Srsti and Avatar : Chapter 1 and 2 of Parashara Hora
दिनेशं च गणेशं च परेशं च पराशरं
प्रणम्य तत्कृते शास्त्रे कुर्वे तत्त्वर्थ्बोधिनिम्!!
Ninth lesson of my course “Jyotish Prarambha” is Srsti and Avatar. This lessons includes in-depth study of Chapter one and two of Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra. These two chapters are considered to be most difficult to understand even by scholars. Here I have attempted to understand these principles based on Pancharatra tradition of Shri Vaishanavism. This article is being made public for the ease of students of astrology because these two chapters consists of very basic understanding of philosophy, which is very essential if one wants to understand astrology and its functioning in deeper sense.
These are very basic things, mainly philosophy but their understand is very vital. Also these chapters contain very basic rules like what are the essential qualifications for one to start learning astrology. This article is divided in three parts. First part includes chapter one and it’s shloka by shloka explanation, Second part includes chapter two and its shloka by shloka explanation and Third part includes references for deeper understanding of the Philosophy which is from Pancharatra Tradition.
To understand Pancharatra Tradition deeply I took a reading of “Lakshmi Tantra, Dharma aur Darshan” In Hindi by “Dr Ashok Kumar Kalia” Published by “Akhil Bhartiya Sanskrit Parishad – Lucknow”
Chapter one: सृष्टिक्रमकथनाअध्याय
The word literally means – Chapter dealing with sequence of creation. This is not a word by word or Shloka by Shloka translation but it is a translation which tend to give all information in detail which is dealt in this chapter.
Position of Jyotish in Vedas and it’s different limbs
Maitreya [Who is asking questions and Parashara is replying] This answers a vital question that the text [Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra] is not written by sage itself by compiled by someone at later times. In Brihat Parashara Hora Shatra edition of Shri Ganesh Dutt Pathak he mentions that this is Agama Shastra. Agama means texts like Tantra. These texts are not written by are said by someone to someone else, mostly asked by Mata Parvati and answered by God Shiva. Agama texts are those knowledge which were given in ancient times but was not written in Vedas and Upnishads. It was told to students generation by generation by their preceptors and they were expected to commit them to their memory. In later time with nonavailability of competent students and decline in memorizing capacities of humans due to advent of Kaliyuga people wrote these texts in name of Sages who have propounded them and never wrote their own name. This is the reason why there are different edition of Brihat Parashara Hora Shatra. Because they are written by different scholars at different their as per their memory and tradition.
Maitreya says that Jyotishshastra known as astrology is best between all Vedanga’s [Part of Veda’s]. Here students must refer to Prashna Marga a treatise written by Namboodiri Brahmin who throws more light into it. He says in First Chapter that Vedas have six limbs known as Jyotish, Kalpa, Nirukta, Siksha, Vyakrana and Chanda. They are said to be different limbs of Vedas.
Chhandas are said to be Feet of Vedas, Vyakrana is Face of Vedas, Kalpa is Hands of Vedas, Jyotish is Eyes of Vedas, Siksha is Nose of Vedas and Nirukta is Ears of Vedas. He further adds “As astrology is the eyes of Vedas. It is given the pride of place. No person possessing all the organs intact but without eyesight can have an individuality”
Chhandas deals about knowledge of Chhanda/Meters in which Vedic Hymns are to be sung and their Rishis and Devatas. Vyakarana deals with their grammatical composition and their decoding/understanding/translation. Kalpa treats about the procedures to be followed in sacrifices and Dharma of sacrificial priests. Siksha is concerned with Sounds and Phonetics of the Vedas and Hymns used therein. Nirukta deals with special meanings of the words and sounds used in Vedas. Chandas, Kalpa and Vyakarana are in the shape of Sutras. Nirukta is in prose and Siksha and Jyotisha are in the form of verses. [Taken from Prashna Marga’s Translation by Dr. Bangalore Venkata Ramana].
Maitreya also says that Jyotishshastra is also divided into three subdivisions known as Hora [Natal Astrology] Ganita [Mathematical Astrology] and Samhita [Mundane Astrology] Of these three Hora Shatra or Natal Astrology is the best. The author of Prashna Marga makes further division. He says Hora Shatra [Natal Astrology] Deals with Jataka [Horoscope of Human beings] Prashna [Horoscope made for a question when question is interesting or something which can’t be definitely seen from horoscope or in Case of those who have no birth-time to answer their questions or to make or rectify their horoscopes] Muhurta [Selection of an auspicious time for any event] and a part of Nimitaa [Which means cleaver interpretation of happenings of surrounding of an astrologer while answering a question or serving a client.
