Why are svayambhu pindis situated below the ground level?


Shiva’s idol underwent changes, with the passage of time as given below.

1. Form of the phallus

Shankar is referred to as the father of the universe; that is why, at first, the idol used to be in the form of a phallus. It is mostly five faced. The face facing the east is called Vishnu, that facing the west is called Brahma, that facing the south Rudra and that facing the north Shiva. The fifth face points upwards, that is towards spiritual progress.

Inspite of Shiva being the deity of dissolution, one will wonder how the lingas of Shiva having forms such as the phallus, Nandi, divine phallus (linga) and divine birth passage (bhag / yoni), etc. have been created. According to theShaiva sect, Shiva is the deity of all that is creation, sustenance as well as dissolution. Only in the concept ofTrimurti (Datta) is Shiva the deity of dissolution. According to psychology too for most it is easier to worship with regard to creation and sustenance and difficult with regard to dissolution.

2. In the form of an animal

Nandi is the form of Shiva from the Vedic period.

3. In the form of a man

This form was created during the Puranic period. Here Parvati is depicted as seated on Shiva’s lap. It symbolises that Shiva-Parvati [Divine Energy (Shakti) are the parents of the universe. This idol is always white, that is like camphor (karpur) and is named Karpurgour. Shiva being the deity of purity, the idol is white in colour as a representation of this absolute purity. This human form of Shiva possesses the following four symbolic instruments in his hands.

A. The small hourglass shaped drum (damaru): This represents the Brahman in the form of the word (shabda Brahman). Alphabets consisting of the sounds of fifty-two basic letters and the forms of fourteen Maheshvar verses (sutras) have generated from it. Later the universe was created from it.

B. The trident: It represents the following

  • The three components (trigunas)
  • The root of creation, sustenance and dissolution
  • Volition, knowledge and action are the tips of the three prongs of the trident.
  • The yamasurya and prajapati frequencies

C. The noose or the deer: The noose represents the noose of time (kalpash). (The rope in Ganapati’s hand too is the noose of time.) The deer symbolises the four Vedas.

D. The axe: This represents the destruction of ignorance.

3.1 Dakshinamurti

‘The word dakshina represents intellect. “Dakshinamurti” is that form of The Lord the realisation of which one acquires with the help of the right intellect. A legend says that Shiva assumed this form to be able to preach philosophy to His devotees, constantly. The Dakshinamurti idol too exists in four forms – Vinadhar, Yoga, Dnyan and Vyakhyan.

  • The idol of Vinadhar is in an erect posture and has four arms. It teaches the devotees the vina (a stringed instrument), that is meditation upon notes.
  • The idol of Yoga is seated in meditation. It is through this form that the knowledge of yoga is acquired.
  • The idol of Dnyan teaches philosophy.
  • The idol of Vyakhyan teaches other sciences. It is seated in virasan (adamant posture) and depicts themudras of dnyansandarbha and vyakhyan.’

‘In this form Shiva is either in the standing or in the sitting posture. His countenance is pleasant and beautiful. He possesses four arms. Often several animals, serpents, yatis and sages surround this idol. At times Parvati too is close by. Shankaracharya has composed two verses (stotras) of Dakshinamurti.

3.2 Kalyansundarmurti

This idol depicts the wedding ceremony of Shiva and Parvati.’

4. The form of a pindi

The divine birth passage and the divine phallus are the two sex organs responsible for animate creation. Realising this, primitive man worshipped both these organs. The pindi was created by union of the base of the linga (shalunka) representing the divine birth passage and the linga representing the divine phallus. The earth means procreation and Shiva means purity. Although the shalunka has both creation and purity yet the universe was not created from semen but by the resolve (sankalpa) of Lord Shiva. Thus Shiva and Parvati became the parents of the world. Huishka, the son of Kanishka began worship of Shiva’s linga since the second century. The concept of theShivalinga originated after the union of the Shiva and Shakti (Divine Energy) sects. Shiva cannot do anything without Divine Energy (Shakti) hence the worship of Shakti commenced along with that of Shiva. Shiva’s linga in the form of a pindi represents the energy of effulgence. The modern nuclear reactors too are shaped like the lingas of Shiva.

4.1 Types of pindis

A. Chal and achal:chal linga is created for a certain ritualistic worship (puja). This is created like an idol of Ganesh made for Ganesh Chaturthi and is then immersed. An achal linga is installed in one place and not moved.

B. With context to the ground

  • 1. Situated below the ground level (svayambhu): This possesses tremendous amount of energy. Hence it is situated below the ground level. If situated above the ground then devotees will not be able to tolerate the energy emitted by it. (The eyes of Lord Balaji of Tirupati are half open to prevent devotees from being affected by the radiance from His eyes.) Worshippers lie down on the ground and inserting their hands inside, worship it. The amount of Shiva principle in it is next to that in the jyotirlingas. These lingas are created with the resolve of Lord Shiva. Later the linga manifests before some devotee and after it is discovered, its worship begins.
  • 2. Situated at the ground level: These are installed by sages or kings. They possess less energy. Devotees are able to endure only that much of energy. Worshippers perform ritualistic worship of the pindisitting in a hollow beside it.
  • 3. Situated above the ground level: These are installed by devotees collectively. These have the least energy which people can easily tolerate. The worshipper performs its ritualistic worship sitting on the platform constructed beside it.Lingas of type 2 and 3 are referred to as manush lingas. ‘These are called so probably because they are created by man (manushya). They are included in the stable lingas. A manush linga is composed of three parts – the Brahma part, the Vishnu part and the Rudra part. The lowermost part is referred to as Brahma. It is square in shape. The central octagonal part is called Vishnu. Both these parts are buried in the ground. The uppermost round raised portion is called Rudra. This is also known as puja part as all the substances used in ritualistic worship are offered unto it. Holy texts on the science of idols state that the Rudra part should have some lines on it. These are called Brahmasutras. Divine and arshak lingas do not display such lines.’
  • 4. Suspended in air: The pindi of Somnath created from mercury floats in the air at a height of five metres above the ground. Worshippers pass below it. This itself becomes the circumambulation (pradakshina) of thepindi.

4.2 Linga (Divine Phallus)

  • A. linga is a representation of an object or an emotion. The text Medinikosh explains the meaning of this word as follows.
    लिङ्‌गं चिन्‍हेऽनुमाने च साङ्‌ख्‍योक्‍त प्रकृतिरपि ।
    शिवमूर्तिविशेषे च मेहेगेऽपि नपुंसकम्‌ ।।

    Meaning: The word linga is used with reference to a symbol, inference, Prakruti according to the Sankhyaphilosophy by Sage Kapil, special features of the idols of Shiva and the phallus and is of the neuter gender. However in common usage it infers ‘a representation of Shiva’.

  • B. It is called so because at the time of dissolution (pralay) along with the five cosmic elements the entire world merges into the linga and originates from it again, at the time of creation.
  • C. The mahalinga possesses three eyes. They refer to creation, sustenance and dissolution and to tama(tiryak), raja (visphutit) and sattva (saman) frequencies.

4.3 Shalunka [base of the linga (lingavedi)]

Bhumi (Earth) is the eldest daughter of Daksha Prajapati . Aditi, Uttanpada, Mahi and Shalunka are its forms. The root name of the shalunka is Suvarnashankhini because the sex organs of a woman resemble a conch (and a seashell) in shape. Ritualistic worship of the shalunka implies the worship of the mother deity (matrudevata). The grooves located on the inner aspect of the shalunka are important. Due to them the sattvik (sattva predominant) energy generated in the pindi mostly remains in the pindi and in the central part of the temple (gabhara) while the destructive tama predominant energy constitutes the outflow (srot) from the shalunka.


A. Types of shalunkas based on the circumference

  • 1. A shalunka with a circumference thrice that of the linga is called inferior.
  • 2. A shalunka with a circumference one and a half times that of the linga is called medium.
  • 3. A shalunka with a circumference four times that of the linga is a superior one.

B. Height: The height of a linga should be equivalent to that of its Vishnu part.

C. Shape: It may have 4, 6, 8, 12 or 16 sides but is mostly round.

If the shalunka faces northwards then its shape resembles the figure below. Sperms and golden colouredadhahashayi (the embodied soul (jiva) which enters the foetus) (अध:शायी) (refer ‘Science of Spirituality: Chapter 24 – Creation of the Universe’) as well as neonates resemble it.

shalunka facing northwards

4.4 Jyotirlingas


There are twelve jyotirlingas. They materialised in a radiant form. The thirteenth pinda is called kalpinda. The body (pinda) which has crossed the limits of time (kal) is called kalpinda. The twelve jyotirlingas are given below.

Jyotirlinga Site
1. Somnath Prabhasapattan, near Veraval, Sourashtra
2. Mallikarjun Shrishailya, Andhra Pradesh
3. Mahankal Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
4. Omkar /
Omkar, Mandhata, Madhya Pradesh
5. Kedarnath Himalay
6. Bhimashankar Dakini region, taluka Khed, district Pune,
7. Vishveshvar Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
8. Tryambakeshvar Near Nashik, Maharashtra
9. Vaidyanath
Parli, District Bid, Maharashtra or
Vaidyanathdham, Bangal.
10. Nagesh
Darukavan, Oundha, district Parbhani,
Maharashtra or Almoda, Uttar Pradesh
11. Rameshvar Setubandha, near Kanyakumari, Tamilnadu.
12. Ghrushneshvar
Verul, district Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

The twelve jyotirlingas are bodies the heads of which lie at Pashupatinath of Kathamandu. For acquisition of the supernatural power of a rudraksha one should choose the linga with the required quality and energy and worship it by sprinkling with water (abhishek). For example, Mahankal contains tamasi (tama predominant) energy, Nagnath is a form of Hari (Vishnu) and Har (Shiva) and is predominant in sattva and tama components, Tryambakeshvar is composed of the three components (Avadhut) while Somnath is appropriate for alleviating disease.

The meaning of a jyotirlinga

  • The all pervading Brahmatmalinga or all pervading light.
  • In the Taittiriya Upanishad the twelve principles of Brahman, the Great Illusion (Maya), the embodied soul, the mind, intellect, subconscious mind, ego and the five cosmic elements have been referred to as the twelvejyotirlingas.
  • The twelve sections of the Shivalinga.
  • In the summit of a sacrificial fire (yadnya) the shalunka represents the altar (vedi) of the fire and the linga the flame of the fire.
  • A representation of the twelve adityas.
  • The sites of eruption of fire from the dormant state of the volcano.

Since Lord Yama the master of the south is controlled by Shankar, the south is the direction of Lord Shankar. Thejyotirlingas (that is the mouths of the shalunkas) face southward direction. Most of the temples do not face the southward direction. When the mouth of the shalunka faces southwards its pinda possesses more energy while thepinda with the mouth of the shalunka facing northwards has less energy.

4.5 Banalingas

These are a type of Shivalingas. A particular kind of pebbles from the bed of the Narmada river is referred to asbanalingas. Banasur had created these lingas for ritualistic worship and then left them on the mountain situated on the banks of the Narmada. The Yadnyavalkyasanhita states that along with the water currents these lingas reached the Narmada. Akin to the Narmada banalingas are also found in the rivers Ganga and Yamuna.’ Since banalingasand shaligrams of Lord Vishnu are made of non-porous stone like marble they are both heavy and do not erode easily.

4.6 Lingas according to the era (yug)

Yug Linga Yug Linga
Satya (Krut) Precious stones Dvapar Mercury
Treta Gold Kali Earth

5. The five-faced Shiva

The following table gives information on the Names of the faces in the five-faced Shiva, the associated elements, the direction of the face, special features and their implied meaning.

Name Element Direction Special
Implied meaning of
the special feature
1. Mahadev Pruthvi
East A. Three eyes


B. Ten arms

Sun, moon and fire


Ten directions

2. Bhairav Apa (absolute
South A. A mace in
the hand


B. A citron fruit
in the hand

Shakti (Energy)


Minute particle or

3. Nandi-
Tej (absolute
West A. A hide in the


B. A trident in
the hand




4. Uma-
(absolute air)
North A. A mirror in
the hand


B. A lotus in
the hand

Spiritual knowledge



5. Sadashiv
Gaze towards
the sky
Spiritual progress
common to all
common to all
Jatabhar Brahman Spotted tiger
Chandrakor Opulence Nandi Divine
The Vasuki
Divine wrath

6. The Shivalinga with five faces

Shivalingas with five faces are also found in some places. The Names of the five faces are- Sadyojat, Vamdev, Aghor, Tatpurush and Îshan. The four faces of Lord Brahma represent knowledge of 1. creation, 2. sustenance, 3. dissolution and 4. spiritual experiences. The four faces of Shiva represent the four directions. The fifth face which points skywards is the universal face symbolic of purity and spiritual progress.

7. The three-faced form

If there is a Shivalinga or a Nandi in front of a three faced idol then it is an idol of Shankar and if not it is an idol of Datta.

8. Lingas of the five cosmic elements

South India has the following five lingas of the five cosmic elements : pruthvi (absolute earth) – Shivakanchi, apa(absolute water) – Jambunath, tej (absolute fire) – Arunachalam, vayu (absolute air) – Kalhasti and akash (absolute ether) – Chidambaram.

9. The hundred and eight and the thousand lingas

These lingas are created by vertical and horizontal lines engraved on the Rudra part creating one hundred and eight or a thousand squares respectively.

10. Dharalinga

This is created by drawing 5 to 28 deep vertical grooves on the Vishnu part of the linga. Because of these grooves water from the ritualistic bathing (abhishek) flows down easily.

Courtesy - Sanatan.org

What do the horizontal stripes of ash on forehead of What do the horizontal stripes of ash on forehead of Lord Shiva represent? represent?

