Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ELUSIVE 33 ODD AND 48 EVEN NUMBER ENDINGS IN CHAMAKAM OF SRIRUDRAM

ELUSIVE 33 ODD AND 48 EVEN NUMBER ENDINGS IN CHAMAKAM


(COMPILATION FOR A DISCOURSE BY N. R. SRINIVASAN, BRENTWOOD, USA, APRIL 2014)

Vedas mention of “Ritagam Satyam Parabrahma” meaning universal orderliness (rita) and Truth (Satyam) are Parabrahma (Paramaatman or Supreme Principle).  Chamakam found in Srirudram of Rigveda presents a grand vision of Universal and Eternal orderliness which is maintained by all the Vedic Gods indicated somewhat by what we call in arithmetic as Progression in Chamakam.  Human being’s duty is to observe and reflect that kind of  orderliness  in his or her own life.  Closely related to and mostly identical with rita was Satyam (Truth). Satyam was declared as Sun (soorya or Savitar) in early upanishadic thoughts whose very nature is this Satya. Satya in later period got mixed up with rita as creation progressed and was identified not only with Brahman (Supreme Principle) also called Paramaatman but also with the person of body-mind-complex referred as Jeevaatman or individual Self. It is therefore no wonder that even and odd numbers are presented to us as Mantras (Vedic text or hymn) in strange orderly fashion with no explanation abounding in mystery of life and its yearning for liberation.  This order also ended abruptly with 33 in odd series and 48 in steps of four in the even series. Mystery contained in this limited orderliness is speculative with the only restriction being it is meditation oriented on Supreme Principle.

We find references to numbers ranging from Soonya (0) to Infinity all over in our Srutis (Vedas and Upanishads) and Puranaas.  Brahman is described as anoraneeyan mahato maheeyaan—smaller than the smallest and larger than the largest and Brahman is ever full or poornam.  Poornam is identified as Soonya also.   Our rishis (Vedic sages) had very sound knowledge of mathematics which has been at length described in the discourse “Early and Medieval Hindus Contribution to Science and Technology” (Hindu Reflections-September 2011). Vedic altar is geom.
etrical. So is Srichakra.  Srichakra is divine. It defies all attempts to reach the divine center Bindu to construct a figure of two dimensions as well as pyramidal three dimensions accurately with present day knowledge of mathematics and computers because of the transcendental Pi, a transcendental number of unending decimals about which our Rishis too had knowledge. It mixes mathematics with transcendent and mysticism. Chamakam further indicates how these numbers could be arranged in some sort of sequential order as well as used to reflect divine thoughts.    We have in the past discussed about these in the discourses “What do Even and Odd Numbers in Chamakam signify” (Hindu Reflections--January 2012) and “Visualizing Divinity in Numbers” (Hindu Reflections--September 2012). Chamakam mentions of paying obeisance to numbers in odd series starting with 1 and ending abruptly with 33. It also mentions of even numbers in steps of four starting with 4 and ending with 48 for that purpose. This abounds in divine mystery which may have several explanations. Here are some new reflections on the subject based on my thoughts of Sanskrit letters as divine.

Why should the normal and regular odd series in Chamakam end abruptly with 33? Why should the even numbers start with 4 and end abruptly end with 48? Why not have the regular series of even numbers of 2, 4, 6….etc., and not 4, 8, 12 etc.,  in the even series in the same mantra since odd series started withone ? The sole purpose of Chamakam is intended for intense meditation which is  clear if we go through the message conveyed in the last Anuvaka (segment) of Chamakam, the text and  meaning of which can be found in the Appendix below.  Evidently Rishi of this Chamakam wants to say to us that these two odd and even series   are divine influenced by  the reference to  0, 1, 3, 4, 48,  50 in Vedas.

One of the most interesting as well as intriguing aspect of Hindu thinking is divinity of numbers and letters.  0 or 1 (Purusha) represents Brahman as revealed in Vedas. It also says that ONE is Brahman—Tadekam: Tad Brahma.  Bhagavadgita says Aksharaanaam Akaarosmi–among alphabet I am the first vowel a.  Bhagavdgeeetaa is a compendium of Upanishads and its opinion is as good as Upanishads. This akshara is Sanskrit alphabet only as the language of Vedas and Geeta is Sanskrit and not any other language.

Sanskrit language begins with short vowel a  and ends with the  aspirant   ha.  There are 33 consonants and 13 vowels and two sounds known as anuswara (period over letter) and Visarga (:) in Sanskrit Grammar making it 48.  According to Srividya and Brahmachakra of Svetavatara Upanishad Sanskrit alphabet of 48 or 50 represents the entire Universe or Ksehtra while Brahman is Kshetrajna which view is also expressed in Bhagavadgeetaa. According to Srividya a represents Siva and ha represents Sakti as well as Purusha and Prakriti. (Please refer to my discourse on Sanskrit as divine language). The first letter a and the last letter ha with the unmodified m (Ardha Chandra Bimbam or half-moon nasal sound as in Om) constitutes aham (ahamta).  im+a=ma in Sanskrit language as consonants need the help of vowel to have their existence as consonant to get the full sound  with closed lips. Brahman is often referred as Aham in Vedas. The Universe   bound by the dimension of its un-manifest origin, Siva or  Purusha on one hand, and by the dimensions of its manifest passing out and absorption, Sakti or Prakriti on the other hand  are illustrated by scriptures by the letters of the alphabet beginning with short vowel  a  and ending with  consonant ha.  

Chamakam’s ending   with the number 48 can be identified with the 48 letters in the Sanskrit language. Both Srichakra and Brahmachakra mention the same.  The 50 spokes of Brahma chakra are 50 letters of scriptural Sanskrit which adds cerebral la and the conjunct sound ksha.  Srividya calls Sanskrit letters as Maatrikas or Mother Nature making them divine.

