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Lord Rama - The Heart of Rishi Svetasvatara

(This article is a response to a shaiva article that claims that the shvetAshvatara upaniShad talks of Shiva's supremacy.)

The following slOka is famous as far as the description of srimad rAmAyaNa goes,
veda vedye pare puMsi jaate dasharathaatmaje | 
vedaHprachetasaadaasiid saakShaad raamaayaNaatmanaa ||
Meaning: When the Supreme Reality revealed by the veda took birth (avatAra) as the son of daSharatha, the Vedas took birth (avatAra) as the rAmAyaNa from the mouth of vAlmiki.
This vAlmiki rAmAyaNa is more exalted than the mahAbhArata. The latter ithihAsa talks about dharma, artha, kAma and mOksha, dwelling on stories of devas, manuShyas and beings other than paramAtma, srI KrishNa. Indeed, that is why the bhagavad gita and vishnu sahasranAma are hailed as the two gems of the mahAbhArata, as these talk exclusively about vishNu and parama puruShArtham. But the vAlmiki rAmAyaNa is “ithihAsa shreShTa” as it beings with “ko guNavan?” – who is the One with sousIlya guNa, which is an inquiry into the nature of the Supreme.
Nowadays, it has become the fashion of many shaivas posing as advaitins to malign this great ithihAsa and make ridiculous comments such as “rAma worshipped shiva” and “rAma was a human who worshipped shiva and not parabrahman”, etc.
This article will dispel these untruths and show how srI rAma is verily the parama puruShan of the veda, sriman nArAyaNa. It is also intended to quash the doubts of all readers regarding the paratva of srI rAma and the aparatva of brahma, rudra and indra vis-à-vis srI rAma.
That srI rAma is the parabrahman (sriman nArAyaNa) and superior to Brahma, Rudra and Indra is established in many places. For a few examples, let us look at srI vedAnta desikan’s abhaya pradhAna sAram. AchAryan quotes two other slOkas that establish the supremacy of srI rAma over the devas:
jR^imbhitam tad-dhanur dR^iShTvA shaivaM viSNuparAkramaiH |
adhikaM menire viShNum devAs-sarShi-gaNAstadA ||
This one talks of the shiva-vishNu yuddha as narrated by paraShurAma and the victory of vishNu which proved his supremacy to the devas. This requires no explanation.
And this slOka:
artaa sarvasya lokasya shreShTho j~naanavataaM prabhuH |
upekShase kathaM siitaaM patantiiM havyavaahane || 6-117-6
kathaM devagaNashreShThamaatmaanaM naavabuddhyase |
Meaning: Oh! Lord, You are the creator, destroyer, and supporter of all the worlds, You are all knowing, and the doer of all actions. How can You ignore sIta who is falling to fire, as ordinary woman? How do you not recognize yourself to be the foremost of the troop of gods?"
This is self-explanatory as well. So, these slOkas clearly declare the supremacy of srI rAma.
Then, take a look at the words of Hanuman:
“brahmā svayambhūś caturānano vā rudrastrinetrastripurāntako vā |
indro mahendraḥ suranāyako vā trātuṃ na śaktā yudhi rāmavadhyam ||” (V-51-45)
Meaning: Brahma the self-existing god with four faces or Rudra with three eyes and the destroyer of Tripura or Mahendra the god of atmosphere and sky as also the lord of celestials would not be able to protect the one to be killed by Rama in battle."
The specific mention of Brahma as self-born and having 4 faces (thus a knower of 4 vedas), Rudra having 3 eyes and being destroyer of tripurAsuras and Indra being known as “mahEndra” and the lord of devas is to show that even though these devas have such glory, none of them, single or combined, can stop one arrow of rAma.
Note also the order in which it occurs – Brahma, Rudra, Indra. Analogous to “sa brahmA, sa shivah, sendraH…” in the nArAyaNa sUkta.
pUrvapakSha: Did not rAma kill vAli by hiding? Does that not show he was afraid?
siddhAntha: Such nonsense needs to be dispelled. Take a look at the scenario. sugrIva was weaker than vAli and rAvaNa. rAvaNa was also weaker than vAli. So, sugrIva was the weakest, ravaNa in the middle and vAli the strongest. And what did rAma do? He sought the help of weak sugrIva, to vanquish an intermediate rAvaNa, and to get such help, rAma proved to weak sugrIva, that he was stronger than vAli (who was in turn stronger than sugrIva and rAvaNa combined) by uprooting the 7 trees with one arrow!
What a twist of events. Only leela of parabrahman can do this.
He also gave mokSha to jaTAyu by saying “I despatch you to that world where only those who practice austerities go”. In essence, he did not know where sIta was, but he knew the abode unattainable by ordinary people!
He also crowned vibhIshana as king of Lanka even before the war had begun or he had gauged the might of rAvaNa!
During the agni parIkSha of sItA, he says that sItA appears to him as though a great light appears to a person with a diseased eye. This proves one thing – a great light has no blemish. If a person cannot see it, the defect lies with his eye and not the light. So, subtly, srI rAma showed that sIta was blemishless, the blemish lay on those who suspected her and this agni parikSha was an act.
Such incidents only show that srI rAma was parabrahman. To read more on this, please refer to shrI atimAnuSha stava of srI kUresha/koorattAzhwan.
We have seen many times in this blog that the vedas and shAstra glorify Narasimha with the names of “rudra, shiva, shambhu, ishana, etc”. However, often the kalyAna guNas of rAma are praised under the name of Narasimha. Why so?
It is because srI rAma exhibited the qualities of Narasimha and hence was known as rAghava simha. This is stated by srI vedAnta desikan in raghuveera gadyam as “Raghava Simha! Jaya! Jaya!”
The vAmiki rAmAyaNam corroborates this in many places:
mahaabaahum mahoraskam siMha vikraa.nta gaaminam |
nR^isiMham siMha saMkaasham aham raamam anuvrataa || 3-47-35
Meaning: (Sita tells rAvaNa) "He who is ambidextrous, broad-chested, supreme among men, and a lion-like person with the strides of prancing lion, and I (Sita) am avowed to adhere to such a Rama.
niyamya kopam pratipaalyataam sharatkShamasva maasaam caturo mayaa saha |
