[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari - (DPDS-54)
profvk at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 21 17:12:31 CST 2004
Recall the Note about the organization of the Digest,
from DPDS 26 or the earlier ones.
A Digest of Paramacharyas Discourses on Soundaryalahari -
(Digest of pp.1072 - 1085 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
(Note by VK: At this point the Paramacharya looks back on
the Anandalahari portion and describes in the form of an
overview how Shiva and Shakti have been dealt in different
relationships within this first part of Soundaryalahari).
The capability of moving the immovable impregnable Father
of the Universe is Her greatest glory. Soundaryalahari
starts with that glorious idea in the very first shloka. He
is the executor of the Dissolution Function of the
Universe. But even that function could be done only by the
power of the dust of Her feet, says the 2nd shloka. His
relationship with Her is like our relationship to Him. In
other words She is in the place of a Goddess for Him, as is
confirmed by the word ArAdhyAm in the first shloka. A
little later (in #7) She is His Self-awareness personified
Aho-purushhikA . In the next shloka He is Her equal, She
as Kameshvari sitting on the lap of the Kameshvara form of
Shiva (parama-shiva paryangka-nilayAM). This is where
they are together the twin form of saguNa-brahman, as King
and Queen of the five cosmic functions. Shloka 9
(sahasrAre padme saha rahasi patyA viharase You are
revelling with your husband in the sahasrAra-lotus) depicts
Her as the saguNa-brahman coalescing within Him, the
nirguNa-brahman. Another shloka (#11) depicts how they are
situated in unison in the ShrI-chakra. And in the next
shloka it talks of how as an ideal pati-vratA, She reveals
Her full form only to Him. But after twelve shlokas later,
(shloka #23) She has not only taken half His body but has
captured the remaining half also.
The next shloka (#24) needs more than a passing mention.
[Shloka 24 is not quoted by the Paramacharya
but since he deals with it in detail,
I am giving the shloka below
without the word-by-word meaning.
These meanings automatically come forth
in his explanations. V. K.]
jagat-sUte dhAtA harir-avati rudraH kshhapayate
tiraskurvan-netat svam-api vapur-Ishas-tirayati /
sadA pUrvas-sarvaM tadidam-anugRHNAti ca shivaH
tavAjnAm-Alabhya kshhaNa-calitayor-bhrUlatikayoH //24//
It begins in the style of shloka 2 where the Trinity is
spoken of as doing their work only with Her grace.
jagat-sUte dhAtA Brahma originates the universe. hariH
avati Vishnu protects and maintains it. rudraH
kshhapayate Rudra destroys. Not stopping here, it goes on
to talk also about the remaining two cosmic functions and
the deities in charge of those functions. One of them is
Ishvara who carries out the tirodhAna aspect.
Ishas-tirayati is what the shloka says: The Lord Isha
deludes by His mAyA. And all this happens by mandate
(tava AjnAm-Alabhya) from ambaaL. kshhaNa-calitayoH
bhrU-latikayoH by the subtle movement, for a second, of
Her eyebrows! The absorption by mAyA is not only of the
universe and all creation but of the Trinity also: Brahma,
Vishnu and Rudra. Not only that; He himself disappears
into the fifth functionary namely SadAshiva. svam-api
vapuH Ishas-tirayati Isha makes His own body disappear.
sadAshivaH is the name of the fifth cosmic functionary.
The shloka names him sadA-pUrvaH shivaH meaning, shiva
with a prefix of sadA.
At this point, one should note how a funny situation is
implied here by the poet. The five cosmic functionaries are
lower in hierarchy to ambaaL and her pati Lord Shiva. But
one of those functionaries, namely the One who dispenses
Grace has the name which means Always Shiva. And in
order that the meaning should strike us in the face, the
poet, instead of using the straight word sadA-shiva, uses
the construction Shiva with a prefix of sadA .
Shloka #24 therefore shows the Lord as Rudra, Ishvara and
SadAshiva in the relationship of functionaries under the
suzerainty of ambaaL.
In the next shloka (#25) the Trinity are considered to be
at the feet of ambaaL, but by that very reason, they are
also worshipped; because, those who propitiate ambaal offer
their flowers in obeisance at the feet of the Mother and
the flowers do fall on the crowns of the Trinity, which are
in prostration at those divine feet. In #25, by using the
expression trayANAM devAnAM triguNa-janitAnAM, they can
be considered as born of ambaaL and therefore She is their
In #26, when everybody meets their end, even in the time
of the Grand Dissolution (mahA-samhAra) , the Lord is
depicted as sporting with Her. The Grand Dissolution,
seemingly a negative mode, is actually a great anugraha
from the Almighty to the Universe; for, the millions of
jIvas are brought back from their karmic whirl into the
fold of the Supreme. mahA-samhAre asmin viharati sati
tvat-patirasau : Here the key word is viharati. It means
plays in joy, generally; but it also means destroys.The
sanskrit words haraNaM, apaharaNaM, samharaNaM,
viharaNaM, apahAraM, samhAraM , vihAraM all of
them can be used interchangeably. So taking the words
tvat-patiH viharati , we have to interpret it as Your
husband is engaged in Destruction.
This interpretation leaves ambaaL out of the business of
Destruction. He does it and She watches it. The authority
for this interpretation comes from Lalita-sahasranAmam
where She gets the name:
maheshvara-mahAkalpa-mahAtANDava-sAkshhiNI. I have
already mentioned this in my explanation of shloka #41. The
interesting point here is that She is the sAkshhI and He is
the actor in the action of mahA-samhAra. A similar
sAkshhI status for Her is given in the great kshhetra of
Chidambaram, where the Lord performs the tANDava dance of
Creation, while the ambaaL there, is a silent witness!
But in shloka #9, as we have seen just a little while ago,
the word viharasi is used for ambaaL herself. In the
context there, it is the union of Shiva and Shakti. This is
the last stage of Involution. It is the union of jIvAtma
and paramAtma. There is no negative of Destruction there.
There is only the flooding of nectar in fullness in the
Jiva. It is actually a delightful experience for the jIva
when the kunDalini reaches the sahasrAra. So the word
viharaNaM for ambaal is quite apt with the meaning of
Among the various relationships of Shiva and Shakti, there
is also the guru-shishhya relationship.
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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