Sri Matre Namaha
Sri Mata – The First name in Lalitha Sahasranamam.
Mother as the creative aspect of Brahman (God Almighty)
Sacred Mother; the Seer, the Seen and the Seeing.
Sri also transliterated as Shri or Shree, is a word of Sanskrit origin.
Sri has the root meaning of radiance, or diffusing light, much like the English word “illustrious”. In Sanskrit grammar, Sri has the feminine gender. Sri is used in everyday Indian writing and speech as a polite form of address equivalent to the English “Mr.” The title is derived from śrīmān. This use may stem from the Puranic conception of prosperity.
Sri is also frequently used as an epithet of some Hindu gods. When used as a title for gods, Śrī is sometimes translated into English as Lord.
Sri Devi (or in short Sri, another name of Lakshmi, consort of Vishnu) is the devi (goddess) of wealth according to Hindu beliefs.
Śrī is one of the names of Ganesha, the Hindu god of prosperity.
Among today’s orthodox Vaishnavas, the English word “Shree” is a revered syllable and is used to refer to the Supreme Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of the Supreme Lord Vishnu, who is also known by name Shreenivas (the One where Lakshmi resides). Sri or Shri is used to address humans.
The names of great men and great things have the honorific word Sri prefixed to them like Sri Lakshmi, Sri Shiva, Sri Ganesh, etc.
Mata : Means progenitor of all, Mata is the one from which all the beings are born.
Sri Mata : The Great mother. She is the Mother of all the mothers.
The mother is usually called upon in times of sorrow, but our natural mothers are not able to remove the three kinds of pains, called Tapatraya. The greatest world-mother is the only one who is capable of removing the endless misery of existence. Hence we should praise her as the mother so that she may be induced to show mercy to us.
Sri also denotes Maha Lakshmi Swarupam and Mata is Mother
Sri denotes Maha Saraswathi Swarupam
Laksmi Sarawathi DhitriVarga SampaDviBhutiSoBhaSu
upakarana vesharachana vidyaSu Sti Vidya PradhithA
Sri means Laksmi (goddess of wealth), Saraswati (goddess of learning), prosperity, beauty, success, decorated with jewels, supreme intellect and one who can impart knowledge of vedas. Here Sri refers to the power of speech and Sabda-brahman.
Sri also means to denote MokshaKAmini
SAhiSri ramutA saTAm
Sri-mata is the progenitor of all – whole universe, Nature, Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesa. She is all supreme – Parabrahman. The three names of the Divine Mother – mata, rajni and isvari refer to the three phenomena of creation, preservation and destruction of the universe due to three aspect of the supreme.
Sometimes, in Hindu literature, Sri Mata is referred to the wife of Rudra, the equal of Saraswati and Lakshmi but here, the meaning is the one who is the creator of the three, Rudra, Lakshmi and Saraswati. The one who is the Great saviour. Hence in order to attain ultimate freedom, the Moksha. She should be praised.
YoBrahmaNanam vidhaDhAthi pUrvam yoVi VEdAmscha PranAthosMi
“In the primordial mysteries, the Feminine — whose nature we have attempted to discern in the symbols and functions of its elementary and transformative character — assumes a creative role and so becomes the determining factor in early human culture. Whereas the instinctual mysteries revolve around the central elements of the life of woman — birth, menstruation, conception, pregnancy, sexuality, climacteric, and death — the primordial mysteries project a psychic symbolism upon the real world and so transform it.
aniyuktAnam nAma Sri Padma pUrvam praYumJIta Sri ChakrA Sri SailA Sri VidyA Sri phaLadikavaTH
The mysteries of the feminine may be divided into mysteries of preservation, formation, nourishment, and transformation. . . At all stages of the primordial mysteries it is the central symbol of their realization. . . . The woman is the natural nourishing principle and hence mistress of everything that implies nourishment. . . . Thus the transformative character o the Feminine rises from the natural to the spiritual plane. The culture-bringing primordial mysteries cultimate in a spiritual reality that completes the mystery character of the Feminine.”
YAthOvA ImAni bhuthAni JAyanthE
“The Spirit (cometh) by command of my Lord: Of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you.” If it were Our Will, We could take away that which We have sent thee by inspiration: Then wouldst thou find none to plead thy affair in that matter against Us.
