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    Tuesday, November 26, 2013


     आदयः सवता स◌ू य   ◌ः खगः प◌ू षा गिभतमान  ् । स   ु वण   सशो भान   ु हरयर  े तो दवाकरः॥ १०

    ādityaḥ savitā sūryaḥ khagaḥ pūṣā gabhastimān |

    suvar ṇasadṛśo bhānuhiraṇyareto divākaraḥ || (10)

     हरद◌ः सह◌ाच   ◌ः सिसम   रचमान  ् ।

     तमरोमथनः शभ◌ु व◌ा माता ड अ  ं श   ु मान◌् ॥ ११

    haridaśvaḥ sahasrārciḥ saptasaptirmarīcimān |

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    timironmathanaḥ śambhustvaṣṭā mārtāṇḍa aṁśumān || (11)

     हरयगभ   ◌ः शशरतपनो  भाकरो रवः।

    िअगभऽदत  े ◌ः प   ु ◌ः श◌ः शशरनाशनः ॥ १२

    hiraṇyagarbhaḥ śiśirastapano bhāskaro raviḥ |

    agnigarbho'diteḥ putraḥ śaṅkhaḥ śiśiranāśanaḥ  || (12)


    10) ādityaḥ - son of Aditi (Rig Veda X.88.11 says स◌ू य   मादत  े यम◌ ्sūryamāditeyam); savitā sūryaḥ - savitṛ meanssun and sūrya also means the sun; Vedas are also identified with sūrya; sometimes personified as thedivine influence and vivifying power of the sun, while Sūrya is the more concrete conception (further discussed in the summary section); khagaḥ - seat of the sun; pūṣā - a Vedic deity, originally connectedwith the sun; gabhastimān – garland comprising rays of the sun; suvar ṇasadṛśaḥ  - appearing like gold;bhānuḥ  - splendorous luster; hiraṇyaretaḥ  - having the shining seed (shining like gold); divākaraḥ - the

    maker of the day (due to light);

    11) haridaśvaḥ - green colored horses (hari refers to different colours such as red, yellow and green);ssahasrārciḥ - thousands of rays; sapta saptiḥ - seven horses; marīcimān – radiant because of the rays;timironmathanaḥ - dispelling darkness; śambhu – causing happiness; tvaṣṭā – creator of beings and theone who builds higher cosmic planes (a Vedic deity); mārtāṇḍa – the sun (literally it means ‘apparentlysprung from a lifeless egg'); aṁśumān – the halo of the sun.

    12) hiraṇyagarbhaḥ - the golden egg, splendiferous as the sun (also mean the first of creation); śiśira -

    cool, chilly, cold; tapana – warming, burning; bhāskara - making light; raviḥ - the sun god (sometimesinterpreted as the Creator); agnigarbha – pregnant with fire or Agni (subtly conveys that fire originatedfrom the sun); aditi putraḥ  - son of Aditi; śaṅkhaḥ  - śaṅkha refers to conch; but contextually refers to fear due to spiritual ignorance; śiśira nāśanaḥ  - destruction through mythical weapon (may be referring to thedawn of spiritual knowledge).

    Summary of verses 10, 11 and 12:

     After having established the supremacy of the sun and having compared him to the miniscule Prakāśa

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    aspect of Brahman, Agastya now proceeds to discuss the idiosyncratic resplendence of the sun.

    Verse 10 says that sun god is the son of Aditi, a Vedic goddess. Who is this Aditi? Yajur Veda (I.5.3.1)says, “O Aditi , you pervade the entire earth, supreme in heave and vast in the mid world. O Goddess Aditi,I place in your lap Agni, the giver of food.” Again in I.5.11.17 says, “May Aditi protect us, may Aditi give uspeace and bliss. Let Aditi guard us from sin.” Seed for Vedānta was sown in Yajur Veda (I.7.7.4) like this.“By impelling the plentitude of the mother Mahī (Goddess of vastness; sometimes referred to as Mother Earth), I proclaim the birth of word, Aditi by name, who has entered and pervaded this entire world (three

    worlds mentioned in Gāyatri mantra – three vyāhṛti-s).” Thus the verse 10 does not simply refer Aditi as amother, but implies the source of the entire creation. Who else can be source of creation other thanBrahman? Therefore, it clearly proves that sun does not merely represent the source of light for the worlds,but also represents a miniscule portion of Brahman’s Self-effulgent Light. Since sun is visible to our biological eyes and sun physically exhibits all the aspects of invisible and eternal Brahman, worshipingsun is considered as supreme. It amounts to ‘worshiping’ Brahman.

    In the same verse, two other names of sun god savitā and sūryā are used to refer sun god. Savitā isderived from the word savitṛ, a Vedic god. Similarly Sūryā is also a Vedic God. In fact, these two names

    refer to the same sun. Sun at the time of dawn is known as Savitā and sun after the dawn till it sets isknown as Sūryā. This goes to prove that Brahman alone is worshiped in di fferent shapes and forms, whichis in total agreement with Advaita Philosophy. There are number of verses about dawn in Rig Veda. Dawnis described as a deity on her chariot, sometimes drawn by cows and other times by horses. There isdifference between dawn and sunrise. Dawn is the first light of the day, whereas sunrise is the firstappearance of the sun above the horizon. What is the seat of the sun? This can at best be explained asthe mountain range and oceans. This explains the rotation of the earth as if sun is moving from East toWest. The rays of the sun are described as a garland. The golden hue of the rays of the sun is compared

    to a gold garland. This description perfectly matches with Chāndogya Upaniṣad. The Upani

    ṣad makesseveral references to the sun. In fact the Upaniṣad says that Brahman has golden beard and golden hair;

    this subtly refers to the sun. It also says that if one realizes the sun, he is deemed to have realizedBrahman.

