- 41 -
(Digest of pp.974- 979 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th imprn.)
The waving of lights that is mentioned in the last shloka, the third nIrAjanaM of the whole work, has a specific reason. The Acharya says that the entire work is actually Hers, and therefore it is fitting, he says, to visualise the work itself as a nIrAjanaM to the goddess. Mother Goddess created this universe out of Her own wish and imagination. In the same way though the poet may have created this work, the words are actually Hers and so She is the Origin for the work. So from that Infinite source of Light, a fragment of a lighted camphor is taken out and used as nIrAjanaM to Her, through this work. In other words the whole work shows only a fragment of Her Infiniteness. And that is why the third nIrAjanaM (Shloka 100) corresponds to Creation. Thus Soundaryalahari has three wonderful nIrAjanaMs built into it.
Let us now come back to shloka 22, where the first nIrAjanaM is taking place. The nIrAjanaM here is nothing but the dazzle of the crowns in the heads of BrahmA, VishNu and Indra.
The interesting point here is the omission of Rudra, the third of the Divine Triad. If you are talking of the divine cosmic functions, the triad must include Rudra, certainly. But the purpose here is different. It is to show the supremacy of Mother Goddess over everything. The three divines mentioned here are, Indra, the King who maintains the divine world, Vishnu, the One who maintains the entire world, and Brahma, the One Creator to whom all the divines and all the universe make their first appeal, whenever there is a universal crisis. So the maintenance of the created world is the thing in question here. That is why I told you earlier that this nIrAjanaM is the ‘sthiti-nIrAjanaM’ (the waving of lights corresponding to the Sustenance function). For that very reason also, Rudra, the God of Dissolution function, is not mentioned.
Further there is an esoteric purpose. The attributeless brahman transcends the three qualities satva, rajas and tamas. Of these three, the first is usally associated with the Sustenance Function and with Vishnu. The second, with the Creation function and BrahmA. The third is associated with the Dissolution function and with Rudra. In the case of jIva, the same three are the waking state (where we do the maintenanace function of carrying on the activities of life), the dream state (wherein we, out of our own mind, create endless varieties) and the deep sleep state (wherein all is quiet and is dissolved). But even in that deep sleep state, there is a life within, which is unaffected by any of the three; that is the turIyaM, familiarly called ‘caturthaM’ (the fourth) in Mandukya Upanishad. The three states of awareness – waking, dream, sleep – pertain to the jIva; therefore it is what happens in the microcosm (the ‘pinDa’). The three states of Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution, pertain to the Ishvara; this is what happens in the macrocosm (the ‘aNDa’).
The fourth, ‘turIyaM’, is common to both. That ‘turIyaM’ or attributeless brahman, which is the substratum behind the saguNa-brahman, that is Ishvara, is the very same ‘turIyam’ that lies as the ‘Atman’ , the substratum of the three states of the jIva.
Why did I get into all this metaphysics? It is to tell you that the ‘samhAra’ state, namely ‘Dissolution’ is what is nearest to the turIya, the Brahman. Neither in the jAgrat (waking) nor in the svapna (dream) is the jIva as restful and unperturbed as in the turIya-samAdhi state. But he is so in the sushhupti (deep sleep) state. But again that calm that he obtains in the sushhupti state is not an ‘experiential’ calm. It is so only in the ‘samAdhi’ state. That is of course true. However, when compared to the jAgrat and svapna states, the sushhupti state is the one nearest to the turIya-samAdhi state. In the Cosmic level also, it is the samhAra-rudra that is nearer to the peace of para-brahman than the Creator BrahmA or the Maintainer Vishnu. It is that para-brahman that is called ‘Shivam’ in the ShAkta literature. Rudra is samhAra-mUrti, Ishvara is the tirodhAna-mUrti who is responsible for the mAyA phenomenon and SadAshiva is the anugraha-mUrti, responsible for the grant of moksha. And then beyond the three there is the para-brahman that is shivaM. In spite of this classification, in general parlance and tradition, rudra, Ishvara, SadAshiva and Shivam are usually identified as the same whereas the creator brahmA and the sthiti-kartA Vishnu are taken only as brahmA and VishNu.