Ganita [Mathematical Astrology] Is divided into two parts which consists of Gola [Spherical Astronomy] and Ganita [Mathematical Astrology]. Mathematical Astrology deals about calculations of planetary positions at the time birth and casting horoscopes this includes correlation of earths latitude and longitude with sky expanding it to infinite time space quantum etc. Sepherical Astronomy deals with calculations of Ayanamsa and speeds of planets etc which changes slowly as compared to subjects of mathematical astrology [Lagna] but influences objects of mathematical astrology to a large extent.
Samhita [Mundane Astrology] Deals with Nimitta elaborately which takes into consideration local and astronomical good and bad happenings to understand future course of events. Here we see a difference between Nimitta dealt in Hora Shastra and Samhita Shatsra. In Hora Nimitta deals only with happenings around the astrologer while asking a question whereas in Samhita happenings all over the world and sky is taken into consideration to predict fortune of nations like Grahana [Eclipse] and Utapata [Unnatural happenings in the sky].
Salutations to God
Parashara says giving my pranams to Parabrahma Parameshwar and his Shakti [Power] Saraswati Devi and the lord of all planets Bhagwan [God] Surya. I am teaching you Jyotish Shastra as I have learned from God Brahma [The God of creation]
He he makes it clear that he have learnt/listened to Jyotish from God Brahma itself and he also suggests us that for proficiency in Jyotish Shastra one must worship the Triad of Shri Shiva, Mata Saraswati and the God Surya who created/gave birth to complete world [Modern big-bang theory have also proved that this earth in which we lives is given birth by sun with a process of big-bang, This is same what happens inside a women’s womb when she gives birth to a life. Modern science have found that when sperm meets with eggs there comes to be seen a flash like reaction which is caused due to transfer of energy. This reaction produces light and Zinc particles gets separated from eggs] By the same process with a big bang all planets are separated from Sun this process involved omission of much light and energy. Thus Parashara is right here to say that Sun is the creator of this world [In which we live] Also Sun is Called Aditya Narayana. Aditya is a name of Surya and Narayana means the one having residence in all beings [See reference from Shri Vishnu Sahastranaam in this article] Swami Adhbhutananda says in his book “Study of Heliocentric Science” explains that Sun takes a form of particle of light and is situated in every human being. This is done by a simple process. Grains we eat nourishes themselves from heat and light coming out from Sun which creates their composition. Then human’s eat these grains and the same particle of Sun [Now referred as Energy is stored in his body. This Energy makes sperm in body. This sperm gives birth to a new life which also causes transfer of light. Thus in this form Sun’s light and energy is in each and every human being. Thus he becomes Surya Narayana having his presence in all human beings and each and everything over this earth and other planets also.
Regarding Sperm Sage Sushruta have written that First food is consumed by humans, then it is digested which then becomes Rasa [Fluid], In five days this Rasa converts into Blood after digestion, In five days this blood becomes Flesh, In five days this flesh becomes Meda, In five days this Meda becomes Bone, In five days this bone converts into Majja [Bone-marrow] and in five days this bone-marrow becomes sperm or egg in females. This complete process carries energy of Sun into it. Thus we can see in real sense Sun is Bhagwan Surya Narayana.
One may have obligation in my translation of Parabrahma Parmeshwar as Shiva. In Shri Durga Saptashati which is one of the most prominent Tantra texts/Hymns. In Argala Strotra of Shri Durga Saptashati it is said that Bhagwan of this Argala Strotra is Shiva and his Shakti is Mother Saraswati. Hence I took Parabrahma Parmeshwar as Shiva.
Here Parashara recommends an astrologer to worship Shiva, Saraswati, Surya and Narayana Daily.
Qualification of an Astrology student
Qualifications – He must he calm, Devoted to his Guru/Preceptor, Always speak truth and Belives in God. Bu the one who is student of someone else or doesn’t believe in god or is cleaver minded then one should not part this knowledge to such an student. One giving this knowledge to the know having such merits enjoys beneficial and good effects but the one imparting such knowledge to undeserving students suffers misery.
Here in hint sage have also propounded Yogas to check eligibility of a chart to be taken for Student. Calmness is seen from Lagna as it decides one’s nature, Devotion is seen from 9th house, Truth speaking is seen from 2nd house and Belief in god is seen from 5th house. One having good influences over these houses is able to become one’s student. By influence it means placement of planets in these houses, aspect over these houses, Placement of planets with lord of these houses, aspects of planets over lord of these houses and in last nature of the sign where lord of these houses are placed. These rules are to be used by the order meaning first rule must be seen first and if it decides the influence then one need not see next rule. Now we come to an important question, are we to take natural benefics or functional benefics. My opinion is that one needs to see functional benefics from the house itself. Because for annihilation of a Bhava Parashara itself have mentioned “That when lord of a house is placed in 6-8-12 from a house, or lord of 6-8-12 from the Bhava is in Bhava or these planets aspect a Bhava then a Bhava is destroyed. Hence to know good effects on a Bhava one needs to make that Bhava as Lagna and then decide that lord of Trines and Kendra’s aspecting the Bhava gives good influences to it, Lord of 2-3-11 Houses gives both good and bad effects to the Bhava and lord of 6-8-12 makes the Bhava Suffer. This is what must be used, See an example below.
