Saudaryalahari and Sundara Kalpavriksha: 2

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Continuing his weekly discourse on “Saundaryalahari”, Mr. Bharata Sharma brought out the significance of the 15th Sloka of Adi Shankara's divinely inspired rendering of the Supreme Mother's splendour. The title of the composition is in itself a great conception. 'Sa' is Saraswathi, “Beeja” and 'au' is parabrahma Vachaka 'Da' is the 'bija' relating to the destruction of the enemy and 'ra' is the 'agni' 'beeja', 'ya' is the 'prithvi tathwa' the nature of the earth which is stable. Saundaryalahari is the manifestation of Maha vidya, the ultimate of knowledge and wisdom.

The 15th sloka enables us to understand how the entire creation is bathed in the moonshine of the saradruthu. The sloka was interpreted as the homage of Sri Adi Sankara to the Supreme Mother as the goddess of learning. The enlightened seer envisages her as a white lump of radiance. She has the moon in her hair and in her hand are a book and string of crystalline beads. The beads are the alphabet and the book is a symbol of 'ekaardhobhava'.

She is the one who gives us boons and a promise to free us from fear. Freedom from fear is possible only through knowledge and wisdom. He who does not pray the mother even once would be incapable of sweet and winning words. The metre of the verse is 'sikharini vritta' conidered to be the highest, wielded by eminent poets like Bhavabhuti.

The 'abhaya mudra' is one which dispels fear from “samsara” and the world. She blesses the devout with the secret of death by giving him knowledge through vidya. Vidya lone frees us from fear and without her grace vidya is impossible of attainment. The saintly poet Pothana, brings out the efficacy of vidya. Vrittasura who imparts wisdom to Indra in Srimadbhagavatha has a Poorva vrittanta as “Chitraketu”.

When sage Narada asks the dead child at the request of the bereaved father Chitraketu whether the child would like to come alive to be with his parents, the “jivi” asks to which father and mother, for he had several in his several previous births. This makes the bereaved father acquire “jnaana”. The earthly parents are parents ina limited sense. We are children of the divine mother in the ultimate analysis.

Pothana too described the goddess of learning in much the same way. She is white and everything about her is white, a symbol of goodness and purity. The book that she holds in her hand is the congomeration of sounds which are symbolised by the various aksharas. The aksharas the alphabet are the crystals in the string held by the mother in her hand. The alphabet is white and so are the words. These in the form of a book inspire wisdom by imparting knowledge. This knowledge and wisdom enjoin on us the simplest way to her as said in the gita “Reform reconstruct yourself”.

Pothana, blessed by Her, assures. Her that he has been granted enough wisdom not to barter away her gift for worldly things. Mr Bharata Sarma concluded his discourse for the week with the lines from the poet starting with “Kaatuka Kanti Neeru”, the oft-quoted stanza from Srimadbhagavatham.

29th March, 1986


Giving his exegesis of the 16th sloka in his weekly discourse, Mr. Bharatha Sharma brought out the grandeur of the Supreme Being as a blessing which devout poets yearn for.

Sabha Jyothi is manifestation of unity of Shiva and Shakti.

Inspired poets yearn for blessings of the Supreme mother before invoking blessings of Saraswathi, the goddess of learning.

Maha Kavi Kalidasa was literally a 'Dasa' of Kali. The secret of his poetic achievement lies in his total devotion to the Supreme Being.

Bhavabhuthi was the worshipper of Bhava, the Lord.

Both the poets could become seers and 'drashtas' with blessings from Eternal power.

The whole world is irradiated by manifestation of 'Sabda' the quality of 'Naada'. It is only this “Naada” that has the capacity to illuminate the otherwise dark creation.

The literary aesthetic element in Kuntaka's “Vakrokthi Jeevitha” gives evidence that poets have a multi-hued vision which communicates 'rasa'. Even the Upanishadic concept “Rasovaisaha” equates 'rasa' with the Almighty.

The red radiance of rising Sun awakens and makes the lotus blossom. The effulgence of poet's vision has necessary 'ragoguna'.

