Garland of Talks – The Lord’s infinite potency
The third day of this eleven-day ‘Garland of Talks’ on the thousand Names of the Lord by Pujya Bhaishri, delved into the infinite, infallible and invincible nature of the Lord’s Name.
oṃ viśvaṃ viṣṇurvaṣaṭkāro bhūtabhavyabhavatprabhuḥ ।
bhūtakṛdbhūtabhṛdbhāvo bhūtātmā bhūtabhāvanaḥ ॥
‘Ananta’—Accept Him to be Infinity-Incarnate:
The Lord’s Names are infinitely numerous, infinitely powerful and infinitely precious. For devotees, the Lord’s Names are their only true wealth as seen when the great saint of Maharashtra, Shri Tukaram ji Maharaj, presented his daughter with this ‘Śrī ViṣṇuSahasranāma Stotram’ as her wedding gift to ably guide and protect her in her life ahead. Such faith in the infinite power of the Lord’s Names is the hallmark of devotees, such as Narsi Mehta and many others.
The Lord is ‘Ananta’—He is infinite and also possesses infinite Names. Within this hymn of a ‘thousand names’, one should not harbor doubts about whether or not there are a thousand names when such repetitions exist. Some Names have come more than once; some Names are different but have the same meaning, whilst some identical Names have infinite meanings. Thus, seek not to count, but rather to comprehend the varied meanings of apparent repetition of Names.
‘Agocara’—How to grasp that which is beyond our reach?
Whilst the Supreme Lord is beyond the reach of senses, mind and words- yet we aim to describe His glory in words as an expression of our love for Him, and He in turn, forbears these words (as the Lord’s name ‘Śabdasaha’ indicates), which is an expression of His Love for us!
‘jau bālaka kaha totari bātā sunahī mudita mana pitu aru mātā’
The essence of an ‘Avatāra’:
If the Lord is beyond all manifestation, then how is The first name of this Śrī Viṣṇusahasranāma, ‘Viśvaṃ’—this entire existence? This is simply because nothing exists other than, or outside of Him!
Just as we first learn to communicate in a language by learning the alphabet, that most subtle all-pervasive consciousness becomes gross and visible to us. Once we connect to His gross form, we are able to progress to His subtle form.
The Vedic Śruti say, ‘Sarvaṃ Khalavidaṃ Brahma’—all of existence is nothing but that Supreme Being. He is in fact within Himself. He has not separated anything from Himself, yet He remains beyond this all. This divine contradictory nature of Him is what is highlighted in the Catuḥślokī Bhāgavata. Wherever such contradiction exists in fact is where the Supreme Truth is hidden.
Viṣṇu is that Supreme Being who is both with, and without Name and form. He is that divine being who nourishes and sustains us. An “avatāra” (incarnation) is when a personality too large for us to react to, is pleased by our efforts to honor Him, and He Himself bends down to our level, so that we may touch and reach up to Him.
Adhiṣṭāna—The unchanging substratum
Just as the screen remains unchanged by various scenes that it displays (be it fire or rains); and just as the sky remains unaffected by the lightening and rains within it; so too does the Lord in His unchanging (kooṭastha) form remain free from any modifications (‘avyaya’), whilst manifesting all of apparent creation within Himself and by Himself.
Names that convey the Lord’s infallible Might:
- ‘Prabhu’—Ruler of all living beings within Time; whilst He remains eternally beyond time (free of past present future).
- ‘Bhūtakrta’—indicates Brahmā (the one who creates all living beings), and Maheśvara (the one who destroys all living beings) & also ‘Bhūtabhrt’ as Viṣṇu (the one who nourishes and maintains this creation).
- ‘Bhūtātmā bhūtabhāvanaḥ’-Everything that is needed for growth, development and Life, both physically and intellectually, is received from nature itself
- God does not just make living beings; He also ensurs they prosper and grow. The soul of all living beings, Bhūtātmā is also the pure Supreme Soul, Pūtātmā.
Living Beings, nourished by Touch
If you are alive, the touch of one who is living is a potent source of Life. Merely ether, fresh air, water and food are not enough for our senses to feel nourished. This need for the touch of living beings has its own science and this is the need that pets fulfill. It is also why children need the embrace of their parents.
pūtātmā paramātmā ca muktānāṃ paramā gatiḥ ।
avyayaḥ puruṣaḥ sākṣī kṣetrajño’kṣara eva ca ॥
‘Pūtātmā’ refers to those pure souls who have purified themselves through worship of Universal Consciousness (bhajana), who are verily a form of the Lord. We experience peace in the living-giving pure touch (sanjīvanī sparśa) of a purified soul, thus, the devout seek to touch the feet of their Guru (or kiss the hand of a pope).
Viśvam as His Name and Form
- The Lord is not only indestructible ‘avināśi’, but also free of all faults of modifications ‘avikārī’. This world is a moorti (idol) of the Universal Lord (Viśvam). Thus, when offering a Tulasī leaf to Him, we say, ‘Om Viśvāya Namaḥ’; but when expressing this name as His quality (viśeshan), we say ‘Om Viśvasmai Namaḥ’
- ‘Pur’ refers both to a city and also to this body which is the abode of the Puruṣa (Consciousness who exists within all).
- ‘Sākṣī’ refers to the in-dwelling Lord who witnesses everything without getting involved in it. He created that which is seen (Dṛśya) and He is the witness of it. Pujya Bhaishri referred to the treasured Vedāntic text titled ‘Dṛg Dṛśya Vivek’ to describe this.
He (Puruṣa) creates this; sits within this; and due to His movement within, there is interaction within this creation, and yet within that momentum, He remains unmoved as a witness. In this way the Lord is both Unmoving and Momentum.
The Body does not lie—learn to listen!
- ‘Kṣetrajño’- refers to the All-knowing One who is the knower of this ksetra, material nature. Who oversees ‘Disaster Management’ within our own body in deciding which vital organs should receive blood at the time of a critical emergency?
The Lord’s creation is so complex and wondrous that human beings are still only discovering the nuances of all that exists in plants, and in fact, within the body. Only the one who creates, is the one who knows its innermost workings.
The body does not lie to you, whilst your mind might. Thus, follow the advice of Dattā Bhagavāna who says the body is His 25th Guru.
As Dongreji Maharaj would say, one must make their mind their obedient disciple. Eat as per the body’s needs, not as per the mental inclinations.
Knowledge is also infinite- Keep learning! Ideally, in the shelter of the Sadguru; progress from knowledge to direct realisation.
•Program begins with a brief English summary daily by Shri Vibhootiben Acharya (exclusively for ZOOM viewers);
•Followed by chanting of the Stotram by Shri Shyambhai Thakar for purification of mind and pronunciation and thereafter
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•Day 3 – Śrī Viṣṇusahasranāma Stotram Pravachan by Pujya Bhaishri at Sandipani Vidyaniketan (Porbandar) 28.11.2020
Report by Nimisha Sadhu and Shivani Suchak