Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Story 30 - Song sung by Lord Siva – 2

Srimad Bhagavatham - A Spiritual Insight - Story 30 - Song sung by Lord Siva – 2

Lord Siva praises the ultimate reality of Brahman or Vishnu in the following verses:

Rudra sang the glory of the ultimate reality of Lord thus:

O Lord who has conquered and realized the Self – O Lord of auspicious qualities, let me get auspiciousness – O Lord who is worshipped by all the people in the world and prostrated.

I prostrate the Lord from whose navel Brahma was born, who are the atman of the subtle sense organs (controller), to that Vaasudeva who is always peaceful in nature & the eternal witness to everything in the world.

My prostrations to Sankarshana who is subtle and destroyer of all obstacles. My prostrations also to that Lord who gives existence to the world in the form of Pradhyumna who is the inner Self of all beings in the world.

I also prostrate Aniruddha who is the controller of the mind and the sense organs. I prostrate to that reality who is always full and a paramahamsa (ever-liberated).


As per the Paancharaatra Aagamaas and Vaishnavaas, there are four vyuhaas or manifestations of the ultimate reality of Brahman. These are called Sankarshana, Pradhyumna, Aniruddha and Vaasudeva. These differ in the various aspects of work they do like creation, protection, blessing the devotees etc.

We need not go into depth into each of these – but we just need to know that there are different manifestations of the ultimate reality of Lord. These manifestations are only illusions and not real – the ultimate reality of Lord who is one without a second and formless alone is real. Other manifestations are all illusions like manifestations in the dream world. These are unreal because the manifestations have a birth and death. That which is born and dies exists only for a temporary period – such things are called illusions which stay for just some period of time. Thus we have to remember that the ultimate reality of Lord is without any form (as form limits the Lord in space whereas space is that which is an illusion in the reality of Lord) but seems to have manifestations depending on the level or perception of the seeker. This is like considering the space as having blue color even though space is colorless. These are what Vedanta calls as “mithya” or illusions. The ultimate reality of Lord who is one without a second alone is real and independent. All other entities are dependent on the Lord & hence mere illusions like the dream world or a world in sky.

These various manifestations are mentioned in the puranas for contemplation. As many as the seekers, so many their perception of the reality – hence there are many avatars and forms of the formless Lord. These forms are mentioned so that the seeker can contemplate on the Lord with a form seeing the same Lord as all-pervading. Thus the forms of the Lord are for upasana or contemplation alone. Once the seeker is able to contemplate on the ultimate reality of Lord who is formless and beyond time, space & causation – he realizes the reality that there is no form at all but forms are mere illusions in the reality of Lord. Even while contemplating on any form, we should remember this that the reality of Lord has no form at all but seems to have form depending on the seeker’s perception. IF this is forgotten, then the fight between “my” God, “your” God etc. starts and this will lead to clash. This is how the ancient fight between followers of Siva and Vishnu ensued. It is but a pity that even today Siva is considered as someone very low when compared to Vishnu by some of the followers of Vedanta. They verily forget the reality that the Lord is without any form. The word VISHNU itself means one who is all-pervasive. He who pervades space can never be limited by space and hence cannot be limited by any form. Vaasudeva means one who is present in all and all are present in whom. This Vaasudeva is nothing but the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord in whom everything exists & he who exists as the essence of all beings.

Remembering this reality that the Lord is formless because he is unlimited, infinite and one without a second (there is no entity apart from the Lord so that the Lord is limited by that entity), let us try to see one of the important word which is used in the sloka by Lord Siva – Kutastha.

KUTASTHA translated means one who is changeless and witness to all activities. KUTA means the anvil. WE all know that the anvil, remaining changeless, changes various iron pieces and changes them. Similarly the ultimate reality of Lord is changeless but still is the essence or substratum for all changes that are seen in the world. Even as the dreamer is a mere witness to the activities in the world, similarly the Lord is a mere witness to all the activities in the illusory world that we perceive. The Lord is changeless and hence he is not affected by the activities in the world – even as the Sun is not affected by activities on Earth. This means that one who realizes the Lord also becomes unaffected by the activities in the world. The main problem for a seeker is that he gets affected by the activities in the world – whenever something happens, the seeker gets attached to it & this attachment causes him to react and respond to the activities – these cause happiness and sorrow as the activity might be. Thus when “I” attach myself to the act of “posting Srimad Bhagavatham”, I get affected when people say that “these postings are not good” (getting sad) and “these postings are very good and inspire me a lot to realize my own very nature of Lord” (getting happy and flattered). Thus the attachment to the activities in the world is what causes sorrow and suffering in the world. When “I” realize that “I” am the mere witness to the activities in the world because “I” am the Lord himself and not different from the Lord, then “I” am unaffected by whatever happens in the illusory world. Even as “I” am not affected by the activities in the dream world, similarly “I” am not affected by the activities in the waking world. The reality is that “I” am not affected – this is known clearly because even though during bad times, “I” seem to get affected, after some time this sorrow vanishes & “I” become my own Self. Thus really “I” am not at all affected – the thought that “I am getting affected” is due to ignorance of my own very nature of Self or Lord & associating this “I” with the Ego and the mind which are mere illusions associated with illusory body and mind.

