The Garuda Purana
Chapter CCXXXIX - The excellence of Faith
Suta said:—Pondering over the imports of all the Sastras we have come to the conclusion that, Narayana should be constantly meditated upon. Of what worth is the celebration of a sacrifice, gift-making, pilgrimage or penance to one, who, with a steady mind, meditates upon the Self of Narayana? The merit of sojourneying to sixty-six thousand holy pools or sanctuaries does not rank a sixteenth part of what is acquired by making an obeisance to Narayana. Contemplation of Krishna is the greatest ®f austerities and most sanctifying of all penitential rites. For him who repents having committed a sin, the contemplation of Hari is the one great atonement. He, who, even for a moment, meditates upon the self of Hari, goes towards the region of Vishnu, not to speak of those who are constantly devoted to him. The state of mind which a Yogin feels in his states of waking, dream and dreamless sleep, is attached to Hari. Whether standing, sitting, talking, entering (a house), eating, sleeping or walking one should contemplate Madhava. Discharging their duties or doing their proper works, men should repose their minds in Janardana. This is the essence of Shastras. What is the good of saying much? Meditation is the highest of all virtues, meditation is the greatest of all austerities, meditation is the greatest of all purifications, hence a man should always practise meditation. No other worthier object of meditation there exists than Vishnu; no austerity is greater than fasting; greater than these, than all is the contemplation of Vasudeva. The destroyer of Madhu, meditated upon, grants a status to his votary without solicitation, which is very hard to acquire and which the mind cannot even dream of. Any defect in connection with the celebration of a religious sacrifice is remedied by the contemplation of Vishnu by its Celebrator. This is the dictum of the Shruti, Nothing is more sin-absolving in its effect than divine comtemplation, the fire of Yoga burns down the elements which construct the future births of man. The fire of Yoga destroys (lit. consumes) the dynamics of the acts of a Yogin, who having brought about his Samadhi (psychic trance) becomes a liberated Self, even in this life. As a hearth-fire, aided by the wind, consumes a house, so the effulgent Vishnu, located in the heart of a Yogin, burns down all his sin. As gold, under the heat of fire, parts with its dross and becomes pure, so the mind of a man is shorn of all its evil propensities and becomes pure in touch with the universal spirit (Vishnu). The sin which a thousand ablutions in the Ganges, or a million ablutions in the sacred pool at Pushkara fail to wash off, is extinguished by one’s recollecting the name of Vishnu. The sin, which requires a thousand Pranayamas to be extinguished, is instantly destroyed by a contemplation of Vishnu. If a moment passes without divine contemplation, if one is robbed for a moment of the privilege of meditating upon Vishnu, one should cry aloud, like a rich man, attacked by robbers. Evil advices, counsels of the agnostics and sceptics, and the influences of Kali (evil propensities) cannot assail the mind of him, in whose heart resides the (god) Keshava (the spirit that broods over the universal ocean of uncreated Nature). That day is real day, that night is real night, that phase of the moon is the real phase, that astral combination is the real combination, that moon is the real moon, under the auspices of which a man meditates upon Hari. The moment a man lives without contemplating Vasudeva is a loss, a dumb moment of idiocy, a gap in the continuity of his existence. A Krita Yuga is a Kali Yuga to one who does not think of Govinda, a Kali Yuga is a Krita Yuga (golden age) to one who has Achyutah in his heart. He, who beholds Govinda in his front, and at his back, while moving or in rest, and whose mind tranquilly reposes in Govinda, has indeed achieved the end of his existence. O thou foremost of Brahmanas, he, whose mind never deviates from the contemplation of Govinda at the time of performing a Japa or a Homa, comes by a nobler possession than the lordship of heaven.
He, who has offered his whole soul to Keshava, becomes able to snap the chord of universal illusion of Vishnu, without the necessity of renouncing his house and world. With Govinda in his heart, a man shows forbearance to the angry, pities the ignorant, and takes delight in the discourses of the virtuous. In all acts of ablution, gift making, or penance, one should meditate upon Narayana. Their’s is the victory, their’s is the profit in whose hearts dwelleth the lotus-blue Janardana; whence shall thy dread discomfiture? Even birds and insects, that have offered their souls unto Hari, shall come by an elevated status (after death), not to speak of wise men. The shadow, which the tree of Vasudeva casts, is extremely cooling, it subdues heat and obscures the gate to hell,—ah, wherefore should not a man sit under its shadow? O thou foremost of Brahmanas, even the imprecation of Durvasa's was not potent enough to destroy the kingdom Of Indra, only because he had the destructor of Madhu in his heart. When the mind of a man is permanently attached to God even while he is outwardly busy with the works of life he is said to have realised his Dharana (comprehension); The God Narayana of golden body, who is in the disc of the sun, seated on a full-blown lotus-flower, decorated with golden bracelets, ear-rings and necklace and who wields a discus and conch-shell in his arms, should be constantly meditated upon.
I do not wish to say much, enough it is to say that contemplation of Hari tends to absolve one’s all sin. There is nothing more purifying than divine contemplation in this world. Sin affecteth not the man who partakes of a Chandala’s boiled race, meditating on Hari in his heart. A man constantly thinks of his worldly affairs, if he thus thinks of his God, emancipation would not become rare in this life. Yogins, who by dint of such comprehensions merge themselves in God, are able to annihilate the seeds of their future rebirths, even without renouncing their hearth and home.