|3 Exemplary Devotion of Priyavrata, Ashvasira, Vasu and Raibhya (Pundarikaksha and Gadadhara Mantras included)|
In the context of balancing the forces of Dharma and Adharma, instances of exemplary devotion displayed by Illustrious Kings and Sages through the ages were cited by Bhagavan Varaha to Prithvi. King Priyavrata, son of Swayambhu Manu, relinquished his Kingdom to his sons and Sage Narada visited his hermitage once.The Sage narrated his own interesting experiences. In one case, he passed by a lake in Swethadvipa and found a highly attractive and lonely damsel when he felt infatuated and lusty. Soon he discovered that she was Devi Savitri Herself- the embodiment of Virtue- and felt an unpardonable sense of shame for his sin. From Her body emerged three male figures, viz. the three Vedas of Rik, Yajur and Sama. However, Devi Savitri pardoned Narada’s momentary indiscretion and embarrassment and blessed him with his knowledge of past lives. In one of his earlier lives, Narada was a rich and virtuous youth in a Brahmin family, became a Scholar, donated lot of his wealth for several noble causes, performed pilgrimages, Sacrifices, penances etc; constantly recited ‘Om Namo Narayana’ and finally secured Lord Vishnu’s ‘Darshan’(Direct Appearance). But the Lord declined ‘Mukti’ (Eternal Bliss) to Narada as he was to play important roles through many births ahead till he became a Brahma Manasa Putra (Lord Brahma’s mind-born son).Exhorted by Narada, King Priyavrata decided to emulate the example of Narada through out his remaining life.
King Ashvasira was another example of a highly righteous and worthy devotee of Lord Vishnu who performed several donations, Sacrifices and an Aswamedha Yajna. Sage Kapila, accompanied by Sage Jaigishvya visited Ashvasira’s Court and the King received the Sages with great veneration and devotion. The King desired to know from the Sages as to how best he could attain ‘Sayujyam’ or oneness with Lord Vishnu. They replied that they were the Lord Vishnu themselves! The King replied politely that the Sages were indeed most revered and memorable no doubt but how could they claim to be Vishnu himself; for one thing the Supreme Lord is unique and singular! The Sages created a make believe situation by the help of illusion that they were Vishnu and His Carrier Garuda.They taught a lesson to the King that Lord Vishnu resided in each and every being and the Pure Soul in each object is as good as Lord Vishnu among all. The Sages had thus helped the King’s ‘Jnananethra’ or the Eye of Wisdom open up to witness that Lord Vishnu was all pervasive and Omni Present and that he should be able to witness Lord Vishnu all over! The King was apparently convinced, yet had raised a doubt that the Sages should please clear up: ‘who is able to realise Almighty?-a Knowledgeable person or a person who does his rightful deed or duty?’ In reply,the Sages Kapila and Jaigishvya narrated a story to the King that Sage Raibhya and King Vasu too sought a reply on a similar query from Deva Guru Brihaspati.The Guru explained that who ever would perform his duty with a sense of complete detachment would also have access to Salvation. To illustrate this, Deva Guru described an incident: There was a Brahmana, named Sanyaman, who was a descendent of Sage Atri. While he was taking bath in a river, he met a person named Nishthoor who was a fowler, killing birds and animals for his living.The Brahmana scolded the fowler for his evil deeds, but the latter did not show any signs of remorse; instead he justified the acts. He said that whoever sought salvation ought to keep in mind that the doer was God, the act was His own and the reason for doing the act too was God Himself-‘Karanam, Kaaranam and Kartha!’ The moment ego came to play while performing the act, the doer would be called cruel, but when he did it with perfect detachment and as a duty, then the situation would be different.Thus spoke Brihaspati that anybody could certainly aspire for salvation, be he a householder or a hermit or a seeker of knowledge.King Ashvasira was thus convinced about his doubts from the Sages Kapila and Jaigishvya, moved on to Naimisharanya for the rest of his life and in the course of several Yagnas that he conducted he found a sheet of effulgence approching him and got engulfed into Lord Vishnu finally.
King Vasu and Sage Raibhya were totally convinced by the preachings of Deva guru as mentioned above.The King renounced his kingship in favour of his son and left for Pushkar Teertha always reciting ‘Pundarikaksha Mantra.’
