Sudarsana Chakra and Sudarsana Yajna and Homas
(Compilation for a discourse by N.R. Srinivasan)
Lord Vishnu is said to use both the "Panchajanya" (Conch) and the Sudarsana (chakra) to protect his devotees from danger, evil and death. According to mythology Lord Vishnu has used the Sudarsana Chakra often to protect his devotees from evil, dispel earthly fears and destroy wicked people with his chakra thereby they too have attained moksha.
In Gajendra Moksha (The liberation of the elephant from the Crocodile's mouth) the elephant was released from its curse, while Vishnu hurled his chakra at the crocodile and killed it, thereby the crocodile attained moksha; Krishna backed up Arjuna by creating a temporary illusion of sunset during Jayadratha's killing; The killing of Sisupala and his release from his curse, these are some of the stories that glorifies Sudarsana.
Sudarsana's disk has also broken the arrogance of Surya (sun god), who became dull and lacked luster. Surya pleaded with the Almighty who later restored his brilliance. Sudarsana has also played a prominent role in the avatars of Vishnu, being the horn of the Varaha, sharp nails of the lion faced Narasimha, the powerful axe of Parasurama, the formidable arrow of Lord Rama, and in his original form, a disc in the Krishna avatar, glorified in Shodasaayudha Stotra of Vedanta Desika. In Parthasarathy temple in Tiruvallikkeni in Chennai in India he is shown as the sword Nandaka in the hands of Lord Parthsarathy. In Puri Jagannath he is shown as a rod representing Sudarsana Narasimha while Narasimha in Puranas reveals he stepped out of a pillar as burning flame of rage and as Man-Lion.e I Bharatha was an incarnation of Sudharsana chakra in Tretaa Yuga. He was prince regent (Yuvaraja) during Rama’s rule of Ayodhya. The Tamil Vaishnava Saint Thirumazhisai Azhwar is also believed to be the incarnation of Sudarsana Chakra.
There are many legends as to the origin of Sudarsana Chakra. Vishnu once promised Siva 1008 lotuses. To test his devotion, Siva stole one of the lotuses. When Vishnu discovered this loss, he offered Siva one of his lotus-shaped eyes instead. For this act, Siva gave Vishnu a discus with jagged edge called the Sudarsana-chakra which rotates round the Lord’s finger. When flung it beheads his enemies before returning to his hand.
A popular legend in Puranas says that Sudarsana Chakra was made by the architect of gods, Vishvakarma. Vishvakarma's daughter Sanjana was married to Surya, the Sun God. Due to the Sun's blazing light and heat, she was unable to go near the Sun. Vishvakarma took the Sun and made him shine less so that his daughter would be able to hug the Sun. The left over Sun "dust" was collected by Vishvakarma and made into three divine objects. The first one was the aerial vehicle Pushpaka Vimana, the second being the Trisoola (Trident) of the god Siva, and the third was the Sudarsana Chakra of Vishnu. The Chakra is described to have 10 million spikes in two rows moving in opposite directions to give it a serrated edge.
A Chakra, which was studded with diamonds in the center, was presented to Lord Krishna after the wild fire destruction of the Kaandava forest by the fire God "Agni" to assist him in his task of destroying the evil and protecting the innocent. Describing the qualities of the Chakra, Agni said, "Krishna, you can destroy the evil and demons as well, with this, moreover it will strike the enemy you desire and will return back to you". Because of its beauty, brilliance and radiance it came to be known as the Sudarsana Chakra (good to behold).
It is common to show the weapons of Lord Vishnu also in human form. They are then worshiped as Weapon-beings or Aayudha Purushas. Aayudha Purushas can be male or female or neuter gender depending on the gender of the word in Sanskrit indicating it. For example Gadaa is female and Chakra is male. Sudarsana is shown as standing or moving about within a circle of flame in a hexagon (shatkon) superimposed on the circle. The hexagon illustrates Vyuha ideology of six divine qualities of Bhagawan—dominion, glory, splendor, wisdom and dispassion. “Utpattim pralayam chaiva bhootaanaam-aagatim gatim | vetti vidyaam-avidyaam cha sa vaachyo bhgawann-iti ||” [He who understands the creation and dissolution, the appearance and disappearance of beings, the wisdom and ignorance, is called Bhagavaan]. Sudarsana with a hexagon and circle as his background is as brilliant as fire and having four or eight or sixteen arms holding bow, arrow, trident, noose, goad and other implements as also weapons. He is shown as Vaishnavite symbol along with the conch (Shankha). The six cornered figure which is enclosed within the flaming circle and which in turn encloses the male figure of Sudarsana represents also six chakra--Achakra; Vichakra; Su-chakra; Jwaalaa Chakra, Trailokya-rakshaa Chakra and Asuraantaka Chakra.
