Sacred Texts  Tantra  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Hymns to the Goddess, by John Woodroffe (Arthur Avalon), [1913], at

p. 74





HRĪM, HRĪM 3 is Thy most pleasing bīja4
O Thou whose moon-like 5 beauty is heightened

p. 75

By the lotuses (which surround Thee). 1
O auspicious and favourable Devī!
Forest fire 2 of the forest of evil thoughts,
Whose lotus feet are worshipped by the universe.
O lotus seated upon a lotus,
Joy dost thou cause to those who salute Thee,
Destroyer of Ignorance,
Spouse of Hari, 3
Substance of the world. 4


AIM, AIM 5 is Thy favourite mantra,
Thou who art both form and formlessness, 6
Who art the wealth of the lotus face of the lotus-born, 7
Embodiment of all guṇas8 yet devoid of attributes, 9
Changeless, and neither gross nor subtle. 10

p. 76

None know Thy nature, nor is Thy inner reality known. 1
Thou art the whole universe;
And Thou it is who existeth within it.
Thou art saluted by the foremost of Devas.
Without part Thou existeth in Thy fulness everywhere. 2
Ever 3 pure art Thou.


Greatly art Thou pleased with the recitation 4 of the mantra HRĪM5
Thy crown is white as snow. 6
Thy hands play with the vīnā7
O Mother! Mother! salutation to Thee.
Burn, burn my sloth and grant me great intelligence. 8
Thou art Knowledge itself.
The Vedānta ever sings of Thee.

p. 77

Śruti 1 speaks of Thee.
O giver of liberation! O way to liberation!
Whose power is beyond all understanding.
O giver of happiness, 2 adorned with a white necklace, 3
Grant to me Thy favours.


Thou art intelligence, intelligence, intelligence, 4
Thy names are memory, resolution, mind, and hymn of praise. 5
Eternal and fleeting, 6
Great cause, saluted by Munis7
New and old; 8 sacred current of virtue, 9
Saluted by Hari and Hara. 10
Ever pure, beauteous of colour,
The subtlest element 11 of things--

p. 78

Yea, even the very half thereof. 1
Thou art the giver of intelligence, intelligence, intelligence.
Who art the giver of joy to Mādhava. 2


In the form of HRĪM, KṢĪM, DHĪM, HRĪM3
Thou holdest a book,
Thou art joyful, of smiling face, and of good fortune.
Innocence, current of charm, 4
With all powers of arrest. 5
Burn, burn my sin,
And dispel the darkness of my evil thoughts.
O praiseworthy of all!
Thou art Gīh, Gauh, Vāk, and Bhāratī6
It is Thou who grantest success to the tongue of the greatest of poets,

p. 79

As also in the attainment of all (forms of) knowledge. 1


I pray to Thee, I pray to Thee, I bow to Thee,
Come to my tongue and never leave me.
May my intelligence 2 never go astray,
May my sins be taken away,
May I be free from sorrow.
In time of peril may I never be bewildered.
May my mind work freely without impediment 3
In Śāstra disputation and verse.


He who chastely 4 lives, observing silence 5 and religious devotions, 6
Abstaining from flesh and fish 7 on the thirteenth day of the month, 8
And bowed with devotion, early each morning
Praises Thee with the most excellent verse.
Will, skilful in speech, surpass even Vācaspati. 9
The uncleanliness of his sins will be swept away.
Such an one gains the fruit of his desires,

p. 80

The Devī protects him as though he were Her own child.
Poetry flows from his mouth,
Prosperity attends his house,
And every obstacle to success will disappear.


Whoever reads without interruption the whole of this hymn
Twenty-one times on the thirteenth day of the month, 1
Both on the dark and the light side of the month, 2
And meditates on Sarasvatī garmented in white,
Adorned with white ornaments,
Such an one attains in this world the fruit of his desires.
This auspicious hymn has been made by Brahmā himself;
Whoever daily reads it with care acquires immortality. 3


74:1 Devī of speech, eloquence, knowledge, and learning, and Śakti of Brahmā; but formerly, according to the Purāṇic account, the Spouse of Viṣṇu, represented as a fair woman with either four or two arms, and often as seated on a lotus holding a vīnā. The Bhāradvaja Smr. says: "Sarasvatī is She who ever resides in the tongue of all beings and who causes speech." According to the Vasiṣṭha Rāmā, cited in the Lalitā, verse 137, She is called Sarasvatī as the possessor (vati) of the saras (flow of nectar from the brahmarandhra). The Brahmā Purāṇa says the Devī created Sarasvatī from Her tongue, and from Her shoulders the science of love.

74:2 P. 579.

74:3 The bīja, or "seed" mantra of the Devī whose other bīja is the vāgbhava bīja or "aim."

