20.3: SARVA-DHARMAN PARITYAJYA - 3:
RAKSHISHHYATI ITI VISHVASAH -- SIX MONUMENTAL WITNESSES
Religious minded devotees usually quote the various scriptures as proof of their conviction that God always takes care of His devotees. The sceptics on the other side have a hard time believing such naïve statements. This dichotomy of opinion has been there ever since Man started questioning the Faith of his fellowmen in the supernatural. Kuresa, one of the foremost disciples of Sri Ramanujacharya has written a short poem of seven verses called ‘Arta-trANa-parAyaNa-stotram’. The very first sloka of this poem says that God is our sole refuge, saviour and support and that six monumental instances prove this beyond doubt. But before we mention these six instances cited by Kuresa we need to recall the dimensional context in time in which he is giving us this proof. The six instances identified by Kuresa is over such a long period of mythological history, namely over a period of, roughly, 1.9 billion years, which is the time elapsed since this kalpa started.
The first instance is that of Dhruva which occurred in the early part of the first manvantara, i.e., the first 30 and odd crores (a crore is ten million) of years since the beginning of this kalpa. (For all these technicalities of Time and Hindu chronology, GO TO 15.4: COSMIC DAY OF BRAHMA)
It was at the end of that (svAyambhuva) manvantara that Prahlada, lived and it is his story that forms the core of the second instance mentioned by Kuresa. The story of Gajendra which is the third instance in the chronological order is said to have happened in the fourth manvantara (called Tamasa manvantara). The story of Vibhishana and Ahalya occurred in Rama’s time i.e., in the 24th mahA-yuga of the current manvantara (which is, by the way, the seventh manvantara from the beginning: it is named the Vaivasvata manvantara). The story of Panchali is just 5100 and odd years old. Thus the six instances which are cited as colossal witnesses for the Supreme Presence of the Lord actually span an unimaginably l…o…n…g period of time. That is one of the reasons why we call them ‘monumental’. Kuresa’s verse is:
sevyaH shrIpatir-eka-eva jagatAm ete ca shhaT sAkshhiNaH
prahlAdashca vibhIshhaNashca karirAT pAncAly-ahalyA dhruvaH //
Meaning: In the entire universe, it is Sri hari (VishhNu) that is to be worshipped as the Ultimate Resort. Six colossal figures stand testimony to this: Prahlada, Vibhishana, Gajendra the elephant-king, Panchali, Ahalya and Dhruva. They are the blessed ones who have received, respectively, superlative affection, supreme refuge, undisputable protection, infinite compassion, total absolution and apex of benefaction, from the Lord. (For more on this shloka, GO TO 12 : Six Monumental Witnesses.)