This book tries to address the advaita principles in Sakta religion, the Advaita as expounded by Sree Adi Sankara in all his teachings, works, discourses, etc. ‘A’ none, ‘ dvaita’ dual Advaita means there is no-two or non-duality. This theory was propounded and globalised by Sree Adi Sankara. He also established the Shanmata, six sub-religions of Hindu religion. Sakta the worshipers of Sakti, is one of those six sub-religions. Here an overview has been made taking into consideration three texts viz., Lalita Sahasranama, Soundaryalaharee and Saptashatee. Sree Kanchi Kamakoti Paramachary’s talks have been taken as primary input for this book.
Dr. Ramamurthy, has been in the forefront of imparting knowledge based studies in the areas of Vedas, Samskrit, Banking, related IT solutions, information security, IT Audit and so on. His thirst for continuous learning does not subside. He did research on an unique topic “Information Technology and Samskrit” and obtained Ph. D.-doctorate degree from University of Madras even at the age of late fifties. He has so far penned 18 books on religious literature, Software Testing and books topics. Currently he is working on a project of developing a Samskrit based compiler.
Sindhooraruna vigraham tri nayanam manikya moulisphurat Tara nayaka shekharam smita mukheem apeena vakshoruham
Panibhyam alipoorna ratna cashakam raktotpalam bibhrateem
Soumyam ratna ghatasta rakta caranam dhyayet param ambikam
Sri Devi, who is called as Paramambikam-one whose form is in red color like Sindura, the one who has three eyes, and who wears the shining Moon as a jewel in her crown, which is studded with rubies, the one who shines with a smiling face and who is with big breasts, who has in her one hand a cup studded with precious stones filled with honey (which is being surrounded by bees) and in the other hand a red lotus flower, whose red feet are kept on a pot studded with precious stones and who is so pleasant looking, unto her I meditate.
Adi Sankaracarya is the one who brought back the six forms of worship Sanmata in our sanatana dharma and the founder of Advaita school of thought. The concept of Advaita is common to all the six forms of worships. Here Sri N. Ramamurthy’s rare attempt in the history of the human mind to make use a sort of, this book. And it focuses to bring forth some of the advaita perceptions within Sakta, (worship of sakthi). To increase the focus Sri N. Ramamurthy takes it only three books Lalita Sahasranama, Soundaryalaharee and Saptashatee here. One main reason is, these three are the major texts in Sakta and mainly followed by Sri Vidya upasakas.
This author of this book Sri N. Ramamurthy was blessed to write couple of books about Sri Devi (“About the Author” section at the end of this book can be referred). The Advaita principles, subtly flowing through Lalita Sahasranama, Soundaryalaharee and Saptashatee, should have inspired him to write this book. Though advaita principles are in built in the entire texts some of the apparent areas are brought to light. I enjoyed reading this book completely and I am sure, that this Book shall help all devotees of Shreedevi in general and Shaktha’s in particular to understand the deeper aspects of the Shaktha Vidya.
I went through the commendable work done by Sri N. Ramamurthy on “Advaita in Shakta”. I write this foreword with a sense of satisfaction, in presenting to the seekers this book. I congratulate Sri N. Ramamurthy for undertaking this book with great commitment and dedication. I thank Sri Swami Pranavanda who had introduced Sri N. Ramamurthy to me and the occasion to write this foreword. I am happy to write a foreword for Sri N. Ramamurthy’s “Advaita in Saktha” book. May the Lalitambhika’s grace continue to flow for Sri N. Ramamurthy and the readers of this book.
‘A’-none, ‘dvaita’-dual-Advaita means there is no two. This is often called a monistic or non-dualistic system which essentially refers to the indivisibility of the self (Atma) from the whole (Brahmam). The key texts from which all Vedanta texts draw are the Upanishads, which are usually at the end of the Vedas and the Brahma Sootra-s Sree Adi Sankara’s treatises on the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Geeta and the Brahma Sootra are his principal and almost undeniably his own works. He taught that it was only through knowledge and wisdom of non-duality that one could be enlightened. Advaita also proposes the theory of Maya, explaining the universe as a “trick of a magician”; Sree Adi Sankara and his followers see this as a consequence of their basic premise that Brahman is real. The idea of Maya emerges from the belief in the reality of Brahmam, rather than the other way around.
The Vishistadvaita and Dvaita schools believed in an ultimately Saguna Brahmam. They differ passionately with Advaita and believe that the nirguna Brahmam is not different from the wholeness- much to the dismay of the Advaita School. Dvaita, a school of founded by Sree Madhvacarya, stresses a strict distinction between God an souls. According to Madhva, souls are not created by God but depend on Him to evolve or transform. In dualism, God is seen as the efficient cause of the universe and not as the material cause. He is the potter causing the clay to emerge, rather than serving as the source of the clay itself. Dvaita or Dualistic philosophy, asserts that the difference between the individual soul or Jeeva and God, is eternal and real. Actually, this is just one of the five differences that are so stated-all five difference that constitute the universe are eternal.
Special advaita (Vishistadvaita)
Vishistadvaita is a qualified monism in which God alone exists but admits plurality. By holding such beliefs, Vishistadvaita is midway between Advaita and Dvaita. This is a theological school whose most important proponent was Ramanuja.
According to Vishistadvaita,the Absolute Supreme Reality referred to as Brahmam, is a Transcedent Personality with infinite superlative qualities. He is Lord Visun, also known as Narayana. He creates the other two members of the Trimoorti, namely, Creator Brahma and Shiva, the Lord of Deluge. Narayana is the Absolute God. The soul and the Universe are only parts of this Absolute and hence. Vishistadvaita is pantheistic.
