Sadguru Aniruddha Bapu’s busy daily routine and his diligent and dedicated endeavor of relentless efforts that he takes for his Shraddhavan friends evidently reflects that it is indeed a daily regime of an ascetic. Bapu’s life in itself is a penance.
Sadguru Bapu has always been active towards the well-being and welfare of Shraddhavans. And thus, by witnessing his ongoing efforts which spring forth out of his sheer love for us, Shraddhavans, the feeling that ‘His life itself is indeed a penance’ overwhelms our mind.
In order to strengthen the spiritual base of his dear Shraddhavans and also that they gain a spiritual shield, Sadguru Shree Aniruddha initiated the ‘Swastikshem Tapascharya (penance)’ from the beginning of Ashwin Navratri of the year 2011 i.e. from 28th September 2011. As a fruit of this penance, Bapu handed over to us the 'Matruvatsalya Upanishad' i.e. the 'Shriswastikshem Vidya' and also offered to us ‘Swastikshem Sanwad’ which is a practical of this Vidya.
In the Matruvatsalya Upanishad, Bapu has described the wonderful devotional journey starting from the eighteen sacred locations in the seven realms to the court of Manidweepanivasini (the one who dwells in the Manidweep) Ashtadasabhuja (the one with eighteen arms) Jagadamba Lalita along with Swayabhagavan Shri Trivikram. We do experience Jagdamba Lalita's motherly love and affection, her forgiveness and her sheer love through this Grantha and at the same time, upon reading this Granth, we also get to experience how each weapon of Jagdamba works in the life of Shraddhavans.
Shri Lalitambika Pujan:
One of the most beautiful boons that we have received from Sadguru Shri Aniruddha's penance and resolve is Shri Lalitambika Pujan. The fruits that Bapu's Swastikshem Tapascharya borne - Sarvanga-Brahmastra (all-round panacea) and Sarvanga-Karunashraya (all-round abode of compassion). Bapu offered these two fruits obtained as a result of Tapascharya at 'Shri Aniruddha Gurukshetram'.
There are two types of forces in this universe – life-destroying and life-enhancing. The Sarvanga-Brahmastra destroys all that is inappropriate and inapt, whereas the task of Sarvanga-Karunashraya is to eliminate the life-destroying forces of the universe and to cultivate the life-enhancing forces.
Basically, many a time man is not able to differentiate between the two forces viz. life-destroying and life-enhancing, he gets confused and deceived too. But one who seeks refuge in Sarvanga-Karunashraya, life-destroying forces cannot enter into his life and life-enhancing forces are inculcated properly. So, in order to keep both these forces active in the life of our Shraddhavans, Sadguru Shri Aniruddha, as per his resolve, made open for us the most beautiful way of worshiping Shri Lalitambika.
In Tulsipatra 1400, Bapu has written that the original form of Adimata, i.e. 'Manidweepanivasini' i.e. 'Sinhasanastha (The one who astrides a lion) Ashtadasabhuja Mahishasurmardini' form is, in fact, the 'Lalitambika'.
The form of the idol worshipped in the Lalitambika pujan is ‘Manidweepanivasini Ashtadashabhuja Mahishasurmardini Jagadamba Lalita’. Just as there is a large image of Maa Jagdamba placed on the main stage every Thursday at ShriHarigurugram, similar image is seated in the Lalitambika pujan room and its replica in the form of small idol is placed before the worshipper or the one who does the pujan. The worshippers offer Haridra, Kumkum, Haridra-Akshata, Kumkum-Akshata, Bilva leaves, fragrant flowers etc. as offerings to that idol during the pujan.
Before the origin of the universe, what existed everywhere was only Parabrahma-tattva i.e., Parmeshwar Dattaguru. As soon as the primordial wish of Dattaguru manifested in the form of ‘Kamakala Lalita’, two principles came into being, the primordial journey from 'one' to 'two' took place.
This universe came into being from 'Ekosmi Bahusyam' which, in fact, was Dattaguru's initial impulse, i.e. His wish, and it was along with this resolve of His that the Parmeshwar himself became 'Shrimannarayan' i.e. 'Shri Mahadurgeshwar'.
This Leeladhari Parmeshwar with his own leela creates this universe, it is with his own leela that he governs the universe and it is with his own leela again that he merges this universe into Him.
As the Lalita is ‘Kaamkala’, time gained momentum means time was initiated, time came into existence.
‘The course of time’ is a skill of Kaamkala Lalita’, because it is to her that the time owes its existence and pace. However, the course of ‘Kaamkala Lalita’, who is beyond time is self-existent (Swayambhu), self-fulfilling (Swayampoorna) because she herself is Mahakaameshwari.
