Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Saraswati Ashtottara Shat Nama Stotra- A translation (part 2)

Nithin Sridhar and Pratyasha Gupta
Here I post the translation of last "sixty-six" 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. 

For Part-1 of the translation containing the last sixty six names, Read here- 

     43.   tiivra
It may be meaning both “all powerful/intensive” and “All pervading”. She is the sum total of all existence. She pervades everything. In her, she includes everything that exists.

44.   mahabhadra
It literally means “Very auspicious” or “Very pleasant/gentle/gracious”.

45.   mahabalA
“Balaa” means “Strength”. She represents “Great strength”.

46.   bhogada        
It means she who grants worldly enjoyments.

47.   bharatii          
She is the goddess of speech;

48.   bhAmA
She is personification of passion and splendor.

49.   govindA         
It literally means protector/controller of cows. Here Cow is symbolic of our senses. So she is controller of senses.

50.   gomatii
It literally means a place having herds of cows. Symbolically it means Saraswati embodies all senses inside her. In other words she is the senses herself.

51.   shivaa
It literally means “Final Emancipation”, that is she who delivers liberation/enlightment.

52.   jaTilaa
               She who has “matted hairs”.

53.   vindhyavaasa
               She whose abode is in Vindhya mountain

54.   vindhyachalaviraajita          
               She who is seated in vindhya mountains.

55.   chandika
The Fierce one, the wrathful. Chandi represents Universal Shakti in its most fierce and uncontrolled aspect.  Chandika is the summation of MahaKali, MahaLakshmi and Mahasaraswati. And here, Saraswati is identified with Chandika.

56.   Vaishnavi
Here Saraswati is identified with Maha Lakshmi, the Power of Vishnu.

57.   Braahmii
Here Saraswati is identified with The Power of Brahma.

58.   Brahmajnaneikasaadhana
She is the only medium to attain Brahma-Jnana (Enlightment). That is, Saraswati bestows Ultimate Knowledge to those who seek.

59.   Saudaamini
Lightning, She is as strong and effulgent as lightning.

60.   sudhamurthi
She is the very personification of divine nectar (of Jnana-Knowledge and Ananda-Bliss).

61.   subhadra       
She is auspicious and beautiful

62.   surapoojita
She who is even worshipped by gods.

63.   suvaasini
“Su” means “Good” and Vaasini means “living”.  It could mean “She who lives in beautiful abode/Universe” or “She who fills her abode (the whole cosmos) with auspiciousness”.

64.   Sunaasaa
She who has beautiful nose.

65.   vinidraa
It means “Sleepless/Awake”.  There are three states of existence- waking, dreaming and deep sleep. But, there is a fourth state-Turiya which is beyond deep sleep. Saraswati represents this Turiya-Eternally awoken state of bliss beyond deep sleep (nidra).

66.   padmalochana
She whose eyes are as beautiful as lotus.

67.   vidyaarupa
She is the personification of Vidya (Knowledge- secular, spiritual and transcendental).

68.   vishaalaakshi
It means “Broad eyed”.

69.   brahmajaaya
It means “the wife of Brahma”.

70.   mahaaphalaa
It literally means “Great fruit”. According to Hindu Dharma, there are four Purusharthas in life-Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha, the last being the ultimate goal.  Saraswati being Moksha herself grants it (along with other purusharthas) to everyone. Here Mahaphala refers to Moksha.

71.   trayimoorti
She is the Personification/source/mother of all three Vedas (Rik, Yajus and sama).

72.   trikaalagnya
She who knows everything about the past,  the present and the future.

73.   triguna           
She is the personification of the 3 Gunas-Tamas, Rajas and Sattva.

74.   shastra roopini          
She is the very Shastras/Scriptures ( Shruti , Smruti, Agamas) which has been laid down to guide the world.

75.   shumbhasura-pramathini
She who tormented the demon Shumbha.  Shumbha represents one’s asmita- “I - ness”. Saraswati the embodiment of Knowledge destroys this false identity.

76.   shubhadaa
One who grants wealth, prosperity and all other auspicious things.

77.   sarvatmika
She is omnipresent. She pervades the whole universe.

78.   raktabeeja-nihantri
She who slays the demon Raktabeeja. Raktabeeja represents one’s desires. Here Saraswati is identified with Kali, the embodiment of detachment, who destroys all desires.

79.   chamunda
She who killed the demons Chanda and Munda. Here also Saraswati is identified with Kali.

80.   ambika
It means “Mother”. The name stresses the motherly aspect of the Saraswathi. Further, Ambika represents that aspect of Shakti which killed the demon Dhumralochana. Ambika is also called Koushiki as she manifested from the Koshas of Parvati.

81.   mundakaya praharana        
She who killed demon Munda (That is Kali).

82.   dhumralochana-mardana
She who killed the demon Dhumralochna (Kaushiki).

 83.   sarvadevastuta
Praised by all gods and goddesses.

84.   soumya          
 Gentle and cheerful

85.   sura-asura namaskruta       
Both gods and demons bow to her.

