Vishnusahasranama Bhashya

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Fri Feb 5 00:07:23 CST 1999

Yudhishtira asks Bhishma six questions.

1.  In all the worlds, who is described as the one God?

Shankaracharya notes that by worlds is meant all the branches of
knowledge.  Ones intellect and imagination can take one far beyond the
limits of the mundane world.

2.  What is the ultimate goal?

Human beings have the power to do many things.  Yudhistira wants to know
what is the most importand and advantageous thing a man can do.

3,4. By praising whom and worshipping whom will Men gain the highest good?

Why are praise (stuti) and worship (archana) mentioned seperately?  aren't
they synonyms.  Here praise refers to the whole range of mental worship
where even if we are singing we are primarily _thinking_ about Bhagavan as
opposed to te physical acts of worship in the home or temple etc.  It is
wrong to stress one over the other.  Both are equally important.  A persom
may perform all the required acts diligently but without ever stopping to
think about what he is doing.  A person may be so in love with the concept
of Vedanta, he may completely forget to actually practice it.  Both these
types are lacking what is needed to achieve the highest good.

5. Of all the Dharmas, which do you consider the best?

When speaking of Dharma how do you judge better or worse?  The criteria is
the extent to which an act increases goodness.  Things like charity for
example increase the fortune of ones fellow beings.  Other deeds gain
wealth, children etc. for their doer.  But one realizes that all these
types of goodness though real are ephemeral.  So that goodness which is
eternal and without beginning or end is the highest goal and its pursuit
is the highest Dharma.

6  By the repeated practice of which Dharma will creatures be released
   from the chains of samsara?

The bonds of samsara bind tightly and it is a very rare person who can
shrug them off just like that.  Thus it is by repetition (japa) that one
can hack away at samsara.  Shankaracharya notes that while manava (human)
was used in preceding shlokas, here jantu(that which is born) is used.
This is because by samsara is meant chiefly the cycle of birth and death.
(Though all other forms of action and consequences are include also.)  And
in the matter of death the Humans predicament is no different from an ant
or any other living creature.

Next time I'll write what Bhishmas answers to these questions were.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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>From ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU Thu Feb 11 08:49:25 1999
Message-Id: <THU.11.FEB.1999.084925.0530.ADVAITAL at TAMU.EDU>
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 08:49:25 +0530
Reply-To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Giridhar <giridhar at CHEMENG.IISC.ERNET.IN>
Subject: bhaja govindaM verse 5
Comments: To: ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU
Comments: cc: advaitin at, shree at
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yaavadvittopaarjana saktaH
staavannija parivaaro raktaH .
pashchaajjiivati jarjara dehe
vaartaaM ko.api na pR^ichchhati gehe .. 5..

##yaavat.h## \ = so long as;
##vitta## \ = wealth;
##upaarjana## \ = earning;
##saktaH## \ = capable of;
##taavannija## \ = tAvat.h+nija, till then+one's;
##parivaaraH## \ = family;
##raktaH## \ = attached;
##pashchaat.h## \ = later;
##jiivati## \ = while living(without earning);
##jarjara## \ = diseased;
##dehe## \ = in the body;
##vaartaaM## \ = enquiry;
##ko.api## \ = kaH+api, whosoever; even one;
##na## \ = not;
##pR^ichchhati## \ = inquires/asks;
##gehe## \ = in the house;

So long as a man is fit and able to support his family, see
what affection all those around him show. But no one at home
cares to even have a word with him when his body totters due to
old age.

Money speaks in a language which the whole world
understands ! Man usually calculates before he gives.
He wants an equal return, if not more. Even families
operate this way. So long as a person is able and
earns, people crowd around him/her in the hope of
getting benefitted by the savings. As the person
gets old, even the people who depended upon him
all these years pack him off. These relatives now
do not want the old person, who needs financial,
moral and physical support, to be with them.
In the modern age, the old person is packed off to
an old age home (so many of them have sprung up
in India now, especially since most of the sons/
daughters of these old people are in US now !).
And as one loses the health, not even the person who
you took care for years will want to look after you.
One becomes a burden to the family and the relatives
look forward to the day that you will no longer be
a bother to them. This is the merciless way the world

What should be done ? Before the world and the relatives
reject the person as useless, let the person learn to reject
the world as maya, not out of arrogance, but by realizing
the Self within.

