Sri Matre Namaha
Kantadha-katiparyantha-madhyakuta-swarupini – The Eighty Sixth name in Lalitha Sahasranamam.
Kanthasyadhah katiparyanto madhyabhagah (sa eva madhyasthakama rajakhyasya sadaksarasamuhasya) kutam svaruam asyah
From the throat to the waist she represents the madhyakuta.
The portion from the throat down to Her waist represents the form of Madhyakuta
Madhyakuta in this name refers to the second part of the subtle form of the goddess. Madhyakuta means a group of six syllables which is otherwise called “kamarajakuta”. Because Kama (to create the universe) resides in Her Heart (i.e., second part of Her Subtle body) it is called Kamarajakuta
Madhya kuta or the middle group of Panchadasi mantra refers to that portion between her neck and the hip. Previous nama is jnana shakthi, this nama is iccha shakthi and the next nama is kriya shakthi.
Vak, is of four forms – Para, Pasyanti,Madhyama and Vaikhari. Para is eternal form, pasyanti is when seers “see” it, madhyama is when it translates as sound-form, anahata, and vaikhari is in spoken form.
Madhyama literally means the middle one. In the four forms of Vak/sound, Madhyama is the second level, which means subtle. The first is vaikhari, which is the external sound. Madhyama is said to be anahata or the subtle sound, which is heard in the subtle planes and not produced. This is also referred to as the cosmic hiss. what is this sound.we have understand these terms to move ourself closer to the real ultimate meaning of madhyama to make us understand and appreciate the intricate comparision of lalithambika ‘s middle part to that of madhyama.
By Sangeetha RajahSabda or sound is the guna of Aakaasa. Its organ is the external ear. Sabda may be Vaidika (spiritual) or Loukika (material). In both the cases, it is made up of Aksharas or syllables. In the Tantras, these aksharas are traced back to their material source level, a particular deity of Shakti, the female cosmic power responsible for creation, sustenance and dissolution of the universe. The aksharas are connected to objects as Sabda (sound) and Artha (meaning).
The general perception is that when we speak, sound comes from the throat. But what happens actually is when we have the urge or the thought to speak, our life force in the form of vaayu, starts from the root chakra and brings Paraa, the subtle sound, then travels up to the navel, heart chakras as Pasyanti and Madhyamaa respectively, then comes to the throat, mouth, teeth and tongue as Vaikhari to come out as speech or sound at the gross level.Just as Samkalpa – a pure thought, has to pass through several stages before it actually manifests as concrete creative force, the sabda also has to pass through several stages before it is fully audible at the gross level. These stages are termed as Paraa, Pasyanti, Madhyamaa and Vaikhari.
Each level of sound corresponds to a level of existence, and one’s experience of sound depends upon the refinement of one’s consciousness.During the process of creation, Purusha or the soul combined with Prakrti to form the first principle Avyakta, from which evolved Mahat or Buddhi, the intelligence principle. From Buddhi evolved Ahankaara or the Ego principle. Ahankaara expanded into three qualities namely Satva, Rajas and Tamas, from which evolved the sensory and motor organs, the mind and the subtle form of the five basic elements called the Tanmaatras.
The Aakaasa was formed in its subtle form called Aakaasa Tanmatra with Sabda or sound as its quality. Aakaasa Tanmatra had both the gross and subtle form of the Aakaasa mahabhoota and its attribute, the sabda in an undifferentiated form.According to Taitreeya Upanishad, Aakaasa evolved first. From Aakaasa evolved Vaayu, from Vayu evolved Agni, from Agni evolved Jala and from Jala evolved Prthvi. So Aakaasa is called Param, as it was the first one to form among the five basic elements. Its attribute Sabda is called Paraa. At the time of creation, this Paraa expressed itself as Bindu or a subtle particle. It is also called as Kaarana bindu, the cause for all sound manifestations within and outside our body.Paraa means the highest or the farthest.
