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RANGASWAMY_at_plh.af.mil
Date: Thu Aug 14 1997 - 08:57:51 PDT

Dear Friends,

On the occassion of Sudarshana-Narasimha Jayanthi, I offer the following 
article in praise of the Lord. Much of the material in this 
write up comes from an article I contributed to the Buffalo, NY Temple 
souvenir released during the Srinivasa Pratishta a couple of months ago. 


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			Sudarshana Vaibhavam
			
Namaschakraya Vithmahe Sahasra JwAlaya DhEmahe
Thanno Sudarshana PrachodayAt.

Sudarshana Chakram is the mighty weapon of Lord Narayana. 
The term Sudarshana means that which is beautiful to behold. The beauty 
of the Sudarshana Chakram arises from the fact that the Chakram leads  
the seeker to the path of Lord Narayana. The Chakram 
has many auspicious attributes. The foremost amongst these attributes is
Pida Pariharam (relief from all kinds of pain and suffering) 
for the devout and Pida Pradanam (relentless misery) for the evil minded. 
The Sudarshana Chakram also has the attribute of Papa Nashanam (destroying 
one's sins). Papa Nashanam is the first step towards realizing Lord
Narayana.

The magnificence of the Sudarshana Chakram is very eloquently described 
by Swami Desikan in both the Shodasayudha Stotram and the Sudarshana 
Ashtakam. Related references which offer tributes to the Chakram include 
the Mahabharata, Vishnu Sahasranamam, Padma Samhita and 
Ahirbudhnya Samhita (both of which are Pancharatra Agama texts),
Sudarshana Kavacham, and Srimad Bhagavatam. In addition, several Azhwars have 
paid tributes to the Chakram in their Pasurams (cf: Tirumazhisai Azhwar, 
Nammazhwar, Periya Azhwar and Tirumangai Azhwar).

The Chakram transcends space and time. This is evident from Swami 
Desikan's Shodasayudha stotram salutation Jagat Chakram Kala Chakram Cha. 
Therefore, the Chakram is an Amsham of Para Vasudeva. The Mahabharata refers 
to the wheel of time (Kala Chakram), denoting the temporal aspect of the 
Sudarshana Chakram. The Vishnu Sahasranamam salutation "Ritu Sudarshana Kala 
Iti Digbandha:" also refers to the spatio-temporal aspects of the Chakram. 
The Chakram is the mighty jwala which forms the center of the Kalanala 
(fire at the end of time). This Jwala has the radiance of a thousand suns as 
can be seen from the opening salutation of the Sudarshana Kavacham.
Sahasraditya Sankasham, Sahasra Vadanam Param
Sahasradam Sahasraram Prapadyeham Sudarshanam.
Therefore, the Chakram dispels all ignorance and darkness. 

The mighty Jwala also connotes the Jwala Narasimhar aspect. Lord 
Narasimha destroyed Hiranyakashipu in the form of Jwala Narasimha 
bringing instant relief (Pida Pariharam) to Prahlada from his sufferings. 
Therefore, Lord Narasimha is considered to be resident in the Chakram. 
Sudarshana and Lord Narasimha share deep connections. The joint worship of 
Sudarshana-Narasimha is prescribed by both Pancharatra and Vaighanasa 
Agamams. The Padma Samhita reports the presence of Lord Narasimha with 
sixteen arms in the Sudarshana Yantram. Swami Desikan glorifies the 
Shodasayudha aspect of the Sudarshana Chakram in the Shodasayudha Stotram. 
These references point to the common features of the back-to-back 
forms of Sudarshana and Narasimha. The back-to-back forms of Sudarshana 
Narasimhar are seen in a single Peetam at the Srirangam Temple (Chakrathazhwar 
Sannidhi). Sudarshana-Narasimha Salagramam provides further testimony to the 
joint worship of this form of Lord Narasimhar.

The Chakram is also the abode of the four Vyuha Murthis: Vasudeva,
Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. This is reflected in Swami Desikan's 
Sudarshana Ashtakam salutation: Nija Para Vyuha Vaibhava. The geometric form 
of the Sudarshana Yantram consists of six corners formed by two intersecting 
triangles circumscribed in a circle. The Vyuha Murthis find their abodes  
around the corners of the Sudarshana Chakram. Starting from the top right 
hand corner of the Chakram, the six vertices correspond to "A Chakram", 
"Vi Chakram", "Su Chakram", "Surya Chakram", "Jwala Chakram" and 
"Sahasrara Charkam", respectively. The Sudarshana Chakram itself is 
at the center of the Yantram along with Lord Narasimha. Therefore, 
offering prayers to the Sudarshana Chakram is equivalent to saluting 
Lord Narayana in Para, Vyuha, Vibhava, Archa and Antaryamitva forms. The 
glorification of the Lord in the Chakram form can also be found in the 
Shodasayudha stotram (Chakra Rupasya ChakriNaha). 

"A Chakram" arises from the relationship of the sound "A" to Lord 
Vishnu. "A" is the first syllable of PraNavam (AUM) which is 
associated with Lord Narayana from the vedic salutation: Akara Ukara 
Makara Iti. Furthermore, Tiruppan Azhwar's Amalanatipiran, Swami Desikan's 
Bhagavad Dhyana Sobanam and Munivahana Bhogam, and Narayana Bhattadripad's 
NarayaNeeyam commence with the syllable "A". These facts may be used to 
infer that "A" is VishNoraksharam. 

