[Advaita-l] Digest of Paramacharya's Discourses on Soundaryalahari (DPDS-55)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 27 08:04:24 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.1086-1091  of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume,
4th imprn.)

Among the various relationships of Shiva and Shakti, there
is also the relationship of guru-shishya. Almost all the
Agamas, Tantras and Samhitas are supposed to have been
taught by the Lord to ambaaL. 
[Note by Ra. Ganapati: Generally, 
rites of worship follow the Agamas, 
Tantras and Samhitas  according to 
what deity is being worshipped – Shiva, Devi or Vishnu]
 This guru shishya relationship – with the Lord as guru and
ambaaL as shishyaa, comes in shloka #31.  
[I am giving shloka 31 here along with its translation, 
though the Paramacharya does not do so, 
but still discusses it in detail. V.K.]

catuH shhashhTyA tantraiH sakalam-atisandhAya bhuvanaM
sthitas-tattat-siddhi-prasava-paratantraiH pashupatiH /
svatantraM te tantraM kshhiti-talaM avAtItarad-idaM //31//

pashu-patiH – Lord Shiva
sthitaH -  remained as if fulfilled
atisandhAya – after having deceived
sakalaM bhuvanaM– all the world
catuH-shhashhTyA tantraiH – with the sixty four tantras
tattat-siddhi-prasava-paratantraiH. –  (that that – result
– generating  --worldy fulfillments) which expound
practices that result in one or other of various psychic
powers and worldly fulfillments.
punaH – But again,
tvan-nirbandhAt – by Your insistence,
avAtItarat – (He) revealed 
kshhiti-talaM – (to the ) world
idaM – this
te tantraM – Thine own tantra,
svatantraM – independent (of all the others)
akhila-purushhArthaika-ghaTanA – (which is) capable of
conferring all the purushhArthas (by itself)

The Lord taught the various 64 tantras  (means or
strategies for attaining an end) to the world. But each one
of them can give a certain type of worldly benefit, not
more. In some sense this is a curtain of delusion thrown on
the people of the world. The four purushhArthas (objectives
of life) are dharma, artha, kAma and mokshha. All these can
be had in one stroke by resorting to the Sri VidyA tantra.
The Lord knew this. Then why did he not teach that also to
the world? In fact the Sri VidyA tantra not only gives the
worldly benefits but also takes one to the level of
Brahman-realisation, because it makes all worship internal
and focusses the entire physical and mental body toward
that Ultimate goal of brahman-experience. So the Mother
Goddess insisted that the Lord should teach this also to
their worldly children.  

The word ‘nirbandhAt’ is very aptly put. It was She who
involved the actionless brahman somehow into being the
cause of the Cosmic World-play. But what happened? The play
became so involving that it became a cosmic dance for Him.
The dance of the five cosmic functions; then the samhAra
dance, where the parA-shakti is only a non-participating
witness! And then there are the seven different dances
called ajapA-dance, kukkuTa-dance, and so on. In addition
to this there is the nine-fold dance mentioned in shloka
41. Over and above this there are the 64 leelas, like
bikshATanaM, tripura-dahanAm, and jalandhara-vadha – not to
speak of the 64 leelas particularised in the temple-city of
Madurai, where Meenakshi reigns. Not only he is involving
himself in a pluralistic capacity, but He has also
manouvred to distract the populace into the 64 tantras
which give worldly benefits and retained the supreme Sri
VidyA Tantra which could give the advaitic realisation to

It is at this point ambaaL decided to insist that they be
taught the Sri VidyA tantra. It is of course the worship of
ambaaL. But instead of Herself propagating it, She wanted
this husband of Hers, this guru of Hers, to bring it to the
world. This shows three characteristics of the Mother
Goddess. Firstly, Her conjugal devotion to the ‘pati’;
secondly Her respect for Her guru; and thirdly Her infinite
compassion on Her children, the people of the world. It
need not be emphasized it is the third quality, the
motherly affection, that shows uppermost here.

The Sri VidyA tantra has several greatnesses of which one
is the fact that it is the most concordant with the vedic
route. Of course all the tantras can be adapted to the
vedic route; but some of them do present obstacles to such
vedic adaptation. So there is a necessity to speak of
tantras which are concordant with vedic practices and which
are not. It was our Acharya who established the pure vaidic
pUjA and instilled life into it. It is true that even this
pUjA contains some of the mantras which owe their origin 
to the tantra way. When he initiated the vaidic pUja
rituals in connection with the upAsanA following the
SriVidyA tantra, he followed only the samayAchAra

It is this tantra that he calls ‘te tantraM’ (Your tantra).
In other words it is Hers, and She got it initiated into
the world by the Lord Himself by insisting on it
(‘nirbandhAt’). And again, it is interesting to note that
in all those other tantras, very often only a lower
hierarchical position is given to Shiva. On the other hand,
it is in this tantra which is delibrately called ‘te
tantraM’ , that there is a perfect equality (‘samaya’)
between Shiva and Shakti! 

Looking back at the Anandalahari portion we see that Shiva
and Shakti have been represented in several different roles
– Shiva, as Her Majesty’s most obedient servant; as Husband
with an equal role; as a functionary so positioned by Her;
as Husband only in name; as Guru; as devotee ; even as a
son.  And again, ambaaL has been depicted severally, as
half of His body; as one who has appropriated even the
other half of Shiva’s body; as life-saver;  and as the
motive force who moves Him.

In spite of all this, what is most important in this
Anandalahari section are the two shlokas 32 and 33 where
the esoteric nuances of the Shri VidyA tantra are
mentioned. The later part of the hymn is a description of
the physical form of the Goddess; whereas the first part is
the representation of that form through the akshharas. Any
deity for that matter  has two forms – one physical and the
other, the form of sound. This Anandalahari part is the
sound-form (shabda-svarUpa) of ambaaL. The physical form is
a vision for the eyes. The sound-form is to be heard by the
ears, articulated by the tongue through speech. In fact the
physical form actually emanated from the sound. Only by the
japa of the sound the other form becomes visible. Of course
the same thing also means that it is the physical form that
is the goal and the japa of the sound or the aksharas is
only a means for that end. And thus we come to the end of
Anandalahari looking forward to that goal of viewing the
delightful physical form of ambaaL.

The Acharya ends the Anandalahari portion with the mention
of “janaka-jananI” – the Father and the Mother, of the
whole universe. So the philosophical part is going to be
set aside now and we go on to see the physical form of the
Mother in all its infiniteness of Grace, Compassion and
(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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