Saturday, April 19, 2008

Story 49 – Story of Vishwaroopa Pradarshanam - 08

While Akrura was praising the Lord, the Lord ended the Vishwaroopa Pradarshanam in the water. He appeared to be sitting in the chariot like before. This was as if an actor has shed his role in the drama.


The scriptures speak about the entire world to be an illusion in the non-dual reality of Lord (as we saw in the previous day). If this is so, then what about the compassion of the Lord towards his devotees? How can we explain the Lord’s compassionate activities of protecting his devotees and taking them to the realized state through demonstrations? What is the purpose of Vishwaroopa Pradarshanam if it is an illusion?

These are some of the doubts that we may get in our minds while listening to stories about the Lord and while learning the scriptures. The answers to these questions have two perspectives – one from the perspective of the Lord and the other from our perspective (one is vision of knowledge and the other is vision of ignorance). It is not valid to doubt that in vision of knowledge there is no duality at all – we are in the state of ignorance and hence will be unable to apprehend the state of knowledge unless we reach that state; the only thing we can do is compare and analyze as to how would be the state of knowledge.

From the ignorant perspective, all the activities of the Lord are compassionate ways to make us realize the truth that there is only one entity of Lord here and that everything else is but an illusion in the Lord. Even Vishwaroopa Pradarshanam also serves this purpose only for ignorant seekers – as we have been learning in the past days, Vishwaroopa Pradarshanam is a way to cross over duality by pervading everything into one entity of Lord. It is from this perspective that the Lord mentions in many places of Gita that he will always protect us if we surrender completely unto him. It is this protecting us and helping us to realize the goal of life that the Lord accomplishes through these compassionate acts of his.

A psychiatrist might know that the patient’s mental state is very bad but still he will be trying his best to convince the patient in order to cure him. Here the psychiatrist is doing activities in return for the money that he charges for his service. But the Lord does activities out of compassion and not seeking money like the psychiatrist.

But from the Lord’s perspective (vision of knowledge), the Lord knows that everything is an illusion. Therefore he just plays his role in this long drama of waking world. This is like an actor playing his role in a movie. The actor will play the role to perfection but always remembering that the role is only an illusion. The entire world is a drama – we are unaware of this truth and hence get associated/attached to the role we are playing whereas the Lord is always aware that this is just a drama.

The more a person remembers his real nature, the perfect the role will be. This is because he knows that the drama is not really going to affect him – thus whatever it takes to make the drama look real will be used by the actor. On the other hand a person who identifies himself with the role will not be able to justice to the role as his mental emotions will pose an obstacle to the drama.

Through mentioning here that the Lord casts away things even as an actor casts away his role, Bhagavatham is beckoning each one of us to remember that we are mere characters in the long drama of world. The more and more we are able to remember this, the lesser will be our sorrows. All sorrows and sufferings are because we are attached to the world considering it to be real. The moment we remember the world to be a mere drama, we will be unaffected by the activities of the world.

This state of being a mere witness to all activities remembering them to be a mere drama is what Vedanta calls saakshi bhava (witness-hood). Being a saakshi is the same as realization as it is the state where we are ever blissful.

We will continue with the story in the next day.

Let us all try to remember that the world is a drama where our real nature is that of non-dual Lord and we are merely portraying a role in the world so that we will be able to always rejoice in bliss irrespective of whatever happens in the drama-world.

After seeing the Lord vanishing, Akrura became astonished thereby finished his bath and returned to the chariot. At that time, the Lord spoke to him – “Dear friend! It is a miracle that you have witnessed. But remember one thing – to such a devotee like you who have ananya bhakthi, I am always there with you whether it is in earth or space or water.”


We find here the Lord mentioning two points about the Vishwaroopa Darshanam. One is that it is a miracle – even like any miracle, this is also not real. It is something that helps the seeker in gaining concentration and devotion on the Lord. Second is the promise of the Lord that irrespective of where the devotee is the Lord will always be with him.

We will briefly see these two points today.

It is a natural tendency to get attached to miracles. Miracles are things that happen mysteriously and not quite often. Hence the mind gets attached to them very quickly and in a strong way as well. But we should remember that any miracle is still something that happens in the illusory world. If we should really go behind miracles, we should go to the root of the world. The more we try to analyze the nature of the world; we will only have to answer it by claiming it to be a miracle. The world is temporary and sorrowful. It is also insentient. Hence it cannot have been created by itself – thus the scriptures speak about a Lord who created the world. The Lord is like the dreamer who creates the dream world out of himself. The Lord has to be complete and full in order to create the world. Such a complete and full Lord has to be perfect and blissful. Bliss goes in hand with completeness and fullness. But if the Lord is blissful and eternal, how could he create the sorrowful and temporary world out of himself. The scriptures clearly mention that the world is created by the Lord out of himself even as a spider weaves a web out of itself. Thus any analysis of the creation of the world will only end up in it being illogical or being awestruck at the miracle which we call the world.

The miracle of the world is thus an illusion. Similar is the case with all miracles. All miracles are like the magical creation of a magician – they have no reality whatsoever. It is this understanding about miracles which will help us from not getting deluded into the miracles demonstrated by the Lord to his devotees. A person who understands all miracles including the world to be mere illusions in the reality of Lord will never be deluded into them – instead he will always be able to contemplate on the Lord whenever seeing anything whether it be miracles or normal activities of the world.

The second point that the Lord gives here is an assertion that he is always there with the devotee. Since the Lord is always there with a devotee, the devotee doesn’t need to look forward to miracles in order to help him out in tough situations. The Lord gives this assertion so that Akrura doesn’t get deluded into the miracle which he just witnessed. Thus the Lord is telling us to not get deluded into miracles as he is ever present with us (as long as we are real devotees).

We will see as to how Akrura responds to this message of the Lord in the next day.

