Sri Matre Namaha
Sudha-sagara-madhyasta – The Sixty One name in Lalitha Sahasranamam.
sudhayah sagaranam madhaye tistathi sa
She resides in the center of the oceans of nectar
The ocean is the one above in the heaven. The sruti declares, “the city is surrounded by nectar.” Another one is in the place of bindu in the center of the moon in the pericarp of the thousand- petalled lotus. “In the city called, Aparajita (unconquered)to be attained with devotion by the Saguna Brahman, there are two ocean-like lake of nectar named ara and nyau respectively. Two more anavrittih, sabdat are dealt with in the commentary on the Vedanta-sutra of Vyasa. All these oceans (in all, five) are to be understood here – sudhasindhor madhye (sau.lah 8)
She resides in the middle of the ocean of nectar. Sudha means nectar, sagara means ocean and maddhyasta means centre. Sduha sagaram is a place in sahasrara. Just before sahasrara, there is a place called soma chakra. When kundalini reaches this soma chakra, due to the extreme heat, a liquid flows down through our throat. This liquid is called sudha as its viscosity and taste resembles nectar. This liquid is also called amirtavarshini. Amirtam also means nectar. She being present in the middle of this soma chakra in the midst of ocean of nectar causes this nectar to flow into all the 72,000 nerves of our body. It is said that this nectar, if flows into our body does not cause death to the physical body. However this is possible only during advanced stage of kundalini meditation. This is said to be the reason for long life of great sages. Sudha sindu also means the bindu in the centre of Sri Chakra. This is mentioned in SL 8. This nama attains great importance because it talks about amirtavarshini and the bindu.
Here the nectar is referred to the love and devotion of her people.It is referred thus because of the type worship her people indulge in,it is sweet as honey and it gives her immense pleasure to be bathed in such devotion.This devotion and love for her is otherwise known as bakthi.Now what is bhakthi?Strictly speaking,bhakthi is not mere love or devotion but a combination of several concepts.It is a powerful emotion of the mind,that is both earthly and transcendental,an overt sign of the highest nature hidden in us and the possibilities that await us as we make progress in our onward spiritual journey.It is characterized by faith,love ,trust ,loyalty,devotion,attachment and reverence manifested towards oneself a thing or an external entity such as God or teacher,parent or some loved being or even to oneself.while excessive devotion to oneself and ones interests leads to the strengthening of the asuric nature,pure and selfless devotion to God leads to salvation and eternal life.
In spiritual terms bhakthi means intense spiritual love and devotion to God.It helps a devout person satisfy his or her spiritual needs without following an ascetic way of life.Hindu scriptures extol bhakthi -marg or the path of devotion as one of the surest and easiest ways to reach God.
When we talk of bhakthi there are four types of devotees:The man in distress(arta),the inquisitive(jignasu),the seeker of wealth(artharhti)and the man of wisdom.I don’t have to mention which of them she prefers to be dear to her.
We have seen different types of devout,now let us see the types of bhakthi.On one extreme is the purest form of satvic(selfless)devotion that tends to be sacrificial and selfless in nature and leads to the liberation of its practitioner and his or her union with god.Next is the rajasic(egoistic)form of devotion that seeks to use devotion as a means to gain some physical,mental or spiritual power or boon in order to further ones own egoistic interests or selfish motive.on the other extreme is the dark and tamasic(deluded,psychotic)devotion that indulges in cruel and bizarre practices such as human or animal sacrifices and dark tantric rituals that aim to appease the objects of their devotion and gain control over things or cause intense pain and suffering to others in the most abominable,cruel and destructive manner.
In the Bhakthisutras,sage Narada describes bhakthi thus:
That is highest love,that is like amrit,finding which a person becomes perfect,becomes immortal,becomes satisfied,finding which,he desires nothing more,neither greives,nor hates,neither engages and not gets enthusiastic about anything else,having known which,e becomes as if drugged,lost as if,stunned,suprised,and dwells in his own self.By nature bhakthi is free of desire,possessing the nature of unconcern towards wordly affairs,exclusive devotion toward that (god)and unconcern toward any thing that contradicts it,giving up of other shelters,and exclusively taking the shelter of god.Even when interacting with this world,or conducting wordly affairs,living according to god and having unconcern toward anything that contradicts god.
In the Mahabhagavatam,we hear description of five forms of bhakthi from prahlada,
Shravanam: Listening to stories and glories of God
Kirtanam: Singing or reciting the names and glories of God
Smaranam:Recalling God and his exploits
Pada sevanam:Waiting on God
Archanam:Ritual worship of God’s forms or images
Vandanam:Prostration to God
Dasyam:Service to his personality or incarnation
Atma nivedanam:dedicating oneself to god heart and soul.
The nine primary activities of Bhakthi are:
- Hearing about God-singing and chanting and hearing stories from scriptures
- Gloriying God-describing God’s all attractive features
- Remembering God-internal meditation on the god’s form,activites,names or personality
- serving the lotus feet of god-providing a form of physical service
- worshiping the Lord-deity worship
- offering prayers to god-any form of prayer in any language
- serving God-this is by preaching and sharing experiences with othersand it should never be confided to oneself.
- Building friendship with god-having an internal,loving relationship with god.
- surrendering everything to god-surrendering one’s thought,actions and deeds.
These are few things we have to bear in mind when we offer our bhakthi to Maha Maye and the word amrit is used because before we bathe her in the amrit of our devotion we have to cleanse ourselves of the poison such as greed ,jealous,ego which is what is very nicely discussed here and that is what is implied by the term SUDHASAGARAMADHYASTHA