Narayana called Vritrahan

Updated - May 15, 2024 07:34 pm IST

Published - May 15, 2024 04:57 am IST

The word Vritrahan in the eleventh mantra of Apratiratha Sukta is a reference to Lord Narayana, said V.S. Karunakarachariar in a discourse. Everything that prevents us from reaching His abode of Sri Vaikuntha is a disease. Only Lord Narayana can get rid of these diseases. If Vritrasura is then the embodiment of such “diseases,” then Lord Narayana, who destroys this asura, is obviously the One who is addressed as Vritrahan in the Krishna Yajur Veda mantra.

The idea that whatever prevents us from reaching the Lord’s feet is a disease is seen in Chandogya Upanishad, which tells the story of Upakosala, son of sage Kamala. Upakosala was Satyakama Jabali’s student. At the end of the 12-year period of study, all the other students left the gurukula. But Upakosala was asked to stay back. Upakosala awaited instruction on how to do bhakti yoga to reach Lord Narayana. But Satyakama kept postponing the instruction and then went off on a long trip. Upakosala refused to eat the food served by his teacher’s wife. She asked him why he refused to eat, and Upakosala replied that he had many desires that kept him from getting close to Lord Narayana. Every such desire was a disease.

Thus the idea that our desires are diseases is seen in the Chandogya Upanishad, and the one who gets rid of these desires is Lord Narayana. So it is clear that Vritrahan spoken of in Apratiratha Sukta is Lord Narayana and not Indra as usually interpreted.

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