Sankaran Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Mon Feb 28 19:36:01 CST 2000

There was recently a discussion about the manifestation of the supreme in
the dvaMdvas (dualities) of the world. The following is the prayer of the
gods to Vishnu when they were defeated by the demons, which illustrates
the diversity of manifestations of the supreme being. All -- from the
compassionate sages to the cruel demons -- are nothing but manifestations
of the same Vishnu.

[From the translation of the Vishnu Purana by H.H. Wilson]

Book 3, Chapter 17

There was formerly a battle between the gods and demons, for the period of
a divine year, in which the gods were defeated by the demons under the
command of Hrada. The discomfitted deities fled to the northern shore of
the milky ocean, where engaging in religious penance they thus prayed to
Vishnu: "May the first of beings, the divine Vishnu, be pleased with the
words that we are about to address to him, in order to propitiate the lord
of all worlds; from which mighty cause all created things have originated,
and into whom they shall again dissolve! Who is able to declare his
praise? We, who have been put to shame by the triumph of our foes, will
glorify thee, although thy true power and might be not within the reach
of words. Thou art earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, crude matter, and
primeval soul: all this elementary creation, with or without visible form,
is thy body; all from Brahmaa to a stock, diversified by place and time.
Glory to thee, who art Brahmaa, thy first form, evolved from the lotus
springing from the navel, for the purpose of creation. Glory to thee, who
art Indra, the sun, Rudra, the Vasus, Agni and Vayu, and even also
ourselves. Glory to thee, Govinda, who art all demons, whose essence is
arrogance and want of discrimination, unchecked by patience or
self-control. Glory to thee, who art the Yakshas, whose nature is charmed
with sounds, and whose frivolous hearts perfect knowledge cannot pervade.
Glory to thee, who art all fiends, that walk by night, sprung from the
quality of darkness, fierce, which is the instrument of recompensing the
virtues of those who abide in heaven. Glory to thee, who art one with the
saints, whose perfect nature is ever blessed, and traverses unobstructed
all permeable elements. Glory to thee, who art one with the serpent race,
double-tongued, impetuous, cruel, insatiate of enjoyment, and abounding
with wealth. Glory to thee, who art one with the Rishis, whose nature
is free from sin or defect, and is identified with wisdom and tranquility.
Glory to thee, oh lotus-eyed, who art one with time, the form that
devours, without remorse, all created things at the termination of the
Kalpa. Glory to thee, who art Rudra, the being that dances with delight
after he has swallowed up all things, the gods and the rest, without
distinction. Glory to thee, Janarddana, who art man, the agent in
developing the results of that activity which proceeds from the quality of
foulness. Glory to thee, who art brute animals, universal spirit that
tends to perversity, which proceeds from the quality of darkness, and is
encumbered with the twenty-eight kinds of obstruction. Glory to thee, who
art that chief spirit which is diversified in the vegetable world, and
which, as the essence of sacrifice, is the instrument of accomplishing the
perfection of the universe. Glory to thee, who art everything, and whose
primeval form is the objects of perception, and heaven, and animals, and
men, and gods. Glory to thee, who art the cause of causes, the supreme
spirit; who art distinct from us and all beings composed of intelligence
and matter and the like, and with whose primeval nature there is nothing
that can be compared. We bow to thee. O Lord, who hast neither colour, nor
extension, nor bulk, nor any predicable qualities; and whose essence,
purest of the pure, is appreciable only by holy sages. We bow to thee, in
the nature of Brahma, uncreated, undecaying; who art in our bodies, and in
all other bodies, and in all living creatures; and besides whom there is
nothing else. We glorify that Vasudeva, the sovereign lord of all, who is
without soil, the seed of things, exempt from dissolution, unborn,
eternal, being in essence the supreme condition of spirit, and in
substance the whole of this universe."

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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