[Advaita-l] vedastuti part 7

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Oct 10 00:53:38 CDT 2008

Now that navaratri/vijayadashami is over I have time once again to resume 
the vedastuti series.

Before I continue with new shlokas, let me add one footnote from verse 21 
which I forgot.

"...Instead they prefer to leave their homes and live as swans[3] amongst the 
lotuses of Your feet."

[3] This metaphor deliberately evokes the two highest grades of sannyAsi 
according to the shAstras, haMsa and paramahaMsa.  According to the 
jIvanamuktiviveka of swAmi vidyAraNya, these are the types of sannyasa 
practised by the one who does not seek brAhman but as already realized it 
in this life i.e. the jIvanamukta.

tvadanupathaM kulAyamidamAtmsuhR^itpriyavachcharati tathonmukhe tvayi hite priya AtmAni cha |
na bata ramantyaho asadupAsanayAtmahano yadanushayA bhramantyurubhaye kusharIrabhR^itaH || 22 ||

"Bhagavan, this body created by You and is most useful in serving You.  But 
through false identification with self[1], friends, and lovers, it has 
become seperated from You.  Even though You love them, care for them 
and only wish for their welfare, people do not attend to you[2].  Dazzled 
by the unreal, they plummet from death to death in fear[3]."

[1] i.e. ahaMkAra (ego.)

[2] The essence of bhakti is that one should always have ones mind on 
Bhagavan.  The highest bhaktas are pure in their single-minded devotion 
but even the worldly man can dedicate his daily activities to Bhagavan.

[3] saMsAra the cycle of births and deaths, is propelled by the notion 
that ones limited ego is the true self.  Actions are motivated by the fear 
that the self will become extinct but ironically this is what causes them 
to experience death over and over again.

nibhR^itamarunmanokshadaDhayogayujo hR^idi yanmunaya upAsate tadarayo.api yayuH smaraNAt |
striya uragendrabhogabhujadaMDaviShaktadhiyo vayamapi te samAH samadashoM.ghrisarojasudhAH || 23 ||

"That which the sages in control of breath, mind, and senses meditate upon 
in the heart[1], is also attained by the hate-obsessed enemies[2].  The 
women who are lovesick in adoration of Your python-like arms[3] will also 
attain your lotuslike feet and we[4] too will reach the same goal."

[1] In verse 18 was described the daharavidyA, the Vedic meditation on 
brahman located in the space in the heart.

[2] This is strange isn't it?  How can hatred of bhagavan be equal to love 
of Him?  rAvaNa, kaMsa and hiranyakashipu are examples of people so 
consumed in hatred of bhagavAn they couldn't stop thinking about Him.  So 
in a roundabout way they were meditating on Him albeit negatively. 
So is this carte blanche to become an atheist if it ends up having the 
same results as being a bhakta?  Well if you cannot stop thinking about 
God, then "atheist" is just an empty label isn't it?

[3] This is a reference to the gopIs whose love for bhagavAn is of an 
erotic sort.  Again it may be puzzling especially with all the talk of 
sannyAsa and vairAgya we have heard.  But we should not confuse this love 
with the sentiments of average libertines.  The love of the gopIs was 
all-consuming and totally directed at bhagavAn, paying no heed to the 
gratification of their own senses.  Thus it had a spiritual effect that 
run of the mill lust does not.

The message this verse gives is that all the emotions can lead to bhagavAn 
if they are directed away from ones own self and single-mindedly focused 
on Him alone.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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