Essence of pranava

The significance of the pranava mantra is such that a sanyasi should keep repeating it constantly. Pranava also means ‘yes,’ in Sanskrit. Those who say ‘yes’ to superior things in life are great people. And these superior things are, naturally, not of the material world, but they have to do with ways to attain moksha. When one recites the pranava, one’s mind must imagine Krishna on the chariot, in the driver’s seat, with Arjuna, behind Him. Vedanta Desika shows the importance of Arjuna’s chariot in the context of the pranava mantra, said V.S. Karunakarachariar in a discourse. Desika acknowledges that it was his Acharya Kidambi Appullar, who taught him this.

The Lord being in front is symbolically important. The first akshara of the pranava is ‘a’. And ‘a’ indicates Vishnu. It is also the origin of all letters. It is the foundation for everything in this world. The One who drives everything in the world, and sustains everything did not think it was demeaning to be a mere mortal’s chariot driver. In the battlefield, dust kicked up by the horses settles on Krishna. Being dust-covered is nothing new to the Lord. Was He not covered in dust when He grazed cows? One is reminded of Krishna’s childhood in Gokula when one thinks of Krishna’s dust covered body as Arjuna’s chariot driver.

Appayya Dikshitar gives yet another interesting interpretation in his commentary on Vedanta Desika’s Yadavabhyuadaya. In Gokula, He was in the midst of cows. Here, on the battlefield, He is in the midst of Bhishma, Drona, the Pandavas, and others. They are all like cows in the presence of the divine grazer Krishna, says Dikshitar. While chanting the pranava, one should meditate on Arjuna’s chariot, for it represents the essence of the pranava mantra.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 2:34:50 AM |

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