281. Hrīṁkāramūrti ह्रींकारमूर्ति

The next twenty nāma-s begin with hrīṁ (ह्रीं) and this hrīṁ forms the fourth bīja of the last kūṭa, śaktikūṭa. This hrīṁ also forms the last bīja of Pañcadaśī mantra. Totally there are three hrīṁ-s inPañcadaśī mantra (81 – 100; 201- 220; and 281 – 300). Thus there are sixty nāma-s which begin with hrīṁ.

This nāma says that She is an embodiment of hrīṁ, which has been discussed in detail under nāma 81 and 201.

282. Hrīṁkārasaudhaśṛṅgakapotikā ह्रींकारसौधशृङ्गकपोतिका

Saudha – mansion; śṛṅga – summit of a mountain; kapota – a female pigeon.

She is in the form of a female pigeon inside a mansion situated at the top of a mountain. Lalitā Sahasranāma 55 says, sumeru-madhya-śṛṅgasthā, and is explained like this: Meru mountain range has three peaks and if a line is drawn connecting them, a triangle is formed.  In the midst of this triangle there is a taller peak than the rest of the three where in Lalitai resides.  Sage Durvāsa in his master piece Lalithāstavaratna says “I salute the three peaks (the shorter ones) which are abodes of Brahma, Viṣṇu and Śiva.  In the midst of these peaks, there is another peak much higher than the other three.  The golden rays are beautifying this peak and I worship it.”

On the top of Meru, there is a city by name Śrī Nagara and in the midst of Śrī Nagara (Lalitā Sahasranāma 56, Śrīman-nagara-nāyikā) there is palace by name Cintāmaṇi-gṛuha (Lalitā Sahasranāma 57, Cintāmaṇi-gṛuhāntasthā). She resides is in this palace and She is described as a female pigeon.

But, the subtle conveyance of this nāma is different and two interpretations are possible.

a) In ājñā cakra there are two imaginary lotus petals and these two petals originate from the pericarp, where Om (ॐ) is placed. It can be interpreted that these two petals represent jīvāntaman and Paramātman or Śakti and Śiva. When an aspirant meditates on ājñā cakra jīvāntaman and Paramātman unite and appear as ॐ. Ājñā cakra represents mind and if one meditates on ājñā cakra, the mind becomes placid to enable individual soul to become one with the Self, to complete the process of liberation. Therefore, it is important that one should recite a mantra japa by fixing his or her awareness in ājñā cakra, which can be easily activated if one persists with practice. It is not important to count the number of recitations, but it is extremely important to fix one’s awareness on ājñā cakra during mantra recitations. When there is quick and comfortable path is available, why one should take circuitous route to reach the destination (liberation)? 

Śiva says to Pārvatī in Adhyātmarāmāyaṇa (Adhyātma means Supreme Self or concerning with Supreme Self. This whole epic in the form of conversation between Śiva and Pārvatī) (I.50, 51 and 52), “When one truly understands and realizes the sayings of mahāvākya-s such as ‘Ahaṁ Brahmāsmi’ or ‘I am That’, all his ignorance (due to māyā) gets annihilated (annihilated because it will not sprout again). The one, who understands this, becomes capable of attaining me. But, the one who is not devout (heartfelt, meaning Love for Her) to me and instead indulges himself in various rituals prescribed by śāstra-s. (śāstra-s can be explained as prescription or precepts not relating to mind or intellect). Theirs is neither knowledge nor liberation and they continue to be born again and again.”

b) This nāma can also be interpreted through Saundaryalaharī (verse 38), which says, “I worship the pair of swans, who solely delights in the absolute knowledge, like a fully blossomed lotus flower in the great lake known as mind. From the conversation between these two swans, eighteen arts have originated, which are capable of differentiating purities from impurities. This is like swans separating milk from water.”

The two swans described here refer to Śiva and Śakti. These two swans swim in the lake called mind (mind of the aspirant). This means that Śiva and Śakti should be meditated in this chakra. When perfection is attained while meditating on this chakra, ājñāchakra, which is the controlling chakra for the mind, gets fully activated. Great yogī-s meditate on Śiva and Śakti in ājñācakra and seek liberation, as this chakra is capable of conferring what is desired. Yogī-s desire only liberation, as they rejoice in the power of Bliss. The turning point in one’s spiritual life will always be the maiden experience of Her Bliss. Śakti is always in the form of Bliss and when She is realized, one begins to experience Bliss, which sets the trend for one’s spiritual life. This is the point of no-return in spirituality. Her realization leads to the realization of Śiva and when both of them are realized in the form of Bliss and Pure Consciousness, one is able to distinguish between good and bad. Such a person will not indulge in mean thoughts and actions.

Beyond all these explanations, this nāma subtly conveys “hamsa” mantra, which needs to be aligned with one’s breath. Meditating on this chakra also leads to love and compassion. When this chakra is fully activated, one becomes an embodiment of these two qualities.

