AdvaitaVedanta Website - Introduction

Saundarya Lahari

SAUNDARYA LAHARI - VERSE 100

SAUNDARYA LAHARI

 

 

VERSE 100

ALL ACTION IS ABOLISHED IN FAVOUR OF UNITIVE UNDERSTANDING

 

प्रदीप ज्वालाभि-र्दिवसकर-नीराजनविधिः
सुधासूते-श्चन्द्रोपल-जललवै-रघ्यरचना ।
स्वकीयैरम्भोभिः सलिल-निधि-सौहित्यकरणं
त्वदीयाभि-र्वाग्भि-स्तव जननि वाचां स्तुतिरियम्

 

pradipa jvalabhir divasa kara nirajana vidhih
sudh sutes candropala jalavair arghya racana
svakiyair ambhorbhis salilanidhisauhitya karanam
tvadiya bhir vagbhis tavajanani visamsrutir iyam
 
To carry out the ritual propitiation of the sun by waving flames,
To offer oblations to the moon, the source of nectar, by particles of moonstone water,
To appease the deep with offerings of water its own,
Such, o Mother is this wordy praise with words Your own.
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The sun, the moon and the sea are seen to figure here prominently in the final verse. We are born into a world presided over by these three items. When treated in the large, equating oneself correctly with one´s own natural environment is all that one can be expected to do, even if one should be wise or clever. When correctly equated with a one-to-one correspondence, in a spiritually or contemplatively revised orientation, these items cancel out against their counterparts. Even if the light of one candle flame cannot be correctly cancelled out against the bright sunlight, an infinite number of them could be thought of as establishing a correct cancellation of counterparts. The One and the Many could thus belong together to a supreme or absolute value. Nothing would then remain to be said, or all would have been said, when this much has been said. Thus we arrive at the grand terminating culmination of this work.
 
Watery oblations apply to the moon, while light flames apply to the sun, and the water of the ocean is returned by rains and rivers. Thus the overall situation remains as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, forever.

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ADDITIONAL COMMENTS WITH STRUCTURAL DIAGRAMS RELATED TO THIS VERSE FROM SAUNDARYA LAHARI/NOTES.

In this final verse Sankara is saying: "With words your own.... I have tried to describe you with your own words. Do not say I have written anything."

 

(Editorial note: there are some problems with the images of this and the preceding verses, we are working to resolve them.)

 

  

 

 This verse corresponds to the description of the Devi's breasts in Verse 7.

 


(The above note by the Guru may seem enigmatic at first. It seems to the Editor that what is meant is that in Verse 100 there is a cancellation of the Devi by her own self  - the same as that which takes place  in Verse 7 between the two sides of the Devi - exemplified by her pert girlish breasts cancelled with the heavy breasts of motherhood.

For Advaita Vedanta there is no duality. Any duality that seems to exist is unreal, or Maya.

Who is there who can praise the Devi?

The wisdom-seeker trying to praise the Devi is only an illusion.

The wisdom-seeker says to the Devi "Let me become you!"

The apparent difference between the Devi and her worshipper is an illusion. The one Absolute alone exists and shines.

All that exists is what Shankara calls the Devi; she is kindness and beauty (aruna and karuna). She is our self.

Here are a few structural examples from Verse 7, but to fully grasp this correspondence between the two verses, Verse 7 itself should be studied carefully. ED)

 

 

 

 

 

This verse is the counterpart of Verse 1:

Shiva united with Shakti becomes able to manifest
If otherwise, this god knows not even how to pulsate.
How then could one of ungained merit be able to bow to, or even praise
One such as you, adored by
Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.

