Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Story 34 – Story of Vadha (killing) of Vritrasura - 2


We will discuss on the importance of mantras and the Narayana Mantra in particular today. It might happen that we discuss the same thing over and over again – but this is not at all wrong because the concept of the ultimate reality of Lord is tough to apprehend and understand that we would require going through the same explanations again and again. That is the one and only way we can focus the mind on the reality.

The word Mantra is derived thus: Mananaat thraayathe ithi mantrah – that which uplifts a person (or protects a person) by reflection or concentration is called Mantra.

Mantras do have power in themselves but more than that is the effort an individual puts towards the mantra. When a person chants a mantra for lakh times or crore times, there is a positive vibration created in his mind towards the mantra. Thus the next time the person repeats the mantra, that positive vibration is felt by the person. Thus whenever the person is feeling down or emotionally stressed, he just needs to chant the mantra for the positive vibration to negate the emotional feelings.

We have to remember the fact that a mantra by itself is not powerful but it only the effort of the individual in chanting the mantra as well as the mental concept of the person towards the mantra which gives the mantra the power. The panchaakshara mantra of AUM NAMAH SHIVAYA is known by each and every person in the world but still it doesn’t give that much spiritual upliftment for all – but for certain few like the saiva siddhas, mere chanting or mention of the mantra is enough to take them to the Samadhi state. Thus a mantra by itself is not powerful but it is given power by the seeker who puts all his efforts into the mantra.

Any mantra will have the pranava mantra as part of it. Pranava mantra is AUM (chanted as OM). Pranava means that which supports prana or the vital force. AUM is the mantra which supports life and it is synonymous to the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord.

AUM consists of three syllables of A (akaara), U (ukaara) and M (Makaara). Other than the three syllables, AUM is composed of the ardha matra or half syllable of UM (or ending portion of the letter). A denotes beginning. Any child when it is born cries loudly – crying is nothing but opening of the mouth which indicates the letter A. Once the child is born, then it is sustained and this is denoted by the letter U. When we die we close our mouth and this is denoted by the word M. Thus AUM in itself has sristhi (creation), sthithi (protection) and laya (destruction). When we chant the letter AUM also, we can find that the first syllable indicates inhalation or taking in breath. The second syllable indicates sustenance of breath & the third syllable denotes exhalation or closing or stopping of breath.

Thus AUM in general denotes everything that we can see in the world. Mandukya Upanishad thus says that everything is AUM alone. As Bible speaks about the WORD being the Lord, AUM is the letter denoting the Lord or Brahman. AUM is thus called the Pratheeka or symbol of the ultimate reality of Lord.

There is no mantra which is devoid of the pranava mantra. Whether it is the panchakshara mantra or the navakshara mantra or panchadashaakshari mantra, every mantra has AUM as part of it.

Narayana is defined in the Vishnu Purana thus:
Aapo vai naara proktha aapo vai narasoonavah
Ayanaa tasya yah sah naaraayana prakeerthithah

Water is called Nara or water is indicating of the son of Naara. He who is established in water is called Narayana.

Narayana is thus indicative of Vishnu who is established in water or the paal kadal (milk ocean). Vishnu word denotes one who is all-pervasive or present everywhere. This is nothing but the ultimate reality of Brahman alone.

Thus NARAYANA is the all-pervasive Lord of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute. Whatever is present in the world is nothing but the Lord alone. Each and every entity that we perceive in the world is pervaded in and out by the Lord who is termed as Narayana in the Puranas.

Thus Narayana mantra indicates mantra of the ultimate reality of Lord. We may think that this mantra is AUM NAMO NARAYANAYA but it is something more than that. Mantra is that which protects a person – nothing can protect a person other than constant contemplation of the Lord. Thus mantra denotes constant contemplation – narayana is the ultimate reality of Lord. Thus Narayana mantra is nothing but constant contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord.

If a person is constantly contemplating on the ultimate reality of Lord, then he is continuously chanting the narayana mantra. This constant contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord is that which protects a person from bad thoughts. The very thought of the Lord is enough to ward off bad thoughts completely. Thus when a person follows this narayana mantra, bad thoughts vanish. Hence we find Indra saved from the asuras which denote bad thought by the chanting of narayana mantra. Thus we have to remember that if we have to ward off bad thoughts, we just have to constantly remember the ultimate reality of Lord. When we think of the Lord, we will not be able to do bad things and bad thoughts will automatically vanish.

Thus indra was saved from the asuras by the narayana mantra. Bhagavatham is thus pointing out that whoever wants to get rid of bad thoughts, they have to chant the narayana mantra by constantly remembering the ultimate reality of Lord. Whatever be the action a person is doing, the seeker has to offer the action unto the reality of Lord remembering that there is nothing here but the Lord alone, one without a second. Thus he will always be contemplating on the reality of Lord. As this contemplation becomes continuous and constant, the ignorance veil vanishes & the seeker realizes the reality that there is nothing here but the Lord alone – whatever duality was perceived was only an illusion in the ultimate reality of Lord.

