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Is Shiva really the āsana for Lalitha Devi? How to understand this? Who is her consort? If Shiva is her consort, why did she make him an āsana?

Also, what is pancha bramha āsana's significance? Who are those pancha bramhas? Why did She take that form?

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Lalitha Sahasra Nama is the best answer for all your questions here. She is Shrichakra Raja nilaya- Lalitha Devi, the divine mother. Let me give the answers based on the picture above.

  1. Sachaamara Rama Vaani Savya Dakshina sevitha.

Rama (Lakshmi) and Vaani (Saraswathi) are said to do her seva with chamara (fans).

  1. sashara chaapa paasha ankushaam

The two weapons in her upper right and left hands are to cut the worldly desires in out heart and bring us to her feet. The weapon in the lower right hand is the ankusha which is used to poke us and remind us to come back to her feet, like a mahout pokes the elephant and teaches it discipline. The sugarcane in her lower left hand is not exactly a sugar can but is a bow made of sugar cane. This was manmadha's bow before he died. The bow is made of sugarcane, its string from bees and the arrows made from flowers (pushpa baana) used to shoot at people to make them fall in love to continue the population. After manmadha's death, mother took it into her hands and became Shri Kameshwari.

  1. Pancha Brahma asana sthitha (or) Pancha Prethasanaseena Pancha Brahma Swaroopini

The 5 brahmas sitting at her feet are actually the legs of her throne and these 5 brahmas are Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Ishwara and Sadashiva. These five become motionless without Shakti(her).

  1. Kumara Gana naadha Amba

The two sitting at her feet in the front are her sons Kumara and Ganesha.

  1. Shri Shivaa Shiva Shakti Aikya Rupini Lalithambika.

She is not exactly sitting on Him but it represents that she is Shivaa- the female or the energy of Shiva. Both are complete only when both are together and thus she forms Lalithambika.

That Chakra is our heart in a logical sense (I heard that our heart has the same number of grooves as the Chakra Raja has and the dot in the center is the divine mother). She sits in our heart and rules us and always takes care of us and takes us into her at the end.

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    Can you add more information as I've accepted this answer! – pbvamsi Oct 17 '14 at 4:31
  • In some pictures I have seen her even standing on him (in Kerala). – Narasimham Dec 31 '16 at 20:03
  • @Narasimhan She doesn't stand. She sits. Also there is a significance of the way she sits. It is virasanam. Only the devatas who are bestowers of knowledge sit in that pose. – Sarvabhouma Apr 10 '17 at 10:25
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On who is the consort of Lalita:

Lalita's consort is Sadashiva or Chinmaya Shiva or Kameswara.

Sri Lalitopakhyana is a part of Brahmanda Purana. It details the Avatara and Lila of Parashakti Lalita Mahatripurasundari. The Parayana of this sacred text is considered to be more fruitful than even Saptashati. A single Parayana of this great text confers a merit, equal to thousand (Sahasra) repetitions of Chandi.

In the 8th chapter of Lalitopakhyana there is a stotram called Lalita Stava Raja(the king of all prayers to Lalita)

The 11th verse of that stotram is:

11.kriiDaa te lokaracanaa sakhaa te cinmayaH shivaH .
aahaaraste sadaanando vaasaste hR^idayaM sataam ..11..

Your sport is the creation of the world , your friend is the pure Lord Shiva, You take the everlasting happiness as food and live forever in the heart.

Also Lalita Sahasranama describes Lalita as Sadashiva Pativrata (the devoted wife of Sadashiva) and also as Gurupriya or the consort of Shiva,the great Guru.

And,the same stotram also says "Kaameshabaddha Mangalya sutra shobhita kantharaa" Or "the Mangala Sutra tied by Kameswara is around her neck".

On the significance of the Pancha Deity seat:

From Devi Bhagavatam Book 7,Chapter XXIX

Vyasa says:

So with all the care possible, the Lady of the Universe is to be worshipped and served. Men should avoid worshipping any other gods, as people avoid the husk to get the grain inside. O King! By churning the ocean of the Vedas, I have got the jewel as the lotus-feet of the Parâ S’akti; and I think that I have discharged all my duties and think myself satisfied and successful. Brahmâ, Visnu Rudra, and Is’vara are the four feet and Sadâ S’iva is the plank overhead; thus these five form the seat on which the Devî is seated. There is no other deity superior to Her. To show this (to the ordinary ignorant people) the Mahâ Devî has taken this seat composed of the five Brahmâ, Visnu, Rudra, Is’vara and Sadâ S’iva. Superior to these five, what is stated in the Vedas as Vyaktam and in which all this Universe is sewn, as it were, crosswise and lengthwise, lying in and through, that is Bhuvanes’varî, the Goddess of the Universe.

So,Sri Lalita's 5-Deity seat demonstrates and emphasizes the fact that there is no Deity who is superior to Lalita. Lalita's supremacy is unquestionable.

On sv's additional questions:

Significance of Lalita's sugarcane bow

From the Lalita Sahasranama stotram:

Manorupekshu Kodanda Pancha Tanmatra Saayakaa, Nijaaruna Prabhaapura majjadbrahmaanda mandalaa/

She who carries a sugar-cane bow with the determination of materialising the universe with Her lower left hand, while actually taking up the deed of creation with the aid of Five Tanmatras or elements by another hand of herself.

