-6-

 

(This part, which ‘digests’ pp.675 to 686 of the original, is entitled: “The title: ‘Ananda-lahari’ – advaitam and ShAktam”. The matter was rather terse to me. But the Paramacharya himself concludes by saying:  “What is finally to be understood as the  essence is the following: ….” I use this summary of his own and mostly translate it as closely as I can.      VK)

 

The shAkta philosophy (ShAktam) talks of ‘Shivam’ in  place of the actionless substratum ‘Brahman’. Even if it is actionless, it is Cit, knowledge, says advaita. In  place of this Cit, ShAktam talks of Cit-Shakti or simply,  Shakti. The Brahman of advaita peacefully rests in itself. In ShAktam, on the other hand, the peaceful Shivam has the Shakti, power or energy, that manifests as  knowledge potential (Cit-Shakti) and this manifestation is its  play as the multiplicity of the universe. In advaita there is no second.  What appears as the universe is only an appearance created by mAyA.  MAyA has no relationship with Brahman. What it is, and how it came – all this is inexplainable. That research is not necessary. What is needed is how to get out of it and obtain the  personal realisation of the basic Brahman behind. And hence the path of jnAna.  In ShAktam, it is claimed that the play of duality starts by the Will of Shivam coupled with Shakti. Even here there is a role of mAyA-Shakti. But we shall dwell on it later.

 

It is Brahman that appears as jIva, through the effect of mAyA. If one follows the path of jnAna and transcends mAyA, then jIva realises itself as Brahman, says advaita. In ShAktam also it says that the jIva and Shivam are basically the same and actually become the same in the state of moksha; particularly in the Shri-vidyA scriptures it is specifically accepted so. Dvaitam, VishishhTAdvaitam, SiddhAnta-shaivam (Shaiva-siddhantam), ShrIkaNTa-shaivam (ShivAdvaitam), Kashmiri Saivism – in this order, the philosophies start from a concept totally distinct from advaita, gradually nearing and ultimately becoming very near to advaita.

 

 And in ShrIvidyA the identity of jiva with Brahman is clearly stipulated. The two philosophies differ only in the concept of creation. In advaita, duality is said to be only an imagination and so is to be totally negated. In shAkta philosophies, duality is said to be created by parA-Shakti, the energy of Brahman. It is also the parA-Shakti that grants the moksha, which is the identity of Brahman and jIva in eternal peaceful bliss. This bliss is called shivAnandam and/or shAntAnandam  in the shaivite schools,  and cidAnandam in the shAkta schools.

 

There is no difference in the concept  of moksha as the realisation of the one-ness of jIva and Brahman, between advaita schools and the Shri-vidyA tantra of the shAkta schools. The philosophy of advaita takes creation as a ‘vivarta’ (a false appearance, manifestation,  of reality) whereas the Shri-vidyA school takes it as ‘AbhAsa’ (an effulgence of a ‘reflection’). That the sun appears as a reflection in water is ‘AbhAsa’. In the same way the universal Cit-Shakti reflects itself with a limitation and becomes the jIva as well as the universe  -- this is the shAkta concept of creation. But without the original object called the Sun there could be no reflection. So in basics it comes back to the  advaita concept. But the shAkta holds that to the extent there is an object with its reflection, there is a phenomenal reality for jIva and the universe. It does not hold that it is ‘mithyA’ which is the advaitin’s contention.

 

It is the latter part of Soundaryalahari that dwells on  the beauty (saundaryam) of ambaal’s form.The former part dwells on Her Shakti. It is called Ananda-lahari. The identity between Shakti and Cit is referred to in the word ‘cidAnandalaharI’ in verse no.8 of Anandalahari. “bhajanti tvAm dhanyAH katicana cidAnanda-laharIm”, meaning, ‘Only the most fortunate few (recognize you and) worship you  as the flood of knowledge-bliss (cidAnanda)’. Note here that while for  every  reader of the Soundaryalahari portion the whole beauty of Mother Goddess is fully experiential, in  the Anandalahari portion the people who can experience the bliss of the Shakti-lahari, that is, the cidAnanda-lahari, are only the few fortunate (katicana dhanyAH) !

