[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS -30)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 6 22:50:12 CDT 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.909 - 915 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th

The aksharas, alphabets, are very important for ShAktam.
Each letter has a basic sound principle associated with it.
The very creation is by the vibration of sound waves. The
elemental principle of ‘AkAsha’ produces, through
vibration, subtle sounds, and from these sounds creation
starts, from that the mantras, and the vedas that are full
of mantras. The subtle principle underlying AkAsha, that
is, the tanmAtra associated with AkAsha, is ‘sound’ . The
key concept in ShAktam is the cycle of evolution and
involution and so, the sound principle runs as its
life-line. On one side Shaktam has the artha-prapancham,
the universe of matter,  where the fundamental principles
are Shiva-tattvam, Shakti-tattvam, sadAshiva-tattvam,
Ishvara-tattvam and shuddha-vidyA tattvam – which take you
through the evolutionary stage from the para-brahman to the
universe of matter and being. On the other side there is
the sabda-prapancham, the unvierse of sound. It starts from
the most subtle one called ‘parA’. Including this there are
five ‘sound’ (shabda) principles. After ‘parA’ there is
‘pashyantI’, then ‘madhyamA’. 

The subtle sound ‘parA’  cannot be heard by human ear and
cannot be vocalised by human voice. It is in fact the root
source, the substratum,  of all sounds. When that gets a
little focussed – just a little – and materialised, it
becomes ‘pashyantI’.  In other words, what was ‘without
purpose’ and was just plain and simple sound-root, namely,
‘parA’ , became inclined towards being heard and being
spoken and so in that direction ‘solidified’ slightly and
thus ‘pashyantI’ arose. So ‘pashyantI’ has a purpose!. The
very word itself means ‘seeing’, ‘looking forward’. ‘parA’
had no purpose; but when the ‘purpose’ arises, it becomes

Next comes the actual subtle sound, called ‘madhyamA’. This
is not produced by any human voice. It arises by itself.
This is therefore midway between the subtle sound  of
‘pashyantI’ and the actual sound of the human voice, which
is physical. Hence the name ‘madhyamA’, which means ‘what
is in the middle’. This is a self-generated sound. It is
therefore also called ‘anAhata’.  ‘Ahata’ means ‘what is
forced or externally generated’.  That which is not forced
or not generated externally, is the ‘anAhata’ sound.

All that is externally generated is ‘Ahata’. In this
category come all sounds, that human voice produces, by the
vibration of air through the larynx, and all instrumental
noises produced by the blow of air or by beat of drum or by
the friction of matter with matter, metal with metal. 

After parA, pashyantI, and ‘madhyamA’  comes the speech
that man produces with effort. This is called ‘vaikharI’. 
This is classified into two: just mere noise is called
‘dhvani’ --- when a child cries, or when we just laugh
loudly or weep aloud; that which is recognisable as ‘such
and such a sound’ is called ‘varNa’.  This ‘varNa’ is the
akshara or the alphabet.  There are 51 specified aksharas. 
The five principles of the artha-prapancham are usually
equated with the five sound principles. In fact the latter
are more important, because it is by the vibration of these
sounds that the artha-universe began. 

Now let us come to the five elemental principles in which
Ambaal manifests Herself in the kundalini cakras. Starting
from mulAdhAra, upwards to the vishuddhi chakra, the
tattvas of earth, water, fire, air and AkAsha are
proceeding from the concrete  to the subtle ones. This is
the artha-prapancham. The five elemental sound principles
are also manifested in the kundalini Chakras, but in the
reverse order. It is in the mulAdhAra chakra that the most
fundamental sound energy ‘parA’  is present. So from the
mulAdhAra to vishuddhi, they go from the subtle to the
concrete, thus ending up with the most concrete one of the
human voice, namely, the ‘varNa’ category of vaikhari.

The 51 sounds of the alphabet are called ‘mAtRkAs’. The
word ‘mAtRkA’ means ‘mother’. An young mother who moves and
mingles with us in our own childish world is called
‘mAtRkA’. A royal mother with a higher status is called
‘mAtA’. She is the ‘mahA-rAjnI’ of LalitA-sahsranAma.  But
She is also the ‘mAtRkA-varna-rUpiNI’, meaning She is in
the form of the varnas (=aksharas) or the mAtRkAs. In
ShAkta scriptures the aksha-mAlA and the book are
indicative of the shabda-prapancham. That is why ambaal is
holding them in the other two hands. 

The ShrI vidyA mantras are made up of pure aksharas only.
It is the Mother Goddess Herself who takes the forms of
these sounds. Those who do the mantra-japa are being
blessed by Her through these sounds. Her Grace makes even
the kundalini yoga achievable by the vibrations of the
nADIs at the japa of the mantras. We, in addition, get many
of our other desires fulfilled. Not only this. By repeating
these sound vibrations we get even the darshan of Her
physical form.Thus Her entire leelA takes place in this
universe of sounds and sound vibrations. All that I said
now is about the aksharas only. 

When we combine these aksharas in various combinations we
get the various words and nAmas and also the stotras. In
fact even the Vedas arose like this. 

In the ShrI vidyA mantra there are three ‘kUTas’, spheres
of influence. The first one is called ‘vAgbhava-kUTam’. It
means that it arises from ‘vAk’, speech. The entire mantra
is the form of ambaaL. And in that form, the face is
‘vAgbhava-kUTam’. In the scriptures and stotras of ShAktam,
it is very often said that She gives ‘excellence of speech’
to Her devotees.  In this very sloka (#15) that is what it
says. Why all this importance to this Grace of the Goddess?
Let me explain.
 (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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