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[ambaa-l] Re: saundaryalaharI - 1

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  • Aravind Krishna
    ... There is a certain degree of similarity that exist in both these verses. But soundarya lahari goes one step further to establish the shakthi parathva by
    Message 1 of 24 , Oct 25, 1999
      >From: ramut@...
      >To: ambaa-l@...
      >Subject: [ambaa-l] Re: saundaryalaharI - 1
      >Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 09:38:01 -0700
      >Is there a similarity between Soundarya Lahiri -- verse 1 and Kalidasa's
      >Vaagartha Viva Samplukthou...
      >I have always thought that the invocation sloka in both of these works
      >had simiality in talking about the oneness of Siva and Shakti.

      >comments would be welcome.

      There is a certain degree of similarity that exist in both these
      verses. But soundarya lahari goes one step further to establish the
      shakthi parathva by saying �na ced evam devo na khalu kushalah
      spanditam api�.
      Kalidasa�s shloka is more like the first verse of shivaananda lahari.

      kalaabhyaaM chuuDaalaN^kR^itashashikalaabhyaaM
      nijatapaH phalaabhyaaM bhakteShu prakaTitaphalaabhyaaM
      bhavatu me shivaabhyaam astokatribhuvana shivaabhyaaM
      hR^idi punarbhavaabhyaam aananda sphuradanubhavaabhyaaM natiriyam

      Shivaananda lahari, a work exclusively on parameshwara also commences by
      saluting both shiva & shivaa.

      One point can be noted here. Soundarya Lahari starts with the
      �shiva� shabda and Shivananda Lahari starts with the �ka� beeja, the
      first letter of panchadashakshari (shakthi mantra).

    • Gummuluru Murthy
      shri lalite namah Just like the first four brahma sUtrAs lay the foundation for all brahma sUtrAs, this first verse lays the foundation for the rest of
      Message 2 of 24 , Oct 26, 1999
        shri lalite namah

        Just like the first four brahma sUtrAs lay the foundation
        for all brahma sUtrAs, this first verse lays the foundation
        for the rest of saundaryalaharI.

        shri shankara starts this stotra with the auspicious expression
        shiva, thereby providing a benedictory address to the Supreme Being.
        shiva refers here to the nirguNa brahman, described in the shruti
        as neti, neti and as avyaktam etc. That is ungraspable by sense organs,
        uninferrable and incomprehensible to the mind.

        shakti is the primordial energy latent in the undifferentiated,
        all-pervading consciousness. It is this energy that manifests itself
        after each praLaya. There is a mutual association between shiva and
        shakti (avinAbhAvasambandhah tasmAtbindu-trikoNayoh: ShrIlalitAtrishatI).
        Both are inseparable and are abheda. i.e. shakti is not different from

        Word shiva is derived from vashakAntau.

        [ hiMsidhAto ssimhashabdo vashakAntau shivasmr^tah
        varNavyatyAt ssiddhau pashyakah kashyapo yathA

        siMha is derived from hiMsi, and shiva is derived from vasha by inversion
        of the alphabets. Similarly kashyapa is derived from pashyakah ]

        vashati means one who brightens, that is who is self-effulgent, i.e. one
        who brightens the whole jagat inside Him. Such shiva who has united with
        the divine Mother has the ability to create the world. If He is not united,
        He would not have the ability even to stir (vibrate).

        The implied meaning is: parabrahman, without form, would not have even the
        vibration or movement.

        The direct meaning can be taken as follows: shiva and shakti are husband
        and wife. Only if the husband is united with the wife, there will be
        offspring in the form of jagat. Without this union with the wife, there
        cannot be offspring.

        shiva may also be stated as one without any of the three anxieties caused
        by birth, death, hunger etc. Such shiva is sarvama~NgaLarUpa. When that
        shiva is united with shakti, then He will be equipped with the ability
        of kartum, akartum, anyathAkartum (to do, not to do, to do in another way).

        The spandana referred in this verse is the desire to create and the
        manifestation of the static energy (shakti) into its kinetic or dynamic

        Hari-hara-viri~ncyAdibhih: It is very appropriate to recognize that shri
        mAtA is eligible to be worshiped by vishNu, Ishwara and brahma and other
        lesser Gods. This will be emphasized many more times in the latter verses.
        The word 'Adi' here is interpreted to mean the other devatAs of the lower
        rung and probably also the well-known devI-upAsakAs. In mAnasollAsa, it is

        vishNuh shivah surajyeShTho manushcandro dhanAdhipah
        lopAmudrA tathAgastyah skandah kusumasAyakah
        surAdhIsho rouhiNeyo dattAtreyo mahAmunih
        durvAsA iti vikhyAtA ete mukhyA upAsakAh

        vishNu, shiva, surajyeShTha brahmA, manu, candra, kubera, lopAmudrA,
        agastya, skanda, manmatha, indra, balarAma, dattAtreya mahAmunI, durvAsA:
        all these are the well-known devI upAsakAs.

        There are other gods who are worshiped by people. These gods can satisfy
        the devotees' wishes and lead them to moksha only by these gods themselves
        worshiping shri devI. Therefore, Shri devI may be considered the only one
        who can bestow bhuktI and muktI.

        'Adi' may also be interpreted as referring to the vedAs.

        praNantum is a bodily worship; to bow. The letter pra refers to doing
        worship by manasA, vAcA, kAyA.

        stotum vA: For one who is incapable of these three modes of worship,
        at least praising or stotra is suggested.

        The verse also means that hari, hara and brahma, left to themselves
        are not capable of their respective duties (sustenance, destruction
        and creation) and shrI devI is the main cause for these duties
        (layasthityudbhaveshwarI: ShrilalitAtrishatI)

        Therefore to worship shri devI, or do stuti, the one eligible is that
        person who has accumulated puNya through many many lives. The one who
        is akr^tapuNya is not eligible.

        shiva and shakti are inseparable and there is no distinction between
        them. kUrma purANa says:

        shakti shaktimatorbhedam vadantyaparamArthatah
        abhedamanupashyanti yoginah tattvacintakAh

        AparamArthikAs ascribe difference between shiva and shakti. But that
        cannot be so. shiva is shaktiyukta. shiva is shakti and shakti is shiva.
        (mr^dvAn ghaTah: the one that has clay is the pot; tantumAn paTah: the
        one with cotton thread is the cloth). No distinction. Some devotees'
        attempts to distinguish between shiva and shakti is because of their
        past vAsanAs.

        kAlidAsA's cidgaganacandrika has this verse:

        amba tAvaka padadvayArcaka stvanmayo bhavati nAtra vismayah
        yah tvayaiva vivasho vashIkr^tah shaktireva samabhUh shivasvayam

        O ambA, the one who worships your feet becomes engrossed in them.
        There is no surprise in that. shiva is vivasha and vashIkr^ta and
        is the same as shakti.

        The identity between shiva and shakti will be brought out further
        in the latter verses.

        [My presentation here follows the four commentaries for which I
        gave reference in an earlier post. My knowledge of saundaryalaharI
        is limited. I notice there are many scholars of saundaryalaharI on
        this List. I leave it to these learned members to bring in additional
        points on this great stotra. Also, you would notice that I am leaving
        some sanskrit words untranslated into english. That is because I think
        the sanskrit word gives the right emphasis in the thought and there is
        no appropriate single english word to express that thought. namaste.]

