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Published: 29.11.2019
Updated: 04.12.2019

Kim sharva-rishushashi-naanhivivasva-taavaa?Yushman-mukhendu-daliteshutamassunaatha!
Nishpanna-shaali-vana-shaalinijiva-loke, Kaaryamkiyaj-jala-dharairjala-bhaara-namraih||

O Lord! Where is the need of the sun during the day and the moon during the night when your ever-radiant face sweeps away the darkness? In this living world, once the crop rips, what is the need of the rain clouds?

—20 —
Gyaanamyathaatvayivibhaatikritaa-vakaasham, Naivamtathaahari-haraa-dishunaaya-keshu |
Tejahsfuran-manishuyaatiyathaamahat-tvam, Naivamtukaacha-shakalekiranaa-kuleapi |

O Lord! The way knowledge evokes by taking shelter in you, it is not possible in any other deity such as Hari, Har in this world. The luster and light of priceless gems can be hardly seen in glass pieces glittering in the beam of sunlight.

Acharya Maantung attempted to compare Lord Rishabh with various symbolic examples of light but could not find an apt metaphor. When he found no parallel in his comparison; he engrossed himself in Bhakti Ras and reached a level of 'Immersive Devotion'. At this highest level of devotion, he perceives only the Lord and no one else.

Understanding Devotion

At this stage, a thought arose in Acharya Maantung's mind -'What is the need of the moon at night and the sun during the day? When the divine face of the Lord is eliminating darkness then why are these external sources of light needed? The illumination of the Sun and the Moon has no comparison to the glory of your face.' Following shlok presents the feeling of devotion that touches the heart.

Kim sharva-rishushashi-naanhivivasva-taavaa?Yushman-mukhendu-daliteshutamassunaatha!
Nishpanna-shaali-vana-shaalinijiva-loke, Kaaryamkiyaj-jala-dharairjala-bhaara-namraih||

Pragmatically, this is an impractical question - Is there any alternative to the sun or the moon? How will the world function without them? The beauty of the night rests on the moon and the sun illuminates the world during the day. Acharya Maantung refuses to accept this fact as his devotion has changed his perspective of the world. There are different levels of understanding in people. We cannot justify any perspective without comprehending its level. We have to decide the perspective or context on the basis of which a statement is made. When a devotee is at the highest level of devotion and utters something, it shouldn't be comprehended frivolously. No other female can speak the way Meera spoke. Similarly, a common man cannot say that which has been said by Surdas or Tulsidas. The state of that highest level of devotion is a divine state.

Once Meera travelled to Brijbhumi to visit a world-renowned saint, Jeevaswami. Jeevaswami had taken a vow not to meet any female. Meera went to his residence and asked for a meeting with him, hut in vain. Meera then sent him a message "I came here thinking that only gopis (spiritually enlightened beings not bound by gender) reside in Brijbhumi. But now I realise that Brija is also home to people other than gopis." Comprehending the meaning hidden in her statement, Jeevaswami immediately came out to meet her.

History depicts how all divine devotees attain a unique level of devotion. Being engrossed in devotion, whatever is said by them may not be understood by a common man. Expressions of prominent devotees are being interpreted in multiple ways until this day. It can be daunting for a common man to capture their perspective and relate to it. When a devotee's mind finds its peace and illumination in their object of devotion, they cannot fathom the existence of peace and light anywhere else. For Acharya Maantung his light, beauty, peace and radiance came from the Lord. At this level of devotion, he admits - 'I don't need anybody else other than you Lord'

There is a well-known anecdote about Hanuman, the great devotee of Lord Ram. Hanuman perceived and saw his Lord in everything. He once broke open every bead from the necklace gifted to him by Sita to search for the image of his Lord.

Flow of divine thoughts and its expressions occur only at the highest level of devotion.

With extreme devotion and faith, a devotee sees only his God in everything and everywhere. Nothing else is visible to him. He who has the faith and has mastered detachment loses interest in everything else. Flow of divine thoughts and its expressions occur only at the highest level of devotion. Therefore, whatever is said by Acharya Maantung is neither an exaggeration nor an act of ignoring other beings. Acharya Maantung presented his thoughts beautifully and clarifies his statement. He says - 'I am not saying that there is no need of the sun and the moon. Just that they are important for the world but not as much for me'.

When a seed is sown, it requires water or rain. But will the water be required even after the crops are ready for harvesting? No! Dark and gloomy clouds are welcomed during the monsoon season. But they are not welcomed in spring. Why is that? Because in those months they do not bear any results. When anything undesired is received, it affects our mood. Things that have no utility are undesirable.

Acharya Maantung says -'After the crops of rice are ready for harvest, there is no need of water-filled clouds. I have attained illumination and inner peace and the most important thing is that I have found the Lord who bestows illumination and inner peace' In this whole context, if we reflect upon the words said by Acharya Maantung, we will find that he did not state anything wrong or impractical. Being in a divine state, he just asserted that he did not need anything else.

Illumination of Knowledge

In the next shlok, Acharya Maantung says that the illumination of knowledge, which dwells in Lord Rishabh, is unparalleled and seen in anyone. 'You've attained this illumination as a result of your arduous spiritual practice. That's why knowledge did not find any appropriate place to stay other than in you. 'You've given place to knowledge or knowledge itself has searched for you.' Acharya Maantung continues-'Lord! The illumination of knowledge you have is not possessed by others. The validation of my statement is that the philosophy of soul as propounded by you has not been proposed by others'

Lord Rishabh was the founder and the first person to propagate Atmavad(theory of soul) in the history of philosophy. He revealed the existence of soul and explained its relevance and importance. In my perspective, succeeding philosophers also spoke about soul but not comprehensively. Some considered the soul to be omnipresent while others have accepted soul as the size of a thumb. These beliefs are not logical and the reason behind their false assumptions is that they do not possess the enlightenment that the Lord possesses.

