Monday, August 3, 2009

Om Bhur-Bhuvah-Swah

Om Bhur-Bhuvah-Swah
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo yo Nah Prachodayaat.

We meditate upon the auspicious godly light of the Lord Sun; may that heavenly light illumine our thought flow in our intellect.

Goddess GayatriThe Gaayatree mantra is dedicated to the Lord Savitri. Savitri represents Lord Sun. The Sun gives all illumination to the world and any prayer for light should certainly be addressed to "the source of all light" in the material world, the Sun. In the Geetaa the Lord says, the light that pervades, the sun and the moon are all My Light. Thus Savitri, the Lord of Gaayatree, is nothing other than the Light of Consciousness, the Infinite, the Absolute.

This mantra is never chanted for the purposes of material gains, for mercy or pardon, but appeals to the Glorious Power that pervades the Sun and the Three Worlds, to arouse, awaken and strengthen the Intelligence, so that it may lead one through intense sadhana to success.

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I bow to Lord Vishnu the One Master of the Universe, who is ever peaceful, who reclines on the great serpent bed, from whose navel springs the Lotus of the Creative Power, who is the Supreme Being, who supports the entire universe, who is all-pervading as the sky, who is dark like the clouds and has a beautiful form; the Lord of Lakshmi, the lotus-eyed One, whom the yogis are able to perceive through meditation, He, who is the destroyer of the fear of Samsara.

Naama, Chakra and Shanka

Vishnu aspect of the Divinity.
India has two main traditions regarding the concept of God, and the modes of worship. These are Vaishnavism and Saivism. Although the outer practice of rituals differs, the inner significance of both the Faiths is the same. Vishnu is believed and pictured as having a 'Shankha' in one hand and Chakra in the other. Shankha represents sound and Chakra, the wheel of time. So also Shiva holds a Trisula in one hand representing Kaala, i.e., the past, present and future and the Damaru in the other hand symbolizing sound. Thus it will be seen that three are two essential features of the Divine, namely, (1) Time and (2) Sound - both are subservient to and controlled by him.

Vishnu symbolizes the functions taken on by divinity of sustaining, fostering, stabilizing and strengthening the creation. So, Vishnu has to incarnate often in order to save and salvage the world.

The mace is the sight of might and majesty. The Shankha in Vishnu's hand, the Damaru in Shiva's hand and Murli in Krishna's hand symbolize God's accessibility through audible praise and song. The Chakra in Vishnu's hand and Trishul in Shiva's hand is symbolic that God is the Maker and Master of time.

GarudaSignificance of Garuda as the Vehicle of Vishnu
It is the heart of man that is referred to as a bird. It carries the thought of God; it moves swiftly to where He is. His abode is Vaikuntha meaning a place where there is no shadow of grief. How far is it? It is within the hearing distance of every grief - stricken heart. "I do not dwell in Vaikuntha or in the heart of Yogis. I am present wherever my devotees sing my praise Oh Narada".

The Vishnu stotra
Viswasya Anu iti Vishnu' meaning every atom of the world is filled with His presence. We are all aware of the tremendous energy that is present in the atom. That energy is Lord Vishnu.

The Sanskrit words that appear in the Stotra describe God beautifully. They have the power to fill us with delight.

The correct address of God
People wander in the name of pilgrimage to holy places, takes bath in the sacred rivers and visit temples to find their God. All these holy places; rivers and temples are only 'care of ' address of God. The correct address is found in the Gita Chapter 18, Sloka No. 61: "Eashwaras Sarvabhootanaam Hriddeshe Tishati".

"The Lord is seated in the heart of all beings, Oh Arjuna". This stotra enables the child to understand in a delightful way the Omnipresence of God, His beauty, His Majesty and His Grace, and he is stirred to Devotion.

