15.08.2 DHRUVA-STUTI P.2
yA nirvRtis-tanu-bhRtAM tava pAda-padma-
dhyAnAd-bhavajjana-kathASravaNena vA syAt /
sA brahmaNi sva-mahimanyapi nAtha mA bhUt
kiM tvantakAsi lulitAt-patatAM vimAnAt //
What bliss one gains by meditating on your lotus feet or by listening to the stories of your devotees, that bliss is not obtainable even in the experience of Brahman; what to speak of those who are catapulting down the abyss caused by the eternal sword of Time?
So far the Lord has been indicated by His taTastha-lakshaNa. Before we go to the svarUpa-lakshaNa in the 10th verse, the hymn swings the thought process to bhakti - which is the only path to understand Him as He is and what He is. cf. B.G.18- 55:
bhaktyA mAm abhijAnAti yAvAn-yaScAsmi tatvataH
‘By Devotion one understands Me as to What I am and Who I am’. This verse is one of the earliest authorities, in terms of the cosmic chronology of events, for the concept of bhakti as the most ideal path to moksha. It extols bhakti over and above even the so-called experience of the Absolute State of enlightenment, denoted by the glorious name of brahma-anubhavaM. The Bliss that arises from that transcendental state is spoken of as the Infinite Bliss in all scriptures and by all great seers. Here Dhruva says even that pales into insignificance before the bliss that one enjoys in the three major activities of devotion, namely, Meditation of His form in the mind, Singing by the mouth in praise of His Glories, and Bowing by the body to Him in obeisance. cf. V.S. - preliminary verses: --
meditating, praising and bowing.
The mind that attaches to God automatically liberates. The thesis here is that such a mind is already in the experience of transcendental bliss, it need not therefore wait for the so-called mukti.
bhaktiM muhuH pravahatAM tvayi me prasango
bhUyAd-ananta-mahatAM amalASayAnAM /
neshye bhavad-guNa-kathAmRta-pAna-mattaH //
May my association be with those noble souls whose minds are pure and in whom bhakti is overflowing incessantly. By that very association I will easily cross dangerous and sorrowful ocean of samsAra, intoxicated as I will be with the nectar of the stories of Your Glory.
This sets up the tradition of sat-sangh, the association with noble souls. In all of Hindu religious literature (and there is no reason to suppose it is otherwise in other religious literature) the value of such association is never superseded by any other religious value. It is the only force which inexorably produces the attachment to the divine. The very strange and powerfully distracting (ulbaNam) abyss of samsAra can be crossed very easily (anjasA) by the spiritualising effect of sharing of the Lord's stories and exploits with like-minded souls of devotion. Every one of their activities, consciously done or unconsciously, is an eloquent expression of the surge of divine love and proclaim it to the whole world. They are like the neem tree which purifies the very air we breathe. That is why Narada confidently says, (N.B.S.68): Conversing with one another with choking voice, tearful eyes, and horripilation, they purify not only their families but the land which gave birth to them.
te na smarantyatitarAM priyamISa martyaM
ye cAnvadas-suta-suhRd-gRha-vitta-dArAH /
saugandhya-lubdha-hRdayeshu kRta-prasangAH //
Oh Padmanabha! They do not get involved in the memory of either their mortal body, or its necessary accessories as kith and kin, friend and foe, property, money and spouse; because they are already immersed in the association with noble souls whose minds are lost in the fragrance of Your divine feet.
This verse characterises divine love, also called Spiritual Love. The finest example of this was that of the gopis to Lord Krishna. cf. X-30-43 (see 7.7 ). As is also noted there, the Gita praises this kind of spiritual Love as the Acme of bhakti. It refers to this as total involvement and complete commitment to the Divine, in B.G.5–17.