What we have said about Shiva also applies to Mother Goddess. The parA-shakti which is the fullest dynamic expression (shakti) of para-brahman, is usually talked about as identical with Parvati, the consort of Rudra but not Sarasvati or Lakshmi. Even in Soundaryalahari She is addressed as ‘hima-giri-sute’ or ‘tuhina-giri-tanaye’ and not as Sarasvati or Lakshmi.
The bottomline of it all is this. It is only for Rudra there is an identity with Shiva; not for the murtis BrahmA or VishNu. Here the context is the nIrAjanaM in the form of the crowns falling at the feet of ambaa. And in this context it was not decent to bring in Shiva or Rudrain this part of Soundaryalahari where the emphasis is on philosophy and tantra. In the later part, where there is a free licence for poetic imagination, we have instances where even Shiva falls at the feet of the Goddess, the context however being that of Love.
It may be pointed out, in objection to what I have said above, that even in this first part, in shloka 25, it says: “It is enough to make one offering at Your feet. That itself is equivalent to an offering to the divine triad. Because they have placed their heads at your feet in obeisance, the offering at your feet to your feet is also automatically made to those three.”
But a careful study of shloka 25 tells a different story.
- 42 –
(Digest of pp.978 - 981 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th imprn.)
I was telling you about the non-mention of Rudra in shloka #22. And that led me on to shloka #25, which we shall scrutinise now in order to understand that, in keeping with the esoteric nature of Anandalahari, the subtlety of the pati-patni relationship between the murtis of shiva and ambaa has not been damaged there. For there is not even a loophole therein to bring the identity of Rudra and Shiva.
(Note: Though the Paramacharya does not get into
Shloka #25 in detail, in order for us to understand
the key point he makes about it, I give below
my own word-by-word translation of #25,
for the benefit of readers. VK)
trayANAM devAnAM triguNa-janitAnAM tava shive
bhavet-pUjA pUjA tava caraNayor-yA viracitA /
tathA hi tvat-pAdodvahana-maNipIThasya nikaTe
sthitA hyete shashvan-mukullita-karottamsa-makuTAH // 25 //
yA pUjA : The worship
viracitA : done
tava caraNayoH : at They Feet
bhavet : becomes, as it were,
pUjA : the worship
trayANAmM devAnAM : of all the three deities (Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra)
tava triguNa-janitAnAM : who were born of Thy three guNas
tathA hi: Indeed it is this way.
Ete : These gods
sthitAH shashvat ; are stationed, ever,
maNipIThasya nikaTe : in proximity to the seat of gems
tvat-padodvahana : that bear Thy feet
mukulita-karottamsa-makuTAH: with their joined palms held (in salutation to Thee) above their diademed heads
[Now we shall go back to
the Paramacharya’s explanations: VK)
The three divinities mentioned here are referred to as “triguNa-janitAnAM”, meaning, ‘those who have their origins in Thy three guNas, satva, rajas and tamas’. Rudra is the only one who has the tamas as the source. Since he is said to ‘be born’ (janitAnAM) of tamas, it is tantamount to saying that he is ‘born’ of Her and therefore He is Her offspring. And this justifies his falling at Her feet. Since the topic here is to say that the pUjA of the Divine Triad (born of Her guNas) is actually embedded (included, implied) in the pUjA of Mother Goddess, the deity Rudra, who is generally equated with Shiva, has to be included here. But whenever one wants to develop the theme that even great divines worship the devI, (as in shloka 22) one uses Mukunda, BrahmA and Indra without mentioning any of the names Rudra, Shiva or Ishvara which names are identified with Shiva. All the divines disappear in the Grand Dissolution, while the one who doesn’t disappear even at the time of the Dissolution, is not here at the scene of falling at the feet!
Lest I forget, let me now itself dwell on a subtle point regarding the nIrAjanaM corresponding to the Grand Dissolution (mahA-pralaya) (shloka 30).
