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.

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