[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-62)
profvk at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 25 17:17:44 CST 2004
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.1152 - 1158 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
I said there is a special significance for shloka #47,
beyond the gymnastics of its imagery.
Among the several great achievements of ambaaL is the fact
that She gave life to Manmatha who was earlier burnt to
ashes by the Lord Himself. She did it so that the play of
Creation could go on. But then She also was concerned about
the welfare of the created world. The waywardness and
indiscipline of people of the world, did bother Her. As the
Mother of the Universe She wanted the Father also should
join Her in the activity of redeeming the millions of the
world. Instead of helping Her in this direction He, the
Lord, had the propensity to retire into seclusion for
penance. She knitted her eyebrows at the thought of this.
That very frown of Hers became an encouraging factor for
Manmatha who was now alive by Her Grace. Making Her own
knitted eyebrows his bow, He came to Her help. He assured
Her that he (Manmatha) will keep the bow (of Her eyebrows)
in readiness so that the very moment Lord Shiva shows any
propensity to retire into aloofness, he can release his
arrow and change His mind. During that earlier time when he
tried this he was burnt to ashes by the Lord; this happened
because He was at that time trying it on his own, with a
great air of confidence built by his own ego. But now, in
all humility, he says that he will take refuge in Her own
face and use Her own eyebrows and eyes for his equipment
of bow and bowstring. By the very fact that it is now Her
own divine act, it wont result in failure as in the
Thus it is the frown of the eyebrows that causes
everything. It is at the control of that frown that the
entire Universe and its divine functionaries are all
functioning. No doubt therefore, that if we take refuge in
the same eyebrows by meditating on them, the bad effects
of manmatha will not be on us!
Now the Acharya comes, in the description of ambaaL from
head to foot, to Her eyes. In the previous shloka (#47)
itself, there was a casual mention of the black
honey-bee-like eyes. But in that shloka the dominant factor
was the eyebrows. Now we come to the eyes proper. This
shloka #48 talks about the three eyes of ambaal and the
importance of the third eye.
ahas-sUte savyaM tava nayanaM arkAtmakatayA
triyAmAM vAmaM te sRjati rajanI-nAyakatayA /
tRtIyA te dRshhTiH dara-dalita-hemAmbuja-ruciH
samAdhatte sandhyAM divasa-nicayor-antaracarIM //48 //
savyaM nayanaM: right eye
ahaH: the day
arkAtmakatayA: it being of the form of the Sun, (or)
possessing the definitive characteristic of the Sun
rajanI-nAyakatayA: Being of the form of the Moon (the Lord
te vAmaM (nayanaM): Your left eye
triyAmaM: the night.
tRtIyA dRshhTiH: third eye
dara-dalita-hemAmbuja-ruciH: (which resembles) the red
golden lotus slightly in bloom
samAdhatte: beautifully generates
sandhyAM: the two sandhyAs, i.e. the two twilights
antaracarIM: which come in between
divasa-nishayoH: day and night.
The eye-balls of the right and left eyes of ambaaL are
like black honey-bees. The third eye however is different;
it is crimson-red like melted gold. This is the agni-netra
of the Mother. The first two eyes are, according to all
shAstras and purANas except of course the Purushha-sUkta
the Sun and the Moon. The central eye, usually referred
to as lalATa-netra is agni, Fire.
The first line says: Because your right eye is of the form
of the Sun, it generates the day-time. Note that the word
savyaM is used here for right as opposed to vAmaM for
left (see the second line).
hemAmbuja is golden lotus. The Meenakshi temple in
Madurai has the sacred tank called the tank of the golden
lotus. It is ambaals third eye that is the golden lotus
It is interesting to note that while the two eyes denote
the progenitors of day and night, the third eye which
is between the two eyes must generate the intervening time
(sandhyA) between day and night. And, incidentally, this
shloka therefore establishes that ambaaL is Time itself;
The Mother does not stop by just creating day, night
and the two sandhyAs. The three Cosmic Functionaries who
take care of the triple acts of creation, protection and
dissolution, are created by Her (shloka #53). Without
distinguishing between the colours of the three eyes, the
lines of red, white and black are depicted as rajas, satva
and tamas and these originate the three functionaries,
Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, who, at Her bidding, do the acts
of creation, protection and dissolution.
But Shloka 55 presents the Compassionate aspect of the
Mother and compensates for the possible impression of Her
as the ultimate progenitor of Destruction at the
Dissolution time. If You close Your eyes, the world gets
destroyed. And when You open them, the world is created
again. The presently created world should not be destroyed
that is what Your Mother instinct feels. That is why
perhaps, Oh Mother, You are not winking Your eyes says the
Acharya in the 55th shloka thus echoing the general
understanding in the Hindu world that the divines dont
wink their eyes at all.
In another shloka #54, the three colours white, red and
black which stand for satva, rajas and tamas are presented
from a different perspective. The river Ganga is white. It
comes from Shivas matted hair. Yamuna river is black,
because it has an inseparable relationship with Krishna.
The third one is Saraswati which is invisible but flows
under Ganga and Yamuna as an underground current. In stead
of Saraswati, the Acharya takes the Sone river, which is
red. The meaning of SoNa is red. If Ganga is taken as Shiva
and Yamuna is taken as Vishnu, then the SoNa river is to be
taken as ambaaL. It is ambaals favourite son Vighneshvara
who presents Himself as the red Sona-bhadra stones that are
available in plenty in the Sone river-bed. The three lines,
white, black and red, in ambaals eyes represent the
Triveni of Ganga, Yamuna and SoNa. Therefore it is anaghA
that is, sinless. The dRshhTi, glance that emanates from
that sinless confluence of the three great rivers will
eradicate all our sins. Let it sanctify us, winds up the
Acharya, as a prayer that benefits, in his usual style,
not only the one who says this but all of us!
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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