Lalitopakhyana (Lalita Mahatmya)

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

This page describes glory of the goddess kamakshi which is Chapter 39 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 39 - Glory of the Goddess Kāmākṣī

Agastya said:—

1. “We honour and meditate about that great splendour which is without beginning and end, is unmanifest (yet) the prime cause of all manifested things and which is the sole essence of Bliss and knowledge.

2. O Hayagrīva of excessive intelligence, O greatest one conversant with Vedas and Vedāntas, this highly meritorious and excellent narratative of Lalitā has been heard by me.

3. It has been mentioned by you that Tripurā, the greatest deity is worthy of being worshipped by all. Her four arms are equipped with noose, goad, bow and arrows.

4. Her Mantra[1] also has been mentioned. So also the Śrī Cakra which has nine outer coverings and the mystic circles as its ornaments. (You have mentioned that) Īśānī is the presiding deity of Śrīpura.

5. In this city of Kāñcī which is sacred and which is an ornament of the entire sphere of Earth, there shines the blessed and illustrious deity well known by the name Kāmākṣī. Who is she?

6. She has only two arms. Her slim creeper-like body shines magnificently and gracefully in every respect. Her beauty is something never seen before. She is the greatest deity in the form of great refulgence.

Sūta said:—

7. “On being addressed thus by Agastya, the noble-hearted Hayagrīva became delighted. In honour of that refulgence, he closed his eyes and meditated on that brilliance. After meditating upon and bowing down (to that refulgence), he spoke to Agastya:—”

Haygrīva said:—

8-14. “I shall explain to you a great secret, O husband of Lopāmudrā, listen. The first one who is subtler than the subtlest is the greatest Cit (consciousness). She is the primordial cause. She is also called as cause of dissolution too, by means of her own form[2], by persons who ponder about the reality of principles.

Thereafter, the second deity (called Śuddha-parā) manifested herself. She is the purest and greatest deity. She is endowed with two arms. By her right hand she shows the Yogamudrā (Mystical gesture) and there is a book in her left hand. Her body has the lustre of snow, jasmine, moon and the pearl. (This deity is called Śuddhaparā).

The third one is Parāparā (greater than the greatest). She (Her lustre) is on a par with ten thousand rising Suns. She is bedecked in all ornaments. In her right hand she holds lotus. She has kept her left hand on the left thigh. A crown as well as the crescent moon is the ornament on her head.

Afterwards that Tripurā became manifested with four arms. She is “Parā Aruṇā”. In her hands she gracefully holds noose, goad, sugarcane and five arrows.

She is Lalitā. She alone has manifested herself as Kāmākṣī in Kāñcī. Sarasvatī, Ramā and Gaurī worship that primordial deity alone.

15-18. The two cities Kāśī and Kāñcī are the two eyes of God Maheśa. It is well known holy shrine of Viṣṇu causing the presence of Śiva too. It was at the shrine of Kāñcī that formerly, Brahmā, the grandfather of all worlds performed an austere and difficult penance for the sake of having a visit of Śrīdevī. He was engrossed in meditation of the union of souls, O sage, and was performing holy rites. Lakṣmī, the deity greater than the greatest, with a lotus in her hand appeared before him. She was in the lotus seat and was accompanied by Viṣṇu, the conqueror.

19. She was dressed in all lovable and graceful garments and adorned by all ornaments. She was well-known as Siṃhāsaneśvarī (the ruling goddess of the throne).

20. She had a wonderfully exquisite beauty. She was the greatest deity in the form of a great splendour. She was renowned as Ādilakṣmī (Primordial Lakṣmī). She was stationed in the heart of everyone.

21. They call her Tripurā herself, the mother of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Īśa. She was famous by the name Kāmākṣī. On seeing her, he eulogised her with full devotion.

Brahmā prayed:

22. “Be victorious, O goddess, O mother of the Universe, Be victorious, O Tripura-Sundarī, O sister of Śrīnātha, be victorious. O Śrī auspicious to all.

23. Be victorious, O mass of glory and mercifulness. Be victorious, O heroine of sentiment of Love. Be victorious, O goddess of devotees with many Siddhis. Be victorious, O goddess saluted by leading Yogins.

