[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-63)
profvk at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 1 18:55:26 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.1159 - 1163 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
Here is a shloka which combines, by a poetic artifice of
metaphorical meanings, the divine glance of ambaaL with
several (actually, eight) meritorious locations (kshetras)
in the land of Bharat.
vishAlA kalyANI spuTa-rucir-ayodhyA kuvalayaiH
kRpAdhArAdhArA kimapi madhurAbhogavatikA /
avantI dRshhTis-te bahu-nagara-vistAra-vijayA
dhruvaM tat-tan-nAma-vyavaharaNa-yogyA vijayate // 49 //
te dRshhTiH : Your eye-glance
vijayate : excels in glory (with qualities of being ---)
vishAla : broad,
kalyANI : auspicious,
ayodhyA kuvalayaiH : invincible (even) by the blue lilies
spuTa-ruciH : (in) brilliant clarity,
AdhArA kRpAdhArA :the basis for the flood of compassion,
kimapi madhurA: indescribably sweet,
avantI : protective, and
bahunagara-vistAra-vijayA : with victories spread over
tat-tan-nAma-vyavaharaNa-yogyA : well befitting the names
of cities indicated by those qualities,
dhruvaM : certainly.
Of these, the four names ayodhyA, dhArA (Bhojas
capital), madhurA, avantI (Ujjain) are well known as
the names of cities.
VishAlA (coming at the beginning of the verse) is also
one such; it is the other name of Badrinath. Recall the
slogan-cry of devotees: Jai bhadri-vishAl! In the
Valmiki Ramayana when Rama and Lakshmana are taken by
Vishvamitra to Mithila, on the way they pass through the
city of VishAlA.
In the Kannada region, there is a KalyANi in the
district of Bidar. In the days of the Acharya that region
was called Kuntala, with its capital at Kalyani. In later
days when the Chalukya dynasty of Vatapi came to an end,
but again emerged as a powerful influence, it came to be
known as the Kalyani Chalukya dynasty.
BogavatI is another city. This is known as kambath in
Gujarat. The Englishmen called it Cambay. That is why the
name of Gulf of Cambay came up.
VijayA is another city. It is not the Vijayanagar of Hampi
in Bellary District of Karnataka. Nor is it the
Vijayanagaram of Srikakulam District of Andhra, where the
famous Gajapati kings ruled. In order to distinguish these
two Vijayanagaras, the Hampi Vijayanagara was called
Vijaya and the Andhra Vijayanagara was called Viziya by
later English Historians. It was the Hampi Vijayanagara
that became the seat of the famous Vijayanagara Empire in
later days; because the city was named VidyA-nagara by
Bhukkaraya. But that was in the 14th century. Neither this
nor the Andhra Viziya was there at the time of the Acharya.
So the Vijaya that he has immortalised in this verse must
be something else, probably the Kurukshetra of the
Mahabharata. The last shloka of the Gita says: Where there
are Krishna and Arjuna, there rules Vijaya also!. It may
be this Vijaya is referring to Kurukshetra. It is
interesting to note that Arjuna was himself also known as
These eight cities are not ordinary places. The
relationship of ambaaL to them all is because of the fact
that Her eye-glance (dRshhTi) while falling on the
entire universe fell in addition with an extra force on
these eight places. And, to boot, the meanings embedded in
the names of these eight cities, also fit as a
characteristic of the dRshhTi of ambaaL. This is shown by
the extra meaning imbedded in these words in addition to
them being simple proper names of cities.
The Commentators wax eloquent on the precise meanings of
vishAlA dRshhTi, kalyANI dRshhTi and so on for all the
eight epithets for the glance of ambaaL. I do not remember
them all. But let me now tell you generally what all this
At this point, Ra. Ganapathy, the writer of these records,
supplies the following footnote.
Lakshmidharas bhashya on Soundaryalahari
describes these eight kinds of eye-glances thus.
vishAlA dRshhTi shows an inner satisfaction.
kalyANI shows the miraculous nature of the dRshhTi.
ayodhyA is the smile shown by the very eyeballs.
dhArA is that enchanting glance of the lover.
madhurA is what is shown by contracted eyes.
bhogavatI is the glance shown by friendly affection.
avantI is the innocent look.
vijayA is the side glance emanating from the position of
the eyeball moving to the extreme corner of the eye.
The breadth of coverage of the glance of ambaal is vast and
so it is vishAlA. It also generates auspiciousness for the
whole world; so it is kalyANI.
Now let us come to ayodhyA. This name could have come to
the capital of the state ruled by the Ikshvaku kings by one
of two reasons. Their headquarters must have been so well
protected by moats and fortresses that they were
invincible. Or perhaps, they were considered so
invulnerable that nobody came to fight with them. On both
contacts their place is ayodhyA! But the point here is,
in what way the name fits ambaals eye-glance? First of
all, dRshhTi itself is a word for eyes. Poetic liberty
with eyes compares it with blue lilies. Going one step
higher, poetic licence even plays havoc with the roles of
upamAna (example) and upameya (that which is
exemplified); thus they interchange the roles of upamAna
and upameya. In the current context, it is not uncommon
to say the eyes which belittle the blue lilies. And then
one gets to be more aggressive and says in the war of
comparison, the eyes are the winners over the blue lilies.
It is in this strain the Acharya says eyes which are
invincible by the blue lilies. And this invincibility is
what is built into the word ayodhyA!
It is ambaals eye-glance that bestows the rain of
compassion, that is, it is the basis (AdhAra) for the
rain (dhArA) of compassion (kRpA). Therefore it is
kRpA-dhArA AdhArA, thereby doubling the use of the sound
dhArA which is the name of the famous capital of Bhoja.
And does it not indicate also the generosity of King Bhoja
whose awards always excelled in their profusion because
they were always given with both hands rather than a single
hand, thus doubling the size of the benefaction?
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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