        Gummuluru Murthy
      • Gummuluru Murthy
        shrI lalitAyai namah tanIyAMsaM pAMsuM tava caraNapa~NkeruhabhavaM viri~ncih saMcinvan viracayati lokAn avikalam vahatyenaM shaurih katham api sahasreNa
        Message 3 of 24 , Nov 2, 1999
          shrI lalitAyai namah

          tanIyAMsaM pAMsuM tava caraNapa~NkeruhabhavaM
          viri~ncih saMcinvan viracayati lokAn avikalam
          vahatyenaM shaurih katham api sahasreNa shirasAM
          harah saMkshudyainam bhajati bhasitoddhULanavidhim 2

          O Mother
          viri~ncih: brahma
          tava: your
          caraNapa~nkeruha: lotus feet
          bhava: present in
          pAMsuM: dust
          tanIyAMsam: speck of (very subtle)
          saMcinvan: collecting
          lokAn: all the worlds
          avikalam: without any defects
          viracayat: created
          shaurih: vishNu
          enam: the same (the tiny bit of dust from Your lotus feet)
          shirasAM sahasreNa: by his thousand heads
          katham api: how does he do (i.e. with great difficulty)
          vahati: carrying
          harah: shiva
          enam: the same (the tiny bit of dust from Your lotus feet)
          saMkshudya: by powdering it well
          bhasma uddULana vidhim: smearing the ashes
          bhajati: serving

          O Mother; brahma, having gathered the tiniest speck of dust of Your
          lotus feet, has created the worlds efficiently; shauri carries this
          speck of dust on his thousand heads with great difficulty; shiva,
          having pulverized this dust, smears his body with it.


          shri shankara begins this stotra with a reverent look at the divine
          Mother's lotus feet. He ends the stotra also with a similar praise
          of the greatness of Her lotus feet (verse 98). [verse 1 is the
          benedictory verse and the last verses 99 and 100 are the phalashruti
          verses and the stotra may be considered to be starting at verse 2.]

          In this verse, the great power or potency of the lotus feet of the
          divine Mother is highlighted. The creation, sustenance and destruction
          of the entire universe has become possible for brahma, vishNu, and
          shiva, only through the power derived by them from shri devI. Further,
          the speck of dust from Her lotus feet is the material cause for this
          universe. This dust from Her lotus feet provides the blessing for
          brahma, vishNu and Ishwara to proceed on with their duties of creation,
          sustenance and destruction.

          tanIyAmsam: the very subtle, speck of (dust)

          viri~ncih: brahma, having gathered this very fine subtle dust from
          the devI's feet and with that, created the upper seven worlds (bhuh,
          bhuvah, suvah, mahah, janah, tapah and satya) and the lower seven
          worlds (atala, vitala, sutala, rasAtala, talAtala, mahAtala, and

          avikalam: This may be interpreted as
          (i) associated with brahma: brahma created the worlds so that
          one world doesn't get into the way of the other; i.e. with
          or (ii) associated with vishNu: the protection by vishNu is up to the
          final dissolution; he ensures the existence of the universe in
          the regular order in which it has been created, up to the time
          of final dissolution.

          shauri: coming from the lineage of a yAdava king by name shUra;
          Shauri sshUrah janeshwarah: shauri is one of the names of vishNu
          from vishNusahasranAma.
          vishNu the sustainer is said to be lifting the fourteen worlds,
          the upper seven in the form of a porpoise (shiMshumAra) and the
          lower seven in the form of sheSha.

          SahasreNa shirasAm: sahasrashIrShA puruShah; from shrutI, with thousand

          harah: antakAle prapa~ncam harati harah. The one who destroys the jagat
          at the time of praLaya is hara.

          The main essence of the verse is: the greatness of the devI is shown by
          the total dependence of the creator, the sustainer and the destroyer of
          the worlds on the dust of Her feet, for carrying out their respective
          duties. Her greatness is further shown by the fact, that a single speck
          of dust of her feet provides the material for the creator to create all
          the worlds, with their various contents. The same speck of dust requires
          great effort from vishNu to lift the weight with his thousand heads. The
          mighty shiva has to reduce this tiny speck to ashes by way of destroying
          the worlds.

          The meaning of this verse is also graphically explained as follows:
          The divine Mother was walking in the pleasure garden of shripuram along
          with the attendants. Brahma after having had darshan of devI, gathered
          the dust from the path on which devI had walked. With the aid of this
          dust, brahma created the fourteen worlds. vishNu, having known that all
          the worlds are only particles of the dust of devI's feet, bears them on
          his (thousand) heads with great care and reverence. shiva awaits the
          time of mahApraLaya to have the gains (dust from shridevI's lotus feet)
          derived by brahma and vishNu. At the time of praLaya, he (shiva) reduces
          the worlds (dust particles of divine Mother's feet) into ashes and smears
          his body with that vibhUti.

          Gummuluru Murthy
        • Gummuluru Murthy
          shrI lalitAyai namah avidyAnAmantastimiramihiradvIpanagarI jaDAnAM caitanyastabakamakarandasrutijharI daridrANAM cintAmaNiguNanikA janmajaladhau nimagnAnAM
          Message 4 of 24 , Nov 9, 1999
            shrI lalitAyai namah

            jaDAnAM caitanyastabakamakarandasrutijharI
            daridrANAM cintAmaNiguNanikA janmajaladhau
            nimagnAnAM damsTrA muraripuvarAhasya bhavatI 3

            (from verse 2) O Mother, the speck of dust from Your lotus feet

            avidyAnAM: for the spiritually ignorant
            antah timira: for the darkness called aj~nAna that is inside
            mihiradvIpanagarI: the island city that is at the place of sunrise
            jaDAnAM: for the slow learners (dull-witted)
            caitanya: intelligence
            stabaka: cluster of flowers
            makaranda: honey
            sruti jharI: flowing stream
            daridrANAM: for the people suffering from poverty
            cintAmaNi: the wish-fulfilling diamond
            guNanikA: a string (of gems)
            janmajaladhau: in the ocean of saMsAra of births (and deaths)
            nimagnAnAM: the one deeply immersed (without knowing a way out)
            muraripu: vishNu, the one who killed murA
            varAhasya: (the incarnation of) wild boar
            damsTrA: the tusk
            bhavatI: becomes

            O divine Mother, the speck of dust from Your lotus feet:
            removes the avidyA of the spiritually ignorant, like the
            sunrise removes the darkness; for the dull-witted, (the
            dust from Your lotus feet) is like an ever-flowing stream
            of honey of clusters of flowers of the kalpaka tree of
            consciousness; for the destitute,(the dust from Your lotus
            feet) is like the cintAmaNi in bestowing their heart's desire;
            and for those deeply immersed in the ocean of saMsAra of births
            and deaths,(the dust from Your lotus feet) is like the tusk
            of the wild boar incarnation of vishNu.


            This verse is a continuation of the show of reverence and
            adoration of shrI devI's lotus feet, described in verse 2.
            In verse 2, the importance of this dust to the Gods (brahma,
            vishNu, maheshwara) is brought out. In the present verse,
            it is explained how this dust dispels avidyA, jaDatvam,
            dAridryam, and attachments to the worldly life for the

            This verse is a delight for sanskrit lovers with the
            alaMkArAs profusely included throughout the text. However,
            the discussion here will be confined to the essence which
            is devI-stutI.

            avidyA: avidyA is lack of knowledge of the supreme. avidyA
            envelops the soul and makes humans incapable of knowing the
            sameness of Atman and Brahman. It may be construed that
            mortals with avidyA include (i) those who indulge in the
            rituals of the karma kANDa as the final step, (ii) those
            who are under the delusion that the world entirely depends
            on brahma, vishNu and maheshwara, while in reality, it hangs
            on the mercy of shrI devI whose dependents the three Gods are.

