19.29: SHLOKAS 33 TO 36 OF 36-SELECTION FROM NARAYANEEYAM
Sloka No. 33 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 98 - 10):
satyaM shuddhaM vibuddhaM jayati tava vapur-nitya-muktaM nirIhaM
nirdvandvaM nirvikAraM nikhila-guNa-gaNa-vyanjan-AdhAra-bhUtaM /
nirmUlaM nirmalM tan-niravadhi-mahim-ollAsi nirlInam-antar-
nissangAnAM munInAM nirupama-paramAnanda-sAndra-prakAshaM //
Tr. There shines Thy Being – eternal, immaculate, ever awake, ever free, desireless, transcending the pairs of dualities, changeless, conserving and manifesting all values, causeless, free from the taint of ignorance, inconceivably great, latent in noble hearts free from attachments, dense with the luminosity (of Consciousness) and inimitable supreme bliss.
Comment. Now we are starting to wind up our selection of 36 slokas. So here comes an exhaustive-looking listing of the ‘attributes’ of the attributeless Brahman, as conceived in the Upanishads. A fitting sloka for meditation purposes. Transcendence (T), Immanence (I) and Perfection (P) - - the T, I and P, constituting the TIP of the Iceberg, that is God – are all three in this sloka. One may refer to the following web page on this topic of ‘TIP of the Iceberg, that is God’
Sloka No. 34 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 1 - 7):
kaShTA te sR^iShTi-ceShTA bahutara-bhava-khedAvahA jIva-bhAjAm-
ity-evaM pUrvam-Alocitam-ajita mayA naivam-ady-AbhijAne /
no cej-jIvAH kathaM vA madhura-taram-idaM tvad-vapush-cid-rasardraM
netraiH shrotraishca pItvA parama-rasa-sudh-Ambhodhi-pUre rameran //
Tr. Oh Supreme Being! Once I thought that Thy creative activity is a tragic sport, as it inflicts various forms of suffering on embodied beings involved in the cycle of births and deaths, but now I do not think so. For, if there were no creation and therefore no embodied beings, who would have been there to revel in the ocean of unparalleled joy derived from the experience of seeing this Form of Thine replete with Consciousness and of hearing descriptions of Thy glory?
Comment. God ‘descends’ from His pedestal of perfection and assumes an imperfection in terms of a name and form so that we mortals may be guided from our extremities of imperfection onto the path towards perfection. This descent of the Divine from its divine pedestal is called an Avatara. The complete such Avatara is Krishna. What appears before us as a deity in the form of an image is not just an image but it is itself the personification
of that Transcendental Absolute. Such divine Images for worship in temples are called ‘archAvatAras’ in Vaishnava theology. Great saints and seers (from Prahlada and Ambarisha of yore down to Sage Ramakrishna of modern times) have actually experienced the presence of the Absolute in such ‘archAvatAras’.
Sloka No. 35 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 1 - 1):
nirmuktaM nityamuktaM nigama-shata-sahasreNa nirbhAsyamAnaM /
aspaShTaM dR^iShTa-mAtre punar-uru-puruShArth-AtmakaM brahma-tattvaM
tat-tAvad-bhAti sAkShAd-guru-pavana-pure hanta bhAgyaM janAnAM //
. In the temple of Guruvayoor there shines in truth and in reality what appears at first to be a mere image but on contemplation reveals itself to be the condensed essence of Consciousness-Bliss – the veritable Brahman Supreme – who is the ultimate end of all human endeavours, to whom there is none comparable, who is ever beyond the limitations of time and space, who is eternally free, and whose nature the numerous texts of the Vedas seek to reveal. Fortunate indeed, is mankind (that such a manifestation of Divinity exists in its midst as the image of Krishna)!
Comment. The Lord of Guruvayoor, is no distant exclusive deity. He is famous as the One deity accessible to all devout, of whatever condition and degree, learned and unlearned. The rituals performed daily and the many temple festivals, round the year, all confirm this impression. There is a fascinating legend about the origin of rituals in the temple.