 

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SAUNDARYA LAHARI - VERSE 99

SAUNDARYA LAHARI

 

 

VERSE 99

CENTRALIZED FOURFOLD NORMALIZATION
OR CANCELLATION IN THE ABSOLUTE
 
सरस्वत्या लक्ष्म्या विधि हरि सपत्नो विहरते
रतेः पतिव्रत्यं शिथिलपति रम्येण वपुषा ।
चिरं जीवन्नेव क्षपित-पशुपाश-व्यतिकरः
परानन्दाभिख्यं रसयति रसं त्वद्भजनवान्
 
sarasvatya laksmya vidhi hari sapatno viharate
rateh pativratyam sithilayati ramyena vapusa
ciram jivanneva ksapita pasupasa vyatikarah
paranandabhikhyam rasayati rasam tvad bhajanavan
 
Sporting with Saraswati and with Lakshmi as co-consort with Brahma and Vishnu
While disrupting with his charming body the constancy of Rati to her lord,
With banished animality and bondage, living long,
He enjoys what is known as ultimate bliss, your supplicant.

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The ultimate Bliss referred to at the end of this verse is nothing other than what is known by various other names, such as salvation, emancipation, freedom, self-realization, nirvana, samadhi, and so on. Extreme ultimate felicity resides within the space of this verse. The main chessmen of this game are brought into a close-knit interplay. That it is a game that is implied here is revealed by the very first word, “sporting”, for which the Sanskrit is vihara (pleasing or recreative activity), where the goddesses are seen with the husbands that properly belong to each. They are not after the husbands of others, so they are within the limits of good behaviour. Everything is in perfect order and no rule or convention seems to be violated here, except in the second line where it is implied that somebody is spoiling the game that is natural between Kama and his wife, Rati. There is a whole passage called rati vilapa (the wailing of Rati) in the “Kumarasambhava” of Kalidasa, which could be read here to clarify the implications of “disrupting the constancy of Rati to her lord.” However degraded Rati might appear to be as the wife of a mere demiurge like Kama, who can only attain to an absolutist status when everything else is favourable for him on rare occasi­ons, justice would require that nobody should disrupt her right to conjugal enjoyment with her husband. In the passage describing the wailing of Rati, Kalidasa provides poetic justice by making vasanta (the Flowery Season), a friend of her husband Kama, to whom this wailing is addressed, respond consolingly, and somewhat mend the injustice under reference here. Sankara does not go into such details because he is not writing lengthy poems of the kind that Kalidasa undertook. The “he” of the last line suggests that there is some beneficiary of the wisdom taught in this work. The “I” of the previous verse has already hinted at who this person could be. It is not important who that person is in actuality. This verse just wants to say that there is a beneficiary and that the benefits could apply to anybody, including the reader, who could hope for a long life, without being subjected to animal instincts which could spell suffering and bondage, as stated in the second line. Such a person, by the peace of mind and harmony that they enjoy and the normality of even their physiological metabolism, could come to have a beautiful body, as the third line indicates. Yogis are seen to have such bodies, always with clear complexion and voices. When they become charming in such a sense the prolongation of their life will follow as a natural consequence. Life´s chief fulfilments, which are referred to as four in Sanskrit, namely, dharma (action according to necessary laws of nature, artha (wealth or benefits, or endowments), kama (right aspirations or desires) and moksha (salvation or ultimate happiness) are seen thus to be included in the scope of this verse by way of rounding off the contents before the conclusion that is to follow. We can easily see that it is not intended as a mere work on Tantra which, although it does not exclude salvation, gives lesser perfections a greater importance than this work does.
 
In the reference to co-consorts, “consort” is here meant to be treated as a partner, independently of sex. It could apply to a man or woman reader, or to a philosopher like Sankara. Abstraction and generalization, even in respect of the author or the beneficiary of this work, has been pushed to its ultimate possible limits here. Such abstraction and generalization can attain the Absolute, irrespective of the reader, or the author, or even the Goddess of this work. Sankara is thus able to treat the gods of the Hindu pantheon with a great deal of freedom.
 

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ADDITIONAL COMMENTS WITH STRUCTURAL DIAGRAMS RELATED TO THIS VERSE FROM SAUNDARYA LAHARI/NOTES.

 

This is Sankara's signature. The supplicant is all that is left after the final cancellation of Positive and Negative - of Shiva and the Devi.
 