Let us all try to remember that all miracles are unreal and the ultimate reality of Lord alone is real; the goal of miracles is to strengthen our faith and devotion towards the Lord – nothing less and nothing more; so that we may realize our own nature of Lord without getting deluded into miracles.

Story 49 – Story of Vishwaroopa Pradarshanam - 07

This world which is seen with the difference between man, animal, trees etc. is nothing but flow of gunas which are the effect of Avidya (that is only an illusion – doesn’t really exist). Your mouth is agni; your feet is earth; your eyes are the Sun; Aakasham is your path; the various diks (directions) are your ears; heaven is your head; devas are your hands; samudras are your stomach; air is prana; trees and plants are the hair in your body; the clouds are the hair in your head; mountains are your bones; nails are lightning; Prajapathi is the organ of procreation and rain is the seed; all the various worlds, caretakers of the world and people of the world are all imaginary creations in you who are without any decay/death; this is like the various creatures in water, mosquitoes in fruits – whatever objects and things are seen in the world they are all mere forms in you. All the avataras are your natya vesham (drama roles). Only fools consider all these as different things and thereby get deluded even as water in desert is considered to be real.


Bhagavatham is here speaking about one Lord alone pervading the entire world. Bhagavatham is also emphasizing here the truth that the non-dual reality pervades the duality – the duality is only an illusion in the non-dual reality of Lord.

We can find in the scriptures the praise of the Lord as one Purusha in whom the entire world is situated. The entire world is but that one entity alone. This way of seeing everything in the Lord is what is generally termed as vishwaroopa darshanam or virupa bhajanam.

There is no need to mention each and every entity in the world as parts of the ultimate reality of Lord – it is enough to say that everything is an illusion in the Lord who alone exists here. But the scriptures use explicit way of explaining so that people who have doubts even after everything is mentioned to be the Lord will get convinced about this. Many people get doubts as to how the world filled with differences of all sorts can be the non-dual reality of Lord. It is for such people to be convinced and to slowly make them realize that everything that we see is in fact one reality of Lord alone that the scriptures take resort to vishwaroopa. If everything that we see is one Lord, then the duality will completely merge into one Lord. It is duality and differences that cause sorrow in the world. As long as we have likes and dislikes, we will get attached and averted to things and people. It is this attachment and aversion that leads to happiness and sorrow depending on the situation. A person who doesn’t have any attachment or aversion will always be peaceful and beyond the dual notions of the mind (like happiness-sorrow etc.). Thus a person who is devoid of likes and dislikes will always be peaceful – it is this peaceful state of mind that is known as moksha. Bliss, contentment, satisfaction etc. are just synonyms for the peaceful state of the mind.

If the truth is that everything is one or the other part of the Lord, then how can we call the Lord the non-dual and eternal entity?
Any entity that is composed of parts is subject to changes – a tree has various parts of branch, leave etc. and hence it undergoes the six modifications of birth, existence, growth, decay, disease and death. Such a changing entity cannot therefore be eternal as eternal is that which always exists. Similarly since the Lord has parts (which are the various things of the world), therefore he cannot be non-dual.

It is in order to answer this objection/doubt that Bhagavatham further says through Akrura that everything is an illusion in the Lord. Even as the objects coming in dream are related to the dreamer and can also be considered as the parts of the dreamer, similarly the entire world is an illusion in the Lord. Thus the Lord is non-dual and eternal as the parts are only illusions in the Lord.

If the parts of the Lord are illusions, then why speak about the world are parts of the Lord?
This is in order to get rid of the dual notions in our mind. If we are very well able to overcome likes and dislikes by contemplating on everything to be an illusion in the Lord, well and good. But for majority of us, it is impossible to conquer likes and dislikes all the while perceiving differences in the world. Hence in order to take us slowly from the likes and dislikes thereby leading us to the non-dual reality of Lord Bhagavatham and the scriptures proclaim everything to be present in the Lord. Everything is present in the Lord as the parts of the Lord – but here the parts are like the dream world seen in the dreamer, they are not real but mere illusions. Thus even while we are able to get rid of likes and dislikes by seeing everything as one Lord, we will also not get deluded into the parts of the Lord (as we know them to be illusions in the Lord and not real).

We will continue with the praise of Akrura in the next day.

My prostrations to that eternal and changeless entity of Brahman who is endowed with unlimited power (of Maya), is of the nature of Consciousness absolute, is the cause of all knowledge (and Consciousness) and is present in the world as jeeva, ishwara and prakrithi.


We see Bhagavatham explaining all perspectives of the reality in this one sloka praise of Akrura. Let’s see that in detail today.

There is only one entity in the entire world which is real – it is this entity which is termed as Brahman, Ishwara, Paramatman, Bhagavan etc. variously by saints and masters. The very nature of this Brahman is Consciousness. There is nothing that taints this entity of Consciousness as it is part-less and the cause of the part-less space. Only that which has parts can be tainted as it alone can have association with other entities. Since Brahman is part-less, therefore Brahman is always pure. That which is pure and part-less therefore is changeless and eternal (a tree has parts and hence has changes – similar is the case with a body).

If Brahman as Consciousness is eternal, what about the Consciousness in each one of us which pulsates as “I exist, I exist”?
All knowledge or light that we have in the entire world is nothing but the light of Consciousness alone. The scriptures mention clearly that everything shines because of the light of Consciousness. Krishna himself says in Gita that the light in the Sun, moon etc. are his light. Thus all Consciousness is but one with Brahman or Lord.

Why can’t we have multiple Consciousness? Why does Consciousness need to be one?
Consciousness cannot be many because such a necessity is not required. Moreover if we assume many Consciousness, then we will have to account for both Consciousness interacting with each other. It is the nature of Consciousness to illumine everything and itself remaining un-illumined. Consciousness is the only entity in the entire world which isn’t objectified by anything as it is the light of all lights. Even as all our lights cannot illumine the Sun (which is the source of all lights), Consciousness cannot be illumined by any light. This will become wrong if we assume many CHITS (Consciousness). Thus Consciousness is one alone.

