Click here to read the detailed article in Kannada that investigates Soundarya Lahari from several viewpoints.
Based on those arguments following Q&A's have been documented.
Questions and Answers
I read the article „agnipariksha“ written by Mr.Nagesh. His genuine interest in search for the truth, deep respect to Shankaracharya, his spiritual devotion and his rejection to the superficical literature which betrays the ideals of the society can be clearly read in this article. Hence, I try to answer some more of his questions. Some critiques who have read this article seem to have been troubling him with some questions. Their way of questioning goes as follows:
-Do you call Gayathry a Manthra?
-You say that Soundaryalahari is not one? Why? Explain the reasons for it.
-“Mananath tharayathi ithi manthraha”-these are your words. Which is correct? Why even praying (japa) Gayathry manthra doesn´t help?
-They say Shlokas, manathras and sthothras are all the same?
- What to say for this ignorance and antipathy? They say Krishna is not God. They say he´s a liar and a thief.
- They say “I am praying (japa) Gayathry manthra for decades. Why is it not helping me?”
- Why should a Sanyasi not describe a woman? This is by the way a question by a Sanyasi himself.
On the whole, it seems that they blame Nagesh for his ignorance and rob his authority to discuss about these matters.
However, I´m trying here, to clear their doubts to the extent I can, through discussing the reasons and placing the answers before them. There is no force executed. They can accept this if they wish.
I have prepared ten questions dealing with the issues concerned, and try to answer them.
1. Is Soundaryalahari a manthra?
2. Does it have Beeja and Yanthras?
3. Did Shankaracharya create it?
4. Which class of literature does it belong to?
5. Does the study of it, help?
6. Are there any examples for the effects of its use?
7. Can the Society be affected to its disadvantage through its public study?
8. If you don´t accept Soundaryalahari, we argue saying that we don´t accept Krishna as God. What do you have to say to it?
9. If Soundaryalahari isn´t a manthra, even Gayathry isn´t a manthra. What´s your answer?.
10. What are the important qualities a critique should possess?
Now I discussed the matter through the answers I offer to these questions.
1. Is Soundaryalahari a manthra?
Answer: Soundaryalahari isn´t a manthra at all, because, it doesn´t fit into any of the six suthras, which define a manthra.
Shiksha, Vyakarana, Kalpa, Niruktha, Chando, Jyothishya, fail to give Soundaryalahari the status of a manthra. In it´s aksharasamyojana of the shlokas we don´t see any prathyakshathadana, Mithakshara chedana, akshabindusamyojana, laghumardhana, guru- akarshana, nadavikarshana, samhithasandhi. Even if the present grammatists say that it´s grammatical, it´s not in accordance with the Vedic grammar. It doesn´t come close even to chandas. It opposes the order of study and therefore doesn´t reflect its wellwishes for the society. It doesn´t justifiy its use in its nyasa, dhyana, beeja, aksha, asthra. Hence, I can declare with all my affirmation that it´s not a manthra.
2. Does it have beeja and yantras?
Answer: Any manthra will have a beeja and a nyasa to it. This helps the use of it. But the soundaryalahari you have mentioned, has none of these. See the origin of beeja and the creation of yanthra.
Example: Shiva, Shanu, Bharga, Bhairavadi, Ekadasha, take the form of panchalingathmaka and shows us the secret suthra of how to become Shiva.
Here, first of all, “Sadhyajatham prapadhyami sadhyojathya vai namo namaha. Bhave bhave nathibhave bhavaswanam bhavodbhavaya namaha”.
If we extend this into krama and jata at the end, it´ll b converted into ratha and there the beeja originates. Through the aksharas, through the samhitha sandhis, working through the samhithaksharas, we aquire the beeja. If we go on with mithakshara chedana in this way we arrive at the Rekha. That is the kiranarekha. “_______” We see this rekha through that manthra. The rekha cutting through this rekha is:
"Vamadevaya namo Jyeshtaya namaha shreshtaya namo rudraya namaha kalaya namaha kalavika ranaya namo balavikaranaya namo balaya namo balapramathanaya namaha sarvabhoothadamanaya namo manonmaya namaha".
