Continued from Dhruva-stuti

Verse No.3

tvad-dattayA vayunayedam acashTa viSvam
supta-prabhuddha iva nAtha bhavat-prapannaH /
tasyApavargya-SaraNaM tava pAda-mUlaM 
vismaryate kRta-vidA katham Arta-bandho //

O Lord, O friend of the distressed! You gave the vision to Lord Brahma who thereby visualised the universe (to be created by Him) as one who woke up from sleep. How can one forget your divine feet which is the sole refuge even for those who are liberated? 

Before we proceed further we need to have a little introduction to the remaining verses. The whole hymn is in praise of brahman. But brahman is not describable in words, say the scriptures. In fact they describe it only in negatives, such as: it cannot be indicated, it cannot be related, it cannot be specified by categories, it cannot be delimited by characteristics,  and so on.  So how do you then glorify the brahman or describe it in a hymn? And here the Lord Himself is doing it through the mouth of Dhruva. So first brahman is described in terms of taTastha-lakshaNa, i.e. in terms of definitions which are only indicative, not specific. In other words, instead of directly pointing out to brahman which is a tall order,  even for  the vedas, one looks at the created universe and infers the Almighty behind. Thus  verse Nos. 3 to 9  indicate brahman by dwelling on its creative power rather than its essential nature as It is. The svarUpa-lakshaNa, definition-as-it-is, is taken up in verses 10 and 11. It is interesting to note that, this little boy who is giving out this hymn, has put so much organization into this poem of praise, by separating the two ways in which brahman is traditionally  referred. Rightly may we conisder the poem as an inspired one coming out of his mouth by the inspiration through the vedas which the divine Conch passed on to him. 
It was You who gave the divine sight to the Creator Himself to recall how He did the Creation in the previous cycle. Let us note here that the Hindu theory of Creation and Dissolution is a phenomenon of recurring cycles.  Once Creation starts it is Brahma's day. When everything dissolves in the Infinite Absolute the day-time of Brahma is over and Brahma 'sleeps' as it were. The next morning there is another day of manifestation, that is, creation - which will end up in Brahma's evening by another dissolution. Each such day of Brahma is called one 
kalpa. On the beginning of every such day, it is the Lord that has to 'sanctify' Brahma with the necessary spiritual power to create the universe. 

For more on this go to Cosmic Day of Brahma

The words 'tvad-dattayA' are significant. It is the Lord that sanctioned the Creator Brahma the knowledge of the Vedas which are eternal.  How does a new-born child get the knowledge and strategy to suck the milk out of the mother's breast? It is avAsanA from previous births, granted by the Lord.  Maybe Science will one day isolate the gene that is responsible for the capability of the child to suck milk.  (Probably, it has, already). But even then, is  that  the end  of all questions? Why does that gene have that property? What or Who gave it that property? This kind of questioning will continue for ever in the scientific world. It is only an infinite regression. Ultimately after every finite stage of our knowledge we have to end up with  the concept of 'tvad-dattayA' (given  by You, Oh Lord). This is a sound illustration of the taTastha-lakshaNa that is being elaborated in these verses. We cannot  see Him through  ordinary perception  but it is He that is the ultimate reservoir and source  of everything that we think we know or do. 
In mathematical terms  we may describe the relation between Science with its  understanding of the universe on the one hand and God the almighty on the other hand as follows in terms of the two 
lakshaNas, taTastha-lakshaNa and svarUpa-lakshaNa.  The latter is given by the scriptures as satyam-jnAnam-anantam brahma ( See the Absolute As It Is). The former is only an approximation, given by scientific understanding of the universe as of a particular time. It is like summing up an infinite series in mathematics. In Mathematics  we know that, for instance, 

1 + 1/1 + 1/2 + 1/6 + 1/24 + 1/120 + 1/720 + ... + 1/n! + ...    =    e

This simply means that the infinite series on the left sums up to a number called  'e'.  This latter number is a very important but complicated number. Its value lies between 2 and 3. Its actual value has infinite number of decimal places.  Now if you take 10 terms of the above series and actually add them up you will get a number approximately equal to e. If you take 100 terms and sum up again,  you will get a better approximation to the same  e.  Thus the larger the number of terms of the series you take and add  up, the better you get an  approximation to  e.  But
whatever number of terms you take, even if it be in millions you will never get the actual value of the number  e.  This is what is happening in the approximation of Science to Spiritual Reality. However forward  Science may move  in terms of understanding Reality, there will be questions at the end for which you will have to resort to the concept of 'tvad-dattayA'!

Verse No.4

nUnaM vimushTa-matayas-tava mAyayA te 
ye tvAm bhavApyaya-vimokshaNam-anya-hetoH /
arcanti kalpaka-taruM kuNapopa-bhogyaM
icchanti yat-sparSajaM niraye'pi nRNAM //

You are the One who can grant the release from birth and death. But if people worship you for other benefits and ask you, who are a wish-fulfilling tree, material pleasures to be experienced by the body, which is itself no better than a corpse, their intelligence has certainly been confounded  by mAyA; because the material pleasures can be experienced even in hell.  

We are all of crooked intelligence, says this verse. Why?  The Lord is a wish-fulfilling tree who can give even the final release from births and deaths. Instead of asking this of the Lord  we ask from  him all sorts of mundane transitory realities. Remember, Dhruva came to the forest to do penance, to see the Lord and ask of Him how he can get onto the lap of his father  - the 'privilege'  denied to  him by his step-mother.  But now, the very Lord that is speaking through him has probably made him forget that  mundane triviality. 

