Lalitopakhyana (Lalita Mahatmya)

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

This page describes description of other inner apartments in the royal chamber which is Chapter 37 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 37 - Description of other inner Apartments in the Royal Chamber

Hayagrīva said:—

1-2. Twenty Hastas above the level of the Antara of Sarvajñā and others is the Antara of Vaśinī and others. It extends to four Nalvas. The stair-case and apartments should be known as before. That Cakra is well known by the name Sarvarogahara (Destroyer of all diseases).

3-4. Vaśinī and other goddesses are stationed there in due order from the East etc. The first one is the goddess Vaśinī. The goddess of speech named Kāmeśvarī comes thereafter. She is accompanied by Kavarga (Gutturals). Modinī the goddess of speech accompanied by Cavarga (Palatals), is the third one.

5. Then comes the goddess of speech named Vimalā who is embellished by the Ṭa-varga (cerebrals). The fifth one is the goddess of speech called Pradhāraṇā accompanied by Ta-varga (Dentals).

6-7. The sixth one is Jayini invigorated by Pa-varga (Labials). In the square of letters beginning with ‘YA’ is the goddess of speech called Sarvaiśvaryā etc. Kaulini accompanied[?] by the six letters beginning with ‘SA’ is considered as the eighth one. All these goddesses are embellished with pearl ornaments. They are engaged in performing Japas.

8. They are considered to be fondled by the spontaneous flow of prose and poetry. They stay there, O Pot-born Sage, delighting and amusing Śri-Devī by means of sweet lyrics and dramas pleasing to the ears.

9-10a. O scorcher of Vātāpi, these deities have been famous by their secret names. The presiding deity of this Cakra is glorified by the name Siddhā.

Khecarī is considered as the protectress of this Cakra.

10b-11. O Subduer of the Vindhya mountain, Twenty Hastas above the level of the Antara of Vaśinī is the Cakra called Astra. Its extent is four Nalvas.

12-14. The five arrows of Kāmeśvara are the five goddesses of Bāṇa (arrow). The two goads of the primodial man and woman are very brilliant. Then there are two bows, O enemy of the Vindhya mountain. These nine weapons are conceived in the nine lotuses. Including the pair of nooses of brilliant lustre there are four weapons, O Pot-born Sage. Four belonging to Kāmeśvarī and four to Śrī Maheśa (i.e. arrow, bow, goad and noose). Put together there are eight blazing and shining weapons.

15. These divine weapons are extremely gratified by the blood of the wicked Dānavas that was drunk by them in the course of the great battle with the Asura Bhaṇḍa. Those divine weapons are active and alert now.

16. Among other weapons there are supplementary weapons of these weapons. Their number runs into crores.

17-18. Vajra-Śakti (Thunderbolt—Adamantine lance), Śataghnī (a rocket-like missile capable of killing hundreds,[1] Bhuśuṇḍī (A missile perhaps a fire-arm), Musala (a mace) Kṛpāṇa (a sword), Pattiśa (A sharp-edged spear), Mudgara (An iron club), Bhindipāla (A sling for throwing stone). Thousands and thousands of weapons like these serve with intoxicated excitement the great Śaktis of the eight weapons.

19-21. Twenty Hastas above the level of the Antara of weapons, O scorcher of Vātāpi, is the abode of the three Samayeśīs. It is considered to extend to four Nalvas. There the three deities beginning with Kāmeśi and a fourth one also reside. She alone is the Goddess Lalitā, the mother of the entire universe. Listen to the names of the three goddesses. Kāmeśī is the first. (The other two are) Vajreśī and Bhagamālā. Thousands of Śaktis serve them.

22. All those different kinds of deities remembered as pertaining to all the systems of philosophy serve the great goddesses there beginning wish Kāmeśi.

23-25a. Śrī Devī is the deity that completes the number when these deities as well as the deities named Nityās, Cakriṇīs and the Yoginīs are reckoned. Mother Lalitā who reclines on the lap of Lord Kāmeśvara is the fourth one in the group of Kāmeśī and others. She is the sixteenth among Nityās. She is glorified as the ninth one among Yoginīs and Cakra Devīs.

25b-28. O slayer of Ilvala, twenty Hastas above the level of the Antarāla of the Samayeśīs is the abode called Nāthāntara. It extends to four Nalvas. It is embellished with stair-case as before. The great Devīs (Goddesses) there are Nāthās who have founded and popularised the Yogaśāstra. They are the instructors in Mantras for everyone. They are verily the great oceans of all lores.

There are four Yoganāthās for the protection of the worlds. They had been created by lord Kāmeśa. Listen to their names.

