[Advaita-l] Incorrect comparisons?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 19 11:23:24 CST 2011

There are certain Sanskrit poetic conventions to remember in this regard.
The fact that human beings can become masters of learning and wealth
is quite often described poetically as their being rulers over sarasvatI and
lakshmI. e.g in the SyAmalA daNDakam, towards the end, we have "tasya
gIrdevatA kiMkarI, tasya ca AjnAkarI Sri svayam", in saundaryalaharI, we
have "sarasvatyA lakshmyA vidhi-hari sapatno viharate" etc. There is an
element of hyperbole here (atiSayokti in Sanskrit alaMkAra SAstra). It
should not be misunderstood as reflecting negatively on the Goddesses.
Both Goddesses are also often described as dancing in poetic descriptions,
but iconographic depictions of dancing Lakshmi and Sarasvati are rare.
Also keep in mind that Indian poets speak to the Gods and Goddesss in very
familiar terms, rather than always addressing them with awe and respect.
One sees this not only in Sanskrit but also in other Indian languages. There
is an entire class of nindA-stuti verses, where attributes that are negative by
human standards are routinely used. e.g. the term kapaTa-nATaka-sUtra-
dhArI is routinely applied to vishNu/kRshNa, while Siva is often described
as a madman (suddha paittiyakkAran Sivan in a Tamil padam addressed to
Parvati by her mother, ettaik kaNDu icchaik koNDAi magaLe). Poetic usage
of language should be taken on its own terms and one should not read too
much of logical/theological/philosophical significance into it, otherwise one
loses the poetic intent and charm.
That said, in the Sankaravijaya verse here, note that the terms "dhanyaM-
manya", "viveka-SUnya" and "sujanaM-manya" in the first pAda are all
epithets of the "adhama nara" in the second pAda, who is also described
as "abdhi-kanyA-naTI-nRttya-unmatta".

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