Vishwaroopa, who was the Guru of the devas, had three heads & hence was called as Trishiras. Once while he was doing a yajna, he offered half havis (oblation) for the Devas & half for the Asuras as he was attached to them by his mother. When Indra came to know of this, he cut the three heads of Vishwaroopa. Knowing this Vishwaroopa’s father, Thvastaa, was angry & started a yajna to give birth to an asura who would kill Indra. Thus out of the yajna performed by Thvastaa was born Vritra. Vritra was so terrifying that he defeated the Devas and Devas took refuge in Lord Vishnu.


We find in this part the concept of taking refuge in the ultimate reality of Lord. It normally happens that a person seeks the Lord only when he is having sorrows or he is suffering either physically or mentally. This is the normal tendency of the mind that it seeks the Lord only when other things are not conducive for happiness. But a seeker should be such that he should always seek the Lord irrespective of time and conditions.

That which is conditional is bound by time – and it is not permanent, it will vanish one day or the other. But that which is unconditional will never vanish – instead it will be there permanently. The love of the Lord towards his devotees is unconditional – this is the reason why whenever his devotees are in trouble, the Lord himself comes to protect them and save them. A real devotee is one who unconditionally surrenders to the Lord – there is not even a single second when the devotee doesn’t think about the Lord. The devotee’s very life is the Lord alone – the devotee will struggle like fish in land if he is not able to think about the Lord. The devotee might forget to eat, forget to sleep, forget to drink but he will never forget to remember the Lord. Such is real devotion which we find in great saints like Narada, Shaandilya, Agasthya etc, in great kings like Janaka, Ambariksha and in great devotees like the Gopis, Mira etc.

That alone is real and pure devotion wherein the devotee cannot even live for a second without the thought of the Lord. Such devotion is very rare to find and implement in life. Hence we should always strive to surrender completely to the Lord and should try to remember the Lord as much as possible. If we completely surrender to the Lord, the Lord will take care of us. Thus if we are deviated from the Lord, the Lord will give sorrows and sufferings so that we may seek the forgotten Lord. As the human nature is such that it seeks the Lord only at times of distress – therefore the Lord tests his devotees and makes them strong by giving them sorrows and sufferings. We should always remember that if a person is suffering in the world, it is nothing but the Lord testing him so that he will become strong and nothing can then stop him from constant contemplation of the Lord.

Thus we find here the Devas suffering and thereby taking refuge in the Lord. Devas represent good thoughts and strength of the mind. When we face obstacles and tough conditions, the strength of the mind becomes weak – that is when we feel ourselves to be incapable of handling the situation. Out of this incapability comes total surrender to the Lord. Thus at such times, we call out to the Lord. It has never happened till now that the Lord hasn’t helped whenever a person has called out to him. Even if the person calling out the Lord is an atheist or an asura, the Lord helps him – the Lord has no differentiation between the good person and the bad person. Good and bad are only concepts in the limited seeker’s mind – but for the Lord, everybody is his child and devotee. Thus we find the Lord giving moksha to Kamsa and other asuras who sought out the Lord at all times (even though it was out of vidvesha or enmity). Therefore whoever calls out the Lord, the Lord appears to him. This is what the Lord promises in the Gita & it is a promise which the Lord has kept till date & will be keeping it until the world exists. Each and every seeker can experience the presence of the Lord once he opens his mind & completely surrenders unto the ultimate reality of Lord.

AMMA frequently mentions about the attitude that a devotee should have in the world:
Whatever good happens is the GRACE of the Lord.
Whatever bad happens is the WISH of the Lord.

Whatever is happening in the world is controlled by the Lord & since the Lord loves all the people in the world, he cannot do bad to his children. As a father loves his children, the Lord loves his children. If the child is devoted to the father, it can feel the love of the father more than a child who is not devoted to the father. Even though the Lord has devotion and love towards both good and bad people (devotees and non-devotees) but the devotee can feel the love of the Lord as his mind is open to receive the grace and love of the Lord. As AMMA says the grace of the Lord is always there – there isn’t even a single moment when grace is not there. But if the individual closes his heart, then he will not be able to get the ever-present grace of the Lord. This is like an individual complaining that the Sun is throwing light in his house when he has all the doors and windows closed. Once the person opens the doors and windows, he can feel the light of the Sun which was ever there. Similarly once a person opens his heart by total and unconditional surrender to the Lord, he can feel the ever-present grace of the Lord.

When a seeker becomes a real devotee of the Lord, he doesn’t need to worry about anything in the world not even moksha because everything is taken care by the Lord. The moment a person surrenders completely to the ultimate reality of Lord, he is completely taken care of by the Lord – it is then the duty of the Lord to make sure that the devotee realizes his own very nature of Lord.

Thus various devotees never really bothered about things in the world as they knew that the Lord is there to protect them – the Lord who is the controller and the substratum of the illusory world.

When a devotee seeks the ultimate reality of Lord, the Lord will advise the devotee into knowledge about the ultimate reality. This is exactly Lord Vishnu does to the Devas. We will see as to what the Lord says to the Devas and as to how the devas react to the ultimate knowledge given by the Lord in the next day.

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