भजन्ते ये सन्तः कतिचिदरुणामेव भवतीम्।
गभीराभिर्वाग्भिर्विदधति सतां रञ्जनममी॥
bhajante ye santaḥ katicidaruṇāmeva bhavatīm |
gabhīrābhirvāgbhirvidadhati satāṁ rañjanamamī ||
kavīndrāṇāṁ - of great poets; cetaḥ kamala vana bāla atapa ruciṁ bhajante – those who adore You as the sun at dawn, which makes their minds to blossom forth as if their minds are a group of lotus flowers; ye santaḥ katicid - those great men; aruṇām eva bhavatīm – the Goddess having the radiance of the sun at dawn; viriñci preyasyās – Sarasvatī, who is dear to Brahmā; taruṇa tara śṛṅgāra laharī – waves of passion flowing from youthfulness; gabhīrābhir vāgbhir- majestic words; vidadhati – perform; satāṁ rañjanam amī – happiness to the poets.
“The great poets who adore You as red and radiating like the sun at dawn which makes all the lotus flowers to blossom become capable of delighting the group of learned men with their magnificent words as if they are waves of emotions emanating from the passionate and youthful Sarasvatī, who is dear to Brahmā.”
The verse says that those who contemplate Her in the colour of the sun at dawn become capable of composing excellent literary works. They get the flow of words as if erotic sentiments originating from the passionate and youthful consort of Brahmā. Their literary works bring delight to the learned people. Flow of passion is compared to the flow of words.
Almost all the Scriptures describe Parāśakti as deep red in colour (complexion). Lalitā Sahasranāma dhyāna verses describe Her “aruṇāṁ karuṇā-taraṁgitākṣīṁ”, which means “She is like the rising sun with waves of compassion in Her eyes”. There is another dhyāna verse which says, “sindūrāruṇa-vigrahāṁ” meaning that Her body is red in complexion. There are many such instances in various Scriptures, which unanimously declare Her as red in complexion. Redness is associated with compassion. This verse says tht the poets get extraordinary powers to compose literary works, on two counts. First, they have to contemplate Her in the colour of rising sun; as a result of their single pointed concentration on Her, due to Her compassion which can also be described as Her Grace, they get the flow of words without any impediments. As a result, their literary works are appreciated by noble and great men. The quality of taste towards different aspects of life differs from person to person. Śaṁkarācārya was very careful in choosing his words, as he perfectly suits the poets described in this verse. He did not say that these works are appreciated by all; but he says that their literary works are appreciated by learned men. He did not speak about all the flowers, but mentions only lotus flowers. Only learned men can understand and appreciate the contextual usage of certain words. Apart from the choice of words, the purported meaning of the words also needs to be appreciated. A poet is more concerned with the appreciation he gets from the critics, than getting monetary benefits. A poet derives immense satisfaction when others appreciate his work. The contextual reference in this verse is the mind of the poet when his literary works are applauded. His mind becomes active like a lotus flower on seeing the dawn of the sun.
The poet gets immense ability to compose awe inspiring works because She bestows Her Grace on him, as he meditates on Her as dark red in complexion. She likes to be meditated with dark red colour, as this colour declares Her compassion. After all She is Śrī Mātā, the universal Mother. When Her Grace is bestowed on him, the poet gets the flow words like waves springing up from the ocean. The flow of words occurring in his mind is compared by Śaṁkarācārya to the erotic flow of youthfulness from goddess Sarasvatī. Once the erotic thoughts begin to flow, it becomes more and more powerful and in the same way, the revelation of composition of words happens in the mind of the poet becomes more intent.
This verse also says that it is not enough to have a poet. The world needs to have high quality audience who are capable of differentiating between an awesome literary work and a mundane literary work. As far as this verse is concerned, the listeners are those, who have acquired literary skills by mastering differnt literary works. In a song (taken here as an example), there are two aspects; one is the lyrics and another is the melody. There are many who listen and appreciate the melody that has not being discussed here. But there are very few who understand the lyrics and appreciate the song. Melody and rhythm can be appreciated by anybody, but to appreciate the lyrics, one needs to have literary knowledge. This verse talks about this kind of knowledgeable audience. They are compared to the lotus flowers that bloom during dawn. A typical example is Lalitā Sahasranāma composed by Vācdevī-s, which does not have any melody, but is full of gross and subtle meanings. Nobody could have thought of better words to elucidate Her greatness. This is because that Vācdevī-s are blessed by Her to compose such a chef-d'oeuvre.
Sarasvatī is the consort of Brahmā. Brahmā and Sarasvatī make the divine couple who preside over knowledge and literary works. The right words manifest in the minds of the poets, like the flow of erotic thoughts in the mind of the consort of Brahmā. If śṛṅgāra is taken to mean mutual enjoyment, then it can be said that the poets and the audience mutually enjoy the literary works. Without the right kind of audience, poet cannot be sure whether his work is good and without a proper poet, audience also cannot enjoy the creative literary works. Therefore, it is mutual dependence between the poet and the audience.
In Vāmakesvarīmatam (I.112 – 113), Śiva tells Devi the following: “One should meditate on Devi, resembling a lotus, like the early morning rays of the sun, like a hibiscus or pomegranate flower, red as ruby……”. When Her Consort Śiva Himself describes Her complexion as deep red, there cannot be any other opinion about Her complexion. Śiva is in crystal complexion and when She sits by His side, Her red gets reflected through His crystal like body, making them appear as the sun at the dawn.
Though mythologically we declare Sarasvatī as the spouse of Brahmā, Vedas describe Her differently. For example Taittirīya Samhitā (Yajur Veda) (I.viii.22.3) says the following:
“pra ṇo devī sarasvatī vājebhirvājinīvatī dhīnāmavitryavatu प्र णो देवी सरस्वती वाजेभिर्वाजिनीवती धीनामवित्र्यवतु”, which means may the Goddess Sarasvatī full of plentitude with the life force, guardian of thoughts, protect us with care.