Para vaak is the sound beyond the perception of our senses. Paraa is the first stage of sound in its unmanifest stage and is the source of all root ideas and germ thoughts. On the stage of Para-vaak there is no distinction between the object and the sound. The sound contains within it all the qualities of the object. This Kaarana bindu becomes Avyakta (meaning unclear). It undergoes transformation at various levels like bindu, naada, beeja to become Vyakta or clear. Before sowing, a seed is soaked in water to prepare it to absorb nutrients and grow into a tree. Likewise, Paraa has to go undergo some transformations to manifest as a clear sound at a gross level.
All unmanifested positive energies of man like the Kundalini lay quiescent in his Moolaadhaara chakra or the root centre. For Paraa also, the root chakra is the abode. Nada Yogis claim that Paraa Nada is a high frequency sound, so high that it does not stir or produce any vibrations. By the urge of man to talk, with the help of vaayu or air, Paraa moves up to the Manipuraka chakra or the navel centre and gets transformed into Pasyanti.The Paraa, kindled by the air in the root chakra, rises up to transform itself into bindu, naada and beeja and thus express itself as sound at a gross level. Just as a seed soaked in water bursts to express itself as leaf, flower, fruit and a tree, Paraa in the navel chakra expresses its subtle modifications by transforming into Pasyanti.
Pasyanti literally means observing or seeing one’s self. In the pasyanti stage sound possesses qualities such as color and form. Yogins who have subtle inner vision experience the Pasyanti state of a word which has colour and form, which is common for all languages and which has the vibrating homogeneity of sound. Here sound is neither produced nor heard by anatomical ears. It is more of a mental sound. Its frequency is less than the high frequency sound of Para Nada. When sound goes up to the navel with the bodily air in vibratory form without any particular syllable (varna), yet connected with the mind, it is known as Pashyanti-vaak. Pasyanti observes and analyses her impending changes in the heart, throat and the tongue, where the sound finally attains audibility.Pasyanti, on reaching the Anaahata chakra or the heart centre, transforms into Madhyama vaak. Madhyamaa literally means in between or middle. Here there is a clear distinction between the sound and the object it denotes. Madhyama vaak is more of a mental speech rather than the external audible speech.
The Anaahata chakra is the domicile of internal sounds called Naada, which can be heard only by our subtle ear (not the anatomical ear). The word Aahata means struck or beaten. The sound produced externally by beating a drum is an example of Aahata sabda. In the Anaahata chakra, naada (a kind of melodious sound) can be heard without any external source. The sounds of Anaahata chakra are not audible to the external ears. Anaahata naada can be heard by regular yoga and meditation. When a Yogi hears these sounds, he becomes adept in knowing hidden things, hears Para vak, develops divine eye and eventually becomes one with Para Brahman or the supreme reality.The sound which has come all the way from the root chakra with the force of vaayu, travels further upwards to the throat, mouth, teeth and tongue, to become an articulate sound, audible to the external ear. This is called Vaikhari.
The vaayu which helps to bring the sound from the Anaahata chakra to the throat is called Vikhara and hence the last stage of sound which is the source of all that is spoken and heard at the grossest level, is the Vaikhari. When sabda is spoken through the mouth with the help of syllables, that speech is Vaikhari vak.These four levels of sound correspond to four states of consciousness. Paraa represents the transcendental consciousness. Pasyanti represents the intellectual consciousness. Madhyamaa represents the mental consciousness. And Vaikhari represents the physical consciousness. These states of consciousness correspond with the four states known technically as Jagrat, Svapna, Sushupti, and Turiya – or the wakeful state, the dreaming state, the dreamless state, and the transcendental state.
With regard to the powers of these three less subtle stages, within the Pasyanti-vaak exists the nature’s Iccha-shakti, or the power of will. Within the Madhyama-vaak exists the nature’s Jnana-shakti, or the power of knowledge. And within the Vaikhari-vaak exists the nature’s Kriya-shakti, or power of action.These four stages also correspond to the four types of bodies. The Sthula sarira, or physical body, operates in the state of Jagrat (wakeful state). It is in this realm of consciousness, and through this body, that the Vaikhari-vaak is manifested. The Sukshma-sarira, subtle or psychic body, operates in the state of Svapna. It is in this realm of consciousness, and through this body, that the Madhyama-vaak is manifested. The Kaarana-sarira, or causal body, operates in the state of Sushupti, or deep sleep.