If Consciousness is one alone, then how do we experience the “I” in me illumining the “I” in another person?
The “I” in another person which is illumined by “I” in me is not Consciousness. It is the limited jeeva (reflection of Consciousness in the intellect). Similarly the “I” which we are speaking here in me is not Consciousness but jeeva associated with the body-mind-intellect. Consciousness as we learned is without any association. Hence the “I” here is not Consciousness as it is associated with the body-mind-intellect complex.

Even as a dreamer in his dream world experiences himself illumining others and others illumining him but all of the experiences are in fact illuminations of one dreamer alone, similarly the entire world is illumined by one Consciousness alone. But we tend to forget our real nature of Consciousness thereby getting identified with the jeeva (which is unreal). The moment we surrender to the ultimate reality of Lord remembering that everything is an illusion in Consciousness, that very moment we will be able to experience the bliss of the one Consciousness.

Though our experiences currently are an illusion, yet all illusions are in reality the one Consciousness even as the entire dream world is in reality the dreamer. Thus Bhagavatham here says that it is the Lord who is present as the jeeva (limited being), ishwara (all-pervasive controller) and prakrithi (maya power which gets transformed into the world).

It is when we realize this truth and always are able to remember this that everything is one Lord alone that we conquer the sorrows and sufferings arising out of the illusion. Once we conquer the illusion by knowing it to be the reality of Lord, we will be able to rejoice in bliss which is our very nature of one Consciousness (the nature of Lord).

Thus Bhagavatham here has beautifully summarized Vedanta and the various aspects/doubts regarding the same through Akrura.

We will continue with the praise of Akrura in the next day.

Let us all try to always remember that everything that we see and experience is in fact the non-dual reality of Lord who alone exists as the illusion of dual world so that we will overcome the sorrows of the illusory world and ever rejoice in bliss.

Story 49 – Story of Vishwaroopa Pradarshanam - 06

O Lord, this world has been created by Brahma who has come from the lotus in your navel. Panchabhothas (five primal elements), prana, brahma, mind, sense organs etc. all of these don’t know the reality of Lord though they are your parts (as they are an illusion seen in you).


In the previous day we saw Akrura starting his praise by giving a concise definition of the ultimate reality of Lord. The very next question that comes to our mind once the reality of Lord is being propounded is regarding the world that we perceive. If the reality of Lord alone is present, then what about the world that we see? How are we to understand the words of the scriptures which propagates creation theory and categorization of things around us? This is being explained in brief in this part of Akrura’s praise.

Everything that we see has come from the Lord because the Lord alone is real. Even as the dream world has come from the dreamer, similarly the entire world has come from the Lord. But unlike the real pot that is created by the potter, the world that we see is only an illusion in the Lord. This is the reason why the objects and people that are part of the world cannot know the Lord – even as the objects in the dream world cannot know the dreamer.

Thus the world that we see is only an illusion in the reality of Lord even as the dream world is an illusion in the dreamer. The dream world seems to be real when we are dreaming but after waking up we realize that there was neither a dream world nor will there ever be a dream world; similarly once a seeker realizes the substratum of the illusory world as the ultimate reality of Lord then he will realize that there was and will never be a world – it is just an illusion and the world is such that it appears to be as if real. The very fact that the world is constantly changing shows that the world will one day vanish completely. That which is subject to vanishing cannot be real as real is that which always exists.

Remembering that the entire world is nothing but the ultimate reality of Lord even as the dream world is the dreamer alone, we have to proceed in the spiritual path by seeing the Lord everywhere. The moment we see the Lord as pervading the entire world, we will not be able to get attached or averted to things and people. When there is neither attachment nor aversion, we will not get affected by the state of the illusory things of the world. Most of the problems in life is due to getting affected by the world and the objects/people of the world.

Thus knowledge about the reality of the Lord and the illusory nature of the world along with implementation of seeing the Lord everywhere will take us from the state of sorrow to the state of eternal bliss in this very life itself.

We will continue with the praise of Akrura in the next day.

Let us all try to remember the world to be an illusion in the ultimate reality of Lord so that we are not deluded anymore by the sorrows caused by the world and will be able to rejoice in bliss which is our very nature of Lord.

The entire world doesn’t know you – because though you pervade all of this, you are beyond the gunas (which is the basis of the world). Yogis worship you as the Ishwara present as adhyatmam, adhibhootham and adhidaivam. Few others worship you through the yajnas present in the karma khanda of the Vedas. But jnaanis worship you as Consciousness in nature through jnaana yajna after negating the thoughts of the mind. Saivas worship you in the form of Siva. All these people worship you alone who are the essence of all these forms. Even as the water which flows from the ocean and becomes various rivers merges back unto the ocean, similarly all these worship comes to you alone.


In this part of Akrura’s praise, Bhagavatham is giving a very beautiful concept which we all are aware of through this simple age-old sloka:

Aakaashaat pathitham toyam yathaa gacchathi saagaram
Sarvadeva namaskaaram keshavam prathi gacchathi

Even as the water that comes from the sky (in the form of rain) flows back to the ocean, similarly worship/prostration to any God finally goes to Keshava (Keshava is the merging of the trinities – and is termed as Brahman in Vedanta).

It is the very same concept that Krishna mentions in the 9th chapter of Gita thus:

Yepi anya devathaah bhakthaah yajanthe sraddhayaanvithaah
Tepi maameva kaunteya yajanthi avidhipurvakam

Those who worship other Gods but with faith and devotion, they worship me only; but not directly knowing this.

