We have come across various adjectives, phrases, poems, songs, paintings and every other form of art to describe beauty of a woman. I had heard this phrase “Tripura sundari” and thought it is just another such poetic phrase. But yesterday I heard the concept of tripura and immediately thought of tripura sundari. After reading this article there is good chance you will describe the next beautiful woman you meet as tripura sundari.
Let’s first start from prakruti(~nature). It is the place we share with all the other lives. It is common to all of us and prakruti has no favorites. She loves everyone equally. There is no hero or villain, there is no good or bad, there are only prays and predators. In prakruti it is about only about survival in the most meritocratic way.
Then there is samskruti(~culture). It is what we share with others in our society. Here the man-made concepts exist. Here there are concepts that makes one set of people feel proud, secure etc. These concepts are made from our imagination. So we create good and bad, rights and wrongs, victims and saviors.
Finally there is brahmand(~??). It is created by brahmas(~individuals) for themselves. So indeed “Aham brahmasmi(~ I am brahma or god)” is literally true. It is the world we create in our mind. This is not shared with anyone. Thus there are as many brahmand as many people on this planet. Here we create images for ourselves and others. Here the heroes as defined by the samskruti can be villains and vice-versa.
This is the reason why we interact with strangers at three different levels. First we only share the prakruti with them so we are not comfortable. Our animal instincts come out first trying to gauge if the other person is prey or predator. Then we will see some samskruti in him so we can feel either comfortable when we share it or even more dis-comfortable when we don’t share samskruti. So we move on to find any samskruti that is common to both. Now we share some more in common because we have now identified the samskrutis that are common. It can be nationality, language, profession, race, religion anything. Sometimes (for example sales people) we don’t have time to find these samskrutis and brahmands collide in first go. These interactions are the most difficult at an individual level to handle. Even though we can’t share brahmand we try to understand the other’s brahmand and include its model in our own.
So who is a tripura sundari? Tripura sundari(~beautiful woman) is a woman who is sundari in tripura, tripura being a collective noun for prakruti, samskruti and brahmand. It is easy to understand someone being sundari in brahmand after all it is just individual taste. It is quite easy to call someone sundari in samskruti as well. We know that Europeans call the long legs, Indians the long hair and some east Asians the small feet etc as beautiful. But a sundari in prakruti? Where all are equal and the fittest survive, where a pleasant smelling flower isn’t attractive and a foul-smelling one isn’t repulsive.
Yes that is the artistic freedom in calling someone sundari in prakruti! That is art! So go ahead call the crush of your life as tripura sundari in person not just in comments below.