Saturday, April 24, 2010



A fascinating journey into the theory of Vigraha Aradhana expounded in Bhagavad Gita

Krishna, after fully explaining Karma yoga in nearly five adhyAyAs (chapters), then starts his Bhakti discourse. The chapters six to twelve of Srimad Bhagavad Gita are called the Bhakti pradhana shatakam or in English where devotion is mainly discussed.

Krishna starightaway says in the first sloka of the seventh chapter

Sri BhagavAn uvAcha

mayyAsakta manA: pArtha, yOgam yunjan madAsraya : |

asamsayam samagram mAm, yathA jnAsyasi tachchruNu || ( 7-1)

Partha ! Listen how, with the mind intent on Me, taking refuge in Me, and practicing Yoga, you will know me in full, free from doubt.

On a cursory view, the above sloka will probably miss the attention it deserves , It is because the reader will be tempted to read on further as to what Bhagavan wants to reveal. But, here is a key to nearly six chapters. It is one word which , when understood carefully, will reveal why the chapters from seven to twelve has been told to Arjuna in that order.

That monumental and magic word, according to my understanding, is " samagram" meaning 'full' or 'complete'. If that word is not understood, then the present Hinduism can never be understood properly.

Bhagavad Gita is a bridge between the Vedic religion and our present Hinduism. Krishna was one of the key Avatars to approve Vigraha Aradhana in its present form in. And now let us go into that grand journey of unravelling 'samagram'.

Krishna says His 'Samagra Swarupam' has to be realized so that nothing more is to be known further. (7-2). What is that form like ?

I am the taste of water, the light of the Sun and the moon, the syllable Om of all Vedas, the virility in men, the fragrance of earth, life of all that lives, penance of all ascetics, the seed of all existence, intellect of the intelligent, the tejas of tajasvis, the righteous power, the righteous sexual urge, the goodness, passion , and ignorance. Though I am everything of these, I am independent and not under their influence.

Here , Krishna takes a deviation only to return to his description of Samagra swaroopam again in the 16 th sloka of the 9 th chapter.

My Powers

I am the ritual, the sacrifice, the yajna , the herb (offered in fire), the mantra, the ghee , the fire ,offering, am the father of this universe, am the mother, the supporter , and the grandsire. Am the object of knowledge, the purifier and Omkara. I am also the Rig, Sama and Yajur Vedas. Am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the wirness, the abode, the refuge and the most dear friend. Am the creation, dissolution, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.

I give heat, I send forth and withhold rain, am immortality and death, am also the manifest and unmanifest.

Then finally in the 10 th chapter Bhagavan formally tells Arjuna his vibhutis. “I am the Self, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings. Of the Adityas, I am Vishnu, Of lights I am the radiant sun, I am Marichi of the Maruts, and among the stars I am the moon.

Of the Vedas I am the Sama-veda; of the devatas I am Indra; of the senses I am the mind, and in living beings I am the living force. Of all the Rudras I am Sankara; of the Yaksas and Raksasas I am Kubera ; of the Vasus I am Agni , and of mountains I am Meru. Of priests, know Me to be the chief, Brhaspati, the lord of devotion. Of generals I am Skanda, ; and of bodies of water, I am the ocean.

My representations

Of the great sages I am Bhrgu; of vibrations I am the transcendental om. Of yajnas I am the Japa yajna , and of immovable things I am the Himalayas. Of all trees I am the holy fig tree, and among divine sages and I am Narada.

Of the singers of the gods [Gandharvas] I am Chitraratha, and among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila. Of horses know Me to be Uccaihsrava, who rose out of the ocean, born of the elixir of immortality; of lordly elephants I am Airavata, and among men I am the monarch.

Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the surabhi, givers of abundant milk. Of procreators I am Manmada, and of serpents I am Vasuki. Of the celestial Naga snakes I am Ananta; of the aquatic deities I am Varuna.

Of pitrus I am Aryama, and among the dispensers of law I am Yama .Among the Asuras I am the Prahlada; among subduers I am time; among the beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda .

Of purifiers I am the wind; of the wielders of weapons I am Rama; of fishes I am the shark, and of rivers I am the Ganga. Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.

Of letters I am the akara, and among compounds I am the dual word. I am also inexhaustible time, and of creators I am Brahma, whose manifold faces turn everywhere. I am all-devouring death, and I am the generator of all things yet to be.

Among women I am fame, fortune, speech, memory, intelligence, faithfulness and patience. Of hymns I am the Brhat-sama sung to the Lord Indra, and of mantras I am the Gayatri . Of months I am Margasirsa and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring.

I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong. Of the descendants of Vrsni I am Vasudeva, and of the Pandavas I am Arjuna.