All this means that it doesn’t matter which form we choose for worship. There have been prescribed around 33 crore forms in the scriptures. Even as the seekers are of different kinds and have different nature, similarly there are different forms prescribed for each of these kinds of people. An individual can depending on his nature, taste and attraction, choose the form that appeals the most to him. Worship is wherein we constantly contemplate on the form and offer everything unto the form. This is possible only if the form is appealing to us and we are devoted to the form or have pure love towards the form. Once we choose the form, then we need to worship the form remembering that all forms are in fact the formless reality of Lord alone.

Thus any worship with the right attitude of remembering the form to be the ultimate reality of Lord will take us from the state of sorrow to the state of bliss. This part of Bhagavatham thereby clarifies the doubts in many of us as to whether one form is better than the other, whether one way of worship is better than the other etc. Ultimately it doesn’t matter which form we worship or how we worship but what really matters is as to the knowledge about the Lord being the only reality in the entire world and having complete surrender/devotion/love towards the Lord. This alone is enough for the Lord to take care of us and lead us to the goal of eternal bliss. This is again mentioned by the Lord himself in the 9th chapter thus:

Ananyaaschintayantho maam ye janaah paryupasathe
Teshaam nitya abhiyukthaanaam yogakshemam vahaami aham

Those who worship me everywhere and always remembering me, I take care of such people whose mind is always focused on me.

Thus rather than trying to figure as to which form is better or which path is better, we need to focus on gaining constant contemplation of the Lord at all times along with the knowledge that the Lord alone is present here as the illusory world.

We will continue with the praise of Akrura in the next day.

Let us all choose a form that is appealing to our mind and which can help us focus on the reality of Lord along with the knowledge that everything is but one Lord alone so that we will be protected always by the Lord until we realize our very nature of Lord

Story 49 – Story of Vishwaroopa Pradarshanam - 05

When Akrura’s mind flowed with devotion, he showered the Lord with praises.


Before entering into the analysis of the praises showered by Akrura to clearly define the characteristics of the Lord, it is important to understand the import of these praises.

We may have a doubt as to why in each story of Bhagavatham we find praises of the Lord; we may also think as to why each devotee who realizes the grace of the Lord ends up singing praises of the Lord. It is very important to understand this lest we get deluded into thinking that mere singing of praises means that we have realized – if this was the case then the majority of politicians will be realized as they praise one another in one way or the other.

The main essence of these praises finding their way in each story of Bhagavatham is that it is essential that we always stick onto the ultimate reality of Lord without getting deluded into the stories. It is very easy to get deluded into the miracles shown by the Lord. Those miracles are merely ways of gaining the attention of seekers like us. But once we gain attention, it is important that we don’t get deluded into the Lord but continue further towards realization of the all-pervasive Lord. Thus the scriptures through these beautiful praises of the Lord take us out of our deluded state (delusion towards miracles) thereby making us remember again and again the real nature of the Lord. We already have learnt previously as to that reiteration or repetition is one of the ways that the scriptures use in order to ensure that the seekers completely grasp the truth and helping them to get back from the state of forgetfulness.

These praises unlike other worldly praises speaks about the nature of the Lord without providing any distractions to the seeker. Once we realize the Lord, then we will have nothing else to speak other than the true nature of the Lord. It is that state when we will realize the futility of worldly pleasures and everything that is different from the Lord. Thus there will be nothing useful to speak other than hinting at the ultimate reality of Lord. It is emphasizing this point that a realized master will have nothing to speak other than the nature of the Lord (from different perspectives, illustrations, analogies etc.) that is clearly brought out by Bhagavatham through praises of the Lord.

When we here about the praises of the Lord as pervading the entire universe, this also serves to get rid of desires, attachment, attraction etc. towards the world because the Lord has a glory beyond comparison. The human intellect and mind are so designed that they are not satisfied with limited entities and thereby seeking unlimited-ness in everything. The more and more the intellect/mind hears about the glories of the unlimited Lord (not limited glories like miracles but the unlimited nature of the Lord), it will just be overly attached to the Lord. This overly attachment is what is known as para vairagya or upper dispassion. It is this dispassion of attachment towards the Lord that takes us away from all worldly pleasures and makes us seek the Lord each and every moment of our life.

Thus simple as it may seem, these praises serve a lot of purpose – all of which directly or indirectly help us in staying focused on the ultimate reality of Lord so that we will realize the ultimate reality of Lord in this very birth itself.

Remembering the goal of praises as what should be our focus constantly, we will analyze the praises showered by Akrura on the Lord in the next few days.

Let us all remember to have constant focus on the ultimate reality of Lord and not get deluded into the miraculous feats performed by the Lord so that we may realize our very nature of Lord in this very birth itself.

Akrura praised the Lord thus:

I prostrate you who are the ultimate cause of everything and the cause without any decay/destruction/death.


We find here Akrura starting his praise of the Lord. Any praise or description of something has to be basically start with a short, concise and clear definition of the nature of the object. Here we find Akrura giving us a concise definition of the ultimate reality of Lord.

The Lord is often defined as the supreme, ultimate and first cause of whatever is seen as the world. Everything that we see has come from the ultimate reality of Lord as he is the first cause (primal cause or first purusha). It is this concept that is termed by Chinmaya as “Uncaused cause”. Mere mention of the Lord as the first cause will lead to a lot of illogicalities and logical objections – the very first one being as to how the first cause gets transformed or converted into the effect of the world (if we consider the cause as getting transformed into the effect, then why don’t we have a cause beyond this cause – why and how can we just stop at one cause rather than go on and on in an infinite regression in search of the first cause). It is in order to avoid all these objections that Akrura adds the quality of “cause without any decay”. This means that though the cause of the Lord becomes the world that we see, yet the Lord remains without any decay or is changeless. It is basically impossible for a cause to remain changeless even as an effect (of the world) is created/caused out of the cause. The only logical solution to this is accepting the world to be an unreal effect (not real ultimately but just seemingly appearing). When we consider the effect to be unreal, then there is no effect really created out of the cause – which means that the cause can still be without any changes.

