Madhura Geetham – Sloka Series
“Athichoodi” is a type of poetic work (in Tamil) that comprises of a collection of one-line philosophical verses. HH Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji has composed a “Vedanta Athichoodi”, a poetic work that speaks of life’s most important principles. We had published the entire Vedanta Athichoodi and its overall meaning as part of our Madhura Geetham Sloka Series, earlier this year. Read that article here.
Each of the lines of this Athichoodi are extremely deep and contain a wealth of meaning. In our sloka series over the next few months, we will look at the meaning of each line of this work.
Ishan Oruvane – God is One!
The Upanishads say – “sa eka:” – He is One! It is this profound truth that Sri Swamiji has expressed in this verse of Vedanta Athichoodi.
A novice might be confused by this statement. Because, on the one hand, the Upanishad says statements like “sa eka:” whereas on the other hand, the scriptures also talk about various gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and numerous other demigods like Indra, Varuna, Agni, etc.
If you take an organization, there are thousands of people working in the organization and several levels of hierarchy. But, at the top, there is only one person, the CEO who sets the vision and the direction for the organization. All others work within the framework set by the CEO. Similarly, the entire creation works according to the rules and the framework set by the Supreme Being.
Srimad Bhagavatam says that this Supreme Being is referred to as “Brahmam” by Jnanis, “Paramatma” by Yogis and as “Bhagavan” by devotees. (“brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti shabdyate”)
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the great seer of 19th century practised every religion and concluded that God is indeed one and all paths shown by the different religions in fact led to the same One! Some called it as Allah, some “Christ”, “Krishna”, “Rama” or “Shiva”, etc. The names may be many but in the end it all refers to One Supreme Being!
This Supreme Being – Brahmam, Paramatma or Bhagavan is eternal – One who has no beginning and no end. This means, He alone existed before creation and He alone will remain in the end!
When describing creation, the Upanishads say “AkAshAt vAyuhu, vAyur agnihi, agnir apaha, abdyah pruthivi…”. It means the Lord created Space first and then from that came Air, then Fire, Water and finally Land. So, when the creation is dissolved, the dissolution will happen in the reverse order. Land will submerge in Water, the Water will evaporate in Fire, the Fire will be consumed by Air and the Air by Space.
This can be understood with the example of a bamboo. Let us say, there is a small pond. If a bamboo is dropped into the pond and left for weeks together, it decays and eventually merges with the water. In the summer, the pond may dry up leaving no trace of water or the bamboo. Similarly, dissolution, according to the scriptures, will start with a huge deluge that will completely submerge the land, which comprises only one-fourth of the Earth. As the sun moves closer to the Earth, this will evaporate all water. The heat will then be consumed by air and the air, in turn, will merge with space.
Eventually, space too will be retracted and merge into Bhagavan. In the end, only the Supreme Being will remain.
Truth or “Satyam” is that which is unchanging eternally. Anything that we can perceive with our senses is transient and constantly changing. Therefore, they cannot be the Truth! Only the Supreme Being is untouched by change! Our scriptures say, “Ekam Sat” – there is only One Truth! And, that One Truth is none other Bhagavan!
Sowmya Balasubramanian, Dallas TX