    Verse 11 refers to different colored rays of the sun. The verse says that sun’s chariot is drawn by sevenhorses that are green in color. It is not just the green color. The word ‘haridaśvaḥ’ is so meticulouslychosen to subtly convey the seven principle colors VIBGYOR. According to some texts, the seven horsesalso refer to seven Vedic meters (chandas). VIBGYOR is the foundational color for the existence of the

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    universe. Like prāṇa, these seven colors are present in all the objects in different degrees. In other words,the rays of the sun spread throughout the universe making living possible. When sun is made soindispensible, it obviously refers to Self-effulgent Light of Brahman. Dispelling darkness and causinghappiness refers to the stage of Bliss or Ānanda. Unless one experiences the state of Bliss, his spiritual journey will be hampered. When one enters into the state of Bliss, his mind becomes calm andcomposed, leading to higher cosmic planes. What is meant by higher cosmic planes? It refers the statusof the mind. When the mind is agitated and associated with unwanted desires and attachments, the mindis said to be in lowest plane, which is quotidian in nature. When the mind is purified through prāṇāyamaand other meditative techniques, the ‘density’ of the mind is diminished so that it can go to higher cosmicplanes (due to its lightness). In the highest cosmic plane, the union between individual consciousness andSupreme Consciousness takes place and this is known as Self-realization. The usage of mārtāṇḍa issignificant. It talks about the process of creation.

    Verse 12 typically is a sum up of the previous two verses. Sun not only produces heat, but also produceschillness in the form of rains. The fire too originates from the sun. It is said in epics that at the time of setting, sun hands over the vital energy to Agni with a request to protect the world till its dawn the next day.Even if the entire universe is annihilated, the sun eternally remains. At the time of annihilation, Brahmanalone remains. When it is said that the sun remains even after annihilation, it clearly indicates that we arenot discussing about the sun god, but about Brahman. Thus, contemplating on the sun, which is visible toour biological eyes, destroys avidya or spiritual ignorance. In perfect meditative stage, Light of Brahmanis visible to us in the form of sun. When this Light appears in our meditation, it signifies that we areevolving spiritually. This also confirms the perfection of practice, known as sādhana.

    These are the words of Agastya to Śrī Rāma. As Agastya proceeds to praise the sun, Śrī Rāma couldrecollect His original nature. Subsequent verses also talk about the grandeur of the sun from differentangles, which also goes to prove that the sun is a miniscule Light of Brahman.

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    Wednesday, November 20, 2013


     सव   द  े वामको ◌े षःत  े जवी िरमभावनः।

     एष द  े वास   ु रगणान  ् लोकान◌् पात गिभतभः॥ ७

    sarvadevātmako hyeṣaḥ tejasvī raśmibhāvanaḥ |

    eṣa devāsuragaṇān lokān pāti gabhastibhiḥ || (7)

     एष ◌ा चवण◌ु शवः कदः जापतः।

     मह  े ◌ो धनदः कालोयमः सोमो पां पतः॥ ८

    eṣa brahmā ca viṣṇuśca śivaḥ skandaḥ prajāpatiḥ |mahendro dhanadaḥ kālo yamaḥ somo hyapāṁ patiḥ || (8)

     पतरो वसवः साया ि◌नौमतो मन◌ु ◌ः।

     वाय   ु िव◌ः जाः◌ाणः ऋत◌ु कत भाकरः॥ ९

    pitaro vasavaḥ sādhyā hyaśvinau maruto manuḥ |vāyuvahniḥ prajāḥ prāṇaḥ ṛtukarto prabhākaraḥ || (9)


    7. sarvadevātmakaḥ - comprising of all gods; hyeṣaḥ - that sun god (on account of this sun god); tejasvi –

    effulgent; (raśmibhāvanaḥ) -> raśmi – rays of light; bhāvana

    ḥ - displaying or manifesting; e

    ṣa – the sungod; (devāsuragaṇān) -> deva asura gaṇāḥ - gods, demons and their troops; lokān – the worlds they live;

    pāti – lord; gabhastibhiḥ - rays of sun god.

    8. eṣaḥ - the sun god; brahmā – Brahmā, the god of creation; Viṣṇu - Viṣṇu, the protector; śivaḥ - Śiva, thedestroyer; skandaḥ - Kārttikeya (leader of Śiva's troop against the enemies of the gods and also the sunof Śiva; prajāpatiḥ  - divinity presiding over procreation, protector of life and is different from Brahmā ;mahendro – Indra, chief of gods; dhanadaḥ - Kubera, god for wealth; kālo (kālaḥ) -> time (kāla has severalmeaning); yamaḥ (Yama) - god of death; somo (somaḥ) – moon god; apāṁ patiḥ - Varuṇa, god presiding









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    over water.

    9. pitaro (pitaraḥ) – forefathers (they represent lineage or kula); vasavaḥ  - eight benevolent gods,generally known as aṣṭa vasu-s; sādhya - belonging to the gaṇa-devatā-s (they need to bur propitiated, butoccasionally referred in Vedas); aśvinau – aśvin-s (they are two in number); maruto – maruts (they areconsidered as storm gods and Indra’s companions); manuḥ - Manu, considered as the father of humanrace; vāyuvahniḥ (vāyu + vahniḥ) – air and fire; prajāḥ prāṇaḥ - procreative prāṇa or the vital force; ṛtukarto – six seasons (each ṛtu consists of two solar months); prabhākaraḥ - this sun god.

    Summary of 7, 8 and 9:

    These three verses go farther from the previous verse (6). Previous verse said that sun is the lord of threeworlds. It was also discussed that sun derives its light from Nirguṇa Brahman or Prakāśa, the ever illuminating Light of Brahman. Omnipresence and omnipotence of Brahman begins from verse 7. Theseverses say that sun god in an embodiment of all gods. Having given an introduction in verse 7 that sun godrepresents all gods, verses 8 and 9 describe individual gods. The names of gods clearly indicate that Āditya Hṛdayam is not a hymn to sun god, but a hymn on Brahman, as the verse refers and encompasses

    all gods, who are described in Vedas.

