[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-24)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 22 06:25:48 CDT 2003


FOR NEW READERS of this series, it may be worthwhile to go back to  the Introduction  about the objective of this Digest and the Note on the Organization (both at advaitin Message No.18425; ambaa-L message no.5273; advaita-L message No.14046; Sadhana_shakti message no.334). 

Let us recall that  the entire contents of the Digest are from the Paramacharya’s ideas and words, including the first person reference to himself,  except for my English rendering. Wherever he uses specific English words himself, I have drawn the attention of the reader to that fact. Recall particularly that ‘our Acharya’ or ‘The Acharya’ in the discourses, means ‘Adi Sankaracharya’.

V. Krishnamurthy


A Digest of Paramacharya’s Discourses on Soundaryalahari -  24

(Digest of pp.869-883 of Deivathin Kural Vol.6, 4th imprn)


Having described Her four arms and what She held in them, having portrayed Her general physical features including the autumnal full moon of the divine face, the sloka 7 ends with the svarUpa-lakshaNa (Inherent Definition) of ambaal. This is the core of the core. She is the personification of the ‘I – ness’ of the Absolute Brahman. I have talked about it earlier.  In other words She is the cit-shakti Itself. She is  jnAna in form.  She is jnAna-ambaaL. 

‘purastAd AstAm naH’ – May She appear before us. May She become cognizable for us. Note the use of the word ‘us’ (‘naH’) here. Our Acharya is praying for us all. It is not ‘me’,  but ‘us’. The purpose of the graphic description in this sloka is for us to keep Her before our mental vision.


There is a Tamil stotra called abhirAmi-antAdi. This is a stotra by a great devotee abhirAmi-bhattar  on the Goddess known by the name of abhirAmi in TirukkaDavUr. The form of abhirAmi has four hands with vara and abhaya in the two forehands and lotus and bead-necklace (aksha-mAlA) in the other two hands. The stotra has 100 verses. Right in the second verse the author describes how the Goddess gave darshan to him, as having in Her four hands, the bow, the arrows, the noose and the spear. In the last verse of his poem he gives the same description of the Goddess.


The next sloka of Soundaryalahari (Sloka No.8) describes her location, her own world in the Cosmic Geography. Just as Shiva has Kailas, VishNu has Vaikuntham, She has Her own, but there are  actually two locations for Her. One is the central peak, called the peak of Meru.The other is called the City of ShrI (ShrI-puram or ShriI-nagaram) in the  Ocean of Nectar (amRta-sAgaram). But the descriptions of the residence of ambaal in either of them is the same. This sloka (No.8) – ‘sudhA-sindhor-madhye …’ gives the description of the ShrI-nagaram. Right in the centre of the Ocean of Nectar; surrounded by the forest of five kinds of divine trees; in the island  called maNi-dvIpam; therein in the Garden of kadamba trees; in the palace of gems called cintAmaNi. right on the seat of the five brahmAs; 


(Re: the five brahmAs, see DPDS – 10. –VK)


And right there, She is seated, as an inundation  of Bliss  that is  of pure Cit, Knowledge. This is what one has to visualize in one’s meditation. 


After this sloka come two slokas, nos.9 and 10, wherein we are told how to propitiate ambaal through the Kundalini Yoga and mantra yoga. Sloka 9 describes how one achieves the bliss of advaita by moving the Kundalini shakti through the six chakras (also called lotuses). From bottom up, in these chakras, the kundalini shakti is in the form of the five elemental principles – earth, water, fire, air, and space and then in the sixth, as the mind principle. The nADi (nerve, approximately) which has all these chakras is called the sushhumnA nADi. 

When Kundalini is taken up via this nADi through all these chakras and finally is unionised with the shiva-tattva in the thousand-petalled lotus at the top of the head, that is when She causes the realisation of the  bliss of advaita. What is in the micro is also in the macro.  When ambaaL is in her virAT (universal expansion) state, the five elemental principles and their origin, the mahat principle, are all in the experience of a yogi who sees them in the kundalini chakras.  And that very mahat, which is the Cosmic Mind, merges itself in the brahman, namely, the shivam in the sahasrAra (thousand-petalled) chakra, thus causing the advaita-siddhi.


This experience of the ‘rasa’ (flavour) of advaita is actually the experience of the taste of nectar, says the next sloka (#10). When advaita is ‘experienced’ there cannot be two things: one, ‘the taste’ and two, the One that gives that taste, namely ambAL; and much less another thing called a jIva. So the word ‘experience’ is just a ‘formality’ (‘upacAram’ in Sanskrit) for  saying what cannot be said formally. However, just before that ‘experience’  and after it, there is something like a sentiment similar to an ‘experience’, the benefactor of that experience and the recipient of that experience – in fact, a triad or ‘tripuTi’. 

I talked of lotuses earlier. They are not lotus flowers of our familiar village pond. The lotus flower of a pond blooms only in sunlight. In moonlight they close up. On contact of the heat of fire they disintegrate. On the other hand, in these kundalini lotuses, whether it is agni-khaNDam, sUrya-khaNDam, or candra-khaNDam, the lotuses corresponding to the khaNDam blossoms, when the kundalini reaches there. And in the end, the full moon itself blooms the thousand petalled lotus at the top of the head. And the nectar of moonlight  flows from the moon.


That is the ‘rasa’, the flavour, the juice, the essence. Who is giving that ‘rasa’?  It is the ambaal. Her divine feet is there in the reflection of the moon as the Guru’s Grace. That is where indeed the nectar flows from. That it flows from the moon is only a way of saying. The one who receives and realises the flow of that nectar-rasa is the jIva.  But the advaita bhAvanA (attitude) that She is Herself the ‘rasa’ and  She is also the ‘rasAsvAda’, the taster of the ‘rasa’ – this feeling will also be there. 


Maybe you are all thinking : ‘(The Speaker) is neither going into the subject of Kundalini, nor is allowing us to go near it. How, in the world, can we ever have  such profound experiences? At least he (the speaker) could have gone on without mentioning these!’


Well, it is not necessary to have them as the Kundalini yoga. …


(To Be Continued)


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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