Answer 4 for Question 5 on Pursuable Means - SaadhyOpAyam
Q 5 : kO dharmah sarva dharmANaam bhavatah paramO matah?
What is, in thy opinion, the greatest Dharma? By reciting which mantra will man be released from the bondage of the cycle of birth and death? Neer arintha dharmangalileye yethu siranthathana dharmam.
Yudhistra asks “Which – of all dharmas – is the loftiest, in your opinion?”, he means to ask “Of all the dharmas prescribed by the scriptures and connotative of all the aforesaid natures, which is the One – in your opinion – that is distinctly unique with no equal or superior dharmas to it, which is clearly proven and can be relied upon similar to Apaddhanam (wealth in times of dire need)?”
Question is about: Upayam – sAdhyOpAyam (Kazta pattu Perumalai vaseegaranam pannarthu using many sadhanas – Karma, Bhakthi, and Gyana Yogam
Order Reason: After answering the questions related to Siddhopayam(Q3 and Q4), Bhisma answered the 5th questioin on Sadhyopayam which is little difficult. Fourth answer was for the 5th questioin on Sadhyopayam which is little difficult. So he chose to answer the question on Sadhyopayam after anwering the two questions on the siddhOpAya.
Esha me sarva-dharmanam dharmo-dhikatamo matah |
Yadbhaktya pundaree-kaksham stavairarche nara sada ||
Bhishma then proceeds to reply to the fifth question (which – of all dharmas – is the highest?) with the sloka beginning with ‘ESha mE’. Everyone needs to follow their own dharmam. Many explanations given below on how our great scholars have expressed their point of view based on thier experiences like how bheesma explains the best among the dharma’s he is aware of.
· In thiruviruththam , Nammalvar says
2576 * Inach sol AyinumAga * eRi thirai vaiyam muRRum *
Enaththu uruvAy idandha pirAn ** irungkaRpagam sEr
vAnaththavarkkum allAdhavarkkum maRRellAyavarkkum *
njAnap pirAnai allAl illai * nAn kaNda nalladhuvE 99
Naan arinthathu gyana piran than. Naan kanda nallathu antha gnyaana piran than jagathukku(vanathavarkum alladhavarukkum) illam. This is Nammazhwar's dharmam that gnyaanapiran is everything. Azhwar Thirunagari - Gnyaana Piran sannadhi is there.
· Lakshmi Hayagrivan, varaha perumal - Gnyaanathuku athibathi.
GNYAANA NANDA MAYAM DEVAM NIRMALA SPATIKAKRITHIM AADHAARAM SARVA VIDHYAA NAAM HAYAGRIVAM UPAASMAHEY
· Sanjay Uvacha:
“YATRA YOGESHWARAH KRISHNO YATRA PARTHO DHANURDHARAH
TATRA SHRIRVIJAYO BHOOTIRDHRUVAH NEETIRMATIRMAMA”
Whereever there is Bhagavan Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, and wherever there is Arjuna, the wielder of the Gandiva bow, goodness, victory, glory and unfailing righteousness will surely be there: such is my conviction. Arjun krishnar irukkum idam is jayam. Here Matir Mama refers to as per my(sanjayan's) dharma.
· Sri Madhurakavi Azhvar in kaNNinuN siRuththambu's first pasuram says
kaNNinuN siRuththAmbinAl kattuNNap
paNNiya perumAyan ennappanil
naNNith thenkurugUr nambi enRakkAl
aNNikkum amudhURum en nAvukkE
In this pasuram, Sri Madhurakavi Azhvar speaks of the fact that Swami Namamzhvar has become the one and all for him. He is speaking about the same matter to which Nammazhvar was deeply attached (Sri Krishna - "uralinOdu iNainthirunthEngiya eLivu eththiRam"). He is talking about how Nammazhvar has become a most delightful thing to him. Here he says "En nAvukke".. "in My Toungue". Saying Azhwar has become the most delightful thing according to him.
All these scholar's explain what as per their Dharmama, their matham(religion) and they leave it to others on whether to accept or not. Our responsibility is to accept what the elderly scholars have told us.
Recap of Siddhopayam and Sadhyopayam
Siddhopayam - Siddham - kodukkira devathai, bhagawanai anandam paduthi vangikarom.
Sadhyopayam - naamaga prayathnam pattu pannarthu, bhagawanai vaseegaranam panni vangikarthu.
Yeppadi bhagawanai anandam pannarthunu parthachu (answers to Q 3 & Q4). Now we are going to see bhagawanai yeppadi vaseegaranam pannarthu yendru.
· Question is what are the list of Dharma's ? and which is the best Dharmam among them as told by Bheesma ? So the question is "which is that Dharmam ?" - Bhaktya - Prithiyoda stotrangalale bhagawanai yevan archikarano athuve sirantha dharmam.
· What are the list of Dharma's ?
1 - Ithikam - Dharmam done for acquring puthran, pasu etc i.e Dharmam done for acquiring materialistic things in this world
2 - Aamushnika - Dharmam done to acquire Swargam
3 - Mokshartham which includes dhyanam, shravanam, namaskaram - Dharmam done to acquire Swargam
4 - Paricharyai - Dharmam done for doing kainkaryam. Here Kainkaryam does not only mean kainkaryam done after attaining moksham. Instead it includes Kainkaryam done from this world
in the human form too as a jeevatma.