    Verse 8 says that sun god is also Brahmā, the creator (the creative aspect of Brahman), Vi ṣṇu, theprotector of the universe and Śiva, the destroyer of the universe. Śiva referred here is not the Śiva, whoseConsort is Lalitāmbikā. Śiva and Viṣṇu have different roles at different points of time. By referring tothese three God heads, it is clearly established that what is referred in Āditya Hṛdayam is Brahman. Aswe know, Saguṇa Brahman has three guṇa-s, sattva, rajas and tamas. Before creation, all these guṇa-swere in equilibrium. When this state of equilibrium was disturbed, creation began to unfold and Brahmā(tamas), Viṣṇu (sattva) and Śiva (rajas) became chiefs of three guṇa-s. From them originated

    pañcabhūta-s or five principle elements and multitude of gods and goddesses to take care of multipleaspects of creation, sustenance and destruction. Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva are together known as Trimūrti.Interestingly as per Sanskrit dictionary, trimūrti also refers to the sun. Apart from Trimūrti, there are other gods and god heads referred in verse 8.

    Now the question arises as to the need of mentioning so many gods who function under Trimūrti. Possibly,this could have been necessi tated to prove beyond ambiguity that Brahman is referred in Āditya Hṛdayam.That is why, even after having mentioned Trimūrti, these gods and god heads are also referred. Most of 

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    these gods are also referred in Vedas. Vedas, though grossly describe various gods, yet they alwaysconvey Brahman in a subtle manner. Upaniṣad-s which are considered as the essence of Vedas,describe Brahman as formless, flawless and without attributes. Further, Upaniṣad-s also reveal Brahmanin the form of Light, which we have discussed in the previous part.

     As Vedas frequently talk about these gods and god heads, let us understand more about them. Brahmā,Viṣṇu, Śiva, Indra, Kubera, Yama, Somaḥ, Varuṇa, Pitaraḥ, Aśvin-s, Marut-s, Manu, Prāṇaḥ, Vāyu,Vahniḥ, Ṛtu and Prabhākaraḥ are some of the gods referred in Vedas.

    In the whole of Vedas, Agni (Vahniḥ) is referred more often than any other gods, as Agni is the carrier of oblations to higher realms. Rig Vedas (I.i.5) says, “May Agni, the presenter of oblation, the attainer of knowledge, he who is true, renowned and divine come here with the gods.”

    Vāyu is different form Prāṇa and hence, both of them are separately mentioned. Veda says, “namastevāyu”, which means “I worship you vāyu”. Similarly, Mahānārāyaṇa Upaniṣad (65) worships five types of prāṇa-s. This verse forms part of virajā homa mantra-s (performed at the time attaining saṁnyāsa andalso during Śri Cakra navāvaraṇa pūjā). The verse says that by this oblation, let my five prāṇa-s be

    purified. Hence, it can be observed that vāyu is one of the pañcabhūta-s and prāṇa is the life force.

    Yajur Veda classifies Pitṛ-s as one among the several deities. In III.iv.5.3, the Veda says, “pitaraḥpitāmahāḥ  pare'vare tatāstatāmahā iha mā'vata”. The meaning of this verse is – O! You fathers,grandfathers, you are near and far, O! Great ancestors protect me.” In this verse ancestors are invokedand prayed to protect the invoker.

    Indra is yet another god who is worshiped through number of Vedic hymns. Rig Veda (I.30.13) says,“When Indra rejoices with us, may the Divine Powers give strength to us and may we rejoice, endowed

    with plentiful felicities” (please recall our discussions about descent of Divine Grace, known as śaktipāta).

     Aśvin-s are two in number and they are known as Aśvinau (dual number) in Sanskrit. Some of the textsdescribe them as two sons of the sun, begotten during sun’s metamorphosis as a horse (aśva). They areendowed with perpetual youth and handsomeness. They are also considered as divine physicians andsurgeons. They descend from the truth-consciousness (sat-cit) and ṛtaṁ  (ṛtaṁ  means enlightened andluminous, probably referring to Bliss or Ānanda. If this is construed as ānanda, then they refer to the stateof saccidānanda. Aśvin-s play vital role in purifying our mind before the descent of Divine Grace. (We candiscuss more about Vedic gods, if possible in a separate series).


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    Varuṇa, according to Vedic interpretations represent dedication. He chooses those who are highlyadvanced in their spiritual pursuits and take them to higher virtuous and spiri tual process. He is one of theVedic gods who impart Truth in the minds of spiritual seekers.

    Maruts are invoked with Indra, the chief of gods. Maruts always come in troops and when they come, theygive splendour, courage, valour, etc. Though Varuṇa presides over all water bodies, it is only Maruts whocause rain bearing clouds (probably working as the medium between Sun and Varuṇa). They are said to

    be sons of Rudras. They play supportive role in wars between gods and demons (war refers to conflictbetween good and evil thought processes).

    Kubera is the chief of yakṣa-s. He is referred in Vedas (mostly in Atharvaveda) as Vaiśravaṇa. He isreferred as Dhanādhyakṣā in Lalitā Sahasranāma 885. Further gods are not discussed here due tolimitation factor.

    The above three verses of Āditya Hṛdayam say that sun god represents all these gods. This goes to provethat sun god is nothing but a minuscule of Prakāśa form of Brahman and Agastya reminds Śrī Rāma to

    worship Prakāśa aspect of Brahman. This interpretation is explained in detail in the previous part.