 

The close correlation between advaita and the various shAkta schools, particularly the Shri-vidyA tantra school,  has been used by our Acharya who is aware that many cannot follow the abstract path of jnAna. And that is why perhaps he  chalks out a path whereby one starts from the ‘leela’ of creation of duality and goes forward along the path of Shri-vidyA and finally ends up in advaita itself. In accordance with this, even when he composed many stotras on Shiva and VishNu, he never goes deep into the shivAgama or vaishNava-Agama nuances but dwells mainly on the bhakti and  consequent emotions only.  On the other hand when he worked on Soundarya-lahari, the first part, Anandalahari, – even though it is said that he only ‘brought’ it (from Kailas) and not composed it – is totally a shAkta scripture. The sum and substance of the twin work of Ananda-lahari and Soundarya-lahari seems to be: “advaita is The path; if not, the next (alternative) is Shri-vidyA” !

 

In fact, Shri-vidyA is the connecting cord between advaita and all that is dvaita. It unifies the shAntam-Shivam-advaitam with Shakti, the creator of duality, and therefore, of the universe.  In LalitA-sahasranAma also, the last name is lalitAmbikA and the last but one is shiva-shakty-aikya-rUpiNI. And this takes us to the very beginning sloka of Soundarya-lahari !

 

-7-

 

 

Shivas-ShaktyA yukto yadi bhavati shaktaH prabhavitum

na ced-evam devo na khalu kushalaH spanditum-api /

atas-tvAm-ArAdhyAm hari-hara-virinchAdibhir-api

praNantum stotum vA katham-akRtapuNyaH prabhavati // 1 //

(The Paramacharya stays on this sloka

 from p.687 to p.806 in the original.

So we are likely to have several sections,

 upto DPDS – 17,  on this.  VK)

ShaktyA yuktaH bhavati yadi – Only if yoked with shakti

ShivaH devaH – (even) Lord shiva

shaktaH – has the ability

prabhavitum – to create the world;

evam na cet  -- if not so (yoked),

kushalaH na – (He) is not capable

spanditum api – even to make a move.

khalu  Isn’t it so?

ataH – Therefore,

katham prabhavati – how is it possible

akRta-puNyaH – (for) one who has not accrued  any (spiritual) merits

praNantum – to do prostrations to

stotum vA --  >or to praise (by hymns)

tvAm – You

hari-hara-virinchAdibhir-api ArAdhyAm

 who are worshipped even by   Vishnu, Shiva,  Brahma and the like?

 

(To get the total meaning, please read the English portions above in the order in which they are presented above. The Paramacharya does the same thing, but presents it in the order in which it will make sense in the Tamil language. He usually does not give the total meaning in one go. VK)

 

Here is embedded the most important ShAkta doctrine that the parAshakti is higher than the Triad of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It is only by Her will and action that even the actionless nirguNa Shivam gets into action through the Triad and  the cosmic process of presentation of Duality starts. “Everything in the universe moves because of You, Oh parAshakti; when that is so, even the prostration to you or praise of you by a devotee does not happen by itself”. And then by implication our Acharya brings out the point that when ambaal grants the power to somebody of praising Her, She does not give it to all and sundry but only to those who have spiritual merits.

 

And again then, by one more implication, one can take it to mean that the one who is doing the stotra now, namely, the Acharya himself, must, ipso facto, be of great spiritual merit.  Is that what he means? Is he so devoid of humility that he praises himself by implication? No. Later in sloka 57 he is going to say: ‘snapaya kRpayA mAm-api’ ( that is, pour your glance of compassion, even on poor me) and again in sloka 84, ‘mamApi shirasi dayayA dehi caraNau’ (even on my head please place your feet). So  the only way we should interpret the present sloka is: “You can move even the immutable Shivam into action. It is You therefore who have given even me, who does not have any spiritual merit, the capability that you usually grant only to the meritorious ! It is You who have moved my senses of speech into the action of hymnising You !”

