(Digest of pp.1050 -1055 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th imprn.)
manas-tvaM vyoma tvaM marud-asi marut-sArathir-asi
tvam-Apas-tvaM bhUmis-tvayi pariNatAyAM na hi paraM /
tvameva svAtmAnaM pariNamayituM vishva-vapushhA
cid-AnandA-kAraM shiva-yuvati-bhAvena bibhRshhe //35//
“manaH tvaM” – You are the mind. Mother, it is this mind that is responsible for all the truant behaviour and all the consequent troubles; but even that mind is You yourself. ‘I may ask you, O Mother; Who are you?’ – even this question is rising only in my mind and that again is You!
In the path of jnAna, they talk of the destruction of the mind. But here we are told that the mind itself is ambaa. The advantage in convincing oneself that the Mother Goddess Herself is our mind, is that it paves the way for stopping all further truant behaviour and thus inviting further troubles. It is by such practice one ends up with the void where there is no mind; it is actually not void, but is called jnAna-AkAsha, that is, Knowledge-space. Maybe it is not visible now. So what? Right now what you are able to see is the blue vast sky; learn to see that it is also ambaa.
“Vyoma tvaM” -- You are Space. Not only just Space. You are the five elements. The thing next to AkAsha is air; and that is also You. “marud-asi” – air are you. “marut” means ‘air’ (VAyu). Hanuman is called ‘MAruti’ because He is the son of ‘marut’.
At the next level there is agni, fire. That is also your another form. Even the Veda says: “agni-varnAM, tapasA jvalantIM”, -- ‘of the colour of agni, shining by the fire of penance’. Fire travels the way the wind blows, therefore it is called ‘marut-sArathiH’. Fire has marut (Wind) as its pilot!
“tvaM ApaH. tvaM bhUmiH” – You are Water. You are the Earth.
Ambaa is in the form of the five fundamental elements and so manifests Herself in the five chakras in the body, from mUlAdhAra to Vishuddhi.
Where is the need for elaboration one by one? There is nothing where You are not manifest. “ tvayi pariNatayAM na hi paraM”. The ‘pariNatAyAM’ means that ambaa Herself has become all this. ‘na hi paraM’ shows that there is nothing more supreme (paraM) than Her.
All that was said so far constitute the first two lines of the shloka. In the latter two lines, it says: “In order to make yourself pervade the whole universe, You Yourself as the consort of Lord Shiva manifest in the form of Knowledge-Bliss’.
The fullness is Existence-Knowledge-Bliss (sat-cid-AnandaM). Shiva is not only just ‘sat’ (Existence), but also Knowledge and Bliss. As Knowledge it ‘knows’. As Bliss it is ‘blissfully happy’. This knowing and being happy are the effects of ambaa. That is why She is called ‘cid-Ananda-lahari’ (Shloka 8). What is the reason for this expression of knowledge and Bliss? The third line of the shloka answers this.
“tvaM eva svAtmAnaM pariNamayituM vishva-vapushhA” – meaning, ‘For the purpose of your pervasion as the entire universe, You took the Knowledge-Bliss Expression in the role of the consort of Shiva’.
‘The brahman knowing itself and revelling in the Bliss of that Knowledge does not just end there; the expansion as Knowledge and Bliss is for the purpose of manifesting itself as the Universe’ – This is the kind of thought in this shloka. It is out and out a ShAkta doctrine. It is not there in advaita. When advaita school dwells on Creation, they say: “It is all because of mAyA; the questions of How and Why do not lead us anywhere. The whole business is to discard this mAyA and rest in the base, the substratum . So where is the need for research about How this came and for what purpose?’ On the other hand, in the traditions of Bhakti, like ShAktaM, they give you reasons for Creation – that the same Cit (that is, Supreme Consciousness) manifests as several fragments of consciousness and the same Ananda (that is, Supreme Bliss) manifests as several fragments of Bliss, and that Creation is enable us to watch the play of that Universe. According to them it is that drama that we take to be wholly real and we consequently are immersed in that mAyA. ‘Even in this mAyic universe what flows is only that Consciousness-Bliss (cidAnanda-rasam); in the same way as the substratum of existence being called ‘shiva-yuvati’. If only we realise that all this creation of universe is to make us enjoy Her play, Her drama, Her expansion, then we can delight in that blissful view of the miracle, and in turn, be immersed in that CidAnanda.
