तव स्तन्यं मन्ये धरणिधरकन्ये हृदयतः
पयः पारावारः परिवहति सारस्वतमिव ।
दयावत्या दत्तं द्रविडशिशु-रास्वाद्य तव यत्
कवीनां प्रौढाना मजनि कमनीयः कवयिता
tava stanyam manye dharanidhara kanye hrdayatah
payah paravarah parivahati sarasvatam iva
dayavatya dattam dravidasisur asvadya tava yat
kavinam praudhanam ajani kamaniyah kavayita
Your breast milk, I consider, O Maiden born to the Earth- Supporting Lord,
As if it were word-wisdom's ocean of nectar, flooding from out of Your heart
Offered by one who is kind, which, on tasting,
This Dravidian child, amidst superior poets, is born a composer of charming verse.
Inserted between Verses 74 and 76, we find one that gives a personal reference to the author himself as a Dravidian child, or product of a proto-Aryan culture. This reference to himself constitutes a kind of signature of the author, which we could also notice in three others: 57, 59 and 98.
There is also an implied first-person reference in the first and the last verses, where he disowns direct involvement in the content of these verses. The position that this verse occupies between outer and inner aspects of the mind, when correctly balanced and neutrally normalized, justifies the realistic perspective adopted here and this pointed reference to his own cultural affiliation. This reference has a great value for us as unmistakable internal evidence that the author of this work is Sankara (see “Generalities”).
We have to note that it is an ocean of milk on which the would-be poet here is to be nourished. Such an ocean of milk represents a vital or life-giving value. Intelligence cannot thrive when vitality is at a low ebb. Thus, the gift of poetry is based on inspiration from the numerator side, as well as nourishment from the side of nature. The second line refers to the ocean of word-wisdom which, being a numerator value, is compared to nectar at a more normal level suggested in the first line by the status of Parvati as daughter of the Earth-supporting Lord. It is not nectar but human breast milk with which the would-be poet is to be nourished in a real sense. “Word wisdom´s ocean” is a generalized and abstracted version of common-sense milk, the two of which are related in the same way as are manna and plain bread, as explained under Verse 73.
The Dravidian child belongs to the first-dimensional common-sense order. Vedism and proto-Vedism are meant to complement each other, and the resultant value, which is just normal human mother´s milk, when realistically viewed, is an ocean of wisdom-nectar, when viewed from a more hypostatic perspective. The kindness referred to in the third line redresses this slight asymmetry on the numerator side. The last line refers to superior poets as well as to one who is merely capable of producing charming verses.
Sankara, as a product of South India, is naturally influenced by the Shaivite proto-Aryan civilization to which Tantrism also belongs, together with a fully-developed structural language which was known to ancient Shaiva cults, where the famous dancing Nataraja of Chidambaram and the Eternal Mother prin­ciple, Shakti, are understood as representing the two aspects of the Absolute, even by the popular mind. The suggestion which is sometimes made that the reference here is to Sambandar, one of the four Shaivite revivalists, who ruled in Madurai after the defeat of the Jainas, (a comparatively recent period), cannot be considered tenable, especially because Sambandar is not known to have composed any poem in Sanskrit. The distinctness of the two personalities is very clear in spite of punditry, which might confuse the two personalities. In our eyes, at least, Sankara was a product of that part of India fed for centuries by the Malaya breeze, which figures so prominently in Sanskrit poetry from the time of Kalidasa, covering the long richly-forested strip extending from the limit of the desert of central India, down to the southern limit marked by the cape at Kanya Kumari. The whole coastal line of this forested region, having an average depth inland of more than 100 miles, is dotted with temples to the Devi. The Narmada and the Tapti rivers, Kaladi, as well as Mukambika must have been the regions fre­quented by Sankara as a pedestrian pilgrim. The most famous of Sankara's institutions is at Sringeri, also lying within the limits of the same region.
Although Sankara is referred to as belonging to a Brahmin, especially a Nambudri Brahmin, family, the well-known fact that his own kinsmen would not co-operate in finding fuel for the funeral-pyre of his mother lends enough support to the view that, on his mother's side at least, he was not of Brahminical origin at all. Further, he was also often nicknamed by Brahmin schools a “Buddhist in disguise”. This could not have happened if he had already belonged to an orthodox context. The forms of Tantrism which we see here revalued by Sankara prevailed in this particular geographical region. Gaudapada himself, as the guru of Sankara´s own preceptor, whose philosophy bears many points of affinity with Sankara´s own, can further confirm the theory that Sankara might have been born to an itinerant scholar traveling from North India as a pilgrim in South India, a genius born, like Leonardo da Vinci, under somewhat questionable circumstances. This theory is here put forward as one at least as believable as some other events attributed to Sankara in the famous work called "Sankara Dig­vijaya", many details of which recent research by the Madras University has revealed to be untenable in the light of history, because of a discrepancy of hundreds of years between the personalities with whom Sankara is said to have had arguments or polemical doctrinal duels in his wanderings. (See the short work by Sri Narayana Sastri of Madras University.)
From Ujjain to Kanya Kumari a uniform Sanskritic culture, influencing the lives of the people in this particular coastal area, must have been started about 1200 years ago, which tallies with the number of the Malayalam era and with the age of Sankara himself, who was unmistakably born at Kaladi in the erstwhile North Travancore about 800 A.D. Sankara did not write any work in Malayalam, probably because the Malayalam language itself came into being after this date by the interaction between an older language, resembling Tamil, and Sanskrit, which percolated downwards by the constant contact with pilgrims as they traveled between Ujjain, Sringeri, Kalyani, Mukambika and Kanya Kumari. This pilgrim´s road must have been a living nerve connecting centres of cultural and spiritual importance.
Since our main interest in this work is one of salvaging Sankara's precious contribution to Advaita Vedanta, this question of fixing the authorship is only of secondary importance to us. Continuators of the same Tantric-Vedantic tradition have been found on the same soil of Kerala from time to time, the latest examples being Chatambi Swami and Narayana Guru. These modern gurus have such a family resemblance with Sankara's type of spirituality that their natural affinities must belong to the period prior to the infiltration of influences extraneous to that of Sankara on the Kerala soil; from the Muslim supremacy that followed the fall of the Vijayanagar Empire, through the advent of the European invaders, to the time of the Indian Mutiny. Revalued spirituality at the hands of these modern continuators bypasses the intervening period to catch up with the anterior epoch marking the decline of Buddhism and the rise of Advaita Vedanta. The same circumstances also explain why so much suspicion overcovers the clear Advaitic doctrines contained in these verses.
Other mythological explanations of the phrase “Dravidian child” (dravida sishu) arise from:
  1. A myth-making instinct where a rational explanation becomes difficult,
  2. A failure to appreciate how the first part (Verses 1-41) called Ananda Lahari and the latter part (Verses 42-100) Saundarya Lahari belong together to the same subject of Beauty, the only difference being that they refer to inner and outer spaces, respectively,
  3. A failure to appreciate the deeper structural implications. Such mytholo­gical explanations are many and do not deserve our serious attention here.