86.   kaalaraatri
Here Saraswati is identified with Kalaratri (goddess of night).

87.   kaladhaaraa
She who holds crescent moon on her head.  Here Saraswati is identified with Parvati.

88.   roopa soubhagyadayini       
She who grants beauty, wealth and prosperity.

89.   vagdevi          
Goddess of speech.

90.   varaaroha
It can have two different meanings. It may mean “She who rides”, that is she who controls everything in the universe. The other meaning could be “She who has beautiful hips”

91.   vaaraahi
Here Sarswati is identified with Vaarahi, the Power of Varaha. (The Boar avatara of Vishnu)

92.   vaarijaaasanaa
She who is seated on lotus.

93.   chitraambaraa
She who is adorned with bright garments/garments made of lotus.

94.   chitragandhaa
She who has fragrance of the lotus.

95.   chitramaalyavibhooshita
She who is adorned by garland of lotus.

96.   kaanta
It means “Lovely woman/earth”.

97.   kaamapradaa
She who grants all desires

98.   vandyaa
She who is very respectable/adorable (Pujaneeya). She to whom everyone bows to in reverence.

99.   vidyaadharaa supoojitaa
She who is revered as the supporter/nourisher of Knowledge.

100. shwetaasanaa
She who is seated on White seat (may be a Swan or a lotus)

101. neelbhujaa
She who has blue shoulders.

102. chaturvargaphalapradaa
She who grants fruits (of action) to every person belonging to all the four categories of society (Brahmin, Kshatriya,Vaishya,Shudhra)

103. chaturaananasaamraajya
She who rules in all the four directions.

104. raktamadhyaa          
Rakta means red and red represents Shakti/energy. Hence,”Raktamadhya” means the Centre/source of all Shakti/Energies.

105. Niranjanaa
It means “Pure”. She is purity personified.

106. Hansaasanaa
She who is seated on Swan.

107. Neelajanghaa
She who has blue thighs.

108. Brahmavishnushivaatmikaa
She who is the essence of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Translation of a popular Hymn to Shiva


Nithin Sridhar

Karpur Gauram Karunavataram |
Sansara Saram Bhujagendra Haram ||
Sada Vasantam Hridayaravinde |
Bhavam Bhavani Sahitam Namami ||

“Karpura Gouram” means “White like camphor”. The color white signifies many things. Firstly, White color of Shiva represents his “detachment. ”. An object appears White in color, when it absorbs no wavelengths and reflects back everything. Similarly Shiva reflects back all experiences the world imposes on him. He remains unaffected from everything. Every person may perceive him based on his own conditioning and Shiva simply reflects back all experiences back to the world without absorbing any of it. Hence, Shiva is considered as “The Witness”. Further, the White color represents the fact that Shiva is the source of all manifestation similar to White light from which all other colors of spectrum manifests and then merges back.

“Karunavataram” means “full of compassion”.  Karuna is one of the Nava-Rasas and Shiva is personification of Karuna-Compassion.  That is the reason He is the refuge to the downtrodden, the diseased, the dead people (pitr), the spirits (bhuta,preta etc) and all people whom the society and the world as denounced.  Interestingly Shiva is the presiding deity of the three of the nine rasas: Bhibatsa-Disgust, Bhayanaka-Terrifying and Raudra-Fury . The various tales and legends about Shiva show that he is most easy to please. He does not discriminate people based on fame or riches. He accepts everything offered to him with love and devotion be it a bowl of sweet rice or a piece of goat meat. This shows the vastness of compassion of Shiva who embraces the whole manifestation with love and without disowning anyone. Further, He is not only embracing but also liberating. He is the” First Guru” as he imparts Moksha to everyone who approaches him.

“Sansara Saram” means “the essence of whole world”.  Shiva being the source of all manifestations is the embodiment of very existence. As Isa Upanishad says “Isa-vasyam Idam Sarvam” meaning “All this—whatever exists, the whole cosmos  is inhabited by him”. Hence, one should always try to recognize the divine spark present in the whole world, in every aspect of daily life. Just as a spark is not separate from the fire, so is the manifestation not separated from Him. Hence, by offering all the actions in the fire altar of life, one will be able to understand Shiva-the Essence of life.

“Bhujagendra Haram” means one who wears “King of Serpents on his Neck.

“Sada Vasantham Hrudayaravinde” means “He who always stays in the Lotus Hearts of every being”.  Shiva always stays in the Anahata Chakra (Heart chakra) of every person. One Just needs to worship him in his Heart. Any person who wants to Realize God, must look inside his own self. This is indeed true for any deity. For this very reason, every Sadhana (Puja/Havan) begins with Prana Pratishtapana, wherein the Life/Prana is taken from one’s Heart and is invoked into an idol or fire and at the end of the Sadhana, Prana is taken back into Sadhaka’s Heart.

“Bhavam Bhavani Sahitam Namami” means “I bow to Bhava along with Bhavani”.  “Bhava” means Existence, state of existence (Shiva) and “Bhavani” means the Power to exist, the cause of existence.