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Lakshmidhara – Sanskrit Scholar And Commentator – 14th century CE

Lakshmidhara of Andhra Pradesh was a Sanskrit scholar and commentator of the 14th century CE. He is well known for his commentary on Saundarya Lahari (Waves of Beauty), a poem on the Divine Mother Goddess in Hinduism, by Adi Shankaracharya.

Lakshmidhara belonged to the Lolla family. His parents were Parvati and Visvanatha Bhattarka. He mentions Gajapati Virarudra (Prataparudra) as his patron.

In his commentary, Lakshmidhara catalogues the literary contributions of his forebears up to seven generations. His father was a noted scholar.

Lakshmidhara was well versed in philosophy. It may be inferred from his references that he was proficient in tantric (esoteric) literature. He is said to have secured the grace of Bhramarambika (a manifestation of the Divine Mother Goddess Shakti). In addition to the commentary on the work of Adi Shankracharya, he has commented on another tantric word, Subhagodaya.

The commentary on Saundarya Lahari reveals the vast erudition of the author. He does not hold the traditional view that Shastras (knowledge texts) are to be learned only from a preceptor. Commenting on the verse Shiva Kamah, which explains the Sri Vidya Mantra (an esoteric sacred formula) in sixteen digits, he states that those who peruse his work are his disciples, and blesses them. He explains the formation of the Sri Chakra (mystic diagram) elsewhere. The poetic beauty of each verse, along with the literary embellishments therein, is described by him.

Lakshmidhara mentions that he has written works on a variety of topics such as Sarasvati Vilasa (poetics), Nyaya Vivekabhushana (a philosophical tract), Mahanibandhana (commentary on Manu’s work), and Karnavatamsa (poem). However, the commentary on Saundarya Lahari is regarded as his magnum opus.