Pundarikaksha Mantra : ‘Namastey Pundarikaksha Namastey Madhusudana, Namasthey Sarva lokesha Namasthey Thigmachakriney, Vishvamurthi Mahabahum Varadam Sarvatejasam, Namami Pundarikaksham Vidyaavidyatmakam Vibhum, Adidevam Mahadevam Veda Vedangapaaragam, Gambhiram Sarva Devaanam Namami Madhusudanam, Vishva Murthi Maha Murthi Vidya Murthi Trimurthikam, Kavacham Sarva Devaanam Namasye Vaarijekshanam, Sahasrasirshinam Devam Sahasraaksham Mahabhujam, Jagat- samvyaapya Thishthanthim Namasye Parameswaram, Sharanya Sharanam Devam Vishnum Jishnum Sanatanam, Neelamegha pratikamsham Namasye Chakrapaaninam, Suddham Sarvagathim Nityam Vyomarupam Sanaatanam, Bhavaabhava Vinurmuktam Namasya Sarvagum Harim, Naanyat kinchit prapashyami Vyatiriktam thvada-Achuta, Tvanmayamcha prapashyami Sarvametatcharacharam’.
The Mantra means: ‘I greet Pundarikaksha, I greet Madhusudan, I greet ‘Sarva Lokesha’ or the Lord of all the Worlds, I greet ‘Tigmachakrinam’ or He who carries a fearful and glowing wheel; You are Visva Murthi, Maha bahu (mighty armed), Varadam (Giver of boons), Sarva Tejo Swarupa or All Radiant Figure, I greet Pundarikaksha, ‘Vidyaavidyatmikam’(The Embodiment of Learning and Ignorance alike), ‘Vibhum’or the Super Lord, ‘Adi Devam’ or the Original God; Maha Devam( The Greatest Deity), ‘Veda Vedanga Paaranam’ ( The Supreme Sourcer of Vedas and other Scriptures), ‘Gambhiram’( The Complex), ‘Sarva Devaanam’ ( All in one of Devas), I greet Madhusudanam ( Destroyer of The Demon Madhu), Viswa Murthim, Maha Murthim, Vidya Murthim, Tri Murthikam or The Union of Three Gods of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara; Kavacham Sarva Devanam or the Safeguard of all Devas, I greet ‘Varijekshanam’or He who is Lotus Eyed, ‘Sahsrasirsham Devam’ or He who has Thousand (countless) Heads, ‘Sahasraaksham’ or countless Eyes; ‘Maha Bhujam’ (Great Shoulders), ‘Jagasamvyapya’( All Pervasive); I greet ‘Parameswaram’, ( Supreme God); ‘Sharanyam Sharanam’ ( Protect me , hey Vishnu, Jishnu, Sanatanam or Omni Present, Omni Scient and Ageless), ‘Nilameghapratikasham’ or He who is likened to blue clouds, ‘Chakrapaninam’ or He who carries the famous and all powerful Sacred Wheel; ‘Suddham’ or Pure, Sarvagatam or All Present, ‘Nityam’ (Permanent), ‘Vyomarupam’ or Resembler of Sky; Bhavabhava nirmuktam (He who is devoid of materialistic feelings or otherwise); ‘Namaste Sarvagum Harim’or I greet Hari who is replete all over; ‘Naanyat kinchit Prapasyaami Vyatiriktam Twadaachyuta’ or I cannot visualise any thing else other than You Achyuta! You are all over the Universe comprising all movable and immobile objects!)’
While the King was chanting the Mantra, a blue human form emerged from the King’s body and conveyed that in an earlier birth he (Vasu) was a King too who killed a Brahmin in disguise as a deer and as a penance performed Eakadasi Vrathas, donated cows and many other austerities. But at the time of death uttered his wife’s name Narayani instead of the name of Narayan. In his next birth too, King Vasu was a King of Kashmir but then again he no doubt did Yagnas and many other virtuous deeds but not heeded to chant the name of Lord Vishnu; out of vengence the soul of the Brahmin in the form of the dead deer continued to haunt the King of Kashmir. Since in the current birth as King Vasu continued the chanting of the Pundarikaksha Mantra at Pushkar Teertha, not only the tormented soul of the Brahmin dead as a deer got relieved but the King Vasu got rid of the sin of killing a Brahmana and eventually reached Vishnu Loka.