(Again, as before, I give below the shloka #30
and its meaning, though the Paramacharya
does not choose to give the word-by-word meaning: VK)
nishhevye nitye tvAm-aham-iti sadA bhAvayati yaH /
kim AshcaryaM tasya trinayana-samRddhiM tRNayatA
mahA-samvartAgnir-viracayati nIrAjana-vidhiM //30//
nitye : Oh the Eternal One,
nishhevye : Oh the One adored by all,
yah : He who
sadA : always
bhAvayati : thinks of (meditates on)
tvAM : You
abhitaH : (You, who are) surrounded
ghRNibhiH : by rays
svadehodbhUtAbhiH : emanating from one’s own body
aNimAdhyAbhiH : such as aNimA and the like,
aham iti : as “I”,
kim Ashcaryam : What wonder is there (meaning, No wonder) that
tasya : for him
triNayatA : (who) makes into insignificance
trinayana-samRddhiM : the glory of the three eyed (Shiva),
mahA-samvartAgniH : The Great Fire of Dissolution
viracayati : is (only) a performance of
nIrAjana-vidhiM : the rite of waving of Lights.
The content here is this: Those who meditate with a complete (advaitic) identification with ambaa, are themselves offered the nIrAjanaM by the Fire of the Grand Dissolution. But in an earlier shloka, (#26), it is said that BrahmA, Vishnu and all other divines disappear at the time of that mahA-pralaya, but Shiva alone remains, sporting with Her. The question now arises: How come, in shloka 30, it talks as if the ‘tvAm-aham’ worshippers (that is, those who have identified themselves with Mother Goddess) survive during the Great Dissolution and receive the nIrAjanaM of the mahA-pralaya?
Yes, it is alright --, in the following sense. If they had been different from ambaa, they would have certainly been destroyed in the Dissolution. But they are in advaitic oneness with ambaa. They are the ‘tvAm-aham’ upAsakas. They are the ‘I am one with You’ entitites. In other words they are one with the devi. Of course this devi is not the attributeless (nirguNa) one. How can there be a nIrAjanaM for the nirguNa? The first line of Shloka 30 means ‘You who are surrounded by divine powers like aNimA, which are all rays emanating from Your own body’. This itself says we are talking of the saguNa form only here. The identity or oneness (sAyujyaM) that is talked about here is the same as the ‘bhavAni-tvam’ idea of shloka 22.
But again one may question: ‘Then, why are they talked about as separate and as if they are separately receiving the nIrAjanaM of the Fire of Dissolution?’. Though they may, in their identity with the Mother, have a feeling that they are themselves doing the play of Dissolution, along with that, there will be a symbiotic feeling of appreciation and bliss at the sight of the divine leelA taking place right before them.
Let us note clearly that never can a jIvAtmA attain the identity of being the doer of Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution. To be in that kind of complete oneness with the saguNa-brahman in total advaitic identification is an impossibility. The peak of experience can only be the ‘feeling’ as if it is itself doing the activities of the saguNa-brahman. The feeling can be very deep and profound. But never can it become the original. In order to compensate for this gap in complete identification, one is graced by Ishvara with this apex-like experience of being witness to the divine deeds. In fact, let me venture to say, that the very purpose of being a saguNa brahman may well be to grant this experience to that single one in a million!
- 43 –
(Digest of pp.982 - 987 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th imprn.)
The very deed of ambaa in keeping some people on the border of duality and non-duality is probably for the purpose of making them see the Cosmic Play of Dissolution. Naturally such people will not be engulfed in that play of Dissolution, because they are themselves privileged spectators of the play! These are the “I-am-one-with-You” people (of shloka 30). Even when it is said in shloka 26 that He (Shiva) is the only one who survives the praLaya, the “I-am-one-with-You” people who are those in identification with Shakti are, by the very reason of their being very privileged spectators of the Pralaya, are not consumed by the pralaya. They are one with Her. There is no contradiction between the shlokas.