            At dawn, the sun seems, to one standing on the sea-shore,
            to rise from an island in the middle of the sea. As the
            sun rises, darkness is dispelled. In the first line of this
            verse, the speck of dust from shrI devI's feet is compared
            to the sun. The sun of knowledge dispells the darkness of
            ignorance from the mind of the ignorant.

            jaDa: the dull-witted; those who cannot distinguish between
            what is to be done and what is not to be done.

            caitanya: is the power that kindles the mind to know and
            understand the real meaning of jeeva. This caitanya is
            spoken as a cluster of flowers of the tree of Atmaj~nAna.
            The speck of dust (from shrI devI's lotus feet) is a flood
            of fragrance emanating from the cluster of flowers of the
            kalpaka tree of caitanya.

            daridrANAM cintAmaNiguNanikA: Reference is made to cintAmaNi,
            the celestial gem, which is capable of satisfying all desires
            of its possessor. The speck of dust from shrI devI's feet
            grants man's earthly desires and also spiritual aspirations;
            i.e., shrI devI is the embodiment of dAna-shaktI.

            janmajaladhau nimagnAnAM: nimagnAnAm means fully immersed,
            not knowing a way out. janamjaladhau is the ocean of saMsAra
            with the associated births and deaths. The human is fully
            immersed in this ocean.

            muraripu varAhasya daMsTrA: murA is a rAkshasa killed by vishNu
            and muraripu refers to vishNu. This context refers to the
            incarnation of vishNu as the wild boar. HiraNyAksha, the demon,
            stole bhUloka and disappeared with it to pAtALa. vishNu, incarnated
            as a wild boar, reached pAtALa, redeemed the bhUloka and rose above
            the sea with the bhUloka on his tusk. Thus, the tusk of the wild
            boar is considered the saviour to lift something from a deep ocean.
            The last line of this verse draws a comparison between the particle
            of dust of shrI devI's feet and the tusk of the varAha. The dust
            of devI's feet can salvage human beings from the cycle of births
            and deaths and lead them to eternal bliss.

            This verse is significant in that it shows how worship of shrI devI's
            feet will help humans with four types of aflictions: (i) shedding of
            the inner darkness of avidyA; (ii) for providing a continuous flow
            of consciousness for the dull-witted; (iii) for those who desire
            worldly happiness, there is dAridrya nirmUlanam); and, (iv) for
            those who are caught in the cycle of births and deaths, how worship
            of shrI devI's feet lead to the Knowledge of the Self and to moksha.

            Gummuluru Murthy
          • Gummuluru Murthy
            shrI lalitAyai namah tvadanyah pANibhAyamabhayavarado daivatagaNa stvamekA naivAsi prakaTitavarAbhItyabhinayA bhayAttrAtuM dAtum phalamapi ca vAnchAsamadhikaM
            Message 5 of 24 , Nov 16, 1999
              shrI lalitAyai namah

              tvadanyah pANibhAyamabhayavarado daivatagaNa
              stvamekA naivAsi prakaTitavarAbhItyabhinayA
              bhayAttrAtuM dAtum phalamapi ca vAnchAsamadhikaM
              sharaNye lokAnAM tava hi caraNAveva nipuNau 4

              lokAnAM : for all the worlds
              sharaNye: who provides shelter (o bhagavatI)
              tvat + anyah: other than You
              daivatagaNah: the group of Gods
              pANibhyAM: by the (two) hands
              abhayavaradah: holding mudrAs of abhaya (dispelling fear) and
              varada ( bestowing boons)
              tvam ekA: only You
              prakaTita + vara + abhIti: display of mudrAs of bestowing boons and
              displelling fear
              abhinayA: gesture
              na + eva + asi: You do not do that ( the reason for that is)
              bhayAt: from fear
              trAtuM: to protect
              vAnchA samadhikaM: more than what is asked (desired)
              phalaM api ca: even boons
              dAtum ca: to give
              tava: Your
              caraNau eva: feet even
              nipuNau: proficient
              hi: indeed

              O Goddess: You are the refuge of all the worlds; the assemblage of
              Gods, except You, dispel fear and bestow boons by gestures of their
              hands (by holding vara and abhaya mudrAs). You alone do not display
              the boon-bestowing and fear-dispelling gestures with Your hands. The
              reason for this is obvious. Your feet, by themselves, are proficient
              to protect those in the grip of fear and bestow boons more than what
              is desired for the devotees.


              The word 'abhaya' means freedom from fear. vara means granting of
              desires. In general, we see the postures of hands of deities in
              icons, statues etc. The right hand of deities usually has the
              abhaya mudrA with fingers pointing upward and the left hand has
              the vara mudrA, with fingers pointing downwards (indicating granting
              of boons). In the case of deities with more than two hands, one of
              the hands on the right usually has abhaya mudrA, and one of the hands
              on the left has the vara mudrA. But these poses of hands are not found
              in shrI devI's icons, statues or pictures. shrI devI has in her four
              hands the sugarcane bow, pAsha, a~Nkusha, and arrows. She does not
              need to keep Her hands in the vara and abhaya postures. Her feet are
              proficient in affording immunity from fear and bestowing boons
              transcending one's desires.

              abhaya also may be interpreted as freedom from fear of the cycle of
              births and deaths. The word vara may be interpreted as satisfaction
              of all desires. This verse means then that worship of shrI devI's
              feet will grant the four-fold puruShArthAs, dharma, artha, kAma,

              ekA: only one; shrI devI is the only one (emphasis on one) God who
              does not have the hand gestures (of abhaya and vara).

              sharaNye: sharaNArhe: one who deserves to be protected

              bhayAt trAtuM: saMsArAt rakshituM: to protect from saMsAra

              vAnchA samadhikaM phalam dAtum api ca: to give results for more than
              what is desired

              tava: Your

              caraNau: feet are capable of satisfying more than the requested
              desires, and to dispel fears; then there is no necessity for Your
              hands to gesture the vara and abhaya mudrAs

              The one who is the refuge for all the worlds is well beyond all
              ordinary Gods. If She is just an ordinary God, She cannot be the
              refuge for all the worlds.

              In that way, this verse is a continuation of verses 2 and 3 where
              the greatness of shrI devI's feet are described.

              shrI Kuppuswamy's commentary on saundaryalaharI says that in the
              Tanjavur district of Tamila Nadu, India, there is a sacred place
              called Avadayarkoil, famous for its ancient temple built by the
              great MANikkavAcakar. The moolavirAT of the temple is devI yogAmbikA
              symbolized by only two feet, carved in stone, placed on a pedestal
              and worshipped as devI. It seems the inner meaning of verse 4 of
              saundaryalaharI is fully exemplified by the symbolic form of devI
              here. I wonder if any on our List, who are residents of that part
              of India, can expand on this temple and the moolavirAt and if there
              is a kshetrapurANa for this place.

              [Note: I find the translations that are given at
              http://www.vidyavrikshah.org for this stotra to be useful. Please
              add that URL as an additional reference to this presentation.]

