171. Hārdasantamasāpahā हार्दसन्तमसापहा

Hārd – heart; asan – thoroughly; tamasa – darkness; apaha – removal.

She thoroughly removes spiritual ignorance, which is generally called as darkness. Spiritual ignorance is caused by māyā. Due to māyā, one searches for Her in all the places, except the place where She actually resides. Kaṭha Upaniṣad (II.i.12) says, “Of the size of the thumb, Brahman resides in the centre of the body”, which subtly conveys heart chakra. The soul within, is no way different from Brahman. Therefore, by being present as the Self within, She drives away the spiritual ignorance caused by māyā, which is also the power of Brahman.

She does not remove spiritual ignorance of all, as explained in Lalitā Sahasranāma 44, Nakhadīdhiti-saṃchanna-namajjana-tamoguṇā, which says that the rays that come out of Her nails destroy the tamo guṇa (inertia) and ignorance of those who worship Her. Worship should be construed as contemplation. Realization is possible only through the highest level of meditation.

Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (X.11), “By entering into them, I dispel darkness born of ignorance by substituting with the light of wisdom, thereby showering My Grace on them.” However, it is important that the first move towards realizing Her is to be made by the aspirant. The inherent spiritual ignorance is described in this nāma as tamasa or tamo guṇa. To dispel this inherent spiritual ignorance, one has to contemplate Her within. When She is realized within, She takes full control of the aspirant by imparting Supreme knowledge, which can be compared to light. When the one’s mind is illuminated with Supreme Light, spiritual ignorance, which is described in this nāma as darkness, is thoroughly eliminated.

172. Hallīsalāsyasaṁtuṣṭā हल्लीसलास्यसंतुष्टा

Hallīsa - singing and dancing; lāsya – dance accompanied by musical instruments; saṃtuṣṭa – delighted.

She is delighted in watching group of women singing and dancing, accompanied by musical instruments. This type of dancing, moving feet forwards and backwards accompanied by gesticulation, has originated from Pārvati, Consort of Śiva. This is a type of dance, where emotions of love are expressed through gesticulations.

There is a subtle conveyance in this nāma. Dance, emotions, music, etc are associated with pleasures of the material world. As the Soul within, She not only makes an aspirant to aspire for liberation, but also induces him to get entangled with pleasures which is an integral part of the material world. Technically speaking, She does not induce anyone to perform. She remains merely as the cause for existence. It is only one’s karma that alone makes a person to perform all actions. As Brahman, She only remains as a witness to all the actions.

This is the point from which Tantric rituals have originated. Even while indulging in material pleasures, when one stays connected with Her, liberation is possible. Tantric Scriptures advocate that material enjoyment is not a sin, provided one is not addicted to all the pleasures of the material world. Material world and pleasures cannot be separated and if one wants to attain liberation, one has to transcend material pleasures. With perfect practice (sādhana, which means leading straight to one’s goal, which should be nothing but Self-realization), one can with ease, realize Her. This is however subject to one’s karmic account and the level of Her Grace depends not only upon on one’s spiritual pursuit, but also on his karma.

173. Haṁsamantrārtharūpiṇī हंसमन्त्रार्थरूपिणी

She is in the form of haṁsa mantra. Aligning haṁsa mantra with breadth leads to liberation. In Kulārṇava Tantra (II.iv), Śiva reveals haṁsa mantra, which is also known as Śrī Parā Prāsāda mantra. When haṁsa mantra is repeatedly recited, it leads to the individual soul realizing the Supreme soul as declared through mahāvākya-s such as “ahaṁ brahmāsmi” (I am Brahman), “Tat Tvaṁ Asi” or I am That.

{Further reading on haṁsa mantra: Sacred traditions or doctrines are known as āmnāya-s and they are the paths to liberation. The significant aspect of āmnāya-s is that they are communicated only through words. This means that āmnāya-s should be known only through a Guru. Commonly known āmnāya-s are five, corresponding to the five faces of Śiva. Knowing and following āmnāya-s are the right path to liberation. Āmnāya means sacred tradition or Tantra.

Lord Śiva has five faces, four faces facing the four cardinals (East, South, West and North) and one face facing upwards. Each of His five faces, as explained in Kulārṇava Tantra, represents one āmnāya. Thus His face facing east represents Pūrvāmnāya; south represents Dakṣiṇāmnāya; west represents Paścimāmnāya and north represents Uttarāmnāya. These are His four faces facing four cardinal directions. His fifth face is facing upwards (ākāśa) and this is known as Ūrdhvāmnāya. There is one more āmnāya by name Īśāmnāya, which is not commonly known. This face of Śiva looks down. Some texts call sixth āmnāya as Anuttarāmnāya. Anuttara means the Highest, referring to Paramaśiva, who is beyond normal human comprehension. With reference to Śrī Vidyā, those who are initiated into Pañcdaśī mantra use only four āmnāya-s and those who are initiated into Ṣoḍaśī use six āmnāya-s, the additional two being Uttarāmnāya and Anuttarāmnāya.

