SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImath varavaramunayE nama:
bhagavath rAmAnuja at AzhwArthirunagari, SrIperumbUthUr, SrIrangam and thirunArAyaNapuram
SRI RĀMĀNUJA’S VIŚISHTĀDVAITA COMMENTARY
THE SUPREME SAINTLY WISDOM
In the the first Six Lectures (constituting the First Division of the Bhagavad-Gītā, called Psychocrasy), the subject-matter discussed was with reference to how ātma-cognition may be attained by the aspirant, by adopting the Path of Karma, founded on the recognition of ātma.
Ātma-cognition (or ātma realized) is ancillary to the incessant devotion—upāsana1—by which to effect communion with Śrī2-united-Nārāyaṇa3, (or Theocrasy), Who is the ultimate Supreme Goal for any one to reach, Who is the Supreme-Great (Parabrahma)4, the Indefective (nir-avadya=Perfect), the sole Uncaused Cause of the Universe, the Omniscient, the All-pervading Spirit, the Infallible-willed, the Great Lord of universal empire.
Now, in the Mid-Section of Six Lectures (constituting the Second Division of the Bhagavad-gīta, called Theocrasy- Lect: VII to XII), the subject-matter discussed is the nature of the Supreme-Great (Param-brahma)5, the Supreme-Spirit (Parama-purusha)6, and the mode of lovingly devoutly meditating on Him, called Upāsana or Bhakti.
This mode of devout love called Bhakti, is summarized in the closing Lecture (of this Lay, Divine) in such language as:—
(Yataḥpravṛittiḥ etc.): ‘Man attains perfection by rendering worshipful service to Him from Whom all beings receive their impulses, by Whom all this is pervaded.’ (XVIII-46); and closing up with:—
(Vimuchya etc.): ‘Resigned, become selfless and calm, one makes for becoming Brahma-like’ (XVIII-53).
(Brahma-bhūtaḥ etc). ‘The brahma-like, ātma-purified (saint), grieveth not, yearneth not. Equanimous to all beings, he obtains supreme Bhakti.’ (XVIII-54).
This constant meditation (upāsana) of the form of Love (bhakti), constituting the mode by which to reach the Supreme (God), is what is declared in the Vedanta passages:
‘Knowing (or meditating on=viditva) Him alone thus, doth one cross over mortality.’7
‘Knower of him=(vidvān), thus becomes immortal here’;8 analogous with passages :—
‘O (Maitreyī)!, Ātma alone is to be seen ….. intently contemplated on etc.’9
‘The all-seeing Ātma alone is to be worshipped.’10
‘Mind being pure, meditation is firm; meditation being fixed, all knots untie.’11
‘The knot of the heart is cut asunder, all doubts get vanished, and all deeds (karmas) do perish, to him to whom He is manifest’12 etc., etc., in which the terms dhyāna, upāsana, etc are synonymous, expressive of the continuity of reflection or contemplation on the Divine (smṛiti), so intensified as to approach to the characteristic of perceptive experience.
Again in the Upanishad-passage:
‘Not by deliberation is this ātma gained, nor by concentration, nor by much hearing (learning), but is gained by him whom He may elect, and to whom He may reveal His essence.’13, conclusively affirms that what the term Upāsana connotes is that incessancy of Divine Meditation of an ecstatically blissful kind, —which makes the Divine to descend to the devotee,— blissful or felicitous by reason of the Object of meditation, viz., the Divinity itself, being the Object of Love.
That this self-same Upāsana is Bhakti, is declared by the definition:—
‘Constant memory, coupled with Love, is denominated Bhakti.’14
That the terms Upāsana and Bhakti are equivalent in sense, is also evident from such passages as:—
‘The knower of Him thus, becomes immortal here; no other Path to liberation (ayana) exists.’15
(Nā-ham vedaiḥ etc): ‘Not by Vedas, not by austerities, not by gifts, and not by sacrifices, am I to be seen thus, as thou hast seen ’. (xi-53)
(Bhaktyā tv-ananyayā etc.,): ‘By exclusive Bhakti alone, Arjuna! am I possible to be seen thus, known thus, and essentially penetrable, Parantapa!’ (xi-54).