    Sunday, November 17, 2013


     िरममत  ं सम   ु त  ं द  े वास   ु रनमक  ृ तम  ् ।

     प  ू जयव वववत  ं भाकर  ं भ   ु वन  े रम  ् ॥ (६)

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    raśmimantaṁ samudyantaṁ devāsura namaskṛtam |

    pūjayasva vivasvantaṁ bhāskaraṁ bhuvaneśvaram || (6)


    raśmi – rays of light; mantaṁ  - reflecting (reflecting the rays of Light); samudyantaṁ - gloriously risingdestroying all the boundaries and limitations; deva asura namaskṛtam – worshiped and adored both bygods and demons (asura also means incorporeal); pūjayasva – worshiped with earnestness; vivasvantaṁ- the Brilliant one (diffusing Light); bhāskaraṁ - illuminating, shining, glittering, bright; bhuvaneśvaram –

    lord of three worlds (bhuvana - three worlds; īśvara also means Supreme Brahman or the Self).


    This verse can be interpreted both from gross and subtle angles.

    Gross interpretation:

    This verse says that the sun rises everyday to illuminate the three worlds. Sun god is adored by all gods

    and all demons alike. He is the lord of the worlds. The verse also praises the rays of the sun.

    Subtle interpretation:

    The verse says that sun reflects the rays of Light. But does not say sun is the cause of the Light; it onlyreflects the light. This leads to the conclusion that there is something else that is the source of originalLight. What is this original Light? This is explained in various Upaniṣad-s.

     A number of Upaniṣad-s talk about this Light.

    Bṛhadāraṇayaka Upaniṣad (IV.iv.6) says “upon that immortal Light of all lights the gods meditate aslongevity.” This means that gods meditate on this Supreme Light for their immortality.

    Kaṭha Upaniṣad (II.ii.15) explains this further. “In the presence of Brahman, the sun does not shine, nor dothe moon and stars, nor does lightning, let alone this fire. When Brahman shines, everything follows. ByIts light, all these are lighted.” This is the famous dīpa ārādhana mantra:

    na tatra sūryo bhāti na candratārakaṃ

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    nemā vidyuto bhānti kutoyamagniḥ

    tameva bhāntamanubhāti sarvaṃ

    tasya bhāsā sarvamidaṃ vibhāti |

     न   त   स◌ू य  भात   न   चतारक  ं

     न  े मा   व◌ु तो  िभात   क   ु तोयिम◌ः।

     तम  े व  भातमन◌ु भात 


     तय  भासा   सव   मद  ं   वभात॥

    Chāndogya Upaniṣad (VIII.iii.4) says, param joytiḥ upasampadyate which means attaining the highestlight. The Upaniṣad says “Then, this person, who is the embodiment of happiness, emerging from thebody and attaining the highest light, assumes his real nature. This is the Self.”

    If we go with the interpretations of the above Upaniṣad-s, it is clear that the sun draws its light from

    Brahman, who alone is Self-illuminating. He is also known as Prakāśa, the Light by which everything elseis illuminated. This argument is supported by two other words of the verse vivasvantaṁ and bhāskaraṁ.Vivasvat means both Prakāśa and Vimarśa. It is not only the original source of Light, but also diffuses theLight. It can be recalled that Śiva is the original source of Light or Prakāśa. Śakti diffuses the Light of Śivaand hence She is known as Vimarśa. But according to this verse, both Prakāśa and Vimarśa are subtlyconveyed and their unified form is known as Paramaśiva. In Paramaśiva both Light and reflection of Lightare inherent. Therefore, this verse subtly reveals Brahman, who is often explained as Paramaśiva. It is notonly Śiva, but also Śakti. Their unified form is known as Paramaśiva.

    Further, gods and demons are not going to worship sun, as sun is considered only as a planet. It is said inRāmāyaṇa that Rāvaṇa apprehended all the nine planets which includes the sun and kept them under hiscustody. Hence it is obvious that what is referred here is not the sun god, but Brahman. Only Brahman isworshiped by both gods and demons alike. This is followed by another word pūjayasva, which meansworshiping with earnestness. It is not just worship, but it is worship with earnestness. It says that unlessBrahman is earnestly worshiped (contemplated), the darkness of māyā cannot be removed. If He isworshiped with earnestness, He removes the darkness of māyā by His Light. This means through earnestmeditation, Light (the Self or Brahman) can be realized within, which will remove the darkness and

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    boundaries of māyā.

    The other word that is very important in this verse is bhāskaraṁ, which refers to the Self-illuminatingaspect of Brahman. Bhāskara not only refers to the sun, but also means ‘making of Light’, obviouslyreferring to Brahman. This is explained in Yajur Veda (Taittrīya Saṁhitā) III.iv.11.17 which says,

     स म मत अत   ु यवान  ् यत आदयशत त  े न।

     न हयत  े न जीयत  े वोतः न◌ै नमहो अ◌ोत अनतो न द  ू रात  ् ॥

    pra sa mitra marto astu prayasvān yasta āditya śikṣati vratena |

    na hanyate na jīyate tvotaḥ nainamaho aśnoti anito na dūrāt ||

    The above Veda couplet says, “O! Mitra, may the mortal have the pleasant and abundant offering who Āditya seeks to follow your law. Aided by you, he is not slain or oppressed. Sin or any other afflictionsdoes not come to him, either from near or from afar.” The above verse forms part of sandhyāvandanamantras-s. Seeks to follow your law refers to law of Brahman (Law of Karma also known as Law of the

    Lord). Aid by you means having obtained His Grace, in the form of appearance of Light within or realisation of the Self within (Ātman). The next part of the verse says that if He is realized, he will not faceoppression, accrue further sin, will not be affected by anything either near or far away. Accrual of sinscease only if the Self within is realized. In other words, unless one surrenders to Brahman, accrual of sinscannot be stopped. This truth revealed in all Upaniṣad-s. This devotee transforms into a Yogī.

    Destroying boundaries and limitations on the grosser side mean dawn. On the subtler side, it talks aboutmāyā, which always limits spiritual knowledge. It is only due to māyā, we feel that our body, which is boundboth by organs of perception and action coupled with antaḥkaraṇa (mind, intellect, consciousness and

    ego). Destroying conveys the destruction of māyā, which is always compared to darkness and illusion.When māyā is destroyed, sense organs antaḥkaraṇa are subjugated.