This becomes clear with the analogy of rope seen in snake (or water seen in desert). The rope is the uncaused cause of the snake. But since the snake is not real (but merely an illusion which seems to be present at the time of illusion and is ultimately known to be unreal when the substratum of rope is known), therefore the cause of rope can be without any changes – in fact the cause of rope is changeless and untainted by the snake seen in the rope.

If the snake is unreal and not really caused in the rope, then how can we term the rope as a CAUSE?
We cannot term the rope as the cause ultimately. But the question itself presupposes a snake which is seen in the rope – when the illusion of snake is seen in the rope; the rope becomes a cause as it has caused the illusory snake. But once a person realizes that there is no snake really caused in the rope, the CAUSEHOOD of the rope also vanishes. Similarly it is for the ignorant seeker that the scriptures proclaim the ultimate reality of Lord to be the CAUSE of everything. Once the seeker progresses, he will realize that the Lord is not a mere cause but the substratum in which the illusory world is seen. As long as the world is accepted the Lord becomes the substratum/cause; the moment we accept the world to be unreal, there is nothing but the Lord alone (when there is only ONE, how can we have a CAUSE and an EFFECT).

Thus the scriptural statements speaking about creation of the world and the Lord as the cause of the world as only for the ignorant and initial seeker. Once the seeker progresses he will know and realize that the Lord is never a cause but the causehood was given to the Lord in order to explain the illusory world which was temporarily perceived by the seeker.

This analysis of the Lord as the substratum/cause of the unreal world is a fundamental concept of Vedanta; once a seeker is able to understand this, then Vedanta itself is known in brief. Such a seeker will then very easily be able to apprehend the Lord everywhere (knowing that everything is but an illusion in the Lord) thereby realizing his very nature of non-dual Lord in this very birth itself.

We will continue with the praise of Akrura in the next day.

Let us all remember the Lord to be the UNCAUSED and CHANGELESS CAUSE so that we may realize our own nature of non-dual and blissful Lord in this very birth itself.

Story 49 – Story of Vishwaroopa Pradarshanam - 04

Rama-Krishna started in the chariot along with Akrura. On the way they encountered Kalindi River; they decided to rest for some time. They drank some of the water from Kalindi and relaxed under the shades of a tree (in the chariot). Akrura decided to take a bath in the Kalindi River. Chanting various sacred syllables he entered into the river leaving Rama and Krishna in the chariot itself. He plunged into the water and to his surprise found Rama-Krishna in the water along with him. He was surprised at this as he had left them in the chariot. He came out of the plunging and saw that Rama-Krishna was still relaxing in the chariot. He thought that seeing Rama-Krishna in the river was just a dream. Thinking so he plunged again into the water only to find Rama-Krishna clearly present along with their relatives-friends in the water.


We find here the expansion of the form of Krishna from the bhaktha of Akrura’s mind to the entire world. It is this form covering up the entire world that was seen by Arjuna in the Gita. This is the way a particular form which is in the mind of the devotee pervades the entire world.

The truth is that the entire world is pervaded in and out by one reality of Lord. But most of us are unable to apprehend this all-pervasive form and worship it in our mind. This is because our mind is limited, our vision is limited and we are still attached to forms. But unlike other attachments, this attachment is towards the reality of Lord and accompanied by total & complete surrender. Hence the Lord himself will take us from the limited form to the all-pervasive form. If any of us become real devotees of a particular form of the Lord, then automatically after few months of practice we will find the form pervading the entire world – we will see everything as the Lord alone. When that one form pervades the entire world, it no longer is a form as form is that which is limited by space (the form pervades space and hence is no longer a form). Once the form pervades the entire world, then we perceive nothing but the formless Lord alone. This is how a devotee is taken from a limited form to the all-pervasive form to the formless Lord finally realizing bliss as the only thing present in the entire world.

Many of us might object to this saying that we have been devotees of a particular form for many years yet we haven’t seen the form pervading the entire world. This is not a fault with the process in itself but with our devotion. As long as our devotion is not complete and pure, we will not be able to experience the form as pervading the entire world. We have already discussed as to what is pure devotion but we will see it again briefly now so that we are able to always remain focused to attaining pure devotion.

Krishna beautifully mentions this in the 9th chapter of Gita thus:

Yat karoshi yadashnaasi yat juhoshi dadaasi yat
Yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kurushva madarpanam

Whatever you do; whatever you eat; whatever you offer; whatever you give and whatever austerity you do, do it offering it unto me.

This is not that tough to practice as we think it to be; what is essential here is not the action or activity in itself but the attitude behind the action. Whatever we are doing irrespective of whether it is good or bad, we just have to offer it unto the Lord (saying that O Lord you alone are present here – I am offering all this unto me). This doesn’t take much effort and we are not completely unaware of this practice as we implement this in one way or the other in our lives – when we remember our family or friends or lovers while doing activities in office & remembering our office work while doing activities in house.

What is required from us is just shift focus from objects of the world to the reality of Lord – remembering the Lord instead of other things while doing activities & offering the activities unto the Lord; as if our activities are nothing but pooja to the Lord. It is this pooja of offering all activities to the Lord that is real worship of the Lord as it alone gives us the total attention of the Lord wherein the Lord pervades the entire world taking us to the goal of eternal bliss.

Let us all try to be real devotees of the Lord like Akrura by offering all actions unto the Lord so that we may also be able to pervade the form to the entire world thereby realizing our own nature of formless, eternal and non-dual Lord.