· Till now we have heard that kainkaryam is done only after moksham, now we need to understand that kainkaryam includes Kainkaryam done from this world too. Periazhwar says " Pallandu yendru pavithiranai... Soozthu irunthu yethuvara pallandu..." Soozhzunthu ...Come in large groups, suthi suthi say pallandu. He sings Pallandu from front side goes around and sings Pallandu. Then he sings Pallandu for panchajanyam.....(Need to add more details.....................). Azhwar attains moksham and what does he do there in Vaikuntam ? There also he sings Pallandu. The biggest kainkaryam.
· Perumal in Melkote is known for his pin azhagu. After alankaram, thiruparivattathai kalachi vittuduva due to pin azhagu. Great Divya Desam with Ramanujar sambhandam, Yethiraja Sampath kumaran, Chella pillai. Azhwar says " oru nayaganai oda... thiru narayanan thal " Munnilum pinazhagiya perumal.
· Whatever kainkaryam we do in this world we can do the same in vaikuntam after moksham. Kainkaryam can be anything for perumal from singing, dancing, making garlands, doing
upanyasam and it also includes shravanam listening to upanyasam. Shravanam is biggest kainkaryam. One should not think that "inga than intha kainkaryam panninen yendral angeyum
athe kainkaryama ?" One should be greatful that he is doing this kainkaryam at vaikuntam instead of bhagawan sending him back to this samsaram. He has accepted us and given a place for us in the vaikuntam and we need to be greatful for that. Worse state is to be doing something other than perumal kainkaryam and continuing to acquring papam. A person in a Divya desam should thank that he had the bhagyam of staying in a Divya desam. When one is uttering bhagawan namam he should thank god since he had the bhagyam of saying bhagawan namam and not talk other junk things.
· So kainkaryam is the best of all the Dharma as per Bheesma. So the jeevatma who decides that kainkaryam is the best, is not worried whether he does it here in this world or after moksham at vaikuntam. All he wants is continue to do Kainkaryam. So bheesma explains that when compared with dhyanam, shravanam, namaskaram - kainkaryam is the best.
· This slogam is about the kinkaran who wants to do this kainkaryam.
· ‘EShaH’ – The various forms of pleasing the Lord – as detailed before – namely worship, prayers, etc, as per the scriptural prescription with the necessary authorities, and also considering the various ranks of complexities attached to each of them
· ‘sarvadharmANAm madhyE adhikatamO mataH’ – is the most superior among all the dharmas
The word ‘Dharmas’ mostly refers to the following four forms: (a) material benefits such as cattle, progeny, wealth, et al., (b) the spiritual benefits such as the attainment of swarga, (c) the salvation characterized by complete knowledge of the Supreme Entity and its enjoyment, with the knowledge being born out of detached worship of the Lord and contentment, (d) worshipping Bhagavan in various forms such as affectionately thinking about Him, singing His praise and prostrating before Him, and thus performing extraordinary service unto Him. Out of these four categories, the fourth category of unconditional servitude to Bhagavan stands as the supreme dharma. He explains this further with the second half of the sloka beginning with ‘yadbhaktyA’. He opines that the unconditional servitude to Bhagavan is the supreme form of dharma, because it is filled with the most desirable qualities such as true devotion.
· stavair arche nara sada ||
Kainkaryam means we all think that it is kainkaryam done using our hands. But Bheesma goes further to explain that "of all the kainkaryam's he is aware of ", "Stotram panni archanai pannara kainkaryam" is the best kainkaryam.
‘stavaiH’ – intends to differentiate the simplicity of accomplishing the task of pleasing the Lord by words alone, from the complexity of performing the multitude of vows such as vishwajit, chandrayana, et al.
· Battar says this bhakthi is not like drinking Kashayam. It is like drinking milk which cures ones illness. Sukamana, prithiyoda pannara adimaithanam.
· Pillai lokachariar says " Adimaithanam logathil dukka roopamagavanno kangirathu ?" Seshasthvam is not welcomed and it is always seen as dhukka roopam and not suka roopam. But this slavery(Adimai thanam) towards Bhagawan is Sheshathvam which is suka roopam and it is done with prithi. How is this possible is the question ? Abhimatha vishayathule adimai thanam prithiyai kodukkum.
· Kalidasan, second finger is called anamika since there was no one second to kalidasan who has written many shastras. He used to draw water for a lady. When kalidasan was questioned, he replied saying "I like her and i am doing it ". So once we like something, being a slave and doing service does not matter much and it brings only happiness. So if the kainkaryam is accepted as something which one likes, then it is full of suka roopam/happiness.
· Now the next question is "how do you say that we(Jeevatma) accept kainkaryam happily ?" and also "the person whom we need to do that bhakthi/kainkaryam what are his qualities ? does he have all the qualities ( example of beauty like women ) ? For this question bheesma answers yes he has all the beauty by saying "Yadbhaktya pundaree-kaksham"
· Yadbhaktya pundaree-kaksham - HE is the one with beautiful lotus eyes and we need to serve his lotus feet.
· ‘bhaktyA’ – refers to the ease of accomplishing the task of pleasing the Lord due to the fact that such action is filled with love even at the time of engaging in it. This is referred to in the
·Bhagavad-geeta as ‘the easiest and happiest job to do’This is indeed comprehensible, because it is well known that the unrelenting contemplation about a loveable husband is always the sweetest and most desirable task for a spouse. Thus, Bhishma differentiates the happiness of performing unconditional servitude to *Bhagavan* from the onus of engaging in similar activities with *the servile demigods* – which on the contrary is akin to drinking a bitter concoction.
