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Sri Suktam, the Hymn to the Divine Mother, the Power of Wealth

Author: Vladimir

Last Updated: April 8, 2013

 Mahalakshmi is one of the most prominent personalities of the Divine Shakti.  She is the power of Ananda, Infinite Delight, Harmony and Wealth of the Supreme. In the Vedic tradition she is known as Shree Devi, the power of the Divine Wealth and Bliss. Very often people think of Laksmi as the power of money. But in fact she cannot be easily compared with the money power today. For she shall not come to those who live only for themselves or deviate from the truth, abuse others or have imperfect thoughts or desires, or where there is no peace or joy of sharing etc. Her prosperity is based on the growth of Consciousness, Love and Harmony.

 

There is however another power of money mentioned in the Veda. It is the power of Panis, dwellers in the dark, described as dealers and traders, misers and traffickers of wealth, plunderers and thieves of the Divine Riches. They live in the subconscious cave of our being, named Vala. Their cave itself is full of divine treasures they have stolen from the seekers of Light. They do not share this wealth with those who need it, especially with Aryans, who aspire for a higher life and growth of consciousness in this manifestation. Instead they trade it and deal with it as if it was meant only for one purpose to increase their own power. Their purpose is not to make Consciousness and Beauty grow in the world, not even for themselves, for they do not know the true value of the stolen wealth, but to increase their own position and power by accumulating more and more wealth which is not theirs. Wealth for them has become a means for their self-assertion. Themselves they cannot sacrifice, cannot give, and they hate those who give and sacrifice. They hate the Divine Word, and fight against all those who express it in their consciousness and offer themselves to the growth of the Divine Presence in them and in the world. They are the masters of money today and not Lakshmi. Their power is built on and driven by sexual energy and not that of the soul. And that is a fundamental difference between Lakshmi who represents the Divine Love rising from the heart of man and the Panis who rule, utilizing the sexual energy of Nature for their domination. In the Sri Suktam this power of Panis is called  Alakshmi, literally ‘where Lakshmi is not’  and cannot be.

 

In the Veda Panis are conquered by the Angiras Rishis, our Forefathers, with the help of Indra, the Lord of the Divine Mind, Brihaspati, the Lord of the Divine Word, Agni, the Divine Will, Usha, the Illumining Power of Infinite Consciousness, Aditi, and other great godheads, who thus create for us the Sunlit Path for our growth and self-finding.  

 

Sri Aurobindo in the letter to a sadhak writes about the force of money and Yogic attitude we must take to conquer and offer it at the feet of the Divine Mother, Mahalaksmi, to whom it truly belongs:

 

“Money is a sign of universal force, and this force in its manifestation on earth works on the vital and physical planes and is indispensable to the fullness of outer life. In its origin and its true action it belongs to the Divine. But like other powers of the Divine it is delegated here and in the ignorance of the lower Nature can be usurped for the uses of the ego or held by Asuric influences and perverted to their purpose.

 This is indeed one of the three forces - power, wealth, sex - that have the strongest attraction for the human ego and the Asura and are most generally misheld and misused by those who retain them.   

The seekers or keepers of wealth are more often possessed rather than its possessors; few escape entirely a distorting influence stamped on it by its long seizure and perversion by the Asura.

 For this reason most spiritual disciplines insist on complete self-control, detachment and renunciation of all bondage to wealth and of all personal and egoistic desire for its possession. Some even put a ban on money and riches and proclaim poverty and bareness of life as the only spiritual condition.  But this is an error; it leaves the power in the hands of the hostile forces. To reconquer it for the Divine to whom it belongs and use it divinely for the divine life is the supramental way for the Sadhaka.

 You must neither turn with an ascetic shrinking from the money power, the means it gives and the object it brings, nor cherish a rajasic attachment to them or a spirit of enslaving self-indulgence in their gratifications.

 Regard wealth simply as a power to be won back for the Mother and placed at her service.

 All wealth belongs to the Divine and those who hold it as trustees, not possessors. It is with them today, tomorrow it may be elsewhere. All depends on the way they discharge their trust while it is with them, in what spirit, with what consciousness in their use of it, to what purpose.

 In your personal use of money look on all you have or get or bring as the Mother's.

 Make no demand but accept what you receive from her and use it for the purposes for which it is given to you.  Be entirely selfless, entirely scrupulous, exact, careful in detail, a good trustee; always consider that it is her possessions and not your own that you are handling.

 On the other hand, what you receive for her, lay religiously before her; turn nothing to your own or anybody else's purpose.

Do not look up to men because of their riches or allow yourself to be impressed by the show, the power of influence.

When you ask for the Mother, you must feel that it is she who is demanding through you a very little of what belongs to her and the man from whom you ask will be judged by his response.

If you are free from money-taint but without any ascetic withdrawal, you will have greater power to command the money for the divine work.

