[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS - 10)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 20 09:11:58 CDT 2003

Recall the Note about the organization of the ‘Digest’,  from
DPDS – 6 or the earlier ones.
V. Krishnamurthy

A Digest of Paramacharya’s Discourses on Soundaryalahari -  10

The first evolute from brahman is the ‘desire’ (kAmam) that the
leela of the manifestation of the universe should take place. So
the ‘Kameshvara-Kameshvari’ evolute is the first couple. She
(Kameshvari) might later be called ‘Lalitambaal’ or
‘Raja-Rajeshvari’ but He (Kameshvara) is never called
‘Laliteshvara’ or ‘Raja-Rajeshvara’. Again She is
‘Tripura-sundari’ – which name is the origin for the titling of
this composition as ‘Soundaryalahari’ ,  but there is no
‘Tripurasundara’ . 
 All these latter names of Shakti have come because She is the
Creator, Monitor and Queen of this entire universe. That is why,
as soon as the lalitA-sahasranAma begins with the name
‘ShrI-mAta’, the next two names are  ‘Shri-mahArAjnI’, and 
‘ShrImat-simhAsaneshvarI’. For these two names there is no
masculine counterpart of the name.

 When brahman ‘chose’ to become saguNa-brahman, the initial
spark was that ‘desire’ to become. So the Kameshvari-Kameshvara 
couple arose and is rightly named so. The panchakRtya is for the
world to arise and go on from there. Thus the desire to produce
multiplicity out of Herself is the kAmam. But along with this
desire is also the act (in the form of mAyA) of ‘separating’ the
created multiplicity from the reality of the Creator. Is this
not then a cruel desire? No. The ultimate aim is to bring back
everything into the source. Then why do it at all? That is the
Cosmic Play. The very ‘desire’ to exhibit into a multiplicity is
based on the joy of bringing back everything together into the
one and only source.
The para-brahma-Shakti exhibits itself into five functions. Thus
we have a five-fold aspect of brahma-Shakti, created by itself
from itself. So these five aspects are represented in a peculiar
form where Kameshvari  is sitting on the left lap of Kameshvara.
The seat on which they are sitting facing the East, has four
legs, namely Brahma (Creation), Vishnu (Sustenance), Shiva
(Dissolution), and Ishvara (mAyic curtain);  the seat itself is
SadAshiva (moksha-anugraha). These five are called the five
‘brahman-s’ . And this explains the name
‘panca-brahma-Asana-sthitA’ for the Goddess.
 There is also another name ‘panca-preta-Asana-Aseena’ meaning
‘She who is seated on the seat of five ‘preta-s’ – preta,
meaning ‘dead body’ --. The ‘brahman-s’ of the earlier name are
here called ‘preta-s, because, if the five functions had not
been assigned to them, they are nothing,  - like the motor
without the horsepower ! Even for Kameshvara, she is the
life-giving Shakti and therefore the name
‘Kameshvara-prANa-nADI’ which occurs both in Lalita-sahasranama
and in Trishati.

Now let us come to the word ‘spanditum’. The hara-rudra has been
assigned the duty of samhAra, this is a ‘full duty’, so to say.
On the other hand, the Shiva that is the absolute brahman has
just been ‘moved’ – moved from within!  This movement is the
‘spandanam’. The Shivam was like a calm, ripple-less,
vibration-less peaceful lake; and in that lake, the first
ripple, the first vibration, the first movement  took place in
the form of ‘kAmam’. The agent for this was the cit-Shakti of
brahman itself. She, the cit-Shakti, not only became two, namely
the willing power (icchA-Sakti), and the acting power
(kriyA-Shakti), but made the icchA rise in brahman itself and
this ‘making’ was itself Her first act of creation!

Let us analyze this still further. Before someone ‘desires’ he
should first recognize that he ‘is’. When we are in deep sleep
we don’t desire. So the event of ‘desire’ rising in brahman,
must be preceded by the awareness of self-existence. Brahman was
just existing in itself, but was it ‘aware’ that it was existing
as such?  The very event of cognition – by brahman, as it were -
that ‘I am brahman’  is itself an act of the ‘spandana’-effect
of Shakti. 

This ‘experience’ of brahman of the act of recognizing itself 
has a technical name in Vedanta. It is ‘parAhantA’.  ‘ahantA’ is
the thought ‘I am’. When we wrongly think that our real ‘I’ is
body-mind-intellect, it is called ‘ahantA’ – the word derived
from ‘aham’. When the supreme Absolute, which is the origin of
all the ‘aham’s in the world, thinks of itself as ‘I’ it is
supreme ‘ahantA’, that is, para-ahantA.  In devotional
literature, it is customary to call parAShakti the parAhantA
form of Shivam and thus arises the name  ‘parAhantA-svarUpiNI’
for ambaal.
   Indeed the ‘feeling  of I-ness’ that arises in the immutable
brahman, is the spandana caused by Shakti and that is what
personifies her. Our Acharya brings this effectively by using
the word ‘Aho-purushhikA’ in Sloka No.7. The word means that She
is the personification of the thought ‘I am brahman’ of brahman

The ShAkta school conception  of Shiva and Shakti sometimes
appears to involve a duality there. Thus they contend that it is
Shakti that caused the movement. Acharya’s sloka also seems to
say so. But the Acharya, while appearing to be talking ‘dvaita’
he has built his advaita into it by using the word spandanam. In
what was Knowledge-Absolute, the thought of ‘I’ arose from
within. This internal pulsation is the spandanam. The word is
very precisely placed here. Because ‘spandanam’ by its very
meaning negates anything external. It is  internally caused. 
Something like what you say in modern science about the central
nucleus bursting of its own accord. 

But even the ShAkta schools cannot place Shiva and Shakti as two
separate things. Because Shiva and Shakti are like the lamp and
its light, the flower and its fragrance, honey and its
sweetness, milk and its whiteness, word and its meaning. Thus
they cannot be separated from each other. Even though the credit
for the spandanam is given to Shakti, it is not as if She and He
are separate. This mutual dependence of the two should be kept
in our mind always. 
(To be Continued)
PraNAms to all advaitins and Devotees of Mother Goddess.

Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
My website on Science and Spirituality is http://www.geocities.com/profvk/
You can  access my book on Gems from the Ocean of Hindu Thought Vision and Practice,  and my father R. Visvanatha Sastri's manuscripts from the site.

Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free, easy-to-use web site design software

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list