here. Please remember that we are now discussing the qualities of nirguna Brahman (the Brahman without form and attributes). To make us understand the nirguna Brahman better, certain qualities are negated in Upanishads as well as this Sahasranamam. When you are bound by the clutches of bondage, there cannot be any tranquility. Tranquility is considered as an essential quality for self-realization.
When we say she is peace then what is peace and how can it be obtained. As my thoughts moved from her to the literal word peace I realised that I became jittery and felt uncomfortable because I was away from the comfortable zone.So I took solace in devi Bhagavatam where Devi explains this comfortable zone.We who know her resides inside her and the residence is based on the Bhakthi that we have for her.I have explained about Bhakthi and I would like to reinstate the same here to bring home the fact that Bhakthi alone can bring in peace and that peace is Devi herself.Why do we say Bhakthi alone. Let us hear the words from the divine mother on the concept of Bhakthi and how it brings everlasting joy and peace which we often term as moksha.
The Devî said:–” There are three paths, widely known, leading to the final liberation (Moksa). These are Karma Yoga, Jñâna Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. Of these three, Bhakti Yoga is the easiest in all respects; people can do it very well without incurring any suffering to the body, and bringing the mind to a perfect concentration. This Bhakti (devotion) again is of three kinds as the Gunas are three. His Bhakti is Tâmasî who worships Me, to pain others, being filled with vanity and jealousy and anger. That Bhakti is Râjâsic, when one worships Me for one’s own welfare and does not intend to do harm to others. He has got some desire or end in view, some fame or to attain some objects of enjoyments and ignorantly, and thinking himself different from Me, worships Me with greatest devotion.
Again that Bhakti is Sâttvikî when anybody worships Me to purify his sins, and offers to Me the result of all his Karmas, thinking that Jîva and Îs’vara are separate and knowing that this action of his is authorized in the Vedas and therefore must be observed. This Sâttvikî Bhakti is different from the Supreme Bhakti as the worshippers think Me separate; but it leads to the Supreme Bhakti.
The other two Bhaktis do not lead to Parâ Bhakti (the Supreme Bhakti or the Highest unselfish Love.) Now hear attentively about the Parâ Bhakti that I am now describing to you.
He who hears always My Glories and recites My Name and whose mind dwells always, like the incessant flow of oil, in Me Who is the receptacle of all auspicious qualities and Gunas. But he has not the least trace of any desire to get the fruits of his Karma; yea he does not want Sâmîpya, Sârsti, Sâyujya, and Sâlokya and other forms of liberations! He becomes filled with devotion for Me alone, worships Me only; knows nothing higher than to serve Me and he does not want final liberation even. He does not like to forsake this idea of Sevya (to he served) and Sevaka (servant who serves). He always meditates on Me with constant vigilance and actuated by a feeling of Supreme Devotion; he does not think himself separate from Me but rather thinks himself “that I am the Bhagavatî.” He considers all the Jîvas as Myself and loves Me as he loves himself. He does not make any difference between the Jîvas and myself as he finds the same Chaitanya everywhere and mainfested in all. He does not quarrel with anybody as he has abandoned all ideas about separateness; he bows down, and worships the Chândâlas and all the Jîvas. He who becomes filled with devotion to Me whenever he sees My place, My devotees, and hears the Sâstras, describing My deeds, and whenever he meditates on My Mantras, he becomes filled with the highest love and his hairs stand on their ends out of love to Me and tears of love flow incessantly from both his eyes; he recites My name and My deeds in a voice, choked with feelings of love for Me.
N. B.–The Parâ Prema Bhakti is like the maddening rush of a river to the Ocean; thence in the shape of vapour to the highest; Himâlayân Mountain peaks to be congealed into snow where various plays of bright colours take place.
He worships Me with intense feeling as the Mothee of this Universe and the Cause of all causes. He performs the daily and occasional duties and all My vows and sacrifices without showing any miserly feeling in his expenditure of money. He naturally longs to perform My festivities and to visit places where My Utsabs are held. He sings My name loudly and dances, being intoxicated with My love, and has no idea of egoism and is devoid of his body-idea, thinking that the body is not his. He thinks that whatever is Prârabdha (done in his previoas lives) must come to pass and therefore does not become agitated as to the preservation of his body and soul. This sort of Bhakti is called the Parâ Bhakti or the Highest Devotion. Here the predominent idea is the idea of the Devî and no other idea takes its place. He gets immediately dissolved in My Nature of Consciousness whose heart is really filled with such Parâ Bhakti or All Love. The sages call the limiting stage of this devotion and dispassion as Jñâna (knowledge).
