'praá¹ava' se mahÄvÄkya — vedera nidÄna
Ä«Åvara-svarÅ«pa praá¹ava sarva-viÅva-dhÄma
praá¹ava - the oá¹kÄra; se - that; mahÄ-vÄkya - transcendental sound vibration; vedera - of the Vedas; nidÄna - basic principle; Ä«Åvara-svarÅ«pa - direct representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; praá¹ava - oá¹kÄra; sarva-viÅva - of all universes; dhÄma - is the reservoir.
In the Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ (8.13) the glories of oá¹kÄra are described as follows:
oá¹ ity ekÄká¹£araá¹ brahma vyÄharan mÄm anusmaran
yaá¸¥ prayÄti tyajan dehaá¹ sa yÄti paramÄá¹ gatim
This verse indicates that oá¹kÄra, or praá¹ava, is a direct representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore if at the time of death one simply remembers oá¹kÄra, he remembers the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is therefore immediately transferred to the spiritual world. Oá¹kÄra is the basic principle of all Vedic mantras, for it is a representation of Lord Ká¹á¹£á¹a, understanding of whom is the ultimate goal of the Vedas, as stated in the Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ (vedaiÅ ca sarvair aham eva vedyaá¸¥). MÄyÄvÄdÄ« philosophers cannot understand these simple facts explained in the Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ, and yet they are very proud of being VedÄntÄ«s. Sometimes, therefore, we refer to the VedÄntÄ« philosophers as VidantÄ«s, those who have no teeth (vi means âwithout,â and dantÄ« means âpossessing teethâ). The statements of the Åaá¹ kara philosophy, which are the teeth of the MÄyÄvÄdÄ« philosopher, are always broken by the strong arguments of Vaiá¹£á¹ava philosophers such as the great ÄcÄryas, especially RÄmÄnujÄcÄrya. ÅrÄ«pÄda RÄmÄnujÄcÄrya and MadhvÄcÄrya break the teeth of the MÄyÄvÄdÄ« philosophers, who can therefore be called VidantÄ«s, âtoothless.â
As mentioned above, the transcendental vibration oá¹kÄra is explained in the Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ, chapter Eight, verse thirteen:
oá¹ ity ekÄká¹£araá¹ brahma vyÄharan mÄm anusmaran
yaá¸¥ prayÄti tyajan dehaá¹ sa yÄti paramÄá¹ gatim
âAfter being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred syllable oá¹, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the spiritual planets.â If one actually understands that oá¹kÄra is the sound representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whether he chants oá¹kÄra or the Hare Ká¹á¹£á¹a mantra, the result is certainly the same.
The transcendental vibration of oá¹kÄra is further explained in the Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ, chapter Nine, verse seventeen:
pitÄham asya jagato mÄtÄ dhÄtÄ pitÄmahaá¸¥
vedyaá¹ pavitram oá¹kÄra á¹k sÄma yajur eva ca
âI am the father of this universe, the mother, the support and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable oá¹. I am also the á¹g, the SÄma and the Yajur Vedas.â
Similarly, the transcendental sound oá¹ is further explained in the Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ, chapter Seventeen, verse twenty-three:
oá¹ tat sad iti nirdeÅo brahmaá¹as tri-vidhaá¸¥ smá¹taá¸¥
brÄhmaá¹Äs tena vedÄÅ ca yajÃ±ÄÅ ca vihitÄá¸¥ purÄ
âFrom the beginning of creation, the three syllables oá¹ tat sat have been used to indicate the Supreme Absolute Truth [Brahman]. They were uttered by brÄhmaá¹as while chanting Vedic hymns and during sacrifices for the satisfaction of the Supreme.â
Throughout all the Vedic literatures the glories of oá¹kÄra are specifically mentioned. ÅrÄ«la JÄ«va GosvÄmÄ«, in his thesis Bhagavat-sandarbha, says that in the Vedic literature oá¹kÄra is considered to be the sound vibration of the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Only this vibration of transcendental sound can deliver a conditioned soul from the clutches of mÄyÄ. Sometimes oá¹kÄra is also called the deliverer (tÄra). ÅrÄ«mad-BhÄgavatam begins with the oá¹kÄra vibration: oá¹ namo bhagavate vÄsudevÄya. Therefore oá¹kÄra has been described by the great commentator ÅrÄ«dhara SvÄmÄ« as tÄrÄá¹ kura, the seed of deliverance from the material world. Since the Supreme Godhead is absolute, His holy name and His sound vibration oá¹kÄra are as good as He Himself. Caitanya MahÄprabhu says that the holy name, or oá¹kÄra, the transcendental representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has all the potencies of the Personality of Godhead.
