Lalitopakhyana (Lalita Mahatmya)

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

This page describes seven chambers beginning with topaz which is Chapter 33 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 33 - Seven Chambers beginning with Topaz

Summary: Seven Chambers beginning with Topaz rampart and ending with the rampart of Pearls.

Note: This chapter describes the seven concentric chambers or enclosures built of precious stones—each enclosure built exclusively of the following precious stones—Topaz and gold, rubies, Gomeda (a gem of four colours found in the Himalayan region), diamonds, Lapis-Lazuli, Sapphires and Pearls. One wonders whether pearls were regarded more valuable than diamonds, sapphires in those days. The special feature of these enclosures was the uniformity in colour etc. of the Plant-world, nay even of water, birds etc. in each enclosure; thus in describing the diamond enclosure, the water of river Vajrā is to liquefy diamond and those who drink it have adamantine Physique (vv.29-31). Wine flows liberally in Lalitā-māhātmya and the residents of these whether Siddhas, Śaktis etc. are inebriated but are devotees of Lalitā, repeat her Mantra, epithets etc.

Hayagrīva said:

1. The characteristic features of seven enclosures built by the artisans have been recounted. Now the enclosures studded with jewels and precious stones are being glorified. Listen attentively.

2. The intervening space between the enclosure of gold and the enclosure of Topaz is mentioned to be only seven Yojanas.[1]

3. It is there that the Siddhas and Siddha-women sport about in their excitement due to inebriation, with tasty juices, tonic beverages, swords and cosmetic ointments applied to the feet.

4. They are endowed with devotion to Lalitā and please the great people. They stay there and imbibe different kinds of juicy liquor.

5. The arrangements of the doorway of enclosures built of topaz and other gems, are as before. The panels of doors, bolts and Gopuras, it should be known, are made of topaz etc. sparkling like the moon and the sun at the height of their lustre.

6. The space in between the circular golden rampart and that of topaz is also remembered as made of topaz.

7. In all the great enclosures and chambers described subsequently, the birds and lakes have the same uniform colour.

8-9. The waters of the rivers are also of the same colour. The bejewelled trees too have the same colour. Those among the Siddha castes who had formerly worshipped the goddess in diverse ways and had passed away are born as the Siddhas here, along with their women. They repeat the Mantras of Lalitā and they are exclusively devoted to the procedure of worship of Lalitā. All of them devoutly repeat the names of goddess Lalitā.

10. Within the great enclosure of topaz and seven Yojanas from it is the square enclosure made of ruby.1

11. The ground too is paved with rubies. Gopura and other structures also ate made of rubies. It is there that those who formerly stayed in the region of Cāraṇas and had subsequently attained Siddhis due to the destruction of former bodies, stay serving the lotus-like feet of the great queen;

12. Womenfolk of the Cāraṇas have beautiful limbs. They are desirous of getting inebriated. They frequently sing the musical compositions eulogising goddess Lalitā.

13. There itself, they occupy the platform amongst the Kalpa (wish-yielding) trees. They move about along with their husbands and drink sweet wine.

14. Within the great enclosure of rubies and seven Yojanas from it, is the great enclosure of the gem called Gomeda893 894 (a gem from Himālayas, of four colours).

The extremely lofty chamber of diamonds with the ground paved with diamonds, is in between them.

15. It is there, O Pot-born sage, that the leading Gandharvas who had worshipped the goddess in their previous births stay along with the groups of celestial damsels.

16. By means of notes on the lutes, they sing about the good qualities of the empress. They take excessive interest in the sole enjoyment of amorous pleasures. Their bodies resemble the body of the god of love. They are gentle-natured. They have great devotion toward? Śrīdevī.

17. The chamber of Gomeda gem is of the same shape and features as the previous one. In the middle of it there are crores of Yoginīs and Bhairavas. They serve mother (goddess) Kālasaṅkarṣaṇī there with devotion.

18-22. Within the great enclosure of Gomeda gems, seven Yojanas from it, live the celestial damsels such as Urvaśī,

Menakā, Rambhā, Alambuṣā, Mañjughoṣā, Sukeśī, Purvacittī, Ghṛtācī, Kṛtasthalā, Viśvācī, Puñjikasthalā, Tilottamā and other celestial harlots like them. Along with the Gandharvas they drink fresh liquor from the Kalpa-trees. They meditate upon Lalitādevī again and again. In order to enhance their own great fortune, they repeat her Mantra. All the Apsaras ladies originating from fourteen places stay there itself worshipping the goddess with joyous minds.

