Śrī Sūktam is found in Pariśiṣṭa (परिशिष्ट) of Rig Veda, under the head Khilasūkta (खिलसूक्त). Pariśiṣṭa means supplement or appendix. Khilasūkta means additional hymn appended to the regular collection. Śrī Sūktam is 11th under this category. There are 29 verses of Śrī Sūktam in the original text of Khilasūkta. There are five Ṛṣi-s for this and they are Ānanda, Kardama, Śrīda, Ciklīta and Śrīputra (आनन्द, कर्दम, श्रीद, चिक्लीत and श्रीपुत्र). It is composed in three Chandas.
The above paragraph should have formed part of Introduction.
चन्द्रां प्रभासां यशसा ज्वलन्तीं श्रियं लोके देवजुष्टामुदाराम्।
तां पद्मिनीमीं शरणमहं प्रपध्ये अलक्ष्मीर्मे नशयतां त्वां वृणे॥ ५
candrāṁ prabhāsāṁ yaśasā jvalantīṁ śriyaṁ loke devajuṣṭāmudārām |
tāṁ padminīmīṁ śaraṇamahaṁ prapadhye alakṣmīrme naśayatāṁ tvāṁ vṛṇe || 5
Important: In Sanskrit texts प्रपध्ये अलक्ष्मीर्मे will be प्रपध्येऽलक्ष्मीर्मे. ऽ Indicates ‘a’, which means अलक्ष्मी or negating the auspiciousness of Lakṣmī (meaning evil fortune, bad luck, distress, poverty, causing misfortune) which is opposite to लक्ष्मी. One has to be very careful while pronouncing this verse.
Meaning: O! Lakṣmī!! You are beaming like moon, worshiped by gods, compassionate, holding lotus flowers, embodiment of bīja īṁ (ईं). I surrender unto You with a prayer to remove my bad luck, distress, poverty and misfortune (alakṣmī).
candrāṁ - beaming like the moon. Beauty is always compared to the full moon.
prabhāsāṁ - shine, glitter, brilliant, etc.
By using two words that convey almost similar meaning - candrāṁ prabhāsāṁ, Her natural beauty is emphasised. In addition to beauty, Her grandeur and Self-effulgent nature is also elucidated. Prabhā means light variously personified. This means that She not only shines as moon in the night, but also illumines the world in the form of sun during daytime. She is the source of Light to the entire universe, be it day or night.
Yaśasa - beautiful appearance, beauty, splendour, graciousness, etc. After having described Her natural effulgence, now Her beauty and splendour are being described. It also means object of honour, a person of respectability. This conveys Her Supremacy. Only such a person is worshiped by other gods.
jvalantīṁ - shining.
śriyaṁ loke - śriyaṁ means auspiciousness and loke refers to loka or worlds. There are seven types of worlds, as indicated in Gāyatri mantra. It also means the earth in which we live. Since, Her splendorous Self-illuminating nature is repeatedly described, it means that She showers Her auspiciousness on all the seven worlds. This also conveys that She rules the entire universe, consisting of all the seven loka-s. When a soul leaves a body (death), it has to cross all the worlds to attain Liberation.
deva juṣṭām udārām – deva refers to gods like Indra, etc. juṣṭa means pleased or frequented; it also means served, obliged or worshipped. udāra means noble, illustrious or generous. It says that gods like Indra and others worship Her to obtain Her grace and She happily showers Her Grace on them. They have to have Her Grace, in order to continue with their activities to sustain the worlds. But these gods have their territory only up to first three worlds and the next three worlds are controlled by sages and saints and the last world belongs to Brahman, with whom one has to merge during mokṣa. (Brahman’s energy pervades all the seven worlds).
tāṁ padminīm īṁ - tāṁ refers to Her; padminī means multitude of lotuses. It also means Supreme woman; īṁ means kāmakalā, which has been discussed in the previous verse. Therefore, here it should be taken as ī, which refers to Consort of Viṣṇu. Pañcadaśī mantra is conveyed through this verse.
kāmo yoni: kamalā vajrapāṇirguhāhasā matariśvābhrāmindraḥ|
punarguhāsakala māyayā ca purucyeṣā viśvamātādividyā||
Here, kamalā refers to ī, Goddess Lakṣmī. (क ए ई ल ह्रीं ka e ī la hrīṁ)
This means that Goddess Lakṣmī is seated majestically, amongst multitude of lotuses, which explains Her royal and auspicious stature and being the Consort of Lord Viṣṇu.
śaraṇam ahaṁ prapadhye - I take refuge in Her feet. śaraṇam means to go to any one for protection, seek refuge with, place of shelter or refuge. The aspirant (I) takes refuge in Her, as he knows that he has no other recourse to get Her Grace. The aspirant is undergoing miseries in his life and hence performs this yajña and seeks Her Grace through Lord Agni. First, he addressed Agni and now he addresses Her directly, as She has already entered his home. Having now known Her, he takes refuge in Her as he knows Her compassionate nature. Where he takes refuge? He takes refuge at Her feet. He knows that She will shower Her Grace. This is explained in the last words of this verse.
alakṣmīrme naśayatāṁ tvāṁ vṛṇe - alakṣmī means evil fortune, bad luck, distress, poverty. Naśayata means destruction. She showers Her Grace on him, by destroying alakṣmī at his home. tvāṁ vṛṇe means emotionally surrendering unto Her. He, with full of emotion surrenders unto Her with a request to destroy his misfortunes, bad luck and poverty. He is now sure that She will accede to his prayers, as he is able to see Her in glorious and auspicious form.