              Gummuluru Murthy
            • Gummuluru Murthy
              shrI lalitAyai namaH haristvAmArAdhya praNatajanasaubhAgyajananIM purA nArI bhUtvA puraripumapi kshobhamanayat.h smaro.api tvAM natvA ratinayanalehyena vapuShA
              Message 6 of 24 , Nov 24, 1999
                shrI lalitAyai namaH

                haristvAmArAdhya praNatajanasaubhAgyajananIM
                purA nArI bhUtvA puraripumapi kshobhamanayat.h
                smaro.api tvAM natvA ratinayanalehyena vapuShA
                munInAmapyantaH prabhavati hi mohAya mahatAm.h 5

                jananIM: Mother
                saubhAgya: (who causes) saubhAgyam (to)
                praNata: prostrating
                jana: people
                tvAM: You
                ArAdhya: having worshipped
                hariH: vishNu
                purA: earlier, ancient (times)
                nArI bhUtvA: assuming the form of a woman
                puraripuM api: even to shiva who is the enemy of the three cities
                ksobham anayat: caused mental agitation (kAma vikAra)
                smaraH api: manmatha too
                tvAM natvA: having bowed to you
                ratinayanalehyena vapuShA: with a body seen only by ratI devI's eyes
                mahatAM: great
                munInAM api: sages even
                antaH: in their minds
                mohAya: of generating passion
                prabhavati: capable

                O Mother, the bestower of saubhAgya to people who worship You:
                vishNu, having worshipped You, assumed the form of a woman and caused
                mental agitation even to shiva, the destroyer of the three purAs.
                Likewise, having bowed to You, smara, with a personality pleasingly
                attractive to ratIdevI, has become capable of generating passion even
                in the minds of the great sages.


                praNatajanasaubhAgyajananI: praNata means worship with trikaraNashuddhi,
                by manasA, vAcA, kAyA. prakarShena nataH praNataH.

                saubhAgyaM: is a real poignant word in sanskrit with pregnant meaning,
                and no single english word (or word in any language) can describe that
                well. aishwaryasya, samagrasya, vIryasya, yashasshriyaH, j~nAnavairAgya-
                yoshcaiva ShaNNAM bhaga itIraNa

                purA nArI bhUtvA: This refers to the anecdote of the mohinI incarnation
                of vishNu at the time when amR^itaM was obtained after churning of the
                ocean of milk by the dAnavAs and the devatAs. This mohinI form was
                repeated at the desire of shiva. shiva, the greatest of the yogis, who
                had control of all the senses, and who burnt kAma (manmatha) to ashes,
                was kindled by passion on seeing the mohinI form of vishNu and lost
                himself. vishNu got this enticing form of mohinI because of his worship
                of shrI devI.

                tvAM ArAdhya: adored (worshipped) You. Another anecdote which need to
                be mentioned in this context is as follows: shiva saved the world by
                destroying tripurAsura. The other asurAs feared destruction of their
                entire community by shiva. As a group, they prayed on vishNu to guard
                them from shiva's wrath. vishNu promised to do so, and was thinking of
                ways of appeasing shiva. Sage nArada came by and noticed the anxiety on
                vishNu's face. On knowing the reason for his anxiety, nArada advised
                vishNu to worship shrI devI in the form of shrIcakra and meditate upon
                shrIdevI by repeating the devI mahAmantrA which would satisfy all
                desires. vishNu went in search of a preceptor who could initiate him
                in the devI mantrA. Not long after, devI parAshakti appeared before
                vishNu and taught him the mantrA and the mode of worshipping shrIcakra.
                By prolonged worship and meditation of shrIdevI, vishNu got the power
                to assume any form that he wished for. He had the mohinI form and
                deceived the dAnavAs while serving amR^itaM obtained during the
                churning of the ocean. On a glance at mohinI, shiva's mind got
                agitated and he lost control of his senses.

                puraripu: refers to shiva who killed tripurAsura. He is considered
                (at that stage) to be very angry, and is not easily amenable to
                kAmavikAra. To mentally agitate amorously such a person is indeed
                difficult and mohinI was able to do it because of shrIdevI's grace.

                Lakshmidhara's commentary on saundaryalaharI (considered the standard
                in all commentaries) also narrates the incident where vishNu took the
                form of a beautiful woman and killed the demon by name Kanakaswami.
                When shiva requested him (vishNu) to appear before him, he did in that
                damsel's form with the result stated in the verse.

                vishNu was one of the great devI-upAsakAs.

                smara api: manmatha, likewise, i.e., in the same manner as vishNu.
                smara also worshipped shrIcakra, meditated on devI, chanting
                pa~ncadashAksharI mantrA and thereby received the grace of shrI devI.

                ratinayanalehyenavapuShA: ratIdevI is said to be beauty par excellence
                among ladies. The fact that she is attracted to smara, indicates that
                smara must be unusually handsome. manmatha in physical form can be
                seen only by ratIdevI's eyes. ratinayanalehyenavapuShA refers to this
                fact and to the following anecdote. manmatha was burnt to ashes by the
                fire of shiva's third eye. He got back to life by shrIdevI's grace and
                ratIdevI was given the boon that manmatha will be visible in physical
                form only to ratIdevI's eyes.

                manmatha's prowess in agitating the minds of even the great sages with
                kAmavikAra is due to shrIdevI's grace.

                The implication of this verse is: Lord shiva, the supreme controller of
                the senses, and also the great sages with many years of concentrated penance
                to their credit, fell prey to the temptation of passion by vishNu in the
                form of mohinI, and to manmatha's actions respectively. This is because
                vishNu and manmatha are blessed by shrI devI's grace. Both vishNu and
                manmatha are shricakra-upAsakAs and the verse indirectly tells about
                the great power of shrIcakra upAsana.

                Gummuluru Murthy
              • Aravind Krishna
                I have a small comment on the 5th verse that was posted. Some times it s hard to interpret what the author really means. While analyzing puranic verses,
                Message 7 of 24 , Nov 24, 1999
                  I have a small comment on the 5th verse that was posted. Some times it's
                  hard to interpret what the author really means. While analyzing puranic
                  verses, elders have given three ways of interpretation that have to be taken
                  in to consideration.

                  . The literal meaning itself conveys the author's view. Searching for an
                  inner import may spoil the rasa.
                  . There is a tatva behind what is conveyed. Only the inner import is to be
                  understood and not the literal meaning conveyed.
                  . Both the surface as well the underlying meaning benefits the reader.

                  We all know the famous story where Krishna stole butter, the tale itself is
                  delighting. We do not go in to details as to what a black guy stealing a
                  white thing means and so on. That spoils the rasa.

                  In Ramayana we read Ravana abducts sita when rama goes in search of the
                  golden deer for her. Rama befriends Hanuman and others and gets to Lanka,
                  kills ravana and unites with sita again. This epic has an inner import too.
                  When a Jiva wants some thing else other than the paramatma, paramatma
                  vanishes and senses envelop the Jiva. (Sita wants a golden deer and ravana
                  abducts her). Jivatma is out in to pain due to its separation from
                  paramatma. Again Jiva wants nothing other than the paramatma and meditates
                  on him. A guru who knows both the jiva and the eshwara conveys the state of
                  the former to the latter. (Hanuman). The paramatma due to his krupa destroys
                  the aGYana or ten indriya vikaaras (represented by the 10 headed raavaNa)
                  and unites with the Jiva (Rama destroying Ravana and uniting with Sita). In
                  this, both the inner import as well as the literal story is of a great

                  But there is an other kind in which only the inner import is to be
                  understood and not the surface meaning. The 5th verse of saundaryalahari
                  looks like that. If you say after worshipping Devi Vishnu was able to
                  mentally agitate Shiva and maara generates passion even to yogis, it would
                  mean one can spoil the sadaachara or righteousness of others through the
                  worship of Devi. And it makes little sense to say Devi will grant a boon
                  that can be misused to spoil chastity .

                  I am reminded of the thirupaavai phrase 'ArAindu aruLElOr empAvAi'. To a
                  true baktha paramatma goes not bless anything that will deviate him from the
                  path of righteousness. Devi is
                  sadAchAra pravartikA (356 naama of sahasranaama). She who is immersed in
                  righteousness and who inspires others to follow right conduct. She is
                  nishhkaama, nirvikalpa, nirvikaara, nityashuddha, nishhkalaN^kaa,
                  above all she is nirmoha and mohanaashinii.

