Advaita Bhakti through Contemplative Practice of Narayaniyam (ABCPN - 0)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at YAHOO.COM
Tue Nov 19 07:22:55 CST 2002


(Note: Please read the Introduction  (ABCPN – 0)
 if you have not already read it)

Sloka No. 1 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 100 – 10)

yogIndrANAM tvad-angeSh-vadhika-su-madhuraM mukti-bhAjAM nivAso
bhaktAnAm kAma-varSha-dyu-taru-kisalayaM nAtha te pAda-mUlaM /
nityaM citta-sthitaM me pavana-pura-pate kR^iShNa-kAruNya-sindho
hR^itvA nissheSha-tApAn pradishatu paramAnanda-sandoha-lakshmIM //

Tr. Oh Lord! To the great yogins, Thy feet are the most beloved of all Thy
limbs. They form the abode for the emancipated ones. For the devotees they
are like the celestial tree which yields them all their wants. Oh Lord of
Guruvayoor! Oh Krishna! Oh Ocean of Mercy! May those feet of Thine ever
rest in my heart, destroy all my sufferings and bestow on me the treasure
of Supreme Bliss!

Comment. The first ten of this series of 36 slokas constitute a variety of
different prayers to the Absolute Lord Krishna. These prayers are intended
to help us embark on the divine path to Realisation.  This first one
offers prostrations to the lotus feet of the Lord. Quite fittingly we are
asking for the Lord’s Grace to descend on us by figuratively asking for
the Lord’s feet to rest in our heart. Here the heart is the spiritual
heart. The spark of the Absolute is already there, whether we recognise it
or not. whether we want to admit it or not.  By requesting God to have his
feet rest in our heart we are only praying that His omnipresence there may
be ‘felt’ by us.

Sloka No.2. (Ref. nAryaNIyaM: 92 – 9)

gangA gItA ca gAyatry-api ca tulasikA gopikA-candanaM tat
sAlagrAmAbhi-pUjA para-puruSha tathaikAdashI-nAma-varNAH /
etAny-aShTApy-ayatnAny-api kali-samaye tvat-prasAda-prasiddhyA
mAM sajjayethAH //

Tr.:  Oh Supreme Lord! there are just eight items, namely, Ganga, Gita,
Gayatri, Tulasi leaves, sandal paste, the worship of sAlagrAmaM, (the fast
on the day of) Ekadasi, and Divine names. These eight, declare the sages,
are the easy and quick means of salvation, in this age of kali-yuga, as
they secure Thy abounding grace. May I be intensely devoted to them all!

Comment:  This asks for karma-yoga with the stamp of bhakti. There is a
folk-lore sloka which says:
gangA gItA ca gAyatrI govindeti catuShTayaM /
catur-gakAra-samyukte punar-janma na vidyate //

Meaning, ‘when the four that begin with the consonant ‘ga’ are integrally
present, the four being gangA (the river Ganges), gItA, gAyatrI and
govinda (standing for God’s name) – then there is no rebirth’.
Bhattatiri  adds to these four, another four.
In the orthodox traditions initiated by Adi Sankara, five main divinities
are worshipped through a sophisticated ritual called pancAyatana-pUjA,
meaning, worship at five altars. Here the divinities are worshipped not in
their human-like forms but in certain symbols in the form of stones, which
are nothing but certain rock formations available in specified locations
in India. The Sun-God, sUrya, is taken as inherent in certain crystals
normally found in Vallam in Tamilnadu. The Mother Goddess, shakti, is
represented by the svarNamukhi stone found in the bed of the river of that
name in the Andhra region of South India. VishNu is worshipped in the
sAlagrAma (mentioned in Bhattatiri’s verse) stone that can be had in
plenty on the bed of the river Ghantaki in the Himalayas. Ganesa is the
red shonabhadra stone found on the bed of the river Sone flowing into the
Ganges. Finally shiva is the bANa-linga found in the Omkarakunda of the
river Narmada, near the island of Mandhata. The pancAyatana pUja tradition
may be taken as an intermediate stage between the worship of Godhead with
form and the worship of the formless, because the symbols of worship as
rock formations have certainly a form but they are also formless in that
they have no parts like face, eyes, body, hands and feet. It is as though
the devotee trains himself to take the mind from the formful to the
formless while at the same time allowing full scope for one’s devotional
feelings. Also note that in the Vaishnava tradition, the emphasis is on
the sAlagrAma to such an extent that the other four of the pancAyatana
tradition are mostly omitted.

Sloka No.3: (Ref. nAryaNIyaM: 94 - 10)

aikyaM te dAna-homa-vrata-niyama-tapas-sAnkhya-yogair-durApaM
tvat-sangenaiva gopyaH kila sukR^iti-tamAH prApurAnanda-sAndraM /
bhakteSh-vanyeShu bhUas-svapi bahumanuShe bhaktim-eva tv am-AsAM
tan-me tvad-bhaktim-eva dR^iDaya hara gadAn kR^iShNa vAtAlayesha //

Tr.: That state of supremely blissful union with Thee, which is difficult
to obtain through (disciplines like) charity, (ritual) sacrifices,
observance of vows, self-control, austerities, knowledge (sAnkhya), and
yoga, was attained by the blessed gopikas (cowherdesses) of Brindavan,
through just personal attachment to Thee as their own beloved. Numerous
are Thy other devotees, but it is this loving personal devotion of the
gopikas that has received Thy highest appreciation. Therefore Oh Krishna,
Oh Lord of Guruvayoor, May Thou strengthen devotion in me and destroy my

Comment. This underscores the importance of personal involvement with the
Lord in intimate terms, from the heart of hearts. All the formalities of
our religious observances pale into insignificance before such a personal
relationship with God. So whatever we may do, we must strive to see that
this innate feeling of love for the Lord is the undercurrent. This is the
only thing He asks from us. More than intellectual understanding of the
various nuances of scriptures and philosophy, what He expects from us is
this self-negating love for Him and all that stands for Him, namely, the
universe.  One may recall here Gita Ch.IX – 34:
manmanA bhava madbhakto madyAjI mAM namaskuru /
mAmevaiShyasi yuktvaivaM AtmAnaM mat-parAyaNaH //
meaning, Saturate your mind with me; be devoted to me; work for me; bow
down to me; having thus united your whole self with me, taking me as the
supreme goal, you shall come unto me. This self-negating love has been
defined by Narada in his bhakti-sutra, as follows.
guNa-rahitaM kAmanA-rahitaM pratikShaaNa-vardhamAnaM avicchinnaM sUkShma-
taram anubhavarUpaM.
Meaning, (This pure love is) without attributes, without the poison of
desire, every moment increasing, unbroken, subtlest, and of the nature of
sheer immediate experience.

(To be continued)
praNAms to all seekers of spirituality

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