29-31a. Mitrau (? two Mitras), Ṣoḍiśa (?) and Carya.[2] For the sake of protection, O Pot-born Sage, many persons of the nature of Pādukās (Sandals) have been created by them. Those are persons with divine knowledge of the lores, groups of human beings, groups of Siddhas, Suratāpasas (Celestial ascetics) etc. They have attained Siddhis of Sālokya (having the same world as that of the god-head), Sārūpya (having the same form) and Sāyujya. (having complete identity). They are great teachers. Many serve the Gurus (preceptors).

31b-35a. Twenty Hastas above the Antara of Nāthas is the excellent abode called Nityāntara. It extends to four Nalvas. There are fifteen Nityās (eternal goddesses). They are Nityā Kāmeśvarī, Nityā Bhagamālinī, Nityaklinnā, Bheruṇḍā, Vahnivāsinī, Mahāvajreśvarī, Dūtī, Tvaritā, Kulasundarī, Nityā, Nīlapatākā, Vijayā, Sarvamaṅgalā, Jvālāmālinī and Citrā.

35b-39. All these Nityā deities have the form of Goddess. They are extremely powerful and valorous. They have assumed the status of the lunar days beginning with Prathamā (the first of those days). They pervade the three worlds. They have the forms of the three units of Time (Past, Present and Future). They are adepts in Kālagrāsa (consuming even Kāla i.e. Time or god of Death). At the bidding of Devī (Goddess Lalitā) they stay assuming the forms of hundred (years of) longevity of every one beginning with Brahmā who lives for a very long time.

They are always active and devoid of agony. They are born of the excellent body of Śrī. For the prosperity of all the worlds, they serve Lalitā who is in the form of Cit. Fifteen brilliant Īśvara have undergone the status of being their abodes. It is considered that the abode of Ṣoḍaśī (i-e. Lalitā considered as the sixteenth one in the group of Nityās), is the Binducakra of special creation.

40-42. Then, O Pot-born Sage, twenty Hastas above the Antara of the Nityā deities is the Antara of the Aṅga Devīs (Deities of various limbs). It is said that it extends up to four Nalvas. The staircase and apartment are as before. O Sage, the Śaktis beginning with Hṛdaya Devī (Deity of the heart) are in it. They are mentioned to be six in number viz. Hṛddevī Śīrodevī (Deity of the head), Śikhādevī (Deity of the tuft), Varmadevī (Deity of the armour), Dṛṣṭidevī (Deity of the vision) and Śastradevī (Deity of the weapons).

43. They are very close to Lalitā, the consort of Śrīkāmeśvara. All their limbs are full with the freshness of youthful bloom and beauty. They are very attentive. They hold weapons.

44. Haughtily they move about both within the Bindu-pīṭha and all round too. They carry out the order of Lalitā. They are the close companions and confidants of the Vaśīs.

45-47. Then, ten Hastas above the Antara of the deities of the limbs, is the great Pīṭha (Pedestal seat) named Bindu Nāda. It extends to eight Nalvas. It resembles the rising sun. This should be known as Bindupīṭha, Mahāpīṭha, Śripīṭha, Vidyāpīṭha and Ānandapīṭha. It assumes the forms of fifty Pīṭhas.

48-52. There the excellent couch of Śrīlalitā Devī is placed. It is pervaded by five Brahmans (i.e. Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Maheśāna, Īśvara and the Supreme Brahman). It is very great and is the cause of the three worlds. It is mentioned that the four Pādas (legs) of that couch are ten Hastas high and three Hastas in girth. They are in the forms of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Maheśāna and Īśvara. They have attained the status of Śaktis too on account of perpetual meditation on Śrī.

One of the legs of the couch resembles the Japākusuma (The China Rose). It should be known that it is of the nature of Brahmā. It is in the South East.[3] The fourth leg of the couch has the splendour of Karṇikāra (the pericarp of a lotus). It should be known that it is of the nature of Īśvara as it is in the North-East.

53. All these have weapons with them. They are adorned with all ornaments. Above and below, they have the forms of pillars. They have personal forms in the middle.

54. They keep their eyes closed in meditation on Śrī. Their limbs are steady without any movement due to meditation on Śrī. Above (hem, the plank of the couch is Sadāśiva.

55. It has the splendour of a full-blown pomegranate flower. The plank is six Nalvas long and four Nalvas broad. It is continuously sparkling and refulgent.

56-57. Beginning from the Antara of the Aṅgadevīs and ending with the plank of the couch, O Sage, stair-cases in the form of the Tattvas shine. They are made of Cintāmaṇi stones. They are thirty-six in number.[4] We shall mention the stairs in the ascending order.

58-60. They are:—Earth, water, fire, wind, ether, smell, taste, colour, touch, sound, sexual organ, anus, feet, hands, organ of speech, nose, tongue, skin, eyes, ears, ego, intellect, mind, prakṛti, Puruṣa, niyati (fate, destiny), Kāla (Time), Rāga (attachment) Kalā (Arts), Vidyā (lore), Māyā, the pure Vidyā, Īśvara, Śakti, Sadāśivaśakti and Śiva.