WORD FOR WORD
Sarasvatya lakshmya - in the company of Saraswati and Lakshmi
Vidhi hari sapatnah - co-consort with Brahma and Vishnu
Viharate - sports
Rateh pativratyam sithilayati - he disrupts the constancy of Rati to her lord
Ramyena vapusha - by a pleasing body
Chiram jivan iva - even living thus long
Kshapita pashu pasha vyati karah - with banished animality and bondage
Para ananda bhikhyam - of what is known as ultimate bliss
Rasayati -he enjoys
Rasam - the taste
Tvad bhajanavan - Your worshipper
 

See Kalidasa's Kumarasambhava, Chapters 1 and 2, where Rati weeps for Eros.


Kama has no limbs on the Denominator
Kama has limbs on the Numerator  and gets burned by Shiva.
 
This is Sankara's final signature. The supplicant is all that is left.
 
Nataraja Guru often said that he wanted to sign off by appearing on stage before a huge assembly of people and bowing to them, showing his bald head with "The End" written on it.
 
 
 

SAUNDARYA LAHARI - VERSE 98

SAUNDARYA LAHARI

 

 

VERSE 98

THE FINAL SURRENDER OF THE VIDYARTHI OR WISDOM-SEEKER

 

कदा काले मातः कथय कलितालक्तकरसं
पिबेयं विद्यार्थी तव चरण-निर्णेजनजलम् ।
प्रकृत्या मूकानामपि च कविता0कारणतया
कदा धत्ते वाणीमुखकमल-ताम्बूल-रसताम्

 

kada kale matah kathaya kalitalaktaka rasam
pibeyam vidyarthi tava carana nirnejana jalam
prakrtya mukanam api ca kavitah karanataya
kada dhatte vani mukha kamala tambula rasatam
 
When, O Mother, tell me, shall this thy supplicant drink
Of the ablution water of Your magenta sap-smeared feet?
As causing even one dumb born to be a poet,
When will he enjoy within the flavour of the betel juice in the lotus mouth of the Word-Goddess?
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The black box referred to in Verse 94 was meant to be a summing up of the factors that have been used in something that resembles a game of chess, where various grades of chessmen have been put in the game to play their respective parts. The blackness of the ebony box marked the dark or negative perspective in which we were allowed to have a peep at the absolute beauty of the Goddess. The celestial bodies belonging to the world of Brahma, as the Creator, were treated as if placed in a jeweled casket, with the dark side of the chessboard more relevant to the context than the bright side. Now the negative perspective has been left behind and we have further crossed over an intervening three verses in which the pieces in the game, representing divinities, are again reshuffled and rearran­ged, so as to reveal the overall togetherness or inter-relatedness between them. All psychic perfections have been placed outside the door of the temple of the Goddess in Verse 95.
 
The union of Shiva and Parvati has been made most self-sufficient in Verse 97. The remaining three verses of the work are meant to help the reader gather up loose threads from the anterior parts of this work as it has unraveled itself in all its grandeur of overwhelming Beauty.
 
We should note that this verse is a dialogue between the Goddess and a supplicant who primarily belongs to the context of word-wisdom that She represents. To be a poet, instead of being dumb, as everyone is at birth, is evidently the aspiration that motivates him. This is not essentially an aspiration of a religious order, where holiness and the sacred merits from obligatory works enter into the picture. The reference in the first person to such an aspirant, who is here addressing the Mother, cannot be to anyone other than Sankara himself. Right from the beginning, he has taken care to disengage himself from the merely religious context. He maintains this detached attitude right through to the very end, where he is seen to wash his hands finally of all involvement, even disclaiming any direct responsibility for composing these verses. As if by way of preparing the ground for such a culminating attitude of detachment or neutrality, he is seen in the present verse to think in terms of becoming a good poet only.
 
It is as the Goddess of the Word, not merely as understood conventionally when we speak of the Vedic Sarasvati, but with a whole series of inner beauty-factors added to her total stock in trade, as it were, that we have here to think of the Devi as referred to in the last line of this verse. Her function does not pertain only to the numerator side of the poet´s skill, which might merely consist of the clever manipulation of words and phrases. The poetic genius here covers the whole range of inner and outer endowments that could enrich the consciousness of a man, born dumb and without words at all, to his positive culmination as a poet, beyond the O ­Point at the centre of the situation, to the heights of the perfected Word located at the Omega Point. Poetic genius is an inner endowment or accomplishment, referring to the self and the non-self, when understood in terms of an inner reference linking both of them by a parameter that passes from the head to the feet of the two-sided personality of the Devi, which we have always to keep in mind.
 
