The present epoch called Kali, is also known as the iron age, and is described to be the most challenging of the four epochs. It is believed that the epoch is treacherous for two reasons \u2013 for the significant opportunities that present themselves before man for him to be led astray, and two, for the innate weakness man has come to possess in this epoch. The combination as can be imagined, makes for a deadly one, where man finds himself more prone to being led away from the path to peace and self-realization. \u0905\u0930\u0941\u0923\u093e\u0902\u0915\u0930\u0941\u0923\u093e\u0924\u0930\u0919\u094d\u0917\u093f\u0924\u093e\u0915\u094d\u0937\u0940\u0902\u0927\u0943\u0924\u092a\u093e\u0936\u093e\u0919\u094d\u0915\u0941\u0936\u092a\u0941\u0937\u094d\u092a\u092c\u093e\u0923\u091a\u093e\u092a\u093e\u092e\u094d\u0964 \u0905\u0923\u093f\u092e\u093e\u0926\u093f\u092d\u093f\u0930\u093e\u0935\u0943\u0924\u093e\u0902\u092e\u092f\u0942\u0916\u0948\u0930\u0939\u092e\u093f\u0924\u094d\u092f\u0947\u0935\u0935\u093f\u092d\u093e\u0935\u092f\u0947\u092d\u0935\u093e\u0928\u0940\u092e\u094d\u0965 aru\u1e47\u0101\u1e41karu\u1e47\u0101tara\u1e45git\u0101k\u1e63\u012b\u1e41dh\u1e5btap\u0101\u015b\u0101\u1e45ku\u015bapu\u1e63pab\u0101\u1e47ac\u0101p\u0101m| a\u1e47im\u0101dibhir\u0101v\u1e5bt\u0101\u1e41may\u016bkhairahamityevavibh\u0101vayebhav\u0101n\u012bm|| I meditate I am verily you, Bhav\u0101n\u012b, who are ruddy of hue;whose eyes exude waves of compassion; who wields in her hands a noose, goad, bow and flowery-shafts; and is surrounded by the rays of mystical powers such as A\u1e47im\u0101 (the power to be subtle as an atom). - Lalit\u0101sahasran\u0101ma Ominous as this sounds, the Pur\u0101\u1e47as speak of one redeeming ray of hope in this epoch \u2013the Divine Name. Given the unfavorable conditions of the epoch and the weakened will of man today, the Cosmos attempts to level the playing field by relaxing the standards expected of man in order for him to be redeemed. The expectations of high standards of religious observances and scrupulous adherence to the dictates of dharma are replaced with the simple practice of adhering to the Divine Name. What should have been achieved in other words, by arduous penance and elaborate sacrifices, can in this age of Kali, be achieved through resorting to the divine n\u0101ma of the Absolute.The \u015ar\u012bmadbh\u0101gavata summarizes, \u0915\u0932\u094c\u0915\u0932\u094d\u092e\u0937\u091a\u093f\u0924\u094d\u0924\u093e\u0928\u093e\u0902\u092a\u093e\u092a\u0926\u094d\u0930\u0935\u094d\u092f\u094b\u092a\u091c\u0940\u0935\u093f\u0928\u093e\u092e\u094d\u0964 \u0935\u093f\u0927\u093f\u0915\u094d\u0930\u093f\u092f\u093e\u0935\u093f\u0939\u0940\u0928\u093e\u0928\u093e\u0902\u0917\u0924\u093f\u0930\u094d\u0917\u094b\u0935\u093f\u0928\u094d\u0926\u0915\u0940\u0930\u094d\u0924\u0928\u092e\u094d\u0965 kalaukalma\u1e63acitt\u0101n\u0101\u1e41p\u0101padravyopaj\u012bvin\u0101m| vidhikriy\u0101vih\u012bn\u0101n\u0101\u1e41gatirgovindak\u012brtanam|| In the epoch of Kali when man is bereft of allegiance to ritualistic observances, when his livelihood is sustained by sinful means, and his heart is saddled with dross, resort to chanting (the Divine Names) of Govinda1 is the sole recourse. 