[Advaita-l] abirami andhadi and saundarya lahiri - Part I of III

sriram srirudra at vsnl.com
Fri Sep 10 06:35:45 CDT 2004

Abirami Andhadhi and Saundarya Lahiri.

Adi Shankara lived in the 8th Century AD while Abirama Bhattar lived during the reign of the Sarabhoji Kings of Tanjore around the 13th Centtury AD. He was latter to Adi and hence it is possible that he was influenced by the thoughts of Adi Shankara in praising the Divine Mother.

Adi Shankara speaks of the Thadanga Mahima of the Devi. The Thadangam is worn in the ears of sumangali women. Adi Shankara says, "Sri Shambu was able to survive the virulent haalahaala poison only because of Devi's Thadanga" - SL St 28.

St 28 : SudhAm apy AsvAdhya prathiBhaya JaramruthyuhariNIm

vipadhyante vishwe vidhi ShatamakhAdyAdiviShadah

karAlam yat kshvelam kabalitavatah kAlakalanA 

na shamBhostan mUlam tava janani tAdanga mahima||

O Mother ! all the denizens of the celestial regions such as Vidhi( Brahma), Satamakha ( Indra) and others perish even after drinking nectar which is reputed to confer immunity from terrible old age and death. If the life of Shambu, Lord Shiva, who has swallowed the virulent poison is beyond computation it is only because of the peculiar virtue of Thy Thadangam. 

So this Thadangam might have been in the mind/heart of Abirama Bhattar. So much so he was fully immersed in the brilliance of the Devi's face that he declared that it was a Poornima day when it was actually a New Moon Day!! Devi in Her Vatsalyam to save the Bhattar from defame andembarrassment throws her Thadangam in the sky and creates a Poornima! 

AA : Verse 78 : seppum kanaga kalasamum polum thirumulaimel

appum kaLaba abirAma valli aNi tharaLa

koppum vaira kuzhaiyum vizhiyin kozhungadaiyum

thuppum nilavum ezhudivaithen en thunai vizhikke||

Abirami's eyes shower grace. Ruby and diamond studded earrings glow on her ears. Ruby red her complexion, like the full moon her face are ever in front of my eyes|| may be that's why I saw a Poornima on a Amavasya|| the next verse begins with 

Vizhikke aruLundu ...

After bhattar rendered this song, the Devi threw her right thadangam in the sky to create a Pournami goes the legend of the bhattar. 

The two divine souls have extolled the grace of the Divine Mother in their own inimitable style of poetry.There are striking similar /identical comparisons in the two .Each have 100 stanzas .Soundharya Lahari has two parts of 40 and 60 verses the First part called as Ananda Lahari which is believed tohave been composed by Lord Shiva Himself and was adopted fully by Adi Sankara.Bhattar sings in praise of the Devi Abirami in the form of an andhadhi -the end word of each song becoming beginning of the very next song and the last word of the last song supplying the first word of the first song. He sings under emotional duress at a stretch and the Goddess is pleased and redeems Her devotee's word!

I wanted to share my happiness in enjoying the almost identical thoughts of the two great divine poets with the members of the group .Ihave indicated by AA the verses of Abirami Andhadi and by SL the verses of Soundharya Lahari. Those amongst us who know Tamil I am sure they will enjoy the poems of Bhattar all the more. Wherever the verses have same vein of thinking and rendering I have grouped them together and given the equivalent of the other one. Let us go with the Two.