vasa acale asmin mR^iga raaja sevite saMvartayan shatru vadhe samarthaH || 4-27-48
Meaning: (lakshmana tells rAma) "Let autumn be awaited while containing your anger, and along with me you may stay on this mountain which is adored by lions, and spend these four rainy months here like a monsoon lion, although you are capable to eliminate the enemy at any moment like a lion”.
SrI periyavAchan pillai comments: sIta placed a blade of grass between herself and rAvaNa (thruNamantharatha: kruthvA) with the intent that just as narasimha came out of a pillar and tore hiranyakasipu’s chest, she can make rAghava simha appear out of the blade of grass and break the chest of rAvaNa!
srI vedAnta desikan in his abhaya pradhAna sAra, establishes that the principal subject of the rAmAyaNa is directly linked to the subject matter of the shvetAshvataropaniShad. Indeed, the nature of the shvetAshvatara Upanishad is dedicated to show that the nature of the Supreme Being is to be the protector of all and that he is easily accessible to all by the veda mArga of prapatti.
In other words, shrI vedAnta desikan establishes that out of all the Upanishads, it is particularly the blemishless shvetAshvatara upaniShad that is the essence of the rAmAyaNa. The AcAryan, who is renowned as “vedAntAcArya”, would not say this without reason.
The shvetAshvataropanishad, mantra 3-8, echoes the puruSha sUkta rk as follows,
vedahametam purusham mahantam adityavarnam tamasah parastat
tamevam vidvan amrita iha bhavati nanyah pantha vidyate'yanaya ||
Meaning: I know that great puruSha, luminous as the sun, who is beyond the darkness of prakrti. Only by knowing him does one become immortal here, ie., freed from the cycle of deaths and births in this life itself. There is no other way (ie, upAsana/prapatti) other than this.
This mantra, which occurs in the shvetAshvatara upaniShad, is echoed by both vishvAmitra and mandodari in the rAmAyaNa as follows:
aham vedmi mahaatmaanam raamam satya paraakramam ||
vashiShTho.api mahaatejaa ye ca ime tapasi sthitaaH | (~ vAlmiki rAmAyaNa, 1-19-14)
Meaning: Oh DasarathA ! I fully comprehend Rama as the greatest of Souls and as the most valorous and righteous One . Sage VasishtA of great lustre due to his superior penance and others like him in Your court also understand these qualifications of Your young son, Rama .
The first part of this shloka “ahaM vedmi mahAtmAnam” is nothing but the puruSha sUkta/shvetAshvataropaniShad mantra “vedAhametam puruSham mahantam”.  The knowing refers to meditation or sravaNa, manana, nidhidhyAsa. For a full commentary of this shloka by shrIvaiShNava acharyas, please refer this link -
Here, vishvAmitra is saying “even vashiShTa knows this rAma”. The idea is that these rishis do not always see eye to eye on other issues and are hostile to each other, but in this matter (of rAma being parabrahman), they are in agreement.
The second part of this mantra is explained by mandOdari as follows:
vyaktameSha mahaayogii paramaatmaa sanaatanaH |
anaadimadhyanidhano mahataH paramo mahaan || 6-111-14
tamasaH paramo dhaataa shaN^khachakragadaadharaH |
shriivatsavakShaa nityashriirajayyaH shaashvato dhruvaH || 6-111-15
maanuShaM ruupamaasthaaya viShNuH satyaparaakramaH |
sarvaiH parivR^ito devairvaanaratvamupaagataiH || 6-111-16
sarvalokeshvaraH shriimaan lokaanaaM hitakaamyayaa |
saraakShasa pariivaaram hatavaaMstvaaM mahaadyutiH || 6-111-17
Meaning: This Rama is certainly a great ascetic (mahAyogI) , an eternal person, having no beginning middle or end, greater than distinguished universal spirit like Brahma, the one beyond the darkness of prakrti, the nourisher, wielding a conch, a disc and a mace, wearing the 'Srivatsa' mark on his chest, of lasting beauty, incapable of being conquered, a perpetual one, being the constant soul of the universe, truly mighty, the lord of all the worlds, the prosperous one having a great splendour and Vishnu, the lord of maintenance of the world with a wish to benefit the worlds, assuming a human form surrounded by all the gods in the form of monkeys, Rama killed you (rAvaNa), surrounded by demons.
Note the words “tAmasaH paramo dhAtA”. This is nothing but “tamasah parastAt” of the Upanishad.
Having established that shrI vishNu/shrI rAma is the parama puruSha, we move onto the other mantras of the shvetAshvataropanShad. The following mantra is seen in this Upanishad:
yo devaanaaM prabhavashchodbhavashcha vishvaadhipo rudro maharshhiH |
hiraNyagarbha.n janayaamaasa puurva.n sa no buddhyaa shubhayaa sa.nyunaktu || (3.4)
Meaning: May that Rudra (the destroyer of the disease of samsAra), who is the cause of the origination of gods, who is the cause of their glory, who transcends this entire world, who is a great seer (ie, omniscient) and who created Hiranyagarbha first, unite us with an auspicious mind.
This mantra has a direct upabrahmaNa in the rAmAyaNa as explained  by srI vedAnta desikan in his abhaya pradAna sAram. It is mentioned in the Uttara khaNdam of rAmAyaNa as follows:
samayas te mahAbAho svarlokAn parirakSitum |
saMkSipya ca purA lokAn mAyayA svayam eva hi ||
mahArNave zayAno 'psu mAM tvaM pUrvam ajIjanaH |
padme divyArkasaMkAze nAbhyAm utpAdya mAm api |
prAjApatyaM tvayA karma sarvaM mayi nivezitam ||
so 'haM saMnyastabhAro hi tvAm upAse jagatpatim |
rakSAM vidhatsva bhUteSu mama tejaH karo bhavAn ||
Meaning: (Brahma says) Oh! Lord (rAma), to protect the world, when You were sleeping in the great ocean after keeping the entire universe in Your stomach, You created me through Your navel, and instructed me to create the remaining world. You gave Your power to me to do that job without any interference.
So, this shloka talks of rAma creating brahmA showing that he is the One referred to as Rudra in the shvetAshvataropaniShad. The remaining part of the shvetAshvatoropaniShad mantra praises as him being the origin of gods, transcending the world, etc is elucidated in the yuddha kANDa by Brahma himself as follows:
akSharaM brahma satyaM cha madhye chaante cha raaghava || 6-117-14