Bring this to ratha as I said before, then you will see the vibrating form of nadatharanga. That is a beeja roopa. The two rekhas which emerged from the power centre of guruvikarshana go through the navel and deserges into the earth. This means the centre is one, and the two rekhas flow into two directions or goals.
Looked closely they appear as follows:
This is vamadeva. Rearranged looks as follows:
Now the third manthra vada:
"Aghore bhyootha ghore bhyo ghora ghora tharebhyaha sarvebyaha sarvasharvebhyo namasthe asthu rudraroope bhyaha".
If we expand this the same way as before and do the aksharasamyojana, we see the mutual samparkabindu of sadhyajathe and vamadeva. That is:
Rekhasamyojana takes place this way. If we watch this along with the first rekhas, they look as follows:
If thathpurusha joins here, another rekha appears:
If we put it together with the mula we see a pentagon:
This is Shiva.
To complete this:
"Ishaanaha sarva vidhyanaamishvaraha sarvabhoothanam brahmadi prathibramhanodhipathibramha shivo me asthu sadashivam".
Means the surrounding bramhandavrutha. As below:
This is how the mulachaithanyathmaka panchakonavruttha got ready. This panchakona is seen around it representing the millions of nature’s different forms of life. These are the swaroopa dalas of dalathmaka vimshathyuthara bhoopura brings it into nyasa. The way of using it is the asthra.This is how yantra is created and beeja originated. All this has a suthrabadhatha. It shouldn´t be uttered just for the sake of the fact that some people are there to hear it. Yantras and manthras convert the sound waves into light waves which is an effective process. According to this, soundyralahari doesn´t create any effects. Reasons are that the aksharas have no thadana, mardhana or chedhana. Means there are no falls or raises through the symbols. Hence, I say that it cant be used to experiment on the yantra forms or the beeja forms. I request that this should be understood by the people who ask.
3. Did Shankaracharya create it?
Answer: You have already said that Shankaryacharya hasn´t created it, but he´s studied and realised it. Hence, this question seems to be superficial. This must be the guesswork of some people who are ignorant about literature.
Some important things to be noticed are: The time that a piece of literature has been written, the person, it´s success and truth. Along with these, also the words, the context, the knowledge and wisdom, the subject, the maturity and the form of use should be studied. On these facts, it can be traced who created it and when. If you study soundaryalahari don´t you feel that there are quite a few contemporary forms in it? An author, when he writes about an issue, he describes his natural environment. He uses his own contemporary language. The words show the differences in the time, the usage of them etc. The age, the sequence and the message will be filled very secretly in the fine lines he writes. On his own psychological grounds, the literature will be created. The form of literature carries the matter of the subject fully. If we compare the other pieces of literature from Shankaracharya and take notice of his environment and nature, soundaryalahari has nothing in common with these. Sharadatilaka, Prapanchasara written by him can´t be compared to the latter. Hence, I say it´s not by Shankaracharya.
4. Which class does the literature belong to?
Answer: Published in the contemporary age, these shlokas called Soundaryalahari take the 6th place in their class of literature.
- Literature that helps the evolution of the soul,
- Literature that serves the upliftment of the consciousness,
- Literature that gives the inner guidance,
- Philosophical literature,
- Literature containing the teachings,
- Entertainment and the worldly literature,
- Worldly literature dealing with agriculture, commerce and art,
- Reactive literature that contains no deep sense,
- Useless, low literature.
These are the 9 different kinds of literature depending on their content and quality.
Among these, soundaryalahari can be identified under the 6th section, responsible for giving nothing more than only a momentary joy to the mind.
5. Is there any use in studying and reciting soundaryalahari?
Answer: On the psychological grounds, it can be helpful. Its shlokas have their aksharasamyojana ordered under anandakirana, a very differenciated sutra belonging to rathantharasama. This kirana can bring only superficial joy to the mind and no spiritual consciousness or use. Nonetheless, it is not only to aid mental enjoyment, but a possible harm to spiritual growth can be caused. People who understand that wordly matters can be destroyed, should understand this. In old age, human life can only be supported by spirituality and not the worldly trivialities..
