Soundarya Lahari Series (Article 10) : Verse 8 – Avoiding cycle of Birth and Death – Written by Hema


Avoiding cycle of Birth and Death

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सुधासिन्धोर्मध्ये सुरविट-पिवाटी-परिवृते
मणिद्वीपे नीपो-पवनवति चिन्तामणि गृहे ।
शिवकारे मञ्चे परमशिव-पर्यङ्क निलयाम्
भजन्ति त्वां धन्याः कतिचन चिदानन्द-लहरीम् ॥ 8 ॥

 sudhāsindhormadhye suraviṭapivāṭīparivṛte

maṇidvīpe nīpopavanavati cintāmaṇigṛhe|

śivākāre mañce paramaśivaparyaṅkanilayāṁ

bhacanti tvāṁ dhanyāḥ katicana cidānandalaharīm||

Sudhasindhor Madhye — In encircled.  the midst of oceans of nectar. Manidweepa at the center of the garden Kalpa Vriksha is an island of precious gems. By grooves of nepa or Kadamba trees and in a mansion made up of Chintamani gems and she is reclining on a mattress that is the supreme Shiva. We are fortunate to worship you like this as  we experience the repels of bliss in the consciousness.It speaks about the abode or seat as described. Even though the  concept of Shakti is personified yet there is a trace of esoteric meaning. She is described as reclining on Shiva and Parama Shiva. Both are pure satva’s, Atma vidya and Shiva tatva’s further classified into 36. According to evolution of elements sudha and asudha, pure and impure. How did evolution happen? As we all know there was nothing other than pure consciousness. From the pure , the evolution took place to Prithvi which slowly became impure by forming as Akasha, Vayu, Agni, Jala and Prithvi. 

Chintamanigruha , Manidweepa in Devi maha bhagavat purana has described how to reach there. There are mountains, lakes, streams, rivers, flora and fauna, birds, animals, precious gems. Manidveepa being far more superior than Kailasa.Sudhaa saagara madhyastaa Kaamaak shi Kaama daayani  The one on Meru Mountain’s central peak was built by Vishwakarma with the power granted to him by Amba named as Siripura or Mani dveepa .Mani Dvipa is the residence of Devi Bhagavati in whom the entire Creation rests! She resides everywhere and anywhere but her main abode is Manidveepa. We see this in Lalithopakhyanam  where Hayagriva described to Agasthya about Devi’s abode which is Srinagara or Sripura. This island is set in a vast ocean of nectar. There are as many as 25 forts that lead to her innermost abode and these fortresses are not built of stones. They are built from precious gems. The fortresses are built of metals ranging from iron to gold and of nine gems. Then proceeding further in degrees of subtlety, there are fortresses of the mind, of intelligence, of ego. Lastly there are strongholds built each of the radiance of the Sun, that of the moon and the luster of Manmatha. Between the fortresses there are forests, parks of divine trees like mandaara, parijaata, santhaana, kalpaka and harichandana and streams.

His bed is Shiva who is in unmanifest form and that bed is laid on Shunya the space and that is permeated by the waves of bliss and beauty which Shakti represents. To get the experience one has to be in deep meditation (always thinking about her).

When one experiences bliss and ananda, it is unexplainable.The bed which is unmanifest , it’s manifest form if at all is the bindu. That bindu stands on a triangle. The mansion of Devi is Chintamanigruha. This is surrounded by grooves ,neepa and Kadamba trees. These groves are on an island that are  studded with precious gems. This island is surrounded by all sides.The island rests on the ocean of Sudha Sagara (Ocean of nectar). Amrutha is always referred to as immortality. This is the resting place of Devi s. It is like a moat and in it is Amba’s palace, built not of red bricks but of chintamanis! 

Looking at devi abode , we can summarize in the following way:

  • Bed is the bindu which is placed on a triangular pedestal.
  • The triangular pedestal is in the mansion of Chintamanigruha.
  • The mansion is surrounded on all four directions by the grooves of nepa trees which are studded with precious gems. 
  • Next comes  the Kalpa vriksha and this island in the midst of amrutha sagara.

This is the resting place of devi whom we want to realise. The above steps help one to meditate upon her and imagine her to attain the bliss and ananda that we all long for. The devi strokes the vibration less paramashiva who is the fountain of bliss. What happens when a sadhaka meditates upon this form the devi? When we meditate upon her, our inner space of heart which is the midpoint of lower and higher energy chakras or manas chakras experience the ananda and unending bliss. This is the union in Sahasrara.