This concept of ‘being consumed by pralaya’ needs further clarification. Though we use the word ‘Shiva’ generally, so long as He is the ‘Kameshvara’ or the attributeless ‘shivam’ He cannot be consumed by pralaya. But when He is one of the divine triad, as the Rudra in charge of Dissolution, or the Maheshvara in charge of the ‘tirodhAna’ function, or the SadAshiva of the ‘anugraha’ function, he will not be there after the pralaya, because there is no pancha-kRtyam (the five Cosmic Functions) once the pralaya is over. The Kameshvara who is non-distinct from ambaa, and the nirguNa-shivam which is the substratum of them both are the only ones which are there. The eternal truth and existence of nirguNa-satyaM need not have to be re-emphasized or re-affirmed. So when we talk of who survives the pralaya it is only ambaa and the Kameshvara-shiva who is One with Her. This is what is referred to in Shloka 26 when it says “viharati sati tvat-patirasau” (meaning, ‘Your husband alone is in the play’). Read along with the word “para-brahma-mahishhi” (Shloka 97), we should have meant only the para-brahman by the word ‘tvat-patiH’ in #26. But in the case of para-brahman, there is no question of any action like ‘playing or sporting’ (“viharati”); that is why the interpretation of ‘Kameshvara-shiva’ (who is non-distinct from ambaa) for “tvat-patiH” in Shloka 26.
In the shloka where it talks of the ‘I-am-one-with-You’-people it says even the ‘wealth or prosperity’ of Shiva Himself is nothing before them. With great gymnastics of sound effect it says: “trinayana-samRddhiM triNayataH” (that is, even the majesty of the three-eyed One is like straw before the wind). Why was it said like this? Shiva might be Ishvara; but the ‘aishvarya’ (Wealth) that gave Him that name, came from the parA-shakti. Without Her action, there is no Shiva, no Wealth of any kind for Him. Even if there was anything in terms of authority or jurisdiction, He shares it with so many other divinities to each of whom She has allotted responsibilities as well as the associated authority and wealth of Power. On the other hand, the ‘I-am-one-with-You’ people are one with Her and so they enjoy all Her aishvarya in fullness. So they are the greater ones!
I must warn you here. Let us not be carried away by this poetic devotional exaggeration. There is no separate identity for either of Ishvara and devi. In fact what is Hers is His and what is His is Hers.
A final subtle point. I just talked about the greatness of the ‘I-am-one-with-You’-people. But notice that they are not saying ‘You are one with me’; that is where there is also a modesty revealed. One of the mahA-vakyas is ‘aham brahma asmi’ that is, ‘I am brahman’. Another is: ‘ayam Atma brahman’, that is, ‘This Atman, in other words, what is cognised as jIvAtman, is nothing but brahman’. These two mahA-vAkyas and the essence of ‘I-am-one-with-You’ of shloka 30 are all the same. However, those who look only at the word-sequence of the mahAvAkyas, are likely to misunderstand them as saying : “The person who is in this jIva-bhava is calling himself brahman’ – instead of correctly understanding: “It is brahman that is this jivAtma”.
But when the mahAvakya comes forth from the mouth of the Guru it creates no such confusion. Because it says: “That is what you are” and clearly implies ‘That has become you’. In fact it indicates “Without you there is nothing to be called ‘I’”. And thus modesty is automatically oozing out here. This is what the conviction ‘I am one with You’ also disseminates. Along with it, there is also the grandeur of the association with the aishvarya of the Almighty. All these ideas have gone into the Acharya’s expressive line ‘trinayana-samRddhiM triNayataH’.
The bottom line is this: The jIva which is in identity with the Mother Goddess and the Lord who is non-distinct from Her, both are ever there.
I referred to shloka 26 above. It talks about how when everything and every one gets dissolved in the pralaya, only the Lord Shiva along with ambaa are remaining in sport. It mentions the disappearance of the others one by one. The Creator BrahmA reaches his end. Vishnu arrives at a dead stop. The God of Death (“kInAsha”) himself dies (“ vinAshaM bajati”). The Divine Treasurer (“dhanadaH”) also perishes without any help from all his wealth (“nidhanam yaati”). Notice the gymnastics in the poetry here, which describes the gymnastic sport of the divine couple during the process of Dissolution of the Universe. Even during such a great pralaya (mahA-samhAra), ambaa’s spouse (“patiH”) alone survives! Reason: Your tATanka-mahimA. This is what is taken up in shloka 28.
