[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-68)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 17 07:32:30 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.1190 - 1196  of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
4th imprn.)

dRshA drAghIyasyA  dara-dalita-nIlotpala-ruchA 
davIyAmsaM dInaM snapaya kRpayA mAm-api shive /
anena-ayaM dhanyo bhavati na ca te hAnir-iyatA
vane vA harmye vA samakara-nipAto himakaraH //57 //

“dRshA” denotes ‘by the eye’ as also ‘by the glance’.
“drAghIyasyA” means ‘longer than anything’. The comparison
is with any thing else in the world. Therefore the 
expression ‘dRshA drAghIyasya’ connotes the eye-glance that
can outreach any distance.  In other words ambaal’s glance
falls on those even in the farthest corners of  the
universe. And naturally it does not distinguish among them;
it falls on all of them equally. 

“dara-dalita-nIlotpala-ruchA” : Usually ‘ruchi’ is taken to
mean the taste that the tongue feels. But the feeling of
‘light’ that is associated with the eye-sense is also
called ‘ruchi’. In shloka #48 earlier, the Acharya used
‘dara-dalita-hemAmbuja-ruchiH’ – the ‘ruchi’ corresponding
to the golden lotus slightly in bloom – for ambaal’s third
eye.  Thus the light of fire that comes from the third eye
is the golden lotus and the other two eyes are blue
water-lilies (‘nIlotpala’). The two sounds of ‘la’ in
‘nIlotpala’ give the soft gentle touch of sweetness to the
description. It befits the deity whose name itself –
‘lalitA’ – contains the same two soft sounds of ‘la’. Just
as an expert jewel-maker chooses the right colour and
nature of the gem-stones to be studded in  his jewels so as
to maximise the attractiveness and majesty of the jewel
that he makes, the poet in the Acharya chooses his words
meticulously to fit the subject and produce the delightful
sound effect!

The nIlotpala radiates cool beauty. The coolness compares
to the compassion that radiates from  the graceful
eye-glance of ambaal. And it permeates the whole universe. 
This radiation is not the eye-blinding brilliance of the
golden lotus (hemAmbuja) – which belongs to the third eye.
The Lord’s opening of the third eye is known  to radiate
terror. We have no instance of ambaal’s opening of Her
third eye. So what is prayed for here is the
nilotpala-glance of the right and left eyes.

Then there is the qualification ‘dara-dalita’ for the
nIlotpala. When  the waterlily is fully closed but ready to
blossom, the cool shine of the moon falls on it and it
starts to open  up. ‘dalita’ indicates  the just-opened
state of the petals of the lily. ‘dara’ – meaning, ‘a
little’  -- indicates that the blossoming is not full but
very little.  If the lily opens out fully, it won’t give
the eye-shape.  Nor is it totally a bud. Only a closed eye
would look like a lily-bud. And we know that ambaal never
closes her eyelids! She has to cast Her glance on all the
world all the time!

Nor can we say Her eyes are fully open. Actually such a
fully open look from the eyes would not radiate compassion;
only in anger the eyes will radiate such a full stare.  In
a compassionate look, the eyelids are half closed and
half-open. In complete shAnta (Peace) state the eyes will
be almost closed though a little of it is visible.  So when
ambaal casts Her graceful compassionate glance, the eyes
have the half-blossomed state of the nIlotpala. It is in
this state that the flower also has a subtle attraction,
for what is inside is not visible, but what is inside is
also showing a little! A poet also enjoys and revels in
such a state where he dares not say something explicitly
but still is not totally implicit.

When you look at a nIlotpala petal, it shows up as blue  in
the outer fringes but as you look more and more inside and
follow it up to its base, the blue colour fades and
brightens up into white. This happens even in the petals of
a red lotus. Thus when a nIlotpala flower shows up as a
silken blue with a polished oily surface, with no  other
colour spoiling the blueness, then it must be only in its
half-blossomed state.  When it has fully blossomed, the
white colour at the bottom will begin to show up. Hence the
words ‘dalita’ ( just blossomed) and ‘dara’ (only a
little). What an accurate matching of words!

Now let us go to the second line of the shloka:

“davIyAmsaM dInaM snapaya kRpayA mAm-api shive”

Note that the first line had a number of words sounding
with ‘da’. ‘dRshA’, ‘draghIyasyA’, ‘dara’, and ‘dalita’. 
And the same flooding of words with ‘da’ continues even in
the second line: ‘davIyAmsaM’ and ‘dInaM’.  And again the
sound effects of ‘drAghIyasyA’ and ‘davIyAmsaM’  are the
same. All this is of course gymnastics of words. That is
only the tip of the iceberg. The gymnastics of the contents
of the words is thousand times more superb.

‘davIyAmsaM’ is also a word denoting a degree of comparison
just as ‘drAghIyasyA’ was in the first line.  ‘davIyAmsaM’
denotes ‘farther than anything’. So it indicates the person
who is praying is farthest removed from Her.  ‘dInaM’
indicates lowliness, pitiability, worthlessness,and a state
of total fright. All these meanings are together applicable
here. The Acharya has put in this word so as to have all
its meanings relevant here. 

Such a lowly person is to be bathed (snapaya) in the rain
of compassion from the Mother Goddess.  But where is the
rain of compassion supposed to come from?  It is not
‘from’; it is ‘by’.  By Her glance. By Her ‘kaTAkshha’ –
glance of grace.

But if you look at the first line there doesn’t seem to be
any need for such a prayer. For ‘drAghIyasyA’ is the nature
of Her eye-glance; that means it is far-reaching and covers
the entire world.  Not only it covers universally every
one, but it does not also make any distinction from person
to person. So there is no reason to assume that somebody
has been left out.
Why then is this prayer ‘snapaya kRpayA’ – meaning, please
deign to bathe (this devotee)  in Your compassion? 

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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