Pañcāśat-pīṭha-rūpiṇī पञ्चाशत्-पीठ-रूपिणी (833)

Pancāśa means fifty, pīṭha means (lit) seat and rupiṇī means form.  Sāradā Tilakam (an ancient treatise on tantra) opens by saying ‘Let the Supreme being embodied by ever-enduring bliss, pervaded the universe of movable and immovable objects, formed into words and their meaning by fifty alphabetical letters (a to kṣa) perennially emanating which is known as Śabda Brahman. In other words, this great tantric treatise opens by paying obeisance to Her.  Only the next verse pays respects to Śiva.  Sanskrit alphabets are fifty or fifty one depending upon the number of vowels or consonants (inclusion of ॡ ().  Elsewhere, it is said that kṣa क्ष (consonant) is not to be included. There are a few who does not include ‘la’ in consonants).  Varivasyaa-rahasya (II.35) says that each of the three kūṭa-s of Pañcadaśī mantra gives rise to sixteen alphabets, totalling to forty eight (क्ष and ह excluded).  Therefore, this nāma means that She is in the form of fifty alphabets of Sanskrit.  Her manifestation in alphabets is known as Śabda Brahman.

There are some interpretations that fifty one (or fifty) means the fifty one Śaktī piṭha-s.  When Śiva was not invited by Dakṣa to participate in a yajñā organised by demon Dakṣa, father of Satī (nāma 820), an incarnation of Śaktī, She immolated Herself.  Śiva carrying Her corpse was milling around.  Viṣṇu cut the corpse into fifty one pieces that fell in fifty one different places.  These places are known as fifty one Śaktī piṭha-s. Again, this is only for academic interest and this nāma has nothing to do with the Śaktī piṭha-s. Śaktī piṭha-s are only later developments.

{Further reading on Sanskrit letters:  There is no consistency regarding the number of Sanskrit letters.  In order to resolve the issue I wrote to Mr. Gabriel Pradīpaka, an exponent in Sanskrit. He owns an exclusive web site (http://www.sanskrit-sanscrito.com.ar/) for Sanskrit literature and dedicated his life to the study of Sanskrit scriptures. His reply is reproduced here.

“The alphabet is normally including ḹ (I didn't include it because it is an invented letter in order to keep the sequence short-long). Sometimes it includes kṣa too. This conjunct is formed from ka + sa (NOT ṣa). The letter you quoted is the archaic Vedic l (written ḻ in the IAST scheme) and only used in old Vedic scriptures. Now, it is generally replaced with ḍ if it is between "two vowels", i.e. "vowel + ळ + vowel = vowel + ḍ + vowel (but only between vowels and not otherwise). Despite this possible replacement, I always prefer to write it as such, i.e. ळ and ḻ

But if you include ḹ, the number is forty-nine. Others add kṣa (e.g. Kṣemarāja in his studies) and the number amounts to fifty. And even others add the Vedic l (ळ or ḻ), which tantamounts to fifty one. The standard for grammatical studies would be forty-eight (the scheme I use). For philosophical studies, the number fifty is better. And if you need fifty one to develop some other studies, you can do it!

Anyway, the alphabet “in practice” is always composed of forty eight letters, hence my choice. You don't need more letters to write in Sanskrit "in practice". And this has been so for centuries. Of course, the sages added more letters to the "raw" alphabet for meeting some needs. But this is from the philosophical viewpoint, not from the practical one. So, you can choose the scheme you like better "for philosophical studies" but in practice you never need more than 48 characters. The vowel ḹ is practically never seen in practice. And kṣa is really a conjunct formed from two letters.

Well, there is all the time this matter with the quantity of petals in the cakrá-s. But there are some problems. Four petals (Mūlādhāra), six petals (Svādhiṣṭhāna), ten petals (Maṇipūra), twelve petals (Anāhata), sixteen petals (Viśuddha) and two petals (Ājñā) = fifty petals. So, one does the math and the number coincides with the amount of letters in the alphabet. Then some say that 50 x 20 = 1000 petals of the Sahasrāra, while others say that it should be 48 x 20 = 960 petals of the Sahasrāra (not including the two petals of Ājñā in the process).

But according to my findings, Ājñā has ninety-six petals not two. So, there are forty-eight petals looking like one petal on the left and other forty-eight looking like one on the right. Besides, its colour is not white but very light pinkish. One could wonder how is this possible when all the time people say there are two petals. Because the forty-eight petals at every side are so tightly arranged that they look like one petal! Also, if you look at the sequence of the number of petals: 4 --> 6 --> 10 --> 12 --> 16 --> 2 ... Something is inconsistent there because the number of petals should continue increasing. But now, consider this: 4 --> 6 --> 10 --> 12 --> 16 --> 96 ... it is more consistent. Because 96 is not only a bigger number, but also because being equal to 48 + 48, it means that there are forty-eight connections with the respective forty-eight petals of the lower cakrá-s from both petals of Ājñā. This implies that Ājñā is doubly connected with the other five cakrá-s forming a circuit (hence the double connection).

Well, now the final number would be: 144 petals ... and yes, the teaching that 144 x 20 = 1000 petals is no more valid, since it is really 144 x 7 = 1008 petals. Well, what are 8 petals more or less? If you consider this you will notice that seven is exactly the number of major cakrá-s and that 144 is 12 x 12. The number 12 is sacred in Triká, especially to calculate the distances in the body (e.g. Brahmarandhra is twelve fingers above Ājñā, etc.).