AA verse 2 : thunaiyum thozhum deivamum petrathAyum surudhigaLin 

PaNayum kozhundhum padikonDa Verum panimalarpoom

KaNaiyum karuppuchilaiyum en pasangusamum kaiyil

ANayum tiripurasundariyAvadu arindanaMe||

Abirami - The support of all living beings, the God who is praised by one and all, the Mother who has begot us all, the Truth of the Vedas - She holds arrows made of lovely flowers and fragrant roots in one arm, sugarcane bent as the bow in another, Goad and Noose in other hands, thus she stands - the beauty surpassing the three worlds||

AA Verse 37 : KaikkE aNivadu kannalum pUvum kamalam anna

MeikkE aNivadu veNmuttumAlai viDa aravin

PaikkE aNivadu paNmaNi kOvaium paTTum eTTu

DikkE aNiyum tiruvuDaiyAn iDam sErbavaLE||

You are seated on the left side of the all pervading Siva!! You hold the sugarcane bow and arrows made of flowers like kamalam, raktakairavam,kahLaram, indIvaram, sahakAram. Your lotus red complexion is an excellent backdrop for the white pearl necklace worn by you. Your waist, laden with golden ornaments, is curved like a hooded serpent

SL Verse 7 : kvaNatkAnchidAmA karikalaBhakumBhastananatA

ParikshINA maDhye pariNataSharaschandravadana

DhanurBhANAn PASham sruNimapi daDhanA karatalai

PurastAdAstAM nah puramaThiturAhOpurUshikA||

May the great Pride of the Vanquisher of the Puras, ( Devi Thirupurasundari - consort of ThiripuraEaswaran) stand before us with her Jingling girdle, slim waist which is slightly bent under the weight of her breasts resembling the frontal lobes of a young elephant, with a face bright like the autumnal moon ( moon after the first showers) and wielding bow, arrows, noose and goad with her hands, stand forth before us||

Adi Shankara has Kanchi Kamakshi in his mental vision. Manmatha also has sugarcane bow and flower arrows. Devi also holds them. The meaning is manmatha has surrendered his weapons to the Devi. Subtle meaning is for a Devi upaasakar, Manmatha will not come near!! That is full undistracted devotion is guaranteed. 

Devi carries in her lower left arm, the sugarcane bow with a string of bees and in her lower right arm the five arrows of five flowers. In her upper right arm the goad and in her upper left arm the PasA, the noose. Shining like coral is the devi's waist which is slightly bent by the weight of her breasts, resembling the frontal ear lobes of a young elephant. Such a form of Devi is favourite of Lord Shiva who is the Tripura Samhara!!

AA Verse 4 : manidarum Devarum mAyAmunivarum vandu senni

Kunidarum SevaDi kOmaLamE kondrai vArsaDaimEl

panidarum tingaLum pAmbum bagIratiyum paDaita

punidarum nEyum ammE en pundi ennALum porundagave||

Humans, Devas, Munis who have overcome Maya, bow to your lotus feet, You , and the Lord wearing the beautiful Kondrai flowers, serpent, ganga and the cool moon in His matted locks, should forever remain in my hearts, Bless me thus O Devi!!

SL verse 29 : kiriTam vairiNcam parihara purah khaiTabhabhidah

KaThOrE kOTirEskhalasi jahi jambhAri-makuTam

PraNamresvEtEshu prasabham upayAtasya bhavanam

BhavasyAbhyUtthAne tava parijanOktir vijayatE||

Glory to the words of Thy servants who seem to caution you when you suddenly arise on the carnival of Lord Shiva: Pray avoid the crown of virinchi ( Brahma) who is lying prostrate before you, you are likely to topple over the hard crest of the slayer of Kaitabha ( Vishnu), please keep off the head gear of the enemy of Jambha - Indra. ( Vishnu Brahma and Indra are prostrating before the Devi and would not leave Her feet easily. Suddenly, Lord Shiva arrives and Devi stands to receive her husband. And the maids in waiting caution Devi to be careful not to stumble on the crowns of the supplicating gods. 

Abirama Bhattar has used one word Devarum to describe the scene. Adi Shankara describes in detail the devi's court. Though Devi is supreme, she has respect for her husband. Some people hold Sankara as having pro male -supreme feelings. One should see his works in entirety and not a few of them in isolation to draw unfair conclusions.