Agastya enquired:

23. O holy lord, recount the fourteen sources of origin of those Apsaras (celestial damsels), O highly intelligent one, O great storehouse of all lores.

Hayagrīva replied:

24-26. The heart of Brahmā, Kāma, Mṛtyu, Ūrvī (the Earth), the wind god, Sun’s, Moon’s rays, Vedas, the fire-god, lightning, nectar, daughter of Dakṣa and water.1 Learned men consider these as the causes of birth of divine harlots, with dazzling riches of blessedness and grandeur. Along with the Gandharvas all these worship goddess Cakriṇī.

27. The Kinnaras and the Kimpuruṣas, O sage, have resorted to the region of diamond.2 They are accompanied by their womanfolk and they are maddened with inebriation.

28. They get rid of all their sins by repeating the Mantra of the empress (Lalitā). O Pot-born sage, they stay there dancing and singing.

29-30. There itself, on the ground studded with diamonds flows the river Vajrā, O sage. It shines with trees on either bank, thickly grown and having the form and features of diamonds. The sand particles of this river are solely diamond pieces. Verily, the water is liquefied diamond. That sanctifying river flows all round that region.

31. Those excellent men who are devotees of Lalitā Parameśānī and drink its water, attain adamantine physical895 896

bodies, O Pot-born sage. They become long-lived and free from sickness.

32. When the thunderbolt hurled by him was dissolved and melted by Bhaṇḍāsura, Śatakratu (Indra) performed penance with great devotion towards Vajreśī.

33.The goddess rose from its waters, gave the thunderbolt to the enemy of Vala (i.e. Indra) and vanished once again. Gratified thereby he too went back to the heaven.

34. Within the enclosure of diamond and seven Yojanas from it is the lofty Vaidūryaśālā (Enclosure of Lapis Lazuli.1). It has Gopuras as mentioned before. The land there is also made of Lapis Lazuli. It has sparkling features.

35. Those residents of Pātāla who had been aspirants for spiritual enlightenment and worshippers of Śrīdevī reside there in the forms of Siddhas with abundant happiness.

36-38. Śeṣa, Karkoṭaka, Mahāpadma, Vāsuki, Śaṅkha, Takṣaka, Śaṅkhacūḍa, Mahādanta, Mahāphaṇa and many other Nāgas like these stay there. So also their womenfolk. The class of virtuous and devout Daityas, the chief of whom is Bali, stays there along with the Nāgas as well as its own women folk. They habitually repeat the Mantras of Lalitā. They are initiated in the sacred lore of Lalitā. They are the perpetual worshippers of Lalitā. Thus the Asuras and serpents reside there.

39. There, in the chamber of Lapis Lazuli, the rivers have icy chill waters. The waters in the lakes have sparkling lustre free from dirt. The lakes are adorned with cranes, swans and lotuses.

40. The mansions are divine and embellished with Lapis Lazuli gems. Those serpents and Asuras play there along with their womenfolk.

41. Within the great enclosure of Lapis Lazuli and seven Yojanas from it, there is the enclosure of sapphire896 like another circle.897 898

42. The ground in the middle of it, O sage, is paved with sapphire gems. The rivers there are sweet and the lakes pleasantly cool. There are different kinds of tasty and juicy objects of pleasurable enjoyment.

43. Those people of earthly world who had attained mastery over Lalitā’s Mantra attain the chamber of sapphire on giving up their bodies and stay there.

44-46. They enjoy divine objects in the company of their womenfolk. They drink sweet wine and dance with great devotion. They sport about in those lakes and rivers, O Pot-born sage, in beautiful bowers and arbours and mansions of great prosperity. They repeat the names of Śrīdevi always and recite her good qualities. Those highly fortunate people reside there surrounded by their women.

47. When their Karmans become exhausted they go back to their human bodies on the earth. Enduced with the previous Vāsanā (imprints of former actions) they once again worship Cakriṇī. Again they go to the great enclosure of sapphire in Śrīnagara.

48-49. On account of continued contact with that region, O sage, men are always endowed with dark emotions and feelings arising from Rāga (attachment) and Dveṣa (hatred). Those who gain knowledge and wisdom, those who devoid of adverse effects of mutually opposed pairs and those who have subdued their organs of sense, O sage, possess surprising powers and they merge into Maheśvarī.

