Faith

Relief from distress

Adi Sankara’s commentaries on the Prastanatraya texts, the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita have been the basis for the development of various systems of belief and philosophy dealing with the ultimate goal, the salvation of the jivatma. At the same time, having the jivatma’s basic predicament which is samsara, with its attendant evils such as disease, old age, etc, in focus, the acharya shows how faith in the Lord’s infinite power to protect and save the world is the greatest asset for every one, pointed out Sri Sriramana Sarma in a discourse.

In the four yugas, Krita, Treta, Dwapara and Kali, there is natural decline in the way people uphold moral standards and practise their nitya and naimittika dharmas. So too, the benefits derived in Krita Yuga through meditation, sacrifices in Treta Yuga and worship in Dwapara yuga, are attainable in Kali yuga through chanting the Lord’s sacred Nama.

Adi Sankara alludes to the famous verse that proclaims the efficacy of meditating on Lord Narayana. ‘After a detailed research and analysis of the word of the sastras, sages, rishis, and thinkers of philosophy have come to the conclusion that meditation on the Supreme Deity Narayana is a sure antidote for all sorrows.’ In his bashya to the Vishnu Sahasranama, the acharya draws attention to the time and context in which this hymn is taught by Bhishma. It is at the transition of Dwapara and Kali Yugas, when the Mahabharata war that was fought to establish dharma and quell adharma is just over. Still many doubts on dharma continue to trouble Yudhishtira. Bhishma, the great warrior and realised soul, then imparts this hymn that continues to provide the greatest mental strength to each individual in search of dharma, peace of mind and salvation.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 5:57:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/relief-from-distress/article34684053.ece

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