Lalitopakhyana (Lalita Mahatmya)

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

This page describes manifestation of the guardian deities which is Chapter 32 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 32 - Manifestation of the guardian deities

Summary: Manifestation of the guardian deities of the seven chambers of Tripurā in Śrīnagara.

Note: Though the present chapter proposes to enumerate the guards of seven chambers, actually, only two—Mahākāla in Mahā-Kāla-Cakra, (vv. 7-41) the protector of ṃe first garden and the Cakra of Vasanta (vv. 44-60) are described fully. Thus every season—Grīṣma (Summer), Varṣā (rainy season) etc. have their cakras and the duty of protecting the gardens or parks in the remaining enclosures (vv. 58-66). Thus (Mahākāla + 6 seasons=) seven guards are appointed to these seven enclosures.

Agastya said:

1. There are deities guarding the seven enclosures beginning with that made of iron. O wise one, mention their names, so that my doubts can be cleared.

Hayagrīva said:

2. Mahākāla, the devourer of the worlds, having a dark-coloured body stays, O Pot-born sage, in the great garden of many trees.

3. He wears a dark-coloured jacket. His eyes are red on account of intoxication. He continuously drinks the tonic beverage called the universe with which the cup of cosmic egg is filled.

4. Seated in his throne of the nature Kalpāntakalana (comprehending the end of Kalpa), he looks at Mahākālī whose complexion is as dark as the cloud and who has become tender-hearted, due to the action of the god of Jove.

5. He constantly meditates on Lalitā. He is even eager to worship Lalitā. Through devotion to Lalitā, he enhances his longevity. He is served by the servants the most important among them being Kāla and Mṛtyu.[1]

6. Mahākālī and Mahākāla carry out the orders of goddess Lalitā. They stay in the first path (enclosure). They seize and impel the entire universe.


7. The Kālacakra (circle of Mahākāla) of Mātaṅga (?) forms his seat. It has four Āvaraṇas (outer coverings) and is rendered beautiful with the Bindu (point) at the centre.

8. The four Āvaraṇas are (1) triangle, (2) pentagon, (3) lotus of sixteen petals, (4) lotus of eight petals or spokes (radii). Mahākāla is in the centre.

9. In the (vertices of the) triangle three great deities, the Śaktis of Mahākāla, viz.: Mahākālī[2], Mahāsandhyā (great Dusk) and Mahāniśā (great night) are stationed.

10. There itself in the vertices of the Pentagon are stationed the five Śaktis, viz.: Pratyūṣa, (Dawn), Pitṛprasu (Twilight) when Pitṛs are abroad), Prāhṇa (Fore-noon), Aparāhṇa (Afternoon), Madhyāhna (Noon).

11-13. Then, O sage, listen to the Śaktis stationed in the lotus of sixteen petals. They are (the various parts of time such as Dina (Day), Niśā (Night), Tamisrā (Dark Night), Jyotsni (Moon light Night), Pakṣiṇī, Pradoṣā, Niśīthā, Praharā, Pūrṇimā, Rākā, Anumati, Amāvāsyā, Sinīvālī, Kuhū, Bhadrā, the sixteenth Uparāgā. These are remembered as the sixteen Śaktis stationed in the sixteen petals.

14-17. (The units of Time, such as) Kalā, Kāṣṭhā, Nimeṣa, Lava, Kṣaṇa, Truṭi, Muhūrta, Kutapa[?], Horā, Śuklapakṣa, Kṛṣṇapakṣa, Ayana, Viṣuva, the thirteenth. Saṃvatsarā, Parivatsarā and Iḍāvatsarā—these are remembered as the Śaktis stationed in the lotus of sixteen petals.

Years forming a yuga in Vedic works such as Iḍvatsarā, Induvatsarā (N. Udvatsara), Avatsarā and Tithi, Vāra, Nakṣatra, Yoga and Karaṇa—these Śaktis are stationed in the lotus with eight petals.

18. Kali, Kalpa, Kalanā and Kālī, these four are the doorkeepers of the shining Kālacakra.

19. All these deities of Mahākāla are the wives of Kāla. Due to intoxication, they have laughing faces. They hold goblets of red lustre filled with liquor. They are dark-complexioned.

20. They are always absorbed in worshipping, eulogising, meditating upon and repeating the names of Lalitā. They serve Mahākāla seated in Kālacakrāsana.

21. Then, O Pot-born sage, the (guard) of Kalpakavāṭī is Vasanta—the spring season: (Vasanta) of great splendour, the favourite servant of Lalitā.

22. He is seated on a flowery throne. He is reddened due to intoxication by the liquor extracted from the honey of flowers. Flowers are his weapons and ornaments. He appears splendid with a flowery umbrella.

23.[3] Madhuśrī and Mādhavaśrī—these two deities are the wives of that shining lord (Vasanta)[3]. Both of them are inebriated through the spirituous liquor extracted from flowers. They are ardently desirous of the god of love having flowers for his arrows.

24. The defender of Santānavāṭikā is Grīṣmartu (the summer season) of fiery eyes. He is the servant of Lalitā, continuously carrying out her commands.

