[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-53)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 15 07:55:12 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.1061 - 1071    of Deivathin Kural, 6th
volume, 4th imprn.)

Shloka #41 is the last shloka of Anandalahari. It
propitiates ambaaL along with Lord Shiva in the lowest
chakra, that is, mUlAdhAra.  It is remarkable to note that
this shloka as well as shloka #34 have both mentioned
“navAtmAnaM” for Lord Shiva. From #34 to #41 the topic has
been the divine couple.  With this shloka the discussion on
the chakras is completed. So in addition to interpreting
“navAtmA” as the nine-faceted (starting from Time etc.)
Shiva, we can also interpret it as “six chakras plus the
three granthis – together making a set of nine, for which
He is the Atman”.

“lAsya” is the dance that is characteristically feminine.
It is delicate, gentle and polished. On the other hand the
masculine dance “tANDava” would be noisy, forceful and
aggressive. In ‘tANDava’ what is important is ‘nRttaM’ in
which the assemblage of beats (‘tALa’) and nuances in the
pace (‘gati’) and march (‘jati’) of the dance dominate. In
‘lAsya’ it is the bhAva (face expression of mental states)
that dominates.  Hence the traditional association of words
like ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ with these dance forms.

Lord Shiva is called ‘mahAnaTaH’, the great dancer.
‘mahAkAlo mahAnaTaH’ is part of the list of names of Shiva
in amara-kosha.  Without His dance there cannot be any
movement in the world. Even when the world is to dissolve,
He has to do the ‘dance’ of destruction! Since the  first
shloka has already said that His very movement itself is
due to Her, it follows that every movement in the Universe
is because of Her. She lets Him do the magnificent dance
and She also joins with her lAsya. It is this ever-lasting
dance of this divine couple that is the reason for the
multifarious movements that we beings make with our
physical bodies, or the varied physical reactions that our
nerves exhibit in concordance with the attitudinal
expressions that invade us through anger, sorrow, or lust. 
When we are engulfed in sorrow, why should the eyes twitch?
When we are invaded by anger why do the lips twitch?  It is
all because the Lord is within us and He goes through His
dance covering all the nine rasas, that are expressed by
the lAsya of ambaa. All these are related to the varying
attitudes that engulf us. 

There are also dances  without the attitudinal expressions.
All the world is making periodic revolutions. The planets
are going round the sun. The wind blows. Everything is a
dance. The fire is a dance of the flames. Water is dancing
through its floods. These are ‘tANDava’ without ‘bhAva’.
But they cause various bhAvas in us. When the breeze blows
past us we feel happy. But the same wind when it blows
fiercely as a storm, we feel the bhAva of fear.  And so on.
This is what has been said in this shloka. Ananda-bhairava
(the Lord) and Ananda-bhairavi (ambaa) are doing this
tANDava-lAsya dance. And we meditate on this scene in
mUlAdhAra-chakra. ‘Ananda-bhairavi’ is the name of a raga
in music. But here it goes also with dance. 

  “maheshvara-mahAkalpa-mahAtANDava-sAkshhiNI” is one of
the names of ambaa in LalitA-sahasranAma. There it is the
tANDava dance of the Lord at the time of Dissolution, that
She is watching as a witness. But the tANDava dance
described in this shloka is the dance of Creation. So She
joins in it with Her lAsya. 

‘Ananda’ – joy, happiness, bliss – usually goes with
excitement and dance. The divine couple are dancing with
the fullness of Ananda in them. But we should not think
therefore we can take liberties with them. That is why the
disciplining bhairava name is associated with their names.
‘bhairava’ indicates anger, fear and the like. All for
disciplining us.  But the bhairava nature is only
temporary. It is Ananda that is permanent.  And the
greatest Ananda is universal compassion. Hence the word
‘dayayA’ in this shloka. 

The word ‘dayA’ means compassion. Where do they show the
‘dayA’ in this dance of creation? The very creation is the
compassionate act. For without creation how do we, with all
our baggage of sins behind us, ever reach Him ultimately?
It is to help all the souls to have opportunities of
redemption that a creation starts after every dissolution.
This greatest act of compassion  is done by the Dance of
Creation of this divine couple. Hence ‘dayayA’!
‘udaya-vidhim uddishya’ means ‘with the purpose of
regulated creation’.  

The divine couple therefore is the Father and Mother of the
universe. ‘janaka-jananI’. Let the world not feel that
there is no one visible to take care of it. There is an
invisible father and mother.  The world (jagat) has become
janaka-jananImat, endowed with a father and mother and
therefore also ‘sanAtha’, that is, (endowed with) a
‘care-taking Lord’.  In fact our children feel that if even
one  of the parents is not there, they are ‘anAtha’
(orphaned).  So when both of them are there we are not
‘anAtha’ but ‘sanAtha’. 

But wait. There is a greater subtlety. The word ‘sanAtha’
used in the shloka is not about our being ‘anAtha’ or
‘sanAtha’.  The word actually used is ‘sanAthAbhyAm’ that
goes with ‘ubHAbhyAM etAbhyAM’. Therefore ‘sanAthAbhyAM’
refers to the divine couple. In other words it is they,
each one of them individually, who needs a ‘nAtha’
(care-taking overlord), because they have nobody ‘above’
them.  But if you carefully read the shloka the correct
meaning will spark; it is not somebody else who is taking
care of them as their Lord – there is nobody – but it is
they themselves, namely Shiva the Lord and ambaaL the
Shakti, who are taking care of each other. Each is a
‘nAtha’ for the other. There is no Shiva without Shakti;
and no Shakti without Shiva. In one viewpoint, He is the
SheshhI (the Principal) and She is the Sheshha (the
Accessory); in another viewpoint, She  is the Principal and
He is the Accessory. When He drinks the poison She protects
Him and when She is in the form of the daughter of Daksha
and later the daughter of the Mountain King, He protects
Her. This mutual support and protection that this divine
couple give each other is the mysterious divine symbiosis
that all the Shiva Agamas, and mantra shAstras, and the
Tamil Tirumandiram talk about eloquently.  Tirumandiram
verse No. 333 says “By the grace of the ShaktimAn,  Shakti
dispenses Her Grace and By the grace of Shakti, the
ShaktimAn dispenses His Grace”. 

In the Trichinopoly Rock Fort Temple dedicated to the Lord,
 His manifestation there is ‘TayumAnavar’ .
(Tamil word meaning, He who became also the Mother – 
there is a whole story behind it, 
wherein He appears at the right time as the Mother-nurse 
who helps a lonely woman-devotee deliver her baby  - VK)

But though He has become the mother, the temple dedicated
to Him has also a sannadhi for ambaa, the Mother. It is in
the precincts of this temple that all the shlokas of
‘Anandalahari’ have been engraved on the walls.

Thus with the auspicious account of the divine couple
becoming the Father and the Mother of the whole universe,
the Anandalahari portion of Soundaryalahari ends. 
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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