[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari(DPDS-50)
profvk at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 28 16:17:46 CST 2003
Recall the Note about the organization of the Digest,
from DPDS 26 or the earlier ones.
A Digest of Paramacharyas Discourses on Soundaryalahari -
(Digest of pp.1045 -1050 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
We have not yet done with Shloka 34. The
Sheshha-SheshhI-bhAva (The Principal and the Accessory
concept) that comes in the third line of the verse has
tremendous conceptual significance.
sharIraM tvaM shambhoH indicates that ambaa is the body
and Shiva is the soul. Since the body is usually taken as
containing the soul one should not think that soul is a
property of the body. It is not like the purse is in my
pocket; so the purse is my property. By thinking like that
one commits the foolishness -- as the Acharya himself
mentions in his ShaTpadI-stotra of thinking that the
Ocean is the property of the Waves; the Wave is not the
property of the Ocean! The fact that the waves are the
only thing visible from the outside and the calm water
beneath is not visible, does not mean that the waves
possess the ocean beneath them! So also with body and
soul. If the soul (life) leaves the body, the body becomes
rotten and decays. The soul goes and takes another body.
Therefore it is the body that is possessed by the soul.
The soul is the possessee and the body is the property of
the possessee. In Sanskrit the word svaM indicates the
possessed property. It is from this word svaM the word
svat and the Tamil word sottu (meaning property or
possession) are derived.
When svam is the possessed property, the possessee is
svAmi. It is the Lord who is the svAmi for the whole
universe, because everything is His, in His possession, His
property. The possessor-Lord is called SheshhI.
Sheshha is the one owned by the SheshI. Soul is the
sheshhI and body is sheshha.
This concept of jIvas and Universe as the body and the Lord
as the soul and on the same basis as sheshha and sheshhI
is an important tenet of the vishishhTAdvaita school of
If the Lord is taken to be the nirguNa brahman as per
advaita, then ambaa was first said to be the
I-consciousness of the Lord, by the Acharya. The first half
of the very first shloka meant only that. Then in shloka
#7, explicitly ambaa was said to be Aho-purushhikA. In
this kind of thing, there is no distinction between sheshha
and sheshhI; the shiva and shakti are in indivisible
unison. But looking at the phenomenal world of duality, the
talk arises about the divine Triad, and the divinities in
charge of the five cosmic functions. And in this state
they are able to function only with the help of a fragment
of Her Shakti. Just by the dust of Her feet they are able
to do what they have to do (shloka 2). Or by just the
winking of Her eyes (shloka 24). These shlokas point to the
fact that She is the Mistress of the whole show; in other
words, She is the SheshhI; and these divinities are the
sheshhas who do Her bidding. Even the alternates of Shiva,
namely, Rudra, Maheshvara and SadAshiva who belong to the
same category, are also sheshhas and She is the SheshhI for
Over and above all this, from the minutest earthworm all
the way up to the Cosmic Divinities of the five functions,
all of them have been created and given life by the
presence of Her Shakti within. So She is the SeshI to all
of them . In other words all of us are Sheshas,
accessories, for that SheshI, the principal.
This shloka also tells us in its second line how She is the
SheshI and He is the Shesha. Ishvara is nine-faceted
these nine facets starting with Time and ending with jIva.
[Note by VK: The nine facets referred to here are:
KAla, Kula, nAma, jnAna,citta,
nAda, bindu, KalA and jIva]
That is the navAtmA that is mentioned in the shloka. For
all of these the life giving shakti is ambaa. So She is the
SharIrI or SheshhI. And Ishvara, who has the nine aspects,
Now change the viewpoint. You will see that He is the
SheshhI and She is the Sheshha. For, She being Shakti,
Energy, Power, there must be someone who wields that
Shakti, Power and Energy. That is the Lord Shiva! Even
when He is the saguna-brahman or the kArya-brahman, He is
the Ishvara who is the soul of everything in the universe
as the First Cause and the effects, namely, all that is
animate and inanimate, His body, that is, ambaa. So She
becomes the Sheshha.
The simple meaning of SheshhaM is Remainder. So the
original, which ought to be far more than the SheshhaM, is
the SheshhI. That is the paramAtman. From that fullness of
the paramAtman all this world has emerged, which appears to
be infinite and full. After emerging from fullness, what
has emerged seems to be full. This is what the upanishadic
mantra (pUrnamadaH pUrnamidaM) says. In other words it
only tells us that the paramAtman is the SheshhI and we are
all his Sheshha. Ambaa is manifesting as all the
multitudinous universe and the life within is the
Shambhu-brahman. Therefore sharIram tvam shambhoH. Ambaa
is the sheshha and He is the Sheshhi.
Thus the Acharya here does not make any distinction between
the different viewpoints of ShAktaM, ShaivaM,
VishishhTAdvaitam, Sankhyam and advaitam. The universe that
is discardable as mAyA in advaita is here talked of as the
body of the paramAtman. When you think of nirguNa-brahman,
the question of soul and body, sharirI and sharira, sheshhI
and sheshha does not arise. But in the phenomenal world
when we view things from our mundane angle, the universe is
said to be the body and the indwelling paramAtman the
sharirI very much as in vishishhTAdvaita philosophy.
The Acharya says in this shloka that this Sheshha-SheshhI
bhAva is equally the characteristic of both. Already the
samaya school of ShAktaM talks of five equalities between
Shiva and Shakti.
[VK : See DPDS 7]
And here the Acharya has added one more equality, namely
the Sheshha-SheshhI bhava!
Just as the universe is visible so also the body is
visible. So long as the mind is there both the body and the
universe will certainly be visible. When the mind is
inactive as in sleep, or in sedation or in samAdhi, there
is no universe, body or activity of the senses. Where is
the distinction in that state, between body and its life or
soul, who is the sharIrI, what is the sharIra, who is the
SheshhI, who is the Seshha? In sleep and in sedation, there
is no duality because nothing is cognized. For the jnAni
who is in the samAdhi state, again there is no universe or
phenomenal activity because of the absence of mind. There
is no jIvAtma being monitored or enlivened by the
ParamAtman. To comprehend the presence of these two,
function of the mind is necessary. Is it the state like
sleep or sedation where there is nothing? No. That is not a
state of complete void; it is a state of One-ness, namely
the presence of the One without a second! This is how
advaita has been established by the Acharya.
But other than that jnAni, the experience of every one else
has to see everything starting from the mind and going
all the way to the five fundamental elements as pervaded
by ambaa. And that is what the Acharya is training us to
do. As a beginning for this perception he says brahman
(shivam) is the soul and the unvierse (ambaa) is the body.
And he goes on to say in this next shloka (#35), that mind
itself, which is the cause for all duality, is ambaa.
(To be Continued)
Thus spake the Paramacharya
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.
Also see the webpages on Paramacharya's Soundaryalahari :
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