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

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at YAHOO.COM
Tue Nov 26 06:40:56 CST 2002

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


Sloka No. 10 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 94 - 4):
tval-lokAd-anya-lokaH kvanu bhaya-rahito yat-parArdha-dvayAnte
tvad-bhItas-satyaloke’pi na sukha-vasatiH padmabhUH padma-nAbha/
evaM bhAvepy-adharmArjita-bahu-tamasAm kA kathA nArkANAM
tan-me tvaM cchindhi bandhaM varada kr^ipaNa-bandho
kr^ipA-pUra-sindho //

Tr.  There is no sphere other than Thy transcendent state of
Vaikuntha that is free from the fear of death and downfall. Even
satya-loka (the world of the highest level of divine existences,
where the creator Brahma lives), Oh Lotus-navelled One, is not
found to be a secure and happy place by the Lotus-born Brahma at
the end of two parArdhas (that being the life-span of a Brahma).
What then to speak of those who, in consequence of their
unrighteous deeds, have incurred numerous sins and reside in
hells. Therefore Oh Giver of boons!  Friend of the Lowly!  Ocean
of Mercy! Deign to cut off all my attachments to worldly life.

Comment. Recall:  Certain is death for the born (‘jAtasya hi
dhruvo mR^ityuH’)  (Gita II – 27).  Even Brahma, though the
first-born, is born and the end awaits him. What begins has to
end. Every movement of the Sun across the sky implies the
passing away of our lives. This continual reduction in the
remaining part of our lives is something that the scriptures are
never tired of pointing out, because even after all this, we
tend to forget this especially in crucial moments of
self-consciousness, anger, jealousy, passion or disappointment.

Sloka No. 11 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 99 - 10):
avyaktaM te svarUpaM duradhigama-tamaM tattu shuddhaika-satvaM
vyaktaM cApy-etad-eva sphuTam-amR^ita-rasAmbhodhi-kallola-tulyaM/
sarv-otkR^iShTAm-abhIShTAM tad-iha guNa-rasen-aiva cittaM
mUrtiM te samshraye’haM pavanapura-pate pAhi mAM kR^iShNa rogAt//

Tr. Thy nature as Absolute Being is not manifest to the senses
or the intellect. It is therefore difficult to grasp or attain.
But Thy Being manifest in shuddha-satva (spiritual purity) as
Krishna is like the wavy surface of the ocean of Blissful
Spirit, definite, clear and easy to grasp. Therefore I resort to
the worship of this form of Thine which is superior to anything
manifested and which is lovable and enchanting by its sweet
beauty and other blessed attributes. Oh Krishna,  Resident of
Guruvayoor! Deign to free me from my ailments.

Comment. This is the explanation why followers of advaita have
no reservation about the  worship of the saguNa form of God
while striving to comprehend  the nirguNa concept of Godhead.
Bhattatiri, through this sloka, sets at nought all the nagging
dilemmas of a doubting  advaitin, in regard to worship of the
Formful.  The real Nature of the Absolute Godhead is
‘duradhigama-tamaM’, that is, to reach out to it is most
difficult, almost impossible. Recall, Gita Ch.XII – 5:  Greater
is the trouble of those whose minds are set on the manifest; for
the goal, the unmanifest, is very hard for the embodied to
klesho’dhikatarasteShAM avyaktA-sakta-cetasAM /
avyaktA hi gatir-dukhaM dehavadbhir-avApyate //

The philosophy of advaita has two facets. One is the
'kevala-advaitam' and the other is 'bheda-abheda-advaitam'.  The
former one will not even talk of any attribute-ful form,  as a
possibility in the absolute sense. In other words, even Ishvara
belongs to a lower reality than the Absolute. And because,
everything other than the Absolute is non-real, Ishvara has to
be  non-real.
But the bheda-abheda-advaitam  says that the wavy surface of the
ocean even though it appears as if it can be distinguished from
the ocean, IS the ocean. There is no distinction between them.
If we have to make a distinction between them that distinction
is one ‘without a difference’. In other words, bheda
(difference, distinction) appears ‘without a real difference’.
God is the highest being in devotional thought and He must
therefore be Absolute also, even as the wavy surface and the
ocean are one and the same in spite of the apparent difference.
Bhattatiri’s advaitic leanings are in this category.

Sloka No. 12 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 2 - 1):
sUrya-spardhi kirITam-Urdhva-tilaka-prodbhAsi-phAlAntaraM
kAruNyAkula netram-Ardra-hasitol-lAsaM sunAsApuTaM /
gaNDOdyan-makarAbha-kuNDala-yugaM kaNToj-jvalat-kaustubhaM
tvadrUpaM vanamAlya-hAra-patala-shrIvatsa-dIpraM bhaje //

I adore the form of the Lord with head crowned with a diadem
that rivals the brilliance of the sun; with forehead whose
beauty is enhanced by the upright sandal paste mark; with eyes
wetted by mercy; with face lit up by a benevolent smile; with
nose well-proportioned and attractive; with ears adorned with
fish-marked pendants that add lustre to the cheeks by their
reflection; with neck wearing the luminous jewel Kaustubha; and
with chest resplendent with a variety of decorations like the
wreath of flowers from the wilderness, lines of pearl necklaces
and the auspicious mark called Srivatsa.

Comment. Here is the first of two slokas (this and the next)
which are very suitable subjects for meditation.  When the boy
Dhruva (five years old) goes to the forest for doing penance and
getting to see the Lord, the sage Narada accosts him, tries to
dissuade him from the tortuous task of a penance in the solitary
world of the forest, but finally finds him determined; and at
that point he unfolds to the boy how he should meditate and on
what form. The description that Narada gives to the boy is
famous in the Bhagavatam for the charming visualization (of the
inaccessible Personality of Godhead)  that it gives for
meditation. Bhattatiri here goes one step further, by lyrically
immortalising the beauty of form that one can see by going and
having darshan at Guruvayoor.  It is to this attractive form
that Arjuna wanted the Lord to return, when he was overwhelmed,
and frightened, by the cosmic vision which he had the rare
opportunity to witness:  ‘I desire to see thee as before, Oh
Lord, crowned, bearing a mace, with the discus in hand, in thy
former form only, having four arms , Oh thousand-armed cosmic
form’ (Gita Ch.XI 46):
kirITinaM gadinaM cakra-hastaM
icchAmi tvAm draShTum-ahaM tathaiva /
tenaiva rUpeNa catur-bhujena
sahasra-bAho bhava vishva-mUrte //

 (To be continued)
praNAms to all seekers of spirituality

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