Sage Raibhya decided to emulate the example of King Vasu in the quest of Salvation.He left for Gaya to perform the ‘Shraddh’ (Annual Ceremony) of his ancestors.One of Brahma Manasa Putras-Sanat Kumara was pleased with the ‘Shraddha’ or complete dedication with which the Sage Raibhya performed by the Ceremony. Sanat Kumara complimented the Sage and confirmed that visiting the Sacred Place of Gaya and performing ‘Pindapradan’ to the ancestors in a systematic manner ought to be considered as highly significant; what is more, Gaya is the the abode of Gadadhar Sri Hari Himself and the Ceremonies performed with sincerity and devotion to Gadadhar would yield immense results to the ‘Kartha’or the Performer and the ancestors of three generations as well. In this connection, Sanat Kumara gave the example of King Vishal who was greatly perturbed as he had no son and thus called for a Conference of Brahmanas to suggest a solution. The advice received was that the King was cursed by his ancestors and their souls were being tormented in the abscence of the Annual Ceremonies which were never performed in the past. Hence he should perform a Shraddha Ceremony at Gaya. During the course of the Ceremony, the King found three elderly Brahmanas and introduced themselves as the deceased of three generations viz. the Father, Grand Father and the Great Grand Father.Thus as a result of the success of the function performed at Gaya by the King, the souls of the deceased three generations were liberated. Sage Raibhya continued to stay at Gaya till the end of his life and prayed to Lord Gadadhar till he joined the league of Vaikuntha.The Gadadhara Mantra with the power of which Sage Raibhya was blessed to attain Vaikuntha is as follows:
(1) ‘Gadadharam Vibhudhajanaira- bheeshtitham dhrutakshamam kshuditha janaarthi nashanam, Shivam Visalaasurasainya mardanam, Namaamyaham hatasakalaasubham smruthou’ (I pray to Lord Gadadhara who is praised by all the Devas for the fulfillment of their desires; who is ever-kind to respond to the wails of human beings and demolish their needs; who is a lasting source of propitiousness as also a merciless destroyer of Demons and Evil Forces); (2) ‘Puranapurvam Purusham Purushottamam Puratanam Vimalaamalam Nrinam Gatim, Trivikramam Dhrutadharanim Bleham Gadadharam Rahasi Namami Kesavam’(I bow to Gadadhar Kesav who is Originless, Existent far before the Universe, Most Ancient, Pure, Spotless, Capable, Trend setter to Humanity, Trivikram, the Holder of Earth, and Appointer of Bali); (3) ‘Susuddha bhavam Vibhavirupavritam Shriyavrutam Vigataamalam Vichakshanam, Kshithiswarair- apagata kilbishaih Stutam Gadadharam Pranamati yah sukham vaset’( I implore Gadadharam who is charming, pure hearted, highly prosperous and flourishing, immaculate, featureless, scholarly, bright, sinless, Ever eulogized and blissful); (4) ‘Surasurairarchita pada pankajam Kaiyura haaraangada mouli dharinam, Abdhou Shananam cha rathanga paaninam’ ( I revere Him whose lotus-like feet are worshipped, wears hand-jewellery, necklace, body part adornments and headgear, relaxes comfortably on milk-ocean, and holds Sudarshan wheel and mace); (5) ‘Sitam kruthey Tretayugerunam Vibhum tatha Tritiye peetha varnamachyutam, Kalou Ghanaalipratimam Maheshwaram Gadadharam pranamati yah sukham vaseth’ ( I beseech the blessings of Maheswara Gadadhara who is happily coloured white in Kritha Yuga, crimson in Treta Yuga, yellow during Dwapara Yuga and cloud-like in Kali Yuga); (6) ‘Bijoddhvo yah Sujathey Chaturmukhastayaiva Narayana Rupathojagat, Prapaalayet Rudra vapurastathantakrut Gadadharo Jayatu Shadartrimurthiman’ (Victory to Gadadhara who assumed three forms of Lord Brahma born out of the former’s seed being responsible for the task of Creation, Lord Narayana being responsible for Administration and Lord Rudra for Universal destruction); (7) ‘Satva Rajaschiva Tamo Gunaastraya sthaveteshu naanyasya samudbhavah kila, sa chaika eva thrividho Gadadharo dadhatu dhairya mama Dharma mokshiyoh’; (There are Satva, Rajas and Tamo Gunas and beyond these three Gunas there are none else; Hey Gadadharo, kindly bestow me strength and courage to secure Dharma/ Virtuousness and Moksha / Salvation to obtain a proper mix of these Gunas);(8) ‘Samsara thoyarna vadum khatanthubhi viyogana kramakramanih subheeshanaih, Majjanthamujjaih sutaraam Mahaplavey Gadadharo mamu dadhaatu pothavat’; (May Gadadhar pull me up from the frightful Ocean of ‘Samsara’ and from the strong ropes of attachments like the body, family and constant fear of death); (9) ‘Swayam Trimurthih Svamivatmanaatmani Svashaktitah anda midam sasarjaha, thasmijjalothaasanam arya thejasam sasarja yasthah pranatosmi Bhudharam’ ( I salute Gadadhar as He holds Earth and the Trimurthis by His own might, created the Universe and the highly radiant Kamalaasan Brahma);(10) ‘Matsyadi namani jagatsu kevalam Suraadi samrakshanato Vrushakapih, Mukhya swarupena smanthato Vibhu Gadadharo me Vidudhaatu sadgatim’(May Incarnations of Gadadhar like Matsya meant only to protect Devas and the Virtuous be kind to lead me to Salvation!)
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