33 are the consonants which need the support of vowels. 33 are the divine guards of Brahman or Vedic deities—12 Adityas, 11 Rudras, 8 Vasus, Indra and with Supreme Principle as the overlord. The consonants themselves are impossible meaningfully vocalize without the help of vowels. The vowels are said to provide power (sakti) to the consonants, which are in the nature of Beeja or seed.  That is why Chamakam ends in 33. In the odd series 1 siginfies beginning of Rudras  and 11  the end of Rudras ;  adding 12 to this  11 it is 23 which shows the end of 12 Aadityas; adding eight to this becomes 31 which shows the end of Vasus;  adding Indra and Prajapati this becomes 33 the end of the series. So the odd series is complete for its ending.

The vowels can be considered as 17 if we add to thirteen 3 sounds Anuswara, Visraga, half nasal and   long vowel lrr., which is also included along with lr  (r., rr.. lr., lrr.),  often.

We can mathematically create a table of orderliness arbitrarily linking 33 with 17 as follows:  
Odd Number arrangement                                     corresponding Square root
(1) (2) (3)                                                                                                        (4)
0+0=0                                                                                                                        0
1+ 0=1                                                                                                           1
3+ 1= 4                                                                                                          2
5+ 4= 9                                                                                                          3
7+ 9= 16                                                                                                        4
9+ 16=25                                                                                                      5
11+ 25=36                                                                                                    6
13+ 36=49                                                                                                    7
15+ 49=64                                                                                                    8
17+ 64=81                                                                                                    9
19+81=100                                                                                                   10
21+100=0121                                                                                              11
23+121=144                                                                                                 12
25+144=169                                                                                                 13
27+169=196                                                                                                 14
            29+196=225                                                                                                 15
31+225=256                                                                                                 16
33+256=0289                                                                                              17
We may add 0 before all these numbers without changing value.  It then signifies the pervading Brahman without actual involvement and as silent observer.

If we add to first number in any column   the second number in the previous column we get a sum total in 3rd column whose square root is in the 4thn column. This series could be taken to in 33 and 17 for our limited purpose.

The first row of all zero represents Brahman.   Applying our   knowledge of elementary arithmetic we could possibly find an explanation as to why 0 is Brahman. Poornam represents Nirguna (un-manifested) Brahman which is also represented as zero. Please recall the famous Vedic mantra: “Poornamadah poornamidam poornaat poornamad-uchyate poornasya poornamaadaaya poornameva avashishyate—(Br. Up. 5.1). 0 in mathematics is indispensable and controls the world of mathematics and computers. Nirguna Brahman is indispensable and is inner controller of all beings. This mantra goes well with the mathematical concept of zero for e.g., If we remove 0 from 0 what remains is also 0 etc., There is the other spiritual meaning: That which lies beyond is Plenum, (full and undiminished). That which appears as this here (i.e., as the universal) is also Plenum, equally full and undiminished. Out of Plenum, Plenum arises. Plenum having been taken away out of Plenum, what remains is still the same (undiminished) Plenum. 

We stopped the above table at 33   to represent 33 deities which can be related to 17 representing  Jeevatama, A b body-life-mind complex of seventeen entities (five Praanas (vital forces) + five   organs of action +five sense organs + mind + Intellect).

Third mundaka Of Mundakopanishad describes Jeeva and Iswara (the Supreme Soul) as two birds perching on the same tree (the human body). While the former is eating the sweet and bitter fruits of the tree, the latter is sitting majestically looking at the  other bird, itself not eating any fruit that bringing associate ship  between the two birds.

Column one has its free existence as divinity. All the thirty three deities are Vyahritis of Brahman. The last column 4 of body-mind- complex is dependent or generated out of column 1. Body-mind-complex or Jeevaatman is dependent on Brahman. That calls for   the table to be in odd series of 1 to 33. But in order to link with column four it ends up as an odd series or as part for the whole not referring to all the thirty three Vedic deities.

Numbers in column 1 shows the   Paramaatman represented by its Vyahritis. Jeevaatman is the spark of Paramaatman clouded by Maaya (ignorance). Therefore Chamakam conveys the message to Jeevaatman to meditate upon Paramaatman for its Sreyas (Eternal Bliss) towards Liberation called Moksha in this prayer which can also be done through the 33 vyahritis of Brahman. That is what this mystical table reveals. It also shows how Jeevatman in the last column can attain divinity meditating on deities like Rudra, Aaditya in the first column and ultimately reach Brahman. This can be direct meditation or circuitous route of worship.  To lay man it means turn inwards and meditate on Self.

There is yet another interesting explanation. By some divine purpose Lalita Sahasra-naamam out of the 50 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet has selected only 32 letters leaving the rest to address Lalita by different names. Unlike Vishnu Sahasranaama Lalita Sahasranaama does not repeat any name.  Among the vowels only the first five, ae, o and am (8) are only selected.  So it does not follow any order in selecting the first letter of the names. Saktaas explain this as, 32 letters selected here only represent Maatrikaa or the letter of divinities. These letters are for the devotees to approach Paraasakti. The letters that are omitted are regarded as harmful in Nrisimha Paribhaasha.  The 32 numbers are then the divinities like Vedic deities. These 32 letters include the last consonant ha which is always surmounted by half-moon period as in Om.  That makes the count as 33.  Sanskrit language has 50 letters with the addition of ksha and hard la.  That leaves behind 17 (50 – 33=17) signifying non divine numbers of Jeevatma (five motor organ + five sense organs + five vital forces + mind + intellect). Hence it is reasonable to assume that Jeevaatman of 17 numbers needs to meditate on 33 divinities as per the directions of Chamakam.

