Progress Towards the Merger

Brief Summary

Sri Maha Vishnu enlightens His mount, the Lord of Birds, Garuda further. He gives a detailed description of how a human being comes into this world. The making and the constitution of the various organs of the human being and their growth in the woman’s womb are explained in this chapter. The two aspects of the body, the operative, physical (Vyaavahaarika) and the extra-worldly (Paaramaardhika) are described graphically. The ‘Chakras’, their constitution the way man needs to exercise them to find his identity with the universal soul and the attitude of a true devotee the description of all these make the chapter very rewarding reading. Acts of goodness, charity and self-lessness make man dear to the Supreme Being. The righteous and the law- abiding go to higher regions of existence. The purpose of human life, given and obtained for the ‘merit’ (punya) one acquires in this life needs to be understood carefully. Garuda is singularly blessed for Srimannarayana Himself, out of his love and affection gives detailed accounts of all these in this highly revered scripture. Ignorance and short-sightedness lead man to hell and its insufferable torments.

Shlok 1-13

Garuda submits to his Lord, Sri Maha Vishnu that he has understood that the ‘meritorious’ one (punyatma) enjoys his stay in the upper world and after having spent his punya is born again in this world. He prays to his Lord to tell him how the being takes his birth in this world again. The Lord expresses his pleasure in answering such a question. He begins telling him that by knowing what he relates now one would become rewardingly knowledgeable. The nature of the human body is such that it has all the qualities of the Brahmanda, the universe-egg. This is the object of the contemplation of the great Yogis. The Yogis contemplate and constantly meditate on the shat chakras the six plexuses and then attain sat-chit- ananda, the bliss of the Supreme Being. The blessed ones are born into pure and righteous families of people who adore God and keep to the path of rectitude. A woman conceives a baby sometime in the middle of the period after the menstrual cycle by consorting with her husband. A man should avoid consorting with his wife during her ‘periods’- After that she should bathe. From the seventh day only she can offer worship. When she conceives, sons would be conceived if the ‘meeting’ takes place on even nights and daughters on the odd nights. On the fourteenth night the seed is best sown. This results in the conception of a son who is sure to be pious, righteous and brilliant. Vulgar people do not pay attention to carefully plan as per the scriptures and the advice of the knowing-ones.

Shlok 14-24

The careful and law-abiding husband, sowing his seed judiciously gets a good harvest.

The mental condition of the man and the woman in the conjugal act determines the sex of the child to be born and its mental qualities and attributes. During the intercourse the retas and rajas join. At the proper time, the wise say, a rite called punsavanam has to be performed for the desired good result. The performance leads to the birth of a son endowed with good qualities, handsomeness, scholarship and affluence. He grows to be virtuous and benevolent in his youth, and becomes austere, god-loving and scripture-obeying. He does meritorious deeds and makes his life an accomplished, fulfilled one. All this is the result of his merit earned in the previous birth. Owing to that in the current life also he understands what is self and what is not. He meditates on the Supreme Being (Parabrahman). To understand the self and non-self, one should understand the qualities or attributes of this world and all that is there in it.

Shlok 25-39

The pancha bhootas, five elements are stable. These are Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether.
The human body is made of these five.
The five attributes of the body are skin, bone, nerves, hair and flesh.
The five attributes of water are saliva, urine, sperm, marrow and blood.
The five attributes of fire are hunger, thirst, sloth, sleep and sexual urge.
The five attributes of air are bending, running, jumping, stretching and moving.
The five attributes of ether are, speech, thought, vacuity, delusion and mental instability.
The Yogis have this understanding.

