[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-69)
profvk at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 20 14:02:46 CST 2004
Recall the Note about the organization of the Digest,
from DPDS 26 or the earlier ones.
A Digest of Paramacharyas Discourses on Soundaryalahari -
(Digest of pp.1197 -1205 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
(Shloka 57 continued)
snapaya kRpaya mAm-api shive Bathe even me by Your
grace, Oh Mother : Why this prayer, when the first line
of the shloka has already assured us that ambaals
compassionate glance is drAghIyasyA , that is, it reaches
the farthest corners and extends to every one without any
distinction? That is because this lowly one (dInaM) is
davIyAmsaM (far removed even from the ordinary range of
people in that sense, the lowliest). And the Acharyas
stamp of humility comes out not only in these two words,
but in the additional word mAM api meaning, even me.
He asks for ambaals grace even on this poor me.
The whole thing implies My Mother! You have probably kept
me so far removed from you, because I do not deserve the
universal kaTAkshha (divine glance of grace) that you
bestow on all. I am probably of such poor spiritual merit.
But now I pray to you. Would you not deign to cast your
glance even on me?! Please do not just glance, but really
bathe me by a downpour of your grace (snapaya kRpayA).
Why this poor self-estimation? Obviously, the Acharya is
praying for all of us. We usually do not deign to rise to
this pedestal of humility when we pray to God. Because our
ego prevents us from becoming so humble. But the Acharya is
teaching us how to pray. It is said that Jesus took all our
sins on himself and got himself crucified on the Cross.
Here the Acharya is speaking for us and taking on himself
all our faults as if they are his and pleads for Divine
Mothers Grace to descend on him (for us) in the fullest
The Acharya usually prays for all of us; he uses the word
naH (cf. Shlokas 7 and 44). But in shloka #51, where he
was referring to the nine rasas oozing forth from Her eyes,
he used mayi (on me), which was a little puzzling to us.
But the explanation for that comes here. The Compassionate
Glance mentioned there happens to be the subject of this
shloka #57. By itself Her divine glance is dRAghIyas,
that is, reaches the farthest. Therefore nobody need pray
to Her for that Glance. But here the speaker (the Acharya)
considers himself the lowliest of all; so he has to pray
for that divine benefit of Her Glance. And that is why in
shlokas 51 and 57 he uses mayi !
[Note by VK: In shlokas 12 and 51 also,
the Acharya uses the word mayi.
But the Paramacharyas explanation
fits there also !]
The followers of the tradition of Shri Krishna Chaitanya,
who follow the dvaita-bhAva bhakti, are well known for
their attitude of extreme humility in their prayers to God.
But in that kind of modesty our Acharya excels them here!
Well ! You have yourself accepted that you have been
banished from My Grace and that too deservingly, by your
own admission. Then why do you still pray to Me? ambaaL
might ask. And the Acharya, as if anticipating this
possible rejoinder from ambaal, puts in the third and
fourth line of this shloka:
anena ayaM dhanyo bhavati na ca te hAnir-iyatA
vane vA harmye vA sama-kara-nipAto hima-karaH //
Though I am undeserving according to shastraic rules and
regulations, where comes a rule or restraint when pure love
is the principal matter? There are things which have an
equanimous relationship with everything else irrespective
of norms and regulations. In fact this kind of equanimous
view is what the Gita raises to the sky. There have been
people of that kind; and there are things of that kind.
Take for instance the moon. It is always hima-karaH
that which makes everything cool. The moon does not make
any distinction as to which place on earth should receive
its cool moonlight. Does he make any discrimination between
a high tower and a low pit? Whether it is a forest (vane
vA) or a mansion (harmye vA) he pours his moonlight
equally. Neither does he pour more of it in the quadrangle
of the kings palace nor does he pour less of it in the
shrubs of the thorny forest. He is samakara-nipAtaH
that is, one who falls equally everywhere. In the same
way, can you not Oh Mother, dispense your cool Grace on me,
even though I am covered by the rough and tough dirt of
In other words, all this argument is to say that the Mother
Goddess should not take into account my quality; She
should have sama-dRshhTi!
But then it appears the ambaal raises another question.
Suppose the weight of your sins boomerangs back on my
kaTAkshha (divine Graceful Glance) itself? And the
Acharya replies: na ca te hAnir-iyatA. iyatA: by this.
te: for you. hAniH na: there is no loss. The
additional word ca makes the te as te ca, meaning,
for you too.
Your dRshhTi, glance, will not be affected by the object on
which it falls. Just like the moon. Its light falls on all
and sundry; but the moon itself is not affected by any such
object on which its light falls. When the moon itself is
not affected by the object that benefits by it, what to
speak of Your compassionate Glance. On whomsoever it may
fall, even though it be a faulty object such as me, how can
it affect Your dRshhTi? na ca te hAnir-iyatA By this
you are not affected either.
When it is said that for you too there is no loss, then
there should be something else mentioned which has
necessitated that word too. Just as you too there has
to be a me on the other hand. The answer is in the
expression anena ayaM dhanyo bhavati This person
(namely, I) also becomes blessed.
The moment Your compassionate Glance falls on someone, that
someone is blessed with infinite bliss. You also do not
lose anything. I get everything. That very undeservingness
which removed me farthest from you has now been more than
compensated by the beatific of Your dRshhTi.
The Acharya has composed this shloka only for us to get
that treasure of beatification of Her Grace. We all live in
this world seeking to decorate ourselves with fame, honour,
position, power and what not. But all this alankAra is
nothing before what that alankAra of Her benign Grace
that can bring in the ultimate jnAna to us in no time.
The shloka ends with samakara-nipAto himakaraH. By this
he pleads with ambaal for her equanimous view of all. It is
this very sama-darshana that is the view which sees
everything as brahman along advaitic lines that the poet
mUka praises in Shloka 48 of his AryA-shatakaM. Just as
this Soundaryalahari shloka talks of moonlight falling
equally on the forest as well as the mansion, mUka kavi
compares vipinaM (forest) and bhavanaM (House) and
says that one who has ambaals graceful glance will
consider both of these equanimously. Three things bother
man. Lust, Anger and Fear. Fear disappears by ambaals
Grace; even the forest becomes a home for him. Friend and
Foe become equal to him. In other words the anger in the
enemy disappears. And thirdly even an inert stone is not
any lower in esteem than the sweet lips of an young girl;
in other words, lust flies away from him. The bathing in
Her Grace drives away all these three and gives one the
treasure of advaita. The dhanya that this shloka talks
about is the one who has obtained the dhana (treasure) of
Oh What a beautiful shloka! Deserves to be meditated on
over and over again!
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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