 

Prostration is by the body (kAyam). Praising through a hymn is by speech (vAk). By implication the mind (manas) is also mentioned. Thus in the very first sloka the dedication to Her by manas, vAk and kAyam has been done. And naturally, the completeion of this dedication in the form of  Atma-samarpaNam’ – dedication of one’s self in fullness – comes in the very last sloka (#100).

 

There is a parallel observation in the very first sloka of Viveka-chUDAmaNi. “muktir-no-shata-koTi-janma-sukRtaiH puNyair-vinA labhyate”, meaning, ‘Unless one has earned spiritual merit in 100 crores of births, one cannot go the jnAna  mArga and obtain moksha’.  But note: our Acharya does not say explicitly, in this major work of bhakti,  that only by spiritual merit you can go along the path of Bhakti or jnAna or for that matter any noble path. Whereas, in the Viveka chUDAmaNi, which is a work on the path of jnAna,  -- mistakenly appropriated by people who think that that is the way to avoid the traditional worship of deities !-- right in the 3rd sloka, he says that ‘Seeking a proper guru and starting on the path of jnAna occurs only by the Grace of God’ – “deivAnugraha-hetukam”!

 

The bottom line of this sloka is that Shiva earns His place and prestige only when He is united with Shakti. But the words Shiva and Shakti have been placed in the sloka in that order, with Shiva first. This indicates that the dependence is mutual; neither of them is to be lower in hierarchy or glory. There is no higher or lower between this original divine couple. They have an equality, ‘samam’ in Sanskrit and this is the origin for the word ‘samaya’ to get the meaning of  ‘religion’ or ‘tradition’ in Hindu culture.  In the ShAkta and Shaiva scriptures the word ‘samayAcAra’ is used to denote the path of worship, that is done mentally through the noblest attitude of devotion arising from the bottom of the heart. The reason for the word ‘samaya’ therein is that there are five categories in which Shiva and Shakti are considered ‘equal’ in that regimen of worship. 

 

One: In their names. Shiva and ShivA; hamsa and hamsI; bhairava and bhairavI; even, samaya and samayA.

Two: In their forms: KAmeshwara and KAmeshwari are both maroon in colour, each has four hands, three eyes, the half-moon adorning their heads, the same four weapons – bow, arrow, pAsha (noose) and ankusha (spear) --  in the four hands.

Three: In their location: the same peak of Meru; the center of the Ocean of nectar in MaNi-dvIpa; the same central bindu of shrI-chakra.

Four:  In their  function: It is the same five-fold function – called pancha-kRtya – namely, Creation, Protection, Dissolution, tirodhAna or mAyA, Grace or anugraha leading to moksha.

Five:  In their  benediction to the world.

 

-8-

 

But, though the work begins with the name of Shiva, the ShAkta school will still find in the very name of Shiva itself, the dominance of the feminine Shakti ! In the very word ‘Shiva’ there is the vowel ‘i’ along with the consonant ‘sh’. The vowels ‘I’ (as in ‘feel’) and ‘i’  (as in ‘fit’) are themselves names of ambaal. All consonants are letters pertaining to Shiva and all vowels pertain to Shakti. This is a general rule. In addition the letters ‘I’ and ‘i’ are supposed to be the very forms of ambaal. Just as the actionless immutable brahman has a symbolic praNava or ‘Om’, so also  the brahman  coupled with Shakti, the kArya-brahman, has a symbolic seed letter called the praNava of Shiva-Shakti. And in that praNava, the letter corresponding to Shakti is ‘I’.

 

 There is Vedic authority for this. Also in the ShrI sUkta the form of ambaal as Lakshmi who resides in the heart-lotus is mentioned as manifesting in the vowel ‘I’ and the surrender is made to that manifestation.  Note that one of the many sanctities of the word ‘ShrI’ is derived from this.

