Saturday, April 19, 2008

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.

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