Let us now turn our thoughts on even numbers prayed upon in Chamakam. This series begins with 4 and ends with 48 with steps of four in the Arithmetic series of Even numbers.  This needs a little bit deeper understanding of Upanishads. Upanishads include Vishnu Gaaytree Mantra as follows: “Naaraayanaaya vidmahe, vaasudeevaaya dheemahi tannoe vishnuh prachoedayaat”. Let us know Naaraayana. For that may we meditate on Vaasudeva! May Lord Vishnu invigorate us towards the same! ”Svetaavataara Upanishad says Naaraayana is Paramaatman or Supreme Being which has been adopted by the followers of Vishishtaadwaita of Ramanuja and Dwaita of Madhva. Among the eulogized in Rig veda, Vishnu is prominent one and is popular to-day amongst Vishitaadvaita, Dvaita, Gaudiya, Smaarta, Bhaagavata and other Traditions of Hinduism. Some of these are referred as cult by many Hindu authors as well as Westerners. The Vishnu of Rigveda is celebrated for his three feet encompassing the entire Universe for the welfare of worlds.  Exposition of the four aspects of Vishnu known as Vyoohas, results in twenty-four forms of Vishnu  popular worship in which some avatars are included.  All these are even numbers multiples of four dominating. The order of four (4) weapons (conch, discus, mace and lotus) held in 4 hands of Vishnu varies giving rise to twenty-four (24) forms in modern iconography employed in Moorti Upaasana. The identification of parts of the devotee’s body with the names of Vishnu results in twelve forms (dwaadasa Moortis in standing stance seen in modern iconography.

Paancharaatra texts declare that four Vyoohas are in fact four aspects of the same god-head. These are four emanatory forms in the context of creation—Vaasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. These names are celebrated as heroes in Bhaagavata.  Four hands of Vishnu represent Srishti (emergence, Sthiti (maintenance), Samhaara (dissolution) and Mukti (emancipation). These four forms are also ritualistically named as Paramahamsa (Purusha or manifest), Vyoema (Satya or Truth), Naada (Achyuta) and Hamsa (Naaraayana). They are also said to represent the four great time intervals (Yugas)—Krita, Treta, Dvaapara and Kali. (Please also refer to my discourse on Exposition of Vishnu).

According to Paancharatra doctrine each of the four vyoohas (primary emanatory forms of Vishnu) bring forth three other forms called Vyoohantakas. 1) From Vaasudeva emanate Kesava, Naaraayana and Maadhava; 2) from Sankarshana emanate Govinda Vishnu and Madhusoodana; 3) from Pradyumna emanate Trivikrama, Vaamana and Sreedhara; 4) from Aniruddha emanate Hrisheekesa, Padmanaabha and Daamoedara. These secondary emanations are known as Dvaadasamoortee (12 images). From these twelve secondary emanations arise eight other forms which are but further manifestations of the four primary Vyoohas. These are: Purushoettama, Adhoekshaja; Naarasimha; Achyuta, Janaardhana, Upendra, Hari and Krishna. Thus the four primary Vyooha forms, the twelve Moortyaantara forms and the eight further emanatory forms together constitute twenty four (24) forms known as Chaturvimsati moorti (24 images form). Gaayatri Saara Sangraha identifies the twenty-four syllable/letters of the Gaayatree mantra with the 24 deities mentioned above as presiding deities over the letters (Abhimaana Devata) and 24 names of Vishnu. While performing the daily ritual of Sandhyaavandana it is sometimes customary to recite these twenty four names of Vishnu and consecrate the twenty-four (24) parts of our body. The same is arranged in a tabular form below for easy reference:

              
Gayatri Letter
Abhimaani Devata
Name of Vishnu
Ta
Agni
Kesava
tsa
Prajapati
Narayana
vi
Soma
Maadhava
tu
Eesana
Govinda
rva
Savitr
Vishnu
re
Brihaspati
Madhusoodana
ni
Paitr-deva
Trivikrama
yam
Bhaga
Vaamana
bha
Aaryama
Sreedhara
rgoe
Savitr
Hrisheekesa
dey
Tvashtr
Padmanaabha
va
Pushan
Daamoedara
sya
Indra
Sankarshana
dhee
Agni
Vaasudeva
ma
Vaayu
Pradyumna
hi
mitra-varuna
Aniruddha
dhi
Bhavatri deva
Purushoettama
yoe
Vasudeva
Narasimha
yoe
Vishnu
Adhoekshaja
naha
Vaasava
Achyuta
pra
Tushtaba
Janaardhana
choe
Kubera
Upendra
da
Dasra
Hari
yat
Brahma
Sri Krishna



[Gayatree-tantra insists that each letter should be contemplated upon: “Varnaanaam chintanam dhyaanam samyak paapapranaasanam- meditation on Gaayatree letters is the complete path for eradicating sins] 

In Vishnu Sahasranaaama of Bheeshma, which is the pioneer of all Sahasranamaavalis,   he addresses Vishnu with lot of epithets which all include four things as in the sloka:

“Chatutmoortih chaturbahuh chaturvyoohah chaturgatih | Chaturaatmaa chatubhaavah chaturvedah videkapaat ||”