lokaanaaM tvaM paro dharmo viShvaksenashchaturbhajaH |
vaM trayaaNaaM hi lokaanaamaadikartaa svayaMprabhuH |
siddhaanaamapi saadhyaanaamaashrayashchaasi puurvajaH || 6-117-19
jagatsarvaM shariiraM te…. || 6-117-26
ahaM te hR^idayaM raama jihvaa devii sarasvatii || 6-117-24
Meaning: You are Brahma, the imperishable, the Truth abiding in the middle as well as at the end of the universe….You are the first creator of all, the three worlds, and the self constituted Lord of all. You are the refuge and the forbear of Siddhas and Sadhyas….You are the supreme righteousness of people, whose powers go everywhere. You are the four-armed. The entire Universe is your body. O Rama! I (brahma) am your heart. Saraswathi, the goddess (of learning) is your tongue…..
Regarding “ahaM te hR^idayaM” shloka, Acharyan says, here Brahma calls himself the heart of rAma. The term “hR^idayam” in the shAstra is often used to denote the act of creation and all the devas as the vibhUtIs of that parabrahman. Hence, by saying “ahaM te hR^idayaM”, Brahma identifies the primary lakShaNa of Brahman, namely, “jagatkAraNatva” in shrI rAma.
These slokas thus show that the mantra “yo devAnAm…” in the svEtAsvatAra denotes srI rAma only. Acharyan says that while the shvetAshvataropaniShad describes the parama puruShan as creating Brahma and being the Cause of the Gods, here, Brahma himself is providing testimony to that claim. In effect, Brahma is saying, “You, shrI rAghava, are that parama puruShan celebrated by the shvetAshvatara as my creator”.
One must note that Shiva calls Narasimha as “Padmanabha” in the Garuda purAna stuti, thus equating Narasimha as well to this Being who created Brahma. That is because of the rAghava simha tattva elucidated earlier.
To this stuti by Brahma, srI rAma curiously replies
aatmaanaM maanuShaM manye raamaM dasharathaatmajam || 6-117-11
Meaning: I consider myself as rAma, the son of dasaratha.
The key word is “AtmAnam manye”. “I consider myself” as such and such. ShrI rAma indeed does consider himself as the son of dasaratha *in this avatAra*, in so much as kR^iShNa considered himself a gopa. Here too, he is not lying. If he had really been the son of dasaratha, he would have said “aham rAmo dasharathAtmajaH”. Thus, bhagavAn is well known as one who speaks the truth!
Then, there is the shvetAshvataropaniShad mantra,
sarvaanana shirogriivaH sarvabhuutaguhaashayaH |
sarvavyaapii sa bhagavaa.nstasmaat.h sarvagataH shivaH|| (3.11)
Meaning: Having the faces, heads and necks of all as his, he resides in the cave of the hearts of all entities. Bhagavan is pervading everything. Therefore he is everywhere and also auspicious.
Brahma reiterates the same in the rAmAyaNa as follows:
dR^ishyase sarvabhuuteShu goShu cha braahmaNeShu cha || 6-117-21
dikShu sarvaasu gagane parvateShu nadiiShu cha |
sahasracharaNaH shriimaan shatashiirShaH sahasradR^ik || 6-117-22
tvaM dhaarayasi bhuutaani pR^ithiviiM cha saparvataam |
Meaning: "You appear in all created beings in the cattle and in brahmanas. You exist in all quarters, in the sky, in mountains and in rivers. With thousand feet, with hundred heads and with thousand eyes along with Lakshmi, you bear the earth with all its created beings along with its mountains."
The meaning of this shloka is the same as that of the shvetAshvatara mantra. Essentially, all beings are his body as already indicated by “jagat sarvam sharIram te”. So, the hundred heads, thousand eyes, etc refer to the faces, heads and necks of the created beings. As they are his body, he can be said to have a thousand heads, etc.
Then, the shvetAshvataropaniShad gives a beautiful mantra pertaining to the vibhUtI yoga as follows:
nīlaḥ pataṅgo harito lohitākṣas taḍidgarbha ṛtavaḥ samudrāḥ /
anādimāṃs tvaṃ vibhutvena vartase yato jātāni bhuvanāni viśvā // (4.4 )
Meaning: You are the dark blue bird and the green parrot with red eyes. You are the thunder-cloud, the seasons and the oceans. You are without beginning and the Infinite. You are He from whom all the worlds are born.
This is nothing but a description of bhagavAn as various beautiful vibhUtIs. This mantra occurs in the skambha sUkta as well. Now note what Brahma says:
tvaM yajJNstvaM vaShaTkaarastvamoMkaaraH paraatparaH || 6-117-20
prabhavaM nidhanaM vaa te no viduH ko bhavaaniti |
Meaning: You (rAma) are the sacrificial performance. You are the sacred syllable 'Vashat' (on hearing which the Adhvaryu priest casts the oblation to a deity into the sacrificial fire). You are the mystic syllable 'OM'. You are higher than the highest. People neither know your end nor your origin nor who you are in reality.
The same concept expressed with different vibhUtIs.
And of course, this svEtAsvatAra mantra is the same as that of the Rudra prashna, as follows,
yAmishuM girishanta haste bibharshyastavE |
shivAM giritra tAm kuru mA himsI: purushaM jagath || (3.6)
Meaning: O Girishanta (Creator of GirishA/pArvatI pati Rudradeva), O Giritra (Lord, who is propounded in the VedAntA), shoot that auspicious arrow you hold in your hand (to destroy the obstacles to my knowledge of Brahman). Do not cause injury to the JivAtmA who is migrating in the samsAra (purusham jagat).
And its equivalent in the rAmAyaNa:
tairna tatsparshanam pApam saheyam pApakarmabhiH ||
amoghaH kriyatAm rAma tatra teShu sharottamaH | (2-22-33)
Meaning: (Samudra rAjan said:) I am not able to bear that touch of those wicked people, the evil doers. O rAmA, Let this excellent arrow (that is never rendered in vain) be released over them there.
This exercise thus shows that the parama-puruShan exalted by all shAstra is srI rAma only. The viShNu sahasranAma contains the nAma parama spaShTaH. srI parAshara bhattar comments on it thus – “He is parama spaShTaH because his paratva (supremacy) was very clearly revealed in rAmAvatAra especially”.
Thus, an avatAra in which he acted as a human outshone all other avatArAs in revealing his identity as parabrahman. This is the quality of reconciling contradictions (aghaTitaghaTanA sAmarthyam) indeed!