Akrura saw Krishna as wearing a yellow dress, blue in complexion and four hands coming out of the dress. He saw Krishna as having all the dress and decorations of Vishnu. He also saw Prahlaada, Narada, Vasus etc. standing aside and singing glories of the Lord. Various goddesses who denoted different powers also stood around Krishna and sang his praises. Seeing all this, Akrura’s mind overflowed with devotion.


Before the form that we worship pervades the entire world, we will be able to get vision of the form in detail that we have worshipped during meditation. Though the ultimate state is when the form completely merges and whatever is seen is just all-pervasive Lord, yet this means that any sadhana that we do remembering the Lord as pervading the entire world will not be futile. The Lord is one who grants all the wishes and desires of his devotee. This is not a mere statement but a promise that the Lord has maintained till date. If we analyze the life histories of Mahatmas and devotees, we will be able to very clearly see this promise being maintained by the Lord at all times.

Swami Vivekananda was always protected by the Lord in form of Devi as he was an ardent devotee who asked for nothing less than knowledge and dispassion. It was the time when Vivekananda’s family was suffering. Therefore Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa asked Vivekananda to seek removal of those sufferings to Devi. Swamiji went to the Devi temple and came back. When questioned by Sri Ramakrishna, he replied saying that he could not ask for relief to suffering but only could ask for viveka and vairagya (knowledge and dispassion). Sri Ramakrishna sends him again but to no avail. This happens three times and finally Sri Ramakrishna himself gives the promise that Devi will provide Swamiji’s family with whatever is barely required for living (without any major troubles). And this promise was always kept by Devi. Even when Swamiji went to speak at the United Nations and lost his passport, still Devi was there to take care of the bare necessities of Swamiji.

If we can develop at least little bit devotion towards the ultimate reality of Lord, then we also will be able to experience the Lord keeping up his promise in each and every walk of our life. It is but essential that we have pure devotion so that always we are protected by the Lord. When Draupadi called up to the Lord but was holding on to her saree with one hand, the Lord didn’t arrive. But the moment she let go of both hands and called up the Lord, the Lord immediately came to her rescue. As long as we catch hold of our worldly possessions and attachments, we will not be able to get the grace of the Lord. Instead if we are able to let go of everything and take resort only to the ultimate reality of Lord, that very moment we will be able to experience the ever-present grace of the Lord protecting us always.

It is such a devotee who has completely surrendered to the ultimate reality of Lord who is able to finally see everything as being pervaded by the Lord. He will not only be able to see everything pervaded by the Lord but he will also be able to see mystic experiences like viewing the various Mahatmas of the world. Once this happens, then the mind of the devotee overflows with devotion. This means that the devotee is ever submerged in the ocean of devotion. Such a devotee will therefore be able to see the Lord in various forms, various places and various ways. But in all these, the devotee will be able to experience bliss, peace, satisfaction and contentment.

We will continue with the story in the next day wherein Akrura praises the Lord through prayers.

Let us all try to gain pure devotion towards the ultimate reality of Lord so that we will be always protected by the Lord and experience bliss as pervading everything.

Story 49 – Story of Vishwaroopa Pradarshanam - 03

Seeing Akrura, the Lord embraced him and took him to a state of bliss. He then led Akrura to his house, holding him by hand.


Our entire life is seeking one and only one thing in the entire world – bliss. It is this bliss that we constantly seek in the external world – in things, in people. But the only thing that we get out of the world is sorrow which might come late but it still finds us. It is for this reason that the Lord terms the world as “anityam asukham lokam” (temporary and sorrowful). But the Lord doesn’t stop by terming the world as sorrowful; he also gives the direct way out of this sorrow as “imam praapya bhajasva maam” (having attained the temporary and sorrowful world, take refuge in me).

It is this pure devotion towards the Lord and becoming a real devotee of the Lord that will give us eternal bliss. The moment Akrura showed pure devotion towards the Lord, that moment itself the Lord took him to a state of bliss. This bliss might not be eternal bliss which we will always experience after realization but if this bliss itself can take us to a different plane (which is untainted by sorrow), then what to speak about ever residing in the blissful state.

We don’t need to spend a lot of money or time; we don’t need to go to various sacred shrines; we don’t need to do sadhana like meditation for a continuous period of time; the only thing we need to do in order to get this bliss is be a pure devotee of the Lord. We saw in the previous day as to how we can very easily become a pure devotee of the Lord – this doesn’t even require knowledge of the scriptures; we just need to remember that the Lord is pervading the illusory world of names and forms thereby having total and unconditional surrender unto him. This is the only thing required from our side in order to get the eternal bliss which is the very nature of the Lord. We would go to any extent in order to get into the United States, into IIM, getting a partner, getting children etc. but we put restrictions when it comes to spirituality. We will term Vedanta and spirituality as “old fashion” and for “old people” but when the old age comes we will still be yearning for worldly pleasures not even giving spirituality a thought.

It might be tough if we were told to learn the Brahma Sutras along with the various commentaries on the same in Sanskrit. It might be tough if we were told to daily sing bhajans like Anup Jalota. But what the Lord is asking from us is just our full attention towards him. Even as a mother gives her full attention to the child, even as a lover gives full attention to his love and even as a professional gives full attention to his job, we just need to give our full attention to the Lord. What we get in return from this total and unconditional surrender unto the Lord remembering him to pervade the entire world whatever we be doing for the moment is eternal bliss.

We may think that we could get to eternal bliss through a short cut like meeting Kanchi or Sringeri acharya once a week; by meeting AMMA once a month; by being in contact with Sri Sri Ravishankar; by going to Puttaparthi and doing seva; but none of this is going to give us eternal bliss. All these activities only help in purification of the mind but not gaining the goal. The goal of bliss can be achieved only when we completely surrender unto the Lord knowing him to be the reality behind the illusory world. This is the one and only way to eternal bliss. If somebody claims that he or she can give you bliss if you follow him or her, then we can outright reject the person because moksha or bliss can be achieved only through complete surrender to the reality of Lord who alone is present here. This is the only way to realization and to get beyond all bondages, sorrows and sufferings thereby ever rejoicing in bliss.

