Rajarajeshwari (Lalita) – Empress of Desire, Beauty and Wisdom

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This article by Manisha Sarade

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Table of Content

  •  Introduction

  • The Divine Forms of Goddess Lalitha

  • Her Appearance

  • The Tale behind the Goddess

  • Observance on the occasion of Dasami

  • Conclusion

Of the many great yogic goddess lineages, Rajarajeshwari is preeminent. Self-willed and independent, Lalita is an exquisitely sensuous goddess also known as Kameshvari (“Empress of Desire”). At the same time, she is the completely devoted wife of the Supreme Lord Shiva, who is pure consciousness. She exists in a perpetual state of perfect harmony, ever benevolent, her eyes moist with compassion for all beings.

Saguna Adi Parashakti Devi Rajarajeshwari | Oil Painting | Handmade | Made In India

Rajarajeshwari – prominently known as Goddess Lalita, is considered as the Hindu Goddess of beauty and enjoyment. She comes in the third position among the Dasha Mahavidyas and also known by the names Tripurasundari and Shodashi. Goddess Lalita Tripurasundari is also one of the nine forms of goddess worship on Navaratri. Goddess Lalitha is assumed to be the divine energy of Sri Chakra. In the pictures, she is depicted as a sixteen-year-old extremely beautiful goddess who blesses mankind with sixteen advices. Moreover, this is the age of perfection and maturity.

The Divine Forms of Goddess Lalitha

Goddess Lalita is known in three divine forms. They are Tripura Bala, Tripura Sundari and Tripura Bhairavi who are the representations of body, mind and consciousness respectively. The first form is represented as a young virgin goddess whereas the second as marvelous eternal beauty of the three worlds. The third form Tripura Bhairavi is the ferocity and power of the Goddess Lalita. The devotional methods for Tripura Bhairavi is very much inclined to Mahavidyas while the same regarding the other two forms are according to Sri Vidya tradition based on the worship of Srichakra. Goddess Sri Vidya is prayed for her kind heartedness and glory. Since the Goddess has attained three levels of existence, she is worshipped as Rajarajeshwari, Kameshwari, and Maha Tripura Sundari. These forms are to represent the qualities of her sacred functions.

Large Size Ashtabhuja-dhari Durga on Her Mount Lion

Her Appearance

Goddess Lalita is depicted with four arms and her skin is in golden color. In one of the two fore arms she has carried a rope and in the other a pike. They highlight attachment and repulsion seen in life. In the latter two arms she has carried a sugarcane bow and five flower arrows to represent mind and five sensory organs respectively. Her body is well garlanded by numerous ornaments. Lalita is also the representation of creation, preservation and destruction and considered as the image of sixteen modifications of desires. Usually she is found sitting on a lotus placed on a throne. All these display a royal atmosphere throughout in her environments.

Lord Shiva With Devi Rajarajeshwari

Goddess Lalita is considered as the companion of Lord Shiva and believed that she is the energy of the radiant light emerging from his third eye in the fore head. The detailed information regarding the goddess can be understood from the Shodashi Tantra. She is the Tantric deity among the Mahavidyas. Even though she belongs to the Kali family, she is considered as the most important Mahavidya. Goddess Lalita is the combination of eternal grace, knowledge and determination. Thus, she spreads the light of pleasure, sympathy and awareness to her devotees.

Lalitha Sahasranama Stotra is one of the most popular stotrams associated with Goddess Lalita Devi. Another popular mantra of the goddess is the Tripura Sundari Ashtakam composed by Adi Shankaracharya. Lalita Trishati Stotra from Brahmanda Purana is another highly revered Sanskrit Stotra addressed to the goddess.

The Tale behind the Goddess

The deep inner significance of Lalita’s play with her devotees (her name means “she who plays”) is revealed in the Brahmanda Purana, a thousand-year-old text from South India. In the most famous section of this text, called “The Glory of Lalita,” the following mystical tale unfolds. Shiva, lord of the universe, was engaged in ascetic practices, absorbed in deep meditation, when he suddenly felt a flush of lust. Though two of his eyes remained shut in serene contemplation, his third eye flickered open, looking for the force which had disturbed his concentration. Sure enough, there was Kama, the god of love, grinning playfully, having just unleashed an arrow of desire. Instantly a laser-like bolt arced from Shiva’s open eye, incinerating Kama. The eyelid fluttered shut and the lord resumed his meditation.

From the ashes of love arose the demon Bhanda, flaming with desire for power, wealth, and sensual indulgence. Bhanda had an extraordinary power: whenever he made war on an enemy, half his opponent’s power would be transferred directly to Bhanda. Bhanda quickly became a mighty king, conquering a vast dominion. The sage Narada appeared to the gods to warn them of the increasing threat Bhanda represented. “You must worship the Divine Mother Lalita,” he said, “for only she can help you ward off this menace.”

Durga Pooja

Alarmed, Indra, the king of the gods, made his way to the Himalayas to perform penances in order to gain the inner strength necessary to defeat Bhanda. On a bank of the Bhagirathi River, “blooming profusely with every kind of splendid flower,” Indra worshiped the Mother of the Universe. The planet Venus noticed what Indra was up to and rushed to Bhanda’s court—where all Venusian pleasures were extravagantly indulged—to alert the demons. Quickly assembling an army, Bhanda hurried to the Himalayas to disrupt Indra’s penance, but seeing the demons coming to disturb her divine son’s meditation, the Mother of the Universe instantly threw up a protective barrier. With considerable effort, the demons smashed the wall but the moment it crumbled, another bulwark appeared in its place. The demon army tried again and again, but defensive walls continued to materialize out of the ether. Meanwhile Indra called the rest of the gods together and announced, “Bhanda’s army is so powerful there is no way we can defeat him on our own. We will have to dig a fire pit a mile long and propitiate the Goddess with human sacrifice.” So they lit a great fire and offered a human body, as they chanted the mantras sacred to the Mother of the Universe.