Sattvika guna makes only categorical statements of absolute truth. But human beings want attraction and embellishment of the rainbow hues which poets impose upon the absolute reality to make it both appealing and enchanting.

There is a curtain between human heart and 'rasa'. The poet lifts this curtain with inspired and imaginative persuasion.

Divine poets compose poems artistically attracting readers to perceive reality as distinct from the mundane and the transient.

Poetry aspires to the condition of 'Ananda'.

Purity and 'Dharma' are means for the achievement of “Ananda”. Poets enshrine this eternal verity in their Kavyas and compositions. They are “Sadhakas” and “Upasakas”. A Nannaya, a thikkana or a Pothana is a case in point.

In factg, as “Gayathri Mantra” shows us there is not much difference between Gayatri, Saraswathi and Savithri.

Mr. Bharatha Sharma related Adi Sankara's conception to 'Sandhya Vidya Saraswathi' which again is Gayathri.

1st April, 1986


Continuing his weekly discourse on Adi Sankara's Saundaryalahari Mr. Bharatha Sharma described saundarya as anga pratyanga saushtava'. The symmetry of organs. Everything in creation has a symmetry. The rose has it and so does the thorn. Nothing is superior and nothing is inferior' right from the smallest to the biggest, everything in creation has its place, its role, its symmetry, its beauty. Everyhting is permeated by the Supreme Mother.

Sage Leela Suka saw Lord Krishna as the one wearing Kasturi Tilakam as Adi Sankara saw the Supreme Mother. The veena, venu and bhramari naadas take us into her presence. Saint Tyagaraja asks his mind to worship the beautiful saptaswaras.

The 18th sloka describes the powers given away by the Supreme Being to devotes who conceive Her as one bathed in the red radiance of the rising Sun. Including Urvasi the most beautiful, born out of Lord Narayana's thigh, all devavesyas would fall for those who pray to her.

The 19th sloka describes the power which the Mother blesses Her devotees with. Those who worship Her as a triangle with her face as one point above and the breasts as the two points below imagining another triangle under it as a symbol of the half of Siva would electrify with desire all youthful women to run after Her devotee. But this is nothing. The devotee would be able to lure the three lokas swarga, martya and patala.

The seer in these slokas offers a choice. The sadhaka, if he so wishes, can always go higher than achieving worldly desires.

In fact the slokas have a message deeper than the one readily perceived by many. Men who did not understand them properly reduced them to a tantric cult of “yoni pooja” for achieving mean, worldly ends in utter ignorance following vamachara.

Adi Sanakara's message is clear. The sadhaka should set his aims very high. He should opt for shreyomarga which leads him to the divine as against the preyomarga which leads to short lived worldly comfort and to eventual sorrow and rebirth.

The Gita urges us to renounce the fruit of action to achieve unification with the divine. Those who crave for the fruit get happiness but they have to be reborn into the cycle of birth and death.

The red radiance is symbolic of rajoguna bhavana which would be a step for a larger, all-time embracing conception which is called akhanda kaalabhavana.

Akhanda kaalabhavana enables the sadhaka to see mahakaala and mahakali, the sun and the moon as one at the same time.

Kubja, for example, did not set her aims high. She went the preyomarga and desired the lord to be her consort for a day. Akhanda kaalabhavana gives the sadhaka the ability to see the sun and the moon. Shiva and Shakti as the indivisible unity. The slokas chiset our minds and shape them to reach a condition of divine making.

19th April, 1986


The guna pravaha of the Supreme Being inheres in it suddha sattva and siddha rajoguna. The Satya Loka, Vishnu Loka and the Kailasa are all down below the highest of the region where Shiva and Shakti are stationed in their eternal, indivisble unity.

Sri Perala Bharatha Sarma, continuing his discourse reiterated how the whole universe is permeated with the Supreme Being. When we think of it as masculine we call it parabrahma and when considered as feminine we call it shakti.

The 20th sloka brings out the grandeur of the wave like motion, that lahari which passes through every one of us engulfing and lifting us in the endless undulations. From the limbs of the Sacred Mother issues forth a radiance from which nectar flows. The sadhaka who keeps the image built of mani kanthi will be able to control and subdue all serpents, alleviate fever and remove poison. He acquired the powers of Garuda, the chariot of Sri Mahavishnu.