This is horoscope of Shri Yogi Bhaskarananda whom K.N.Rao describes as the last of the Rishi [Sage] Astrologers of the purest classical mould. Now see the Horoscope and check the houses 1-2-5 and 9 for Calmness, Truth, Devotion to god and guru respectively. Lagna is having Venus who is Lagna lord hence good he is also lord of 8th house but we ignore this fact because he is also lord of Lagna, Lord of lagna doesn’t get blemish of owning any other bad houses is said by Parashara himself. 2nd house is having Sun and Mercury, between them Sun is stronger because Sun is at 15 Degrees and Lagna is at 9 degrees whereas Mercury is at 0 Degrees. Mantreshwara mentions that planet closest to degree of Lagna in a Bhava gives effect of that bhava prominently. Here Mercury is 9 Degrees away but Sun is only 6 Degrees away, Hence Sun predominate. He is lord of 11th house [10th from 2nd] Hence again benefic]. Next comes 5th house It is having Rahu, He doesn’t own a house but will give effects of Mars and Saturn. Between them Saturn is stronger to influence because he makes second kind of relationship [Planet being aspected by lord of the sign]. Hence this house also comes under good influences due to Saturn’s aspect over Rahu who is lord of the Sign in 5th house. 9th house is empty but aspected by Moon and Jupiter, Between them Jupiter is strong being in own sign. He lords 10th and 7th house from 9th house both Kendras. Hence it fulfills the criteria of Parashara.
Disqualifications – Parashara says one who is student of someone else or doesn’t believe in God or is very cleaver [In negative sense] must not be taught astrology if teacher wants to remain free of misery caused by imparting knowledge to unworthy students.
As we know that in Kaliyuga there is no Guru-Shishya [Teacher-Student] tradition is left the first criteria can be ignored. Anyone approaching you to learn astrology is ready to become your student, hence this criteria is invalid in current times.
Belief in God is seen from 5th and 9th house as 9th deals with devotion and 5th with recitation of Mantras. Lagna indicates if one is cleaver in a negative sense. Hence one needs to see all three trines [1-5-9] Houses for bad influences [Using above criteria] to know if someone is not to be taught astrology. If all trines or anyone of them comes under bad influences counted from concerned house as lagna then such students must not be taught.
Here one can see that Parashara have excluded 2nd house. This means that always speaking truth is advisable for astrologers especially for those who want to become successful astrologer but it is not mandatory as in one’s daily duties and professional engagements one can face many situations where speaking lie is necessary hence this condition is not mandatory but if found then very good.
Philosophy of Creation
Supreme God is imperceptible Vishnu who is without any end or starting, pure, Sattwic in nature and is lord of complete world. He is without any Guna [Pervades all qualities] but still can create world with three qualities of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas. He is most powerful and all wealth comes under him.
He is imperceptible but his one particle creates and sustains this world.
So Basically there are three forms. One is imperceptible God who is with two Shakti [Power] which is not known to us. Another is his manifested form but is not in this world [Not manifested in this world – remains above] he is with three Shakti’s of Sattwa Rajas and Tamas. Another is manifested form in this world with three Shakti’s of Sattwa Rajas and Tamas.
This threefold nature of god is only known by Tattwa-Darshi [Those highly spiritually awaken souls who can see Tattwas and their manifestation – Highest level of spirituality].
Of this last portion of one third which is manifested in this world have two forms. One form of them couples with Prakriti [Nature] and takes Forms of Human beings [He is present in all human beings, that’s why I am against judging someone using Astrology]. His another form which is known [Given above second portion] but is not manifested in this world is known as Vasudeva. For meanings of these different names of God see reference of Vishnu Sahastranaam given below.
So Basically there is imperceptible Vishnu with two Shakti, and manifested but not in this world Vishnu with three Shakti and then manifested god in this world with three Shakti. This makes a total of 8 Shakti’s. They are correlated with eight forms of Durga. We will learn them in advanced classes of Tantrik Astrology.