When this Jñâna arises, Bhakti and dispassion get their ends satisfied. Yea! He goes then to the Mani Dvîpa, when his Ahamkâra does not crop up by his Prârabdba Karma, though he did not fail to give up his life in devotion. That man enjoys there all the objects of enjoymerits, though unwilling and at the end of the period, gets the knowledge of My Consciousness. By that he attains the Final Liberation for ever. Withqut this Jñâna, the Final Liberation is impossible. He realises Para Brahma who gets in this body of his the above Jñâna of the Pratyak Âtmâ in his heart; when his Prâna leaves his body, he does not get re-birth.
The S’ruti says:–“He, who knows Brahma, becomes Brahma.” In the logic of Kantha, Châmîkara, (gold on the neck) the ignorance vanishes. When this ignorance is destroyed by knowledge, he attains all his knowledge the object to be attained, when he recoginises the gold on his neck.This My consciousness is different from the perceived pots, etc., and unperceived Mâyâ. The image of this Paramâtmâ is seen in bodies other than the Âtmâ as the image falls in a mirror; as the image falls in water, so this Paramâtmâ is seen in the Pitrilokas.
As the shadow and light are quite distinct, so in My Manidvîpa, the knowledge of oneness without a second arises. That man resides in the Brahma Loka for the period of a Kalpa who leaves his body without attaining Jñâna, though he had his Vaîrâgyam. Then he takes his birth in the family of a pure prosperous family and practising again his Yoya habits, gets My Consciousness. This Jñâna arises after many births it does not come in one birth; so one should try one’s best to get this Jñâna.
If, attaining this rare human birth, one does not attain this Jñâna, know that a great calamity has befallen to him. For this human birth is very hard to attain; The attaining of the six qualities (which are considered as six wealth), restraint of passions, etc.; the success in Yoga and the acquisition of a pure real Guru, all these are very hard to be attained in this life.
O Mountain! The maturity and the activities of the organs of the senses, and the purification of the body according to the Vedic rites are all very difficult to attain. Know this again that to get a desire for final liberation is acquired by the merits acquired in many births. That man’s birth is entirely futile, who attaining all the above qualifications does not try his best to attain this Jñâna, So one should try one’s best to acquire the Jñâna. Then, at every moment, he gets the fruits of the As’vamedha sacrifice. There is no doubt in this. As ghee (clarified batter) resides potentially in milk, so the Vijñâna Brahma resides in every body. So make the mind the churning rod and always churn with it.
Then, by slow degrees, the knowledge of Brahma will be attained.
Let me narrate a passage from devi bhagavatam which when read will bring peace not only to the readers but also peace to this world.
Janamejaya said :– O Best of Munis! It is those that worshipped the Goddess Bhavânî in their previous births with beautiful Kunda flowers, Champaka flowers and Bel leaves, they have, it is inferred, in their present births become possessed of rich enjoyments. And those devoid of any devotion, that obtained this human body in the land of Bhârata and did not worship the Mother Goddess, they are, in the present births, without grains and riches, diseased, and void of any issues. Wander they always as servants, carrying out orders, and bearing on the burden loads; day and night, they seek for their own selfish ends, yet they cannot get their belly full meals. The blind, deaf and dumb; lame and lepers suffer pain and misery in this earth; seeing them, it should be inferred that they never worshipped the Goddess Bhavânî. And those that are wealthy, prosperous, attended by numerous attendants and are always enjoying, like kings, it is to be inferred that they certainly worshipped the lotus feet of the Mother Goddess in their past lives.
Therefore O Son of Satyavatî! As you are kind-hearted, kindly narrate before me the excellent deeds of the Devî.
O best of Munis! Where did the Goddess, Mahâ Laksmî, created out of the energies of all the gods, depart after She had slain the Mahisâsura and had been worshipped and praised by the Devas?
O highly Fortunate one! You told me that She vanished from the sight of the Devas; now I like to know where is She staying now, whether in the Heavens or in the Land of Mortals? Did She melt away then and there or did She descend to Vaikuntha or did She go to the mountain Sumeru?
O Muni! Narrate all these duly before me.