Equality of mind, absence of demand and the full dedication of all you possess and receive and all your power of acquisition to the Divine Shakti and her work are the signs of this freedom.

 Any perturbation of mind with regard to money and its use, any claim, any grudging is a sure index of some imperfection or bondage.

The ideal Sadhaka in this kind is one who if required to live poorly can so live and no sense of want will affect him or interfere with the full inner play of the divine consciousness, and if he is required to live richly, can so live and never for a moment fall into desire or attachment to his wealth or to the things that he uses or servitude to self-indulgence or a weak bondage to the habits that the possession of riches creates.

The divine Will is all for him and the divine Ananda.

In the supramental creation the money force have to be restored to the Divine Power and used for a true and beautiful and harmonious equipment and ordering of a new divinised vital and physical existence in whatever way the Divine Mother herself decides in her creative vision.

But first it must be conquered back for her and those will be the strongest for the conquest who are in this part of their nature strong and large and free from ego and surrendered without any claim or withholding or hesitation, pure and powerful channels for the supreme Puissance.”

  

 

Here is our translation of Sri Suktam, one of the oldest hymns to the Goddess Lakshmi from the appendixes (khilanis) of Bāṣkala recention of the Ṛgveda.    

 

Śrī Sūktam

 

Om hiraṇyavarṇāṃ hariṇīṃ suvarṇarajatasrajām/

Candrāṃ hiraṇmayīṃ lakṣmīṃ jātavedo ma āvaha /1

 

OM, O Jatavedas, bring to me the Golden [Goddess] Lakshmi, of green and yellow [light], wearing golden and silver necklace, shining like a golden Moon!

 

Notes:

Jatavedas is a name of Agni in the Veda, meaning ‘the one who knows all who are born here on earth’. He is the Flame of the Divine Will lit for the purpose of the Sacrifice, the divine manifestation in material world. It is he who should bring the Divine Lakshmi here, which means that she can come to us only through the act of the Sacrifice.

Vedic sacrifice, yajña, is the process by which the higher powers of universal consciousness are invoked and brought down into our life by the kindled aspiration within us for the sake of transformation of our life on earth.  All here is done only for this transformation and the final manifestation of the Divine in the material universe. The goal of this Sacrifice is Immortality, amṛtam.

In the Gita 3.9  Sri Krishna says: yajñārthāt karmaṇo ‘nyatra loko’yaṃ karmabandhanaḥ, ‘it is by Karma which is done for the sake of the sacrifice that the people are free from its consequence’. The only action in this world which gives us freedom is Karma done for the sake of sacrifice, that is to say, the work for the growth of Consciousness in the material manifestation.  

 

Tāṃ ma āvaha jātavedo lakṣmīm anapagāminīm/

Yasyāṃ hiraṇyaṃ vindeyaṃ gām aśvaṃ puruṣān aham/2

 

That [goddess] bring to me, O Jatavedas, Lakshmi, who never goes away,

In whom I shall find [all] luminous wealth, knowledge, power [and all the souls of] men.

 

Notes:

The Rishi invokes Lakshmi who brings with her Gold, Cow, Horse and Men.

These are the symbolic fruits of the Vedic Sacrifice. Gold symbolizes realization of the highest planes of consciousness, the spiritual realization on all the levels of consciousness and being. Cow , ‘go’, means also the ray of light, and is symbolic of the light of the Divine Knowledge. Aśva, horse, lit. meaning ‘running’, ‘quick’, ‘swift’, is a swiftness of the Divine Power. And it is mentioned throughout the Veda about the sacrificial gift desired by Rishis where the Cow is to stand in front of the Horse (goagram aśvapeśasam ratim, RV 2.1.16 ; 1.92.7 etc.) Purushas in the Rigveda are the symbol of the souls of men who are conscious of their Origin and therefore their purpose, they are called also nṛ, nara, vīra, the heroic souls, the worriers of Light fighting against the forces of Darkness. They are capable of doing the work of Sacrifice manifesting the Divine Presence, Knowledge, Power and Bliss in the world. All these are true gifts of the Vedic Sacrifice, with whose help the transformation of our unregenerate self can be effectuated.

 

Aśvapūrvāṃ rathamadhyāṃ hastinādaprabodhinīm/

Śriyaṃ devīm upahvaye śrīr mā devīr juṣatām/3

 

Standing in the middle of the chariot with horses in front, awaking with trumpeting of the elephants, Goddess Sri I invoke! The Goddess Sri should accept me with happiness.

 

Notes:

Vedic imagery of the chariot carrying the Gods is another spiritual symbol of a particular spiritual experience. Gods cannot reach out to our plane without a travel. They abide in their own realm and from that place they have to travel, as it were, to our plane of consciousness. This travel is symbolized by the movement of chariot with horses as its powers in front.  In one of the hymns  of the Rigveda Rishi compares his composition of the hymn with the making of a chariot by a carpenter. ‘With the help of this Hymn-Chariot I shall rise to Heaven’, says Rishi.