Now of these manifested forms there are three forms known as Aniruddha, Pradyumna and Sankarshana. Aniruddha is of Sattwaguna and he couples with Shree Shakti to create Sattwa Planets [Jupiter, Moon and Sun]. Pradyumna is of Rajoguna he couples with Bhooshakti to create planets Mercury and Venus of Rajo Guna. Sankarshana is of Tamoguna and he couples with Neelashakti to create Saturn, Mars and Rahu of Tamo Guna. Ketu is Nirguna [Without Guna].
Watching lordship of these planets we see all twelve signs are divided into three Gunas. Cancer-Leo-Sagittarius and Pisces is of Sattwa Guna. Gemini-Virgo-Libra and Taurus is of Rajas Guna. Capricorn-Aquarius-Aries and Scorpio is of Tamo Guna. Rashi indicates heap of Karmas. Hence planets in these Rashis will indicate which type of Karma one have done and which kind of effects will be given by those planets. This indicates nature of soul and also nature of Karma. One suffering in Dasha of Saturn who is in Aquarius is suffering due to his Bad Karmas influenced by nature of Tamo Guna. Like this we need to interpret Karma’s and also we can find remedies especially behavioral remedies to suggest to native. Practice this principle more and more to understand manifestation of Karma in a birth chart.
How these three forms come – Vasudeva which is manifest but not in this world. When he wants to create Leela [Play of this world]He separated a part of himself and when he couples with Shree Shakti he makes Aniruddha, When he couples with Bhoo Shakti he makes Pradyumna and when he couples with Neela Shakti he makes Sankarshana.
Shree Shakti’s are devi like Parvati and Mahalakshmi, Bhoo Shakti are devi like Indrani and Yakshini, Neela Shakti are devi like Kali and Tara.
Now understand it once again. There are basically two forms. One is imperceptible with two shakti’s not known to us. Another is manifested form. Manifested form is Vasudeva he doesn’t come to this world but when he wants to create Maya or Leela. He separates a portion of himself which coupled with Shri Shakti of Sattwa Guna makes Aniruddha, coupled with Bhoo Shakti or Rajo Guna makes Pradyumna and coupled with Neela Shakti of Tamo Guna creates Sankarashana form.
Aniruddha is having Ahankaar [Ego], Pradyumna is having Ahankriti [I did this], Sankarshana is having Mahattawa [I am great]. Aniruddha gives birth to Brahma [Which becomes a subsidiary deity in this tradition taking this philosophy. Now this Brahma coupled with Sattwik Shakti gives birth to Vaikarik [with weakness] Deva’s [God’s]. Coupled with Rajas Guna gives birth to Taijas [penetrating] Indriyas [Senses]. Couples with Tamas Guna gives birth to Bhauta [destructible] Panchamahabhoota [Five elements of creation Earth-Fire-Water-Air and Ether]. These three forms of Demi Gods, Senses and Five elements have their own shakti’s as well as they have earlier Shakti’s [Power] of Narayana [means they are influenced by Vasudeva- works for him] Vasudeva enjoys this world through us that’s why he creates leela by giving birth to us by manifesting into us.
We learnt earlier that manifest form of Narayana who is known as Vasudeva. who is not in this world is also having Three Shakti’s of Sattwa Guna, Rajas Guna and Tamas Guna. With Sattwa Guna he couples with Shree Shakti and takes form of Vishnu whose work is sustenance of this world. Vasudeva coupled with Bhoo Shakti of Rajas Guna takes form of Brahma whose work is creation. Vasudeva coupled with Neela Shakti of Tamo Guna takes form of Shiva whose work is destruction.
Different tradition takes this philosophy of creation differently here we are dealing with what Parashara have said. He looks like a follower of Pancharatra Tradition of Shri Vaishanavism. Hence all this philosophy is being told as it is said by sage without any alteration/modification from my side [Shubham Alock]
Sage further adds what I have said before that “Parmata [Supreme being] is in all beings and all beings are into him. His particle is in all of us and as he is without any start or end and is expended in complete cosmos we are also into him. In all human beings there are particle of God and also one’s own imperfection [Karmas also make a part of our being]. But in all people these particles are not in same proposition but in different propositions.
He adds that Planets, Main deities and Avatar of Gods [Be is main Dashavatara or other Avatars like Leela Avatar Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu] and Shakti of these Deities like Mother Sita, Radha Lakshmi have in them more of Parmatmamsa and less of Jeevamsa [Karma of their own]
Other demigods and their Shakti’s [spouses] have more of Jeevamsa [Karma of their own] and less of Parmatmamsa. We have heard that in Jainism it is said that Ravana will be next teerthankara, and Bali will be next Indra all these boons given to these people are their virtues due to their Jeevamsa [Past Karmas] Here I have taken some liberation to translate Jeevamsa as Past Karmas. Some may consider Jeevamsa as meaning Five elements of nature. But as said before that they are also form of Aniruddha I have not considered them.