It is from the ‘desire’ that the universe originates from, it is because of the ‘desire’ that the universe functions and it is in the ‘desire’ that the universe merges into. Being beyond the universe, the one who gives impetus to the world and all beings, the one who operates and the one who inspires to become active is ‘Kaamkala Lalita’.
Fulfilment of wish or desire by the grace of Lalitambika:
Whether be our worldly desires viz. movable and immovable wealth, desire of family happiness, desire of begetting children or be our spiritual desire of doing bhakti, seeking darshan of deity, doing his seva or attaining his close proximity, for the fulfilment of all these desires, attaining the grace of Lalitambika is inevitable.
Not only this but the grace of Lalitambika also helps to overcome any obstacles or to solve any familial and financial problems. Right from physical and mental ailments to ego, we, the common people have to continue life’s journey while facing numerous challenges along the way. Unless these challenges are eradicated one gets no success, peace, satisfaction, contentment and happiness in life and also the desire that each and every human being harbours in his mind, the desire to get rid of all obstacles also gets fulfilled only by the grace of Lalitambika.
Shodashi Kaamkala Lalitambika:
Just as the moon is considered to have sixteen phases (Amavasya to Purnima), the Kaamkala is said to have sixteen (Shodash) energy forms (Kalas) and hence she is also called 'Shodashi'.
These sixteen energy forms of Shodashi Kaamkala means the governing powers of the universe. All the governing powers in the universe have originated from the sixteen energy forms of Shodashi Kaamkala and therefore, Shodashi Kamkala Lalita forms the basis of all the rules and governing powers of the universe.
From this we realize that every power I need to achieve my goal stems from Lalitambika. Also, no matter how formidable any power that poses hurdles in my work and life, or troubles me may be, the power of Lalitambika, who is the sovereign ruler of the governing powers of the universe, is infinite in comparison.
For example, be it six foes of good life and spirituality (Shadripu), ill-fate and any forces of evil tendencies or external enemies, sudden calamities and all other such forces are wiped out by the grace of Lalitambika.
We know that Adimata Jagadamba Lalitambike is described in the words 'kukarma-kusanga-kubuddhi-kudrishti-vinashini'. Sadguru Shri Aniruddha has made available to us Shraddhavans, an easiest means to attain the grace of such Lalitambika - The Lalitambika poojan.
Anathanathe Ambe Karuna Vistaari (O Dear Mother Ambe, Protector of the distressed and orphaned, Please extend Your all pervading Compassion so that I receive it):
In the editorials named Tulsipatra no. 1405 and 1406 that appeared in the Daily Pratyaksha newspaper, Bapu has written in detail about the form of Jagdamba Lalita. The essence of which is - ‘The journey of the universe as also that of each and everyone cannot be initiated unless one receives the strength from Lalita. Lalita’s strength is responsible for all the position, speed and progress.
As per the instruction received from Parmatma, Brahmadev initiated penance to create the world. During the period of penance, Brahma begins to receive the power to create and at the same time, a thought spurs up in Brahmadev’s mind that from where did I get this power? What is the original source of this power?
Brahmadev sets out to find the source of that power, but he finds nothing even after scouring across the ocean. Eventually, exhausted from searching, Brahmadev stops and a desire to surrender unto that power arise in his mind.
‘She who gave birth to me, she who is providing me strength, is my mother indeed,’ with this thought in her mind, Brahmadev worships her in the form of mother and in response to his call, the Nirgun Nirakar (one beyond perceptible form and attribute) Kaamkala Jagadamba first manifested in the form of ‘Lalita’.
Brahmadev then prays, “O Mother, earlier when I got tired searching for You and surrendered unto You, You appeared where I was. Today this child of yours, captivated by temptations, has drifted away from You and as I have become feeble I cannot gather strength to come to You; but You may very well come to me, nothing is impossible for You. So Ambe, extend your compassion and come where I am.”
Bapu says that this was the first prayer in this universe, this was the first bhakti-saad. Temptation leads to forgetfulness, forgetfulness leads to strengthlessness, strengthlessness leads to remembrance, remembrance leads to bhakti, bhakti stabilizes faith and it is faith alone that consolidates man’s strength, that grants wealth. But for that to happen, one should beseech Mother Amba as Brahma did -'Anathnathe Ambe Karuna Vistari'. As soon as Brahmadev beseeched with devotion, Mahakameshwari Lalita reappeared once again.”
During the Lalitambika puja, the Shraddhavans offer the same prayer at the lotus feet of Jagadamba while performing the aarti 'Durge Durghat Bhari Tujvin Sansari, Anathnathe Ambe Karuna Vistari'. To attain the competency, riches, we must be graced by Lalitambika, we must be in the realm of compassion extended by Her. Performing Lalitambika poojan is one of the important means to attain her compassion.