Finally, one can use 48, 49, 50 or 51 (the number one likes), because the contexts of the studies vary. But “now in practice” (and it has been happening for centuries) forty-eight characters are “actually” used in Classic Sanskrit as ḹ is practically non-existent, kṣa is a conjunct formed from two letters and ळ (ḻ) occurs in the ancient Veda-s only. And regarding the theory linking the number of petals to the letters of the alphabet, everything holds true except for that detail with the number of petals of Ājñā.}

Viśruṇkhalā विश्रुण्खला (834)

vi means without and śṛuṇkalā means bondage.  She is without bondage.  Bondage is the quality of man.  Brahman is beyond bondage.  Any action, be it good or bad, causes bondage.  Bondage is caused by performing actions prescribed by scriptures with ego or not performing the prescribed actions.   Both have the same effect and cause karmic afflictions.  This nāma says that She is beyond such karmic afflictions, while performing Her duties. This nāma says that She remains unfettered.

Viviktasthā विविक्तस्था (835)

She abides in reclusive places. Reclusive places mean the hearts of learned men. Learned men are those who can differentiate between the Self and self.   Worshipping Śaktī should be done only in privacy.  She will not manifest in crowd. Generally, crowd cause distorted vibes as different persons have different thoughts.  But, in places where bhajana or spiritual discourses are performed, positive vibrations increase manifold due to unified focusing of thoughts, leading to ecstasy.  She manifests only in places of purity (nāma 765 śuddha). Places of purity mean mental purity of Self-realized persons.

This nāma says that She manifests in the minds of Self-realized persons.

{For further reading:  Mental purity is more important than physical purity. When mind is crowded with thoughts, it cannot be focused.  Unless mind is focused on Her, it is not possible to attain Her.  Mind is the only tool available to attain Her.  The mind can be controlled by three means.  One is through prāṇāyāma.  The second is the focused consciousness using the internal tools or antaḥkaraṇa.  The third is samādhi.  This is realisation by personal experience. Sage Patañjali says in his Yoga Sūtra (I.4) “when the mind is not resolved, silenced and purified, the seer is indentified with modifications.”  Yoga Sūtra says that everything arises from the mind.  Mind can be purified only if one becomes devoid of attachments, desires and ego.  Spiritual progression can be measured only by the presence of three elements in one’s thoughts.  One’s spiritual progression should not be ascertained from others.  One has to be his own judge in measuring his spiritual progression.)

Vīra-mātā वीर-माता (836)

Vīra means Lord Gaṇeśa and His mother is Vīra-mātāVīra also means warriors.  Since, She Herself is a warrior, She is addressed here as mother of warriors. Warriors are those who fight against evil.  Nāma 777 says that She is worshipped by warriors.  Nāma 899 is Vīra which means She Herself is a warrior. Her actions as warrior have been described in Devi Māhātmyam.

The best of devotees are also known as warriors. The one who conquers ego is known as warrior. She is the mother of such devotees.  They call Her by different names such as Ma, Divine Mother, Mother, Mātā etc.

Viyatprasūḥ वियत्प्रसूः (837)

The creator of ākāś or ether element. The element of ākāś originated from the Brahman and from akash other elements originated. Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.1) says tasmāt vai etasmāt ātmanaḥ, ākāsaḥ saṃbhūtaḥ.  This means From the Self (the Brahman) originated space.  The Upaniṣad continues to say that from space air, from air fire, from fire water, from water earth, from earth plants, from plants food and from food human beings originated. This Upaniṣad also compares a human being to that of a bird. A reference can be made to nāma 550 that convey the same meaning.

Mukundā मुकुन्दा (838)

She gives salvation to jīva-s.  Mahā Viṣṇu is known as Mukundā. The one who gives mukti is known as MukundāMukti means final salvation, after which an individual soul ceases to exist.  It merges with the Brahman. 

Mukti is of three types, Krama mukti (gradual liberation), videha mukti (final liberation), and sadya mukti (immediate liberation). Mukti or liberation can be explained as the cessation of all miseries and attainment of the absolute bliss of the Brahman.

Mukti-nilayā मुक्ति-निलया (839)

She is the embodiment of mukti.  What She has, She shares with Her devotees (like nāma-s 172 and 173).  Mukti is the stage where the self is completely disconnected from intellect causing liberation.  It is the complete isolation of ‘self’ from the objective universe called prakṛti.  Released from all physical and psychical limitations, the self becomes aloof from the realm of mind and matter and shines as omnipresent spirit ever pure and free. Please refer nāma 625.

Vedānta and sāṁkhya yoga provide different routes to liberation.  Vedānta says that one should not dissociate the self from the mind and sāṁkhya yoga says that one should dissociate the self from the mind.

There is an Upaniṣad by name Muktikoupaniṣad, the last of 108 Upaniṣads. This Upaniṣad names all the 108 Upaniṣads. This Upaniṣad is said to have been told by Lord Rāma at the request of Hanuman.

Mūla-vigraha-rūpiṇī मूल-विग्रह-रूपिणी (840)

Lalitāmbikā is the root of all śaktī-s. Vigraha means to assume form and mūla means origin, original, foundation, etc.  mūla vigraha means the original form. This is Her Śrī Mātā form. 

There is an Upaniṣad called Bahvṛcopaniṣad. It is says that in the beginning She alone existed.  From Her originated Brahma, Viṣṇu and Rudra. She is known as Mahā Tripurasundarī. The Upaniṣad proceeds to mention Her different forms such as ṣodaśī, Pañcadaśī, Bālā, Caṇḍī, etc. 

This nāma says that She is the root of all energies.  The root energy sourced from Śiva and known as Śaktī, manifest as different energies during creation, sustenance and dissolution.