  1. Dear all,

    I came across an interesting article written by the great sri vaishnava mahavidwan, ShrI PB Annangaracharya Swami, in his "Ramanujan" magazine. Would like to share it.

    While reciting vishNu sahasranAma, we recite the following shlokas from the padma purANa as well:

    keno pAyena lagunA vishNor nAma sahasrakam | paTyate paNDitair nityam shrotumicchAmyaham prabho || 

    Parvati said "O Lord what is the easiest method to recite Vishnu Sahasranama, (if I am not able to recite it fully)? What is to be chanted for it?"

    ishvara uvAcha: 
    sri rAma rAma rAmethi rame rAme manorame | sahasranAma thatthulyam rAma nAma varAnane |

    Ishwara said " O beautiful one!Chant Rama Rama Rama which delights the mind. It is equal to the thousand names of Vishnu."

    Shri PBA Swami points out that Parvati is a goddess and therefore should have no problems remembering the names of the Lord. If so, why did she ask Shiva this question?

    The answer is this - Parvati knows that her consort is prone to certain periods of tamO guNa whereby he has regarded himself as independent and acted against vishNu. Thus, she asked this question to determine whether Shiva was steadfast in his meditation at this moment, or whether he was overcome by tamO guNa and would answer her saying "iShvarOhaM".

    Shiva however, was well aware that his wife was lovingly testing him and thus replied that he is situated in sattva and is always steadfastedly meditating on shrI rAma who delights his mind. He also addressed Parvati affectionately to highlight that he approves of her good intent in asking the question. As Shiva is a jnAni, he himself understands his own weaknesses and is performing austerities to overcome them.

    To show that Shiva was situated in sattva, the shloka refers to him as "ishvara", as one who is endowed with brahma-jnAna.

    The above write-up is entirely derived from shrI PBA Swami's observations.

  2. Dear Swamin,
    Please accept my pranams. Thanks for the above article. There is no doubt that Svetasvatara Upanishad refers to Lord Narayanan only. There are slokas in Vishnu purana macthing this upanisahd mantras and also from purusha sukta. But I'm not sure whether any of the acharyas interpreted this Upanishad as referring to Lord Rama. Because Lord Rama's incarnation is not openly referred in Vedas and Upanishads.

    The avataras which are referred in Vedas and Upanishads are Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana and Krishna. Acharya Madhva quotes a few untraceable Khila mantras where the avataras of Rama, Parasurama and Kapila are mentioned.