“The mother is the most lovable person for a living being. A child always calls upon his mother first when he is in difficulty. But a biological mother, though a symbol of divinity, can only remove physical difficulties and that too only partly. The Holy Mother is the causative and creative force of the entire universe. She is infinite and limitless. She is omnipresent both in forms and as formless. She is all powerful to remove all kinds of sorrows and sufferings.
“Shakti is the hidden power that turns matter into life. She is the divine spark, the flow of God’s love.
Anyone who is connected with spirit has Shakti, which manifests in five ways that the God Herself manifests. (For the sake of simplicity I will use the word God and apply feminine pronouns whenever I have the goddess Shakti in mind.) As described in the ancient Shiva Sutras — “teaching about Shiva” — these are five powers:
Chitta Shakti: the awareness of God
Ananda Shakti: the bliss of God
Icha Shakti: the desire or intention to unite with God
Gyana Shakti: knowledge of God
Kriya Shakti: action directed toward God
If the voice of God spoke to you, Her powers would be conveyed in simple, universal phrases:
Chitta Shakti: “I am.”
Ananda Shakti: “I am blissful.”
Icha Shakti: “I will” or “I intend.”
Gyana Shakti: “I know.”
Kriya Shakti: “I act.”
If a child came to me and asked, “How did God make me?” these five things would be my answer, because this is how God made Herself, or at least made Herself known to us, and at each stage of giving birth a new exclamation of discovery emerged. First She experienced Herself as existence (“I am!”), then creative joy (“I am blissful!”), pulsing desire (“I will!”), cosmic mind (“I know!”), and finally the shaping force that molds all things (“I act!). Because none of these except “I am” had ever existed before, each came as a revelation.
All of these qualities have universal application . . . These five powers form a cascade, spilling like water from unmanifest spirit to the material world. Tagore employed almost the same analogy when he poetically asked, “Where is this fountain that throws out these flowers in such a ceaseless outbreak of ecstasy?” In one beautiful line he states the mystery precisely. What is the origin of the infinite display of nature’s abundance? The flowers are outside, but the fountain is inside, in divine essence. To realize this you must become that fountain; you must have the assurance that the flow of life can gush through your being at full force. This state of connection is supreme existence. When you join the cosmic dance, the powers of God as creator-mother fully infuse you.”
“The experiential core of ‘Hinduism’ can be intellectually and discursively understood through the classes and reading with which we have been involved throughout the semester. However, there is a point to which there is a gap in understanding, a point at which one may become frustrated at not being able to clearly articulate or fully understand the material at hand. This is the gap which lies between the knowledge experience, between studying what we are studying and experiencing what we are studying. Each person has moments of clarity in her/his life; moments in which, for an instant, everything falls perfectly into place and there is not a trace of effort to understand what was once the mind’s struggle.”
Worship of the Mother Goddess or feminine principle is prominent in contemporary Hinduism. She is identified with Earth with prakriti/matter, and maya/illusion. Often she is depicted in her terrible aspect as a dread warrior and destroyer of evil. The Goddess is known by various names: Durga, Kali, Shakti, Devi; in this text she is called by her name Chandika.”
“The expression, Shaktism is derived from the word “Shakti.” The word Shakti means “Power” both latent and manifest. When personalised it means the Devi of Power; she is Devaa. The Devi Shakti is the power aspect of the supreme spirit. The doctrines and ritual of Shaktism are contained in a special branch of the holy Scriptures of India, called Tantra Shastra, which acknowledges the authority of the great Veda. “Veda” means the God inspired word which has from the oldest times been the foundation of Indian spiritual thought and culture; but it is not confined to what is called the four Vedas. They are but parts of it and based on the one Veda–for ‘Vak’ or ‘Logos’ is one.
Shaktism is an eminently practical religion. Practically the whole content of its scriptures consists in rules and ritual by which the higher realisation of the spiritual truth may be gained. This way of personal spiritual attainment, or Yoga, which is known to all Indian religions, is called in Shaktism, Sadhana. Very often the remark can be found in the Tantrik texts that by merely pondering about the husks of words nothing is done, i.e., mere book-knowledge is useless–but that only by practically touching the truth itself can liberation, bliss and the highest consciousness be won.