· ‘puNDarIkAkSham’ – intends to differentiate the servitude unto the multi-fold beauty of the Lord with lotus eyes from the servitude to other ugly, horrific and lowly entities
· Example to show that pundaree kaksham is Abhimatha vishayam can be understood by Pillai urangavalli dasar and his wife ponnachiyar. Dasar used to do service for his wife who had beautiful eyes. Udaiyavar had lowkika gyanam too, so he did not advice Dasar on atma, moksham etc, he did not talk about Bhagavad gita, shruthi, smrit, instead he asked a straight forward question to dasar - "Dasare itha vida azhaga kangalai kattinal parpira ?". Udaiyavar took him inside Sriranga temple and told Ranganathar " Thirupan azhwar, arjunan avargalukku kattina Kannai pola , antha azhagai kattum" yendru sonnar. Perumal katta, dasar was mesmerized on seeing bhagawan's beautiful eyes and from that day he became a great bhakthan. Even 40 years ago, during nam perumal purappadu dasar's vamsaveli people used to go with a big kutthu val(knife). If perumal's thiruvabaranam moves they used to feel sad and they used to hurt/kill themselves with those knife. So bhagawan's eyes are beautiful and always filled with karunai - senthamarai kannanana pundaree kaksham.
· If anyone is asking for a Dhoti to a person who himself does not have one (nagnana irukkan), he would feel sad thinking “Nammidathil illathathai kettu yennaiyum sirama paduthurane indru avan manathe thooka padum”. Ippadi irupavargalai thozha solla villai. Pundareekashanana
·bhagawanai thozha sonnen.
· Peyazhwar adviced Thirumazhisai azhwar to mend his path. "Sathiyam kattrom, samanam kattrom.." Nammazhwar was a srivaishnavan by birth so his words are on Bhagawan and only on Bhagawan. THirumazhisai azhwar had been following many other philosophies and then he had come to Sirvaishnavam. So his words are very strong. Periya Nambhi similarly advised and explained and brought back Embar to our sampradhayam. All these people had come back to our sampradhayam, only after great scholars have explained about the Pundaree-kakshan.- bhagawan.
· The entire shastram talks about this Pundaree-Kakshan by referring,
o Jagad karanathuvam
o Garuda vaganathuvam
o Pundaree kakshathvam
· Vedanthangal went in search of who is the PARA-DEIVAM. They saw all the devathas and when they came to Vishnu, they saw the mark on HIS chest (Mark due to the kumkumam, made
·by Periya Piratti who has been living there), Similarly Pundaree Kaksham is only for bhagawan.
Akshi Akshini Aksheeni - one, two, many eyes.
· Ramanujar was shattered on hearing the meaning from Yadavprakashar on the meaning on pundaree kaksham. Ramanujar was doing an pilled massage for his Guru Yadavaprakashar, when another disciple came and asked him for the meaning of some shlOkams: "Tasya yadA kabyAsamm PundarIkam
·Ayvam AkshiNI:. YAdavaprakAsar explained it thus - "Kapi means monkey. Aasam is it's rearside. So the line means that the Lord's eyes are as red as a lotus which is the same color of a monkey's rear". RAmAnujar could not digest this. His eyes welled up with water and he brutes into tears. Some hot tears fell on the Guru's thighs and he looked up to see what the matter was. On seeing a distraught RAmAnujar, he asked him what the matter was. RAmAnujar replied "I could not bear to accept the explanation that you just gave. Pardon my tears. You compared the Lord's eyes to a monkey's rear. It is not fair to equate the Lord's eyes to something so base. That is why I got upset." The Guru then asked him for his version of the explanation and Ramanujar came up with it: "GambIrAm PassamudBhUta SamrushtanAlaravikara vikasita PundarIkAkshEnaha": A stem swollen lotus in a water filled pond, blooming on the occasion of a solar eclipse - that is what the Lord's eyes are like. The Guru was enraged again with what he thought was impertinence. RAmAnujar was very distraught and stood there, silently weeping. Yadavprakashar compared it with a low grade pirani monkey and also low grade part of the body to explain the great mahatvum of Sriman Narayana who is devargalin devan and that too
·his great eyes which is the greatest of his body parts. Just because Ramanujar was adi sesha avataram, he was able to give this great meaning.
GambIrAm PassamudBhUta - periya thaneer thadagam, athil irunthu thondriyathaga
Samrushta nAla - padarnthu irukkum neenda naalathode koodinathaga
ravikara vikasita - Suryanale vikasam adaivikka pattathaga
PundarIkA dala - pundarikathin dalangalai pola
amala - suthamana
aayatha - neenda perutha
kshEnaha - kan azhagu padaithavanana perumal
Ramanujar has explained this just because of the reference he had from the Azhwar pasuram's.
Bhagawan is "Aral ara thamarai kannan" - Setru Sagathi konda kulathil pirantha Thamarai kan kondavan
Neerar kamalan pol senkan maal yenboruvan -thirumangai azhwar
Men kal kamala thadam pothinthana - Naalam is kamalam's kaal
senchhudar thamarai kannan
Now we need to imagine a thamarai, it has many layers(dalam) of petal and lot of karnikai(Pollen ?) and with small hairs.. which is perumal's lashes.
Thadan kannan - here da replaced with la.. thala kannan
Amalan - parisutham. Sabhari says to Raman that " If you look at me with your eyes, then I become pure."
