[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-75)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 16 05:40:08 CDT 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.1236 -1243  of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
4th imprn.)

gale rekhAs-tisro gati-gamaka-gItaika-nipuNe
vivAha-vyAnaddha-praguNa-guNa-sankhyA-pratibhuvaH /
virAjante nAnAvidha-madhura-rAgAkara-bhuvAM 
trayANAM grAmANAM sthiti-niyama-sImAna iva te // 69 //

The intensive knowledge in music and musical technicalities
of the Acharya is manifest in this shloka. The words
‘gati’, ‘gamakaM’, ‘gItaM’ and ‘grAmaM’ are technical words
understood well only by musicologists. One should actually
refer to the latter part of Bharata’s ‘nATya-shAstra’,
‘SangIta-ratnAkaraM’ of Sarangadeva and
‘caturdaNDi-prakAshika’ of Venkata-makhi. I have only an
incomplete knowledge of these. 

‘Gati’ is procedure or path.  It denotes one of two kinds:
‘deshi’ and ‘mArgaM’.  The former is more regimented  like 
a train  on its rails. The latter keeps changing with the
times and caters to latest tastes. 
‘GamakaM’ is undulation. It has five subtly different
varieties in it.
‘GItaM’ of course is song. But it is not just the text
(sAhitya) of the song; it also includes the svaras.  
‘Eka-nipuNa’ is unequalled excellence. So ambaa is the
‘Gati-gamaka-gItaika-nipuNA’ that is,  unequalled Mistress 
of the musical technicalities of ‘gati’, ‘gamakaM’ and

‘GrAmaM’ –the word occurs in the fourth line of the shloka
– means the three-fold classification of rAgas, according
to the shatja, madhyama and gAndhAra svaras. As music
arises in the voice box of the body and as the voice box is
situated in the neck, the Acharya is saying that these
three ‘grAmas’ are manifesting themselves as the three
lines in the neck of ambaal. Of course all women would have
these three lines or folds in their neck. But that is
because originally ambaal is having these three lines in
Her neck! Men have ‘Adam’s apple’ in their neck, which is
absent in women. The western story is that the original man
ate the Eden Garden  apple and that started his involvement
in the samsAra of the world. The Indian story is that the
Lord swallowed the KAlakuTa poison which was, according to
ambaal’s request,  stifled at the position of the throat of
the Lord and that is why the bulge is showing in all male
human necks. Both the stories only go to show that we all
have the same origin and we are all brothers born of the
same Father, irrespective of the religion we may profess.
In one case the very nutritious apple that ‘keeps the
doctor away’ becomes the original source of this dreadful
samsAra. In the other case the dreadful poison sits there
in the throat of the Lord without harming anyone. Both are
cosmic mysteries.

All forms of men are nothing but the Lord and all forms of
women are just ambaal. This is what the Adam’s apple of the
male neck and the three lines in the female neck tell us.

The great saint Appar has sung a song beginning with the
words ‘mAdar piRaikkaNNiyAn’ in the kshetra of Tiruvaiyaru.
He saw the male and female forms of the elephant, chicken,
peacock, swan and parrot and had the spiritual experience
of visualising all of them as the divine couple,
Shiva-Shakti. ‘kaNDen-avar tiruppAdam, kaNDaRiyAdana
kaNDen’, says he – ‘His divine feet did I see; things that
had never been visualised, did I witness’.   If we care to 
use our intelligence and look for the Divine around us with
intense Bhakti we can also have this darshan  of
Shiva-Shakti always and everywhere. 

Shiva is white; Shakti is red – that is the way we have
explained how the changeless White Shivam (Cause) sprouted
out as the Red Kameshvari (Effect). Just like this
Shiva-Shakti, the white-red coexistence can be seen in many
of our worldly matters.  In fact once we begin to recognize
this spectacle in all matters of this world as well as of
the other world, we would be amazed as if we have had the
very darshan of Shiva-Shakti. Particularly, what pertains
to the male is white and what pertains to the female is red
– this principle will help us get into the spiritual
sAdhanA of witnessing Shiva-Shakti all around us.

The ‘tejas’ of man is called ‘shuklaM’ (white) and that of
woman is called ‘shoNitaM’ (red).  What he wears on his
forehead is  white ‘vibhUti’ and what she wears is red
‘kunkumam’. In the ‘nAmaM’ of the Vaishnavas, it is the
white part that belongs to the Lord, whereas the red part
is that of the Mother Goddess. In fact that is why it is
called ‘Shri-chUrNaM’ – the powder of the Goddess.  What
man dons is white ‘veshti’ and what she does is the saree,
which is ‘kusumbA’ (red). The word ‘kusumbA’ means saffron.
That is the ideal colour for the wedding saree
(kUraip-puDavai). ‘aruNaruNa-kausumbaM’, where ambaal’s
saree is described as the reddest of the red.

Again, in this interplay of red and white, we have our own
blood which has both red cells and white cells.  Just as in
ambaal’s red, the white of Shivam is merged, so also the
red corpuscles of the blood dominate the whiteness of the
white corpuscles and show the colour of blood as red!

In the ordinary decorative drawings (kolam, in Tamil) in
front of the house or the deity, though the kolam is in
white, it is usually bordered by red. For the same reason
the markings on the outside walls of temples are in red and
white. Even though the inside deity may be a Vishnu deity
(whose colour is blue), the outside walls are striped only
with white and red. 

If it is an abhishekam of the deities, we have milk and
honey. If it is the fragrance  we have ‘pachaik-karpuram’
(which is green) and saffron. If it is offering of flowers
through an archana, we have jasmine (white) and ‘arali’
(red). If it is food that is offered, we have curd rice
(called dadhyannam) and ‘sarkaraip-pongal’. Even with the
ordinary white idli, we combine the red chili powder or

Here the idli is bland and peacefully white; whereas the
chili powder that goes with it is fearfully red! White is
Peace and Red is Power and Action. So when we want to stop
a war we show the white flag. A revolutionary activity is
manifested by a red flag. Thus Shiva-Shakti is all around
us in the forms of Peace and Rajas (activity). But again,
nor should we separate Shiva and Shakti as two different
entities; and that is what exactly is shown by the
symbiosis of red and white corpuscles in the blood. The
white corpuscles fight with the invasion of disease and the
red ones nurture us with oxygen.  When there is bloodshed
in a battle, it is the red cross that brings relief and

Even in the ordinary colour spectrum, it is red that shows
up first on the side of white. The opposite colour that is
violet is on the other extreme. It is this violet (linked
with blue) that is the direct opposite of the peaceful
Shivam, that goes with Vishnu who denotes Vishnu-mAyA
sharing the colour with Vishnu-DurgA and MahA-kALi. It is
the Shiva-kAmeshvari that has contact with both the Peace
of Shiva on the one side and the dynamism of  MAya on the
other side. For the same reason, in the apex work  of
philosophy called ‘pAdukA-mantram’, the Light that is the
Cause of all that is gross as well as subtle is called
‘traipuram mahas’ and when one talks of the unfoldment of
the same as Jiva and the Universe it is mentioned as
“rakta-shukla-prabhA-mishraM”  -- red and white confluent
effulgence – thereby indicating both the outward dynamism
of the Effect and the inward Peace of the Cause.

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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