Lord Shiva
Lord Shiva Copyright Sanatan Sanstha

1. Origin and meaning

A. The word Shiva (शिव) has been derived by reversing the letters of the word vash (वश्‌). Vash means to enlighten; thus the one who enlightens is Shiva. Shiva is absolute, self-radiant. He remains radiant and also illuminates the universe.

B. He is the auspicious and prosperity-bestowing principle.

2. Some other Names

2.1 Shankar

In ‘शं करोति इति शंकर: ।’ sham (शं) means welfare and karoti (करोति) is the doer. Thus the one who is responsible for one’s welfare is Shankar.

2.2 Mahankaleshvar

The presiding deity [Kshetrapaldev (guardian deity of the territory)] of the entire universe is Kalpurush (one who is beyond time) meaning Mahakal (Mahankal). Hence He is also named Mahankaleshvar.

2.3 Mahadev

At the time of creation and activity of the universe basically there are three thoughts – absolute purity, absolute knowledge and absolute spiritual practice. The deity who possesses all these three attributes is referred to as the deity of all deities, Mahadev.

2.4 Bhalachandra

Bhal (भाल) means the forehead. The one who adorns the moon (chandra) on His forehead is Bhalachandra (भालचंद्र). Ganapati, the son of Shiva also has Bhalachandra as one of His Names.

2.5 Karpurgour

Shiva’s complexion is white akin to that of camphor (karpur). Hence the Name Karpurgour.

2.6 Stenapati

Sten (स्‍तेन) means a thief. Stenapati (स्‍तेनपति) thus means the caretaker of thieves. In ancient times temples of Shiva were located on the outskirts of the village. They were the hide-outs of robbers. It was here that robbers distributed their share of stolen booty amongst themselves and even left one share for Lord Shiva!

2.7 Pingalaksha

The words pingal (पिंगल) and aksha (अक्ष) make up the word Pingalaksha (पिंगलाक्ष). The bird named pingal, a type of owl, is able to perceive the past, present and future. Since Lord Shiva has the same quality He is referred to as Pingalaksha.

2.8 Nilkantha and Ashutosh

Refer points ‘C’ and ‘D’.

3. Special features

God created the universe from the five deities (principles) – Prajapati, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and Minakshi. These deities possess all the characteristics of God besides their own special features. According to the Shaiva sect Lord Shiva in the nirbij superconscious state (samadhi) is Shiva’s unmanifest form, that is in other words The Supreme God. According to them Shiva in meditation is God and the one dancing or playing a game of dice with Parvati is the Great Illusion (Maya). [Among the Vaishnavites Sheshashayi (Vishnu resting on the serpent Shesh as His couch) or Anantashayani Vishnu is Vishnu’s unmanifest form, that is The Supreme God. Their devotee loving Vishnu is God and the one with Lakshmi is the Great Illusion.] The characteristics vary with the form. The features of God are given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 7 – Supreme God, God, Incarnations and Deities’. The other special features of Shiva are enlisted below.

3.1 Physical features

A. Ganga

Just as the sun is the focal point of the solar system and the soul that of the body, the focal point of divine consciousness (chaitanya) in every object and pure particles (pavitrakas) is ga-aun. The flow from which ga-aun originates is gan (गं) gaha (ग:) – Ganga (गंगा). Ga-aun flows from Shiva’s head. This itself is called the descent of the Ganga from Shiva’s head.

The cohesion of ga-aun constitutes gans (attendants). According to the science of Yogaganrepresents the eight demigods (ashtavasu) or the eight guardian deities (dikpal) of the eight directions (dishas). The origin of the guardian deities is also ga-aun. The guardian deities comprise of the angles of the directions from which ga-aun flows. One goes towards God and grows through the medium of directions alone. Ganapati is the presiding deity of various ga-aun; hence He is called ‘Ganapati’, the master of pure particles.

Since the river Ganga has a fraction of the principle of the spiritual Ganga no matter however much polluted it becomes, its purity is perpetually retained. Hence if compared to any other water in the world the water from the Ganga is the most pure. This is realised not only by those who can perceive from the subtle dimension but also by scientific researchers. More information on the Ganga is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 9B – Shakti (Divine Energy)’.

B. Moon

Shiva adorns the chandra (moon) on His forehead. The words chandramas (चंद्रमस्‌) – chandrama (चंद्रमा) – chandra have been derived from the three words cha (च), Indra (इंद्र) and [muhu (मु:)] mas (मस्‌) which mean the state of cohesion. This means blending with something along with Indra. (Indra’s frequencies are superior to those of other deities.) The chandrama has absorbed frequencies from Prajapati, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and Minakshi and imparts them to others along with Indra. The frequencies arising from Prajapati, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and Minakshi blend with each other and produce a number of groups of frequencies. Prajapati, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and Minakshi are unmanifest (nirgun); but Their frequencies contain the three components (gunas). The point where the three frequencies that is affection (mamata), mercifulness (kshamashilata) and motherly love (vatsalya) originate is referred to as the chandra (moon). Thus one can conclude that chandrama (the moon principle) is that state in which the three attributes of affection, mercifulness and motherly love are present. This is not the moon that we see in the sky. The moon in the sky contains a component of this chandra (moon).


Alhadyati iti chandraha (आल्‍हादयति इति चंद्र: ।)’ is the only definition of the chandra (moon) described in all the texts giving the origin of words. (All other words have varied descriptions regarding their origin in different texts.)

C. The third eye

  • Shiva’s left eye is the first eye, the right eye is the second and the verticle one in the subtle form, just above the midpoint of the eyebrows is the third one. The upper eye is a representation of the combined energy of both the right and left eyes. It is also the greatest seat (mahapith) of extrasensory energy and is endowed with names such as JyotirmathVyaspith, etc.
  • ChandraArka and Vaishvanar are the three eyes of Lord Shankar. Arka is the sun from the ajanaj region while Vaishvanar is the sun from the karmadev region. Therefore Shankar can view everywhere in the universe. (Information on the ajanaj and karmadev regions is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 25 – Composition of the Universe’.)
  • Shankar is three-eyed means He can perceive events in the past, present and future as well.
  • According to the science of Yoga the third eye means the Sushumna channel (nadi).

D. The serpent (nag)

  • One of the Names of Lord Shankar is Bhujangapatihari (भुजंगपतिहारी). Bhujang (भुजंग) means a serpent or pure particles (pavitrakas), pati (पति), the nurturer and hari (हारी), the one with a garland around His neck. Bhujangapatihari thus means the one who nurtures pure particles and wears them like a garland. Various serpents represent groups of pure particles. Though externally they appear like serpents, internally they are a kind of ladders. To make spiritual progress one has to climb up holding onto the tail of the serpent.Shankar adorns serpents at nine sites on His body – one on the head, one around the neck, one on each arm, one on each wrist, one around the waist and one on each thigh. This implies that His body is comprised of pure particles or that serpents of pure particles play all over the body of Lord Shiva who is universal in nature.
  • The serpent is also considered as Shiva’s weapon. The nine serpents from the universe are also referred to as ‘Navanarayan’. The Navanaths have originated from these nine serpents. Information on Navanarayan andNavanaths is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 12 – Vishnu, point – Some other Names’.
  • Kartikeya, Jotiba, Ravalnath and Sabbu are deities in the form of serpents.
  • A serpent is connected with all deities in some way or the other.
  • A female serpent (nagin) is present in the body. It is called the kundalini (spiritual energy). [Refer ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 38 - Path of Activation of Spiritual Energy (Kundaliniyoga)’]. Five serpents wander in the body as five inner vital energies. One does not possess the other four serpents in the body. However they can be acquired through spiritual progress.
  • The serpent is a representation of the God (Purush) principle. He is the deity who endows progeny.

E. Holy ash (bhasma)

Bhu (भू) – bhava (भव) means to take birth. As (अस्‌) – asma (अस्‍म) – ashma (अश्‍म) means ash. That which takes birth and blends with ash is called bhasma (भस्‍म). Bhasma is the ash of the one who is born. Shma (श्‍म) [sma (स्‍म)] means ash and shru (शृ) – shan (शन्‌) means scattered. So, the place where ash is scattered is the smashan (स्‍मशान), that is the crematorium. The earth is born from fire (the sun). All beings on the earth arise from and merge into its fire. The skull of man is associated with memories (smruti) of the earth. From outer space the shape of the earth resembles a skull. Ash contains the following three types of memories (smruti) from the time before birth to that after it.

  • Yadnyasmruti: Memories of sacrificial fires (yadnyas) in the ajanaj region (lok) and the regions beyond it. (Refer ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 25 – Composition of the Universe’.)
  • Parthivsmruti: Memories of death which are full of agony and sorrow, with reference to the earth and the seven nether regions.
  • Tanmaysmruti: Memories of sacrifice (austerities) in context with the regions from the earth to the northern (Shiva) region and the southern (dakshin) region.

The three horizontal stripes of ash on the forehead of Lord Shankar represent these three memories. Ash projects the desires of a person. This shows how harmful desires are. The dhananjay vital energy of every dead being made up of the absolute earth element (pruthvi) surrounds the ash. (The universe has the mahadhananjay vital energy.) When a person is reborn this dhananjay vital energy re-enters the body. The frequencies emitted by ash are mostly a result of a painful death. The ash says, ‘Let go of ignorance. The physical body is not real. The happiness derived from it is fake. Do not get trapped in it’. Human ash is applied to a jyotirlinga. Pure ash is called holy ash (bhasma). Just as holy ash is an essential ingredient in ritualistic worship so also it plays a very important role in the Shaiva sect. It is considered as the semen of Lord Shiva. Special significance is given to the holy ash from the fireplace (agnikunda) of the Brahmans who perform the ritual of Agnihotra. The ash obtained after cremation of a corpse amidst chanting of mantras is called human ash (chitabhasma). Lord Shiva loves human ash. In Varanasi, the deity Vishveshvar is always smeared with human ash. Holy ash is of three kinds, namely shantikarpushtikar and kamad. It cleanses sins. The Jabalshruti also quotes that it is also beneficial in acquiring knowledge of Brahman.

Vibhuti is another synonym for holy ash. It is used in tantra, mantra, black magic, etc. to guard the directions or as self-protection. The holy ash is invoked with mantrâs and is then applied to the forehead of the child or the sick person. Ashes (bhasma) of various kinds such as of iron, gold, pearl, diamond, etc. is used in Ayurveda. These are highly efficacious. However this is not revealed to people as it may frighten them.

F. Rudraksha

Shiva adorns chains of rudraksha beads around the knotted bun of hair on His head, the neck, arms, wrists and waist.

G. Garment and the seat of tiger skin

The tiger (raja and tama components) is a symbol of cruelty. Shiva slayed such a tiger (that is destroyed the raja-tama) and made a seat from its skin.

3.2 Spiritual characteristics

A. The one performing severe austerities and the great yogi: Shiva is the only deity chanting The Lord’s Name continuously. He is always seated in a bandha or a mudra. His temperature rises due to heat generated by performing severe austerities; hence He uses the Ganga, the moon and serpents which endow a cooling effect and lives on the snow-capped Kailas mountain.

B. Short tempered: If Shiva stops His chanting by Himself He remains calm. However if someone disturbs His chanting [e.g. as was done by Madan (the deity of love)], the radiance generated by spiritual practice is suddenly expelled and since the person in front of Him cannot tolerate it, that individual is destroyed. This itself is referred to as ‘reducing to ashes by Shankar’s opening of the third eye’. The troublemaker is 100% distressed while Shiva is only 0.01% distressed. Because of this distress Shiva’s nadibandha stops but the posture is retained. Then Shiva performs the bandha once again.

C. The one who is willing to undergo any distress for the sake of imparting happiness to others: The poison generated during the churning of the celestial ocean (samudramanthan) was burning the entire world but no deity came forward to accept it. At that time Shiva drank that poison and saved the world from destruction. Ingestion of the poison turned His neck blackish-blue and He came to be known as Nilkantha (नीलकंठ); nil (नीळ) means blue andkantha (कंठ) means the neck.

D. The one who is easily appeased (Ashutosh)

E. The one willing to bestow any boon when appeased: Once when Shiva was pleased with Ravan not only did He gift him His wife but also His divine phallus (atmalinga) (soul). [Ravan himself wanted to become Shiva with that divine phallus.]

F. The one who has both deities and demons as His worshippers: Neither did demons like Banasur, Ravan, etc. worship Vishnu nor did Vishnu bestow boons upon any demon. However they worshipped Shiva who blessed them with a boon. Often He as well as other deities were in trouble because of these boons. Finally each time Vishnu would find a solution to these situations.

G. Master of the spirits: Since Shiva is the master of spirits, worshippers of Shiva are generally not possessed by them.

H. One possessing contrasting characteristics (acceptance and repulsion) simultaneously: He has the potential to create and bring about dissolution, also the combination of serenity-angrer, the moon (tranquility) – the third eye (radiance which reduces to ashes), sattvik (sattva predominant) – tamasik (tama predominant) temperaments, etc.

4. Mission

4.1 Creation of the universe

Shiva-Parvati are called ‘जगत: पितरो’, the parents of the world.

  • Fifty-two sounds (letters), that is nadabijas or bijamantras were generated from the fifty-two notes emitted by Shankar’s small hourglass shaped drum (Damaru) from which the universe was created. Nad (नद) – nad (नाद) is the process of flowing continuously. The sound ‘da (द), da (द), dam (दम्‌)’ meaning ‘ददामि त्‍वं (I am giving you)’ was generated from these bijas of sound. It was as though Shiva assured the universe ‘I bestow you with spiritual knowledge, purity and penance’.
  • Since Shiva is urdhvaretas He can create the universe with a mere resolve (sankalpa).

4.2 Jagadguru

‘ज्ञानं इच्‍छेत्‌ सदाशिवात्‌ । मोक्षं इच्‍छेत्‌ जनार्दनात्‌ ।’, means one should worship Shiva for spiritual knowledge and Janardan (Vishnu) for the Final Liberation (Moksha).

4.3 The one leading to the state beyond the three components (trigunatit)

Shankar destroys all the three components of Prakruti – sattva, raja and tama, that is ignorance simultaneously.

4.4 Mission according to the time (kal)

Period Name Form / Mission
1. Vedic period Rudra (the one who
makes one cry)
Fearful form
2. Post-Vedic period Shiva Mild form
3. Puranic period


(0 to 1000 A.D.)

Mahesh The deity responsible for
dissolution in the trinity
of Brahma, Vishnu and
4. Post-Puranic period
(after 1000 A.D.)
Mahadev (the deity
of all deities)
The creator, sustainer
and destroyer

What are names and function of Lord Datta?

Lord Dattatreya
Lord Dattatreya

In the era gone by, the demonic energies grew enormously in the gross and subtle forms. Gods’ efforts to vanquish them were unsuccessful. Then, under orders from Lord Brahma, Lord Datta had to incarnate at various places in various forms and destroy the demons. The day of His incarnation is celebrated as ‘Datta Jayanti’. – Lord Ganesh (Through the medium of Bharat Miraje, 8.30 pm on 2.11.2005)

1. Lord Dattatreya – One who provides frequencies of Divine consciousness!

The principle that makes available to an embo-died soul both gross and subtle (i.e. manifest and unmanifest) frequencies of higher or lower Gods and Deities in a shorter time is called Datta or Lord Dattatreya). The very meaning of Datta is the ‘One who provides frequencies of Divine consciousness’. – A Scholar (Through the medium of Ms. Anjali Gadgil, 2.54 pm on 7.6.2005)

2. Other Names of Lord Dattatreya

2.1 Avadhut

The One who controls the eight faculties in the body of an embodied soul and shows it the path to the unmanifest dimension through the manifest dimension. Avadhut is a medium that connects both the manifest form of Lord Datta and His unmanifest form. He is a manifest form (the gross manifestation) of the three principles – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv. He is also related to the unmanifest dimension (manifestation of these three principles in the form of light). ‘Avadhut’ comes alive with the radiance of Lord Dattatreya.

2.2 Digambar

Is the principle which gives company to an embodied soul till it gets Final Liberation in the radiance of the sky, i.e. beyond all the directions.

2.3 Sripad

‘Sri’ is the never-ending principle of God. The principle that takes an embodied soul to that principle of God or to the Holy Feet of ‘Sri’ principle is the Datta principle in Sripad.

2.4 Vallabh

The Datta princ-iple in the form of Vallabh protects the Universe from the circular-shaped distressing frequencies that create a fear psychosis, and thus protects the embodied souls. – A Scholar (Through the medium of Ms. Anjali Gadgil, 2.54 pm on 7.6.2005)

3. Function of Lord Dattatreya

Lord Dattatreya bestows His grace on man by giving speed to the journey of his ancestors to the next region and reducing his distress from ancestors. God gives man a chance to get liberated from the debt of ancestors through the ritual that gives speed to ancestors onward journey and through chanting the Name of Dattatreya.
One cannot get rid of the ancestors’ debt merely by remembering them off and on, displaying their photos in the house or publishing their photos in newspapers on their death anniversaries. It is only by chanting the Name of Dattatreya that the ancestors get speed to go on their onward journey in true sense. From this we can realise that it is imperative to worship the Deity to get liberated from the ancestors’ debt. This also reduces the debt of God on us. – A Devotee of Datta (Through the medium of Ms. Madhura Bhosale, 2.36 pm on 11.5.2005)

4. Worship of Lord Datta (who has one head)

Till the Satya Yuga, the spiritual level of all embodied souls was high and they acquired knowledge on the strength of their own spiritual practice. They possessed the state of Soham’ (I am He). So Lord Dattatreya was required for the functions of dissolution and imparting knowledge to a very limited extent. Only the Vishnu principle in Him was active that time. As a symbol of this, the idol of Datta had only one head. Thereafter, during the Treta Yuga, the spiritual level of the embodied souls started to come down and they found it difficult to protect themselves and acquire knowledge on their own. To impart more knowledge to them through the subtle dimension, Lord Dattatreya had to bring out the dormant Brahma and Shiv principle in Him. To symbolise this, the three-headed idol of Dattatreya became prevalent.

4.1 The Japamala (rosary) in Lord Datta’s hand represents perennial spiritual practice

Brahma of the three-headed Datta has a rosary in His hand. Datta’s chanting goes on continuously, without a break. Perennial spiritual practice is the quality of Lord Shiv too. This feature of ‘perennial spiritual practice’ of both the Deities is found in Lord Dattatreya. Perennial spiritual practice in the present Era means functioning either in a saviour or a destroyer form, as is required.’ – A Devotee of Datta (Through the medium of Ms. Madhura Bhosale, 12 noon on 11.5.2005)

4.2 Kamandalu (water-pot with a specific shape carried by ascetics)

Contains water which has the potential to absorb the unmanifest waves emanating from the Lord and to draw a protective sheath in a moment around the three celestial regions for protecting them from the distress of negative energies in the Universe.’ – A Scholar (Through the medium of Ms. Anjali Gadgil, at 11.39 am on 8.5.2005)

5. Benefit of chanting Lord Dattatreya’s Name

A. The ancestors get speed in their journey to the next region and this makes the atmosphere in the house pleasant.

B. An embodied soul gets energy from Lord Shiv also.

- Lord Ganesh (Through the medium of Bharat Miraje, 8.30 pm on 2.11.2005)

Courtesy - Sanatan.org

What is the significance of chanting Shri Gurudev Datta?

Incarnations of Lord Datta
Incarnations of Lord Datta

1. Mission and special features

A. The one maintaining the honour of the code of the four classes (varnas) and stages (ashrams).

B. The model of the Guru principle and preacher for Yoga (Shandilyopanishad). Sahasrarjun, Parshuram, etc. are the renowned disciples of Datta.

C. The teacher of the science of Tantra (Tripurasundarirahasya).

D. The one who wanders as per His own will, the one (like Krushna) beyond restrictions (Markandeya Puran).

E. The one behaving according to His wish and always being there for someone who remembers Him.

F. Bestower of detachment (other deities bestow everything else).

G. Avadhut (Refer point ‘2.1’.)

H. A symbol of equanimity.

  • Shaivites and Vaishnavites: Both these sects are drawn to Datta due to His form as a Guru.
  • Hindus and Muslims: In the ritualistic worship (puja) of Datta by Hindus both music and incense (dhup) are important as in the Muslim religion.

I. The one resolving the problem of ancestors’ subtle souls (Refer point ‘The problem of ancestors’ souls’.)

J. Constant wandering

  • 1. Bath: Varanasi
  • 2. Application of sandalwood paste: Prayag.
  • 3. Collection of the afternoon alms: Kolhapur
  • 4. The afternoon meal: Panchaleshvar (Bid district) in the stream of river Godavari.
  • 5. Chewing a roll of betel leaves together with betelnut, lime, catechu, etc. (tambul): Rakshasbhuvan in Bid district, Marathvada.
  • 6. Listening to spiritual discourses (pravachans and kirtans): Naimisharanya (Bihar)
  • 7. Sleep: Mahurgad
  • 8. Yoga: Girnar

    The places at points 1, 3 and 7 are famous.

K. Principle, ability and manifest energy

  • Principle: 100% (Isham = 100%)
  • Ability: Creation 10%, sustenance 80% and dissolution 10%

    Since the ability for sustenance is 80% according to various holy texts Datta is generally considered the sixth among the 24 incarnations of Lord Vishnu and rarely the fourth or the seventh.

  • Manifest energy: 10%

2. Science behind the idol

Around 1000 A. D. the idol of Lord Datta became three-faced (trimukhi). Before that it had only one face.

Object in the hand Representing whom?
1. Kamandalu (water pot) and japamala
2. Conch and discus Vishnu
3. Trident and small hourglass shaped
drum (damaru)

3. Implied meaning of the family

  • The cow (behind the idol): The earth
  • The four dogs: The four Vedas
  • The holy fig tree (oudumbar): A symbol of Datta, worthy of worship as the Datta principle exists in it in a greater amount.

4. Incarnations

Numerous are the incarnations
Which undergo dissolution with the passage of time
Lord Dattatreya (that is the Guru principle) however is unlike this,
He never undergoes dissolution.

Ramavijay 13:21 by Shridharswami

Implied meaning: Since Datta performs the function of the Guru principle His mission continues till all attain the Final Liberation (Moksha).

In all, Shri Datta assumed sixteen main incarnations. The book ‘Shri Dattatreya Shodashavataraha’ by H.H. Vasudevanand Sarasvati narrates the stories of these incarnations.

5. Spiritual practice

A. Meticulous observance of the code of conduct according to the four classes (varnas) and stages of life (ashrams)

B. According to the Path of Yoga and initiation by transfer of energy (shaktipat diksha)

C. Datta is the Guru deity. He has to be worshipped in that form itself. He is glorified as ‘Shri Gurudev Datta’ or ‘Shri Gurudatta’. Since Dattatreya is the Supreme Guru the tradition of the human Guru-disciple lineage has not been maintained in the Datta sect.

D. Discipline plays a very important role in the sect.

E. Extremely harsh observances and physical hardships are undertaken.

F. Paduka (wooden footwear) and the holy fig tree (oudumbar) instead of an idol was used for worship. Formerly a single faced idol was used. Presently however three-faced idols are becoming more common.

G. Strict observance of cleanliness and purity (with respect to clothing, utensils)

H. Ritualistic worship of Satyadatta (Satyadattapuja) [ritualistic worship similar to that of Satyanarayan]

I. Mantras of Dattatreya: The following seven mantras of Dattatreya are related to spiritual practice of Tantra.

  • The one letter mantra (ekakshari mantra): ‘Dam (दां)’ is the bija of Datta and also His one letter mantra. The chanda (rhythm) of this mantra is Gayatri, the sage Sadashiv and the deity Dattatreya. This is a saviourmantra and the entire universe is incorporated in it.
  • The six letter mantra (shadakshari mantra): Dam om rhim clim gloum dram (दां ॐ ह्रीं क्‍लीं ग्‍लौं द्रां)’ is the six letter mantra. Chanting of this mantra bestows the supernatural power of yoga.
  • The eight letter mantra (ashtakshari mantra): It goes thus ‘Dam (dra or dram) Dattatreyay namaha[दं (द्रा किंवा द्रां) दत्‍तात्रेयाय नम: ।]‘ In this mantra Dattatreyay is the kilak (clue to a mystical puzzle) and the bijaand namaha, the energy.
  • The thirteen letter mantra (trayodashakshari mantra):Om am rhim krom ehi Dattatreyay svaha(ॐ आं ह्रीं क्रों एहि दत्‍तात्रेयाय स्‍वाहा ।)’ The chanda (rhythm) of this mantra is Gayatri, the sage Sadashiv, the deity Dattatreya, Om the bijaksharsvaha the energy and Dattatreya the kilak.
  • The sixteen letter mantra (shodashakshari mantra):Om aim krom klim klum rham rhim rhum souhou Dattatreyay svaha (ॐ ऐं क्रों क्‍लीं क्‍लूं ह्रां ह्रीं ह्रूं सौ: दत्‍तात्रेयाय स्‍वाहा ।)’
  • The anushtubh mantra:

    Dattatreya Hare Krushna unmattananddayak
    Digambar mune bal pishach dnyansagar

    दत्‍तात्रेय हरे कृष्‍ण उन्‍मत्‍तानन्‍ददायक ।
    दिगंबर मुने बाल पिशाच ज्ञानसागर ।

  • Datta Gayatri: The Gayatri of Dattatreya is akin to that of other deities as:

    दत्‍तात्रेयाय विद्महे । अवधूताय धीमहि ।
    तन्‍नो दत्‍त: प्रचोदयात्‌ ।।

    Meaning: We are quite familiar with Dattatreya. We meditate on Avadhut. May that Datta inspire our intellect benevolently. The chanda of this mantra is Gayatri, the sage Shabar and the deity Dattatreya.

  • The problem of ancestors’ souls: Nowadays since most people do not perform rites for the departed (shraddhas), etc. as in the olden days nor undertake spiritual practice, most suffer due to the subtle bodies of ancestors. Only saints can tell whether one is suffering or will suffer due to ancestors. If one is not fortunate enough to meet such a saint then considering that certain suffering is inflicted due to ancestors’ subtle souls one can do spiritual practice as given below. Inability to get married, marital disharmony, difficulty in conceiving a child, miscarriages, mentally retarded or handicapped child or all female progeny, death during childhood, etc. are some of the indications of suffering due to ancestors’ subtle bodies. Poverty, physical illness, etc. can be some other indicators.

    A. If one has no problems at all, to avoid suffering in the future or if one has a minor problem, one should chant three malas (rosaries) of ‘Shri Gurudev Datta’ everyday. Apart from this to avoid suffering due to destiny as well as to make spiritual progress one should do maximum amount of chanting of the Name of the family deity.

    B. If the problem is moderate, then along with chanting of the Name of the family deity one should chant atleast six malas of ‘Shri Gurudev Datta’. In addition every Thursday one should visit Shri Datta’s temple and perform five circumambulations and chant one or two malas of ‘Shri Gurudev Datta’ in the temple, for atleast a year. Thereafter one should continue to chant threemalas.

    C. If the problem is severe, a minimum of nine should be chanted everyday. Rituals likeNarayanbaliNagbaliTripindi shraddhaKalasarpashanti, etc. should be performed at places where jyotirlingas (the divine phallus as a symbol of Lord Shiva) are situated. In addition to this one should undertake spiritual practice at the seat of worship of Lord Datta or render service unto a saint and acquire His blessings.

    D. Shri Datta Jayanti (Birthday of Shri Datta): Devotees of Lord Datta celebrate His birthday on the full moon day (pournima) of the Hindu lunar month of Margashirsha.

6. Sects

Nowhere else is worship of Lord Datta as common as in Maharashtra.

6.1 The Nath sect

The Avadhut state as described in the Avadhutgita compiled by Datta, is similar to that in Siddhasiddhant-paddhati compiled by Gorakshanath.

Yogis belonging to the Nath sect are also referred to as Avadhuts. They are beyond restrictions and accept food from all classes of society with the exception of the Shudras (labourers). These yogis emulate pythons and spend all their time in contemplation of the soul. In the Brahmanirvantantra four types of Avadhuts have been described.

  • Brahmavdhut: These worshippers of Brahman are from any stage (ashram) of life.
  • Shaivavdhut: They are the ones who have ritualistically taken the vow of celibacy. They matt their hair, observe silence (moun), and sit beside a fire place. They also smear mud onto their bodies.
  • Viravdhut: Their hair is long and unruly. They wear a necklace of bones or rudrakshas and carry a staff, an axe and a small hourglass shaped drum (damaru). These yogis smear their bodies with holy ash (bhasma) and wear a loin cloth (langoti).
  • Kulavdhut: These yogis are initiated into the Koul sect and are householders.

    Avadhut ascetics consider Sage Gorakshanath as their Guru. (Refer point ‘Avadhut’.)

6.2 The Mahanubhav sect

In this sect the lineage is of Dattatreya – Changdev Raul – Gundam Raul – Chakradhar. Literature of this sect states that Datta is Brahman.

6.3 The Chaitanya sect

Raghav Chaitanya, the founder of this sect undertook the spiritual practice of Dattatreya at Girnar.

6.4 The Anand sect

Here Datta is considered as the foremost (adi) Guru.

6.5 The Shripad Shrivallabh and the Shri Nrusinha Sarasvati sects

Shripad Shrivallabh
Shri Nrusinha Sarasvati
Shripad Shrivallabh Shri Nrusinha Sarasvati

Shripad Shrivallabh was the first incarnation of Lord Datta. He began worship of Datta in Maharashtra in the 15thcentury. Shri Nrusinha Sarasvati was His second incarnation. The Shri Gurucharitra gives information on both these incarnations.

  • Prominent saints from the Datta sect : They are Eknath, Manikprabhu, Swami Samarth of Akkalkot, Vasudevanand Sarasvati, Pantamaharaj Balekundrikar (Balekundri is a village near Belgaum in India.)
  • Incarnations: ‘In the historical age the three incarnations assumed were Shripad Shrivallabh, Shri Nrusinha Sarasvati and Manikprabhu. The fourth incarnation was Shri Swami Samarth. These four are absolute incarnations but there are several partial incarnations. Shri Vasudevanand Sarasvati (Tembeswami) is included in Them.’

    To avoid disturbance from people Shri Nrusinha Sarasvati retired to the Kardali (the plantain tree) forest after informing His disciples. When performing austerities there, ants covered His entire body with anthills. Several years later when a woodcutter was cutting wood in the forest his axe lightly struck the anthill. Seeing the blade of the axe stained with blood frightened him and he dug up the anthill. Nrusinha Sarasvati emerged from it as Akkalkot Swami. The Swami used to live at the present hermitage (math) below the holy fig (oudumbar) tree at Akkalkot.

    Information on some of the main incarnations of this sect is given in 9.0

  • Incantation of the Name:Digambara Digambara Shripad Vallabh Digambara. Come quickly O Lord Shri Nrusinha Sarasvati Digambara (दिगंबरा  दिगंबरा श्रीपादवल्‍लभ दिगंबरा । धावा पावा त्‍वरा करा श्री नृसिंह सरस्‍वती दिगंबरा ।।)’ is one of the incantations of this sect.

6.6 Others

Jains worship Dattatreya in the form of Neminath while Muslims remain in the attire of a mendicant. A mendicant is always a devotee of Lord Datta.

7. Main places of pilgrimage (tirthakshetras)

  • 1. Mahur: Kinvat taluka, Nanded district, Maharashtra.
  • 2. Girnar: Near Junagad, Sourashtra. This has 10,000 steps.
  • 3. Karanja: The birthplace of Shri Nrusinha Sarasvati. It is known as Lad – Karanje. Brahmanand Sarasvati of Kashi first built a temple of Lord Datta here.
  • 4. Oudumbar: In the four months of chaturmas of the Hindu lunar calendar Shri Nrusinha Sarasvati lived here. This place is situated at a distance of 10 kilometres from Bhilvadi railway station in Maharashtra, on the banks of the river Krushna.
  • 5. Narsobavadi: This is located in Maharashtra. Shri Nrusinha Sarasvati lived here for twelve years. The confluence of the two rivers Krushna and Panchaganga occurs here. This is the place which inspired Tembeswami.
  • 6. Gangapur: This is situated in Karnataka on the Pune – Raychur highway. The confluence of the rivers Bhima and Amaraja occurs here. It is here that Shri Nrusinha Sarasvati spent twenty-three years and carried out His entire mission. Later He proceeded to Shri Shailya from here.
  • 7. Kuravpur: This is an island in the waters of the Krushna river in Karnataka. One can reach this destination by road from Raychur till Palladini (Kurguddi). This is where Shripad Shrivallabh undertook His mission.
  • 8. Pithapur: The birthplace of Shripad Shrivallabh, in Andhra Pradesh. It was Tembeswami who brought this place into the limelight.
  • 9. Varanasi : Here, the Dattatreya hermitage (math) is situated on the Narad ghat. The family members of Shri Nrusinha Sarasvati who still live here have the surname, Kale. Later, the name Kale was changed to Kaliya. Even today a garden and a lane named Kaliya exist here.
  • 10. Shri Shailya: Located close to Hyderabad, Shri Nrusinha Sarasvati travelled to this place.
  • 11. Bhattagaon (Bhadgaon): This is at a distance of 35 kilometres from Kathmandu.
  • 12. Panchaleshvar: District Bid, Maharashtra.

8. Main holy texts

1. Datta Puran: This Puran has the following three parts.

  • A. Part of ritualistic worship (karmakand)
  • B. Part of mental worship (upasanakand) : H.H. Vasudevanand Sarasvati (Tembeswami) has translated this into Marathi. It is called ‘Dattamahatmya’.
  • C. Part of spiritual knowledge (dnyankand) : This is referred to as ‘Tripurasundarirahasya’.

2. Avadhutgita: This is one of the main holy texts of the Nath sect. This Gita was preached by Dattatreya to Kartikeya.

3. ‘Shri Dattaprabodh’ by Viththal Anantsut Kavadibova

4. Shri Gurucharitra: This describes the glory of the Guru and the code of conduct of this sect. The pattern is as follows – chapters 1 to 24 : Part of spiritual knowledge (dnyankand), 25-37 : Part of ritualistic worship (karmakand) and 38-53 : Part of devotion (after Self-realisation)[bhaktikand].

9. Some prominent incarnations

Name of the
Name of
the father
Name of
the mother
Period of
Site of
the mission
of the body
1. Shripad
Apalraj Sumatibai Shake
At 7
Twelfth day
of the dark
fortnight of
Ashwin Shake
2. Shri
Madhavrao Ambasati Shake
At 12
Third day of
the bright
fortnight of
Magh Shake
3. Shri
Bayamma Shake
Maniknagar In child-
Tenth day of
the bright
fortnight of
Shake 1787
4. Shri
Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Akkalkot
Unknown Thirteenth day
of the dark
fortnight of
Chaitra Shake
5. Shri
Unknown Unknown Unknown Pathari Shirdi Unknown Tenth day of
the bright
fortnight of
Ashvin Shake
6. Shri
Parshuram Anandibai Shake
Mhapan Kankavli
At 22
Seventh day
of the bright
fortnight of
Shake 1899
|| Shri Gurudev Datta ||
Courtesy - Sanatan.org

How did Lord Maruti acquire the name Hanuman?

hanuman sanatan

Lord Hanuman

Copyright Sanatan Sanstha

1. History and some other Names

‘There is no mention of Hanuman made anywhere in Vedic literature. Researchers feel that “Hanumant” must be the Sanskrut form of a Tamil word. When translating Dravidian words into Sanskrut there is a practice of mostly prefixing the alphabet “h” to the word, for instance Idumbika (proud woman) becomes Hidimba, so also Anmandi (an meaning monkey and mandi meaning man) when translated to Sanskrut becomes Hanuman. Hanuman is also known as “Anumandan” in South India. This implies that “h” from the Sanskrut word has been omitted here.’ The story behind the birth of Hanuman is given in Valmiki Ramayan (Kishkindhakandsarga 66) as follows: Anjani gave birth to Hanuman. After birth, thinking that the rising sun was a golden fruit He leapt into the sky for it. That day being a solar eclipse (parvatithi) Rahu (the dragon’s head) had come to engulf the sun. Thinking that Hanuman was another Rahu Lord Indra attacked Him with His thunderbolt. It struck Hanuman’s chin (hanuvati) which got cut and developed a cleft. Thus he acquired the name Hanuman.

In a way Maruti also becomes Rama’s brother because along with the queens of King Dasharath, Anjani who was also performing austerities received the sweet (payas) from the sacrificial fire (yadnya) and it was because of this that Maruti was born. It was the full moon (pournima) day of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra. This is celebrated as the birthday of Hanuman (Hanuman jayanti).

‘Hanumant is also known as Maruti. In the Mahabharat He is referred to as Marutatmaja. The word Maruti has originated from the word Marut. There are many schools of thought regarding Maruti and Rudra.

Maruts are the sons of Rudra and so is Maruti.’

‘There are eleven rudras. Since Hanuman too is a rudra He is included in these eleven. Bhim is one of the Names of the eleven rudras. Hanuman has also been referred to as “Bhimrupi Maharudra”. It is believed that probably Hanumant’s five faced idols have been derived due to the influence of the five-faced idol of Rudrashiva.

Hanuman is considered an incarnation of Lord Rudra. Researchers opine that the relationship between Hanuman and Rudra must have originated in the era of the Purans. In the story from the Ramayan narrating Hanuman’s birth, Vayu (generated from absolute air) is referred to as His father. Later due to His innate qualities He became an incarnation of Lord Rudra. The relationship between Hanuman and Lord Rudra has been clearly illustrated in the Skand Puran, Brahmavaivarta Puran, Narad Puran, Shiva Puran, Bhavishya Puran, Mahabharat Puran, etc.’

2. Mission and special features

2.1 Omnipotent

Among all deities only Maruti cannot be troubled by distressing energies. In Lanka there were lakhs of demons yet they could not do anything to Maruti. There is a tale which says that Maruti leapt to devour the sun as soon as He was born. From this it is obvious that Maruti, son of Vayu [generated from vayu (absolute air)] was one who could win over the sun [tej (absolute fire) element]. Of the pruthvi (absolute earth), apa (absolute water), tej (absolute fire),vayu (absolute air) and akash (absolute ether) elements the vayu element is the most subtle and therefore more powerful than the tej element.

  • Spirits and Maruti: Maruti is considered as the master of spirits. Hence when someone is possessed by a spirit he is taken to Hanuman’s temple or verses (stotras) of Maruti are recited.

2.2 Devotee

Even today the best example to illustrate devotion as a servant (dasyabhakti) is that of Maruti towards Rama. He was ever-ready to sacrifice even His life for the sake of His Lord. Before the service of His Lord even attainment of Liberation (Moksha) was worthless to Him. Hanuman is a combination of a servitor and a soldier!

2.3 Constant vigilance and spiritual practice

As the battle continued Maruti would sit aside and meditate for sometime. However even at that time He would remain alert, with His tail resting on His mace.

2.4 Intelligent

‘None could match Maruti in grammar rules, as an instructor and director, an envoy, a commentator and a compiler.’ (Uttarramacharita, 36.44-46) Maruti is referred to as the eleventh proponent of grammar.

2.5 A great psychologist and an expert politician

In many instances not only Sugriva, the king of monkeys but even Rama has heeded Maruti’s advice. When several lieutenants opposed the move of giving refuge to Bibhishan who had deserted Ravan’s army camp, Maruti was the only one who opined that he should be taken onto their side and Rama accepted His counsel. His intelligence and expertise in psychology is clearly illustrated in several instances like when He generated trust in Sita at Their very first meeting in Lanka, His setting Lanka ablaze to demoralise the enemy camp; His being chosen by Rama to see Bharat’s response to Rama’s arrival, etc.

2.6 Mastery over the senses (jitendriya)

Hanuman’s mental state when in search of Sita in Ravan’s haven illustrates His noble character. At that time He says to Himself “Although I saw Ravan’s wives lying about carefree, I was not at all tempted by lust.” – Valmiki RamayanSundarkand 11.42- 43. Several saints too have ritualistically worshipped this Hanuman who had mastery over His senses and placed Him as an icon before society.

2.7 Expert in literature, philosophy and the art of oratory

2.8 Founder of the science of Music

Maruti is considered a prominent founder of music. His connection with Rudra is probably the reason why He is called so. Rudra is a form of Lord Shiva. Since sound originated from Shiva’s small hourglass shaped drum (Damaru) Shiva is thought to be the founder of music. It is only after realising the musical talent in Maruti that Samarth Ramdas Swami conferred the title ‘Sangitdnyanmahanta’ meaning the great knower of music, upon Him.

2.9 Founder of the Dhvajanath sect

The Nath sect has twelve sub-sects and Hanuman is considered to be the founder of the Dhvajanath sect among them. The followers of this sect are devotees of Hanuman.

2.10 One who responds to the vows of devotees

Even today several men and women circumambulate Hanuman’s idol daily as a vowed observance due to the belief that this deity responds to one’s vows. Some people find it amazing that girls whose marriages do not materialise are advised to worship the celibate Hanuman. Based on psychology some erroneously jump to the conclusion that girls who wish to marry a robust man worship Maruti. However the real reasons for the worship are as follows.

  • 30% of those who remain unmarried are so because of the influence of spirits, black magic and other distressing energies. By worshipping Maruti these obstacles are overcome and they are able to get married. (10% of people remain unmarried due to high expectations about the bride or groom. Once these expectations are reduced they can get married. 50% remain unmarried due to destiny. If the destiny is mild or moderate then by worshipping the family deity this can be overcome. However if the destiny is severe then it is only with a saint’s grace that marriage can occur. The remaining 10% remain unmarried due to other spiritual causes and for that, the treatment depends on the cause.)
  • Among deities of the highest level there are no differences between celibates and married ones. Also since they are born by a mere resolve (not born through the vaginal route) there are no gender differences among them. These differences are created by man. A female deity is but a representation of a deity’s energy.

2.11 Immortal

Each time Lord Rama incarnates He is one and the same but in each incarnation Maruti is different. Although He is one of the seven immortal beings (saptachiranjivas) these beings attain the Final Liberation (Moksha) at the end of the four eras (yugs). They are then replaced by seven very highly evolved beings.

2.12 Principle, ability and manifest energy

The meaning of these words is given in ‘Principle, ability and manifest energy’.

  • Principle: Vishnu principle 70%, Shiva principle 10% (Vishnu / Shiva / God = 100% principle). Although Maruti is an incarnation of Lord Shiva due to worship of Lord Rama the Vishnu principle in Him is greater than the Shiva principle.
  • Ability: Creation 10%, sustenance 70% and dissolution 20%.
  • Manifest energy: 70% (Refer ‘Comparison of various forms of Vishnu and His family’.)
Courtesy - Sanatan.org

What is the significance of various forms of Lord Hanuman?


1. Science behind the idol

1.1 Colour

‘One comes across varied information regarding Hanuman’s form. His complexion is mostly red and rarely black. A red Hanuman is one smeared with a saffron coloured powder called sindur. Perhaps His black complexion is due to the influence of Saturn (Shani). Hanuman is famous as an incarnation or as a son of Lord Rudra. Since Rudra’s complexion is red, Hanuman too must have derived His complexion from Him. After He acquired a red complexion stories regarding His love for sindur were told.

  • Once after bathing Sita made a red spot (tila) with sindur on Her forehead. When Hanuman asked for an explanation Sita replied, “It is because of this that Your Master’s life is prolonged”. When He heard this, Hanuman smeared sindur all over His body !
  • Once when Hanuman was proceeding to Lanka with the Dronagiri hills Bharat struck Him with an arrow and wounded His leg. The wound healed with a mixture of sindur and oil. Hence sindur and oil are Hanuman’s favourites.’

1.2 Form

Look at the two figures given below. Decide with which figure you feel more pleasant and then read further.

Figure A
Figure B
Figure A Figure B

At one of our workshops in Mumbai twenty-five out of thirty-six seekers who participated in this experiment gave their answers. The average spiritual level of the seekers was 35%. During a satsang (spiritual meeting) at times the spiritual level of a seeker can even become 40-50%. The spiritual level of an average person is 20% while that of one who has attained the Final Liberation (Moksha) is 100%. If average individuals participate in the experiment, they do not perceive anything. Hence in such experiments everyone does not get spiritual experiences. Only those who have attained a spiritual level of 35% and above and are able to perceive something of the subtle dimension are able to give answers. Sixteen out of twenty-five seekers experienced serenity (shanti) with figure ‘A’ and the rest with figure ‘B’.

Figure ‘A’ depicts the tail of Maruti as the servitor (Dasmaruti) and figure ‘B’ the tail of Maruti as the courageous one (Virmaruti). One must have realised how without even looking at the entire form of Maruti merely by looking at His tail, energy or divine consciousness (chaitanya) in His form is manifested. Energy manifests from Maruti as the courageous one and divine consciousness from Maruti as the servitor since the latter is merged into Lord Rama.

  • Maruti as the servitor (Dasmaruti) and Maruti as the courageous one (Virmaruti): Hanuman has two forms namely Maruti as the servitor and Maruti as the courageous one. The servitor form is the one in which Hanuman stands in front of Rama with His hands folded in obeisance, His tail resting on the ground. The stance of Maruti as the courageous one is that of one ready for battle. His tail is upright and His right hand is turned towards His head. Sometimes even a demon crushed under His feet is depicted. To overcome problems of possession, black magic, etc. Maruti as the courageous one is worshipped.
  • Maruti with five faces (Panchmukhi Maruti):
    Panchmukhi Hanuman
    Panchmukhi Hanuman

    One finds quite a few idols of the five-faced Maruti. The five faces are of an eagle (garud), a boar (varaha), a hayagriv, a lion and a monkey. The idol has ten arms wielding a flag, a sword, a noose, etc. One explanation for the five faces of a deity is that the deity keeps vigilance and has control over the five directions – north, south, east, west and the upward direction/zenith.

  • Maruti facing the south (Dakshinmukhi Maruti): Here the word south (dakshin) has two meanings – one is the south direction and second, the right side.
  • South in context to the direction: Here since Maruti faces the south He is named so. Black magic like jaran, maran, etc. are done primarily in front of this idol of Maruti. Such idols of Maruti are found in Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, etc. in Maharashtra and in Basavgudi in the district of Karnataka in India.South in context to the right side: This Maruti has His face turned towards the right. What do you feel after looking at the following two figures? First decide with which you experience more energy and only then read the following section.
Figure A
Figure A
Figure B
Figure B

At a workshop in Mumbai twelve out of thirty-six seekers gave answers. Nine out of these twelve experienced energy with figure ‘B’ and only 3 experienced energy with figure ‘A’. In figure ‘B’ (facing the right) since the sun channel (surya nadi) of Maruti is active more energy was felt by most seekers looking at it. In figure ‘A’ the moon channel (chandra nadi) of Maruti is operational hence people felt less energy. Just like Ganapati with the trunk towards the right the Maruti facing the right is a powerful deity. He is worshipped to overcome problems due to distressing energy. The sushumna channel (nadi) of Ganapati and Maruti are continuously operational but with the transformation in Their forms the sun or moon channels too become operational to a small extent.

2. Shani (Saturn) and Maruti

‘Although there is close association between Shani and Hanuman prevailing in our society its explanation is equally complicated and incomprehensible.

2.1 Similarities

  • 1. In the verse with a thousand Names of Hanuman (Hanumansahasranam stotra) Shani is one of the Names of Hanuman.
  • 2. In the Surya Sanhita it is said that Hanuman was born on a Saturday (Shanivar).
  • 3. It is given in holy texts that Rudra is one of the ten names of Shani.
  • 4. Just like Shani one occasionally comes across Hanuman with a dark complexion.
  • 5. Since Shani is popular in the Gadhval region Hanuman is also seen sporting an iron whip akin to Shani. As a result unknowingly a relationship between Shani and Hanuman must have been established and Hanuman’s worship on Saturdays and His inclusion in the vowed observance of worshipping Saturday (Shanivarvrat) must have commenced.

2.2 Differences

The differences between Shani and Hanuman are more than their similarities.

  • 1. Shani is the son of the Sun deity hence is born from the tej (absolute fire) element whereas Hanuman is the son of Vayu hence is born from the vayu (absolute air) element.
  • 2. There is discord between Shani and the sun whereas Hanuman is a devotee of the Sun deity. He has learnt all the skills from the Sun deity who has imparted a hundredth portion of His radiance to Him. Due to the conflict between Shani and the Sun deity the latter helped Hanuman, the enemy of His enemy (Shani). At that time the vayu element and energy had not manifested completely in Hanuman.
  • 3. Shani is slow whereas Hanuman is swift like the eagle.
  • 4. Shani is an evil planet while Hanuman is definitely not so.
  • 5. It is said that one should not sell oil on Saturdays yet it is customary to offer oil to Hanuman on that day.

3. Demigods (yakshas) and Maruti

Brave and miraculous are adjectives used to describe the demigods. In the Valmiki Ramayan Hanuman is referred to as the miraculous one. Mahavir (the courageous one) is Hanuman’s popular Name. This indicates the relationship between Hanuman and the worship of the demigods. Hanuman is included in the fifty-two brave ones (virs) by the name of Kapilumbir. In Maharashtra, India in the month of Phalgun of the Hindu lunar calendar people dressed as warriors (virs) dance in a procession on their way to a Maruti temple.’

4. Ganapati and Maruti

Both of Them have a red complexion (like sindur) and both of Them possess the eight supernatural powers (ashtamahasiddhis).

5. Importance of Maruti as described by saints

Saint Ramdas Swami has said “Hanumant is our deity”. He is a symbol of energy, ingenuity and devotion. Hence Samarth Ramdas began worshipping Him. Eleven idols of Maruti installed by Him are famous. In North India too saint Tulsidas erected a number of temples and strengthened the worship of Maruti. Madhvacharya is considered as an incarnation of Maruti. Various other saints have also placed Maruti as the ideal through Their various compositions.

6. Worship

6.1 Objectives

Since the manifest energy in Maruti (70%) is much more in comparison to other deities (10%), Maruti is worshipped in the context of energy for the following reasons.

  • To overcome distressing energy: To overcome problems due to spirits, black magic, ancestors’ subtle bodies, suffering due to Shani, etc.
  • To control pleasant energy: If there is any obstacle in the pathway of the activated kundalini (spiritual energy) then to overcome it and channelise it appropriately.

6.2 Ritualistic worship (puja)

Popular worship: In Maharashtra on the full moon day (pournima) of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra Hanuman’s birthday (jayanti) is celebrated. In Maharashtra Saturday is considered as an auspicious day for His worship. In the rest of India Saturday and Tuesday both are considered as auspicious days for His worship. On these days people offer Him sindur and oil. In some places coconuts are offered. To make spiritual progress worship of Vamamukhi(facing the left) Maruti or Maruti as the servitor (Dasmaruti) is used. The reasons for offering oil, sindur, leaves of the coral (rui) plant are given in ‘Why are tulsi leaves offered to Vishnu?’.

Influence of Shani and worship of Maruti: The relationship between Shani and Maruti has been explained earlier in point ‘Shani and Maruti’. Hence when there is an influence of Shani, to reduce the resultant/resulting suffering Maruti is worshipped. The ritual should be performed as follows: Take some oil in a cup (vati), put fourteen bengal gram grains (udid) in it and then look at the reflection of one’s face in it. Only then offer it to Maruti. If one is unable to visit the temple due to illness one may worship Maruti in this way. (Information on why bengal gram is used is described in ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 20 – Chapter 43 – Possession, Black magic and Manifestation’.)

A real oil vendor will never sell oil on Saturday because the distressing energy for which a person is offering oil to Maruti may start troubling the oil vendor itself. Hence instead of buying oil from oil vendors seated outside the temple one should carry oil for the offering, from home.

Maruti Gayatri

आंजनेयाय विद्महे । वायुपुत्राय धीमहि ।
तन्‍नो वीर: प्रचोदयात्‌ ।।

Meaning: We are quite familiar with Maruti, the son of Anjani. We meditate on that Maruti, the son of Vayu. May that courageous Maruti inspire our intellect benevolently.

7. Maruti in our lives

If Maruti is in our breath then Rama [the embodied soul doing spiritual practice (jivatma) or atmaram] is within us.

|| Shri Marutaye namaha ||
Courtesy - Sanatan.org

What is the real meaning of Ramarajya?

Copyright Sanatan SansthaLord Rama

(Copyright Sanatan Sanstha)

1. Ramayan

1.1 Origin and meaning

A. The word Ramayan (रामायण) has been derived from two words ram (रं) and ayan (अयन). Ram ramayate (रम्‌ रमयते) means to remain engrossed in one’s target. It is with reference to remaining engrossed in Bliss which is derived from spiritual practice. Ayan means the seven regions (saptalokas). The Ramayan preaches how to attain the Final Liberation (Moksha) crossing the seven regions, remaining engrossed in spiritual practice, that is in Bliss.

B. ‘In the quote “Samasya ayanam Ramayanam” (समस्‍य अयनं रामायणम्‌) “ayan” means speed, the path or to go. “Ramayan” is thus that which leads one to The Supreme Lord, Shrirama, inspires or enthuses one or rather endows one with the speed to reach The Lord or shows one the real path in life. It also means that, that which includes the main story of the destruction of the unrighteous Ravan by the righteous Rama is the “Ramayan”. Ayan also means shelter. Rama’s existence itself is the Ramayan.’

1.2 Various Ramayans

A. The Valmiki Ramayan: There are several Ramayans, but the Valmiki Ramayan is considered to be the standard among them. The Valmiki Ramayan does not include parts written by other authors just like the other Ramayans. The opinions of various researchers about this Ramayan are as follows.

  • When the fisherman Valya undertook chanting for sixty thousand years he finally became Sage Valmiki. According to another school of thought Sage Valmiki’s real name was Ratnakar, not Valya the fisherman.Valmik is the name of a species of ants which builds anthills. These ants built an anthill on the body of a sage named Ratnakar. Hence people began calling him Sage Valmiki.
  • Rama was born a hundred and fifty years after Sage Valmiki wrote the Ramayan. According to some theRamayan was written in the Satyayug and Rama was born in the Tretayug.
  • Sage Dhoumya was a friend of Sage Valmiki and Sage Bharadvaj. He has written the holy text ‘Agnidhumavati’ on the spiritual practice by inhalation of smoke (dhumrasadhana). Sage Valmiki and Sage Dhoumya lived together for twenty-two years. Sage Dhoumya made twenty-four amendments in the original Ramayan. Actually what we call the ‘Valmiki Ramayan’ should be the ‘Dhoumit Ramayan’. The originalValmiki Ramayan was never available. The Valmiki Ramayan in use today is the one written in the Puranicperiod.Sage Valmiki had taken a vow of not leaving the ashram (kshetrasanyas); hence Sage Dhoumya propagated the Ramayan. It was He who preached to everyone that Rama would be born and that the Ramayan would actually occur. He even told Sage Vasishtha whose ashram was situated at Prayag (Alahabad) in Vindhyachal about Rama.

B. The Purva Ramayan and the Uttar Ramayan: The Purva Ramayan explains how one should travel through the seven regions (saptalokas) by undertaking spiritual practice of the bijamantraram (रं)’. The Uttar Ramayan on the other hand describes the life of Rama who performed such spiritual practice.

C. The Jain Ramayan and the Buddha Ramayan: The biography of Rama is so ideal that in the later period the Jains and the Buddhists began to feel that even their religions should be enriched with it. Hence the Jain and Buddha Ramayans were written.

D. The Adbhut Ramayan: This has been written around the fourteenth century. It is also known asAdbhutottarkand. It is in the form of a conversation between Valmiki and Bharadvaj. In this Sita is depicted as the deity Kali instead of the usual sattvik (sattva predominant) chaste woman (pativrata). It is said that seeing that Rama was unable to slay Ravan She Herself slayed him.

E. The Adhyatmaramayan: This is in the form of a conversation between Uma and Shankar. Uma makes a prayer to Lord Shankar, “The Path of Devotion (Bhaktiyoga) is a superior one to attain The Lord. But due to varied opinions I am not convinced of His nature. So please endow Me with Your grace and reveal His true form to Me.” In response to this Shankar narrated the Adhyatmaramayan to Her.

The Valmiki Ramayan is the basis of this holy text, but in some places a few variations are seen. This holy text is also known as the Adhyatmaramacharit and the Adhyatmik Ramasanhita.

F. The Tulsi Ramayan: This is more devotional, while the Valmiki Ramayan is more historical. (This is akin to theBhagvat which is more devotional and the Mahabharat which is more historical.)

2. Origin of some Names of Rama

2.1 Rama

This Name was prevalent even before the birth of Rama.

2.2 Ramachandra

Rama’s original Name is only ‘Rama’. He is a descendant of the sun dynasty (suryavanshi). Inspite of being born at twelve noon He was not named with names such as Rambhanu which incorporate a name of the sun. Later from the incident in which as a child He obstinately cried to have the moon (chandra), He was probably named Ramachandra.

2.3 Shrirama

When Rama returned with Sita after His victory at Lanka He was called Shrirama. ‘Shri’ is an adjective used for The Lord. When Rama revealed that He was an incarnation of God, everyone started calling Him Shrirama. In the Valmiki Ramayan Rama is not referred to as God but is called ‘The Supreme Man (narapungav)’. [Hanuman is referred to as ‘The supreme monkey (kapipungav)’. However by itself the word pungav means a bullock.]

3. Rama’s family and incarnations

When The Lord incarnates other deities too incarnate along with Him. Based on this rule, when Lord Vishnu assumed the incarnation of Rama the other deities who followed suit as well as the other incarnations who accompanied Him are described in the following table.

Rama and His family Whose incarnation?
1. Rama Vishnu
2. Sita Divine energy (Shakti) of Vishnu
3. Lakshman Adishesh
4. Bharat The conch
5. Shatrughna The discus
6. Maruti The eleventh Rudra, Shiva

4. Special features

4.1 Ideal in all aspects

A. The ideal son: Though Rama obeyed His parents, at times He also advised the elders. For instance when leaving for the forest He exhorted His parents not to grieve for Him.

B. The ideal brother: Even today people quote Rama-Lakshman’s love as the ideal illustration of brotherly love.

C. The ideal husband: Rama was devoted singly to His wife.

Even after abandoning Sita, Rama lived in detachment. Later when He performed a sacrificial fire (yadnya) He placed Sita’s idol by His side but did not choose another wife. During those days it was a practice for kings to have several consorts. Taking this background into consideration this depicts His faithfulness to only one wife.

D. The ideal friend: Rama helped Sugriv, Bibhishan, etc. during catastrophes in their lives.

E. The ideal king: When His subjects expressed doubts about the chastity of Sita, ignoring His personal relationship with Her, He abandoned Her in accordance with the code of Righteousness of the ruler (rajdharma). In this context, Kalidas a famous poet has written a meaningful verse (shloka) – ‘कौलिनभीतेन गृहन्‍निरस्‍ता न तेन वैदेहसुता मनस्‍त: ।’ which means ‘fearing social stigma Rama drove Sita out of His home, but not out of His mind’.

F. The ideal enemy: After Ravan’s death when his brother Bibhishan refused to perform his last rites, Rama told him, “Enemity ends with death. If you do not perform his last rites, I will. He is My brother as well.”

4.2 Follower of Righteousness (Dharma)

He followed all the bounds of Righteousness. Hence He is referred to as ‘Maryada-purushottam’, the Supreme limit of Righteousness.

4.3 True to His word

A. Generally when one has to emphasize a point one says ‘I am speaking the truth thrice’. Similarly, the word ‘Shantihi (शांति:)’ is recited thrice. The word ‘thrice’ is used with the following two meanings.

  • To speak taking the oath of the trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
  • The word trivar (त्रिवार) meaning thrice is derived from tri (त्रि) and var (वार), that is three days. If one gets the same dream on three consecutive nights, then it is said to be a spiritual dream. One should either act accordingly or ask a spiritually evolved person about it. Similarly only if something is heard thrice should it be considered to be the truth. Rama however, was true to His word, that is once He uttered something it was the ultimate truth and there was no need to emphasise that point again three times.

B. In Sanskrut grammar there are three nouns, singular (ekvachan), dual (dvivachan) and plural (bahuvachan). Rama was ‘singular’. This implies that one should merge into Rama, that is traverse from three (many) to one. In Spirituality, progress occurs as one goes from many to one and then from one to zero. Here, zero refers to the absolute incarnation, Lord Krushna.

C. According to geometry three depicts the three dimensions but Rama is unidimensional.

4.4 The one who struck the target with only one arrow

Rama could strike the target with an arrow at the first shot. There was never a need for a second one.

4.5 Human nature

Rama displays emotions of happiness and unhappiness just like human beings. Hence one feels more attracted to Him than to other deities. For instance, after Sita’s abduction, Rama became melancholic. However in such circumstances how the God principle in Rama was intact will be clear from the ensuing conversation between Shiva (Shankar) and Parvati, quoted below.

Parvati: Just see how the one whose Name You chant is grieving for His wife like an average mortal.
Shankar: That grief is namesake. He has to do that as He has assumed a human form.
Parvati: Rama is wandering about embracing the trees. That proves He is really pining for Sita.
Shankar: Why don’t You experience whether what I said is true or false, Yourself ? Assume the form of Sita and appear before Him. Then observe His behaviour.

Parvati did as Shankar had said. Seeing Her Rama offered obeisance to Her and said, “I have recognised You. You are the Great Illusion (Adimaya).” With this Parvati was convinced that Rama’s bereavement was but a superficial display.

4.6 Rama’s servant (Ramadas) and Rama’s kingdom (Ramarajya)

Rama’s servant (Ramadas): This word has two meanings.

  • The servant (das) of Rama
  • The one whose servant is Rama!

Rama’s kingdom (Ramarajya)

  • During His times, that is in the Tretayug Rama alone was not wise, His subjects too were prudent. Hence during His reign not a single complaint was brought to His court.
  • The real kingdom of Rama (implied meaning): Absolute control over the five sense organs, five motor organs, mind, subconscious mind, intellect and ego by Rama (Atmaram – the soul principle) dwelling in the heart itself is Rama’s real kingdom.

4.7 Principle, ability and manifest energy

The meaning of these words is given under the point ‘Principle, ability and manifest energy’.

  • Principle: Vishnu principle 75% (Vishnu / God = 100%)
  • Ability:Creation 20%, sustenance 50% and dissolution 30%
  • Manifest energy: 75%

(Like God (Ishvar), Vishnu too utilises only 10% of His energy to accomplish His mission. This energy is referred to as the manifest energy. The dormant energy is called the unmanifest energy. If the mission is such that more energy is required then the proportion of manifest energy is higher.)

Look at the picture of the fivefold family of Rama (Rama panchayatan) including Hanuman, given below and decide from whom one can experience energy? Only then read further.

Rama panchayatan
Rama panchayatan

The table below enumerates whether Energy or Bliss was experienced from each of the figures by the 29 seekers attending one of our satsangs (spiritual meetings).

Looking at whom? Presence or absence of a
spiritual experience
1. Rama Present     2
2. Lakshman 2
3. Bharat 0
4. Shatrughna 0
5. Sita 10
6. Hanuman 5
Absent      10
Total 29

The average spiritual level of the seekers was 35%. During a satsang (spiritual meeting) at times the spiritual level of a seeker can even become 40-50%. The spiritual level of an average person is 20% while that of one who has attained the Final Liberation (Moksha) is 100%. If average individuals participate in the experiment, they do not perceive anything. Hence in such experiments everyone does not get spiritual experiences. Only those who have attained a spiritual level of 35% and above and are able to perceive something of the subtle dimension are able to give answers.

10 out of 29 seekers did not perceive anything. Out of the 19 who perceived something, half that is 10 of them sensed the energy in Sita. This experiment illustrates why Sita is referred to as the Energy of Rama. 5 seekers experienced Energy in Maruti. From this one will realise why the manifest energy in Maruti is much greater than in other deities.

Courtesy - Sanatan.org

Why should one chant the Name ‘Sree Ram’ instead of ‘Ram’?


1. Worship of Rama and seekers

1.1 Chanting of ‘Hare Rama’ (हरे राम)

The Kalisantaran Upanishad is a part of the Krushnayajurveda. Its other name is Harinamopanishad. This Upanishadwas narrated by Lord Brahma to Sage Narad towards the culmination of the Dvaparyug. In short, it says mere chanting of Lord Narayan’s Name eliminates the ill effects due to the influence of Kali. This mantra consists of sixteen words -

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krushna Hare Krushna Krushna Krushna Hare Hare
हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे।
हरे कृष्‍ण हरे कृष्‍ण कृष्‍ण कृष्‍ण हरे हरे ।।

These sixteen words are associated with the sixteen kalas of the embodied soul. Thus it is a mantra which destroys the covering of the embodied soul. Some sects worshipping Lord Krushna chant the second half of the mantra first.’

1.2 Spiritual experiences obtained when chanting the Names Rama and Sree Rama

Chant the Names Rama and Sree Rama each for two minutes and record your spiritual experiences, that is note with which Name you feel pleasant or distressed. Then read the following paragraph. The table below enlists the spiritual experiences of seekers who were attending a workshop on Spirituality, in Mumbai.

Spiritual experience obtained
during chanting
Rama Sree Rama
1. Efforts were necessary
(presence of grossness)
8 -
2. Felt serene 1 6
3. Felt like chanting Shrirama
instead of Rama
1 -
4. Occurred automatically 1 8
5. Felt distressed - 5*

* Since the spiritual experience of Bliss or Serenity is new for an average seeker chanting the Name Shrirama can cause him distress.

The majority felt more pleasant when chanting Shrirama rather than Rama. This will clarify the difference between the two Names. Despite this, five individuals experienced distress when chanting Shrirama. To avoid this a seeker is advised not to chant a Name meant for a spiritual level higher than his.

The words in the mantra ‘Shrirama jai Rama jai jai Rama (श्री राम जय राम जय जय राम)’ mean the following -

Shrirama: This is an invocation of Shrirama
Jai Rama: This is in praise of Rama.
Jai jai Rama: Like ‘namaha’ it signifies surrender.

1.3 Differences between various Names

The male / female
family deity
Rama Sree Rama
1. At what spiritual level
% of the seeker is
is it useful?
20-50 50-60 60-80
2. Manifest energy % 10 70 0
3. Mission Activation of energy The energy
performs a
specific function
Conversion of
the energy
into Shiva

1.4 Spiritual practice of which form of Rama is useful for a seeker at a particular spiritual level %?

Form of Rama Spiritual level of the seeker %
1. Ramapanchayatan (The five-
fold family of Rama)
2. Rama – Sita and Hanuman 30-50
3. Rama and Sita (Sitarama) 30-50
4. Rama 50-60
5. Shrirama 60-80

1.5 Beneficial to go from many to one

Once the stage of worship of the family deity is completed, the spiritual practice of Rama who is true to His word, devoted to only one wife and who attains the target with just one arrow is useful for many a seeker to go from many to one..

1.6 Ritualistic worship (puja) and celebration of religious festivals

Since Rama is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, He too is worshipped like Vishnu.  The birth of Shrirama is celebrated on the ninth day (navami) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra, at twelve noon.

1.7 Rama and Sita Gayatri

दाशरथाय विद्महे । सीतावराय धीमहि ।
तन्‍नो रामचंद्र: प्रचोदयात्‌ ।।

Meaning: We are quite familiar with Rama, the son of Dasharath. We meditate on Rama, the husband of Sita. May that Rama inspire our intellect benevolently.

जनकात्‍मजाय विद्महे । भूमिपुत्र्यै धीमहि ।
तन्‍नो जानकी प्रचोदयात्‌ ।।

Meaning: We are quite familiar with Sita, the daughter of Janak. We meditate on Sita, the daughter of the Earth. May that Janaki inspire our intellect benevolently.

2. The Ramayan in our lives

If one is disinterested in something one says there is no charm (Rama nahi) in it. From some Names in theRamayan one will realise how the Ramayan is going on in the day-to-day life of a seeker.

  • A. Rama: Atmaram is the soul principle.
  • B. Sita: Adimaya is the Great Illusion. The abduction by Ravan, Her entering the fire were all a part of the play of the Great Illusion. In one’s life too the play of the Great Illusion in the form of happiness and unhappiness continues.
  • C. Lakshman: Laksha (लक्ष) which means attention and man (मन) meaning mind constitute the name Lakshman (लक्षमण). One’s attention should always be concentrated on the soul.
  • D. Bharat: The name Bharat (भरत) is derived from bha (भ) meaning radiance and rat (रत) meaning engrossed. A seeker is thus one who is engrossed in the worship of radiance.
  • E. Shatrughna: The name Shatrughna (शत्रुघ्‍न) is derived from shatru (शत्रु) and ghna (घ्‍न). Shatru means the enemy and ghna the destroyer. The six foes of the soul (shadripu) are one’s enemies.
  • F. Rama, Sita and Lakshman: Rama means spiritual knowledge, Sita means devotion and Lakshman means detachment.
  • G. Hanuman: The activated spiritual energy (kundalini).
  • H. Ravan: The six foes of the soul (shadripu) – desire, anger, greed, attachment, vanity and envy.
  • I. Kumbhakarna: Laziness

Thus like the Ramayan, the Mahabharat too goes on in one’s day-to-day life !

।। Shrirama jai Rama jai jai Rama ।।
Courtesy - Sanatan.org

What are the implied meanings of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu?

vishnu avtar

1. Personages and parts of Lord Vishnu

A. Personages: ‘Four personages of Lord Vishnu have been described in the Vishnu Puran, the first reclines on Shesh, the second nurtures creation, the third assumes an incarnation and reinstates Righteousness (Dharma) and the fourth destroys unrighteousness and demons.

B. Parts: Lord Vishnu has four main parts. With one He becomes the unmanifest Brahma, with the second Prajapati like Marich etc., with the third He is the time (kal) and with the fourth He is in the form of animate and inanimate creation. Thus in these four ways He exists in creation.’

2. The ten incarnations (dashavtar)

All information regarding incarnations with regard to why they are assumed, their mission, types, characteristics, etc. are given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 7 – Supreme God, God, Incarnations and Deities.’ Here information only on the ten main incarnations of Lord Vishnu has been given.

Date of birth
according to
the Hindu
gy (%)
of the
Ability (%)
1. Matsya
(The fish)
Third day
(trutiya) of the
bright fortnight
of Chaitra
(Matsya Puran)
Eleventh day
(ekadashi) of
the bright
fortnight of
(Varaha Puran)
Satya 20 20 - 40 50 10
2. Kurma
Full moon day
(pournima) of
Satya 30 30 - 30 50 20
3. Varaha
Third day
(trutiya) of the
bright fortnight
of Bhadrapad
Satya 40 40 - 20 50 30
4. Narsinha
Fourteenth day
of the bright
fortnight of
Satya 45 45 Sarasvati 20 50 30
5. Vaman
Twelfth day
(dvadashi) of
the bright
fortnight of
Satya 50 50 Brahm-
20 50 30
6. Parshu-
Third day
(trutiya) of the
bright fortnight
of Vaishakh
Treta 65 65 Bhumi 20 50 30
7. Rama Ninth day
(navami) of the
bright fortnight
of Chaitra
Treta 75 75 Sita 20 50 30
8. Krushna
Eighth day
(ashtami) of the
bright fortnight
of Shravan
Dvapar 100 100 The
eight and
ten great
20 50 30
9. Buddha Ninth day
(navami) of the
bright fortnight
of Ashvin
Kali 50 70 - 25 50 25
10. Kalki * Kali 80 100 - 15 50 35

* At the end of the Kaliyug on the third day of the bright fortnight of Shravan the incarnation, Kalki will be born (Kalki Puran).

2.1 Matsya (The fish)

This is totally an idea from the Vedas.

A. Mission

  • Protecting the seed of creation at the time of dissolution of the universe (pralay). This is preserved at the time of every dissolution of the universe by the fish incarnation. The universe is then recreated from that seed by the next tortoise incarnation, Kurma.
  • Slaying of the demons Hayagriv (Bhagvat Puran), Shankhasur (Skand Puran).

B. Idols

  • Complete form of a fish
  • The torso is that of a man. Its four hands hold four instruments of Lord Vishnu.

C. Implied meaning: Just as a fish swims against the stream of a river, that is towards its origin so also a seeker should go to his place of origin, that is, to The Supreme God. This is what It teaches us.

2.2 Kurma (The tortoise)

A. Mission

  • Creation: ‘Assuming the form of a tortoise Prajapati created progeny. This was His duty (karma). His name Kurma was later derived from the word karma. Further He was also referred to as Kashyap. Kashyap was Prajapati, the creator of progeny. Since the entire creation was derived from Kashyap He was believed to be Kurma. From this, one will realise that the mission in the tortoise form was basically that of Prajapati. After the post-Brahman era Vishnu came into prominence overshadowing Prajapati and all the latter’s actions were attributed to Vishnu. Thus the Kurma incarnation became the second incarnation of Vishnu.
  • Supporting all functions: At the time of churning of the ocean (samudramanthan) the tortoise who supported the Mandar mountain vibrating with the sweat of deities and demons on Its back was the unrealisable Adikachchapa (Kurma incarnation) and It considered the churning of the mountain on Its back as mere scratching of Its body.

B. Idols: Idols of Nrusinha (the man-lion) and Varaha (the boar) are found all over India in abundance; however there are very few of the Kurma incarnation found separately.’

C. Implied meaning: Just as the tortoise withdraws its four limbs, head and tail into its shell so also one should control the six foes of the soul (shadripu).

2.3 Varaha (The boar)

A. Mission

  • Destruction of demons: A demon called Hiranyaksha abducted the earth and took it to hell (patal). Vishnu then assumed the form of a boar, retrieved the earth from hell with Its tusks and installed it on the head of the serpent, Shesh. It then slew Hiranyaksha. Vishnu assumed this incarnation at the beginning of the Varaha kalpa. (Vayu Puran 23.100-109)
  • Imparting spiritual knowledge: In this incarnation Vishnu preached Spirituality to Sanatkumar and narrated the Varahopanishad to Rubhu.

B. Idols: According to the text Vaikhanas Agam the idols are of the following types.

  • Yadnyavaraha: It is seated on a throne with the deity Shridevi on one side and Bhudevi on the other.
  • Pralayvaraha: Only Bhudevi is beside It.
  • Nruvaraha: The body is that of a man and the head that of a boar. Some idols also wield Vishnu’s instruments in Their hands.

C. Implied meaning

  • Varaha is a one tusked wild boar. The boar does not accept defeat even at the cost of its life. Similarly a seeker too should not give up spiritual practice even if on the verge of death when doing so.
  • The seventh chakra of the spiritual energy flow system (kundalini) is called Ekadanta or Narayan.

2.4 Narsinha/Nrusinha (The man-lion)

A. Mission

  • Slaying the demon Hiranyakashipu
  • Lakshmi-Narsinha is the family deity of some. Narsinha is the family deity of the royal family of Vijaynagar.

B. Idols:The body is that of a man and the head that of a ferocious lion.

C. Implied meaning of some incidents

  • Manifestation of Narsinha from a pillar shows the existence of The Lord in animate as well as inanimate creation.
  • Hiranyakashipu signifies ignorance. Narsinha slew him by tearing open his abdomen thus liberating the embodied soul situated in the chakra of spiritual energy (kundalini) at the level of the navel.

D. Ritualistic worship: Since it is difficult to tolerate the radiance of Nrusinha, He is worshipped after the back of His idol is adorned with eyes, whiskers, etc. Similarly the eyes of Balaji of Tirupati are half open as one cannot tolerate His radiance. A sacrifice (balî) of a goat is offered to Nrusinha.

E. Nara-Narayan: Nara was created from the human part of Narsinha and Narayan from the face of a lion (Kalika Puran 29).

2.5 Vaman (The dwarf)

Vaman is the son of Kashyap and Aditi. His other name is Urukram. Urukram means one having a wide stride.

A. Mission:He kept Bali a demon king, in bondage.

B. Idols

  • Idols of Vaman:Short, with a paunch, the facial expression of a child, adorning the sacred thread holding an umbrella in one hand and a baton with the other.
  • Trivikram: An expansive form

C. Implied meaning: The three footsteps that Vaman asked King Bali for, describe the all pervading nature of Vishnu. With His three footsteps Vaman encompassed the earth, space and the sky (or the earth, heaven and hell).

2.6 Parshuram

One comes across stories about Parshuram in the Ramayan, the Mahabharat and in some Purans. There is no separate mythological text (Puran) about Him unlike the incarnations preceding Him.

A. Parents: Sage Jamadagni of the Bhrugu dynasty and Renuka were the parents of Parshuram. Renuka was the daughter of a Kshatriya (warrior). However Jamadagni being a Brahman Parshuram too became a Brahman. Theashram of Sage Jamadagni was situated on the banks of the river Narmada. Parshuram was born there in the nineteenth Tretayug (in the transitional period between the Treta and Dvaparyugs according to the Mahabharat).Renu means particles of earth. Renuka undertook spiritual practice of the water element. Hence she could fetch water in pots made of wet clay. Jamadagni had done spiritual practice of the fire element. Jamat is a type of fire.Jamat also means a resolve made with a definite purpose.

B. Mission

  • Slaying of unrighteous Kshatriyas (warriors): ‘Valmiki has referred to Him not as a slayer of Kshatriyas but of kings. From this an inference can be made that Parshuram did not kill all Kshatriyas, but only thoseKshatriya kings who were evil.’Kartavirya abducted the divine wish-fulfilling cow (kamadhenu) and her calf from Sage Jamadagni’s ashram. This incident occurred in Parshuram’s absence. On His return, realising what had happened, He vowed to slay Kartavirya. In the ensuing battle between the two on the banks of the river Narmada, Parshuram slew Kartavirya. Thereafter complying with His father’s directives He embarked on a pilgrimage and to undertake austerities.After Parshuram left, to avenge Kartavirya’s death, Haihayas beheaded Sage Jamadagni. When this news reached Parshuram He returned to the ashram. There were twenty-one injuries made with arrows on the dead body of Jamadagni. Seeing them Parshuram instantly pledged that ‘He would circumambulate the earth twenty-one times to punish and rid the earth of evil Kshatriyas and Haihayas because of the slaying of aBrahman by them.’ According to this vow He would slay the unrighteous Kshatriyas and then retreat for penance to the Mahendra mountain. When there was an upsurge in evil warriors He would return and slay them. He completed twenty-one such missions. He fought the last battle on the Samantpanchak. There He washed His axe (parshu) soaked with the blood of the Kshatriyas and laid it down.
  • Erecting temples of deities of territories (kshetrapaldevata): While circumbulating the earth twenty-one times He established one hundred and eight seats of pilgrimage with divine energy (tirthakshetra), that is temples of deities of territories (kshetrapaldevata). Before that saints only knew about these places but had not erected temples or established holy seats (piths) there.

C. Characteristics

  • अग्रत: चतुरो वेदा: पृष्‍ठत: सशरं धनु: ।
    इदं ब्राह्‍मं इदं क्षात्रं शापादपि शरादपि ।।Meaning: Parshuram who is verbally well versed with the four Vedas and sports the bow and arrow upon His back (that is the one who has the radiance of both the Brahman and the Kshatriya) will vanquish the one who dares to obstruct Him either with a curse or an arrow.
  • Imparting energy to Rama: Once hearing about the fame of Rama (the son of Dasharath) in order to test His bravery Parshuram obstructed His way. Then He offered His bow to Rama and told Him to bend it and mount an arrow onto it. When Rama complied and asked where He should shoot an arrow, Parshuram told Him, ‘Nullify My activity on this land of Kashyap.’ Rama obliged Him. Then Parshuram gifted that bow to Rama and thus imparted His energy of destroying evildoers to Rama.
  • The best archery teacher: After laying down His arms He gave up His feeling of hatred for Kshatriyas(warriors) and began teaching archery to both Brahmans (priests) as well as Kshatriyas with equality. Great archers from the Mahabharat such as Bhishmacharya, Dronacharya, etc. were all disciples of Parshuram.
  • Generous: Due to His mission of destroying the Kshatriyas He became the master of the entire earth. As a result He also acquired the privilege to perform the Ashvamedh sacrificial fire (yadnya). So He first bathed in all the places of pilgrimage, circumambulated the earth thrice and then performed the sacrificial fire. The altar (vedi) of the sacrificial fire was made of gold and was ten vave (the distance between arms extended sideways) long and nine vave high. At the end of the sacrificial fire Parshuram offered the entire land which He had acquired to the officiating priest of the sacrificial fire, Kashyap.
  • Creation of new land: Kashyap realised that as long as Parshuram continued to live on earth the Kshatriyaswould not prosper. Hence He told Parshuram ‘The land which you have offered to Me in the sacrifice now belongs to Me. You have no right to stay on My land anymore.’ So making the sea recede Parshuram created His own new territory. The area from Vaitarana to Kanyakumari is referred to as Parshuram’s territory (Parshuramkshetra).
  • Creation of Brahmans: Since there were no Brahmans in the new land created by Him the pure-minded Parshuram killed everyone there, cremated them and made them pure Brahmans.
  • He is one of the seven immortal ones (saptachiranjiva); however the Mahabharat states that during themanvantar (a period of time) He will renounce His body.

D. ‘The territory of Parshuram: The Salher mountain is situated at the northern end of the Sahyadri range. Over there, there is a fort from the middle ages with a temple of Parshuram at its peak. Two footsteps four times the size of the footstep of an average person are engraved in the earth at a distance of 100 feet to the north of the temple. They are designed in the stance adopted by a person while shooting an arrow from a bow. It is said that Parshuram shot an arrow into the ocean from here and made it recede.

