[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-41)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 10 08:25:37 CST 2003

Recall the Note about the organization of the ‘Digest’, 
from DPDS – 26 or the earlier ones.
V. Krishnamurthy
A Digest of Paramacharya’s Discourses on Soundaryalahari - 
(Digest of pp.974- 979  of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th

The waving of lights that is mentioned in the last shloka,
the third nIrAjana of the whole work, has a specific
reason. The Acharya says that the entire work is actually
Hers, and therefore it is fitting, he says, to visualise
the work itself as a nIrAjana to the goddess.  Mother
Goddess created this universe out of Her own wish and
imagination. In the same way though the poet may have
created this work, the words are actually Hers and so She
is the Origin for the work. So from that Infinite source of
Light, a fragment of a camphor is taken out and used as
nIrAjana to Her, through this work. In other words the
whole work shows  only a fragment of Her Infiniteness. And
that is why the third nIrAjana (Shloka 100) corresponds to
Thus Soundaryalahari has three wonderful nIrAjanams built
into it. 

Let us now come back to shloka 22, where the first
nIrAjanam is taking place. The nIrAjanam here is nothing
but the dazzle of the crowns in the heads of BrahmA, VishNu
and Indra. 
The interesting point here is the omission of Rudra,  the
third of the Divine Triad. If you are talking of the divine
cosmic functions,  the triad must include Rudra, certainly.
But the purpose here is different. It is to show the
supremacy of Mother Goddess over everything. The three
divines mentioned here are,  the King who maintains the
divine world,   the One who maintains  the entire world,
and the One Creator to whom all the divines and all the
universe make their first appeal, whenever there is a
universal crisis. So the maintenance of the created world
is the thing in question here. That is why I told you
earlier that this nIrAjana is the ‘sthiti-nIrAjanaM’ (the
waving of lights corresponding to the Sustenance function).
For that very reason also, Rudra, the God of Dissolution
function,  is not mentioned.

Further there is an esoteric purpose. The attributeless
brahman transcends the three qualities satva, rajas and
tamas. Of these three, the first is usally associated with
the Sustenance Function and with Vishnu. The second, with
the Creation function and BrahmA. The third is associated
with the Dissolution function and with Rudra.  In the case
of jIva, the same three are the waking state (where we do
the maintenanace function of carrying on the activities of
life), the dream state (wherein we, out of our own mind,
create endless varieties) and the deep sleep state (wherein
all is quiet  and is dissolved). But even in that deep
sleep state, there is a life within, which is unaffected by
any of the three; that is the turIyam, familiarly called
‘caturtham’ (the fourth) in Mandukya Upanishad. The three
states of awareness – waking, dream, sleep – pertain to the
jIva; therefore it is what happens in the microcosm (the
‘pinDa’). The three states of Creation, Sustenance and
Dissolution, pertain to the Ishvara; this is what happens
in the macrocosm (the ‘aNDa’). 

The fourth, ‘turIyam’, is common to both. That ‘turIyam’ or
attributeless brahman, which is the substratum behind the
saguNa-brahman, that is Ishvara, is the very same ‘turIyam’
that lies as the ‘Atman’ ,  the substratum of the three
states of the jIva.

Why did I get into all this metaphysics? It is to tell you
that the ‘samhAra’ state, namely ‘Dissolution’ is what is
nearest to the turIya, the Brahman. Neither in the jAgrat
(waking) nor in the svapna (dream) is the jIva as restful
and unperturbed as in the turIya-samAdhi state. But he is
so in the sushupti (deep sleep) state.  But again that calm
that he obtains in  the sushupti state is not an
‘experiential’ calm. It is so only in the ‘samAdhi’ state. 
That is of course true. However, when compared to the
jAgrat and svapna states, the sushupti state is the one
nearest to the turIya-samAdhi state. In the Cosmic level
also, it is the samhAra-rudra that is nearer to the peace
of para-brahman  than the Creator BrahmA or the Maintainer
Vishnu.  It is that para-brahman that is called ‘Shivam’ in
the ShAkta literature. Rudra is samhAra-mUrti, Ishvara is
the tirodhAna-mUrti who is responsible for the mAyA
phenomenon and SadAshiva is the anugraha-mUrti, responsible
for the grant of moksha. And then beyond the three there is
the para-brahman that is shivaM. In spite of this
classification, in general parlance and tradition, rudra,
Ishvara, SadAshiva and Shivam are usually identified as the
same whereas the creator brahmA and the sthiti-kartA Vishnu
are taken only as brahmA and VishNu.

What we have said about Shiva also applies to Mother
Goddess. The parA-shakti which is the fullest dynamic
expression (shakti) of para-brahman, is usually talked
about as identical with Parvati, the consort of Rudra but
not Sarasvati or Lakshmi. Even in Soundaryalahari She is
addressed as ‘hima-giri-sute’ or ‘tuhina-giri-tanaye’ and
not as Sarasvati or Lakshmi. 
The bottomline of it all is this. It is only for Rudra
there is an identity with Shiva; not for the murtis BrahmA
or VishNu. Here the context is the nirAjana in  the form of
the crowns falling at the feet of ambaa.  And in this
context it was not decent to bring in Shiva or Rudrain this
part of Soundaryalahari where the emphasis is on philosophy
and tantra.  In the later part, where there is a free
licence for poetic imagination, we have instances where
even Shiva falls at the feet of the Goddess, the context
however being that of Love. 

It may be pointed out, in objection to what I have said
above, that even in this first part, in shloka 25, it says:
“It is enough to make one offering at Your feet. That
itself is equivalent to an offering to the divine triad.
Because they have placed their heads at your feet in
obeisance,  the offering at your feet to your feet is also
automatically made to those three.”
But a careful study of shloka 25 tells us it is not so. 

(Thus spake the Paramacharya)
To be Continued.

PraNAms to all advaitins and Devotees of Molther 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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