 

kāṃ sosmitāṃ hiraṇyaprākārām ārdrāṃ jvalantīṃ tṛptāṃ tarpayantīm/

padme sthitāṃ padmavarṇāṃ tām ihopahvaye śriyam/ 4

 

I call down Sri, who is in the Lotus, and of the Lotus color,

Who thus creates the golden light with a smile, flaming, and ever-young, always satisfied and always satisfying.

 

 

Candrāṃ prabhāsāṃ yaśasā jvalantīṃ śriyaṃ loke devajuṣṭām udārām/

Tāṃ padminīm īṃ śaraṇam ahaṃ prapadye ‘lakṣmīr me naśyatāṃ tvāṃ vṛṇe/ 5

 

The most luminous of all the luminaries (like the Moon among the Stars), flaming with the Glory in this world, loved by the Gods, I find my refuge in the Lotus holder, prostrating in front [of Her]! May my misfortune vanish!  I choose you, [O Lakshmi]! 

 

Ādityavarṇe tapaso’dhijāto vanaspatis tava vṛkṣo’tha bilvaḥ/

Tasya phalāni tapasā nudantu māyāntarāyāś ca bāhyā alakṣmīḥ/ 6

 

O [Golden one] with the color of the Sun, Vanaspati is born from the Supreme Power, Tapas, He is your Tree and your Fruit,

May its fruits remove the internal and external misfortunes of the Maya by the Tapas.

 

Notes:

She is of the color of the Sun. The Sun in the Rig Veda is the symbol of the Supramental Truth, the plane of Satyam, Ṛtam, Bṛhad, the Truth, the Right, the Vast. In the Taittirīya Upaniṣad 2.5 it is called Vijñānam. It is the plane where the whole manifestation takes place. Vijñānam yajñam tanute, karmāṇi tanute’pi ca, vijñānam devāḥ sarve brahma jyeṣṭham upāsate, ‘Vijñāna creates and spreads the Sacrifice, and all the Works indeed, for Vijñāna is all the gods, who worship Brahman as the greatest.’

The Sun itself is the creation by the Supreme Tapas, (RV 10.190.1 ṛtaṃ ca satyaṃ cābhāddhāt tapaso 'dhy ajāyata, ‘the Right and the Truth were born from the Flaming Tapas of the Divine Power’, and so the Lord of Delight, Vanaspati, whose Shakti is Lakshmi, who dwells in him as her own home tree and is its fruit.

So it is with the help of Tapas that all the Alakshmis, inner and outer, can be removed. It is interesting to note here that it is not by the power of Lakshmi that Alakshmi can be removed but by the Divine Power, Tapas, which is the source of them both.  

 

Upaitu māṃ devasakhaḥ kīrtiśca maṇinā saha/

Prādurbhūto ‘smi rāṣṭre ‘smin kīrtim ṛddhiṃ dadātu me/ 7

 

May the friend of the God approach me and the Glory with the Pearl.

I am made visible (manifested) in this luminous kingdom, [and] in this [kingdom] she should grant me [her] Glory and Prosperous Growth.

 

Notes:

The friend of God, is most probably one of those souls who already realized the union with the Divine  here in the physical body, he expanded the Divine Presence in him, for he has kīrtiḥ, and concentrated his inner light symbolised by a shining jewel, maṇinā saha. Sakha, lit. means ‘the one who shares the same space’, sa-kha.

‘I have appeared, made myself visible in your Kingdom’, - says the Rishi. ‘Grant me the expansion and the growth in this luminous kingdom of yours.’ 

 

Kṣutpipāsāmalām jyeṣṭhām  alakṣmīṃ nāśayamy aham/

Abhūtim asamṛddhiṃ ca sarvāṃ nirṇuda me gṛhāt/ 8

 

I destroy mis-fortune, the oldest of impurities of hunger and thirst.

All the calamity and blockage in prosperous growth, [ O Lakshmi], move away from my house!

 

Notes:

Kṣudh and pipāsā are two fundamental powers of the first emanations of the Divine Being and Consciousness, which turned into their opposites: Death and Inconscient. In the Upanishads Rishis mention is as the original Aśanāyā Mṛtyu  (Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 1.1.2), or as aśanāyā and pipāsā, ‘hunger and thirst’ ( of Aitareya Upaniṣad, 1.2.1.) depicting their influence upon the faculties of consciousness of the Divine Purusha, who was thus sacrificed for the sake of creation and whose faculties descended into the Infinite Ocean of Inconscient, (mahatyarṇave prāpatan, AitUp 1.1.2-3). These hunger and thirst were already there.  That is why the misfortune, Alakṣmī is called jyeṣṭhā, the oldest, for She herself had been there when Lakṣmī arrived. It is as if Alakṣmī is her elder twin sister. In the Veda we have two sisters Aditi and Diti,  the Divine Mother in two personalities: Aditi, Infinite Consciousness, The Mother of the Gods, and Diti, the Dividing Consciousness, the Mother of Daityas, Dānavas and Dasyus, the dividers, robbers and demons, the enemies of the gods. Similarly the Asuras are considered to be the elder brothers of the Gods, for the Gods come after, as it were.