    However, I have seen some explanation of the Svetasvatara Upanishad where they have explained it with reference to Lord Hayagriva. Kindly request for your comments on this.

    1. Your understanding is complicated. There is no such thing as "x avatara is not openly mentioned in the Vedas". The Vedas sing about the svarUpa-rUpa-guNa-vibhUtis of Parabrahman Sriman Narayana in general and touch upon his various avatArAs (para, vyUha, vibhava, antaryAmin and archa).

      The idea that a particular avatAra has to be mentioned by name for it to be referenced is not correct. The Satarudriyam says simply "kapardine ca" to refer to Rama and there is no need to specifically call him by name. Saying "kapardine ca" is as good as saying "rAma", "krishNa" etc because all names describe his attributes only. So there is no dichotomy such as "indirect mention" or "direct mention" of avatArAs.

      The shvetAsvatAra contains certain mantras which describe bhagavad guNAs that were exhibited mainly by Lord Rama. The Acharyas explained the meanings of the mantras as pertaining to nArAyaNa, but the upabrahmaNas are in vAlmiki rAmAyaNa and have been provided by acharyas like shri vedAnta desikan and shri periyavacchan pillai. It does not mean the subject of the Upanishad is rAma-avatAra, but that the guNAs taken up by the upanishad for discussion were exhibited by Rama.

      The svetAsvatara mantra "yo brahmanam vidhadhAti pUrvam...sharanam aham prapadye" is described as Hayagriva by certain Acharyas because it says he gave the Vedas to Brahma -- this is considered to be a guNa of hayagrIva. But in Abhaya-Pradhana-Saram, Shri Desikan maps this mantra to rAma because Brahma tells rAma in uttara khAnda - "you created me and instructed me how to create (using the vedas)".

      Similarly, the mantra "sarvAnana shirogrIva..." can apply to any form of the Lord in general. But as Brahma specifically describes Rama in the exact same manner, it is correct to say Rama is being referred to here.

      The simple meaning is that both hayagrIva and rAma exhibited these guNAs and so both are correct. While hayagrIva gave the Vedas to brahma, rAma was meditated upon by brahma as that Being who gave the vedas to brahma in the form of hayagrIva. If you find a pramANa where shri krishNa is hailed in similar terms, it is not wrong to say shri krishNa is being praised by the Upanishad.

      The rishi shvetAsvatAra was a hayagrIva upAsaka. You can find the etymology of his name in the journal article on kurma purANa. But that doesn't mean he shouldn't praise Rama since the avatArAs are non-different from each other.

      The idea is that it is only nArAyaNa whose guNAs are described in the Vedas, and these guNAs are exhibited by him during all his avatArAs. More than one avatAra may exhibit the same guNa as it is the same Lord.

    2. Pranams. Swami. Many thanks for the clarification. It clarifies my query. But some incarnation like Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Vamana and Narasimha are directly mentioned by name in the Upanishads and their activities are also glorified. That's the point I was trying to make.

      And one more humble request. If you get a chance, kindly request you to write on the Lord's divine form which is aprakrita and even in avatara forms, it is aprakrita only. Many people have doubts in this and it will help them. I also have a question on avatara forms. If the forms are made of suddha sattva how it is visible to eyes of common man and we see that the Lord eats butter, curd etc., which are all prakrita. Sometimes, the Lord's form also shows having blood, wounds etc,

    3. //But some incarnation like Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Vamana and Narasimha are directly mentioned by name in the Upanishads and their activities are also glorified. That's the point I was trying to make.//

      Again, there is nothing called "direct" or "indirect". Some portions glorify the activities, while other portions glorify the attributes. Other portions describe the forms. Simple as that.

      Just because Narasimha is referred to by his name while Rama is referred to by his attribute does not make one more direct and the other less direct. It makes no sense as everything denotes him.

      We are concerned with showing the supremacy of vishNu. There is not much to write about the aprAkrtatva of his divya mangala vigraha. That's an obvious fact.

    4. Here is a simple analogy to explain this properly:

      In a class of 30 students, let us say one boy named "narayana" scored 100/100 and always wears a blue shirt. Then, the analogy plays out as follows:

      - There is a boy named narayana -- analogous to vedic references of narasimha etc by name.

      - The boy who scored 100/100 --- analogous to vedic references of rama's attributes as sarvAnana shirogrIva, etc.

      - The boy who always wears a blue shirt --- analogous to description of rama's form as "kapardin" etc.

      All 3 descriptions refer to the same boy by name, attribute/activity and form. Similarly, the Vedas have 3 types of descriptions as well to refer to the Lord.

      When there are clear upabrahmanas in the rAmAyaNa for the shvetasvatAra mantras, then there is no call to label it as "indirect". The idea of couting references by looking for the well-known names of avatArAs is not the correct practice.

  3. On a related note, seems like this site is selling a lecture by Sri U Ve Karunakarachariar Swamy on Sri Rudram, describing the glories of Sri Rama. As you know, the Shvetasvatara contains Rudram mantras. You can check it for yourself and see whether it tallies with what we have on the blog:

    This vidvan while giving a discourse on Thiruppavai says the following:

    "The Rudram in Vedam sings the praise of Lord Rama and not of Lord Siva. The manthram starts with,

    Namaste Rudra manyava utota ishave Namah | Namaste astu dhanvane bahubhya muta te Namah |

    This manthram means “Oh! Rudra Deva! My salutations to your anger and also to your arrows. My salutations to your bow and to your two hands.”

