1. Kakārarūpā ककाररूपा
She is in the form of ka (क), which is the first letter of Pañcadaśī mantra. As Lalitā Triśatī is based on Pañcadaśī mantra, it is but natural that the first nāma begins with the first letter of Pañcadaśī mantra. One recitation of Pañcadaśī mantra is equivalent to three recitations of pūrṇa Gāyatrī (paro rajase paro rajase sāvadom is to be added at the of regular Gāyatrī mantra)
Chāndogya Upaniṣad (IV.10.5) says, “ka is Brahman”. When we say Brahman, the first thing that comes to our mind is His Self-illumination; hence He is called Prakāśa. Varivasyā-rahasya is the only source that is available to explain Pañcadaśī mantra. This Scripture was authored by Śrī Bhāskararāya (1690-1785) and contains 167 verses. He says in verse 121, ka means splendor based on the root kan, which means, to shine.
Pañcadaśī mantra is highly secretive in nature and is not revealed directly as mantra, but subtly revealed through verse 8 of Tripuropaniṣad. This verse reveals complete Pañcadaśī mantra.
कामो योनि: कमला वज्रपाणिर्गुहाहसा मतरिश्वाभ्रामिन्द्रः।
पुनर्गुहासकल मायया च पुरुच्येषा विश्वमातादिविद्या॥
kāmo yoni: kamalā vajrapāṇirguhāhasā matariśvābhrāmindraḥ|
punarguhāsakala māyayā ca purucyeṣā viśvamātādividyā||
The two verses referred above talk about the first two letters of Pañcadaśī ka and e (क and ए). They say ka is Brahman and e is yoni (Divine procreative energy). In other words, ka means Śiva and erefers to Śakti. Śiva is Divine static energy and Śakti is Divine kinetic energy. Both Śiva and Śakti are interdependent and the one without the other cannot function. In fact, Śakti is the Svātantrya Śakti (independent power of authority of Śiva, which is His unique power) of Śiva. When Śiva is Self-illuminating Light (Prakāśa), He needs Śakti to reflect (Vimarśa) His Light (They are Prakāśa andVimarśa). Śiva is Brahman without attributes (nirguṇa Brahman) and Śakti is Brahman with attributes (saguṇa Brahman). Lalitā Sahasranāma (763) says “triguṇātmikā” which means She is the embodiment of three guṇa-s sattva, rajas and tamas. Lalitā Sahasranāma (139) also says “niṛguṇā” which means without attributes. This goes to prove that there is no difference between Śiva and Śakti.
Thus, Lalitā Triśatī begins with the letter ka by referring Her as Brahman. Alphabet ka also has the capacity to eradicate evils and confer mental peace. There are 60 nāma-s is this Triśatī that begin with ka. First nāma worships Her as Brahman.
The next 20 verses begin with alphabet ka.
2. Kalyāṇī कल्याणी
Kalyāṇī originates from the word kalyāṇa, which means auspicious, noble, generous, etc. Lalitā Sahasranāma 324 is also Kalyāṇī and its interpretation is given here.
She is the embodiment of auspiciousness. Kalyāṇa means illustrious, noble, generous, virtuous, good etc. Rig-Veda (ऋग्वेद) I.31.9 uses the word Kalyāṇa. The Veda says, “तनूक्र्द बोधि परमतिश्च कारवेतवं कल्याण वसु विश्वमोपिषे tanūkrda bodhi paramatiśca kārave tavaṃ kalyāṇa vasu viśvamopiṣe”, whereKalyāṇa is used to mean worthy. The power of auspiciousness in the form of positive energy can be realised through powerful vibrations.
Her auspiciousness is explained in Devī Māhātmya (11.10) thus:
सर्वमङ्गल-माङ्गल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थसाधिके।
शरण्ये त्र्यम्बके गौरी नारायणी नमोस्तुते॥
sarvamaṅgala-māṅgalye śive sarvārthasādhike |
śaraṇye tryambake gaurī nārāyaṇī namostute ||
Meaning: “The most auspicious among all auspiciousness; conferrer of auspiciousness; fulfilling all desires; the most worshipful one; the One who has three eyes; O! Nārāyaṇī, I surrender unto You.”
(It is said that if this mantra is recited seven times daily, one will attain all auspiciousness.)
