Advaita Bhakti thro. Contemplative Practice of Narayaniyam (ABCPN - 5)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at YAHOO.COM
Thu Nov 28 09:39:14 CST 2002

This entire series is a reposting of postings done on the advaitin list

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


Sloka No. 13 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 2 - 2):

shrImad-bAhu-catuShka-sangata-gadA-shankAri-pankeruhAM  /
Alambe vimal-Ambuja-dyuti-padAM mUrtiM tav-ARticchidaM //

Tr. I take refuge in Thy ineffable form glowing as it does with ornaments
like keyUra (bracelet on the upper arm), angada (armlet) and kankana
(bangle) and finger-rings of precious jewels; with four sacred arms
holding in them the mace, the conch, discus and the lotus; with waist
wrapped in yellow silk fastened by a golden waist band; and with feet that
resemble exquisite lotuses and remove the woes of the devotees.

Comment. Those who believe only in the attributeless Absolute might have
problems in visualizing divine forms as described in these two stanzas
(Nos.12 and 13); but it must be said to the credit of the bhakti movement
in India from the 7th century onwards, that it is this personalized
intimacy with the Lord that has shown thousands of devotees the path of
spirituality and led them thereon to the ultimate path of jnAna.  And this
proves Bhattatiri’s point made in Sloka No.11 of this selection.

Sloka No. 14 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 2 - 3):

yat-trailokya-mahIyaso’pi mahitaM sammohanaM mohanAt
kAntaM kAnti-nidhAnato’pi madhuraM mAdhurya-dhuryAd-api /
soundary-ottarato’pi sundara-taraM tvad-rUpam-Ashcaryato-
‘py-AshcaryaM bhuvane na kasya kutukaM puShNAti viShNo vibho //

Oh All-pervading Being! Who is there in all the universe that will not be
entranced by this Thy surprisingly wonderful Form, which is superior in
excellences to all objects considered great in the three worlds;  which is
more charming than the most charming of entities; whose splendour
outshines every form of brilliance; and whose sweetness and beauty would
put to shame all other objects that are noted for such qualities.

Comment: The emotional heights to which this and the earlier verses may be
associated with, cannot be dismissed as myths created by poet. It would be
as foolish as saying that the Himalayas or the Ganges have been formed by
spade work by some groups of men. The cumulative devotional impact on the
human consciousness that these verses and the descriptions can and do
create should not be missed for the growth of spirituality. To indulge in
hair-splitting criticism of their methodology or relevance would only be
missing  the wood for the trees.

Sloka No. 15 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 98 - 1):

yasmin-netad-vibhAtaM yata idam-abhavad-yena cedaM ya eta-
dyo’smAduttIrNa-rUpaH khalu sakalam-idaM bhAsitaM yasya bhAsA /
yo vAcAM dUra-dUre punar-api manasA yasya devA munIndrA
no vidyus-tattva-rUpaM kimu punar-apare kr^iShNa tasmai namaste //

Tr. Oh Krishna, to Him my salutations, who is the substratum on which this
world of manifestation appears; who is the root cause of it; into whom it
dissolves; who manifests as all the world but none-the-less transcends
them all and forms the Light of Consciousness by which, and to which, they
are revealed; who is far beyond the scope of exact descriptions by words
and conception of mind; whose true nature neither the devas nor the sages
have known, not to speak of others;  to Him, Krishna, my salutations.

Comment. It is legitimate to ask for a quick list  (and many have so
asked) of all the attributes of the Ultimate God or Godhead in Hinduism.
Here is an answer in this sloka. (Also see sloka 17 below). But, as the
author himself acknowledges, the true nature of God cannot be fathomed by
any one. The Lord Himself says: There is no end to their detailed
description (Gita Ch. X – 19): ‘nAstyanto vistarasya me’. In trying to
depict the undepictable, one uses words but the Vedas themselves
say ‘Words recede from (describing) It’ (‘yato vAco nivartante’ –
Taittiriyopanishad). So Bhattatiri also says: ‘yo vAcAM dUra-dUre’, that
is, ‘It is far beyond the scope of words’.
To describe the undescribable,  you cannot but borrow ideas and even words
from the Upanishads. The words ‘sakalam-idam bhAsitaM yasya bhAsA’ of the
second line reminds one of the famous line from Mundaka Upanishad II – 2 –
10: ‘Through Him all of them shine, and through His expression, everything
is expressed’  :
‘tameva bhAntaM anubhAti sarvaM tasya bhAsA sarvam-idaM vibhAti’.

(To be continued)
praNAms to all seekers of spirituality

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