seeksha at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 2 20:54:39 CST 2000
While enjoying shivastutii-s by Anand and Ravi, I too thought of offering
some words like a child that blabbers in joy.
Innumerable ways have been instituted to help an individual soul to
establish identity with the universal soul. The ecstasy of receiving lord's
grace by subjugating in all humility to reach sublimation is one of the most
sweetest and easiest paths to follow that demands little criterion. This is
one way of establishing identity and devotion. The humility that springs out
of devotion to the lord finds expression in various ways. When PrahlAdA was
asked, What is the best lesson worth learning? he said,
shravaNam kIrtanam vishNoH smaraNam pAda-sevanam |
archanam vandanam dAsyam sakyam Atmanivedanam ||
" I consider the best lesson worth learning, the nine characteristic forms
of devotion to the lord.
1. Listening (shravaNam) to the glory of the lord
2. Singing (kIrtanam) his praise.
3. Meditation (smaraNam) on him.
4. Worshipping His Lotus Feet. (pAda-sevanam)
5. Saluting Him. (vandanam)
6. Performing ArAdana or pUjA with flowers. (archanam)
7. Offering service (dAsyam)
8. Associating with Him as a friend. (sakhyam) and,
9. Surrendering to Him totally. (Atma-nivEdanam) ".
These sentiments come out of sheer love and there is no place for dry
formalities or moral fear in a devotee.
Out of the major nine, Padasevana is serving the Lord's Feet. In actual
terms only the later of the dual manifestation of the divine can do this
(lakshmI or pArvati). No mortal being has got the fortune to practice this
method of bhakti as the Lord is not visible to his physical eyes. In broader
terms the whole universe is only viraat-svaruupa as expressed in sri rudra
and other places, hence service of the world is service of the Lord. It is
also possible to serve the image of the lord in an idol and better still
take the whole humanity of pAdasevanam. The greatness of pAdasevanam is seen
in shiva nandi samvAda. When the lord asked nandi what is the greatest joy
in all the three worlds, nandi said,
Being at your feet,
What is the greatest sadness one would think of?
Being away from thy feet,
Who is the most fortunate of all?
One who holds your feet
What do you desire?
Thy feet alone my lord, Thy feet alone.
BagavatpAdas ShivAnanda lahari brims with many subtle nuances of
bhaktAnubhUti. Several ShlokAs flow with atmost humility and classical
erudition expressing the sentiment of pAdasevanam. As most mortal beings
can not serve the lord in his physical form, AchAryA utilizes maNas, the
repository of intellect and imagination as a tool to perform pAdasevanam.
YogyatA or adhikAra is some thing to be obtained to perfectly perform a
desired task. If some one venture with out the proper prerequisite needed,
he would seldom accomplish the target. BagavatpAdAchArya explains how he has
been brought up exclusively for padasevanam by his mother, bakti devi.
aanandaashrubhiraatanoti pulakaM nairmalyatachchhaadanaM
vaachaa shaN^khamukhe sthitaishcha jaTharaapuurtiM charitraamR^itaiH |
rudraakshairbhasitena deva vapushho rakshaaM bhavadbhaavanaa-
paryaN^ke viniveshya bhaktijananii bhaktaarbhakaM rakshati ||
Like an affectionate mother 'Bhakti devi' nourished me all along. She laid
me on the bed of thy meditation (Ishvara dhyAna), and horripililated
(pulakaM) me with her tears of joy. She covered me with the cloth of thy
pure thoughts to protect me from corrupt introspection. She fed me with the
Vedic conch filled with ambrosia of thy tales. She protected my body with
the sacred ashes and rudrAkshA of yours. (O! lord, in this way was I
brought up for thy service.)
Acharya makes it clear that the objective to seek lord's feet is not for any
desire fulfillment. The fruit that is to be attained is obviously different
from the means. If we seek some thing by pAdasevanam he would just give away
the needed and vanish. What if he makes one the creator or one who sustains
this universe but deprives of service to his lotus feet. Is it not a misery
that a devotee can not bare?
karomi tvat puujaaM sapadi sukhado me bhava vibho
vidhitvaM vishhNutvaM dishasi khalu tasyaaH phalamiti |
punashcha tvaaM drashhTuM divi bhuvi vahan.h pakshimR^igataa-
madR^ishhTvaa tatkhedaM kathamiha sahe shaMkara vibho ||
O! VibhO I worship thy. Bestow happiness immediately (By providing the
opportunity to serve thy feet. I can not wait any more). You can not trick
me by offering some thing else instead of service to thy lotus feet. Even if
you verily grant the position of Brahma or Vishnu for my salutation, what
use would it be for me? I will be traversing the sky and earth as a bird or
beast in order to see you again. Having not seen thy lotus feet, O!
shankara, how will I bear that sorrow, O! Vibhu ?