nÄmnÄm akÄri bahudhÄ nija-sarva-Åaktis
tatrÄrpitÄ niyamitaá¸¥ smaraá¹e na kÄlaá¸¥
All potencies are invested in the holy vibration of the holy name of the Lord. There is no doubt that the holy name of the Lord, or oá¹kÄra, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. In other words, anyone who chants oá¹kÄra and the holy name of the Lord, Hare Ká¹á¹£á¹a, immediately meets the Supreme Lord directly in His sound form. In the NÄrada-paÃ±carÄtra it is clearly said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead NÄrÄyaá¹a personally appears before the chanter who engages in chanting the aá¹£á¹Äká¹£ara, or eight-syllable mantra, oá¹ namo nÄrÄyaá¹Äya. A similar statement in the MÄá¹á¸Å«kya Upaniá¹£ad declares that whatever one sees in the spiritual world is all an expansion of the spiritual potency of oá¹kÄra.
On the basis of all the Upaniá¹£ads, ÅrÄ«la JÄ«va GosvÄmÄ« says that oá¹kÄra is the Supreme Absolute Truth and is accepted as such by all the ÄcÄryas and authorities. Oá¹kÄra is beginningless, changeless, supreme and free from deterioration and external contamination. Oá¹kÄra is the origin, middle and end of everything, and any living entity who thus understands oá¹kÄra attains the perfection of spiritual identity in oá¹kÄra. Oá¹kÄra, being situated in everyoneâs heart, is Ä«Åvara, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ (18.61): Ä«Åvaraá¸¥ sarva-bhÅ«tÄnÄá¹ há¹d-deÅe ârjuna tiá¹£á¹hati. Oá¹kÄra is as good as Viá¹£á¹u because oá¹kÄra is as all-pervasive as Viá¹£á¹u. One who knows oá¹kÄra and Lord Viá¹£á¹u to be identical no longer has to lament or hanker. One who chants oá¹kÄra no longer remains a ÅÅ«dra but immediately comes to the position of a brÄhmaá¹a. Simply by chanting oá¹kÄra one can understand the whole creation to be one unit, or an expansion of the energy of the Supreme Lord: idaá¹ hi viÅvaá¹ bhagavÄn ivetaro yato jagat-sthÄna-nirodha-sambhavÄá¸¥. âThe Supreme Lord Personality of Godhead is Himself this cosmos, and still He is aloof from it. From Him only this cosmic manifestation has emanated, in Him it rests, and unto Him it enters after annihilation.â (BhÄg. 1.5.20) Although one who does not understand concludes otherwise, ÅrÄ«mad-BhÄgavatam states that the entire cosmic manifestation is but an expansion of the energy of the Supreme Lord. Realization of this is possible simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord, oá¹kÄra.
One should not, however, foolishly conclude that because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is omnipotent, we have manufactured a combination of letters â a, u and m â to represent Him. Factually the transcendental sound oá¹kÄra, although a combination of the three letters a, u and m, has transcendental potency, and one who chants oá¹kÄra will very soon realize oá¹kÄra and Lord Viá¹£á¹u to be nondifferent. Ká¹á¹£á¹a declares, praá¹avaá¸¥ sarva-vedeá¹£u: âI am the syllable oá¹ in the Vedic mantras.â (Bg. 7.8) One should therefore conclude that among the many incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, oá¹kÄra is the sound incarnation. All the Vedas accept this thesis. One should always remember that the holy name of the Lord and the Lord Himself are always identical (abhinnatvÄn nÄma-nÄminoá¸¥). Since oá¹kÄra is the basic principle of all Vedic knowledge, it is uttered before one begins to chant any Vedic hymn. Without oá¹kÄra, no Vedic mantra is successful. The GosvÄmÄ«s therefore declare that praá¹ava (oá¹kÄra) is the complete representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they have analyzed oá¹kÄra in terms of its alphabetical constituents as follows:
a-kÄreá¹ocyate ká¹á¹£á¹aá¸¥ sarva-lokaika-nÄyakaá¸¥
u-kÄreá¹ocyate rÄdhÄ ma-kÄro jÄ«va-vÄcakaá¸¥
Oá¹kÄra is a combination of the letters a, u and m. A-kÄreá¹ocyate ká¹á¹£á¹aá¸¥: the letter a (a-kÄra) refers to Ká¹á¹£á¹a, who is sarva-lokaika-nÄyakaá¸¥, the master of all living entities and planets, material and spiritual. NÄyaka means âleader.â He is the supreme leader (nityo nityÄnÄá¹ cetanaÅ cetanÄnÄm). The letter u (u-kÄra) indicates ÅrÄ«matÄ« RÄdhÄrÄá¹Ä«, the pleasure potency of Ká¹á¹£á¹a, and m (ma-kÄra) indicates the living entities (jÄ«vas). Thus oá¹ is the complete combination of Ká¹á¹£á¹a, His potency and His eternal servitors. In other words, oá¹kÄra represents Ká¹á¹£á¹a, His name, fame, pastimes, entourage, expansions, devotees, potencies and everything else pertaining to Him. As Caitanya MahÄprabhu states in the present verse of ÅrÄ« Caitanya-caritÄmá¹ta, sarva-viÅva-dhÄma: oá¹kÄra is the resting place of everything, just as Ká¹á¹£á¹a is the resting place of everything (brahmaá¹o hi pratiá¹£á¹hÄham).
