19.27 SHLOKAS 25 TO 28 OF 36-SELECTION FROM NARAYANEEYAM
Sloka No. 25 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 96 - 9):
prAgevaM prAha vipro na khalu mama janaH kAla-karma-grahA vA /
ceto me dukha-hetus-tadiha guNagaNaM bhAvayat-sarva-kArI-
tyuktvA shAnto gatastvAM mama ca kuru vibho tAdR^ishIM citta-shAntiM //
Tr. (with added notes): Once a Brahmin, who had acquired great wealth through hard work, happened to lose it all. His experience (generated in him discrimination and renunciation, and ) attaining purity of mind thereby, (he took to the life of an avadhUta (or all-renouncing naked ascetic). Persecuted by the populace (for his strange ways of life) he said: ‘The cause of my sufferings is neither these people, nor time nor karma, nor planets. My own mind is the cause of my misery. (Itself a product of the Gunas of prakriti), it causes all actions to be done and superimposes these and other products of the gunas (on the Atman)’. Thinking thus, he remained at peace. Oh Lord! Deign to give me also that kind of mental poise!
Comment: Here is a practical advaitic philosophy of action in daily life. This portion of the bhagavatam is called BhikShu Gita. There the Bhikshu (renunciate) mentions 24 persons and things as his guru and also mentions what each of the 24 stood for, in his understanding. A brief reference to this is found in an introduction to avadhuta-gita in
For the Bikshu Gita itself in original one can go to Bhagavatam Skanda 11, Ch.7 Sloka 32 to end of Ch.9.
Sloka No. 26 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 96 - 10):
elaH prAg-urvashIM praty-ati-vivasha-manAH sevamAnash-ciraM tAM
gADhaM nirvidya bhUyo yuvati-sukham-idaM kShudram-eveti gAyan /
tvad-bhaktiM prApya pUrNaH sukha-taram-acarat tadvad-uddhUya sangaM
bhaktottamsaM kriyA mAM pavana-purapate hanta me rundhi rogAn //
Tr. King Pururavas, the son of Ila, was deeply involved in a love affair with Urvasi, a heavenly damsel. After spending a long time in her company, he developed a mood of extreme renunciation and came to the realization that the so-called sex-enjoyment is most trivial and wretched. Attaining to devotion for Thee, and through that to life’s fulfillment, he moved about happily, singing Thy glory. Likewise, Oh Lord of Guruvayoor, uprooting all my sensuous tendencies, make me the best of Thy devotees, and free me from all my ailments!
Comment. We should remember that it is the Lord’s solemn promise to all humanity, ‘na me bhaktaH praNashyati’ (My devotee never perishes), in Gita IX – 31. One should understand this promise carefully. There are many devotees whose physical and mental suffering in the world is all too obvious. Then what does this promise of God mean? It means ‘My devotee never perishes – in the absolute sense’. That is, there is no slip-up for him in the spiritual ladder. Maybe the Lord doubtless takes care of our mundane needs also, as it did happen in the case of Bhattatiri himself. His ailment was cured miraculously. But that should be taken as nectar flowing from His Grace and not as ‘fulfillment of one’s demands’. In fact, to expect Him to recompense us for our ‘devotion’ is not ‘devotion’.
Sloka No. 27 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 99 - 5):
no jAto jAyamAno’pi ca samadhigatas-tvan-mahimno’vasAnaM
deva shreyAmsi vidvAn pratimuhur-api te nAma shamsAmi viShNo /
taM tvAM samstaumi nAnA-vidha-nuti-vacanAir-asya loka-trayasyA-
pyUrdhvaM vibhrAjamAne viracita-vasatiM tatra vaikuNTha-loke //
Tr. Oh Lord Vishnu! No one either born till now or yet to be born, could possibly know Thy greatness in its fullness. What is possible at all to do – and that I am trying – is to chant Thy name again and again, knowing that it promotes one’s spiritual evolution. With numerous hymns of praise I am therefore invoking Thee, who resides in the glorious sphere of Vaikuntha that transcends all the three material worlds.
Comment. A sahasra-nAma is a litany of one thousand names (of God). sahasra is one thousand and nAma is name. There are plenty of them, at least one for each particular divinity. These long, 'streamlined' poems, are densely packed with meaning -- apparfently endless recitals of the Lord's names, glories and splendours, with no sacrifice of poetic elegance and grace. The rhythmic sound effects and the elevating moods that these can produce must be heard and experienced to be believed. Every sahasra-nAma describes the Lord's infinite qualities in several ways and each description is only a fragmentary rendering of his ananta kalyANa-guNa (infinite number of auspicious attributes). Everywhere we see the same majesty of encyclopaedic exhaustiveness. To recite these, to be immersed in their meaning, is to be in the company of the Lord.
Sloka No. 28 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 98 - 6):
satven-AsattayA vA na khalu sad-asatvena nirvAcya-rUpA
dhatte yA sAv-avidyA guNa-phaNi-mativad-vishvadR^ishyAva-bhAsaM /
vidyAtvaM saiva yAtA shruti-vacana-lavair-yatkR^ipA-syanda-lAbhe
samsAr-AraNya-sadyaH struTana-parashutAM eti tasmai namaste //
Tr. Ignorance (avidyA) which cannot be described either as existing or non-existing or as a combination of the two, apparently manifests, just like the snake seen on the rope, this whole world of objectivity (along with the sense of identification of the ‘self’ with aspects of it like the body, mind, etc.). But when the current of Thy Grace sets in, this avidyA itself gets transformed into vidyA (Knowledge) which, with the help of a few drops of the vedic declaration, becomes a veritable axe for clearing the forest of samsAra.
Comment. The term ‘avidyA’ is the veiling of the Self. It is not just absence of vidyA, knowledge. It is the consciousness ‘I do not know’. The real Self of man has nothing to do with the vicissitudes of existence. By this ignorance of not knowing who the real Self is, man confounds his outer self with the real Self. An identification with the buddhi makes him the cogniser. An identification with the mind makes him the thinker. An identification with all forms of vitality like prANa, makes him the doer. Thus the entire samsAra is due to this avidyA. Is it something that is absolutely real? No, because it vanishes the moment one is enlightened. Is it something that is absolutely non-existent? No, because we have the consciousness ‘I do not know’. Thus it is neither existent nor non-existent. It cannot be both, because that would imply self-contradiction. That is why the scriptures say that it is (‘anirvacanIya’) undecidable. The only thing we can be sure is that it will disappear once by God’s Grace the very same consciousness ‘I do not know’ gives place to the consciousness ‘I am the Self’.
On this point of ‘vidyAtvam saiva yAtA’ let me quote a highly relevant and illuminating paragraph from VidyaraNya’s article on ‘Introduction to the Upanishads’ - in fact it is the last paragraph in his article going to about 70 pages. Lest this may disturb the continuity of this series of nArAyaNIyaM slokas, I shall give this paragraph of Vidyaranya in a separate post entitled ‘Ignorance itself gets transformed into knowledge – Vidyaranya’.