AUM shaantiH


Dear Gokul:

                Thought this email will be of interest to you.

> As the dream of most parents, I had acquired a degree in software Engg
> and joined a company based in USA - the land of braves and
> opportunity. When I arrived in the USA, it was as if a dream had come
> true. Here at last I was in the place where I wanted to be.  I decided
> I would be staying in this country for about Five years in which time
> I would have earned enough money to settle down in India.
> My father was a government  employee and after his retirement, the
> only asset he could acquire was a  decent one bedroom flat. I wanted
> to do some thing more than him. I started feeling home sick and lonely
> as the time passed. I used to call home and speak to my parents every
> week using cheap international phone   cards.
> Two years passed, two years of Burgers at Macdonald's and pizzas and
> discos and 2 years watching the foreign exchange rate, getting happy
> whenever the Rupee value went down. Finally I decided to get married.
> I told my parents that I have only 10 days of holidays and everything
> must be done within these 10days. I got my ticket booked in the
> cheapest flight. I was jubilant and was actually enjoying shopping for
> gifts for all my friends back home. If I   miss anyone then there will
>be talks.
>After reaching home, I spent home one week going thru all the
> photographs   of girls and as the time was getting shorter, I
> was forced to select one   candidate. I was told , to my surprise by
> in laws, that I will have to get   married in 2-3 days, as I will not get
>anymore holidays.
> After the marriage, it was time to return to USA, after giving
> some money   to my parents and telling the neighbors to look after
>them, we returned   to USA. My wife enjoyed this country for about two
> months and then she started feeling lonely. The frequency of calling
>India increased to twice in a week, sometimes 3 times a week. Our
> savings started diminishing. After two more years we started to have

> kids. Two lovely kids, a boy and a   girl were gifted to us by the
> almighty. Every time I spoke to my parents, they asked me to come to
> india so that they  can see their grand-children. Every year I decided to
>go to
> india. But part work part monetary conditions prevented it. Years went by
>and visiting india was a distant dream.Then suddenly one day I got a
>that my parents were
> seriously sick. I tried but I couldn't get any holidays and thus could not
> goto  India. The next message I got was my parents have passed away
>and as there was no   one to do the last rights, the society members
> had done whatever they   could. I was depressed. My parents passed
> away without even seeing their   grand children. After couple more years
> passed away, much to my children's dislike and my   wife's joy we
> returned to India to settle down. I started to look for a suitable
>property, but
> to my dismay my savings were short and the property prices had gone up
> during all these years. So, I had to return to   the USA. My wife
> refused to come back with me and my children refused to stay in

> India.
> Myself and my 2 children returned to USA after promising my wife I
> would be back for good after two years. Time passed by, My daughter
> to get married to a american and my son was happy living in USA.I
> decided   that I had enough and wound up every thing and returned to
> India.I had just   enough money to buy a decent two bed room flat in a
> well developed locality. Now I am 60 years old and the only time I go
>out of the flat is for the routine visit to the nearby temple.
> My faithful wife has also left me and gone to the holy abode.
> Sometimes I wondered Was it worth all this? My father, even after
> staying in India, had a house to his name and I too   have the same
> more. I lost my parents and children for just   ONE EXTRA BED ROOM
> Looking out from the window, I see a lot of children dancing. This
>damned cable TV has spoiled our new generation and these children are
>losing their values and culture because of it. I get occasional cards
>from my children asking I am alright. Well at least they remember me.
>Now perhaps after I die, it will be the neighbors again who will be
> performing my last rites, God bless them. But the question still
> remains 'Was all this worth it?' I am still searching for an answer.

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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