[Advaita-l] what is in the name?

Venkata sriram P venkatasriramp at yahoo.in
Fri Jul 24 14:14:18 CDT 2015


After seeing the post on naming ceremony (yOga-paTTa) of Acharya Sankara,
I am reminded of an upAkhyAna called "madAlasa-upAkhyAna" which
is my favourite one apart from "nala-damayanti" episode and "sAvitri-satyavAn"

The "madAlasa upAkhyAna" which is an episode of a King KuvalayAswa (also ritadhwaja)
and his consort queen madAlasa (a brahmvAdini and yOgini). This couple, in due 
course of time, give birth to 4 children namely 1) vikrAnta 2) subAhu 3) shatrumardana
4) alarka, respectively.

The first 3 names were selected by the king himself whose meanings run as 1) one who
possess great valour and courage 2) one who possess powerful and beautiful hands 
& shoulders 3) one who conquers the enemies.  

When the king used to select the names, the queen madAlasa used to laugh as if 
she is making fun.  Irritated by her behaviour, the king asks the queen to select the
name herself for their 4th son.  She purposefully names the 4th son as "ALARKA"
and laughs again. 

Her husband Kuvalaswa questions the naming method of the sons and says 
that the meaning of the name "alarka" is "mad dog" and says why such
meaningless name was christened to the 4th son whereas rest of the three have
beautiful and meaningful names.

Thus, begins the upAkhyAna.  Infact, when the three sons were born, the great
brahmavAdini and yOgini madAlasa used to sing lullaby (jOla-pATa in telugu) 
which is a set of 9 slokas which starts with :

shuddhO(a)si rE bAla na tEsti nAma
krutaM hi vai kalpanayAdhunaiva
panchAtmakaM dEhaM idaM na tE(a)sti
tvaM cha asya rE rOdiSi kasya hEtOH ....1

O my infant ! Don't cry. Thou Art Ever Pure and art Nameless & 
Formless. The sorrow is related to your physical body which is
made of 5 gross elements.  Thou Art beyond these are are That !
So, don't Cry.

Like this, there are 8 more slokas that are pregnant with vairAgya.

The three kids, got vairAgya, leaving the kingdom, parents behind,
went to forest for tapasya.  Hence, the King Kuvalayaswa got
annoyed and tell his queen not make the 4th son alarka a virakta. 
So, alarka was initiated into pravrutti-mArga by his mother madAlasa.
That said, later, with the grace of jagatguru dattAtrEya, the 4th one
also gets the brahma-jnAna.

Now, the reason behind my typing this entire episode is that 
when the King Kuvalayaswa asks his queen that when I have named
my 3 sons so beautifully that has a meaningful name why you have
chosen a queer and meaningless one for my 4th one.  The queen madAlasa 
laughs and quotes extempore as :

kalpanEyaM mahArAja krutA samvyAyahArikI
tvatkrutAnAM tathA nAmnAM shruNu bhUpa nirarthakaM

The name is for the sake of vyavahAra only which has been coined by
we mortals. Realistically speaking, the Omnipresent Self, is beyond
names and forms. To Him, what name can we propound and by which
name do we have to address? 

So, my dear kuvalaswa ! don't be under the false impression
that the names you have chosen for your 3 kids are meaningful. 

yadi samvyavahArArthaM asannAma prakalpyatE
nAmni kasmAt alarkhyE nairarthyaM bhavatO mataM ?

When the vyavahAra is an illusory by nature, one can call 
by any vyavahAra-nAma to this gross body which is a 
combination of 5 elements. So, your thought that my
naming of 4th son as "alarka" is absurd is meaningless. 

For vyavahAra, which is by itself mithyA, any same would suffice. 

This was the level of vEdAnta taught to the King Kuvalaswa
by his wife Queen Madalasa, who was a brahmvAdini and yOgini.

Hail to our bhArata-bhUmi which was tread by such yOginis and brahmavAdinis !

jayatu bhArataM...



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