We have further to notice that it is only under the sole of the feet that evidence of this lengthy parameter reference could be seen by the eye, because poetic genius cannot be discerned from the outside appearance of the poet. We have agreed with the author that the beauty of these feet could be placed as high as one wants in a scale of values or could be brought down to touch the limits of the black ebony box, in which items of essential or existential beauty are enclosed. At whatever level the beauty of the twin feet might be placed, the magenta paste is the link and the indicator of the absolute value of Beauty that traverses the whole positive or negative gamut of possible aesthetic values, on whose basis poetic genius must live, move and have its being.
 
When ablution further purifies the beauty of the magenta sap-smeared feet, the water would acquire some of the same colour. Why does the supplicant want to drink this impotable water containing paste or incidental dirt, as stated in the first line? Further, in the last line, he also intends to enjoy the flavour of the betel juice in the mouth of the Goddess. It is repugnant to think that he wishes to swallow the spit of the Goddess, as some commentaries suggest. Moreover, there is the difficulty of mixed metaphors in different verses. In Verse 84, it was water that was given importance; in Verse 75 it was the ocean of milk and in Verse 65, it was the betel juice in the mouth . Now all these figures of speech seem to have been gathered up and treated together. The aspirant, Sankara, as a philosopher of Advaita, is able to substitute himself for the absolute Goddess of Beauty, and become identical with her, by his complete affiliation to what she represents. Even the duality between subject and object can be cancelled out, as has been suggested in previous verses, such as Verse 30, where the doomsday fire itself performs the light-waving rite. The non-self and the self as counterparts, whether as two individuals or fused into one, are to be treated as mathematically interchangeable terms, as in the limbs of an equation or in the cancellation of Numerator against Denominator.
 
Although betel-chewing and its resultant magenta-coloured saliva are inside the Goddess; because of its containing bits of soft camphor, the essential flavour could spread upward as well as downward into regions of memory or imagination within the body of the Goddess. The act of swallowing a liquid, not excluding one's saliva, is an activity taking place, as it were, at the very core of our functional consciousness. The child sucks milk even in sleep, and a thirsty man can dream of drinking cool clear water even when the water is not there. Clear water can be coloured magenta to make it participate with the beauty element of the betel juice of the mouth. A magenta colour can be added to the beauty of a lotus plant, coming either from the earth or from the tender sunlight playing upon it. We have to keep all these possibilities in our mind, especially as they have been justified already at different stages of the development of this composition. Magenta is the element of beauty which could mix with water or milk to inspire the genius of a dumb or inarticulate poet as his career develops from birth to death. From such a wholesale and global perspective we can see the relevance of this concluding prayer, where Sankara inserts himself directly in the first person, before the next two verses, where he rounds up the whole subject by way of conclusion.
 
Sankara is a wisdom-seeker still, because wisdom has never-ending possibilities. One can never say that one has attained to a stage where one does not wish to learn anymore. The analogy in Verse 90 of the six-footed bee lost in a lotus flower seems to suggest that one is always involved in a process of absorption, at least until life itself is gone. Even then, the six legs cannot be absorbed into the honey of the lotus. They have to drop out of the flower. Even the wisest persons are involved in a process of absorption, and not in any finalized state. All are thus pilgrims in the path of the Absolute, some possibly superior to others, but none are to be considered statically superior, once and for all. Spirituality is an aspiration in the world of intentions, and is not to be treated as something to be accomplished in fact. This justifies the anticipation contained in the question “When shall I… ?” of the first and last lines of this verse. Magenta pervades and permeates through all the levels of the various Chakras, whether in the first or the second part of this work. The submissiveness and humility of Sankara here adds a touching dimension to the whole situation and defines the whole work as something which can ennoble any other intelligent man like him.

