[Advaita-l] vedastuti part 2

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Sep 11 01:52:00 CDT 2008

shrI bhagavAnuvAcha |

"shrI bhagavAn [R^iShi nArAyaNa] said:"

svAyaMbhuva brahmasattraM janaloke.abhavat  purA |
tatrasthAnAM mAnasAnAM munInAmUrdhvaretasAm || 9 ||

"O son of the self-born[1] once in janaloka there was a brahmasattra[2]
held by the mindborn[3] and continent[4] sages."

[1] svayaMbhuva i.e. brahma.  nArada was His eldest son born from His mind 
to assist his father in the material creation.  But nArada refused seeing 
saMsAra as only a cause of sorrow.  So brahma got angry and cursed him to 
eternally wander the worlds.  nArada cheerfully took it as a blessing not 
a curse but said that the curse would rebound and as a result brahma would 
not be worshipped.  This is why though there are multitudes of temples for 
viShNu and shiva there are next to none for brahma.

[2] a sattra is a soma yaGYA which takes place over three or more days 
where all the priests as a group take the role of yajamAna.  A 
brahmasattra is similiar except the topic is GYAna not karma.

[3] After nArada, brahma created 4 more sons from his mind, eternally 
youthful sages called sanaka, sanandana, sanAtana and sanatkumAra.  Like 
their elder brother, they too refused to create and became sannyasis.

[4] Urdhvaretas = "suspending their semen" i.e. celibate.

shvetadIpaM gatavati tvayi dR^iShTuM tadIshvaram |
brahmavAdaH susaMvR^ittaH yatra sherate |
tatra hAyamabhUt prashnastvaM mAM yamanupR^ichchhasi || 10 ||

"While you had gone to shvetadipa[1] to visit its Lord, 
this same question came up in the discussion on brahman that you are 
asking me."

Note: this shloka has an extra line.  You see such anomalies in the 
bhAgavata sometimes.  Many take this as proof of its archaic nature.

[1] the "white island" in the mahodadhi (milk ocean) where viSHNu 
bhagavAn reposes after the pralaya or dissolution of one world-cycle and 
before the creation begins anew.

tulyashrutatapaH shIlAstulyasvIyArimadhyamAH |
api chakruH pravachanamekaM shushruShavo.apare || 11 ||

"Although equal in tapa, learning, and conduct, and equal in their 
treatment of friend, foe, and neutral[1] they selected one as the 
speaker and the rest were listeners[2]"

[1] It is the hallmark of a sthitapraGYa or person of controlled intellect 
that they treat all with equanimity whether friend or enemy or 

[2] In the brahmasattra members take turns where one takes the role of 
speaker (vakta) and provides a topic for discussion which the others 
proceed to listen to and debate.  sanandana was the speaker.

sanandana uvAcha |

"sanandana said:"

svasR^iShTamidamApIya shayAnaM saha shaktibhiH |
tadante bodhayAMchakrustalli~ngaiH shrutayaH param || 12 ||

"Having withdrawn His Creation into Himself allong with his powers[1] and 
slept [after the dissolution of the universe], [Parameshvara] is woken by 
the Vedas describing His distinctive features[2]"

[1] shaktis.  The commentator suggests this refers to the categories of 
saMkhya thought such as puruSha prAkR^iti etc.

[2] li~nga.

yathA shayAnaM samrAjaM bandinastatparAkramaiH |
pratyUShe.abhyetya sushlokairbodhayantyanujIvinaH || 13 ||

"as the sleeping emperor is woken each morning by his praise-singers 
telling of his famous deeds so the Vedas began to wake Him."

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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