19.24 SHLOKAS 13 TO 16 OF 36-SELECTION FROM NARAYANEEYAM
Sloka No. 13 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 2 - 2):
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’.
Sloka No. 16 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 98 - 8):
yad-bhItyodeti sUryo dahati ca dahano vAti vAyus-tathAnye
yad-bhItAH padmajAdyAH puna-rucita-balIn-Aharante’nu kAlaM /
yen-aiv-AropitAH prang nija-padam-api te cyAvitArash-ca pashcAt
tasmai vishvaM niyantre vayam-api bhavate kR^iShNa kurmaH praNAmaM //
Tr. Fearing whom the sun rises, fire burns and wind blows; for fear of whom Brahma and other deities perform their cosmic functions as obligatory punctual offerings; by whom all these deities are installed in their places at the beginning and removed afterwards – to Thee Oh Lord, who thus regulates the whole universe, my salutations.
Comment. This is a actually an echo of Taittiriyopanishad II -8 – 1. ‘bhIShA’smAd-vAtaH pavate; bhIShodeti sUryaH ; bhIShA’smAd-agnish-cendrashca; mR^ityur-dhAvati pancama iti’ , meaning, Out of His fear the Wind blows; out of fear the Sun rises; out of His fear runs fire, as also Indra, and Death, the fifth. The ultimate cause of fear must itself be indestructible, since a contrary supposition will lead to an infinite regress. And such an eternal agent is The Absolute. This sloka is also an epitome of a whole bunch of slokas (3 – 29 – 40 to 44) in the Bhagavatam in the chapters on Kapila’s philosophical teachings to his mother.