AA Verse 22 : kodiyE iLavanji kombE enakku vambE pazhutha 

PaDiyE maraiyin parimaLamE panimAl imaya

PiDiyE braman mudalAya dEvarai petra ammE

ADiyEn erandu ingu ini piravAmal vandu AnDukoLLEn.

O Creeper like delicate beauty!! The crux of the Vedas, the daughter of the snow clad mountain (Himalayas,) the origin of the Three God Heads, grant me thy Grace not to be born ever again!!

AA Verse 7 : dadiyuru maththil suzhalum en Avi taLarvilador

Kadiyuru vaNNam karudu kanDAy kamalalayanum

Madiyuru vENi magizhnanum mAlum vaNangi endrum

Dudiyuru sEvaDiyAy sindurAnana sundariyE

The Triumvirate of Brahma Vishnu and Siva bow to thine lotus like pink feet, O lovely lotus faced Devi, Bless me so that my life does not get churned like curd constantly, May you bless me so that I attain your Lotus feet!!

AA Verse 74 : nayanangal mUnDruDai nAtanum vEdamum nAranaNum 

Ayanum paravum abirAma valli aDiyiNaiyai

Payan enDru konDavar pAvaiyar ADavum pADavum pon 

Sayanam porundu tamaniyakkAvinil tanguvarE||

The three eyed Siva, Mukunda Lord Vishnu, Brahma and the Vedas bow to you O Abirami. All those who bow to you, singing thy glory, will live in prosperity ever.

SL Verse 25 : trayANAm dEvAnAm triguNa janitAnAm tava shivE

BhavEt poojA tava charaNOryA virachitAh

TatAhi tvadpAdOdvahana maNipITasya nikaTE

StitA hyatE shashvan mukulita karOttamsa makuTA||

The Three Gods were born of your three gunas. Therefore O Spouse of Shiva, the homage offered to thy feet becomes homage rendered to the three Gods! It is therefore that these Gods ever stand by the jewelled seat on which thy feet rest with their hands kept over their crowns in salutation!

This stanza implies that those who worship the Devi stand in no need of separately worshipping Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, who are but Her agents standing by Her footstool ever at Her beck and call and in the act of adoring Her.

Both have said Devi is the Supreme source.

AA Verse 24 : maNiyE maNiyin oLiyE oLirum maNipunainda

ANiyE aNiyum aNikku azhagE aNugAdavarkku

PiNiyE piNikku marundE amarar peru virundE

PaNiyEn oruvarai nin padma pAdam paNinda pinne||

O jewel among jewels!! O light emanating from the jewels!! O bejeweled One who adds beauty to the jewels worn !! one who does not seek you can never end his births, O cure of the disease of birth and death. Your vision alone is a feast for the Gods!! One who is forever at your lotus feet, does he need to bow before anybody else?

SL Verse 3 : avidhyAnAmantastimira mihira dwIpanagari

JaDAnAm chaitanyastapaka makaranda srutijari

DaridrANAm chintamaNigunanikA janmajaladhou

NimagnAnam damshtrA muraripuvarAhasya bhavati||

Thou art the island city of the Suns, illuminating the internal darkness of the ignorant. For the dull witted thou art the stream of conciousness. Thou art the chintamani for the destitutes granting their desires and thou art the tusk of the wild boar (Avatara of Murariupu) in the case of those submerged in the ocean of births and deaths. 

Devi is the sure cure for the Samsara is the conclusion of both.

AA Verse 9 : karuttana endai tan kaNNana vaNNa kanaka verpil 

Perutana pAl azhum piLLaikku NalginapEraruLkoor

Tiruttana bAramum Aramum sengai silaiyum ambum

Murutana mUralim ammE en mun vandu nirkavE||

O mother, with complexion as red as the eyes of my Lord Siva, who is forever in my thoughts, your breasts, as large as mountains, filled with the milk of ambrosia with which you fed the crying child (gnanasambandar) , your beaming smile, the garland round your neck, the bow of sugarcane, the arrows of flowers are always before my eyes.

