Bhagawatam 067: Description of the Universal form of the Lord

Maharishi Śuka replied,

Jitāsano jita-śvāso jita-saṅgo jitendriya

Sthūle bhagavato rūpe manaḥ sandhārayed dhiyā

Perfection in sitting posture should be achieved through persistent practice. In other words, the aspirant should be able to sit in the same posture for any length of time. This is the first step.

This visible universe which is the support for all living and non-living objects is the gross body of the Supreme Lord. In this visible universe the past, present as well as the future periods of time are experienced.

Now let us understand about this gross body (virāt roopa) of that Lord, which is unimaginably huge.

This entire universe which is His gross body is composed of seven enclosures (āvarana) viz., the five basic elements, ahamkara (sense of I-ness) and Mahat tattva (cosmic intelligence). Hiranyagarbha, the supreme consciousness, is the owner of this universal body (virāt deha). The mind of the aspirant should be steadily fixed upon Paramātma, who has manifested as Hiranyagarbha. He should then meditate upon Hiranyagarbha.

To Hiranyagarbha who has created the entire universe, the sole of His feet is Pātāla (the lowest among the seven lower planetary systems). The top of his feet, the heels and toes constitute the another lower planetary system called Rasātala loka. His ankles are the Mahātala loka. The shank (the portion of leg from the knee to the ankle) is the Talātala loka. The two knees of this Lord are the Sutala loka. Both His thighs are the Atala and Vitala lokas. (These seven are the seven lower planetary systems). The abdomen is the Bhutala (earth). The outer space is the pond called the navel.

This is how the Maharishis describe the Lord’s universal form and meditate upon Him.

The chest of Hiranyagarbha, who is the primordial being in this creation, is the heavenly planets (swarga, higher worlds). His neck is the Mahar loka. His mouth is the Jana loka. His forehead is the Tapo loka. To that infinite Lord who possesses countless heads, His heads are the Satya loka.

(These were the 14 planetary systems of the Universal form, explained in the bottom-up approach).

Indra and other Devatas form His innumerable hands. Directions are His ears. Actual sound (śabda tanmātra) is His organ of hearing (śrotrendriya).

Ashwini Devatas are His nostrils. Fragrance (gandha tanmātra) is His organ of smell (ghrānendriya). The burning fire is His organ of speech (vāgendriya).

Sun and the power of seeing (chakṣur-indriya) are the two eyes of Mahavishnu. Day and night are His eyelids. The playful movement of His eyebrows is the residence of the four-faced Brahma.

Water is His jaw.  Tongue is His subtle sense of taste (rasa tanmātra). To that infinite Lord, Vedas are the Brahmarāndhra (aperture in the crown of the head). Lord Yama, the Lord of death, is His molar tooth.

It is but natural for every being to have feelings of love towards their progeny. This love is His teeth. Maya shakti (power of illusion) which traps every being is His enchanting smile. This vast material universe visible to us is the playful gaze of His Maya Shakti.

Upper lip is the modesty of this Supreme Lord. Greed is His lower lip. Dharma (righteousness) is His breast. Adharma (unrighteousness) is His back. Prajapati is His genitals. Mitra and Varuna are His testicles. The oceans are His womb. The huge mountains are His bones.

To Mahavishnu, whose body is this vast universe, the rivers are the nādis (subtle astral nerves). The trees in this creation are His hair on His body. Wind is His breath. Time is His movement.

His task is to create living beings through the medium of the three attributes of nature (traits of goodness (sattva), passion (rajo) and inertia (tamas)).

The clouds are the hair on His head. Goddess Sandhya (the three time junctions during a 24 hour cycle viz., early morning, afternoon and evening twilight) is His clothing. Prakriti (Nature) is His heart. Moon, who is the refuge for plant life, is His mind.

To that Lord who is everything, Mahat tattva (cosmic intelligence) is His knowledge”.

This universal form is nothing but the Puruśa suktam from the Vedas. If we listen to this suktam daily, we can understand the cosmic form of that Lord.

“Rudra is His ahamkara (egoism). The horse, camel, mule and elephant are his nails. Cow, deer and all other creatures are His waist. Maharishis who are exponents in knowledge of the Vedas state that He should be contemplated upon in this manner.

His exquisite artistic ability has taken the form of the birds. When He renders the sapta swaras (7 musical notes), they take the form of the divine celestial beings such as Gandharva, Vidyadhara, Cānara, Apsarasa”.

Narayana! Sriman Narayana!

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