Note that the word ‘pariNAma’ (transformation) has been used twice. There is no ‘transformation’ concept in advaita. In advaita, Brahman does not get transformed, as milk does into curd. The changeless brahman appears as the universe through mAyA – that is the advaitic contention. It is Sankhya that talks of the universe as the transformation of PrakRti. Even there they don’t say that it is the transformation of the Purusha, but it is so only of PrakRti. Our Acharya has adopted that tenet here and used the form of that tenet as given by the ShAkta tantra.
It will be interesting to research into how much the Acharya condescends to stray away from advaita in order to accommodate the various tastes of people with the purpose of lifting them up. One may question: ‘Could he do such things, ever?’. The only answer could be: ‘Only a compassionate one such as the Acharya can’!
There is a branch of Kaula called uttara-kaula. They interpret ‘shiva-yuvati’ as follows. ‘Shiva-yuvati’ does not mean ‘the consort of Shiva’. It is Shivam itself that encompasses the Shiva-tattva within itself and manifests as the ‘yuvati’, the feminine consort. The SahasranAmam also has ‘svAdhIna-vallabhA’ which means ‘She who has her husband in her control’. A little stretching of that meaning will indicate that She has Him within Herself. And this will help us to be confirmed of the Acharya’s words ‘na hi paraM’ (there is nothing other than Herself) in this shloka.
(Digest of pp.1056 - 1060 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th imprn.)
I was saying how the Acharya is helping us to keep Her sarva-vyApakatvaM (Her pervasion of everything) always in our memory. Memory is in the mind. And he has begun this shloka (#35) with the words “manas-tvaM” (You are my mind). All our problems arise in the mind and so mind is the source, origin of all our troubles. But if we start thinking that, that Mind itself is ambaaL, then we have nowhere else to go! We have got it! Mind has now to be turned to what is within. It is not necessary to ‘kill’ it root and branch. Even if it turns outside and looks at the world, we now know that all the five elemental fundamentals are nothing but ambaaL. “vyoma tvaM” - SSpace is You; “ marud-asi” – Air is You. ... “tvayi pariNatAyaM na hi paraM” – There is nothing that is not a transformation of Yourself. Thus we see everything as ambaaL. And the mind which sees and enjoys these sights is also the same Mother.
If one trains oneself to this way of viewing everything as The Mother, in due course, we will obtain the same Knowledge-Bliss experience even in this play of Creation. Our little little pleasures – sensual or otherwise - and our fragments of knowledge all merge in that supreme Bliss and Knowledge. And we become the cid-Ananda svarUpa itself. We become one with the Shiva-yuvati, the Reservoir of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss itself. What else is there beyond that?
In the museum of the former
To wind up let me give you the gist of the two shlokas #s 34 and 35. It is ambaaL who is the body of Ishvara. Body here includes both the gross and the subtle. The gross body is mentioned in the “sharIram tvam” shloka. The subtle body is referred to in “manas-tvam” shloka. This mind could be our own mind or the supreme Mind called Mahat, which is the origin for all the five elemental fundamentals. It is from that Mahat all the five elements originated, until they finally became this universe. That is why “There is nothing other than You”. Though You are called the body of the soul called ‘shambhu’, You are the one who is indistinguishable between soul and body; You yourself have expanded as this universe.
There is a little echo here of the siddhAnta of Shri Ramanuja, in the concept of the body and soul, applied to the universe (Shakti) and the Ultimate (Shambhu). However, finally the shloka winds up with the words ‘cidAnandAkAraM’, thus ending up with advaita. The ambaaL is the Knowledge source (cin-mUlaM); She is also the Bliss source (Ananda-mUlaM). But these two cannot be separated from the Existence source (san-mUlaM). None of the three can be kept in isolation; just as in a sweet dish we cannot separate the form, the taste and the smell. So the cit and Ananda cannot be separated form their base, the sat. To manifest to the world this Knowledge and this Bliss , the One Reality appears as two and takes the posture of “shiva-yuvati”. This is only a bhAva, an attitudinal posture.
