shrI AshcharyAShTottara shatanAma stotra is revealed by Lord Shiva to umA in shrIgarbha kulrNava tantra, which also is the source for the famous rAjarAjeshvarI sahasranAma stotra. parameshvarI expressed a concern to the Lord at her inability to grant boons to the humans due to sinful attributes such as jealousy, anger, lust, greed etc. She prays for a simple way without involving many complexities that can, without elaborate japa, pUjA, homa and tarpaNa, grant the grace of the Supreme Mother to mortals. The Lord then reminds her of an aShTottara that she had initiated him into, in the hoary past:
dakShiNAmUrtirUpeNa dhyAnaniShthe purA mayi |
upadiShtaM tvayA devi mayA samyagdhr^itaM hi tat ||
Lord shiva then propagated the secret hymn to vAmana during the conquering of balIndra, to parashurAma, to rAmachandra, to kR^ishNa and arjuna [nara and nArAyaNa], vedavyAsa and himavAn. The aShtottara shatanAma stava, the seer of which is bhagavAn Anandabhairava, starts with an elaborate dhyAna of bhagavatI mahAtripurasundarI in shrInagara. The original use of the aShTottara is in the dUtI Krama of Kula Tantra for pratyakSha shakti pUjA, but has also been adopted by the devoted in worshipping bhagavatI with puShpAkShata during navavaraNa pUjA. The nAmAs can be used for japa, pUjA, homa and tarpaNa by adding pAdukA trayodashI at the end of the names and including namaH, svAhA, tarpayAmi etc. The nAmAvaLi is beautiful and is considered one of the important stavas along with saubhAgyAShTottara, lalitAShTottara and shivA~NkasthAShTottara. By tradition, these are respectively used for pUjA at dawn, midday, evening and in the night, AshcharyAShTottara is used. The name of this hymn, when read completely, is devI divyavaibhava AshcharyAShTottara. The hymn was composed by the trinity in a state of Ashcharya at the unimaginable glory of tripurAmbikA, in maNidvIpa, on chaitra shukla pa~nchamI, as indicated in the pUrvabhAga of the stotra. The kartR^itva of the stotra is then ascribed to Anandabhairava as the Lord in this form is trimUrtyAtmaka. shrIchidAnandanAtha advised only the initiates [not bAlA, bhairavI etc., panchadashI pr shodashi] to use this stotra.
shrIkR^ishNaH sharaNam mama