                  The sahasranaama verses
                  nirlepaa nirmalaa nityaa niraakaraa niraakulaa .
                  nirguNA nishhkalaa shaantaa nishhkaamaa niruupaplavaa .. 44..

                  nityamuktaa nirvikaaraa nishhprapaJNchaaniraashrayaa .
                  nityashuddhaa nityabuddhaa niravadyaa nirantaraa .. 45..

                  nishhkaaraNA nishhkalaN^kaa nirupadhiH niriishvaraa .
                  niiraagaa raagamathanii nirmadaa madanaashinii .. 46..

                  nishchintaa nirahaMkaaraa nirmohaa mohanaashinii .
                  nirmamaa mamataahantrii nishhpaapaa paapanaashinii .. 47..

                  nishhkrodhaa krodhashamanii nirlobhaa lobhanaashinii .
                  niHsaMshayaa saMshayaghnii nirbhavaa bhavanaashinii .. 48..

                  nirvikalpaa niraabaadhaa nirbhedaa bhedanaashinii .
                  nirnaashaa mR^ityumathanii nishhkriyaa nishhparigrahaa .. 49..

                  are to be again and again meditated on to understand the true essence of
                  devi worship.

                  Now Let's try to interpret the 5th shloka with the above guidelines.
                  When a baktha worships Devi she grants the sarUpya or sAyujya to him. When
                  one utters the words 'bhavani I am your servant' (bhavaani thvam dhaasae)
                  she grants him bhavAnitva or makes his Ananda equal to that of the

                  bhavaani thvam dhaasae mayi vithara dhrushtim sakarunaam
                  ithi sthoathum vaanjchan kathayathi bhavaani thvamithi ya: | (SL -22)

                  When Shiva saw Vishu after he prostrate to Devi, he saw none other than Devi
                  and hence was passionate to the mohini rupa. It denotes that any one who
                  prostrates to Devi gets the sayugya of Devi.

                  When Mara attracts even Yogis through his rUpa. It looks as though he says
                  'why are people trying to do hard sAdanas when one can get anything by just
                  meditating on devi's divya soundarya itself'.

                  Mara urges Yogis to leave other sAdanas and meditate on Devi using his
                  swarUpa (using the beauty that you gave him) and Vishnu gets your swarUpa
                  itself by worshipping you, O ! devi immense is your compassion. - is the
                  meaning conveyed.

                  I did not contradict or conveyed more than what Sri Gummuluru Murthy
                  stated. I have just expressed the way I understood things.

                  Suggestions are at most welcome.

                • Gummuluru Murthy
                  shrI lalitAyai namaH dhanuH pauShpaM maurvI madhukaramayI pa~ncavishikhAH vasantaH sAmanto malayamarudAyodhanarathaH tathA.apyekaH sarvaM himagirisute kAmapi
                  Message 8 of 24 , Dec 8, 1999
                    shrI lalitAyai namaH

                    dhanuH pauShpaM maurvI madhukaramayI pa~ncavishikhAH
                    vasantaH sAmanto malayamarudAyodhanarathaH
                    tathA.apyekaH sarvaM himagirisute kAmapi kR^ipAM
                    apA~NgAt.h te labdhvA jagadidamana~Ngo vijayate 6

                    himagirisute: O daughter of the snow-clad mountain, shrI devI,
                    dhanuH: the bow
                    pauShpaM: made up of flowers (i.e., very soft)
                    maurvI: the bow string
                    madhukaramayI: made up of line of bees
                    pa~nca: five (only)
                    vishikhAH: arrows
                    sAmantaH: ally
                    vasantaH: vasanta (in time: spring season)
                    AyodhanarathaH: the chariot used in the war
                    malayamarut.h: breeze from the Malaya mountain (laden with
                    sandalwood fragrance)
                    tathA.api: to do that way
                    ana~Ngah: manmatha (also meaning without body, and without strength)
                    ekaH: alone
                    te: Your
                    apA~NgAt.h: from the corner of the eye
                    kAM api: some (inexpressible)
                    kR^ipAM: compassion
                    labdhvA: having got
                    idaM: this
                    sarvaM jagat.h: all world
                    vijayate: is victorious

                    O daughter of the snow-capped mountain;
                    manmatha, the God of love has only a bow made of flowers,
                    with its string comprised of a cluster of honeybees, and
                    has only five arrows. The spring season is his ally, which
                    is short in duration; his war chariot is the breeze from the
                    south. These equipment is frail and is not suitable for the
                    war. He is ana~Nga (body-less) and alone. Yet, he triumphs
                    over the entire jagat, having obtained Your favor through
                    Your side-glance.


                    It was stated in the previous verse that the formless manmatha,
                    due to the grace of shrI devI (obtained through his upAsana),
                    is very successful in raising passions in the minds of even
                    the great sages. In this verse, it is described how the same
                    manmatha, ill-equipped as a warrior, is able to triumph over
                    the entire jagat, again with the grace of the side-glance of
                    shrI devI.

                    It is well known that manmatha was burnt to ashes by the fire
                    of shiva's third eye when manmatha tried to kindle passion in
                    shiva towards pArvati. In response to prayers by ratIdevI,
                    shrI devI restored manmatha back to life but without a body.

                    Hence manmatha is body-less. In his preparation for war, his bow
                    is made of flowers. Flowers are soft and get wilted just by touching.
                    Such a bow is not amenable for pulling and keeping under tension.
                    The bow-string is a line of honeybees. Honeybees do not touch each
                    other. Hence a group of honeybees do not have the property of a
                    string; and that too a bow-string. He has only five arrows and these
                    too are made of flowers (aravinda, ashoka, cUta, navamallika, and
                    nIlotpala) and these five are not at all sufficient to conquer
                    the world.

                    Manmatha's ally and mate in this war is the spring season which
                    lasts only for two months a year. Hence the ally is of doubtful
                    assistance and the ally is also not there for continuous consultation.
                    Manmatha's chariot in this war is the southern breeze. This is formless
                    and invisible, and does not blow all the time, and can hardly be used
                    as a chariot.

                    In addition to all these frail war equipment, manmatha is without a
                    body and cannot avail himself of even these frail equipment. But with
                    all these disabilities, and not-very-useful war equipment, manmatha is
                    still able to conquer the entire world. And manmatha is able to do this
                    because of the gracious blessing of shrI devI through Her side-glance.
                    That is, even the impossible can be achieved with the omnipotent grace
                    of shrI devI.

                    Manmatha is one of the celebrated devotees of shri devI (please see
                    commentary on verse 1 for listing of celebrated upAsakAs of shrI devI).
                    The manmatha or kAma vidya was revealed to manmatha by devI Herself in
                    response to his prolonged worship and meditattion. It is said that
                    shrI devI conferred on manmatha, parts of Her own bow and arrows.

                    Gummuluru Murthy
                  • Gummuluru Murthy
                    shri lalitAyai namaH kvanatkA~ncIdAmA karikalabhakumbhastanabharA (natA) parikshINamadhye pariNatasaraccandravadanA dhanurbANAn.h pAshaM-sR^iNimapi dadhAnA
                    Message 9 of 24 , Dec 24, 1999
                      shri lalitAyai namaH

                      kvanatkA~ncIdAmA karikalabhakumbhastanabharA (natA)
                      parikshINamadhye pariNatasaraccandravadanA
                      dhanurbANAn.h pAshaM-sR^iNimapi dadhAnA karatalaiH
                      purastAdAstAM naH puramathiturAhopuruShikA 7

                      kvanat.h kA~ncIdAmA: one who has (is adorned by) a jingling girdle
                      kari kalabha: young elephant
                      kumbha: temples (mastaka)
                      stanabharA (natA): weight of the breasts (slightly bent under the
                      weight of the breasts)
                      parikshINa madhye: one who is slim (slender) in the waist
                      pariNata: fully developed
                      sharat.h candra vadanA: with face like the autumn full moon
                      dhanur.h bANAn.h pAshaM sR^iNiM api: bow, arrows, noose and
                      a~Nkusha also
                      dadhAna: holding
                      karatalaiH: in the hands
                      purastAt.h: in front
                      naH: of us
                      astAM: let Her manifest, dwell, settle comfortably
                      puraM mathitu: the one who churned the three cities (shiva)
                      aho puruShikA: the I-consciousness (the ahaMkArarUpinI of shiva)

                      May Thou; with breasts like the temples of a young elephant;
                      with a slender waist adorned by a jingling girdle-string;
                      with face blooming like the autumnal full moon;
                      with four hands holding bow, arrows, noose and the goad;
                      may Thou, the pride of shiva, manifest, settle comfortably before us.