Meaning of Stotra
Lord Vishnu who is ever peaceful, who lies on the great serpent bed, from whose navel springs the Lotus of the Creative power, who is the controller of the Gods, whose form is the entire Universe, who is all pervading as the sky, of the hue of the clouds, of fascinating beauty, the Lord of Lakshmi, the lotus eyed, he who dwells in the heart of the Yogis and who can be approached and perceived through meditation. He who is the destroyer of fear of Samsar, we bow down to the Master of the universe.

Shantam means equanimity, unruffledness. The countenance of the Lord depicts the inner calm, happiness; balance, inner grace and mercy, the consciousness of strength and sovereignty - the very picture of peaceful calm. (All the deities exhibit this Bhava on their faces and in their stance.

Bhujaga shayanam
The Lord is the very embodiment of peace calm, though reclining on a thousand hooded snake. The snake is the symbol of the objective world, with its poisonous fangs. Being in the world but not of it, bound by it - that is the secret. Immanent in the universe, yet transcending it. The Ocean on which He reclines is symbolic of the Bhavasagar. (S.S.S.V)

This refers to the lotus arising out of the navel of the Lord; Brahma is depicted as seated on the Lotus. Brahma stands for creation. The lotus stalk represents the umbilical cord. Just as the child draws sustenance from the mother through the umbilical cord, the creation draws sustenance from the God, who is the Viswadharam or the basis of the universe.

The Lord is like the sky, Sarva vyapi, pervades everything. He is at all times, everywhere, besides His children. He is in the most distant star as well in the blade of grass. He is the core of everything, as butter in every drop of milk. A person who realizes this becomes fearless. Therefore, the Lord is called Bhavabhayaharam. Despair is sin against God. When he is in your heart, why do you lose hope?" Be always joyful, optimistic and Courageous.

The dark color of the Lord is the color of the deep sea and the vast sky. It signifies the fathomless, unfathomable. He secret is beyond us, (S.S.S.IV/p. 168). However long you try, whosoever seeks to know, by whatever means, you cannot grasp the mystery of My Majesty. Only intense study with faith of the scriptures can help you catch a glimpse of my glory. "Yogibhirdhyanagamyam".

His form is full of Loveliness and charm which radiates auspicious everywhere. (S.S.S.V)

His is the source of all wealth. He is the universal provider.

Laxmi means

  1. The five elements that sustain life,
    Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space.
  2. The Wealth of sound Indriyas and good health.
  3. The wealth of virtues.

The Lord is the master of the five elements. He is the source of all virtues. He is the provider of sound body; mind and buddhi.

The Lord is the like the lotus, unaffected by the environment where He is. That is the reason why His eyes and His feet are compared to the lotus. (S.S.S.V)

Sustainer of the universe.

Shantakaram Bhujagashayanam
The Paramaatma is present in the minutest particle; Being in everything; that remains unaffected.

That universal consciousness (Vishnu) pervades everything in creation.

He is purer than the whitest snow.

Laxmikantham Sarvalokaikanatham
That universal consciousness illumines and sustains the three worlds.

Story related to the Stotra
Lord Vishnu is described as Shantakaram; always peaceful and steady minded.

Once Sage Kashyapa was celebrating a yajna and all the sages had gathered to witness the same. Now there arose a doubt in their mind as to who was highest of all the divinities. Sage Narada replied that the Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara were the highest of all, but Lord Vishnu was Supreme. Either praise or blame never disturbed him. He was every peaceful and in bliss. The sages asked Narada to prove it. Narada called sage Bhrigu aside, whispered something in his hear. Bhrigu was sent to verify the truth of Narada's statement.