SL Verse 75 : tavastanyam manyE dharaNidhar kanyE hrudayatah

Payah pArAvArah parivahiti sAraswat iva

DayavatyA dattam dravidashishurAsvAdya tava yat

KavInAm prouDAnAmajani kamanIyah kavayitAh||

O daughter of the Mountain!, I facny that the ocean of milk of poesy rising out of thy heart verily causes the milk of thy brests to flow on swallowing which(milk), given by thee with grace, the dravidian child ( Gnanasambandar at the tender age of 3 yrs) began reciting poems dedicated to thyself. - Gnanasambandar was born to Shivapada Hrudaya and Bhagavati after a long penance. Once the child was left alone on the banks of the temple tank by the father who went to have a bath. The child began weeping and Lord Shiva, directed Parvathi to console the child. Parvati nursed the child with milk. As soon as the child drank the divine milk, it began singing songs in praise of Lord Shiva. " pitta piraisooDi perumAnE aruLAlA.."

  a.. some commentators of SL say that dravidashishu refers to Adi Shankara himself.
AA verse 10 : nindrum irundum kiDandum naDandum ninaippaduvunnai

Endrum vaNanguvadu unmalartAL ezhuthAmaraiyin

Ondrum arumporuLE aruLE umaiyE imaiyattu

Andrum pirandavaLE azhiyA mutti AnandamE||

Even whilst I stand, sit,sleep,walk I am at your lotus feet ever. The meaning of the vedas, ocean of grace, the consort of Siva, daughter of the Himalayas, grant me everlasting bliss.

SL verse 27 : japO jalpah shilpam sakalamapi mudrAvirachanA

Gatih prAdakshiNyakramaNam ashaNAdhyAhuti vidhih

PraNAmah samvEshah sukhamakhilam AtmArpaNa dashA

SaparyAparyAyastva bhavatu yanmE vilasitam||

My prattle as muttering thy prayer, the manifold forms of my manual work as the mudras( gestures) employed in Thy worship, my loitering as doing circumambulations, my taking food as offering oblations to Thee, my lying down as prostrating before thee and attending to all other comforts as dedicating my entire self to Thee. Thus whatever action of mine may be taken as Thy worship. 

Here there is a subtle difference in thinking of the two great devotees. Abirami bhattar says that whatever action he performs in daily routine/chores, he is always thinking of Devi's lotus feet. That is his mind is immersed in Devi only. Adi Shankara says that whatever action he performs by way of natural tendencies all should be construed as an act of worship of Devi!!

AA verse 19 : veLinindra nin tirumEniyai pArtu en vizhiyum nenjum 

KaLinindra veLLam karaikanDadu illai karutinuLLE

TeLinindra NayAnam tigazhginDradu enna tiruvuLamO

OLinindra kONangaL onbadum mEvi uraibavaLE||

O devi!! You are in the nine triangles of the Sri Chakra, my eyes see your figure filling the vast expanse of space, my heart is overjoyed at this sight, Gnana dawns on me with such clarity that I am filled in bliss !!

SL verse 11 : chaturbhih SrikanTaih shivayuvatibhih panchabhirapih

PrabhinnAbhih shambOrnavabhirapi mUla prakrutibhih

TrayaschatvArimshad vasudala kalAshratrivalaya

Trirekhabhih sArdham tava sharaNa kONA pariNatA||

The angles contained in what constitutes thy mansion ( Sri Chakra) which is built of nine Mulaprakritis namely the 4 srikantas apex downwards and the five siva yuvatis with apex upwards all lying apart from Sambhu ( bindu) along with a lotus of eight petals ( ashta vasukkal) one of sixteen petals, the three regions, the three circles and three lines make up to 43 in number. ( another version is there are 43 angles in the Sri chakra)

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