Periyavai kangal –
So as per shastram he has explained. So bhakthi pirakanum na pundareekakshanai thozhanam, pundareekakshanai thozhuthal bhakthi valarum.
· stavair arche nara sada || Stavair is stotram. What is bheesma referring as Stotram here?
· Later Bheesma going to say "Artha vishanna...sankeertha narayana saptha" , Meaning : Narayana Namathai Sankeerthanam(vayale sonnal) seithal pothum.
· Battar says "Vayala mattum bhagawanin thiru namathai sonnal pothum."
· Similarly, Bhagavan Vyasa also says thus: “May the people who are desperate, downcast, flaccid, afraid, and are stuck amidst horrible diseases be freed from all their sorrows and difficulties and lead a happy life, with the chanting of just the word NARAYANA”.
· The Vishnu purana says “whose name, even if uttered involuntarily…”
· The Vaishnava Dharma says in various instances, thus: “Irrespective of whether one chants the names of Vasudeva and sings his glories with or without knowleduge, all his sins shall disappear just like the salt (lavanam) put in water(thoyam).”
· “Just water is enough to put off fire. The first rays of sun are enough to chase away the darkness in this world. Similarly, just the names of the Lord Hari are enough to pacify a soul burdened by sins in this age of kali.”
· “…by chanting whose names, he gets liberated”
· “…by chanting whose names, he gets freed from the greatest fear”
· “The tools required to reach Moksham are easily acquired by that person who utters the two lettered name ‘hari’ just once”. Just by saying the two letters "Ha ri" , a badhan has fullfilled
·everything required for moksham.
· “By remembering whose names, the mortals – after leaving this world – shall reach the divine abode of Vishnu, from where there is no return”.
· “I tell the truth again and again, all diseases shall be cured with the medicine of chanting the names Achyuta, Ananta and Govinda” - "achutha ... nama uccharanam...sakala roga"
· It is said elsewhere, thus: “Sing the glories of Jagannatha – the master of the worlds. If not, at least study the Vedas”
· The Vishnu sukta says: “Those who sing His glory shall reach His divine abode from where there is no return” (ध्रुवासॊ अस्य कीरयॊ जनासः) . Bhagawan namathai keerthanam pannubhavanukku moksham nichayam.
· ‘asya kIrayaH’ – those who sing His glories
· ‘dhruvAsaH’ – shall reach His divine abode from where they do not return any more
· The word ‘archEt’ indicates the duty of happily worshipping the manifest form of the Supreme Lord. This is also indicated in the Bhagavad-geeta as ‘understood to be manifest’. Pleasing the Supreme Lord by such worship is not just blandly prescribed by the scriptures like penance and pilgrimage, but it can really be experienced.
· All the sashtra's explain the namasankeerthanam - stavanathin prabhavam than.
· Kshatra bandhu used to do all sorts of abhacharam. One day a guru happen to do upadesam of bhagawan namam. “moondru ezhuthu udaiya peyaral kshetrabhandu .. ..” Luckily he didn't say which 3 words... this might help people to come and ask which are those 3 words due to curiosity.
Sri Thondaradipodi alwar, Thirumaalai , Paasuram-4
moiththa valvinaiyul nindru moondru Aezhuththu vudaya pErAl
kaththira bhandhumandre parAngathi kandu kondAn
eththanai adiyarAnArkku errangum nam aranganAya
piththanai pettrum andhO! PiraviutpinaggumArE (4)
Meaning : Refer : http://www.acharya.org/vyakyanam/thirumalai/tmalai15.html
· stavairarche nara sada - Here Nara 1. refers to all humans, 2. it is in singular so one can do it alone and don't need to be in groups like how a yagam or yagyam is done, 3. No special
· pre-requiste to say these names and don't need any sahayam like we need during yagams.
· Kannan in BG chapter 9 - slogam 29, 30, 31, 32 - in this Krishna explains "thanzntha kulathil piranthavan aanalum, aacharam attravan aanalum yeppadi thannai adigiran"
· I am the same(samayaam) for everyone. This can be understood in ananthapadamanban kovil which has 3 doors - one for nithya suri, one for devathas and one for Jeevatmas/adiyar.
· Even a papa (yoni)kulathil piranthavan once he attains ME, then he becomes a dharmaathma. If he seeks my foot then he gets everything.
· Not just Naraha - Anil, Kurangu, Jatayu, Gajendran, sabhari even they all have got moksham so there is no need for a doubt that if all human's can do VS namasankeerthanam. Ramanujar in the Brahma Sutram - Abhasuthrathikaranam - "Sri and sudharar don't have the right(yogithai) for veda adhyayanam and things related to veda" then he continues to say that "thought they don't have that right but they have all rights to attain Bhagawan. For them Bhagawan is the Upayam and means are simple". One can climb the elephant in many ways - 1- Climb the elephant by difficult means by climbing on to the body. this is for brahmana's and purushas. 2- The elephant sits or picks the individual using the tusk and makes them sit on it. This is for Sudhdharas and Sri. Upayam is different but the Upeyam is the same for all of us. A pakshi "Jatayu" got the moksham while all the rishi's and devar's were doing all great penance and waiting for it. So the attitude and mental devotion is important and the ultimate goal is reachable by everyone.
· "kulan thangu sandala sandalargal ayinum manivannan" - manivannan ku adimai nu iruppavargal yennaku Swami says nammalwar...