The Goddess Shakti is the “power” which pervades the whole of the universe, and from which the Universe has emanated. There is nothing within the manifest world which is not Shakti in its essence. The manifest world is mind and matter, that is to say, all that we call our thought, will, imagination, etc. is mind, and all the realm of nature is matter. She–in her highest aspect–is pure spirit or pure consciousness — as such she is called Chit-Shakti — but her nature and essence become apparent also in all that we are aware of through our senses. So She is matter–substance too–and as such She is called Maya-Shakti. Here is no antagonism between the spiritual and the natural sides of the universe, since she is both of them. In order to illustrate more clearly this important principle of Shaktism.”
It is a normal practice to remember the Guru before commencing any devotional pArAyana. Unless we do guru- smaranam in the beginning, the whole of the effort will become fruitless. That is why I think the vagdevatas (Vasini etc.,) would have preffered the name sreemAtha as the first one of all the 1000 names of the mother Lalitha.
Sreeh is a word which denotes innumerable meanings; one of which is Athma, the self. We use it as a prefix to all the names of our elders and respectable persons with an intention that they belong to ourselves.
It also denotes to the the Athmavidya as mentioned in the L.S. stotra verses as
“Athmavidya mahavidya sreevidya KAmasevitha”.
Athma vidya itself is Athma-GnAna.MAthA means, “mAthi tharathi (thArayathi) iti mAtha ie., (the guru is)the protector of AthmagnAna and enables us to cross the ocean of samsAra.
There is another meaning for Shreeh as -‘avidya’.(ignorance).mAtha means one who measures.(the quantity of our ignorance and cures the ailent). ‘MAng paricchEdane’. The guru distinguishes and separates the avidya and endows us with real knowledge.(vidya). It also means as “Varthane iti mangx”. The guru guides us by his good conduct and behaviour.
“Shrayathe janairithi sreeh”. Guru is the place of refuse for everyone who is desirous of the liberation. Unless one approaches a guru, it is not possible at all to achieve mOkSha
It is a general convention to use sree before the word guru, only for the gurus of the sreevidya order.’Guru’ is applied in both the genders.
Guru guides us like a mother and teaches as a father. He is both Siva and shakthi. The place of Guru is both AgnA charka and the cranial trikona charka. In Agna charka hi is controlling the sreeh.(ie., mAna, mAtru and meya-the triputi) and in the brahmarandhra he controls sattwa (sa), rajas (ra) and thamas (ee).
Brahmarandhra is considered to be the abode of Siva bhagawan (Kailas). And the Agna charka is also the kailas which has descended down for the benefit of the humankind.
“Agnaa sankramanam thatra guroraagnethi keerthitham
thadUrdhwam kailAsAkhyam thu thadoordhwe bodhanam thathah||”
“Lalita Sahasra-nama: Brevity is the essence of most of Vedic scriptural literature. Most of the ‘sUtra’ literature are of this type. Take for example, Brahma-sUtra, Dharma-sUtra, Grihya-sUtra, nArada-bhakti-sUtra, shAndilya-bhakti-sUtra etc. These aphorisms are so concise and compact that commentaries on each run to pages explaining the succinct words with meanings literal, subtle and contextual. Just like them, this Lalita sahasra-nama also falls into that category. Even though the Stotra format has helped the poet-visionary to sing with poetic ecstasy, the words used are mostly technical terms of Tantra shastra, and without a rudimentary knowledge of which, the profound meaning of the names may not be intelligible at all.”
Therefore, he who knows this, having become peaceful, controlled, detached, patient and concentrated, Sees the atman in himself and sees all in the atman.
Evil does not overcome him, but he overcomes all evil; evil does not consume him, but he consumes all evil. Free from evil, free from passion, free from doubt, he becomes a knower of Brahman.
It is pertinent to note that this Sahasranama begins by addressing Lalitambika as the mother of all, which emphasizes Her compassion for the universe and all its beings. Since She is addressed as Sri Mata, this nama refers to creation, the first act of Brahman.”