Tava stanyam manye - Your breasts, I consider
Dharani dhara kanye - Of the earth-supporter, the maid
Hrdayatah - from the heart
Payah paravarah - milk ocean
Parivahati - bears aloft
Saraswatam - of Saraswati
Iva dayavatya - of a kindly one as if
Dattam - given
Dravida shishur - of the Dravidian child
Asvadya tava - having drunk of thine
Yat - by reason
Kavinam praudhanam - into famous poets
Ajani - has come to be born
Kamaniyah kavayitah - a perfectly beautiful poet.


Another version:

Tava stanyam manye - Your breast-milk , I consider
Dharani dhara kanye - o maiden born to the Earth-Supporting Lord
Hrdayatah - from the heart
Paya para varah - as an ocean of nectar
Parivahati - as flooding out
Sarasvatam iva - as pertaining to word-wisdom
Daya vatya dattam - as offered by one of kindness
Dravida shishuh - this child of the Dravidian context
Asvadya tava - Yours having tasted
Yat - by which reason
Kavinam praudhanam ajani - born amidst superior poets
Kamaniyah kavayita - a composer of charming verse.
(Dravidian: Referred to by historians as being unlike the Aryans (q.v.) in colour and physiognomy and supposed to represent the most important proto-Aryan ethnic group, especially persisting to the present day in the south of India, and also represented by various hill-tribes in pockets and in isolated areas all over India. ED)
The structures below refer to the Devi's breasts in Verses 72, 73, 74, and 75..


We have come from the breasts to the heart.
Saraswati is the Numerator aspect of the Devi here indicated
Lakshmi is the Denominator.
Saraswati: Otherwise known as Sarada or Bharati: The goddess of learning. Though born of a low-caste, occupies by the side of Shiva, as one of his consorts, a high place in the Indian pantheon. She is clad in pure white and carries a book and a musical instrument (the vina) as marks of culture and the fine arts; as opposed to her anterior counterpart Kali or Bhadra-Kali, who represents darker and more tragic aspects of cosmic reality personified in female form
Lakshmi: The consort of Vishnu; the personification of the principle of plenty and prosperity. She is lotus-born and with four arms; one of the first results of the churning of the ocean of good and evil, symbolising a central human value when looked at from the utilitarian point of view. After the highly negative and lifeless values of decadent Buddhist periods, Lakshmi or Sri as a principle of good or Godhead gained popularity in India which she holds to the present day. Often suggesting even a sloppy love of comfort in certain pleasure-loving minds.
"As if belonging to Saraswati" (the Goddess of Learning) and drinking that (Numerator), the denominator Dravidian child (dravida shishyu) has become very learned - absorbing the Wisdom of the Aryans.
(It should be noted that "Dravidian" implies dark-skinned and inferior in the terms of Indian racial prejudice, which has been prevalent since the dawn of  history. At the time of the invasions of pale-skinned horse-riding Aryans (2nd millenium B.C.E.), the original inhabitants  are generally recognized to have been darker-skinned Dravidians. They are referred to as "Dasa" - a term meaning "enemy" or "slave, servant" and associated with terms for "black or dark-skinned". So when Sankara refers to himself as a "Dravidian child amongst superior poets", it would correspond, in terms of the American South, to him saying "I am just a nigger kid, among all these great white poets". ED)

By absorbing the numerator-side wisdom, a participation is now established between Numerator and Denominator.
Now we have an ocean of milk - and why does it come from the heart and not the breasts?
Here the beauty is the poetry:
Denominator - dravida shishyu (the "Dravidian child")
Numerator    - Aryan wisdom

When these two sides participate, you get the beauty of pure poetry.
The kindness comes from the heart and fills the Numerator side, like an ocean.

Without the Denominator, there is no Advaita, this is the significance of dravida shishyu (the "Dravidian child".
(Dravidian is denominator because it implies dark, South Indian etc. ED)

By this verse, Sankara is able to see the light at the other end of the tunnel.
"I worship Saraswati, but I am also creating a Mukambika (the Devi as the "silent mother"  ED), without which there can be no Advaita.
Mukambika says: "Shut up!" "

He is thankful, not for salvation, but for becoming a real poet.
Put a figure-8 where the mother offers the breast, and the baby wants to suck it.
She is purposely bending to feed him, with kindness in her face.