The second validation is Lord Rishabh has advocated the soul to be the only karta(doer) of karma. Our own soul is the creator of our happiness and misery. No other philosophy states that happiness and misery are a consequence of self-creation. Naiyayikas(followers of Nyay philosophy) and some other philosophers believe that action is performed by soul, but the result of that action is given by God. According to Samkhya philosophy soul is akarta(non-doer) and abhokta(one who does not experience the fruition of karma). Acharya Maantung did not find either of the philosophies logical. It is difficult to find cohesion in any philosophy from its beginning to its end, or from a state of hypothesis to a state of conclusion. Such connection is possible only when there is omniscience or realization of the soul.

Once three members of a family - husband, son and brother were caught in a criminal case. Those days legal proceedings were not as organised as today. Judgment was made quickly and impulsively by the king. In this case the king announced punishment of death. Just then a woman entered the court wailing on top of her voice.

She said -

Anodakaanadinaggaa, nagga-ratthamaraajakam |
Ittheevividhavaanaggaa, jassaavidasa-bhaataro ||

A river is bare without water and a nation is bare without a king. Similarly, a woman, despite having 10 brothers, is bare and incomplete without her husband. Hearing the woman talk about being bare, the King mistook it to be naked and ordered his courtier to give her clothes.

That woman said - "King! Once I become a widow no clothes can cover me." King became compassionate and said - "I grant you to ask me to save any one of the three here."

The woman contemplated and answered- I could have asked to save my husband's life but the truth is I can re-marry. I can ask to save my son's life too, but then if I re-marry I can have another son. Instead, O King, please save my brother as my mother is no more and I can never have another brother. Now that is the biggest contradiction the king could have come across. On one hand, she was claiming that without her husband she is bare despite having brothers and here she is advocating saving her brother's life!

This is how life is. We are faced with multiple contradictions, which are beyond our imagination. Contradictions are even found in the literary works of great poets like Kalidas. However, the one who attains omniscience and self-realization is free of all contradictions.

Self-realization frees all contradictions

Where there is self-realization there exists no impediments. In Indian literature, omniscient is symbolized as chaturmukh(having four faces, one in each direction). Nandi sutra (canonical text) states that anyone who has paramavadhigyan(highest level of clairvoyance) can see in all directions. They have holistic perceptions and there are no contradictions in their statements.

Acharya Maantung says - 'Lord! Your true knowledge is unparalleled. You have propounded the soul, explained the soul as a doer and also discussed the eternity of the soul. Soul never dies, it only transforms from one body at birth to another. Therefore one can be called mortal as well as immortal' The philosophy of non-absolutism accepts the concept of origination, detection and persistence. So, both mortality and immortality are accepted in relative terms.

Supporting his own statement, Acharya Maantung says - 'One philosophy believes substance is momentary whereas another philosophy regards substance to be absolutely eternal. Lord! You consider substance neither absolutely eternal nor absolutely momentary. According to you, substance is both eternal as well as non-eternal'.

Keeping all these theories in mind, Acharya Maantung says that the illumination of knowledge that is seen in you is not visible in anyone else. He had neither the intention of sidelining anybody, nor saying this based on faith or hatred. He said this after examining the Aaptatva(right knowledge) that can stand the test of scrutiny-

Na shraddhyaivatvayipakshapaato, Na dveshamaatraadaruchihpareshu|
Yathaavadaaptatvaparikshayaau, Tvaamevaveeraprabhumaashritaahsmah | |

If seen from the right perspective, one will observe that Acharya Maantung is not defaming anyone in front of his Lord. He is just stating the obvious. When you weigh the knowledge of the Lord against others you will see that only Lord is an omniscient. Glass also shines when in contact with sun rays but the radiance or lustre we see in jewels is not found in any kind of glass.

—20 —
Gyaanamyathaatvayivibhaatikritaa-vakaasham, Naivamtathaahari-haraa-dishunaaya-keshu |
Tejahsfuran-manishuyaatiyathaamahat-tvam, Naivamtukaacha-shakalekiranaa-kuleapi |

This shlok is reflecting an experience and that experience states-I found enlightenment only in an omniscient soul. Acharya Maantung is explaining to the world a philosophy of non-absolutism which to him seems to be holistic. He does not find any other absolute philosophy as enlightening as non-absolutism. In these two shlokas Acharya Maantung appreciated knowledge and its illumination. It is essential to follow spiritual practices of enlightenment for the development of knowledge.

The group of nine shlokas(twelve to twenty) are of most importance. Mantras are integrated in every shlok of Bhaktamar but these nine shlokas are powerful from the perspective of development of knowledge. The spontaneous flow of the rare treasure of knowledge can be released by the spiritual practice of these shlokas.


Title:  Bhaktambar Stotra
Author:  Acharya Mahapragna
Publisher:  Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Digital Publishing: 
Amit Kumar Jain

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Abhokta
  2. Acharya
  3. Akarta
  4. Bhakti
  5. Body
  6. Chaturmukh
  7. Clairvoyance
  8. Karma
  9. Naiyayikas
  10. Nandi sutra
  11. Non-absolutism
  12. Omniscient
  13. Paramavadhigyan
  14. Ram
  15. Ras
  16. Rishabh
  17. Samkhya
  18. Shlok
  19. Shlokas
  20. Soul
  21. Sutra
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