The composition of Sri. Dikshithar on Goddess of the 3rd avaranam is “SrI kamalAmbikayA kaTAkshitO(a)haM”, set to ragam Sankarabharanam and in the thrithiya (instrumental) vibhakthi. This krithi refers to third Avarana – ashta dala (eight petals) of Sri Chakra – sarva samkshobhana chakra (‘agitates all’) – where Mother is called Tripura Sundari as also gupta-tara yogini. There are eight Shakthis in this chakra beginning with ananga kusuma. Each petal has a consonant inscribed within it that begins with ‘Ka’ The petals represent eight divinities associated with erotic urges , independent of physical body (ananga). The Mudra is Sarvakarshini; the Siddhi is Mahima; and the mental state is Shushupti. The Presiding deity is Tripura Sundari. Her vidya is Hrim Klim Sauh. The gem is cat’s eye. The time is day and night. The Shaktis are the eight starting with Ananga Kusuma. This avarana corresponds to the navel region of mother goddess; described in the Charanam:
“ananga kusuma-Adi-ashTa Sakti-AkArayA
aruNa varNa saMkshObhaNa cakra-AkArayA
ananta kOTi-aNDa nAyaka Sankara nAyikayA
ashTa varga-Atmaka gupta-tarayA varayA
ananga-Adi-upAsitayA ashTa daLa-abja sthitayA
dhanurbANa dhara karayA dayA sudhA sAgarayA”
The Avarana is about overcoming agitations (Samkshoba) and the formless erotic urges (ananga)that arise in mind .These refer to mental pleasures and agitations related to the modalities of mind such as rejection (repulsion or withdrawal), acceptance (attention or attachment) and indifference (detachment). The eight petals of the Avarana Ashta dala represent eight divinities associated with such erotic principles. They are named Ananga Kusuma, Ananga mekhala, Ananga madana and so on. Dikshitar refers to them as Ananga KusumAdyashta ShaktyAkArayA.
Sri. Dikshitar obviously succeeded in gaining freedom from mental agitations and urges. He is thrilled with divine ecstasy; “I am blessed by the grace of mother Kamalamba (Shree KamalAmbikayA KatAkshitoham); and I have realized that Absolute Brahman (SacchidAnanda Paripurna BrahmAsmi)”. He describes the Devi as the one seated on the red colored (Aruna Varna) Samkshobhana Chakra, amidst its eight petals (Anangaa Dyupaasitayaa AstadalAbjasthitayA) having names starting with Ananga (Ananga KusumAdyashta) (*please see below). In the eight petals of the lotus, eight consonants such as ka, cha, ta and so on are inscribed (Ashta VargAtmaka). She holds in her hands the bow and arrows (Dhanur BAnadhara KarayA). She is the ocean of mercy (DayA SudhA SAgarayA). Ananga has a reference also to the cult of Cupid or Eros (Manmatha or Kamaraja) and its deities that have merged into the tradition of Sri Vidya. Dikshitar is referring to the school propagated by Kamaraja, the Kamaraja vidya or Kadi matha; and continued by the sage Agasthaya. Dikshitar belonged to this school. He mentions the yogini of the Avarana, Gupta Taraya (Gupta Taraya Varaya).
The Raga-mudra is spun into indicative as “Sankara nAyikayA”; also meaning the ‘consort of Siva’. The wordings, “pankaja-Asana-Adi panca-kRtyAkRt-bhAvitayA” means ‘the one meditated upon by the doers of the five cosmic actions, starting with the lotus-seated Brahma’. The five cosmic actions or Pancha Krityas are creation (Srishti), protection(Sthithi), destruction (Samhara), delusion or screening (tirodhAna) and grace (Anugraha). What is the significance of the lotus in Hinduism? We have Brahma, the creator, who emerged from the lotus. We have Vishnu, the protector, from whose navel the lotus emerged. We have Lakshmi who is seated on a red lotus and Saraswati who is seated on a white one. Vishnu Purana describes the earth itself as a lotus. We describe the eyes of Gods and Goddesses as lotus-shaped. We describe the faces to be lotus like. We describe their feet to be lotus like. Wise ones sit in padmAsana or the lotus-position in meditation. The Chakras in our bodies are said to be lotus-like, ending with the Sahasrara, the thousand petalled lotus associated with Supreme Consciousness. The soul is said to be in a lotus inside our hearts. And of course we have the Sri Chakra with two of its Avaranas symbolised as lotuses. What is this obsession with lotus? The lotus is quite a remarkable flower. Interestingly, the plant has the ability to regulate the temperature of it’s flowers, somewhat like warm-blooded animals. As a viviparous plant, it generates offsprings attached to the parent, as a child is attached to the womb. It has remarkable longevity – it’s seeds can live up to 1300 years! In fact it’s genes have the ability to repair diseases and can withstand environmental stress (like freezing). And it is so very beautiful! No wonder it has become one of most important symbols of Hinduism. One oft used symbolism is the flower’s purity despite it’s origins in mud. Though it’s roots are in mud, it rises far above, untouched by the mud or the water. In the Bhagavat Gita, it is said that “One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.” The way it closes at night and sinks to rise again in the morning, and its regenerative qualities mimic the cycles of life and soul. Its amazing fecundity makes it a symbol of fertility and even immortality. I need to do more research into this; the lotus seems to be interwoven into our texts in so many different ways.
The song is in tritIyA vibhakti, instrumental case. The basic sentence word order (anvaya) is ahaM shrIkamalAMbikayA katAkshitaH sachchidAnandaparipUrNabrahmA asmi (I, protected
by Shri Kamalambika, am the Supreme Brahman, characterized by the fullness of existence, consciousness and bliss). All the phrases ending in the syllable ``yA'' qualify the noun
``kamalAmbikayA''. The third chakra, sarvasaMkShobhaNa chakra, consists of a circular arrangement of eight-petals (aShTadaLA). The eight shakti-s referred to as ana~Ngakusuma etc are: ana~Ngakusuma, ana~NgamekhalA, ana~NgamadanA, ana~NgamadanAturA, ana~NgarekhA, ana~NgaveginI, ana~NgAMshukA and ana~NgamAlinI. These shakti-s
are described as guptatara yogini-s.
So we come to today’s song Sri Kamalambikaya set to raga Sankarabharanam dedicated to the Goddess of the third Avarana, let us pray to her while listening to Sri. O.S.Thyagarajan.