 

          Thus the first word of of the first sloka, though it begins with Shiva is actually a propitiation to the feminine Shakti. For, from the word ‘Shiva’ if we remove the vowel ‘i’  and bring the consonant ‘sh’ to its first position ‘sha’, the word becomes ‘shava’ meaning ‘a dead body’ ! Thus the word ‘shiva’ gets its life from the vowel ‘i’ , which is the seed letter for Shakti. Also note that the popular word for ‘saguNa-brahman’ in Vedanta is ‘Ishwara’, which begins with the sound ‘I’. This is quite in accordance with its role as the dynamic active Lord who takes care of the creation and propels the entire universe.

 

          (For those who know the Tamil language

here are two more interesting observations: VK)

In Tamil the consonants and vowels are known as ‘body-letters’ (mey-ezhuttu) and ‘life-letters’ (uyir-ezhuttu) respectively . So in the praNava of Shiva-Shakti, the Lord corresponds to the ‘body-letter’ and the Goddess corresponds to the ‘life-letter’. And this coordinates with the thought that Shiva is the body and Shakti is the soul.

Secondly, in Tamil parlance it is common to say: ‘If you have the power (shakti) to do this, do it; otherwise stay quiet as ‘shiva’ (‘shivane-enRu iru’) ! This again coordinates with the thought that Shiva is the actionless substratum and Shakti is the switch that switches everything into action!

Throughout his bhAshyas and all his  minor works, our Acharya is never tired of repeating: All worldly activities are mAyA; one should aspire to realise and become the changeless and actionless nirguNa brahman. Thus the immutable Shivam is  the object of all his writing and advice. What produces movement out of that brahman was called mAyA by him and he spared no pains to paint that mAyA in uncomplimentary colors and warn us strongly against getting into her clutches.

But the very same Acharya, now, in the first sloka of Soundaryalahari, exclaims with great admiration of Shakti (that very same mAyA): Oh, Goddess, without you even Shiva cannot move!

How can the same person  talk in two contradictory ways like this? Which is true? If one of them is not true, can the Acharya tarnish his name by speaking an untruth?

 

If you look at these things only by logic, you will not get anywhere. The definition of Truth does not come by logic. Whatever  will do good to whomsoever it is intended, that should be stated lovingly; that is Truth (satyam). For those who can tread the path of jnAna, he recommended retirement from the world.  For those who have yet to evolve to that stage of spiritual maturity, he recommended the path of Bhakti and Karma;  this will make them reach the kArya-brahman  through worldly actions of work and worship. When one does not have an evolved attitude to a certain path, it is counterproductive to advise him go that path. So it is not a question of being logical; it is a question of seeing the psycho-logical (!) perspective. The ancients called it ‘adhikAri-bheda’, that is, difference in prerequisite qualifications.

 

Secondly, it is not just that  he understood the psychology of different types of seekers of spirituality and preached accordingly. It is  more. Both the advices he gave, though seemingly opposite, are ‘true’, each at a particular stage of evolution. In the phenomenal world, creation and the universe and the activator of all of them, namely, Ishwara, are all ‘real’ certainly. But when we enquire into the root cause of all this, we find that the more basic Reality is the Existent Self-in-itself that is actionless but through a miraculous magic wand of mAya  brings about all this moving world.

 

Thus, when an Acharya or the scripture compares two paths or two objects of worship and speaks of one as the better or greater of the two, it does not always mean that the other thing, that had a lower estimate, is worthless. That  which our Acharya talked about as the thing to be discarded,  namely, perception of duality, in all his works – that very same thing he now praises to the sky, saying that this is what you have to hold steadfastly in the bhakti-mArga.  In one case it is duality, in the other case it is ‘sva-svarUpa-anu-sandhAnaM’ (remaining steadfast in one’s own Self).

