Veda Dharma

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vaikhanasa Agama ( Archavatara Visesham)

In this post, let us talk about the greatness of archavatara and the various kinds of temples. Scriptures like Ananda samhita( Sage Marici) and Prakeernadhikara(Sage Bhrigu) are used for this purpose. Of all the forms of worship, worshiping Vishnu is the best way for salvation. Worshiping Vishnu in any way is a desirable thing to do. Worship of Vasudeva either in home ( for benefiting one self) or in a temple ( for the benefit of the world) is infinitely auspicious. Worshiping Vishnu in the house benefits the people in the family whereas worshiping Vishnu in the temple benefits the whole world. If a worship is done in a temple built for the village it benefits the village whereas worshiping the Lord in a "Swamvyakta" kshetra sanctifies and protects the whole world.
In the Vaikhanasa philosophy, the Lord is thought of in five different ways( known as five swarupas).The first in the five swarupas is known as Para which performs the acts of creation. The second is known as Vyuha which causes all the animals to move, eat etc. and is also the controller of mind etc. Similarly the vyuha form is worshipped in five different murtis known as Vishnu, Purusha, Satya, Achyuta and Anirudha. Vibhava form is the one responsible for the destruction of demons like Ravana etc in various avataras like Matsya, Vamana, Kurma etc. Antaryami form is the one which resides like the Self in all jeevas. The last but the most easily accessible is the Archa form, the form which protects the devotees and eliminates their sorrows. This is verily the form that is worshipped in the temples.
The para and vyuha are not easily comprehensible and can be accessible only after long sadhana of eight limbed Yoga. Hence it takes considerable time to get moksha using para and vyuha. But the archa form gets pleased with plain worship using flowers, tulasi etc or even with a single salutation to the firm with devotion and faith. Hence moksha is easier to achieve through the worship of the archa form. As mentioned above one can see that Para and Vyuha are accessible only to the liberated and eternal ones. Vibhava form is accessible only to those fortunate ones who lived during the times of these avataras. Anataryami form is again not easily accessible to normal people but is perceived using yogic vision by the advanced yogis. Thus archa form is the most easily accessible and everyone in this universe has the right to pray to it and thus achieve moksha irrespective of caste, creed, gender etc.
Drinking anything in a village or a house where the Lord is not worshiped is equivalent to drinking liquor. Eating anything from such places is equivalent to eating cow's meat. All the people in the village get the benefit equivalent to that of the performance of many fire sacrifices if Vishnu is worshiped in a temple. In a village, where there is no temple worship of Vishnu even house hold worship doesnt give any fruit. It is like a tree which has lost its roots. Hence in all circumstances temple worship should be performed for the benefit of everyone in the village.
The archavatara of the Lord can be broadly classified into five categories: Swayamvyakta, Deva, Arsha or Sidha, Pauranika and Manusha. The difference is based on who installed the deity in a given temple. The images installed by divinities like Brahma, Indra etc are known as Deva sthala. Similarly, images installed by great sages are known as arsha sthala and by sidhas are known as Sidha sthala. Images installed in the ancient days and are mentioned in the epics are known as Pauranika sthala. Images installed by the devout human beings are known as Manusha sthala. (Names are for the kshetras not for the images) Places where the Lord manifests on His own because of His infinite mercy and out of a desire to save the devotees are known as Swayamvyakta. These are the most powerful places of spirituality and are also known as Maha kshetras or the greatest kshetras. Disciples of Sage Vikhanasa worshiped the Lord in these kshetras. Atri worshiped the Lord Srinivasa in Tirumala and Marici worshiped the Lord in Mandhara kshetra. Rituals like Karshanam, Bimba Sudhi etc are not necessary for the images in swayamvyakta kshetras. Worshiping the archa form of the Lord can purify even people belonging to the lowest birth.( People who are born from the limbs of the Lord viz. brahmanas from the face, kshatriyas from the shoulders, Vaisyas from the thighs and sudras from the feet are recognised by Vedas as of higher births. These people are born when the parents desired progeny for the continuation of dharma. But progeny which is born out of pure lust on part of parents are equal to animals and are classified as those of low birth.) One should not treat a devotee of Vishnu like a normal mortal. Devotees of Vishnu are verily devas who came to earth after their punya balance is over.
Manusha sthala sanctifies a region of one yojana around it whereas Pauranika, Arsha and Deva sthalas sanctify a region of approximately three, five and ten yojanas respectively. Swayamvyakta sthala sanctifies the whole universe for sure and the Lord therein bestows His grace on everyone in the world. In all the places, it is desirable to worship the archa form of Vishnu using the principles of Vaikhanasa or Pancaratra(as told by Sage Katyayana). In any case worship has to be performed somehow irrespective of the availability of priests knowing the right sutras(Vaikhanasa or Pancaratra). The agama also says that sometimes one might find a temple which is not built according to the shilpa sastra rules of Vaikhanasa Agama, still it is preferrable to follow the vaikhanasa style of worship. A village where Vishnu's worship is not done is equal to a graveyard and a house without Vishnu worship is like a funeral pyre. One who doesnt perform the worship of Vishnu due to laziness is equal to a pig and will surely go to hell after his death. Dont eat food in a house where the worship of Vishnu is neglected as it will be equivalent to eating shit. Hence in any case perform the worship of Vishnu in the home and also make sure that Vishnu is worshiped in the village temple. Doing this one will surely get rid of his sins, get all his desires fulfilled and obtain moksha after his death. Drinking the teertha from the Lord's feet and eating the remnants of food eaten by the Lord will surely destroy the sins of anyone and grant him moksha.
narayana smaranam.

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