The relationship of God to the soul and the universe is like the relationship of the soul to the body of Man. Individual souls are only parts of Brahmam. God, soul and Universe together form an inseparable unity which is one and has no second. This is the non-duality part. Matter and Souls inhere in that Ultimate Reality as attributes to a substance. This is the qualification part of the non-duality. Soul and Matter are only the body of God. Creation is a real act of God. It is the expansion of intelligence. Matter is fundamentally real and undergoes real revelation.
Hinduism is conglomeration of six different religions (or sub-religions) called Sanmata. This has been founded by Sree Adi Sankara in the 8th Century C.E. It centers on the worship of the six main deities, viz, Siva, visnu, Sakti, Ganesa, Soorya and Skanda. The sub-religions are called as:
Saiva, who worship Siva
Vaisnava, who worship Visnu
Sakta, who worship Sakti
Ganapatya, who worship Ganapati or Ganesa
Soura, who worship Soorya (the Sun God) and koumara, who worship Kumara or Skanda
This system is based on the belief in the essential oneness of all deities, the unity of Godhead and their conceptualization of the myriad deities, as various manifestations of the one divine power, Brahmam. The above list does not include a sub-religion called Smartha- generally understood as Saiva. But Smartha is a little different from Saiva. They are Sama-Artha-equaling treating all the deities.
Philosophically, all are seen as equal reflections of the one Saguna Brahmam, i.e. a God with form, rather than as distinct beings. The choice of the nature of God is up to the individual worshipper since different manifestations of God are held to be equivalent. During Sree Adi Sankara’s period these deities had their own Hindu followers, who quarreled with each other claiming the superiority of their chosen deity. Sree Adi Sankara has synthesized these quarrelling sects by integrating the worship of all these deities in the Shanmata system.
The ardent devotees of worshippers of sakti or Sree Devee belong to Sakta religion. There are various texts based on Sakta are available. To mention a few: Kamakala Vilasa, Tantraraja tantra, Tripurarnava Tantra,
Sree Vidyarnava Tantra, Jnanarnava Tantra, Dakshinamoorti Samhita, Gandharva Tantra, Nitya sodashikarnava, Yoginee Hurdaya and so on.
The Lalita Sahasranama in Brahmanda Purana expounds Sree Vidya, Bhaskara Raya’s Varibasya Rahasya. A Bhashyam (commentary) on Lalita Sahasranama is a comprehensive text on Sree Vidya, Lalita Trishatee, which is also found in the same Purana, is the hymn form of Pancadashee Mantra. Sree Sookta, a hymn of Rig Veda is also used in Sree Vidya worship. In fact Tripura Tapini Upanishad, an entire Upanishad is dedicated to Her. Sree Adi Sankara’s Pranaca Sara Tantra mentions some of the Sree Vidya mantras.
Markandeya Purana contains in itself Devee Mahatmeeya, which describes Manidveepa that is Sree Devee’s abode. Devee Mahatmeeya also called as Saptashatee (Since it contains 700 verses).
Soundaryalaharee, sung by Sree Adi Sankara describes Sree Devee’s beauty and used in many places to worship Her.
Sree Adi Sankara is the biographer of both Sanmata and Advaita theories. Hence the concept of Advaita is common to all the six sub-religions. However, this book focuses to bring forth some of the advaita perceptions within Sakta religion. To increase the focus it only three books Lalit sahasranama, Soundaryalaharee and Saptashatee are considered here. One main reason is these three are the major texts in Sakta and mainly followed by Sree Vidya upashakas.
Taitreeya Aranyaka first Prashna is normally called as Arunam-soorya Namaskara a Mantra- is also treated as a text on Sree Vidya by Sree Lakshmeedhara, in his commentary for Soundaryalaharee. He calls this hymn as Arunopanishad and interprets the mantras like 11th Anuvaha and gives meaning centered around Sree Vidya.
This author of this book was blessed to write couple of books about Sree Devee (about the author section at the end of this book can be referred). The Advaita principles, subtly flowing through Lalita Sahasranama, Soundaryalaharee and Saptashatee, inspired him to write this book. Though advaita principles are in built in the entire texts some of the apparent areas are brought to light.
Sree Veda Vyasa was the author of both Lalita Sahasranama and Saptshatee. He has subtly built in the advaita principles in these verses. Sree Adi Sankara’s whose period is lot of years later that than creation of these hymns standardized and globalised the advaita principles-probably inspired from Veda and other Puranas of Sree Veda Vyas. Again when he wrote Soundaryalaharee he has assimilated those principles into it.
Conventions used in this book: wherever she is used to indicate Shreedevee it has been written in bold as She. The transliterated Samskrit words are written in italics-for instance Devee. When Samskrit words are transliterated in English diacritical marks are used to correct pronounce the words. However the same has not been used in its entirety in this book, since it makes the reading a little more difficult and since this book is intended for common audience.
My humble pranams are due to Swami Tattvabodhananda Saraswati who has written a nice introduction and some pleasantries about this edition and the author. He always supports all my endeavours. It is my poorva janma punya to have association with people like him. I will be failing in my duty, if I do not thank Sree. M . Easwaran, who has got this book printed and published. He not only does the publication tasks, but also reviews the book and gives nice feedback so that the book is in the fashion it is at present. Nice job done-thanks a lot. Sincere thanks are due to all those who supported in this noble cause.
Let the readers be blessed with the choicest glory of Sree Devee. The readers are requested to give all comments and feedback to the author.
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