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The Swarupa of Vagdevi
Who is this Vagdevi? What are her activities? And what is her nature?
"||sahasradha mahimanah sahasram yavadbrahamavisthitam tavativak|| (Rik Samhita X-114-5)↵"
(Rik Samhita X-114-5)
As much as the greatness of parambrahma spreads so does Vagdevi’s greatness too. The creative energy of the Lord is referred to as Vak often in the Vedas. Sruti which is the subject matter of vacha arambhana(beginning of speech) of the brahma sutras describes it as creation. . Vak is also symbolically defined as "go (cow). The go (cow) protector. Paramatma is the protector of light, cows, bhumi (Mother Earth), Vak , Vedas which resemble sound of brahma . He is also glorified as Gopa (Gopala) in the Vedas (Rik samhita, I-22-18).
The manifested Cosmos is compared to the Parambrahma’s body in the Vedas. All manifested objects identified with the nama ) are connected to the Parambrahma through the name. Therefore, as much as cosmos is vast similarly the Namarupa( name) sound is also spread every where. The import is that as much as cosmos is expansive, similarly the nama rupa,which is symbolized nama rupa is also all pervasive. Such vagadevi is described through the oneness from the point of view of brahaman.
""I travel all over as 11 Rudras, 8 Vasus, 12 Adityas and as all the devata. I am the one who nourishes Mitra and Varuna. Indra, Agni and Ashwini Kumaras are nourished by me. I am the the master of all that in the Rasthra and all wealth. I am the one who realies Param Brahman. In the context of the Yagna, I am the main devata. I take different forms and am everywhere. In spirit, I am situated in all beings, hence the devatas install me in different places and worship me."
It is significant to know that the Pancharatra (vedic text) , which glorifies Bhagawan's expansive opulence as Lakshmi Devi, the same metaphor is described in the Purushsukta as
||hrischa te laxmischa patnyaa|| In the Brhad-devata (), Shaunaka, while describing nature of Vagdevi), primarily addresses her as "Parthivi," madhama,"and "divya, who resides in the three planetary system." When the description and the characters of rivers, water sources, medicinal herbs are all denote the description of Vagdevi. Similalry when "aranyani, ratri, Shraddha, ushaha, prthvi, apva devatas are described it is should be considered as the description of Vagdevi. .When Vak, Aditi and Sarswati are praised it should be noted that it indicates vagdevi. (episode, pithika, II-72-76). All the devi, who are feminine are representation of Vagdevi. Vagdevi is also glorified as Gauri (Rik Samhita 1-164), just like in the root word of Rucha, "Rochate jvalati karmanah" which indicates light. Light and Gauri has same root words. It also explained in (Nirukta XI-40) one who is dazzling because of her own glitter and one who is fair complexioned, Gauri. This Vagdevi,who is the source of sound or one who makes sound while collecting udaka (water), the foundational ingredient of Creation, having one, two, four, eight and nine legs resides in the "paramvyova(the highest reality), she is called as "sahasrakshara as all pervading. Thus Veda glorifies( Rik I-164). Gauri means "garan shila shabdha brhamatmika vak (one who is personification brahman in sound) ,". In the avyakrta (without manifested form). In her avyakrta stage(unmanifested form) she is one without second, undivided being ekapadi(one pada). She becomes dvi padi( Two pada) by division of namapada (Noun) and kriya pada (verb)(named as subanta tijnanta). She becomes chatuspadi(for legs, or quarters) by nama, akhyata, upasarga and nipata. With 8 vibhaktis she becomes asthapadi(eight legs) with avyayava she is with 9 legs, these elements of creation are installed in the paravyoma which is compared heart of the sky. This is the explanation given by the commentators(see brahdaranyaka 6.1.2 The appearance of alphabets are very interesting and are the subject of creation.