6. Are there any examples that show the effect caused by the use of Soundaryalahari?
Answer: If we start talking about the effects – they happen to be mixed with results. There are no powers in the lines of shlokas which can give positive or negative results. But by creating extreme lust in the worldly interests it can lead to loss through different kinds of illusions. For eg., a person called Ravikantha Dule, read and trusted one of the shlokas, sold all his property, gambled and suffered a great loss. This kind of worldly temptations are not worth at all! No manthra can render support in gambling. As a person gets older, he needs to learn to control his senses and conquer his sensual pleasures
There are any number of such examples. Please dont fall prey to such promises.
7. Does public study and recitation of these shlokas harm the society?
Answer:When it comes to public recitation, you should be always clear about your intentions. Any shloka, a manthra or an issue, when thought about on a collective level, it is possible to have a strong effect. Hence, if collective programmes are not carried through a proper way and towards a proper purpose, it can have a very negative effect on the society. For eg., The soldiers wear their shoes for protection. But their parade on a bridge can be dangerous, the reason being a uniform vibration of the waves originating from a collective rhythmic movement. It is often close, to a bridge collapsing, given to such movements.
The reason is also that the women’s power of the voice can be 14 times shriller and clearer than of men’s. Hence, the quality of waves produced is very powerful. A collective recitation can be dangerous.
8. If you don’t accept soundaryalahari, then we don’t accept Krishna. What is your answer to this argument?
Answer: It can be noticed, by this question, to which levels the chain of arguments fall.
They say that Krishna is seen by some as God, the others see him as a thief or a liar. So it is not possible that he is God. In this way, they are putting Mr. Nagesh in the same line of accusers of God saying that he is not accepting soudaryalahari. This is poor politics. When one is unable to defy oneself, then one tries to achieve through accusing another. But here, Nagesh is not trying to talk about God. Soundaryalahari is not God. It is a prayer to God. It’s acceptable if it is said that a prayer to Krishna is not a prayer. There is a difference to criticise a prayer relating to it’s contents and criticising a person for his qualities.
Krishna is a person. Even if he is a thief, a liar and a gopilola, he is also a devotee of love, the one loving the living beings, destroyer of the evil. He is Govinda, Gopala, Murari and also Narakari. If his smallness is compared to this useless literature, it shows only the level of knowledge and awareness these people possess. It’s not important for us if he was a Navanithachora, a Gopikakritha or Vasthrapaharaka, Krishnayathitha, Krishnaha. Hence for a persons level, Krishnas level, a shloka cannot be compared. On the whole, an attempt to cover ones own mistakes through accusation is not a positive way.
9. If soundaryalahari is not a manthra, Gayathri is also not a manthra. What is your opinion to this statement?
Answer: Soundaryalahari is not a manthra. No matter who says that Gayathry is not a manthra, it is a manthra. The truth of Gayathry can be realized through passing it through any kinds of tests. No such tests can be attempted by soundaryalahari. Gayathri is Gayathri, viewed in any way. Lahari cannot be Gayathry. All the samyojanas discussed before can be observed in Gayathry. None can be seen in soundaryalahari. Anybody can achieve realization, if enough devotion is offered to Gayathry. There are people who have succeeded in this. If some distracted souls have failed to do so, then the manthra is not responsible for it.
On the other hand, it is a sin to say that a prostitute and a mother are the same. A prostitute can be a woman, but the qualities are not to be compared to that of a mother.
It is important to notice the chandas and the manthrapunja. Mainly this chandas was created by Vishwamithra. But the sinners who could not make use of it and evolve, say that Gayathry itself is not a manthra. Lacking of wareness to its chandas, nyasa, kilaka, the uneducated folk ask, why they have not achieved anything inspite of practising Gayathry for 50 years. What do they know about the power of the contents of Gayathry? Who ever preached Gayathry to them must have belonged to the same ignorant line of heritage. Beware of the immense and uncompromising power of manthradishtana of Gayathry. In no possible way can soundaryalahari be raised to the place of Gayathry.
10. What are the important qualities of a critique?
Answer:Anybody can try to discuss issues and bring out the colours of ashtabhuthis.