    Thus this manthram speaks about the anger of Lord Rama against the offenders who torment His devotees. He is also the only deity who is pictured as holding a bow and arrow.

    The second manthram is “Ya ta Ishu shivatama shivam babhuva te dhanuh| Shiva sharavya ya tava taya no Rudra mrudaya |

    Oh! Rudra! By favor of your arrow, bow, and quiver, which have shed their anger and turned auspicious, please render us happy.”

    Rudra means the one who makes us cry. To this day people cry when they hear Ramayana thinking about the hardships experienced by Lord Rama. Thus Lord Rama is Rudran because He made us cry out of love for Him.

    Sri Karunakarachariar is not saying something new. That this section praises Shri Rama (Raghava-Simha, the dual avatAra, to be specific) is easily ascertained by the way our Acharyas link Shvetasvatara bhagavad guNAs always to the rAmAyaNa.

    We never say anything that is not in sync with pUrvAchAryAs on this blog.

  4. “vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ” is a well-known description of Shiva from the Bhagavatam. But in what way is he the superior most Vaishnava? Sri Vaishnava pūrvācāryās illustrate this by a reference to the Ramayana.

    Once Rama had killed Ravana, the gods descended to meet with him. This is how Valmiki describes the arrival of the gods:

    tato vaiśravaṇo rājā yamaśca pṛbhiḥ saha | sahasrākṣaśca deveśo varuṇaśca jaleśvaraḥ || ṣaḍrdhanayanaḥ śrīmān mahādevo vṛṣadhvajaḥ |kartā sarvasya lokasya brahmā brahmavidāṃ varaḥ || ete sarve samāgamya vimānaiḥ sūryasaṃnibhaiḥ | āgamya nagarīṃ laṅkāmabhijagmuśca rāghavam || (6-117-3-4)

    Meaning: Thereupon, Kubera the King of Yakshas, Yama the lord of death together with the pitrs, Indra the lord of celestials, Varuna the lord of waters, Shiva who is the Three Eyed, the Great God, Possessed of Shri , with the banner of the Bull , Brahma the creator of all the worlds and the best among the knowers of Vedas, all these together reaching the City of Lanka in aerial cars, shining like the sun approached Rama.

    Note that in this shloka, the devas are described in generic terms, but only Brahma and Rudra, being the greatest among them, are given choice adjectives in addition to their usual characteristics. In particular, Brahma is described as “brahmavidāṃ varaḥ” and Shiva as “śrīmān”. There is a depth of meaning behind these adjectives.

    First let us deal with Brahma. Why is he called “brahmavidāṃ varaḥ” or “Best among the knowers of the Vedas” by Valmiki? It is because Brahma is going to praise Rama as follows:

    bhavānnārāyaṇo devaḥ śrīmāṃścakrāyudhaḥ prabhuḥ || 6-117-13
    ekaśṛṅgo varāhastvaṃ bhūtabhavyasapatnajit

    Meaning: "You are the Lord Narayana himself the glorious god, who wields the discus. You are the Divine Boar with a single tusk, the conqueror of your past and future enemies."

    Thus, as Brahma recognized Rama as Narayana, the Parabrahman of the Veda, and praised Rama in a pleasing manner with a stotra, he is hailed as the best among the knowers of the Veda – the knowledge being that Narayana alone is to be praised.

    However, then what does the term “śrīmān” used for Shiva mean? For “Shri” can denote wealth of any kind – knowledge, powers, vedas etc. And if Brahma is already hailed as the best among the knowers of the Veda, can there be any epithet that exceeds it? Indeed so. By calling Shiva as “śrīmān”, Valmiki Maharishi is saying he is even greater than Brahma in one respect.


  5. Cont'd from above...

    Let us look at why Shiva is being so highly hailed here. When the Agni Pariksha was over and Sita had reunited with Rama, then the latter asked the assembled gods the following,

    avaśyaṃ ca mayā kāryaṃ sarveṣāṃ vo vaco hitam |
    snigdhānāṃ lokanāthānāmevaṃ ca vadatāṃ hitam || 6-118-21

    Meaning: "The salutary advice of you all, the affectionate guardians of the world, who are saying what is conducive to our good, must be certainly carried out by me."

    Rama here declares that he will follow the words of the Gods who are concerned about his welfare. The implied meaning is that, “As you are all my devotees, you will always be looking out for my welfare, and as I obey the words of my devotees, so I will do what you say”.

    The person who replied to this immediately was none other than Shiva, as follows:

    etacchrutvā śubhaṃ vākyaṃ rāghaveṇa subhāṣitam | idaṃ śubhataraṃ vākyaṃ vyājahāra maheśvaraḥ || puṣkarākṣa mahābāho mahāvakṣaḥ parantapa |diṣṭyā kṛtamidaṃ karma tvayā śastrabhṛtāṃ vara || diṣṭyā sarvasya lokasya pravṛddhaṃ dāruṇaṃ tamaḥ |apāvṛttaṃ tvayā saṅkhye rāma rāvaṇajaṃ bhayam || āśvāsya bharataṃ dīnaṃ kausalyāṃ ca yaśasvinīm |kaikeyīṃ ca sumitrāṃ ca dṛṣṭvā lakṣmaṇamātaram || prāpya rājyamayodhyāyāṃ nandayitvā suhṛjjanam |ikṣvākūṇāṃ kule vaṃśaṃ sthāpayitvā mahābala || iṣṭvā turagamedhena prāpya cānuttamaṃ yaśaḥ |brāhmaṇebhyo dhanaṃ dattvā tridivaṃ gantumarhasi || eṣa rājā vimānasthaḥ pitā daśarathastava |kākutstha mānuṣe loke gurustava mahāyaśāḥ || indralokaṃ gataḥ śrīmāṃstvayā putreṇa tāritaḥ |lakṣmaṇena saha bhrātrā tvamenamabhivādaya || (6-119-1-8)