- 44 –
(Digest of pp.987 -993 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th imprn.)
sudhAm-apy-AsvAdya prati-bhaya-jarA-mRtyu hariNIM
vipadyante vishve vidhi shatamakhAdyA divishhadaH /
karALaM yat kshhvelaM kabaLitavataH kAla-kalanA
na shambhos-tan-mUlaM tava janani tATangka-mahimA // 28 //
AsvAdya api : Even after having consumed
sudhAm : the nectar
prati-bhaya-jarA-mRtyu-hariNIM : (which) eradicates the dreadful old age and death
vishve divishhadaH : all the divines
vidhi-shatamakhAkhyAH : like BrahmA, Indra and others
vipadyante : meet their end (at the time of pralaya).
Yat : (But) the fact that
shambhoH : for Lord Shiva
kabalitavataH : who had consumed
karALaM kshhvelaM : the terrible poison (of KalakuTa)
kAla-kalanA na : there is no submission to Time
tan-mUlaM : has its reason (in)
janani : Oh Mother
tava tATangka-mahimA : the Glory of Your ear-ornament (tATangka).
We have always been led to believe that some one who has consumed he most dreadful poison has to meet his end, whereas some one who has taken the nectar will be immortal. What is happening here is exactly the reverse. All the divines who had partaken of the nectar have all to disappear at the Deluge whereas the Lord who has consumed the most dreadful hAlAhala, is standing as the lonely survivor after the Deluge.
What is more, this partition of the Lord on the one side and all the other divines on the other side is also happening in the context of Service to the Mother Goddess. Mukunda, Brahma and Indra and all those divines fall at Her feet with their crowns touching Her feet (#22), while the crownless dweller of the burial ground is distinguished as unique. The punchline of this remark is that those who fell at Her feet are destroyed in the praLaya, but He who did not so prostrate before Her is unaffected by the praLaya!
There is even another shloka (#29) which says that She runs to welcome the one who did not serve, and while so running, tramples on the crowns of those that chose to serve Her and fall at Her feet!
[Since the Paramacharya elaborates rather lengthily
on this reference to shloka 29 here,
I am giving it here with meanings and all,
though he has not yet finished his discussion of #28. VK ]
kirITaM vairinchaM parihara puraH kaiTabha-bhidaH
kaThore koTIre skhalasi jahi jambhAri-makuTaM /
praNamreshh-veteshhu prasabham-upayAtasya bhavanaM
bhavasyA-bhyutthAne tava parijanoktir-vijayate // 29 //
vijayate : Remarkable (= to be noted) are
tava parijanoktiH : the words of your maids-in-attendance,
abhyuthAne : at the hasty stir to welcome
bhavasya : Lord Shiva
upayAtasya : (who) had come
bhavanaM : home
prasabham : suddenly, unannounced.
praNamreshhu eteshhu : “Amidst all these prostrating (divines)
parihara : avoid
vairincham kirITam : the crown of Creator Brahma;
purah : in front (of you)
skhalasi : you are trampling (over)
kaThore koTire : the heavy crown
kaitabha-bhidaH : of ‘the enemy of Kaitabha’ ( = ‘Vishnu’)
jahi : (also) avoid
jambhAri makuTam : the crown of ‘the enemy of jambha’ (= ‘Indra’)”.
Among the many names of the Creator Brahma, the Acharya most often uses the name ‘virinchi’ (See shlokas nos.1, 2 and 12 for example). The word ‘rinchati’ means ‘creates’ . The prefix ‘vi’ before the word adds a special effect to that action indicated by ‘rinchati’. In other words, Creator Brahma does the creation work most effectively and with dedication. Therefore he is ‘virinchi.
‘Kaitabha-bhit’ denotes the One who vanquished the asura Kaitabha; therefore it is Vishnu. When He was in yoga-nidrA, the asuras Madhu and Kaitabha attacked the Lord BrahmA, patent in the region of the divine navel of Lord Vishnu. And Brahma sang a song of praise of lord Vishnu so that He may wake up. The Lord obliged by shaking up the Goddess Yoga-nidrA, and vanquished the two asuras. Goddess Yoga-NidrA is none else but the Mother Goddess. It is quite fitting therefore that Vishnu is remembered here as Kaitabha-vid; because it is Kaitabha that connects Vishnu, Brahma and parA-shakti in the same cosmic event.
