[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-64)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 4 17:41:50 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.1164 -1174    of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
4th imprn.)

Shloka #49 continued:

Sweetness is the innate characteristic of ambaal’s form. So
how sweet would be her dRshhTi, in particular! Therefore it
is ‘madhurA’.  The corresponding city in North India is
Mathura. But here it is the ‘Madhura’ of  the Tamil region.

‘Bhogavati’ is said to be  a place in Prayag (modern
Allahabad). But the shloka talks about ‘nagaras’ only. So a
part  of Prayag cannot be what he is referring to. Also
Bhogavati is also the name of a city in the nether-world
and also the name of Ganga which flows in the three worlds.
But the Acharya is talking here only about cities on Earth,
none of these would be the Bhogavati that he is referring
to. So it must refer to only  Cumbath in Gujarat, which has
however lost its good old name of Bhogavati!

Well, how does that name fit as a description of ambaal’s
eye-glance? The word means ‘deserving of experience’. If
only ambaal’s glance can fall on us, what greater
experience can we think of, other than the bliss such a
glance will bestow on us? 

‘avantI’ means that which protects. It is ambaal’s
eye-glance that is a great force of protection for us. The
city named Ujjain also has the name ‘avantI’. In fact the
name once belonged to both the city as well as the kingdom
of which it was the capitol. Later, in order to avoid
confusion, the kingdom continued to be called ‘avantI’
while the capitol was named ‘Ujjain’. Later it appears that
the capitol was also called ‘VishAlA’.  

A final observation. Ambaal’s dRshhTi certainly falls on
the whole universe and therefore on all the cities of the
world. But these eight have been highlighted because the
divine glance has all the qualities indicated by the names
of these cities; and that is what makes the poet in the
Acharya express his  delight  through this shloka. 

The next shloka (#50) makes a direct connection between
poetic talent and ambaal’s eyes, by bringing in a
comparison between Her third eye and the other two eyes:

kavInAM sandarbha-stabaka-makarandaika-rasikaM 
kaTAkshha-vyAkshhepa-bhramara-kalabhau karNa-yugalaM /
amuncantau dRshhTvA tava nava-rasAsvAda-taralau 
asUyA samsargAd-alika-nayanaM kimcid-aruNaM // 50 //

dRshhTvA:   Having seen
tava:  Your
kaTAkshha-vyAkshhepa-bhramara-kalabhau : (side-glance –
pretext – honeybees – young)  two eyes  resembling the
young of honey-bees,on the pretext of (casting)
amuncantau:   not leaving
karNa-yugalaM : the two ears
sandarbha-stabaka-makrand-aika-rasikaM : (poetry – bouquet
– honey – exclusive – tasting)  which enjoy the exclusive
taste of honey dripping from the bouquet of poetic
kavInAM : of the poets
nava-rasa-AsvAda-taralau : and eager in tasting the nine
alika-nayanaM : the third eye (on the forehead) 
asUyA-samsargAt:  out of jealous hostility
kimcid-aruNaM :  (has become) slightly reddish.

The key word here is ‘asUyA-samsargAt’ . Where came this
hostility? Why? To whom? These are the interesting
subtleties of the Acharya’s composition in this shloka. 
The redness of the third eye is usually attributed by poets
to the traditional association of agni (fire) with the
third eye, just as the other two eyes are associated with
the Sun  and the Moon. But the eye that goes with the Sun
should then be associated with heat and the other eye with
the coolness of the Moon. That way there will be a
distinction between the two eyes. The Acharya naturally
wanted to deviate from this stereotyped analogy of the
three eyes to the Sun, the Moon  and agni.  He assumes
therefore that all three eyes were naturally of the same
colour originally, but now because of the feeling of
jealousy on the part of the third eye towards the other two
eyes, it became red!

And, he gives a legitimate reason for this jealousy. The
word ‘sandarbha’ means ‘opportunity’ or ‘circumstance’. In
the context of this shloka it means that kind of exquisite
poetry which coordinates  characters, events,
circumstances, words,  flight of imagination, metre, and
everything connected with poetry. When  poets make a
bouquet out of such excellent poetry, all the nine
sentiments – rasas – flow out like honey. This is the honey
that is exclusively enjoyed by the ears of ambaaL. Her eyes
are themselves long and when the side glances are there,
the ends of the eyes reach the ears! And that is how the
eyes partake of the poetic honey that has already been
poured into those ears by poets. Enjoying this taste of
honey the eyes would not leave the ears (‘amuncantau’).
Since the eyeballs are so fascinated by that enjoyment,
they do not come off from the ears; they are compared to
the young ones of honey-bees which get stuck in the depths
of the honey-full stems of flowers! 

But here, in the poet’s imagination, ambaaL is playing a
trick with Her devotees.  She has a duty of pouring out
compassion and grace on the people of the world. If She is
only enjoying the flattering stotras poured into Her ears
to such an extent that even Her eyes get stuck in extending
their side-glances up to the ears, then She will be failing
in Her duty of compassion to the rest of the world. Hence
the use of the words ‘kaTAkshha-vyAkshhepa’. On the pretext
of a side-glance She is allowing Her eyeballs to move
sideways up to the ears. This side-glance pretext is for
the world to be blessed with Her infinite compassion. In
other words She is achieving both by Her side-glance – one
is pouring out Her Grace on the world and two, the eyes
themselves are sharing with the ears the honey-taste of the
poetic fancies that reach the ears. 

What are these poetic fancies? They are all about the Lord.
But this idea is not there in this particular shloka. By
sheer habit I just used the words ‘about the Lord’. But it
is not all mine. In shlokas 60 and 66, where Saraswati
Herself is singing praises and Mother Lalita is listening
with enjoyment, it is said ‘vividham-apadAnaM pashupateH’,
meaning ‘the varied leelas of Lord Shiva’.

Another shloka which talks about the fact that Mother
Lalita is enjoyhing the music of Sarasvati is shloka #60.
There are two “lahari’s” in this shloka.
“sarasvatyAs-sUktIH amRta-laharI kaushalaharIH” are the
beginning words. We have already seen various “lahari’s”: 
Ananda-lahari; Soundarya-lahari; cidAnanda-lahari;
shRngAra-lahari.  In this shloka (#60) though it looks like
there are two “lahari’s”, in actual fact there is only one,
namely, “amRta-lahari”. The other one, “kaushala-hari” is
not a “lahari”. It means that which captivates the
“kaushala” (talent). The content of the first line of
shloka #60 is to say that the words (actually, prayers –
sUktis) of Sarasvati capture even the flooding flow of
nectar (amRta-lahari). Earlier in shloka #50, it was said
that the ears store up the honey of praises from poets.
Here the same ears are said to be the small receptacles
(chuLuka-pAtraM) of those prayers given out by no less than
the Goddess of Learning Herself. When the ears are so
personified, the clang of the ear ornaments (kuNDala-gaNaH)
when Mother Lalita nods Her head in appreciation,  is said
to be the  cries of ‘hear hear’ of those ears in
appreciation of Sarasvati’s praises.

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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