24. Be victorious, be victorious, O mother of the Universe, O goddess of eternal form. Be victorious, be victorious, O goddess, the bestower of happiness to all the people who praise and extol. Be victorious, O goddess worthy of being glorified by the Himālaya Mountain. Be victorious, O beautiful, consort of Śaṅkara in the from of Kāmeśvara.

25. Repeated obeisance to that goddess who frequently carries out creation, sustenance, annihilation, concealment and blessing of worlds simply by her volition.

26. By means of very sharp arrows and missiles, she annihilates now all those sinful people who create confusion and chaos in the discipline of castes and stages of life. Obeisance, obeisance to that goddess.

27. Obeisance obeisance to that goddess who is self-comprehensible and not known even to Yogins through Āgamas, through Vedas or through other scriptural texts.

28. Obeisance, obeisance to that goddess who is extolled and glorified as the supreme Brahman by the leading Sages, by those conversant with Principles, by the secret Āmnāyas (Sacred literature) and by the Vedāntas (Upaniṣads).

29. Obeisance, obeisance to that goddess who is not perceived by anyone though she abides in the heart itself of everyone, and who has the form of the subtle and perfect knowledge.

30. Obeisance, obeisance to that goddess on whom Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudra, Īśvara and Sadāśiva meditate and in whom they are solely engaged.

31. Obeisance, obeisance to that goddess who is the deity of imperial prosperity. Indra and others are the devotees of that goddess and they abide by her behest.

32. Obeisance, obeisance to that goddess (about whom it is said) that the Vedas constitute her vital airs, that the five elements are her glances and that the entire Universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings is her smile.

33. Obeisance, Obeisance to that goddess at whose bidding the thousand-hooded leading serpent (Śeṣa) supports the Earth, the base of all people.

34. Obeisance, Obeisance to that goddess who is the embodiment of knowledge and power and at whose bidding the fìre-god blazes, the Sun-god shines and scorches and the wind-god blows.

35. Sages say that the twenty-five Tattvas and the five sheaths (coverings) of Māyā are identical with her. Obeisance, Obeisance to that goddess.

36-:37. Obeisance, Obeisanee to that goḍḍess (about whom it is said) that Śiva, Śakti, Īśvara, Sadāśiva of pure consciousness are her different outward manifestations. Similarly, the preceptor, Mantra, deity and the fivefold vital airs are her diffusions. Obeisance, Obeisance to that goddess who shines in the form of Cit (consciousness).

38. She is the inner-most soul of all souls. She is Bliss incarnate. She is remembered as Śrīvidyā. Obeisance, Obeisance to that goddess,

39. Obeisance, Obeisance to that goddess (about whom it is said that) the learned men know that all Darśanas (Systemes of philosophy) are her limbs. She has the forms of different religious observances.

40. Obeisance, Obeisance to that goddess who shines in all worlds in the forms of mystic jewel, Mantra and medicine and whose form is the instruction in the Tattvas.

41. Obeisance, Obeisance to that goddess who shines in the form of different objects whether space, time or other ordinary objects in the manner in which they exist.

42. Obeisance, Obeisance to that goddess who is antagonistic to the Daityas (?), who habitually possesses all auspicious qualities and who is called Viśvottīrṇā (one who is transcendental to the Universe)”.

43. After eulogising Mahādevī thus, Brahmā the grand father of all worlds bowed to her again and again and suddenly sought refuge in her.

44. On seeing Brahmā bowing down then, that goddess became pleased. She the bestower of boons on all the worlds commanded him saying “Choose your boon”.

Brahmā said:

45. “There is no doubt in this that I am blessed and gratified by your vision due to my devotion. Yet I pray for something with a desire for getting a blessing unto the world.

46. In this world which is the sphere of holy rites and devout services, the people are mostly deluded. Kindly be present here always in order to bless them”.

47. Saying “So be it” she fulfilled that desire of Brahmā. Thereafter, Brahmā allotted to her a place of residence.

48. After bowing down to the lotus-eyed Acyuta, the brother of Śridevī, he earnestly pleaded for his prepctual residence at Kāñcī.

49. Thereupon, Janārdana said to him, “I shall do so”. Then the creator of the Universe who was satisfied said to Maheśvarī once again:—

50-51. “Due to your love, let Śiva too be present here itself”. Thereupon the great Īśāna, Kāmeśvara, lord of all lores, lord of all embodied beings, Mahādeva, the hero of the sentiment of love manifested himself on the right side of Śrī Tripurā.