61. Thus the rows of stairs numbering thirty-six have been recounted. The entire row of stairs is on the eastern side of the couch.

62-63. Then over the couch is the bed made of the down and feathers of swan. Its height is only one Hasta. It extends to four Nalvas. There are brilliant pillows, both for the feet as well as for the head. It is further rendered splendid by sixty-four golden vases and water-jars with pink colour.

64. The sheet spread over it was made of saffron coloured fabric, pure and soft with the lustre of ruby.

65-67. It is on this that the primordial Lord Śiva, Kāmeśvara stays (permanently). He sits facing the East. He is endowed with sympathy and mercy. He is very handsome in his romantically loveable dress and guise. He is perpetually sixteen years old. He has the lustre of the disc of the rising sun. He has three eyes and four hands. He is adorned with necklaces, bracelets, coronets, bangles and other ornaments. An exquisite smile spreads entirely over his cheeks like the moonlight. Thus the lord sits there alert and watchful.

68. (Description of Goddess Lalitā).[5]

Goddess Lalitā is seated on his lap. She is reddish saffron in colour like the mid-day sun. She is always sixteen years old. She is proud of her fresh youthfulness.

69. She has the lustre of unpolished ruby stone. The splendour of her nails is like that of sandal paste and lotus. She has redness in the soles of her feet regardless of application of red lac.

70-71. Anklets and other ornaments on her feet produce a charming tinkling sound. The sound of her bangles is very charming. Her shanks (leg from ankle to knee) subdued the pride of excellent quiver of arrows of the god of Love. Her thighs shine like the trunk and the forearms of an elephant or like the stem of the plantain tree in complexion. Her hips and loins are beautified by a red silk cloth very thin and smooth to touch. She is refulgent with well developed hips and buttocks.

72. The knot of her garment comes upto the middle of her thighs. She shines with a girdle set with gems and jewels. Her navel is depressed like a great whirl-pool and the three wrinkled folds spreading over it appear like a river of light and gleam.

73. She has worn a number of pearl necklaces swinging to and fro over her breasts. Her slender waist appears to be breaking due to the weight of her plump breasts.

74-76. Her hands are as soft as the glossy petals of Śirīṣa flower (Acaria Sirissa). All her four hands were embellished with a number of armlets, bracelets and bangles. The fingers have rings round them. Her beautiful neck which is close by her husband is very beautiful. Her face is circular and lustrous like a mirror with beautiful chin with gentle curves. Her lips are red in colour. The row of her sparkling teeth is neatly set. They shine like the (thirty-two) lores. They have the refulgence of buds of Kunda flowers (Jasmine). She appears to be radiating (lit. displaying) moon-light through her teeth.

77. She shines with many ornaments set with pearls. Her eyes are as large and long as the inner petal of the Ketaka flower.

78. In her forehead as charming as the crescent moon the forelocks have been neatly arranged. Her ears are adorned with different kinds of ornaments and ear-rings of ruby.

79. The betel-leaf preparation that she chews is always rendered fragrant by camphor and musk. Her face is as sweet and charming as the moon in the autumn.

80. Her beautiful coronet is well set with the fine pieces of Cintāmaṇi stone. She shiṅes with her third eye in the forehead sparkling like a gemset Tilaka mark.

81. Her tresses are dark and thick-set like the dense darkness. She shines with the mark of saffron applied in the middle of her head like a line.

82. The crescent moon shines like a diadem. Her eyes move to and fro due to inebriation. She possesses all romantic dress and make-up exciting love. She is embellished with all ornaments.

83. She is the mother of the entire world. She increases bliss perpetually. She is the source of origin of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Giriśa, Īśa and Sadāśiva.

84. She delights everyone with the stream of sympathy exuding from benign side-glance. Thus that holy goddess Lalitāmbikā, the destroyer of sin, appears replendent.

85. People know that the benefit of worship of other deities is the opportunity to worship her. Hence, the benefit of her worship is the opportunity to worship her.

86. How can I then describe Goddess Lalitā adequately. Even in the course of a thousand crores of years, a fraction of it cannot be described.

87. She who is to be described is in the form which is beyond (the ken of) speech. How can (my) words have access to her? (She is that ultimate reality) from where words recede without reaching her along with the mind.

88. Of what avail is profuse utterance? Listen to this fact. This is not being spoken by me out of partiality, love or delusion.