After the “manas-tvaM” shloka, there follow five shlokas (#s 36 to 40) which depict how the divine couple take their seats in the kunDalini chakras representing AkAsha, Air, Fire, Water and Earth (mentioned in the order of evolution from the subtle to the gross). In each chakra they have a distinct name, different function, and unique characteristics. But the one characteristic that is common to all of them is the Supreme Compassion. In #36, they shine (in the AjnA chakra) with the effulgence of millions of Suns and Moons and lift up the devotee to a status higher than the Sun, the Moon and the Fire. In the next, (in the vishuddhi chakra) they radiate, from their pure crystalline source, the infinite coolness like some supreme moonlight thus eradicating the obstacle of an inner darkness. Just as the mystical bird ‘cakora’ consumes moonlight, the devotees enjoy that mystic coolness.
In #38, residing in the anAhata chakra
the couple is now in the form of a hamsa couple.
word should indicate the ‘parama-hamsa’ characteristic of a sannyAsi, a jnAni of advaitic
enlightenment. It is that seat from
which the praNava mantra “
The couple has been depicted as doling the same thing together in the three chakras above. But when we come to the svAdhishhTAna chakra (shloka #39), the superior compassion of the Mother dominates. This chakra corresponds to the Fire element. This is where the Lord opens his Third Fire Eye and completes his Dissolution function. While the flames of the angry Rudra destroy the universe, with Her “dayArdrA dRshTih” (the look that is wet with Compassion), through the gracious and cooling effect of that glance She comforts the whole universe. We may wonder here: “Can the Father be ever equivalent to the Mother?”. As if to answer our question the poet uses the word “samayA” here to refer to the Mother Goddess – confirming thus the principle that, though the two might appear to be different for the outside world, in essence they are one and the same.
But the Lord Himself (shloka #40) in the MaNipUraka-chakra is the dark blue rain cloud that pours cool showers on the universe – thus quelling the Fire that He Himself raised and thus preparing for a further creation. And it is then that ambaal brilliantly lights up by Her lightning.
And thus we come to the last (#41) of the part called Ananda-lahari.
tavAdhare mUle saha samayayA lAsya-parayA
navAtmAnaM manye nava-rasa-mahAtANDava-naTaM /
ubhAbhyAm-etAbhyAM udaya-vidhim-uddishya dayayA
sanAthAbhyAM jajne janaka-jananImat jagad-idaM // 41 //
manye : I meditate
mUle AdhAre : in the mUlAdhara chakra
tava : of Yours
navAtmAnaM : the form of Shiva called Ananda-bhairava, with his nine facets
nava-rasa-mahA-tANDava-naTaM : [nine-rasas- grand style –tANDava-dance] that is, who dances in a grand style the tANDava dance (peculiar to the masculine world), incorporating the nine rasas,
samayayA saha : along with samayA, another equivalent form of You
lAsya-parayA : (who is) involved in the dance ‘lAsya’, peculiar to the feminine world.
idam jagat : This universe
jajne : becomes
janaka jananImat : endowed with Father and Mother
etAbhyAM ubhAbhyAM : by this couple,
sanAthAbhyAM : who mutually resonate with each other
uddishya : aiming at
udaya vidhiM : the regeneration rule
dayayA : with compassion.
(Digest of pp.1061 - 1071 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th imprn.)
Shloka #41 is the last shloka of Ananda-lahari. It propitiates ambaaL along with Lord Shiva in the lowest chakra, that is, mUlAdhAra. It is remarkable to note that this shloka as well as shloka #34 have both mentioned “navAtmAnaM” for Lord Shiva. From #34 to #41 the topic has been the divine couple. With this shloka the discussion on the chakras is completed. So in addition to interpreting “navAtmA” as the nine-faceted (starting from Time etc.) Shiva, we can also interpret it as “six chakras plus the three granthis (knots)– together making a set of nine, for which He is the Atman”.
“lAsya” is the dance that is characteristically feminine. It is delicate, gentle and polished. On the other hand the masculine dance “tANDava” would be noisy, forceful and aggressive. In ‘tANDava’ what is important is ‘nRttaM’ in which the assemblage of beats (‘tALa’) and nuances in the pace (‘gati’) and march (‘jati’) of the dance dominate. In ‘lAsya’ it is the bhAva (face expression of mental states) that dominates. Hence the traditional association of words like ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ with these dance forms.