52. Thereupon, from the benign glance of the eye in the forehead of Śrī Kāmākṣī, a certain young girl manifested herself. She was excessively refulgent and white in complexion.

53-57. She possessed all the requisite dress and make-up of romantic life of love. She was a treasure-house (mine) of great beauty. Eagerly and respectfully and in the company of Brahmā, the lotus-eyed lord performed the marriage of the primordial male and female. The Devas beginning with Indra, the deities beginning with Vasus and Rudras, Sages beginning with Mārkaṇḍeya, Vasiṣṭha and others, the leading Yogins beginning with Sanaka, the celestial sages beginning with Nārada, the living liberated souls as Vāmadeva, śuka and others, Yakṣas, Kinnaras, Gandharvas, Siddhas, Vidyādharas and Serpents, Mahāśāstā, the leader of Gaṇas, Durgā and other mothers—all these deities and others seated in aerial chariots and excellent seats bowed down to Parameśvarī with palms joined in reverence.

58-60. A wonderful city was mentally created by god Brahmā in the middle of which was the splendid and beautiful temple of Parameśānī accompanied by Vāsudeva, the brother (of the goddess). Maheśvara came there. While lord Maheśvara married Gaurī near the sacred fire, the divine Dundubhis were sounded and showers of flowers fell.

61. Who is competent enough to describe the auspicious celebration of marriage of the (divine) couple, the presiding deities of the worlds, even if he (the describer) has a thousand tongues?

62. To the North-West of the temple of the primordial Śrī is the extensive excellent abode of Maheśa. It had been built by Parameṣṭhin.

63. To the South-East of the abode of Śrī is the wonderful temple of Viṣṇu. Thus those three deities are always present there.

64. After circumambulating those great deities the couple, Brahmā and Viṣṇu reached the Sambhāvanāgāra (the hall of Reception).

65. After coming there they joyously accorded welcome duly to the members of the assembly by reciting the Vedic Mantras.

66. The primordial Ādilakṣmī, Śrī Parameśvarī, in front of all, glanced at Brahmā with her right eye and at Hari with her left eye.

67. It was at that time that goddess of speech named ‘Ka’ and Kamalā (Goddess of Wealth) named ‘’—both of them like encased masses of splendour manifested themselves.

68. Both of them (Brahmā and Viṣṇu) stood there bending down their heads to Śrīdevatā, with palms joined in reverence. They said “Be victorious, O Kāmākṣī O Kāmākṣī” and bowed down to her.

69-72. The rivers Gaṅgā and Yamunā came there for serving her in their embodied form. The three and a half crores of presiding deities of holy spots came there for the purpose of serving Tripurāmbā. Holding the Cāmaras with both

hands Bhāratī (Goddess of speech) and Śrī (Goddess of wealth), fanned with them and served Śrī Devī in a befitting manner. On seeing the two deities Bhāratī and Śrī born of the eyes of Ādiśrī, the two deities with their creeper-like hands adorned with ornaments studded with invaluable gems and jewels and fitted with tinkling bells. All the assembled folk were particularly struck with wonder. Ever since then Kalyāṇī (goddess Tripurā) got the name Kāmākṣī. Merely by repeating this, Śrī Devī bestows welfare.

73-74. The three syllables Kā-Mā-Kṣī are the causes of all auspiciousness. Thereafter, the goddess of the Universe directed Sarasvatī thus—“O deity who have mastered the Vedas and Vedāṅgas, be present in Brahmā perpetually.

Even as Devas stood watching, goddess Sarasvatī entrusted the Cāmaras in the hands of Gaṅgā and entered the mouth of Brahmā.

75-78. On being directed by the delighted Mahālakṣmī (i.e. Tripura), Indirā (goddess of wealth) obeyed her behest by means of her head and joyously went over to Viṣṇu’s chest for the sake of stay worthy of her.

With great devotion the couple Ramā and Viṣṇu bowed down to Tripurasundarī and requested her once again for the status of being the ‘Protective’ deity Āvaraṇa Devatā.

Saying ‘So be it’ Tripurasunḍarī granted the boon to both of them. Then Padmā and Acyuta obtained the status of protective deities.

