Bhagawatam 157: Ashtanga yoga (contd.) & description of Lord Srihari’s form

Vishnave namah

Kapila Maharishi continued to preach, “O Mother! The yoga practitioner should practice celibacy and penance (tapas). He should keep his mind and body pure. He should worship the Lord and study scriptures related to liberation. He should practice mouna (silence). He should be able to sit in the same posture for long periods of time.

Through the practice of Pranayama gradually he should slowly try to achieve victory over his breath. He should withdraw his senses into his mind and prevent them from running outwards towards sensual pleasures. Instead they should be trained to be focused upon the heart. This is Pratyāhāra.

The life force (prana) together with the mind should be retained exclusively upon Mooladhara or upon any other spiritual centre. Glories of the Lord should be recollected at all times. The aspirant should willingly practice these disciplines.

Mind eternally runs towards material comforts which are of illusory existence. Hence it is imperative for spiritual aspirant to give up laziness and through the process of Pranayama gradually concentrate upon the Lord.

Sitting in the same position for longer periods of time should be achieved through practice. This is the meaning of the term ‘mastery over posture (āsana jaya)’. In clean pure surroundings, the aspirant should place a mat and sit on it in yogic posture with the back straight.

Prāṇasya śodhayen mārgaṁ pūra-kumbhaka-recakaiḥ

Pratikūlena vā cittaṁ yathā sthiram acañcalam

He should inhale and retain the breath for some time. Thereafter he should exhale and again hold the breath for a while. With this, the path through which the prana travels will be purified. In turn the mind’s wavering reduces and it stabilizes.  

When gold is put in fire, its impurities are removed totally. Likewise through mastery over breath through Pranayama, mind becomes completely pure. Through Pranayama the aspirant should throw away from the body the impurities of vata, pitta and kapha.

He should then begin practice of dhāraṇa i.e. concentrating upon the Lord for very long periods of time. With this the subtle impressions of past sinful actions get destroyed.

By withdrawing the senses from outer material comforts, mind’s inclination towards desires reduces. By focusing exclusively upon the Lord, feelings of likes-dislikes which keep the person away from God, are destroyed.

Practice of this yoga purifies the mind. Absolute concentration will be developed. The aspirant should then focus upon the tip of the nose and meditate upon the form of the Lord.

Prasanna-vadanāmbhojaṁ padma-garbhāruṇekaam

Nīlotpala-dala-śyāmaṁ śaṅkha-cakra-gadā-dharam 

Srihari has a pleasant lotus-like face. His reddish eyes resemble lotus buds. His complexion is like the bluish lotus petals. He holds the conch, discus and mace in 3 of His hands. He wears golden yellow Pitambara clothing around His waist. On His chest is the Srivatsa pendent and on His neck is the Kausthuba gem which dazzle brightly.

A long vanamāla garland, which stretches from His neck to His feet, adorns His body. Attracted by the fragrance of this garland, a swarm of intoxicated bees hover around it buzzing melodiously. He wears exquisite pearl chains, bracelets, anklets, armlets and other ornaments. His waist shines with the lovely waistband made up of gems.

The lotus-hearts of His devotees is His residence! With His peaceful nature and with His charming exquisite beauty He fills the eyes and mind of His devotees with bliss.

Apīcya-darśanaṁ śaśvat sarva-loka-namaskṛtam

Santaṁ vayasi kaiśore bhṛtyānugraha-kātaram

The form of Lord Srihari, who is ever youthful, is wondrous and supremely beautiful! That Srihari, who is revered by all the three worlds, is eternally eager to bless His devotees.

The complete form of Lord Srihari, who possesses the most supreme glory which is worth glorifying, and who increases the fame of supreme worthy devotees, should be contemplated upon until the mind achieves absolute stability!

Based on his individual tastes an aspirant can contemplate upon the Lord as if He is standing, sitting, walking or resting in His form as Sriranganatha. His transcendental pastimes are worth seeing.

Srihari remains as a form of consciousness (chaitanya) in the cave known as the aspirant’s intellect. Such Srihari should be meditated upon with an absolutely pure mind. He should ensure that his mind remains firmly fixed upon each limb of the Lord’s form. It should be noted that he should fix his mind upon every limb one after another sequentially.

The Lord’s lotus feet are beautiful with the marks of thunderbolt, goad, flag and lotus petals on it. The radiance from His raised reddish toe-nails dispels the darkness from the minds of saints who are in deep meditation!

The water with which His feet are washed flows as the River Ganga. By holding those pure waters on his head, Shiva turned into an embodiment of auspiciousness! Like a thunderbolt these lotus feet destroy mountain of impurities in the devotee who meditates upon them. The spiritual aspirant should eternally meditate upon such holy feet!

Vishnave namah

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