· Next question is when shoudl we do ? Answer is Sada. Always.. only thing is do not think when we should not do it. Prahalada says "Say Govinda in the morning and Say madhava in the afternoon.. and come and tell me if lightining falls in teh evening" Even if we get 1 % of nambhikai of what prahalad had while we do namasankeerthanam that is more important.
· when and Who is doing is not important.. about whom and how(devotion, snekam) it is done is more important....
· How is Namasankeerthanam compared with all the difficult means like yagam, yagyam, etc... Both are needed, no need to compare..Athu irukaravargalukku athu, ithu irukaravargalukku ithu.
· Veda talks about everything and a brahmanan takes what he needs. - says kannan.
· Don't think that sahasranamam is simple so will not give moksham. This is incorrect. Like how agni's ability is to be hot irrespective of who is touching he will "Agnikku suduvathu iyalbhu, sahasranamathuku palan koduppathu athan iyalbhu ..artham purinthal puriyalaina parava illai"
· Also it is not Sahasranamam or Bhakthi or japam which is giving moksham, it is by doing all these Bhagawan is happy and it is HE who grants moksham. So the question should not be
· Whether sahasranamam or bhakthi give moksham, instead it should be whether sahasranamam /bhakthi make HIM happy.
· Stuvan - Namasankeerthanam as a kainkaryam, singing his names always.
More from website antaryami
The loftiness of Remembrance, Praising, Prostration, etc. :
Bhishma then proceeds to reply to the fifth question (which – of all dharmas – is the highest?) with the sloka beginning with ‘ESha mE’.
ऎष मॆ सर्वधर्माणां धर्मॊsधिकतमॊ मतः
यद्भक्त्या पुण्डरीकाक्षं स्तवैरर्चॆन्नरस्सदा ॥ ८ ॥
यद्भक्त्या पुण्डरीकाक्षं स्तवैरर्चॆन्नरस्सदा ॥ ८ ॥
‘EShaH’ – The vario
us forms of pleasing the Lord – as detailed before – namely worship, prayers, etc, as per the scriptural prescription with the necessary authorities, and also considering the various ranks of complexities attached to each of them
‘sarvadharmANAm madhyE adhikatamO mataH’ – is the most superior among all the dharmas
The word ‘Dharmas’ mostly refers to the following four forms: (a) material benefits such as cattle, progeny, wealth, et al., (b) the spiritual benefits such as the attainment of swarga, (c) the salvation characterized by complete knowledge of the Supreme Entity and its enjoyment, with the knowledge being born out of detached worship of the Lord and contentment, (d) worshipping Bhagavan in various forms such as affectionately thinking about Him, singing His praise and prostrating before Him, and thus performing extraordinary service unto Him. Out of these four categories, the fourth category of unconditional servitude to Bhagavan stands as the supreme dharma.
He explains this further with the second half of the sloka beginning with ‘yadbhaktyA’. He opines that the unconditional servitude to Bhagavan is the supreme form of dharma, because it is filled with the most desirable qualities such as true devotion.
‘bhaktyA’ – refers to the ease of accomplishing the task of pleasing the Lord due to the fact that such action is filled with love even at the time of engaging in it. This is referred to in the Bhagavad-geeta as ‘the easiest and happiest job to do’
This is indeed comprehensible, because it is well known that the unrelenting contemplation about a loveable husband is always the sweetest and most desirable task for a spouse. Thus, Bhishma differentiates the happiness of performing unconditional servitude to *Bhagavan* from the onus of engaging in similar activities with *the servile demigods* – which on the contrary is akin to drinking a bitter concoction.
‘puNDarIkAkSham’ – intends to differentiate the servitude unto the multi-fold beauty of the Lord with lotus eyes from the servitude to other ugly, horrific and lowly entities
‘stavaiH’ – intends to differentiate the simplicity of accomplishing the task of pleasing the Lord by words alone, from the complexity of performing the multitude of vows such as vishwajit, chandrayana, et al.
Similarly, Bhagavan Vyasa also says thus: “May the people who are desperate, downcast, flaccid, afraid, and are stuck amidst horrible diseases be freed from all their sorrows and difficulties and lead a happy life, with the chanting of just the word NARAYANA”.
The Vishnu purana says “whose name, even if uttered involuntarily…”
The Vaishnava Dharma says in various instances, thus:
“Irrespective of whether one chants the names of Vasudeva and sings his glories with or without knowledge, all his sins shall disappear just like the salt put in water.”
“Just water is enough to put off fire. The first rays of sun are enough to chase away the darkness in this world. Similarly, just the names of the Lord Hari are enough to pacify a soul burdened by sins in this age of kali.”
“…by chanting whose names, he gets liberated”
“…by chanting whose names, he gets freed from the greatest fear”
“The tools required to reach Moksham are easily acquired by that person who utters the two lettered name ‘hari’ just once”
“By remembering whose names, the mortals – after leaving this world – shall reach the divine abode of Vishnu, from where there is no return”
“I tell the truth again and again, all diseases shall be cured with the medicine of chanting the names Achyuta, Ananta and Govinda”
It is said elsewhere, thus: “Sing the glories of Jagannatha – the master of the worlds. If not, at least study the Vedas”
The Vishnu sukta says: “Those who sing His glory shall reach His divine abode from where there is no return” (ध्रुवासॊ अस्य कीरयॊ जनासः)
‘asya kIrayaH’ – those who sing His glories
‘dhruvAsaH’ – shall reach His divine abode from where they do not return any more
The word ‘archEt’ indicates the duty of happily worshipping the manifest form of the Supreme Lord. This is also indicated in the Bhagavad-geeta as ‘understood to be manifest’. Pleasing the Supreme Lord by such worship is not just blandly prescribed by the scriptures like penance and pilgrimage, but it can really be experienced.