There are fine metallic images of Sudarsana-Narasimha in the temple of Kanchipuram and Srirangam popularly called in Tamil Azhagiya-singar. Sudarsana Narasimha is a composite icon of Sudarsana having on one side of the hexagon (shat-kona) within the flaming discus (Chakra) and that of Man -lion on the other side. Here Narasimha is seen in seated posture and Sudarsana in the standing or moving posture. Vihagendra Samhita declares these two forms are really one. Padma Samhita says Narasimha who is to be located in the heart of Sudarsana is like mountain of crystal covered with countless manes and roaring like the thunder of dissolution (pralaya). Narasimha is seated with crossed legs in yoga-posture in this assembly.
The use of the Sudarsana Chakra is occasionally mentioned in the Hindu texts of Rigveda, Yajurveda and Puranas, as an ultimate weapon of law, order and preservation to eliminate the enemy of the Devas. Vedas mention of Brahma Chakra as described in my earlier discourse on the subject and Soorya (Sun) moving on a single wheel chariot with twelve spokes representing months as well as zodiac. They are also called as Bhagya Chakra or Rasi Chakra. Wheel is thus symbolic of life ever-renewing itself in cycle of time as producer and consumer of everything of the invariable law governing matter and energy in the nerve channels as Kaala Chakra and Nadee Chakra. We see the iconic wheels are represented sculpturally in different ways. We are all familiar with the Wheel of Dharma that Buddha set into motion used as a symbol in Indian National Flag which has replaced the wheel of Charaka (spinning wheel) of the Indian National Congress; The wheel of Sun transformed into a temple in Konark; The wheel of the radiance that surrounds Vishnu deity Prabhaachakra, Prabhaavali and Prabhaamandala usually taken in procession behind the deity during Brahmotsava or Annual worship of the Temple; The small ornamental wheel that turns round behind the deity called Siras Chakra and Chakra Purusha, wheel personified as human being.
Wheel is also weapon used in warfare described in Puranas. Vishnu Chakra has a special name Su-darsana, which means Beautiful to Behold. It has twelve spokes, three concentric rings, and a design with six corners with an inclination to the right. In Vishnu’s hands it is seen either as flat facing the viewer called Samasthiti (stationary) Chakra or in the ready to be hurled form as seen in the index finger of Lord Krishna called Prayoga Chakra. Vishnu is invariably seen with a crown surmounted by a prominent discus. He is also distinguished by two weapons in his hands, discus as Chakra Purusha and Gadaa (mace) as Gadaa Devi. Twenty four armed Padmavati carries Chakra in one of her hands. Dhyaani Buddha called Vairochana is distinguished by the Chakra emblem in white color. Jain deities Vajraankusi and Chakresvaree carry Chakra in their hands.
Chakra represents the cosmic mind, the will of the Lord to multiply as well as His infinite power to create and destroy the Universe. The Sudarsana mantra Om Sahsraara Phat- is said to possess the power to neutralize poisons and exorcise malignant spirits. Slokas or hymns on Sudarshana are very powerful and should be chanted with sincerity, purity of mind, and body. The place where the chanting is done should be clean. Slokas should be recited only after learning the correct pronunciation and intonation.
Lord Vishnu is invoked in the Saalagrama which is a special stone obtained only from the river Ghantaki. This stone is said to contain marks of the chakra (discus) which is symbolic of the Sudarsana Chakra held by Lord Vishnu in his right hand. There are nineteen different types of saalagramas worshipped by Vaishnavites at home and temples in place of idols. Worship through this medium is considered to be powerful. Sudrasana is considered a representative of Lord Vishnu and therefore worshipped with equal reference.
Before the Brahmotsava, in 108 Divydesa Vaishnava Temples, Kovil Azhwar Sudarsana is given a holy bath called Thirumanjanam. The day before the commencement is the ritual of Mrit-sangrahanam or collecting the earth when the temple officials pray to Sudarsana for the successful conduct of the festival. The tenth day of Brahmotsavam is the Chakra-snaanam when the main Vishnu deity, his consorts and Sudarsana, the personification of his weapon Chakra are bathed in the temple tank. On the last day Sudarsana Chakra is bathed in the temple tank and the honored guests Brhama, the Gods and rishis are given a warm send-off. Sudarsana Purusha, the Discus Person is always an independent icon in South Indian Vishnu Temples unlike in the Northern Temples.
