[Advaita-l] Question about Saundaryalahari

Nagarjuna Siddhartha nagarjunasiddhartha at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 9 15:34:22 CDT 2003

Raghavendra Hebbalalu <hs_raghavendra at yahoo.com> wrote:saundaryalaharI is a great work - and has lot of
Tantric and devotional import. Legend has it that it
was indeed composed by Sri Shankara and all the
AchAryas accept it. Some people have a doubt whether
Sri Shankara could have been the author of this where
some things contrary to Upanishadic Advaita have been
said. But since the AchAryas accept it and they know
better, I trust them.

As far as the sectarian-ness is concerned, I see this
shloka only as a beautiful representation of the
greatness of the Divine Mother. Saundaryalahari is a
shAkta work and thus, it is only fitting that She is
elevated to the Highest in this. 

Elevating their chosen Deity to the Highest position
is standard in smArta tradition. When other deities
are shown in a lower position than the deity we wish
to praise, it is just a matter of using poetic
license. It should not be construed as berating other
gods and as sectarian. 

Take the lakshminrsimha karAvalamba stotram - you have
this word-fragment -
brahmendra-rudra-marudarkakirITa-koTi - which is part
of the statement that glorifies Sri Vishnu as
Narasimha as - having feet that are illuminated by the
lights of numerous crowns of Brahma, Indra,Rudra,
Maruts and others. I relish this as a great poetic
gesture without considering the other gods any lower
and some people can see it as berating Brahma and
Rudra. There are tons of examples in Shiva stotras
also where other forms of God are seen as subordinate
to the chosen Deity. So, it is just a matter of how
one sees it. 

So, my advice would be - if you like Lord Vishnu so
much that you cannot tolerate other forms of God,
don't read stotras of other Deities and feel bad. 

Personally, I don't have a problem with all this. I
relish the SaundaryaLahari as much as the
Shivanandalahari and the rAmabhujangaprayAta. God is
God. All the forms are for worship. Thoughts of
greater and lesser cause one to miss the whole point
of bhakti. 


--- Nagarjuna Siddhartha > Does the above verse not
sound characteristically
> "UN-SANKAR-IC"? Does it not sound sectarian? There
> is no objection if someone praises any form of
> Ishwara. Afterall, all Gods are forms of the
> Absolute. All forms deserve praise. But why
> denigrate other Gods/forms? Could such a work be
> considered as the authentic one of a great master
> like Sankara? That too the very God, VishNu whom he
> praises as the supreme Self in the BSB, BG and
> Upanishad bhashyas (his most authentic works), how
> can he denigrate him in such a manner? No offense
> meant here, but the above verse appears to be
> glaringly sectarian and in my opinion could not be
> an authentic work of Sankara.

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