Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lord's Six Principal Qualities

Six Principal Qualities
(Translated from Srimad Azhagiya Singar’s Arulmozhi)

Sharanagati Gadyam is a conversation that took place between the Lord of the universe, Lakshmipathi, and the Lord of the sages, Yathipathi Sri Ramanuja. Both are oceans of compassion. On a Panguni Uttiram day, with Sri Ranga Nacchiyar and Sri Ranganatha in each other’s company, Bagavad Ramanuja performed Sharanagati. At that time, motivated by the wish to encourage future generations to also perform Sharanagati he rendered three poems, Sharanagati Gadyam, Sri Ranga Gadyam, and Sri Vaikunta Gadyam. Foremost among the three is Sharanagati Gadyam.

According to our Poorvacharyas, Sharanagati Gadyam serves as a commentary for Dvaya Mantram. The Dvaya Mantram begins with the word, Srimad. The long sentence at the start of Sharanagati Gadyam, beginning with, “Bhagavan Narayana abimada”, serves as the explanation for Srimad. Then, with the section beginning with “akilaheya pratyaneeka”, Bagavad Ramanuja explains the meaning of the word Narayana.

Starting with the Dhivya Athma Swaroopam (Divine Spiritual Identity) of the Lord, Bagavad Ramanuja continues to describe the Dhivya Thirumeni (divine body), the divine auspicious qualities of Dhivya Athma Swaroopam, Dhivya Aparanam (divine ornaments), Dhivya Ayudham (divine weapons), Dhivya Mahishi (divine consort), and much more. Then come the divine auspicious qualities.

The passage that narrates this is as follows.

Nowhere else can we enjoy the divine auspicious qualities all at once in a divine collection like this.

Among these, the six qualities, Jnyana, Bala, Aiswarya, Veerya, Shakti, Tejas, reveal the Supremeness of Bhagavan. These qualities are natural for our Lord. They are not a result of avidya (ignorance); neither are they a result of someone else’s will. The qualities of Nithyasoories are a result of our Lord’s will. There are no other qualities greater than these.

Jnaanam – omnicience - universal or complete knowledge.
Balam - ability to support everything without any effort.
Aishvaryam - ability to command everyone starting with Brahma and Rudran or Shivan, without any hindrance whatsoever.
Veeryam - not undergoing any change that may otherwise result from being the primordial cause, support, and commander for everything.
Shakti - ability to control all except Himself, that is, being the Upaadana Kaaranam (material cause) for everything.
Tejas - to perform a task, not needing the help of anything that is not under his control.

When making pots and pans, a potter requires the assistance of clay, potter’s wheel, etc. But, the Lord requires no such assistance during creation. Even though the Lord creates the universe using Prakruti (matter) and kalam (time) these are completely under His control.

This is clear from Swami Sri Desikan’s explanation of the term Tejas as Asvadheena sahkaryanpekshatvam. Shashtras define Tejas as, tejaStu Anyaanadheenata. Thus, the quality Tejas refers to, not requiring the assistance of others. Further, the Lord Himself says,

(To perform any task, I don’t need the assistance of anything else. The wise refer to this as Tejas, the sixth quality.)

Tejas can be defined in another way. Some may think it is sufficient to understand a concept in just one way. This is wrong. Since this is about the auspicious qualities of our Lord, it is useful to describe them in many different ways.

Tejas is the ability to subdue others. Our Lord subdues the luster of everything else with His brilliance. Upanishad declares,
( In His presence nothing shines, not even, the sun, the moon, the stars, or the lightening, not to mention fire. )

Everyone seated in Duryodhanan’s court were shining with radiance. The moment Lord Krishna entered this court everyone lost their radiance and became dull. Who can shine in the presence of Sri Krishna Paramatma?
What the Upanishad said earlier is reaffirmed here in Mahabaratha as follows.
Holding Sri Viduran by one divine hand and Sathyagi with the other, with great brilliance Kannan entered the court filled with kings. Immediately, all the kings in Duryodhana’s court lost their luster like the moon and the stars lose their luster in the presence of the sun. This nature of instantaneously drowning out the greatness of others is called Tejas.

Swami Sri Desikan in his commentary Rahasya Rakshai explains the significance of the order in which Bagavad Ramanuja lists the six principal qualities. Like the Lord, the Jivas also possess the six qualities, Jnyana, Bala, Aiswarya, Veerya, Shakti, Tejas. But there is a difference. Consider a wealthy man sleeping. In the state of sleep he will not be aware of his wealth. While asleep everyone will have the same state of mind, without regard to whether they are wealthy or poor, learned or illiterate, noble or plebian.

A wealthy man will be completely unaware of his possessions while he is asleep. Even if he is bestowed with the ability to be aware of his wealth, he will not be able to safeguard or support it. Even if he starts out with a tight grip around his purse, soon after slumber sets in, his hold will loosen. Even if he is able to maintain a tight grip, he will not be able to command it. Even if he is able to support and command his wealth, he will soon feel the fatigue. Even if he is able to command his possessions without getting affected by fatigue, he cannot be the cause for its sustenance. Even if he is able to sustain his possessions, he will be able to do so only with the assistance of others who are not under his control. But our Lord is not like this.

There is no sleep for our Lord. Even if he falls asleep, he has the ability to be aware of his possessions (Jnanan), be supportive of them (Balam), be able to command them (Aishvaryam) , without change in his brilliance (Veeryam), and be the cause of its sustinance (Shakti) without the assistance of anything that is not under his control (Tejas).

Thus, let us also celebrate these six principal qualities of Bhagavan in the same order in which Bagavad Ramanuja enjoyed, Jnyana, Bala, Aiswarya, Veerya, Shakti, Tejas.

(Translated from “Erar Gunamum Ezhiluruvum” by Srimad Azhagiya Singar. Published by Sri Ahobila Matam, Vrusha Year, Karthikai Uttirattadi, (November 2001), pp 1 – 13.

Sarvam SriKrishnarpaNamastu


Radha said...

"Tejas" when we heard this name it sounds like some common name. But It says so much things. I never thought of this. Ur transalation is too good. Anyone can understand easily. Yeah its true if we follow the six Principal qualities of Lord Kirshna.No need of other principals.

Dasharathi M S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dasharathi M S said...


Its not that there is no need for other principles, we must try our level best to understand how much we can.

Lord displays such wonderful qualities innumerably, and it isnt possible for one to count and praise each one of them.

This post paticularly speaks about the Lord's principal kalyana gunas viz Jnyana, Bala, Aiswarya, Veerya, Shakti, Tejas in same order as enjoyed by our Acharya Sri Bhagawad Ramanuja.

It is believed that even if one has one crore mouths, a life span equvilanet to brihaspathi brahma, knowledge of vedas to a complete extent. Even with all these, one can't praise one thousandth part of Lord's greatness.

Thanks for your comment, and I appreciate the interest shown in reading these posts and for your comments.