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Understanding Narayana In Hinduism

Living a realistic life believing it as a service to God is an excerpt from an article written by Sri Sri Tridandi Chinna Srimannarayana Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamiji. The article clearly helps in understanding Narayana in Hinduism.

Na:ra:yana is the Supreme Being – this is what is explained in the Gita. In the 10th and the 11th chapters of the Gita, the Lord clearly says that He is present in each and every object and is responsible for its survival. There is no being or object without Him. He is present in and is the cause of support for every atom that exists. Thus He is in everything, not just in heaven or space. Arjuna was scared upon seeing the universal form of the Lord. He could see neither the beginning nor the end of it.


In the 10th and the 11th chapters, the Lord clearly explains how He is in everything and everything is within Him. These two chapters explain the meaning of the word NA:RA:YANA.

RA in Sanskrit means that which perishes;

NARA means that which never perishes – but only changes its name, color, place or form. NA:RA means all such objects (to explain the plurality, the word NARA becomes NA:RA).

AYANA means support –from within and outside. Support to what? The answer follows…to all the NA:RAs.

If we have to call such a Supreme Being by name, in Sanskrit, the best word would be NA:RA:YANA.
In Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Suka Acharya never says that God is limited to just one particular form. He showed the whole world that all the objects, humans, animals, birds, trees, mountains, rivers, air, fire – sentient and non-sentient creatures, animate and inanimate creatures as the form of God! This was the universal form of God that Arjuna had witnessed!
To say that such a world is ‘illusionary’ would definitely indicate absence of faith in God. Let us always remember that the world we are living in is a real world. Let us try to live a realistic life in it, believing it is a service to God. From regular bodily chores to business, whatever we deal with, let us feel we are dealing with God. While taking a bath, let us think that the body is a temple and we are cleaning it! Instead of simply decorating our body with perfumes, lipsticks, colors, let us feel that it is a temple that we are decorating!
One need not hesitate to buy gold ornaments or flowers if one truly feels he/she is decorating the temple of God. This is how we can use the body too for divine purposes! There are two options for each of us. We may either maintain the body simply as a graveyard or choose to truly experience it as a temple.
Sri Shuka Aharya says Lord’s favorite dwelling places are human beings. He stays there with joy and peace.There was a Tamil sage called Vishnu Chiththa who sang,

“O Lord! It is heard that you always rest in the milky-ocean, in the vyuha.

But, You felt so restless that You came running into my heart!

You occupied my heart and sat in its corner.

The milky-ocean appeared smaller to You when compared to my heart!

You came into my heart and you felt so peaceful here, because You found true love for You.

Wherever there is love for You, there You rest peacefully.

So, You came to me and O my Lord! It is so surprising – You showed to me that You find so much peace here.

You are so naughty!

Do you actually need these?

You came to me only to bless me.”
God has three types of body, as the in-dweller of all, as the controller of time and His own unique, undisturbed body which none can ever imitate. So, while performing our activities like cooking or eating, working or listening or rather while doing any activity, let us remember God and do it as a service for Him. In the 6th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, this is the knowledge and sadhana that the Lord says one has to know and practice.

SourceBhakti Nivedana January 2012 issue

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