Tag Archives: Hindu Philosophy

Bhagyada Lakshmi – 2

[This is in continuation of the previous post covering the remaining 3 stanzas of Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma . Link for Post 1: https://naadopaasana.co.in/2020/08/06/bhagyada-lakshmi-1/ ]

Goddess Lakshmi

Verse 3: ” attittagalade bhaktara maneyali nitya mahOtsava nitya sumangaLa
satyava tOruva sAdhu sajjanara cittadi hoLeyuvA puttaLi bombe”

“O most Effulgent One, you are always enshrined in the hearts of the great saints and seers. Do not go hither and thither, but take up your permanent abode in the house of your devotees wherein your auspicious presence is daily invoked.”
Lakshmi is supposed to be ‘chanchala’ – never stays in one place for a long time. But the great devotee of Guruvayoorappan, Sri Narayana Bhattathiri says, “O Mother of the Universe, Goddess Lakshmi, you are not ‘chanchala’ at all. Your permanent abode is where Lord Hari resides. When ignorant people get attached to sheer materialistic wealth, you quietly leave them in search of the abode where Hari resides”. Therefore the prayer to Goddess Lakshmi not to go anywhere else but to take up her permanent abode where there is nitya Hari smarana.


Verse 4: “sankhye illAda bhAgyava koTTu kankaNa kaiya tiruvuta bAre
kunkumAnkite pankaja lOcane venkaTaramaNana binkada rANI”

“Adorned with the sacred and auspicious red kumkum, O Beloved Consort of Lord Venkataramana, you are a personification of modesty. You have taken up the vow (kankana-badha) of protecting the devotees of Sri Hari. Bestow and shower your countless blessings on your devotees.”
Sri Lakshmi dwells in the heart of Lord Venkataramana and therefore she resides only in a heart and home where her Lord is invoked. She is kankana-badha (has taken a vow) to protect her devotees, yet it is not easy to win her favours. To receive her grace, Lakshmi has to be ardently courted and devotedly worshipped. She is an embodiment of modesty, she is shy and therefore very slowly she enters our lives only after making sure that Lord Hari is there in our hearts! 
Very often Lakshmi is depicted in red attire. Red signifies activity. She is also glorified as not only adorned with the sacred red kumkum but haldi or turmeric as well. And kumkum is made from haldi. In any puja, we first offer or use haldi and only then the kumkum. Yellow colour (haldi) represents Knowledge or Jnana, and the red colour (kumkum) represents Activity or Karma. The significance is that with the help of the right knowledge (Jnana), when we put forth the required self-effort (Karma) in any undertaking, material or spiritual, we can surely gain the countless blessings of Goddess Lakshmi.  

Verse 5: “sakkare tuppada kAluve harisi shukravAradha pUjaya vELage
akkareyuLLa aLagiri rangana chokka purandara viTtalana rANI”

“O Beloved Consort of Ranganatha, the Queen of Lord Vittala, as I invoke you on the auspicious shukravara (friday), shower your grace and blessings and let them flow into my life like sugar and ghee!”
Ranganatha is the Supreme Parabrahma, who is the Lord (Natha) of the colourful drama of life (Ranga). The Lord represents the Spirit (Purusha) and Lakshmi is his Shakti (Prakriti). Traditionally, Lakshmi-vara (Lakshmi’s day) is Guru-vara (thursday). Guru-vara represents ‘standard of life’. Shukra-vara (friday) represents ‘standard of living’. First, one must take care of one’s own ‘standard of life’ (values, knowledge). Only then the ‘standard of living’ (enjoyment, pleasures, life’s experiences) will become aligned to dharma. Hence Guru-vara comes before Shukra-vara! Only when we invoke Lakshmi to take care of both, our ‘standard of life’ and ‘standard of living’, our life becomes meaningful and full.

Sugar and Ghee are two of the five ingredients which constitute Panchamruta, the other three being milk, curds and honey. They all have medicinal properties. When these ingredients are used for abhishekam, they easily absorb the divine vibrations of the deity and transfer it to us when we receive the panchamruta as prasad. Sugar is the end product of the processing of sugar-cane juice, and similarly, ghee is the end product of milk-processing. Therefore, both sugar and ghee represent the end product or “fruits of our activities” – Karmaphala. Sugar denotes Happiness or Bliss. Ghee denotes the Light of Knowledge. By putting forth the right effort (Karma), we seek the grace of Goddess Lakshmi to bestow upon us the sacred Spiritual Knowledge which ultimately leads us to the State of Eternal Bliss.