This can be related to the way Sri Krishna, as a mere baala, subdues kaleeya in Srimadbhagavatha. Sri Krishna, like the ideal sadhaka, wears the mani of the Supreme Mother after having soared upto the sahasraara chakra breaking the shat chakras.

The Supreme Being is a jyothiroopa – a lightning come alive. With eight kamalas which are eight chakras, with a thousand petalled lotus which is a huge forest of petals, the Supreme Being shines as a bindu in the middle of the ear stud. The 21st sloka is the highest achievement in terms of sheer poetic imagination.

Lahari is the manifestation of the supreme, being the upalakshana of the bijakshara “Lahareem”, Ravana tried to separate Sri Rama and Sita Devi who are none other than Shiva and Shakti. Hanuman, the true sadhaka, demonstrated that it is impossible. Hanuman is anjanananda. All the rishis and the sages gave their various powers to Hanuman. Hanu means a jaw and anjananandam is the one who speaks out the naada. It is only through naadopasana that Hanuman goes nearer and near to the para shakthi.

Bhavani is the one who was discovered by kamaraja. The sadhaka who begins to pray to Bhavani as a servant and begs for Her blessings with bhavanamam would by the ery utterance get elevated. The Supreme Being blesses the sadhaka with a condition of identity that is sayujya.

2nd May, 1986


The Supreme Being is so graceful and charitable that She blesses the devotee with more than what he prays for. The moment the sadhaka begins saying bhavaneetwam, he is blessed to be one with her. He becomes part of the Supreme who gets the haarathi from the brightest crown jewels of Mukunda, Indra and Bhrama.

The Adi Parashakti is akshara roopa, a being that is everlasting, a being embedded in the naada of letters. Sage Valmiki sang the Ramayana with her blessing and became immortal. Pranavaagni samyoga is naada and naadi also.

Valmiki means a serpent, a symbol of kundalini. Sesha the serpent offers himself as sayya, a couch Sayya is not merely the physical couch, it is also a vehicle of rhetorical communication of illuminating wisdom. It is the sayya of the seer-poet which makes him a singing bird (koil) and at times a lion (simha) roaring voicing forth absolute truth.

Even saint Tyagaraja realised her when he sang 'mooladharaja naada merugute paramardhamura'. Knowing the naada born from mooladhara is the ultimate.

The sidelong glance of the Supreme Being would bless the poet with the permanence of the sun and the moon. The poet realises divyatwa through bhavana. In the lalitha sahasra the mother is extolled as bhavanagamya. She is the one who orders about Rudra.

The Sundarakanda is an exemplification of the wonderful qualities of the Mother. The chaitya prasada in the Ashoka vana with the thousand pillars is an illustration of the sahasrara kamala above which there is nothing. The name Sundarakanda comes from Sundari. Devi Sita is the sundari of the three puras Ayodhya, Mythila and Lanka. She is the sreemathi bala bhartru sandesa harshitha.

The mother is described as Bhavaranya kutharika.

Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada wonders whether the mother not satisfied with being half of Shiva, took the other half too. Her red radiance pervades the white radiance of Shiva.

The 23rd sloka deserves to be read with the 34th for its close relationship with it. Shiva is in shakti and Shakti is in shiva. Shiva having become a part of Her, it is Her image that we see the image of Shiva. The nine vyuhaas of Shiva are kaala, kula, naama jnaana, chitta, naada bindu, kala and seva. These are in Her.

All through the ages woman has been progressively bearing the greater brunt of humiliation, suffering and separation. In Krita yuga, Damayanthi suffered separation and separation only. But in Treta yuga she is disrobed in public and in Kaliyuga she is raped. This is kalaparinithi the progress of civilization, as woman is suffering more and more.

It is enough if we learn about kshema welfare, santhi, peace, susthithi elevation sareera, the body and chitanya that is consciousness.

Thus, explained Sri Bharatha Sharma the progress of the fine intricacies in the great seer's Saundaryalahari.

3rd May, 1986.

Continued to Next Page 


More by :  Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B.

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