[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-68)
profvk at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 17 07:32:30 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.1190 - 1196 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
dRshA drAghIyasyA dara-dalita-nIlotpala-ruchA
davIyAmsaM dInaM snapaya kRpayA mAm-api shive /
anena-ayaM dhanyo bhavati na ca te hAnir-iyatA
vane vA harmye vA samakara-nipAto himakaraH //57 //
dRshA denotes by the eye as also by the glance.
drAghIyasyA means longer than anything. The comparison
is with any thing else in the world. Therefore the
expression dRshA drAghIyasya connotes the eye-glance that
can outreach any distance. In other words ambaals glance
falls on those even in the farthest corners of the
universe. And naturally it does not distinguish among them;
it falls on all of them equally.
dara-dalita-nIlotpala-ruchA : Usually ruchi is taken to
mean the taste that the tongue feels. But the feeling of
light that is associated with the eye-sense is also
called ruchi. In shloka #48 earlier, the Acharya used
dara-dalita-hemAmbuja-ruchiH the ruchi corresponding
to the golden lotus slightly in bloom for ambaals third
eye. Thus the light of fire that comes from the third eye
is the golden lotus and the other two eyes are blue
water-lilies (nIlotpala). The two sounds of la in
nIlotpala give the soft gentle touch of sweetness to the
description. It befits the deity whose name itself
lalitA contains the same two soft sounds of la. Just
as an expert jewel-maker chooses the right colour and
nature of the gem-stones to be studded in his jewels so as
to maximise the attractiveness and majesty of the jewel
that he makes, the poet in the Acharya chooses his words
meticulously to fit the subject and produce the delightful
The nIlotpala radiates cool beauty. The coolness compares
to the compassion that radiates from the graceful
eye-glance of ambaal. And it permeates the whole universe.
This radiation is not the eye-blinding brilliance of the
golden lotus (hemAmbuja) which belongs to the third eye.
The Lords opening of the third eye is known to radiate
terror. We have no instance of ambaals opening of Her
third eye. So what is prayed for here is the
nilotpala-glance of the right and left eyes.
Then there is the qualification dara-dalita for the
nIlotpala. When the waterlily is fully closed but ready to
blossom, the cool shine of the moon falls on it and it
starts to open up. dalita indicates the just-opened
state of the petals of the lily. dara meaning, a
little -- indicates that the blossoming is not full but
very little. If the lily opens out fully, it wont give
the eye-shape. Nor is it totally a bud. Only a closed eye
would look like a lily-bud. And we know that ambaal never
closes her eyelids! She has to cast Her glance on all the
world all the time!
Nor can we say Her eyes are fully open. Actually such a
fully open look from the eyes would not radiate compassion;
only in anger the eyes will radiate such a full stare. In
a compassionate look, the eyelids are half closed and
half-open. In complete shAnta (Peace) state the eyes will
be almost closed though a little of it is visible. So when
ambaal casts Her graceful compassionate glance, the eyes
have the half-blossomed state of the nIlotpala. It is in
this state that the flower also has a subtle attraction,
for what is inside is not visible, but what is inside is
also showing a little! A poet also enjoys and revels in
such a state where he dares not say something explicitly
but still is not totally implicit.
When you look at a nIlotpala petal, it shows up as blue in
the outer fringes but as you look more and more inside and
follow it up to its base, the blue colour fades and
brightens up into white. This happens even in the petals of
a red lotus. Thus when a nIlotpala flower shows up as a
silken blue with a polished oily surface, with no other
colour spoiling the blueness, then it must be only in its
half-blossomed state. When it has fully blossomed, the
white colour at the bottom will begin to show up. Hence the
words dalita ( just blossomed) and dara (only a
little). What an accurate matching of words!
Now let us go to the second line of the shloka:
davIyAmsaM dInaM snapaya kRpayA mAm-api shive
Note that the first line had a number of words sounding
with da. dRshA, draghIyasyA, dara, and dalita.
And the same flooding of words with da continues even in
the second line: davIyAmsaM and dInaM. And again the
sound effects of drAghIyasyA and davIyAmsaM are the
same. All this is of course gymnastics of words. That is
only the tip of the iceberg. The gymnastics of the contents
of the words is thousand times more superb.
davIyAmsaM is also a word denoting a degree of comparison
just as drAghIyasyA was in the first line. davIyAmsaM
denotes farther than anything. So it indicates the person
who is praying is farthest removed from Her. dInaM
indicates lowliness, pitiability, worthlessness,and a state
of total fright. All these meanings are together applicable
here. The Acharya has put in this word so as to have all
its meanings relevant here.
Such a lowly person is to be bathed (snapaya) in the rain
of compassion from the Mother Goddess. But where is the
rain of compassion supposed to come from? It is not
from; it is by. By Her glance. By Her kaTAkshha
glance of grace.
But if you look at the first line there doesnt seem to be
any need for such a prayer. For drAghIyasyA is the nature
of Her eye-glance; that means it is far-reaching and covers
the entire world. Not only it covers universally every
one, but it does not also make any distinction from person
to person. So there is no reason to assume that somebody
has been left out.
Why then is this prayer snapaya kRpayA meaning, please
deign to bathe (this devotee) in Your compassion?
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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