 

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ADDITIONAL COMMENTS WITH STRUCTURAL DIAGRAMS RELATED TO THIS VERSE FROM SAUNDARYA LAHARI/NOTES.

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WORD FOR WORD
Kada kale matah - when, o Mother
Kathaya - tell me
Kalita laktaka rasam - mixed with magenta sap
Pibeyam vidyarthi - shall he drink, this wisdom-seeker
Tava charana nirne jana jalam - the ablution water of Your foot
Prakrtya mukanam api cha - even for one dumb born also
Kavita karanataya - as the cause of becoming a poet
Kada dhatte - when will he enjoy
Vani mukha kamala tambula rasatam - the flavour of the betel juice in the lotus mouth of the Word-Goddess
 
In this verse a dumb man becomes a poet and ascends from the feet to the mouth of the Devi.

True wisdom is supplied from the negative side; he does not need another Numerator to his own positivity.

He accepts the Devi up to the central O Point, while the writing of poetry will take care of itself.

In poetry the feeling has to be there and then brought up to the point of utterance; from there on it is just a question of a pen scratching endlessly on paper.
 
He wants magenta, or Beauty, so he is not just a philosopher.
"Magenta is real, and I want to have contact with that".
 
 
 
 
The magenta streak of betel-nut juice from the mouth to the foot represents the final ontological dedication of the wisdom-disciple.
 
 
 
 
(Note that chewed betel nut produces a red or magenta juice and that the soles of the feet of a woman are trditionally coloured magenta. A vertical magenta streak is to be imagined as uniting these two. ED)
 
 
 
 
 
 Insert yourself inside the Devi, you will find restful meditation.
 
 

Show Sankara ascending up through the Goddess.
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
To a vidyarthi (wisdom-seeker), everything is denied, except the seeking of wisdom.
 

The magenta streak from mouth to foot represents the final ontological dedication of the wisdom-disciple.

 

 

 

 

 

SAUNDARYA LAHARI - VERSE 97

SAUNDARYA LAHARI

 

 

VERSE 97

THE MAYA VISION IS SUPERIOR TO THE TURIYA VISION

 

गिरामाहु-र्देवीं द्रुहिणगृहिणी-मागमविदो
हरेः पत्नीं पद्मां हरसहचरी-मद्रितनयाम् ।
तुरीया कापि त्वं दुरधिगम-निस्सीम-महिमा
महामाया विश्वं भ्रमयसि परब्रह्ममहिषि

 

giram ahur devim druhina grihinim agama vido
hareh patnim padmam harasahacarim adritanayam
turiya kapi tvam duradhigama nissima mahima
mahamaya visvam bhramasayi parabrahma mahisi
 
As the Goddess of the Word, Veda-knowers speak of You as Brahma's wife;
Lakshmi is Vishnu's wedded one,
and the Mountain Daughter is Shiva's consort;
Certain others as the unattainable and boundless fourth state refer to You;
While you remain as the great Maya, making the universe go round, as Queen of the Ultimate Absolute.
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Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Parvati again figure in Verse 97, as the consorts of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. This is the conventional way of treating the three Goddesses. There are also the philosophically-minded people referred to in the third line, who do not resort to mythological language, but understand the Goddess as representing the turiya or “fourth state” of consciousness, as clearly distinguished in the “Mandukya Upanishad”. Sankara is not in favour of any of these four possible alternatives, although he mentions them here in a preliminary fashion as representing the opinions of others. He prefers to call the Goddess a principle of indeterminism in the most comprehensive and overall sense, as understood in the context of brahmavidya (the Science of the Absolute), of which the notion of Maya is a normal corollary.
 
