Beach 7: The Art and Science of Spiritual Love




Note: You may want to read the Introduction, if you have not already seen it.


Continued from Page 1


Sloka No.2. (Ref. nAryaNIyaM: 92 – 9)


gangA gItA ca gAyatry-api ca tulasikA gopikA-candanaM tat

sAlagrAmAbhi-pUjA para-puruSha tathaikAdashI-nAma-varNAH /

etAny-aShTApy-ayatnAny-api kali-samaye tvat-prasAda-prasiddhyA


mAM sajjayethAH //


Tr.:  Oh Supreme Lord! there are just eight items, namely, Ganga, Gita, Gayatri, Tulasi leaves, sandal paste, the worship of sAlagrAmaM, (the fast on the day of) Ekadasi, and Divine names. These eight, declare the sages, are the easy and quick means of salvation, in this age of kali-yuga, as they secure Thy abounding grace. May I be intensely devoted to them all!


Comment:  This asks for karma-yoga with the stamp of bhakti. There is a folk-lore sloka which says:


gangA gItA ca gAyatrI govindeti catuShTayaM /

catur-gakAra-samyukte punar-janma na vidyate //


Meaning, ‘when the four that begin with the consonant ‘ga’ are integrally present, the four being gangA (the river Ganges), gItA, gAyatrI and govinda (standing for God’s name) – then there is no rebirth’.  Bhattatiri  adds to these four, another four.

In the orthodox traditions initiated by Adi Sankara, five main divinities are worshipped through a sophisticated ritual called pancAyatana-pUjA, meaning, worship at five altars. Here the divinities are worshipped not in their human-like forms but in certain symbols in the form of stones, which are nothing but certain rock formations available in specified locations in India. The Sun-God, sUrya, is taken as inherent in certain crystals normally found in Vallam in Tamilnadu. The Mother Goddess, shakti, is represented by the svarNamukhi stone found in the bed of the river of that name in the Andhra region of South India. VishNu is worshipped in the sAlagrAma (mentioned in Bhattatiri’s verse) stone that can be had in plenty on the bed of the river Ghantaki in the Himalayas. Ganesa is the red shonabhadra stone found on the bed of the river Sone flowing into the Ganges. Finally shiva is the bANa-linga found in the Omkarakunda of the river Narmada, near the island of Mandhata. The pancAyatana pUja tradition may be taken as an intermediate stage between the worship of Godhead with form and the worship of the formless, because the symbols of worship as rock formations have certainly a form but they are also formless in that they have no parts like face, eyes, body, hands and feet. It is as though the devotee trains himself to take the mind from the formful to the formless while at the same time allowing full scope for one’s devotional feelings. Also note that in the Vaishnava tradition, the emphasis is on the sAlagrAma to such an extent that the other four of the pancAyatana tradition are mostly omitted.


The gAyatrI is the most important mantra of Hinduism.  It encompasses within itself the three fundamental urges of man, namely, to exist and survive, to enquire and know, and finally, to enjoy and be happy. These three urges are only the finite expressions of their infinite counterpart-principles, namely, Existence, Knowledge and Bliss. Also the gAyatrI is a comprehensive mantra which has in it all the three parts of a human relationship with the Supreme Absolute: namely,

One:  a combination of awe, wonder and glorification of the Supernatural - in its first line;

Two:  a combination of worship, communion with,  and surrender to the Supra-mental – in its second line ; and

Three: a combination of   self-negation,  identification with, and prayer to the Almighty – in its third line.

See The three fundamental Urges of Man  for an elaboration of these.




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