1 And in extension, to all other Names of the Supreme. In that sense, the epoch of Kali is also glorified in the Pur\u0101\u1e47as, as the blessed age when the simple practice of resorting to any chosen Name attributed to the Supreme can be redeeming. After having won the Kuruk\u1e63etra war and after being anointed the emperor, Yudhi\u1e63\u1e6dhira was yet plagued by questions. Although guided every step of the way by the avat\u0101ra, K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a himself, Yudhi\u1e63\u1e6dhirawas yet not convinced that he was perfect in his adherence to dharma. He felt burdened by sins and felt compelled to ask the nonpareil Bh\u012b\u1e63ma, \u0915\u094b\u0927\u0930\u094d\u092e\u0903\u0938\u0930\u094d\u0935\u0927\u0930\u094d\u092e\u093e\u0923\u093e\u0902\u092d\u0935\u0924\u0903\u092a\u0930\u092e\u094b\u092e\u0924\u0903\u0964 \u0915\u093f\u0902\u091c\u092a\u0928\u094d\u092e\u0941\u091a\u094d\u092f\u0924\u0947\u091c\u0928\u094d\u0924\u0941\u0930\u094d\u091c\u0928\u094d\u092e\u0938\u0902\u0938\u093e\u0930\u092c\u0928\u094d\u0927\u0928\u093e\u0924\u094d\u0965 ko dharma\u1e25sarvadharm\u0101\u1e47\u0101\u1e41bhavata\u1e25 paramo mata\u1e25| ki\u1e41japanmucyatejanturjanmasa\u1e41s\u0101rabandhan\u0101t|| Which, in your esteemed opinion, is the greatest of dharmas, and resorting to the chanting of which is one liberated from the cycle of materialistic existence? The grandsire responded that resorting to the thousand Divine Names of the Supreme was the greatest and only dharma, and initiated Yudhi\u1e63\u1e6dhira in the Vi\u1e63\u1e47usahasran\u0101ma. This anecdote suggests the significance of the various Sahasran\u0101mas in bringing man closer to his inner reality (dharma), and therefore in bringing peace. Of the various Sahasran\u0101mas found in the Pur\u0101\u1e47as, Lalit\u0101sahasran\u0101ma dedicated to the Goddess Lalit\u0101, is exceptional for its literary excellence. It is found in the Lalitop\u0101khy\u0101na section of the Brahm\u0101\u1e47\u1e0da-pur\u0101\u1e47a, along with a description of the advent of Goddess Lalit\u0101, a description of her realm called Ma\u1e47idv\u012bpa and an elaboration of the fifteen syllabled mantra dedicated to Lalit\u0101. The Sahasran\u0101ma is related by Hayagr\u012bva, an avat\u0101ra of lord Vi\u1e63\u1e47u, to sage Agastya. Set in the meter anu\u1e63\u1e6dup, the thousand names are crafted into simple yet beautiful verses that, amongst many things, describe the beauty of Lalit\u0101. The verses can either be chanted as a hymn (stotra), with the names strung together like a wreath, or as individual names attached to b\u012bjamantras (n\u0101m\u0101rcana). Having described the advent of Lalit\u0101 Dev\u012b and her subsequent triumph over the asuras she manifested to vanquish, lord Hayagr\u012bva refrains from divulging the thousand names of the Goddess. Sage Agastya is perplexed by this and asks Hayagr\u012bva what the reason is. He further importunes the lord to reveal the