SAUNDARYA LAHARI

 

 

 

VERSE 3

A SWASTIKA
A QUATERNION WITH ONE-TO-ONE MATCHING OF INTERESTS
IN FOUR TYPES OF PERSON
 
अविद्याना-मन्त-स्तिमिर-मिहिर द्वीपनगरी
जडानां चैतन्य-स्तबक मकरन्द श्रुतिझरी ।
दरिद्राणां चिन्तामणि गुणनिका जन्मजलधौ
निमग्नानां दंष्ट्रा मुररिपु वराहस्य भवति
 
avidyanam antas timira mihira dvipa nagari
jadanam citanya stabaka makaranda sruti chari
daridranam cintamani gunanika janma jaladhau
nimagnanam damstra muraripu varahasya bhavati
 
To the uninstructed you are the light-city, inner darkness banishing, mid-ocean placed;
To inert ones, the ooze of sweetness within blossoms celestial, having mind-expanding effect;
While for indigent spirits you become a brood of philosopher's stones
And for those submerged in the ocean of birth and death, the very tusk of Vishnu's boar.
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A four-fold quaternion structure is evidently implied in this verse, although such a structure is not easy to imagine in rigid geometrical lines on the surface of two-dimensional paper. There are, presented within the scope of this verse, four types of spiritual aspirants. To place each of them correctly in their proper positions in the qualitative perspective of beauty within which each has to find its own place, brings us face-to-face with a problem which is important to solve correctly from the very beginning.
 
Vedantic literature knows of a similar four-fold distinction of types of aspirants, such as in the Bhagavad Gita, where we read of one aspirant who is steeped in affliction; a second who has a desire to know the truth; a third is fond of gaining the goods of life and a fourth who represents the aspirant for ultimate wisdom. The same four types are also presented here, but their aspirations or interests are brought under more positively elaborated value-worlds representing the item of interest most attractive to each type of aspirant; here they are the uninstructed, the inert, the indigent and the suffering. These four types are to be inserted into a four-fold frame of reference, with a one-to-one correspondence between what each one is in himself and what his aspiration represents. When a person's interest cancels out against what he is, his dignity attains to a meaning which refers to his own proper absolute value. Just as when Shakespeare says that the dress makes the man, or when the Bhagavad Gita equates faith with the person who is faithful; there is an interchangeability and reversibility to be understood between the Self and the non-Self. The passion of an Othello possesses him completely so that he becomes identical with it. In the same sense, Shakespeare elsewhere uses the expression "the play is the thing". This way of treating self and non-self unitively and of placing them together within a subjective and contemplative world of value is quite normal in the literature of Advaita Vedanta. Each man is known by his master interest, just as each mathematical term is known by its function, or as a tree is known by its fruit.
 
The seeker of wisdom of the first line, described as the "uninstructed", is the most respectable of the four types that are designated here in a certain structural order of gradation. He could be thought of as one whose main interest is to know the truth which he aspires for as a believer in sayings like: "Thou shalt know the truth and the truth shall make you free". He aspires for that glorious day of emancipation to come to him. He is a dreamer, steeped in the darkness of ignorance, who envisions before him the beautiful circular structure described in the first line. The "City of God on high", called Civitas Dei, is an idealized Acropolis placed on a hill in the Augustinian imagination. Here, however, we notice that the "light-city" is placed in the middle of an ocean. When we apply the structural frame of reference to this situation, we could imagine the perspective of this aspirant to be a central position in any circular cross-section which we could take within the quarter of the apex of the lower cone, while the "city of light" here can be seen as a cross-section at a corresponding position within the upper cone. The lower inverted cone is negative and can therefore represent darkness, from which the aspirant seeks the light from above the normal cross-sectional plane dividing the two cones, placed base to base. The meaning of this first kind of spiritual aspirant becomes clear to us when we visualize truth or wisdom as the non-self on the positive or numerator quarter, while the uninstructed ignoramus, as the counterpart of his own aspiration, can be seen on the negative or denominator side of the quaternion. We shall find this same mental island elaborated further in later verses.
 
To visualize the inert man of the second line, who is fond of the ordinary pleasures of life and to place him correctly in his proper structural perspective, we have only to think of a day-dreaming fat boy type of character like Kumbhakarna in the Ramayana, or Joe in Dickens' "Pickwick Papers". Literature is familiar with many such fat boys. This kind of aspirant is interested only in the merriment of eating, drinking and sleeping, and is never bothered by the harsh pinch of necessity. We could thus visualize this inert man on the left or virtual side of the horizontal parameter as the counterpart of the actual item of his fancy, which can be seen on the horizontal right side in the quaternion structure.
 