 

Gandhadvārāṃ durādharṣāṃ nityapuṣṭāṃ karīṣiṇīm/

Īśvarīṃ sarvabhūtānāṃ tām ihopahvaye śriyam/ 9

 

[The one, who is], cognisable through the Odor, Invincible, whose growth is constant, Karishini (with a pure smell of the Cow), Mistress of all the creatures, that [goddess] Sri I invoke here.

 

Notes:

Gandhadvārā, can be translated as ‘who is reached through the doors of odor’, or ‘whose access is through odor’; ‘who comes by the means of odor’. 

 

Manasaḥ kāmam ākūtiṃ vācaḥ satyam aśīmahi/

Paśūnāṃ rūpam annasya mayi śrīḥ śrayatāṃ yaśaḥ/10

‘May we realise Mind’s Desire, the Intention of the Word, the Truth, the abundance in the form of (all perceptions) Pashus and of food! In me Sri should thus fix the Glory.’

 

Notes:

Manasaḥ Kāmam, ‘the Desire of the Mind’, is the first seed of light within the darkness to bring it back to light. It is known as desire and later as the mind itself. It is also associated with the Intention of the Word rising from the depths of our being, and the Truth which is to be discovered here. These three: the Divine Mind, Word and Truth are the triple movement of the Divine itself within this manifestation. The Divine Mind supports it from above, the Divine Word from within the Heart, and the Divine Truth is rising from within manifestation as the Flame of the Divine Will, Agni.

Paśu, is usually translated as ‘cattle’, but the root of this word is paś/spaś, ‘to see’, ‘to perceive’; it is the consciousness inherent in the embodied creature.

 

 

Kardamena prajābhūtā mayi sambhava kardama/

Śriyaṃ vāsaya me kule mātaraṃ padmamālinīm/ 11

 

With the help of Prajapati the creatures are born.  In me you become the all-powerful, O Prajapati.

Make Mother Sri, who wears the garland of Lotuses, live in my family.

 

 

Āpaḥ sṛjantu snigdhāni ciklīta vasa me gṛhe/

Ni ca devīṃ mātaraṃ śriyaṃ vāsaya me kule/12

 

‘May the Waters create [all things] smooth and lovely!

O Chiklita, (O Smooth and Lovely) live in my house!

And make the Goddess, Mother Shree live in my family.’

 

 

Ārdrāṃ puṣkariṇīṃ puṣṭiṃ piṅgalāṃ padmamālinīm/

Candrāṃ hiraṇmayīṃ lakṣmīṃ jātavedo ma āvaha/ 13

 

O Jatavedas, bring to me, the shining and the golden Lakshmi,

Ever-young and soft, abandoned in lotuses, perfect in growth, gold-colored, with the garlands of lotuses.

 

Ārdrāṃ yaḥ kariṇīṃ  yaṣṭiṃ suvarṇāṃ hemamālinīm/

Sūryāṃ hiraṇmayīṃ lakṣmīṃ jātavedo ma āvaha/ 14

 

[The one] who [brings] the ever-young, holding [with] the Golden Rod, and wearing the garland of gold,

the Luminous Daughter of the Sun, the Golden Lakshmi, [it is you], O Jatavedas, bring [her] to me.

 

Notes:

Here She is directly called Sūryā, the daughter of the Sun. This is the epithet of the Divine Mother. She holds the golden Rod, the symbol of the Divine Power.

 

Tāṃ ma āvaha jātavedo lakṣmīm anapagāminīm/

Yasyāṃ hiramyam prabhūtaṃ gāvo dāsyo ‘śvān vindeyaṃ puruṣān aham/ 15

 

That [goddess] bring to me, O Jatavedas, Lakshmi, who never goes away,

In whom I shall find [all] luminous wealth, knowledge, power [and all the souls of] men.

 

Yaḥ śuciḥ prayato bhūtvā juhuyād ājyam anv aham/

Śriyaḥ pañcadaśarcaṃ ca śrīkāmaḥ satataṃ japet/ 16

 

Who is pure, having  surrendered [to Her], he should offer the oblation of the clarified butter every day, seeking Shree, he should always recite this hymn of Shree, consisting of 15 verses.