[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-65)
profvk at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 7 22:02:41 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.1174 -1179 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
After having described how the eyes enjoy the nine rasas
poured out by poets into the ears of the Mother, now the
Acharya tells us how the eyes themselves show the dance of
the nine rasas:
Shive shRngArArdrA tad-itara-jane kutsana-parA
saroshhA gangAyAM girisha-carite vismayavatI /
harAhibhyo bhItA sarasiruha-soubhAgya-jananI
sakhIshhu smerA te mayi janani dRshhTis-sakaruNA // 51 //
It is the eyes that can show all the different rasas that
reflect the status of the mind. The ears are simply of no
use for this task. The lips of course can reflect anger (by
twitching in a certain way) and sorrow (by twitching in a
different way). Sometimes they also show happiness by
showing a slight movement peculiar to a smile. But the one
organ in the body which shows out all the attitudes that
exist internally is the eye. Whether it is love, disgust,
anger, wonder, fear, courage, comic mirth, compassion, or
serenity, for all these the eye is the indicator. In
dramatics the rasa of compassion is also shown by the
sorrowful eye, but the rasa of divine compassion (karuNA)
is recognised in dance forms only by the eye. The artist
when bringing to life his picture or painting, takes the
greatest care on his depiction of the eyes for it is
through them that he brings out the state of mind of his
subject. A slight alteration in the presentation of the
eyeballs will change the entire bhAva of the painting.
Equal care has to be taken of the eyes by the actor or
actress in a play. All this world is a play of the Mother.
And She showers all the rasas through Her eyes. And that
is what is taken up in this shloka.
In what context is the shRngAra rasa (the sentiment of
Love) dominant? Naturally in Her relationship with the
Lord. Shive shRngArAdrA: The eyes are wet by the rasa of
Love towards Shiva. His crystal whiteness is flooded by Her
redness and thus draws Him into the shRngAra rasa as is
talked about in shloka 92.
The expression of Love is something that attracts. The
opposite of this is not the fear or terror (raudra rasa)
that is generated by anger. Anger has always a reason.
Love is blind. So Love has no reason or rhyme. The opposite
of it is the bhIbatsa rasa (the sentiment of disgust) that
also has no reason. We have many things in us that are
disgusting both physically and mentally. But ambaa the
Universal Mother takes all of us in Her arms. How can She
have any rasa of disgust? Yes, She has when some male
other than Her Lord, comes to Her not as Her child, but as
an adult. Even Lord Shiva came to Her in disguise once,
with tales of blame on Shiva and that is the time when She
exhibits the bhIbatsa rasa as exquisitely described by
Kalidasa. By just closing the eyes also, She may exhibit
tad-itara-jane kutsana-parA: tad-itara means other
than He (Shiva). kutsana-parA means full of disgust.
jane: in the people. kutsana is the same as bhIbatsa.
When does She show Her raudra rasa the rasa of extreme
anger? saroshhA gangAyAM. rosha and roudra are the
same. When the Lord is keeping another woman right on the
top of His head that is what Shiva is doing with GangA
She is naturally angry. He gave Her only half His body;
whereas the other woman is sitting on his head! She is not
angry with Him; She is a pati-vratA. But She shows Her
anger on GangA! By a poetic ruse the Acharya here gives
Her the feeling of an ordinary human female!
adbhuta is another rasa. It is the wonder expressed at
something extra-ordinary. girisha-carite vismaya-vatI:
vismaya is wonder. GirIsha and Girisha are both names
of Lord Shiva. GirIsha is Giri-Isha, that is, the Lord
of the Kailas mountain. Girisha means the One who resides
in Kailas mountain. His history is full of wonders and
miracles. The destruction of Tripura, the burning of
Manmatha, the vanquishing of GajAsura, the silencing of
Kala, the killing of the asura andhaka, the consumption
of the HalAhala poison, the roaming about as a mendicant
(BikshhATanaM), the tANDava dance of Nataraja, and the 64
leelas in the kshhetra of HalAsya (Madurai) all these and
many more! That the Actionless (nishh-kriyaH) Ultimate
got involved in all these numerous actions was itself due
to ambaa -- that is why the Soundaryalahari started. She
wonders at the Leela-actions of the Lord and we wonder at
Her miraculous prompting that made Him do all the actions!
The next is bhayAnakaM, the rasa that expresses fear. She
as the Universal Mother is abhaya-vara-pradA, the
dispenser of abhaya, fearlessness and vara, boon. How can
She have fear? Yes, She has. The poet in the Acharya says
She is harAhibhyo bhItA afraid of the snakes on the
person of the Lord! Actually the very snake depicted around
a Shiva-linga is Herself in the form of the KunDalini in
every jIva. And still She is afraid of Shivas snakes!
This is another divine play!
The rasa of vIra, that is, courage, is certainly visible
in Her great leelas of the destruction of MahishhAsura and
BaNDAsura, where She could be seen as the very
personification of vIraM. But the Acharya could not
possibly bring himself to link Her vIraM with such
destructive episodes. Instead he says
sarasIruha-soubhAgya-jananI the One who generates the
brilliance of the lotus. Lotus-brilliance is red. Redness
indicates the rasa of vIraM. In fact he could have said
that She excels the brilliance of the lotus. For he does
not want even that slight hint of a competition or battle
implied in the word excels. So he says She generates
(jananI) the brilliant redness of the lotus.
One more observation about the word jananI. There is
also an alternate reading as jayinI. This means the One
who wins. Her eye certainly wins the brilliance of the
lotus. In this reading, the concept of winning is
explicitly stated. Whether it is winning or generating,
what is significant here is that it is the very eyes of the
Mother that do these actions directly. So far the rasas
that we have seen earlier like anger, fear, wonder, etc.
are all only shown as a reaction to something else by the
eyes. Whereas, this vIra rasa is not a reaction by the
eyes, it is an action performed by the very eyes!
sakhIshhu smerA -- humorous among Her friends. The
mischievous look that She would exhibit in Her humorous
conversations with friends is what is enjoyed by the
The remaining of the nine rasas are: shoka that is sorrow
which is also exhibited as karuNA (divine compassion)
and shAnta that is serenity.
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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