thousand names of the Dev\u012b. Delighted with Agastya\u2019s sincerity and passion, lord Hayagr\u012bva initiates him in the Lalit\u0101sahasran\u0101ma. The Lalit\u0101sahasran\u0101ma begins2 with a dhy\u0101na\u015bloka or a verse that describes the form of the Dev\u012b. The intent is to help one concentrate entirely on the deity being eulogized. The thousand names that follow, then become a direct address to the form that has now been firmly established in the eye of the mind. The inextricable relationship between the n\u0101mas (the names) that follow the dhy\u0101naand the N\u0101m\u012b (the named) described at the beginning make it impossible, it is believed, for the N\u0101m\u012b to ignore the pleas. 2 The Sahasran\u0101ma when chanted ritualistically, begins with a ny\u0101sa, where the sage who revealed the Sahasran\u0101ma originally, the meter of the hymn, the deity it is addressed to, are all mentioned. The Lalit\u0101sahasran\u0101ma has four dhy\u0101na\u015blokas, the first of which is as follows \u2013 \u0938\u093f\u0926\u0942\u0930\u093e\u0930\u0941\u0923\u0935\u093f\u0917\u094d\u0930\u0939\u093e\u0902\u0924\u094d\u0930\u093f\u0928\u092f\u0928\u093e\u0902\u092e\u093e\u0923\u093f\u0915\u094d\u092f\u092e\u094c\u0932\u0940\u0938\u094d\u092b\u0941\u0930\u0924\u094d\u0924\u093e\u0930\u093e\u0928\u093e\u092f\u0915\u0936\u0947\u0916\u0930\u093e\u0902\u0938\u094d\u092e\u093f\u0924\u092e\u0941\u0916\u0940\u092e\u093e\u092a\u0940\u0928\u0935\u0915\u094d\u0937\u094b\u0930\u0941\u0939\u093e\u092e\u094d\u0964 \u092a\u093e\u0923\u093f\u092d\u094d\u092f\u093e\u092e\u0932\u093f\u092a\u0942\u0930\u094d\u0923\u0930\u0924\u094d\u0928\u091a\u0937\u0915\u0902\u0930\u0915\u094d\u0924\u094b\u0924\u094d\u092a\u0932\u0902\u092c\u093f\u092d\u094d\u0930\u0924\u0940\u0902\u0938\u094c\u092e\u094d\u092f\u093e\u0902\u0930\u0924\u094d\u0928\u0918\u091f\u0938\u094d\u0925\u0930\u0915\u094d\u0924\u091a\u0930\u0923\u093e\u0902\u0927\u094d\u092f\u093e\u092f\u0947\u0924\u094d\u092a\u0930\u093e\u092e\u092e\u094d\u092c\u093f\u0915\u093e\u092e\u094d\u0965 sid\u016br\u0101ru\u1e47avigrah\u0101\u1e41trinayan\u0101\u1e41m\u0101\u1e47ikyamaul\u012bsphuratt\u0101r\u0101n\u0101yaka\u015bekhar\u0101\u1e41smitamukh\u012bm\u0101p\u012bnavak\u1e63oruh\u0101m| p\u0101\u1e47ibhy\u0101malip\u016br\u1e47aratnaca\u1e63aka\u1e41raktotpala\u1e41bibhrat\u012b\u1e41saumy\u0101\u1e41ratnagha\u1e6dastharaktacara\u1e47\u0101\u1e41dhy\u0101yetpar\u0101mambik\u0101m|| Meditate upon the Supreme Ambik\u0101 who is benevolent, ruddy as vermilion, endowed with three eyes, sports a ruby crown beset with a crescent moon, wears a smile, is full-breasted, wields in one hand a mead-filled gem-beset chalice that attracts bees and in another a red lotus, and has her feet set upon a foot-stool embedded with precious stones. Immersing and arresting the mind in the ethereal form of the Dev\u012b, the devotee then addresses her with the thousand names, pleading mentally for her to shower her grace. The first verse of the Lalit\u0101sahasran\u0101ma is presented here in verse form3, and when in verse form, the names are in the vocative case. They address the Dev\u012b directly. 