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Bhagyada Lakshmi – 1

Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma is a beautiful and very popular composition of Sri Purandaradasa, who is regarded as the Grandsire of Carnatic Music. It is an invocation to Goddess Lakshmi, the presiding deity of Shukra-vara (Friday), and it is usually sung in mangala ragas (tunes) like Sri or Madhyamavati. Purandaradasa was initially a very wealthy and miserly tradesman who would not even part with a coin in the name of charity. But having obtained the grace and blessings of Sri Hari, he was totally transformed and gave away his entire material wealth in charity. Years later the Saint composed this song, invoking the Goddess of Fortune and Prosperity!

The songs of Sri Purandaradasa, the greatest of Haridasas are known as “Purandara Upanishad”. The songs soaked in bhakti are in simple kannada language and can be easily tuned and sung. Apart from the simple word meaning, there is a very significant and deep inner meaning expressed in all the songs. They indicate the purpose of human life, the ultimate goal to be reached and the path to be taken to reach it.

Significance of Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma:

Pallavi : “bhAgyada lakShmi bArammA nammamma ni sau”

Chorus: “Come, O Mother of All, verily an Embodiment of Auspiciousness, Bhagyada Lakshmi, come…..” 

‘Bhagya’ comes from the word ‘bhaga’. ‘Bhaga’ represents the six divine glories: Lordliness, Strength, Knowledge, Fame, Prosperity and Dispassion. Whoever has these six glories in immeasurable quantities is known as Bhagavan or Bhagavati. The Goddess is one who possesses these qualities – Bhagyada Lakshmi. Lakshmi comes from the word ‘lakshya’. It means ‘One who leads and guides’. She also represents the ‘goal’ to be reached. Lakshmi Sampat (wealth) represents the ‘noble and divine values’. Hence the invocation here is not just for material wealth. It is an invocation, an ardent prayer to the Divine Mother of the Universe, who is the Bestower of all that is Good and Auspicious, both for our materialistic and spiritual life. She is not only Dhanalakshmi (wealth), but also Vidyalakshmi (knowledge), Dhairyalakshmi (courage), Veeralakshmi (strength), Dhaanyalakshmi (food & grains), Vijayalakshmi (victory), Bhaktilakshmi (devotion) and Mokshalakshmi (liberation). Any asset that comes to us, materialistic or spiritual, is nothing but ‘Lakshmi Herself in a different form’.

VERSE 1: “hejjaya mele hejjeyanikkuta gejje kAlgaLa dhvaniya tOruta
sajjana sAdhu pUjeya vELege majjigeyoLagina beNNeyante”

“Just as butter manifests out of the churning of buttermilk, similarly, during the auspicious time of worship and upasana undertaken by the virtuous and devoted seekers, O Mother, step by step, slowly but surely, accompanied by the tinkling sound of your beautiful anklets enter our lives.”
Goddess Lakshmi represents Knowledge, and also Values. Hence she is invoked by the noble and virtuous people. Knowledge does not easily come to the seeker. Values also do not come to a person overnight. They have to be ardently courted and a lot of effort has to be put forth. Only then they come into our life…slowly….very slowly, but surely, just like butter comes out of the efforts of the process of churning the buttermilk. And when the divine values come, they bring along with them a divine fragrance, a divine aura which can be felt vividly around the person. This is indicated by the tinkling sound of the anklets. The beautiful sound vibrations made by the silver anklets are very auspicious and beneficial in creating a positive atmosphere around and that is the reason why women wear anklets.

