Monday, March 17, 2008

Story 49 – Story of Vishwaroopa Pradarshanam - 01

Let us today start with the next story of Srimad Bhagavatham. The story is the epic of Krishna displaying the Vishwaroopa (before killing Kamsa).

There is one entire chapter of Bhagavad Gita titled Vishwaroopa darshanam where the Lord explains about vishwaroopa before displaying it to Arjuna.

Before we enter into the story, let us today try to analyze as to what is Vishwaroopa or the form encompassing the entire world. Vishwaroopa as defined in the previous statement is nothing but vision of the Lord as pervading the entire world. This is how the scriptures perceive the Lord as pervading the entire world. In fact the scriptures speak about the Lord as one who is the essence of all beings (the entire world). It is our limited intellect and wrong knowledge which makes us forget the real nature of Lord thereby restricting him to a particular form like that of Vishnu or Siva or Krishna.

The very famous hymn Purusha Sooktha speaks about the reality of Lord (termed as Purusha – poornam anena sarvam ithi purushah “one who is pervades everything that we see here is called Purusha”) as pervading the entire world. Narayana Sooktha (hymn speaking of the glories of Narayana) is more specific thus:

Yat cha kinchit jagat sarvam drishyathe srooyathe api vaa
Antharbahischa tat sarvam vyaapyat naarayana sthithah

Whatever we see in the entire world and whatever we hear in the entire world, everything is filled in and out by Narayana.

The Lord himself says in Gita thus:

Aham aadischa madhyam cha bhoothaanaam antha eva cha

I am the beginning, middle and end of all beings.

Thus Vishwaroopa is not seeing the Lord as having a huge form but it is realizing that the entire world is an illusion of names and forms in the Lord. This is the ultimate reality that everything that we see is but the Lord (devoid of names and forms). The moment we apprehend this truth intellectually, then whatever we see will be seen as the Lord even as goldsmith sees all gold ornaments as gold alone. It is this vision that the scriptures speak of as Vishwaroopa Darshanam. Vishwaroopa is not the Lord taking a huge and fierce form (a form which is bigger than all other forms) but it is the knowledge that the Lord pervades everything and thereby seeing everything as an illusion of names and forms in the reality of Lord.

What is the advantage of this Vishwaroopa?
The moment we see the Lord everywhere then we get beyond the duality that is perceived. Once we get beyond duality there is nothing to either like or dislike. When there is no like and dislike, then there is neither attachment nor aversion. It is attachment and aversion that leads us to happiness and sorrow. The sufferings that we experience in the world are only due to this attachment and aversion. Thus by seeing the Lord as pervading everything, we get rid of sufferings. Such a vision of oneness (seeing the Lord as present everywhere) is real Vishwaroopa and this vision will take us from our bonded and sorrowful state to a state of liberation and bliss. Such a person who views everything as the Lord will ever be blissful irrespective of situations, conditions, environment and mental state.

This Vishwaroopa Pradarshanam story (story wherein the Lord displays his Vishwaroopa) thus means that the Lord enlightens us to view him everywhere rather than seeing him in an idol or a particular limited form. And thereby the Lord takes us to the state of eternal bliss (that bliss which we all are seeking).

Remembering this view of seeing the Lord everywhere, let us all try to have such a vision through learning of this story starting tomorrow so that we may go beyond attachment-aversion and sufferings to the state of eternal bliss.

Kamsa became convinced that his enemy was Krishna alone as he was informed of the miracles and activities happening in Gokula. At the same time his intellect got convinced that Krishna was Ishwara.


We have learnt previously in many stories of Bhagavatham as to how even anger towards the Lord can lead us to realization. This is possible because when anger is vented on an object who we are convinced is the Lord, then such an anger also will lead us to seeing the Lord everywhere thereby to realization.

Narada supports this view by telling in the Narada Bhakthi Sutras thus:

Kamakrodhaadhikam tasmineva karaneeyam

Have attraction, anger etc. towards the Lord alone.

It is always good to know the Lord as the substratum of the entire world and be attracted to the Lord but it may happen that such an attraction is not possible for us. In such cases it is fine if we are able to have any emotion towards the Lord even if it is anger. What is important is not the emotion towards the Lord but the intellect becoming convinced of the Lord and seeing the Lord everywhere. It is anger that took Asuras like Mahabali, Hiranyakashipu etc. to perceive the Lord everywhere. Once we see the Lord everywhere (even though this vision of oneness is due to anger or attraction or any other emotion), then all emotions vanish as duality vanishes. As long as we see differences between objects, we will not be able to go beyond dual notions of the mind like attraction, aversion etc. but the moment we are able to go beyond the duality by perceiving oneness everywhere we get rid of all dual notions. Thus any emotion when followed completely will take us beyond the world when the object to which the emotion is applied is the ultimate reality of Lord.

Thus it isn’t important whether we are devoted to Krishna or averted to Krishna, what is important is getting the intellectual conviction that Krishna is not the form that we see but the ultimate reality of Lord and pervading the entire world. When Kamsa was convinced about Krishna being Ishwara, he started seeing Krishna everywhere. His each and every moment was spent in contemplation of Krishna – in between sleep he would get up thinking that Krishna is standing in front of him and about to kill him.

Thus the entire life of Kamsa became filled with Krishna. This is implementation of the Upanishadic statement “sarvam brahma mayam” (everything is filled with Ishwara). Through Kamsa’s story from the state of sins to the state of bliss through intellectual conviction about the Lord and seeing the Lord everywhere Bhagavatham is consoling us if we think that we have committed many sins and thereby will never be able to get out of the bondages that have entangled us like a spider’s web. It doesn’t matter how much sins we have committed or how many desires we have in life but what matters is whether we are able to gain the intellectual conviction about the Lord and see the Lord everywhere – in such a case, all other desires and bondages will automatically fall off. Thus the only things that a seeker needs to do in order to realize the ultimate reality of Lord is gain the intellectual conviction about the Lord pervading everything and see the Lord everywhere. This isn’t that tough to follow as we are always used to being attached to one person or the other (our parents or brothers or friends or partners or children). We just need to add another attraction or aversion towards the ultimate reality of Lord and make it more and stronger as day passes. Slowly we will see the emotion of the Lord overshadowing other emotions and finally the Lord pervading everything that we see, hear, eat etc. Then we will experience bliss which is the very nature of the Lord pervading our life – it is this bliss that is the goal of life and this is the one and only way to experience bliss by pervading the Lord everywhere with the knowledge that the Lord is the substratum of the illusory world.

We will continue with the story and see as to how Kamsa slowly progresses from intellectual conviction to perceiving the Lord everywhere and finally realizing the Lord in the next few days.

Let us all try to always remember to keep the emotion of the Lord as strong as possible so that it overshadows all other emotions and leads us to the goal of Self-realization (eternal bliss).

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