3As mentioned earlier, the names can also be chanted individually, and when chanted individually, they take the Dative case and are chanted with the word \u2018nama\u1e25\u2019 which means, salutation. For example, \u0950\u0936\u094d\u0930\u0940\u092e\u093e\u0924\u093e\u092f\u0948\u0928\u092e\u0903 om \u015br\u012bm\u0101t\u0101yai nama\u1e25 Salutation to the (universal) mother. \u0950\u0936\u094d\u0930\u0940\u092e\u0939\u093e\u0930\u093e\u091c\u094d\u091e\u0948\u0928\u092e\u0903 om \u015br\u012bmah\u0101r\u0101j\u00f1ai nama\u1e25 Salutation to the Empress \u0936\u094d\u0930\u0940\u092e\u093e\u0924\u093e\u0936\u094d\u0930\u0940\u092e\u0939\u093e\u0930\u093e\u091c\u094d\u091e\u0940\u0936\u094d\u0930\u0940\u092e\u0924\u094d\u0938\u093f\u0902\u0939\u093e\u0938\u0928\u0947\u0936\u094d\u0935\u0930\u0940\u0964 \u091a\u093f\u0926\u0917\u094d\u0928\u093f\u0915\u0941\u0923\u094d\u0921\u0938\u092e\u094d\u092d\u0942\u0924\u093e\u0926\u0947\u0935\u0915\u093e\u0930\u094d\u092f\u0938\u092e\u0941\u0926\u094d\u092f\u0924\u093e\u0965 \u015br\u012bm\u0101t\u0101\u015br\u012bmah\u0101r\u0101j\u00f1\u012b\u015br\u012bmatsi\u1e41h\u0101sane\u015bvar\u012b| cidagniku\u1e47\u1e0dasambh\u016bt\u0101devak\u0101ryasamudyat\u0101|| O\u2019 Universal mother, empress, (Dev\u012b) seated upon the lion-throne, (you) born of the sacrificial altar of consciousness, (you) who have descended in order to achieve the mission of the celestials. Beginning with an invocation of the Supernal form, the hymn progresses to envisaging the Dev\u012b as having manifested from the altar of consciousness for the sake of achieving the mission of the celestials. Next, the wondrous form of the Dev\u012b is described in great detail. \u0909\u0926\u094d\u092f\u0926\u094d\u092d\u093e\u0928\u0941\u0938\u0939\u0938\u094d\u0930\u093e\u092d\u093e\u091a\u0924\u0941\u0930\u094d\u092c\u093e\u0939\u0941\u0938\u092e\u0928\u094d\u0935\u093f\u0924\u093e\u0964 \u0930\u093e\u0917\u0938\u094d\u0935\u0930\u0942\u092a\u092a\u093e\u0936\u093e\u0922\u094d\u092f\u093e\u0915\u094d\u0930\u094b\u0927\u093e\u0915\u093e\u0930\u093e\u0919\u094d\u0915\u0941\u0936\u094b\u091c\u094d\u091c\u094d\u0935\u0932\u093e\u0965 udyadbh\u0101nusahasr\u0101bh\u0101caturb\u0101husamanvit\u0101| r\u0101gasvar\u016bpap\u0101\u015b\u0101\u1e0dhy\u0101krodh\u0101k\u0101r\u0101\u1e45ku\u015bojjval\u0101|| O\u2019 (you) who are effulgent as a thousand rising suns, (you) endowed with four arms, (you) who wield the noose of desire, (you) who bear the goad of anger. After describing the ethereal form of the Dev\u012b in great detail, the hymn proceeds to describe the places the Devi takes residence in. \u0938\u0941\u092e\u0947\u0930\u0941\u092e\u0927\u094d\u092f\u0936\u0943\u0919\u094d\u0917\u0938\u094d\u0925\u093e\u0936\u094d\u0930\u0940\u092e\u0928\u094d\u0928\u0917\u0930\u0928\u093e\u092f\u093f\u0915\u093e\u0964 \u091a\u093f\u0928\u094d\u0924\u093e\u092e\u0923\u093f\u0917\u0943\u0939\u093e\u0928\u094d\u0924\u0938\u094d\u0925\u093e\u092a\u091e\u094d\u091a\u092c\u094d\u0930\u0939\u094d\u092e\u093e\u0938\u0928\u0938\u094d\u0925\u093f\u0924\u093e\u0965 