 

-9-

 

There are two statements. One says: Even Shiva,  only when united with you, Oh Shakti, is able to monitor the whole world. And the other statement says: The Triad formed of Hari, Hara and BrahmA worship Shakti.  Both these statements are contained in the 1st sloka. Are Shiva and Hara different?  Are they not the two names of the same deity? Why two names, and two actions? Is one the Prime Mover  (corresponding to the word ‘spanditum’) and the other  the one who worships (corresponding to the word ‘ArAdhyAm’)?  Are they not both the same?

 

Of course, advaita says all are the same One. But the very origin of this stotra is not to stay at the level of advaita. Everything may be the same One ultimately, but on the surface, they are seen to be different. So Hara is one, Shiva is another. The Shiva who is said to be ‘moved’ is the Shivam  enunciated as the first principle  in the scriptures of the ShAkta and Shaiva schools. Hara is the ‘Rudra’ who is in charge of the function of dissolution among the five functions of the Almighty. ‘Hara’ comes from the root verb ‘har’ to destroy, to eradicate, to nullify.

 

(At this point, the Paramacharya begins to explain at length

 the technicalities about the ‘five cosmic functions’.

What follows is a much-condensed digest. – VK)

It is the same paramAtmA who became the three members of the Triad for the discharge of the three functions of Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution. For all the three functions the power source is ambaaL, the parA- Shakti. It is the explicitly expressed power of brahman. So we may call it para-brahma-Sakti. It is not only the power for the Triad but it is the power source for the entire universe of the animate and the inanimate. By calling it para-brahma-Shakti,  let us not think it is different from para-brahman itself. For, when the shakti of an entity  is separated from it, whatever  it be, the very fact of its being that entity is lost. To give a mundane example, a ten-horsepower motor loses the very fact of motorship if the horsepower is taken away from it.  Therefore the para-brahma-shakti is para-brahman itself. But the para-brahman can also remain in itself without ‘exhibiting’ or ‘exploiting’ or ‘manifesting’ its power. When the parabrahman  so rests in itself by itself as itself, it is known in ShAkta parlance as ‘Shivam’.

 

It is from that calm nirvikAra (changeless) state of the First Principle that we have all come to this jIva state with a mind and all its  runaway associates called the senses.   Only when we merge in that ShAnti (Peace) back again it may be said that we have reached our true state and transcended the mAyA effect, the bondage of samsAra. That blissful state of  moksha is so calm and peaceful because it is now the same as being brahman, which naturally, is calm and actionless without exhibiting its latent shakti. In our daily life we may observe that if somebody  is totally inactive, unresponsive and unaffected by anything, we refer to him jocularly (at least in the Tamil world) as ‘para-brahmam’ !

 

Thus we are constrained to view Shiva as ‘para-brahman’ and ambaaL as ‘para-brahma-shakti’. Though neither of them exists without the other, we may allow ourselves the privilege of  speaking of them AS IF they are different. Without para-brahma-shakti, the world would not be there.  Now we have to consider two more cosmic functions in addition to the three well-known to all of us. We were nothing but the calm Shiva-svarUpa once; from that state somehow  the real nature has been forgotten and we have arrived at  this ignorant state of a jIva and we find ourselves in a revolving cycle of samsAra without the knowledge of our true state. The power which has done this to us must also be the same para-brahma-shakti. And by the example of several sages and saints who, though thrown into the vortex of samsAra like ourselves, have obtained the Enlightenment which took them back to that moksha state, beyond the mAyA enchantment, it is clear that this function of gracing the spiritually merited ones with moksha is also done by the para-brahma-shakti.