As a part of the Panchasamskara rite, orthodox Vaishnavites bear the chakra (disc) and Sanka (conch) emblems of Vishnu on their shoulders branded by a holy ceremony called Samasaranam. Sri Vedaanta Desikar points out in Dehalisastuti that those who bear these marks will have their desires fulfilled.
Chakra and Music: Here is an analogy of “Chakra” to classical music. Singing a song in words is called a kirtan. Whereas if we only delineate the raaga and do not utter words it is known as raaga aalaapana and we can go much deeper into the body of the music this way. The worship of Gods in their Chakra is similar to the Raaga Aalaapana in music.
Sri Mahaa Vishnu carries in his right hand the Sudarsana Chakra (disc) and in his left hand the Paanchajanyam (Conch). He uses them to protect his devotees from danger, evil and death. Vishnu Sahasranamam, praises Lord Vishnu as "Bhayakrit bhaya naasanaha": it says he is the creator of fear as well as the destroyer of fear.
Sudarsana Shanti Homa
Sudarsana Shanti Homa is popular in all Vishnu temples like Ganesha Homa in Siva temples and Chandee homa in Sakta temples. Sudarsana Homa, if performed with sincerity, is said to help societies overcome personal and public obstacles, calamities, dispel harboring evil forces and vibes. In contrast, it promotes a sense of well-being, builds strong friendships, a positive attitude among mankind, promotes the lush growth of flora and fauna, and helps the animal kingdom to flourish, ensures safety when facing danger; wins over enemies when going through critical and bad planetary periods, wards off physical and mental illnesses, averts accidents through machinery or weapons, last but not the least, helps to overcome the fear of death, thus promoting a healthy, prosperous society.
Vedas prescribe about 400 forms of fire rituals. Homa is a form of Haviryajna in which the oblations offered include butter, boiled preparations of rice, barley, wheat, and fagots of selected trees, which have medicinal value. The smoke from the Homa is said to be very auspicious and therapeutic for inhalation, also the smoke that permeates the air is said to cleanse and purify the atmosphere of disease causing germs and other impurities. Srauta Homas are generally performed for the benefit of the world at large, while the Smarta Homas are performed for the well -being of self and their family.
"Yagna" is derived from the root "Yaj" in Sanskrit meaning worship "Haviryajna" is a specific form of worship, which is popularly known as "Homa". Yajna refers to a Vedic ritual in which one offers specific materials such as ghee (melted butter) and fagots to various deities through the medium of fire. Worship through "Yajna" is a unique form of prayer in the Vedic tradition, even though, any "Karma" or action performed for the sake of the Lord is "Yajna". Homas are generally performed for the benefit of the world at large, for the well-being of self and their family, for the fulfillment of human pursuits like giving away ones possession and becoming an ascetic, a ritual pertaining to ancestors, desire to enter Heaven, gain of unrivalled sovereignty, to wish for a progeny to carry on the family tree etc.
Vedas perceive "Fire" as the medium of worship and enjoin varieties of Homas for the fulfillment of human pursuits. Since fire carries brilliance and heat energy, it is the life sustaining principle in the creation and lands itself for the worship through Vedic homas. Fire is a blessing but if looked as a mere form of energy, it is an inert blessing, not a deity or a devata, a part of God. However if one perceives the fire as a Devata, one recognizes it as a non-separate entity of the Lord. One then discovers the harmony in the Lord and his creation. The various elements are therefore considered as "Devatas"; Varuna, the devata for water; Agni, the devata for fire; Pruthvi, the devata for the earth; Vayu, the devata for air; Aakasa, the devata for space; Kaala, the devata for time. Sudarshana is considered as a Devata, part of God whose energy and brilliance are manifold compared to the "Surya" (sun) and "Agni" (fire), as he is always associated with Lord Vishnu, the preservation form of the Trinity.
Mahaa Yajnas are performed periodically at temples for the "Yoga -Kshema "(welfare of all living beings), not only in a particular community or society but the entire world, for the abundance of rain/ crops, kindness among human beings- amongst themselves and towards the animal and plant kingdom. Additionally, Yajnas are performed as a form of penance, asking forgiveness of the almighty for the "apacharas" (unintentional mistakes) committed by the "ajnanis" (illiterate folks); to restore and preserve the sanctity, faith, peace and prosperity, and to seek the almighty's blessings.
Sudarsana Yajna is performed for the "Yajna Purusha" (the protector of mankind), Sri Mahaa Vishnu, to whom oblations are offered in this sacred event. It is believed that what is offered to the raging fire reaches directly to our Creator through the Purifier Agni (Fire). Yajnas are to be performed with a lot of dedication and concentration combined with purity of self and soul. Cleanliness is of utmost importance at these events. The priests intake "pancha-kavyam (cleansing agents), before they perform the Homa. The place where the Yajna is to be performed is thoroughly cleaned before the yajna is performed.
