INTRODUCTION

Śrī Lalitā Triśatī, like Lalitā Sahasranāma is discussed in Lalitopākhyāna of Brahmāṇḍapurāṇa, which in the form of conversation between Śrī Hayagrīva (an incarnation of Viṣṇu and is considered as the presiding God for knowledge) and sage Agastya, who is a great worshipper of Parāśakti, through his own Pañcadaśī mantra (ka e īla hrīṁ | ha sa ka ha la hrīṁ | sa ha sa ka la hrīṁ || क ए ईल ह्रीं। ह स क ह ल ह्रीं। स ह स क ल ह्रीं॥ - this is different from the regular Pañcadaśī mantra (composed by Manmatha, also known as Cupid). Triśata means three hundred.

Śrī Lalitā Triśatī consists of three hundred nāma-s, carved out of fifty nine couplet verses. Śrī Lalitā Devi has four forms – Gross form, Kāmakalā form, Kuṇḍalinī form, and mantra form.  All these forms are explained in Lalitā Sahasranāma such as kāmakalā rūpā (322), kuṇḍalinī (110), mantra-sārā (846), mahāmantrā (227). She is worshipped in various gross forms such as Kālī, Tārā, Gāyatrī, Mahālakṣmī (LS 210), etc. Her Kāmakalā is the subtler form, where She remains intimately with Śiva. Her kuṇḍalinī form is the subtlest of all and if She is made to ascend, She rushes to the top of the head, sahasrāra, where She spends intimate moments with Her Lord Śiva. Worshipping Her mantra form is known as Śrī Vidyā. She represents all letters and words in the form of Śabdabrahman (Lalitā Sahasranāma 204 sarvamantra-svarūpiṇi). Each of Her gross form, such as Kālī, Tārā, etc as mentioned in Daśamahāvidyā, is worshipped with different mantras and these worships are known as Tantra-s.

FORMATION OF LALITĀ TRIŚATĪ NĀMA-S

Pañcadaśī mantra has fifteen bījākṣara-s, which is arranged in three kūṭa-s (group) as follows:

ह्रीं
ह्रीं
ह्रीं
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
ka
e
ī
la
hrīṁ
ha
sa
Ka
Ha
La
hrīṁ
sa
ka
la
hrīṁ

Thus we have the following bījākṣara-s:

क ka – 3; ए e – 1; ई ī – 1; ल la – 3; ह ha – 2; स sa – 2; ह्रीं hrīṁ – 3;

Each nāma of Triśatī begins with one of the above bījākṣara-s. Every bījākṣara of Pañcadaśī mantra is repeated twenty times. Thus क ka is repeated 60 times (20 x 3); ए e is repeated 20 times; ई ī is repeated 20 times; ल la (20 x 3) is repeated 60 times; ह ha is repeated (20 x 2) 40 times; स sa is repeated (20 x 2) 40 times and ह्रीं hrīṁ is repeated (20 x 3) 60 times. Thus 300 nāma-s are formed. In other words, the entire Pañcadaśī mantra is repeated 20 times (15 x 20) forming 300 nāma-s ofŚrī Lalitā Triśatī. A single recitation of Lalitā Triśatī is equivalent to 20 recitations of Pañcadaśī.

PŪRVABHĀGA

Sage Agastya was initiated into Lalitā Sahasranāma by Śrī Hayagrīva. But even then Agastya did not find any complete mental satisfaction. He told Hayagrīva by touching His feet that he was missing something which would give him perfection and fulfilment and wanted to hear from Hayagrīva whether he had missed out anything to be learnt. Hayagrīva after thinking for sometime told Agastya that there is nothing left to be told to him. Though Hayagrīva knew about Lalitā Triśatī, he did not disclose this to Agastya as Lalitāmbikā had ordered Him not to disclose Her Triśatī to anyone. But Agastya did not leave the feet of Hayagrīva.