                      This verse serves as an introduction to the forthcoming verse
                      'sudhAsiMdhormadhye' and portrays the Divine Mother in Her gross
                      (sthUla) form in distinction to the subtle (sUkshma) and sublime
                      (para) forms. In this gross form, physical features such as hands,
                      feet etc are attributed to the divine form. This facilitates
                      contemplation by the sAdhaka.

                      The devotees meditate on shrIdevI's form and worship Her mentally
                      in the various cakrAs inside the human body. At each end of the
                      spinal cord (merudanDa) that runs from the skull downwards
                      to the anus, there is a thousand-petalled lotus. The one at the
                      lower end is called the kula-sahasrAra, and the other at the upper
                      end, almost at the centre of the brain, is known as the akula-
                      sahasrAra. Between these two thousand petalled lotuses and along
                      the spinal cord (merudanDa), there are six lotuses. They are
                      (1) mUlAdhAra - a four-petalled lotus, a little above the anus,
                      (2) svAdhiShThAna - a six-petalled lotus at the root of the genital
                      organ, (3) maNipUraka- a two-petalled lotus at the navel,
                      (4) anAhata - a twelve-petalled lotus in the heart region,
                      (5) vishuddhi - a sixteen-petalled lotus in the region of the neck,
                      and (6) AjnA - a two-petalled lotus between the eye-brows.

                      Satisfied with the devotee's worship, shrIdevI manifests Herself
                      to the sAdhaka in the maNipUraka cakra. From there in Her upward
                      move to the akula-sahasrAra (the upper thousand-petalled lotus),
                      she is conducted through the anAhata cakra. Her manifestation in
                      the maNipUraka cakra and Her stay in the anAhata cakra are described
                      in this verse.

                      This form of shrIdevI is the most popular and appealing one to the
                      devotees of the Divine Mother. There are four modes of worship of
                      shrIdevI: meditation upon (i) sthUla (gross) form, (ii) sUkshma (subtle)
                      form, (iii) sUkshmatara (subtler), and (iv) sUkshmatama (subtlest).
                      LalitAsahasranAma, the thousand names of shrIlalitA describe these four
                      modes of worship. From lalitAsahasranAma, the forty names of shrIlalitA
                      from the twelfth name (nijAruNaprabhApUramajjadbrahmAnDa-manDalA) to the
                      fifty-first name (sarvAbharaNabhUShitA) describe the sthUla form of
                      shrIdevI. The three names from eighty-five
                      (srImadvAgbhavakUTaikaswarUpa-mukhapa~NkajA) to eighty-seven
                      (shaktikUTaikatApannakaTyadhobhAgadhAriNI) describe the subtle form.
                      Names eighty-eight and eighty-nine (mUlamantrAtmikA and
                      mUlakUTatrayakaLebarA) describe the subtler form. Names ninety to one
                      hundred and eleven (from kulAmr^itaikarasikA to bisatantutanIyasI)
                      describe the sUkshmatama (sublime) form which is the kunDalinIrUpa of

                      KvanatkA~ncIdAmA: jingling girdle-string - belt-like gold waist ornament
                      (called vaDDAnam in Telugu) with small tinkling gold bells attached.

                      pariNata sharat-candra-vadanA: shrIdevI's face is compared to the
                      autumnal full moon (of the sharad R^itu with the intention of bringing
                      out the glory, calmness and grace of Her form. The sharad R^itu is the
                      quietest part of the year in India with fairly uniform temperature throughout.
                      This period, extending roughly from October to December will have usually
                      clear skies with the moon shining brightly at night. Autumnal full moons
                      are special in mid-latitudes also. Here shrIdevI's face is compared to
                      this autumnal full moon. Also, compare shrIlalitAsahasranAma name

                      dhanurbANAn pAshaM sR^iNimapi dadhAnA karatalaiH: This line mentions the
                      weapons in shrIdevI's four hands. She carries in Her lower left arm the
                      sugarcane bow with a string of bees, in Her lower right arm the five
                      arrows of Kamala, Raktakairava, KahlAra, IndIvara and SahakAra flowers,
                      in Her upper left arm the pAsha, noose and in Her upper right arm the
                      a~Nkusha, goad [souvarNam pashA~Nkushau vAma dakshiNayorthyeyau).

                      The weapons, adorning the four hands of shrIdevI are in their sthUla
                      (gross) form. These weapons may alse b expressed in the sUkshma (subtle)
                      and para (sublime) forms also. The subtle form of these weapons is said to
                      be their mantrAs. The sublime forms are: for the bow the manas; for the
                      five arrows, the five tanmAtrAs (sound, touch etc); for the pAshA,
                      the passion; and for a~Nkusha, the anger.

                      BhAvanopanishad says:

                      rAgaH pAshaH; dveSho a~NkushaH; shabdAdi pa~ncatanmAtraH pa~nca puShpabANAH;
                      mana ikshudhanuH.

                      LalitAsahasranAma says:

                      rAgaswarUpapashADhyA krodhAkArA~NkushojjvalA
                      manorUpekshukodanDA pa~ncatanmAtrasAyakA

                      purastAdAstAM naH: in front of us; i.e., in our hR^idayakamala, moving
                      from maNipUraka on to the anAhata of the heart lotus, while we are
                      meditating on devI.

                      PuramathiturahopuruShikA: The words puramathitu and ahopuruShikA literally
                      mean the pride of shiva. The basic devI mantrAs (three bIjAs) as a whole
                      are called tripuram. Shiva is said to have churned the milk of the three
                      bIjAksharAs with his mind as the churning instrument. As a result arose
                      the butter of shrIdevI's person (AkAra, swarUpa). Because of this, shiva
                      is known as tripuramathana. This expression also suggests the inseparable
                      association of shiva and shakti, as already seen in verse 1. The compound
                      word ahopuruShikA indicates pride incarnate or I-consciousness of shiva.

                      This verse, giving the sthUla form of shrIdevI provides an excellent focus
                      for meditation on saguna brahman.

