Sudarshan: The Force Of Life
सुदर्शनमहा -ज्वलकोटि -सूर्य -समप्रभअज्ञान -तिमिरन्धानानांवैकुन्थद्व -परदिपः
sudarshana maha-jvala koti-surya-samaprabha ajnana-timirandhananam vaikunthadva-paradipah
“O Sudarshana!The fiery radiance, possessing power of millions of Suns, please pull me out of my ignorance and lead me to Vaikuntha.”(Skanda Purana)
Vaikuntha is the seat of Lord Vishnu and Sudarshan is the energy or the force of life which drives us to Vaikuntha. Sudarshan is placed on Chakra yantra at Ratnasinghasan and is worshiped with the Pavamana Sukta (Chakrasukta). Pavamana Sukta are the hymns or mantras meant for purification. Pavamana means that which flows and that which purifies.
asato mā sad gamaya,
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya,
mṛtyor mā amṛtaṃ gamaya,
Om shanti~ shanti~ shanti hi~~
Lead me from falsehood to truth,
Lead me from darkness to light,
Lead me from death to the immortality
Om peace peace peace !!
The world is nothing but name and form, which is falsehood from absolute point of view. The reality is the Atma , the supreme Brahman, which pervades the name and form or the world. The whole idea is to move from ‘Asat’ to ‘Sat’ – from name and form to reality. So, life’s purpose is to move from the names and forms to the substratum which is reality. To do this, we need to discover the Atma which is covered by impurities such as Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, Matsarya, Bhaya etc. These impurities should be removed through Karma, Bhakti, Gyan yoga; and thus, one frees oneself from these impurities (darkness) and move to the light within. Once the person reaches the light (pure consciousness) within, the body /mind/ intellect complex which is mortal and unreal is absolutely negated and identified with the immortal reality – the Atma and attains enlightenment.
Sri Chakra Yantra or the Sri Yantra which is lorded by Sudarshan stands for prosperity and happiness in life. It radiates energy for the mortal world and is believed to be the window of blessings of the Lord. We believe that there is a sacred and mystic geometric pattern which creates waves of divine energy for the mortals. There are nine interlocked triangles in the Yantra, which surround and spin out from the centre point (the seed centre or the moola), the point of convergence between the physical universe and its divine source. This is manifested in the human body which has seven energy centres that steer life. Chakras are the energy centres in our body also called the ‘whirlpool of energy’. Chakras control the body, energising the organs, bringing harmony within the body. Chakras are embodiment of Sudarshan for the human lives and form the part of subtle body which cannot be seen but whose energy can be felt.
Sudarshan has laid the blueprint for Kundalini awakening. Sudarshan is believed to be Jupa shakti (the ‘staff of power’), associated with the lightning or thunderbolt, and representative of the divine power or the shakti of the purusha, the life force. The ‘Jupa shakti’ is the force connected to Stambha or Skambha, the seat and representative of all gods and goddesses at the smarta yajnas (mentioned by Adi Shankaracharya). Smarta Yajnas are the rituals observed with memory, as they are recorded in or based on the Smriti, memory. Sudarshan is the principal donor of power. It is widely believed that the ghee offered into the sacrificial fire in yajnas is consumed by the Jupa shakti. During yajnas (involving fire sacrifice) any specific deity is not installed as a vigraha, or the major deity. Because Gods and Goddesses are personally invited by the host to participate in the ritual. Hence, the Stambha or Jupa shakti or Sudarshan is usually installed at the yajna salas where rituals are conducted according to the Smriti. Sudarshan is also present in the sacrificial pole (also called laghuli) or shaft in front of Devi temples, where the rituals are performed. Sudarshan symbolizes the cycle of birth and death and is always attached to Subhadra. Many also believe that (majorly under Vaishnavism) Sudarshan is also Radha. Sudarshan’s position is always to the left of Lord Jagannath and during Radhashtami, Sudarshan goes on nagara-parikrama (city visit). The four letters ja. ga, na, tha of Jagannath indicate which encompasses all – Sri Jagannath, Sri Balabhadra, Maa Subhadra and Sri Sudarshan called as Chaturdhamurti. Sishu Samhita indicates in the verse:
“‘Ja’ karastu Jagannathah
Balabhadra ‘Ga’ karakah,
‘Na’ kara Subhadra rupa cha
‘Tha’ karopi Sudarshanah.”
The principal deities worshipped in the Sri Jagannath Temple of Puri or Sri Mandir are Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan. Together these four deities are known as “Chaturdha Murti”.
During Rath Yatra Sudarshan is carried to the Rath or the chariot by running Daitapatis/ Servitors because Sudarshan signifies energy, agility, and man force. Sudarshan is never ushered into Rath, slowly as is the case for the other Lords.
प्रत्यलिधेनतिस्थानप्रनवहसशि -धरःधरःसत् -कोणवर्तिः
jyotishchurala mauli tri-nayanavadanah sodaso tungabahu
pratyalidhena tisthan pranavahasashi-dharah dharah sat-kona vartih
nisimena shabhumnanikhilam api jagat kshema-vahni mimano
bhuyotsa darshanenaprativata purushah purusa-paurushaya
“Your face and the top of your head are radiant; you have three eyes and your body has sixteen arms. You stand behind Jagannath, you are the personification of the pranava omkara, as bright as the moon, you have six directions. In one moment, you are self-generated, illuminating the entire universe like fire. Please show me the proper direction when I am lost, o power of the powerful.”
In the Chaturdha Murti of the Lord, Sudarshan symbolises the cults and the spiritual faiths, which are central to the elevation of the human being. That is why it is vertical in shape indicating that he is the amalgamation of both Purusha and Prakriti and offers life a holistic dimension through the Chakras. Energy naturally rises up and He is the column (or the ‘pillar of support’) through which the energy flows and livens up creation. When he is seated by the side of Subhadra in Debadalan Chariot on the occasion of Car Festival, he embodies the Adya Sakti of Lord Jagannath. Otherwise he is like the conductor of energy, the Brahma Purusha in the shaft form known to all of us as Chakraraj Sudarshan. He ushers in life force as an integral part of Chaturdha murti (the four-fold idol).