In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of Sage Paraashara’s accord on the important discussion on “Creation” and “Destruction”. In the due course, we’ve witnessed many points that were part of this discussion, and how Bhagawan is solely responsible for all what is happening in this world. In fact, we’ve also seen some allied points wherein the cycle of creation and destruction just involves changes in states of existence, both for living and non-living beings. Ultimately, the person who is responsible for this change of existing states is none other than Bhagawan Vishnu or, referred to as “Brahman”. In these lines, we witnessed yesterday how Sage Paraashara is describing various attributes of this “Brahman”. We had witnessed this famous sloka that is often chanted along with the Vishnu Sahasranama. For readers’ convenience, we shall have a re-look at the sloka, as we continue with the discussion of the various points that Sage Paraashara intends to convey through this important one.
“Avikaaraaya shuddhaaya nityaaya paramaatmane!
Sataika roopa roopaaya vishnave prabha vishnave!!”
In this, we’ve already witnessed the meaning and significance of “Avikaaraaya”, “Shuddhaaya”and “Nityaaya”. We’ve witnessed how Bhagawan Vishnu is apart from all these components of the “cycle” that we’re talking about. As Bhagawan Krishna Himself mentions in the Gita, there is nothing called “Paapa” or “Punya” or any sort of “Karma” that even comes close to Him! Even though He’s in a human form during all His incarnations, it is not because of the “Karma” cycle. Bhagawan is voluntarily taking the human form and roams around amidst all of us, just out of desire to establish and re-establish the “Dharma” in this world. We’ve also witnessed that Bhagawan doesn’t have a beginning or an end. He’s all-permanent and all-pervasive in nature. Having said all that, these are the key characteristics, based on which we refer Bhagawan Vishnu as the ultimate “Paramatma”. Sage Paraashara himself explains this in the last phrase called “Paramaatmane” in the first line of the sloka. Thus, the point here is that, there is only one “Paramatman” and all the others in this world constitute the “Jeevaatmans”, who are striving to attain the divine lotus feet of the “Paramatman”.
In fact, this is where the “Alwars” and other “Aachaaryas”, while they sing in praise of Bhagawan Vishnu through various hymns and poetical slokas, practiced something called as “Naayika Bhaava”. Now what is this “Naayika Bhaava”? Normally this is a practice wherein a woman who is love-stricken with her husband or a lover, sings in praise of him, so that she can unite with him with all the love and happiness. Of course, if it is with regards to “Loukeeka” (Worldly) aspect, we refer to it as a category of romance between the boy and the girl. But here, Bhagawan Vishnu is the boy and all the Alwars and Aachaaryas imagine themselves to be the girls who are falling in love with Him! This is “divine love” of the Jeevatmas towards the Paramatman. This is what we refer to as the “Naayika Bhaava” and this is considered to be one of the highest levels of “Bhakti” towards Bhagawan!
We might ask a question here – Many others like Garuda (Bhagawan Vishnu’s vehicle), Aadisesha (The serpent bed of Bhagawan Vishnu), etc. are all permanent residents of Vaikunta. Will they also be classified as Paramatmans? The answer is “No”! This is because, even though they might be permanent residents of Vaikunta, they are not “Svatantras” (Independents) by nature. All of them are “Paratantras” (Dependents) to Bhagawan. It is like a corporate organization – Just like how many of us (“Paratantras”) work under a leader or a boss (“Svatantra”), Garuda, Adisesha, etc. are all “employee’s” of Bhagawan Vishnu! 🙂 Of course, I’m just mentioning this as a comparison for an understanding purpose, but we cannot literally compare a corporate organization to what happens in Vaikunta any day. Thus, the point here is that, Bhagawan Vishnu, being a “Svatantra” by nature, and who doesn’t depend on anybody else for any of His activities and existence, is referred to as the ultimate “Paramatman”. In fact, there can only be one “Svatantra” in the entire creation, and it is nothing but Brahman. This is why we refer to Bhagawan Vishnu to be a “Paramatman”.
However, these entities like Garuda, Adisesha, etc. are all referred to as “Muktaatmas”, who are permanent Vaikunta residents, but are all “Paratantras” to Bhagawan Vishnu. We should understand this point very clearly here. Next, Sage Paraashara explains another important point here – “Svataa – Eka Roopaaya” – This means that Brahman is someone who has the same form at all points in time. For instance, if we consider our physical forms, we keep changing every passing minute, hour, day, month, year, etc. isn’t it? Right from the day when we take birth in this world from our mother’s womb, we only keep getting older day by day, and our physical body continues getting worn out, till we die someday, isn’t it? But this doesn’t apply for Bhagawan! Bhagawan never gets old at any given point in time! This is what Sage Paraashara is trying to refer here – There is nothing called as an “Ageing process” when it comes to Bhagawan, as we’ve already discussed earlier too, that Bhagawan doesn’t have a beginning or an end. Only if one has a beginning and an end, will the question of getting old would come, isn’t it? This is where we see that Bhagawan is a constant entity throughout, and is never subjected to getting older at any point in time.
So for today, let us understand this important point and let us wait till the next episode to witness the continued discussion on this sloka further! Stay tuned! 🙂