Continuation of discussion regarding unparalleled and unsurpassed Supremacy (Paratvam) of Shreeman Narayanan.. .
In the last lesson we saw that the Sruti (Veda) declares the unparalleled and unsurpassed Supremacy (Paratvam) of Shreeman Narayanan (Vishnu). It is further continued in this lesson.
India held the Smruthi of Manu Maharishi as the constitution (law) as far as the reign by Hindu kings was concerned. The Manu Smruthi has cleared declared that the Paramaatma is Narayanan (Vishnu). It has recognized only the Vaidika system of philosophy and practice and categorically rejected and prohibited the other systems.
The Valmiki Ramayana and Mahabharatha, which are the two Ithihasas, recognize only Shreeman Narayanan as the Paratatvam. Thousands of quotations can be taken from both these epics to explain this aspect. Two slokas from Mahabharatha is taken and translated as follows:
Veda Vyasa (who compiled all the four Vedas, Bhagavat Geetha and composed the Brahma Sutra) in his Mahabharatha says, "After consulting all the Saastraas again and again, it is ascertained without any doubt that Narayana (Hari-Vishnu) is the only Supreme self who is to be meditated upon (by those who aspire for liberation as Narayana is the only cause of the universe)". I raise my arm and swear that "It is truth truth and only truth that there is nothing greater than the Veda as Saastra and there is nothing superior to Kesava (Vishnu)".
The Bhagavat Geetha has extraordinarily explained this concept without any doubt. Few verses from the "Purushotthama Yogam" (15th chapter) are given below with translation.
Shree Bhagavan Uvaacha:
Bhagavan Shree Krishnan (Shreeman Narayanan) says "There are two types of Purushaas - first type is that Kshara purusha who is bound (baddha jeevaatman) in the material world in his material body. The second type is the Akshara purusha who is liberated from this material world who is mukta and another type in this itself is nitya who is eternally untouched by the material bindings. But the supreme purusha is different from these Jeevaatmans and he is called as Paramaatman who pervades the entire universe and controls everything as the unparalleled and unsurpassed infinite Lord. As I (Krishna - Shreeman Narayanan) transcend the Kshara purusha as well as the Akshara purusha, I am celebrated in all the Smruties and the Apourusheya Veda as Purushoththaman - The Supreme Self"
"Puranam" is an ancient record of incidents composed and compiled by seers known as "Maharishis". It talks about manifold subjects like theology, philosophy, moral science, tradition, culture, practice of various codes of conducts, succession and history of royal races and others. It is stated in the scriptures (like Mahabharata) that Chaturmuka Brahmaa revealed eighteen puranas to various seers like Veda Vyasa, who then revealed to the public. All the eighteen puranas are not taken to be authoritative. These 18 puranams are classified into three categories namely, Satvika, Rajasa and Tamasa. Chaturmuka Brahmaa is also a Jeevaatman like us but empowered with position and power by Lord Vishnu. Chaturmuka Brahmaa is present in the material world bound by his karma and subject to enjoyment and sufferings as per his karma, he does undergo the effects due to satva, rajas and tamas gunas. His words are reliable only during his satvika period. Only six such satvika puranas are purport of Veda. The rest of the twelve puranas (six in rajas category and another six in tamas category) contradict the Veda and therefore are rejected.
Vishnu Puranam is the best among the Satvika puranams. It is held as "Purana Ratnam" meaning "Jem of Puranas". Shree Parasara Bhagavan who is the father of Veda Vyasa composed it.
The Shree Vaishnava tradition holds three ratnas. They are the Stotra Ratnam of Shree Bhagavat Yaamunaacharya, Mantra Ratnam, which is the Shreemath Dwaya Mantra, and the Purana Ratnam, which is Vishnu Puranam.
In the Stotra Ratna, Shree Bhagavat Yaamunaacharya has celebrated Shree Parasara Bhagavan for his contribution, which is Shree Vishnu Purana as follows:
The meaning of the above verse runs as follows: "The nature (reality) of Chit (sentient - soul - Jeevaatman), Achit (Insentient - Matter) and Iswara Lord Vishnu, the experiences one gets in the material world and the pleasures in self-realization, the ultimate infinite bliss eternally in the transcendental world Shree Vaikunta Paramapada, the means for these and the paths (Dumaadi and Archiraadi Margas) etc have been explained clearly by Shree Parasara. This is done by him as a merciful help to mankind with an intention of without deviating from the Veda but in strict accordance with the Veda. I salute Shree Parasara Bhagavan for these reason who is the peerless seer among seers.