The eligibility of people from all classes for worship of the Lord:
The word ‘naraH’ generally indicates the natural authority to worship the Supreme Godhead as they wish to have it. The usage of singular form of the word also goes on to indicate the non-dependency on fellow worshippers, unlike as in the mahayagas et al. Bhagavan is the One who is worshipped without any fear even by those who possess condemnable qualities, actions and births, merely due to having the greatest quality of developing taste in devotion. Once such people start worshipping Bhagavan thus, they shall be freed from all sins and distastes and shall be transformed into the most righteous ones, just as the sins are washed away by the flooding waters of Ganga by taking a holy dip.
In the Bhagavad-geeta, Bhagavan – while talking about His qualities – says thus: “I am equal to all the beings, and I have no love or hatred towards anyone”. In connection with actions, He says “even if the one practicing very bad things in life sings my glories with unwavering mind, he should be considered as a pious man”. About the births, Bhagavan also says, “Oh Partha! All sinful people born of various births such as the females, vaishyas and sudras also take refuge in me and attain the highest abode”.
This said, we should also carefully note that ill practices do not make up the dharma either. The statements from the scriptures such as “the ones without perseverance, peace, and composition of mind, and the ones who practice ill deeds are never dear to the Lord” and “Oh king, Keshava cannot be reached by those humans who have not conquered their senses” indicate that such people following ill deeds are not liked by Bhagavan, and thus it is understood to be unrighteous. That is also the reason why it is said later in the Bhagavad-geeta that the worshipper of Bhagavan shall soon be known as a practitioner of dharma. Even the Brahmasutras have concluded that people of all Ashramas (brahmacharya, grihastha, vaanaprastha and sanyaasa) as well as the ones without Ashramas (such as widowers, and the like) are equally eligible for the knowledge about the Brahman, and also indicate that all such people should have their mind under control with both internal and external restraint.
Thus we can conclude that there is no restriction for anyone in chanting the names of the Lord who is the natural friend and relative of one and all, who is also just like a mother who is most affectionate towards her child, under any circumstances. This freedom of chanting the Lord’s names can be seen with an illustration of a multitude of prime personalities using it, such as Gajendra – the elephant, Jatayu – the eagle, vAyasa – the crow, vibhIShaNa – the sibling of the king of demons, the common populace of Kosala (subjects in the kingdom of Sri Rama), Gopikas – the cowherd womenfolk, mAlAkAra – the florist at Mathura, and others.
The ‘apashUdrAdhikaraNa’ chapter of Brahmasutras denies the eligibility for knowledge about the Supreme Self from the Vedas and Upanishads to the atraivarNikas (sudras – not belonging to the three varNas namely brahmana, kshatriya and vaishya) due to non-prescription of their practicing the various purifying acts such as service unto the preceptor, and others, which in turn are the limbs to the knowledge about the various oblations. So the natural eligibility to take refuge of Bhagavan (to gain the same result as that of learning the Vedas) has been with these people – the atraivarNikas. There is not much difference between the seekers of salvation among the atraivarNikas and the other classes, due to their quality of augmented sattva. Thus, they also have the utmost eligibility for attaining the Supreme by the various paths such as listening to His glories, thinking about Him and the like, which are celebrated by the Upanishads as the highways for gaining the knowledge about Him and finally attaining Him. Such people (the ones ineligible for study of Vedas) would have desired for various fruits in the past due to the adulteration of their saattvik qualities by rajas and tamas at some point in time, due to which they would be born in various births such as females, sudras, various birds and animals. But after having born thus, they would gain eligibility in worshipping the Lord as explained before, due to their inclinations (vAsanAs) based on their actions in the past, just as a person remembers the work done last night when he wakes up from sleep and proceeds further (supta-prabuddha-nyAya). Examples of such people are Vidura, Dharmavyadha, et al. Such people would be disgusted about the origin of their births that they have acquired due to their own actions (karma). Yet, they inherit the eligibilities of following the common duties that are prescribed for those births, and thus worship the Supreme Lord, since they do not have the eligibility for studying the Vedas. This is shown by Sri Sounaka as well, thus: “Even though people like Dharmavyadha are born into lower births due to their past karmas, yet they attain the Supreme abode due to their instincts of worshipping the Lord – just as Sabari attained moksham”.
Even for the ignorant souls in whom the knowledge about the Supreme Self hasn’t blossomed, the initial stages that later lead to Bhakti – namely contemplation, chanting the names of the Lord, singing His glory, listening to His pastimes, et al are not restricted. The learned scholars also declare that the duties such as non-violence, following the truth, cleanliness, charity, servitude to parents, worshipping the Supreme Godhead et al. as being common to everyone in the society – right from the most honoured souls up to the people of the lowest births. Even if one cannot chant the names by himself, he can surely relate with the chanters and hence the Lord himself – even if they are very far away, just by following the chanters, approving of their words, endurance towards their deeds and not opposing them in anyway.
A quote from the Mahabharata may be remembered: “Oh king of kings! Dharma always purifies a person who listens about it, sees it, talks about it, practices it and approves of it”.
