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सौन्दर्यलहरी- Saundaryalahari of Sri Sankara Bhagavatpadacarya with the Commentary of Lakshmidhara

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Item Code: BAC719
Publisher: Bharatiya Kala Prakashan
Author: S.S. Sastri & T.R.S. Ayyangar
Language: Sanskrit Text with English Translation
Edition: 2023
ISBN: 9788180902079
Pages: 418
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 700 gm
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Book Description
About The Book

The Saundaryalahari (the Wave of Beauty) is a popular devotional hymn ascribed to the great exponent of Advaita Vedanta, Śrī Śankarācārya. It deals with the forms of worship of Divine Sakti. Saundaryalahari is written in praise of the Devi Tripurasundari in one hundred verses (with three more verses found in some editions) in the famous Sikharini metre. This great Tantric text rightly elaborates the various aspects of worship of the Divine Mother.

The first part contains fortyone verses which is known as Anandalahari. It mainly deals with the Śricakra, which is called the abode of Śiva-Sakti and which forms the special symbol of worship for devotees of the Devi-Lalită, Tripura-sundari, etc. The second part contains a magnificent exposition of the beauties of the charming form of the great Divine Mother, from feet to crown with concluding prayer for her gracious generosity. No doubt, a Tantric worshipper or Sadhaka may get real peace of heart and attain liberation after following the esoteric practices enunciated therein.

This new edition contains the original Sanskrit text along with the most famous commentary of Lakṣmīdhara. Besides, the English translation, explanatory notes and transliteration of the verses are also added with it. A number of Indices have been added in which yantras and the mode of their worship have been given. The chief peculiarity of this edition is that it contains all variant readings of the text & commentary found in different editions. The students of Indian Philosophy will be benefitted by this excellent scholarly work. However, this work will definitely cast a new light in a positive direction to the researchers and true lovers of Tantric and Agamic literature.

About the Author

Prof. Narasingha Charan Panda (Dr. N.C Panda) is serving as Professor & Head in the Dept. of Sanskrit, Central University of Odisha, Koraput. Presently, he is also working as Dean, School of Languages along with the responsibility of the post of Director of IQAC in the Central University of Odisha. Earlier, he has also served as the Professor of Sanskrit & Chairman, Dept. of Vishveshvaranand Vishva-bandhu Institute of Sanskrit and Indological Studies, Panjab University (Chandigarh), Hoshiarpur, Punjab. Prof. Panda is well-known in the field of Indological Research, who combines in him a comprehensive understanding of scholarly issues, impartial judgment and an exemplary clarity of expression. Field of Specialization: Veda, Indian Philosophy, Buddhism, Art & Architecture, etc.

Dr. Panda has served as ICCR Chair Visiting Professor of Sanskrit at Sanskrit Studies Center, Faculty of Archaeology, Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. Besides, Dr. Panda is working as the Editor of International Journal of Indology & Culture (Thai Prajna) A Peer Reviewed International Research Journal, being published by Sanskrit Studies Centre, Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. In addition to these, he has written & edited a number of books:

Perspectives of Indian Thought, Upadesasahasri, Buddhism, Kalatattva-kosha, (Vols. V &VI), Saundaryalahari, Samkhya-karika, Mahavamsa, Aspects of Vedanta, Essays on the Gita, Life of Buddha, Gods & Goddesses in Indian Art & Literature, Architecture of Manasara, Indian Temple Architecture, Durga Saptasati, Thirteen Principal Upanishads, Pauranic Itihas Vimarsha, The Mahaanirvna Tantra, Ashoka (History & Inscriptions), Epics & Puranas in Sanskrit Literature, Temple Architecture of Orissa, The Ramayana: A Literary Study, Artha Samgraha, Brahma Sutra (Text & Trans.), Nyaya Sutra (Text & Trans), Temple Architecture of India, Buddhist Stupas, etc.


1. Acarya Sankara and his Literary Contribution:

Acarya Sankara is one of the greatest philosophers, India has ever produced and also the greatest exponent of Advaita Vedanta. He is worshipped as an incarnation of Lord Siva.