This mantra talks about Srichakra through the tradition of Hadividya. Kadi Vidya comes from bindu. This mantra gives description of Sahasradala padma (1000 petal lotus) where the parama shiva (ever expanding consciousness) that is chit shakti. She is an emission of motionless consciousness. As the repels arise, the vibration, the indestructible sound which is called spandana which is created by Shakti to create aksharas. It cannot be destructible  as they are radiant with the energy from the devi. The indestructible sounds are the gems, these gems constitute her mansion. We use the same sounds to communicate with ourselves. These sounds are used in daily life starting from being a baby till we die. These sounds are gems that we need to use carefully. From this radiant and luminescent aksharas are mantras of shakti. That divine rays radiate outward. When they radiate outwards, there are the trees surrounding outwards from these rays or aspects of kalpa vriskdha our sankalpa shakti dawns. This will manifest into Jana shakti, ichcha shakti and Kriya shakti.  These shakti’s get transformed into Stava-Rajas and tamas gunas. Hence this mantra explains about the process of bindu nada kala. The first evolution of the supreme shakti. Nada bindu kala thitha is Shiva. We often use this when praising lord Shiva as “ Nada bindu kalathithaya namah”. 

“ Manidweepa Nipo” refers to the island abode of Shakti. Manidveepa is her loka. Shakara tells here, all other lokas Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are present in Manidweepa. How are they present?  They come into existence at the behest of Parashakti.

There are opinions from notable scholars that Manidveepa cannot be the stage for libration. The seed of desire to manifest the world still exists there. Hayagriva is in Lalitopakhyana proclaims that Manidweepa is a state of paramananda, brahmananda. We should take the version of Hayagriva. All these lokas are very much present in Gayatri Mantra.  Being in Manidweepa is being in the state of paramananda. Any experience, feeling has vibes  having sounds and letters. When someone is in deep sorrow it emanates us. We are influenced by it. So Manidweepa is represented as the state of Paramananda. 

 Hayagriva also has Shaktha Darshana. Shankara would not have been mentioned in Soundarya Lahari which is the essence of Soundarya lahari  as advaitha darshana. One experience of Manidweepa is mukti. This is done by meditating on the endless form of devi or Tripurasundari who is the fountain of beauty  Experience in our consciousness after the transcendence we realize the very sublime truth of vedanta by direct cognisance of truth. The truth is called aparoksha anubhuthi, the sadhaka beholds the form of shakti within one’s consciousness and becomes totally united with that consciousness. This was the experience obtained by Shakaracharya through invocation of devi which he has put it in the form of slokas, mantra. This is what is explained in this mantra. 

Srividya Rahasyartha: : Mani Dveepa ‗s Shri Chakra is designed and shaped with ‗dasha avaranas: 1.Amrita Saagara= Bhupura–Aadhara Chakra dhyaana; 2) Loha Durga= vritta traya–Svaadhishthaana chakra dhyaana–3. Kaamsya Durga= shodasha padma– Inside Manipoora chakra dhyaana; 4. Taamra Durga= Ashta dala–Inside Anaahata chakra dhyaana; Sosaka or Platinam Durga=

Chaturdashaar– Inside Vishuddha chakra dhyana; 5. Roupya Durga= Bahir dashaar–Inside Agjnaa

chakra dhyaana adho bhaaga–6. Swarna Durga= Antardashaar–Agjnaa chakra atho bhaaga.

Chanting procedure and Nivedyam( offerings to the Lord) : If one chants this verse 1000 times every day for 12 days, and offers Payasam and rice to the Lord as prasadam, it is said to be believed that one can avoid birth and death. 

Sri Gurubhyo Namah

Sri Matre Namah

Hema

Note: The articles written are the extracts from daily online Jnana Yajna conducted by ‘Atmanandanatha’ on Soundarya Lahari

Link to Article 1: Introduction to Soundarya Lahari

Link to Article 2: Synopsis of first 41 verse of Soundarya Lahari

Link to Article 3: Verse1 of Soundarya Lahari explanation

Link to Article 4: Verse 2 Soundarya Lahari explanation

Link to Article 5: Verse 3 Soundarya Lahari explanation

Link to Article 6: Verse 4 Soundarya Lahari explanation

Link to Article 7: Verse 5 Soundarya Lahari explanation

Link to Article 8: Verse 6 Soundarya Lahari explanation

Link to Article 9: Verse 7 Soundarya Lahari explanation

11 Comments on “Soundarya Lahari Series (Article 10) : Verse 8 – Avoiding cycle of Birth and Death – Written by Hema

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