Soundarya Lahari Sloka

Tuesday, March 21, 2006



Humble salutations to all.

Most of us will be aware about the work Soundarya Lahari which is a work written by Adi Sankaracharya. As we are all aware, Sankara was the avatar of Siva who set aside all other systems but not completely rejecting them by adding them or accomodating them under the umbrella of Advaita Vedanta.

Advaita never rejects worship of various deities but accepts those at the empirical level. If the Lord or the ultimate reality of Brahman is all-pervading, then why can’t he be contemplated in a particular form? He can very well be contemplated. But only thing we have to remember is that the form-God is not real because any form limits the reality whereas Brahman is unlimited. Therefore worship of various deities are meant for contemplation and controlling the mind through concentration. Thus we find Adi Sankara has written works on Vishnu which include the shatpadi, works on Siva which include Sivananda Lahari and works on Devi which include Soundarya Lahari.

This work of Sankara follows the Tantra or Shakta system. We cannot exactly say the shakta system is different from Advaita Vedanta because there are many naamas or names in Lalitha Sahasranaama which clearly are pointing out Advaita only. Thus in the naama “Mithyaa jagad adhistaana” or “SHE who is the substratum of the illusory world”, there is pure Advaita found out. We also find in Soubhagya Bhaskara, the commentary on Lalitha Sahasranaama by Bhaskara roya, the author accepting Saguna and nirguna Brahman. Also he accepts Advaita in the above mentioned naama. Thus the shaktha system are not exactly different from Advaita but minor differences are there.

This work of Sankara, more than being a shaaktha work, is an upaasana work on the ultimate reality of Brahman. A sincere study of this work and recitation daily will make the mind focussed and such a mind will be able to grasp the reality through scriptural study.

There are some very beautiful verses in Soundarya Lahari one of which is the concluding sloka wherein Sankara says thus “O Mother! Like showing a lamp to the Sun, like offering the chandrakaantha stone to moon (the stone is formed from moon’s rays only), like offering the water from the sea to the sea as an abhisheka – similarly I have taken your own words to praise you!!!

WE find humility at its peak in this sloka – that Sankara who was undefeated and roared like a lion going througout India spreading the message of Vedanta through discussions, debates etc.

It is also important to note here that Kanchi Mahaperiyavaal Swami Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi has written a sanskrit commentary on Soundarya Lahari.

Let us all try to learn this benign work which is highly useful for a seeker to become a real mumukshu seeking liberation and realization with a burning desire. We will try to learn this work slowly and in depth so that we enjoy the beauty of the ultimate reality of Brahman in the form of Devi and understand the variuos concepts of Vedanta through implementation. The analysis and posting of this work is being carried out by my father who will be authoring the contents with explanation and detailed descriptions.

Initially we will try to analzye the author who is none other than Adi Sankaracharya. Any work or acitivity is started as per scriptures only with a prayer as an invocation to the ultimate reality to maintain peace and happiness in the lives of all beings with the blessings from the reality in the form of avatars, mahatmas and Sadgurus.

Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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