·         Chatur moortih: The Infinite is considered as having four forms—Viraat, Hiranyagarbha, Easwara and Paramaatman.  Puraanas mention about different colors of the incarnations in different Yugas—White in Kritayuga; Red in Tretaayuga; Yellow in Dvaaparayuga and Black in Kaliyuga. Incidentally these are the colors found on the image of Lord Jagannath. In Vedanta Lord has four expressions in the subjective life of each individual; the Waker (Viswa), the Dreamer (Taijasa),  the Deep-sleeper (Praajna) and the Pure Self (Tureeya)
·        Chaturvyoohah—Pancharaatra Aagama describes these as Vaasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. They are celebrated Heroes in Mahabharata. Aitreya Upanishad describes four types of Purusha—Saareera Puusha (the person in the body); Chhandas purusha (the person of Vedic meters of Mantras); Veda Purusha (the person in the Vedas) and Mahaa Purusha (the Great  Person)
·        Chaturgatih: 4 pursuits of man, Braahmana (Person with spiritual goal); Kshatriya (Warrior pursuit to preserve Dharma); Vaisya (Commercial pursuit to distribute wealth in Dhaarmic way); and Soodra (Manual work pursuit to serve the dharmic society physically) or four Varnas. The Lord is also the consummate of four walks of life—Celibacy (Brahmacharya); House holder (Grihasta); Retirement (Vaanaprstha) and Renunciation (Sanyaasa).
·        Chaturaatma: One who expresses himself as four inner aspects (antahkarana) in all of us.
·        Chaturbhaavah: One who is the source of following four human aspirations—Dharma (Righteousness); Artha (Wealth);  Kaama (Pleasure)  and Moksha (Liberation). [Note Dharma leads the rest.]
·        Chaturvedah; one who is the author of four Vedas—Rigveda; Yajurveda; Saamaveda; and Athrvaveda     

Gaayatree Mantra has 24 syllables/letters and is the most celebrated meter in Vedas. It has 24 Abhimaana Devatas (sought after deities and is represented by 24 forms of Vishnu as in the chart above. As per Vedic injunctions a spiritual speaker must meditate upon 24 names of Vishnu with the help of 24 letters of Gayatree. That constitutes 48 inputs or means for effective meditation. Perhaps that is why Chamakam ends with the number 48.  You also see how all the things explained above as powerful tools for meditation are 4 and its multiples only. That is why Chamakam’s exposition of Mantras is in numbers of 4 and its multiples and not any other even arithmetic series.

You will also see Rita or orderliness in many creations of Supreme Principle. Supreme principle is meditated upon as Samvatsara (year) in Mantrapushapa (Samvatsaroevaa apaam pushpam), meaning He is Kaalapurusha or embodiment of Time. There are 12 months in a year which is 4 Chaturmaasaa (4x3=12). There are 24 fortnights (pakshas) in a year like 24 letters in Gaayatree.  There are 4 quarters; 8 directions; 8 Vasus;  8  Direction deities (Ashta-dikpalakas); Ashtaksharee mantra (Om Namoh Naaraayanaaya) of 8 letters; Dwaadasaaksharee (12 letters) Mantra (Om namoh bhagavate Vaasudevaaya); Shoedashaaksharee (16 letters) Mantra of (Hare Rama Hare Krishna). Each one of these is directed towards the base figure of 4 mentioned in Vishnu Sahasranaama. Vishnu is identified as Naarayana who is the Paramaatman (Supreme Principle) mentioned in Svetaavataara Upanishad.

 An orthodox Brahmin wears 12 naamams (Srivaishnava religious mark on twelve parts of the body using the Mantra; 1. Om Kesavaaya Namah; 2. Om Naaraayanaaya Namah; 3. Om Maadhvaaya Namah; 4. Om Goevindaaya Namah; 5. Om Vishnave Namah; 6. Om madhsoodanaaya Namah; 7. Om Trivikramaaya Namah; 8.Om Vaamanaaya Namah; 9. Om Sreedharaaya Namah; 10. Om Hrisheekesaaya Namah; 11. Om Padmanaabhaaya Namah; 12. Om Daamoedaraaya Namah.  Orthodox Saivites also wear Vibhooti on 12 parts of the body daily. You may ask here why Vishnu in instead of Brahman.    Vishnu is one of the aspects among the three aspects of Brahman. In Vedas we have another example Praana which is a group name as well as praana appearing as a constituent of Pancha Praanaas or Life’s Vital Forces about which we have talked about a lot. This is the Vedic way of description like part for the whole in Grammar. So Vishnu is Brahmanso also Rudra—Tvam rudrastvam, vishnustvam—Brahman  is Vishnu; Brahman is Rudra (MNU)

In Daily worship we use the Japa containing 12 names whatever may be our tradition, Saiva, Vaishnava, Sakta or Smaarta. These are Kesava, Narayana, Govinda, Madhava, Vishnu, Madhusoodana, Trivikrama,  Vamana, Sridhara, Hrisheekesa and damodara.  Let us consider Kesava as poornum or Plenum in the context of Vedic Mantra. The first mantra Kesava is then 4 =4; the second Mantra becomes more powerful with the support of first mantra; 4+4=8 where Plenum enlarges but still remains Plenum, again with no perceptible change.  So the series continues till the 12th mantra assumes the power of 48, 4x12=48 and still with no perceptible change. Still the Plenum remains Plenum though enlarged 48 times. The basic figure 4 represents the basic principle; Vaasudeva, Sankarshana; Aniruddha; Pradyumna form which all other 12 names draw power increasingly. This series and the power associated with the names could continue to infinity.   The above assumption also fits in well with the famous Shanti Mantra: Poornamadah poornamidam poornaat poornamduchyate | Poornasya poornamaadaya poornameva avasishyate ||--that which lies beyond is Plenum (full and undiminished). That which appears as this here (i.e. as the universal) is also Plenum, equally full and undiminished. Out from Plenum, Plenum arises. Plenum having been taken away out of Plenum, what remains is still the same (undiminished) Plenum. Brih. Up. 5-1). So It is all Brahmamayam.  Here the Chamakam stops with 48 to focus our thoughts on Brahmachakra or Srichakra which is a Kshetra(field  ) for 48  divine letters in a mandala or circular form whose Kshetrajna (or master)is Brahman.  A circle is again Poornam with its cycle of srishthi (creation), sthiti (sustenance) and laaya   repeatedly also represented by AUM. The preference to 4 and its multiple is amply explained above which cannot be justified by 2, 4, 6, 8 or any other even series.

