Essence of the Three Secrets | 12. Dvaya Mantra

The Dvaya Mantra

The Dvaya mantra makes clear the Way indicated by the central syllable of the Tirumantra and the Goal underlined by the third part.

The Katta Valli asks us to separate them and repeat them together. This Dvaya mantra has been recorded in Pāñcharātra also. As it is thus found in the Veda and Tantra śāstras, it is a Tantric mantra that is the base of the Vedas.

As it mentions both the Way and the Goal, it is known as Dvaya. Hence, only he who has no interest in other paths becomes eligible to have this mantra.

This mantra has to be received from an Āchārya. This mantra has no formal discipline as for others. This Dvaya Mantra can be recited at all times and in all conditions, it can be used for meditation. This is the mantra of surrender.

To indicate its unique position among all mantras, Śrī Rāmānuja has commanded in the Gādya: "Repeat the Dvaya in some way or the other."

We can understand its greatness when we learn that it is enough if it is recited even once. The glory of such mantras should be accepted with faith in the śāstras.

Vain disputation must be avoided. No other mantra speaks of surrender in such clear terms. Thus, among mantras of surrender, the Dvaya is unique.

Now let us draw closer to the greatness and significance of the Dvaya Mantra:

Firstly it refers to Śrīman Nārāyaṇa who is the Supreme who grants refuge to everyone:

By indicating Him as the consort of Lakshmi and the word Nārāyaṇa, the highest concept of the Vedas is made manifest. The term in the first part of Dvaya shows that when one surrenders to Nārāyaṇa, one must envisage Him as being together with Lakshmi.

The Pāñcharātra gives 6 meanings for 'Śrī':

First: She is approached by those who wish to be saved.

Two: She is with the Lord to help them be saved:

By this it is obvious she is like a mother who guards even the guilty when he surrenders, requests the Lord to overlook the guilt and save him.

Thus the Mother is Puruṣakāra. Puruṣakāra means 'one who recommends’, Here the Mother is the one who helps the devotee fulfil his desire when he surrenders.

The third meaning is "she hears”, and fourth is “she makes Him hear". Thus when we pray to Her to bring us to the feet of the Lord, she hears us and then makes Him hear and thus fulfils our desires. This too shows how She is a Puruṣakāra.

Fifth:  She removes all the faults of the prapanna. It means she removes all the karmic results of the devotees who surrender.

Sixth: She enriches the devotees with qualities that help them attain servitude to Nārāyaṇa.

Bhaṭṭar and others have stated that in all this Śrī indicates that Mother Lakshmi is all- auspicious.

Though we speak of Śrīman, it actually means "consort of Lakshmi”.

By this we know that Lakshmi is the Mother to whom all of us turn and as Nārāyaṇa is Her contort, He is the Supreme, and easy of approach.

Śrīman insinuates that the Lord is never separated from Lakshmi:

Even when he acted the part of a bachelor in the Vāmana incarnation, the Lord used a deerskin to veil Lakshmi who was on His chest, says the Purāṇa.

The 'Śrīmat' syllable is in both the sentences (the first speaks of the Way and the second of the Goal) and helps one in envisioning the Mother with the Lord as one pursues the Way and the Goal. By reciting thus, it helps the guilty gain the Mother's compassion immediately and then reach the Lord.

Śrīmat is an adjective for Nārāyaṇa. The meanings given for Nārāyaṇa in Tirumantra are applicable here as well.

However, as Nārāyaṇa in the first sentence means the Lord “saves those who take refuge,” one must repeat the sentence with the appropriate qualities in mind. Such qualities are as follows:

Vātsalya: This is compassion that accepts others without caring for their faults. This helps one from hesitation in approaching the Lord due to one's faults.

Lordship: This shows the connection between the Lord and the Jīvātmā. The Lord as a master will surely guard His servant.

Simplicity (Sauśīlya): Simplicity is a quality. It is what the Lord exemplifies in His closeness with a lowly hunter, monkeys, cowherd and others.

Easy Approachability (Saulabhya): This indicates that the Lord can be attained easily. The Lord who is not attainable even for yogis like Sanaka incarnates due to this quality so that all human beings may see Him. This quality helps us from withdrawing from Him thinking that He is unattainable.

Sarveśvara: One who knows everything. This too it a quality. We realise that He knows what should be given to the worthy devotee and chase away what may harm him.

The Lord is all-capable. He can make us dwell with the Nityā Sūrīs in Moksha.

