[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS - )
profvk at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 4 07:24:52 CDT 2003
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.903 - 909 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th
We were talking about Shiva-sAyujya-padavI (the status of
unity with Lord Shiva). To reach the world of the
ishhTa-devatA (Chosen favourite deity) and live in that
world is called sAlokya-padavI. The next stage is the
sAmIpya stage. This is the stage where one lives in the
beatific presence of that God. The next stage which is
sArUpyam is the process of becoming that very form by
continuously meditating on the form. The ultimate is the
sAyujya-padavI where one becomes in essence the object of
ones adoration. This is an identity status, both in form
There are devotees of Shiva who seek that sAyujya padavI in
their unquenchable thirst for becoming one with the Lord.
In their case the sAyujyam is an end in itself. On the
other hand, the divine damsels (go back to Shloka 12) who
are seeking that sAyujya status with Lord Shiva do not seek
it as an end, but as a means to be able to see the beauty
of the Supreme Goddess. It is an irony that in the hands of
these damsels even the greatest goal (sAdhyam) of
shiva-sAyujya status has become a sAdhanA (means) for the
sadhyam (that is, that which is sought, and therefore, a
further goal), the darshan of the fullest beauty of ambaal!
Well, just because these damsels have sought that status is
it going to be within their reach? It is something which is
inaccessible even for the hardest penance. These damsels
know only to disturb and destroy the penances of the
rishis. The sense-control needed for the hard penance is
beyond their reach. So what do they do? They only try to
achieve it mentally. But that status indeed is not
reachable even by the mind. yan manasA na manute says the
Upanishad, meaning, What cannot be thought of even by the
mind. The bottomline therefore is, even they cannot
ultimately know the beauty of ambaal!
It is to be noted that this shloka, which elevates the
beauty (soundaryam) of ambaal to its apex, is actually in
the midst of the first part, that is Ananda-lahari.
Another shloka (#14) describes ambaal as the
personification of Time (kAlam).There are six seasons in a
year. These 360 days of the year are the 360 rays of light
emanating from the infinite Light of Shakti. Each of the
chakras represents one of these seasons and there are as
many rays there as there are days in the corresponding
season.For instance, in the mUlAdhAra chakra, there are
fifty-six rays, corresponding to the fifty six days of
vasanta-ritu (the spring season). She thus contracts
Herself as a ritu in Time and stays as such in that chakra.
In reality She transcends Time; She is kAlAtItA. It is in
that transcendent state, She manifests as the divine Feet
in the thousand-petalled chakra, beyond the six chakras.
The pair of Her lotus feet tava padAmbuja-yugam -- is
there in that sahasrAra chakram.
Amidst the Anandalahari shlokas I will now pick up one
shloka (#15) which depicts Her, not in Her lalitA form, but
in another form consistent with the ShrI VidyA tantra.
Sharat-jyotsnA shuddhAM shashi-yuta-jaTA-jUTA-makuTAM
sakRn-na tvA natvA katham-iva satAM sannidadhate
madhu-kshhIra-drAkshhA-madhurima-dhurINAH paNitayaH //
satAM: For (those) noble ones,
sakRt : just once
natva: having prostrated
tva : to You
Sharat-jyotsnA-shuddhAM : who is as pure and white as the
shashi-yuta-jaTA-jUTA-makuTAM: who has the crown of matted
hair that includes the moon, and
vara-trAsa-trANa-sphaTika-ghuTikA-pustaka-karAM: who holds
in the (four) hands, the boon mudrA, the fear-protection
mudrA, the crystal bead necklace, and the book
Katham-iva : why(would)
paNitayaH : the speech capabilities
madhu-kshhIra-drAkshhA-madhurima-dhurINAH: which are
pregnant with the sweetness of honey, milk and grapes
na sannidadhate: not accrue?
Here the Goddess depicted is the the Goddess of Speech,
(vAg-devi or Sarasvati), but without Her usual VINA in Her
The word sharad becomes very apt when one refers to
Goddess Sarasvati. It is in sharad-ritu (the autumnal
season) that we do pUjA to Sarasvati. She is called ShAradA
because of that. Our Acharya had a special affinity to the
ShAradA name. Sarasvati is very important to him because we
know he reached the peak of excellence in scholarship.
[Note by VK. It is a miraculous coincidence
that the turn, in this series, of this posting,
has come on the ninth day of navarAtri,
which is the day of Sarasvati-Puja,
that falls on Saturday the 4th of October, 2003.]
ShAradA is one of the more important names of Sarasvati.
It indicates simultaneously the perfect purity of whiteness
and the cool Grace that combines pleasantness and goodness.
Very often sha and sa get interchanged in tradition. In
north India there is the custom of referring to ShAradA as
SaradA. The latter word means, SAra-dA, the One who graces
you with the essence (sAram) of Knowledge.This may be
another reason why the Acharya had an affinity toward the
name. The name of the deity he installed in Sringeri is
ShAradAmbAL. In spite of the fact that he had a liking
towards this name, just as he never mentioned either lalitA
or Tripura-sundari in this stotra, he did not also mention
ShAradA. Still, by the words Sharad-jyotsnA in the
beginning of this shloka, he reminds us of ShAradAmbAl.
The second line of the shloka talks about the four hands.
Two of the hands show the vara (boon) and abhaya
(fearlessness) mudrAs. Earlier it was said in shloka 4 that
all others other thanLalitAmbAL show the vara-abhaya
mudrAs. So in this shloka he presents Saraswati with the
vara-abhaya mudrAs. The dual word trAsa-trANa indicates
the abhaya. For trAsa means fear and trANa means
protection. Protection from fear is just abhaya,
SphaTika-ghuTikA is the crystal bead necklace. In Sanskrit
it is called aksha-mAlA. This is the same as
aksharamAlA. The aksharas are the alphabets. The 51
letters of the Sanskrit alphabet from a to kshha
correspond each by each to the beads in the necklace; that
is why it is called akshara-mAlA, also called
aksha-mAlA. Here I have to tell you a very important
component of the ShAkta tradition and scriptures.
(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.
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