[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS - 09)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 18 09:04:46 CDT 2003

Recall the Note about the organization of the ‘Digest’,  from
DPDS – 6 or the earlier ones.
V. Krishnamurthy
A Digest of Paramacharya’s Discourses on Soundaryalahari -  9

There are two statements. One says: Even Shiva,  only when
united with you, Oh Shakti, is able to monitor the whole world.
And the other statement says: The Triad formed of Hari, Hara and
BrahmA worship Shakti.  Both these statements are contained in
the 1st sloka. Are Shiva and Hara different?  Are they not the
two names of the same deity? Why two names, and two actions? Is
one the Prime Mover  (corresponding to the word ‘spanditum’) and
the other  the one who worships (corresponding to the word
‘ArAdhyAm’)?  Are they not both the same?

Of course, advaita says all are the same One. But the very
origin of this stotra is not to stay at the level of advaita.
Everything may be the same One ultimately, but on the surface,
they are seen to be different. So Hara is one, Shiva is another.
The Shiva who is said to be ‘moved’ is the Shivam  enunciated as
the first principle  in the scriptures of the ShAkta and Shaiva
schools. Hara is the ‘Rudra’ who is in charge of the function of
dissolution among the five functions of the Almighty. ‘Hara’
comes from the root verb ‘har’ to destroy, to eradicate, to

(At this point, the Paramacharya begins to explain at length the
technicalities about the ‘five cosmic functions’. What follows
is a much-condensed digest. – VK)
It is the same paramAtmA who became the three members of the
Triad for the discharge of the three functions of Creation,
Sustenance and Dissolution. For all the three functions the
power source is ambaaL, the parA- Shakti. It is the explicitly
expressed power of brahman. So we may call it para-brahma-Sakti.
It is not only the power for the Triad but it is the power
source for the entire universe of the animate and the inanimate.
By calling it para-brahma-Shakti,  let us not think it is
different from para-brahman itself. For, when the shakti of an
entity  is separated from it, whatever  it be, the very fact of
its being that entity is lost. To give a mundane example, a
ten-horsepower motor loses the very fact of motorship if the
horsepower is taken away from it.  Therefore the
para-brahma-shakti is para-brahman itself. But the para-brahman
can also remain in itself without ‘exhibiting’ or ‘exploiting’
or ‘manifesting’ its power. When the parabrahman  so rests in
itself by itself as itself, it is known in ShAkta parlance as

It is from that calm nirvikAra (changeless) state of the First
Principle that we have all come to this jIva state with a mind
and all its  runaway associates called the senses.   Only when
we merge in that ShAnti (Peace) back again it may be said that
we have reached our true state and transcended the mAyA effect,
the bondage of samsAra. That blissful state of  moksha is so
calm and peaceful because it is now the same as being brahman,
which naturally, is calm and actionless without exhibiting its
latent shakti. In our daily life we may observe that if somebody
 is totally inactive, unresponsive and unaffected by anything,
we refer to him jocularly (at least in the Tamil world) as
‘para-brahmam’ !

Thus we are constrained to view Shiva as ‘para-brahman’ and
ambaaL as ‘para-brahma-shakti’. Though neither of them exists
without the other, we may allow ourselves the privilege of 
speaking of them AS IF they are different. Without
para-brahma-shakti, the world would not be there.  Now we have
to consider two more cosmic functions in addition to the three
well-known to all of us. We were nothing but the calm
Shiva-svarUpa once; from that state somehow  the real nature has
been forgotten and we have arrived at  this ignorant state of a
jIva and we find ourselves in a revolving cycle of samsAra
without the knowledge of our true state. The power which has
done this to us must also be the same para-brahma-shakti. And by
the example of several sages and saints who, though thrown into
the vortex of samsAra like ourselves, have obtained the
Enlightenment which took them back to that moksha state, beyond
the mAyA enchantment, it is clear that this function of gracing
the spiritually merited ones with moksha is also done by the
These two functions are called ‘tirodhAna’ and ‘anugraha’
respectively. The meaning of the root verb ‘tiras’ is to be
secretive or to hide. It is from the verb ‘tiras’ that the Tamil
word ‘tirai’ (meaning, ‘curtain’) has come. It is mAyA that
blinds the real thing from us by a ‘tirai’ (curtain). Just as
the three functions of creation, sustenance and dissolution have
been assigned (by the para-brahma-shakti) to BrahmA, Vishnu and
Rudra (Hara), so also Her assignee for the tirodhAna function is
called ‘Ishvara’ (also ‘maheshvara’) and that for the anugraha
function is called ‘SadAshiva’. The first three functions are
subject to mAyA. This mayic activity is in the control of
Ishvara. Release from mAyA is granted by SadAshiva. 
These are the five cosmic functions. Together they are called
the five-fold activity (pancha-kRtyam) of the Lord. This concept
of pancha-kRtyam is also mentioned by the Shaiva schools. The
very word panca-kRtyam means and involves activity. And as we
know, no activity is possible without the kArya-brahman
(para-brahma-shakti) coming in. So we can take it that the
original source  is parAshakti. She does it through the five
agents of Hers, namely the five forms of divinity mentioned
above.  The shAnta (calm) Shivam in its nascent state cannot
act. When action takes place it takes place through  parAshakti
in the form of the five-fold functions. Shivam by itself does
not produce the action. But it is in Shivam, the parabrahman,
that the first vibration for action sprouts, by its own Shakti.
But even before the action there must have been a will. This
will is called  the icchA-Shakti. On the basis of this icchA  --
the first wish, as it may be called, and the Upanishad also
says: ‘akAmayata’ –the kriyAshakti (the power of Action) begins
the pancha-kRtya-leelA. Thus, what was the parabrahman by itself
in itself, willed to ‘become’. It is for  this divine will that
the Upanishad uses the word ‘kAma’, meaning desire. This
‘desire’ is not to be taken in any derogatory sense. It is pure
Divine Will from Being to Becoming. Thus the first evolute from
brahman  is this divine kAma. So the shakti that is the origin
of  this is called Kameshvari and  the Shivam in which this kAma
sprouted is therefore called Kameshwara. 
(To be continued)
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.

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