By Swami Harshananda
Saundaryalahari literally means ‘Wave of beauty’.
Apart from writing learned bhāṣyas or commentaries on recondite scriptures like the Upaniṣads and philosophical works like the Brahmasutras, Saṅkara also composed a number of beautiful stotras or hymns on the various deities of the religious pantheon. The Saundaryalahari is one of his most famous hymns. According to the orthodox traditions, Śaṅkara got the first 41 verses from Kailāṣa, the abode of Śiva and composed another 59 to make the total of 100.
As per another version, Saṅkara as a child was breastfed by the Divine Mother herself, because of which he gained great spiritual power as well as the power to compose poetry. Though the first part comprising 41 verses is more commonly known as the Ānandalaharī and only the second part, the rest 59 verses, as the Saundaryalahari, the whole hymn is now generally called by the latter name. The specialty of this composition is that it reflects equally the three important aspects of the religion, viz:
- Devotion to the deity through the hymn
- The esoteric science of the mantras and yantras
- He lived in A. D. 788-820.
- His Divine mother was Tripurasundari.
- Saundaryalahari 74
- It is referred as mystic diagrams.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore