Parama Samhita (English translation)

by Krishnaswami Aiyangar | 1940 | 69,979 words

This page describes worship by the learned (vidvatpuja) which is Chapter 24 of the English translation of the Parama Samhita, representing a manual of the Pancaratra school of Vaishnavism philosophy. These pages summarize ritualistic worship, initiation and other topics, as contained in the various Agamas belonging to the Pancaratra school

Chapter 24 - Worship by the learned (vidvatpūjā)

(Beginning of Chapter not available manuscript)

2. Even the doing of it by one’s own devices, is capable of destroying sin. If one gives himself up to such thoughts, his mind will not entertain what is unrighteous conduct.

3. The senses, by their very nature, roam after whatever is pleasant. Therefore a knowing man should not. devote himself to contemplating the Supreme in its true form.

4-5A. Considering that that form of Achyuta is unrealizable, a wise man should offer worship (pūjā) to that form of His, which is intended for our benefit, contemplating upon it and talking of it, so that his mind enjoys it the while.

5B-6A. Therefore let a learned man, without giving up the form chosen by him, devote himself to offering worship to it, either for the attainment of salvation, or for gaining other benefits.

6B-7A. Let him worship (pūjā) only that form, which I have described to you in the course of this treatise, and not a form which is the creation of his fancy.

7B-8. In the ablution of his own body, let him make use of the Śānti-mantra, as well as for his own protection in performing ātma-rakṣa (self protection), and, as bringing about purity and holiness, in the washing of the articles of worship. Do not use samidh (prepared sticks of wood) and ghee, in the fire-rites to propitiate the deity.

9. Contemplate upon Him by day and night in the form already described, till, you obtain His grace, which you look forward to, serving always with determination.

10-11. By practice all will happen as described, and there need be no anxiety. By contemplation upon the form of Hari, make it familiar to you always. By that means, devotion grows in you, and, from that, attachment grows and you remain ever attached to the feet of the God of Gods.

12-14A. Otherwise, the devotee falls away from his position always. By constantly repeating mantras relating to the feet of Viṣṇu, His form shows itself in the buddhi (comprehension) of the devotee, and thence devotion to Him springs. All the mantras are intended to gain (love of God), and all worship has the same object. Contemplation and complete attraction (praṇidhāna) both alike are means to devotion to God.

14B-17A. When one gets to love Hari with great fervour of heart, in things acceptable as in things the opposite, that one is he who is called a devotee of God (Bhakta). Whoever considers the good that coṃes to him as God-given, and, hot gained by his own efforts, he is a devotee of the Supreme Viṣṇu. When one regards the evils befalling him as the result of one’s own acts in the previous existence, such a one is accepted as a devotee of Viṣṇu.

17B-18A. For the growth of Bhakti in this wise even a learned man should offer his devotion to God possessing forms; otherwise the desired good will not result.

18B-22A. This God, though He transcends the forms already described by me, from the undistinguished (avyakta) to the embodied (or possessed of substantial body), should be regarded as possessed of body, thought produced. Understand His form as the result of the combination of all objects of existence, brought about, as an act of grace to Hiṣ devotees, and not as existing in very truth. At first, contemplate His form as in truth existing, carrying weapons and wearing ornaments, dressed in clothes and possessed of bright shoulders. To people still leading the life of works (karma) this is the form of Hari for daily worship, and no other.

22B-25. If one has turned back upon works, and his mind is bent on the control of the senses, then, let him worship Puruṣottama in the subtle form (Sūkṣma-śarīra). His active powers are to be regarded as his weapons, his arms as the directions, his head is to be regarded as the sky, his stomach ether, his feet the Earth, his eyes the Sun, the moon is his mind, as also the life of the embodied ones. He is incapable of being hurt, or being burnt, being worried, or being dried up. He is eternal, all-pervading, fixed, and is thus worthy of the worship by the wise.

26. That supreme form which is undefinable, and which is without features, no man, even though he be very wise, would wish to worship (pūjā).

27. Contemplating God as the Supreme by means of Praṇava higher and yet higher, and then regarding Him as unrealizable, let one keep repeating the mantra. Such a one is a wise man.

28. Whenever he becomes aware of His grace, let him then contemplate upon the subtle body of God, with his senses fully under control.

29. O, Padmaja! Even though one should have mastered the Vedas with the auxiliary sciences, and should have learnt much by hearing of the learned, he suffers much by being undecided in respect of what to do.

30. A high-souled one, should gain a true conception of the teaching of the āgama (sacred tradition) and hold it in mind by the application of all his learning and pure discernment; and should never do anything to let it slip.

31. Even that man of wisdom, by abandoning scriptural tradition, becomes involved in the meshes of the bodily organism, and is given up to suffering somewhere, without the slightest chance of protection from anyone.

32-33 A. The gross body originating from the subtle body, is indeed the means to achieve devotion. The God who has to be realized by this means, must also be possessed of a gross body like it. Therefore how is it possible to realize the subtle form of Hari by contemplation of Him in the gross form?

33B-34. The form of the Supreme Being, as the Beloved of Śrī, which the wise man contemplates upon, actually does become so through various good births through which he has attained to his present existence. I shall now briefly expound to you, O Pitāmaha! the method of contemplating Parameṣṭhi in the form of Śrī Kāma.

34-38. Contemplating a golden palace surrounded by enclosing walls of gold, with flooring inlaid with gems and used by gods attending for service, imagine, in the middle of it, Viṣṇu (Vaikuṇṭha) comfortably seated on a red-lotus, with four arms, benignant and serene, bestowing His grace upon all those who worship Him, and approach Him through the four doorways, guarded by Dvārapālas and decorated with festoons. I have already described to you who, His worshippers and attendants, are. (Such a wise man adopting this course of worship) attains, in a comparatively short time, Śrī (Prosperity) unchanging.

In the Paramasaṃhitā of the Pāñcarātra Chapter XXIV, entitled “Vidvatpūjā” (worship by the learned).