Essence of the Three Secrets | 4

The Truth regarding the Supreme Deity

Though we know in general about God as indicated above, it is imperative to understand who the Supreme Divine is:

By knowing this it becomes possible to worship the one God who can grant Realisation speedily and without our having to beseech any other godhead. Otherwise the pathway to that Supreme will remain unknown. Hence we should know about the Supreme Divine.

Though the sentient and non-sentient have been determined with the help of pramāṇas, it will not be acceptable to consider everything as Brahman or Brahman as the One.

Nor is it right to consider the Lord and Jīvātmā as a single entity:

All sentient beings are different because of varied experiences of joy and sorrow. Because of this there is difference among gods and living beings as well.

Though the Supreme is the Indwelling Universal within Brahma, Rudra and other gods, yet they are all different. It is not right to consider them all as being same:

Brahma, Rudra and the other gods have been created by Nārāyaṇa. They have to endure the results of their action. This truth is stated in several works which say Śrī Nārāyaṇa alone is their cause and that He is indestructible.

Hence it is not correct to accept the statements that Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra are equals, or that all these are one and the same, or that there is a god superior to the three or that Brahma or Rudra is the Supreme.

There are several proofs and Pramāṇas to prove that Śrī Nārāyaṇa alone is Supreme to all, and not Brahma or Rudra.

The Purāṇas speak through the words of Brahma and Rudra, that they were created by Śrī Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme. The Purāṇas describe how these gods were bound by some desires and karmic results, and how they worshipped the Lord and gained their status.

Besides this, several Purāṇic Stories tell us how they are controlled by Nature known as Māyā. They are controlled by the three guṇas of Rajas, Tamas and Sattva. Their knowledge has decline as well as growth.

It has been said that with the help of the Supreme who dwells within them, Brahma and Rudra fulfil the commands issued to them.

They are not auspicious. Nor can one take refuge in them. That is, they have not the capacity to chase away the sins of aspirants. They cannot be envisioned through meditation.

Parāśara Śūka, Śaunaka and others have said so in the Purāṇas. The Lord has also said that these godheads are beneath Nārāyaṇa whereas He is not subject to them. 

Where it is stated that all the worlds are bound by the sway of the Lord, Brahma and Rudra are included in the mention, and referred to as His servants.

All creation is the body of the Lord. The Lord is spoken of as the soul of all things. Brahma and Rudra are his bodies, they are servants of Nārāyaṇa. The all-knowing Rudra has himself affirmed in the Mantrarajapatha Stava that Nārāyaṇa is their Supreme.

There is no one who is equal or superior to Nārāyaṇa. Several Purāṇas and other works have affirmed that He is without an equal.

It is said that one who is glanced at by Nārāyaṇa even when in the womb, and when born of this grace is watched by Him and becomes intent on moksha (Realisation). Whereas it is said, that those seen by Brahma or Rudra thus are full of Rājasic or Tāmasic qualities.

Also, that those who desire moksha should not worship Brahma or Rudra: They and those who wish for moksha should worship Nārāyaṇa only.

Though the Purāṇas speak at times of Brahma or Rudra as givers of moksha, it only means that they give the knowledge for attainment of Moksha like a teacher:

Though one may worship them, the aspirant will but gain evil if he equates Brahma or Rudra with Nārāyaṇa. They must be worshipped only as devotees of Nārāyaṇa.

Even the Rāmāyaṇa says that if the Lord decides to punish a person, Brahma or Rudra or any other God cannot save him:

But if the Lord decides to save someone, He will give the right explanation to those who seek to prevent Him and also destroy those who oppose, and thus be the saviour.

He gave a proper explanation to Sugrīva who sought to prevent Vibhīṣaṇa from being given refuge and took him in as a friend. He then killed the enemy Rāvaṇa, made Vibhīṣaṇa as his associate, and fulfilled his desires. This stands out as an example.

If one approaches gods other than Nārāyaṇa, minor desires other than Moksha could be fulfilled speedily. Even this is done because of the power devolved in them by Nārāyaṇa.

However, one cannot gain moksha from any god other than Nārāyaṇa:

If one approaches Him, one can gain riches vaster than that is given by Brahma and other gods. Gaining riches from Nārāyaṇa it like bathing in the river Ganges to cool oneself from the heat of existence.

By the Lord's grace, his sins also will be washed away; he will be endowed with Sāttvic qualities and gain a taste for moksha as Janaka, Ambarīṣa and the Kekaya king, and ultimately gain moksha as well.

But there is a time differential between those who approach the Lord for moksha straight and those who desire riches first and then moksha:

He who desires only moksha and follows the path gains the same without any loss of time.

He who desires wealth first and also hankers after Moksha, has to go through Karma and Jñāna yogas and after a passage of time enter Bhakti Yoga and thereby gain Moksha.