"Vi Chakram" denotes the Akshara Vi, which is the starting Aksharam of 
Lord VishNu's name. Parashara Bhattar, in his VishNu Sahasranamam
commentary, expounds on VishNu as: CharAchara Bhuteshu VeshaNAth Iti 
VishNu: Uchyathe (that which enters the sentinent and insentinent beings 
is called Vishnu). The Vi Chakram symbolizes this aspect of Lord VishNu.

"Su Chakram" denotes the abode of all auspicous attributes, i.e., 
the Kalyana GuNams of Bala, Aishwarya, VIrya, Shakti, Tejas, and 
Vatsalya. This aspect of the Sudarshana Yantram is inferred from Swami 
Desikan's Sudarshana Ashtakam salutation: Nirupatsipeeta Shad GuNa. Due to 
the synergy between the Chakram and Lord Narayana, one is led to wonder 
whether the Lord's right hand is beautiful on account of being adorned by
the Sudarshana Chakram or whether the touch of the Lord's hand imparts 
added beauty and effulgence to the Chakram.   

"Surya Chakram" refers to the fact that the radiance of Sudarshana exceeds 
that of a thousand Adityas. Testimony in support of this fact is seen in 
the opening salutation of the Sudarshana Kavacham, Ambarisha's 
Prapatti Stotram, and the Panchayudha stotram salutation:
Sudarshanam Bhaskara Koti Tulyam.

"Jwala Chakram" refers to the spatial aspect of the Sudarshana Chakram 
and the association with Kalanala, while the "Sahasrara Chakram" 
derives its name from the Bijaksharam for Sudarshana which is contained in the
Sudarshana Kavacham. 

Further references attesting to the greatness and auspicious attributes of 
the Sudarshana Chakram can be found in the Sudarshana Ashtakam of Swami 
Desikan (Shatamaka Brahma Vandita Shatapata Brahma Nandita). Great
scholars seek the help of Sudarshana before engaging in debates (Pratita 
Vidvatsa pakshita). In the Ahirbudhnya Samhita, 
Ahirbudhnya (Shiva) desires to see the glorious form of the Chakram
(Bhajata Ahirbudhnya Lakshita). Great scholars stumble in their attempts to 
discern the vast glory of the Chakram (Parijana Trana Pandita). The Chakram 
is the protector of the Devas, the destroyer of the Asuras and is the 
bestower of true knowledge, while tearing to shreds all pretence of false 
knowledge. This is seen from the passage: Dhanujavistara Kartana 
Janitamisravikartana Dhanuja Vidya Nikartana Bhajata Vidya Nivartana. Amara 
Drushtasva Vikrama Samarajushta Bramikrama. This is interpreted as the 
Chakram being the destroyer of Tamo Guna and enhancing or protecting 
Satva Guna. The Chakram is also the eye of the universe, the three Vedas and 
the three sacrifical fires as can be seen from:
Bhuvana Netas Trayeemaya Savana Teja Trayeemaya
Niravadisvatu Chinmaya Nikila ShaktE Jaganmaya.
All aspects of Yajna are embodied by Yajna Varaha Swamy. The Vishnu 
Sahasranamam salutations 971-982 establish the Yajna aspects of Lord Narayana. 
These tributes in conjunction with Swami Desikan's eulogy may be used to 
establish connections between the Sudarshana Chakram and Yajna Varaha Swamy.

The Chakram unfailingly comes to the rescue of the Lord's devotees as 
seen from the following instances:
*The relentless pursuit of Durvasa, who tried to kill Ambarisha with his 
fiendish creation (cf: Srimad Bhagavatam).
*The destruction of Shishupala, when he offended Yudhishtira and Bhishma 
(cf: Mahabharata).
*Arjuna was able to kill Jayadratha despite great odds only on account of 
the Chakram masking the Sun (cf:Mahabharata).
*In the Vamana Avataram, the blade of grass used to clear the opening of the 
jar (which had been blocked by Shukracharya) containing water for Mahabali's  
Sankalpam (cf: Kalakshepam of Sri Srivatsankachariar Swamigal).

The Chakram confers Moksham to anyone who surrenders to it as well as
anyone killed by it. Examples of people attaining Moksham by being killed
by the Chakram are: Shishupala, Narakasura, Poundraka Vasudeva and the
crocodile in Gajendra Moksham. Ambarisha is an example of a devout 
person who was protected by the Chakram and ultimately graced by the 
Lord. 

The Chakram also has the power of healing and curing illness. It is 
believed that a Tirupputkuzhi village was suffering greatly from an epidemic 
fever. The residents of the village requested Swami Desikan for help. At
this time, Swami Desikan composed the Sudarshana Ashtakam bringing instant 
relief from the epidemic. Also, the Sudarshana Homam has the power of curing 
people under the possession of the mighty Brahma Rakshasa. 

In conclusion, performance of Sudarshana Homam confers health, wealth and
prosperity on the seeker. If one desires material benefit, the
Chakram grants him all the riches he wants. If the seeker desires 
spiritual benefit, he begets this upon performance of the Homam. Shuddam 
is of utmost importance in the worship of Sudarshana Chakram. Therefore, 
the Homam must be performed with great regard to the Deha, Manas and 
Sthana Shuddam. Purity of thought, sound and intonation while chanting the 
Homa mantrams gives sampurna phalam.  

Shankha Chakra GadapaNE Dwaraka Nilayachyuta
Govinda PundarIkAksha RakshamAm SharaNagatam.

Aho Viryam Aho Shouryam Aho Bahu Parakramaha
Narasimham Param Daivam Ahobilam Ahobalam

Muralidhar Rangaswamy

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