Sarvamangala mangalye,
Shive sarvartha sadhike,
Sharanye tryambake gauri,
Narayani namosthute!

Salutations to the Devi Narayani who is the Auspiciousness behind everything Auspicious, Who is the Divine Consort of Lord Shiva, Who is the refuge of all and fulfills all the objectives of Her devotees, Who has three eyes, O mother Gauri, I bow to Thee, the Mother of the three worlds, I bow to Thee.

The Brahmanda Purana, one of the eighteen Puranas, presents the story of the Goddess Lalitha, Laithambika, or Tripurasundari – the most beautiful incarnation of the Divine Mother. In fact, the very meaning of the word Lalitha means lovely, elegant, and charming. Forty out of the forty-four chapters in Brahmanda Purana are devoted to the story of Devi Lalitha. Together, the chapters are known as Lalitopakhyana – the story of the Goddess Lalitha.

The Lalitha Sahasranamam, the thousand and one names of Goddess Lalitha is given in the Brahmanda purana, describing every aspect of Her. These names are intended to be an aid for concentration for the devotees to visualize the Goddess in all Her beauty.

On the auspicious occasion of Navratri, let us all soak ourselves in the glory of the Divine Mother and listen to the meaning of Her names, expounded only by Her grace and at Her will alone by one of the loving devotees. Link to the Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam discourse, blessed by Swamiji, can be found here.

As our beloved Master Swamiji says, Navratri is a very sacred period for worshiping the Divine Mother. It is one of the best opportunities for all of us to be in Her devotion by listening to Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam. I invite you all to listen to Her glories during these nine days and be only and only in Her devotion, seeking nothing but Her, and soaking in Her love.

The Tripura Rahasya (a poem in Bhramanda Purana extolling Goddess Lalitha) says “That which shines within everyone and everything as pure being is Her, the Supreme Empress, the absolute consciousness. The universe and all the creatures that range within it are Her. Yes, all this is She alone.” (From the book Shakti: Realm of the Divine Mother by Vanamali).

The goal is not to intellectually memorize the meaning of each of the names, but to soak completely in Her devotion, to be in love of our beloved Divine Mother by listening to Her glories through Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam, to see Her in everything and everyone around, in fact to see nothing but Her, making our every thought, word, and action an offering to Her.

As we are all trained to first seek everything outside, seeking the beloved also begins from outside, in people, things, whatever we are surrounded with, the world. The most important thing to understand here is before an action happens, intention happens. And everything that happens within, the beloved Divine Mother sees, so the intentions are very clearly seen by Her. If your intention is to truly seek the beloved Divine Mother, without and within, She sees this intention and shows a path to reach Her. The actions may or may not be perfect, maybe the way we are seeking Her will not be perfect to start with, but that becomes secondary because the intention is pure, and She sees the pure intention. So, the first thing is to have that sincere, true intention to seek only and only Her. Once the intention is pure, true, and quiet intense, the actions get fueled by that intention.

Most of our outside actions consists of seeing and speaking. When we see, most of the times we tend to judge with the veil of our conditioning and that prevents us from seeing Her. But if the intention to see Her is pure and intense, the way we look at others will change slowly, not overnight, but slowly and surely. The two physical eyes are to see the outside person, the name and form, the third eye looks beyond. The physical action of looking will remain the same, but the intention with which we are seeing will slowly change.

And then the next action we do is speaking. Here the action itself will change, the words we choose will only and only be to express our love to the beloved Divine Mother. When we hug, we embrace the other person fully, deeply accepting the other person the way she or he is. Our words show that acceptance, giving that sense of belonging to the other. The words become gentle, as if we are speaking to the Divine Mother. And again this will not happen overnight. Remember though that the intention is what matters the most, the actions could be faulty in the beginning, but the intention needs to be pure and intense. With this continued, pure, and intense intention, the actions eventually will start to become purer. The way we look at others, the way we speak to them, it will all change, embracing others and accepting them fully the way they are, pouring onto them unconditional love from the deepest recess of our heart. In everything and everyone, we will only see the beloved Divine Mother and there will come a time when you will close your eyes and look within yourself so lovingly, with such deep acceptance, because the beloved will reveal within. It all starts with intention, pure intense intention, the actions will follow suit. Hence, let us continuously focus on the intention to see the beloved Divine Mother without and within.

Om Shri Matre Namah.

The words above are only of our beloved Master. All credit goes to Him, who is verily the Divine Mother.

Let Him do what He pleases with me, I desire only Him, and to be wholly devoted to Him.

~ Brother Lawrence

(Image credits: Sri Devi Om)

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