For him who surrenders, there is no time-lag at all except the limit he himself has sought.

It may be understood that for one who follows Bhakti Yoga even though it has many difficulties, the result comes only after a considerable lapse of time. For those who surrender (Prapatti) there is immediate result.

The Śāstras say that due to the boundless nature of the Divine, the path Full of difficulties yields result after a long time while the easier path gives immediate result.

We must accept what the Śāstras lay with unwavering faith. Only those who do not know this truth will worship gods other than Nārāyaṇa.

However, as all gods are the body of Nārāyaṇa, worship offered to them will ultimately reach Him just as the external application of sandal paste pleases the king’s heart.

But since such worship has not followed the right method, they will not yield results. When such worship is done keeping in mind these gods to be the body of Nārāyaṇa, one gains results.

Knowing this, if one worships Nārāyaṇa alone for Moksha as well as other desires, the gifts will be even more valuable than that given by other gods:

For those who hold on to the Lord for moksha, He will on His own give health, wealth and happiness. A fine illustration is Kulaśekhara Āḻvār.

The Āḻvārs have pointed out in several places the superiority of Nārāyaṇa to Brahma, Shiva and other gods.

The truth of Nārāyaṇa being the Supreme must be meditated upon the first letter Ā and the word Nārāyaṇa in Tirumantra, the terms "Śrīman Nārāyaṇa and Śrīmate Nārāyaṇāya in the Dvaya and the words mam and aham in the Chāraṇa śloka.

Only he who knows this truth about the Supreme Lord will find it possible to surrender to Him completely. The Āḻvārs have considered it imperative to worship the Lord's devotees as well.

One should always salute the Lord along with the Mother as the equal. The Āḻvārs and the Vishnu Purāṇa have said that they should be always worshipped together as equals,

Aspiration for Moksha

From the earlier four chapters we gain a clear understanding of the following points:

The Vedāntic texts Speak of the true nature of the Ātman:

This Jīvātmā is self-illumined. He is the knower, the doer, the enjoyer housed in the body, atomic, has neither birth nor death, has no limbs, cannot be cut or destroyed in any manner, registers neither growth nor decay.

It is thus clearly learnt that he is different from the body in which he is housed, and the limbs that help him:

He knows that this ātma when it leaves the body goes to reside in another or moves away to another world. Generally it comes to be known that the ātma deserves to go to another world and gain other experiences.

Whether it turns out to be hell or a life on this earth again, he now realises the evil therein and distances himself from the action that leads him to such states.

Also, he knows what differentiates him from Nārāyaṇa that he is the body housing the Lord; that he lacks certain good qualities.

He knows that service to Nārāyaṇa makes for the superiority of his being; hence he desires for such serving:

This knowledge is a must as it helps the aspirant to pray for such good in another world, especially the privilege of serving the Lord in Moksha and prevents him from doing anything inimical to this aspiration.

Such discrimination helps him shed the egotism of the 'I’ and the avarice of 'mine'.

For giving up the feelings of ‘I’ and 'mine’, we must meditate upon the important significations in the Tirumantra. The third letter 'ma' in the first word helps a good deal in this regard.

This Ātman is, of course, the image of wisdom, and has knowledge. By knowing this we get released from the feeling of ‘I-ness' in the body and that the things connected with the body are ‘mine’.

Even though one realises that Ātma and its attributes are different from the body, it is by understanding that one belongs to Nārāyaṇa who is the significance of the fourth case of the first syllable that one ceases to think of oneself as all-capable.

By considering oneself as the servant of the lord, one realises that he is no more the owner of himself or the objects concerning him. Thus egoism ceases to be.

By the middle letter U of the first syllable, it is understood that ‘I am the servant of Nārāyaṇa alone and not of anyone else’. Hence no more does the Jīva think of himself as the property of someone else or that anyone other than the Lord can own him.

The middle word Nama of Tirumantra says ‘I am not independent.’ By saying so, one is freed from the idea of saving oneself without the help of others.

By understanding thus the inlaid significance of the Tirumantra, the Jīva is freed from erroneous ideas:

The true knowledge teaches him that the joys to be gained on this earth and in places like heaven are tainted. From several Pramāṇas he understands that only the Ānanda gained in the Lord's Vaikuṇṭha is blemishless.

He understands that mere enjoyment of one's self is also tainted. The Ānanda gained in Śrī Vaikuṇṭha alone is spotless.

Hence he desires to give up his attachment for ordinary pleasures and looks out for shoreless Ānanda. He is a Mumukṣu, or one who desires Moksha.

Those who are desirous of Moksha, and have learnt the aforesaid points, if they do not pursue the goal which is the highest Puruṣārtha by giving up worldly attachment, vain has been their studies:

They will be looked down upon by others. Those who seek to act immediately upon what they have understood so far will be praised by even gods. They will gain glory.