Bhandasurhanstri Lalitambika (Lalitambika, the slayer of Bhandasur):
Bapu has written the story of slaying of Bhandasura in the editorial named ‘Tulsipatra’ published in Dainik Praytaksha. In the editorial, we read that Bhandasura had obtained a boon from Shiva that he should be getting half the strength of the one who fights him. Having received the boon from Shiva, the supercilious and conceited Bhandasur, went on wreaking havoc everywhere.
Exasperated with the upheavel caused by Bhandasura, humans, sages and gods then went to Kaamdev, who was doing penance for Lalitambika at that time. When Kaamdev appears before the Jagdamba Lalita in the Manidweep with the Rishis, the Rishis tell Her their grief. In response, to alleviate their agony, Lalita appears before them and promises to kill Bhandasura.
Listening to the assurance from Shrimata Lalitambika, they get so overwhelmed with happiness that they do not even say ‘Ambadnya’ to Her. In the thrill that their impediment will be conquered, they forget Adimata Lalita Chandika. That Adimata Herself will be descending on earth and so we should make some preparations for that or we should intensify our Bhakti or we should lend a helping hand to her, such thoughts do not even cross their mind.
Here we get to learn a lesson that in order to welcome Lalitambika in our life, to receive Her grace continually, we must first prepare ourselves. It is unfair to expect Her to resolve our problems, overcome our impediments, fulfill our wishes, rush for our help without us doing anything.
It is necessary for us to read 'Matrivatsalya-vindanam', 'Matruvatsalya Upanishad', to recite Jagadamba's stotras-mantras mentioned in them, to perform Ambadnya Ishtika poojan in Navratri along with performing Shri Lalithambika poojan which was devised for us through the penance and resolution of Sadguru.
Witnessing that Lalita had killed Bhandasura, all Rishis hailed Bhandasurahantri Jagadamba Lalita by saying Ambadnya. Brahmarshi Vasishtha bow down to Lalitambika saying,”O Mother, I know no hymns full of praises to praise You; if anything I have, it is the beej(root) 'Hrim' and the name 'Lalita'. So, Mother, You only give me some powerful stotras, which by recalling, studying and absorbing, even an ordinary person can easily attain competency, can do more and more Bhakti and can remain committed and dedicated e to Your Son.”
Upon hearing this, the words that emerged from the gentle smile of Lalitambika were ‘Lalitasahasranaam’. This ‘Lalitasahasranaam’ has manifested from a simple gesture of smile of Lalitambika.
During the Lalitambika poojan, at the time of the recitation of ‘Lalitasahasranaam’, Shraddhavans offer Bilvapatra and fragrant flowers. In the Shrisooktam, there is a mention of Bilva tree being dear to mother Jagadamba. The leaves i.e., Bilvapatra of such Bilva tree, which is dear to mother Jagadamba are offered during the Lalitambika poojan.
During the Lalitambika poojan, Shraddhavans perform ‘Kumkumarchana’, i.e. they offer Kumkum at the lotus feet of Goddess Lalitambika. In the customary practices and tradition followed by a family (Kulachara) while offering worship to its tutelary deity (Kuladevata), the act of ‘Kumkumarchana’ is considered of paramount importance.
Everyone wishes to do the Kulachara of their tutelary deity (Kuladevta) properly. But some people are not aware about who their Kuladevta is, whereas for some it is not possible to go to their native village and observe all the Kulachara in today's hectic life. Many people fear whether they are doing all the Kulachara properly or not.
In the ‘Lalitasahasranaam’, one of the names of Lalitambika is ‘Kuleshwari’. Lalitambika is the Kuladevata of all, all the deities have originated from Her. In the editorial – Tulasipatra 1332, Bapu writes - Bhagwan Shri Trivikrama took Shrungiprakash and Bhrungiprakash in his arms and said, "Every Shraddhavan experiences many qualities and functions of the Adimata, her nine incarnations, the ten Mahavidyas and the Saptamatrukas in his life and the corresponding functional form of Hers, he feels relatable with, he resonates with, becomes his ‘Kuldevata’. And therefore, there are innumerable ‘Kuldevatas’. Moreover, as man relates with the various forms of ‘Nityashiva’, a corresponding functional form becomes his ‘Kuldev’.
‘As many men as many dispositions’, Similarly, as much as the person is aware of this primitiveness; And therefore, there is no doubt that everyone's Kuldevata and Kuldeva are originally the Adimata Mahishasurmardini and Adipita Mahadurgeshwar. And he who knows this, is a complete Shraddhavan.”
