Famous book, ‘Shakti and Shakta’, (1918 publication) Sir John Woodroffe while explaining the word Shakti, rightly said thus: There is no word of wider content in any language than this Sanskrit term meaning ‘Power’. Lalitha Sahasra nama explains this power in thousand names. This Sahasranama was composed by Deities such as Vakdevata or Goddess of Speech at the express command of Holy Mother Lalitha Herself for the benefit of the entire mankind. The recitation of Lalitha Sahasranama has a unique and very important place in Shakti worship. It is a known fact to all the devotees of Shakti that each of the thousand names is a Mantra by itself. Each mantra has a specific power and on recitation this power automatically comes to the reciter.
It is interesting to read an anecdote in the book titled ‘Studies in the Tantras and the Veda” written by M.P.Pandit of Aurobindo Ashram.He narrates an incident in the life of Shakthi worshipper, the great Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. One night when Sri Ramakrishna paramahamsa was going to Dakshineswar along with another person it was pitch dark. He could not see the way. The companion, an adept in Tantra Sadhana, thereupon walked in the front and from his back emanated a light which lit up the path for Sri Ramakrishna. The Thantrik was an ardent devotee and a worshipper of agni. He had acquired over the control of this element Agni (light) by reciting agni mantra. Thus, we can control all the elements by uttering proper mantras.
We may analyse some of the mantras of Lalitha sahasranama. The 707th name is Guhya rupini which means secret form, beyond the senses. The power or truth is behind the phenomenal universe and hence unseen and secret. She is to be reached by knowledge alone. Hence she is praised as Jnana-Gamya. Her name adbuta caritra indicates the marvelous history as depicted in Lalitopakyana. Her acts from creation to grace are unique and marvelous.
She is Sasvataisvarya which means that she is always the giver of eternal bliss, the greatest dominion. When the ultimate freedom itself is granted needless to say that she will grant the basic requirements such as wealth, peace of mind, health and other pleasures of life. The ten incarnations of Vishnu emerged from her finger nail of her Hands to fight Her battles with the power of darkness called asuras. Her cosmic and supra cosmic dimensions are thus indicated in the 80th name, ‘Karanguli nakhotpanna narayana dasakrithi’.
She is Sarva mantra swarupini meaning the embodiment of all Mantras. There are more than 7 crores of mantras formed by the 105 letters of the alphabet in Sanskrit.
Having realized the importance of these great names, great scholars like Vimarsananda Nadha, Vidyaranya, Bhatta Narayana, Sankara,Bhaskararaya wrote commentaries on Lalitha Sahasranama.
One who recites this becomes Her devotee (bhakta) automatically. Since She is Bhakta saubhagyadayini (117th name- Her devotees get all good things and also the best) and Bhakta Priya (118th name -fond of devotees) She grants everything the devotee desires!
It is advised to recite this sahasranama daily, if not, at least on Fridays after taking the usual bath.