Sivaanandalahari – 1
Anbesivam. I am posting commentary on Sivanandalahari hopefully on a daily basis. Sivananda Lahari is one of the foremost among the Siva Stotras. This is a virtual Bhakti Sastra. It explains the various types or kinds of Bhakti. I intend giving the stotras in Sanskrit, the transliteration in English and the meaning along with my own bhaashyam.
Sivaanandalahari – 1
औम् श्री गणेशाय नम :
कलाभ्याम् चूडालंकृत-शशिकलाभ्यां निजतप:-
फलाभ्यां भक्तेषु प्रकटित-फलाभ्य़ां भवतु मे ।
शिवाभ्या-मस्तोक-त्रिभुवन-शिवाभ्यां हृदि पुन-
र्भ्वाभ्या-मानन्द-स्फुर-दनुभवाभ्यां नतिरियम् ॥ १ ॥
aum SrI gaNeSAya nama :
kalAbhyAm chUDAlaMkRuta-SaSikalAbhyAM nijatapa:-
phalAbhyAM bhakteShu prakaTita-phalAbhYAM bhavatu me |
SivAbhyA-mastoka-tribhuvana-SivAbhyAM hRudi puna-
rbhvAbhyA-mAnanda-sphura-danubhavAbhyAM natiriyam || 1 ||
My Namsakarams to auspicious Shiva and Parashakti who have artistic form, wear crescent moon on the head, beneficiaries of mutual penance, whose grace is displayed on their Bhaktas , who lavishly bestow all Mnangalams to the three worlds, who appear in the heart afresh every time they are thought of and who experience the bliss of Atma Anubhava.
Aum Sri Kaamaakshyai Namaha! Aum Namasivaya!
The beauty of this very first sloka of Sivaanandhalahari is that it pays homage to Sri AmbaaL in the very first word ‘Kalaabhyaam’ indicating his wish for parama mangaLam in the completion of his great poetry on Lord Shiva. The saastra says “Pavithraanaam Pavithram yo MangaLaanaam cha mangaLam” and accordingly Adi Shankara starts with the mangaLa sabhdam of ‘Kalaa”. This is also in accordance with the Nyaaya “Sreyaamsi bahuvignaani” and his wish for the benefits of starting with the praise of Sri AmbaaL who remains the kalpavriksham for the devotee and the Vedic prayer “Maathru Devo Bhava”, that Sri Adi Shankara starts with the word “Kalaabhyaam”. There is also a preference for the word “Kalaa” for it starts with the letter “Ka” which is the first letter of the Shodasi manthra. This shows that the idea of starting this with “Ka” kaara sabhdam is to start it off to ward off any vignam that may ensue. Above all it indicates the unparelleled devotion of Sri Bhagavat PaadhaaL to the mother who started off his Sanyaasa Aashrama with the blessings of his mother that we learn from Sri Shankara Vijayam that he remembered his mother whenever he took a dip in every holy river of the country. Asmaari maathaapi cha puposha dadhaara yaa dhukkamasoda boori – here from the word maathaapi we clearly discern his greatest maathru bhakthi. “Yaa Devi sarvabootheshu maathruroopena samsthithaa”. If he has so much love for the mother of his mortal body how are we to fathom or describe his love for the mother of all – from Brahma to the smallest amoeba! So this is the way he starts off Shivaanandalahari with parama prema of the this Jaganmaatha this great Paraashakthi. AmbaaL encompasses sakhala kalaas from laukika vidya to Brahma Vidya and remains the swaroopam of Paarvathi and Parameswaraal as is given in the Veda “Easaanas sarva Vidyaanaam”. In Devi Mahaathmyam it says: “Ashtaadhasanimeshaathsu kaashtaa thrisaththuthaaha kalaaha”. That is by spinning the kaalachakra it is the Rudhrarupam that brings an end to the ‘kaalam’ and by the word ‘kalaabhyaam’ Bhagavat PaadhaaL points out the Shivashakthi that is behind the Rudrarupam.
“Chandrasekharamaasraye mama kim karishyathi vai yamaha”. This was the great shout with which Maarkandeya came running towards Shiva and hugged the Lingam when he was being pursued by yama. (My salutations to our great Mahaperiavaal Sri Chandrasekhara Saraswathi). And Shiva bound by the great bhakthi of this child Maarkandeya took the form of Lingothbhava moorthi and kicked Yama with his left foot and saved Markandeya from death and he remained Chiranjeevi. Thus if we keep worshiping this Mrithyunjaya we all would be able to cross the great ocean of kaala. There is no doubt about it.
This sloka can be termed as the vyaakyaanam of Panchaakshari manthra because only by Panchaakshari manthra can both Shiva and Shakthi can be satisfied. “Shivaacha Shivascha Shivau thaabyaam Shivaabhyaam”. In this is contained both Shiva thathva and Shakthi thathva. The Shakthi thathva is contained with great difficulty in the ‘ya’ kaaram at the end of Panchaakshari manthra.
Therefore anyone who does the japam of Panchaakshari mathra will have the twin benefit of ihikam, aamushmikam.
I spoke about ‘bhava’. It indicates that part of the time that is yet to come, the future. In the division of time past is irretrievably lost, the present is so fickle (kshanikam) that it is more an illusion than real. However the reality is the future that is sure to arrive! It is of the nature of consciousness in the prakrthi that people carry the guilt and the misery of the past rather than the happiness. It is because the nature of worldly existence is such that we have more dhukkam than sukham. The Buddhists points this out (sarvam dhukkam, dhukkam) and attribute this to the consciousness and therefore their remedy lies in the loss of consciousness which they term it as Nirvana. This loss of consciousness is not unknown to us for we experience it in our daily life in the form of deep sleep where neither the world exists nor ourselves. However as you wake up you realize that there has been a real you who has experienced the deep sleep without whom you cannot recall the soundness of your sleep. In this we Advaitins conclude that the pleasantness of the deep sleep is not experienced instantly but only recalled due to the nature of the sleep which is ignorance. Instead of coming to this conclusion the Buddhists focus only on the loss of consciousness during the sleep as the absence of dhukkam and then convert that sleep or ignorance to be made permanent as the remedy! The Advaitins on the contrary point out that the nature existence is consciousness and cannot be done away with. Gita says: “Naasatho vidhyathe bhaavo naabhaavo vidyathe sathaha”. The unreal has no existence, the real never ceases to be”. The Existence is Consciousness and it is Real. This Conciousness exists even during the sleep (ignorance) as its witness! So our panacea for the misery is really the breaking of this sleep, this ignorance.
Time, Kaala, as we said before is Shiva who is Kaalabhairava. Bhava as part of this Time is also Shiva as extolled in the Veda as “Namo Bhavaaya cha Rudhraaya cha”. If the future holds out to be misearable for ever then Veda is meaningless and we need not aspire for anything. Perhaps the endless sleep of the Buddhists would be the one to crave for! But such is not the case as Gita points out that “na abhaavo vidyathe sathaha”. And our Vedas point out to Lord Shiva as the Bhava Roga Vaidyanaathan as our salvation to misery.
(to be continued)