Lalita Chandika Temple
Due to travel, we will start back up the Lalita Sahasranama Satsangh in August.
Namaste. This is the next of several posts designed to help you experience Lalita Ambika Devi in everyday life.
We are on the sixth name of Lalita Devi - Udyad Bhānu Sahasrābhā
Udyad Bhānu Sahasrābhā
This sixth name of Mother gives us an understanding of her form. It is this name which describes the Goddess as brilliant as 1,000 rising suns. She is described as the reddish hue from 1000 rising suns (imagine that).
Udyad Bhānu means the rising sun. Sahasra means 1,000 and abha is light or illumination. So Lalita Devi is the Mother who literally shines her light, or provides such spectacular illumination that it is likened to the brilliance of 1,000 rising suns.
For spiritual seekers, the rising sun gives us an opportunity to worship Her at a very auspicious time, which is first thing in the morning when you first see the rays from the Sun (Surya). This is why so many spiritual aspirants can be seen worshiping at the time of sunrise.
Worshiping the Sun has been with humanity since time immemorial in several spiritual traditions. In India, sadhus can be seen along the Ganges performing Surya Arghya, or offering water to the sun.
Why do we perform Surya Arghya?
The energy of the Sun comes from Devi herself. The Sun, also called Surya Deva, is worshiped as a deity in which the trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh) reside.
Because the Sun maintains life on this planet, in Vedic Astrology we liken the Sun to Lord Vishnu, the Maintainer, and even more specifically to Lord Vishnu's form as Lord Ram, who is from the Sun Dynasty.
The Sun, through Devi's energy, illuminates the world around us. But it can also purify our hearts, our minds, our intellect, and our body and that is why we worship the Sun.
How do we worship Devi in the form of the Sun?
Facing the sun in the morning, sadhus raise a vessel of water above the head and slowly pour the water out in front of them while staring at the sun. The sun's rays then penetrate the body, purifying it, from the head on down to the feet, as the water flows downward to the ground.
This simple practice is done while chanting a mantra. I was taught to use the the Gayatri Mantra, but different traditions may use a different mantra. The Gayatri Mantra is so powerful as it removes darkness and blesses us with divine wisdom.
The Gayatri Mantra
ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्
oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tat savitur vareṇyaṃ
bhargo devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt
We meditate on the adored Goddess, the Creator of the Universe, whose Divine Light fills the physical, mental and spiritual realms. May this Divine Light illuminate our intellect and grant us Divine Wisdom.
Another way to perform Surya Arghya is a method I learned from Amma at the Ashram in Nellore, India. Facing the sun, hold out the right palm, place three small red petals in the palm and a little bit of water. Holding your right palm toward the sun, chant the Gayatri Mantra and offer the water and petals to the ground. Do this three times.
If you choose to, you may also worship Lord Shiva at this time by using the same method, but chanting the Mahāmrityunjaya Mantra (3x) for healing.
Finish with Shanti Shanti Shantihi and pray for world peace.
These very powerful practices only take a few minutes, but the blessings are enormous.
As you go through your morning, and you see the beautiful red/orange/yellow hues from the rising sun, think of Her, be grateful to Her, for She is closer than you think.
This is Mother - the One who is as brilliant
as 1,000 rising Suns.
Let's bow in gratitude to Udyad Bhānu Sahasrābhā
Just Look - Just Notice - Just Become
A few actions for you to consider .....
Wake up early morning, right before the sunrise. Take a shower and step outside. Perform Surya Arghya using one of the two methods given here, or perhaps one that you have already adapted. Sincerely pray to Her during this time. Pray not only for yourself, but also for harmony, peace and comfort in the world at large.
Notice how comforting this practice is when done consistently and with faith. Mother's grace in the form of Love and Compassion will flow through your life. Notice this.
Udyad Bhānu Sahasrābhā Ki Jai!