    Meaning: Hearing the auspicious words thus spoken by Rama, Maheshvara (Shiva) thereupon delivered the following still more auspicious speech: "O lotus-eyed, long-armed, broad-chested, annihilator of enemies and excellent among those upholding the cause of virtue! Thank heaven! You accomplished this task. Fortunately has the fear born of Ravana - which increased the severe darkness on the entire world has been removed by you, on the battle-field, O Rama! You are fit to go to the world revealed by the three Vedas (Shri Vaikuntha, Paramapadam), by comforting the depressed Bharata and the illustrious Kausalya as well as seeing Kaikeyi and Sumitra, the mother of Lakshmana having got the sovereignty of Ayodhya, bringing delight to your friends, stabilizing the back-bone in the race of Ikshvaku, getting excellent glory by performing a horse-sacrifice and by granting riches to Brahmanas. This king Dasaratha, your father in this mortal world and the highly glorious as well as the venerable person, is seated in an aerial car, O Rama! Having been delivered by you, his (godly) son, the glorious king obtained the abode of Indra the lord of celestials. you offer your respectful salutation to him, along with Lakshmana, your brother."

    Note that the words of Shiva are declared to be even more auspicious (subhataram) than the words spoken by Rama earlier. Why?


  6. Cont'd from above...

    We must understand something here. All of the gods other than Shiva, and including Brahma, merely praised Rama and acknowledged him as the Supreme Brahman. They were glad that the task of killing Ravana had been accomplished, and had no more to ask Bhagavan. Thus, their motives for praising Rama could be construed as dependent on their own needs; they were considered by Valmiki to be a bit selfish.

    In contrast, Shiva alone was concerned about what Rama wanted, as opposed to what Rama could do for the gods. He knows that Rama is concerned about the welfare of devotees like Bharata, and even Kaikeyi who was ostracized for her act of sending Rama to exile. He also knew that such devotees could not survive without the Lord; Bharata was on the verge of committing suicide. Furthermore, he was also aware that Dasharatha, despite ascending to Svarga, was always immersed in thoughts of Rama.

    Thus, Shiva was concerned about what Rama wanted, and what Rama’s devotees wanted. In contrast, the other gods were merely concerned about what they wanted – the death of Ravana. All of them apart from Shiva, no longer cared what Rama did now, as their end was accomplished. In this manner, Shiva showed himself to be an exemplary devotee of the Lord, his speech is held to be even more beautiful than Rama’s words and thus he is hailed by Valmiki as “śrīmān”– the possessor of the wealth of service to Rama. For true service is caring for the Lord’s needs and the needs of his devotees as opposed to one’s own needs.

    And this is why, according to pūrvācāryās, the Vedas say “sahasrākśasya mahādevasya” (Mahadeva, the Omniscient God), the purāṇās say “jnānam iccet īśvarāt” and “vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ”.

  7. My pranams. As for as Ramayana is concerned, the Valmiki Ramayana is widely accepted as the bonafide description of Rama lila. However, we also have Adhyatma
    Ramayana which is supposed to be a part of Brahmanda purana written by Vyasadeva. It is supposed to explain Rama as the Supreme Lord and there are many prayers

    With pranams,
    mentioned in this Ramayana. Is this Adhyatma Ramayana considered Bonafide? Also in Mahabharata we see that Lord Rama showed Viswaroopa to Lord Parasurama.
    Since Lord Rama concealed His divinity, is this incident accepted by acharyas?

    1. Apart from Valmiki Ramayana and the versions of the Ramayana narration as present in the Mahabharata and Sattvika Puranas, no other Ramayana is authentic, though some like Kambar's work can be accepted in so much as it doesn't contradict Valmiki's.

      The Brahmanda Purana is heavily interpolated, especially the Krishna Janma Khanda. So we have no way of knowing if the Purana originally had this Adhyatma Ramayana as part of its contents. In any case, as far as Rajasa-Tamasa Puranas are concerned, any Ramayana narration can be accepted only so long as it doesn't contradict the Vedas and Valmiki's work. If the Adhyatma Ramayana fulfils these conditions, I suppose it wouldn't be a problem considering it as a genuine section of the Purana. If it contradicts, it is to be rejected as a Tamasic narrative or an interpolation (we haven't analysed it ourselves, so we can't say for sure).

      Rama showing his vishvarupa is to be accepted obviously if it is in the Mahabharata. I don't see a contradiction in him hiding his divinity while showing it to Parashurama only after he realized Rama was the Parabrahman. It could also be kalpa bheda that this incident isn't in Valmiki's work.

    2. Apologies, I believe the interpolated Purana with krishna Janma Khanda is the Brahma vaivarta Purana, not Brahmanda. Still, my point regarding acceptance of incidents from rajasa-tamasa puranas only till they conform to Shruti, Ithihasa and sattvika puranas stands.

