Soundarya Lahari means waves of beauty. It consists of two parts that is Ananda Lahari meaning waves of happiness (first 41 stanzas) and Soundarya Lahari (the next 59 stanzas).
It is believed that Lord Ganesha himself had written the Ananda Lahari on Mount Meru. Sage Goudapada learnt it from there and taught it to Adi Sankara.
Adi Sankara himself added the rest of the 59 stanzas and completed it.
In another story, when Adi Shankaracharya was meditating in the Himalayas he could read the Stotra written on the mountain and started reading it, simultaneously he could memorize those, but before he could learn all 100 Ganapathi erased the 59 stanza because the mantra, has yantra and tantra attached to it and it is very powerful.
Hence Adi Shankaracharya learnt the secrets from first 41 and completed the Soundarya Lahari.
These 100 stanzas are supposed to be the foremost among Mantra literature. It is also believed that by Making suitable Yantras and reciting particular stanzas and worshipping the yantras almost anything can be obtained in the world .This stotra is a devotional hymn loaded with beautiful literary ornaments(alankaras).
There are more thn 36 commentaries to Soundarya Lahari written in Sanskrit itself.
“Shivah shakthya yukto yadi bhavati shaktah prabhavitum |
Na chedevam devo na khalu kusalah spanditumapi ||”
Lord Shiva, can only take part in creation when Shakthi is with him.
Without her, even Shiva won’t be able to move an inch.
The importance of Adi Shakthi can be very well understood by this shloka. She is the energy behind all the creation and she is also the same who will absorb all the energy at the end of the creation.
Adi Shakthi is the energy who enable Brahma to create, and Vishnu to maintain balance in the creation, and she is the energy in Shiva who brings about destruction.
The meaning of another verse goes as,
The dust under the feet of Devi is so great that it is like a rising Sun. It removes all darkness, misfortune, from the mind of the poor ignorant one.
The Saundarya Lahari is not only the collection of holy hymns, but also a tantra textbook.
Sri-Yantra and worshiping methods, 100 different hymns, 100 different yantra, almost one to each shloka are explained in the Soundarya Lahari.
It also describes the appropriate tantra method of performing devotion connected to each specific shloka, and details the results ensuring therefrom.
The Devotees who use Raja yoga believe that right below the back bone there exists a nadi called Sushmna. Below this is the mooladhara chakra.
It is believed that the malefic bad thoughts of men sleeps in the mooladhara chakra in the form of a snake called Kundalini.
If one can wake up this snake and lead it through each of the Shat Chakra step by step and make it reach the Sahasrara, one attains ultimate redemption and sees the ultimate truth behind everything.
As there is a science of stars and galaxies called Astronomy, a science of quantities called Mathematics, so is there a science of beauty called Soundarya Lahari.
The great Soundarya Lahari, through the fantastic poetry, gives a fascinating picture of Advaita, nonduality, the only one without a second.
It proves that every human being, irrespective of a bhakta and sadhaka, has the right to taste the nectar of life through beautiful experience and through discipline.
When we go through Soundarya Lahari, we experience a transformation within, which makes our inner perception beautiful and fearless. Soundarya Lahari is complete knowledge of the science of mantra,yantra,tantra and mandala.
Mantra is vibrational energy. The 32nd shloka or verse gives the secret 16-lettered mantra of Srividya, auspicious wisdom.
Yantra focuses on mental energy. Here, the sound vibration of a mantra is transformed into the visual geometric form.The yantra effect or the visual geometric effect of these mantras can be depicted through the 11th shloka, description of Sri Chakra, the symbolic abode of supreme power.
Thus, one can experience the ascent and descent of Kundalini Shakti and realise that the ultimate liberation is the union of Shiva and Shakti through the Sahasrara.
Tantra is an instrument for the practical experience of yantra.The tantric aspect of mantras is beautifully covered in the Soundarya Lahari,which bestows all the four aspirations of men: dharma — duty, artha — wealth, kama — desire, and moksha — ultimate liberation.
Mandala is the three dimensional object that manifests before one, through the power of yantra.
Thus, Soundarya Lahari signifies the sundara or beautiful experience that lies beyond the three realms of jagrath, swapna and sushupthi that corresponds to the conscious, sub-conscious and the unconscious states. Soundarya Lahari sadhana provides a wonderful way to resolve the difficulties and distress faced in life whether as a grihastha,householder,or as a sanyasi. It can be used to cure diseases that are adi-daivika in nature that no medicine can heal.
The message of Soundarya Lahari is the beautiful perception and clear understanding about our ‘self’which makes us fearless and free from all anxieties, stress,and worries.This is a poem of intense devotion at the lotus feat of Divine Mother.
Dr Sindhu Prashanth