He first went to Brahmaloka. He saw that Lord Brahma was busy in his act of Creation. From afar, Bhrigu started condemning Lord Brahma. He said "Oh! Brahma you don't have the proper knowledge of creation! Your creation is full of defects and faults. Therefore all your efforts are in vain. Not a single things in your creation is worth praising". Lord Brahma was annoyed to hear these words. He got up from his seat and came forward to punish Bhrigu. But the sage ran away from Brahmaloka. Then Bhrigu went to Shivaloka. He saw Lord Shiva engaged in Tandava Nritya. From a distance Bhrigu began to criticise Lord Shiva. He said "Oh! You are not looking after your department properly at all. Your task is to destroy the evil of the world; but the world today is full of evil. You are busy dancing the whole day and are not performing the task allotted to you, why should we worship you then?" Lord Shiva was angry to hear this and he was about to open his third eye to burn the sage, but the sage ran away from there.

Then he went to Vaikuntha. He saw Lord Vishnu resting upon the Sesha. He got very angry seeing that Lord was not coming for his devotees but seemed to be engaged in self-enjoyment; he went near Lord Vishnu and kicked hard upon his chest. Then Bhrigu was afraid of the consequences and was about to run away. But to his surprise he saw Lord Vishnu getting up from his seat falling at his feet. The Lord said, "Oh sage! please forgive me for not noticing you and ignoring you, thereby causing anger to rise in you; My iron-like chest may have injured your foot. Let me press it and comfort you". What great tolerance! What peaceful state! Bhrigu was taken back to hear these words and asked the Lord to forgive him.

Then the Sage came back to the council of the sages at the yajna and narrated the whole story. Hearing it, all the sages believed that Lord Vishnu alone was Shantaakaram and their doubt was cleared.

Namastestu Mahaamaye Shripeetha Surapoojite

Namastestu Mahaamaye Shripeetha Surapoojite
Shankha Chakra gadaahate Sri Mahalakshmi Namostu te

Goddess LakshmiExplanation
I bow down at Thy Lotus Feet. Thou art the destroyer of delusion and the source of all prosperity, who is worshipped by all the Gods, who is holding in her hands the conch shell, the discus and the club, Oh, Mahalakshmi, I bow down to Thy Lotus Feet.

Story (related to the Stotra)
When the Gods and demons were churning the ocean, in search of the Divine Nectar, of immortality, they found fourteen jewels one after the other. At one stage, while they were yet churning, there appeared Goddess Lakshmi, the daughter of the Ocean, she was beauty personified, fully decorated with lovely jewels. She had a vaijayantimala, the garland of of Vaijayanti flowers (Kind of Lotus) in her hands. As soon as the Gods and demons saw her, they had desire to marry her. So kept looking at her eagerly, to find out whom would she choose as her husband. The goddess looked around, but did not set her heart upon any one of them. Then she saw Lord Vishnu, who was resting upon Seta and was not concerned about the worldly matters. He did not even care to look at her, what of desiring then? He was ever contained and blissful within Himself. Seeing Lord Vishnu detached to the worldly matters, Goddess Lakshmi thought HIM to be the right person to be her husband. So, she went to HIM and putting her Garland round his neck, accepted HIM as her husband. Thus she acquired the seat of Sherrie (prosperity). As Lord Vishnu is possessing all such as Bhagyashree, Rajahs, Jayashree, etc., Being the consort of Lord Vishnu. She became the controller of the conch, that is power of creating sounds, the chakra, the control over the wheel of time; the Parma or Lotus is the mind and the hearts of all beings and Gad, the Mace, that is the Maya of the Lord. That is the feminine Prakrit aspect of Purusha. Thus even Gods and sages worship her.

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O Lord !
You are my mother, You are my father, You are my kinsman,
You are my friend,
You are my knowledge (wisdom),
You are My wealth (of strength, valor and power),
You are my all, My God of Gods.

Story Related

Ganesh and His brother Lord Subramanya once had a dispute as to who was the wise and should be worshiped first out of the two. The matter was referred to Lord Shiva for final decision.

Shiva decided that whoever would make a tour of the whole world and come back first to the starting point had the right to be the elder. Subramanya flew off at once on his vehicle, the peacock, to make a circuit of the world.

But the wise Ganesh went, in loving worship, around His divine parents and asked for that he be declared as having won the race.

