15.08 .1  DHRUVA-STUTI  P.1

Shloka 1:

 

y'ontaH praviSya mama vAcaM imAm prasuptAM

sanJIvayaty-akhila-Shakti-dharas svadhAmnA /

anyAMSca hasta caraNa-ShravaNa-tvagAdhIn

prANAn-namo bhagavate purushAya tubhyaM //

 

Tr. My Lord, I make my prostrations to You. You are the One who has entered into me as my inner soul making me speak. My speech has been dormant all along. You are the One who makes my ears hear, my hands work, my feet walk, my tactile senses to feel, my life to vibrate - all by your Glory, my Lord, who wields Infinite Power.

The very first verse, hits right on the dot, at the central core of Hindu philosophy, namely, the Immanence of the Absolute. This principle is such a distinguishing feature of Hinduism that it can be said to be the essence of the whole religion. The words 'antaH praviSya' (entered into) go back to the vedic source: (T.U.)

 

tat sRshtvA / tad-evAnu-prAviSat /tad-anu-praviSya / saccatyaccA-bhavat '

 

Having created the world, He entered it; Having entered it, He became the Truth as well as the opposite of it-- . Here the 'entering' has to be understood carefully. It is not as if the world was separate from Him and then He entered it. He is the world and so there is no question of 'entering' it. The 'entering' is an understatement due to paucity of words in the language. This is where words fail, even for the Upanishads, to describe Him and His glories. The commentators emphasize the prefix 'anu' in the word 'anu-praviSya' in the Upanishad and say this is an indication of the characteristic of Immanence (antar-vyApti) of the Lord; it is not a physical 'entering' or a 'becoming' but it is a case of 'being'. The Lord is within us ever from Creation. Incidentally this is the reason why, in Hinduism, man is not basically a sinner but is essentially divine; the sinner in him is his acquired mind. And this is also the reason why, every one is redeemable if only he tunes himself with the Spirit within. And this is also the spiritual and religious reason why, even in secular life we should respect the dignity of Man and give him his due.

This whole universe has Him as its Life-spirit, says the Lord in B.G. VII – 5

 

JIva-bhUtAm mahA-bAho yayedam dhAryate jagat

 

There are two facets of the Spiritual Energy, the Energy of the Lord. One is called the Supreme (parA-) and the other is not-so-supreme (aparA-). The former is the one which gives life to all beings. And the latter is what makes matter what it is. This latter is made up of the five elements, Mind,  Intellect and Ego - these constitute the eight-fold aparA- prakRti as it is technically called. PrakRti, is simply the Cosmic Energy of the Lord. The parA-prakRti is what makes our life tick. The infinitesimal fragment of this parA-prakRti is the life in us. It is what makes this material body and mind have life, it is what rejuvenates our senses, it is what enlivens them, in short, without it there is no life. So Dhruva says: You are the One who are making me speak, you are the one who is making my eyes see and so on. Otherwise; I did not know how and what to talk. You are the one who has given life (sanJIvayati) to my speech and made me give out this poem of praise. All this you are doing by your dhAma, i.e., your own Glory, Your Majesty and Your Will. To such a life-giving principle as you are, I make my prostrations.

And he uses the word namaH as anybody would do in this context. It must be said to the credit of Hinduism that this fact of Divinity being immanent in every living being has been inconspicuously but inextricably interwoven with a daily habit of greeting each other. More so, when one offers worship to the Almighty the word namaH gets added significance because it constantly reminds us that what we possess is not ours, it is all His.  Very compassionately therefore, the T.U. says:

 

taM nama ity-upAsIta / namyante'smai kAmAH //

 

‘If one worships Him with namaH, at his feet do desires prostrate’. This means, desires obey him who worships God with the word namaH. Usually it is the desires that control us and make us their slaves. If only we can find a way of desires listening to us and our discretion, half the battle is won. This is exactly where the Upanishads become most relevant to daily life. Worship Him with namaH, says the Upanishad -- then you will not have to worry about your desires. Strategically, then, this is the Way!

Shloka 2

 

ekas-tvameva bhagavan-nidam Atma-SaktyA

mAyAkhyayoru-guNayA mahad-AdyaSeshaM /

sRshTvA-nuviSya purushas-tadasad-guNeshu

nAneva dArushu vibhAvasuvad-vibhAsi //

 

Tr. You are just one, O Lord, but by your own Power called mAyA Shakti consisting of the three guNas, you have caused the mahat principle and all its successor phenomena. Having thus created and entered all the diverse forms (as their inner Light) you appear as many, even as fire appears as diverse in different logs of burning wood.

