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attributes. But the upanishads speak of Her as ' -- the Witness, the Pure Sentience, the Attributeless'. The sahasranAma itself includes the name nirguNA, the attributeless. In spite of all this  the attributeless Absolute is here talked of as possessing attributes. They are actually attributes superimposed on the Mother Goddess, who  is the cit-Sakti, the Consciousness  Absolute. The Attributes themselves are only adjuncts  and what we are praising is only the Absolute seen through these adjuncts. There is nothing wrong in worshipping the Mother in this attributed form rather than in the attributeless way. Thus worshipped the Mother will grace us to become capable of  transcending  the abyss of plurality and comprehend Her as the Formless Absolute.

kalmashaghnI : the One who destroys defaults, blemishes and sins, thus confirming the Lord's promise:

aham tvA sarva-pApebhyo mokshayishyAmi mA Sucah
bhagavad-gItA - 18-66

The word also means the One who is the Knowledge Absolute, which according to the gItA again, is the Fire of Wisdom that burns to ashes all the luggage of karma that one carries along:

jnAnAgnis-sarva-karmANi bhasmasAt-kurute tathA /
4 - 37  .

(20) karma-phala-pradA :the dispenser of the fruits of actions. The actions themselves are insentient and so cannot give their fruits. There must be a sentience behind the dispensing act. It is the Absolute that dispenses. But the Absolute is actionless. It only witnesses. Everything happens in its presence. The original action happens in, and because of,  its presence.  The dispensing of the fruit also by the prakRti (the Power or Energy of the Absolute)  happens in,  and because of, its presence.  The Lord is the karmAdhyaksha (the director of Actions); He Himself says:

'labhate ca tatah kAmAn mayaiva vihitAn hi tAn'
7 - 22.

(23) ekA-nekAksharA-kRtih: She shines in both the forms, that  of a single (= eka) syllable (= akshara) and that of multiple (=aneka) syllables.  What does this mean? She is both mAyA (deception, illusion)  and avidyA (ignorance).  The first one is the adjunct of the Lord and it is in His control. Its symbolism is the single syllable 'Om' that represents the Absolute Transcendental Truth. avidyA (ignorance)  on the other hand is the adjunct of the individual souls and its multiplicity is as infinite as the number of indiviudal souls. avidyA is individual ignorance that clings to the soul and prevents it from realising its transcendental nature whereas mAyA is Cosmic Ignorance which is in the complete control of the Lord . It is prakRti the Goddess that becomes both. 

etat-tad-ity-anirdeSyA  We cannot pinpoint Her as this or that. This is the literal meaning of this name. But its meaning goes deeper. The word 'etat' meaning 'this' signifies the visible universe, which is perceptible to the senses. The word 'tat'  signifies 'that' and points to that Cosmic Absolute Truth which is transcendent and imminent and further is never perceptible to

© Copyright V. Krishnamurthy  Sep.6, '99.        Home  Contents NEXT