Besides these, there are “Inner Means” which are the residual flavours of the earlier lives. These are called antahkarana chatushthayam the consequence of the deeds in the earlier lives. They are manas, buddhi, chitta and ahankara, There are five sense organs ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose and through these man gets sense-gratification. There are five organs of action: speech, hands, feet, genitals and excretory organs. The deities for these organs of sense and action are Dik, Vata, Arka, Prachetas, the two Ashwinis, Vahni, Indra, Upendra and Mitra. Ten principal nadis are in the interior of the human body. These are Ida, Pingala, Shushumna, Gandhari, Gajajihva, Pusa, Yashaswini, Alambusa, Kuhu and Sankhini. These are ten ‘winds’ or airs. Prana, Apaana, Samana, Udana and Vyana - also there are Naga, Kurma. Krikala, Devadutta and Dhananjaya ‘winds’. Prana is the heart; apaana is in the anus, samana is in the navel, Udana in the region of the throat and distributed all over the body is vyana, also called Dhananjaya. Vomiting is also known as Naga. Kurma denotes the opening and shutting of the eyelids. Krikala causes hunger and Devadatta causes yawning. Dhananjaya is the all pervading. It carries nourishment all over the body and the corpse too has this wind in operation for a little while.

Shlok 40-68

Vyana is the important factor in all the ‘nadis’ This vyana splits food into two as soon as it is taken in or ingested. At the terminal point of anus the solid and the non-solid are separated. This wind vyana puts the water over fire and solid over the water. Prana wind standing under the fire slowly ignites it. The fire separates the substance from the water. (This fire is called Jatharaagni). Certain organs are considered unclean: ears, eyes, nostrils, tongue, navel, nails, anus, genitals, hair etc. The ‘winds’ derive their power from the self, perform functions assigned and influence people, as the sun does. There are two aspects of the human body: The Vyaavaharika (operative) andpaara maardhika (the non- earthly) At the Vyaavaharika phase, in the human body there are thirty-five million body hairs, seven-thousand head hairs and twenty nails an fingers and toes. There are 32 teeth and the flesh which has nearly a weight of a thousand ‘palas’ and blood weighing about a hundred palas. Fat weighs about ten palas, marrow twelve. The bones are three hundred and sixty. There are tens of millions of nadis dense and subtle. Bile weighs about fifty palas and phlegm half of that in the human body. (This is the average) The Paaramarthika body has all the worlds, planets, oceans and the continents. Then there are six plexuses we call chakras. All these are said to be the attributes of Brahmanda, the Brahma Egg. These are the objects which the Yogis meditate on and thereby enjoy the effulgence of creation. There are several lokas-worlds in the Brahmanda. Atala is the world below the feet of the human body and above is vitala. Sutala is at the knees. Mahatala is at the thighs. Talatala, is at the hips and the genital areas Rasatala. Patala is at the loins - These are the seven worlds or lokas. Bhooloka is at the navel; above the navel is Bhuvarloka; at the throat is Maharloka, at the heart Swarloka Jnanaloka. In the mouth region and forehead is the Tapaloka and Satyaloka is in the Brahmarandhra - on the top of the head. These are the Chaturdasha bhuvanas, fourteen lokas. The mountains too are there in different regions of the triangle of the human body. Meru is situated in the triangle, Mandara is in the inverted triangle; Kailasa is in the right triangle and Himachala is in the left trinagle. Nishada is in the upperlines, Gandhamadana in the lines on the right and Ramana in the lines of the left. These are the seven great mountains. The continents are there.Jambu is in the place of the bones; Saka, in the marrow; Kula in the flesh and Krauncha in the nerves. In the skin there is Shalmali continent, in the mass of hair is Gomedha; in the area of nails is Pushkara. Then the oceans are there as follows: The Kshara ocean is in the urine, the Kshira ocean in the milk, the Sura ocean in phlegm and Ghrita ocean in bone-marow. The Rasa ocean is in the juices; the Dahi ocean is in the ova, the Swadu ocean is in the region of the soft palate inside the mouth. Then the planets are situated in the different Chakras: The Sun in Naada chakra, the moon in the Bindu chakra, Mars in the eye, Mercury in the heart; Jupiter in the Vishnu- sthana, the place of Vishnu, Venus is in the seed; Saturn in the navel, Rahu in the face, Ketu in the lungs. The whole circle of planets is thus in the human body. The Yogi contemplates on all these situated in his very body.