Of the sages I am Vyasa, and among great poets I am Sukracharya. Among punishments I am the rod of chastisement, and of those who seek victory, I am morality. Of secret things I am silence, and of the wise I am wisdom.

And, as a conclusion, the Lord says thus:

O mighty conqueror of enemies, there is no end to My divine manifestations. What I have spoken to you is but a mere indication of My infinite opulences.

This sums up the samagra rupam of Bhagavan. It is this form that Krishna wants Arjuna to see and realize. Bhakti is to be focused on the unlimited and absolute Lord. For we mortals, who have not had a taste of it, Bhagavan dwelt it in length in the Gita. And most importantly, Krishna showed this Swarupam which is famously called the Viswa Rupa Darsanam. The 11 th chapter describes it in all splendour.

This form once known, helps the Sadhak to choose an aspect of it so close to his nature and to start worshipping. He chooses the Vigraha of that aspect which appeal to his ideosyncracies and there blooms that chemistry which we famously call Bhakti.


Right Angle said...

Excellent post venkat.. YOu have compressed the very essence of Gita and given it as a juice here..

But, i am finding one interesting aspect.. even those who are defending vigraha worship, are doing it in apologetic mode, and as a mild reactionary to those semitic cults..

In my opinion, Vigraha worship existed for innumerous times, where the vigraha may be a simple stone, or a tree, or any other natural objects.
When the spiritual philosophy evolved, the wisdom of the rishis had crossed the limiting nature of the vigraha and pursued the gnana margam..

No where in any hindu scriptures, were the vigraha worship denied, or negated or opposed. Its part of the worship, and krishna says, he takes the form of what the bhaktha worships and that he is reached, even through the devata worship..

So, i feel we have to explore gita in general, and NOT in perspective of vigraha worship alone..

I think, you have done that verywell, by first explaining the most important message of Gita, and then in the last few lines, you have dealt with the concept of vigraha..

Vineet Bhatia said...

I was wondering why God chose to describe himself as best amongst his own creations when all creations are his and he is there in each one of them.....

DW said...

I love this part of the Gita. It is so all inclusive that it seems to me to be a way to see God in all, and the beauty of the passage speaks to the poet in me.

Venkatasubramanian said...

Namaste Sri Vineet Bhatia ji

Bhagavan said Krishna is best among yadavas. Do you mean that ?

Bhagavan Says in 7 th chapter
matta parataram nAnyat kinchidasti dhananjaya |
mayA sarvamidam prOtam sUtre maNigaNa iva ||

There is nothing whatsoever other than me. I run through Everything as a thread (as in a garland.)

Once this is also digested, then one can see what bhagavan wants to say. Bhagavan wants Arjuna to realise his form first, so he describes his form.

Vineet Bhatia said...

Dear Sri Venkat ji,
I was referring to the description of Samagra swaroopam in the 16 th sloka of the 9 th chapter mentioned by you as - 'Of generals I am Skanda, ; and of bodies of water, I am the ocean. My representations Of the great sages I am Bhrgu; of vibrations I am the transcendental om. Of yajnas I am the Japa yajna , and of immovable things I am the Himalayas. Of all trees I am the holy fig tree, and among divine sages and I am Narada....'
I know this could be because of way the shloka is interpreted and that is what I was wondering - why it is only with most 'superior' things that God is relating to

Venkatasubramanian said...

Vineet ji

Did you not notice that Bhagavan also says that he is the cheat among gamblers ?

But, what I understand is that since man is attracted towards only greatness, Bhagavan refers only that.

yadyad vibhootimat sattvam, sreematoorjita meva vaa |
tattadeva avagachhatvam mama tejomsa sambhavam ||

wherever you find greatness, richness and power, know that they are possible only because of an aspect of my opulence.

In the ninth chapter , Bhagavan dealt with upasana. In the twelfth, he is speaking of Bhakti. Both being saadhnaas, to give the Sadhak a form that appeals to him, he is dwelling on his vibhootis. Negative aspects cannot be used for upasana.


r80sr said...

"and among compounds I am the dual word."

What is "dual word" and what exactly is meant by "compound" here. Which dual word is the compound being referred to here ? OR is it 'dual world' mistyped as 'dual word' ?

Please clarify.

Venkatasubramanian said...

Namaste r80 sr

chapter 10, sloka 33
aksharAmakArOsmi, dvandva: sAmAsikasya cha |
ahamevAkshaya: kAlO, dhAtAham viswatOmukha: |

Here "dwandva: sAmAsikasya cha" is the phrase under discussion. In
""Of compound words His vibhuti is the dual compound such as Rama-Krishna which exemplifies the prominence of both.""

I believe this clarifies your doubt.


r80sr said...

Namaste Sri Sanatana Venkatji,

Thanks for answering my "dual-word" related question. Interesting indeed!!