Śrisukta

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Srisukta, Zrisukta, shrisukta


Śrisukta literally means ‘hymn devoted to Śrī or Lakṣmi’.

The Vedas are the basic scriptures of the religion. They are defined as those sacred texts which can show the human beings divine means of getting what they want and getting rid of what they do not want. A sukta is a Vedic hymn devoted to a particular devatā or deity. Some of the well-known suktas which are commonly used in religious rituals even today are:

  1. Agnisukta
  2. Bhusukta
  3. Devisukta
  4. Medhāsukta
  5. Nārāyanasukta
  6. Nīlāsukta
  7. Purusasukta
  8. Śrisukta
  9. Viṣṇusukta

Out of these the Puruṣasukta and the Śrisukta are much more popular and in constant use.

Śrisukta

The Śrisukta is the khila part of the Rgveda appearing after the 5th maṇḍala. Those mantras of the Vedas for which no viniyoga[1] has been mentioned in the Kalpasutras, are technically called as ‘khila’. The Śrisukta contains 15 ṛks, the 16th stating its use and utility in rituals.

Commentaries

Since it has been considered extremely important, several commentaries have been written on the same by competent scholars from different angles. Some of them are:

  1. Āndavallivyākhyāna
  2. Bhāgadheyabhusanam
  3. Cidvilāsavrtti
  4. Prthvldharabhāsya
  5. Sārasvatasiddhi
  6. Śatānandavrtti
  7. Saubhāgyasañjivanam
  8. Sāyanabhāsya
  9. Śrikanthabhāsya
  10. Śrisīiktabhāsya by Nañjiyar
  11. Suktārtha-sañgraha

Other Works

While these are direct commentaries on the Śrisukta itself, there are other works where some of the verses are referred and explained, mostly from the practical aspects of worship. They are:

  1. Mahālakṣmiratnakośa
  2. Mantrakalpārnava
  3. Śrividyāvilāsa

They delineate on the following subjects:

Significance of Śrisukta

Though a part of the Rgveda, the Śrisukta has been given an independent status. Its ṛṣi[6] is Indra or Lakṣmī herself or her four sons Ānanda, Kardama, Ciklīta and Śrīda or Indirāsuta. The devatā[7] is Śrī.[8] or Śrī and Jātavedas[9] can be the deities. ‘Jātavedas’ is sometimes interpreted as Nārāyaṇa also.

Sometimes karanyāsa and añganyāsa[10] are also given before the dhyānaśloka. The ritualistic preliminaries given here are for the whole hymn. Such processes have been described by the commentators separately for each of the verses also. Similarly a yantra[11] for the whole hymn and separate individual ones for each of the verses have also been prescribed.

Metres of Chandas

The chandas[12] is varied:

  • Ślokas 1 to 3 are in anuṣṭubh.
  • Ślokas 4 is in bṛhatī.
  • Ślokas 5 and 6 are in triṣṭubh.
  • Ślokas 5 to 14 are in anuṣṭubh.
  • Ślokas 15 is in prastārapañkti.

Description of Goddess Mahālakṣmī

The viniyoga is to get the grace of Mahālakṣmī as also dispelling the evil effects of Alakṣmī.[13] The dhyānaśloka[14] describes her form thus:
‘She is seated on a pure lotus. Her color resembles that of the dust of the lotus. In her two hands she is holding two lotuses whereas the other two hands are exhibiting the gestures of boon-giving[15] and protection.[16] There is a resplendent jewel-studded crown on her head. She is wearing a garland of lotus flowers. May this Goddess, the Mother of the universe, bring prosperity to us always!’

Summary of Śrisukta

A summary of the whole sukta is as follows:

Verse 1

O all knowing Agni! Please bring unto me the goddess of good-fortune, who is of golden complexion, who is bright, who is wearing a garland of flowers made of gold and silver, who like the moon, is bringing joy and who is golden.

Verse 2

O all-knowing Agni! Bring to me that Lakṣmī[17] who will never leave me and on whose arrival I will be able to possess gold, cows, horses, sons, grandsons as also servants.

Verse 3

As the procession of the Mother- goddess draws near, with horses ahead and chariots in the centre, her arrival is proclaimed by the roar of the elephants. I beseech the goddess to come near me. May she be gracious unto me!

Verse 4

I invoke that goddess who is Brahman the Absolute! She is smiling. She is of the form of gold. She is cool, but brilliant. She is ever content, but satisfies the desires of the devotees. She is seated on a lotus and is of the same color as that of the lotus.

Verse 5

I take refuge in this goddess who is delightful like the moon, effulgent, shining in all the worlds due to renowned qualities, who is being served by gods like Indra, who is generous, who is holding lotuses in her hands and who is designated by the letter "I seek your protection for the destruction of misfortune".

Verse 6

O goddess who is brilliant like the sun! By your grace, the bilva tree[18] belonging to the vanaspati group[19] was produced. It was then that its fruits attained celebrity by your grace. May they dispel the veil of ignorance inside and destroy the misfortunes outside!