Tales of The Mother Goddess (Comic Book)

A circular mass of blazing light materialized over the fire. At the center of the shining wheel sat the Great Goddess, resplendent as the rising sun. The gods recognized Lalita immediately: she was the life force of the entire cosmos, the quintessence of beauty and desire, adorned in robes the color of pomegranate, smiling at them with a loving glance as cool as moonlight. In her four arms she held a noose, a goad, a sugarcane bow, and five arrows tipped with flower petals. To those initiated in the yoga tradition, the meaning is clear. It isn’t possible to annihilate the force of desire within ourselves, because this force arises from Kameshvari, the Empress of Desire who is none other than the Mother of the Universe herself. Attempting to suppress his desires, Shiva tried to obliterate Kama, god of sexual desire, but another powerful entity instantly took Kama’s place. Unlike Kama, who represents the sacred movement of nature to cherish others in order to reproduce itself, Bhanda represents distorted, aggressive, selfish lust.

Indra, “he who attains mastery through control of the senses,” resorts to the Himalayas to do spiritual practices which will restore a healthy, God-centered lifestyle. In yogic literature a mountain often represents the spinal column, which remains upright and unwavering in meditation, unshakable as the Himalayas themselves. On the bank of the Bhagirathi River, where Indra does penance, is the mouth of the sushumna, the subtle nerve current which is the conduit for kundalini, beginning at the base of the spine and emptying into the brain. The “flower-strewn” city where Indra meditates is the sahasrara chakra, the thousand-petaled lotus at the top of the brain. Holding his consciousness in this highest chakra, Indra enters nirvikalpa samadhi, the deepest state of meditation, where he becomes impregnable. The Divine Mother protects him from the onslaught of the demons—his own anti-divine impulses—so long as he remains in this fortress, a yogic state beyond thought and desire.

देवी भागवत की प्रमुख कथाएँ: The Principal Stories of Devi Bhagavat (Picture Book)

But it is not Indra’s destiny to sit withdrawn in meditation for the rest of his life. His dharma, or life purpose, is to rule the gods—that is, to rule his inner divine powers so that he can act successfully and beneficently in the world. So he mentally summons all his internal energies to make the supreme sacrifice, the one form of human sacrifice which is genuinely spiritually effective: offering every cell of one’s own body into the fire pit of kundalini. Then, having purified himself physically, emotionally, and mentally, Indra becomes fit for the vision of the Mother of the Universe, the Supreme Power of Consciousness herself. She—the source of universal consciousness—is seated in a luminous orb just above the thousand-petaled chakra at the top of the head. The text goes on to say that at the sight of the Power of Consciousness, the soul and its inner senses fly into ecstasy. Smiling at the upturned faces of the enraptured gods, which glowed with the reflection of her own light, the Goddess said, “My dear ones, be joyous! I will remove your fear. I bless all of you with virtue, prosperity, and fame, and with loving spouses, devoted children, and trustworthy friends.”

Rajarajeswari (Tripurasundari) Devi

As far as her temples are concerned, below are some of the popular Tripurasundari Temples in India:

1) Tripura Sundari Temple in Banswara, Rajasthan

2) Tripura Sundari Temple in Udaipur, Tripura

3) Tripurasundari Temple in Manali, Himachal Pradesh

4) Bala Tripura Sundari Ammanavara Temple in Mysore, Karnataka

Observance on the occasion of Dasami

On Dasami, she sits on the throne holding ‘Ikshu khanda’ (sugarcane) in one hand and giving blessings to devotees with the other in ‘abhaya mudra’ (no fear). Sweet Juice of Sugarcane symbolises the juice of bliss (atma gnana – the self-realisation). She whips those who are wicked and arrogant or harmful to others. Her peaceful, smiling, benevolent looks mesmerises the devotees.

She killed and defeated many demons in many kalpas, hence, is also known as Aparajitha Devi, one who cannot be defeated. Rajarajeswari Devi is gnana swaroopini (the embodiment of Gnana or wisdom). The Trimurthis - Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara are the lords of Ashta Digpalakas. They are called Rajeswar, and the goddess who rules over these Trimurthis is called Rajarajeswari. She wears beautiful diamond chains, broad ear rings, jewels on the shoulders made of diamonds and other costly stones as she is alankara priya. They are also symbol of prosperity. She is adhisthana devatha (presiding deity) of Sri Chakra. Where does she live? Sri Manmanidweepa Sri Nagara sthitha chintamani griha is her residence. She lives there along with all parivara devatha and making mahakameswara’s anka as nilaya.

Key Takeaways
  • Rajarajeshwari is considered the supreme goddess, representing both the creative and destructive aspects of the universe.

  • She is associated with beauty, power, and femininity.

  • The article also delves into the various myths and legends surrounding the goddess, including her association with the Sri Chakra Yantra.

  • Additionally, the blog highlights the cultural and artistic significance of Rajarajeshwari, particularly in the realm of Indian classical dance and music.

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