Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Saundarya Lahari - Sanskrit Text + English Commentary

This book contains the Sanskrit text, English transliteration, translation, commentary, diagrams and an appendix on prayoga (application) of "The Saundarya Lahari"of Adi Shankara by S.S. Sastri and T.R.S. Ayyangar. "Saundarya Lahari" meaning "Waves Of Beauty" is one of the most famous Sanskrit hymns of Devi (Goddess). Its hundred and three shlokas (verses) eulogize the beauty, grace and munificence of Goddess Parvati, consort of Shiva.

The Saundarya Lahari is not only a poem. It is a tantra textbook, giving instructions on puja and offerings, many yantras, almost one to each shloka; describes tantric ways of performing devotion connected to each specific shloka; and details the results ensuing therefrom. There are many interpretations and commentaries but best of these are arguably those that provide word-to-word translations, as also the yantras, the devotion to be performed and the results of the devotion.

The Saundarya Lahari is often viewed as being composed of two parts.

Verses 1 - 41 describe the mystical experience of the union of Shiva and Shakti and related phenomena. In fact, it opens with the assertion that Only when Shiva is united with Shakti does he have the power to create.

This part of the text is often referred to, quite appropriately, as the Ananda Lahari, the wave of bliss.

Verses 42 to 100 are more straightforward---they describe the physical beauty of the Goddess and are sometimes referred to as the Saundarya Lahari itself. Many scholars, however, refer to the entire text with one name, namely, Saundarya Lahari.


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