This nāma also conveys Ajapa Gāyatrī mantra which is as follows:

haṁsa haṁsāya vidmahe | paramahaṁsāya dhīmahi | tanno haṁsaḥ pracodayāt ||

हंस हंसाय विद्महे। परमहंसाय धीमहि। तन्नो हंसः प्रचोदयात्॥

This haṁsa Gāyatrī mantra is to be recited from one dawn to the next dawn (24 hours), aligning with one’s breath, concentrating on each chakra one after another by beginning from the base chakra and ending at the crown chakra. If this mantra is properly aligned with breath, then the counting will be 21600 during this 24 hour period.

283. Hrīṁkāradugdhābdhisudhā ह्रींकारदुग्धाब्धिसुधा

Dugdhābdhi means sea of milk and sudhā means nectar.

This nāma says that She is in the form of nectar in the sea of milk. This nāma subtly conveys the following. Sea of milk refers to nourishment, which is common to everyone. By referring to sea of milk, it implies that She nourishes everyone, without any differentiation. But, spiritually, not everyone is same. When one’s devotion transforms into love for Her, he or she is said to be in the highest spiritual state and this is the state of essence of spirituality. The aspirant has crossed several hurdles to reach this state. This state is explained in Lalitā Sahasranāma 61, Sudhā-sāgara-madhyasthā, which is interpreted thus:

She resides in the middle of the ocean of nectar.  Sudhā means nectar, sāgara means ocean and madhyasthā means centre.  Sudhā-sāgara is a place in sahasrāra.  Just before sahasrāra, there is a place called soma cakra. When kuṇḍalinī reaches this soma cakra, due to the extreme heat, a liquid flows down through the throat.  This liquid is called sudhā as its viscosity and taste resembles nectar.  This liquid is also called amrṭavarśinī. Amrṭam also means nectar.   She being present in the middle of this soma cakra in the midst of ocean of nectar causes this nectar to flow into all the 72,000 (nāḍi-s) nerves of human body. 

Śivānandalaharī (verse 37) also talks about nectar by saying, “nityānanda sudhāṁ” where nityānanda refers Bliss and sudha refers to nectar. The verse says that if one meditates on Śiva, with a firm mind, He along with Parāśakti, gives whatever is prayed for. Obviously, a yogi of this type will not ask for any materialistic objects. There is difference between ānanda and nityānanda. Ānanda arises from material happiness, short lived and is based on the status of the mind. Nityānanda is not related to the material world, not related to the normal state of the mind and everlasting. When it is normal state of mind, it means it is the state where one’s spiritual intellect is put into use rather than mundane mind. Both mind and intellect are relative spiritual terms. Former is inferior spiritual state and the latter is advanced spiritual state.

This nāma says that though She sustains everyone on the same principle, She surely pays special attention to those, who try to attain Her using their mind and intellect.

284. Hrīṁkārakamalendirā ह्रींकारकमलेन्दिरा

Kamala – lotus flower; Indira – Lakṣmī, wife of Viṣṇu (Indra is different from Indira).

She is seated in a lotus flower, assuming the form of Lakṣmī, who takes care of comforts of Her devotees. Kamala also means wealth and prosperity.

If one worships Parāśakti, both Lakṣmī (goddess of wealth) and Sarasvatī shower their grace by default, as both of them fan Parāśakti, when She is seated in Her Royal court, says Lalitā Sahasranāma 614, Sacāmara-ramā-vāṇī-savyadakṣiṇa-sevitā. This also conveys that one should meditate only on one God in the initial stages of one’s spiritual life. In advanced stages, the form automatically gets dissolved into the intellect of the person concerned. No effort, whatsoever is needed in the advanced stage of spiritual pursuit. The only precondition is that one’s mind should be free of desires and attachments.

285. Hrīṁkāramaṇidīpārcī ह्रींकारमणिदीपार्ची

Maṇi means gem and ārca means worship. This way, this nāma can be interpreted to mean that She is a gem (extremely precious) worthy of worship.

Mantramātṛkāpuṣpamālāstavaḥ (verse 10) says that Her Abode is embedded with precious stones and also describes how a devotee mentally worships Her.  “Your Abode is embedded with all types of precious stones, as described in verse 1. Their splendor illumines Your entire palace. In the pillars made of precious gems, lamps are lit and made to hang like garlands. Statues of women made of gold, hold lamps in their hands. These lamps are glowing, lit with cows’ ghee. All these lamps illumine Your Abode. O! Daughter of King of Mountains (Pārvatī), I light these lamps mentally; please accept this offering for Your happiness.”

Verse 5 also says that Her body is made up of hrīṁ. ““Devi, Your body is constituted by mantra hrīṁ(ह्रीं); I have gathered bright precious stones from the golden Mount Meru and fixed them on the red upper garment which is in the colour of saffron (kusumba means red or orange coloured safflower, known as falsified saffron) and sacred threads (yajñopavīta or yajñasūtram) made of pure gold, continuously embedded with pearls. All these I offer to You in my mind only to make you happy”

286. Hrīṁkārataruśārikā ह्रींकारतरुशारिका

Taru – tree; śārikā – a type of bird called mina.

