Faith

Atma jnana

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that he must acquire atma jnana. To achieve this, he must control his indriyas. But the Lord also says that to control the indriyas, one needs atma jnana! Now if both statements are read together, it seems as if the Lord is talking of an absolute impossibility. How can each be a condition for the other?

Yet there is an answer even to this puzzle. The Lord says that one must focus on Him, for such focus will endow one with atma jnana and the ability to control the indriyas. However, what the Lord means when He says that the focus should be on Him needs some explanation, said M.S. Srikanth in a discourse. A careful study of the Upanishads, Itihasas and Puranas, shows that this focus that Lord Krishna is talking about should be on the Lord’s auspicious form, or what is known as His divyamangala vigraha. And the only way for us to focus on His form is to turn our concentration on His archa (idol) form.

Keeping one’s eyes on His archa form, meditating on a favourite deity and listening to praises of the deity will turn one’s thoughts away from worldly objects and will lead to control of the indriyas. Atma jnana will also come to a person who is immersed in idol worship. Thus two important conditions for moksha are fulfilled just by worshipping Him in archa form. Thus His archa form leads us to moksha.

The auspiciousness of the Lord’s body is clearly brought out in Tirumangai Azhvar’s verse on the deity of the Tiruvallur temple. Azhvar says Lakshmi chose to stay on the Lord’s chest. When She emerged from the milky ocean, there were many present there, including Indra. But Lakshmi knew that Lord Vishnu was the Lord of everyone and was superior to Indra. That is why She took up residence in His chest.


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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 9:55:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/atma-jnana/article20798689.ece

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