VERSE 2: “kanaka vrushtiya kareyuta bAre manakAa manaya siddhiya tOrE
dinakara kOTi tEjadi hoLeva janakarAyana kumAri bEga”

“O Daughter of King Janaka, whose aura surpasses the brilliance of countless suns, may the showers of your divine grace and blessings (kanaka vrishti), fulfill all our desires”. 
Goddess Lakshmi manifested as Seeta from the bosom of Mother Earth. She has all the innumerable and inexhaustible qualities of Bhudevi. She was brought up by King Janaka, who was a unique combination of Jnana and Karma. Seeta personifies all these characteristics, and represents a personality incomprehensible and incomparable. It is through her sheer grace and blessings that Hanuman bestows nava-nidhi (material wealth), ashta-siddhis (supernatural powers) or rama-nama (the antidote to the malady of samsara) to his devotees. She not only rains down material riches on her devotees but also bestows upon the seeker the brilliant ‘Light of Knowledge’ with which the seeker can achieve his goal of Self-realization.

[The 2nd part will be post on Friday – 14th Aug 2020]

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Sri Varalakshmi

Sri Varamahalakshmi festival falls on the friday just before the full-moon in the month of Shravan.

Vaikunta and Sri Lakshmi Narayana: In Vaikunta, Lord Vishnu is depicted as lying down in yoga-nidra on the coiled Adisesha in the milk-ocean. Sri Lakshmi is seated at his feet and constantly serving him, but her gaze is completely focused on the Lord’s beautiful face. Vaikunta means ‘without any defects or limitations or conditionings’ and therefore it represents the State of Enlightenment. The milk-ocean represents a ‘pure and conducive spiritual environment within oneself’. Adisesha lies coiled with its hood turned inward which represents a ‘mind completely under self-control and turned within’. Lord Vishnu in yoga-nidra represents a ‘Man of Realisation (Jeevanmukta) who is completely relaxed and revelling in his State of self-realization’. Lakshmi serving at Narayana’s feet with total attention rivetted on the Lord represents a ‘Master rooted in his true inner nature within and simultaneously engaged in selfless activities of guiding the generation to walk the path of spirituality’.

Sri Laksmi Narayana – the Path and Goal: To a seeker, Narayana represents the Spiritual GOAL and Lakshmi represents Knowledge and Values. Her constant and consistent service to the Lord indicates the PATH – materialistic and spiritual activities undertaken by a devoted seeker in total dedication to the Lord. 

The great musician-saint, Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar has composed a kriti exclusively for the auspicious occasion of Varamahalakshmi Vrata – “Sri Varalakshmi namasthubyam…..”: “Salutations to Sri Varalakshmi, the Bestower of Fortune! One with lotus like feet, graceful at every step, protect me. An embodiment of all virtues, shining like molten gold and with effulgence that surpasses a crore of suns, she is easily accessible to those who worship her and she bestows her choicest blessings upon them. Lakshmi resides in the heart of Lord Kesava and is worshipped by all the sumangalis on FRIDAY PRIOR TO THE FULL MOON OF SRAVANA. Adorning a gem-studded garland offered by GURU-GUHA (Karthikeya), worshipped by Bharati (Saraswati), she bestows materialistic wealth and kaivalya-pada (moksha) on her devotees.”

There is a beautiful and very significant line in this kriti: “sarasapade..rasapade…sapade…..pade……pade”.

The padartha or word-meaning is very simple. It means: “One with lotus like feet (sarasa pade), who is graceful at every step (rasa pade), slowly but surely (sapade), step by step (pade…pade)” — protect me.
Significance of this line: PADA means ‘State’. SARA means ‘Essence’, the Supreme Essence, the Unmanifest Parabrahma Tattva. SARASA (Lotus) signifies Truth, Knowledge, Beauty and Bliss. SARASAPADE: Lakshmi represents the Supreme Parabrahma State, the State of Sachidananda (Existence-Knowledge-Bliss), the Nameless, Formless and Attributeless. RASA is the opposite of SARA, and therefore it represents the Manifest Deity with Name, Form and Attributes. RASAPADE: represents the Mother of the Universe in her manifest form – the Supreme GOAL. SA means ‘sahitha’ or ‘along with’.   SAPADE: Lakshmi is an embodiment of moral and ethical values which a seeker needs to walk the path of spirituality, and therefore, she represents the PATH to be taken by the seeker. PADE…..PADE: to ‘walk step by step’.  The prayer to Goddess Lakshmi is that, “O Mother, you represent the Highest Goal and also the Path to reach the Goal. As my preceptor walk along with me, guide me, slowly but surely, step by step to ultimately reach the All-perfect State of Enlightenment”.

