[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari(DPDS-14)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 29 08:02:20 CDT 2003

Recall that  the entire contents of the Digest are from the
Paramacharya’s ideas and words, except for my English rendering.
Wherever he uses specific English words himself, I have drawn
the attention of the reader to that fact. FOR NEW READERS of
this series, it may be worthwhile to go back to  the
Introduction  about the objective of this Digest and the Note on
the Organization (both at advaitin Message No.18425; ambaa-L
message no.5273; advaita-L message No.14046; Sadhana_shakti
message no.334).
V. Krishnamurthy

A Digest of Paramacharya’s Discourses on Soundaryalahari -  14
(Digest of pp.766-774 of Deivathin Kural, Vol.6, 4th imprn.)

There is also the Upanishad authority for saying that the
non-dual brahman sprouts out the world of duality by sheer
internal vibration. This is in Katopanishad. All this world
arises from the life force called prANa and moves thereon. The
word for ‘moves’ that is used is ‘Ejati’. Ejanam and Kampanam
both mean movement, but not by any external force. We may also
interpret it as vibration from the inside. Brahma sutra also
uses the word ‘kampanAt’.  When the Acharya writes the bhashya
for this he writes: This prANa which causes the vibration is not
simple air. It is the very brahman itself !
(It is to be noted that in this portion of the bhAshya, 
Adi Sankara has used the very words ‘spandam’ and
which are the words for Kashmir Shaivism, 
without anywhere hinting that the words come from there.)

We can get many more such authorities to confirm that as far as
the phenomenal reality is concerned, there is a creation with
mAyA as the cause. Whenever these passages occur, they also
concur with many of the thoughts of the ShAkta scriptures. 
Let us not think that the Acharya’s outpourings in the
Soundaryalahari is just a mixture of several viewpoints! We
should keep an open mind and let ourselves go along with the
flood of poetry that comes and simply concentrate in the ambaal
with faith and humility. Then we can get the maximum joy out of
(Now follows a general, but remarkable, advice of the
Paramacharya on 
‘How to approach the Soundaryalahari’ . VK)

When the scriptures or shAstras talk about deep philosophical
principles which have themselves a divine character, they
present certain descriptions allegorically. We should not
misunderstand these allegories. In fact the word ‘allegory’
itself is not the right word here. When esoteric principles are
deliberately personified, that is ‘allegory’. The profound ideas
of the shAstras or the purANas are not just mental creations of
the author. It is parAShakti Herself who opens out those
principles in those forms to  great rishis or persons who have
reached the siddhi in the mantras.
 If this world is taken to be real, then more real are the
principles and stories that help us throw off our shackles and
reach our True State.  Even today if we can do the japas and
dhyAnas in the proper manner, and melt our hearts in intense
devotion, those forms can be seen as we see each other in the
outside world. And when such divine sights occur our ordinary
views of each other would pale into insignificance. The Love and
Bliss that such sights generate will take us to the realisation
of the Ultimate. Therefore it is not right to say that
everything is an allegory.

To get back to what I was saying earlier, these divine forms
which personify esoteric fundamentals, might contradict  what we
consider to be normal, right, decent, and beautiful in the
ordinary mundane world. Just because of that it is not correct
to conclude that the original reality itself is not right,
decent and beautiful.
Similar things can be said of the poetic traditions and the
culture of classic literature. Or even of sculpture, painting or

In all these,  our norms cannot be the standards of ordinary
worldly life. Works like Soundarylahari, which are
simultaneously devotionally divine hymns and poetic excellences,
 have to be approached in the right manner in order to obtain
the fullest benefit from them. Our minds have to be open and
clean. The ShrI-vidyA shAstras describe in esoterically romantic
terms how Shiva, who is nothing but the Absolute Brahman,
coupled with Kameshvari, the personification of the icchA (Will)
of Shiva, cause creation to happen. Such matters occur in
Soundaryalahari also. 
All these years the upAsakAs (intense devotees) without any
prejudice followed the path of ShrI vidyA and have been able to
discard all the faults like desire and the like. And Muka-kavi
puts this with poetic emphasis in his pancha-Shati: “Mother, you
caused ‘desire’ to rise even in Shiva who burnt to ashes the
very desire personified in the form of Manmatha; that is why You
are able to eradicate the internal faults like desire in jIvas
and give them Enlightenment”.

The punchline here is the fact that our people of ancient times
had the right approach to such works of art, poetry and
devotion. The Guru-shishhya-paramparA took care to see that such
works were handed over only to those who could be expected to 
have the right approach. Whether the work  was religious or
poetical, mystical or secular, they would, when communicating
with the public, only touch such delicate works  and not
elaborate upon them in detail. Accordingly, when the common man
meets with any situation  wherein there is an idea, concept, 
story or  character, apparently repugnant to him,  he does not
get distracted, because his main aim always was to take only
those things which suited his taste and which were recommended
to him by elders. 
Thousands of years have passed like this. And our people have
followed the traditional paths without ever giving place to
indecent imaginations or wrong interpretations. The common man
knew that there must be some sense in those deep and profound
things because great men say so and he would not unnecessarily
probe into them. Not that he was not rational-minded; it only
means that he had an unshaking faith in tradition and also he
was aware of his own limitations. 
But then the printing press arrived; and times changed. ….
(To be continued).

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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