Kṣetra-svarūpā क्षेत्र-स्वरूपा (341)

Since the next few nāma-s deal with Her Kṣetra form, understanding Kṣetra becomes important.  Kṣetra is the physical body and kṣetrajña is the soul. Kṣetra is made up of thirty six tattva-s (some take only twentyfour) or principles. There is an exclusive chapter (XIII) in Bhagavad Gīta on this subject.  Kṛṣṇa opens this chapter by saying that “the body is called kṣetra (where karma-s are created and its effect executed) and which cognizes this is called kṣetrajña”.  Liṇga Purāna also says ‘the Goddess (Śaktī), the beloved of the slayer of the three cities (Śiva) is Kṣetra while the Lord (Śiva) is Kṣetrajña’.  Kṣetra is gross and kṣetrajña is subtle. Kṣetra is perishable, whereas the knower of Kṣetra, kṣetrajña is eternal and imperishable.

Kṛṣṇa concludes chapter XIII by saying, “Those who know the difference between kṣetra and kṣetrajña and the phenomenon of liberation from Prakṛti with her evolutes, reach the supreme eternal spirit.”

She is said to be in the form of such kṣetra.  This nāma means that She is the embodiment of all gross forms of this universe. 

Kṣtreśī क्ष्त्रेशी (342)

Wife of Kṣetrajña (Śiva) is Kṣtreśī (Śaktī). It is like Bhairava and Bhairavī.  It must always be remembered that there is no difference between Śiva and Śaktī.   Or it may also be said that She is the Īśvarī of all kṣetra-s (possible extension of the previous nāma).

Kṣetra-kṣetrajña-pālinī क्षेत्र-क्षेत्रज्ञ-पालिनी (343)

The protector of both kṣetra and Kṣetrajña.  She protects both viz. the gross body and the soul.   Kṣetrajña-pālinī could mean the protector of the soul or the protector of Śiva.  Being Śiva’s wife She has to necessarily protect Him.  Being Śrī Mātā or the divine Mother, She has to protect Her children.  That is why Śiva is called as the universal father and Śaktī as the universal mother. (Poet Kālidāsa says in his Raghuvaṃśa  “jagataḥ pitarau  vande pārvati parameśvarau जगतः पितरौ  वन्दे पार्वति परमेश्वरौ ।“)

Kṣaya-vṛddhi-vinirmuktā क्षय-वृद्धि-विनिर्मुक्ता (344)

She is beyond growth and decay.  These are associated with all mortals.  One has to look at the beauty of this nāma.  In nāma 341 She was addressed as the gross body, Kṣetra-svarūpā.  In 342 She was addressed as Kṣtreśī, wife of Kṣetrajña (Śiva).  In the next nāma 343 She was called as the protector of both the Kṣetra and Kṣetrajña (body and soul) and in this nāma Vāc Devi-s address Her as the One without growth or decay, the qualities of the Brahman.  Without calling Her as the Brahman She is being addressed by Her various actions. 

Kṛṣṇa explains soul thus (Bhagavad Gīta II.23): “The soul is never born or dies; nor does it become only after being born, imperishable, eternal and free from birth and decay.....”

Bṛrhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (IV.iv.22) says “It is the controller of all…It does not grow better through good work nor worse through bad work”  

Kṣetra-pāla-samarcitā क्षेत्र-पाल-समर्चिता (345)

She is worshipped by Kṣetra-pāla-sKṣetra, as discussed in nāma 341 is the body.  Pāla means the Protector.  This body is protected by pañcabhūta (the five elements viz. akash, air, fire, water and earth).  Each of these elements is represented by a demigod.  She is worshipped by them.  This appears to be the appropriate interpretation. 

There is an interesting story associated with this nāma.  Goddess Kālī was created by Śiva to slain a demon called Dāruka.  Even after killing him, the ferocity of Her anger could not be controlled.  The entire universe was rattled by Her anger.  To appease Her anger Śiva Himself assumed the form of an infant.  After all She is the Supreme Mother.  She started feeding the child (Śiva).  While suckling, Śiva also sucked Her anger.  This child is called Kṣetrapāla, because He protected this universe from a catastrophe.  She was worshipped by this Kṣetrapāla

The place where major yajña rituals take place is also called kṣetra and the god who protects it is called Kṣetrapāla and She is worshipped by him.