“To make up for the imperfect performances in this age of Kali, which is noted for the prevalence of sin and delinquency on the part of the people in doing their duty, there is no protective mantra except the repetition of this (Lalita) Sahasranama. To a thousand names of Vishnu a single name of Shiva is preferred. To a thousand names of Shiva a single name of Devi preferred . . . Therefore, it should be repeated daily to ward off the sins of the Kali age. The ignorant do not recognise this hymn of Devi as the best. Some devote themselves to the names of Vishnu and others to the names of Shiva. Rarely one in this world is devoted to the names of Lalita. It is by repeating the names of other deities in hundreds of thousands of births that faith is generated to repeat the names of Sri Devi. Just as it is in the last of all his births that a person devotes himself to Srividya, so it is that the repetition of this Sahasranama is taken by him, whose birth is the last.”
“The Saktas worship the Universal Energy as Mother; it is the sweetest name they know. The mother is the highest ideal of womanhood in India.
Mother is the first manifestation of power and is considered a higher idea than father. The name of mother brings the idea of Shakti, Divine energy and omnipotence. The baby believes its mother to be all-powerful, able to do anything. The Divine Mother is the Kundalini sleeping in us; without worshipping Her, we can never know ourselves. All merciful, all-powerful, omnipresent – these are attributes of the Divine Mother. She is the sum total of the energy in the Universe.
We address our mother as mata. Mata means mother. The prefix Sri is important here. Sri represents the highest form of mother hood. The human mothers can take care of their children with love and affection. But they cannot remove the miseries and sufferings of their loved ones, which they are destined to undergo. Since Lalithambigai is much more than the human mother, she has the capacity to remove sorrows and miseries of her children. Children mean all the living beings in this universe, as she is the mother of the entire universe that includes sun, moon, stars, five elements, etc. She is addressed as mata as she is the creator, sustainer and also the dissolver. The universe was created out of her. The universe acts as per her instructions. When the dissolution takes place, the universe merges back with her. The cycle of the samsara (worldly acts) repeats by birth, sustenance and death. Samsara is called an ocean. It is difficult to swim against the current of samsara. The current of samsara is produced by our sense organs. These sense organs in turn influence our mind that causes desires and attachments. Only Sri mata is capable of helping us to cross the hurdles of samsara and reach the destination (realization of Brahman). This is possible only by worshipping her.
A bit of Mother, a drop, was Krishna; another was Buddha. The worship of even one spark of Mother in our earthly mother leads to greatness. Worship Her if you want love and wisdom.”
“The Goddess is the great Sakti. She is Maya, for of her the maya which produces the samsara is. As Lord of Maya she is Mahamaya. Devi is avidya because she binds, and vidya because she liberates and destroys the samsara. She is praktri and as existing before creation is the Adya Sakti. Devi is the Vacaka Sakti, the manif4estation of Cit in Praktri, and the Vicya Sakti or Cit itself. The Atma should be contemplated as Devi. Sakti or Devi is thus the Brahman revealed in the mother aspect (Srimata) as creatrix and nourisher of the worlds. Kali say of herself in Yogini Tantra: “I am the bodily form of Saccidananda and I am the brahman that has emanated from brahman.”
Sri mata is also said to mean the mother of the Goddesses Sri Lakshmi (goddess for wealth) and Sri Saraswathi (goddess for knowledge). Rudrani (the goddess for dissolution) is the wife of Rudra. Rudra is different from Shiva. Therefore Sri means the mother of these three goddesses.
Durvasa is a great saint. He surrenders to Sri mata by saying “Oh mata, the supreme compassionate! I had born to a number of mothers. In future also, I may be born to a number of mothers. My mothers are countless, as I had different mothers for my different births. I am so scared to be born again and to undergo the associated sufferings. Oh! Mata! I am surrendering to you. Please give me relief from my future births.”
When Sri is added as a prefix to any word, it shows the greatness. There are five such words with Sri prefixed in the worship of the devi. These five together are called Sri Panchagam. They are Sri puram (the place where she dwells), Sri Chakram, the palace where she lives with her body guards, Sri Vidya, the ritual worship, Sri Suktham, verses in praise of Her and Sri Guru, the spiritual teacher who initiates his disciple into Shakthi worship. The main aspect of Shakthi worship is tantra sastra.