We could easily see why the mythological or theological view of the Goddess here does not please Sankara. However, as Sankara is a philosopher attached to the Upanishadic view contained in the “Mandukya Upanishad”, one would expect the above reference to turiya to be compatible with his philosophy, and thus deserve his approval. Even this is not so, as Sankara himself states clearly in the last line. The Goddess here is not an idealized transcendental picture presented in a too abstract and generalized form, as the notion of turiya, though such a picture would not come into conflict with the true nature of the Absolute in a more positive sense. In the context of the present work, where it is the negative perspective of the same brahman (Absolute) that can reveal the significant content of Beauty, in relation to which (as a central norm of reference at least) these verses have been composed, consistency would require that we view the status of the Goddess here in a perspective that is more ontologically than teleologically biased.
 
The “fourth state” would apply more aptly to Shiva whose status, being conceptual, tends to be less real. The content of the Absolute would evaporate into nothingness if mathe­matical conceptualism were allowed to have primacy over the perceptualistic outlook, which is here retained in the name of a residue of the Beauty-value in the Absolute. If even this slight prejudice in favour of the conditioned brahman should be abolished, the poetic function which is at the basis of these verses would be stifled and made altogether ineffective. Bergson also prefers to treat the world as a flux rather than as a mathematical absolute, which is just a conceptual cliché empty of any real content, according to him.
 
On closer analysis, the difference, between the two Absolutes, called higher or lower brahman, is only one of methodological or epistemological convention. When we mark the ends of electric wires green or red for the guidance of the electrician this does not mean that there are two electricities. In the colloquy of the three gods in the Kena Upanishad we read that Beauty as a value in the form of Uma, the daughter of the Himalayas, is made to occupy the same space that had belonged a moment before to the Higher Absolute (para brahman). Maya and brahman are thus interchangeable limbs of the same equation.
 
(For the relevant extract from Kena Upanishad, see below. ED)
 
(The Mandukya Upanishad equates absolute consciousness with that of the 'fourth' or turiya state. It also postulates the quaternion structure when it says, 'Ayam atma chatushpad' (This Self is of four limbs). The four states of consciousness as described in the Mandukya Upanishad are the gross, the subtle, the causal and the "fourth" (sthula, suksma, karana, turiya). The fourth state (also called caturtham) of consciousness is where all predicability is denied to the absolute Self.

Turiya - (the Fourth - or deepest flux of consciousness, is where subject and object merge in the Absolute that is within and without and which has a fully absolutist status. Waking and sleeping are both abolished in terms of an ever-wakeful contemplative state, completely absolute beyond any relativity. In this state opposites such as having form and not having form (rupa-arupa) are cancelled out and mental activities cease; it is beyond waking, dreaming and sleeping and inclusively transcends all the other three states. ED)

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ADDITIONAL COMMENTS WITH STRUCTURAL DIAGRAMS RELATED TO THIS VERSE FROM SAUNDARYA LAHARI/NOTES.

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WORD FOR WORD
Giram aha devim - as the Goddess of the Word
Druhina grhinim - as Brahma's wife
Agama vidah - the knowers of Vedic wisdom
Harah patnim padmam - as Vishnu's wedded one Lakshmi)
Hara saha charim adri tanayam - the consort of Shiva, daughter of the high peak
Turiya kapi tvam duradhi gamanih sima - some as the fourth state of boundless greatness, difficult to attain
Mahima maha maya - as the great Maya
Vishvam - bhramayasi - You turn the world around
Para brahma mahishi - as Queen of the Ultimate Absolute
 
Sankara here comes out without stage-dress and has an intimate conversation with the Goddess.

Shiva is the abstract numerator principle.
Shiva is the catalytic agent.
(A catalyst is that which precipitates a process or event, especially without being involved in or changed by the consequences:, ED)
 

The horizontal functional aspects of the world are negative.
One should not minimize Shiva as Shakti-worshippers do.
The vertical axis is a string holding a pearl necklace together.
 
(The pearls are to be understood as a series of value-items ranging from, say, food at the bottom to the joys of higher mathematics at the top. ED)
 

Shiva and Shakti joined are a paradox.

Universal concrete beauty is beyond this.

It is BEYOND the fourth state, or turiya.
 
Brahma and Vishnu's relations with their wives are not fully vertical.

The concrete universal is better than abstraction.

