Soundaryalahari, meaning waves of beauty, is a tantric text that praises the beauty (Soundharyam) of Sri Lalitha Mahatripura Sundari. It is a collection of hundred slokas that eulogise the beauty, grace, and munificence of the Goddess. Soundaryalahari is believed to be of divine origin and Aadhi Shankaracharya was the first seer and partly the composer of the hymns.
LEGEND BEHIND THE SLOKA
There are many legends related to the origin of the sloka. One of them is that Lord Shiva gave the manuscript of Soundaryalahari to Shri Aadhi Shankara Bhagavatpadah and on return, Nandhi snatched it from Sri Adhi Shankaracharya. When he complained it to the lord, he said that Soundharyalahari is the most powerful hymn and it cannot be given to humans entirely. So, it is believed that half of the hymns are given from Lord Shiva to Sri Aadhi Shankaracharya, whereas the other half was composed by the acharya to make them hundred-odd slokas.
STRUCTURE OF THE SLOKA
Soundaryalahari deals with Sri Vidya method of worship, and are divided into two.
- Anandalahari (Wave of bliss)
The first 41 slokas are called as Anandalahari, which are believed to be given to Adhi Shankara by Lord Shiva. This part deals with Srividya way of worship, including the construction of Shri Chakra, Kundalini Yoga and mantras.
- Soundaryalahari (Wave of beauty)
The later 59 slokas that are composed by Shri Adhi Shankara are originally called as Soundaryalahari, as it deals with the beauty of the Goddess. This describes Devi from top to toe, using Sanskrit alankaaras (ornamentation). However, in practice, the entire 100 slokas are referred as Soundaryalahari.
- Soundaryalahari is not just a collection of hundred hymns but has tantric meanings.
- Almost each sloka deals with one yantra. 100 different yantras and their method of worshipping are discussed in the 100 slokas.
HOW TO CHANT THE SLOKA?
- Soundaryalahari is very tantric and mystical.
- So, it is better to chant the sloka with proper initiation and guidance from someone who knows Sri Vidya tradition.
- It is believed that unguided practice of the sloka might bring ill effects, as they are highly tantric.
- If one finds practising Soundaryalahari difficult or cannot find a guide to learn the sloka, they can choose to chant Lalitha Sahasranamam, which praises the same goddess: Lalitha Maha Tripura Sundari.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SLOKA
- Soundaryalahari is considered to be the embodiment of Sri Devi herself.
- In other words, the hymn itself is a form of Shri Devi and this stands as the reason for its uniqueness.
- The sloka is considered to be of divine origin. So, it is believed to be highly powerful.
- As Soundaryalahari is a verbal personification of Shri Devi, chanting the sloka is not a way of worshipping the goddess but it is worshipping the goddess by itself.
- Of all the hymns composed by Shri Adhi Shankara Bhagavatpadah, Soundaryalahari is considered to be the most significant.
- Chanting the first and then 30-36 slokas of Soundaryalahari is believed to help in curing skin diseases.