Mantra – mantra and in this context means a sacred song of praise; mātṛkā – it has two meanings. Divine Mother and Sanskrit alphabets; puṣpa – flowers; mālā – garland; stava – hymn in praise. Therefore, Mantamātṛkāpuṣpamālāstavaḥ means a hymn in praise of the Divine Mother in the form of a garland woven with alphabets.
This composition consists of seventeen verses, composed by Śaṁkarācārya. The first alphabet of the first fifteen verses form the fifteen bījākṣara-s of pañcadaśākṣarī mantra. The sixteenth verse begins with the exclusive bījākṣara of ṣoḍaśākṣarī mantra. Seventeenth verse is in the form submission of this hymn at Her feet, seeks purification of the world and liberation from transmigration. Śaṁkarācārya composed this hymn for the exclusive benefits of those who are not initiated into pañcadaśākṣarī or ṣoḍaśākṣarī mantras. In Śakti worship, initiation is an important aspect. A guru who has attained perfection in ṣoḍaśākṣarī mantra can initiate disciples into Śakti cult or Śrīvidya upāsana. Generally, a disciple is initiated into Bālā mantra and depending upon the disciple’s progress, he is further initiated into pañcadaśākṣarī and finally ṣoḍaśākṣarī mantras. Nowadays, it is difficult to find a perfect guru who has attained Self-realization. In order to help everyone to enjoy the Bliss of reciting Parāśaktī’s mantras, Śaṁkarācārya has composed these verses. He begins with by invoking Her and completes this with pradakṣiṇa and namaskāra. The hymn is considered as extremely powerful as Śaṁkarācārya unfolds Her worship through our mind. There is no ritual involved. When the last stanza is recited, one should feel the tears rolling down his or her eyes. This is such a powerful hymn.
चिन्तारत्नविनिर्मितं जननि ते सिंहासनं भावये॥
cintāratnavinirmitaṁ janani te siṁhāsanaṁ bhāvaye||
kallola ullasita amṛtābdhi laharī madhye – In the middle of the shining nectarine ocean with high waves; virājat-maṇi- dvīpe – in the island of Maṇidvīpa, which is bedecked with gems and jewels; kalpakavāṭikā-parivṛte – surrounded by turmeric like herbs; kādamba-vāṭi-ujjvale – shining in the midst of kādamba trees; ratna-staṁbha-sahasra-nirmita-sabhā-madhye – in the middle of the courtyard constructed with thousands of pillars made up of precious gems; vimānotame – excellent vimāna; cintāratna-vinirmitaṁ - made of cintāratna; siṁhāsanaṁ - throne; janani - Śrī Mātā; te – to You; bhāvaye – offer mentally.
The whole thing is conceptualization. Śaṁkarācārya has composed this verse with a serious aspirant in mind. The aspirant says, O Mother, I mentally offer You a throne made up of cintāratna. By addressing Her as Janani, the deep devotion of the aspirant is established. In the verse itself, the aspirant established his deep attachment to Her by addressing Her as Śrī Mātā (Lalitā Sahasranāma 1). Cintāratna is a type of precious stone which is capable of fulfilling all the desires. It can be construed that all the precious stones in the throne have become capable of fulfilling any materialistic desires of the aspirant. This throne is placed under a vimāna. Vimāna means a seven tier construction under which the throne is placed. It is said excellent vimāna, which means that it is built with gold and precious gems. This vimāna is in the middle of a huge hall which is called courtyard, which has thousands of pillars constructed with precious gems. This courtyard is in the middle of an island, called Maṇidvīpa or the island of precious stones. The entire island is made up of such precious stones embedded in gold. This island is in the middle of an illuminating cosmic ocean full of nectar and the waves of the ocean are too high. The same narration is there in Saundaryalaharī verse 8. Nectar here means the Bliss. The aspirant has offered a seat for Her in this verse. Since the offering is made through his mind, he can offer anything he likes and most importantly, his mind is totally pervaded by Her thoughts. He totally gets isolated from the material world at this stage.
At the end of this verse, he is ready with the most splendid throne for Her. He conceives Her form in the next verse.
(to be continued)