Chapter two: अथावतारकथनाध्यायः
This literally means chapter dealing with Avatar [Manifestation of God] This is highly illuminating chapter.
Parashara says that Rama, Krishna, Narsimha and Varaha are Poorna Avatar [Having 100% of God Particle [Parmatmaamsa]]. Other Avatar are couples with some of Jeevamsa [Their past Karmas]. Avatar can also leave some work unfinished for which he needs to take another Avatar. Gaudiya Vaishanavism tradition even considers Krishna as God Himself. कृष्ण अस्तु भगवान स्व्यम् This means Krishna is God himself.
He also adds that Parameshar have many avatar’s [More than these 10 well known forms of God]. Planets are Sub-avtars of Janardana Avatar of Shri Maha Vishnu. God have taken his Avatar in form of planets for giving effects of Karma’s to humans and to kill demons, give strength and intellect to God’s and Godly people and also to establish Dharma. As Krishna says himself that whenever Dharma will fall I will take a form and will restore Dharma.
He further adds that chief work of planets is to give effects of Karmas to human beings. And to establish Dharma these Avatars [Manifestations] are from Planets. Rama Avatar is from Sun, Krishna Avatar is from Moon, Narsimha Avatar is from Mars, Buddha Avatar is from Mercury, Vamana Avatar is from Jupiter, Parshurama Avatar is from Venus, Koorma Avatar is from Saturn, Varaha Avatar is from Rahu and Matasya Avatar is from Ketu.
Two explanations are necessary here. Gaudiya Vaishnavism considers Krishna as God himself but Parashara follows Pancharatra which takes God in two forms of manifest and unmanifest. Highest from of Manifest god is taken as Vasudeva and not Krishna. Some scholars are of the opinion that Buddha [Siddharatha – Gautama] is not an avatar of Vishnu but is considered as an avatar by misinterpretation or to say due to futile excersize of considering Gautama Buddha as Avatar so Hindu conversion to Buddhism can be stopped. In my humble opinion here buddha means spiritually enlightened person. and by this word parashara means all intellectual people who transform this world and vedanata and religion like Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Thakur Shri Shri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Bhagwan Shri Raman Maharshi are to be considered as being emanated from Mercury. What is their work is said by Parashara before that planets work is to give fruits of Karmas of human beings and works of Avatar of planets is to destroy strength of bad people, give strength and intellect to good people and to stabilize dharma or give a new dharma.
These Dashavatara [10 incarnations] are now given according to their manifestation in this world. They cam like Meena [Ketu]-Koorma [Saturn]-Boar [Rahu]-Human God [Mars]-Vamana [Jupiter]- Lord of Venus/Parsurama [Venus]- Rama [Sun]- Krishna [Moon]- Buddha [Mercury]. This shows evolution of God or different manifestation of god in their chronological order. Lagna is the house which indicates creation. Hence planet in Lagna or if none then Lagnesha will indicate all about a person. Whose planets particle he have prominent in him. How close he is to god etc. It is clearly stated before that we all are having some particle of God and planet in Lagna will indicate which particle of God is in us.
Parashara further says that all other Avatars [not mentioned before by Parashara] are also from Planets [He is very strict to mention that manifested god is Vasudeva and he takes forms of nine planets and then these nine planets makes other Avataras. This importantly highlights why planets are worshiped and why astrology is kept into high esteem. Also it indicates that why Pluto, Neptune or Uranas are kept from being planets because they are not forms of God. However some non-luminous planets are included in Jyotish which are not forms of God but indicates ones past Karmas prominently especially those which are bad. He further adds that with more Parmatmamsa are Khechar [Devas’s] and with more Jeevamsa [Past Karmas] are living being [Living beings considers all living beings and not only planets. Mind the words carefully]. As per Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta and other Puranas a soul goes through 84 lack different Yoni’s [Sexes] before being born as Human [Manushya Yoni].
He further adds that Parmatmansa are separated from Planets and convert themselves into Avatars and after completion of their works they get back into planets. Also due to separation of Jeevansa from planets humans are born they suffer their pending karma on earth and then merge back to planets. So we understand that basically planets are visible and functional gods before pralaya.
When Pralaya happens planets get destroyed [Refer big-bang theory]and they merge back into god [Here god means Maha Vishnu] who is infinite source of power and lives into this complete world.
Only those humans born with more Parmatmansa [God article] in them as compared to normal human beings knows about Pralaya [Destruction] and Srishti [Creation] of world. Normal people can know it through Jyotish [Astrology] only. Hence one must study Jyotish especially those born as Brahmins. But I do consider as per advise of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that ones caste needs to be decided by the work he is engaged in.
