I had initially planned to write a detailed post on this topic but now it seems that I will have to wrap it up quickly and be done with it!
So…. This happened around the time while my spiritual practices were going quite strong (around the same time when I stopped writing on this blog).
During those times, every night I would listen and meditate to Sri Lalita Sahasranama, which normally took about an hour …. And sometimes, during my meditation, some occasional spontaneous kriyas, asanas, and pranayams would also occur (primarily the Bhramari, bhastrika and a couple of times Uddiyan & Jalandhar bandha also).
Another thing that was happening very frequently was related to my dreams. I would often see dreams where I would wake up from a dream to realize that I was sleeping and would then discuss my dream with other people …. but then I would wake up again to realize that the previous act of awakening & discussing my dream with others was also happening in yet another dream…. and a couple of times I woke up at least thrice from one dream into another which left me so confused when I finally awoke (in my wakeful state) whether I was still waking up in another dream or was it for real?
Anyways, one morning when I woke up I recalled a really mysterious dream where I was instructed to read/listen to Hanuman Kavach and Saundarya Lahiri. I didn’t recall seeing anyone … I only heard a voice, in my dream, instructing me to do those things…
So, I googled for Hanuman Kavach and Saundarya Lahiri…
I found out that there were different versions of Hanuman Kavach – The panchamukhi, ek-mukhi etc… but since I wasn’t specified which one to listen (in my dream) so I downloaded both the Panchmukhi, as well as, the Ek-mukhi Hanuman Kavach from youtube….
Regarding, Suandarya Lahari… I had read somewhere about this book/text but never cared to read because I usually avoid reading heavy spiritual or philosophical stuff… so I was pretty surprised to hear this name in my dream because Saundarya Lahari is not a very well-known spiritual text among masses (at least it wasn’t for me at that particular time) ….
However, when I searched the internet for Saundarya Lahari I was so surprised that I couldn’t believe that it was happening for real…
It so happens that Saundraya Lahiri turned out to be a very well-respected, mystical & esoteric text written by Adi Guru Shankaracharya … and it is particularly surprising that Saundarya Lahari is all about Goddess Lalita (the same Goddess who I was worshipping through Sri Lalita Sahasranam) and Saundarya Lahari also holds a very important place in the Sri Vidya tradition (concerned with the worship of Goddess Sri Lalita Tripursundari)…
Getting instruction/inspiration to read Saundarya Lahiri in my dream was no ordinary occurrence for me…. Just Imagine – Someone who doesn’t know that there happens to be something like a Hanuman Kavach and someone who barely knows about the existence of a certain spiritual text called ‘Saundraya lahari’ spontaneously gets an instruction in his dream to read that text and on top of that – that very particular text turns out to be one of the most revered text for worshipping the same Goddess who he had been worshipping through Sri Lalita Sahasranama… (too may co-incidences and leaps of logics would be required to explain this happening, isn’t it?)
But, nevertheless I started doing what I was instructed to do….
However, listening to Hanuman Kavach produced some unusual effects in my body in the initial days of listening… like…I used to feel very hot and sweaty while listening to that chant and even other people would notice my flushed up face… once I also felt very flared up with anger …. and during yet another time I felt almost weightless during meditation and listening to that chant…
but then I discussed about this issue with someone and realized that the adverse effects might have been occurring due to my faulty procedure of listening to the chant…
You see, sometimes when I do meditation I try to practice Guru-Bhav… and in guru-bhav, I imagine my body as my guru’s body while doing meditation and it has proved to be a very quick and effective technique for facilitating deeper states of meditation…. However, probably, what I was doing wrong was the mistake of imagining & meditating on lord hanuman’s form in my body (like in guru-bhav) while listening to Hanuman Kavach … and this could have been responsible for the heat and other adverse effects, I experienced in my body… because after I started meditating on Hanuman as separate from my body the adverse/side effects subsided!
Nevertheless, it is actually the Saundarya Lahiri which is still giving me so much trouble…!
This text is sooooooooo esoteric and cryptic ….. that despite some really good efforts at trying to understand it, it is still beyond my grasp!
It has been almost 3 months and I cannot properly understand even the first verse of that text!
Almost, every time when I read it and feel that I have understood its meaning… just then,another deep meaning or mystery would emerge from the text and when I understand that another meaning then yet another one emerges… It’s like layers of onions, one hidden below another ….. and they are definitely giving me a good cry!
Now, yesterday I decided to make a schedule of reading just one verse per day and try to understand it properly.
So, yesterday I read the first verse and various different explanations to it…and today after reading the second verse I decided to re-read & revise the first verse when another word in that same verse caught my attention – ‘Spanda’.
… and now it turns out that I am reading another very serious book on Tantra – the ‘Spanda-karikas’ just to understand the concept of Spanda and the whole Prakash-Vimarsh aspect of Shiva and Shakti… and probably after that I will have to read the Shiva-Sutras also… to fully understand the meaning inherent in the first verse – as to why Shiva is not capable of making even a spanda (a slight movement) without the Shakti….
So, in the end, … even after 2-3 months, I am still stuck at the very first verse of Saundarya Lahari! (and there are an exact 100 of those)
But, keeping all else aside, one thing is for sure – while, on a superficial level Saundarya Lahari may seem like just a poetic worship of Goddess Lalita but on a deeper level each of its verse has so many different levels of mysteries/understandings which are meant to be unfolded by the seekers themselves…
… and since I have actually been inspired to read this scripture in a very strange manner… hence, I will continue to persevere with my efforts irrespective of the time it takes…
And … now I realize… this post has no longer remained a short one… as intended at the beginning… 😀
Edit: 25 June 2015
I had been wondering if there existed any connection between Lord Hanuman and Devi Lalita… why the instruction for reading Hanuman Kavach along with a text concerned with worshipping Devi Lalita (i.e. Saundarya Lahari)?… why not any other Kavach like Durga Kavach etc.? Till now I didn’t find any outstanding correlation between the two deities (i.e. between Lord Hanuman and Devi Lalita) but a couple of days back I was watching a TV serial about Lord Hanuman when I was greatly surprised by a scene where Devi Lalita was shown to be the ‘Kuldevi’ ( the family deity) of Lord Hanuman. It’s rather strange that I never came across this fact till now, even though I have been worshiping Lord Hanuman since my childhood… but just after I get instructed to worship Devi Lalita along with Lord Hanuman, I land upon this information!
One more interesting co-incidence, isn’t it? 😉