[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-36)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 23 19:57:13 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.942-950  of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th

In Soundaryalahari, as well as in many similar works, there
is mention about attaining of a most attractive form,
captivating women into submission by means of mantra, and
such matters. These should not be taken literally. What
does it mean to bring another into submission to you? It
only means that you are already submitting yourself to such
practices. To appropriate a lot of property simply means to
allow oneself to be appropriated by that thought of
proprietorship. To want to bring somebody else into
submission  implies that you are already  submissive to
such thoughts. Thereafter there is no question of bhakti
towards ambaal or of surrendering to Her. Our Acharya would
never have meant to make us slaves to such mean desires. 

What he intended must therefore be to warn us well ahead so
that we can steer clear of such desires and aspirations.
Just as all rivers fall and get absorbed into the sea, so
also all desires should get absorbed in oneself, never to
rise up again – says the Gita. That is the kind of shAnti,
Peace, that our Acharya would have advocated. It is the
captivation by oneself of all desires and the absorption of
all of them into oneself that the Acharya must have meant
by the power of ‘vashyaM’, meaning, ‘captivation into
submission’.  All the three worlds become a woman who
submits to the jnAni in submission – this is the vashyam
that he talks about in Sloka No.19; not the captivation of
a woman into submission for lustful objectives. 

Now let me come, as I promised,  to the importance of the
red colour of ambaal.  It is the colour of the eastern sky
when the sun is just rising. Kameshvari is of that colour.
What is so great about it?  There is some physics of light
here and there is also the philosophy of creation and
dissolution. Red is at one end of the spectrum. When a
colour is visible it means  the light wave corresponding to
that colour is the only thing  that has not been absorbed
by the medium that transmits the light. Whatever colour is
reflected, that shows up; and whatever colours are
absorbed, they do not show up. When white shows up it means
none of the colours is absorbed, all of them are
‘reflected’ and they merge into one colour, white. When
dark shows up it means all the waves of light are absorbed
and there is no ‘reflection’. 
Of the three gunas, shuddha-satvam, or pure satvam,  is the
one that does not keep any of the three for itself and
therefore it is pure white, like milk. It is taken to be
indicative of the para-brahman, though the latter
transcends all the colours and the gunas. On the other
side, the colour that keeps all the colours within itself
and does not let any reflection out is black and this is
the colour of ‘tamas’. It is pure Ignorance. The in-between
guna is rajas, the kriyA-shakti. It is red in colour
because it is the first colour that separates itself from
the pure white sunlight and forms the beginning of the 
projection of the other colours and creations.  

>From the pure white of satvam to the total darkness of
tamas, the entire spectrum and variety of creation -- all
of them have come from the parabrahman, through the first
emanation of the ‘red’ Kameshvari.  The ‘kriyA’ (Action)
that projects the jIvas from brahman, and the ‘kriyA’ that
takes the jivas back to brahman – both the kriyAs are those
of the parA-shakti who rose up as the all-red Kameshvari
from the first ‘thought’ of the Ultimate.Therefore ‘red’ is
indicative of Creation and is therefore the colour of
Creator BrahmA. The activity of life is all due to the flow
of blood which is ‘red’ in colour. The Sanskrit word for
blood is ‘rakta’ which also means ‘red’.  Creation is done
by a poet also; so the poetic talent, ‘kavitvam’ is also
taken to be ‘red.

There are differences in the redness of rajas. The seeds of
‘kundumani’, the fruit of bitter gourd, and
‘pAdirip-pazham’ are all red.

(Note by VK: (1) The botanical name for ‘kundumani’
 is Abrus precatorius.
 The seeds of this contain
 poisonous proteins.
(2) I am not able to get the English name 
for ‘pAdirippazham’).

 But the first one is poisonous, the second is bitter
though good for health,  while the third is sweet as well
as good for health.  In rajas also, there is the rajas that
binds, the rajas that keeps a goal of moksha and the rajas
that lifts you up to moksha. The ‘redness’ of Kameshvari is
of the third type. It is that redness which has to be
meditated upon, says sloka #18, as the one that engulfs all
the region from the sky to the earth. The words ‘saraNi’
and ‘lahari’ both mean a flood. ‘ShrI’ stands for the
beauty of ambaal. ‘ShrI – saraNi’ mentioned in #18, is
therefore nothing but Her Soundarya-lahari, the flood of
The mention of ambaal’s Supreme Beauty (Slokas 12 and 18)
in this part of Ananda-lahari, in spite of its yantra,
mantra and esoteric occupations, is to tell us that all
this is to lead us on to the darshan of that supreme beauty
of ambaal’s form, described in the latter part, namely,
Soundaryalahari. That physical form of course is contained
in the ‘head-to-foot’ description; but the redness that
radiates from that form is a light that fills up the
(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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