The third line refers to a man who is actually poor and cannot make ends meet in his everyday life. The indigent spirit is haunted by the love of wealth which never actually reaches his hand. An example of this type of aspirant might be a kind of scholar-gypsy who, by too much book-learning is unable to make a livelihood. Having missed his occasion to succeed, he is troubled about somehow making good without being serious about the philosophy he espouses. He hopes one day to come to good luck and keeps dreaming about such a value in a pharisaic or dilettantish manner. Such a type fits in the numerator side of the total four-fold situation.
 
The afflicted or suffering man of the fourth line, submerged in the birth-cycle ocean, is stifled and suffocating due to a lack of free air to breathe. His repeated efforts only cause him to rise and sink alternately in this ocean of necessity. His main desire is to climb to a level where he could at least breathe fresh air, ridding himself of this suffocating world of necessity. To free himself from such a dire circumstance, he seeks only that which is factual, decisive or firm, with the ontological richness of the hard tusk of Vishnu's boar, as in Verse 2. As an example of this type of aspirant we could think of a person who has badly lost in business and suffered bankruptcy. In this state of mind his only desire is to stand up in the world as a solvent person once again. He can thus be placed on the actual right side of the horizontal parameter.
 
The intention of the author in this verse is evidently to make the student sufficiently familiar with the implied quaternion structure. The further elaboration of its subjective implications should become more precise and convincing as we proceed in this work.
 
Bhagavad Gita, page 336,

Verse 16
chaturvidha bhajante mam
janah sukritino 'rjuna
arto jijnasur artharthi
jnani cha bharatarshabba


Four kinds of the (doers of the) good are intent on
Me, Arjuna; the distressed, the seeker of
knowledge, the seeker of the goods of life, and the
wise, 0 Leader of the Bharatas (Arjuna).

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ADDITIONAL COMMENTS WITH STRUCTURAL DIAGRAMS RELATED TO THIS VERSE FROM SAUNDARYA LAHARI/NOTES.

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WORD FOR WORD
avidyanam - for the uninstructed
antah stimira mihira - inner darkness banishing
dvipa nagari - light city, mid-ocean placed
cadanam - to inert ones
caitanya stabaka makaranda - the ooze of mind-expanding
sruti charim - sweetness from within blossoms celestial
daridranam - for indigent spirits
cintamani gunanika - a brood of philosophers' stones
canma caladhau - in the ocean of repeated birth and death
nimagnanam - for those submerged
damstra - the tusk
muraripu varahasya - of the boar of Vishnu (the enemy of Ripu)
bhavati - you become
 
The four quadrants of the quaternion structure are now introduced:
 
1 Avidya (ignorance, nescience),
2 Vidya (knowledge or science),
3 The lazy man,
4 The poor man or the man caught in necessity
 
- each of these four is to be placed on a limb of the structure.

 

 

Here, four types of person are mentioned, with the-value factor which corresponds to each of them.

 

Each should go in his proper quadrant; each has his own slant and his own value reference.

 

The four are:
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The ignorant seeker of the city of light and wisdom on high.
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The lazy fat man seeking a nectar-filled lotus of enjoyment.
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The poor scholar seeking a brood of Philosopher's stones.

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The man immersed in the ocean of necessity (samsara) (he is cut by the boar's tusk).
 
 
 
These are not to be treated as rigid compartments, they are fluid.
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(Rishikesh is a holy city on the Ganges. ED.)

Caliban, in Shakespeare's "The Tempest" is an example of the mentality of the "Lazy Man" in this verse.

In the inner circle is what each of these four men dreams of.


In this verse the Author shows us the four-fold structure within the Absolute.
The movements of these circles can be reversed etc.
One man may be in all four of these positions at different times.

 

Another version:

TRANSLATION
1) for the ignorant an island city of sunlit (island) of inner darkness
2) for inert persons of the mind-blossom the heavenly honey-streak flow
3) for the indigent a collection of philosophers' stones
4) for those who are about to be immersed in the ocean of phenomenal becoming the (cutting) tusk of Vishnu's boar (antasti mira mihira)
- thou, o Goddess

 

Yet another, earlier, version of this verse:

TRANSLATION
To the uninstructed you are the light-maker, inner darkness banishing, mid-ocean placed;
To inert ones, the ooze of sweetness within blossoms celestial, having mind-expanding effect,
While for indigent spirits you become a brood of philosophers' stones,
And for those submerged in birth-cycle ocean the very tusks of that anti-Mira (Vishnu's) boar.
 