Thus when “I” realize that “I” am the Kutastha and not at all affected by the activities in the world – then “I” never either suffer or enjoy but “I” will be always rejoicing in the eternal bliss inherent in my own very nature of Lord.

Thus this word is very important and gives a hint to all of us to realize our own very nature of Kutastha realizing that the world is only an illusion and therefore “I”, who am the reality underlying this illusion, am not at all affected by the activities in the world. Therefore “I” am always realized and ever-blissful in nature. This is what Vedanta calls as “realization” or “moksha” – realization of one’s own very nature of KUTASTHA and the Lord of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute.

We will see as to how Lord Siva continues the prostration of the ultimate reality of Brahman (indicating that we all are that reality alone and should seek it this very moment so that we never are affected by the activities in the illusory world).

Lord Siva continued:

Your benign form is auspicious to be contemplated upon by those who desire to purify themselves and realize the Self. The devotion which the devotee has makes him do all his duties without any fear.

Your devotion is very tough indeed to be achieved – even for realized saints or Gods also. You are tough indeed to be realized by even exalted saints. What person would desire to realize the Lord without your Lotus Feet and its worship (accompanied with single-pointed devotion)?

The entire world is filled inside and outside by You (the Lord or Brahman) who are called as the ultimate reality of Brahman of the nature of Consciousness or light – even as space pervades everything inside and outside. You when endowed with Maya are the creator, protector and destroyer of the world – he who sees Bheda buddhi doesn’t realize you as such as the non-dual reality of Brahman.


Here Lord Siva is speaking about the purpose of contemplation on the form of the Lord. As we have previously discussed, the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord is without any form as form limits the entity whereas the Lord is unlimited. But it isn’t easy for a seeker for contemplate on that Lord who is without form and is one’s own very nature of Consciousness. Therefore form-worship found an important place in the scriptures. This is what is normally called as Saguna Upasana – saguna means with qualities or forms & Upasana means worship. The worship of the Lord with forms helps to gain concentration and overcome the dual perception in the world. It is like and dislike which causes sorrows in the world. If a person loves each other person in the world, then there is no liking and disliking. When there is no liking and disliking, there is no hatred and sorrow arising out of these likes and dislikes. IF “I” like a person, then “I” will get affected when the person is affected – similarly if something good happens to the person I dislike, then I will become sad. Thus it is likes and dislikes which causes sorrow and suffering to the individual.

Thus we have to renounce the likes and dislikes by seeing the same Lord everywhere. This is what is required through saguna upasana where the seeker sees the Lord everywhere – there is nothing present but only the Lord for the seeker. Even though he might see differences in the objects, but he pierces through the difference ascertaining that the differences are only names and forms of the reality of Lord. The Lord alone exists as he alone is independent and all the other entities in the world are dependent upon the Lord for their existence. This Lord thus pervades in and out of all things in the world as he is the substratum of the illusory world.

Seeing oneness everywhere and constantly remembering the Lord is real devotion. Devotion is thus not just going to temples or chanting the name of the Lord twice a day. Devotion also isn’t always thinking about the Lord but at the same time seeing differences in the world having likes and dislikes. Such devotion doesn’t really have constant thinking about that Lord who is the only thing present in the world – who pervades the world.

As Narada says in Narada Bhakthi Sutras that “offering all the work unto the Lord and getting tensed/despair when for a single moment the Lord is forgotten” is real devotion. Real devotion is that in which the devotee cannot live without the thought of the Lord – he can live without water and food, but cannot live without the thought of the Lord. If the devotee forgets the Lord, then it should be as if he is like a fish outside water and on the shore (as it will be searching for little bit of air and life).

Swami Brahmaananda, one of the senior disciples of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once watched a drama about Lord Krishna played by the students of Ramakrishna mission’s school. After this was over, the child who played the role of Lord Krishna came to meet swamiji (he came in the same dress which he was wearing for the drama – the dress of Lord Krishna). Glancing out of the window, swamiji saw the child coming. The swamiji came running out of the room, cried out “O Krishna” and fell down. Swamiji entered into a state of Samadhi and it took the swamiji three days to come out of the Samadhi state.

What is mentioned here is not that we should go into Samadhi at all times, but that the devotion for the Lord should be strongly present that the devotee lives only by the name of the Lord. This is what Lord says in Bhagavad Gita as “ananya bhajanam” (devotion where nothing else is thought).

When a devotee has such strong and pure devotion towards the ultimate reality of Lord even while considering the Lord as having a particular form, the Lord himself shows his real nature as the Self of the devotee and reveals himself to the devotee. The devotee thus comes to realize his own very nature of non-dual Lord and rejoices in the eternal bliss inherent in the Self. This is what is called as Moksha or realization – that state where there is only bliss and nothing else. We all are striving for this bliss only each and every moment. But unless we have pure devotion towards the reality either in the form of knowledge of scriptures or pure devotion to the Lord (knowing that the Lord alone exists & nothing else exists), the seeker cannot realize the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord & thereby will not get eternal bliss which he is seeking each and every moment in the world.

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