Sri also means Veda-s. Veda-s originated from the Brahman. Lalitambigai is the Brahman as repeatedly stressed in this Sahasranama. Svetasvatara Upnishad (VI. 18) says: He first created Brahma and then presented the Veda-s to Him. I, a seekers of liberation, take refuge in that luminous Lord who reveals the knowledge of the Self in the mind.”
It is also said that this nama means the Pancadasi mantra.
It is pertinent to note that this Sahasranamam starts by addressing Lalithai as the mother of all, which emphasizes her care and affection for all of us.
Every manifestation of power in the universe is Mother. She is Life, She is Intelligence, She is Love. She is in the universe, yet separate from it. She is a person, and can be seen and known – as Sri Ramakrishna saw and knew Her. Established in the idea of Mother, we can do anything. She quickly answers prayers.
She can show Herself to us in any form at any moment. The Divine Mother can have form (rupa) and name (nama), or name without form; and as we worship Her in these various aspects, we can rise to Pure Being, having neither form nor name.
“The West is exiled of the Goddess — her features are unknown to us, guessed at, hoped for, rejected as aberration, feared as monstrous or deformed. We in the West are haunted by the loss of our Mother. Our mother country is a place many have never visited, though it is endlessly projected as a golden matriarchy, or paradise, but though the house of the Goddess is in disrepair after so many centuries of neglect, some have begun the work of restoration while others have already moved back in and are renovating from within….
Yet the Goddess of Wisdom is not a newcomer to our phenomenal world, so how is it we have failed to notice her? The Western world has been so busy about its affairs that only a few unusual people have had time to comment on her existence. When they have talked or written about her, it has been in such overblown esoteric language that few had taken notice. Wisdom trades under impossible titles: Mother of the Philosophers, the Eternal Feminine, Queen of Good Counsel and other such nominations do not inspire confidence. . . . Frequently reduced to God’s secretary, who nevertheless still supplies all the efficiency of the divine office, she is from all time, the treasury of creation, the mistress of compassion.
When we speak of God, no one asks, ‘which God do you mean?’ as they do when we speak of the Goddess. The West no longer speaks the language of the Goddess, because the concept has been almost totally erased from consciousness, although many are trying to remember it. Our ancestors were very young when they were taken from the cradle and it is now difficult for us, their descendants, to speak or think of a feminine deity without the unease of someone in a foreign country. We have been raised to think of Deity as masculine and therefore a goddess is a shocking idea. But we do not speak here of a goddess, rather of the Goddess, and we speak it boldly and with growing confidence, because we find we like the taste of the idea.
When did we make up this idea? some ask. We didn’t invent this Goddess. She was always there, from the beginning, we tell them. Somehow, humanity left home and forgot its mother. Perhaps our ancestors took her for granted so much that they lost touch? Well, our generation wants to come back home now and be part of the family in a more loving way, because the West has still got a lot of growing up to do and the Goddess has a lot to teach us.
You indeed when attained, are the cause of the final emancipation
“O Goddess, who removes the suffering of Your supplicants, be gracious!
Be gracious, O Mother of the whole world!
Be gracious, O Queen of the universe; Safeguard the universe!
You, O Goddess, are Queen of all that is movable and unmovable!
You alone has become the support of the world,
Because You do subsist in the form of Earth!
By You, who exists in the form of water, all this universe is filled,
O You inviolable in Your valor; You are the Gem of the universe,
You are Illusion sublime! All this world has been bewitched, O Goddess;
You indeed when attained,
Are the cause of the final emancipation from existence on Earth!…
O Goddess, be gracious!
Protect us wholly from fear of our foes perpetually,
As You have at this very time saved us promptly by the slaughter of the demons!
And You bring quickly to rest the sins of all the worlds,
And the great calamities which have sprung, from the maturing of portents!
To us who are prostrate be You gracious,
O Goddess, who takes away affliction from the universe!
O You worthy of praise from the dwellers of the three worlds,
Bestow Your boons on this world!