sumerumadhya\u015b\u1e5b\u1e45gasth\u0101\u015br\u012bmannagaran\u0101yik\u0101| cint\u0101ma\u1e47ig\u1e5bh\u0101ntasth\u0101pa\u00f1cabrahm\u0101sanasthit\u0101|| O\u2019 (you) who reside in the center (peak) of mount Meru, (you) who are the mistress of the beautiful city, (you) who dwell in a mansion crafted of the wish-yielding gem, (you) who recline upon a seat made of five Brahm\u0101s.4 4 The residence of Dev\u012b are of two kinds. One, the esoteric realm in the macrocosm, where she is said to take residence in an inland amidst the ocean of nectar, or in the fourth peak of the golden mountain, Sumeru. The \u015ar\u012bcakra or the mystical diagrammatic representation of the Dev\u012b is also considered her residence, where the Sumeru and the rest of her macrocosmic dwellings are represented microcosmically. The Lalit\u0101sahasran\u0101ma also describes how the Dev\u012b resides in the human body as Ku\u1e47\u1e0dalin\u012b-\u015aakti and rises to the crown from the base of the spine where she rests, resulting in the liberation of an individual. The hymn then proceeds to describe how the various aspects of the Supreme such as Ga\u1e47e\u015ba, Brahm\u0101, Vi\u1e63\u1e47u and so on have emerged from her power. Having described the form of the Dev\u012b, her dwelling and the various aspects of the Supreme that emanate from her prowess, the hymn then begins to describe her attributes. \u0928\u093f\u0930\u094d\u0932\u0947\u092a\u093e\u0928\u093f\u0930\u094d\u092e\u0932\u093e\u0928\u093f\u0924\u094d\u092f\u093e\u0928\u093f\u0930\u093e\u0915\u093e\u0930\u093e\u0928\u093f\u0930\u093e\u0915\u0941\u0932\u093e\u0964 \u0928\u093f\u0930\u094d\u0917\u0941\u0923\u093e\u0928\u093f\u0937\u094d\u0915\u0932\u093e\u0936\u093e\u0928\u094d\u0924\u093e\u0928\u093f\u0937\u094d\u0915\u093e\u092e\u093e\u0928\u093f\u0930\u0941\u092a\u092a\u094d\u0932\u0935\u093e\u0965 nirlep\u0101nirmal\u0101nity\u0101nir\u0101k\u0101r\u0101nir\u0101kul\u0101| nirgu\u1e47\u0101ni\u1e63kal\u0101\u015b\u0101nt\u0101ni\u1e63k\u0101m\u0101nirupaplav\u0101|| O\u2019 (you) who are free from the impurity (of karm\u0101), (you) who are devoid of the blemish (of ignorance), (you) who are eternal, (you) who are beyond form, (you) who are devoid of agitation, (you) are untouched by attributes, (you) who are without parts, (you) who are quietude, (you) who are devoid of desires, and (you) who are indestructible. As is typical in Dev\u012b worship, the Lalit\u0101sahasran\u0101ma alternates between relating to the Dev\u012b in the gross and in the esoteric magnificently. Lalit\u0101sahasran\u0101ma describes the blessings she bestows upon her devotees, her slaying of the asuras she manifested to vanquish, the means of achieving her, and so on. In a nutshell, the hymn is an exquisite combination of literary excellence, a representation of the gross form of the Dev\u012b, a representation of the esoteric worship of the Dev\u012b, a recollection of her Supernal nature that is beyond the gross and the subtle, and a simple collection of a thousand Divine Names that can draw the grace of the Dev\u012b easily.