25.[4] Śukraśrī and Śuciśrī are remembered as his two wives.

Haricandanavāṭī, O sage, is occupied by Varṣartu (the rainy season).

26-28a. That Varṣartu has great splendour. Lightning-streaks are his tawny eyes. He is highly resonant with thunderbolt as his boisterous laughter. He has haughty clouds for his vehicle. He is covered with clouds like coats of mail. He holds a jewel-set bow. He is absorbed in worshipping, eulogising, meditating upon and repeating the names of Lalitā. He is, O conqueror of Vindhya, one who gives great delight to all the three worlds.

28b-29. His Śaktis are said to be twelve, viz.[5] Nabhaśrī, Nabhasyaśrī, Svarasā, Svara- (N. Sasya)-Mālinī, Ambā, Dulā, Nirali (N. Sarasā), Abhrayanī, Meghayantrikā, Varṣayantī, Cibuṇikā (N. of a star in Kṛttikā) and Vāridhārā. They shower rain. They have eyes reddened due to inebriation.

30-32. Along with those Śaktis, Varṣartu (the Rainy Season) always worships Lalitā, the supreme goddess, with clusters of flowers raised by himself. He repeats her names. He adorns the countries of I he devotees of Lalitā by means of his wealth. He always torments the land of her enemies by means of drought. Such is the rainy season, the servant of the goddess.

33. Śaradṛtu (the Autumn) stays permanently in the grove of Mandāra trees and protects that chamber. He is splendidly glorious. He delights the mind of the world.

34. Iṣaśrī and Ūrjaśrī[6] are the beloved ones of that season. They gather water and with clusters of flowers raised by himself, he worships dthe empress, the consort of Śrīkāmeśvara.

35-36. Hemantartu (Season of early winter) of great splendour has his physical body as cool as snow (cool on account of snow). His face is always delightful. He is the favourite servant of Lalitā. By means of clusters of flowers raised by himself, he worships the supreme goddess (Parameśvarī). He defends the park of Pārijāta. He subdues even fire. Sahaḥśrī and Sahasyaśrī are his two excellent consorts.[7]

37-39. The guard of the grove of Kadamba Trees is Śiśirartu (the season of winter) of cool features, O excellent sage born of pot. Therefore, the entire surface of the land of that chamber is rendered cool by him. Therefore, Śyāmā, the deity residing there is also of cool nature and features. His two excellent consorts are Tapaḥśrī and Tapasyaśrī.[8] Along with them he worships Lalitā, the mother who sanctifies the universe.

Agastya said:

40-42. O Gandharvavadana (Hayagrīva) O glorious one, among the seven chambers (and parks) consisting of different kinds of trees Mahākāla, the guardian of the first Park has been heard by me. His Cakra (wheel or group) has been glorified by you as having four outer coverings. It is also heard from you that the guardianship of the Kalpaka and other parks belonged to the six seasons. But the deities of the Cakra are not heard (in respect of the seasons). Hence, recount in the proper order the protecting deities (Āvaraṇa deities) of the outer coverings of the Cakra of vasanta and others, since O holy lord, you are omniscient and great.

Hayagrīva said:

43-45. Listen, O excellent sage, to the (enumeration of deities stationed in different Cakras (mystical circles). Kālacakra has been mentioned before. Vasantacakra (the mystical circle of spring season) is being described. It has seven outer coverings, viz.: (1) Triangle, (2) Pentagon, (3) Lotus with eight petals, (4) Lotus with sixteen petals (? Spokes), (5) Lotus with ten petals, (6) The same and (7) a square. In the centre of all, the deity of the spring season, of great brilliance is stationed in the Bindu (point) of the Cakra.

46-48. Both the consorts Madhuśrī and Mādhavaśrī are seated on his lap. Vasantartu (has four hands). With two of his hands he holds fast the breasts of his consorts, one of the breasts of one with one hand and one of the breasts of the other with the other hand. With the other pair of his hands, he holds the goblet of wine rendered fragrant with flowers and a piece of meat. The mental representation of the persona] figure of all the Ṛtus (Seasons) should be carried out in this manner, O suppressor of Vindhya. In the course of mental representation of Varṣartu (Rainy season), it should be known that the first two Śaktis (viz.: Nabhaḥśrī and Nabhasyaśrī) arc seated on his lap and the other (ten) arc close to him.

49-56 Now listen to the enumeration of deities stationed in the circle of Vasanta. (There are altogether sixty of them, thirty are Tithis pertaining to Madhuśrī and thirty (Tithis) pertaining to Mādhavaśrī). The deities (of Madhuśrī) are Madhuśuklaprathamikā, Madhuśukladvitīyā, Madhuśuklatṛtīyā, Madhuśuklacaturthikā, Madhuśuklapañcamī, Madhuśuklaṣaṣṭhikā, Madhuśuklasaptamī, Madhuśuklāṣṭamī, Madhuśuklanavamī, Madhuśukladaśamī, Madhuśuklaikādaśí, Madhuśukladvādaśī, Madhuśuklatrayodaśī, Madhuśuklacaturdaśī, Madhuśuklapaurṇamāsī, Madhukṛṣṇaprathamā, Madhukṛṣṇadvitīyā, Madhukṛṣṇatṛtīyā, Madhukṛṣṇacaturthī, Madhukṛṣṇapañcamī, Maḍhukṛṣṇaṣaṣṭhī, Madhukṛṣṇasaptamī, Madhukṛṣṇāṣṭamī Madhukṛṣṇanavamī, Madhukṛṣṇadaśamī. O suppressor of theVindhya, Madhukṛṣṇaikādaśī, Madhukrṣṇadvādaśī, Madhukṛṣṇatrayodaśī, Madhukṛṣṇacaturdaśī, and Madhvamā (vāsyā). These are to be known as the Śaktis (of Madhuśrī).

