[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-71)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 2 06:39:01 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.1211 -1217   of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
4th imprn.)

Shloka No.63:

Smita-jyotsnA-jAlaM tava vadana-candrasya pibatAM
cakorANAm-AsI-datirasatayA canchu-jaDimA /
atas-te shItAmshor-amRta-laharIm-AmlarucayaH
pibanti svacchandaM nishi nishi bhRshaM kAncika-dhiyA // 63

This is another shloka of poetic charm, now dealing with
the charm that flows from ambaal’s smile. Earlier in shloka
42 She was said to have the moon in  Her crown. Now Her
face (vadanaM) itself is the moon (vadana-candra). VadanaM
also means ‘mouth’. The root word ‘vad’ is ‘to speak’.
‘Satyam vada’ – Speak the truth. Therefore one can say that
the primary meaning of ‘vadana’ is ‘mouth’.  But here it is
‘vadana-candra’ – the moon-like face. There is no
expression like ‘moon–like mouth’!

Moonshine flows from the moon–like face. The moon in  the
sky displays a dark spot on it. But ambaal’s face-moon
(vadana-candra) has, in its centre,  arrays of sparkling

tava: Your
Vadana-candrasya : moon-like face
Smita-jyotsnA-jAlaM :  (smile – moonlight – luminous sweep)
luminous sweep of the moonshine of your smile

In other words, it is the smile that illuminates as
moonlight from your face. Now what happens to this
moonlight? The cakora bird drinks it. There is a tradition
in Sanskrit literature that the cakora bird feeds on the
nectar flowing from moonlight rays. 

pibatAm cakorANAM : of the cakora birds which drank 

Here the cakora birds have drunk the moonlight flowing from
ambaal’s face.  What then happened to the cakora birds?
They became insensitized by saturation of the sweetness of
the drink.

ati-rasatayA: by the extreme sweetness
canchu: the peaks
cakorANAM : of the cakora birds
jaTimA AsIt : became numb  (were numbed).

Now how to correct this? The cakora birds were intelligent
enough to make the correction themselves. 

ataH: Therefore (i.e., because of the numbness of their
te : these cakoras
Amla-rucayaH: (seeking to have) a taste of the sour
bhRshaM : heavily
pibanti :  drink
nishi nishi : night after night
amRta-laharIM : the wave of nectar (i.e., the moonlight)
shItAmshoH: of the cool-rayed moon,
svacchandaM : to their heart’s content 
kAncika-dhiyA : taking it to be the sour antidote (for the
satiation of sweetness).

Usually it is the privilege of Sanskrit poets to take great
pride in fancying that the cakora birds drink the nectar
flowing from moonlight for their very sustenance. This
certainly makes the category of cakora birds unique  among
all birds or beings, because they are the only ones which
live on just moonlight.  But our Acharya soars higher, in
his poetic fancy, over all other poets. He makes the cakora
birds even higher on the scale by saying that they drink
the grandest nectar that flows from ambaal’s smile. That
makes the ordinary moonlight nectar pale into
insignificance because it is, as depicted here, a sour
drink when pitted against the divine drink of moonlight
flowing from the smile of ambaal’s moonshine-face.

In the first part, Anandalahari, it was said that Lord
Shiva is the only one who survives even the pralaya whereas
these divines who partook of the nectar would all be
consumed by that pralaya. And the reason was said to be
that ambaal Herself is the Nectar of Consciousness, far
superior to the material nectar and it is the eternal
association with Her that protects Him.  Now we know that,
even superior to that material nectar churned out of the
milk ocean, there is the Nectar of the smile from Her
moonshine face. So higher  than the Nectar of Consciousness
(chaitanya-amritam) is the nectar of  Her Beauty
(saundarya-amRtam), which is Her form, nay, Her face; not
even  that, it is Her smile from that face. 

All this the poet in the Acharya could have said simply
that Her smile is more fascinating in beauty than
moonlight. On the other hand he brought in the cakora bird,
made moonlight the tasteful food for the cakora and
pronounced ambaal’s smile sweeter than that taste. Putting
together all these ideas, we see that it is the wave of
Consciousness (chaitanya-laharI) that becomes a tasty food
for the eyes by becoming the wave of ambaal’s beauty
(Soundarya-laharI) and becomes also a tastier-than-nectar
object for the tongue. Thus Chaitanya (Consciousness),
Soundarya (Beauty) and Madhurya (Tasteful excellence) – all
of these are in essence Her shower of Love.  It is that
moonlight shower of Love that we should be consuming, in
the form of cakoras, deliciously  relishing the moon

Maybe we are not able to ‘eat’ moonlight like the cakora. 
But we take delight in eating our own food under moonlight,
especially on a full moon night. The moon then  cools the
very atmosphere that surrounds us and makes it very
pleasant to us. The full moon is certainly  very pleasant
to all of us. But the Sun of Wisdom is not so pleasant.
Ignorance is darkness; wisdom is light. Though the wisdom
is given by jnAna-sUrya (the Sun of Wisdom), it may also be
unpleasantly hot, because it is the Sun that is giving it.
On the other hand the moon gives both light (of wisdom) and
pleasant experience. The Goddess of jnAna (JnAna-ambaal)
removes our Ignorance while at the same time being
pleasant. In the Purushha sUkta we are told that mind arose
from the moon. So the mind should be both cool and
pleasant. That is why ambaal who is most pleasant to us is
always associated with the moon. She Herself resides in the
region of the moon. ‘Chandra-maNDala-madhyagA’ says the
sahasranAma. And that is again the reason why the Pournami
(full moon) day is important for ambaal and we do special
pUjA for ambaal on that day. 

She wears the Moon on Her head. In the head of the Yogi She
descends as the full moon and pours out the nectar. For us
laymen also, our Acharya has brought to us the moonshine of
Her smile.May we cherish and remember it for ever. May we 
become the little cakoras drinking to our heart’s content
the nectar-shower of Her Grace!

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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