mAyA the projecting Power, is the first sprouting from the Lord. In the scientific world we think it is the big bang that was the first event in the cosmic evolution of things. You are not supposed to ask what went on before the big bang. In Vedanta mAyA is the origin of everything including the explicit manifestation of Time (kAla). It is that which projects this universe and hides the Reality. The Reality is called sat. What we see or experience in the form of the universe is (relatively) unreal and so is called asat. The three constituents of mAyA, namely, the three guNas (satva, rajas, and tamas), make up the universe. So the substratum of these unreal objects is the Reality of the Absolute. The Lord through his mAyA has projected the universe and has 'entered' it. It is significant that the vedic word 'anu-viSya' itself is used here signifying the immanence of the Absolute . That is why the entire teaching of the philosophy boils down to the formula: What you see as the universe is, in reality, Brahman, not the universe. Put in a more simplistic way this says: It is God that is everywhere. All religions say that God is everywhere. But the immanence theory of Hinduism says much more, namely, there is nothing but God anywhere. Even when we see the Sun shining, it is not the Sun that is the Agent for the shining, but it is the Almighty that is shining through the physical object called the Sun; (B.G.15-12): ‘That Light which is residing in the Sun and which illumines the whole world, and that which is in the moon and in the fire- know that Light to be Mine’.

 

yadAditya gataM tejo jagad-bhAsayate'khilam /

yac-candramasi yaccAgnau tat-tejo viddhi mAmakaM //

 

One of the standard mantras that is repeated when we wave the lighted arti before the Lord at the end of ritual worship, says in Sv.U.6-14

 

tameva bhAntam anubhAti sarvaM tasya bhAsA sarvam-idam vibhAti

‘Everything owes its existence to His Existence; all that shines shines because of His Light’. The same idea is expressed in the thought that the Self is the Light within and it is because of that Light we see what we see and we feel what we feel. The illuminating analogy for this is a lamp placed within a covered basket (or pot) with several holes in it. The light from within the enclosure of the pot passes through the holes and lights up the outside. We are told by the scriptures that the physical universe that we see is the manifestation of the Light within us, namely the Self. 

The Ultimate Supreme is the only one that gives the sanction for the expression of anything in the world, whether animate or inanimate. By itself the Supreme has no name or form. But since it is immanent in everything, it appears as the diverse objects of the universe. Fire shows itself in various forms, depending on the size and shape of the object which burns. So also the Lord appears now as this and now as that depending on what object we are looking at. cf. Ka.U. : (II - ii - 9)

 

agnir-yathaiko bhuvanaM pratishTo rUpaM rUpaM prati-rUpo babhUva /

ekastathA sarva-bhUtAntarAtmA rUpam rUpaM prati-rUpo bahiSca //

 

Just as fire, though one, having entered the world, assumes separate forms in respect of different shapes, similarly, the Self, inside all beings, though one, assumes a form in respect of each shape; and (yet) it is outside. The Upanishads do not tire in giving analogies.

Shloka 3:

tvad-dattayA vayunayedam acashTa viSvam

supta-prabhuddha iva nAtha bhavat-prapannaH /

tasyApavargya-SaraNaM tava pAda-mUlaM

vismaryate kRta-vidA katham Arta-bandho //

 

Tr. O Lord, O friend of the distressed! You gave the vision to Lord BrahmA who thereby visualised the universe (to be created by Him) as one who woke up from sleep. How can one forget your divine feet which is the sole refuge even for those who are liberated?[

Before we proceed further we need to have a little introduction to the remaining verses. The whole hymn is in praise of Brahman. But Brahman is not describable in words, say the scriptures. In fact they describe it only in negatives, such as: it cannot be indicated, it cannot be related, it cannot be specified by categories, it cannot be delimited by characteristics, and so on. So how do you then glorify the Brahman or describe it in a hymn? And here the Lord Himself is doing it through the mouth of Dhruva. So first Brahman is described in terms of taTastha-lakshaNa, (see 6.2) i.e. in terms of definitions which are only indicative, not specific. In other words, instead of directly pointing out to Brahman which is a tall order, even for the vedas, one looks at the created universe and infers the Almighty behind. Thus verse Nos. 3 to 9 indicate Brahman by dwelling on its creative power rather than its essential nature as It is. The svarUpa-lakshaNa, definition-as-it-is, is taken up in verses 10 and 11. It is interesting to note that, this little boy who is giving out this hymn, has put so much organization into this poem of praise, by separating the two ways in which Brahman is traditionally talked about. Rightly may we conisder the poem as an inspired one coming out of his mouth by the inspiration through the vedas which the divine Conch passed on to him. ‘It was You who gave the divine sight to the Creator Himself to recall how He did the Creation in the previous cycle’. Let us note here that the Hindu theory of Creation and Dissolution is a phenomenon of recurring cycles. (See 3.1 & 7.1) Once Creation starts it is BrahmA's day (known as one kalpa). When everything dissolves in the Infinite Absolute the day-time of BrahmA is over and BrahmA 'sleeps' as it were. The next morning there is another day of manifestation, that is, creation - which will end up in BrahmA's evening by another dissolution. On the beginning of every such day, it is the Lord that has to 'sanctify' BrahmA with the necessary spiritual power to create the universe.