This first sloka of Narayaniyam has been hailed by many as pregnant with meanings, devotional, philosophical and esoteric. Brahman Supreme is impersonal according to Upanishadic accounts but Bhattatiri believes that it is also simultaneously personal. And because of this conviction he begins to rapturously pour out, in the presence of that deity, his devotional thoughts that have become the now-immortal poem. The very first word ‘sAndra’ is notable. ‘sAndra’ means thick, dense, violent, intense, soft, bland; crowded with, full to the brim of. This inimitable word is so powerfully expressive that Bhattatiri uses
it very often. Not being derived from any other root word, it stands alone as an adjective by itself. In our selection of 36 verses, it occurs in Sloka nos. 3, (the Gopis reached the heights of bliss), 31 (full to the brim with consciousness), 33 (intensely brilliant with incomparable extreme bliss) and here in 36 (condensed essence of consciousness-bliss). In the beginning, that is, in the early stages on the spiritual ladder, one does not see Him at all. Or, even if one happens to see Him, the vision is all vague and diffuse. This is what the word ‘aspaShTam dR^iShTa-mAtre’ implies. The truth is not easily perceived, because, everything is mixed up everywhere. ‘nAhaM prakAshas-sarvasya yoga-mAyA-samAvR^itaH’ (Gita VII – 25) – I am not manifest to all (as I am) veiled by the yoga-mAyA, says the Lord. That is why the initial pictures and images are all blurred, if at all. But if we persist in our sAdhanA, in our pursuit of the search for Truth, He reveals Himself as our own Self. The word ‘nitya-muktaM’ (eternally free) is significant. The Almighty, by the very definition, is eternally free. Why was it necessary to call Him eternally free? It is the self which is mistakenly thought to be bound and needing release from bondage. So it is necessary to say of the self, that it is eternally free, it is in fact the Self that is nothing but the Brahman-principle (brahma-tatvaM).
Sloka No. 36 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 1 - 2):
evaM durlabhya-vastuny-api sulabhatayA hasta-labdhe yad-anyat
tanvA vAcA dhiyA vA bhajati bata janaH kShudrat-aiva sphuTeyaM /
ete tAvad-vayaM tu sthiratara-manasA vishva-pID-Apahatyai
nishsheSh-AtmAnam-enaM guru-pavana-purAdhIsham-ev-AshrayAmaH //
But alas! What a pity that in spite of the easy availability of this rarest of blessings right on hand, human beings, prompted by their base nature, overlook it and pursue worldly objects with all the powers of their body, mind or intellect! But we, devotees, however, shall, with unswerving devotion, serve the Lord of Guruvayoor, Sri Krishna, the soul of all beings, for the total eradication of all the (physical and spiritual) woes of the world.
Comment. The word ‘nishsheSha-aatmAnaM’ means He is the Self and there is nothing remaining. In other words He is the Self, period. This is the conclusion of advaita. The word
‘vishva-pIDApahatyai’ is to be noted. Vishva-pIDA is the disease of not recognizing vishvam (universe) as nothing but the Lord Almighty. The cure for it is contained in ‘neti neti’. The
very universe which is visible to us in our sensory experience should remind us that the Absolute is neither this nor like this. So vishvam has to be seen not as vishvam, but as the
Ultimate itself. That is why it is the very first word in Vishnu sahasranama. Vishvam, with the meaning ‘universe’ really means ‘that which has entered’, the root word being ‘vish’ to ‘enter’. In other words, the Almighty is in it, that is, it is immanent in it. This immanence in everything is the most important concept of Vedanta. More, it defines this most ancient religion: ‘God is everywhere; not only that, God is the ONLY ENTITY everywhere’. Of course the ordinary meaning of vishva-pIDApahatyai is obvious. All the penance, all the rituals, all the worship – are all for the goal of the universal good of the universe.
May the entire universe be happy.