Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Saraswati Ashtottara Shat Nama Stotra- A translation (part 1)

Nithin Sridhar and Pratyasha Gupta

Here I post the translation of first "forty-two" of "hundred and eight" names of Goddess Saraswati as it appears in her Ashtottara Shatanama Stotra. If there is any improvements or corrections to be incorporated in the translations do tell us.

1.       Sarasvati
The name comes from the root word “saras” which means “anything which flows”.  So, Saraswati is “she who flows” or “she who has flow in her”. She is called as vakdevi (goddess of speech) because speech is result of flow of sound/vibration. Thus, she is the source of sound and hence the very source of this cosmos. She is also called Goddess of Knowledge/Jnana, because Knowledge is infinite and ever flowing. In short, Sarasvati is the personification of ever flowing Knowledge.

2.       Mahabhadra
It literally means “Very auspicious” or “Very pleasant/gentle/gracious”.

3.       Mahamaya
It literally means “Great Illusion”. According to Hindu philosophy, the whole universe is merely an illusion/maya. Maya means, that which is not. The universe consisting of dualities, opposites and multiplicities is nothing but an apparent manifestation of one indivisible Whole (God/Brahman). Brahman manifests this multiplicity within himself. This power of Brahman to manifest apparent multiplicity still maintaining wholeness is Maya. Hence, Mahamaya is the mother of whole cosmos, because she is the source of all manifestation.

4.       Varaprada
It literally means “granter of boons”.  She can fulfill everything a person desires.

5.       Shriprada
It means “granter of wealth”. Here “Shri” not only refers to money, but also to prosperity, health, happiness and bliss. It refers to balance in both physical and spiritual existences. That is, she can grant materialistic, intellectual and spiritual prosperity.

6.       Padmanilaya
Padma means lotus. Lotus represents detachment and purity. And Nilaya means residence/dwelling place. Padmanilaya is Her name because she is seated upon lotus. A esoteric meaning is that, she who is firmly established in detachment.

7.       Padmakshi
Padma means lotus, akshi means eyes. She is lotus eyed. Esoterically speaking, she witnesses everything through the eyes of detachment (unbiased).

8.       Padmavaktraga
Vaktraga means face. Her face is beautiful like a lotus.

9.       Shivaanuja
Literally it means, she who is born after Shiva.

10.   Pustakadhrt
Pustaka means book or manuscript which signifies knowledge. “dhrt” means holding/bearing/possessing. Hence Pustakadhrt means she who possesses all Knowledge both mundane and transcendental.

11.   Jnanamudra
A symbol/ personification of Knowledge.

12.   Ramaa
“Ramaa”  means fortune, splendor, prosperity which are attributes of Goddess Lakshmi. Hence, here Saraswati is identified with Lakshmi.

13.   Paraa
“Paraa” means “Existance”. It may also mean “Beyond”. So, here it can mean that Saraswati represents “Sat/Cosmic Existance” which is beyond any rational comprehension.

14.   Kamarupa
Kama means desires. Rupa means form. Hence, Kamarupa is she who has herself taken the form of all desires. The source and the body of all desires is Saraswati. Hence, she is also the fulfiller of all desires.

15.   Mahavidya
She is the Great Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge. Esoterically, she is one amongst the Dasha  Mahavidyas, the ten aspects of the primordial shakti.

16.   Mahapaatakanaashini
She who destroys all weakness and sins.

17.   Mahashraya
She is the great refuge to everyone in the universe. She being the mother of the universe, she looks after all her children. Nobody is orphan or left out in the world, She is always there for everyone. Once a person realizes this and takes refuge in her, then there would be nothing he would ever worry about.

18.   Maalinii
It means “shining” or “the one with garland”.

19.   Mahabhoga
It means “Great Enjoyer”/Great Witness(Experience). She is both the granter of all boons, desires and prosperity as well as enjoyer of those fruits. She is the doer of action as well as the dispenser and the enjoyer of the fruits of action.

20.   Mahaabhuja
It means “Great/Huge arms”. Arms represent Karma (actions performed). She is the performer as well as the controller of all actions.

21.   Mahabhaga
Bhaaga means portion/ part. Mahabhaga refers to being infinitesimally small. She is not only infinitely vast but also infinitesimally small.

22.   Mahotsaha
It means “Great Enthusiasm/ Great Strength”.  She is the source and personification of these attributes.

23.   Divyaangaa
She who has celestial body.

24.   Suravandita
She who is extolled and praised by the gods.

25.   MahaKaLi
Kaala means time. She is the personification of time principle. Also here Saraswati is being identified with Goddess KaLi.

26.   Mahapaashaa
She who binds all by her maya.  Here Paasha means a tie, a rope to bind/trap.

27.   MahaKaara
It means “Huge Form”. It is symbolically representing her infinitely vast form.

28.   Mahaankusha
She who controls the whole universe.  Ankusha means a goad (weapon) to control.

29.   Siitaa
It literally means “Furrow”. Symbolically speaking, just as plough prepares the ground for the emergence of new plant life, she arranges karmas for continuation of this cosmos (her lila/manifestion).

30.   Vimalaa
Vimala means pure. She is the personification of purity.

31.   Vishwa
She is the entire cosmos. She is everything.

32.   Vidhyunmala
She who wears a shining garland.

33.   Vaishnavi.
Here Saraswati is identified with Vaishnavi, the Shakti of Lord Vishnu.

34.   Chandrika
She who is as bright as moonlight.

35.   Chandravadana
She who’s face is as beautiful as moon.

36.   Chandralekhaa vibhushita
She who wears a crescent moon on her head.

37.   sAvitri
It literally means “ray of  light/solar ray”. It implies that, just as a ray of light removes darkness, so also Sarasvathi, the Goddess of Knowledge removes Ignorance.

38.   Surasaa
It means “she who represents all good things in life”.

39.   Devi

40.   Divyalankarabhushita
She who is adorned by celestial ornaments.

41.   Vagdevi
It means Goddess of speech. She is the source of sound. She is the primordial sound OM.

42.   Vasudha
Literally it means “earth”. It is referring to the attribute of earth who not only bears the burden of everything (both living and non living who have taken shelter in her) but also nourishes them. That is why earth is also referred as “Mother”.  Saraswathi is the originator as well as nourisher of whole cosmos. She bears the burden of whole cosmos.

For Part-2 of the translation containing the last sixty six names, Read here- http://nithinsridhar.blogspot.in/2012/09/saraswati-ashtottara-shat-nama-stotra.html