Lord Shiva is called ‘mahAnaTaH’, the great dancer. ‘mahAkAlo mahAnaTaH’ is part of the list of names of Shiva in amara-kosha. Without His dance there cannot be any movement in the world. Even when the world is to dissolve, He has to do the ‘dance’ of destruction! Since the first shloka has already said that His very movement itself is due to Her, it follows that every movement in the Universe is because of Her. She lets Him do the magnificent dance and She also joins with her lAsya. It is this ever-lasting dance of this divine couple that is the reason for the multifarious movements that we beings make with our physical bodies, or the varied physical reactions that our nerves exhibit in concordance with the attitudinal expressions that invade us through anger, sorrow, or lust. When we are engulfed in sorrow, why should the eyes twitch? When we are invaded by anger why do the lips twitch? It is all because the Lord is within us and He goes through His dance covering all the nine rasas, that are expressed by the lAsya of ambaa. All these are related to the varying attitudes that engulf us.
There are also dances without the attitudinal expressions. All the world is making periodic revolutions. The planets are going round the sun. The wind blows. Everything is a dance. The fire is a dance of the flames. Water is dancing through its floods. These are ‘tANDava’ without ‘bhAva’. But they cause various bhAvas in us. When the breeze blows past us we feel happy. But the same wind when it blows fiercely as a storm, we feel the bhAva of fear. And so on. This is what has been said in this shloka. Ananda-bhairava (the Lord) and Ananda-bhairavi (ambaa) are doing this tANDava-lAsya dance. And we meditate on this scene in mUlAdhAra-chakra. ‘Ananda-bhairavi’ is the name of a raga in music. But here it goes also with dance.
“maheshvara-mahAkalpa-mahAtANDava-sAkshhiNI” is one of the names of ambaa in LalitA-sahasranAma. There it is the tANDava dance of the Lord at the time of Dissolution, that She is watching as a witness. But the tANDava dance described in this shloka is the dance of Creation. So She joins in it with Her lAsya.
‘Ananda’ – joy, happiness, bliss – usually goes with excitement and dance. The divine couple are dancing with the fullness of Ananda in them. But we should not think therefore we can take liberties with them. That is why the disciplining bhairava name is associated with their names. ‘bhairava’ indicates anger, fear and the like. All for disciplining us. But the bhairava nature is only temporary. It is Ananda that is permanent. And the greatest Ananda is universal compassion. Hence the word ‘dayayA’ in this shloka.
The word ‘dayA’ means compassion. Where do they show the ‘dayA’ in this dance of creation? The very creation is the compassionate act. For without creation how do we, with all our baggage of sins behind us, ever reach Him ultimately? It is to help all the souls to have opportunities of redemption that a creation starts after every dissolution. This greatest act of compassion is done by the Dance of Creation of this divine couple. Hence ‘dayayA’! ‘udaya-vidhim uddishya’ means ‘with the purpose of regulated creation’.
The divine couple therefore is the Father and Mother of the universe. ‘janaka-jananI’. Let the world not feel that there is no one visible to take care of it. There is an invisible father and mother. The world (jagat) has become janaka-jananImat, endowed with a father and mother and therefore also ‘sanAtha’, that is, (endowed with) a ‘care-taking Lord’. In fact our children feel that if even one of the parents is not there, they are ‘anAtha’ (orphaned). So when both of them are there we are not ‘anAtha’ but ‘sanAtha’.
But wait. There is a greater subtlety. The word ‘sanAtha’ used in the shloka is not about our being ‘anAtha’ or ‘sanAtha’. The word actually used is ‘sanAthAbhyAm’ that goes with ‘ubHAbhyAM etAbhyAM’. Therefore ‘sanAthAbhyAM’ refers to the divine couple. In other words it is they, each one of them individually, who needs a ‘nAtha’ (care-taking overlord), because they have nobody ‘above’ them. But if you carefully read the shloka the correct meaning will spark; it is not somebody else who is taking care of them as their Lord – there is nobody – but it is they themselves, namely Shiva the Lord and ambaaL the Shakti, who are taking care of each other. Each is a ‘nAtha’ for the other. There is no Shiva without Shakti; and no Shakti without Shiva. In one viewpoint, He is the SheshhI (the Principal) and She is the Sheshha (the Accessory); in another viewpoint, She is the Principal and He is the Accessory. When He drinks the poison She protects Him and when She is in the form of the daughter of Daksha and later the daughter of the Mountain King, He protects Her. This mutual support and protection that this divine couple give each other is the mysterious divine symbiosis that all the Shiva Agamas, and mantra shAstras, and the Tamil Tirumandiram talk about eloquently. Tirumandiram verse No. 333 says “By the grace of the ShaktimAn, Shakti dispenses Her Grace and by the grace of Shakti, the ShaktimAn dispenses His Grace”.