The MÄyÄvÄdÄ« philosophers consider many Vedic mantras to be the mahÄ-vÄkya, or principal Vedic mantra, such as tat tvam asi (ChÄndogya Upaniá¹£ad 6.8.7), idaá¹ sarvaá¹ yad ayam ÄtmÄ and brahmedaá¹ sarvam (Bá¹had-Äraá¹yaka Upaniá¹£ad 2.5.1), Ätmaivedaá¹ sarvam (ChÄndogya Upaniá¹£ad 7.25.2) and neha nÄnÄsti kiÃ±cana (Kaá¹ha Upaniá¹£ad 2.1.11). That is a great mistake. Only oá¹kÄra is the mahÄ-vÄkya. All these other mantras that the MÄyÄvÄdÄ«s accept as the mahÄ-vÄkya are only incidental. They cannot be taken as the mahÄ-vÄkya, or mahÄ-mantra. The mantra tat tvam asi indicates only a partial understanding of the Vedas, unlike oá¹kÄra, which represents the full understanding of the Vedas. Therefore the transcendental sound that includes all Vedic knowledge is oá¹kÄra (praá¹ava).
Aside from oá¹kÄra, none of the words uttered by the followers of Åaá¹ karÄcÄrya can be considered the mahÄ-vÄkya. They are merely passing remarks. Åaá¹ karÄcÄrya, however, has never stressed chanting of the mahÄ-vÄkya oá¹kÄra; he has accepted only tat tvam asi as the mahÄ-vÄkya. Imagining the living entity to be God, he has misrepresented all the mantras of the VedÄnta-sÅ«tra with the motive of proving that there is no separate existence of the living entities and the Supreme Absolute Truth. This is similar to the politicianâs attempt to prove nonviolence from the Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ. Ká¹á¹£á¹a is violent to demons, and to attempt to prove that Ká¹á¹£á¹a is not violent is ultimately to deny Ká¹á¹£á¹a. As such explanations of the Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ are absurd, so also is Åaá¹ karÄcÄryaâs explanation of the VedÄnta-sÅ«tra, and no sane and reasonable man will accept it. At present, however, the VedÄnta-sÅ«tra is misrepresented not only by the so-called VedÄntÄ«s but also by other unscrupulous persons who are so degraded that they even recommend that sannyÄsÄ«s eat meat, fish and eggs. In this way, the so-called followers of Åaá¹ kara, the impersonalist MÄyÄvÄdÄ«s, are sinking lower and lower. How can these degraded men explain the VedÄnta-sÅ«tra, which is the essence of all Vedic literature?
Lord ÅrÄ« Caitanya MahÄprabhu has declared, mÄyÄvÄdi-bhÄá¹£ya Åunile haya sarva-nÄÅa: âAnyone who hears commentary on the VedÄnta-sÅ«tra from the MÄyÄvÄda school is completely doomed.â As explained in the Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ (15.15), vedaiÅ ca sarvair aham eva vedyaá¸¥: all Vedic literature aims at understanding Ká¹á¹£á¹a. MÄyÄvÄda philosophy, however, has deviated everyone from Ká¹á¹£á¹a. Therefore there is a great need for the Ká¹á¹£á¹a consciousness movement all over the world to save the world from degradation. Every intelligent and sane man must abandon the philosophical explanation of the MÄyÄvÄdÄ«s and accept the explanation of Vaiá¹£á¹ava ÄcÄryas. One should read Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ As It Is to try to understand the real purport of the Vedas.