ಅತೀಂದ್ರಃ ಸಂಗ್ರಹಃ ಸರ್ಗಃ ಧೃತಾತ್ಮಾ ನಿಯಮಃ ಯಮಃ || ೧೭ ||
upeṃdra vāmanaḥ prāṃśuḥ amoghaḥ śuciḥ ūrjitaḥ
atīṃdraḥ saṃgrahaḥ sargaḥ dhṛtātmā niyamaḥ yamaḥ ||17||
The name 'ಉಪೇಂದ್ರ' (Upendra) associated with the divine being has a very interesting and significant meaning. As mentioned earlier (referring to the 39th name), among the twelve children of Aditi and Kashyapa, one of them is Indra, and the youngest son is Vamana, who is an incarnation of the Supreme Being. Here, Upendra refers to the Supreme Being who took birth as the younger brother of Indra. "ಅಜಗನ್ಯಹ ಜಗನ್ಯಜಃ" means the one who is the smallest among all but the greatest in birth, which signifies Vamana's form.
In a day of Lord Brahma, which is equal to 432 crore (4.32 billion) years (creation), and in a night of equal duration, there exist fourteen Manus. Each Manvantara has one Indra, and in each Manvantara, the entire group of celestial beings (devaganas) changes. In each Manvantara, the Supreme Being incarnates as a support to Indra and helps him. Hence, the Supreme Being who incarnates for the assistance of Indra is called Upendra. In the first Manvantara, as the Supreme Being Himself was Indra, Upendra is not visible there. Upendra's form manifests in the Vamana incarnation during the Vaivasvata Manvantara. Therefore, when Bali took away Indra's kingdom and asked for three steps of land, it was Vamana, the Upendra form of the Supreme Being, who returned Indra's wealth and took back the three steps of land.
Note: The concept of Manvantara and Indra mentioned here is based on Hindu mythology and cosmology.
The name 'ಉಪೇಂದ್ರ' (Upendra) can be understood by breaking it down into two parts: 'ಉಪ' (Upa) meaning 'higher' or 'superior.' This Sanskrit word has been translated as 'up' or 'upper' in English. In German, it is translated as 'Über.' In Hindi, it is 'ऊपर' (Upar). The root of all these languages is Sanskrit. 'ಉಪ' (Upa) signifies 'height' or 'elevation' and is used in various contexts. For example, 'ಉಪನಿಷತ್ತು' (Upanishad) refers to the scriptures that elevate us to higher knowledge, 'ಉಪನಯನ' (Upanayana) is the ritual of initiation that leads one to higher learning, and 'ಉಪವಾಸ' (Upavasa) is fasting to elevate the mind by emptying the stomach.
Therefore, in the case of 'ಉಪೇಂದ್ರ' (Upendra), it signifies the Supreme Lord who is above and beyond Indra, the ruler of heaven. Upendra represents the supreme ruler of the three worlds, the lord of the cosmos.
The story of 'ಬಲಿ ಚಕ್ರವರ್ತಿ' (Bali Chakravarti) being deceived and liberated by Lord Vishnu in the form of 'ವಾಮನ' (Vamana) is described in the 75th name of Lord Vishnu, known as 'ವಿಕ್ರಮೀ' (Vikrami). Here, 'ವಾಮನ' (Vamana) signifies a small or dwarf-sized form. Lord Vishnu, in his subtlest form, has filled our hearts more delicately than an atom.
Furthermore, 'ವಾಮ' (Vama) means beauty or grace. 'ವಾಮನ' (Vamana) refers to the one who bestows beauty. The focal point of beauty is the eye. The presence of the divine resides in the eyes. No matter how much beauty one possesses, without eyes, they appear ugly. In this way, Lord Vishnu, who is the essence of beauty, is called Vamana.
This term can be understood by breaking it down into 'ವಾ' (Va) meaning knowledge, 'ಅಮ' (Am) meaning ignorance, and 'ನ' (Na) meaning leads. Therefore, it can be interpreted as the one who compassionately guides knowledge and ignorance according to the deserving qualities of individuals. Lord Vamana is the embodiment of knowledge and bliss, who showers his grace based on the eligibility of each person.
The word 'ಪ್ರಾಂಶುಃ' (Pranshu) means having excellent rays and being elevated in height. It signifies the divine presence that pervades in the sun, moon, all living beings, and everywhere. Lord Vishnu is 'ಪ್ರಾಂಶುಃ' (Pranshu) as he fills every corner of existence.
Upon realizing the divine form of Lord Vishnu as Vamana, Bali Chakravarti instantly bows his head at the lotus feet of the Lord and seeks refuge.