Acarya Sankara's life is unique in more than one way. It is obvious that he performed numberless miracles. A Sanskrit Verse rightly says: When he was eight years old he had achieved mastery over the Vedas; at the twelve he had knowledge of all the Sistras; by the time he was sixteen he had written his renowned commentary on the Brahmasutras; and at thirty-two he become a sage and then departed from this world.

Acarya Sankara's vision of India regarding Hindu Philosophy is unique and outstanding. In a true sense he visualized the integrity of India. So he realized the need to establish mathas as centres to spread Vedic message not only to his contemporary society but to the generations to come. Hence, he established the Religious centres (mathas) in four corners of India with the intension of making the people of realize that India is spiritually and culturally one.

Sankarācārya's philosophy was positive and optimistic. It is pertinent to note here that a number of critics declare his philosophy is not tenable to the thoughts those are being spread through these mathas, as he opines that the world is the creation of Maya, i.e. illusion; and moreover, his philosophy advocates the Nivrtti style of life, that is renunciation of Karma. But, in the context of his Advaitic thought, the world is accepted as the behavioural reality, i.e. Vyavahāriki-satta. So, in this context the social work as such was undertaken by this great exponent of Advaitic Philosophy.

The Indian people accepted his Advaitic Philosophy not because of his philosophic analysis, but due to his personality which was embodiment of Vedic upasana. It is clear from his simple devotional hymns sung in praise of a good number of Hindu gods, goddesses and other noble concepts. This wealth of Stotra literature had its wide impact on the upasana and bhakti trends prevailing in Hindu Vedic life.

The philosopher and the common man are equally benefitted by his simple, musical and sentimental style of devotional hymns as well as analytical exposition of philosophical concepts in his monumental commentaries of the Brahmasutras, the Upanisads are the Bhagavadgita. Sankara's style of writing in lucid and deep. He explains the deep, mysterious and even highly complicated and tedious issues of Indian Philosophy with ease and understandable. We witness his sagacious erudition and analytical skill throughout his available works and commentaries. The works of Sankarācārya have been divided into two main categories, viz.: (1) the Major works, and (2) the Minor works.


Adi Sankarācārya is credited with the authorship of Bhāṣyas (commentaries) on the three Prasthanas of the ancient Indian spiritual thought represented by the Upanisads, the Bhagavadgita and the Brahmasutra, written by Badarāyaṇa Vyasa. We discover in him through these bhāṣyas, a master dialectician well versed in the art of polemics convincingly refuting the metaphysical thought-projections of all rival schools of Indian philosophy, especially those of the Buddhists and the Mimamsakas, then dominating the scene, thereby establishing his thesis, the doctrine of Advaitavada.

He is also said to have composed a number of minor philosophical texts like Vivekacuḍämani Upadesasahasrī, etc. and devotional poems (stotras) like the Dakṣināmurti-stotra, the Saundaryalahari, Sivāṣṭaka-stotra, Sivapañcākṣara-stotra, Aparadha- bhanjana-stotra, Carpaṭapañjarika-stotra, the Nirvanaṣṭaka, etc. all filled with sublime spiritual thought and deep religious fervour. All these so called minor works and devotional poems reveal different facet in the personality of Adi Sankaracarya. This has led some well known scholars regarded as authorities on Sankara's thought, to doubt the genuine of his authorship of devotional poems. They are of the view that devotional poems were composed later some other Sankarācārya heading some Sankara pitha.

Unfortunately these scholars appear to overlook the basic fact pertaining to transmission of spiritual wisdom by spiritual masters to their disciples. It was incumbant on the part of Acarya to be always conscious of the capacity and inclination of the disciples and then give his discourse on spiritual subject, varying the style and content accordingly. Adi Sankarācārya wrote his bhāṣyas, on the three Prasthanas for the Sannyasi disciples and minor works for the laity as they were more interested in their spiritual elevation than in listening to debates and logical refutation of opponents' views. Therefore, there is hardly any room for doubting the authenticity of Adi Sankarācārya's devotional poems. My revered teacher the late Mahamahopadhyaya Gopinath Kaviraj expressed this opinion to me while shedding light on the contribution made by Adi Sankarācārya to ancient spiritual thought.