Also we know there was no such thing as Vaishnavism or Saivism in the Vedic period. In the worship of Panchanana, five faced Siva in present day practice, he is meditated upon as Panchabrahman with Panchabrahma mantras which contain the five names of   Panchanana popular with Saivites. The same mantras are also addressed to Narasimha with the same epithets of Panchaanana contained in Vedic mantras. This has been explained in previous discourse “Mantras from Mahaanaaraayana Upanishad”.  Rudram and Chamakam only refer to Brahman. With sectarian doctrine these are used in worship for Siva only. So the above contention of Chamakam numbers are directed towards meditation on supreme Principle is no exaggeration. It was all one universal prayer to that One Supreme Principle (tadekam); the Chamakam prayers are secret Mantras with hidden secret of these odd and even numbers which is the Vedic way which leave mantras to be expounded with the help of learned Gurus. The justification of 4 series referring to Vishnu manifestation for Rudra Chamakam should not confuse or give rise to conflicts. Rudra means rutaat trayate iti, one who protects you from all miseries and that Vishnu means vyapyate iti vishnush, one who pervade all entities sentient and non- sentient, both Rudra and Vishnu being the aspects of Brahman in the role of srishthi, sthiti and laya.

Let us summarize our thoughts on the meditation of odd numbers of 33 in a regular odd series and even numbers 48 in a series starting with 4 and in steps of 4. We are justified in our meditation on 33 as thirty three Vedic deities who are all Vyahrities or emanations of Brahman and in Puranic terms subordinates of Brahman which the body mind complex has to focus in meditation by turning inwrads. 48 is substantiated by our Varnamala named after Japamala by which term Sanskrit language is often referred to. I have explained elsewhere how Hindu Japamala containing 54 beads represents full compliments of Sanskrit letters as visualized by Swami Dayananda Saraswati unlike Grammar which is content with 48 letters.

The divine 33 consonants of Sanskrit Grammar represent 33 subordinates of Brahman or Vedic Gods or 33 Matrikas. They need to be meditated upon as seen in our practice of normal worship and rituals with Veda Mantras.  Hindus always consider odd numbers   1, 3, 5, 7, 9 as sacred as explained in my discourse on Divinity of Numbers. The reason why we think of 4 to start with has also been adequately explained. The world started from four faced Brahma with four directions and four Vedas. We also learnt that it ends in 48 because Sanskrit alphabet ends in 48 with first vowel a representing Siva and last consonant ha representing Sakti. In Vishnu Chakra Siva is replaced by Purusha and Sakti by Prakriti. Pancharatra concept projects Chaturvimsati (24) Moorti and Gayatree mantra of 24 letters. Together they add up to 48 on both of which we meditate. Further in the even series of 48 there are 12 numbers (48/4=12). But by a strange divine intuition in spite of our puranic differences among Siva, Vishnu Sakti etc., we all employ twelve names of Brahman in his Omnipresence Vishnu form in our daily Japa. These are Kesava, Narayana, Govinda, Madhava, Vishnu, Madhusudana, Trivikrama, Vamana, Sridhara, Hrishikesa, Purushottama and Damodara.  These are emanations of four Vyuhas of Vishnu Vasudeva, Sankarshana, pradyuman and Aniruddaha. That explains in the nut shell why Chamakam which is a Mantra of Brahman asks all to meditate on odd numbers 1--33 in regular series and 4—48 in even series in steps of four starting with 4 and ending in 48 keeping that a mystery for the real spiritual seeker to reveal its exposition. Chamakam shows Rhythm, Orderliness in its odd and even series;  it shows  Satyam, Truth as it starts with 1 Tadekam,  That One supreme reality; it shows Parambrahma, Supreme Reality  in revealing 48 which is the number of alphabets in Sanskrit with a as the Purusha and ha as the Prakriti in the Brhamchakra .  [rita(ga)m satyam   parabrahma].  Thus meditation on all these numbers leads to Paramaatman only.

Chamakam is a mantra on Parabrahman, a mantra for all--Saivites,Vaishnavites, Saktites and even non-believers who believe in  nature and its natural phenomenon regulated  by it. Sankara did not explain why  Chamakam 33 odd and 48  even numbers are meditation mantras  but established Panchanana pooja which is all directed to Siva, Sakti, and Vishnu that is Smarta Sampradaya. Everything is created by Siva and Sakti combining and pervaded by Vishnu and guarded by 33 bodyguards of Brahman, Vedic deities. 33 Vedic deities include  Brahma as Prajaapati, Indra as the ruler. 33 represents natural phenomenon and 48 represents universe to non-believers. To believers 48 means Siva and Sakti or Purusha and Prakriti overlord of the Universe represented by 48 letters of divine language Sanskrit. First letter a represents Siva or Purusha and last letter ha with half-moon period (Ardha Chandra Bimba) represents Sakti or Prakriti. 48 letters representing Universe as 50  spokes of Brahmachakra of Upanishads with two additions of Glutaral la and combined consonant Ksha. So last Anuvaka of numbers of Chamakam is for meditation by all.  Sarvam Vishnumayam jagat | Sarvam Sivaarpanamastu || May all be pervaded by Vishnu! May all dissolve in Siva or merge in Siva!