Akrura was bold enough to surrender completely unto the Lord even after knowing that he was being made a pawn by Kamsa in order to try kill the Lord; neither this nor the thought that he was detrimental in giving Kamsa a chance to kill the Lord made Akrura stay away from the truth (here in the form of visiting and gaining contact with the Lord). If we are able to always remember and surrender unto the Lord with the knowledge that the entire world is but an illusion of names and forms in the Lord, then we will also be able to rejoice in bliss like Akrura.

Let us all try to become real devotees of the Lord so that we may rejoice in bliss – that bliss which is what we all are trying to get in each and every moment of our life.

After enquiring about the welfare and resting, Akrura informed everyone the reason for his coming to Gokula. Hearing that Krishna will be leaving them, the gopikas started crying. They started crying more remembering the Raasa leela played with the Lord. Next day morning Akrura started in the chariot along with Krishna and Balarama. Nandagopa and others followed the chariot carrying materials to be given to the King. Krishna consoled the gopikas by sending his followers and giving words of consolation to the gopikas.


We may find times in our spiritual path when everything will be against us; we should remember that whatever be the time (whether good or bad or worse) the Lord will always be there to protect us as long as we have real devotion towards him. It is this aspect that the Lord portrays here through consolation given to the gopikas.

Even though we may be really devoted to the Lord and doing activities which doesn’t harm or hurt others, yet we may face hardships in the path. During those times we shouldn’t let ourselves turn away from the Lord by doubting him and his protective nature. It is fine to cry to our hearts during those times as we will be unable to hold on but we should never doubt or get away from the Lord.

When a child is starting to walk, the mother will start walking with the child. Instead of catching hold of the child’s hand, the mother might let the child fall down a few times. Just because the mother has let the child fall down doesn’t mean that the mother is not protecting or taking care of the child. It is for the child’s well-being that the mother is doing such activities. If the child considers this as the mother’s lack-of-interest, then the child alone will the loser.

If this applies to a very simple activity of “walking” then how can we judge the activities of the all-knowing Lord? The mother’s intellect and way of thinking is limited whereas the Lord’s intellect and way of thinking is beyond our apprehension. Hence not even once should be doubt the Lord in terms of protecting us and showing us the path.

Many things are learnt the hard way – moreover things learnt in the hard way will never be forgotten whereas things learnt very easily are often forgotten. The saying goes as “mysterious are the ways of God”. We are not capable of even choosing small-small things in life like marriage, children and occupation etc. A person learns Marine Engineering for many years finally regretting his own decision. Similarly we spent months thinking about whether we should get married to a person; we get married and finally end up in divorce or heated arguments all the time. Since we are not even able to analyze correctly worldly activities, we definitely are not capable of analyzing the spiritual meaning of each and every activity in our life.

We depend on many people and things in the world. Once when Amritasvaroopananda (AMMA’s senior disciple) was translating AMMA’s discourse by typing and reading from his laptop, the laptop got hung. Worldly things are like this – we often depend on them only to be disappointed. We go to any extent trying to support our family, our parents, our children, our friends, our partnersm our relatives and our possessions but we never offer such a dependency to the ultimate reality of Lord. We are so dumb that we depend on things which have given us sorrow again and again but cannot depend on the Lord who has given only bliss to whoever really seeks him. Thus instead of trying to blame or doubt or curse the Lord, we should persistently have devotion towards him so that we may succeed in the spiritual tests that the Lord sets in front of us.

We may think that just by meeting AMMA once a year or calling up Krishna’s name once a day we will be protected. This is not the case. If the Lord is unlimited, then his desire for our attention (love or devotion) is also unlimited. Anything less than perfection will not give us the real benefit of moksha or bliss. AMMA illustrates a beautiful story to denote that if our attention to the Lord is not complete, we will not only not reap the fruit of bliss but end up in more misery than normal. Once Yashoda was breast-feeding Krishna who was very hungry. But Yashoda had also kept some milk on the stove. It was time for the milk to get boiled – in order to save the milk from spilling out; Yashoda left poor Krishna on the floor. She was able to save the milk on the stove; but when she returned she found that butter in the entire house was spilled as Krishna was very hungry. Yashoda left Krishna hungry in order to save a few glasses of milk; she could save the milk but ended up losing much more than that in the form of butter in the entire house.

This illustrates that if our attention towards the Lord is lacking somewhere, we will only end up in more sorrows rather than being helped by the Lord. The Lord will help and protect us only if our devotion and surrender to him is total and complete. If we are able to achieve this total surrender unto the Lord, then he will always be there to help us from the obstacles in the spiritual path and will not rest until we realize our nature of blissful Lord.

Remembering AMMA’s beautiful illustration let us all try to have pure devotion towards the Lord so that he will be always there to protect us from the spiritual tests he himself puts us into thereby leading us to the state of bliss.

Story 49 – Story of Vishwaroopa Pradarshanam - 02

In order to invite Balarama-Krishna, Kamsa sent the peak-devotee of Akrura to gokula.


We find here Bhagavatham giving a direct way to attain the Lord through Kamsa’s intellectual game-play to invite and kill the Lord. This way is one of the easiest ways for each one of us to realize our own very nature of Lord. This is by becoming a true devotee of the Lord.

Kamsa knew that Krishna is the Lord. Thus both the Lord and Kamsa knew each other to enemies. Hence Kamsa knew the Lord wouldn’t visit him without alluring the Lord. Kamsa also knew that the way to allure the Lord is through a devotee of the Lord. This goes on to show that the devotee is very dear to the Lord. The Lord would go to any extent in order to protect, save and help his devotee. This is based on the Lord’s own statement in Gita in many places that “the devotee is very dear to me”, “I take care of my devotee’s good and bad”, “I will protect the devotees by taking them beyond all sins” etc.

