Bhavani-namasahasra-stutih is an eulogy of a
thousand divine names of Bhavani Para-Sakti. It celebrates the qualities
and characteristics of the Primordial Mover. Basically a treatise on non-duality
in the Sakta tradition dealing with the secrets of Kundalini-yoga,
its philosophy is quite akin to the karma-doctrine of Kashmir Saivism. It
also provides hints on the Kula, the Spanda and the Pratyabhijna
systems of Saiva philosophy.
This Sakta text is based on the voluminous Rudrayamala Tantra which
figures in the list of Bhairava Agamas. The famous Vijnanabhairava and
Paratrisika, held in the highest esteem by Kashmiri Saiva scholars,
constitute two chapters of the same Tantra. This essentially reveals close
affinity between the cults of Sakta and Saiva thought.
The mistakes and misprints detected in the text, have been removed and
corrections made in consultation with Pandit Raghunath Kokiloo, a learned Pandit,
who is a follower of the Sakta tradition of Sahib Kaul (17th century) of
Kashmir. The present work is a maiden translation into English of the Sanskrit
text, also offering a commentary with footnotes and relevant quotations from
other sacred works. These features render the book useful to the general reader
and the Sakta scholar alike. "It is a profound experience",
observes Sri M.P. Pandit,, "to read this exposition".
About the Author:
Jankinath Kaul 'Kamal' - Born 19th June, 1914, Srinagar (Kashmir). A devoted
teacher - M.A.; B.T.; Prabhakar. Retired senior lecturer/ Education Officer,
D.A.V. Institute, Srinagar 1979. Research Officer, Sri Paramananda Research
Institute, Srinagar 1981-85. Chief Editor : Amareshwara Mahatmya (Bhringisha
Samhita) - English translation with his flair for writing and scholarly pursuits
accomplished fine literary translations of Sanskrit verse in several languages.
Authored books, monographs; composed devotional and literary poems in Sanskrit,
Hindi, Kashmiri, English. Published learned papers in the field of Vedanta
Philosophy and Kashmir Saiva Mysticism. Books Siva-Sutra-Vimarsha (Hindi);
Vedanta Dindimah; Bhavani-nama-sahasra-stuti; Pancastavi (all English
commentary) are scholarly works of great value. Honorary Editor-Cultural Desk,
Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Srinagar (Kashmir). Awarded Sauharda Sammana by Hindi
Sansthan, UP Govt. 1992.
We experience a great joy in presenting to our readers the English translation with commentary and notes of the Bhavaninama-sahasrastutih-the thousand names of Mother Bhavani. There was neither a translation nor any commentary written on this book in any language. Adopting the most accepted readings, the original text has been printed separately in Devanagri script, at the start of the book for the purpose of daily chanting of the Stutih. In the main part of the book, each name has been printed in Devanagri and Roman types followed with lucid translation and exhaustive explanation. Namavali and alphabetical lists have been added.
Quotations and references from the Vedas, the Tantras; the Sakti, Siva and Vedanta aphorisms; the Yoga Vasistha, the Bhagvadgita and a number of Sakti Stavas, mostly quoted by the author, have been carefully printed at the end of the interpreted explanations of each name. This will, it is presumed, throw much light on the text and solve most of the difficulties on the path of Sadhana.
Shri Jankinath Kaul has to his credit a number of publications. His present work is a valuable and important addition to our English editions of the Sanskrit literature, for which there has been constant demand from our friends. A study and, what is more important, deligent practice of the Sakta tenets would convince the reader, beyond doubt, that this volume gives the essence of Yoga Sadhana, in the practical manner.
We thank many of our friends and devotees for their co-operation and help.
Worship of the Divine as Sakti, the Supreme Mother, creative puissance, is as old as the Rg Veda. It is not an alien graft as held by same. The Devi Sukta in the tenth Mandala of the Rg Veda is a standing testimony to the pre-eminent position occupied by the Divine Creatrix in the Aryan consciousness. It is a fact that is often overlooked that the major Deities with feminine appellations in the Veda are not there as 'wives' of Gods. Illa, Mahi, Daksina are Divine Powers in their own right. Actually there is no question here as to who is superior, the male or the female Deity. The truth is that both are the same Reality, the same consciousness in two poises. The unique position of the Divine Sakti continues in the Upanisads. Uma Haimavati, Teacher of the Gods, She who opens their eye to the truth of existence, is lauded as Supreme. The Tantras continue the tradition though in certain lines of development they install the Sakti above Siva. The Gita speaks of Para Prakrti which is none other than Para Sakti. The Puranas register a change in approach. Their nomenclatures undergo a modification, their symbolism is more opaque. Even there we have Puranas that place the Devi in a special relationship with the Deva. At times the Gods are obliged to merge into the personality of the Saviour Mother. Aditi continues to be supreme in one form or other.
The Indian mind has always had a deep understanding-and based upon it a unique relationship-with the role of the Divine as the Mother. The child soul of this humanity readily turns to the Mother-Soul in all situations of life. Sri Aurobindo points out how She is always ready with her Bounty for the myriad children. No wonder she is lauded in every possible way over the length and breadth of this sub-continent. The heart of the religionist, the artist, the poet, the mystic-every one melts when he speaks of Her. The being flows spontaneously when one comes to adore Her, to celebrate Her Glory. There are inspired litanies that literally speak of Her thousand facets. For hundreds of years they have been cherished as living links with the Divinity. Among the chief ones is the Bhavaninama-sahasra-stutih, which is as sacred and popular in Kashmir as the Lalitasahasranama in the South of India. Though it is not known enough in other parts of the country, its importance in the spiritual history of India is unquestioned. We should be grateful to Pandit Jankinath Kaul for making available to the world at large the full text of the Hymnal along with a close rendering in English and, what is more important, copious explanations and notes.