Here the sugarcane bow symbolizes the mind from which arises the desire to create the entire creation.

Lalita holds five flowery arrows, noose, goad and bow. The noose is attachment (moon). The goad is repulsion (sun). The sugarcane bow is the mind. The flowery arrows are the five sense impressions. When consciousness perceives these, the outward directed arrows stop being dry sticks.

On why Sadashiva is lying down and not sitting up

SadaShiva here denotes the supreme consciousness that pervades everything, but he is the passive consciousness.

That's why he is being shown as lying down .

Here Sadashiva is just witnessing Lalita's sport (of creation).

Shakti is triple as wake-dream-deep sleep. What is called the Fourth is the witness, Shiva, who is said to pervade the whole cosmos just as heat pervades a red hot iron.

Lalita, as primordial devi, rays out her attendants and shaktis as modifications of moon, sun and fire. In this Shiva has no place, no qualities, is without the ability to act. Only when united with devi may 'he' act.

This is based on the subtle and practical idea of Shiva as pure consciousness, witness of the triple manifestation of his Shakti. This Shakti, the very essence of the three gunas of Sattvas, Rajas, and Tamas, is the cause of all manifestation in the universe and as a human being. The three shaktis, by blending and reblending, create all things

  • In this video (youtu.be/-fxeHFGFUAM?t=510) speaker talks of some symbolism. Is that true? What about sugarcane she's holding? – sv. Dec 27 '16 at 16:32
  • @sv.that acharya is talikng about these verses from LS -Manorupekshu Kodanda Pancha Tanmatra Saayakaa,Nijaaruna Prabhaapura majjadbrahmaanda mandalaa/ ---Devi! You carry a sugar-cane bow with the determination of materialising the Universe with your left lower hand, while actually taking up the deed of Creation with the aid of Five Tanmatras or Elements by another hand of yourself--He is right .. – Rickross Dec 27 '16 at 16:42
  • Ok, in my bounty message under the question, I asked: "Also, I heard Shiva represents supreme consciousness and the sugarcane - desires. Is the SYMBOLISM correct?" maybe you can add the explanation to your answer. – sv. Dec 27 '16 at 17:07
  • @sv i have updated the answer.. – Rickross Dec 28 '16 at 5:56
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As per Shakta scriptures, Prakriti herself is Supreme Brahman. This is explained in Vidya Geeta from Tripura Rahasya(a Shakta text)

Thus besought, the Goddess of ultimate knowledge began with great kindness to explain it clearly to the sages: "My concrete form is the eternal couple - the Supreme Lord and Energy - always in undivided union and abiding as the eternal consciousness pervading the three phenomenal states of waking, dream and sleep, and reclining on the cot whose four legs are Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Protector), Shankar/Rudra(the Destroyer) and Isvara (Disappearance) and whose surface is Sadasiva (Grace) which is contained in the mansion known as 'fulfilment of purpose' enclosed by the garden of 'Kadamba' trees in the jewel island situated in the wide ocean of nectar surrounding the cosmos and extending beyond."

  • //Prakriti herself is Supreme Brahman// It's Moola Prakriti, not Prakriti! – Naveen Nov 18 '15 at 15:43
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    @Naveen Mula Prakriti is just the form that Prakriti takes when it is not in contact with Atmas. By the way, if you're interested in Purusha and Prakriti, you may be interested in this fictional dialogue I wrote a while back concerning the Samkhya system: docs.google.com/document/d/… – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 18 '15 at 15:51
  • Going by the meaning of the root word 'Moolam' itself, it means Moola Prakriti is the source. In Samkhya system, it clearly is explained that Prakriti merges into Moola Prakriti after liberation/pralaya. Prakriti is constrained by time, but Moola Prakriti is not. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samkhya#Causality – Naveen Nov 18 '15 at 15:56
  • @Naveen The Wikipedia article says exactly what I said: "The idea of evolution in Samkhya revolves around the interaction of prakṛti and Purusha. prakṛti remains unmanifested as long as the three gunas are in equilibrium. This equilibrium of the gunas is disturbed when prakṛti comes into proximity with consciousness or Purusha. The disequilibrium of the gunas triggers an evolution that leads to the manifestation of the world from an unmanifested prakṛti." Mula Prakriti is the unmanifest form of Prakriti, and yes it is the root or source of the manifest forms of Prakriti, like Mahat and so on. – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 18 '15 at 16:03
  • @Naveen The dialogue is entirely fictional, not from any scripture. But the characters are real and basic premise is real: Kapila was the founder of the Samkhya system, and he taught it to his mother Devahuti. But the one part that was purely my imagination is the stuff after the "few weeks later part" - that is basically my attempt to explain why the Samkhya system does not acknowledge the existence of a supreme being despite being founded by an incarnation of Vishnu. By the way, if you like my fictional dialogue, I just wrote a short story related to Advaita: gdurl.com/xFjv – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 18 '15 at 16:09

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