Shri Mathre Namaha
By – B. Jayaraman
Shri represents all auspiciousness and all sixteen forms of prosperity. Everything in Devi worship begins with “Shri”. The yantra is Shri Yantra, Mantra is Shri Vidya, Her abode is Shri Nagara, Her stotra- Sri Lalitha Sahasranama begins with Shri Matha.
Vak devathas were ordered by Sri Lalitha to compile a stotra with 1,000 names which are acceptable to Sri Lalitha and describe everything about Her worship and Her greatness. In the presence of crores and crores of assembled deities, the Vak Devathas looked at Rajarajeswari Sri Lalitha for permission to commence. Sri Lalitha blessed the vak devathas with a smile full of Motherly affection. That affectionate smile became the seed nama of Lalitha Sahasranama “Shri Matha” from which the remaining 999 namas sprouted. Shri Matha is not only the quintessence of Sahasranama but also the quintessence of Shri Vidya as a whole.
Let us now analyze “Shri Matha” in all its glory and totality.
Shri Matha teaches us the method to worship Devi namely — Approach Devi with simplicity and innocence of a child. Do not fear God. Love God. Just as the mother is very happy to see her child playing joyfully and sharing with other children, Sri Lalitha is pleased if we care for others in society. Just as an obedient child gets easily a lot of concessions from mother, we will get our wishes fulfilled when we obey the ethical and moral rules of Sastra and practice Honesty, Truth, Justice & compassion.
Shri Matha — The mother of all. The Universal Motherhood principle teaches us the highest philosophy in a very simple manner. Devi is the mother of all the living
entities we see around. The nama Shri Matha by itself signifies Father, Mother and a Child i.e. A family. God principle is beyond gender concepts. We use the term Mother since Motherhood principle is more dominant with unconditional love, care, affection and self sacrifice (Thyagam). Also, only inside the female body, the sperm gets transformed into a baby. Hence the God principle is referred to as “Shri Matha”.
We find that Sri Devi is present in all entities as the original – The very first cause or the intelligence that caused its present existence. Thus the omnipresence and the ever existing nature with intelligence – Sat & Chit aspects of Brahman are indicated in this nama.”Shri Matha”.
Shri Matha is a powerful mantra. It contains the beeja that transformed the ever existing and attribute less nirguna brahma to become saguna / active and create this meaningful, blissful, magnificent universe. All activities are carried out for two reasons -An inherent urge / Spanda / need and an inherent Ananda associated with doing that activity. Even crying has an Ananda element associated with it, because crying reduces the intensity of emotional suffering — Dukha. Just as every child / an off-spring is created out of ananda, we and this universe were created by Ananda, for Ananda and with Ananda. Thus Sri Matha as universal Mother establishes the Ananda aspect of Para Brahman.
Every nama in Lalitha Sahasranama has an apparent simple meaning and also offers a highly intellectual interpretation. More importantly it contains a beeja mantra. Hence realizing the greatness of this Sahasranama, one should get inspired to take mantra deeksha and thereafter only chant regularly as anushtan. Subsequently one could contemplate on its deeper meaning (Anu-sandhanam) and finally realize it (Anu-bhavam).