Ishtu Dina Ee Vaikunta Estu Dooraennutalidde-Kanakadasaru
ಈಶ್ಟು ದಿನ ಈ ವೈಕುಂಟ ಎಶ್ಟು ದೂರವು ಎನ್ನುತಲಿದ್ದೆ
ದ್ರಿಶ್ಟಿಯಿಂದಲಿ ನಾನು ಕಂಡೆ ಸ್ರಿಶ್ಟಿಗೀಶನೆ ಶ್ರೀರ೦ಗಶಾಯೀ
IshTu dina Ee vaikuMTa eshTu dUravu ennutalidde
drishTiyiMdali nAnu kaMDe srishTigIshane shrirangashAyi
"All these days, I was under the impression that this Vaikunta is very far away, but today I have seen the great Lord who is the master of the creation and beings, who is Ranganatha lying on the bed of sesha with my eyes."
Here Dasaru indicates that this scene has taken place right here, meaning where he was singing the song. It means on this earth. The vision of the Lord, in his heart is the final expereince to clinch the place in Vaikunta. Vaikunta is the place described in the shastras as that which is celestial, has no kind of abberations and is ideal, appealing to the minds of all mukthi yogya souls, giving constant bliss due the knowledge of the special presence of the Lord of Vaikunta."
It seems as if Dasaru wonders ,How did I come here? . He answers to himself:
ಎಂಟು ಏಳನು ಕಳೆದುದರಿಂದೆ ಬಂಟರೈವರ ತುಳಿದುದರಿಂದೆ
ತುಂಟಕನೊಬ್ಬನ ತರಿದುದರಿಂದೆ ಬಂಟನಾಗಿ ಬಂದೆನೋ ರ೦ಗಶಾಯಿ
eMTu eLanu kaLedudariMda baMTaraivara tulidudariMda
tuMTAkanobbana tulidudariMda baMtanAgi baMdeno rangashAyi
I have overcome 7 and 8 , I have stepped on 5 assistants, and I have stamped on one naughty person. After I did all this then I surrendered myself as your dAsa and now I find myself right in front of you O rAngashAyi."
What are these eMtu and elu that Dasaru is talking about?
Sri Bannanje Govindacharya in his lecture on 18rnentu talks in detail about these bElis or fences. These are the 15 fences which the jiva has to cross in order to understand oneself. The word “jaya” is associated with the number 18. The number 18 is described asVictory. It is because after breaking the 15 fences one realises oneself which is at 16. Number 17 is Mahalakshmi and number 18 is Lord Narayana. So the 15 fences block our view of our own true self as well as our understanding about the Lord and Mahalakshmi. What are the fences?
Pancha Bhootas- Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Space
Senses of Taste, Smell, Touch, Sight and Hearing
Why is Shraddha a fence?
Shraddha means faith. Faith is the first and foremost barrier because it dictates the path we take. Our life experience is shaped by the faith that we hold. The knowledge we obtain is also controlled by our faith. If faith is itself in the wrong concept , then the jiva is stuck. Example: An atheist never sees the hand of God in creation. A believer always sees God’s hand in the beauty of creation.
Why are Pancha Bootas an obstacle ? How do the five Indriyas become obstacles?
- Prithvi, Kam, Vayu, Apa, Tejas. The body is composed of these five elements. The entire gross world is also composed of these five. We depend on the five elements knowingly as well as unknowingly.
Vayu: We need air to breathe, air to keep us alive, air to keep us cool, air to dry ourselves,
Prithvi:The earth is where we stand, sit, live, talk. Our very existence depends on the favourable conditions on the earth.The earth with the aid of water and sunlight, provides food for the living beings.
Apa: Water is extremely essential for our body’s well being. Without water one cannot survive for long. We know that ¾ of the earth’s surface is covered by water.
Tejas: Heat gives warmth and warmth nourishes life. So without tejas-one would have no life on earth.
Kam: Space is of course the most unique of the pancha bhootas.Without space all the others would have no space to exist in. Without space, we cannot exist.
The organs of sense enable us to taste food and water, to feel cool or warm, to enjoy sunlight or shade, to breathe fresh air. But why are all these called as obstacles? They seem more like helpful tools. They are obstacles until one realises that all these are under the control of God and work as per His inspiration. The very same things which can deter us, also help us in moving forward if we have the correct attitude. Every experience, ever thing of beauty that we see, any wonderful music that we hear should end in disclosing the glory of God. If we trace back any experience of ours we find that the originator is God and His wonderful creation. .... But.....