Shree Vishnu Puranam elaborately and clearly explains the philosophy and practice of the Parama Vaidika Matam which is Visistaadvaita Shree Vaishnavam. The puranam is fully in accordance with the Veda. It clearly establishes the Tatva (Chit, Achi & Iswara), Hita (means to attain salvation - Moksha) and the Purushaartha (Goal - Eternal service to the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu in Shree Vaikunta). It is unparalleled and unsurpassed in this context.
Shree Vishnu Puranam is in the form of dialogue between Sage Mytreya and Sage Parasara Bhagavan. Sage Mytreya who became well versed in the Veda Saastras, approached the preceptor Shree Parasara, who was actually blessed by Sage Pulastya to know the reality clearly without doubt or errors. Mytreya inquired regarding the cause of the universe with him. Parasara replied after consulting the Veda that Lord Shree Vishnu is the cause of the universe and explained the Visistaadvaita Shree Vaishnava philosophy and practices, which is the only purport of the Veda.
The Vishnu Puranam has nearly six thousand verses in Sanskrit language. The chapters are called as "Amsam" and the sub-chapters are called "Adyaayam". The way in which Sage Mytreya questioned Sage Parasara and the manner in which Sage Parasara consulted the Veda and then answered him reveals clearly the "Satvika" nature of the Purana. It does not have personal prejudices and therefore accepted by numerous schools of thoughts also as authority. Bhagavat Raamaanuja, Shreeman Nigamaanta Maha Desika and Bhagavat Yaamunaacharya and many other scholars and Aacharyas have extensively quoted from Shree Vishnu Puranam in their works. The quotes from the same are found enormously in the commentaries of Divya Prabandams. Vishnu puranam also deals with the incarnations of the Lord, the nature (reality) of Goddess Lakshmi (Shree) which is equal to that of the Lord and she being considered as Iswara Tatva, the succession of royal races and that of Manu, Dharma etc.
Engalaazvam (a) Vishnu Chitta has written a commentary on Vishnu Puranam. The Brahma Sutra refers to this Smruthi often implicitly to substantiate its establishments through arguments regarding ascertaining the purport of Vedaanta.
Vishnu Puranam is indeed a gem among puranams. It is a treasure house of knowledge. The beauty with which concepts of the Veda are dealt with in this puranam are simply extraordinary. Let us also salute Shree Parasara Bhagavan for this wonderful contribution to the world.
The Brahma Sutra establishes the supremacy of Shreeman Narayanan who is Brahman in its sections called adhikaranas. This will be dealt with in detail in the future lessons.
The aagamas are authored works. They have divisions called samhitas. There are numbers of such aagamas found to be existing based on which religions have evolved. All such aagamas are not to be accepted as authoritative because it has to be analytically studied whether the aagama supports the Veda or not. In case of an aagama contradicting the veda, it has to be appropriately synchronized in accordance with veda or if such aagama if found to deviate from veda, it has to be rejected. Veda Vyasa who composed the brahma sutra has dealt with regarding accepting or rejecting all schools of thoughts that were prevalent. The brahma sutra has four chapters. Each chapter has sections called paadas and each paada has sub-sections called the aadhikaranas. Each aadhikarana has one to many sutras. The first chapter is samanvaya, which deals with establishing Shreeman Narayana as Brahman who is the only cause of universe (all living and non-living things), having the universe as his body and he being the soul of the universe. The second chapter is avirodha, which establishes that the Brahman thus established in the first chapter, cannot be refuted, or rejected by any system. The third chapter is saadana, which deals with the means to attain the brahman's lotus feet. The fourth chapter is phala, which deals with the goal, which is eternal bliss and service to the lotus feet of Lord Shreeman Narayana in the Paramapada Vaikunta, which is the transcendental eternal & ultimate place. The second chapter's first and second pada are important in the context of Pancharaatra Aagama. Here in these Padas, Veda Vyasa deals with almost all schools of though & philosophy and rejects all of them except the Pancharaatra aagama based system. It is to be noted that many philosophers including Shree Sankara Bhagavat Pada have commented on Brahma sutra and has accepted pancharaatra alone to be authoritative - of course there is deviation of thoughts among them but still the truth is accepted.