The Sudarsana Chakra (wheel) is the most important weapon of the Great Protector, Lord Vishnu. His other weapons include the Sankha (conch) and the Gada (mace). The Chakra is the instrument of the preservation of this world and the Sankha signals moksha or liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Sudarsana Chakra is the mighty weapon of Lord Narayana. The beauty of Sudarsana Chakra arises from the fact that Chakra leads the seeker to the path of Lord Narayana. The Chakra itself has many auspicious attributes. 1: Peedaa pariharam (relief from all kinds of pain and suffering) 2: Paapa Naasanam (destroying one’s sins). As you are all aware papa-naasanam is the first step towards realizing Lord Narayana.
The magnificence of the Sudarsana Chakra is very eloquently described in Shodashayudha stotram and the Sudarshana Ashtakam. Related references, which offer attributes to the Chakra include the Mahabharata, Vishnu Sahasranamam, Padma Samhita and Abhirbudhniya samhita (both samhitas are Paancharatra Agama texts). The Mahabharatha refers to the Wheel of Time (Kaala chakra), denoting the temporal aspect of the Sudarsana Chakra. The Vishnu Sahasranama salutation “Ritu Sudarsana kaala iti dighandaha” also refers to the spatial-temporal mighty jwaala, which forms the center of the kaala-anala (fire at the end of time.) This jwaala has the radiance of thousand suns, which is evident from the opening salutation of the Sudarsana Kavacham. Therefore, the Chakra dispels all ignorance and darkness.
Sudarsana is shown as rod-icon on Ratnavedi among Jagannatha Parivara moving away from the concept of disc. The cross section of a rod is a circle. Rod shows limitless number of such discs all compressed together and held together as the most powerful Sudarsana chakra rod. Often Narasimha and Sudarsan are shown together as Sudarsana- Narsimha. Probably rod represents both as Narasimha came out of a pillar. A rod is a symbol of a guard as a staff. Sudarsana in the form of Chakratt-azhwar serves as the guard in Vishnu temples. That is why it is a probably shown as a rod. Anyhow as the story goes Viswakarma left his work half done as we see all icons as half done. Probably he had a pillar like material in stock out of which wanted to bring out Narasimha-Sudarsana icon. Therefore Sudarsana as rod may be the raw-material from which icon had to be sculpted.
In the early days, people worshipped Sun as God, and as the dispeller of ignorance and
darkness. They thought that the Earth was the center of the
universe, and the Sun was moving around the Earth. This was called
as GEOCENTRIC THEORY by Ptolemy. GEO means Earth. Then Galileo
proposed HELIOCENTRIC THEORY. The Sun was the center of the universe
while all the planets were moving around the Sun. He also discovered many
things, like the actual value of the gravity of the Earth, telescopes, and
conducted many experiments. He was charged by Catholic Churches that he
was corrupting the minds of the people, and put him in prison until his
death. Then Copernicus discovered the ELLIPTICAL THEORY which is
true even today. All the planets are moving on elliptical orbit while the
Sun is at one of the focal points of the ellipse. But Hindu
astrologers based on Puranas say
the Earth is still the in the center while
planet Sun, planet Moon, planet
Kuja, planet Budha, planet Guru, Planet
Sukra, planet Sani, Planet Rahu
and Planet Ketu are moving around the Earth influencing people on Earth., for
they call everything as Graha which religious authors translate as planets.
astrologers have a great influence on human mind and therefore Navagraha worship
and homa are considered even more important than focus on the main deity. No
doubt Sun and Moon have significant effect on humans as witnessed during
eclipses. So this worship could have been confined to Vedic deities Sun and
Moon to avoid all controversies, doubts and criticisms. Rahu and Ketu are purely mythological minor
deities. I often wonder why Navagraha worship is confined to followers of Siva
and Sakta worshipers and not found in Vaishnava tradition, which they divert
to Sudarsana. There is neither Navagraha
sanctum, nor Navagraha worship in Vishnu temples. Somehow Navagraha worship
concept did not catch the imagination of Vaishnavites who always worship
Aaditya. Moon as a graha is also not
worshiped in Vaishnava concept. But,
astrologers have a strong influence on private lives of Vaishnavas because of
their beliefs in horoscope and influence of Grahas. In Vaishnava belief Sudarsana is 1000 times more powerful
than Sun. Bhagavadgeetaa says supreme
Being is 1000 times powerful than Sun. It describes Viswaroopa as divisooryasahasrah, the brightness of thousand blazing Suns. Vaishnavites feel Sudarsana is an amsa (part)
of Vishnu as mentioned in Ramayana where Bharata is an incarnation of Sudarsana
and Amsa of Vishnu who was born on account of the part of pudding from the same
pot of Amrita which Kaikeyi consumed. Sri Sudharshana Azhwar is Sriman Narayanans Sankalap Shakti to wipe out all evils.