57-58. In this manner, there are thirty other Śaktis stationed above Mādhavaśrī beginning with Śuklapratipat (i.e. Mādhavaśuklaprathamā etc.). These two together numbering sixty are well known as Vasantaśaktis.

59-61.[9] The seats (of sixty deities in the seven outer coverings (āvaraṇa) of Vasantacakrarāja should be worshipped in the Cakra in accordance with the injunctions with their respective Mantras. There are sixty deities stationed in those sixty Bhūmis (seats). They are to be worshipped separately with their respective Mantras by the Sādhakas (Aspirants of spiritual enlightenment).

Such is the Vasantacakra. The same is the case in the other three[10]. But the deities are different according to the difference of Śukraśrī, Śuciśrī, etc. Thus there are gloriously splendid sixty Śaktis in the Grīṣmacākra.

62-63. In the same manner (understand) the different (Śaktis) belonging to Nabha and Nabhasya in the circles Varṣācakra etc. There are sixty Śaktis in each of the Cakras. Afraid of making the description voluminous, I am refraining from enumerating them.

64. These are the Śaktis pertaining to the Ṛtus (Seasons). They bestow happiness on the devotees of Lalitā. They are absorbed in worshipping, eulogising, meditating upon and repeating the names of Lalitā.

65-67. They move about, in the Cakras of Kalpavāṭikā etc. They are lazy and gracefully slow due to inebriation. They propitiate the great goddess Lalitā through the honey produced in their own respective flowers.

All of them together number three hundred and sixty. In the same manner there are deities, the guardians in the seven enclosures.

They are being recounted to you by mentioning the names also since you have asked. I shall take up the cases of other enclosures also to complete the description. Listen attentively. I shall give details and names of Śaktis also.

Footnotes and references:


The concept of Time has two aspects in this Purāṇa (i) as the destroyer of every thing and (ii) the calculator or enumerator. The so-called Kālacakra represents this complex concept. The Tantric outline of the Cakra—with Mahākāla as the centre and the figures of a triangle and a Pentagon and Lotuses with sixteen and eight petals—appears mystical. But the contents are descriptive of the concept of Kāla: Thus the three Sandhyās (twilights) are the Śaktis, in the triangle; parts of the day from dawn to noon are the Śaktis in the Pentagon, days and nights and the special days such as the full moon and new moon days are the Śaktis in 16 petals while units of time such as Kāla Kāṣṭhā etc. are the 16 Śaktis in the petals while names of years in Vedas are the 8 petals of another lotus.

Kāla or Mahākāla as the presiding deity of this Cakra occupies the central position and is depicted as deterrent, black-coloured, inebriated and boisterous with a suitably terrific spouse Mahākālī.


Mahākālyā (great Dawn)


The season spring consists of two months Madhu (Caitra) and Mādhava (Vaiśākha); Naturally Madhuśrī (the Beauty of Caitra) and Mādhavaśrī (the beauty of Vaiśākha) are his wives.


The season summer (Grīṣma) consists of two months Śukra (or Jyeṣṭha) and Śuci (or Āṣādha). Hence his two wives are Śukraśrī and Śuciśrī (the beauties of these two months).


In the list of Śaktis of the Rainy Season (Varṣartu) the first two are the names of the Month Nabhas (Śrāvaṇa) and Nabhasya (Bhādrapada) which constitute the Rainy season. Others are the deified natural phenomena in the rainy season.


Months Iṣa (Āśvina) and Ūrja (Kārttika) cover the season called autumn. Hence they are treated as his wives.


Sahas (Mārgaśīrṣa) and Sahasya (Pauṣa) are the months which constitute the season Hemanta. Hence these months are given feminine forms and are said to be his spouses.


The months Tapas (Māgha)and Tapasya (Phālguna) form the season called Śiśira and hence they are treated as the wives of the season Śiśira.


Vasanta-Cakra (vv.49-60) is said to have sixty deities abiding in it. But the deities are different Tithis of the bright half and of the dark half both of Caitra and Vaiśākha which constitute the season Vasanta (Cakra). Similar Cakras for the remaining seasons (ṛtus) each having sixty deities (15 tithis of bright half +15 tithis of the dark half per month. A season consists of two months. Hence 30 Tithis per month X 2 months constituting the season =60 Śaktis.)


Thereading Ca triṣu is wrong. N. 28.176 reads Cartuṣu (Ca ṛtuṣu) ‘and in other seasons’.

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