This is for those who have the SRADDHA that God is the Supreme controller. The point to note is that which is a fence becomes a support if we have understood with conviction that the Lord is the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent Supreme being.
Being grateful for all the experiences, not complaining of heat,cold and other dwandhwas (doubles) are a few steps that have been advised for crossing this hurdle. Cultivating virtues like truth, kindness, compassion,patience,forbearance,peace which are all related to our sense organs etc make one more pliant in devotion to God.
Mind: The scriptures say mana eva manushyAnAm karaNam baMda mOkshayOH that the mind is the cause of bondage as well as the cause of liberation. How should we understand this?
The objects of the senses are the objects or experiences that give pleasure to the respective sense. The association of the mind with the objects of the senses causes the mind to get attached to the objects. This constant association develops the attachment and one never wants to be separated from the object of pleasure. If such a separation is forced negative emotions like anger, revenge etc flare up . The flood of negative emotions overpower the jiva and one is unable to even cognition if one is doing the correct thing or wrong. So it is a very very big fence. On the other hand if one associates one’s mind with the Lord by chanting, listening and talking of His glories then one ‘s mind gets attached to the Lord. Once this happens, He takes over and showers His grace on the jiva.
Annam: All living beings thrive on food. Without food we would lack energy to do anything. But Lord Krishna has described the effect of food on our thinking. If we consume foods that are satvic in nature then the mind is in the Satvic mode which is tuned to acquiring knowledge . So the types of food we eat, the amount of food and the time when we partake of this food as well as how we partake of it is important. One has to eat food that is offered to the Lord and not otherwise. One should eat just enough to sustain oneself and not for indulgence of taste. The Lord exists in the food grains, in the prepared food and in the stomach as Vaishvanara. He has no doshas because of being present in these different entities as He has changeless, infinite auspicious attributes always. Understanding that the Lord has designed the universe with so many diverse foods for the different beings and being grateful for the food that He has made available to us while eating goes a long way in overcoming this fence.
Veeryam: The mental strength required to carry through our thoughts into action.If this strength is not there, then it is impossible to achieve anything. A willpower of a strong nature is required to progress spiritually. The necessity to form convictions on thoughts imparted by our guru is very real and one has to have the strength of mind to not be swayed by opposite notions of this thought. The strength to adhere to the sayings of the Guru in the face of any opposition and the ability to recollect and state with conviction the same is necessary for success in spirituality. This can be cultivated by serving the Guru, by serving the Bhagavathas, by being constantly immersed in listening to the leelas of the Lord followed with the other with the other eight forms of bhakthi.
Tapas: The ability to undertake physical and mental activities which go beyond the comfort zone of our normal life is called as tapas. Tapas helps in disciplining the mind and is a necessary tool for moving the senses towards the service of the Lord. Tapas enable ones to reach a state of stability referred to by Sri Krishna as ‘samattvam yOga uchyate”. It is the state which is necessary to obtain the grace of the Lord . Tapas also cleanses the body and mind. The heightened purity of the body due to penance results in undertaking of more penance and then more and more. Similarly the purity of the mind enhances the grasping power of whatever Shastra is being read or heard to. The subtle meanings that are contained in the Shastras can be grasped only when the mind is very pure.
On the other hand tapas without the feeling of reverence that the Lord has in His abundant mercy given us the strength to undertake it, causes the jiva to feel full of ego. Impatience towards others, intolerance of people of lesser discipline etc results and this is a sure deterrent to spiritual uplift.
Mantra: Speech is used to communicate our inner thoughts and feelings. If Speech is used in the correct way, it is a very good tool, otherwise it can be the cause of downfall. Speech has to be controlled and free from resentment towards others. It should not hurt others, then such words are accepted by the Lord as a flower .
It is said that one of the favored flowers that the Lord likes to receive from His devotees is “ahimsA “(ahimsA pratamam pusham”). Maximum hurt is caused by speech and this should be avoided at all cost. On the other hand talking about the glory of the Lord and His devotees, expressing feelings of gratitude through song and verse are all the positive ways in which this barrier can be overcome.