Pūrvāmnāya represents creation. It also reveals the path of mantra by which He can be attained. Dakṣiṇāmnāya represents sustenance and represents the path of devotion, by which He can be attained. Paścimāmnāya represents destruction (destruction should be taken to mean destruction of dualities, which alone can lead to realization) and represents Law of Karma, by which He can be attained. Uttarāmnāya represents His Grace (anugraha) and represents the path of pure knowledge, by which He can be attained. Ūrdhvāmnāya represents His face facing upwards, which represents Śiva Himself in His Absolute form. This is the direct form of Śiva Himself. This āmnāya is considered to be highly secretive in nature, as it reveals the true form of Śiva. In each of these four faces, He reveals a group of goddesses. Śiva can be realized by worshipping them and reciting their mantras. These goddesses, when worshipped properly reveal Śiva and Śakti. However, for liberation, Śiva’s Grace is important.

For the purpose of liberation, it is enough that any one of these four āmnāya-s are followed with discipline and sincerity. If one happens to know all the four āmnāya-s, he becomes Śiva. But, with regard to Ūrdhvāmnāya, there are restrictions, as this is a direct path to become Śiva Himself. Even thinking about Ūrdhvāmnāya happens only if it is his last birth. This means, practicing Ūrdhvāmnāya is possible only if one’s karmic account is on the verge of extermination; this is a situation where only traces of his or her karmic imprints remain. The only condition is that Ūrdhvāmnāya should be learnt from a Self-realized Guru. Mere initiation into Ūrdhvāmnāya by a Guru leads to liberation. The practitioner becomes blessed and the place he lives is showered with prosperity.

Unlike other āmnāya-s Ūrdhvāmnāya does not have any specific goddesses or mantras. The presiding God for Ūrdhvāmnāya is Śiva and the mantra is one’s own breath; observing one’s breathing. The mantra that needs to be recited along with breath is “hamsa”, where ha stands for Śiva and sa stands for Śakti. (The subtle meaning of hamsa is “I am both Śiva and Śakti” where the middle m refers to ‘aham’ or ‘I am’). “hamsa” is not a mantra, it is the subtle sound of breath during exhalation and inhalation. Both Śiva and Śakti join together to form the universe. “hamasa” mantra does not confine itself only Śiva but also includes Śakti. Without Her, creation is not possible for Śiva. Ha is to be synchronised with exhalation and sa is synchronised with inhalation. “hamsa” mantra is also known as paraprāsāda mantra. Para means Supreme; prāsāda contextually means formless Śiva in His full Glory. There is nothing beyond this point. It is also said that this mantra is to be recited 108 times daily. But this recitation should be done synchronizing with one’s breath, as discussed above.

Śiva says, “If one is initiated into this mantra by a Guru, the initiated becomes Me.”

The first four āmnāya-s represent four Vedas; Ūrdhvāmnāya represents Upaniṣad-s; Īśāmnāya represents essence of teaching Upaniṣad-s “I am That”. Thus from the six āmnāya-s, all the mantras originate. Each āmnāya is presided over by a Deity and a Ṛṣi (sage). Āmnāya-s are worshiped during Śrī Cakra Navāvaraṇa Pūja.}

174. Hānopādānanirmuktā हानोपादाननिर्मुक्ता

She is beyond requirements and non-requirements. Everything originates from Her and hence She is beyond all dualities. Though She is beyond all dualities, She causes dualities for humans in the form of māyā or illusion. Māyā is not something different from Brahman. Māyā or the deceptive power of Brahman and is the cause for all dualities. By practice, one has to transcend māyā and realize Brahman without attributes. This nāma refers to nirguṇa Brahman, Brahman without attributes. Realization is possible only through thoughtless state of mind.

Her play is known as Māyā. She uses māyā to test the willpower and determination of an aspirant. She takes an aspirant to higher spiritual levels, if he is able to pass the test.

175. Harṣiṇī हर्षिणी

Harṣin means rejoicing or delighting. When She is contemplated effectively, She announces Her arrival in the minds of the aspirants by causing inexplicable happiness which ultimately turns into Bliss. The level of Bliss varies according to the intensity of practice. The first sign of Bliss is experiencing inexplicable happiness and joy with tears rolling down. The highest state of Bliss is perpetually remaining in the state of ānanda, the state of pure happiness. When Bliss becomes profound, She is realized. When She is realized, liberation is not far away.