I have always requested my mind to seek your feet.
rodhastoyahR^itaH shrameNa pathikashchhaayaaM tarorvR^ishhTito
bhiitaH svasthagR^ihaM gR^ihasthamatithirdiinaH prabhuM dhaarmikam.h |
diipaM santamasaakulashcha shikhinaM shiitaavR^itastvaM tathaa
chetaH sarvabhayaapahaM vraja sukhaM shaMbhoH padaambhoruham.h ||
O ! Mind, Just as one dragged by gushing waters approaches the bank, a
fatigued traveler a shade, one feared by rain a comfortable shelter, a guest
a householder, a destitute a righteous master, one overcome by great
darkness, light and one who is made uneasy by cold seek warmth, likewise I
approach thy lotus feet that removes all fear and gives real sukam.
O Parameshwara please don't ask me why do I long for thy feet. It's my
nature or svabhAva.
haMsaH padmavanaM samichchhati yathaa niilaambudaM chaatakaH
kokaH kokanadapriyaM pratidinaM chandraM chakorastathaa |
cheto vaaJNchhati maamakaM pashupate chinmaargamR^igyaM vibho
gauriinaatha bhavatpadaabjayugalaM kaivalyasaukhyapradam.h ||
Just as how a swan longs to get to a lotus pond, just as a chaataka bird
longs for dark cloud, the ruddy goose for sun, and the chakora for the moon,
likewise O! Pashupati, O! Vibho, O! Gauriinatha, every day my mind desires
your lotus feet known through upaniShad-s and capable of bestowing kaivalya.
Having toiled in the scorch samsaara, birth after birth I am waiting for
just one moment all along,
kadaa vaa tvaaM dR^ishhTvaa girisha tava bhavyaaN^ghriyugalaM
gR^ihiitvaa hastaabhyaaM shirasi nayane vakshasi vahan.h |
samaashlishhyaaghraaya sphuTajalajagandhaan.h parimalaa\-
nalaabhyaaM brahmaadyairmudamanubhavishhyaami hR^idaye ||
Having seen you and grasped your auspicious feet with my hands, laying it on
my head, eyes and chest, having embraced well and inhaled the lotus
fragrance of thy feet and enjoyed the bliss that is rare even to brahma and
other devaa-s. O! girisha, parameShTi I like to know when I would experience
Parameshwaraa, even if you are manifest before me, please provide me with an
phalaadvaa puNyaanaaM mayi karuNayaa vaa tvayi vibho
prasanne.api svaamin.h bhavadamalapaadaabjayugalam.h |
kathaM pashyeyaM maaM sthagayati namaH saMbhramajushhaaM
nilimpaanaaM shroNirnijakanakamaaNikyamakuTaiH ||
O! lord you may manifest before me due to any merit that you have given me
or due to your unceasing compassion to me. But still I fear if I would have
the fortune to serve thy lotus feet. What would I do if thy lotus feet is
concealed by gem studded crowns of demigods offering salutations.
Parameshwaraa out of compassion I tell you,
bhuubhR^itparyaTanaM namassurashiraHkoTiirasaMgharshhaNam.h |
karmedaM mR^idulasya taavakapadadvandvasya gauriipate
machchetomaNipaadukaaviharaNaM shaMbho sadaaN^giikuru ||
By hitting the chest of antakaa - god of death, trampling the cruel demon
apasmara, roaming around the mountains and scratched by the diadems of
bowing devaas your soft feet would have been discomforted. O! gauriipate, I
offer you my mind, the gem studded sandals for your feet, O shambho please
O! lord the reason why I have not seen your lotus feet is due to my
imbecility. But that denotes that you have not taken care of me. If you
could have cared for me, why would I run behind material pursuits and forget
meditating. If you say ', what am I to do for that?, Its your destiny due to
your paapakarmaa', I can not accept that. You can change my destiny. You are
capable of that. For one who plucked the head of brahma with ease, would it
be difficult to erase his writings.
viriJNchirdiirghaayurbhavatu bhavataa tatparashira-
shchatushhkaM saMrakshyaM sa khalu bhuvi dainyaM likhitavaan.h |
vichaaraH ko vaa maaM vishada kR^ipayaa paati shiva te
kaTaakshavyaapaaraH svayamapi cha diinaavanaparaH ||
parameshwara ! umaaramaNa ! viShNusvarUpa paahimaam paahimaam paahimaam.
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