I am glad to find that Dr. Narasingha Charan Panda has taken up the re-publication of the Saundaryalahari with the commentary of Laksmidhara, the founder of the Sankarācārya school, translated into English with notes by the late S.S. Sastri and T.R.S. Ayyangar, after thorough revision of the text and its translation, making it free from blemish.

I commend this edition to discerning readers.


The Stundaryalahari, "the Wave of Beauty", eminently shares the characteristics of (i) a Poem displaying the finest touches of poetical fancy, (ii) a Stotra, Hymn in praise of the Goddess Tripurasundari, (ii) a series of Mantras mystic formulae, to be used by the Upasaka along with the corres- ponding Yantras, Diagrams, wherein the Devi is to be conceived as abiding, and (iv) an exposition of the Agamas and Tantras, bearing on the worship of the Supreme Being in Its aspect of the Sakti, Creative Engery, known as the Sri-vidya, embodying the unerlying principles of Vaidika dharma and as such having the sanction of the Vedas. In its first forty-one stanzas it encompasses the Anandalahari, "the Flood of the Blissfully Sublime". As the very names and the design of the two parts indicate, it points, in the one hand, to the way of approach to the Paramitman, attainable only through true spiritual devotion and knowledge of the real nature of the Paramatman, supplemented by the highest Yoga of Nirvikalpasamadhi; on the the other hand, it leads in effect to the merging of the firätman of the Upasaka into the non-differentiated Brahman, so exquisitely exponded in the Upanisads and other authoritative works dealing with the Monistic Ideal of the Vedanta, through the worship of the qualified Brahman, so well portrayed in Stotras, Agamas, Tantras, Puranas and Karmakanda, thus typifying-nirgunopasand through sagunopisana in essence.

A unique feature of the Sanatana-dharma of the ancient Rsis of this Punyabhumi of ours, which has enabled this time- hallowed system of theirs to endure through the ages, consists in the fact that it is elastic and comprehends systems adapted to the capacity idiosyncrasy and stage of development attained by the various classes of persons owing allegiance to it, from individuals on the highest to the lowest rungs of the ladder of spiritual Evolution. The highest forms of worship envisaged by the Vedic Seers of yore stand far above the ken of the vast majority, for whose delectation suitable forms of worship of Visnu, Śiva the Sakti and other Vedic deities have been elaborated by the large number of Agamas, Tantras, Puranas, Itihāsas, etc., all within the ambit of the Vedic ideal, and these have captured the imagination of these classes and continue to hold sway over their minds even to the present day.

One of such forms of worship is the Srividya, the worship of the Supreme Being in its feminine aspect of the Sakti, Creative Engery, which embraces two forms: (i) the Internal, meant for the more advanced, assuming the character of worship of the Supreme Being in the aspect of Siva conjoint with the Sakti, at the various centres of energy of the human body, passing through various stages on to the highest, eschewing all rituals and ceremonies; and (ii) the External, intended for the less evolved, assuming the form of worshipping Yantras inscribed on the Bhurja leaf, gold and other metallic plates, coloured linen or slabs, to the accompaniment of the repetition or particular Mantras made up of the Matṛkās, with appropriate gestures, postures, facing of particular cardinal points, offerings of Dhupa, Dipa, Naivedya, etc., all with a view to acquiring special pyschic powers, gratification of specific desires, etc., of the Upasaka. The former, known as the Samaya-marga, is based on the Samhitas of the Subhāgama-pañcaka, the works of five great Seers, and does not, in any way, run counter to Vedic principles. The latter, known as the Kaulamārga and dealt within the sixty-four Tantras, although primarily intended for the worship of the Devi, has, in course of time, afforded scope for the inclusion of vulgar practices (Vāmācāra) smacking of Käpälika and Kṣapanaka usages, appealing to the venal side of human nature and excercising a demoralizing influnce on the votaries to an extent not countenanced by the Vedas.

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