Purushasookta says what humans know is only one fourth and what is hidden from them is three fourths. That concept is well demonstrated when we look at Linga images installed in temples. Only one third of the Linga is available for physical worship. On the dark but clear moonless night if we gaze at the wide expanse of the sky we see billons  of star-clusters from millions of galaxies with their inscrutable silence.  We live on a small-sized planet called earth which is almost comparable to a dot on the whole universe, which is again a planet of a medium sized star (Sun). We have limited knowledge of the Milky-way only amongst all galaxies.  Our knowledge is mostly confined to Mother Earth and rest remains on speculation or mystery.  Knowing the limitations of the human beings and the short span of life on this earth, Good Lord   stopped at the odd number of 33 and even number of 48, without taxing us by extending it to infinity like the symbol Pi. Even here we do not know his original intentions.  Hence I have speculated on these limited numbers like many others.  May we therefore conclude this discourse with a prayer to the Supreme Principle for granting us that supreme Knowledge which can be attained only when Jeevaatman merges with Paramaatman in its final journey!

Vidhartaara(ga)m havaamahe vasoeh kuvidvanaati Nah| Savitaaram Nrichakshasa
 ---(MNU)
We invoke the Creator of the Universe
Who sustains the creation in many ways and
Who witnesses the thoughts in many ways and deeds of men
May He grant us plenty of excellent wealth!



REFERENCES:
1) Ramachandra Rao, Vishnu Kosha, Kalpataru Research academy, Sankara Math, Bengaluru, India.
2) Swami Devaswarupananda, Mantrapushpam, Ramakrishna Math, Kolkota, India.
3) Swami Chinmayaananda, Vishnu Sahasranama, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai, India.
4) Srnivasan N.R., Some Vedic Mantras used in Hindu Worship and Rituals, Hindu Reflections, Internet.
5) Srinivasan N.R., What do Odd and Even Numbers in Chamakam Signify, Hindu Reflections, Internet.
6) Srinivasan N.R., Visualizing Divinity in Numbers, Hindu Reflections, Internet.
7) Swami Vimalananda, Mahaanaaraayan Upanishad, Ramkrishna Math, Chennai, India.
8) Ramachandra   Rao, S.K., Srividya Kosam, Sri Satguru publications Delhi, India.
9) Sastry K.L.V., R.S. Vadhyar & Sons, Palghat, Kerala, India.
10) Ramachandra Rao, S.K., Srividyaa-Kosa, Sri Sadguru Publications, Delhi, India.


APPENDIX

ELEVENTH ANUVAAKA PRAYER FROM CHAMAKAM


 PRAYER OF SERIES OF ODD NUMBERS
“Ekaa cha may  trisrascha may pancha  cha may sapta cha may nava cha may ekaadasa cha may trayodasa cha may panchadasa cha may saptadasa cha may navadsasa cha may ekavi(ga)msatischa may trayovi(ga)msatischa may  panchavi(ga)msatischa may saptavi(ga)msatisacha may navavi(ga)msatischa may ekatri(ga)msaccha may trayastri(ga)msasccha may ||

 PRAYER OF SERIES OF EVEN NUMBERS
Chatasrascha may ashtau cha may dvaadasa cha may shodasa cha may  vi(ga)msatischa may chaturvi(ga)msatischa may ashtaavi(ga)msatischa may dvaatri(ga)mscha may  shat-tri(ga)mscha may chatvaari(ga)mscha may chatus-chatvaari(ga)mscha may ashtaa-chatvaari(ga)mscha may vaajascha prasavaschaa-pijascha kratuscha suvascha moordhaa cha vysniyascha-antyaayanascha-antyascha bhouvanascha bhuvanascha-adhipatischa ||11||

CONCLUDING PRAYER
Om Idaa devahoor-manur-yajneer-brihaspatir-ukthaamadaani sa(ga)msishad-visvedevaah sookta-vaachah prithvimaatarmaa maa hi(ga)mseer-madhu manishye madhu janishye  madhu vakshyaami madhu vadishyaami madhumateem devebhyo vaacham-udyaasa(ga)m sushrooshenyaam  manushebhyastam maa devaa avantu sobhaayai pitaro-anumadantu || Om Shatih Shaantih Shaantih ||

[May I be granted the odd numbers1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, and 33 as well as even numbers 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44, and 48 to ensure food and its continuity and the urge to enjoy the origin of all creation—the Sun, the heaven, the head of all, the infinite, the all-pervading like the sky, time and the like  present at the end of total consummation  exists at the end of it on the earth as universal form, the Antaryamin, the immortal, the inner ruler of everything,  the Omnipresent and Omnipotent. May Peace prevail, in all our inner struggles, external conflicts and Heavenly disturbances due to our own missdeeds disturbing the Universal orderliness that was  given to us!]

[The sacred gods are implored by mantras on Kamadhenu, the granter of all wishes. Manu does the sacrifices and Brihaspati recites the pleasant Mantras. May these praises of Visvedevas and Mother Earth save me from sufferings! May my pleasant thought bring forth pleasant actions and resultant enjoyable fruits! May my joyous offerings bring forth fine and worthy speech and my words please the divinity, make men turn their tears to joy; May Gods enlighten me and invoke my speech very powerful and my ancestors (Pitrus) feel extremely glad over it and bless me to perpetuate it.]