The most significant word in this verse is bhavApyaya-vimokshaNaM, meaning 'the release from birth (bhava) and death (apyaya)'.  On the face of it this means the release from the transmigratory cycle. But it means more. It means release from three bondages which cause this transmigratory  whirl. They arekartRtvaM (the feeling that I am the doer), bhoktRtvaM (the feeling that I am the experiencer) and ajnAnaM (Ignorance of the Reality). The first one is the series of thoughts like: I did this , therefore I am  meritorious; I did that, therefore I am sinful. The second one is the series of thoughts like: I am happy; I am sorrowful. These two feelings of agency as the doer and agency as the experiencer are caused by a further root cause, namely Ignorance. This Ignorance is that of not knowing  the Self as different from the body-mind-intellect.  It superimposes the things that pertain to the body-mind-intellect on the Self behind.  The Release that is talked about in the verse is the release from these three basic causes of samsAra.
The fact that we are of such crooked intelligence is itself due to the play of 
mAyA. Otherwise why did Man eat the apple in the Garden of Eden? The three bondages mentioned above constitute a vicious cycle that is exactly the doing of the mAyA. The latter is nothing but prakRti working in the presence of the Lord. cf. Gita: (9 - 10):

mayA-dhyaksheNs prakRtiH sUyate sa-carAcaraM
In My supervision and control, prakRti produces
the moving and unmoving world.

Verse No.5

yA nirvRtis-tanu-bhRtAM tava pAda-padma-
dhyAnAd-bhavajjana-kathASravaNena vA syAt /
sA brahmaNi sva-mahimanyapi nAtha mA bhUt 
kiM tvantakAsi lulitAt-patatAM vimAnAt //

What bliss one gains by meditating on your lotus feet or by listening to the stories of your devotees, that bliss is not obtainable even in the experience of brahman; what to speak of those who are catapulting down the abyss caused by the eternal sword of Time? 

So far the Lord has been indicated by His taTastha-lakshaNa. Before we go to the svarUpa-lakshaNa in the 10th verse, the hymn swings the thought process to bhakti - which is the only path to understand Him as He is and what He is. cf. Gita (18- 55):

bhaktyA mAm abhijAnAti yAvAn-yaScAsmi tatvataH 
By Devotion one understands Me 
as to What I am and Who I am.

This verse is one of the earliest authorities, in terms of the cosmic chronology of events, for the concept of bhakti as the most ideal path to moksha. It  extols bhakti over and above even the so-called experience of the Absolute State of enlightenment, denoted by the glorious name of brahma-anubhavaM. The Bliss that arises from that transcendental state is spoken of as the Infinite Bliss in all scriptures and by all great seers. Here Dhruva says even that pales into insignificance before the bliss that one enjoys in the three major activities of devotion, namely, Meditation of His form in the mind, Singing  by the mouth in praise of His Glories, and Bowing by the body  to Him in obeisance. cf. Vishnu sahsra-nAmaM - preliminary verses:

meditating, praising and bowing

The mind that attaches to God automatically liberates. The thesis here is that such a mind is already experience the transcendental experience of bliss, it need not wait for the so-called mukti. Listen to Adi Sankara: (Sivananda-lahari: Verse no.81).

kamcit-kAlam-umAmaheSa bhavataH pAdAravindArcanaiH
kamcit-dhyAna-samAdhibhiSca natibhiH kamcit kathA-karNanaiH /
kamcit-kamcid-avekshaNaiSca nutibhiH kamcid-daSAmIdRSIM
yaH prApnoti mudA tvad-arpita-manA jIvan sa muktaH khalu
Sometime in worshipping Your lotus feet, 
sometime in meditation and concentration 
sometime in offering obeisance, sometime in listening to stories about You, 
sometime in looking at  Your form, sometime in singing Your praise - 
he who gains such a state in exhultation, having surrendered his mind to You, O Lord,  he is verily  liberated even when alive.

Listen again to Adi Sankara from the same Sivananda-lahari (Verse No.33):

nAlaM vA sakRdeva deva bhavataH sevA natir vA nutiH 
pUjA vA smaraNaM kathA-SravaNam-apy-AlokanaM mAdRSAM /
svamin-nasthira-devatAnusaraNAyAsena kiM labhyate 
kA vA mukti-ritaH kuto bhavati cet kiM prArthanIyaM tadA 
O God, what is to be gained by following with effort,
gods who are impermanent?
O Lord, is it not enough for people like me to serve you 
even once through making obeisance, singing Your praise,worship, 
meditation, listening to stories about you or having a 
darSan of You? 
What else is 
moksha other than this? 
(Even if there be) what am I then 
supposed to pray to you for?  

Verse No.6

bhaktiM muhuH pravahatAM tvayi me prasango
bhUyAd-ananta-mahatAM amalASayAnAM /
yenAnjasolbaNam-uruvyasanaM bhavAbdhiM 
neshye bhavad-guNa-kathAmRta-pAna-mattaH //

May my association be with those noble souls whose minds are pure and in whom bhakti is overflowing incessantly. By that very association I will easily cross dangerous and sorrowful ocean ofsamsAra, intoxicated as I will be with the nectar of the stories of Your Glory.

Continued on Dhruva-stuti page 3


© Copyright V.Krishnamurthy January 2000