In the Tulsipatra 1333, Bapu writes, “As the nectar of knowledge flowed forth from the mouth of Bhagwan ShreeTrivikram, all sages began swaying happily. Overwhelmed with happiness, even the young Rishis began dancing. While they were rejoicing, all the questions that commoners asked them surfaced in their mind - “Who, in actual, is our Kuladevata? What is the relation between Kuldevata and Kuladeva? Can we change our Kuldevata ? Women would if they can worship our maternal Kuldevata? Many would ask if they can change their Kuldev or Kuldevata? And many ask what should we do, in case, we do not know our Kuldevata?” I had no answer to any of these questions. Today itself, we got to know what is the essence and core that Manidweepniwasini Mahishasurmardini Ashtadashbhuja Saptachakraswamini Jagadamba, is the original and primeval Kuldevata of one and all and also Her expressive force, i.e. Her integral part, the Mahadurgeshwar, the one beyond the three gunas, the Mahadurgeshwar is the original and primeval Kuldevata of everyone.
Importance of Lalitambika poojan during Navratri:
As written in the Tulsipatra 1395, ‘Swayambhagwan Shree Trivikram says that Lalitambika is the Pitamahi (paternal grandmother) of all Shraddhavans.’
Describing the event, Bapu writes – all Navadurgaa, all Dashavidya (ten Vidyas), Saptamtruka, 64 types of Chamunda appeared there and one by one entered into the Adimata Mahishasurmardini and at the same time from the third eye, intense yet gentle extraordinary radiance began spreading and in the place of Adimata’s original form, the ‘Lalitambika’ form appeared.
The moment Lalitambika appeared, she uttered a promise to everyone, “Those who can perform Navratri poojan on other days during Navratri and those who cannot perform poojan during Navratri, if they, on the day of ‘Lalitapanchami’, perform worship of my ‘Mahishasurmardini’ form alongwith my beloved son, will get the fruit of doing the poojan on the all days of Navratri in proportion to their Bhava.
From the above description, we get to understand the importance of doing the Lalitambika poojan during Navratri. It is beneficial to perform Lalitambika poojan on Lalitapanchami or on other days of Navratri. However, due to some reason if it is not possible to do this poojan, then one should perform this poojan on any other days. The Lalitambika poojan includes the poojan of all Matrushaktis such as Navadurga, Dasha-Mahavidya, Saptamtruka, 64 types of Chaamunda and Kuladevata.
Lalitambika, the guardian and protector:
As written by Bapu in Tulsipatra 1350, the chief general of the structural arrangement of Shri Yantra is Mata Shivgangagauri in the form of ‘Dandanatha’ and all forms of ‘Goddesses’, forms of Bhaktamata (Parvati, Saraswati and Laxmi), Dasha-Mahavidya and various ‘Kuldevata’ forms, according to their capacity, are either senior or junior official in the army of Adimata Jagadamba.
The form of the Adimata who is the empress of this entire army is ‘Lalitambika’ and this entire army is ever ready to protect and safeguard Shraddhavans. At the appropriate time, the appropriate force of this army is sent as 'deity’ to help the Shraddhavan.
Now there comes one question that a person can be a Shraddhavan but he can neither be aware of or nor know anything about Shree Yantra, then what about him?
For such Shraddhavan, darshan and worship of ‘Ashtadashbhooja’ form of Adimata is itself the ‘ShreeYantra poojan’ and at an appropriate time he too receives the ‘ShreeYantra’.
Shree Lalitambikayai Namah
From the above study, we understand that Lalitambika and her army are ever-ready and competent to protect and safeguard the Shraddhavans. Any demonic forces or evil power proves insignificant before Lalithambika’s army. Lalitambika is capable of bestowing happiness in the worldly life, removing all obstacles in the way of his progress and life, fulfilling all rightful wishes and at the same time, facilitating your spiritual progress. With the grace of Sadguru, we are blessed with the opportunity to perform the poojan of Lalithambika.
Shraddhavans believe that Lalitambika poojan destroys all kinds of vices and inauspiciousness, obliterates all obstacles in life, fulfils all kinds of auspicious desires and bestows the divine shelter of Manidweepnivasini Ashtadashabhooja Jagadamba.
As written by Bapu in Tulsipatra 1387, we gather that everyone has to fight inner demonic inclination and no battle can be won without the grace of Lalitambika.
The form of Lalitambika is both a warrior when war strikes and is also the peacemaker.
In our life, if we want to win the war against our ill-fate and seek to attain peace, fulfillment, contentment, happiness in life, we must remain under the graceful shelter of Lalitambika.