                      [Additional references used for the commentary on this verse:

                      Atma vijnAnamu (Science of the soul) in Telugu by shri swami
                      Yogeswaranandji Maharaj, shri Sarada Yoga Mandir, Vijayawada

                      Spiritual Science by Swami Vishadananda, Ramakrishna Ashrama, Ottapalam]

                      Gummuluru Murthy
                    • Gummuluru Murthy
                      shrI lalitAyai namaH sudhAsindhormadhye suraviTapivATI parivR^ite maNidwIpe nIpopavanavati cintAmaNigR^ihe shivAkArema~nce paramashivaparya~NkanilayAM bhajanti
                      Message 10 of 24 , Jan 25 1:51 AM
                        shrI lalitAyai namaH

                        sudhAsindhormadhye suraviTapivATI parivR^ite
                        maNidwIpe nIpopavanavati cintAmaNigR^ihe
                        shivAkArema~nce paramashivaparya~NkanilayAM
                        bhajanti tvAM dhanyAH katicana cidAnanndalaharIm.h 8

                        O bhagavatI,

                        sudhAsindhormadhye: in the midst of the ocean of nectar
                        suraviTapivATI: rows of kalpa vR^ikshAs
                        parivR^ite: surrounded by
                        maNi dvIpe: island of gems
                        nIpa upavanavati: with a garden of kadamba trees
                        cintAmaNi gR^ihe: in a mansion built of cintAmaNi (wish-fulfilling)
                        shiva + AkAre: of the form of shiva (the multi-triangular shrIcakra)
                        ma~nce: in the bed
                        paramashivaparya~NkanilayAM: who is reclining (dwelling) on the
                        mattress called paramashiva
                        cit + AnandalaharIm.h: in the form of flood of Consciousness and bliss
                        tvAM: you
                        katicana dhanyAH: a few blessed ones
                        bhajanti: worship

                        O bhagavtI, blessed are those few, who worship You, You in the form
                        of Consciousness-bliss, who is reclining (seated) on the mattress of
                        paramashiva, on the couch of the (multi-triangular) form of shiva,
                        in the mansion constructed of cintAmaNi gems, attached to the pleasure
                        garden of kadamba trees, surrounded by an avenue of kalpa trees and
                        situated in the midst of amR^ita samudra or the ocean of nectar.


                        This verse gives a succinct description of shrImAtA's abode. In the
                        middle of the ocean of nectar, there is the island of precious gems
                        of infinite variety. All around the periphery of the island, there
                        are rows of celestial desire-granting trees. There is a palatial
                        mansion inside these groves of celestial trees. The mansion is built
                        of celestial cintAmaNi gems. All around the mansion, there are pleasure
                        gardens of kadamba trees. Inside this mansion, in the central hall there
                        is a regal seat which has for its four legs brahma, vishNu, rudra and
                        IshAna. Over this cot is spread a couch which is said to be paramashiva.
                        On this couch is seated sadAshiva on whose lap is seated shrIdevI in the
                        form described in the previous verse. shrI shankara says that those who
                        worship shrIdevI, as in this abode, are blessed as they attain infinite
                        bliss thereby.

                        shri shankara's other works also contain descriptions of shrIdevI's
                        abode very similar to given in this verse (tripurasundarI-vedapAdastava,
                        verses 7, 8, 9, 10; mantramAtR^ikApuShpamAla, verse 1). I can post exact
                        verses if there is sufficient interest.

                        shrIlalitAsahasranAma stotra verses 22 and 23 say

                        cintAmaNigR^ihAntasthA pa~ncabrahmAsanasthitA
                        mahApadmATavIsaMsthA kadambavanavAsinI
                        sudhAsAgaramadhyasthA kAmAkshI kAmadAyinI

                        kAlidAsa has a similar description for shrImAtA's abode in
                        ShyAmalA danDakam.h

                        sudhAsamudrAntarudyanmaNidvIpa saMrUDha bilvAtavImadhya -
                        - kalpadrumAkalpakAdambakAntAravAsapriye

                        [to be continued]

                        Gummuluru Murthy
                      • Gummuluru Murthy
                        shrI lalitAyai namaH commentary (contd.): description and construction of shrIcakra: shrIdevI s abode is shrIcakra. Before we continue on this verse, I would
                        Message 11 of 24 , Jan 25 2:14 AM
                          shrI lalitAyai namaH

                          commentary (contd.):

                          description and construction of shrIcakra:

                          shrIdevI's abode is shrIcakra. Before we continue on this verse,
                          I would like to give a description of shrIcakra as a prelude to
                          this verse and upcoming verses of AnandalaharI.

                          The following construction is given by KaivalyAshrama for the
                          building of shrIcakra. Describe a circle, with an imaginary vertical
                          line of a suitable length as its diameter. Divide the diameter into
                          forty-eight equal parts and mark off the sixth, twelfth, seventeenth,
                          twentieth, twenty-third, twenty-seventh, thirtieth, thirty-sixth and
                          forty-second divisions from the top. Draw nine chords, at right angles
                          to the diameter, through the nine points marked off, and number them
                          accordingly. Rub off 1/16th part of No. 1, 5/48ths of No. 2, 1/3rd of
                          No. 4, 3/8th of No. 5, 1/3rd of No. 6, 1/12th of No.8, and 1/16th of
                          No. 9, at both ends of each. Draw triangles with lines, Nos. 1, 2, 4,
                          5, 6, 8 and 9 as bases and the middle points of Nos. 6, 9, 8, 7, 2,
                          1 and 3 respectively as their apexes. Draw also the two triangles with
                          Nos. 3 and 7 as their bases and the lower and the upper extremeties of
                          the diameter as apexes respectively. Thus we get forty-three triangles
                          pointing outwards, composed of one in the middle, eight triangles
                          around it, two sets of ten triangles around the eight triangles,
                          one set above the other, and fourteen triangles around them. Then,
                          by marking of eight points in the circumference equidistant from one
                          another, commencing from the upper extremity of the diameter and
                          construct one petal over each of them, form the eight-petalled
                          lotus. Then, circumscribe a circle touching the outer extremity of
                          the petals. Divide the circumference of the circle so described into
                          sixteen equal divisions and draw symmetrically sixteen petals over
                          them, as before. Then circumscribe a circle round the sixteen-petalled
                          lotus, as before, and enclose the second circle so described in two
                          concentric circles at equal distances from each other. Construct
                          three squares about the outermost circle, with sides equidistant
                          from each other, and the innermost square not to touch the outermost
                          circle. Mark off four doorways on the four sides, each equidistant
                          from either extremeties, and rub off the interspaces. The figure thus
                          formed is the shrIcakra. The centre of the circle is known as the

                          VAmakeshwara tantra says that the five triangles with their apexes
                          pointing downwards are indicative of the shaktI and the four triangles
                          with their apexes pointing upwards are of shiva.

                          shrIcakra according to saMhAra-krama

                          LakshmIdhara, the well-known and reputed commentator of saundaryalaharI
                          holds that, in shrIcakra, the five triangles pointing upwards are of the
                          shaktI and the four pointing downwards are of shiva. He (lakshmIdhara)
                          speaks of the construction of the shrIcakra as consisting of two different
                          processes , the saMhAra-krama, from without inwards, and the
                          sR^iShTi-krama, from within outwards. The shrIcakra of the saMhAra-krama
                          can be obtained by turning the shrIcakra recognized by the vAmakeshwara
                          tantra upside down. This will be further discussed as part of commentary
                          of verse twenty-two.