50-53. Within the enclosure of sapphire and seven Yojanas away there is the enclosure of pearls.1 It has Gopuras as mentioned before. The ground in between the two, O sage, is very pure and extremely refulgent. Everything is studded and set with pearls, very cool and highly pleasing. The great rivers Tāmraparṇī, Mahāparṇī, Sadāmuktāphalodakā and899

others like them flow in that great region. On their banks live all those residents of Devaloka who, in their previous births had successfully practised the repetitions of the Mantra of Śrīdevī.

54. In the eight directions beginning with the east are the worlds of Śakra etc. with their doorways unitedly facing the pearl enclosure along its periphery.

55-56. To the east of the central region between the gateways of pearl enclosure and sapphire enclosure is the world of śakra and in the corner thereof is the site of the world of the fire-god (i.e. in the south-east). To the south is the city of Yama. There the lord stays holding his staff and (moves about) everywhere repeating the Mantras of Lalitā. He is of impetuous and dreadful nature.

57. His assistant official Guha implements the Law and Order of Śrīdevī through the soldiers of Yama with Citragupta as their leader.

58-62. At the bidding of Śrīdevī of great prowess, O Pot-born sage, he makes the sinners fall into the terrible painful hells. The sinners are as follows: Those who

are cursed by Guha, who commit vile deeds, who cause hatred to Lalitā, who show fraudulent devotion, who are fools, who are excessively haughty, who steal Mantras, who repeat evil Mantras, who possess evil lores, who resort to sins, who are atheists, who are habitually sinful, who aimlessly cause injury to living beings, who are hostile to women, who are disliked by the entire world and who give protection to heretics. O Pot-born sage, the hells into which they are cast are Kālasūtra, Raurava, Kumbhīpāka, Asipatravana, the dreadful Kṛmibhakṣa, Pratāpana, Lālākṣepa, Sūcivedha, Aṅgārapatana and many other painful hells like these.

63. To the west of it (i.e. in the south-west corner) is Nirṛti who holds a sword. Resorting to the Rākṣasa world, he worships Lalitā.

64-66. To the north of it (i.e. in the west) in between the two gateways, Varuṇa stays permanently resorting to the Vāruṇa world. He is excited and inebriated by tasting spirituous liquor. His limbs are fair and pure. His vehicle

is fish (shark). He always repeats Śrīdevatā Mantra. He practises procedure of worship of Śrīdevī. With his nooses he binds those who dislike Śrīdevatādarśana (the philosophic system pertaining to Śrī or Śrīvidyā) and takes them down. He sets free all devotees from bondage.

67-69. In the corner north of it (i.e. North-west) is the world of Vāyu. It has great lustre. There are Siddhas, divine sages, others who practise (retention of) air and other Yogins the chief of whom is Gorakṣa1 stay there. They have gaseous bodies. They have perpetual bliss and prosperity. They are eagerly devoted to the practice of Yoga. The glorious lord Māruteśvara stays there, O Pot-born sage, along with those mentioned before. He has great inherent strength. He has different forms, different in every respect.

70. The Śaktis of Mārutanātha900 901 are three viz.: Iḍā, Piṅgalā and Suṣumnā. They are always lethargic in their inebriation due to wine.

71-74. He holds a flag in his hand. He is seated on his great vehicle, an excellent deer. He is absorbed in worshipping, eulogising, meditating upon and strictly adhering to the procedure of worship of Lalitā. He is surrounded by other Śaktis too with all their limbs filled with blissful sensations. That lord Māruta of great glory always performs the Japa of Cakriṇī. At the end of Kalpa, by means of his inherent strength, he reduces the three worlds including the mobile and immobile beings, to the state of power in a moment and delights himself thereby. In order to achieve the requisite strength, for the same, he worships and meditates upon the goddess Laliteśvarī. He is adorned with all types of ornaments.

75. Kubera, the Lord of Yakṣas, of great lustre and glory, resides in Yakṣaloka situated to the east of his (Vāyu’s) world. He is in the middle of the two gateways.

76. He is accompanied by Śaktis: Ṛddhi, Vṛddhi etc. nine Nidhis (treasures). By means of wealth and assets, he fulfils the desires of devotees.

77. Along with Yakṣīs of charming features and obedient activities, he worships Cakriṇī with different kinds of wine.

78. There are Yakṣa generals such as Maṇibhadra, Pūrṇabhadra, Maṇimān, Maṇikandhara and others like them in that place.

79. To the east of his world (i.e. North-east corner) is the world of Rudra of great prosperity. He is bedecked in very valuable jewels. He is the presiding deity.