Thus the Seventh Lecture in this Middle Division of the Gita treats of:—
The essential nature of Paramapurusha (the Supreme Spirit), the Object of meditation (upāsana)’,
The occultation of this Divine Nature, caused by matter’s veil;
The resignation of oneself to Him, in firm faith (prapatti) so as to be able to tear this veil;
The classification of the upāsakas (meditators) who have chosen this Path of Bhakti. And,
The pre-eminence among them of those known as jñānis (God’s own Saints).
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- Lit: ‘dwelling near,’ means constant reflecting or meditating on the God-head, so as to bring about a coalescence of one’s being with God’s essence. Upāsana is synonymous with Bhakti, Dhyāna and Vedana; see Proem to Lecture III. ↩
- The Consort of (Nārāyaṇa,) the Emblem of Mercy &c., the Universal Mother and Mediatrix (or the Motherhood of God). From Chapter 1 Proem: ŚRĪ is the name of the Lord’s Consort, esoterically the Sophia or the Logos, the eternally-united power of Īśvara, and doing the function of a Mediatrix between the souls and the Lord. Īśvara symbolizes JUSTICE, and Śrī, MERCY. Both are united in the God-head. Śrī is called Śraddhā as in “Śraddhayā devo devatvam aśnute” (Krishna Yajur Veda, Ka. I, Pra. 3, Pan. 11, Va. 9). For esoteric explanations, read, Uttara-gopāla-tāpani Upanishat, Vishṇu Purāṇa, I.9, 117-133, and Kenopanishat, III-12 (Śobhamānām u Mām, &c). Śrī is She who serves the Lord to serve Her creatures, vice versa. ↩
- The “All-Comprehending“, the 246th name of God (vide, footnote, p.2. Yogi Parthasārāthy Aiyangār’s Hinduism. ↩
- ‘The Great, par excellence‘, the 669th name of God. ↩
- ‘The Great, par excellence‘, the 669th name of God. ↩
- Parama-Purusha = Synonym Purushottama(‘The Super-excellent Person’, the 24th name of God, (vide also, Pātañjala Yoga-Sūtra I.24, (which says purusha-viśesḥ) – Purusha is the common term to denote a thinking substance from an unthinking substance. Utpurusha=bound soul; uttara-purusha=liberated soul, uttama-purusha=the ever-free soul; Purushottama=Soul Supreme=God.): Purusha means etymologically He who grants abundance; “puru=bahu, sanoti=dadāti.” Thus Parama-Purusha means the Supreme all-Giver. ↩
- Svet: Up: III-8: (Tam evam viditvā- ‘ti mṛityum eti). ↩
- Tait: Āran: III-12-7: (Tam evam vidvan amṛita iha bhavati), also see Purusha: Sukta. ↩
- Bṛi: Up: II-4-5: (Ātmā vā are ! drashtavyo …… nididhyāsitavyaḥ). ↩
- Bri: Up: I-4-15: (Ātmānam eva lokam upāsīta). ↩
- Cḥh: Up: VII-26-2: (Satva-śuddhau dhṛivā smṛitiḥ &c). ↩
- Mund. Up: II-2-8: (Bhidyate hridaya-granthiḥ ………. tasmin drishte par-āvare. ↩
- Kath: Up: II-23: (Nā- ‘yam ātma pravachanena labhyo na me-dhayā na bahunā sṛutena, yam evaisha vṛiṇute &c). ↩
- Sneha-pūrvam anudhyānam Bhaktir ity abhidhīyate. ↩
- Tait: Āraṇ: III-2-7. ‘Tam evam vidvān amṛita iha bhavati, nānyaḥ panthā ayanāya vidyate.’ ↩