The word 'ಮೋಘ' (Mogha) means futile or in vain. No action of the Lord is ever futile; it is always fruitful. Whatever work we offer to the Lord is never in vain. As mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita:
"nehābhikrama-nāśo'sti pratyavāyo na vidyate" (BG 2.40)
ನೇಹಾಭಿಕ್ರ ಮನಾಶೋsಸ್ತಿ ಪ್ರತ್ಯವಾಯೋ ನ ವಿದ್ಯತೇ (ಅ-೨ ಶ್ಲೋ-೪೦)
It means, "In this endeavor, there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear."
Forgetting the Divine and striving only to become wealthy, we may not carry our accumulated wealth with us beyond this life. However, the desire to attain knowledge of the Lord or to understand the nature of the Divine accompanies us to the next birth. Whatever actions we perform, whether good or bad, they are never in vain. They will bear fruit in our future lives as per the will of the unfailing Lord.
The word 'ಶುಚಿಃ' (Shuchi) means "Ever Pure." It refers to a radiant beam of light that is free from any impurities or flaws. The Lord is like fire. Whatever you put into fire, it does not become contaminated. However, water and air can get polluted. Even if impurities are added to fire, they become pure. Similarly, the Lord is also pure like fire. He is self-illuminating and bestows light upon everyone.
The Lord also gives sorrow or anguish to the wrongdoers as a consequence of their actions. He is the one who administers punishment or suffering to those who engage in unrighteousness. Such is the purity of the Lord.
"The Lord is complete in everything, infinite, and extremely powerful. Therefore, He is full of energy."
The term 'Atiindra' means surpassing or transcending Indra, and even surpassing Brahma and Vayu. Indra represents supreme power. In the world, whatever we consider as the ultimate power, the Lord surpasses all those powers. The Lord, who possesses power beyond all limits, is known as Atiindra. Indra also refers to Devendra. The story that illustrates the power surpassing Devendra is the lifting of Govardhana Hill by Lord Krishna. In this way, the Lord, known as Omkara, surpasses Indra, Prana-Vayu, Brahma, and other deities. He is Atiindra.
Our mind's power is limited. We do not have the ability to perceive only the truth. Sometimes we perceive falsehood as truth. However, the Lord is capable of perceiving any subject accurately, as it is, without distortion or the touch of inverted knowledge. He is the collector of knowledge (Sangraha).
The Lord, who bestowed us with the power of comprehension, lifts us up when we stumble, holds our hand, affectionately accepts us, removes ignorance, and imparts knowledge. He is the collector of knowledge (Sangraha).
During the time of dissolution, the Lord collects all beings within Himself, and during the time of creation, He recreates them according to their karmic tendencies. He is the collector of knowledge (Sangraha).
Sarga, the power that creates everything. Srishti, the manifestation of forms. Akasha srishti, filling everything in the formless space with various manifestations. Kala srishti, dividing the indivisible concept of time into the sun, moon, and various units, giving them new forms. Thus, the creator of the entire universe, Bhagavan, is Sarga.
Dhritatma means the one who encompasses everything. He exists as a reflection, in multiple forms, within us. In the five sheaths of this body, in the five sensory organs, in the five organs of action, he manifests as five forms. In the seven tissues, as the seven forms, in the 360 bones, in the 72,000 nadis (channels), he pervades as an infinite form. The infinite form of the Lord is present in every human body. Therefore, committing suicide by defiling such a divine abode is a great sin. Although the Lord exists in other living beings in the world, his manifestation is more pronounced in humans than in other beings that do not attain completeness. Thus, the Lord, who encompasses all the deities within us, is Dhritatma.
To understand the Lord, we must adhere to five principles within ourselves. They are as follows:
1) Shoucha (Purity): Without cleanliness in our body and mind, the Lord will never manifest. Our body, mind, and surroundings should be clean. Just as pouring a cup of water on our head does not make us drown, similarly, performing actions that nourish the remembrance of the Lord does not cause harm. Let us now explore what true drowning means.
2) Tapaha (Austerity): Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, like a blooming lotus in a pond, exuding a fragrance of love and compassion, always remember the lotus-eyed Lord. Contemplate that the nectar of His divine grace is pouring upon you. In that state, you will experience a state of drowning. During such a state, you cannot become contaminated. Even those who touch you will be purified. No external object can stain you. The contemplation of the Lord and His divine consciousness is the place of drowning. Ignorance that distances you from the Lord is the contamination.
