Swami (Devi) Vasantananda, a medical graduate of Madras University, was initiated by Swami Sivananda Saraswathi of Rishikesh into Sanyasa Order in 1957. Since then she has been conducting spiritual discourses and satsangas all over India and abroad. She is learned and eloquent. She has written commentaries on the Upanishads, Srimad Bhagavadgita, Lalita Sahasranama, Srimad Bhagavatam, Patanjali Yoga Sutras and Tatva Bodha.
Her father and grandfather were close associates of the great Tamil poet- patriot Sri Subramania Bharati during his exile in Pondicherry. The reminiscences written by her father have been compiled and edited and published by her as a centenary tribute to the poet during Bharati centenary celebrations. The book is written in Tamil and is titled “Puduvayil Bharatiar.”
She had established an Ashram in Uttarakashi in the Himalayas and had another one in Madras and a few spiritual centres at other places in India and abroad.
She is the Founder President of the Lokakshema Trust devoted to spiritual, religious, cultural and social activities.
Trained in Carnatic Music, she has also established a Kirtana Mandali for ladies to conduct Bhajans and Namasankirtanam.
The present work, our Nama-wise commentary of Sri. Lalita Sahasranaman, it must be said at the very outset, is not exhaustive in detail and content. It deals with the subject only in a very general and as far as the text permits in a popular way that would appeal to the modern reader with more knowledge of English than Sanskrit. We are the conjoint authors of this work. We have co-operated and assisted each other in bringing out this publication.
What is “Sri. Lalita Sahasranamam?” just as Veda Vyasa has assigned to Srimad Bhagvad Gita which is the essence of the Upanishads an important and central place in the Mahabharata, he has set this glorious Sahasranama (The thousand names of the Divine Mother Sri. Lalita) as the central gem in his purana called Brahmanda Purana.
Among the different stotras- hymns and prayers of worship of the Divine Mother or the Devi- this stotra of thousand names of Sri. Lalita is very popular and famous and is universally recited by the devout worshippers of Sakti. This aspect of Sri. Lalita Sahasranama has been pointed out by His Holiness Bharati Tirtha Maha- swamigal- the present Pontiff to Sri. Sringeri Sarada Pitham established by Sri. Adi Sankaracharya- in the Srimukham of His Holiness for our work.
As mentioned by His Holiness in the Srimukham, the ancient well known and exhaustive commentary known as “Saubhagya Bhaskara” of the great savant Sri. Bhaskararaya witten in Sanskrit which is an authoritative work on the subject has been the basis of our commentary.
We have in our commentary followed the guidance given by “Saubhagya Bhaskara” in bringing a modern approach in rendering the meaning in English to facilities the easy grasp of the meaning and purport of the Namas by the present day readers. We have often done this by taking the guidance also of great modern saints who have popularised the tenets and philosophy of Tantras and the worship of Sakti. In this particularly the writings of Sri. Aurobindo have been very helpful.
An important fact that is pinpointed in the Srimukham of His Holiness is that the thousand names of Sri. Lalita are not merely descriptive of the form of the Divine Mother but they also unfold profound truths of Tantric doctrines, rituals and various yogic practices. To bring out lucidly these more important aspects of the text to the modern readers we have often referred to the very valuable works of “Arthur Avalon” (sri john Woodroffe).
In conclusion we wish to say that the recitation and deep study along with the pursuit of the practical process of sadhana unfolded in the thousand names of Devi Sri. Lalita will confer all the auspicious things on the devotees of the Divine Mother.
Finally, we have to mention that we cannot find adequate words to express our eternal sense of gratitude to His Holiness Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal for the blessing and encouragement given to our present publication by writing an inspiring Srimukham.
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