Lord Shiva said, "Beloved and wise Ganesh! But how can I give you the prize; you did not go around the world?"

Ganesh replied, "No, but I have gone around my parents. My parents represent the entire manifested universe!" Thus the dispute was settled in favor of Lord Ganesh. Mother Parvati also gave Him a fruit as a prize for this victory.

Aumkaaram Bindu Samyuktam

Aumkaaram Bindu Samyuktam
Nityam Dhyaayanti Yoginah
Kaamadam Mokshadam Chaiva
Aumkaaraaya Namo Namah

Aumkaaram - The yogis always meditate upon the Aumkar with the Bindu (dot). We bow done to the Aumkar, that is eternal that grants us liberation. The Aum written with a Bindu (dot) signifies that we are but a drop from the Aum - the sound of all creation. The smallest unit of the Ocean is a drop. Each drop tastes as salty as the Ocean but it is not the Ocean. Yet it can merge back into the Ocean when it evaporates, and falls back as rain.

In the same way, every individual is a spark of divinity and has all the necessary qualities to become ONE with Him. It is for the individual to rise like water vapor by putting Ideals into daily practice. It is this striving for excellence that will return Man to God, just as the rain drop merges back into the sea.

The AUM is the sound symbol - the supreme of God. To know the AUM is to know the secret of the universe. AUM is the abode of the soul. The chanting of AUM twenty one times has a special significance. The day at Puttaparti starts with the chanting of twenty-one AUMS.

We have five senses of action ( Karmendhriyas), five senses of knowledge (jnaanendhriyas), five vital airs (Pranas), and five bodies' sheaths (Koshas). The recitation of AUM purifies and clarifies all these 20 components and makes man the 21st entity. Chanting of AUM raises our consciousness for final emergence with the Lord almighty. AUM brings peace and bliss for the body, mind and the soul.

Asato maa Sadgamaya

Asato maa Sadgamaya
Tamaso maa Jyotirgamaya
Mrityorma Amritam gamaya
Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih

Lead me
From untruth to truth
From darkness to light
From death to immortality

(From the transient world of decay lead me to the everlasting world of Bliss. Let the effulgence of Thy Grace illumine by being with Truth. Save me from this cycle of birth and death and destroy the craving of the mind, which produce the seeds of birth).

Explanation with example

When the room is dark, we stumble and fall; we are terrorized by imaginary fears; a number of insects move about freely and make us uncomfortable. When we put on the light, we are comfortable and happy, so also when our minds are dark, the pests of Moha, Lobha, Mada, Matsarya, Kama and Krodha trouble us and make our lives miserable. So we pray to God to illumine our minds.

Ignorance is like darkness. In this darkness, we fail to see that we are all related to one another and to God, by the kinship of Atma. This gives rise to greed, envy, jealousy, hatred and anger. These evil tendencies make our lives miserable. Hence we pray for the light of Jnana, which dissolves all the differences.

Relative Story

When the Lord is pleased with us, what boon will we ask him to grant us? To pass us in an examination? Or to give us lots of money? Then what else? The only treasure in this world that one should possess is true knowledge and the knowledge is light: That knowledge is self-realization.

Once there lived a king called Uddalaa. He was once performing a yajna. In that sacrifice, he was giving away a lot of wealth, cows, etc. His little son Nachiketa was sitting by his side and was observing all that was going on. Though young in age, he was very intelligent. He understood the vanity and deceit of his father, in giving away all the barren cows. He felt a great pain heart. In order to save his father from sins, he asked the father, "Oh! My dear father! To whom are you giving me away?" The father didn't reply for some time. When asked repeatedly, he got angry and said "My son, I am giving you away to Yamaraja". Nachiketa was very pleased. He at once went to the abode of Yamaraja. But to his great disappointment Yamaraja was not in Yamapuri. He had gone out for some urgent work.

