Completing Saraswatī and other Devi Pujas

The Devīsūkta (Devi = Goddess and Sukta = hymn in praise), also called the Aṃbhṛnīsūkta, is the 125th sūtka occurring in the 10th mandala of the Ṛgveda. In the present day, the sūtka is popularly chanted during the worship of the Devī in the daily rituals of temples, and also in various Vedic sacrificial ceremonies like iṣti, hōma, havana etc. It is also chanted at the end of Devīmāhātmya.

The Devīsūkta is one of the most important and central texts of the Śakta-sampradāya. Written long before sectarian deity cults and philosophical schools of Vedanta, the hymn is so old we have no accurate way of dating it. Found in the Ṛgveda (10.125), and spoken by a female seer by the name of Vāk, it is one the few Vedic hymn in which the seer who spoke the hymn and the Deity it is addressed to are one and the same.

Vāk is also a name of Mother Saraswatī, and interestingly in the later text Saraswati Rhasya Upanishad (2.31–2.33), the following verse seems to give the perfect commentary on the hymn: ‘My consciousness shines in your world, like a beautiful face in a soiled mirror, Seeing that reflection, I call myself you, an individual soul, as if I could be finite! A finite soul, an infinite goddess, these are false concepts, in the minds of those unacquainted with truth. No space, my loving devotee, exists between your Self and my Self, Know this and you are free, This is the secret wisdom’. We see how Devīsūkta issues from the mouth of its author as she realises her oneness with the Goddess of her adoration, she sees clearly her infinite self, upholding Gods, universes and creation, one with the Śakti or power behind all things to truth, consciousness, and bliss absolute.

Devīsūkta is such an important hymn that many devotees of the Divine Mother recite it everyday, it is the essence of Mother Saraswatī. No recitation of Devīmāhātmyam is considered complete without adding Devīsūkta as an appendage, the final Carita from chapters 6-12 are an expansion of Devīsūkta dedicated to Mahāsaraswatī. I’ll finish wth another famous verse from Bṛhadāraṇyak Upaniṣad (1.3.28) also recited by millions of Hindus every day: 'From unreal lead me to real, from darkness lead me light, form death lead me to immortality, peace, peace, peace’. I pray Mother Saraswatī blesses us all with illumination.

Ṛgveda 10.125.
Spoken By Ṛṣikā Vāgāmbhṛṇī, (Vāk, the daughter of Ṛṣi Aṃbhṛṇa).
In praise of Vāk-Sarasvatī.

ॐ अहं रुद्रेभिर्वसुभिश्चराम्यहमादित्यैरुतविश्वदेवैः |
अहं मित्रावरुणोभा बिभर्म्यहमिन्द्राग्नीहमश्विनोभा ||

Om. I move through the Gods of storm and light, through the Gods of the heavens, through all the Gods. I uphold the Lords of day and night, the sovereign of the atmosphere, the God of fire, and the benevolent celestial guardians.

अहं सोममाहनसं बिभर्म्यहं तवष्टारमुतपूषणं भगम |
अहं दधामि दरविणं हविष्मतेसुप्राव्ये यजमानाय सुन्वते ||

I bear the nectar of immortality. I support the creator of living beings, the protector of the universe, and the gracious Lord of prosperity. I bestow wealth on those who prepare the sacrifices and offer the obligations with an attentive mind.

अहं राष्ट्री संगमनी वसूनां चिकितुषी परथमायज्ञियानाम |
तां मा देवा वयदधुः पुरुत्राभूरिस्थात्रां भूर्यावेशयन्तीम ||

I am the sovereign in whom all the auspicious Gods are united. Shining with consciousness, I am foremost among those worthy of worship. The Gods diffuse me in every direction, my presence abiding in many places and revealed in manifold ways.

मया सो अन्नमत्ति यो विपश्यति यः पराणिति य ईंश्र्णोत्युक्तम |
अमन्तवो मां त उप कषियन्ति शरुधिश्रुत शरद्धिवं ते वदामि ||

Through me alone all mortals live who see and breathe and hear what is said, not knowing that they abide in me. Hear me as I speak the truth to you.

अहमेव सवयमिदं वदामि जुष्टं देवेभिरुतमानुषेभिः |
यं कामये तं-तमुग्रं कर्णोमि तम्ब्रह्माणं तं रषिं तं सुमेधाम ||

I myself proclaim this, which is pleasing to the Gods and men alike: I make mighty whomever I wish, I make him devout and open his eyes to right understanding.

अहं रुद्राय धनुरा तनोमि बरह्मद्विषे शरवे हन्तवाु |
अहं जनाय समदं कर्णोम्यहं दयावाप्र्थिवी आविवेश ||

For the God who puts evil to flight, I draw the bow, that his arrow may strike down the hater of devotion; such is the fervour I stir within that man. Through heaven and earth I extend.

अहं सुवे पितरमस्य मूर्धन मम योनिरप्स्वन्तः समुद्रे |
ततो वि तिष्ठे भुवनानु विश्वोतामूं दयांवर्ष्मणोप सप्र्शामि ||

At the summit of creation, I bring forth the heavens. My creative power flows from amid the waters of the infinite ocean. Thence I spread through all the worlds and touch yonder heavens with my vastness.

अहमेव वात इव पर वाम्यारभमाणा भुवनानि विश्वा |
परो दिवा पर एना पर्थिव्यैतावती महिना सं बभूव ||

I breathe forth the wind, setting all the worlds in motion. So great have I become in my splendour, shining far beyond heaven and earth.

Translation: Devadatta Kālī, from ‘In Praise of the Goddess-The Devīmāhātmya and its Meaning.’

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