Thus Bhagavatham is here telling each one of us to strive to become a real devotee of the Lord. Once we are real devotees of the Lord, that very moment the Lord will reveal his true nature of “pervading the entire world in and out beyond the illusory names-forms of the world”. What we need to do from our side is just try to become real devotee of the Lord. If we move one step towards the Lord, the Lord will move 10 steps towards us. This is not a mere statement but anyone with a desire for realizing the Lord can experience this clearly in their life. There are many times when we feel ourselves at the verge of emotional breakdown and suddenly feel help coming from some strange person. It is but the Lord who works through each and every person in the world. The Lord doesn’t differentiate between a devotee and non-devotee. But we will not be able to grasp the ever present grace of the Lord if we are not a devotee. This is like a person sitting inside his house and thereby unable to apprehend the ever present sunshine. In order for us to get the sunshine, we need to open our doors/windows or come out of our house. Similarly in order for us to apprehend the ever present grace of the Lord, we need to open our hearts. Once we open our hearts and become real devotees of the Lord, we will be able to feel the Lord working through each and every object of the world.

Thus the easiest way to lure the Lord into revealing his nature to us is by becoming a real devotee of the Lord. As to what is real devotion, Bhagavatham itself will be illustrating this with Akrura’s activities while going to Gokula in order to invite the Lord. We will see this in the next day.

Let us all try to lure the Lord into giving us eternal bliss through realization of the non-dual reality of Lord by striving for pure and real devotion.

Akrura got into the chariot in order to make it to Gokula. Being so excited about meeting Krishna, Akrura spent like a moment and reached Gokula by evening. On the way he saw Krishna’s feet impressions on the soil. He got down from the chariot; the very vision of the soil filled with Krishna’s feet made Akrura’s hair standing on their top in his entire body; a pulse of bliss was sent throughout his body; he played on the soil by rolling down on it like a kid. He saw Balarama and Krishna in the place where cows & calves where churned for milk. He got down from the chariot and prostrated them with his entire body (danda namaskaaram). His entire body was filled with excitement and bliss; tears of joy were flowing down his cheeks; he couldn’t utter even a word – thus he stayed like a post for a long period of time.


We all have a lot of misconception about devotion. If somebody believes in God or somebody visits a temple once a day or somebody goes to a Mahatma, we term the person a devotee. JThis is being proved wrong here. The Lord is also clear about devotion and its description in the 12th chapter (Bhakthi Yoga) of Gita.

Mayi avesha mano ye maam nityayukthaa upaasathe
Sraddhayaa parayopethaah te me nityatamaa mataah

He is my devotee who

1. Fixes his mind (thoughts) unto me
2. Is steadfast in me (thinking about me)
3. Considers me as the ultimate goal to be achieved (thereby having all efforts towards realizing me)

The above description of the Lord very clearly gives us one way to find out whether we are real devotees or not – this is complete and total surrender unto the Lord. A real devotee is one who doesn’t know anything apart from the Lord. All his words are praises of the Lord, all his actions are pooja to the Lord, everything that he does is towards remembrance of the Lord and his only aim in life is realizing his very nature of all pervading Lord. The very sight of the Lord’s feet impression took Akrura to an elevated state. The moment a devotee remembers the Lord, he will not be able to speak or drink or walk etc. but he will be in absorption with the Lord.

Thus real devotion is not believing in the Lord but making the Lord pervade each moment of our life and each entity of the entire world. If we are able to do this, then we will have only one desire in life which will be realization of the reality of Lord. Everything else will not be as important as the Lord. The devotee’s all actions will be towards realization of the Lord even as Akrura didn’t even question when told to approach the Lord. Everything else would have lesser priority than constant remembrance of the Lord.

When we compare Akrura’s behavior with our behavior (or of those whom we term as ‘devoted’), we will find the difference equivalent to that between sky and earth. We will go to the temple, pray the Lord and do pradakshina for n number of times. On the way back from the temple we come across a vehicle which is going slow; immediately we will start cursing and abusing the person. We haven’t even reached our home yet the Lord is gone long ago from our minds. This is our devotion. This goes to such an extent that we stand in front of the deity and curse the person in front who is obstructing our view of the deity. We don’t even show attachment that is seen in young lovers towards the Lord – our view of the Lord is just as a means to get away from our sins and get things easily by doing part-time worship. This is thereby completely different from real devotion which is beautifully depicted by Bhagavatham through Akrura’s activities.

We will claim ourselves to be devotees of Krishna but speak about Gita or Bhagavatham, we will not even know one sloka from those. We will not even know the entire life history of Krishna. Yet we will claim ourselves devotees of Krishna or any other deity.

Being spiritual seekers seeking the ultimate reality of Lord, we all should take a resolution to stop speaking about devotion like it can be followed by any and every person in the world. We should understand what real devotion, stop interpreting religious as devotion and try ourselves to be a real devotee of the Lord. The next time either we or somebody else speaks about a devotee, we should immediately analyze whether the target person is a devotee or not. If we still make the same mistake of terming everyone who remembers the Lord once a week a devotee, then we will be the losers in not becoming a real devotee; unless we become a real devotee, we will not be able to perceive the ever-present grace of the Lord; unless we are able to perceive the grace of the Lord, we will not be able to realize our own very nature of Lord; unless we are able to realize our own nature of Lord, we will not be able to get eternal bliss; unless we get eternal bliss, our life will always be temporary and sorrowful.

We will see as to how the Lord reciprocates the devotee’s devotion in the next day.

Let us all try to be real devotees of the Lord by completely surrendering unto the Lord so that we are ever immersed in contemplation of the Lord as pervading the entire world and thereby realize our very nature of blissful Lord.

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