Satya-sankalpa: When He decides upon a course, He can fulfil it, come what may.

The Lord is full of compassion. He wants to help others without caring for Himself. It follows then that if we surrender, even if we are sinners, He will forgive us.

He is full of gratitude. Despite committing many sins, if we but do one good thing, He will not forget this small act. This assures us that if we perform even a small good act, we will yet be saved by Him.

The Lord is a Paripūrṇa. He has all that He needs. Hence He is not in need of anyone giving Him anything. If offered with devotion, the least thing is accepted by Him as if it were a huge offering. He looks to our intention, and not the worth of what we offer. We need not worry that we are not able to offer Him much. If offered with devotion, He accepts with Joy.

The Lord is also generous. He might give a lot to His devotee, yet would not consider it enough.

One must thus meditate upon the Lord s qualities that show how He guards those who surrender.

When holding ‘Śrīman Nārāyaṇa Chāraṇau' as one term, it is explained as the Lord's feet. Śrīman and Nārāyaṇa are also spoken of as separate terms to explain as ‘Thy feet, O Nārāyaṇa with Lakshmi’. Both mean the same.

'Chāraṇau' tell us that the Lord has an all- auspicious form and we must meditate upon Him as an image. Śrīmad Rāmāyaṇa and the work of the Āḻvārs and Āchāryas speak of surrendering at the feet of the Lord. It is easier for meditation to hold on to the divine forms.

Śaranam’ indicates the Way. This term shows that the Lord Himself appears at the Way and saves the devotee who surrenders.

'Prapadye’ indicates the important instrument of surrender which is 'buddhi’ or feeling. This signifies the impregnable faith that the Lord will definitely save the aspirant. This is the best of the five limbs of surrender. However, this firm faith along with other limbs alone is indicated here. 'Pra' reveals the firm faith, and assures us that there is no need for doubting it. Prapatti bears fruit only when there is total faith. The śāstras say that the Lord accepts the surrender performed with total faith and gives moksha.

It is certain that the Lord does not help the doubting devotee:

Full faith is vital for surrender. Even if there is some lack in faith when one surrenders, if the Lord descends to save, the faith will be strengthened further.

So the first part of Dvaya deals with the Way of surrender.

The second part of the Dvaya refers to the gain granted by the Way that assures all gain. The one who grants the fruits of surrender is Śrīman Nārāyaṇa who wants to save.

The second part prays for removing the hurdles and grant Moksha. This also tells us that one does not want anything other than Moksha.

'Śrīmate Nārāyaṇāya’ in the second part indicates that He is the Lord and that He gives Ānanda.

Here 'Śrīmate' also tells us that the service of the devotee to the Lord is to be taken as service to Nārāyaṇa in union with Lakshmi who are the Auspicious Couple.

The meanings given for "Śrī" earlier are applicable here as well. Of the meanings, the most appropriate one would be, 'she is worshipful’.

'Nārāyaṇāya' underscores the love that follows the basis of the relationship between Jīvātmā and the Lord. The fourth case makes it obvious that one must wish to serve Nārāyaṇa only.

Here a word may be added that would make it clear one is praying to the Lord.

By adding "Namaḥ" after praying for the fulfilment of one’s desires, one prays for the removal of obstacles.

Sometimes an adverb is added to Namaḥ to mean, “Let me be not for myself’. It Is a prayer to say, “nothing belongs to me”, and that egoism in all things concerning the devotee maybe removed.

The second part of the Dvaya — I am giving myself -as bharā to Śrīman Nārāyaṇa” - is seen also as the act of surrender alone with ‘na mama’ to indicate rejecting everything else. This is also appropriate.

By this, the first part of Dvaya may be seen to indicate the five limbs of surrender and the second the act of surrender. Since both them speak of surrender, the result is realised on its own.

If as indicated earlier, the first part signifies Prapatti and the second part the gains of Prapatti, one must meditate as surrendering oneself to the Lord in the first part.

Though the first part, the term that ends in the dative case and Namaḥ might make separate sentences, it is best they are seen as a single sentence focussed on the one Way.

The deep significance of the Dvaya mantra is as follows:

Nārāyaṇa is the Supreme Lord who grants Ānanda to all. He is never separate from Lakshmi. I surrender at His Feet.

May He remove all obstacles in the way of my service to Him, appropriate to my position. May I be free from the care of looking after myself. I offer my humble self at the Lord's feet with the five limbs of surrender and hand over the responsibility of guarding me to Him.