(Tamil word meaning, He who became also the Mother –
there is a whole story behind it,
wherein He appears at the right time as the Mother-nurse
who helps a lonely woman-devotee deliver her baby - VK)
But though He has become the mother, the temple dedicated to Him has also a sannadhi for ambaa, the Mother. It is in the precincts of this temple that all the shlokas of ‘Anandalahari’ have been engraved on the walls.
Thus with the auspicious account of the divine couple becoming the Father and the Mother of the whole universe, the Anandalahari portion of Soundaryalahari ends.
(Digest of pp.1072 - 1085 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th imprn.)
(Note by VK: At this point the Paramacharya looks back on the Anandalahari portion and describes in the form of an overview how Shiva and Shakti have been dealt in different relationships within this first part of Soundaryalahari).
The capability of ‘moving’ the immovable impregnable Father of the Universe is Her greatest glory. Soundaryalahari starts with that glorious idea in the very first shloka. He is the executor of the Dissolution Function of the Universe. But even that function could be done only by the power of the dust of Her feet, says the 2nd shloka. His relationship with Her is like our relationship to Him. In other words She is in the place of a Goddess for Him, as is confirmed by the word “ArAdhyAm’ in the first shloka. A little later (in #7) She is His Self-awareness personified – Aho-purushhikA . In the next shloka He is Her equal, She as Kameshvari sitting on the lap of the Kameshvara form of Shiva (“parama-shiva paryangka-nilayAM”). This is where they are together the twin form of saguNa-brahman, as King and Queen of the ‘five cosmic functions’. Shloka 9 (“sahasrAre padme saha rahasi patyA viharase” – You are revelling with your husband in the sahasrAra-lotus) depicts Her as the saguNa-brahman coalescing within Him, the nirguNa-brahman. Another shloka (#11) depicts how they are situated in unison in the ShrI-chakra. And in the next shloka it talks of how as an ideal pati-vratA, She reveals Her full form only to Him. But after twelve shlokas later, (shloka #23) She has not only taken half His body but has captured the remaining half also.
The next shloka (#24) needs more than a passing mention.
[Shloka 24 is not quoted by the Paramacharya
but since he deals with it in detail,
I am giving the shloka below
without the word-by-word meaning.
These meanings automatically come forth
in his explanations. V. K.]
jagat-sUte dhAtA harir-avati rudraH kshhapayate
tiraskurvan-netat svam-api vapur-Ishas-tirayati /
sadA pUrvas-sarvaM tadidam-anugRHNAti ca shivaH
tavAjnAm-Alabhya kshhaNa-calitayor-bhrUlatikayoH //24//
It begins in the style of shloka 2 where the Trinity is spoken of as doing their work only with Her grace. “jagat-sUte dhAtA” – Brahma originates the universe. “hariH avati” – Vishnu protects and maintains it. “rudraH kshhapayate” –Rudra destroys. Not stopping here, it goes on to talk also about the remaining two cosmic functions and the deities in charge of those functions. One of them is Ishvara who carries out the ‘tirodhAna’ aspect. “Ishas-tirayati” is what the shloka says: The Lord Isha deludes by His mAyA. And all this happens by mandate (“tava AjnAm-Alabhya”) from ambaaL. “kshhaNa-calitayoH bhrU-latikayoH” – by the subtle movement, for a second, of Her eyebrows! The absorption by mAyA is not only of the universe and all creation but of the Trinity also: Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. Not only that; He himself disappears into the fifth functionary namely SadAshiva. “svam-api vapuH Ishas-tirayati” – Isha makes His own body disappear.
“sadAshivaH” is the name of the fifth cosmic functionary. The shloka names him “sadA-pUrvaH shivaH” meaning, ‘shiva with a prefix of sadA’.