Sudarsanaaya vidmahe mahaa jwaalaaya ddheemahi tanno chakrah prachodayaat |
"Oh Sudarsana! The one with the blazing flames; the one who is equivalent to millions of suns; I am unintelligent and blind to the way of the almighty. May Sudarshana lead me to the almighty!”
Taaro Bhrigur-viyadbhooyas-tadaadyam vahnidheergayuk |
Paavakah kavachastraanto manu sptaaksharah smritam ||
Ahirbubhudyo munih prokta-chchando-anushtu-budahritam |
Devataa munibhih proktaa chakraroopee harih swayam ||
Kalpaantaarkaprakaasamtribhuvanam-akhilam tejasaa poorayantam Raktaakshm pingakesam ripulabhyadam bheemadamshtra-attahaasam | chakram sankham gadaabje prthu-tara-musalam chaapa-paasaankusaan bibhraanam dorbir-aadyammanasi muraripum bhavayed-chakra-sanjyam ||
Om sahsraara Phat |
Ahirbudhyaana is the Rishi of this Mantra; Meter (Chhandas) is Anushtup; and the deity is Vishnu in the form Chakra as Devata (deity).
Dorbhis-chakradarau gadaabja-musalaams-traasaamscha Paasaankusau
Bibhrat-pinga-siroruho-atha bhavatah chakraabhidhaano harih ||
Om Shasraara phat
Ahirbudhyaana is the Rishi of this Mantra; Meter (Chhandas) is Anushtup; and the deity is Vishnu in the form Chakra as Devata (Deity).
"Om Kleem Krishnaaya Govindaaya Gopijana Vallabhaaya Paraaya Parama Purushaaya Paramaatmane Para Karma Mantra Yantra Tantra Oushada Astra Shastraani Samhara Samhara mrutyor mochaya mochaya. Om Namo Bhagavate Mahaa Sudarshanaya deepthrae Jwaalaa Parivrithaaya Sarva Dikshobhana Karaaya Hum phat Brahmane Paranjyotishe Swahaa”
“Om Sudarsanaaya vidmahey Mahaa Jwalaya dheemahi tanno Chakrah Prachodayaat”
Jani bhaya-sthaana-taarana jagadavasthaana-kaarana |
Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana Jaya Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana || 1 ||
You who causes fear in the enemy circles, who have numerous good attributes as ornaments, who help people to come over the fear of rebirth, who are the cause of the existence of the world, who destroys the effects of all bad actions and who shows the different paths laid down in the Vedas for Jeevanmukti (liberation)—Hail! Hail! Sri Sudarsana!
Subha jagadrupa mandana sura gana traasa khandana |
Sata-makha brahma vandita sata-pata brahma nandita |
Prathita vidvat-sapakshita bhajata ahirbudhnya lakshita
Jaya jaya Sri Sudarsana Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana || 2 ||
You adorn the sacred form of the Lord whose body is the whole world! You are the dispeller of the fears of hosts of Gods! Indra and Brahma pay their obeisance to You. You are glorified in Satapata BHrahmana of Vedas. You treat as your kith and kin those learned people and you are visualized by Ahirbudhnaya (Siva addressed by that name in the Samhita). Hail! Hail! OH Sudarsana!
Sphuta tatijjaala pinjara prithu-tara jwaala panjara |
Parigata pratnavigraha patutara prajna durgraha
Praharana graama mandita parijana traana pandita |
Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana || 3||
You are gilded like the clear clusters of lightning. You are enclosed in a very large cage of flames. You are surrounded by weapons. You are not attainable even by those with sharp intellect. You are adorned by a multitude of weapons. You are master in protecting your servants. Hail! Hail! Sri Sudarsana!
Nija pada preetha sadgana nirupadhi spheeta shad guna
Nigama nirvyudha vaibhava nijapara vyooha vaibhava |
Hari haya dweshi daarana hara pura plosha kaarana
Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana || 4 ||
You have with you good crowd devoted to your sacred feet. You have the six good natural qualities in perfection and plentitude. Your greatness is celebrated in Vedas. You have the qualities of para (spiritual) and Vyooha (emanations of Vishnu) glory. You have destroyed the enemies of Indra. You have caused the city of Hara(Kaasi) ablaze. Hail! Hailo! Sri Sudarsana!