ಪ್ರಾತಃ ಸಂಧ್ಯಾ ಅಪವಿತ್ರಃ ಪವಿತ್ರೋವಾ ಸರ್ವಾವಸ್ಥಾಂ ಗತೋಪಿವಾ ಯಃ ಸ್ಮರೇತ್ ಪುಂಡರೀಕಾಕ್ಷಂ ಸ ಬಾಹ್ಯಾಭ್ಯಂತರಃ ಶುಚಿಃ.
3) Tṛiptiḥ (Contentment): Attain contentment within yourself. The one who is content in all situations, who is like a lotus flower untouched by the waters, who is vibrant with love and compassion, remains uncontaminated. Cultivate contentment within, for the remembrance of the Lord and His divine grace to flow like a river. In this state, you will experience drowning. In this state, you cannot be contaminated. Even if someone touches you, they will be purified. The clothes you wear or any external object cannot soil you. Ignorance that separates you from the Lord is contamination.
4) Svādhyāya (Self-study): Engage in the study and contemplation of scriptures, the words of the wise, and the teachings of the Lord. This internal study is the place of drowning. Ignorance that distances you from the Lord is contamination.
5) Pūrṇārchanā (Worship): Worship the Lord with devotion, love, and surrender. The act of worship is the place of drowning. Ignorance that distances you from the Lord is contamination.
By following these five principles, we can truly know the Lord. The path to realization lies in drowning ourselves in these principles and cleansing ourselves of ignorance that keeps us away from the Lord.
1) Maitri Bhavana: Seeing others with a sense of friendship is purity, considering everyone as the embodiment of the Supreme Being. True happiness is attained through this state of mind. (Santoshad-anuttamasukhalabhah - Patanjali).
2) Tapah: It is the action of controlling our body and mind according to our desires, without allowing them to dominate us. By practicing this, impurities are destroyed, and the internal state of mind becomes purified. (Karyendriyasiddhir-ashuddhikshayastapasah - Patanjali).
3) Tripti: Being content with what we have and performing our duties with awareness of the divine presence. Not seeking the fruits of all actions, but dedicating them to the Lord. "Kamatokamatovapi yatkaroami shubhashubham tatsarvam tvayi vinyasya tvatprayuktah karomyaham" means offering all actions, whether prompted by desire or without desire, to the Lord. I perform all actions for His sake, dedicating them to Him with my body, speech, and mind.
4) Swadhyaya: Constant study and reflection, particularly on the meaning of Vedic mantras. The deity of the mantra, being pleased, bestows accomplishments. Understanding the secrets of the mantra requires the guidance of a true Guru. (Swadhyayad-ishtadevata-samprayogah - Patanjali).
5) Purushartha: Every action in life is an act of worship, a conscious offering to the Divine. It is an alertness to the flow of the Divine. Without desiring the results of all actions, I offer all actions to Him alone. "Kamatokamatovapi yatkaroami shubhashubham tatsarvam tvayi vinyasya tvatprayuktah karomyaham" means that whatever auspicious or inauspicious actions I perform with desire or without desire, I offer all of them to Him, making them exclusively for Him through my body, speech, and mind.
The one who understands these five principles and governs them for our progress is the Law itself (Niyama).
Yama is a term that refers to the ruler of the underworld, the dispenser of punishment to sinners, and the controller of all beings. It has a general meaning of "one who is known through the Yamas" (scriptures). In order for our progress and the well-being of society, Yama prescribes five vices that we must abstain from. They are: 1) violence, 2) falsehood, 3) theft, 4) coveting others' possessions, and 5) excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures.
As responsible members of society, we are expected to follow five ethical principles known as the Niti Sutras. They are: 1) Ahimsa (non-violence), 2) Satya (truthfulness), 3) Asteya (non-stealing), 4) Brahmacharya (celibacy or moderation in sensual pleasures), and 5) Aparigraha (non-possessiveness).
1) Ahimsa: Living in a way that does not cause harm to others.
2) Satya: Living truthfully and not speaking falsehoods for personal gain. One should not speak a truth that may disturb the mind of others. (Satya pratiṣṭhāyāṁ kriyāphalāśrayatvam - Patañjali)
3) Asteya: Living without stealing or taking what is not rightfully ours.
4) Brahmacharya: Living without excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures. (Here, Brahmacharya does not necessarily mean abstaining from marriage but refers to not being controlled by lust.)
5) Aparigraha: Not desiring or coveting material possessions. Being content with what is necessary and not seeking satisfaction in what others provide.
It is Bhagavan Yama who created these five principles known as Yamas, forming the foundation of ethical conduct.