Karma: All actions, thoughts come under this banner. If one offers everything that one does with the mind,body and speech to the Lord with the understanding that He empowers us to think,move,speak etc and that we are nothing without His great benevolence, then the Lord accepts and relieves the jiva of being burdened with that karma. Since most of the time, one forgets to have this anusandhana the entire life is spent in accumulating karma baggage. We have to bring the right attitude into our life and make it as part of ourselves as just as breathing is a part of our bodily and mental process. This can be done only by constant remembrance of the sloka
‘yagnyArtha karmaNo nyatra lOkoyam karma bhandanaH”
Loka: The worldly possessions that one has were not ours before we were born and will not be ours when we leave the world, in between whatever we are bestowed with is definitely not ours. But we always tend to identify it as part of ourselves and this causes bondage. We should move above this tendency to possess and understand that the Lord is the giver and we are just there to experience what He bestows on us. He decides when and how to end the expereince of every possession.
Nama: Name and fame are the most “WANTED” but difficult to acquire things for all. It is very desirable to be famous and to be welcomed and accepted as great by many. This desire causes the downfall of many. People are ready to commit any injustice to obtain fame. The understanding that fame is not something permanent and is again under the Lord’s control releases us from doing good things just for fame . On the other hand if we don’t give importance to this thought of obtaining fame or name then our energy is focused on doing the service as offering it at the Lord’s feet. This is right attitude that one should try to develop.
The sense organs should be trained to move towards acquiring knowledge, serving the Lord, visiting temples of authentic origin .
ವನ ಉಪವನಗಳ ಕಂಡೆ ಘನ ಸರೋವರಗಳ ಕಂಡೆ
ಕನಕಗೋಪುರಂಗಳಿ೦ದ ಘಾನ ಶೋಭಿತನೆ ರಂಗಶಾಯಿ
vana upavanagala kaMde gaNa sarovaragala kaMde
kanakagOpuraMgaliMda ghAna shobitane raMgashAyi
ವಜ್ರವೈಡೂರ್ಯದ ತೊಲೆಗಳ ಕಂಡೆ ಪ್ರಜ್ವಲಿಪ ಮಹದ್ವಾರವ ಕಂಡೆ
ನಿರ್ಜರಾದಿ ಮುನಿಗಳ ನಾ ಕಂಡೆ ದುರ್ಜನಾಂತಕನೆ ಶ್ರೀರಂಗಶಾಯಿ
vajravaiDuryada toLegala kaMDe prajvalipa mahadwArava kaMDe
nirjarAdi munigala kaMDe durjanAMtakane sriraMgashAyi
ರಂಬೆಉರ್ವಶಿಯರ ಮೇಳವ ಕಂಡೆ ತು೦ಬುರು ಮುನಿ ನಾರದರನು ಕಂಡೆ
ಅ೦ಬುಜೋದ್ಭವ ರುದ್ರರ ಕಂಡೆ ಶಂಬರಾರಿ ಪಿತನೇ ರಂಗಶಾಯಿ
raMbeurvashiyara melava kaMDe tumburu muni nAradaranu kaMDe
ambujOdbhava rudrara kaMDe shaMbarAri pitane raMgashAyi
ನಾಗಶಯನನ ಮುರುಥಿ ಕಂಡೆ ಭೋಗಿಭೂಶನ ಶಿವನನು ಕಂಡೆ
ಭಾಗವತರ ಸ೦ಮೇಳವ ಕಂಡೆ ಕಾಗಿನೆಲೆಯಾದಿ ಕೇಶವನ ನಾ ಕಂಡೇ
nAgashayanana muruthi kaMDe bhogibhushana shivananu kaMDe
bhAgavatara sammelava kaMde kAgineleyAdi keshavana Na KaMDe
The grandeur vaikunta is described in the next three charanas quoted above. The presence of those who mediate on the Lord without fear of death or disease, those who dance in devotion, those who sing in devotion and the great Brahma, Vayu, Rudra are all visible to me, so says Kanaka Dasaru. It is evident from here that each jiva has its own form of expression of devotion and each one has a place in Vaikunta. So one has to use the ability one has been endowed with to the fullest and move towards perfection in that by being present in time always. All the great devotees of the Lord are always present where His praise is sung. And with the thoughts of reverence to these great devotees we can invoke thier presence among our midst and thereby enhance our sadhana. Satsangha can be obtained by thinking of the words, deeds of the great devotees of the Lord or even by recollecting their great devotion towards the Lord and finally by devotion to their ishtadevata-The Lord supreme. This satsangha can be obtained by singing devaranamas . This is THE WAY to go for one who wants to experience the presence of the Lord in one’s own heart. Let us render our service to the world, with the attitude of surrender to the Lord .