 

These two functions are called ‘tirodhAna’ and ‘anugraha’ respectively. The meaning of the root verb ‘tiras’ is to be secretive or to hide. It is from the verb ‘tiras’ that the Tamil word ‘tirai’ (meaning, ‘curtain’) has come. It is mAyA that blinds the real thing from us by a ‘tirai’ (curtain). Just as the three functions of creation, sustenance and dissolution have been assigned (by the para-brahma-shakti) to BrahmA, Vishnu and Rudra (Hara), so also Her assignee for the tirodhAna function is called ‘Ishvara’ (also ‘maheshvara’) and that for the anugraha function is called ‘SadAshiva’. The first three functions are subject to mAyA. This mayic activity is in the control of Ishvara. Release from mAyA is granted by SadAshiva.

These are the five cosmic functions. Together they are called the five-fold activity (pancha-kRtyam) of the Lord. This concept of pancha-kRtyam is also mentioned by the Shaiva schools. The very word panca-kRtyam means and involves activity. And as we know, no activity is possible without the kArya-brahman (para-brahma-shakti) coming in. So we can take it that the original source  is parAshakti. She does it through the five agents of Hers, namely the five forms of divinity mentioned above.  The shAnta (calm) Shivam in its nascent state cannot act. When action takes place it takes place through  parAshakti in the form of the five-fold functions. Shivam by itself does not produce the action. But it is in Shivam, the parabrahman, that the first vibration for action sprouts, by its own Shakti. But even before the action there must have been a will. This will is called  the icchA-Shakti. On the basis of this icchA  -- the first wish, as it may be called, and the Upanishad also says: ‘akAmayata’ –the kriyA-shakti (the power of Action) begins the pancha-kRtya-leelA. Thus, what was the parabrahman by itself in itself, willed to ‘become’. It is for  this divine will that the Upanishad uses the word ‘kAma’, meaning desire. This ‘desire’ is not to be taken in any derogatory sense. It is pure Divine Will from Being to Becoming. Thus the first evolute from brahman  is this divine kAma. So the shakti that is the origin of  this is called Kameshvari and  the Shivam in which this kAma sprouted is therefore called Kameshwara.

 

-10-

 

The first evolute from brahman is the ‘desire’ (kAmam) that the leela of the manifestation of the universe should take place. So the ‘Kameshvara-Kameshvari’ evolute is the first couple. She (Kameshvari) might later be called ‘Lalitambaal’ or ‘Raja-Rajeshvari’ but He (Kameshvara) is never called ‘Laliteshvara’ or ‘Raja-Rajeshvara’. Again She is ‘Tripura-sundari’ – which name is the origin for the titling of this composition as ‘Soundaryalahari’ ,  but there is no ‘Tripurasundara’ .

 All these latter names of Shakti have come because She is the Creator, Monitor and Queen of this entire universe. That is why, as soon as the lalitA-sahasranAma begins with the name ‘ShrI-mAta’, the next two names are  ‘Shri-mahArAjnI’, and  ‘ShrImat-simhAsaneshvarI’. For these two names there is no masculine counterpart of the name.

 

 When brahman ‘chose’ to become saguNa-brahman, the initial spark was that ‘desire’ to become. So the Kameshvari-Kameshvara  couple arose and is rightly named so. The panchakRtya is for the world to arise and go on from there. Thus the desire to produce multiplicity out of Herself is the kAmam. But along with this desire is also the act (in the form of mAyA) of ‘separating’ the created multiplicity from the reality of the Creator. Is this not then a cruel desire? No. The ultimate aim is to bring back everything into the source. Then why do it at all? That is the Cosmic Play. The very ‘desire’ to exhibit into a multiplicity is based on the joy of bringing back everything together into the one and only source.

  

The para-brahma-Shakti exhibits itself into five functions. Thus we have a five-fold aspect of brahma-Shakti, created by itself from itself. So these five aspects are represented in a peculiar form where Kameshvari  is sitting on the left lap of Kameshvara. The seat on which they are sitting facing the East, has four legs, namely Brahma (Creation), Vishnu (Sustenance), Shiva (Dissolution), and Ishvara (mAyic curtain);  the seat itself is SadAshiva (moksha-anugraha). These five are called the five ‘brahman-s’ . And this explains the name ‘panca-brahma-Asana-sthitA’ for the Goddess.

