[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-58)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 10 00:07:43 CST 2004

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.1115 -1119  of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
4th imprn.)

[Note by VK: The  delightful commentary in Tamil  
of the Paramacharya on this shloka, #44, 
has been really  a difficult one for me 
to present in English (in DPDS – 57, 58 and 59). 
The superb majesty of his discourse 
should be enjoyed in the original]

In the Assembly of ambaa, on both sides of Her, Lakshmi and
Saraswati are said to be fanning Her. This is what the name
“sa-cAmara-ramA-vANI-savya-dakshhiNa-sevitA” says in the
Lalita-sahasranAma. Instead of having  them as Her
assistants, She has them both as Her very eyes – this is
what the name “kAmAkshhi” means. “kA” means Saraswati and
“mA” means Lakshmi. And “akshha” means ‘eye’.  So
“kAmAkshhi” is the One who has ‘kA’ and ‘mA’ as Her eyes!

Later,  shloka 64 says that Saraswati dwells in Her tongue.
In fact, the grace of ambaa in  bestowing power of
expression to devotees is well known. That is why Saraswati
is spoken of as dwelling in Her own tongue. And the poet in
the Acharya plays gymnastics with the word japa in that
shloka, where it says: Your tongue defies the japa
(hibiscus) flowers in its redness because it is constantly
engaged in the Japa (mantra-repetition) that gives
expression to the glories of Lord Shiva; the redness of Her
tongue is so intense that the Goddess of Speech, Saraswati,
who dwells therein, gets Her crystal-like white complexion
changed into the colour of a ruby (noted for its
reddishness). We already saw in Shloka 16 that poets have
spoken of Her as ‘shRngAra-laharI’ in Her form as the ‘red’
Saraswati (aruNa-saraswati).

Thus, of the two fanning divines, one of them, Saraswati,
is elevated to the position of residing in the divine
tongue of ambaa. So, the other of them, namely Lakshmi, is
now elevated in this shloka (#44), to even a higher
position, namely, the top of the divine head itself.
Lakshmi resides in the sImanta of ambaa; and it is that
Lakshmi who is decorated with the kumkuma-ornamentation of

So the parting of the hair goes like a white streak amidst
the jet black forest of hair  (‘cikura-nikurumbaM’ of
shloka 43)  which looks like waves of blue-black on either
side of it. It is the whiteness of the sImanta (parting
line) that is usual; but here ambaa’s sImanta has been made
reddish by the sindhUraM. So the blackness of the locks of
hair on either side and the redness of the parting line
make the imagination of the poet run riot. Many of us do
not appreciate such poetic licence, because of our
preoccupation with the utilitarian value of everything we
see or experience. But a poet does not just see beauty; he
invents original analogies and that is what makes us enjoy
both the poetry and the devotional sentiment built into it.

‘prabala-kabarI-bhAra-timira-dvishhAM  bRndair-bandhIkRtaM
iva navInArka-kiraNaM’   -- these are the words.

‘arka’ is the Sun. ‘arka-kiraNaM’ means the Sun’s ray.
‘navIna’  is new. So ‘navIna-arka-kiraNaM’ means the rays
of the rising Sun. Certainly it is reddish. Only when the
Sun comes up higher and higher it loses its redness of
appearance and becomes pure white. But at the point of
rising it is red. The Acharya sees the sImanta-sindhUram on
the divine head as one of the red rays of the rising Sun.
At the beginning of the parting, namely at the top of the
forehead, the sindhUra is a big dot (red) and so is the Sun
itself (rising) and the saraNi, namely the line of parting,
is the red ray emanating from that Sun. 

‘prabala-kabarI-bhAra-timira-dvishhAM bRndair-bandhIkRtaM’.
Does this not sound like a cluttering chatter of teeth? Why
this hard construction ? The very words speak of a
thunderous noise of battle. Who is battling with whom? The
talk is about the sImanta-saraNi. Then who is warring with

‘kabarI-bhAra-timiraM’ means the darkness shown by the jet
black dense hair. The adjective ‘prabala’ prefixed to it,
indicates a further strength to that darkness. When
something is ‘strong’ it can be expected to be aggressive
also, in the worldly ways of thinking. So whom will this
darkness challenge or contest?  Only Light. What is opposed
to darkness is light. It is the sun  which dispels the
darkness of the night and brings the day.  It is not even
just the sun; it is the morning sun that night considers as
the  harbinger of its doom.  Because darkness  never ‘sees’
the full Sun. As soon as the first ray of the morning sun
appears, darkness has to wind up and run. 

And here, while darkness is in the form of ambaa’s hair,
the morning sun has appeared in the form of the sindhUram 
on the top of the forehead.  It is the crimson ray of the
morning sun that is represented by the sindhUram-coloured
parting of the hair. And it is this parting that prevents
the darkness on either side to become one large mass of
darkness. Further, it is the darkness of the hair that has
been pampered by oil, shampoo, and flowers – as has been
indicated by the words ‘ghana-snigdha-shlakshhNaM’
(luxuriant, soft and oily) in shloka #43.  Because it has
been ‘pampered’ it has become ‘prabala’ (exceedingly
strong) now. And that gives it the courage to dare
challenge the redness of the sImantaM!
(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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