The charming Reflection of Mahāgaurī came there and placed Padmā and Acyuta to the north of his own pīṭha (pedestal). He himself stood to the right (to the South). He said to Mahāgaurī “Assume another form”.[3]

79. He had the same shape and size as those of Mahāgaurī with a shining divine body. He had a pair of feet shining brilliantly like the full moon with all its beauty.

80. The bangles and anklets went on tinkling as though a partridge[4] had been made the pedestal (?) His charmingly beautiful girdle set with jewels shone as brilliantly as lightning and tinkled sweetly.

81. The pair of his arms shone with gem-set bangles and armlets. His excellent waistband was set with pearls, Lapis Lazuli and ruby.

82. He shone with the waist refulgent with the three Valīs (folds of skin on the stomach regarded as mark of beauty). He was adorned with a navel that appeared splendid like the whirlpool in the river Gaṅgā.

83. The breasts (in the reflection) were brilliantly adorned and beautified by means of sandal paste, camphor and saffron. The jacket worn over the breasts was exquisitely embellished with pearl ornaments.

84. A good chain hung suspended from his waist just for the purpose of diversion. He was adorned with rings set with pieces of ruby.

85. In his right hand there was a lotus resting within and he looked elegant, refulgent and charming thereby. A divine garland along with a number of ornaments shone there extending upto the forepart of the foot.

86. The cluster of rays from gems and jewels of brilliant ornaments brightened the faces of quarters. He was rendered splendid by means of gems round his neck fitted to fine heated gold.

87. His neck had the red colour due to the rays of gems and jewels in the Māṅgalya Sūtra (Holy thread indicating conjugal bliss). He was adorned with large ear-rings made of rubies to embellish the ears.

88. He had lovely lips which were like tender sprouts and which had the beauty of the China rose and coral. He appeared splendid with a row of teeth having the lustre of the pomegranate fruit.

89. He had pure and tender cheeks glittering with gentle smiles. He was very charming in his nose-ring of matchless beauty and exalted splendour.

90. He had a lifted up nose of blameless beauty with the sparkling splendour of the flower of Sesamum indicum. His eyes had the sweetness and beauty of the blue lotus about to bloom.

91. The lovely and graceful eyebrows shone like the flowery bow (of Kāma). His forehead could be compared to the crescent Moon. His face had the sweetness and charm of the full Moon.

92 He was shining gorgeously with the sacred mark (on the forehead) made of musk richly endowed with agreeably intense fragrance. In his lotus-like face with graceful forelocks it appeared as though the inebriated swarms of bees hovered round it.

93-94a. The tied up braid of hair had in it garlands of Pārijāta flowers. The head was beautified by a crown abundantly inlaid with gems and jewels. He was the abode of every aspect of beauty, the very storehouse of splendour of grace and charm.

94b-96. Śiva, Viṣṇu and the great personages present there realized the identity of reflection as well as that of the goddess. In front of all the Devas who were looking up to her as their support, Maheśānī who could freely do as she pleased, entered the reflection. On seeing her who created reflection and stayed within it after entering it, Brahmā bowed down to her once again and requested thus:—

97. “O Tripurasundarī of great power, the perfect supreme spirit well known by the name Śrī Kāmākṣī, obeisance to you day by day. I am submitting something to you now. Kindly listen to it.

98. For the prosperity of worlds and the opportunity for heaven-dwellers to serve you, O Śrī Devī of perpetual bliss and felicity, the marriage of both viz. Mahāgaurī and Maheśa should be celebrated every year here itself.

99. Let the foolish and confounded people of this Earth, O great goddess, attain the greatest goal by seeing her and bowing to her devoutly”.

100. The greatest goddess replied thereto by the ethereal voice ‘So be it’. She permitted all of them to return to their respective abodes.

101. Remembering again and again this wonderful nature and activity of the goddess, they all bowed down to her and went from there in the manner they had come.

102. Along with Mukunda and Śiva, the delighted grandfather of the world i.e. Brahmā installed her in the temple Śrīmandira fully equipped with the Mantras. After propitiating her through the Vedic Mantras, he bowed down to her with all the eight limbs touching the ground.