 There is also another name ‘panca-preta-Asana-Aseena’ meaning ‘She who is seated on the seat of five ‘preta-s’ – preta, meaning ‘dead body’ --. The ‘brahman-s’ of the earlier name are here called ‘preta-s, because, if the five functions had not been assigned to them, they are nothing,  - like the motor without the horsepower ! Even for Kameshvara, she is the life-giving Shakti and therefore the name ‘Kameshvara-prANa-nADI’ which occurs both in Lalita-sahasranama and in Trishati.

 

Now let us come to the word ‘spanditum’. The hara-rudra has been assigned the duty of samhAra, this is a ‘full duty’, so to say. On the other hand, the Shiva that is the absolute brahman has just been ‘moved’ – moved from within!  This movement is the ‘spandanam’. The Shivam was like a calm, ripple-less, vibration-less peaceful lake; and in that lake, the first ripple, the first vibration, the first movement  took place in the form of ‘kAmam’. The agent for this was the cit-Shakti of brahman itself. She, the cit-Shakti, not only became two, namely the willing power (icchA-Shakti), and the acting power (kriyA-Shakti), but made the icchA rise in brahman itself and this ‘making’ was itself Her first act of creation!

 

Let us analyze this still further. Before someone ‘desires’ he should first recognize that he ‘is’. When we are in deep sleep we don’t desire. So the event of ‘desire’ rising in brahman, must be preceded by the awareness of self-existence. Brahman was just existing in itself, but was it ‘aware’ that it was existing as such?  The very event of cognition – by brahman, as it were - that ‘I am brahman’  is itself an act of the ‘spandana’-effect of Shakti.

 

This ‘experience’ of brahman of the act of recognizing itself  has a technical name in Vedanta. It is ‘parAhantA’.  ahantA’ is the thought ‘I am’. When we wrongly think that our real ‘I’ is body-mind-intellect, it is called ‘ahantA’ – the word derived from ‘aham’. When the supreme Absolute, which is the origin of all the ‘aham’s in the world, thinks of itself as ‘I’ it is supreme ‘ahantA’, that is, para-ahantA.  In devotional literature, it is customary to call parAShakti the parAhantA form of Shivam and thus arises the name  parAhantA-svarUpiNI’ for ambaal.

   Indeed the ‘feeling  of I-ness’ that arises in the immutable brahman, is the spandana caused by Shakti and that is what personifies her. Our Acharya brings this effectively by using the word ‘Aho-purushhikA’ in Sloka No.7. The word means that She is the personification of the thought ‘I am brahman’ of brahman !

 

The ShAkta school conception  of Shiva and Shakti sometimes appears to involve a duality there. Thus they contend that it is Shakti that caused the movement. Acharya’s sloka also seems to say so. But the Acharya, while appearing to be talking ‘dvaita’ he has built his advaita into it by using the word spandanam. In what was Knowledge-Absolute, the thought of ‘I’ arose from within. This internal pulsation is the spandanam. The word is very precisely placed here. Because ‘spandanam’ by its very meaning negates anything external. It is  internally caused.  Something like what you say in modern science about the central nucleus bursting of its own accord.

 

But even the ShAkta schools cannot place Shiva and Shakti as two separate things. Because Shiva and Shakti are like the lamp and its light, the flower and its fragrance, honey and its sweetness, milk and its whiteness, word and its meaning. Thus they cannot be separated from each other. Even though the credit for the spandanam is given to Shakti, it is not as if She and He are separate. This mutual dependence of the two should be kept in our mind always.

 

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Acknowledgement of Source Material:

Ra. Ganapthy’s ‘Deivathin Kural’ (Vol.6)  in Tamil published by Vanathi Publishers, 4th edn. 1998

 

Ó Copyright of English summary. V. Krishnamurthy

Aug.29, 2003

 

 

 

 

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V. Krishnamurthy