The Bhagavat-dharma (duties performed to attain the Supreme Godhead) has the power to penetrate into the minds of its beneficiary, approver as well as its practitioner. Some statements from various scriptures quote thus:
“All sins are washed away when one chants His names aloud, worships Him, sees Him or prostrates before Him. Then who will not serve the Supreme Lord Hari?”
“Hari is the One who protects those who chant His names, think about Him, meditate on Him, worship Him, and serve Him. He protects them in all respects granting them immense benefits both in this world as well as the nether.”
“He protects all those who listen about Him, read about Him, and see Him”, et al.
Apart from these, the Itihasas and Puranas also permit even the lowliest dog-eaters to sing the glories of the Lord.
Bhagavan declares this in His own words in the Vishnu Dharmam thus: “Narada! If my devotee says ‘namaH’ unto me with all sincerity, he shall attain the Supreme Abode, even if he is a lowly dog-eater”.
Statements such as these, along with the various anecdotes, are verily the proofs that such practitioners of the Bhagavat-dharma such as chanting His divine names shall gain all due respects in the society and also attain the Supreme Abode at the end. Since these are well established facts, there is no contradiction in these facts to what the scriptures have to say either.
Non-restriction in terms of time and place for meditation, worship, et al:
The usage of the word ‘sadA’ indicates non-restriction in terms of time. Similarly, it also tells us about the non-dependency on the place of chanting, physical and mental purity while chanting, et al. Thus, a person need not see the various time units such as ayana (half year), Rutu (season), mAsa (month), pakSha (dark/bright fortnight), nakShatra (star of the day), muhUrta (the time in a day), et al. To this effect, we should see the various statements made by the sages, as given below:
“One should always chant the holy names of the wielder of Chakra – the Supreme Lord – at every time and at every place. When this is done, the person would never be impure at anytime, since the Supreme Lord Hari Himself will purify that person.”
“When one wakes up early in the morning chanting the names of the Supreme Lord as Deva, Krishna, and Govinda, then he shall not see any bad things coming his way during the rest of the day.”
The supremacy of the Lord will not be affected just because He checks for the worthiness of a soul for His grace, before He mingles with such a soul. Nor will He be condemned of inability to lend a helping hand to such highly ineligible souls in getting purified of their sins. Rather, even if such souls are ineligible to make a relation with Him due to their immense ill-deeds, He accepts them into His fold by fully purifying them to the extent that they become eligible for His grace. This is purely due to His unique ability to purify souls. Thus, the sages have admired Him as the one who purifies all souls, as stated in the quotes above. It should be noted that the differentiation made by the scriptures between the good/eligible souls from the bad/ineligible souls is purely with an intention to protect the Dharmas from deteriorating in the companies of ill-minded persons.
Even if chanting the names of Bhagavan is small in nature, the fruits of such actions are humongous. This is illustrated by a quote from the Bhagavad-geeta that says: “Even if such a dharma is followed in miniscule, it protects the practitioner from great fears.”
Also, since it is said in the Bhagavad-geeta that efforts spent on anything will never go in vain, we should also understand that if the practice of a certain dharma is broken in between, the effects are still not lost, and they can be continued to be pursued from a later date.
Numerous statements in various scriptures clearly say thus:
“My devotee shall never perish”, “…prostrating to whom one never perishes”, “having prostrated to Vasudeva, he never falters”, “the one who prostrates to Janardana shall never be besieged”, et al.
These statements are not negated either by the strict adherents of daily rituals or by any other debaters. Thus, it is true that even if dharma is given up midway, the practitioners will still be protected by the Lord Himself. There is no scope here for aggrandizement or doubt, since there is no exaggeration in any of these statements.
This actually talks about the beginning of attainment of Bhagavan in a gradual manner, starting with freeing up a soul of all his sins that are the main obstacles to salvation and later on proceeding with the growth of sattva guNa. The following quotes from the scriptures are proof to this:
“The one who chants the names of the Lord is well equipped to progress towards mOksha.”
“If one rests his mind in Achyuta – the Supreme Lord, he shall not reach the hell. To such a one, even the thoughts about the lowly heavens are a great obstacle to reach Bhagavan. Even the Brahma lokam (the highest position in this creation) turns miniscule to him. The One who resides in the unadulterated minds of such pure souls shall Himself grant the highest position of salvation unto them. Given these facts, then, what is really surprising in the fact that a person is freed of all his sins if he just sings the glories of the Lord by chanting his various names?”
This (chanting of names) is not subject to ‘pUrNAhuti nyAya’ – the logic of complete oblations – either, because there is a certain degree of aggrandizement in such complete oblations. In singing the names of the Lord, we do not see the aggrandizing characteristics of statements chanted during the complete oblations – such as chanting all the remaining mantras in an oblation, praying for a specific result, et al. Also, since the stronger evidences in this regard do not have any contentions, it would be sheer injustice and indeed an adventurous task to give new aggrandized meanings to the statements –since such statements are also the proofs themselves.
Attainment of the same result as that of severe penance and meditation with just the chanting of names:
A question may arise: will it not be an exaggeration to say that the highest philosophy and knowledge about the Supreme Brahman – which is supposed to be acquired by prolonged severe penance and meditation and other sophisticated means – shall be obtained simply by chanting the names of the Supreme Lord? Will it not be befitting to say that such a statement is against the ‘pramANa’s, because the scriptures prescribe very detailed procedures and complex means to attain such high knowledge, and mere chanting of names is too simple in comparison to those detailed procedures?