Four types of votaries are envisaged here with their corresponding value-counterparts.
 
Put together, they cancel out, as Numerator and Denominator of equal function, into the unitive value represented by the Absolute Mother, apostrophized in this century of verse.

 

The content and context of such a negative version of the Absolute - that is, the Absolute Mother, the Goddess, Shakti or the Devi, are indicated in the first and second verses of this series.
 
Now the axiological counterpart of utility or value for four grades falling within a vertical parameter are indicated in a downward serial gradation of compensatory items meant as the consolation of the contemplation of such an Absolute Value here called the Mother. The structural analysis below will clarify its implications further..

 

Each man represents in himself an aspiration vaguely felt as an intentional factor of interest.
 
1 The ignoramus aspires for some light with the Absolute as its source.
 
2 The indigent or poor man sees it negatively as a treasure of gems which would abolish his poverty and console him too as a high human value.
 
3 The pleasure-loving man of inert ways seeks something sweet to drink like the honey at the core of a flower.
 
4 The man steeped in imperative or absolute necessity in a very actual or real sense has to have something like the tusk of a Vishnu's boar to hold him up and prevent him from sinking deeper into the sea of need that might make him despair.
 
Conditioned by subjective states, each sees only one aspect of the Absolute.
 
In this structural diagram note the four-fold context of the structure of the Absolute, as well as the double force acting on each interest, with equilibrium resulting in the consolation the Wisdom Mother represents.
 
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(EDITORIAL NOTE: the quaternion structure will reappear in almost every verse of this work and many further clarifications and examples will be provided, but the examples below may begin to clarify the subtle characteristics of the structural methodology used throughout.)

 

From A. Eddington, Nobel prize-winner in Physics, we have an example of the quaternion structure used by Nataraja Guru:

 

THE FOUR LIMBS OF THE QUATERNION:

1. The actual chair in which the actual man can sit; this chair will exclude another chair, and occupies a particular space.

2. The virtual chair in which a virtual man can sit; much like a mirror reflection.

3. The Alpha Point chair, the form of the chair generalised,
It excludes all other chairs.
This is the universal concrete version, it excludes horizontally but not vertically.

4. The Omega Point chair: the word "chair" in the dictionary, it is purely conceptual
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From Nataraja Guru:

The basic structural terms assigned to their respective levels:
Ambivalence - the first level, the actual, Subrahmaniam and Ganesha are ambivalent.
Reciprocity - the second level; Saraswati and Lakshmi.
Complementarity - the third level, the Devi with callosities on her knees from kneeling in devotion to Shiva - she wants to establish the final cancellation with Shiva, here, she is his complementary counterpart.
Cancellation - the fourth level, the final operation - Shiva and Shakti are united.
Parity - refers to the horizontal alone; bilateral symmetry.

(These terms used by Nataraja Guru, are applied to the mythological deities which appear in the Saundarya Lahari and are there used as protolinguistic factors. They are also fully valid as part of the terminology of Physics and Science in general. The Saundarya Lahari is not a mere mythological poem but a compendium of structural methodology, as applied to the Science of the Absolute (Brahma Vidya). ED)

 

STRUCTURALISM: SOME SHORT NOTES FROM NATARAJA GURU, TO BE FOUND IN SAUNDAYA LAHARI/NOTES:

Structuralism is the highest function of the human mind.

 

Marbles ricocheting off one another are horizontal; a lake inside a lake, a cup inside a cup are vertical.

 

Horizontally viewed, one second can become a thousand years; vertically viewed, one thousand years can become one second.
(H. Bergson)

 

The vertical axis is happiness, the horizontal axis is suffering.

 

The structure of woman reveals the structure of the negative aspect of man, his psyche. Add the numerator to this feminine structure and you get the whole picture.

 

Transportation, e.g. a truck carrying a load of stones, is horizontal.

Transmission, e.g. of radio waves, is vertical.

 

Three causes and effects:
1. A billiard ball striking another is horizontal.
2. The unwinding of a clockwork gramophone is vertical
3. An explosion is horizontal
(The fourth, which includes all these, is consciousness.)

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EVIDENCE OF STRUCTURALISM
1) The Cartesian Correlates or Coordinates
- some examples below:

 

 

 

2) Probability curves - curves on graphs:

 

 

3) Multiplication, subtraction, addition and division form a quaternion structure.