Lalitopakhyana (Lalita Mahatmya)

by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 103,924 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246

This page describes festivities in honour of the marriage of lalita with kameshvara which is Chapter 15 of the Lalitopakhyana (or Lalita-Mahatmya), an important scripture within Shaktism embedded as the final part in the Brahmanda-Purana. It is presented in the form of a dialogue between sage Agastya and Hayagriva, which is incarnation of Vishnu and also includes the Lalita Sahasranama.

Chapter 15 - Festivities in honour of the marriage of Lalitā with Kāmeśvara

Hayagrīva continued:

1. On hearing those words, the goddess with a tender smile over her lotus-like face spoke to the Suras, the leaders among whom were Brahmā and Viṣṇu.

2. “O Devas, I am always independent. My conduct of life and my sports and pastimes are in accordance with my own wishes and whims. My husband shall be one whose conduct of life is befitting mine.”

3. After promising—“Let it be so” along with all Devas, Pitāmaha (grandfather i.e. Brahmā) spoke to the great goddess, the following words containing Dharma and Artha (two goals in life).

4. “The marriage between a woman and a man is of four types.[1]

(i) Bought (i.e. contracted) for a particular period (Kālakrītā).

(ii) Bought as a slave (Krayakrītā)

(iii) Given in marriage by the parents (Pitṛdattā).

(iv) Joined (married) of her own will (as in a Love-Gandharva-marriage)—(Svayaṃyutā).

5. It is a harlot who is called Kālakrītā (Bought for a fixed period). The slave will be Kṣayakrītā (Bought for a price). The Yuktā (she who is joined) shall be one who is married according to the Gandharva rite (i.e. when the woman and man love each other spontaneously). It is the Bhāryā (wedded wife) who is given in marriage by the father.

6-7. The Yuktā will have common characteristics (with her Man). The Bhāryā would have been under the control of her father.

It is from the non-dualistic supreme Brahman which is devoid of the state of being existent or non-existent and which is of the nature of Cit (Consciousness) of Ānanda (Bliss), that Prakṛti was born, You were that Brahman and you alone were that Prakṛti.

8. You are beginningless immanence in everything. You are of the nature of Kārya (effect) and Kāraṇa (cause). It is you whom Sanaka and other Yogins seek.

9. They praise you alone as the five-formed Brahman (Pañcabrahma-Svarūpiṇī) namely you are Sadrūpā (having the form of the Existent), Asadrūpā (having the form of the nonexistent), Karmarūpā (having the form of Karman), Vyaktodayātmikā (of the nature of manifest outcome) and Avyaktodayātmikā (of the nature of unmanifest outcome).

10. You alone create the universe at the outset. You alone protect it instantly. Resort to some Puruṣa with a desire to bless the world.”

11. On being entreated thus by Brahmā and all Suras, the Goddess lifted up a garland and hurled it on to the sky with her hand.

12. The garland hurled by her rendered the region of the firmament splendid and fell down on the neck of Kāmeśvara.

13. Then the Devas beginning with Brahmā and Viṣṇu rejoiced. On being wafted by gentle breezes, the clouds made showers of flowers.

14. Then Brahmā said to Lord Janārdana—“O Hari, the marriage of these two Blessed ones should be performed in accordance with the religious injunctions.

15-18. The auspicious hour obtained by the Devas is conducive to the welfare of the entire universe. The great goddess is similar in form to you. Further, you are her brother.

It behoves you to give this auspicious lady to Kāmaśiva”.

On hearing his words, Trivikrama (Viṣṇu) the lord of Devas affectionately gave her in marriage to Śaṅkara in accordance with the injunction.[2]

The Primordial lord Ādikeśava (Viṣṇu) celebrated the auspicious (marital) function of Siva and Śivā[3], formally by offering water (to indicate the Kanyādāna) in the presence of chief ones among gods, sages and pitṛs as well as of Gandharvas, celestial damsels and of all tribes of Devas. Brahmā and the Suras offered them presents:

19. Brahmā gave them, a sugarcane bow of imperishable nature and adamantine strength. Hari gave them the immutable and unfading flowery weapon (arrows).

20. Varuṇa the lord of aquatic beings gave them Nāgapāśa (the serpentine noose). Viśvakarmā, the lord of subjects gave them goad.

21. Agni (the fire-god) gave a crown. The Moon and the Sun gave them two large ear-rings. The Ratnākara (Ocean-god) himself gave an ornament fully studded with the nine precious stones.

22. The ruler of Suras gave them an everlasting honey-vessel. Then Kubera gave a necklace full of Cintāmaṇis (Philosopher’s stones).

23. The consort of Lakṣmī (Viṣṇu) gave them an umbrella that was an insignia of imperial power. The rivers Gaṅgā and Yamunā gave them two chowries shining brilliantly like the moon.

24. The eight Vasus, Rudras, Ādityas, Aśvinīdevas, guardians of the quarters, Maruts, Sādhyas, Gandharvas and the lords of Pramathas were delighted and they presented them their respective weapons.

25. They gave them chariots, horses, and elephants of great velocity and strength, camels free from sickness, and horses devoid of hunger and thirst. They gave them (such animals) of adamantine shape and strength along with weapons and other requisites.

26-27. Then they made elaborate arrangements for the auspicious imperial coronation of Śiva and Śivā.[4] Brahmā then made an aerial chariot named Kusumākara. It had never-fading flower garlands. It was impregnable to weapons. It could go as it pleased in heaven, in firmament or over the land. It was richly furnished.