The answer to this question is thus: Such questions about the divine names of the Lord are just words of foolishness by the so-called learned scholars. Even if the chanting of the Lord’s names is very light in nature, it has the capacity to withstand even the most unbearable loads. The more detailed forms of worship prescribed by the scriptures should not be considered as higher merely due to its prescription to the eligible / capable people. On the contrary, chanting of Lord’s names has a higher eligibility of being prescribed to one and all, irrespective of whether or not the person has the eligibility/capability to practice the other detailed forms of worship. The only criterion expected out of a practitioner for chanting the Lord’s names is the fortune of developing extraordinary taste towards Bhagavan. Even in the more detailed forms of worship, the final fruits of worship are granted by Bhagavan only (meaning, the action of worship itself doesn’t yield any fruits; it is the Bhagavan who gives the fruits for such action, pleased with worship). Why, then, shouldn’t Bhagavan yield desired fruits to a person who just chanted His glorious names, if He can be pleased by it? Why should this argument be thrashed? Just as Bhagavan gets pleased with the length of detailed worship and yields the fruits, so also He will be equally pleased with a sincere devotee who takes up the lighter form of worship – namely “chanting His names” – with a pure thought.
As it is said,
“Even if an unworthy soul treads the path of simple devotion, he shall be firmly established in the path of Supreme”
“Even if my devotee offers me a leaf, a flower, a fruit or even just water – with true devotion, I shall partake of it with the most pleased state of mind”
“Who will not worship that Bhagavan, who is not pleased with abundant wealth, or grandeur, or sumptuous clothes, or even the most glittering ornaments, but is pleased only with the purity of heart?”
The Vyasa smrithi says, “If a person offers a flower or just water to Bhagavan by chanting the Purusha sukta, then the whole of this world (with all animate and inanimate objects) has been worshipped by him”.
The Vishnu Dharma says “Even if a person offers the entire Earth stuffed with precious pearls to Krishna, that Janardana is not easily attained by him if he is impure at heart.”
As seen in all these scriptural quotes, the real factor that influences the degree of righteousness in any human deed is not the action itself; rather, it is the purity of thoughts while performing the action.
As it is said in the Vishnu tattva, “The degree of purity of thoughts is what determines the perception of things by a man. He hugs his wife with a different thought, whereas embraces his daughter with a feeling of friendliness.”
Similarly, another quote says, “Penance is not faulty, studies are not faulty, natural prescriptions of Vedas aren’t faulty. The action of restraining the mind from sensual pleasures is also not faulty. The real root of fault is at the heart, where the person lacks purity of thoughts”
Elsewhere, it is said thus: “Schools of fish reside in the sacred rivers such as Ganga. Flocks of birds reside in many temples. But, since they lack the sacred thoughts, they do not attain the fruits of being in those sacred places. Thus, the real fruits of pilgrimages and visits to holy shrines are only dependant on our purity of thoughts.”
We can conclude thus: The Omniscient Bhagavan – who has no desires left unfulfilled, and who has no material expectations from His devotees – will be pleased only with the purity of thoughts, and not merely with abundance of any form of wealth. This is according to the logic which says “A true scholar values only the facts (and is not influenced by anything else, or anyone else)”. Even if there are severe shortcomings in choosing the place, time and other factors for chanting Bhagavan’s glorious names, even if all of these are constrained in various ways, the Lord shall be pleased with such action – considering that itself to be complete in all respects – and shall grant all desired fruits.
It is said thus: “That which was attained in kRta yuga by severe penance, that which was attained in trEta yuga by extensive oblations and sacrificial rites, that which was attained during the dvApara yuga by detailed worship, shall be attained by a seeker during this kali yugam just by singing the glorious names of Keshava.”
Similarly, another quote says “In the beginning of Kali yugam, the humans condemn the Supreme Lord Hari. By the end of kali yugam, there would be none who chant His divine names. Oh, lion among men! Truly blessed are those souls in this age of kali, who – even though fallen in this ocean of samsara – try with all their might and attain the imperishable destination of Vishnuloka.”
This is befitting. A king with a good character always reveres a person – however little he abides to law, and protects him in times of dire need just like a caring father.
The learned have indicated similar results for the various rituals practiced to worship the God and the ancestors, performed either ways – very shortly, or in full detail, depending on the constraints on time, place, eligibilities, et al. Thus, the rituals such as the shrAddham (annual death ceremony to one’s parents) et al, even when performed very shortly due to various difficulties, yields the same fruits as when performed in full detail. This is as said in the smrithis: “when one cannot perform a certain ritual, the best alternative is to just do the japam of the respective mantras”.
Thus, Bhishma considers chanting of Bhagavan’s extraordinarily divine names as the loftiest of all dharmas, since it is: a very affable subject to the mind, pleasant to practice, free of cost, free from physical exertion, easily practiced, attractive to the Supreme Master who is not very far away from each of us – by giving joy to Him, capable of removing the greatest fears of samsAra – even though being very light natured itself, highly innocuous, eligible of being practiced by one and all – and hence widely accepted across the globe, having no prerequisites such as a specificity in terms of place, time, state (dashA), et al, and most importantly being ceaseless due to the gravity of the object of praise (Bhagavan).
The various divine sages also concur in this regard, as can be illustrated as below:
“Of all the dharmas, best are those which are related to the worship of Vishnu”
“Bhagavan Vishnu protects His devotees just as a soul protects its body”
“There is no other deed for well-being better than being devoted to Govinda”, et al.