Vyâsa said :– O King! I told you before about the beautiful Mani Dvîpa; that island is the place of sport to the Devî and very dear to Her. In that place Brahmâ, Visnu, Mahâdeva were transformed into females; they afterwards became males and were engaged in their respective duties. That place is grand and splendid and is in the centre of the ocean of Nectar; the Devî Ambikâ assumes various forms there as She likes; and She sports there. To that Mani Dvîpa the auspicious Devî departed after She had been praised by the Gods, to that place where sports always the eternal Bhagavatî Bhuvanes’varî, the incarnate of Para Brahmâ. When the Highest Goddess vanished, the Devas installed, on the throne of Mahisâsura, the powerful King S’atrughna, endowed with all auspicious qualities, the Lord of Ajodhyâ and descended from the Solar line. After making him thus the King, Indra and the other Devas went to their respective abodes on their own conveyances.
O King! The Devas having gone to their places, the subjects were governed on this earth according to Dharma; and they passed their times in ease and comfort. It used to rain, then, timely and the earth was covered with plenty of grains and wealth; the trees were all filled with fruits and leaves and gave enjoyment to people. The cows with their udders full like earthen pots gave such a profuse quantity of milk that men began to milk them whenever they liked. The rivers’ waters were all clear and cooling; and they flowed full in regular channels; the birds grouped round them. The Brâhmanas, versed in the Vedas, were engaged in performing sacrifices; the Ksattriyas observed their virtues and were engaged in doing charities and in their education; the kings held their rods of justice and were engaged in governing their subjects; though the several kings were busy with various arms and weapons, they all became fond of peace. Thus no wars nor quarrels were seen amongst the subjects; and the mines yielded plenty of wealth to the people.
O best of Kings! There were the Brâhmans, Ksattriyas, Vais’yas and S’ûdras who became the devotees of the Goddess. The Brâhmanas and Ksattriyas used, then, to perform so many sacrifices that, at every nook and corner in this globe, the sacrificial altars and the sacrificial posts became visible. The female sex became gentle and of good behaviour, truthful and chaste towards their husbands respectively. Atheism and unrighteous acts vanished entirely from the face of the earth; the people left all dry discussions; they argued only about the S’âstras that did not go in contra-distinction to the Vedas. Nobody liked to quarrel with each other; poverty, and evil inclinations were checked; the people everywhere lived in happiness. Untimely death was not there; so the people had no bereavements with their friends; no distress was seen. Famine, want of rains, and deadly plagues were out of sight. The people had no illness even; and jealousies and quarrels vanished.
O King! all men and women began to sport merrily everywhere like the Gods in Heaven. Theft, atheism, deceit, vanity, hypocrisy, lustfulness, stupidity, and the anti-Vedic feelings were not to be seen.
O Lord of the Earth! All the men were then extremely devoted to their Dharma and engaged in serving the Brâhmanas. The Brâhmins were also, according to the three-fold plan of the creation, Sâttvik, Râjasik and Tâmasik. The Sâttvik Brâhmins were all versed in the Vedas, clever and truthful; they were kind, they controlled their passions and they did not accept any presents from others. Filled with their ideas of Dharma, they used to perform their Purodâsa and other such sacrifices with Sâttvik rice, etc., but never, never did they immolate any animals.
O King! The Sâttvik Brâhmanas gave charities, studied the Vedas and offered sacrifices for themselves. These were their three ordained actions. They were busy in these.
O King! The Râjasik Brâhmanas were versed in the Vedas and acted as priests to the Ksattriyas and ate flesh as sanctioned by recognised rules. They were busy with their six duties. They offered sacrifices on their own behalf, assisted others in sacrifices, took gifts, made charities, studied and taught others the Vedas. The Tâmasik Brâhmanas were angry, attached to worldly objects, and jealous. They studied very little of the Vedas and spent most of their time in serving the kings.
O King! Mahisâsura was killed, all the Brâhmanas were glad and began to practise Dharma according to the Vedas, observed vows and made charities. The Ksattriyas began to govern the subjects, the Vaisya carried on their trading business and the other tribes went on with their agriculture, preservation of the cows, and lending money on interest. Thus all men became vary glad on the death of Mahisa. Devoid of cares and anxieties, the subjects got much wealth! The cows were endowed with suspicious signs and gave plenty of milk and the rivers flowed full of waters. The trees looked splendid with abundance of fruits; men were without diseases: in short, people had no mental agony and too much or too little of rains were not there; S’alavas, mice, birds, and seditions we not extant.
O King! The beings died not prematurely; rather enjoyed incessantly, their full health and possessed lots of riches; especially beings, engaged in the Vedic Dharma, served the lotus feet of Chandikâ and thus spent their lives.
May peace be to all who reads these verses.