 

 

 

 FROM THE KENA UPANISHAD

3rd KANDA

 

Once upon a time, Brahman, the Spirit Supreme, won a victory for the gods. And the gods thought in their pride, 'We alone attained this victory, ours alone is the glory;

 

Brahman saw it and appeared to them, but they knew him not. 'Who is that being that fills us with wonder?' they cried.

 

And they spoke to Agni, the god of fire: '0 god all-knowing, go and see who is that being that fills us with wonder.'

 

Agni ran towards him and Brahman asked: 'Who are you?' I am the god of fire,' he said, the god who knows all things.'

 

What power is in you?' asked Brahman. 'I can burn all things on earth.'

 

And Brahman placed a straw before him, saying: 'Burn this.' The god of fire strove with all his power, but was unable to burn it. He then returned to the other gods and said: 'I could not find out who was that being that fills us with wonder'

 

Then they spoke to Vayu, the god of the air. '0 Vayu, go and see who is that being that fills us with wonder.'

 

Vayu ran towards him and Brahman asked: 'Who are you?' 'I am Vayu, the god of the air,' he said, 'Matarisvan, the air that moves in space.'

 

'What power is in you?' asked Brahman. 'In a whirlwind I can carry away all there is on earth'

 

And Brahman placed a straw before him saying: 'Blow this away.' The god of the air strove with all his power, but was unable to move it. He returned to the other gods and said: 'I could not find out who was that being that fills us with wonder.'

 

Then the gods spoke to Indra, the god of thunder: '0 giver of earthly goods, go and see who is that being that fills us with wonder.' And Indra ran towards Brahman, the Spirit Supreme, but he disappeared.

 

Then in the same region of the sky the gods saw a lady of radiant beauty. She was Uma, divine wisdom, the daughter of the mountains of snow.

 

 

 

SAUNDARYA LAHARI - VERSE 96

SAUNDARYA LAHARI

 

 

VERSE 96

THE ULTIMATE CONSTANCY OF PARVATI CAN KNOW
NO HORIZONTAL OR VERTICAL

 

कलत्रं वैधात्रं कतिकति भजन्ते न कवयः
श्रियो देव्याः को वा न भवति पतिः कैरपि धनैः ।
महादेवं हित्वा तव सति सतीना-मचरमे
कुचभ्या-मासङ्गः कुरवक-तरो-रप्यसुलभः

 

kalatram vaidhatram kati kati bhajante na kavayah
sriyo devyah ko va na bhavati patih kairapi dhanaih
mahadevam hitva tava sati satinamacarane
kucabhyam asangah kuravaka taror apy asulabhah
 
The wife of Brahma, how many poets does she not woo?
How many are there not, who, by having some wealth, can claim Lakshmi's hand?
O constancy's ultimate meaning, outside Shiva
The contact with Your breasts is hard even to a favourite garden tree
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In this verse, 96, Sarasvati, Lakshmi, and Parvati are discussed together to underline that the former two, who belong to the context of relativism and hedonism, cannot be of the same order as Parvati in her relation with Shiva. Vedic learning and wealth are still mundane considerations, tending to have a horizontal reference. Only in the case of Parvati and Shiva is the relation of a pure and disinterested vertical order. Even thus fully verticalized, fulfilling the requirements of constancy between husband and wife as understood in the human context, the last line wishes to emphasize the unique superiority of Parvati's constancy, to the exclusion, not only of rivals to Shiva, but also excluding anything extraneous to the wholehearted self-sufficiency of their intimate union, in which they are locked in each other's arms. One might suggest that, when sitting in her garden, Parvati might have some kind of innocent pleasure in embracing her favourite garden tree. However, even this kind of innocent pleasure does not come to her mind, because the bipolarity involved in her relation with Shiva is so intense that it cannot tolerate any factor not strictly belonging to the same level of bipolarity. The union of Shiva and Parvati, in order to be fully absolute, has to exclude all duality as between two classes which are different, or two classes which belong to the same side, or between two levels within the same class - without violation of parity or identity vertically or horizontally. The reference to the tree here is to underline the wholehearted nature of the absolute union of Shiva and Parvati, and the perfect parity between them.
 