Danuja vistaara kartana jani tamisraa vikartana |
Danuja vidyaa nikartana bhajat avidyaa nivartana |
Amara drishta sva vikrama samara jushta bhrami krama
Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana ||
You cut off the gangs of the demons. You remove the inherited ignorance of birth like Sun. You put an end the illusion created by demons. You remove the ignorance of the devotees. Your valor is noticed by the divines and you are seen whirling around in the battlefield (helping the deserving). Hail! Hail! Sri Sudarsana
Pratimukhaaleedha prithu mahaa heti dantura
Vikata maaya bahishkritha vividha maalaa parishkritha
Prithu mahaayantra tantritha dhridha dayaa tantra yantrita
Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana ||
You are fantastic in your leap forward. You are surmounted by many a mighty weapons. You are beyond the reach of all deceitful powers. You are adorned by a vaeiety of Garlands. You are well seated in a great yantra motif on solid foundation. You yield easily to bonds of compassion! Hail! Hail! Sri Sudarsana
Shadar-chakra-pratishthita sakala –tattva-pratishthita |
Vividha –sankalpa-kalpaka vibudha-sankalpa -kalpaka
Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana ||
You bestow the power to destroy Moha (illusion) to attain liberation (Moksha). Your six-lettered name grants honor and prosperity. You are embedded in a circle with a hexagon of six sides and are established in all entities as antaryamin or inner-self. You like Kalpavriksh, all boon granting tree, fulfil all wishes including the desires of even the divines. Hail! Hail! Sri Sudarsana
Bhuvana netastrayeemaya savanna tejastrayeemaya
Niravadhi svaadu chinmaya nikhila sakte jaganmaya |
Amita viswa-kriyaamaya samite vishvagbhayaamaya
Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana
You are the acknowledged leader of all the worlds and the embodiment of the wisdom of all three Vedas. You are the kinds of sacred fires—Gaarhapatya, Aahavaneeya and Dakshina. Your blissful knowledge is limitless. With all your powers you pervade the entire Universe. You are the cause and effect of all activities in the world, cure for all diseases and remover of all kinds of fears. Hail! Hail! Sri Sudarsana!
wichatushkam-idam prabhootasaaram pathataam Venkatanaayaka-praneetam
Vishame-api manorathah pradhaavan na vihanyeta rathaangadhuryaguptah ||
Those who read this composition of eight hymns full of quintessential meaning composed by Vedanta Desika will have all his wishes fulfilled, however difficult they may be to realize for the Good Lord Sudarsana will take care of them!
Sudarsana in Shodasaayudha -stotram
Jushtah shodasabhir-divyair-jushataam vah parah pumaan ||
May that Supreme Lord of all weapons, equipped with sixteen divine weapons which are comparable to his thoughts, bless you!
Yadaayattam jagacchakram kaalachakram cha saasvatam |
Paatu vas-tatparam chakram chakra-roopasya chakrinaah ||
May the magnificent discus of Lord Vishnu (Sudarsana), who manifests himself as Chakra, on which depend the wheel of the world and eternal Wheel of Time (kaalachakra), protect you!
Astragraamasya kritsnasya prasootim yam prachakshate |
So-avyaat sudarsano viswam aayudhaih shoedsaayudhah ||
May Sudarsana, equipped with sixteen weapons, who is the origin of birth for all weapons, protect the world!
Mantra -Om Sahasraarajwaalaavartine Kshreem hana hum phat swaahaa
Taaram sahasraarajwaalaavartine Kshroum hanadvayam |
Hrum phat swaahaa chonavimsavarno mantra udaahritah ||
Munirjayanta aakhyaatacchaando gaayatramuchyate |
Sudarsana nrisimho asya devataa parikeertitah ||
[The rishi of this mantra is Jayanta, Chandas is Gaayatree and the Devata is Sudarsana Narasimha]
Chakraanaam tu sabhaamadhye kaalaagnisadrisaprabham |
chaturbhujam vivrittaasyam chatuschakradharam harim | |
taptakaanchanasankaasam trinetram chaadyavigraham |
dhyaayet-samasta-dukhagnam taadrig lakshmyaa samanvitam ||
Taaro bhrigur-viyad-bhooyas-tadaadyam vahnee-dheergayuk |
Paavakah kavachaas-traanto manu sptaaksharah smritam || 1 ||
Ahir budhyo minih proktas-chchando anushtu-budaahritam |
Devataa munubhih proktaa chakraroopee harih svayam || 2||
OM Sahasraara Phat ||
[This mantra has Ahirbudhnya as its Rishi, Anushtub as its meter and Vishnu in the form of Chakra as the Devata]
Kalpaantaarka-prakaasam tribhuvanam-akhilam tejasaa poorayantam
Raktaaksham Pingakesam ripuphulabhayadam bheema-damshtra-attahaasam |
chakram sankham gadaabje prithutara-musalam chaapa-paasaankusaan vai
bibhraanam dorbhir-aadyam manasi mura-ripum baavayec-chakra-sanjyam ||
Om sahasraara phat |
bheemaakshah ksharad-attahaasa-vikasad-damshtraa-pradeeptaananah |
dorbhis-chakradarau gadaabja-musalaams-traasaamscha paasaankusau
bibhrat-pinga-siroruho atha bhavatah chakraabhidhaano harih ||
- Ramachndra Rao, S.K., Vishnu Kosha, Kalpatharu Research Academy, Sringeri Sharada Peetham, Bengaluru, India.