The word 'tvad-dattayA' is therefore significant. It is the Lord that sanctioned the Creator BrahmA the knowledge of the Vedas which are eternal. How does a new-born child get the knowledge and strategy to suck the milk out of the mother's breast? It is a vAsanA from previous births, granted by the Lord. Maybe Science will one day isolate the gene that is responsible for the capability of the child to suck milk. (Probably, it has, already). But even then, is that the end of all questions? Why does that gene have that property? What or Who gave it that property? This kind of questioning will continue for ever in the scientific world. It is only an infinite regression. Ultimately after every finite stage of our knowledge we have to end up with the concept of 'tvad-dattayA' (given by You, Oh Lord). This is a sound illustration of the taTastha-lakshaNa that is being elaborated in these verses. We cannot see Him through ordinary perception but it is He that is the ultimate reservoir and source of everything that we think we know or do. In mathematical terms we may describe the relation between Science with its understanding of the universe on the one hand and God the almighty on the other hand as follows in terms of the two lakshaNas, taTastha-lakshaNa and svarUpa-lakshaNa. The latter is given by the scriptures as satyam-jnAnam-anantam brahma (See 6.2). The former is only an approximation, given by scientific understanding of the universe as of a particular time. It is like summing up an infinite series in mathematics. In Mathematics we know that, for instance,

1 + 1/1 + 1/2 + 1/6 + 1/24 + 1/120 + 1/720 + ... + 1/n! + ... = e

This simply means that the infinite series on the left sums up to a number called 'e'. This latter number is a very important but complicated number. Its value lies between 2 and 3. Its actual value has infinite number of decimal places. Now if you take 10 terms of the above series and actually add them up you will get a number approximately equal to e. If you take 100 terms and sum up again, you will get a better approximation to the same e. Thus the larger the number of terms of the series you take and add up, the better you get an approximation to e. But whatever number of terms you take, even if it be in millions you will never get the actual value of the number e. This is what is happening in the approximation of Science to Spiritual Reality. However forward Science may move in terms of understanding Reality, there will be questions at the end for which you will have to resort to the concept of 'tvad-dattayA'!

Shloka 4

 

nUnaM vimushTa-matayas-tava mAyayA te

ye tvAm bhavApyaya-vimokshaNam-anya-hetoH /

arcanti kalpaka-taruM kuNapopa-bhogyaM

icchanti yat-sparSajaM niraye'pi nRNAM // 

 

Tr. You are the One who can grant the release from birth and death. But if people worship you for other benefits and ask you, who are a wish-fulfilling tree, material pleasures to be experienced by the body, which is itself no better than a corpse, their intelligence has certainly been confounded by mAyA; because the material pleasures can be experienced even in hell.

We are all of crooked intelligence, says this verse. Why? The Lord is a wish-fulfilling tree who can give even the final release from births and deaths. Instead of asking this of the Lord we ask from him all sorts of mundane transitory realities. Remember, Dhruva came to the forest to do penance, to see the Lord and ask of Him how he can get onto the lap of his father - the 'privilege' denied to him by his step-mother. But now, the very Lord that is speaking through him has probably made him forget that mundane triviality.

The most significant word in this verse is bhavApyaya-vimokshaNaM, meaning 'the release from birth (bhava) and death (apyaya)'. On the face of it this means the release from the transmigratory cycle. But it means more. It means release from three bondages which cause this transmigratory whirl. They are kartRtvaM (the feeling that I am the doer), bhoktRtvaM (the feeling that I am the experiencer) and ajnAnaM (Ignorance of the Reality). The first one is the series of thoughts like: I did this, therefore I am meritorious; I did that, therefore I am sinful. The second one is the series of thoughts like: I am happy; I am sorrowful. These two feelings of agency as the doer and agency as the experiencer are caused by a further root cause, namely Ignorance. This Ignorance is that of not knowing the Self as different from the BMI. It superimposes the things that pertain to the BMI on the Self behind. The Release that is talked about in the verse is the release from these three basic causes of samsAra. The fact that we are of such crooked intelligence is itself due to the play of mAyA. Otherwise why did Man eat the apple in the Garden of Eden? Recall the Lord’s saying “By the delusion of pairs of opposites arising from desire and aversion, all beings are subject to delusion at birth” - B.G. 7–27

 

              icchA-dvesha-samutthena dvandva-mohena bhArata /

              sarva-bhUtAni sam-mohaM sarge yAnti param-tapa //

 

The three bondages mentioned above constitute a vicious cycle that is exactly the doing of the mAyA. The latter is nothing but prakRti working in the presence of the Lord. cf. Gita: 9 - 10:

 

mayA-dhyaksheNa prakRtiH sUyate sa-carAcaraM

 

‘In My supervision and control, prakRti produces the moving and unmoving world’.

 

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