At this point, one should note how a funny situation is implied here by the poet. The five cosmic functionaries are lower in hierarchy to ambaaL and her pati Lord Shiva. But one of those functionaries, namely the One who dispenses Grace has the name which means ‘Always Shiva’. And in order that the meaning should strike us in the face, the poet, instead of using the straight word ‘sadA-shiva’, uses the construction ‘Shiva with a prefix of sadA’ .
Shloka #24 therefore shows the Lord as Rudra, Ishvara and SadAshiva in the relationship of functionaries under the suzerainty of ambaaL.
In the next shloka (#25) the Trinity are considered to be at the feet of ambaaL, but by that very reason, they are also worshipped; because, those who propitiate ambaal offer their flowers in obeisance at the feet of the Mother and the flowers do fall on the crowns of the Trinity, which are in prostration at those divine feet. In #25, by using the expression “trayANAM devAnAM triguNa-janitAnAM”, they can be considered as born of ambaaL and therefore She is their jananI.
In #26, when everybody meets their end, even in the time of the Grand Dissolution (mahA-samhAra) , the Lord is depicted as sporting with Her. The Grand Dissolution, seemingly a negative mode, is actually a great anugraha from the Almighty to the Universe; for, the millions of jIvas are brought back from their karmic whirl into the fold of the Supreme. “mahA-samhAre asmin viharati sati tvat-patirasau” : Here the key word is ‘viharati’. It means ‘plays in joy’, generally; but it also means ‘destroys’.The sanskrit words ‘haraNaM’, ‘apaharaNaM’, ‘samharaNaM’, ‘viharaNaM’, ‘apahAraM’, ‘samhAraM’ , ‘vihAraM’ – all of them can be used interchangeably. So taking the words ‘tvat-patiH viharati’ , we have to interpret it as ‘Your husband is engaged in Destruction’.
This interpretation leaves ambaaL out of the business of Destruction. He does it and She watches it. The authority for this interpretation comes from Lalita-sahasranAmam where She gets the name: ‘maheshvara-mahAkalpa-mahAtANDava-sAkshhiNI’. I have already mentioned this in my explanation of shloka #41. The interesting point here is that She is the sAkshhI and He is the actor – in the action of mahA-samhAra. A similar sAkshhI status for Her is given in the great pilgrimage centre of Chidambaram, where the Lord performs the tANDava dance of Creation, while the ambaaL there, is a silent witness!
But in shloka #9, as we have seen just a little while ago, the word ‘viharasi’ is used for ambaaL herself. In the context there, it is the union of Shiva and Shakti. This is the last stage of Involution. It is the union of jIvAtmA and paramAtmA. There is no negative of Destruction there. There is only the flooding of nectar in fullness in the Jiva. It is actually a delightful experience for the jIva when the kunDalini reaches the sahasrAra. So the word ‘viharaNaM’ for ambaal is quite apt with the meaning of joyful play.
Among the various relationships of Shiva and Shakti, there is also the guru-shishhya relationship.
(Digest of pp.1086-1091 of Deivathin Kural, 6th volume, 4th imprn.)
Almost all the Agamas, Tantras and Samhitas are supposed to have been taught by the Lord to ambaaL.
[Note by Ra. Ganapati: Generally,
rites of worship follow the Agamas,
Tantras and Samhitas according to
the deity that is being worshipped
– Shiva, Devi or Vishnu]
This guru-shishya relationship – with the Lord as guru and ambaaL as shishyaa, comes in shloka #31.
[I am giving shloka 31 here along with its translation,
though the Paramacharya does not do so,
but still discusses it in detail. V.K.]
catuH shhashhTyA tantraiH sakalam-atisandhAya bhuvanaM
sthitas-tattat-siddhi-prasava-paratantraiH pashupatiH /
svatantraM te tantraM kshhiti-talaM avAtItarad-idaM //31//
pashu-patiH – Lord Shiva
sthitaH - remained as if fulfilled
atisandhAya – after having deceived
sakalaM bhuvanaM– all the world
catuH-shhashhTyA tantraiH – with the sixty four tantras
tattat-siddhi-prasava-paratantraiH. – (that that – result – generating --worldy fulfillments) which expound practices that result in one or other of various psychic powers and worldly fulfillments.