- Dr. Narasimhachary, Sri Vedanta Desika Stotras, Sripad Trust, Chennai, India.
- Devdutt Pattanaik, Vishnu, Vakils, Feffer and Simons Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, India.
- Nanditha Krishnan, Balaji—Venkateshwara, Feffer and Simons Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, India
- Swami Harshananda, Hindu Gods and Goddesses, Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, India.
- Kamala Raghunathan, Raghu & N.R. Srinivasan Pamphlet on Sudarasana Mahaa Yajnam, Sri Ganesha Temple, Nashville, TN, USA.
- Swami Vimalananda, Mahanarayana Upanishad, Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, India.
Tvam Rudrastvam Vishnustvam Brahmatsvam
(Courtesy Krishna Muralidharan Iyengar, Singapore)
As Sri Sudarshana Jayanthi falls on 26-Jun-2015 (Friday) (and on 26-July-2015 according to some other traditions), I am happy to share a short and sweet hymn on Lord Sudarshana by a Gandharva called Durdama, taken from Skanda Purana, Brahma Khanda, Setu Mahatmya, Chapter 4.
As the last 4 stanzas of the hymn has reference to Chakra Tirtha, the hymn was presumably sung in Thirupullani, an important pilgrimage place near Rameswaram - a place where King Dasharatha was bestowed with divine nectar (Payasam/kheer) to get progeny and where Lord Rama prayed to Samudra Raja atop kusha grass to reach Sri Lanka. The Adi Jagannatha Perumal Temple in this place is one of the 108 Divya Desams and a very important site related to Ramayana.
Lord Sudarshana worship is not for the ordinary and one has to maintain certain minimum spiritual hygiene to qualify for this. Lord Sudarshana's grace destroys all misfortunes and there are innumerable anecdotes in this regard. Though every Vishnu Temple is likely to have a Sannidhi for Lord Sudarshana, a few temples are especially famous for Lord Sudarshana - e.g. Saarngapaani Temple in Kumbhakonam, Thirumohoor in Madurai, Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Kancheepuram, Srirangam Temple, etc.
As we have seen many times before, Sudarshana Chakra was actually given to Lord Vishnu by Lord Shiva at his request. The reference to this can be seen in many purans - be it Shaivite or Vaishnavite in texture. Linga Purana as well as Shiva Purana contains the Shiva Sahasranama created by Lord Vishnu for this purpose. But Saura Purana gives a different hymn. There is also an opinion that Sudarshana Chakra is another form of Lord Bhairava - Chakra Bhairava. The Shaivite/Vaishnavite rivalry we see in greater Tamil Nadu of the medieval times is never to be seen in any purans and therefore must be a later day corruption - a politically motivated irrational exuberance.
The following is a rare hymn on Lord Sudarshana by Durdama taken from Skanda Puranam, Brahma Khanda, Setu Mahatmya and Chapter 4. Durdama is said to have attained redemption from all his sins after worshipping Lord Sudarshana with this hymn and bathing in the holy water titled Chakra Tirtha in Setu (presumably Chakra Tirtha in Thirupullani near Rameswaram).