Nachiketa had to wait for three days and three nights at the door of Yamaraja's palace. At last on the fourth day Yamaraja returned. Seeing this little boy at his gates, Yamaraja was quite amused. He offered the boy three boons, as the boy had to wait for three days. The first boon Nachiketa asked for was to forgive his father for his ignorance. The second one was to cool his father's anger. And the third one was to bestow upon him the knowledge of self-realization. Lord Yama didn't want to grant the third boon. He tempted the child with many worldly attractions and pleasures. But nothing could change the child's mind. His only prayer was Mrityorma Amritam Gamaya.

He wanted to go from mortality to immortality. At last seeing the child's perseverance, Lord Yama had to grant the boon to Naciketa.

We too mustn't ask for worldly pleasures, as they are all just temporary. But immorality is everlasting.

Om Sarve vai Sukhinas Santu

Om Sarve Vai Sukhinas Santu

Om Sarve vai Sukhinas Santu
Sarve Santu niraamayaah
Sarve Bhadraani pashyantu
Ma Kaschid dukkhamaapnuyaat
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih

May all be happy, May all be healthy (free from disease). May all see auspiciousness. May none suffer. Peace for self, peace for neighbours, peace for all over the world.

Story related to the prayer

Yudhishthira was well known as Dharmaja and was very virtuous and righteous man. His life was full of pure, holy and divine actions. Since he had not committed any sins in his life he had earned a lot of merit. But alas! There was a tiny little spot upon his pure meritorious life.

During the Kurushetra war, Pandavas fought against the Kauravas and also their Guru Dronacharya. Krishna new it was difficult to defeat Dronocharya. If only Drona would keep known his weapons and refuse to fight, then alone it could be possible to defeat him. But how would Drona keep down his weapons? He loved his only son Ashwathama very dearly. If at all Drona would get news that Ashwatthama was dead, then he would keep his weapons down in dejection. But Drona would not believe in the rumors. He would confirm the truth from Yudhishthira, as Yudhishthira spoke nothing but truth. How to convince Yudhishthira to speak a life?

Lord Krishna thought of a plan. An elephant named Ashwatthama was killed. Krishna then told Yudhishthitra, if Drona asked him "Was Ashwattham dead?" he should say loudly "Yes" and then in murmuring voice ujks ok dq.tjks ok say whether it is an elephant or a man, I do not know. According to the plan everything was done and, as Lord Krishna had expected Drona went to Yudhishthira to confirm the truth. Yudhishthira replied in the words that he had learnt by heart. Now, though Yudhishthira did not speak a lie, yet it was partly a lie, because Yudhishthira knew that it was not a man Ashwatthama, but an elephant that had died. This little act made a small spot of sin on his life.

At the end of Yudhishthira's life, he had to account for his actions. As a result of this little act, he had to spend just a few moments in the hell first and then he could go to heaven to enjoy for all his merits. Yudhishthira readily agreed to it. When he entered hell, those who were there suffering and undergoing a torture suddenly experienced calmness, coolness and joy, due to Dharmaja's presence. They began to experience such great joy, which they had never experienced before. Dharmaja noticed the change in hell. He was so loving, compassionate and merciful; that he always felt that other's joy was his own. He pleaded to Lord Yama and said "Oh Lord, what is the use of the human life, if one does not understand the brotherhood of mankind? I think these people in the hell need my presence. Therefore, I offer all my merits to them. I am willing to stay in the hell for the sake of their happiness. Let all be happy. Let not any one suffer, let all seek peace. "What a great sacrifice! Lord Yama was very pleased; he at once released all the people from the hell. Do you know what reward Yudhishthira got? By offering his merits to others, he earned thousand folded merits than what he had before.

One should pray like Yudhisthira, for the universal good, for the happiness and joy of all mankind; we pray for our own self. We may pray for our relatives, friends or neighbors. But Yudhishthira prayed for those whom he did not know, who were neither his friends nor relatives. He had realized the brotherhood of man.