    Verse six above also says bhuvaneśvaram. Bhuvana means three words referred in Gāyatrī mantra - bhūḥbhuvaḥ and suvaḥ. If we go by grosser interpretation, it means that the sun pervades all the three worlds.But in reality, sun does not shine in all the three worlds. Three loka-s or worlds mean the three stages of consciousness. Bhūr means the lower level of consciousness and lower planes. Bhuvar means theordinary or normal level of consciousness that is associated with our day to day activities. Svar means

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    higher level of consciousness. Thus, the three vyāhṛti-s in fact mean the modifications in the level of consciousness. Three loka-s are also commonly enumerated, viz. heaven, earth, and the atmosphere or lower regions. Bhūr-loka, the earth; Bhuvar-loka the space between the earth and sun inhabited by sagesand saints; Svar-loka, Indra's Heaven above the sun or between it and the polar star. But sun is restrictedonly our galaxy known as Milky Way. Sun of our solar system does not shine in two other worlds describedin Gāyatrī mantra. Bhuvana in the verse is followed by Iśvara, the Supreme Lord or Brahman. Sun is notcalled Iśvara.

    Therefore, it is obvious that the verse refers only to Brahman. Agastya advices Rāma to remember Hisoriginal Brahman form. If Brahman is nirguṇa, Rāma is an incarnation or saguṇa form of Brahman.Brahman incarnated in the form of Rāma to uphold dharma and destroy adharma in order to maintain thebalance between the two.

    The verse subtly conveys that we should meditate on the Self-effulgent Brahman to go past māyā andrealize Him to stop accumulation of further sins. Unless all our karmas are exhausted, we are bound toundergo the pains of transmigration.

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013


     Āditya Hṛdaya storam begins from verse 4. The stotra begins differently from commonly known forms.Generally, benefits of reciting hymns are given at the end as phalaśruti. But, in Āditya Hṛdaya storam,

    benefit of reci ting this stotra is revealed in the first verse itself. This is done with a specific purpose, as atthe end of recitation sun god appears before Śrī Rāma and wishes Him for his victory in the battle. Wemay wonder why Lord Rāma needs sun god’s wishes. Rāma is an incarnation and by leading His life asan incarnation, He sets an example for us to follow. Brahman incarnates at different times, when adharmaweighs over dharma. During incarnations, He not only annihilates adharma, but also imparts severalspiritual teachings to enable us to pursue the path of dharma.

    There is also another reason for declaring the benefits of reciting this mantra at the beginning. When


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     Agastya told rī Rāma to recite Āditya Hṛdayam three times, He did so with a lot of devotion and as aresult, sun god decided to grant the wishes of Śrī Rāma to win the battle and communicated to Him. Whenprayers are answered due to devotion, where is the time to talk about benefits? When god appearsbefore us, will we ever think about anything else? This was the situation when sun god appeared beforeŚrī Rāma in person (with great reverence) and wished Him success in the battle.

    Possibly we can think of one more reason for this. There was fierce battle going on. Agastya madesudden appearance in the battle field to reveal the secret of Āditya Hṛdayam. This secret was revealed in

    the midst of the battlefield. Hence Agastya in the beginning itself told Rāma about the purpose of hisrevealing Āditya Hṛdayam to Him. The time was short and the battle was to be won immediately, asnobody wants further deaths in the battlefield. Had Rāma thought, He could have killed Rāvaṇa in no time.But, as already discussed, Rāma is an incarnation and had set the righteous path for us to follow. Now letus study the intricacies of this great hymn.

    आदयदय  ं प   ु य◌ं सव   श◌ु वनाशनम◌् । जयावह◌ं जप  े न  ् नय  ं अय  ं परम  ं शवम  ् ॥४

    ādityahṛdayaṁ puṇyaṁ sarvaśatru vināśanam | jayāvahaṁ japen nityaṁ akṣayaṁ paramaṁ śivam || (4)

     सव   मलमाय  ं सव   पाप णाशनम  ् ।

     चताशोक शमन  ं आय   ु व   ध   नम◌ु मम  ् ॥५

    sarvamaṅgala māṅgalyaṁ sarvapāpa praṇāśanam |cintāśoka praśamanaṁ āyurvardhanamuttamam || (5)


    4. ādityahṛdayaṁ  puṇyaṁ  - This hymn known as Ādi tya Hṛdayam is full of auspiciousness andvirtuousness (this is explained further in the summary below); sarvaśatru vināśanam – capable of eliminating all types of enemies; jayāvahaṁ - it is capable of conferring victory; japen nityaṁ - if reciteddaily; akṣayaṁ  - every nourishing or un-decaying; paramaṁ śivam – highest degree of auspiciousness(which also includes emancipation).

    5. sarvamaṅgala māṅgalyaṁ - conferring and exhibiting eternal auspiciousness; sarvapāpa – all types of 

    i āś ihil ti i tāś k ś ṁ h li ll t f t l ffli ti ( i )

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    sins; praṇāśanam – annihilation; cintāśoka praśamanaṁ - healing all types of mental afflictions (worries);āyurvardhana uttamam – gives a long life.

    Summary 4and 5:

     Agastya introduces Āditya Hṛdayam to Śrī Rāma by saying, “ādityahṛdayaṁ puṇyaṁ”. Agastya has verycarefully chosen his opening words. He speaks about auspiciousness and virtuousness. The form of Śrī Rāma itself is full of auspiciousness and all His deeds are highly virtuous in nature. As Rāma has liking for 

    this quality and attribute, Agastya introduces this by saying that the hymn he is going to declare is full of “puṇyaṁ”.

