msr at COMCO.COM
Tue Dec 8 16:35:54 CST 1998
The word ha.nsa is derived from the root 'han.h' which
means 'to go'. 'han.ti' means that which goes. So, the
meaning of ha.nsa can be 'praaNa' or vital air or Sun;
ha.nsagati means the incoming and outgoing movement of
praaNa. Hence it means, SHE has the form of the
ajapaamantra. It is said that "hakaareNa bahiryaati
sakaareNa punarvishet.h" which means that "The breath goes
out with hakaara and re-enters with sakaara". SHE is the
deity of that ma.ntra.
Or ha.nsa may also mean Sun. Since he has the form of time
consisting of day and night; SHE possesses the movements of
sun and moon and SHE is the deity of the sun or ha.nsa.
Or ha.nsa can be interpreted as jIva, i.e., one who goes
'ha.nti' from one body ot another, according to his previous
deeds; 'gati' means goal and SHE is the goal of jiiva
because SHE is liberation. According to taittirIya
upaniShad 2.1, " brahmavit.h Apnoti param.h" which means
"One who knows brahman attains the ultimate. "yadgatvA na
nivartante", having attained which there is no return.
(bhagavad gIta 15.6).
Or ha.nsa means parameshvara because He enters His own
creation the jagat.h; "ha.nsatu paramesvara" (nR^isimha
tApanI upaniShad). "chaturvidhaa bhaja.nte mAm.h janaH
sukR^itino arjunA Arto jij~naasurarthArthii j~nAnI cha
bharatarShabha" Since SHE is to be attained by the four
kinds of devotees as their refuge, SHE is their gati.
For the compound word "ha.nsa-gati", can means SHE is both
ha.nsa and gati. SHE is paramaatman.h in the form of suurya
in the sky. "ha.nsa shuchiShat.h" means han.sa who is pure
(KaTha Upanishad 5.2).
Or ha.nsa is swan, the vehicle or brahma and gati means
movement - SHE moves gracefully like the swan.
Or "ha.nsa" might be closely related to the foot ornament
called "ha.nsaka" and SHE has HER lotus feet adorned with
ornaments called "ha.nsakaaH".
Or ha.nsa means one who goes from village to village and
house to house i.e., parivraajaka, who are capable of
discriminating between the eternal and the transient, the
essential and non-essential, and the inert and the sentient.
They are without desire and belong to the fourth stage of
the hindu scheme of life. SHE is their gati or goal -
because SHE is to be realized by them. "sa.nnyasa
yogaadhyatayaH shuddha sarttvaaH" By the practice of
renunciation, yatii-s are pure sattva (munDaka upaniShad
"ye puurvadevaa R^iShayashca tadviduste tanmayo amR^itaavai
babhUvuH" Those seers and gods who had in the past knew
brahman, became immortal and one with brahman (shruti).
So, SHE has the form of the ultimate bliss of liberation,
and experienced by those great men who are liberated while
AUM ha.nsagatyai namaH
>From a translation of shankara bhAShyam of lalitAtrishatI
"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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