103-109. Then by the ethereal voice the goddess addressed thus to Brahmā:—

“With great concentration, O Brahmā of a steadfast mind instal Viṣṇu and Śiva in their respective abodes and serve and worship them there every year. Serve also the Kāmagiripīṭha (the pedestal of Kāmagiri) which has manifested itself here, which is accompanied by Śrīśa (Viṣṇu), Mitra (the sun-god), Īśa (Śiva) and Ambā (Mother) and which is present in the middle of Śrīpura itself. It is accompanied by Lakṣmī on the left side and served by Viṣṇu elsewhere (i.e. on the right-side), which has the form and features of Cit (consciousness) and Ānanda (Bliss), which is the presiding deity of all pīṭhas and which: duly held an unmanifest and invisible (physical) body.[5] On an auspicious day with good constellation, for the prosperity of the worlds, you do worship it with refulgent and invincible (?) petal buds and pieces of diamonds and gems, O Brahmā, duly and joyously. You should make the entire mystical diagram too.[6] Thus you protect your world”.

110. On being told thus, lord Brahmā did so. He kept the goddess and her utterance in his heart (i.e. remembered them devoutly). Then he went to his abode.

111. Thus, O Pot-born Sage, the wonderful activity of Kāmākṣī has been factually recounted unto you. Consider her as Mahālakṣmī herself.

112. There is no doubt about this that worldly pleasures and salvation are within the reach of that person who always listens to this and who recites this with great purity.

113-114. He shall become equal to Bṛhaspati in intellect. He shall be the lord of all learning.

The glorious primordial lord Nārāyaṇa who is kind to h is devotees was propitiated by me formerly by means of penance for a long time. Out of compassion he granted me, his son, the liberation of Sārūpya (having the same form as the lord). He then taught me the greatness of Mahātripurasundarī.

115. It is on account of this that I know something and I shall say and not otherwise. I shall mention the secret Mantra. Listen to it with great concentration and mental purity.

116. Neither Brahmā nor Viṣṇu nor Rudra knows this. These three are deluded by Māyā of the Goddess. Even the fourth lord Īśvara, Sadāśiva does not know it. How can the ordinary deities know about it?

117. It is due to her blessing that Sadāśiva who is the immanent soul of every one and who is the embodiment of existence, knowledge and bliss, is able to do, not to do or to alter anything.

118. Maheśvara who always considered thus—“I am that alone” but deluded by her Māyā became helpless and assumed the form of Śava[7].

119. Really it is she who alone is the cause of origin and dissolution of all these deities. But there is a particular thing, a special feature here. There is an element worthy of being mentioned. Listen to it.

120. The fourth one Īśvara is the lord of the three (deities) beginning with Brahmā. Sadāśiva is the primordial maker of all the four.

121. This secret has been mentioned. Her wonderful conduct of life has been recounted. I shall say something more. Listen with great attention.

Notes on the Goddess Kāmākṣī:

The goddess Kāmākṣī glorified here is different from the famous Kāmākṣī near Gauhati in Assam. That goddess represents the generative organ of Satī, Śiva’s first wife, which fell down as Śiva was carrying her dead body. Kāmākṣī in this chapter is the famous goddess of Kāñcī near Madras. As (goddess Sarasvatī) and Mā (goddess Lakṣmī) were produced from her eyes (Akṣī) she is called Kāmākṣī (vv.67-74). She is Tripura Sundarī the Primordial Goddess who manifested there at Kāñcī due to the Penance of god Brahmā was installed on Kāmakoṣṭha.

The whole chapter is in a way a Kṣetra-Māhātmya of Kāñcī as to how, why and where great god Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva settled at Kāñcī and participated in the celebration of the marriage ceremony of Kāmākṣī etc.

Footnotes and references:


N. reads Yantra and is a better reading with reference to Śrī-yantra.


Trayīprokta-Svarūpā “Whose form is described in the three Vedas N.”


Description of the reflection of the goddess. He (it) had all the characteristic features of the goddess. ‘It’ is translated as ‘he’ as the SK word is in the Masculine gender.


Tittirīkṛta in our text. But Piñjarī-kṛta “made good-coloured” in N. is better


N reads Sarvādyam ārādhaya yathāvidhi ‘Propitiate according to due procedure the invisible form which is Primordial of all.’


N. shows that some lines are omitted after V.108. The translation of omitted lines is as follows:—“On a day with an auspicious constellation (Nakṣatra) people will worship by means of plantains and coconuts. Hence, for the increase in prosperity and felicity of the people... (Read verse 109 in our text).


Śiva devoid of Śakti (symbolised by-i-in Śiva) is no better than Śava (a dead body). Such is the greatness and power of Śakti.

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