During this uncomfortable moment, Lalitāmbikā appeared there in person along with Śiva and secretly told Hayagrīva, “This Triśatī has been told to you is known as sarvapūrtikarī (fullness in everything). By reciting this, one can get rid off all his karmas and all his desires will be fulfilled. You can initiate this to Agastya, as he is absolutely fit to get this mantra. His wife Lopāmudrā worships me always with great devotion. Agastya is also greatly devoted to me. Therefore, you can teach/initiate Agastya with my Triśatī.” Having said thus, both of them disappeared.

Hayagrīva then lifted Agastya and made him to sit by His side and told him, “Ghaṭodbhava! You are kṛtārtha, kṛtārtha, kṛtārtha! (kṛtārtha means the one who has attained perfection and fulfilment.)Parāśakti appeared in person and ordered me to reveal Śrī Lalitā Triśatī to you. There is no devotee equal to you in Her worship in all the three worlds. I know how much Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra take trouble in having Her personal darśan. I got Her darśan only because of you. Now, I will tell yousarvapūrtikarī , which is in Her praise. O! Great sage! This is more secretive than Lalitā Sahasranāma. This is very important to worship Her. I am revealing Śrī Lalitā Triśatī to you, only due to Her command. This consists of three hundred nāma-s which is made up of Pañcadaśī mantra that has fifteen bījākṣara-s and each bījākṣara has twenty nāma-s (explained above). This stotra is capable of giving you fullness. This is secret of all secrets. You have to protect this stotra with utmost sincerity. O! The blessed sage, now listen to me. Do not think that this is made up of only nāma-s. Though it is in the form of nāma-s, it is in the form of mantras only. Therefore listen with rapt attention.”

DHYĀNA VERSE

अतिमधुरचापहस्तां अपरिमितामोदबाण सौभग्यां।
अरुणामतिशयकरुणां अभिनवकुलसुन्दरीं वन्दे॥

atimadhuracāpahastāṁ aparimitāmodabāṇa saubhagyāṁ |
aruṇāmatiśayakaruṇāṁ abhinavakulasundarīṁ vande ||

ati madhura – superhuman red sugarcane; cāpa hastāṁ - bow in Her hand; aparimita moda bāna – having arrow of infinite delight; saubhagya – auspiciousness, prosperity; aruṇām - appearing like the sun at dawn; atiśaya karuṇāṁ - abundantly compassionate; abhinava – young and fresh; kula sundarī – beautifully residing at Her Abode (referring to mūlādhāra, where She resides in the form of kuṇḍalinī, who has not yet ascended); vand – worshipping.

“I bow to Parāśakti, who is red complexioned like the sun at the dawn, having a red coloured bow of sugarcane, having arrows of infinite delight and prosperity, who is abundantly compassionate, looking young and extremely beautiful, residing at Her Abode mūlādhāra chakra in the form of kuṇḍalinī.”

As in the verses of Lalitā Sahasranāma, She is described as red complexioned. She holds a red coloured sugar cane as Her bow. This bow is divine in nature, not to be seen in the world. The essence of this divine sugarcane is the delicious nectar that is capable of liberation. This nectar refers to nectar that is produced from sahasrāra, when She in the form of kuṇḍalinī reaches sahasrāra to spend intimate moments with Her Consort Śiva. This is explained in Lalitā Sahasranāma-s 105 and 106 - sahasrārāmbhujarūḍhā and sudhāsārbhi-varṣiṇī. She is an embodiment of abundant compassion. Lalitā Sahasranāma 326 says karuṇārasa-sāgarā, which means that She is the essence of compassion. She is described in this verse as a young and beautiful maiden who resides at the perineum of human body. She is called young because She has not ascended from Her Abode of mūlādhāra chakra to the higher chakra-s.

Śrī Lalitā Triśatī is in the form of Pañcadaśī mantra, which is considered as one of Her secret mantras. This mantra is explained in detail in THIS ARTICLE. To recite Lalitā Triśatī, it is advisable to get initiated into Pañcadaśī mantra and if not possible, at least Bālā mantra. Further, while performing pūjā-s, Śrī Lalitā Triśatī should be performed at the end and after performing Triśatī, offerings and ārati (ārati means ending, signifying the end of rituals). Nothing should be performed after this.