Pancharaatra aagama has numerous samhitas of which saatvata, jayaakya and pouskara samhitas are considered as gems. Shreeaman Narayanan himself authors Pancharaatra aagama. Maha Bharata says that the author of Pancharaatra is Shreeman Narayanan himself. Paancharaatra aagama deals with the tatva (reality), hita (means) and the purushaartha (goal). It also talks about temple constructions, worshiping of the Lord in temples, the temple festivals and consecration of aarcha form of Vishnu. It also talks about yoga, mantra, yantra, dharma and code of conduct for people. It is in strict agreement with the Veda. Paancharaatra specifically deals with a class of forms of Vishnu called the Vyuhaa Roopas. I also talks about the mighty discus (Sudarsana Chakra) of Shreeman Naaraayana. The eternal abode of the Lord namely Shree Vaikunta Paramapada is also described by it. In short Paancharaatra covers every aspect of the Vedic philosophy and practice which is Visistaadvaita Shree Vaishnavam. Its origin can be traced to a Vedic branch called Ekaayana Veda.
Shreemath Yaamunaachaarya has written a book called "Aagama Praamanyam" establishing the authority of Paancharaatra as fully in accordance with the Veda. Shreeman Nigamanta Maha Desikan has produced a masterpiece called "Paancharaatra Raksha" which clearly sets Paancharaatra as the authority as Veda and refutes all counter-arguments of other schools of thought regarding Paancharaatra. Raamanuja and others have also quoted/elaborated from the Paancharaatra proving that it is as good as the Veda.
The Brahma Sutra in its second chapter categorically rejects and refutes the number of works authored such as authored works by the Saankyaas, Yoga, Chaaruvaakas, Vaiseshikas, the four kinds of Buddhist schools of thoughts (namely Maadyantika, Vaibhashika, Sowntrantika and Yogaachara), the Jainas and the Paasupata-Saiva. The only authored work accepted by the Brahma Sutra as authoritative as Vedas is the Paancharaatra Aagama. I have heard few saying that the Brahma Sutra has not mentioned directly the name of Shreeman Naaraayana as the Para Brahman. This is absurd to say so because the Brahma Sutra has clearly established that Paancharaatra Aagama as authoritative as the Vedas and there is no room for any doubt regarding Shreeman Naaraayanan is the Parabrahman. The qualities declared for Para Brahman in the Brahma sutra only identifies with Shereeman Naaraayanan who is declared as the Para Brahman in the Vedas - "Naaraayana param brahma Tatvam Naaraayana Paraha: Naaraayana Paro Jyothihe Aatmaa Naaraayana paraha". It is in this context, the following paragraphs are written as follows:
Utpatiyasambhavaadhikaranam is otherwise called as Paancharaatraadhikaranam. This is the last aadhikaranam present in the second paada of second chapter of the Brahma Sutra. Before going into the analysis of the four sutras present in this aadhikarana, may I present to you the meaning of the term Aadhikaranam. Aadhikaranam is a sub-section in paada of an aadyaaya in Brahma sutra. Each aadhikaranam has five components. They are Vishayam (Subject), Samsayam (Doubt), Poorvapaksham (Opponent view), Sidhaantam (Established truth with proof) and Prayojanam (Benefit of establishing the truth with proof).
In this Utpatiyasambhavaadhikaranam (otherwise called as Paancharaatraadhikaranam), we find the above five components. The "Subject" is regarding the authenticity/authority of Paancharaatra Aagama. The "Doubt" is "whether Paancharaatra is a authentic authority or not". The "Opponent View" is "Paancharaatra is not an authentic authority as it contradicts the Veda". The "Established truth with proof" is "Paancharaatra is an authentic authority as it is not contradicting the Veda and only is in perfect accordance with the Veda". The "Benefit" of establishing this truth is accepting Paancharaatra aagama as authentic authority as that of the Veda and comprehend its philosophy and practice to attain all the four purushaarthas. These five components are explained as follows by interpreting the four sutras present in this adhikaranam:
The subject is regarding the authenticity of Paancharaatra Aagam. This is already told and simple.
The "Doubt" is "whether Paancharaatra is a authentic authority or not". Veda Vyasa has categorically rejected many authored scriptures - those authored by Chaturmukabrahma (Yoga) and that of Pasupathi (Paasupata Saivam). Chaturmukabrahma can recite all four vedas. Pasupati(Siva) is called Sarvajnya (he who know everything). When Vyasa has rejected even their smruties, is this Paancharaatra which is authored by Vishu to be accepted or rejected? Thus is the doubt.