He further adds that those people who don’t understand the element of Shastra and criticize astrology, such peoples rot in a hell named Raurava and then in next birth he is born as blind. Wikipedia describes Raurava Hell as “Raurava (fearful or hell of rurus): As per the Bhagavata Purana and the Devi Bhagavata Purana, it is assigned for a person who cares about his own and his family’s good, but harms other living beings and is always envious of others. The living beings hurt by such a man take the form of savage serpent-like beasts called rurus and torture this person. The Vishnu Purana deems this hell fit for a false witness or one who lies.
Meaning of different names from Vishnu Sahastranaam commented by Srimad Shankaracharya Bhagwadpad and translation by Swami Tapasyananda of Ramakrishna Mission.
- Vishnu – Who became Vishwam [all] – Vishnu – he pervades everything. Vishnu is made up of two words “Vish” meaning presence everywhere combined with suffix “Nuk”. Vishnu Purana says “the power of that supreme being has entered into the universe. The root “Vish” means enter into
- Vasudev – The divinity who covers the whole universe by Maya; Mahabharata Shanti Parva says – Just as the Sun covers the whole world by his rays. I cover this whole world by manifestation of my power.
- Sankarshana – Is one who attracts to oneself all beings at the time of cosmic dissolution. Achyuta [Another name/form of God] is also known as Sankarshana. Achyuta means he who knows no fall from his real nature.
- Pradyumna – One whose “Dhyumna” or wealth is of a superior and sacred order. One of the four Vyuhas [Vyuh Avatar]
- Aniruddha – One who has never been obstructed by anyone or anything from manifesting in various forms the last one of Chaturvyuhas.
- Narayana – Ether and other categories that are born of it are Nara. Because he pervades the above mentioned categories as their cause he is called Narayana that is one having his residence in all beings.
According to Taitriya Upanishada he is called Narayana also because he is Ayana/Residence of all beings at the time of dissolution.
As per Manusmriti Water is called Nara because it is the offspring of Nara as Parmatma. That water was formerly the lying place of Parmatman. Therefore he is called Narayana.
Taken from book “लक्ष्मी तंत्र : धर्मं और दर्शन” लेखक – डॉ अशोक कुमार कालिया, प्रकाशक – अखिल भारतीय संस्कृत परिषद् लखनऊ, प्रथम संस्करण १९७७, पता – अखिल भारतीय संस्कृत परिषद्, महात्मा गाँधी मार्ग, हजरतगंज, लखनऊ २२६००१
According to Pancharatra Tradition Supreme God is Vasudeva – He takes form of Sankarshana [Jeeva/Being], Pradyumna [Mana/Mind] and Aniruddha [Ahankaar/Ego]. Author is also of the opinion [Not Shubham Alock] that Shrimad Bhagwad Gita also elucidates Pancharatra Tradition.
To bless devotees God takes four different forms because Karmas of beings also differ. Due to this differentiation in merits there is difference in forms of God who give their good or bad effects [This is the cause of different gods in Hinduism – Shubham Alock’s comments are in Bracket form in this last section]. These four forms of God is known as Para, Vyuha, Vibhava and Archa. Vishwaksenasamhita and Ahirbudhanyasamhita endorses five forms of God adding Anataryamiswaroopa [Imperceptible form]
- Para form of God – Having divine ornaments and armament having in itself six Gunas [Qualities] and is always calm/resting/not into action. Laksmi is Shakti of this Roopa and they both share synchronizing and non-separable relationship. This god takes different form of world. This form of God is known as Para-Vasudeva.
Para-Vasudeva is same in form as Vyuha-Vasudeva [To be dealt in next sanction]. They both have six qualities in them, they are complete in themselves and they know each and everything. But difference between them is that known from adjectives used for them. Adjective used for Para-Vasudeva is Shantodita which means in Para-Vasudeva all six qualities remain in sleeping form. Due to this reason he is not indulged into works like creation and destruction. Vyuha-Vasudeva is given adjective of Nityodita which means all six qualities are into him in prominent form. Due to this he participates in creation and other activities. This is the basic difference between Narayana of Para form and Vyuha Form.
- Vyuha form of God – This is the main and unique philosophy of Panchanratra Agama [Tantra], For indulging into activities Paravasudeva manifests himself in four different forms. These are called Vyuha-Avataras.
First of them is Vasudeva who is having all six qualities in himself, His power is Lakshmi. Second form is Sankarshana his power is named Keerti, He is endowed with knowledge and strength, He is associated with destruction and his work is to give knowledge of Shastra’s. Third form is Pradhyumna his power is named Jaya, He is having Aishwarya and Veerya [For their meaning see six qualities below]. He is associated with creation and his work is to modernise Shastras. Fourth form is named Aniruddha his power is named Maya, He is having Shakti and Tez. He is associated with Preserver. His duty is do works in accordance to Shastras to give example to normal living beings.