His (Vishnu’s) crown is not just an ordinary one. It is solid, not hollow in its material. Why is it solid? The reason comes in the stotra called ‘Vishnu-pAdAdi-keshAnta-stotra’ of the Acharya himself. “kRta-makuTa-mahAdeva-linga-pratishhTe’ meaning thereby that the crown of Vishnu is in the form of a shiva-linga. Now comes the ironical situation!. It is this crown that the maids-in-attendance of ambaa are wanting her not to trample over. It is the shiva-linga-formed crown on the head of Vishnu that is now at the feet of ambaa! And that is what She is about to trample, in her hurry to welcome Her Lord, when He arrives home suddenly. When Bhakti and Love are in full flood, as in the case of Kannappar’s behaviour, none can default any action, even if it looks like one that is faulty!
The context in which this happens is still more interesting. Bhava is returning to his bhavanam – this is the context. Bhava means Shiva. Bhavanam means home. He is returning home unexpectedly and ambaa, as soon as She became aware of this, She hastens to welcome Him – in the tradition of a traditional pati-vratA. ‘prasabhaM’ means in great haste and excitement’. And here comes a word ‘abhyuthAnaM’ that has great significance.
‘abhyuthAnaM adharmasya’ – does it not ring a bell? It is the Lord’s promise in the Gita, that he will come whenever there is a damage to dharma. In that context, ‘abhyuthAnam’ means ‘rising to the occasion’. But now Soundaryalahari adds another meaning to that word ‘abhyuthAnaM’. It also means ‘rising to welcome’ or ‘welcoming’. This sets up an interesting thought in my mind. Why not we appropriate this meaning in the shloka of the Gita also. Then it would mean:
abhyuthAnam adharmasya = the welcome offered by adharma.
In other words, to make the Lord come down as an avatar, a welcome strategy would be adharma. It was the adharma of a Ravana, of a Hiranyakashipu, of a Kamsa that brought in three great avatars of the Lord!. But let us not carry the analogy too far. We should also remember what finally happened to these carriers of the welcome banner!
We have strayed too far from the shloka 28, which was our main discussion point. Let us go back to it now.
- 45 –
(Digest of pp.996-1000, 1015 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th imprn.)
The feat that Shiva survives even the kAla-kUTa poison, that stays in his throat is the glory of the ear-ornament of ambaa – this is the content of Shloka 28. In other words Shivaa (meaning, ambaa) is the medicine for Shiva. This thought goes back to the Vedas. In the Rudram chapter of Krishna Yajur veda, the 2nd mantram of the 10th anuvAkam says: Oh Rudra!, You have a form which includes the most auspicious form of parAshakti, which is a cure for the entire universe and which is in total unison with your form, let that bless us to live a full life. In other words, it says there are two bodies for the Lord; when it shows up as Rudra it is frightening (“ghora”). When it shows up as Shiva it is “auspicious”, because He has also this other body which is the one in unison with Shivaa (ambaa).
[Note by VK: The Paramacharya does not usually
quote vedic passages in public during his speeches,
though he may give the purport of such passages.
This is the mantram that he is referring to:
yA te rudra shivaa tanuuH shivaa vishvAha bheshhajI /
shivaa rudrasya bheshhajI tayaa no mRDa jIvase //]
In the world of duality, there is good as well as bad. Both come from the same Absolute Reality that is God. It is not as if one comes from God and the other comes from Satan. This is not acceptable to our scriptures. The same Almighty is the Rudra of destruction and is also the most compassionate, most peaceful Shiva.
When we talk of the ‘ghora’ form, the word ‘ghora’ includes all that is bad like ‘anger’, ‘sorrow’ etc., though the direct meaning of ‘ghora’ is ‘frightful’. The opposite form called ‘aghora-mUrti’ includes all that is good. When we look at worldly life, we have the feeling it is ‘bad’ that is predominant. That is why our elders call this ‘samsAra’ a ‘ghora-samsAra’. But it is not totally ‘ghoram’ nor does it end as ‘ghoram’. Now and then some peace, some happiness is mixed up with it. This is like a medicine which is graced to us by the Lord. Probably it is divine will that this worldly life has to be a mixed life of good and bad. Maybe ‘bad’ is intended to be more in abundance, so that we would all want to get away from this and reach our Real Nature of Atman. I said ‘Maybe’ because how can anybody know what was the ‘divine intention’?
