The Devī Mantra and it’s Meaning

There is a very popular and important Mantra which is an important part of Devī Mahātmya:

सर्वमऩ्गलमाऩ्गल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थसाधके ।
शरण्ये त्र्यम्बके गौरी नारायणी नमो स्तु ते ।।

śive sarvārtha-sādhake
śaraṇye tryambake gaurī
nārāyaṇī namo’stu te

This mantra is about “devī” – which means it is about “śakti,” ALL śakti – Śaci, Kali, Durga, Parvatī, Lakṣmī, and Śrī Rādhā. But it is especially about śakti named nārāyaṇī, which, since the context of the mantra is as the culminating glorification of śakti, we should take as denoting the ādi-śakti (the original śakti who is the origin of all śakti) – Rādhā, the original Lakṣmī.

Gauḍīya śāstra says: Rādha pūrṇa-śakti, kṛṣṇa pūrna-śaktimān – “Rādhā is the complete original śakti (energy), and Krishna is the complete original śaktiman (possessor of energy).”

Now the meaning of the mantra:

sarva-maṅgala-māṅgalye = “O auspiciousness of all auspiciousness.”

śive sarvārtha-sādhake = “O auspicious means to attain any goal.”

śaraṇye = “O refuge / protector / shelter”

try-ambake = “O the mother of three”

If we think of śakti as Durgā, “mother of three” means “the mother of heaven, earth, and hell.”

If we think of śakti as Parvatī, it means, “mother of the three guṇa – sattva, rajas, tamas.”

If we think of śakti as Lakṣmī, it means, “mother of cit, jiva, & maya – the conscious world, individual consciousness, and illusion.”

If we think of śakti as Rādhā, it means, “mother of sandinī, saṁvit, & hlādiṇī – existence, consciousness, joy.”

In all cases this really means, “to the mother of all that exists.”

gaurī = “O beautiful, fair, golden lady”

Śakti emits light, brilliance, dazzle, sparkle – that is its nature, It is energy.

nārāyaṇī = “O she in whom humans reside / by whom humans are supported”

So far the mantra says that we are giving something to adī-śakti nārāyaṇī Rādhā. But what are we giving? The final phrase indicates that we are giving our very selves [na + mama / na + aham = nama].

namo ‘stu te = “I dedicate myself to you.”

The translation, then:

O Auspiciousness that makes all auspicious things auspicious!
O most auspicious means of attaining every goal!
O my true protector! O mother of all that exists!
O beautifully splendid repose of all beings, Gaurī Nārāyaṇī [Śrī Rādhā]!

I dedicate myself to you.

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