[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS- 70) March 24

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 25 12:38:55 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.1205 -1210   of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
4th imprn.)

There is a subtle matter of yoga-shAstra in shloka #61. In
the order of description of the divine form from head to
foot, the next, after the eyes, is the nose. 

asau nAsAvamshaH tuhinagiri-vamsha-dhvaja-paTi
tvadIyo nedIyaH phalatu phalam-asmAkam-ucitaM /
vahaty-antar-muktAH shishira-kara-nishvAsa-galitaM /
samRddhyA yat-tAsAM bahir-api ca muktAmaNi-dharaH // 61 //

tuhina-giri-vamsha-dhvaja-paTi : (Snow-mountain  - lineage
– flag ) Oh Flag of the House of the Mountain of Snow,
asau tvadIyaH nedIyaH nAsAvamshaH : this nose of Yours,
which is more like  the hollow bamboo staff of that flag --
phalatu : May it bestow 
asmAkaM : on us
ucitaM phalaM : the appropriate fruit.
vahati : (it   -- that is, the staff-like nose --) contains

antaH  : in its inside,  
muktAH : pearls.
yat tAsAM samRddhyA : for  it is out of their abundance 
bahir-api ca  : that even on the outside
muktAmaNi-dharaH : (there appears) a nasal pendant, in the
form of one pearl,
shishira-kara-nishvAsa-galitaM : (moon-cooled – outgoing
breath – pushed out) pushed out, as it were,  by the
moon-cooled breath of the left nostril.

It is natural for the bamboo to be hollow. Ambaal’s smooth
nose has also the hollows of the nostril. And it is natural
for ambaal to have nasal pendants. Here we are talking of
pearl pendants – cf. muktAmaNi-dharaH.  In Madurai and
Kanyakumari, the diamond nasal pendant of the Goddess is
famous. “tArA-kAnti tiraskAri nAsAbharaNa-bhAsurA” is one
of the names in Lalita Sahasranama. It means She excels
even the lustrous light of the stars by means of the
dalliance of Her nasal ornaments. A star radiates light of
all colours. The light of the star is also of the
diamond-type.  So the ornament that is spoken of here in
the Lalitasahasranama  must also be a diamond nasal
ornament.  A pearl never radiates several colours.  The
tradition of “pearl nasal pendant” (muthu-mookuthi – in
Tamil)  always associated with ambaaL shows that perhaps at
one time it was the pearl pendant that must have been
dominantly in vogue.

The fullness of both masculine and feminine beauty  is
usually talked about in respect of Lord Krishna. So the
deities of Krishna always show a nasal pendant.  There is a
famous shloka starting with the words “kasturi-tilakaM
....” praising Krishna, in which you get the words “nAsAgre
nava-mouktikaM” – ‘brand new pearl ornament at the tip of
the nose’ . 

Here the Acharya’s citing of  pearl pendant as the nasal
ornament for ambaaL contributes well  to the metaphor of
the bamboo flag-staff.  When a bamboo is of an excellent
variety, there is an ancient tradition (handled as such by
poets consistently) that such a bamboo contains pearls
inside it. A similar belief is there with respect to the
frontal globe (mastaka) of an elephant and also with
respect to sugarcane. Indeed in shloka 74 of
Soundaryalahari the Acharya tells us that ambaal’s chest is
adorned with a necklace made of pearls got from the frontal
globe of Gajasura, slain by the Lord. In the present
shloka, ambaal’s nose which is, as it were, the hollow
bamboo staff, is visualised to contain pearls as per the
tradition about the bamboo. 

But wait! Tradition says there are pearls within the
bamboo, not outside it! Here the nasal pendant of ambaal is
outside the nose. Isn’t it a flaw in the analogy?

The Acharya takes care of this beautifully. It is through
the hollow of the nose (bamboo) that ambaal is exhaling her
breath. When air passes through the hollow of a bamboo
there results the music of the flute. Here the nasal breath
exhales the pearls that are inside and pushes them out as a
nasal pendant! It is the breath of the Almighty that is
said to constitute the Vedas. The ultimate content of the
Vedas is Mukti, the final Release. ‘Mukti’ and ‘mukta’
(pearl) are handled in combination   by poets  for purposes
of rhyme. Here the Acharya says that it is the mukti that
is exhaled by ambaal in the form of the mukta!

There is a further play of words in the use of ‘vamsha’. 
This word means ‘bamboo’. Recall the shloka beginning with
the words ‘vamshI-vibhUshhita-karAt’ in praise of Krishna.
It means that His hand is adorned by the flute of the
bamboo. The same ‘vamsha’ also means ‘lineage’. So ambaal
is addressed as the flag of the lineage of the Mountain
King – ‘tuhina-giri-vamsha-dvaja-paTi’.

Now let us take up the Yoga matter, hidden in this shloka.
The breath that comes out of ambaal’s nose and that brings
the pearls outside is spoken of as coming out of the ‘left
nostril’. But there is no word in the shloka which directly
means ‘left nostril’. The only words are

‘nishvAsa’ is exhalation;
‘uchvAsa’ is inhalation;
‘galita’ means ‘expelled (out)’.
‘shishira-kara’ is what indicates the left nostril, though
its direct meaning is just ‘the moon’. Note that ‘shishira’
and ‘hima’ mean the same thing, namely, ‘cold’. Whenever
the Acharya talks of the moon in relation to ambAl, he uses
‘hima-kara’ or ‘shishira-kara’ meaning that which gives a
soothing of cold. Thus ‘shishira-kara-nishvAsa-galitaM’
means that which is exhaled by the ‘moon-exhalation’. How
this becomes the ‘left- nostril-exhalation’ is  the hidden
secret of Yoga in this shloka.

According to yoga-shAstra, when the mind is drawn towards
desire or anger or the like, the inhalation is by the left
nostril and exhalation by the right. On the other hand,
when the mind stays deep in noble thoughts, the inhalation
is by the right nostril and exhalation by the left. When
there is no thought passing through the mind the breath
stays as kumbhaka without exhalation or inhalation. AmbaaL
is always engrossed in the most noble thought of
compassion. So She inhales by the right nostril and exhales
by the left!

Now the chandra-nishvAsa (moon-exhalation) of ambaal is
explainable from Yoga. There are three nADis in the human
body through which the spiritual current passes. On the
right of the spinal column there is the ‘pingala’,  on the
left there is the ‘iDA’ and the central one is ‘sushhumnA’.
Since there is identity between JivAtmA and ParamAtmA, the
names ‘moon’ for the left eye, ‘sun’ for the right eye and
‘agni’ for the third eye translate into the names ‘moon
channel’ for ‘iDA’ on the left, and ‘sun channel’ for
‘pingala’ on the right. Hence the meaning of
‘shishikara-nishvAsa’ is exhalation by the left nostril!

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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