It is obvious that the Names of the Divine Mother listed in the series are not just proper names. Each name is a sum-total of the power, qualities and potency of the Deity. To utter the Name is to invoke the Presence. That is why Names of the Gods are called secret Names in the Veda. They should not be revealed to the unworthy lest havoc be done by improper use of the Power. Pandit Jankinathji takes up each Name and explains its full import. He brings out multiple significances of the name: spiritual, religious, mythological, philosophical. He explains the grammatical derivation of terms. He resolves the apparent paradoxes of contraries existing side by side. He brings out the universal character of the Deity, Mother Bhavani, while expounding the relevance of mention of rivers, birds, animals, plants etc. Bhavani consciousness is present in each form on earth and beyond.
In is a profound experience to read this exposition. It has, indeed, literary merits but on that account it is not a literary work. it has its historical elements, geographical pointers, aesthetic excellences, hints of yogic secrets. No effort has been spared in bringing out these riches from this treasure of perennial relevance. It is not just a prayer book; it is a manual of sadhana, a guide to the Everest of Truth-Consciousness on the ethereal heights where the Homes of the Gods lie.
Once again we thank, we bow down to the Inspiration that vibrates on every page of this masterpiece of Sakta Experience.
"Salutations to the originator Brahma and other divine beings who opened the path of enlightenment to these master who enriched, improvised and established the teachings of Brahmavidya; and to the Rsis who founded the Schools of Philosophy".
This excellent work on the Bhavaninamasahasra is being brought out for the first time by the grace of Tripurasundari. Sri Jankinath Kaul 'Kamal' prompted and encouraged by the Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Srinagar (Kashmir) has laboured hard in writing this commentary which is enriched with the support of sacred authority. This is no mere eulogy but a treatise of practical value and of importance in obtaining grace of the Supreme Deity.
Attempts have so far been made to unravel the truth about that Infinite Power, Para Sakti, who is described as the cosmic Mother by the Vedas, the Tantras, the Puranas and the Upanisads; who is ever sportive whereas the all powerful Siva is always engrossed in contemplation; in whose being Brahma, Visnu and Rudra create, sustain and dissolve this universe; by whose mere will Devas, Danavas, mortals, animals, birds and insects are impelled to conquer their enemies as well as support and nourish themselves; and by whose compassion all creation, existent or non-existent comes into being. For these reasons the cosmic Mother is represented through pictures, dispositions and images as having two, four, six, eight, eighteen or a thousand arms; on, two, four, five or numerous faces and two-feet, four-feet or multifeet. These representations are as full of truth as of mystery. Only the initiated who are given to reflection know that accomplishment itself is the propitiation of Divine Names (Namasangraha; Thousand Names etc.), mystic syllables, preservative like armour (kavacha) or eulogiums which we find in Agamas and Puranas are meant to make propitiations effective. Sri Bhavaninamasahasrastutih belonging to Rudrayamala Tantra, forms a small treatise of non-duality in sakta tradition. One thousand divine names of Rajarajesvari Mahatri-purasundari are arranged therein like priceless gems in a rosary. Lord Siva, the knower of mystery of this internal as well as external universe and completely accomplished in devotion, knowledge, yoga, and Tantra sadhana, has Himself uttered these names and as such these have the efficacy of powerful mantras. Lord Siva, the beloved of devotees, revealed these name-mantras to his chief disciple Nandikesvara, even though He had not given out this secret even to His dear son Skanda (skandasyapi ca yad gopyam rahasyam
) .Therefore recitation of the thousand names according to precept, granting the objects of desire of this world as well as that of the next world, bestows unique devotion of Parabhattarika Tripurasundari or Her devotees.
It is indeed difficult to describe the glory of the recitation of Sri Bhavaninamasahasra. .By mere recitation of the hymn, the three kinds of miseries of the world viz. those relating to self, those caused by fate and those caused by beings get dissolved. If it is done with purified mind and as prescribed then impossible becomes possible. All kinds of disease disappear. The three impurities which are not removed through penance get washed off even by mere recitation of the names which are verily mantras. By doing the same with unflinching faith and devotion even the Kundalini of a person gets awakened. In short this is purely a mystical performance which can be experienced by propitiation with complete faith and devotion only.
This endeavour of Sri Jankinath ji Kaul is praiseworthy. He along with his family deserves blessings. The exhaustive explanation of the thousand names of Devi is established on the authority of scriptures. I experienced solace while going through the pages of this Ms. This proficient commentary will surely do good even to common man especially when it is written in comprehensive English language.
Kashmiri Pandits have been holding recitations of and havens (homa) etc. of the list of names of the goddess with full faith since ancient times. Naturally, therefore, a number of editions of the original text have been published so far. But in most of these there are mistakes in addition to different readings of certain names. The correct text was prepared by the author of this commentary on the basis of Devinamavilasa of the great Pandit Sahib Kaul at my instance.
In the end I am of the opinion that this work will prove very useful t accomplishing persons of sakta tradition. Spiritual benefit will accrue even to common people and they will also be blessed.
Original Tantric Texts (28)
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