The Absolute is without difference: as between two classes, as between the same class and as between itself and another aspect of itself (sajatiya - vijatiya - svagata - bheda - sunyatta). The reference in the last line to a tree is to underline the last-mentioned requirement for any value to be treated as absolute. Parvati is a constant wife, not only in the human sense but in a sense more ultimate and comprehensive, by which the constancy is totally self-sufficient. It is constancy for itself, by itself, through itself, in itself. Thus, as specifically indicated here, the ultimate meaning of constancy is recognized and complied with by Parvati in this verse.

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ADDITIONAL COMMENTS WITH STRUCTURAL DIAGRAMS RELATED TO THIS VERSE FROM SAUNDARYA LAHARI/NOTES.

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EDITORIAL NOTE: THERE HAS RECENTLY APPEARED A PROBLEM WITH THE UPLOADING OF IMAGES TO VERSES 96 TO 100. WE HOPE TO RESOLVE THIS PROBLEM SOON. WE ARE SORRY FOR THIS GLITCH
 
No duality whatever is tolerated in Vedanta.
 
WORD FOR WORD
Kalatram vaidhatram - wifehood in the context of Brahma
Kati kati bhajante na kavayah - how many poets do not pray for
Sriyo devyah ko va na bhavati patih - who is it that cannot become the husband of the goddess of wealth (Sri = wealth)
Kair api dhanaih - by having some sort of wealth
Maha devam hitva - outside Shiva (omitting Shiva)
Tava - Your
Sati - o true wife
Satinam acharane - ultimate meaning of constancy
Kucha bhyam asangah - the contact with the breasts
Kuravaka taroh api - even for the Asoka tree
Asulabhah - not easy
 
The Devi represents ultimate verticality and constancy, inside.
This is the final, ultimate meaning of constancy (sati).
Constancy is a vertical axis. "Peripherally, you can go on flirting with others".

Anybody with wealth must be considered symbolically as the possessor of Lakshmi - the Goddess of Wealth. How is it that Hindus are not shocked?

How many poets do not woo Saraswati, the Goddess of Poetry and Music?

The meaning of the word "constancy" results from the cancellation between husband and wife.

Everything is relative, except for the bi-polar relationship between Alpha and Omega. That is absolute - it is the relationship between Numerator and Denominator - Shiva and the Devi - husband and wife.
 
 
 
 
 

 Produce the vertical line upwards to the moon and downwards to plant life.

Understand this cancellation of two principles united by a parameter; understand it philosophically - without cosmology, theology or any conditions.

You have to say "Allah, al rahman, al rahim" (the merciful, the compassionate): cancel them out and you get the great God, beyond all representations.
 
Her bi-polarity is so strict that she will not even embrace a favourite garden tree.
All other pairs are inferior, the Devi's constancy passes through heaven and earth.
 
 
Do not make any compromise at any level.
The Devi has no reciprocity with anything besides Shiva, not even with a garden tree - that relationship is horizontal - Shiva and Parvati can only be cancelled by a pure vertical mathematical parameter.
 
Contact with your breasts is contact at the horizontal level, the last vestige of eroticism is cancelled.

What is left is almost nothing, but still something: keep some link of interest, as thin and fine and living as a lotus-stalk thread (mrinala tantu); do not abolish the living link.

You can see the Absolute with bare eyes in the uncompromising love of a wife for her husband, even when he hates her and is cruel to her.
 
 
 

Show Lakshmi being nice to a money-lender, and Saraswati to a poet.

Then show Shiva's descent as a Sanyasin, bad-rapping Shiva, and Parvati will not stay around to hear it.

You can put structural references from bottom to top; if you do not like breasts at such a low level, just put a dot there and say it is the point of insertion of the vertical into the horizontal.

Contact with the breasts is the most intimate pleasure that departs only with death.

The Guru has eliminated all sex but this.
 
 
 
 
 
A tree will lack this contact.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 A tree is the centre of the vertical axis.

Vertical jealousy is justified.
In the most ideal marital relationship, constancy at the O Point is bipolar and exclusive, even at the sub-human level.