By admin on Apr 7, 2017 | In Srividya
सृण्ये वसितया विश्वचर्षणिः पाशेन प्रतिबध्नात्यभीकान् ।
इषुभिः पञ्चभिर्धनुषा च विध्यत्यादिशक्तिररुणा विश्वजन्या ॥
Of the several commentaries on Srī Lalitā Sahasranāma, the Saubhāgya Bhāskara commentary of Bhāskararāya is the most popular.
Bhāskararāya was a great master of Mantra and Tantra vidyās. He has profusely quoted from various Upaniṣads, lexicons, Tantra works and Purāṇas. He has offered a number of alternative explanations, displaying deep erudition in many śāstras. It appears from the commentary that he is more inclined to the Vāmamārga of the Tantras.
Bhāskararāya has pointed out 32 syllables selected as the beginning letters of epithets of the text of Lalitā Sahasranāma. The epithets, according to him, are in all the three genders and so they qualify the Brahman only. This commentary presupposes a good deal of acquaintance with the Tantra and Vedānta works on the part of the reader.
Another commentary on Lalitā Sahasranāma, Jayamaṅgalā by Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa is also unique in many respects. We learn from the beginning and from the colophon of Jayamaṅgalā that Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa was the son of Vēṅkaṭādhvari, an Advaita teacher. The name of his mother was Nārāyaṇāṁbā. His Guru in śrīvidyā was Paramaśivānandanātha. Nothing more is known about him.
P.G. Lalye provides a comparison between the two commentaries in his introduction to Jayamaṅgalā. I have summarized the gist of his comparison below - but the disclaimer is that I have heavily edited and added content to it as Dr Lalye’s knowledge of Bhāskararāya’s work and of Tantras seems largely lacking, and often grossly incorrect.
Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa has divided the text into ten sections while Bhāskararāya divides it into twelve kalās or sections. both the scholars have quoted profusely from the earlier scriptures. Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa has quoted verses of Hayagrīva and citations from many śaiva and Tāntric works. Though these two are prominent commentators, their arrangement of the thousand words differs in many respects. the thousand epithets are sometimes split into parts for the commentarial felicity. Some epithets are clubbed together, but the number 1000 remains unchanged. A few examples of variant readings are given below (first Jayamaṅgalā, followed by Saubhāgya Bhāskara):
1 tattvamayī - tat tvam ai
2 kaumārī gaṇanāthāmbā - kumāragaṇanāthāmbā
3 śōbhanāsulabhākr̥tiḥ - śōbhanāsulabhāgatiḥ
4 lajjārambhavivarjitā - lajjā rambhādivanditā
5 anaghādbhutacāritrā - anaghā adbhutacāritrā
At some places, Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa has clubbed two epithets together. No cogent reason has been given for that:
1 śivā + svādhīnavallabhā
2 kṣētrasvarūpā + kṣētrēśī
3 mūrtā + amūrtā
4 bālā + līlāvinōdinī
Some epithets have been left off by Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa though Bhāskararāya has commented on them. For example:
It is observed that both the commentators have recorded different readings in about fifty epithets. For example (first Jayamaṅgalā, followed by Saubhāgya Bhāskara):
1 kamanīyacaturbhujā - kamanīyabhujānvitā
2 sumērumadhyaśr̥ṅgasthā - sumēruśr̥ṅgamadhyasthā
3 bhadrapradā - bhadrapriyā
4 nirañjanā - nirantarā
5 satkulāgamasandōhaśuktisampuṭamauktikā - sakalāgamasandōhaśuktisampuṭamauktikā
6 kurukulyā - kurukullā
7 barbarālakā - bandhurālakā
8 bhīmarūpā - bhūmarūpā
9 nityatr̥ptā - anityatr̥ptā
10 vijñānakalikā - vijñānakalanā
11 śivaṅkarī - vaśaṅkarī
12 dharmavanditā - dharmavardhinī
13 dayāḍōlitadīrghākṣī - darāndōlitadīrghākṣī
According to Dr. Lalye, in some cases, such as Bhagamālinī, Kāmapūjitā, mādhvīpānālasā, yōninilayā etc., Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa’s explanation is more convincing than Bhāskararāya. We can elaborate on two examples to illustrate the point that Dr Lalye is partially correct.
Let’s take the epithet Bhagamālinī. Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa explains the word ‘bhaga’ to mean aiśvarya, and infers the epithet to refer to the Great Mother as the possessor of the entire gamut of aiśvarya in the cosmos. On the other hand, Bhāskararāya quotes both Liṅga and Devībhāgavata Mahāpurāṇas to infer bhagāṅka as vibhūti of gaurī, while also pointing out the crucial fact that this is a specific Tithinityā deity (something clearly missed by Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa). He also hints at some mantrasaṅkēta as well as pūjāsaṅkēta here without transgressing the kulaśāsana. So, in my opinion, Dr Lalye’s observation is incorrect in this case. Moreover, Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa's explanation of Bhaga has been previously offered by Bhāskararāya in the context of the epithet Bhagavatī.
Let’s take another name, kāmapūjitā. Bhāskararāya here explains, quite correctly, that this indicates the worship of Parāmbā by Manmatha, son of Lakśmī (probably hinting at a story narrated in the Tripurārahasya), eventually establishing him as one of the main preceptors of a school of śrīvidyā. Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa explains this epithet to mean Kāmagiripīṭha, which is mūlādhāra trikōṇa in Yogic parlance. Though both their explanations are valid, I resonate more with Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa in this case based on the context. One must remember that Lalitā Sahasranāma, unlike Viṣṇu Sahasranāma, is not a loosely strung garland of epithets; it narrates a story and builds a well-defined, multifaceted narrative. If one observes other names before and after this specific epithet, such as jālandharasthitā, ōḍḍyāṇapīṭhanilayā etc., Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa’s explanation is certainly more contextual.
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