     Agastya begins the next introductory verse by saying “sarvamaṅgala māṅgalyaṁ” which means eternalauspiciousness, the stage of Ānanda, perpetual Bliss. Rāma means pleasing and charming. When one ishappy within, enjoying Bliss, the state of happiness is reflected in his face. Agastya knows very well thatRāma is the source of happiness and Bliss. Agastya, having known that the form of Śrī Rāma radiatesauspiciousness, chooses his words very carefully in the second verse. Agastya did not say that thismantra is auspicious. Agastya takes into account two factors. One, he is going to advise the eternal and

    all knowing Brahman who has incarnated in the form of Śrī Rāma. That is why Agastya has chosen to use“sarvamaṅgala māṅgalyaṁ”. When a word is repeated twice, its importance is highly stressed. Whatmade Agastya to open this with “sarvamaṅgala māṅgalyaṁ”, was, when Śrī Rāma was engulfed in deepthought of annihilating Rāvaṇa the next day, Rāma has to seriously listen to him, and the importance of this mantra is to be properly conveyed. (This is known as homonymy in English literature). This is also like‘first impression is the best impression’. Secondly, Agastya is revealing to Rāma about this mostauspicious mantra in the battle field as there is a possibility that this could not be taken seriously, asdiscussed earlier. Hence, Agastya has chosen to address Rāma the way He likes it.

     Agastya did not stop by talking about auspiciousness once. He concludes the first verse by saying,“paramaṁ śivam”, which means the highest degree of happiness, which is known as Bliss. Agastya in hisintroductory verses talks mostly about the auspiciousness, as Āditya Hṛdayam is full of auspiciousness.Parāśakti has this kind of auspiciousness. Śrī Devī Māhatmyam (Chapter 11: verse 10) says:

     सव   मल माय◌े शव  े सवाथ साधक◌े । शरय  े यबक  े गौर नारायण नम  ् ऽत   ु त  े ॥

    sarvamaṅgala māṅgalye śive sarvārtha sādhike |

    śaraṇye trayambake gauri nārāyaṇi nam'ostute ||

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    śaraṇye trayambake gauri nārāyaṇi nam'ostute ||

    If we look at this verse, words used by Agastya are used as the opening words of this verse. Again, thisverse conveys auspiciousness one more time by using “śive”. This is similar to what Agastya has used in Āditya Hṛdayam. Agastya concluded the fourth verse by saying, “paramaṁ śivam” and began the nextverse by saying, “sarvamaṅgala māṅgalyaṁ”. In Devi Devī Māhatmyam too the auspiciousness isconveyed without any words in between. Here the verse opens with “sarvamaṅgala māṅgalye śive”. Thisattribute also proves that Viṣṇu and Devi are brother and sister.

    Verse 4 says, “sarvaśatru vināśanam”. Contextually, śatru (enemy) refers to Rāvaṇa. This means that byreciting Āditya Hṛdayam, not only Rāvaṇa be ki lled, but also his entire entourage. But in generalsarvaśatru vināśanam subtly conveys the destruction of all internal enemies such as desire, attachment,ego, etc that work from within. This part of the verse subtly conveys that, by reciting Āditya H ṛdayam, alltypes of mental afflictions will be removed. This prepares the aspirant for higher spiritual attainments. Akṣayaṁ  is the most important quality of the sun. Akṣayaṁ  means nourishment. But for the sun, theworldly activities cannot happen. When all mental afflictions are removed and if the body is well preparedwith the help of sun’s nourishment, victory is attained. Victory refers to conquering mind after the war within

    the mind. Agastya says that if one recites Āditya Hṛdayam he can conquer all his internal and externalenemies. External enemies are sensory organs. Therefore, conquering sensory organs and the mindleads to victory over enemies, who wage battle against the Descent of Divine Grace (śakti pāta). On thegrosser side, this refers to the war between Śrī Rāma and Rāvaṇa and on the subtler side, it refers torealisation of the Self.

    Fifth verse explains further benefits of reciting Āditya Hṛdayam. It annihilates all types of sins (sarvapāpapraṇāśanam). The question is how sun god can annihilate all types of sins, which is in violation of “Law of Karma”. This is not a violation, because when mind is purified of all types of afflictions and when individual

    consciousness becomes one with Supreme Consciousness, no further karmas are accrued. By reciting Āditya Hṛdayam daily, mind gets fixed on Brahman and the aspirant is elevated in his spiritual level toultimately become one with the Self. He moves up in the spiritual ladder by reaching the stage of sthitaprajña (firm in judgment and wisdom, calm, contented). Once the stage of sthitaprajña is reached,further progress in spiritual path will happen automatically. He is now freed of all his mental disturbances,which is conveyed by “cintāśoka praśamanaṁ”. When mind is purified and body is nourished, one gets alonger and healthier life, which is meant by “āyurvardhana uttamam” at the end of the fifth verse.

    Thus Āditya Hṛdayam has both gross and subtler meanings In fact it is a revelation to humanity as rī

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    Thus, Āditya Hṛdayam has both gross and subtler meanings. In fact, it is a revelation to humanity, as rī Rāma does not need a hymn to annihilate Rāvaṇa. As already discussed, having born as a human being,and as an incarnation, he lays down the ethical principles of living. Contextually, He listens to Agastya andby reciting Āditya Hṛdayam thrice, He ki lls Rāvaṇa.

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013


    There are two couplets which do not form part of Śrīmad Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa are used as dhyāna verses.

     जयत◌ु जयत   ु स  ू य   सलोक◌ै कदप  ं

     करणशमतपापल  े श ◌ःखय नाशम  ् ।  (i)

    अणकरणगय  ं आद◌ं आदयम  ू त   सकलभ◌ु वनव◌ं भाकर◌ं त  ं नमाम॥ (ii)

     jayatu jayatu sūryaṁ saptalokaikadīpaṁkiraṇaśamitapāpa kleśa dḥkhasya nāśam | (i)

    aruṇakiraṇa gamyaṁ ādiṁ ādityamūrtiṁsakala bhuvanavandyaṁ bhāskaraṁ taṁ namāmi || (ii)

    This is a prayer to sun god. “I pray to the sun god who is capable of destroying our sins, pain, anguish,

    disease and distress”. Word ‘kleśa’ is used in this verse with great diligence. Patañjali in his Yoga Sūtra(II.3) says:

    अव◌ा िअमता राग ◌े ष अभनव◌े शा ल  े शः।

    avidyā asmitā rāga dveṣa abhiniveśāh kleśaḥ |

    Meaning: Spiritual ignorance is the major pain bearing obstacle which leads to other four afflictions suchas ego, attachment, aversion and attachment to the physical body.

