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Re: PramAnas for Brahman as being different from its Body

From: Anand Karalapakkam (
Date: Wed May 03 2000 - 05:33:51 PDT

SrI Lakshminrusimha ParabrahmaNE namaha
SrI Lakshminrusimha divya pAdukA sEvaka SrIvaN SatakOpa-
SrI nArAyaNa yateendra mahAdESIkAya namaha

 Dear SrI Mani,
 namO nArAyaNa.

SrI Mani Varadarajan wrote:

> Sri Anand cited the JitantE Stotram and added a translation:
> >    " na tE rUpam na ca aakArO na-aayudhAni na ca-aaspadam |
> >      tathApi purusha-AkArO  bhaktAnAm tvam prakASasE || "
> >
> >   " You <in ds>  donot have any physical qualities such as white or
> >      black (rUpa) ; You <in ds> do not possess any physical organs
> >      such as head or legs (aakAra) ; nor are there any weapons or
> >      ornaments on You < in ds> (aayudha) ; nor do You have an
> >      abode <ie. ds being all pervading, there is no specific abode
> >      by which Brahman's presence is limited>; Neverthless out of
> >      Your infinite compassion towards devotees <who can't
> >      comprehend and reciprocate with You as ds>, You manifest
> >      Yourself with a lusturous bodily form bedecked with ornaments
> >      and weapons in an abode of Yours < Be it arcAvatAra, vibhava
> >      avatAra etc>".
> While the provided meaning is not inappropriate,
> Sri Periyavaaccaan Pillai gives a very different interpretation,
> which I feel in some ways is more in line with the text. He
> takes "na tE" as meaning "not for you", rather than "you do
> not have". This is perfectly valid according to Sanskrit
> usage and grammar. Furthermore, he takes "rUpa" not to mean
> "form" but "svarUpa" or "essence", with the idea that otherwise
> there would be a redundancy in the usage "AkAra" immediately
> after, which very clearly means a defined form.
> Given this, a translation according to Sri PVP's commentary
> would be:
>     Your divine essence if not for you, nor is your form,
>     nor are your weapons, nor is your divine abode; rather
>     they are manifested by you for the sake of your
>     beloved devotees.
> This avoids the problem of first saying that the Lord does
> not have a form, etc., and then saying that he manifests it.
> I find this interpretation a notch more appropriate -- and
> what more should we expect from Swami PVP?

 SwAmi PVP certainly gives excellent interpretation for this
 verse. But, adiyEn would like to add few points on the merits
 of an equally good interpretation by SrI PuttankOttakam SwAmi(PS).
 The context is that, in verse 2, it occurs "...sarvadA 
 caraNadvandvam vrajAmi SaraNam tava" implying performing 
 SaraNAgathi unto the Lord's feet. The next two verses also
 glorifying Lord etc. 

 In the intro to this verse, SrI PS writes that this verse 
 dispells various doubts occuring in one's mind due to the
 mention of Lord with a form viz. vEdAs say Brahman to be 
 "apANipAdO javanaha" <one with no hands,legs> ; Upanishads
 also say starting with "yattadadrESyam" <Brahman can't be seen> 
 that Brahman does not have colours like white,yellow,black etc.
 Then, how come Brahman is glorified with having colour, feet
 etc and we perform SaraNAgathi (as expressed in previvous 
 The verse thus answers these philosophical questions as to
 how Lord certainly has form etc. 
 Also, adiyEn posted certain portions from SrI BhAshyam  
 on this issue and when seen in that light, this interpretation
 brings out all those tattvas established in vEdAnta. There
 is no "problem" in this interpretation as one may think.

 Moreover, "rUpam" referring to "colour" is accepted as 
 an adravya in vEdAnta / ViSishtAdvaita and other systems
 of thought like NyAya etc. Hence, that term is used by SrI PS 
 here as referring to colour. aakAra ofcourse refers to "form".  
 Thus, this interpretation is also as excellent as that of SrI 
 Please refer to the originals which is quite more detailed.
 Additional note :

  By reading SrI PVP's interpretation one may have doubts as to 
  whether Brahman doesn't enjoy its ownself (swaroopa), rUpa
  and other vibhUtis, and as to whether they are present only for 
  the enjoyment of devotees. This is because, by the definition of 
  "sAyujyam", the mukta and Brahman have common objects of enjoyment 
  viz. Swaroopa, rUpa ... and other vibhUtis of Brahman. Thus, 
  PerumAL does certainly enjoy Himself etc and thus, the swaroopa,
  rUpa etc are for His enjoyment too. He enjoys bhOga rasa from 
  nitya vibhUti ( SrI VaikuNTham ) and lIlA rasa from leelA vibhUti
  (material world). Since He is the SEshi, everything exits for
  His purpose. One has to understand that, SrI PVP by his 
  interpretation only magnifies the great kalyANa guNa of PerumAL 
  in making even a jIvAtma (who has no comparison with the glories 
  of ParamAtma) enjoy Himself, His rUpa etc. 

  adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,

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