Just as there are medicines for diseases, for this ‘ghora’ events of life, there is a medicine of ‘shivam’! But even that does not cure the illness totally. We get hungry and we eat to satisfy the hunger. But hunger is not for ever satisfied! Again we get hungry and again we have to eat! So also the ‘ghora’ part of life comes again and again and the shivam part gives us the medicine every time. That medicine is called ‘SHIVAA’ -- say the vedas. They say: “Oh Lord! Do you know what converts your Rudra-body into the ‘shiva-body’? It is the ‘extended shiva’, namely ‘SHIVAA’. Therefore ‘SHIVAA’ is also the universal cure for everything!” This is the declaration of the mantram from Rudram referred to above.
The matter does not end there. She is not just “vishva-bheshhajI” . The Shruti continues: “She is also ‘Rudrasya bheshhajI’, the medicine that will bring down the ‘roudra’ (=frightening) nature of Rudra and transform it into a ‘karuNa’ (= compassionate) nature”.
Indeed we think that Shivaa is just the consort of Shiva and that is why She has been called Shivaa. But the above words of the vedas go to the extent of saying that only when the medicine of ‘Shivaa’ is applied to Rudra, Rudra becomes ‘Shiva’ ! It is further confirmed by the fact that the auspicious form of Rudra is not referred to by the masculine term ‘Shiva tanuu’ (the Shiva body) but it is declared to be the feminine word ‘Shivaa tanuu’. Thus the body is the one coming from the Mother concept. So the attitude is that of the mother, and the physical form is the father’s. It is the Shivaa bheshhajI that converts Rudra into Shiva.
The incident of Shiva drinking the poison that came out from the Ocean of Milk, and retaining it in his throat, for the purpose of saving those of the world outside, namely all the divines and those in his Cosmic stomach, namely the entire universe, is graphically pictured in a Sivanandalahari shloka (#32), wherein the poet-author (The Acharya) wonders “Was it a ‘siddha-gulika’ that you put into your mouth?”. Siddha-gulika refers to a medicine from the Siddha-vaidya-shAstra. It is interesting to note that this links well with the ‘bheshhajI’’-word (bheshhaja – medicine; bheshhajI – Doctor) that is being used here in the veda-mantra.
This idea that the Lord has within Himself another body which is wholly that of Shivaa and the usual idea that the Lord has an ardha-nArishvara (half-male, half-female) form are together combined in another shloka (#23) where ambaa is branded as one who has appropriated for Herself the entire body of Her husband! :
tvayA hRtvA vAmaM vapur-aparitRptena manasA
sharIrArdhaM shambhor-aparaM api shangke hRtam abhUt /
yad-etat-tvad-rUpaM sakalam aruNAbhaM trinayanaM
kuchAbhyAm AnamraM kuTila-shashi-chUDAla-makuTaM //23//
yad-etad : The fact that
tvad-rUpaM : this form of Yours
sakalam aruNAbhaM : is fully red
trinayanam : (and) having three eyes
kuchAbhyAm Anamram : (and) is bent because of the breasts
kuTila-shashi-chUDAla-makuTaM : incomplete-moon-hair dress-crown , meaning, (and) having a crown of hairdo with the half moon in it,
shangke : makes me doubt (that)
vAmaM vapuH hRtvA : having taken the left side of the body
aparitRptena manasA : but not being satisfied (with it),
aparaM sharIrArdhaM : another half of the body
shambhoH : of Shiva
api : also
hRtaM abhUt : has been appropriated
tvayA : by You
Thus spake the Paramacharya.
Acknowledgement of Source Material:
Ra. Ganapthy’s ‘Deivathin Kural’ (Vol.6) in Tamil published by Vanathi Publishers, 4th edn. 1998
Copyright of English Summary © V. Krishnamurthy