Saudaryalahari and Sundara Kalpavriksha: 6

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The Supreme Mother's feet are the most delicate, the most beautiful and also the strongest. Out flow from them the richest of boons and blessings. Sri Sankara describes the lotus feet in about eight slokas. They are red, bathed in laksharasa. Devotees offer worship to them. Lord Shiva constantly yearns for the blow of her feet and is jealous of the Ashoka tree which is blessed by Her kick.

Adi Sankara becomes one with the Goddess by Her grace. His descriptions in the paaduka vandana take him to the blissful state. The saadhaka achieves naada bindu kalaatmaka sthiti.

Vriksha in Sanskrit is masculine and there is poetic beauty is Shiva getting jealous of the Ashoka tree. It is the nature and quality of the Supreme Mother that even Her kick is much yearned for. Adi Shankara achieves a rare condition of taadatmya and pays the finest tribute to the quality of paativratya in the Divine Mother.

In sloka 86 Shiva is described to be hanging down his head in shame for having uttered by mistake the name of another woman in the hearing of his Devi. Angry with this the Mother kicks his head and Manmadha breaks into peals of laughter reminding one of the tinklings of the little bells in the anklets on the feet of the Mother.

The poet feels that it is inadquate and unfair on the part of the poets to compare Her feet with the lotus. Her feet are superior to the flower which the Goddess Lakshmi makes her seat.

Sloka 87 describes the feet of the Mother as living amidst the mountains of ice and blessing the samayachara devotees with peace and plenty. They surpass the lotus which closes according to the rising and the setting of the wSu and the Moon. The idea is that the Mother controls both the Sun and the Moon which controls the blossoming of the lotus. As such the lotus is not comparable to Her feet.

The saadhaka wonders how Her feet could be compared to the hard shell on the back of the tortoise. Shiva delicately holds Her foot on the mortar at the time of Her wedding out of endless affection and love. From out of the finger nails of the Supreme Mother flow all the blessings of the rarest order. The flower-like heavenly woman's hands close at the delectable radiance of Her finger nails. Her feet ridicule the blessings of Kalpaviksha for Hers are capable of giving permanent happiness to Her devotees.

We are reminded of the deity sung in Lalitha Sahasranama “nakha deedhithi sanchanna namajjana tamo guna padadwaya prabhajala parakrutha saroruha : sinjana mani manjeera manditha sri padambuja”.

In sloka 90 Adi Sankara years to approximate himself to the condition of the six-footed bee so that he can go deep and bathe himself in the lotus feet of the Supreme Mother. The six feet are symbolic of the four limbs, the body and manas.

Thus explained Sri Bharatha Sarma the beauties of the rarest sweetness in the enchanting composition, Saundaryalahari.

9th November, 1986


Poetry, song, the orchestration of 'naada' is a way of realisation of God. The darshna the seer saadhaka poet has of God is externalised in orchestration.

Sri Sankara describes in sloka 91 the delectable beauty of the Mother's feet and her gait. Rajahamsas strive hard to imitate and learn the gift following Her and watching Her feet. Her anklets with their enthralling music guide them. The Mother appears to be teaching the hamsas which stumble learning Her graceful gait.

Symbolically, the saadhakas are the hamsas. The paada are the metrical feet of the mantras. Mantra inheres in it both vaak and artha, sound and meaning, inseparable like body and spirit Shiva and Shakthi.

In sloka 92, Sri Sankara describes the deities Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra and Eswara as the four bed posts of the Supreme Mother's cot. All the four pay perennial worship to the Supreme Mother. Sivas is white radiance. But he is transformed by the irradiating redness of the Mother. He wears the sheet of red radiance and together Shiva and Shakthi appear as sringararasa incarnate to win the attraction of saadhakas.

The white vibhuthi symbolic of quality of action and activity, is a manifestation of the rajoguna of the Supreme Mother-rasovaisah. Rasa ia parabrahma. All hues come from white and all hes got into it.

Sloka 93 describes the Mother as the most straight forward and the simplest. Nothing about her is curved or curled except her hair. The Mother is ever benevolent, ever smiling and naturally so. She is like a bud of brahmananda. Her heart is as soft as a flower. Such a one is the saviour of all the worlds and all the creation. She is the body of Shiva activating suddha sattwa with rajoguna.

If Shiva is ashen white, Shakthi is the redness underneath. But there is a speciality about the redness. It is not a a mark of danger but a mark of abhaya and Her grace, a mark of comfort and well-being. She is all merciful.

Sankara Bhagavatpada describes the moon as the toilet box of the Mother in Sloka 94. The moon is a receptacle of scented water for the Mother's ablutions. The sixteen kalas of the moon are the pieces of camphor serving the Mother's cosmetic needs. The box is replenished everyday again and again by Bhrahma for Her Use.