Hold on to Narayana; Lakshmi can never be far away. Wealth with character alone can bring joy, peace and prosperity. When one is kind and sincere, alert and consistent, he attracts to himself wealth and glory. - Swami Chinmayananda

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Chaturmasya – Its Significance

CHATURMASYA is a four months period from the middle of Ashada to the middle of the month of Kartika. It is a very auspicious time period wherein everyone irrespective of their state and stage of life (varna-ashrama dharma) undertake various vratas (vows) and upasanas. Most of the important festivals are during the chaturmasya period. Any religious activities undertaken during this period bestows immense benefits and merits on the individual.

Our one year constitutes a day for the devatas. Uttarayana, the six bright months of the year which represents the day-time for the devatas was coming to a close, and Dakshinayana, the six dark months of the year which represents the night-time for the devatas was about to start. All the devatas came to the peak of Meru where Lord Varaha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu was residing. They assembled there to take leave of the Lord and then retire during their night time. When all the devatas were offering their prostrations to the Lord, a celestial woman, dark in complexion and dressed in white came forward to offer her salutations to the Lord. She was looking very sad. The Lord enquired what the matter was. She said, “O Lord, I am RATRI DEVI, the presiding deity of Dakshinayana. I am feeling very sad because nobody likes me. All the devatas go to sleep during my regime. And there in Bhuloka, no one conducts any auspicious functions like marriage, gruhapravesha etc during Dakshinayana. Everyone considers me as inauspicious and I feel terribly neglected and dejected and do not wish to live anymore”.

The other devatas heard her plea and requested Lord Varaha to solve her problem. The All-compassionate Lord consoled her and said, “Devi, do not worry. During Dakshinayana, the four months starting from the second half of Ashada, the whole of Shravana and Bhadrapada, Aswayuja and first half of Kartika will be especially dear to me and whoever performs any noble activity whether it is snana (ablution), vrata (vows), tapa (austerity), japa (chanting the Lord’s name), dana (charity), homa (rituals) will earn immense merit. This merit will increase day by day and therefore the fourth month of Kartika will bestow maximum benefit to a person who performs meritorious deeds and hence Kartika maasa will be very special and dear to me. The merit earned during these four months will be many times more than that earned during the other months.” Hearing this, Ratri Devi was very happy. She offered her prostrations to the Lord and went away totally satisfied.

The Lord is worshipped as Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha in the same order during these four months. Symbolically, the four months represent our inner spiritual journey and they stand for: Vyakulatha (intense urge to know of the Higher Truth), Sravana (Listening), Manana (Reflection) and Nidhidhyasana (Contemplation). Amongst the vratas (vows) undertaken during the Chaturmasya, “Anna Dana”(ANNA represents both ‘food’ and ‘knowledge’) is very important and is of immense benefit. Masters, Sages and Saints do not travel during the rainy season since it is not safe to cross through forests, mountains and valleys during this period because of landslides, flooded rivers, etc. Also the rainy season is the breeding season for animals and hence it is not safe to encounter the aggressive and wild animals enroute. Therefore, the Masters give up travelling during these four months and stay in one place and give discourses to the people of the village or town on the sacred scriptures.

When the Sun moves from Northern solstices to Southern solstices, there are lot of changes happening in Nature. There are significant changes due to the influence of the sun and moon on the earth and its produce which are not easily perceptible to us. Similarly there are significant changes that happen in our physical, emotional and intellectual constitution. There are marked changes in the functioning of the digestive system, metabolic activities etc. What we take in as ‘food’ at the physical level plays a significant role in our mental constitution. This being the rainy season, vegetables, fruits and pulses become breeding ground for a variety of worms and insects outside and inside. Dairy products like milk etc are not suitable for consumption because it is the breeding season for cows. And the bacteria responsible for processing the milk into curds in this season is not suitable for our constitution. Hence four important vratas are prescribed during these four months. They pertain to our food habits. They are: shaka vrata (vegetables and some fruits are prohibited in the first month of chaturmasya), dadhi vrata (curds is prohibited during the second month), ksheera vrata (milk and milk products are prohibited during the third month) and dvidala vrata (pulses consisting of two segments are prohibited during the last and fourth month). These vratas help us largely to remain sattvic and healthy at all levels of our personality: physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual.

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

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