punaH – But again,
tvan-nirbandhAt – by Your insistence,
avAtItarat – (He) revealed
kshhiti-talaM – (to the ) world
idaM – this
te tantraM – Thine own tantra,
svatantraM – independent (of all the others)
akhila-purushhArthaika-ghaTanA – (which is) capable of conferring all the purushhArthas (by itself)
The Lord taught the various 64 tantras (means
or strategies for attaining an end) to the world. But each one of them can give
a certain type of worldly benefit, not more. In some sense this is a curtain of
delusion thrown on the people of the world. The four purushhArthas (objectives
of life) are dharma,
The word ‘nirbandhAt’ is very aptly put. It was She
who involved the actionless brahman somehow into being the cause of the Cosmic
World-play. But what happened? The play became so involving that it became a
cosmic dance for Him. The dance of the five cosmic functions; then the samhAra
dance, where the parA-shakti
is only a non-participating witness! And then there are the seven different
dances called ajapA-dance,
and so on. In addition to this there is the nine-fold dance mentioned in shloka
41. Over and above this there are the 64 leelas, like bikshATanaM, tripura-dahanAm, and jalandhara-vadha
– not to speak of the 64 leelas particularised in the temple-city of
It is at this point ambaaL decided to insist that they be taught the Shri VidyA tantra. It is of course the worship of ambaaL. But instead of Herself propagating it, She wanted this husband of Hers, this guru of Hers, to bring it to the world. This shows three characteristics of the Mother Goddess. Firstly, Her conjugal devotion to the ‘pati’; secondly Her respect for Her guru; and thirdly Her infinite compassion on Her children, the people of the world. It need not be emphasized it is the third quality, the motherly affection, that shows uppermost here.
The Shri VidyA tantra has several greatnesses of which one is the fact that it is the most concordant with the vedic route. Of course all the tantras can be adapted to the vedic route; but some of them do present obstacles to such vedic adaptation. So there is a necessity to speak of tantras which are concordant with vedic practices and which are not. It was our Acharya who established the pure vaidic pUjA and instilled life into it. It is true that even this pUjA contains some of the mantras which owe their origin to the tantra way. When he initiated the vaidic pUjA rituals in connection with the upAsanA following the Shri VidyA tantra, he followed only the samayAchAra discipline.
It is this tantra that he calls ‘te tantraM’ (Your tantra). In other words it is Hers, and She got it initiated into the world by the Lord Himself by insisting on it (‘nirbandhAt’). And again, it is interesting to note that in all those other tantras, very often only a lower hierarchical position is given to Shiva. On the other hand, it is in this tantra which is delibrately called ‘te tantraM’ , that there is a perfect equality (‘samaya’) between Shiva and Shakti!
Looking back at the Anandalahari portion we see that Shiva and Shakti have been represented in several different roles – Shiva, as Her Majesty’s most obedient servant; as Husband with an equal role; as a functionary so positioned by Her; as Husband only in name; as Guru; as devotee ; even as a son. And again, ambaaL has been depicted severally, as half of His body; as one who has appropriated even the other half of Shiva’s body; as life-saver; and as the motive force who moves Him.
In spite of all this, what is most important in this Anandalahari section are the two shlokas 32 and 33 where the esoteric nuances of the Shri VidyA tantra are mentioned. The later part of the hymn is a description of the physical form of the Goddess; whereas the first part is the representation of that form through the akshharas. Any deity for that matter has two forms – one physical and the other, the form of sound. This Anandalahari part is the sound-form (shabda-svarUpa) of ambaaL. The physical form is a vision for the eyes. The sound-form is to be heard by the ears, articulated by the tongue through speech. In fact the physical form actually emanated from the sound. Only by the japa of the sound the other form becomes visible. Of course the same thing also means that it is the physical form that is the goal and the japa of the sound or the akshharas is only a means for that end. And thus we come to the end of Anandalahari looking forward to that goal of viewing the delightful physical form of ambaaL.
The Acharya ends the Anandalahari portion with the mention of “janaka-jananI” – the Father and the Mother, of the whole universe. So the philosophical part is going to be set aside now and we go on to see the physical form of the Mother in all its infiniteness of Grace, Compassion and Beauty.
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