An ancient temple of Parshuram is located in the Kangada district of Punjab. In the Konkan there is one on a mountain situated five miles from Chiplun. The temple has three idols standing in a row, their names being Kama, Parshuram and Kal. The idol of Parshuram is a little taller than the others. The three idols are arranged such that they represent Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively.’

E. Idols: The body of the idol is huge like that of Bhim. It has matted hair locks and sports a bow on the shoulder and an axe in the hand.

F. Ritualistic worship: Parshuram being an incarnation of Lord Vishnu is worshipped as a deity worthy of worship. His birthday (jayanti) which falls on the third day (trutiya) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Vaishakhis celebrated both as a vowed religious observance (vrat) and a religious festival (utsav).

2.7 Rama

Information on Rama is given in ‘Rama’.

2.8 Krushna

Information on Krushna is given in ‘Krushna’. Krushna being an absolute incarnation (purnavtar) is not referred to as an incarnation but as Lord Vishnu Himself who has assumed an incarnation.

2.9 Buddha

A. Since the seventh and eighth centuries to depict the connection between Hinduism and Buddhism according to the principle of ‘not opposing anyone (सर्वेषाम्‌ अविरोधेण)’ Gautam Buddha came to be known as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He was born on the ninth day (navami) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Ashvin. Buddha stopped the concept of offering sacrifices in a sacrificial fire (yadnya) and spread the message of truth and non-violence.

B. ‘His reign is said to be from the time of the incarnation of Krushna to that of Kalki scheduled to occur at the end of the Kaliyug. In other words, God is always existing but can be realised only through purified intellect (buddhi) which is acquired by remaining in the holy company (satsang) of saints and seekers. Hence He is referred to as an incarnation.’ – H.H. Kane Maharaj, Narayangaon.

2.10 Kalki

A. Birth:‘He is the tenth or twenty-first incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He will be born on the third day (trutiya) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Shravan at the end of the Kaliyug to a Brahman named Vishnuyashas in the village Shambal of Kikat. His lineage (gotra) will be Parashar.

B. Mission: He will embark on the conquest of the earth on His horse named Devdatta. He will destroy the evil and unrighteous and reinstate Righteousness (Dharma). He will destroy His enemies, the evildoers and rule the world. The priest Yadnyavalkya will assist Him in this mission and finally at the age of twenty-five He will renounce His body at the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. The Bhavishya Kalki Puran predicts that after this the Krutyug(Satyayug) will commence.

Various holy texts such as the Vishnu Puran (4.24.98), the Shrimadbhagvat (1.3.25), the Matsya Puran, theMahabharat – Vanaparva (190. 96-97), etc. predict the future exactly like the Kalki Puran.

C. Idols: The Hayshirsha Pancharatra and the Agni Puran describe the image of Kalki in two different ways – one with two arms and the other with four arms. The Chaturvarga Chintamani describes His idol with two arms as -

खड्‌गोद्यतकर: क्रुध्‍दो हयारूढो महाबल: ।
म्‍लेंच्‍छोच्‍छेदकर: कल्‍की व्‍दिभुज: परीकीर्तित: ।।

Meaning: Kalki wields a sword in one hand, is seated on a horse, is mighty, is the destroyer of evildoers and has two arms.’

|| Shri Vishnave Namaha ||
Courtesy - Sanatan.org

Why should one chant specific Name of Lord Vishnu for accomplishing a particular mission?


1. Origin and meaning

‘Yaska has derived this word from vish (विष्‌) which means to be constantly active (Nirukta 12.19). Yaska has also opined that the word Vishnu has also been derived from vish (विश्‌) which means to pervade and based on this Sayanacharya too has given its meaning as vast or all pervading (the commentary of point 1.154.1 and 5 of the Rugveda). In accordance with this meaning a commentary on the Vishnusahasranam says -‘चराचरेषु भूतेषु वेशनाव्‍दिष्‍णुरुच्‍यते|’

Meaning: He is called Vishnu because He pervades all the animate and inanimate creation.’

2. Some other Names

The famous verse of Lord Vishnu is the Vishnusahasranam (विष्‍णुसहस्रनाम). Amidst chanting of these thousand Names Lord Vishnu is ritualistically worshipped with an offering of tulsi leaves or lotus flowers while sipping water through the palm (achaman).

During the ritual of sandhya the twenty-four Names recited are – Keshav, Narayan, Madhav, Govind, Vishnu, Madhusudan, Trivikram, Vaman, Shridhar, Hruíhikesh, Padmanabh, Damodar, Sankarshan, Vasudev, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Puruíhottam, Adhokshaj, Narsinha, Achyut, Janardan, Upendra, Hari and Shrikrushna. Although all these Names belong to Lord Vishnu, yet according to the rule that sound, touch, form, taste, fragrance and energy coexist with a word how a different energy is generated by chanting each of these Names will be understood from the following lines of a verse.

औषधे चिन्‍तयेव्‍दिष्‍णुं भोजने च जनार्दनम्‌।
शयने पद्मनाभं च विवाहे च प्रजापतिम्‌ ।।१।।
युध्‍दे चक्रधरं देवं प्रवासे च त्रिविक्रमम्‌ ।
नारायणं तनुत्‍यागे श्रीधरं प्रियसंगमे ।।२।।
दु:स्‍वप्‍ने स्‍मर गोविन्‍दं संकटे मधुसूदनम्‌ ।
कानने नारसिंहं च पावके जलशायिनम्‌ ।।३।।
जलमध्‍ये वराहं च पर्वते रघुनन्‍दनम्‌ ।
गमने वामनं चैव सर्वकार्येषु माधवम ।।४।।

Meaning: One should contemplate on Vishnu when consuming medicines, Janardan when eating, Padmanabh when sleeping, Prajapati during a marriage ceremony, Lord Chakradhar (Vishnu / Krushna) when fighting a battle, Trivikram during a journey, Narayan at the time of death, Shridhar during intercourse between spouses, Govind in case of a bad dream, Madhusudan in a calamity, Narsinha in the forest, the form of Vishnu in the celestial ocean (kshirasagar) when threatened by fire, His Varaha incarnation when there is fear of drowning, Raghunandan when there is fear of fall from a mountain and Madhav when performing day-to-day chores.

One will realise from the following examples why certain Names of Lord Vishnu are used for a particular mission.

  • Since Prajapati created the universe and is responsible for procreation during a marriage ceremony His Name is chanted.
  • During a fight the Name of Vishnu who sports a discus (chakra), Chakradhari should be chanted.
  • Since the lion is the king of the forest if one chants the Name of Narsinha (the man-lion incarnation) in the forest one is protected.
  • The Varaha (boar) incarnation of Lord Vishnu lifted the earth from the waters and placed it on the head of the serpent, Shesh. Hence when there is fear of drowning this Name should be chanted.

A. Bhagvan

The six attributes namely wealth, Righteousness (Dharma), success, opulence, spiritual knowledge and detachment are referred to as ‘bhag’. The one who possesses these attributes is called Bhagvan. In the Bhagvat sect Lord Shrikrushna and Vishnu are referred to as Bhagvan.

B. Narayan

‘This is a deity from the post Rugvedic period. The word narayan (नारायण) has been derived from nar(नार) [naraha (नारा:)] = apa (आप) meaning the absolute water element and ayan (अयन) meaning a place. Thus it means that the one who lives in the apa element is Narayan. The water mentioned above should not be considered as mere water. Before the earth came into existence everything was in the form of the apa element. Later it is from this that the universe was created. The origin of what we refer to as water occurred through a physical process much later. The all pervading energy which was present in the very beginning is the one referred to as water in this context. So, that principle from which the universe has been created is Narayan.’

Nara’ refers to mankind and ‘ayan’ to its ultimate stage is another definition of Narayan.

  • Synonymous words in the Narayaniya sect and other philosophies
    Narayaniya sect Other philosophies
    A. Name Sahasrashirshapurush, (The thousand-headed
    Being) (Tripad)
    B. Forms
    1. Unmanifest form He is Supreme, beyond the three components
    (guns). He is called the
    tripad nectar (amrut)
    Supreme Brahman
    Supreme God
    2. Manifest form भूमिं विश्वतो वृत्‍वा अत्‍यतिष्‍ठत्‌
    दशाङ्‍गुलम्‌ means the space equivalent to the
    width of ten index fingers
    remaining after
    encompassing all the regions of the universe.
    Brahman, God (ishvar)
    3. Vast (virat) form Conception from the vast form occurs in Prakruti Apa (absolute water),
    form of the
    universal intellect
    (Mahat principle),
    the Great Illusion
    (yoni), Prakruti
    C. Energy Narayani The female deity (devi),
    spiritual energy (kundalini)
    D. Creation of the universe
    1. From what? Tinkling of the vina (a stringed musical
    instrument) strings of
    Sage Narad
    Akash (absolute ether)
    2. Characteristics Sound (nada) Word (shabda)
  • Sheshashayi: ‘This is one form of Narayan. He reclines on the serpent (nag) who is the king of hell (patal). In the word “patalam (पातालम्‌)” the word alam (आलम्‌ ) is derived from the Tamil language and refers to water. Water is not called alam in Sanskrut. Nag is the name of a Dravidian tribe and Shesh was probably their ancient king or family deity.
  • Shvetadipa: Just as Vishnu’s abode is Vaikunth, Shiva’s is Kailas, so also Narayan’s abode is Shvetadipa.
  • Nara-Narayan: This is considered as a pair of deities. Both of them are friends and have originated from the same principle. This idea was probably derived from the Vedic verse “Dva suparna” (Rugveda 1.164.20). This verse means : There are two birds seated on a tree. Both of them are beautifully winged, close friends living together. One of them tastes sweet fruits of that tree. The second however does not eat but merely adopts the stance of a spectator. Thus in the above quote the one feasting on the fruit is nara (man) and the spectator is Narayan.’
    Nara Narayan
    1. Components (guns) Composed of guns (sagun) Beyond components (nirgun)
    2. Spiritual meaning The embodied soul or the
    Great Illusion (Maya)
    Shiva or Brahman
    3. Idol Has two arms Has four arms
    4. Incarnation Arjun Krushna
  • Navanarayan and Navanath: The Navanarayans nurture the nine serpents (nag) in the universal spiritual energy system (vishva kundalini).‘The group of nine saints from the Nath sect constitutes the Navanaths. The holy textNavanathbhaktisar enumerates the couplets of the Navanaths and the Navanarayans whose respective incarnations they are:
    Navanath Whose
    Navanath Whose
    1. Matsyendra Narayan 6. Nag Avirhotra
    2. Goraksha Hari 7. Bhartruhari Drumil
    3. Jalandhar Antariksha 8. Revan Chamas
    4. Kanif Prabuddha 9. Gahini Karbhajan
    5. Charpati Pippalayan

    From the various compositions about the Navanaths it appears that though some Names of saints correspond, there is no uniformity. The concept of the Navanaths probably originated from the school of thought that the Navanaths are the presiding deities of the nine openings in the body (navadvar). Later the one who felt drawn to particular Naths must have included them in the nine saints and published his list of Navanaths. The list of Navanaths is similar to that of the six Manus, the seven great sages (Saptarshi), Ashtachap, Navanarayans, the sixty-three saints (Tamil Shaivites), etc. In the Shaiva sect the Navanaths hail from the Adinath (that is Shiva) lineage.’

  • Idol of Narayan: ‘According to the Dravidians Narayan was considered as a form of Lord Shiva. This idea of unity of Narayan and Shiva will be clear after seeing the idols of Narayan at Shivasamudram, Shrirangam and Shrirangapattanam in India. In South India, Narayan Himself is called Shriranga or Ranganath. Among the three places of pilgrimage mentioned above, Shivasamudram is basically a Shaivite place of pilgrimage. The characteristic of Narayan’s idol is that it is always in a reclining posture. However it is not asleep as its eyes are half open.’
  • Narayani : In the Vaishnav sect the Mahanarayan radiance [spiritual energy (kundalini)] in the body is referred to as Narayani.

C. Vasudev

Vasaha (वास:) means life, sustenance or stability. The deity bestowing this is known as Vasudev (वासुदेव).

सर्वाणि तत्र भूतानि वसन्‍ति परमात्‍मनि ।
भूतेषु च स सर्वात्‍मा वासुदेवस्‍तत: स्‍मृत: ।।

Meaning: He is referred to as Vasudev (vas means to stay) because all objects created from the five elements reside within Him and vice versa.

D. Sankarshan

Samyak (सम्‍यक्‌) and karshan (कर्षण) constitute the Name Sankarshan (संकर्षण). Sankarshan thus means the one who attracts unhappiness or illness and guides one to the level of equanimity. He is the one who attracts or gets rid of any kind of inappropriate frequencies and transforms them into appropriate ones.

E. Kiritdhari

Kiritdhari means adorning a crown (Kirit). Among the superior deities Lord Shiva does not wear a crown. It is in this context that Vishnu is said to be wearing a crown.

F. Lakshmipati

Vishnu’s feminine form is called Lakshmi. Laksham means concentration. The one who can be acquired with concentration is called Lakshmipati (Master of Lakshmi).

G. Hari and Shrihari

1. Hari: ‘यस्‍य अनुग्रह्य इच्‍छामि तस्‍य सर्वं हराम्‍यहम्‌ ।’
Meaning: Whenever I bestow My grace on someone, I take everything (including unhappiness) from him. (Hence My Name is Hari.)

2. Shrihari: Shri refers to attributes such as energy, beauty, virtues, etc. Vishnu’s form along with Shri is Shrihari.


Courtesy - Sanatan.org

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.