Shlok 69-76

Rising early at dawn, pure in body and mind, sitting steadily and cross-legged, the Yogi must meditate on the six plexuses, or chakras, one should contemplate while in apajapa, the one who gives mukti securing release from all sin. The six chakras are moolaadhara, swaadishthana, manipooraka, anaahata, vishuddhi and aajna. The contemplation should begin from the base, mooladhara at the root of the genital; and go up the pelvic region, the navel, the heart, in the throat between the eyebrows and at the top of the head. The mooladhara is four petalled and resplendent-with speech sounds ‘va’ to ‘sa’; the Swaadishthava is six- petalled-and resembling the sun which has the sounds from ‘ba’ to ‘la’; the manipooraka is red with ten-petals with sounds from ‘da’ to ‘pha’ the Anaahata is twelve-petalled, from ‘ka’ to ‘tha’ sounds and is golden in colour. The Vishuddhi chakra is sixteen-petalled with vowel sounds and has the brilliance of the moon; the Matra or Ajna is a two-petalled lotus and has the sounds ‘ha’ and ‘ka’ and is red in colour; the one at the top, aajna chakra is the most resplendent with a thousand petals. This is the seat of truth and bliss this is ever-auspicious, light-giving, effulgent and everlasting. The order of meditation of deities, in the chakras-Viddhi (creator Brahma), Vishnu, Shiva, Jiva, Guru, and Parabrahma, the all-pervasive eternal one.

Shlok 77-95

The knowing ones say that a man breathes in one day and night (in 24 hours) twenty-one thousand six hundred times. In exhalation the breath is let out with the sound of ‘ha’ and breathed in, inhaled with the sound of ‘sa’. Thus the individual goes on repeating ‘hamsa’ sixhundred for Ganesha, six thousand for Vedhas (Brahma); six thousand for Hari (Vishnu) and six thousand for Hara (Shiva). Then a thousand and for Jivatma, a thousand for the Guru, a thousand for Chidatma,-this is how a Yogi understands the number of the repetitions. The Chakras are the rays of Brahman. Aruna and such other great sages and seers meditate upon the deities presiding over the chakras. This they know through their Guru Parampara, the succession of preceptors. Great preceptors and sages like Shuka Muni teach this to their discriples. A wise person should take the path of these divine preceptors and meditate in the way they are prescribed. After worshipping the chakras steadfastly, as per the instructions of the preceptor, with devotion, the Ajapa- Gayatri should be repeated. The sadhaka, the seeker, should meditate on Brahma randhra, in the sahasraara chakra the thousand petalled lotus inverted and upon the Blessed preceptor, whose lotus- hand liberates one from fear. The sadhaka, the seeker, the devout disciple should consider his body as one being bathed in the nectar flowing down after washing the preceptor’s feet. He should throw himself down in devotion, prostrate before the Guru and sing His praises. After this he should contemplate on Kundalini Shakti moving upwards and downwards making a tour of all the six chakras up and down, as in the three and half coils of a serpent. Then he should meditate on Sushumna nadi which goes out of the Brahma randhra and thereby reaches the state of Brahma Jnaana and Absolute Bliss.
From four-O’clock in the morning to sunrise he should meditate on Sri Maha Vishnu.

He should organize his mind and thinking into a state of absolute steadiness under the instruction of his Guru, who is his main support. Without the Guru the sadhaka can not stand on his own. After performing the sacrifice inwardly, he should perform the external sacrifice. Then he should go about performing Sandhya worship and then worship Hari and Hara. Looking inward is not possible till the body-sense, deha- spruha is totally given up. For the one who does not have the body consciousness, devotion and obtaining ultimate liberation come rather easily. There are many ways of ensuring the release, liberation or mukti, like tapas, yoga and such other things. Sri Hari tells Garuda that the path of devotion is far superior for all those who are attached to the world of change. Garuda is told that this has been the conclusion of deities like Brahma too. For purification of mind rituals, performance of righteous duties and sacrifices are surely useful. But total devotion to Sri Hari yields a fruit which is the most valuable end everlasting. Sri Hari concludes saying that the man who follows all the things detailed above would find union with Him and gets eternal liberation from the cycle of birth and death. He enjoys the eternal bliss of unification with the Supreme Being.


More by :  Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B.

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