    3. Namaste, may I know where in the Mahabharata is it mentioned that Rama showed his vishwaroopa to parashurama?

    4. Not sure myself.

  8. Dear All,

    On Twitter, there was some female leftist mongrel who was attempting to demean the Ramayana by claiming Shurpanaka was a “feminist” and Shri Rama was a “chauvinist” in allowing her to be attacked by Lakshmana.

    These type of low-lives do not cause me any upset. Rather, it is amusing to see how low they can go in SamsAra, and how they have been deprived of even the slightest bit of knowledge due to anAdi-kAla-karmas. These are the type of people the Gita refers to as nitya-samsArIs.

    However, the good that they do is that, they bring hitherto unnoticed gems of shAstrAs to our notice. While reading that she-mongrel’s diatribe, I felt that the incident of Shurpanaka decrying Sita had an inner meaning that brought out the great qualities of Sri. So, I would like to highlight those shlokas and explain them.

    When shUrpanaka speaks to Rama, she tells him that Sita is ugly, unworthy, etc. Now, this is very like the “mA niShAda” shloka – unknown to the person speaking it (Shurpanaka), the words automatically transform into a praise of the person being berated (Sita).

    This is because the vAlmiki rAmAyaNa is an avatAra of the very Veda, thus even the words of rAvaNa, shUrpanaka, etc convey vedAntArthas. This does not mean they were virtuous people – rather, when they spoke, they intended for only the superficial meaning to be conveyed. However, due to the sankalpa of BhagavAn to make this a sharanAgati shAstra, their words take on an inner meaning which communicates the essence of the Vedas.

    That being said, let us study shUrpanaka’s description of Sita.


  9. Cont'd from above...

    I give the superficial meaning of the shloka, then the true meaning.

    vikR^itaa ca viruupaa ca na saa iyam sadR^ishii tava |
    aham eva anuruupaa te bhaaryaa ruupeNa pashya maam || 3-17-26

    Meaning: This Sita, who is ugly and unshapely, is also not suited to you. I alone am suited to you, hence see me in the form of your wife.

    True Meaning: This Sita, who is disturbed or affected by pity for the jIvAs (vikR^itaa), whose condition is dissimilar to you (Rama) in that she does not see the sins of the jIvAs (viruupaa) -- such as she is (ie, having such characteristics) -- is also not your equal (ie, she is subject to you, or she is superior to you). I am thus (on account of her mediation), conforming to your liking in terms of acting as per your will (anuruupaa), hence see me my essential nature of being your wife, as bhartru-bhArya sambandha exists between us.

    “na sadR^ishii tava” can be interpreted as “she of such qualities, is still subject to you and not your equal” – the idea is that, she who has pity on the jIvAs, is merely the mediator and not the Lord herself, and so she recommends them to Rama, who becomes the means.

    Or, it can be interpreted as – “she is not your equal, as she is indeed superior to you!” – this depreciates the Lord’s quality of punishing the jIvAs, which Sita lacks. Also, Sita is the one who makes all his auspicious qualities surface and without her, he wouldn’t be known as the one with auspicious attributes. Hence, she is indeed superior to him.

    Because of her mediation, the jIvA now seems to be "anurUpa" - conforming to BhagavAn's commands. In reality, we may not be so, but she has transformed him in to a state of mind whereby he simply looks at us with only grace and no anger.

    Our essential nature has 9 relationships with BhagavAn, one of which is bhartru-bhArya sambandha. "rUpa" means nature here, and thus, the request is for bhagavAn to see the jIva in the form of his wife who is obedient to him and serves him.


  10. Cont'd from above...

    imaam viruupaam asatiim karaalaam nirNata udariim |
    anena saha te bhraatraa bhakShayiShyaami maanuShiim || 3-17-27

    Meaning: Shall I eat up this disfigured, dishonest, diabolical human female with a hallow stomach along with him, that brother of yours to make you free.

    True Meaning: This female (maanuShiim), of a varied form, ie, a form that is more beautiful and extraordinary in comparison with others (viruupaam), who is other than a female, ie, she is not comparable to other women as she exceeds them all (asatiim), who is formidable to the Lord as her beauty conquers him (karaalaam), whose stomach is prominent as it protects all the jIvAs during pralaya (nirNata udariim) — shall I eat her up along with your brother?

    Her beauty is formidable to BhagavAn, as he becomes seduced by it and it overrules his will to punish the jIvAs.

    “nirNata udariim” – It is BhagavAn’s stomach which is large and protects the chEtanAs during pralaya. It is a form of protection. By virtue of “atideSa nyAya”, qualities of the Lord are superimposed on Sri, highlighting her inseparability with him at all times, states and places. This nyAya is invoked here to highlight her inseparability with the Protector -- she mediates, he protects.

    That concludes our short discussion.

    By the way, this is the twitter account of the she-mongrel who uses her puny brains to cast aspersions on things far beyond her understanding -

    Just pointing it out in case anyone has a twitter account and wants to let her have it. We do not deign to address such worms in the mud, of course.

    1. Do you know if Periyavachan Pillai’s commentary on these verses discuss a broader significance to them in terms of Sri’s Kalyana Gunas?

    2. I don't think so. There are obviously more important sections of the Ramayana to focus on than these, which bring out the qualities better.

  11. Dear Aaryamaan ,humble pranmaas to your holy feet.Swamy apart from Gita 16.20 is there any evidence of concept of Nitya Samsarin in Vedas ?I mean does Vedas have any evidences of eternal damnation(nitya Samsarin).


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