Vishnu in Rudram
December 3, 2011 · by K V Sarma J · in dharma, Education, India, Religion  
This post is a humble attempt to translate this brilliant article by Sri Hari Sriramamurthy published in Rushipeetam monthly spiritual magazine in Feb 2007.
 Rudram means Rudradhyayam (रुद्राध्यायं )[1]. This is also referred to as Shatarudreeyam (शतरुद्रीयं), Rudropanishath (रुद्रोपनिशत्). It constitutes Namaka (नमक) and Chamaka (चमक) Mantras. These are taken from Yajurvedam. They are used in Rudrabhiskeham[2] (रुद्राभिषेकं). Sayana, Bhatta Bhaskara, Abhinava Shankara, Vishnu Suri wrote commentaries[3] on these mantras. A study on these mantras and these commentaries reveals that these mantras talk about Sun, Siva and Vishnu.
उतैनं गोपा अद्रुशन्नद्रुशन्नुदहार्यः |
उतैनं विश्वा भूतानिसदृष्टो मृढयातिनः ||
  1. based on interpretation for Sun :
    येनं = This Surya
    उदहार्यः = उद – water, हार्यः – taking or absorbing i.e., absorbing water
    गोपाः = gopikas ; गोपाः = गाः – Earth , पाः – Saving or protecting i.e., Sun Rays
    अदृशन् = watched or saw or noticed
  2. based on interpretation for Rudra (Siva):
    येनं = This Rudra
    उदहार्यः = (उत्अहार्यः) whose souls were taken away (up)[2]
    गोपाः = humans, living beings
    अदृशन् = watched or saw or noticed
  3. based on interpretation for Vishnu :
    Three different interpretations have been proposed.
    1. येनं = This Vishnu
      उदहार्यः = fetching water
      गोपाः = gopikas
      अदृशन् = watched or saw or noticed
    2. According to Vaijayanti Kosha, Harii (हरी) means jaarastri (जारस्त्रि) i.e., woman who is corrupted/spoiled
      कन्या प्रसूतिजा जारी हरी नाम्नैव दूषित
      वैजयन्ती कोश 87-96
      So, haaryah (
      हार्यः) means women who are corrupted/spoiled.  Thus “na haaryah” ( हार्यः) or ahaaryah (अहार्यः) meaning those women who are not corrupted/spoiled. (Since uth – उत् – means noble) So udahaaryah (उदहार्यः) means those women who are not corrupted but are noble women.
      Gopaah (
      गोपाः) = Gopikas
      Yenam (
      येनं) = This Krishna
      Adrushannadrushan (
      अद्रुशन्नदृशन्)  = (अदृशन् + अदृशन्; अदृशन् means watched, noticed or saw)[3] Noticed, watched or saw again i.e., Gopikas saw Krishna again and again and they felt blessed
      This means
      even though noble Gopikas were in rasaleela[4] (rasa dance) with Sri Krishna, they were not corrupted/spoiled but remained noble.
    3. Ahaaryah (अहार्यः) means a mountain according to Amarakosha – आहार्य धर पर्वताः. Udahaaryah (उदहार्यः) means the one who lifted a mountain i.e., Govardhana mountain – Sri Krishna. Thus it means Gopaah (गोपाः) i.e., Gopikas adrushan (अदृशन्) i.e., saw, noticed or watched such a Krishna and felt blessed.
Narayana Teertha (नारायण तीर्थ) called Gopikas as a manifestation of Vedas by referring to them as Srutayah (श्रुतयः). A similar reference to Gopikas as manifestation of Vedas can be found in Bhagavata Puranam.
इति गोप्यः परानन्दं गायंतस्त्याः पृथक् पृथक् |
अपराः श्रुतयोः भूयो भूयो तत्रैव संगताः ||
कृष्णलीला तरंगीणि
This summary comes from Narayana Teertha’s[4] observation on Mantras in Yajurveda and Shlokas in Bhagavata Purana in Krishna Leela Tarangini.
Putting all these interpretations in perspective,
येनं = This Paramatma (supreme being) devoid of all attributes and properties
उदहार्यः = उत् – noble, good अहार्यः – that which cannot be taken away or stolen or doesn’t vane
गोपाः = Vedic Mantras
अदृशन्  अदृशन्  =  noticing, watching or observing again and again
Vedic Mantras, which are noble and which cannot be taken away, stolen or vane, proclaim us to observe in them, a paramatma (supreme being) devoid of all attributes i.e., Sun, Siva and Vishnu are manifestations of paramatma (supreme being).
In Rudram,
नमो गिरिशायच शिपिविष्टायच |
Commentaries indicate that “shipivishta” (शिपिविष्ट) is a reference to Sun, Siva and Vishnu.  Sayana refers to Vishnu as
विष्णुमूर्ति धारी शिपिविष्टः |
which means Shipivishta is a manifestation of Vishnu. Vedas refer to Shipivishta in a similar way.
विष्णुः शिपिविष्टः |
In Vishnu Sahasranamam, Shipivishta is referred to as
नैकरूपो बृहद्रूपः शिपिविष्टः प्रकाशनः |
In Siva Sahasranamam, Shipivishta is referred to as
शिपिविष्टो अम्बिकानाधः |
In Naanardha Sangraha Kosha, Vishnu and Siva are referred to as Hari and Shankara respectively
शिपिविष्टस्तु दुश्चर्म खिल्वात हरिशन्कराः |
Vishnu Suri’s commentary explains
शिपयो जीवाः, तदनुसंधाता शिपिविष्टः सर्वसाक्षी रुद्रः |
This means “Shipis are living beings. Rudra as the all-pervading consciousness protects them by being their conscience”
In Taittriya Samhita,
यज्ञोवै विष्णुः, पशवः शिपिः, यज्ञ येव पशुषुः प्रतितिष्ठति |
तैत्त्रिय संहित 2-5-5
Adi Shankaracharya in his commentary on Vishnu Sahasranama and Vishnu Suri in his commentary proclaim
शिपयः पसवः, तेषु विशति प्रतितिष्ठति यज्नरूपेण इति शिपिविष्टः |
Cattle are also called as Shipis. Vishnu in Yajna manifestation, enters their inner consciousness and protects them as Shipivishta.
