shrI sUkta of the R^igveda

The celebrated shrI sUkta has spread widely beyond its original role in the vedic gR^ihya liturgy and prayoga-s of the vedic vidhAna-s. Its earliest occurrences are seen in the khila of the R^igveda and the bodhAyana and vaikhAnasa mantra pATha-s of the kR^iShNa yajur veda. It is also related to the ShaShThI sUkta of the mAnava gR^ihya sUtra. The tantric literature also mentions it—the most prominent mention is in the lakShmI tantra (LT 36.121-140 and LT 50.1-237). LT50.1-2367 gives a detailed account of the pA~ncharatric prayoga of the shrI sUkta in worshiping lakShmI. The lakShmI-ratna kosha is another text providing its deployment in the worship of shrI. In the kAdividyA stream of shrI-kula tradition a saMpuTikaraNa of the sUkta and the pa~nchadashI (and other bIja-s like mAya, shrI, kAma, vANI and tripurashekharAnta) is a favored mode of deployment. The shrI sUkta has even been retained by the bauddha nAstika-s and this tradition was until recently alive in Nepal and Bhutan. The pure vedic form of both the yajurvedic and R^igvedic traditions are no longer commonly practiced, especially in South India. Instead, what one has is a vulgate that is widely used in the drAviDa, Andhra and karnATa countries. It may be recited in a pseudo-yajurvedic form without following the rules of yajurvedic phonetics (e.g. hirANyavarNAM harinIM suvarNa … instead of the correct yajuSh form: hirANyavarNA{\m+} harinI{\m+} suvarNa … as is specified, for example, in the bodhAyana mantra pATha) or in a form typical of R^igvedic recitation. Original R^ivedic version is often termed the kAshmIra-pATha because it appears to have been retained in those regions. The learned shrI Ravlekar gave me this original R^igvedic form. Based on his oral tradition and the kashmIra-paTha of the khila text we have restored this text of the shrI sUkta:

shrI sUkta as PDF

The oral tradition used in the restoration is also provided as a recording: shrI sUkta as a MP3.

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