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    Māyā is the cause for avidyā. Unless one is able to shed the influence of māyā, realisation of the Self isnot possible. This is the prayer to sun god to remove the effects of māyā. When māyā is shed, kleśadiscussed above is also removed.

    Kṛṣṇa also spoke about kleśa in Bhagavad Gītā (XVIII.8). He says, “Anyone who gives up prescribedduties as troublesome or out of fear of bodi ly discomfort (kleśa) can never be a true renouncer and he cannever reach any elevated spiritual state.” He says that one should meticulously follow the path of spiritualpractices at any cost.

    The above two dhyāna verses say the following:

    Let the sun shine in all the seven worlds (seven worlds were discussed in the introduction to this series).He is capable of destroying kleśa by his sheer radiance. I pray to him to remove spiritual darkness byimparting knowledge about the Self. The verse says that he is the beginning of the universe, which subtlyconveys that the prayer is offered to Brahman, as Brahman alone exists from the beginning. This isconveyed through ādiṁ in the verse.

    Āditya Hṛdayam

     ततोय   ु पर◌ात  ं समर  े चतया ि◌थतम  ् । रावण  ं चातो वा य◌ु ◌ाय सम   ु िपथतम  ् ॥ १

     द◌ै वत◌ै समागय ◌ु मयागतो रणम◌् ॥

     उपागयावीरामम  ् अगयो भगवान◌् रषः॥ २

     रामराम महाबाहो ◌ु ण   ु ग   ु ◌ं सनातनम  ् ।

     य  े नसवा नरन  ् वस समर  े वजययस॥ ३

    tato yuddhapariśrāntaṁ samare cintayā sthitam |rāvaṇaṁ cāgrato dṛṣṭvā yuddhāya samupasthitam || (1)

    daivataiśca samāgamya dr ṣṭumabhyāgato raṇam ||upāgamyābravīd rāmam agastyo bhagavān riṣiḥ || (2)

    rāma rāma mahābāho śruṇu guhyaṁ sanātanam |yena sarvānarīn vatsa samare vijayiṣyasi || (3)


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    1. tataḥ - the place where the war takes place; yuddhapariśrāntaṁ - exhausted due to the war; samare –war; cintayā sthitam – constantly thinking (about the war); rāvaṇaṁ - Rāvaṇa; cāgrato dṛṣṭvā – having seenin front; yuddhāya samupasthitam – well disposed for the battle.

    2. daivataiśca samāgamya – all gods coming together; dr ṣṭumabhyāgato raṇam – reached the war zoneto enjoy the battle; upāgamyābravīd rāmam – on noticing Rāma; agastyo bhagavān riṣiḥ - the great sage Agastya.

    3. rāma rāma – O! Rāma! Rāma! mahābāho – long armed (Lord Vi ṣṇu is also known as Mahābāhu

    because of His long arms); śruṇu – listen; guhyaṁ  sanātanam – eternal and ancient secret; yenasarvānarīn – with which all enemies; vatsa – O! Child; samare vijayiṣyasi – can be won over in the war.

    Summary 1 -3:

    Sage Agastya had come to the battlefield along with other gods and goddesses to witness the battle

    between Rāma and Rāvaṇa. The war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa signifies the war between good and

    evil thoughts. Rāmāyaṇa explains how persons with evil thoughts are ultimately annihilated. Though

    Rāvaṇa was a great worshiper of Śiva, he was not spared for his wicked acts. This also explains that

    those who are embodiments of evil thoughts would be annihilated in the same birth. Bountiful evil karmasdo not wait for the next birth, but manifest in the same birth. What is sown has to be reaped in a short span

    of time. Good thoughts manifest in the form of spiritual evolution and bad thoughts lead to mental and

    physical sufferings. As this is the war between good and bad, all gods and goddess accompanied Sage

     Agastya to witness the battle of good vs bad. Similarly, when Viṣṇu took the form of Nṛsiṁha (man-lion)

    and killed Hiraṇyakaśipu, all gods and goddesses were present to witness the latter’s annihilation.

     Agastya called Rāma twice; the first one addressed to Rāma as the warrior, as the king and above all,

    God. The second one addressed to Rāma out of love and affection for Him treating him as a child. InGuru-disciple relationship, even today this attitude exists, though very rarely. The first Rāma in the third

    verse is connected to mahābāho which means mighty armed. His hands are called mighty because, He

    has long hands. Viṣṇu sustains the universe by upholding dharma and annihilating those who cause

    imbalance between dharma and a-dharma. The second usage of Rāma is connected to vatsa (child) in

    the second line of the third verse. In the third verse, Agastya reminds Rāma about the eternal existence of 

    a secretive mantra to destroy all enemies. Rāma as an incarnation will never have enemies, as Brahman

    does not discriminate. Enemies here refer to evil acts and Rāvaṇa represents embodiment of all evil acts

    and in particular disrespecting women As per dharma śāstra-s disesteeming women is considered as

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    and in particular, disrespecting women. As per dharma śāstra s, disesteeming women is considered as

    one of the greatest sins for which there is no remedy. Rāvaṇa had gone to the extent of abducting Rāma’s

    Consort Sītā Devi.

    Rāma does not need any help and He knows what is going to happen to Rāvaṇa. But, the secrecy of 

     Āditya Hṛdayam was made to reveal to the world through Agastya. This expresses the respect Rāma had

    for great sages and saints. All through His incarnated life, He respected all His teachers.