Thus one can see Vaishnavam in Rudram.
Also in Rudram,
नमस्ताराय नमस्चंभवाय |
Tarah (तारः) means that which blesses. This mantra talks of Siva (Rudra) who blesses. In Vishnu Sahasranamam,
अशोकस्तारणस्तारः |
and
भूर्भुवः स्वस्तरुः तारः |
Both Bhatta Bhaskara’s commentary,
तारय प्राणव रूपाय |
and Vishnu Suri’s commentary,
तारयति संसारदिति तारः प्राणवः तद्रूपाय |
indicate that tara (तार) means Om (). Both Siva and Vishnu are manifestations of Om.
Another mantra
नमो ह्रस्वायच वामनायच |
clearly talks of Vishnu’s reincarnation – Vamana.
Another mantra in rudram says
नमो गोष्ठायच गृःयायच
Sayana in his commentary explains
गोष्ठं गवाम् स्थानम् तत्र भवो गोष्ठ्यः
Meaning – Goshtam (गोष्ठं) is the place where cows live i.e., a Byre and Goshtyah (गोष्ठ्यः) is Krishna, since he stays with the cows. Vishnu Suri in his commentary says
श्रुतयो गवाः, तासां स्थानम् गोष्ठंमनोमय कोशं | तत्र प्रकशमानः गोष्ठ्यः | तस्मै नमः |
Vishnu Suri refers to Cows as Vedic Mantras. The place where cows stay is Goshtam (गोष्ठं). Vedic Mantras reside (in a human) is mind or manas (Manomaya Kosham).  One who resides there glowing brightly is called Goshtyah (गोष्ठ्यः) and that is Go-pala i.e., Go-vinda, the one who takes care of Cows which are manifestations of Vedic Mantras. That Go-pala is none other than Krishna.
Similarly, mantras like नमश्शोक्यायच, आशुषेनायच clearly refer to Vishwaksena or Krishna.
This way, all mantras in rudram clearly refer to Sun, Siva and Vishnu. Finally,
नमो रुद्राय विष्णवे मृत्युर्मे पाहि
meaning “I salute Siva who is manifestation of Vishnu and Vishnu who is manifestation of Siva. May Vishnu who is manifestation of Siva protect me from death. May Siva who is manifestation of Vishnu protect from death”. Such interpretation would lead to unity between Siva and Vishnu.
Rudram is also referred to as “Shata Rudreeyam” (Rudram of 100 mantras). In Drona Parva (in Mahabharata), Vyasa taught Ashvatthama and Arjuna as an Upadesam. Neela KanTa Deekshitulu in his commentary on Rudram, to show Vishnu in Rudram, says that Shata Rudreeyam starts with non-duality of Siva and Vishnu.
तदेवं विश्नोष्षिवमयत्वं व्याख्याय विष्णुत्राणात्
तन्मय स्वजगतः तराणमपि शिवमेव कर्मेत्युक्तं
यधा शिवमयो विष्णुरेवं विष्णुमयं जगत्
–  Bharatam – NeelakaTa Vyaakhya – Drona Parvam.
By explaining non-duality of Vishnu with Siva, it has also be summarized that like Vishnu, protection of the worlds is Siva’s Karma.
पूर्वयोः पर्वणोः विश्नोर्विस्वरूप प्रकाषणेन व्याख्यातं| अथ दृष्तांतीकृतं विश्निष्षिवमयत्वं व्याचिख्यासुः शतरुद्रीयमारभते |
– Bharatam – Drona Parvam – 1201.
Meaning “all smritis say that Siva is a manifestation of Vishnu and Vishnu is a manifestation of Siva. In Drona Parvam, to show this non-duality, Shata Rudreeyam is being started”
Explanatory Notes:
[1] Rudram is taken from Yajurvedam. It is also called as Rudradhyayam and Rudra Prasnam. It is a great treatise to the properties of universal consciousness or nirguna paramatma as explained earlier via an example from Chamakam here. Translators who came from Europe saw Rudram as sacrificial hymns to Shiva but rather these are actually properties of nature. This is probably the reason why so many commentators – ancient and modern see that Rudram is actually a treatise not just to Shiva but also Surya (Sun) and Vishnu –deities described by Adi Sankaracharya as three of the six primary deities or Shanmatas.
[2] Abhishekam is that process of worship in which a deity is anointed with some nature’s products as a part of worship. Panchamritas (ghee, milk, curd, sugar/jiggery syrup, honey), Sandalwood powder, leaves from different trees/plants, rice grain and many more are generally used for this purpose. This is treated as an offering made to the deity. Abhishekam is done to any deity according to Hindu worship. When it is done while reciting Rudra Mantras, it is called Rudrabhishekam. Rudram is generally most used in deity worship through abhishekam.
[3] Actually the Sanskrit word – Bhashyam cannot be translated to English precisely. Commentary would be a misfit in many cases. We will however stick to the word commentary in this translation.
[4] Narayana Teertha’s Krishna Leela Tarangini is a literary work based on Dasama Skandam of Bhagavatam. The work is represented in many forms in modern day – both in music, dance. The lyrical beauty of in Krishna Leela Tarangini is something which has no parallel in its genre. For instance, sample this – Alokaye Sri Balakrishnam.
   



 [This is a prepared lecture compiled from above references and others for a discourse at Sri Ganesha Temple, Nashville and to benefit those who are not able to attend the same in person. You are free to download and use it for your reading and reference as well as circulate to others to spread the wisdom of Vedas and Hindu values which good act will be appreciated. Any suggestion to add to the compilation to enhance its  value will be appreciated.  < nadipuram@hotmail.com>]