80-82. He has fiery brilliance always due to wrathfulness. A big quiver is always kept fastened to him. He is always surrounded by many Rudras who are on a par with him, who have great inherent strength, who are efficient in maintaining the worlds, who have kept their bows well strung and who are stationed in the sixteen outer coverings. By means of h is faces, he continuously repeats the Mantra of Śrīdevatā. He is richly endowed with the practice of meditation. He is eager to worship Śrīdevī. The places near him are embellished by groups of many crores of Rudrāṇīs.

83. All of them have highly refulgent limbs. They are proud of their fresh youthfulness. They are engrossed in the meditation of Lalitā. They are perpetually lethargic in their inebriation due to wines.

84. The glorious Mahārudra who holds the trident is served by other Rudras, the chief among whom is Hiraṇyabāhu. He is accompanied by those Rudrāṇīs too.

85-86. With the tip of his trident, he pierces those persons who have neglected visiting Lalitā, who are haughty, and who are reproached by elderly people. He bums them by means of fierce fires originating from his eyes. He destroys their wives, children and servants. He is the great hero who obediently carries out the behest of Lalitā.

87. He stays thus in the extremely beautiful Rudraloka,

O Pot-born sage. The attendants of that Mahārudra, O sage, are the Pramāthins.

88-96. These Rudras are numerous. Who is competent to enumerate them (in full)? There are thousands and thousands of Rudras over the earth. Those who stay in heaven are thousands and thousands. There are Rudras whose food is arrow, whose vital breaths are arrows and whose showers are arrows. They are brilliant. They have tawny eyes. They stay in the ocean and in the firmament. They have great prowess. They have matted hair and they hold wine goblets. They are blue-throated and red in complexion. They are above all living beings. They have arrows and Kapardas (Matted hair kept in the form of a crown). There are Rudras who pierce those people who drink wine in the vessels of their food. There are Rudras who act as chariots in the paths. There are Rudras residing in holy spots. There are others, thousands in number having Sṛkas (arrows) and Niṣaṅgas (quivers). Rudras have spread far and wide in all quarters spreading the commands of Lalitā. All of them are noble souls. They can bear three worlds in a moment. They are merciful and they protect those who are very clever in meditation on Śrīdevī, who regularly repeat the Mantra of Śrīdevī and who are the devotees of Śrīdevatā. They resort to the Cakra of sixteen outer-coverings in the enclosure with the rampart wall of pearls. They worship Mahārudra of great prosperity with his face blazing with fury. The chief among them is Hiraṇyabāhu.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

VV.2-9 describe the enclosure of gold and topaz. The residents of this enclosure are Siddhas (male and female).

[2]:

VV.10-13 describe the enclosure of rubies. It is inhabited by Cāraṇas.

[3]:

VV.14-26 describe the enclosure of gomeda. It is populated by crores of Yoginīs and Bhairavas. Its special feature is the residence of Apsaras (Heavenly courtesans) and Gandharvas all drunkards but meditate upon Lalitā. VV. 24-26 enumerate the fourteen sources of origin of these divine damsels.

[4]:

Thirteen sources are enumerated here. The ocean of Milk is the fourteenth source.

[5]:

VV. 27-33 describe the enclosure of diamonds. Its residents are Kinnaras and Kimpuruṣas.

[6]:

VV. 34-40 describe the enclosure of Lapis Lazuli. It is inhabited by the denizens of Pātāla viz. great Nāgas like Śeṣa, Karkoṭaka, Bali and pious Daityas.

[7]:

VV. 41-49 describe the enclosure of Sapphire.

[8]:

The description of this inner-most enclosure is important. It mentions the fame of the river Tāmraparṇī for pearl-fisheries. The mention of the rivers of Tamilnād only confirms the author’s native Province. It gives the distribution of eight quarters to traditional Dik-Pālas (guardians of the quartets) such as Indra, Agni, Yama etc. Under Yama’s jurisdiction are hells which too are enumerated.

[9]:

Mention of Gorakṣa or Gorakhanāth as ‘the chief of Yogins’ shows that Gorakṣa became a legend by the time of Lalitā-māhātmya. One wonders why his teacher Matsyendra is not mentioned as the pair Matsyendra and Gorakṣa is still indissolubly popular. The mention of Gorakṣa shows that this Māhātmya was composed after the 10th Cent. A.D.

[10]:

The epithet ‘Nātha’ to the wind god shows the influence of Yogic Nātha Cult. Here instead of mentioning five Prāṇas as his Śaktis, the Yogic flow of breath in the right and left nostrils is noted as his Śakti. Even the chief officers of Lalitā are mentioned as ‘Mantriṇī nāthā’ and Daṇḍa-nāthā. This may be due to the influence of the Nātha cult.

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