Durdama uvāca –
Sudarśana namaste'stu viṣṇu-hastaika-bhūṣaṇa | namaste 'sura-saṁhartre sahasrāditya-tejase || 1 ||
Kṛpāleśenabhavatas tyaktvā 'haṁ rākṣasīṁ tanum | svarūpamabhajaṁ viṣṇoś cakrāyudha namo'stu te || 2 ||
Anujānīhi māṁ gantuṁ tridivaṁ viṣṇu-vallabha | bhāryāmepariśocanti virahātura cetasaḥ || 3 ||
Tvan manasko bhaviṣyāmi yāvaj jīvaṁ yathāhyaham | tathā kṛpāṁ kuruṣva tvaṁ mayi cakra namo'stu te || 3 ||
Cakrāyudha namāmi tvāṁ mahā'sura-vimardana | devī pattana paryantaṁ dharma-tīrthe hyanuttame || 4 ||
Sannidhānaṁ kuruṣva tvaṁ sarva-pāpa-vināśanam | tvat-sannidhānāt sarveṣāṁ snātānāṁ pāpināṁ iha || 5 ||
Pāpa-nāśaṁ kuruṣva tvaṁ mokṣaṁ ca kuru śāśvatam | cakratīrtaṁ iti khyātiṁ loke'sya parikalpaya || 6 ||
Tvat sannidhānādatratya munīnāṁ bhaya-nāśanam | itaḥ paraṁ bhavatvārya cakrāyudha namo'stu te || 7 ||
bhūta-preta-piśācebhyo bhayaṁ mā bhavatu prabho || 8 || ||
|| Iti śrīskānde mahāpurāṇe brahma-khaṇḍe setu-māhātmye durdama-kṛta śrīsudarśana stotraṁ sampūrṇam ||
Rudraaaya Vishnave Namah—Obeisance to Vishnu who is Rudra
Whatever has been left over to be mentioned in respect of Upaasana (worship and meditation) Karma and Jnaana after the recital of Samhitaa and Braahmana is brought together in Mahaanaaraayan Upanishad (MNU) says Sayana. MNU is otherwise called Mantropanishad. In the context of above text by Muralidhara Iyengar may I recall my remarks that irrespective their following (Vishnu, Siva or Sakta) in Sandhyavandna all chant the name Achyuta, Ananta and Govinda in Aaachamana though traditions interpret them to their convenience (see my 16-steps Pooja).
The most popular Mantra of MNU describes supreme Being as:
Om antascharati bhooteshu guhaayam viswa moortishu | tvam yajnastavam indrastvam Rudrastavam Vishnustavam Brhmatvam prajaapatih |
Later in several mantras both Vishnu and Rudra are mentioned together for worship and prayers. I would like to mention here two specific mantras from MNU:
Namo Rudraaya Vishnave mrityurme paahi |
Obeisance to Rudra who is Vishnu ! Guard me from death!
Nidhanaaya namah | Nidhana-pataantikaaya namah | Oordhvaaya namah | Oordhva-lingaaya namah | Hiranyaaya namah | Hiranya-lingaaya namah | Suvarnaaya namah | Suvarna-lingaaya namah | Divyaaya namah | Divya-lingaaya namah | Bhavaaya namah | Bhava-lingaaya namah |Sarvaaya namah | Sarva-lingaaya namah | Sivaaya namah | Siva-lingaaya namah | Jwaalaaya namah | Jwaala-lingaaya namah | Aatmaaya namah | Aatma-lingaaya namah | Paramaaya namah | Parama-lingaaya namah | Etath-soemasya sooryasya sarva-lingam sthaapayati paanimantram pavitram ||
By these twenty-two names ending with salutations, the mantras focus on Vishnu and Siva. The word without the suffix Linga refers to Vishnu while one with Linga to Rudra Vaishnava texts of MNU explains only eleven of these Divine Names in the light of their philosophy and Yoga. The Linga which is worshipped by the devotee of Siva and Salagraama worshiped by the devotee of Vishnu is but a handy replica or a convenient diminutive form of the universal semi-spherical emblem of the Unlimited (Supreme Being).
Chandogya Upanishad III.19.1 describes that the whole universe was hatched out of a golden egg (Hiranyagarbha) which lay a complete year before it brought forth offspring. The spherical dome of heaven above, appearing to us capping the earth on which we live, may be likened to an enormous semi-section of an egg containing the world. Perhaps this golden egg lend itself to be fancied as the visible symbol of the limitless all-inclusive Divine Reality into which the manifold universe was believed to be reabsorbed at the end.
This wisdom contained in Vedas made Puranas later to think of praising Rudra and Vishnu together in hymns invariably in all the Puranas at some place even though their focus was Siva or Vishnu or Devi, dedicated to a particular form of the Supreme. They never thought of Brahma for Moorti Upaasana (visible, vyakta form of worship) as the World has all been created and the task of Srishthi was complete about which humans need not have to worry. The Linga and Salagrama are of Vyaktaavyakta (visible-invisible) form. Their focus was on Existence (Sthithi) and Extinction (Laya). This perhaps is the philosophy for not having temples for Brahma which they have nicely woven into a Purana Episode.