[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-37)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 27 06:33:35 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. 950-958 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th

In the sahasra-nAma ( (poem of )one thousand names) of
Lalita  there is a long series of names which describe the
divine form from head to foot. Naturally the hands have a
due place there. But the hands and the weapons held in 
them are talked about even before the head-to-foot
description starts. The weapons are not said to be just
held, but they are built into an esoteric description. The
weapons pAsham, ankusham, bow and arrow  are each given a
philosophical meaning. The ‘pAsham’ (noose) is called
‘rAgam’ (desire) there. 

‘rAga-svarUpa-pAshADhyA’: Desire is the noose which binds.
So She has the noose of Desire in Her hands.  But the
desire is not the wrong desire, it is  the desire that
binds one to ambaal. At that point there shoud be no hate
or dvesham. That is why there is an ankusham (spear). And
then there are the bow and arrow to help us bind our mind
and senses to the Ultimate. Only after this the darshan of
ambaal in Her head to foot physical form will be obtained. 
But even before that form is visible, what one sees is the
vast spread of the red colour everywhere. So the name that
occurs just before the first name in the head-to-foot
description is ‘nijAruNa-prabhA-pUra-majjat-brahmANDa
manDalA’, meaning, ‘She immerses the entire universe in Her
crimson effulgence’. The same idea is said in the second
line of Shloka 18: 
divaM sarvAM urvIM aruNima-nimagnAM.
In several places in the Soundaryalahari, we find the same
descriptions as in Lalita SahasranAma almost in the same

The forehead of ambaal is like an inverted half-moon :
dvitIyaM tan-manye makuTa-ghaTitaM chandra-kalashaM (Shloka
ashhTamI-chandra-vibhrAja-daLika-sthala-shobhitA (L.S.)

If She opens Her eyes, it is Creation; if She closes them,
it is Dissolution: 
nimeshonmeshAbhyAM praLayam-udayaM yAti jagatI (Shloka 55);
unmeshha-nimishhotpanna-vipanna-bhuvanAvaLiH (L.S.).

Not even a tree bearing precious gems (vidruma-latA) can
equal the enchanting lips of ambaaL:

dantachhada-rucheH pravakshye sAdRshyam janayatu phalaM
vidruma-latA (Shloka 62);

The jingling of the gems in the anklets of ambaal’s feet is
described in both almost in the same words:

Subaka-maNi-manjIra raNita- ... charaNa-kamalaM  (Shloka
sinjAni-maNi-manjIra-maNDita-shrI-padAmbujA  (L.S.)

The idea that ambaaL’s very speech  can beat the sweetness
of the vINA-music of Goddess Sarasvati, epitomised in the
Lalita-shasranama line
is developed in a whole Shloka No.66 of Soundaryalahari. 

While giving examples and analogies to various parts of the
form of ambaal, when it comes to the chin of ambAL, both
the Lalita sahasranama and the  Soundaryalahari, say that
it is devoid of all analogies:
Katham-kAram brUmas-tava chubukam-aupamya-rahitaM  (Shloka
anAkalita-sAdRshya-chubuka-shrI-virAjitA  (L.S.)

Before the radiance of the pair of lotus feet of ambaal,
the real lotus pales into insignificance, according to the
Lalita-sahasranama line:


This idea is developed elaborately in Shloka 87 where the
Acharya shows in how many ways the divine feet pales the
lotus into insignificance. Lotus withers away in snow. But
ambaal, whose house of birth as well as the house of
marriage both are in Himalayas, the feet are always
excelling in snow. Lotus droops during night; but the
divine feet  beam with freshness. The lotus has the Goddess
Lakshmi within it (and would not give it!), whereas the
divine feet of ambaal dispense wealth and prosperity (that
is, Lakshmi) to all who touch them.  Thus the divine feet
are always one up, -- so ends the Shloka (#87) “himAnI
hantavyaM ....”.

While the Acharya has done stotras on Vishnu and Shiva
giving  a head-to-foot description  of the deities, he has
shown great originality in the fund of his innovative
descriptions and analogies. Then why did he not do it here
in the case of ambaal? Why did he have to borrow from the
Lalita Sahasranama? It shows only the Acharya’s humility
and the high pedestal on which he places the 

Now let us follow the main trend of our coverage of
Soundaryalahari. In Shloka 21  he talks about the flood of
absolute bliss in brahman that is experienced by one who
has reached the apex in KunDalini yoga.  This flood is
legitimately called by him ‘AhlAda-lahari’. ‘AhlAda’ means
happiness, joy, bliss.

And now comes one of the most easy-worded, but profoundly
meaningful Shloka, #22.
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.
Also see the webpages on Paramacharya's Soundaryalahari :

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