74:4 See last note.

74:5 The colour of Sarasvatī is white. Thus She is elsewhere represented as "white, holding the vīnā" (Svetavīnādharā); "adorned with white flowers" (svetābharaṇabhūṣitā), "holding a white rosary" (svetākṣasūtrahastāca), "besmeared with white sandal paste" (svetacandanacarcitā), "clad in white raiment" (svetāmbaradharā), and the like. Here Her whiteness is compared to the moon.

75:1 She is seated on and represented as surrounded by lotuses.

75:2 Dāvāgni. She destroys such thoughts.

75:3 Viṣṇu

75:4 Samsārasāre. The samsāra is the illusory world of birth and rebirth, which is said to be asara (unreal, unsubstantial, fleeting). The reality behind this phenomenal illusion is the Devī, who plays, and whose play is world-play.

75:5 The vāgbhavabīja.

75:6 Rūpārūpaprakāśe.

75:7 Brahmā, whose Spouse She is.

75:8 The "qualities," or conditions, which are the substance of Prakṛti or sattva, rajas, and tamas.

75:9 She is nirguṇā, for She and the Parabrahman are in Their essence one.

75:10 The forms of the Devī are threefold: parā (supreme), sūkṣmā (subtle), which consists of mantra and sthūla (gross or physical), with hands and feet. But She is neither of these in the sense that the only true form (svarūpa) is above and beyond them both.

76:1 Nāpivijnātatattve; another reading being nāpivijnānatattve. The reference is to Her supreme (para) form, of which the Viṣṇu Yāmala says "none know" (Mātastvatparamam rūpam tannajānāti kashcana (see chap. iii. of the Śāktānandataranginī).

76:2 She as the Brahman is akhaṇḍa "everywhere" and yet in the limited sense "nowhere," in the sense that She is at some particular place and not elsewhere, or partly here and partly there.

76:3 In past, present, and future.

76:4 Japa, which includes that which would not be understood as recitation in the English sense--viz., manasa or mental, and the inaudible japa.

76:5 The bīja of the Devī.

76:6 Her colour is white

76:7 A stringed musical instrument.

76:8 Dehibuddhimprashastām; the great prayer to Her.

77:1 Revelation; generally applied to the Vedas in which Sarasvatī is spoken of (see Muir, OṢṬ., verse 339). She is also called Mother of Vedas.

77:2 Śāradā.

77:3 See note 5, p. 74, ante.

77:4 Dhī.

77:5 Dhāranā, dhriti (or constancy), mati. She is the "hymn of praise," for it is composed of words, and She is the Devī thereof, and word and speech itself.

77:6 She eternally exists as the reality behind all appearance, and is the cause of the fleeting appearance itself.

77:7 Sages.

77:8 See note 6 ante. She ever appears in new forms, and yet Herself in Her aspect as Atmā, persists as the one and same.

77:9 Puṇya.

77:10 Viṣṇu and Śiva.

77:11 Mātra--the atomic part of things.

78:1 Mātrārdhatattve. She is so very subtle: or alternatively the Mātrārdha below the Sāhasrāra.

78:2 The husband of Mā or Lakṣmī--that is, Viṣṇu, whose Spouse She was. She as Prakṛti gives joy to the paramātmā, who is the enjoyer (bhoktā).

78:3 The mantra, as currently recited is Om Om Kshīm, Kshīm, svarupe. "Kshīm," for She is the destructress of sin.

78:4 Mohemugdhapravāhe. Mugdhā is generally used in connection with nāyikā--that is, a simple, artless innocent maiden, as yet unacquainted with love. The general and correct reading is mugdhemohapravāhe.

78:5 Stambhanam; one of the six "magical" powers known as the ṣatkarma, whereby a person may be paralyzed in action or speech. So a disputant might seek the power of stambhanam to close the mouth of, or confuse his adversary.

78:6 Various words which all mean "word" or "speech."

79:1 Literally, the giver of siddhi (success) in all knowledge of which She is the presiding Devī.

79:2 Both buddhi and manas.

79:3 Prasaratu ("flow freely").

79:4 He who is brahmachārin. Here commences the phala portion of the stotra.

79:5 Maunin.

79:6 Vratin. The vrata are voluntary religious practices and devotions as distinguished from the obligatory daily ritual.

79:7 Nirāmishah.

79:8 The trayodaśi; the Sarasvatī vrata day.

79:9 Or Brihaspati, the Lord of Speech.

80:1 Trayodaśi.

80:2 The month is divided into two halves (pakṣa), according as the moon is waxing or waning.

80:3 Amṛtatvam--that is, liberation (mukti).

Next: Durgā (Durgāśatanāma Stotra) from the Viśvasāra Tantra