It is impossible for the fickleminded to worship her lotus feet. The Mother is the royal consort of Purantaka. Gods like Indra are just at the gates of her palace along with the eight siddhis like anima and garima.

14th November, 1986


In is not easy to get the Supreme Mother's blessing. Even Indra could not go beyond the gateway of Mother's abode. It is impossible to reach her without attaining the eight siddhis like anima. Since Indra was fickle-minded he had to stop at the entrance itself.

In Sloka 96, the Mother is addressed as the most devoted wife, the Supreme pativratha. Saraswathi Brahama's consort, is worshipped by many a poet and scholar. Many a person becomes a vachaspathi. Laksmi the goddess of wealth, is worshipped by many a man. A man becomes a Lakshmipathi. But the Supreme Mother embrace is available only to Shiva. The point is that one can be called Saraswathi vallabha if one is very learned a Lakshmi vallabha, if one is rich but none can be called Parvathi vallabha except Shiva.

The seers and saadhakas aspired for Vasitwa which is nothing but Sivatwa. They went into vana (forest) which signifies Brahma. It is the first step to reach Brahmapada without achieving the eight siddhis first, it is impossible for any one to realise her. The Lalitha Sahasra naama stothra descrubes the Mother as : Antarmukha samaaradhya bahirmukha sudurlabha.

In the Mahabharatha, the Paandavas winning Draupathi signifies the Pancha Kosas reaching the Mother's antahpura Nakula and Sahadeva are annamaya kosa, and praanayama kosa ; Arjuna who aimed at Matsya yantra is Manomaya kosa, Bhima is vidyaa maya kosa and Dharmaja is ananda maya kosa. Draupadi creating anna-(food)-when Krishna comes in the forest is the manifestation of Devi Shakthi. In the Sundarakanda, Hanuman could reach the Devi since he held the Indriyas under ttotal control.

Sloka 97 describes how the Mother is different from the three – Saraswathi, Lakshmi and Parvathi. Aham Brahmasmi was the seer's realisation. Brahma swaroopa transcends naada, kala nad bindu. It is Srividya. It is the Strividya also. She is indescribable. She is maha maaya and maya tatwa.

In sloka 98 the saadhaka considers himself a disciple yearning for brahma vidya. He prays to the Mother to bless him. If one has her blessing the dumb would speak and the lame one would leap.

21st November, 1986.


The concluding discourse on Saundaryalahari was preceded by elaborate pooja and lalithasahasranama paarayana at Praturi House, Vizianagaram recently.

Sri Bharatha Sharma who offered prayers to the Supreme Mother with the pancha dasi mantra, explained the meaning of the mantra, 'Matruka Pushpamaala Stavam', another composition of the great saadhaka, Adi Sankara.

Mantras, Sri Sarma explained are the diamond-studded throne of the Mother. Her radiance surpasses that of the rising sun. She is chandra kala vatamsa for her headgear. A perennial smile permeates her face. Such a one is the object of worship for the saadhaka.

The mantra, “matruka pushpa mala stavam', inheres in it all the beejaksharas and offers various upachaaras to the Mother. The matraksheras are the diamond akshatas for Her worship. The very letters have been transformed by the seers as mantras. Himavant gives the Mother the holest of holy waters for her bathing. Hrimkara mantra gives her vastra and yajnopavitha, Sri Sankara conceives of the various flowers provided by the various seasons as the fitting offering for her pooja. He prays to Goddess Lakshmi to light up with her brilliance a lamp and entreats the Supreme Mother to accept the 'haarathi' submitted with the fitting mantras.

Indrani offers the Mother the white chatra Ratidevi chamara and Bharati herself the music of her veena. The saadhaka prays to the Mother to accept his own paean as pradakshina.

Coming to the last two slokas of Saundaryalahari, Sri Bharata Sharma explained that he who prays to the Mother can fight against any force. With his beautiful body he can win anybody. He can break all mortal trammels and achieve the condition of blessed immortality. He transcends everything below and becomes one with sadaashiva.

In the last sloka, Sri Sankara describes how everything that he sings about Her is Her own blessing and boon, for She is the Mother of all spoken words, of all creation and of all forms. The haarathi, the arghya and the tarpana all originate in the things of Her own making ; the sun's radiance the water flowing from the moonrocks and the waters of the oceans. In the same way, the poet's and the waters of the oceans. In the same way, the poet's words are also the creation of the Mother and not byh any means his own. Thus bows down the great seer before the Supreme Mother in supplication and adoration.

25th November, 1986


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

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