[Advaita-l] lalitha sahasranamam book in tamil - new edition

Sethu Sethuraman facestudio at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 4 09:31:41 CDT 2012

Jnana Bhaskara Sangham has just brought out a new edition, the third, of Tamil bhaashyam of Sri Lalithasahasranamam. This book is familiar to most of us - brought out under direct supervision of our beloved guru, late Smt Rajam maami of Seethamma Colony, Teynampet, Madras - this first edition of this book was reviewed in The Hindu in April 2000. The full text of that review is appended below (from The Hindu web page 
Copies of the book can be purchased from Sri S. PadmanabhanNew 187 (Old 107) Peters Road,Gopalapuram,Chennai 86.
For details call 044-28353963.

Litany on the Divine MotherLALITHA SAHASRANAMAM is the litany, the namavali, which expounds all the varied aspects and the essential "tattva" of Devi worship. It cannot be recited except after initiation from a worthy preceptor in due form and appropriate discipline enjoined on the recipient.
The discipline is so strenuous that only the most determined submit to it. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was, like Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada, a Devi upasaka of transcendent excellence. The only difference between the two is perhaps the fact that to Sri Ramakrishna, Kali, the form in which he worshipped Her, was the universal Mother, Jaganmata, Jagaddhattri, so compassionate that one could approach Her with as much ease and confidence as to one's own mother.
To Sankara, the Devi was an ocean of beauty as well as of compassion. But despite Her indubitable beneficence, one dare not trifle with Her. In Soundaryalahari as well as in Devi Bhujangasthotra, not to speak of minor hymns, Sri Sankara makes it out that She inspires the deepest awe as well as the profoundest tenderness.All of us are Her children and Her darlings. But She is also Mahishasuramardhini, the unremitting enemy of evil in all its forms. But as the sculpture at Mahabalipuram shows, Her calm beneficent aspect is what appears to us even while as Simhasaneshwari, she slays demons.
Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam is central to the Brahmanda Puranam even as the Gita is central to the Mahabharata. Veda Vyasa is the author of this sacred litany as of the Song Celestial of the Lord Sri Krishna. It is the classic essence of Mantra sastra. Even though severe discipline is essential for using it in our daily worship, the ineffable joy and peace that fill the soul as one chants it make the discipline however exacting and strenuous fully worth our while.
There are several commentaries on this great work, some of them still only in palm leaf manuscript form. One of Sri Sankara's successors in one of the Maths established by him seems to have written a commentary on this. The commentary on Lalitha Trisati, is, however, definitely attributable to Sri Adi Sankara Himself.The classic commentary on the Lalitha Sahasranamam is by the great scholar who spent his creative years on the banks of the sacred river Kaveri, at a village now celebrating his name as Bhaskara Rayapuram. Sri Bhaskara Raya assumed the name of Sri Bhasurananda. His period would seem to be between 1696 and 1785 A.D. His commentary called Saubhagya Bhaskaram and Sri Vari Vasya Rahasyam and Setubhandham constitute Prasthanatrayee of Sri Vidya. Except for apparent differences of form, in substance there is no difference between Sri Vidya and Brahma Vidya.
However, Sri Vidya, with its idealisation of the Para Brahman as the compassionate Universal Mother is less difficult of comprehension and idealisation. Hence we hail the Devi as "Sarva thantra swarupani, sarvayantratmika" and "Sarvatantratmika". The yantra is the form revealing the tattva of the mantra. The "bahya puja
" , the "japa" and "manana"' of the 
"Panchadasakshari", the ``ashtanga yoga'' form the Tantra. ``Sri Chakra'' is the yantra. These are fundamental to the ``Aikyanusandanam'' of the Jaganmata as 
"Parabrahma". The Devi is Parameswari even as She is Parasakti.
The standard and most popular edition of the Lalitha Sahasranamam was that of G. V. Ganesa Aiyar. He also edited two other Devi classics, Soundaryalahari and Muka Panchasati. But this most valuable edition is not easily available now and perhaps has gone out of print. The authors of the present edition of the Lalitha Sahasranamam have done wonderful service to the public by bringing out this monumental edition.
In appearance and size, this edition closely resembles the earlier one. But in its content, it has provided us with riches beyond all human estimate. Not merely are the names of the Devi closely annotated and explained, they are analysed in such a manner that they enlighten the reader with a rare intensity of illumination.This is perhaps due to the overall inspiration and spiritual guidance of Swami Chidananda (Sri Subramanya Iyer in his Purvasrama). The work is marked by scholarship of the widest range, by a rare degree of devotion to the needs of the reader and by an amazingly resolute attention to the content of every name. The book is absolutely indispensable to Sri Vidya Upasakas.
To the earnest student of Indian spiritual literature, the book is an inspiring example of how, under the guidance of a true Acharya, wonders may be performed. The price may seem high, when compared with the Rs. 10, decades ago which fetched a copy of Ganesa Iyer's monumental edition. But we live now in very different times. And the times make it difficult for an enterprise of this kind. In bringing out this magnificent edition, the authors have done monumental, magnificent service to the public.
The special claims made in regard to this edition as special features, unique to this edition, are all thoroughly justified. The account of Sri Vidya will be helpful even to those who perform it as a matter of daily anushtana, not to speak of those who may be regarded as mere laymen. Sri Vidya and Nava avarana puja are highly specialised and totally esoteric forms of Devi worship and the account given herein is both comprehensive and accurate. The notes are excellent, drawing on a wide range of related texts.That Sri Bhaskara Raya's annotations were somewhat recondite, if not obscure, is the feeling that laymen may have. For example, Sri Bhaskara Raya deals with very first syllable of the first name of the Devi, Sri, importing into it what laymen may regard as excessively detailed interpretations. But Bhaskara Raya depended more on intuition than on relevant scriptural texts. This may not be acceptable to some but one has to reckon with the fact that intuition is very often the only guide in these matters. It is better to have a wealth of reference.
The Tamil commentary is both crisp and unpedantic. The system of transliteration into Tamil of Sanskrit names is not really unhelpful but cannot be regarded as quite what it should be. Tamil and Sanskrit are, however, close historically to each other, somewhat different in tone and tenor from each other. This edition is a marvel of production and we commend it heartily to all readers. 		 	   		  

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