                          shrIcakra according to sR^iShTi-krama

                          This is the shrIcakra as per the samayin-s. Draw an isosceles triangle
                          with its apex pointing upwards and its base parallel to the bottom line
                          of the sheet. Place the bindu, a dot, a little above the base, in an
                          imaginary vertical line bisecting the base. A little above the bindu,
                          draw a straight line parallel to the base, intersecting the sides of
                          the original triangle. Draw an isosceles triangle with apex pointing
                          upwards over this line. Draw a straight line through the apex of the
                          first triangle, parallel to its base and construct an isosceles
                          triangle on it, with apex pointing downwards, so that its sides may
                          pass through the points of intersection of the base of the second
                          triangle with the sides of the first triangle. These two points,
                          where three straight lines intersect each other, are technically
                          styled Marman-s, to distinguish them from the points of
                          intersection of two straight lines, which are known as saMdhi-s.
                          Thus, the eight corner-triangles are formed pointing outwards,
                          which together are known as the aShTakona-cakra. Produce the
                          topmost and the bottommost of the three horizontal lines both
                          ways and construct two isosceles triangles, one of them with apex
                          down and and the other with apex up, so that the sides of the former
                          may pass through the extremeties of the bases of the two triangles
                          pointing upwards and the sides of the latter triangle may pass
                          through the extremeties of the base of the original triangle
                          pointing downwards. By producing the sides downwards of the
                          inner triangle with apex up and drawing a straight line parallel
                          to the base, through the apex of the triangle pointing downwards,
                          a new triangle is formed. Similarly, by producing the sides upwards
                          of the triangle with apex down and drawing a straight line parallel
                          to the base, through the apex of the first outer triangle with
                          apex up, another triangle is formed. At this stage are obtained
                          ten corner-triangles pointing outwards, which together form what
                          is known as the 'antar-dashAra', the inner ten-spoked cakra.
                          Similarly, by producing the horizontal bases, drawing the arms
                          of trianglesat corner points so as to form Marman-s, and drawing
                          straight lines parallel to the bases, through the apexes of
                          triangles pointing up and down, the ten corner-triangles
                          pointing outwards and known as the 'bahir-dashAra' or the
                          outer ten-spoked cakra, is formed. Again, by producing both
                          waysthe bases at the top and the bottom of the 'antar-dashAra'
                          and constructing isoscles triangles with apex down and apex
                          up; and again by producing the sides of triangles whereby
                          Marman-s could be formed and drawing straight lines parallel
                          to the bases , passing through the apexes of the freshly
                          constructed triangles, the fourteen corner-triangles pointing
                          outwards known as the 'catur-dashAra', the fourteen-spoked cakra,
                          will be obtained. Thus, we get, in all, forty-three corner-triangles
                          including the innermost one, twenty-four saMdhi-s and eighteen

                          The geometrical construction of the shrIcakra is presented above.
                          Much mathematical research is being done on the geomtry of the
                          shrIcakra and a sample of that is presented at
                          and the references contained therein.

                          The shrIcakra of the sR^iShTi-krama, as constructed
                          by lakshmIdhara will be discussed as part of commentary of verse
                          thirty-one and also earlier in other verses as well.

                          The devotional aspect of shrIcakra as the abode of shrIdevI
                          and the kunDalini will be presented in the latter verses.

                          The Divine Mother is the shaktI, the one that gives spandana
                          to Ishwara (verse 1). The Divine Mother is the cosmic power.
                          The jeeva without attributes is the same as Ishwara without
                          attributes. KuNDalinI is the segment of that cosmic power of
                          the Divine Mother and gives the spandana to the jeeva. Further
                          discussion on this is in verse 9.

                          [to be continued)

                          Gummuluru Murthy
                        • Gummuluru Murthy
                          shrI lalitAyai namaH commentary (contd.): verse 8 again: sudhAsindhormadhye: stands for the baindavasthAna, the quadrilateral seat of the bindu, which is the
                          Message 12 of 24 , Jan 25 2:19 AM
                            shrI lalitAyai namaH

                            commentary (contd.):

                            verse 8 again:

                            sudhAsindhormadhye: stands for the baindavasthAna, the quadrilateral
                            seat of the bindu, which is the essential one and brings the forty-three
                            triangles of shrIcakra into its scope, this shrIcakra forming the mansion
                            of shrIdevI.

                            suraviTapivATI parivR^ite: The five triangles pointing upward may be
                            said to represent the five rows of kalpa trees forming a fence around
                            the mansion.

                            shivAkAre ma~nce: The ma~nca or seat on which shrIdevI is seated
                            is described thus: According to purANAs, brahma, viShNu, rudra and
                            IshAna are shrIdevI's servants and they assume the form of the four
                            legs of the cot on which shrIdevI is seated - brahma being the
                            southeast leg, viShNu the southwest, rudra the northwest and
                            IshAna the northeast leg. Paramashiva, the nirguna brahman, is the
                            all-witness transcending the three guNAs.

                            dhanyAH katicana: blessed are the few; few are those rare souls
                            who through internal (or external) worship of shrIdevI, who through
                            their affinity to the pa~ncadashAksharI, who through the pure life
                            they lead during their last incarnate existence in this world, and
                            these are the few that are really blessed because they have
                            discharged the duties incumbent upon humans and they are ready
                            to being merged with satcitAnanda.

                            bhajanti tvAM: worship You, i.e., worship You in shrIcakra.
                            shrIcakra has also alternate name viyat cakra. viyat is AkAsha
                            or space. This is samaya form of worship, internally in the
                            etheral space, dahara, of the heart. Samaya form of worship
                            requires a very high degree of concentration of the mind and
                            a strict control over the senses (the entire worship is done
                            mentally in the heart). In this mental worship, meditation of
                            shrIdevI in the form of shrIcakra has to be done in the
                            shapeless AkAsha. [The mode of worship indicated in this verse
                            is of the form of shrIdevI, as abiding in Her mansion shrIcakra.
                            She assumes the special form described in the previous verse.]
                            The meditation is on this form. This meditation is on the union
                            of shakti and shiva in their inseparable, creationistic aspect.
                            The essence of this meditation is the union of cit-shakti
                            with brahman. shiva is samaya and shrIdevI is samayA. samam yAtIti
                            samayaH. The identity of shiva and shakti is five-fold. They are:

                            adhiShTAna sAmya: similarity in abode
                            anuShTAna sAmya: oneness in activity, such as creation
                            avasthA sAmya: equality in state, for e.g. dancing
                            nAma sAmya: similarity in name
                            rUpa sAmya: similarity in form, color etc

                            Kameshwara sUri interpreted this verse in a unique (alternate) way
                            as follows:

                            sudhAsindhoH: - himAcalamArabhya setuparyantaM madhyadeshe - from
                            the himalayas, the abode of the white glaciers to the
                            southern ocean
                            suraviTapivATI: full of pilgrim centres, such as shrIsaila and other
                            places that are reputed to bestow the heart's desires
                            of pilgrims (like the kalpa trees)
                            maNidvIpe: places that are specially fitted for meditation
                            nIpovanavati: surrounded by kadamba trees
                            cintAmaNi gR^ihe: temples studded with cintAmaNi gems
                            shivAkAre ma~nce: - atidhavalatvAtsphaTika ramaNImaya tayA
                            shivasadR^isomancyata iti ma~nce pujye kailAsa -
                            as Mount KailAsa which is as white as crystal and thus
                            resembles shiva in aspect
                            paramashivaparya~NkanilayAM: blessed as being placed on the lap of
                            the divine couple, pArvati and parameshwara
                            cidAnandalaharIM.h : the stotra by name AnandalaharI describing the
                            pure cit aspect shrIdevI

                            Thus, various commentators read in this verse worship of shrIcakra in
                            diverse ways and this verse is considered as one of the pivotal verses
                            of this great stotra.

                            Gummuluru Murthy
                          • Ravisankar S. Mayavaram
                            ... Dear Sir, If you can post them with translation (when you find time), all of us in the list will benefit. Thank you very much for your wonderful
                            Message 13 of 24 , Feb 1, 2000
                              Gummuluru Murthy wrote:

                              > shri shankara's other works also contain descriptions of shrIdevI's
                              > abode very similar to given in this verse (tripurasundarI-vedapAdastava,
                              > verses 7, 8, 9, 10; mantramAtR^ikApuShpamAla, verse 1). I can post exact
                              > verses if there is sufficient interest.

                              Dear Sir,

                              If you can post them with translation (when you find time), all of us in the
                              list will benefit. Thank you very much for your wonderful translation of

                              With respects,
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