Verse 7

May god Kubera, the friend of Mahādeva[20] along with fame or the goddess of fame and the jewel called cintāmaṇi, come to me. Since I have been born in this world of men, may he[21] grant me celebrity and prosperity.

Verse 8

O goddess Śrī! I will destroy or drive away that deity of misfortune who comes in the form of hunger and thirst. Please drive away all poverty and lack of prosperity from my house.

Verse 9

I invoke the presence here of Śrī, the goddess of prosperity, who is verily Bhu or the earth endowed with a peculiar aroma, who is hard to damage, who is ever well-nourished, who has an abundance of cattle and who is the ruler of all living beings.

Verse 10

May I obtain by your grace, the desires of the mind, happiness, truthful speech, wealth of cattle, abundant food and good name. May Lakṣmī, who is capable of all this, come to me.

Verse 11

O Kardama! The goddess Śrī has you for her son. Hence, kindly show your grace to me by making your mother, the wearer of a garland of lotuses, reside in my abode.

Verse 12

May the deities presiding over the element water generate amiable effects for me! O Ciklīta! Come and dwell in my house. And, make thy mother, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, to live in my household.

Verse 13

O Agni! Bring unto me, Lakṣmī, who is moist with compassion. She is being bathed by two elephants. She is nourishing the worlds of yellow hue, she is wearing a garland of lotuses. She is of pleasant complexion like the moon. She is bedecked with golden ornaments. Bring her unto me!

Verse 14

O Agni! Bring unto me Lakṣmī, the goddess who is cool, who is holding the mace of righteousness, who is lustrous like gold, who is wearing a garland of golden flowers, who is brilliant like the sun and who is bedecked with golden ornaments.

Verse 15

O Agni! Please bring unto me that Lakṣmi who will never go away from my home, by whose presence I will be able to obtain abundant wealth, cattle, maids, horses, relatives and well-wishers like sons, friends and others.

Mantrakalpārnava

There is a sixteenth mantra mentioned in the Nirukta of Yāska, which gives the phalaśruti, what one gets if he uses the hymn in the prescribed ritualistic manner. It is customary to chant another 18 ślokas after reciting the Śrisukta. They are in simple classical Sanskrit and form a long hymn. Besides this well-known śrisukta, there is another, known as the Kashmir recension. It comprises 31 verses divided into five groups. As mentioned earlier each of the 15 verses has separate ritualistic usage, the prescriptions being quite difficult and complicated. The work Mantrakalpārnava gives all the details of religious observances. The results projected may be summarized as follows:

Verse 1

It explains the topics of:

  • Wealth
  • Health
  • Long-life

Verse 2

It describes about the plenty of wealth in the form of gold, cows, sons and grandsons.

Verse 3

It explains that if observed by a king, he will become invincible and attain great wealth.

Verse 4

It shows how to overcome poverty and all types of wants.

Verse 5

It discusses about the topics like:

  • Attainment of wealth
  • Honor by the king
  • Victory in battles
  • Going to the world of moon after death

Verse 6

It discusses about the destruction of sorrow and suffering.

Verse 7

It explains the following:

  • Vision of deities like Kubera
  • Securing many kinds of gems
  • Destruction of evil spirits

Verse 8

It talks about the destruction of ignorance, sins, misfortune and diseases.

Verse 9

It shoes the ways of increasing agricultural produce, cattle and wealth, name and fame, and power.

Verse 10

It explains about':

  • Perfection of speech
  • Attainment of wealth
  • All kinds of enjoyments

Verse 11

It talks about continuity of the family lineage.

Verse 12

It explains about the attainment of various kinds of food and other objects of enjoyment.

Verses 13 and 14

It delineates about:

  • Becoming an emperor
  • Control over others
  • Name and fame

Verse 15

It explains about:

  • Victory over enemies
  • Attainment of knowledge and wisdom
  • Kingship

It is thus seen that this Śrisukta has become a potent means of sādhana for attaining Lakṣmī’s grace, both here and hereafter.

References

  1. Viniyoga means utility.
  2. Yantras means mystic diagrams.
  3. Pujā means worship.
  4. Japa means recitation.
  5. Homa means oblations.
  6. Ṝṣi means seer.
  7. Devatā means deity.
  8. Śrī means Lakṣmī.
  9. Jātavedas means Agni, god of fire.
  10. Añganyāsa is the ritual placements of divine powers on one’s limbs.
  11. Yantra means mystical diagram for worship or wearing on the body.
  12. Chandas means Vedic metre.
  13. Alakṣmī is the deity of misfortune.
  14. Dhyānaśloka means hymn for contemplation. It is called as amalakamalasansthā etc.
  15. Boon giving means varada mudra.
  16. Protection mudra means abhīti or fearlessness.
  17. Lakṣmī is the goddess of wealth and well-being.
  18. Scientific name of Aegle marmelos.
  19. It is the group of trees that produce fruits without flowering.
  20. He is deity Śiva.
  21. Here he refers to Kubera.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore