Times Music has released Hemalini’s first devotional album ‘Soundaryalahari’.

SOUNDARYALAHARI

Times Music has released Hemalini’s first devotional album ‘Soundaryalahari’.

A mystical poem of Adi Shankaracharya describing the beauty and effulgence of the Divine Mother, Tripurasundari has attracted the attention of commentators and laymen alike for centuries.

At one level it is in fact a poem of rare beauty; at another level it is a Stotra or a hymn in praise of Goddess Tripurasundari. It also encompasses a series of Mantras to be used by the Upasaka along with Yantras – the diagrams, wherein the Devi is conceived to be abiding. It also includes an exposition of Agamas and Tantras bearing on the worship of the Supreme Being in its aspect of Shakti, or the creative energy.

The first 41 stanzas known as Ananda Lahari indicate the way of approaching the Paramatman through true spiritual devotion. Thus this was not meant for the less evolved individual. As a consequence over the ages, certain unwholesome practices crept in the understanding of these hymns deviating from the known vedic injunctions. It fell to the lot of Sri Shankaracharya to reclaim the beauty of this work by removing certain misconceptions and emphasising the importance of Sri Vidya. This he did by incorporating “Soundaryalahari” into the existing text with such conviction that the entire work is now called Soundaryalahari.

The origin of Shakti worship can be traced to such Vedic texts as Sri Suktam, Durga Suktam, Bhu Suktam and Devi Upansihads. In Mahabharata, there is a reference to Shakti worship – Before entering the Matsya Kingdom for spending the last year of his exile, Dharmaputtra prays to Durga. At the commencement of Kurukshetra war, Lord Krishna asks Arjun to get down from the chariot and pray to Durga.

In the Ramayan too, Lord Ram invokes the blessings of the Divine Mother before his battle with Ravan. Rukmini worships at the shrine of Ambika before her marriage.

Shakti is adored as Uma in the Himalayas, Amba in Kashmir, Visalakshi in Varanasi, Bhavani in Maharashtra and Kali in Bengal and by various other names in different parts of the country.

The potency of Soundaryalahari as opposed to other religious texts glorifying the Devi is summed up by Adi Shankaracharya himself; “O! Parabrahmamahisi! The knower of the Vedas call you Vak-devata, the consort of Brahma, Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu and Parvati, the consort of Shiva. But thou art the Fourth (Turiya) of inconceivable and limitless majesties-the indeterminable Mahamaya who revolves the wheel of this world.”

Soundaryalahari contains the Keshaadipada (head to toe) description of the Mother and offers invaluable benefits to the devotee enjoying the pleasures of the samsara.

“In the path of liberation there is no possibility of material pleasures but those who are engaged in the worship of Tripurasundari, enjoyment and liberation both are at hand.”

Foreword by Smt Hemamalini

While working on subjects from our Puranas and Itihasas which lend themselves to stage presentation, I chanced upon “Soundaryalahari” of Bhagvatpada Adi Shankaracharya.

To describe Devi and her ‘lilas’, I had resorted earlier to matter contained in the ‘Markandeya Purana’, Devi Bhagvatam, Devi Mahatmyam and Durga Saptashati and brought out the grandeur of the Divine Mother to the best of my ability in my stage presentation entitled ”Durga”.

Soundaryalahari is a different text altogether. It extols the intrinsic and external qualities of Lalita Tripurasundari- the primordial feminine energy that created the triumvirate, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Reading it is a personal experience. One gets drowned in the Ocean of Bliss. Lalita Tripurasundarari to whom the entire hymn is addressed takes you over & leaves you no room for any subjective interpretation. The glory of the Divine Mother, her power and beauty come out of each of the 100 shlokas of the hymn and leaves you, to say the least, under the shower of her Grace.

It is therefore, my submission, that one should get absorbed by progressive initiation to the esoteric meaning of the Hymn and should maintain its pristine beauty either by reciting the shlokas or performing the Yantra Pooja for spiritual and material benefits.

With this in mind, I have recited a few shlokas of ‘Soundaryalahari”. Renowned musicians like Shankar Mahadevan, Suresh Wadkar have given their mellifluous voices to complete the entire 100 shlokas of Soundaryalahari in a digital audio format.

This is my humble offering to you all. May the Grace of Maha Tripurasundari be on all of us.

Amitabh Bachchan’s Introduction –

I am extremely delighted to introduce ‘Soundarya lahari’ to a wider audience.

Soundaryalahari is one of the most remarkable works of Adi Shankaracharya. The 100 shlokas describe the beauty, power and grandeur of Maha Tripurasundari. Embedded in each shloka is a vast array of messages which delights a spiritual seeker in his path for salvation. The fact that part of the Text was handed over to Adi Shankaracharya by Lord Shiva Himself makes it a divine command for the sage to spread the gospel of Devi Worship.

Adi Shankaracharya invested in the poem a rare intellectual insight and an uncommon wisdom to make it a piece of unparalleled beauty in the vast ocean of Hindu Scriptures.

It is believed that chanting of Soundaryalahari bestows both material prosperity and liberation to the devotees. Each shloka can be used to achieve a particular material or spiritual benefit as described in the SHRIVIDYA tradition.

Smt. Hema Malini brings to you all an Audio experience of Soundaryalahari where she has chanted a few shlokas along with renowned singers Suresh Wadkar, Shankar Mahadevan and Ashit Desai.

Hemamalini has traversed many eclectic paths in her career spanning four decades and now she is renewing her interest in the spiritual realm with the present offering.

I have no doubt with her resolve to make things happen, she will rise to great heights and secure for herself a position in the world of spirituality as well.

Listen to ‘Soundaryalahari’, one of the most important & powerful hymns & explore the “Wave Of Beauty” of the Great Mother TRIPURASUNDARI while seeking her divine blessings.

Rajendra Ganotra is the Editor of Spicy Stars Mumbai

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