89-92. O ascetic, let the branches of the Kalpa tree be pens. Let the seven oceans be ink-pots. Let the Earth which extends to fifty crores of Yojanas become the paper. Let the time for writing be more than a Parārdha (1 followed by 17 zeroes) of years. Let the people in the world write each of them having a crore of hands. O Pot-born Sage even if all the speakers be as eloquent as Bṛhaspati, it is impossible to adequately describe a thousandth part of the lustre of a toe-nail of the lotus-like foot of Śrīdevī. Or (it is enough to say) that all activities will be in vain in the matter of eulogising her.

93. All round the Bindupīṭha a handsome and symmetrical curtain hangs down. It is the Mahāmāyājavanikā (screen of Mahāmāyā) and is dark in colour.

94-95. The numerous ornaments and embellishments obtaining there are the rarest ones. Desirous of describing them my power of speech is struck down (stifled) at the throat itself due to shame. Above the goddess about forty Hastas from the ground level, a chandelier and canopy are kept suspended. They are rare in all the three worlds.

96. She alone knows everything regarding the good features obtaining there. Her exalted grandeur and felicity is far beyond even our comprehension. By whom can it be described?

97. Thus for the sake of slaying Bhaṇḍa, the great Daitya, Lalitāmbikā has manifested herself from the Cidanala. (the fire of knowledge and consciousness). She has entirely burned all Dānavas.

98. Presiding over Śrīnagara which had been built by celestial artisans and craftsman and which has sixteen holy establishments, she protects the Universe continuously.

99. There are other Śrīpuras also in this manner. In the arrangement there is no difference among them. The difference is only in the name.

100. Those who recount the story of Śrīpura beginning with the garden of many trees attain the greatest goal.

101. The men too who listen to it, who ask about it, who search for it and who hold the book thereof attain the greatest goal.

102. Those devotees who get a replica of Śrīpura, made through craftsmen, with the different parts of the same duly represented and build a huge temple of Śrīdevī, do attain the greatest goal.

Notes on this chapter:

This chapter describes the remaining Antaras of other deities and concludes with the poetic description of Lalitā and her consort.

The following are the Antaras in the upward direction. The last one in die last chapter is taken as the base:

Bed or Couch of Śrī-Lalitā—36 Tattvas as stair

Assumes forms of 50 Pīṭhas
Antara of Aṅga-devīs (denoting parts of Lalitā’s body.
(vv. 40-44)

The Abode of Ṣoḍaśī: Nityā (Lalitā): Bindu Cakra.
Bindu Cakra
The Nityā-devīs dwell with 15 Īśvaras
Antara of 15 Nityā deities (Lalitā is the 16th)
(vv. 31b-39)

Antara of 4 Nāthās—Influence of Nāth Cult and Gurudom.
(vv. 25-30)

Antara of Samayeśīs
Autara of Kāmeśī, Vajreśī, Bhagamālā, Śrīdevī (Lalitā) the 4th Devi
(vv. 19-24)

Antara of weapons (in person) of Kameśvarī
(vv. 10b-18)

N. of the cakra: servoroga-hara
Cakriṇī (Presiding deity): Siddhā,
Protectress: Khecarī (v. 9); Sarvaīśvaryā (Ya etc.) (v. 6); Kaulinī (Śa and the rest) (7); Pradhāraṇā (v.5) (Ta-Varga); Jayinī (5) (Pa-Varga) (v.4); Kāmeśvarī (Goddess of speech accompanied by Ka-varga); Medīnī (v. 4) (Ca-Varga); Vimalā (v.5) (Ṭa-varga); Antara of Vaśinī and other goddesses like Kāmeśvarī etc. (vv. 1-10a)

The Antara of sarvajñā as in chapter 36

Footnotes and references:


Or a cylindrical piece of wood studded with iron pikes—MW, p. 1049a.


N. gives the names as follows:

Mitreśa Uḍḍīśa, Saṣṭhīśa [Ṣaṣṭhīśa?] and Caryā.


Here there is an omission of the description of two more legs in the South-East and North-West and of the forms of Viṣṇu and Maheśvara.

The omitted lines as ascertained from N are as follows:

The second leg of the couch has the splendour of a big sapphire. It should be known as of the nature of Viṣṇu and it is in the South-West direction.

The third leg of the couch is as spotless as pure crystal. It should be understood to be representative of (lit. of the nature of) Rudra and it is in the North-West direction.


Both Śaivas and Śāktas believe in 36 Tattvas but of these the first 12 are imaginary as S.N. Dasgupta puts it, while the remaining 24 arc the same as in Sāṃkhyas. The list of Tattvas is given in 58-60. For tabular systematic presentation vide Sir John Woodroffe’s The Garland of Letters 2nd Edt. pp.252-253.


The description of goddess Lalitā is certainly romantic. But the words ‘Bindu Pīṭha’, ‘The Screen of Mahāmāyā’ (e.g. v.93) scarcely veil its spiritual content despite poetic fancy.

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