You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : October 2000

Re: Sri VNV's second article

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Tue Oct 10 2000 - 15:21:00 PDT

Dear BhakthAs :

Namo Narayanaaya !

It is my pleasure to share with you the Part II
of the article specailly contributed by 
Dr.V.N. Vedantha Dessikan for the Saranagathy Journal.
This article has insights into the ways in which 
we should condiuct ourselves as the true servant of
Our Lord Sriman NaarAyaNan .

Daasan , Oppiliappan Sannidhi V.SatakOpan 


Pranava is a holy mantra of the Hindu.  It is part of all major mantras.  
Very interestingly most branches of Hinduism try to render some 
interpretation at will, without adhering to canons of linguistics, etymology 
and diction.  Since it is Vedic, holy and highly sacrosanct, its recitation 
requires certain purity and austerity.

It is given a simple meaning A-U-M "Akararthaya eva ayam Makaraartha: jivah"

This jiva meant by Ma is only for the Brahman, who is the meaning of A or 
Akara. A-U-M have this significance.

The consonant Ma implies thinking.  It means consciousness.  So it is a 
secret indicator for the soul, the jivatma.  Indeed, according to a peculiar 
enumeration process, tattvas or realities are reckoned upto 24, and the 25th 
is jiva the 26th being Paramatma.  In Sanskrit consonants - only in 
Sanskrit, mark it, we have Ka series (5), Cha series (5) Ta series (5), Ta 
series (5) and Pa series (5) - which ends in Ma. This means of reckoning, 
too, points at the meaning of Ma as Jiva.

Akara means Vishnu, primarily.  He is the first, the actual creator of 
Brahma himself, who is assigned the creation role subsequently.  We should 
remember that Thiruvalluvar, in his first kural, refers to Aadi Bhagavan as 
the import, and natural import at that, of the Akara (the letter m in 
Tamil).  Indeed A, alpha etc. is the first alphabet in all languages.  The 
letter A incorporated in the Pranava can imply God Vishnu-since He alone in 
the Hindu theism is origin-less; all else are born of Him.  There can be, 
therefore, no other appropriate interpretation for the A sound.

The meaning of U (which in conjunction with A leads to the sound O), in 
between A and M, has two interpretations.

i)	it is esoterically taken to imply an emphatic dependence, a stress that 
Ma, the jiva, exists only for the sake of Lord Vishnu, who is implied by A.

ii)	it means the Consort, Mahalakshmi for which a beautiful authority is 
taken for Srimad Ramayana.

Rama walks first; next follows Sita, with a beautiful (ie. thin) middle 
limb, the hip.  Then follows Lakshmana.

As Lakshmana, the incarnation of Adisesha, the first, the complete and 
perfect, role model of Seshatva - a concept that is unique to our religion - 
was, in the Ramayana, the ever-serving liege, dependent, servant, to the 
Divine Couple that Rama and Sita were, all of us - if we are sensients! - 
should imbibe the Seshatva and live accordingly.

I am to digress here for a few minutes.  This is my own comment useful for 
the moderns:  Sri Vaishnavism gives a new meaning for Man, for his life and 
goal, for his approach and for his attitude.  The world will be beautiful if 
all humans imbibe this subject of Vaishnavism, even if they do no become 
transformed into holy Bhagavatas! (Vishnu - worshippers).  What is the 
concept?  Individual souls are completely dependent on the Lord; they have 
an individuality only in respect of contributing to the service of God, His 
laws and His order of things.  All are brethren in His service.  Anyone's 
goal and ambition, aspiration and strife can only be within this ambit and 
he should totally negate his self insofaras it violates the Law of God; 
exists as god's liege.  What a man does ought to be only for the pleasure 
and satisfaction of Bhagavan (to cite our uniform sankalpa in rituals, " by 
the Lord's mandate, to His satisfaction").  If we order our life in this 
manner, how would we ever have disappointment, depression, jealousy, etc.  
Even if someone does you harm, think - that is the actual fact - that he is 
doing it by God's order of things, as per what God has ordained!  He is no 
longer an independent, a power to reckon; he is merely a liege, another like 
you.  How can my hand work against my chest?  Both are links, both are, of 
course, insensients, you would think.  But, then, all beings, even when 
sensients, act as per God's laws, almost as if they were insensients.  That 
is why we are hearing a beautiful mandate - that is emphasised by our 
Acharya at the time of Prapathi- that we should never seek anything from 
God; that Kamya karmas are taboo, that if we want this or that, which may 
run counter to the Lord's order of things, it is violation of our norms of 
life.  Not only that; it is equivalent to your abandoning your Seshatva 
faith itself.  If some one does you harm, that is, if you think that some 
one has harmed you, the impression is itself basically wrong.  It is not 
permissible.  None can do you harm if the particular event - which gives you 
the impression of that person having done you a harm - had not been so 
ordained.  All things proceed as ordained by God, The moment you harbour 
ill-will towards anyone on the grounds of your having suffered, (sic), you 
have betrayed your disbelief in God!  You have apparently forgotten your 
paratantrya, your self-effacing servility spirit.  Having surrendered 
yourself to the Lord-in Bharanyasa- you have entrusted your protection to 
the Lord. He knows best how and what should occur to you.  Then why grieve, 
why complain, why curse another person for an apparent suffering inflicted 
on you?  "That is God's will" should be your spirit.

In this context, I wish to emphasise that the import of Bharanyasa should 
mark our mundane life in all its phases.  We ought to have an integrated 
life wherein our spiritualism, seshatva, atma - samarpana, complete 
subordination to Bhagavat-sankalpa, etc. should mark our overall spirit and 
attitude in day-to-day mundane life also.  We should not forget the basic 
implication of Atma-samarpanam in our day-to-day activities.  That is, we 
ought not to play double role; say my Atma is the Lord's liege and then 
question what the Lord has meted out to us in life!

It would just then be equivalent to an Advaitin saying that his atma is 
identical with the Supreme Brahma, which is devoid of qualities, form etc. 
and then performing panchayatana pooja to a Brahman that is itself his soul 
in identity!  What a paradox!

Ours is true, practical and realistic philosophy.  But let us practise it in 
that spirit every moment!

Oppiliappan Sannidhi V.N.Vedantha Desikan 

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
To Post a message, send it to:
Search archives at