    The above three verses do not form part of Āditya Hṛdaya Stotram. These verses introduce Agastya in

    order to reveal Āditya Hṛdayam to everyone. From the next verse onwards, Āditya Hṛdaya Stotram is


    Monday, November 11, 2013


    Śrīmad Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa in Yuddhakāṇḍa (Chapter VI: Canto 105) reveals Āditya Hṛdaya, a powerfulprayer to Sun god. Lord Rāma was thinking about the ongoing battle with Rāvaṇa. As an incarnation,Rāma known for meticulously upholding dharma śāstra-s, seems visibly upset about large scale ki llings inthe war. He wanted to end the war at the earliest to save the lives of the remaining warriors. At that time,sage Agastya had come along with several gods to meet Rāma. Agastya knew what was going on in

    Rāma’s mind, and in order to find a solution, he told Rāma to recite a hymn known as Āditya H ṛdayaStotram.

    Why Agastya had chosen to impart Āditya Hṛdaya to Rāma is an intriguing question. Āditya Hṛdayacomprises of various hymns to propitiate Brahmā, the god of creation and was placed in the heart(hṛdaya) of sun’s orbit. Since this mantra was placed in the heart of sun, which is also known as Āditya,this hymn is known as Āditya Hṛdaya Stotram. There are thirty one couplets (all the verses in Rāmāyaṇaare in couplets only; there are 24,000 verses in all) in this Canto out of which Āditya Hṛdaya is revealed

    from verse four till verse 26. Many texts contain additions at the end of the main part comprising of 23

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    y p p gcouplets. First three verses of this Canto speak about Agastya’s rendezvous with Rāma and his addressto Him.

    What is the importance of sun and why Agastya had chosen to impart mantras praising the sun?Chāndogya Upaniṣad ( answers this question that lingers in our minds. It says, “There is a deity inwithin the orbit of the sun, who is seen by the yogī-s. His whole body glitters like gold. He has a brightgolden beard and golden hair.” Here, the inexplicable Brahman is conveyed and hence the Upaniṣad says

    that the deity in the sun can be seen only by the yogī-s. Yogī means a person who is able to unite hisindividual consciousness with the Supreme Consciousness. This means that the one who is rid of māyāand able to realize the every illuminating Self is adored as a Yogī. Agastya says to Rāma to worship thePrakāśa aspect of Brahman, as His full Grandeur cannot be seen at all. This Prakāśa aspect of Brahmanis personified as sun god. Typically speaking, Agastya advises Rāma to worship Brahman to conquer and slay Rāvaṇa. This aspect is explicitly explained in three verses which say that sun god representsBrahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva, Skanda, Prajāpati, Kubera, Kāla, Yama, Soma, Varuṇa, Aśvin-s, Marut-s, Manu,Vāyu and Agni. Most of these gods are referred in Vedas. The list is not exhaustive; but surelyencompasses almost every aspect of creation, sustenance and death. This goes to prove that the sun god

    referred here, in fact refers to every illuminating Brahman or the Self.

    There are verses in Vedas comparing sun to Brahman. Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda Taittirīya Saṁhitā (III.iv.11.6-8)adores sun and these verses form part of Navagraha Sūkta. These verses go like this:

    आसय  े न रजसा वत   मानः नव  े शयम  ृ त  ं मय च।

     हरयय  े नसवता रथ  े न आ द  े वो यात भ◌ु वना वपयन◌् ॥

    ā satyena rajasā vartamānaḥ niveśayannamṛtaṁ martyaṁ ca |

    hiraṇyayena savitā rathena ā devo yāti bhuvanā vipaśyan ||

    This verse can be interpreted as follows. All Vedic verses have dual conveyances – gross and subtle.Gross is connected to rituals and subtle is connected to realization of the Self.

    “He shines with the illumination of the Self within as well as illumination visible to our biological eyes. Hepervades both earth plane and higher plane where gods and goddesses live. He moves around all these

    worlds in his gold chariot.”

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    Ṛg Veda (I.50.8) also says, “O! Self –radiant, through your divine spectrum of seven harnessed to your chariot, you guide all men.” Seven mentioned in this verse not only means VIBGYOR (seven coloursassociated with seven psychic chakras), but also seven upper worlds referred in Brahma Gāyatrī mantra(saptavyāhṛti sahita gāyatrī mantraḥ).

    ॐ भ  ू ◌ः ॐ भ◌ु वः ॐ स◌ु वः ॐ महः ॐ जनः ॐ तपःॐ सय  ं ॐ तसवत◌ु व   र  े य  ं भग द  े वय धीमह॥ धयो यो नः चोदयात◌् ॥ ॐ आपोयोत रसोऽम◌ृ त◌ं भ  ू भ◌ु  वःवरोम  ् ॥

    om bhūḥ om bhuvaḥ om suvaḥ om mahaḥ om janaḥ om tapaḥ om satyaṁ om tatsaviturvareṇyaṁ bhargodevasya dhīmahi || dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt || om āpo jyoti raso'mṛtaṁ brahma bhūrbhuvaḥsvarom ||

    The verse says all the seven worlds are only ॐ. In other words, these seven worlds represent seven higher spiritual planes, where the Light of Brahman prevails. This establishes the fact that Prakāśa of Brahman isomnipresent and this Brahman is described in the form of sun, to enable us to contemplate Brahman inHis illuminating form. How the sun can be compared to Brahman? Brahman has three main acts, creation,sustenance and destruction. Sun also creates, sustains and destroys. Sun is the cause for prāṇa, light,water, etc which takes care of all the three aspects of Brahman.

    Therefore, Āditya Hṛdaya Stotram should not be construed merely as a praise of sun god. The hymn infact praises the Prakāśa form of Brahman as discussed above. In this short series, we will discuss ĀdityaHṛdaya Stotram.

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