As commonly understood, Vagadevi is not only Saraswati, the latter is a part of Vagadevi. Just as there is a great difference between Vanaspati (herbs) and Brihaspati. One is herb and other is deva guru, who is known as the greatest in speaking. Such understanding of distinction is said to be coming from Saraswati. Such devi Saraswati is the servant of the wife of greatest of devas. It is concluded that sri devi is addressed here as vagadevi. (translation of below sloka) Loke vanaspati brihaspati taratamya yasyah Prasadaparinamamudaharanti Sa bharati bhagavati tu yadiya dasi tam deva deva Mahishim shri yamashrayamah (sri stave Sri vatsa chinha Mishra) In Vishnu Purana(1-8-17 to 35) the same principle is explained, beginning with, ||nityaivaisha jagnamata Devatiryajneshyeshu punnama bhagavan hari Strinami srischya vijneya nanayo Translation:- All those amongst the devatas, humans, animals addressed in the masculine gender are a part of Sri Hari, and those in feminine gender are the parts of Sri. There is nothing beyond them.
In this way the Vagadevi, just like Shraddhadevi is the other aspect of Sridevi. All such explanation of different aspect of devi are harmonized here.
"(Sri Yamunacharya-chatusloki 3)"
"||sreyo nahyarvindalochana manah kantaprasadadrate samskrityakshar vaishnavadvasu nrnam sambhavyate karihichit"
The ignorant misconstrue ‘Sri’ or ‘Laxmi’ to Mammon. Whatever we need to make life beautiful, meaningful and experiencing wholesomeness is only possible by the grace of Sri devi. For eg:-
Jnana (knowledge) is Brahma Sri, memory is medhasri, health is ‘arogya sri.’
Similarly ability to give charity, curiosity to gain more knowledge, intense dedication, desire for freedom, helping others, and interest in astikata are the manifestation of Sri’s grace. Anything, which takes us to the path of ||shreyas (complete good) is the grace of ||Sri. Sri means one who gives rise to good.
"||sreyo nahyarvindalochana manah kantaprasadadaite samskrityakshar vaishnavadvasu nrnam sambhavyate karihichit"
"(Sri Yamunacharya-chatusloki 3)"
This is spoken by those who understand the principle of ||Sri. Sanskriti means three vargas (other than Moksha, it is Dharma, Artha and kama), that are favorable for the family’s prosperity. ||Akshara is considered as pure self-realization, which is known as ||kaivalya. ||Vaishnavadwa is the path of Archira marga, through which one achieves Vishnu. Therefore, whatever we desire; either prosperity, kaivalya or moksha, or the perfection, which is auspicious is possible only through the involvement and will of Sri Hari and the grace of Sri Devi. In the future chapters we will read the conversation between Nachiketa and Yamaraja, based on Kathopanishad, where in Yamaraja explains the difference between Sreyasa (), and Preyasa (). He uses the analogue of a chariot, horses and the chariot driver to explain the greatest gain of ||Sreyas and the process of traveling carefully. One can also remember how Vishnupada is achieved by remembering, Sodvanah paramapnoti tadvishno parama padam) it is concluded how Nachiketa received special mercy of Sri devi. to understand the process of achieving Vishnupada, nature of Vishnupada, the character of one who has achieved, consciousness of such exalted person and the strategy for achieving and the brahama vidya.
What is Ashiravani (Unembodied voice)
Ashariravani, means the voice that emerges from our inner core, that which is inspired by the supreme and heard only by us. The all pervading supreme accompanied by Sri Devi, whom she never leaves even for a moment residing within us. Nachiketa, who was qualified because he had attained maturity of his activities, was inspired to walk to the path of perfection for receiving Brahmavidya by Sri Therefore the great Acharyas, men and women of wisdom, glorify Sri devi,
||sreyomurtim sriyam asharanah tvam sharanyam prapadye|| (Sri stuti- Vedanta deshika).
The Brhamavidya, which is in the Kathopanishada like the vedas emerged from the mouth of Yamaraja using Nachiketa as instrument. This was to purify the world, through the grace of Sri, who is also known as Vagdevi this is the understanding from this episode.