28. Its fragrance was pleasing to the mind and very auspicious. Merely by ìnhaling it, delusion, sickness, hunger and agony would perish instantaneously.

29-32. He seated that divine couple in that aerial chariot which was rendered charming by means of chowries, fans, umbrellas and flagstaffs.

The goddess went out of the royal palace, being served eagerly by the groups of Suras with the sounds of musical instruments of different kinds such as lute, flute, drum etc.

By means of her own brilliance the goddess, desirous of sports, brightened the streets along which she passed. Thousands of celestial damsels and other young ladies stood on the tops of every mansion with the Lājās (fried grains) and Akṣatas (unbroken rice grains) in their hands and showered the goddess with them.

She slowly went round the different streets delighted with vocal songs and notes of lutes, flutes etc. for the sake of auspicious purposes.

33. After getting down from the excellent aerial chariot she accepted the Nīrājana rites (i.e. ceremonial waving of the lights) performed by the celestial damsels and entered the great Assembly chamber.

34. Accompanied by Śambhu, she occupied the throne. Omniscient that she was, she understood what the noble people assembled there desired mentally. With the cast of her benign, glance, she fulfilled all those desires.

35. On observing this activity of the goddess, Brahmā the grandfather of the worlds gave her the epithets of Kāmākṣī and Kāmeśvarī.

36. At her bidding, a miraculous cloud showered on that city excessively valuable articles and divine ornaments.

37. In every house of the city of the goddess, Cintāmaṇi (Philosopher’s stone), Kalpa (desire-yielding tree), Kamalā (Goddess Lakṣmī) and Kāmadhenus (wish-yielding cows) stood for the purpose of the victory of the goddess.

38-42. (All the citizens) were equipped with all desirable objects. They were delighted for ever. Leaving off all other activities and qualities, they attended upon the goddess to whom their service appealed much. Brahmā, Hari, Mahādeva, Vāsava (Indra), all other lords of the cardinal points, all the groups of Devas, Nārada and other celestial sages, Sanaka and other Yogins, Manu and other great sages, Vasiṣṭha and other ascetics, Gandharvas, Apsarasas, Yakṣas and all other communities of demi-gods as well as all those people who used to live in Heaven, Earth and Firmament without suffering obstacles and difficulties—all of them began to live in that city without any hindrance or suffering

43-45. The goddess who loved all of them did not go away anywhere else from the people. With great love she delighted them always. In the great earthly world of the scholarly king, the queen was liked by all. She milked (i.e. bestowed) everything desired by the residents of the entire face of the earth. Thus Kāmaśaṅkara accompanied by Ambikā ruled as the sole emperor of the three worlds for ten thousand years which passed by like a moment.

46. Thereafter once, the holy lord, sage Nārada came there, bowed down to the Supreme Power (Parā Śakti) and submitted humbly.

47. “O great goddess, you are the supreme Brahman, you are the highest majestic lustre; you constitute the concepts like sad-bhāva (existence), asadbhāva (non-existence), alternative ideas and comprehensions.

48. It is for the prosperity of the Universe that you have manifested yourself. All your activity O Kalyāṇi (Auspicious Deity) is for the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked and for of the prosperity of good people.

49. This demon Bhaṇḍa, O goddess, harasses the three worlds. He can be subdued by you alone. It is impossible for all other gods.

50. The gods have stayed here for a long time engaged in serving you. At your behest, they will go to their respective cities.

51. Whatever had been inauspicious and void hitherto—may that be full of affluence and richness.”

On being requested and reminded thus by Nārada, the goddess despatched the immortal ones to their respective abodes and regions.

52. After honouring them duly, Ambikā despatched Brahmā, Hari, Śambhu, Vāsava and other lords of cardinal points.

53. Although they were allowed to go, the Suras thought that it was an offence to abandon completely. They continued to serve Śiva and Śivā the primordial parents. They served them by means of their parts (and partial incarnations).

54. This narrative is conducive to longevity. It is the cause of all auspicious things—the narrative of manifestation of Mahādevī and her coronation.

55. The scholar who gets up early in the morning and recites this with faith and devotion shall become increasingly rich and one endowed with the power of speech flowing like nectar.

56. Nothing inauspicious can befall that intelligent one. He will attain immense glory as well as equality and even superiority over others.

57. His prospèrity and magnificence shall be unshakeable. At every step he will have welfare. He will never have anything to fear. He shall be brilliant and vigorous.

58-59. He will be free from sufferings of three kinds. He will be filled with Puruṣārthas (the objectives of human beings). He who meditates on the goddess (seated) on the throne, everyday during the three Sandhyās (dawn, dusk and noon), shall become the most excellent one among Jāpakas (who perform Japa or repetition of holy names etc.). Within six months he will attain great fortune.

Footnotes and references:


VV. 4-7 show a later development, as all the eight forms of marriage of the Smṛti Period are not mentioned and terms used such as Kālakrītā etc. are also different.


This is beautifully represented in one of the panels in Minākṣī Temple, Madurai. There the god is called Sundareśvara (Śiva).


Our text is cryptic, N. reads:

devarṣi-pitṛ-mukhyānāṃ Gandharvāpsarasāṃ tathā /
Sarvāsāṃ deva-jātīnāṃ sānnidhye jala-pūrvakam // X.18

This reading is accepted in translation here.


VV. 26-54 describe the coronation of Lalitā and Kāmeśvara.

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