It is in this realm of consciousness, and through this body, that the Pashyanti-vaak is manifested. The Para-vaak is manifested through the fourth state of consciousness, known as Turiya. So if it is the knowledge and the sound that rules the consciousness of a person then the diety which rules is, saraswathi so it is imperative to discuss about her.Vag-bijja or Saraswati beeja is “aem”. It is meditated on and chanted at Vagbhava kuta. It is formed from three out of the Sapta matrikas – “a”, “e”, “m”. None of these involve movement of tongue. It is easiest to do this internally, without movement of lips or tongue – at the throat center. So this is the foremost and the best beeja to do, for internalizing japa, develop inward vision.
There are many mudras and bandhas in yoga sastra. There is one bandha applied at the throat center, called jalandhara bandha. This is extremely useful in doing prolonged kumbhaka (phase of pranayama in which we hold the breath). When japa of Vagbija is done along with this, it gives the best results. Eventually this will become anahata, then pasyanti and so on. [The Mother is called jaalandhara sthita, for the same reason. Control over the throat center is a very good step in yoga, mantra as well as laya].
Saraswati is one of the major deities, Vedic as well as non-Vedic. As a Vedic deity, there are multiple aspects of Her:
1. She presides over Vak
2. She is the vast, called Arnava
3. She stands for inspiration – the originator of divine consciousness in man and hence called the Goddess of knowledge.
There are four faculties of divine consciousness – inspiration, intuition, revelation and discrimination represented by Saraswati, Sarama, Ila and Dakshina respectively. Many of these qualities are combined in Saraswati subsequently. In Tantra, Saraswati is worshiped in different forms. One is Neela Saraswati, or Tara Maha Vidya. In that She is Bhava Tarini Herself. Besides, Saraswati beeja is extensively used in all vidya-pradhana mantras like Sangeeta Matangi, Sahitya Matangi, and even other vidyas like Laghu Matangi, Sri Vidya (esp. Bala), Candi Vidya, Ganapati and so on.
In Nava durga/Chandi, She is Kala Ratri – the ruler of infinite world of truth. She rules over Satya loka, the world of Truth consciousness. While the six cakras represent six worlds, the seventh at sahasrara represents three worlds – Satya loka, Kailasa and Vaikuntha. They are ruled by Saraswati, Gauri and Lakshmi respectively. In Nava Chandi, they are called Kala Ratri, Maha Gauri and Siddhi Dhatri. It might appear paradoxical that while She is worshiped as pure and as white in hue, She is also called as Neela Saraswati and Kala Ratri. They are two aspects of Truth – purity and infinity are represented by white and black respectively. And every major deity has both these forms like Saraswati. Vishnu is black, but he has a crystal white form – Hayagriva. Siva is crystal white, but has black forms also. In fact His left half, Devi is black, which stands for both aspects in the same. It is because He represents the absolute and She represents the pervasive form, that He is white and She is black. And since Vishnu is the pervasive form, He is said to be black in general.
While Saraswati, the knowledge-form of Devi, is worshiped as Sarada and Rudra bhagini/sahodari, She is also worshiped in the form of Jnana Prasuna as Parvati, the consort of Siva. It should be understood that human scales and relations are insufficient to represent cosmic and spiritual phenomena. Saraswati and Parvati are not exclusive tatvas and run into each other. Vak is Sakti Herself. At the same time, consort relation can sufficiently explain all the relations. Consort is every thing – offspring, parent, sibling and consort. And thus all the aspects of Devi, are related to Siva.Saraswati, the knowledge-form, is associated with all devatas – because jnana is the ultimate purpose and possession. Saraswati is Rudra bhagini. And She is the face of Brahma, She emerged from and is the consort of Brahma. This is because existence and consciousness are inseparable. And consciousness emerges from existence.
Again, applying human relation and scale fails us here. In the form of Ila Devi, Saraswati is the consort of Krishna/Vishnu too. Saraswati is also a close associate of the Vedic Isvara, Indra. Buddhi, Her aspect, is the consort of Ganapati.