Her very form is full of auspiciousness and if one meditates on Her form, he or she is endowed with all auspiciousness. What one thinks, he becomes that. If one contemplates on Her with utmost concentration, he gradually acquires Her qualities and over a period of time, he or she becomes Her (equivalent to “I am That”). Once She is satisfied with the quality of Her devotee, She imparts Supreme Knowledge about Śiva. Lalitā Sahasranāma 727 Śiva-jñāna-pradāyinī and is explained thus: She imparts the knowledge of Śiva, the Ultimate. Śiva jñāna (knowledge) means the knowledge of the Brahman, which is also known as the Supreme knowledge. To know Śiva, one should first know His Śaktī, who alone is capable of leading a person to the Brahman or Śiva. Rāmāyaṇa says ‘wind can be realized through movements, fire can be realised through heat and Śiva can be realized only through Śaktī.’ It can also be said that Śiva is the source of knowledge for Her.
3. Kalyānaguṇaśālinī कल्यानगुणशालिनी
Kalyāna – auspiciousness; guṇa – qualities; śālinī – possessing.
After having said that She is the embodiment of all auspiciousness, this nāma says She is an embodiment of all auspicious guṇa-s. There are three guṇa-s – sattva (purity and goodness), rajas (activity of passion) and tamas (inertial and ignorance). These three guṇa-s lie in perfect equilibrium before creation. Creation happens when this perfect equilibrium is disturbed. When guṇa-s lie in perfect equilibrium, this state of Brahman is known as unmanifested Prakṛti, which is the Śānta Śakti (pacified and auspicious quality of Śiva) of Śiva, which is conveyed through this nāma.
4. Kalyāṇaśaila-nilayā कल्याणशैल-निलया
Kalyāṇaśaila – auspicious mountain (mythical mountain called Meru); nilaya – resting or Abode. This nāma says that She resides at the top of the most auspicious mountain Meru. Lalitā Sahasranāma 775 is Merunilayā which is explained as follows:
“She lives atop Meru. Meru is a fabulous mountain regarded as the Olympus of Hindu mythology and said to form the central point of Jambu-dvīpa. Meru has already been discussed in nāma 55 sumerumadhya śṛṅgasthā. Three dimensional form of Śrī Cakra is known as Meru or Mahā Meru. Meru also means the condensed form of Pañcadaśī mantra.
There are only nine bīja-s, if repeated bīja-s are removed (The nine bīja-s are: ka, e, ī, la, sa, ha, ra, ma (क, ए, ई, ल, स, ह, र, म) and bindu).
Meru also means the spinal cord. She traverses up and down the spinal cord in Her subtlest form kuṇḍalinī. This nāma could also mean Her movements through meru (spinal cord).
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.”
Possibly this could be the description of Śrī Cakrā. In the middle of Śrī Cakrā there is a triangle and in the centre of this triangle there is dot called bindu in which Lalitai lives with Her consort Mahā Kāmeśvara.
By saying that She resides on the top of the Cosmic mountain (establishing Her Supremacy), this nāma affirms that She is Brahman. She is the Power of Śiva and obviously there cannot be any difference between the power the person who possesses the power. Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VII.24) says that at the level of Brahman (Upaniṣad uses the word bhūmā) there is nothing else except Brahman. When one reaches that level (level of Brahman), he also becomes Brahman. In other words, what one thinks, he becomes that.
She cannot be attained by any other means except contemplating Her. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (XIV.26), “He, who constantly worships me through Yoga (yoga means union – union of individual consciousness with Supreme Consciousness) of exclusive devotion, transcending three guṇa-s, (as described in the first nāma) becomes eligible for attaining Brahman.”
5. Kamanīyā कमनीया
Kamanīya means pleasingly beautiful. One’s mental state is generally reflected through his face (face is the index of the mind). As discussed earlier, She is an embodiment of auspiciousness. When one continues to contemplate on Her auspicious form, he also becomes auspicious and as a result of which he enters the state of bliss. Her very form causes bliss in the minds of Her true devotees. Devotees are those who contemplate Her, progressing gradually from the ritual worships. Spiritual progression has to be steady with a strong foundation. From ritualistic worship, one proceeds to mental recitation of Her mantras. While reciting mantra, the japa itself stops after sometime. At this stage, he does not do anything, including recitation of japa mantras. Everything comes to a halt, except his breathing, which will also slow down considerably. During this state, Her true devotee remains with Her (the state of trance) and as a result he attains Her auspicious qualities. He enters into the state of bliss and remains so even after the trance, as he has already imbibed Her qualities.
As beauty is related to mind, he or she also becomes beautiful or kamanīya.