There is a reference two birds in Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (III.i.1-3). Two birds are always together on the same tree. One of them (jīvāntman) eats sweet fruits and the other (Paramātman) simply watches the other bird, without doing anything. The individual self and the Supreme Self are on the same tree, where tree is compared to the body. The individual self is ignorant of its inherent divine nature.  When an individual self realizes his true nature (the Supreme Self), he then goes beyond good and evil and realizes his identity with the Brahman.

The Upaniṣad says that in the body there are two important aspects. One is the Self and another is the mind (individual soul). When the mind realizes that it is Brahman, the aspirant becomes a Self-realized person. Factually speaking, there are no two souls inside the body. There is only the Self. Hence mind is taken to mean the individual soul. Human birth is so precious, as human beings alone have a mind, where realization can take place. The Self within simply watches the activities of the mind, without partaking in any actions. This goes to prove that Brahman is only a witness. 

This nāma replicates the conveyance of Upaniṣad. Taru referred in the nāma is human body and śārikā, the bird refers to Brahman. She is in the form of Brahman in all the bodies. Realising Her or not realizing Her is left to the freewill of one’s mind.

287. Hrīṁkārapeṭakamaṇiḥ ह्रींकारपेटकमणिः

Peṭaka means box. She is the precious stone or gem hidden in the box. Box is the body and precious stone refers to Brahman.

This nāma can be explained in two ways. Hidden in the box can mean hidden in the gross body or hidden with the veil of māyā. Brahman is formless and is hidden deep in a cave in the heart, say Upaniṣad-s. Since Brahman is formless, one cannot realize its presence with biological eyes. Therefore, one has to use his mind to explore Brahman within. Ordinary mind cannot realize Brahman. Mind has to be purged of all impurities. Negative and evil thoughts are to be removed from the mind by prāṇāyāma. In the initial stages of this purification process, recitation of mantra helps. But mantras cannot help a person to realize the Self within. Only a purified mind can do that.

This nāma says that She is like a precious stone inside the body.

288. Hrīṁkāradarśabimbitā ह्रींकारदर्शबिम्बिता

Darśa means looking at and bimbita means reflected. As hrīṁkāra always refers to Her as the Self, then darśa can be interpreted to mean Ātmadarśa. It is known as Ātmadarśana, or knowing the Self.

If one stands before a mirror, his image is reflected. What is reflected is only the gross body. There are other bodies within the gross body, subtle body (mind), causal body (prāṇa) and beyond all these bodies is the Self. Except gross body, other bodies cannot be seen in a mirror, they can only be realized. When these bodies (subtle and causal) cannot be seen, the cause of these bodies (Self), which is the subtlest of all can never be seen and can only be realized.

This nāma can be explained in a different way. Śiva is Prakāśa (Self-illuminating Light) and Śakti isVimarśa, reflection. Without Her, Śiva’s Light cannot be reflected. Though Śiva is the source of Light, He still needs Her to reflect His grandeur. Hence, Śiva is always considered as static energy and Śakti is considered as kinetic energy. One without the other becomes dysfunctional.

289. Hrīṁkārakośāsilatā ह्रींकारकोशासिलता

Kośa means case or cover; asilatā means sword.

She is like a sword placed in a cover. When the sword is placed inside its case, the sword will not be visible and becomes useless.  

Sword is used here to mean knowledge and the cover is ignorance. Unless, the sword is taken out of the case, the sword will be of no use in a battle. In the same way, if knowledge is segregated from ignorance, it leads to enlightenment.

Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (IV.42), “Arjuna! Trounce all your doubts bobbed up out of ignorance with the sword of knowledge. Establish yourself in karma yoga and get ready for battle.” It is a call from Kṛṣṇa, “arise and awake now! Seek spiritual knowledge. Go to wise men (Guru-s), who will teach you the highest knowledge, which alone will help you in realization. (Kaṭha Upaniṣad (I.iii.14)”

290. Hrīṁkārasthānanartakī ह्रींकारस्थाननर्तकी

Sthāna – state, position of the body, etc; nartaki – female dancer.

This nāma says that She is a dancer and Her stage is the universe.

Her dance is referred in two places. One in Lalitā Sahasranāma 734, Naṭeśvarī. Śiva is a great dancer and known as Natarājā.  His wife is Nateśvari.

Saundaryalaharī (verse 41) describes the dance by both Śiva and Śakti. “I worship in mūlādhāra chakra, Śiva, who dances with nine types of expressions along with Samaya dancing with overwhelming emotions. When both of You unite out of compassion to create the universe and thus You become father and mother of the universe.” Once again, Śaṁkarācārya, in his unique style worships both Śiva and Śakti together, as the one without the other cannot function. After worshipping both of them, in all other psychic canters, he finally worships them in the base chakra (mūlādhāra chakra). In this chakra, Śiva is in the form of “svayambhu liṅga” and Parāśakti is in the form of Kuṇḍalinī.

It can also be interpreted that Her dance refers to every action that takes place in the universe, as every movable and immovable objects in the universe is nothing but Her form. She manifests in the form of Prakṛti.