With change of Kalpa [Yuga] Works of Aniruddha and Pradyumna get changed. In that form Aniruddha becomes the cause of creation and Pradyumna takes the work of preserver. But Sankrashana is always associated with destruction only. In all these four forms nothing is material but everything is divine including their body parts and intellect.
2.1 – Vasudeva: From Paravasudeva Vyuhavasudeva takes birth/form. This is first of all four Vyuha’s When all six qualities of [Gyana, Shakti, Bala, Aishwarya, Veerya and Tez] rise in same quantity then it is called Vasudeva [Having all qualities balanced – Hence perfect God]. Vasudeva is to be meditated upon, means he is endowed with a luster which is to be contemplated upon. Paravasudeva is taken as Brahma [Supreme God] and Vyuhavasudeva is taken as God in Pancharatra Tradition. He is white like snow, illuminating like bulb, lustrous like Moon, having four arms, calm-faced, eyes resembling like lotus [beautiful], wearing yellow silky clothes, and having a flag of Garuda [Inscribed on it]. From his main right hand he bestows fearlessness [Abhaya Mudra], In his main left hand he is having Conch, In another right hand he is having discus, In another left hand he is holding mace placed over earth. In this form he is to be contemplated.
2.2 – Sankarshana: He is also known by the name of Bala [Strength], In Purana’s he is known with many other names. But Sankarshana, Rama and Bala these three are most famous names. Sankarshana is called to have ego over Jeeva [Beings], InVasudeva six qualities are in balance but otherwise they are categorized together like this [Gyana and Bala], [Aishwarya and Veerya], [Shakti and Tez]. From these six Guna’s when first set of Guna’s Gyana and Bala rises more in dominance then it is called Sankarshana. He is red like vermilion in form, calm-faced, four-armed, his body is having marks like Tala [musical instrument of ancient origin], His clothes are like [अतसी पुष्प] White mixed with very light blue. From his main right hand he bestows fearlessness [Abhaya Mudra], Main left hand contains conch, another right hand contains [शीर अस्त्र] It is like Hydrogen fusion bomb of modern times, another left hand contains [मुसल] It is a weapon like Mace but it is not round in end like mace but is having cylindrical end of long extent.
2.3 – Pradyumna: Because of having extreme Bala and Tez he is called Pradyumna. In above said six qualities when Aishwarya and Veerya becomes dominant then Pradyumna form comes in existence. He is called egoistic of Mana [Mind]. He looks like [खद्योत] on rainy nights [Of fiery red colour], wearing red silky cloth, adorned with [मकर्ध्वज्] Meaning God of love [Kamadeva – Beautiful like him] or green colored, calm-faced, four-armed. Bestows fearlessness from main right hand, conch in main right hand, five arrows [of kamadeva] in another right hand [Mind that he is for creation which includes sexuality predominantly, indicated by kamadeva], Bow in another left hand.
2.4 – Aniruddha: Tez and Shakti is his embodiment, He is egoistic of Ego [I did this]. Luster like [अञ्जन पर्वत] Stony form/look of body like made up of stones [Extremely strong]. Emotionless-face, Wearing beautiful yellow clothes, four-armed, big eyes, wearing [मृग्लाञ्चन] [deer-skin]. Bestowing fearlessness from main right hand, conch in main left hand, twisted sword in another right hand, [खेटक] in another left hand [It is name of mace of Balarama].
These Chaturvyuhas are not mentioned in Veda’s and Upanishad’s but they come from Agama [Tantra].
2.5 – Vyuhantara: In this Vyuha there are twelve Gods from name of Vyuhantara. Which means expansion of Vyuhas. All four God’s of Chaturvyuha divide themselves in three -three forms of Kesava etc. God’s which originate like this [From each of Chaturvyuhas] are known as Vyuhanatara.
Chaturvyuha Avatar 1 Shakti Avatar 2 Shakti Avatar 3 Shakti Vasudeva Kesava Shri Narayana Vagishwari Madhava Kanti Sankarshana Govinda Kriya Vishnu Shanti Madhusudana Vibhuti Pradyumna Trivikram Iccha Vamana Preeti Shridhara Rati Aniruddha Hrishikesha Maya Padmanabha Dhi Damodara Mahima
- Vibhava form of God – Other than himself taking form of someone who is identical of God is called as Vibhava form. It means manifestation in form of all living beings [Because narayana is in each and everything in this world]. According to Lakshmi Tantra, Aniruddha causes this Vibhava form. Vishwaksensamhita also tells us the same thing but Padamatantra differs it says that
Chaturvyuha Vibhava from them Vasudeva Matsya Koorma Varaha Sankarshana Narsimha Vamana Shri Rama Parshurama Pradyumna Balarama Aniruddha Shri Krishna Kalki
These are Vibhava’s from Chaturvyuhas.
