Intellectual Bhakti Kalidasa’s Genius Vagarthaviva

Bhakthi is a form of worshiping God.

Bhakti is Love tinged with Devotion, Mind, Heart and Soul.

It is an emotional bond.

God as Man and woman.Jpg
Man Woman God,Shiva and Sakthi

Like Music Bhakthi can transport you into God’s.

Hinduism attaches importance to Bhakthi, mostly emotional as a means of being with God, Realizing the Ultimate Cause.

There are other means too.

Path of Knowledge, Gnana Yoga, where one is wise enough to realize the transient nature of things and the Permanence that is God/Reality.

Path of Action, where the renunciation of the fruits of action, at the mental level itself, is Karma Yoga.

Raja Yoga , the path of controlling breath by strict practices.

All these paths are from experience.

Logic plays a secondary role.

And these have delivered results as the Lives of Great souls reveal.

I have noticed a fact that there seems to be two approaches even in bhakti.

When I go through some inspired Sanskrit Poems, Tamil Verses, in the Bhakthi Bhava, the approach of Love  of/to God,I find there are two distinct types.

One is Bhakthi tinged with Reason and Intellectual approach.

Another is total emotional immersion in the Love of God.

And example of an intellectual bhakti may be discerned in Kalidas’s first sloka of Raghuvamsa , which set about describing the Dynasty of Lord Rama.

Curiously the work that is about to talk about Lord Hari,Vishnu , begins with a Sloka on Lord Shiva and Parvathi.

This is the sloka.

The genius of Kalidasa lies in that this poem is open for Twenty Five meanings!


वागर्थाविव संपृक्तौ वागर्थप्रतिपत्तये|
जगतः पितरौ वन्दे पार्वतीपरमेश्वरौ||
 I salute the parents of the world, Parvati and Parameswara, who are inseparable like the “vAk” (word) and “artha”(its meaning); to gain expertise in the right understanding of the words and their meanings.

‘The verse is addressed to many deities depending on how we interpret it. Thus:

  1. Parvathi parameshwarau  means divine Mother Parvathi and Lord Shiva. Very simple! This is the original intended meaning by Shri Kalidas.  All other meanings are our interpretations. Arrangement(anvaya): Vagrthapratipattaye vagarthaviva sampriktau jagatah pitarau parvatiparameshwarau vande |
  2. Sampruktau Parvathi Parameshwarau:  inseparable or conjoined (samprukatu) Lord Shiva and Shri Devi. What is the deity? Lord Ardha Nareeshwara! i. e. the deity in which right half is Lord Shiva and left half is Shri Devi. Just amazing! Right?  Arrangement(anvaya): Vagrthapratipattaye  jagatah pitarau vagarthavivasampriktau parvatiparameshwarau vande |
  3. Parvathipa – rameshwarau: Pravathipa means Lord Shiva and Rameshwarau means Lord Vishnu. In other words, it represents popular deity Hari –Hara(Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva). sampriktau suggests that Hari and Hara are intricately connected together. Arrangement(anvaya): Vagrthapratipattaye  jagatah pitarau vagarthavivasampriktau parvatipa-rameshwarau vande |
  4. Parvathipa – rameshwarau: Parvathipa means Lord Shiva accompanied with Parvathi Devi. Rameshwaru means Lord Vishnu with Ramaa(Shri Lakshmi). Arrangement(anvaya): Vagrthapratipattaye  jagatah pitarau vagarthavivasampriktau parvatipa-rameshwarau vande |
  5. Vagarthau parvathipa rameshwarau:  Saraswati Devi is Vak and Artha is Brahma.Parvathipa : Parvathi Devi and Lord Shiva. Rameshwarau: Shri Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu. This is par excellence! It represents the Hindu Trinity Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva along with their consorts Saraswati Devi, Lakshmi Devi and Parvathi Devi. Arrangement(anvaya): Vagrthapratipattaye  jagatah pitarau iva(sthithau),  sampriktau, vagarthau parvatipa-rameshwarau (cha) vande | HereVagartha indicates Brahma accompanied by Saraswati Devi. Samprikta refers to Lord Brahma and Lord Hari-Hara. It says, Lord Brahma, Hari(Lord Vishnu) and Hara(Lord Shiva) are intricately connected together.


What are we Praying for in the verse?

Again, it depends on how we interpret! Let us see.

  1. Vagarthah  pratipattaye:  Vak also means word and speech. Artha means meaning. So, the entire phrase says – To know the word and its meaning. In other words, to get expertise in literary skills.  It also means – to know speech and its meaning to get proficiency in oratory skills. This is the original meaning  as intended by Shri Kalidasa.
  2. Vak also means The Holy Vedas. So, the word vagartha means: meaning of the Vedas. Now, vagartha pratipattaye means to access the meaning of the Vedas. All others below are our insights.
  3. Pratipaataye vagartha:  Pratipattaye means to access. Vagartha :  inseparable Lord Shiva and Parvathi Devi. They together form the Universal Self. Accessing means to merge with them. In other words, we intend to merge with the Universal Self, i.e. to achieve liberation(moksha).  This is the real goal of yoga and the highest purpose of human life.
  4. Vak-artha, pratipattaye: Vak also means Shri Devi  or Kundalini Devi  who gives liberation(moksha) and artha  means prosperity or material enjoyment(bhoga). Shruti(The Vedas) says – Devim vacham ajanayanta devah etc. Remember, Shridevi is the consort(power) of Lord Shiva who is the ruler of liberation(moksha). It is well-known that Shri Lakshmi is the presiding deity of prosperity and material comforts.
  5.  Vak, artha  and pratipattaye: As said earlier, Vak  symbolizes liberation(moksha),Artha  is material enjoyment(bhoga) and Pratipatti means Knowledge.  Together, these three represent three presiding deities Parvathi Devi, Lakshmi Devi and Saraswati Devi respectively. Caution: This meaning is based on vagartha (word and its meaning) only. So, may not be grammatical.

Mathematically, how many meanings are possible now? 5 x 5 = 25! You may pick your combination and pray now! Is it not magical and amazing!?  Hats off to the Great Poet Shri Kalidasa!!



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