Bhagawatam 079: Universal form of the Lord

Lord Brahma explained the Universal form of the Lord as detailed in the Puruśa sūktam to Maharishi Nārada. Lord Brahma continued,

Sarva-kāma-varasyāpi hareś caraṇa āspadam –O Nārada! The feet of Lord Srihari, the Universal form of the Supreme Lord, fulfills all desires!

From His genitals, different liquids, reproductive energies, energy of creation, clouds and Prajāpati were born. His genitals are the cause of sensual joy. The anus is the location of Mitra and Yama (the Lord of death). Calamities, evil, envy, violence, hell, misfortune and death emerge from His anus.

Defeat, unrighteousness (adharma) and spiritual ignorance (ajnana) were born from His back. Rivers that flow towards the east as well as those that flow towards the west emerge from the network of His nādis (subtle nerves). The great mountains were born from His network of bones. This is what Vedas declare. It is also stated by eminent Maharishis.

The subtle cause for all matter (mūlaprakriti) transformed into the essence called food. Oceans emerged from His abdomen. For the subtle bodies of all living beings, His heart is the point of origin.

Dharma, you, me, Sanaka, Sananda and others, Rudra, pure intelligence (vijnana), life-force (prāna) and the inner mind (antah karana) take shelter in the consciousness (chitta) of that Universal Lord.

Right from me, you, Shankara, your elder brothers Maharishi Sanaka and other saints, Devatas, demons, humans, serpents, birds, different types of reptiles, gentle animals, crocodiles and all other forms of wild animals, Gandharvas, Apsaras, demi-gods, ghosts and spirits of all kinds, snakes, fore-fathers, accomplished siddhas, celestials known as Vidyadharas and Cāraṇas, trees, insects, worms, animals living in air and space, planets, stars, galaxies, constellations, thunder, lightning etc., are nothing but the Universal form of that Lord.

In this world, everything that pertains to the past, present and future periods of time, is pervaded by that Supreme Lord. Such a vast world occupies only a space of about 10 inches in that Universal form.

The Sun together with his rays illumines even that which is outside of him. Likewise, Srihari, who is the Universal form of the Self-illuminating Lord, illumines everything that is contained within and outside of Him.

O Maharishi Nārada! Srihari is of eternal existence and can never be destroyed. He is the one who grants the ultimate liberation. He, who is the form of liberation, is beyond fruitive actions and their results. Therefore His greatness is unsurpassed.

All the various universes put together constitute just one feet of the Universal form! All the various forms of living beings exist only within the different universes, which are parts of His universal body.

The planetary system called Mahar-loka exists above the planetary systems known as Bhu, Bhuvar and Suvah lokas. Above this Mahar-loka are situated the Jana-loka, Tapo-loka and Satya-loka. These supreme planetary systems contain that happiness which is devoid of fear, death and also beyond the fear of disease and old-age.

Those who have strictly adhered to the vow of celibacy and diligently walked on the path of Brahma (Brahmacharya), those who have strictly abided by the rules of Vanaprastha and the great ascetics (Yatis) are free from the shackles of re-birth. Such great people, who will never be re-born, travel to these higher planetary systems called Jana-loka, Tapo-loka and Satya-loka.

The house-holder’s stage of life (grahasta ashrama) has the least number of rules and regulations as compared to the other three stages of life. As such, the house-holders’ attain only the 3 material worlds (tri-loka).

Our Shastras preach about fruitive karma (actions) and upāsana (worship/ contemplation). A human being shows dedication towards both these tools. Therefore he travels either on the southern path that leads towards other planes wherein he can enjoy the results of his fruitive actions (actions done with expectation of reward) or he travels on the northern path that leads towards progressive liberation (karma-mukti). Both these paths are under the control of the Supreme Lord who bestows upon the being the resultant fruits for his actions.

The Universal form of that Lord as well as all these universes emerged purely from the Supreme Lord. Just as the Sun illumines everything that is contained within it and outside of it, the Supreme Lord illumines all these universes together with their presiding deity i.e. the Universal form (Virat Puruśa). While doing so, He remains over and above them and pervades them all. The supremacy of this Virāt Purusa is unsurpassed.

I was born from the abdomen of Srihari, the supreme inner ruler. At that time, for the purposes of conducting a Yagna, I could not procure materials excepting the limbs of that Supreme Lord.

O Nārada listen! For the purpose of performing a Yagna, a person needs animals, firewood, the sacrificial altar, bunch of grass, required land and the spring season or other auspicious time periods for Yagna. In addition, the required vessels, food-grains, ghee and other related ingredients, honey and other sweet liquids, gold and other metals, pots, the required mud, water, and the priests for conducting the Yagna are needed. Swāha and other mantras, cows and other forms of dakshina offered to priests, the specified order in the recitation of the divine names, Yagna-sankalpa and the procedure for performing the yagna, the rituals undertaken in the sacrificial hall, chanting and other forms of worship, procedure for atonement of mistakes (prayaschitta) as well as the procedure for offering the results of that Yagna to the Supreme Lord are all essential for conducting a Yagna.

I was able to procure solely from the limbs of that Universal Lord, all the ingredients required for the purpose of my Yagna. In that manner, having procured all the ingredients from His limbs, I worshipped Him through the process of Yagna.

Narayana! Hari Narayana!

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