According to Lakshmi Tantra there are 38 Vibhavas in total they are 1. Padmanabh, 2. Dhruva, 3. Ananta, 4. Shaktisha, 5. Madhusudana, 6. Vidhyadideva, 7. Kapila, 8. Vishwaroop, 9. Vihangama, 10. Krodatma, 11. Badvakrtra, 12. Dharma, 13. Vagishwar, 14. Ekarnavanta-Shayi, 15. Kamath, 16. Yagya-Varaha, 17. Narsimha, 18. Amritaharana, 19. Shripati, 20. Kantama, 21. Rahujit, 22. Kaalnemighna, 23. Parijaathar, 24. Loknath, 25. Dattatreya, 26. Nyagrodhashayi, 27. Ekashringatanu, 28. Vamana, 29. Trivikram, 30. Nara, 31. Narayana, 32. Hari, 33. Krishna, 34. Parshurama, 35. Shri Rama, 36. Vedvit, 37. Kalkin, 38. Patalashayana.
3.1 – Vibhavantara : When god takes form of Deva’s Human’s and does welfare to mankind then that form is Vibhavantara [Expansion of Vibhava form]
- Archa form of God – The form of God created or imagined by Deva’s, Sages, Manes and Siddha’s for themselves or benefit of world is called Archa form of God. [Read it thrice and then you will understand why I took Mercury to indicate enlightened people as forms of God]. According to Panchanratra tradition, to dwell in hearts of ascetics they [ascetics] make a form of god by gold [Here gold means they imagine this form by utmost love, because gold is said to be most precious metal] this form is said Archa form of God. By Mantras God is done Pratishtha in that Idol [Pratistha is a process of Mantra chanting along with some other performances like pouring water over deity which is said to give life/soul of God to the image], [Also this is the reason why images left/mounted by highly elevated people are later worshiped by people after making temple there]. Due to their closeness with God [Highly spiritual people have more of God form in themselves – as said before], these idol become unnatural [Not made by people but manifested by God’s will], contains six qualities in them and radiate god element [Love for God] In their surrounding [In the surrounding in which image is placed].
- Antaryami form of God – To capture the heart of devotees [Because devotees love God with complete love] God lives in their Heart. That form of God is referred to as Antaryami form of God. God lives with human beings or for that matter any living being always but still he is always unaffected of all demerits of Human’s [Not touched by those demerits]. This Antaryami form of God is called as Parmatma [Supreme Soul] Antaratma [Soul inside Soul].
Shadgunya [Six qualities of God]
According to Pancharatra Tradition God is endowed with many welfare bestowing good qualities. Even after having Many qualities these main six qualities are extremely beneficial. All these qualities of God is natural to him and divine. These Six qualities are Gyana-Shakti-Bala-Aishwarya-Veerya-Tez. Also in Vishnu Purana God is said to have these qualities.
- Gyana [Knowledge]: This quality defines nature of God. He is intelligence himself. This is the prime quality of Godhead all other qualities are just manifestation of this quality only.
- Shakti [Strength]: Other five Gunas are Dharma [Quality] of first Guna only. God lives in this world as world itself this is called Shakti quality of God.
- Bala [Power]: Without any labor he can hold things.
- Aishwarya [Grandeur]: To become controller of all things and being beyond comprehension is grandeur of God.
- Veerya [Transcendence]: God is cause of each and everything and he is controller of each and everything but still he does not get any kind of disorder/defect. This being free of all disorder and defects is transcendence of God.
- Tez [Luster]: He doesn’t need assistance of anyone else and contains in himself power of overwhelming anyone this is called luster of God.
Pancharatra is one of the most ancient philosophy of Shri Vaishanavism. It is vast and can’t be completed in a single article. It seems that Parashara follows Pancharatra Tradition. It’s biggest and most celebrated temple is Shri Ranganathan Temple. In this article I have given a brief introduction to the topic and philosophy [Article is too big but what I can say is it is just a part of the introduction] I have left many areas to be covered and elaborated. Which includes how creation happens and other things like nature of destruction etc. God willing I will try to cover them in a separate article. For now read this long article and understand this philosophy. This will create way to understand many fundamental concepts of Vedic Jyotish. Deep understanding of this philosophy coupled with good understanding of astrological basics will help one in making rules by himself and understanding dictum’s of sages.
ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय