Monday 20 April 2009

Soundarya Lahari-66th sloka

"Vipanchya Gaayanthi vividhamapadhaanam Pashupatheh
Thvayaarabdhe vakthum chalithashirasaa saadhuvachane
Thadeeyairmaadhuryairapalipitha thanthri kalaravaam
Nijaam Veenaam Vaani nichulayathi cholena nibhrutham."
Literal Meaning:While Saraswathi,the Goddess of learning and fine arts,is singing with the Veena about the various glorious deeds of Lord Shiva,Thou (Amba) beginneth to express words of appreciation,nodding Thy head.The sweetness of Thy voice seems to cast ridicule on the soft melody of that musical instrument,and hence Saraswathi secretly puts the veena in its case.
Now,this is a famous sloka meant for artistes and veena players in particular.According to Maha Periyava's statement ,slokas of Soundarya Lahari are to be interpreted not only according to the prescribed benefits of each sloka(here the benefit is-Cure for minor ailments,gets skill in vocal and instrumental music),but also the literal meaning of the same.In this particular sloka,the very act of Saraswathi,putting the veena back into its case is worrisome!
The first two verses of the sloka goes on a very positiva note for veena aspirants,-"Vipanchya Gaayanthi vividamapadhaanam Pasupathe" Saraswathi sings the song containing the many different accounts of Parameshvara's sport,and plays the veena at the same time...
When musicians perform before an assembly of the rich or of powerful people,they sing according to their likes and dislikes(they sing or play an instrument in such a manner as to receive the maximum reward from those before whom they perform).Saraswathi too knows how to please the one before whom she sings and plays the veena.In the presence of Amba She sings the glory of Parameshwara so as to make Amba happy!
"Thvayaarabhe vakthum chalitha shirasaa saadhuvachane"-Amba who was shaking her head in appreciation of Saraswathi's recital thought that that was not enough and that she must speak one or two words,"saadhuvachanam"(words of appreciation).During music recitals,we express our appreciation of the performance by exclaiming,"Bhale!Bhesh!Sabash!"These are part of saadhu vachanam.In this way one or two similar words came from Amba's mouth.
From the third verse onwards,if one has to go by the literal meaning and the possibility of the same scenario materialising in one's life as a result of intense japam of the same,extreme caution is needed while analysing and applying the sloka for japa-purpose.
The third verse-"Thadeeyaih maadhuryaih apalipita-thanthri kalaravaam."-"Saraswathi,having observed that the melodious strains of the strings of the veena were disgraced by the sweetness of the words that Amba had just begun to speak......"
After serious analysis,one can arrive at the following consequence of the japam of the third verse.The veena player's voice develops the capacity to supercede his or her own skills on the veena(in the sloka,even though the voice belongs to Amba and the veena belongs to Saraswathi,by reciting the same,all the qualities and traits and even similar events or happenings mentioned in the sloka would result in the devotee and in the devotee's life who is reciting the sloka!The encouraging note of this verse is that the veena aspirant has tremendous scope for developing vocal abilties too!
But the last verse,-"Nijaam Veena Vaani nichulayathi cholena nibhrutham...."is extremely worrisome for veena aspirants.Its literal meaning,In the sweetness of Amba's speechthe sound of the veena was vanquished;so Saraswathi SLIPS THE INSTRUMENT INTO ITS CASE! Ordinary musicians would not concede that any other of their ilk is better than they.But Saraswathi is different.She whole-heartedly accepted the fact that the strains of her veena were poor compared to Amba's beautiful voice.She did not continue to sing or play the veena even though she had received Amba's compliments.She stopped playing and put the instrument back in its case.
The result of Japam of the same could result(after careful analysis) in the veena aspirant's vocal skills superceding his or her own veena skills,but to put the instrument back into its case???!!!
Which veena aspirant would like to put the veena back into its case and conceal it??!!
That is why,the first two verses are safe for veena aspirants.But if they want to recite all the four lines despite the third and fourth verse ;it is ideal to follow it up with the 69th sloka-
"Gale Rekhaasthishro gathi-gamaka geethaika nipune
Vivaaha-vyaanaddha pragunaguna sankhyaa prathibhuvaha
Viraajanthe naanaavidha madhura raaga karabhuvaam
Thrayaanaam graamaanaam sthithi niyama seemaana iva the."
Literal Meaning-"O Mistress of the musical modes,modulations and songs!The three lines on Thy neck indicating the number of strings in the auspicious cord fastened at the time of Thy wedding,shine like boundaries demarcating the three musical scales_or graamaas consisting of sadja,madhyama,and gandhaara)which form the source of the various melodies of musical notes."Benefits :Success in all endeavours,in case of women longevity of husbands and proficiency in music.