It would be quite appropriate here to recall the classic instance from the Ramayana where Sita, left alone as Ravana's captive in the Asoka grove, is counting days in the expectation that Her Lord would one day come and redeem her. This is how Hanuman who, having located her from his hiding place on the trees, describes her state of spiritual yearning for the One Spiritual absolute, Rama. (Valmiki Ramayana.: 5-16-25)
martyAdibhiH paricitaM sad-asad-viSeshaM /
rUpaM sthavishTaM aja te mahad-AdyanekaM
nAtaH paraM parama vedmi na yatra vAdaH
Tr. Oh Ultimate One! The Birthless One! I know only this magnificent material form of Yours which has causes like mahat and the like, which is full of gross and subtle elements and which is constituted by the world of animals, mountains, trees, birds, reptiles, gods, demons and humans. I do not know that which transcends all words, (that which is behind all these)
Dhruva comes back to the taTastha-lakshaNa but now refers to the Transcendence aspect of the Lord. Verses 1 and 2 emphasized the Immanence aspect, verse 3 started the taTastha-lakshaNa, verses 4 to 7 were overcome with the bhakti aspect which that taTastha-lakshaNa prompted and he now continues the taTastha-lakshaNa. And in recalling the transcendence aspect of the Lord he points to the dizzy heights of philosophy in the same way one points to the Transcendental Absolute by the indicative character of the taTastha-lakshaNa. He says in so many words; I see You in the universe but I don't see You as something that transcends the universe. In saying this he is echoing the sentiments expressed in the famous nAsadIya-sUkta of Rgveda. We quote below
ko addhA veda ka iha pravocat / kuta AjAtA kuta iyam visRshTiH //
arvAg devA asya visarjane na / athA ko veda yata AbabhUva //
iyam visRshTir-yata AbabhUva / yadi vAdadhe yadi vA na //
yo asyA-dhyakshaH parame vyoman / so anga veda yadi vA na veda //
from the corresponding portion of the Yajurveda, where there is almost a repetition of the nAsadIya-sUkta: Who verily knows and who can declare it? Whence it was born, and whence this manifold creation sprang? The lower gods who came later into being would not know. Does the Creator, from whom everything came, know? Does He know whether it was His will or not that formed it? The topmost Seer that is in highest heaven, He verily knows it -- or perchance He knows not.
So Dhruva says: This entire universe, animate and inanimate, the gross as well as the subtle is pervaded by you, but You are said to transcend everything. You are said to be beyond words. Of the five elements, Earth, Water and fire can be visually seen - these constitute the sat; Air and Space cannot be visually seen - these constitute the asat. The entire universe is made up of the sat and the asat. But You are beyond both. Also sat represents the concrete effect, namely the Space and the other elements. And asat represents the subtle Cause behind, like the Unmanifest. You transcend both. Thus You are beyond Cause and Effect. You are not comprehensible by words. You cannot be delimited by finite expressions. Such a one as You are is beyond me. What I see is what I know.
Dhruva is only giving expression to the classical Rgvedic thought - namely, the relationship between the universe and God, that is, the question whether originally there was Existence (sat) or non-Existence (asat), is undecidable (anirvacanIyaM) because, (PanchadaSI: 6-128)
yukti-dRshTyA-tvanirvAcyaM nAsadAsIditi SruteH /
nAsadAsIt vibhAtatvAt nosadAsIcca-bAdhanAt //
By human logic it is undecidable. The nAsadIya sUkta also says so. Originally it could not have been non-existence, because now it exists; it could not have been Existence, because the universe came into being later and that means whatever that existed has changed.
kalpAnta etad-akhilaM jaTareNa gRhNan
shete pumAn svadRg-ananta-sakhas-tad-anke /
garbhe-dyumAn bhagavate praNato'smi tasmai //
Tr. I prostrate before the Lord, the Purusha, who is fixed in His own Self, who absorbs the entire universe at the end of the kalpa in His own stomach, who sleeps on the folds of AdiSesha, his friend, and in Whose navel rises the stem of the Golden Lotus from which BrahmA came out.
The phenomenon of the Lord withdrawing everything unto Himself at the end of the kalpa and releasing them at the beginning of the next morning of BrahmA is mentioned in all the Hindu scriptures. cf. B.G. 9-7:
sarva-bhUtAni kaunteya prakRtiM yAnti mAmikAM /
kalpa-kshaye punastAni kalpAdau visRjAmy-ahaM //
All beings go into My prakRti at the end of a kalpa; I send them forth again at the beginning of the (next) kalpa.
The words kAncana-loka-padma-garbe are significant. Creator BrahmA woke up in the stem of the golden lotus which sprang from the navel of the Lord. For this reason he is also called hiraNya-garbha (Golden Conception). As HiraNya-garbha He has a great charge, namely, the charge of the golden container representing the reservoir of all our vAsanAs. This is the one that brings forth our repeated births in the transmigratory cycle, so that we may exhaust our vAsanAs. But instead of exhausting them we add further to the reservoir. And naturally the true phase of Reality is more and more hidden from us because of the growing opaqueness of the reservoir of our vAsanAs. The IshAvAsyopanishat therefore contains almost as its last verse a prayer (GO TO 18.7) to the Sun-God, who represents this hiraNya-garbha, to give us the vision to transcend our individuality brought on us by our vAsanAs.
GO TO P.3