To have a real question in mind and wish for a real answer is everybody’s right. No one needs to fear the ashtabhuthis who deny this right. The inherited trait of our Indian soil is to question .To bring out the real colours of such deceptive humans into light, hundreds of genuine people like Nagesh are necessarily required. The broad visions of dharmasutras, manthrashastras, tantrashastras are our proud heritage. They possess a strong and firm foundation with the depth of their contents. They are rendered with a broad scientific background. Any of it could be tested and questioned. But it should not be done behind the curtains. In the face of authentic persons who have a command over the issues, discuss, question, express your opinions about the matter. It helps to sharpen one’s own intellect. Ignore the ones who deny your right to do it. Take notice and keep in mind that all sanyasis are not real. They may also not be the ones who know everything. Those who do not pass anywhere, take shelter under such a disguise. Often, their helplessness prompts them to take hold of the question of right. But the fact is, that everybody has the right to question and get suitable answers.
These days, it is very obvious that it is lawful to have the security of rights. Hence, in all the ethical, political and social changes it is very important to put the social rights in front of the personal rights.
There are a number of miserable exploiters who in the name of God, pujas, homas, shanthis etc., take advantage of the folk, who are in distress,and make a fortune out of such situations. These are not a deserving kind of people in any way. So the people who question them do not need to be deserving either.
If we ask, who are the ones who deserve, we should think for a moment of the elephant named Indradhyumna who called ‘Adimula’ in its own raw manner, and made Vishnu appear. The same way, the boy Dhruva got a special position granted by Vishnu, through his intent prayers, Prahlada made Vishnu come to him through the pillar.
If the same Vishnu, had he said that, all these devotees are young and ignorant, what could have happened? Which language was spoken by Valikhilya who was an authority in the Vedas? The devine dog Surame, how did it bark? The Mandukas who were at the peak in their research on yagas and yagnas, which kind of noises did they produce?
Let the Puranas be. What did they ask Garuda and write? Just for the forth coming of the Universe, Maharshi Vishwamitra was doing his tapas and was constantly disturbed in his plight. But he achieved through his utter determination and devotion the Gayathrysakshatkara. These sinning actors blame Gayathy for their failure. Or say that the people who question, do not have the right to do so.
Any manthra practised with all the necessary sincerity, with proper rites, gives results in a matter of 12 years. If not, it is the fault of the one practiced, his temptations, ignorance, wrong way of life, and not the Gayathry manthra. It is not even the insufficiency of the elders who preached it but the weakness of the failed ones.
Now, is it wrong if a Sanyasi describes a woman? How childish! A Sanyasi needs only the thoughts of Narayana and nothing else. A sanyasi who , through recieving the pranava, should be occupied with samyakjnananusandhana. Otherwise why does he need sanyasa? Samyakjnananusandhana should be his goal. Study of pranava should be his realization. In the mula prakruthi, a Sanyasi, through his own resrtictions which he practices, on his worldy psychology, his goal is to offer the rest of the living beings a forth coming in their lives. Sanyasa is the pranavanusandhana which has been created by Bhagawan Vyasa for the purpose of helping the ignorant, the ones troubled with their karmas, the sinners, to evolve. A Sanyasi does not need any other kind of japas and tapas. To succeed in the pranava which has occupied the mother prakruthi is his sole goal. The goal is not to popularise literature of this class. This kind of work has never been done by Acharya Shankara who has the decent of Vyasa’s heritage.The asthas of the ashramas of now, if they want to get support of Shankara for the miserable things they do, it is a gurudroha. Beware!
It is very important to note one main aspect. Anyone who has something to offer to the society, has to possess success, strength, ability, authority, a real concern for the society, selflessness, humility and a social need. These eight qualities are necessary. The public who question why these are necessary or assert that the issues offered are not compatible, do not need these qualities. The one who gives, should have the strength to digest such voices created by the society, and it is also his duty.
That is the reason, that Shri Nagesh has no kind of deficits to question. The reason being that the people who need to answer, possess no such qualities, making them proclaim the lack of rights.
With this, I close this prashnamalika.
- K S Nithyananda