First sutra of Utpatiyasambhavaadhikaranam (otherwise called as Paancharaatraadhikaranam):
This is a opponent view sutra. Here the opponent who objects that Paancharaatra aagama cannot be accepted as authentic authority because it contradicts the Veda. He says so because Paancharaatra talks about birth of Jeeva (Chit) which is not accepted in the Veda. Veda has declared all the three tatvaas (Chit, Achit and Iswara) as eternally present. Therefore Uttpati (birth of Jeeva) is not possible (Asambhavaat). Paancharaatra says "Vaasudevat Saankarshana Naama Jeeva Jaayate" - meaning, "From Vaasudeva, the Jeeva named Sankarshana was born". Therefore the opponent objects that paancharaatra aagama cannot be accepted as a valid authority. Further the sencond sutra of this adhikarana is also of the opponent view.
Second sutra of Utpatiyasambhavaadhikaranam (otherwise called as Paancharaatraadhikaranam):
Again the opponent objects that Paancharaatra contradicts the Veda by declaring that the Indriyas like Manas (mind) etc., are born from the Jeeva. The Veda has declared that the Indriyas like Manas are born from Iswara who is Shreeman Naaraayana. The doer (Karthuhu-Jeeva) is not the cause (Na ca) for his Indriyas (Karanam). The paancharaatra says "Samkarshanaat Manas Samiyjna Pradyumno Jaayate" meaning - "From Sankarshana, the mind called Pradyumna was born".
Veda Vyasa refutes the above two views of the opponent as invalid. The opponent has not interpreted the Paancharaatra Aagama properly or he not read it fully. The establishment (Sidhaantha) with proof is given by the remaining two sutras of this adhikarana by Veda Vyasa.
This is the third sutra of this adhikarana. Here Vyasa declares that Paancharaatra does not speak of the birth of Jeeva, which is contradicted by Veda, but only speak the INCARNATION of the Lord, which is divine. "Vaasudevat Saankarshana Naama Jeeva Jaayate" means that Vaasudeva who is the Brahman Incarnated as Saankarshana with the Jeeva as his body/mode. Therefore it does not speak of the birth of Jeeva. It is the same case with Indriyas told here. Here the vyuha incarnation is declared. The Lord's incarnation in Vyuha and Vibhava are divine and are different from our birth. The difference is declared in Bhagavat Geeta also. The Lord incarnates because of his own will and we are born because of our Karma. The Lord does not have any karma. When he incarnates his divine qualities like full-fledged gjyana (knowledge) does not contract but when we are born, our knowledge gets contracted as per our karma. The Lord incarnates with his divine body (Sudha Satva) and we are born with the material body (mixture of rajas, tamas and satva) according to our karma. The Lord's birth, which is incarnation, is real. He incarnates during the time when dharma declines and adharma is growing. He destroys adharma and establishes dharma and protects the pious people (Saadhu Jana). Thus is the difference between the Lords birth (incarnation) and our birth. Therefore the Paancharaatra does not speak of the birth of Jeeva but only talks of the incarnation of the Lord. This is what is told by the term "Vignyjanaadi bhaava". By this term the argument that Jeeva is born (which is against the Veda) is set aside or refuted (vaa tataprathishedaha).
This fourth sutra that is the last sutra of this adhikarana further establishes the Sidhdaanta. The Paancharaatra itself has clearly stated that the Jeeva(Chit), Achit and Iswara are eternal. It itself has clearly negated the birth of jeeva. This is what is conveyed by the term "Viprathishedaancha". Therefore the Paancharaatra is fully in accordance to the Veda and there is no contradiction with Veda.
Therefore the Paancharaatra has to be alone accepted as authority as authentic as the Vedic authority. This is the benefit of establishing the truth with proof.
Thus it is to be noted that the Brahma sutra has accepted Paancharaatra aagama as authentic authority as the Veda. All the other systems like Paasupata, Yoga etc., are rejected and refuted by it as illogical and contradictory to Vedas. Even Aadi Sankara Bhagavat paada is in agreement with Paancharaatra but he says "the portions of paancharaatra, which do not contradict the Veda, are authentic authority". But as established by the Sutrakaara (Veda Vyasa) and the Bhaashyakaara (Shree Raamanuja), there is no portion in the Paancharaatra aagama, which is contradiction, the Veda. Therefore the entire Paancharaatra Aagama is authentic authority. The paancharaatra aagama is a treasure of knowledge. It stresses that he/she who has undivided faith in Lord Shreeman Naaraayananan alone can reach the eternal abode attaining moksha and doing eternal service to His lotus feet. I will elaborate this more in the future lessons after a detailed study of certain Veda verses.