Who is Padmanabha?
“Udayji, recently I have visited world’s richest Hindu temple – Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram – with my family. My son asked me as to why is he called Padmanabha. I have understood the scientific concepts of Vishnu and its applications in Viswaroopam, Ananthasayanam and Brahmam after reading your article on those subjects and was able to convince my son. Could you explain about Padmanabha on the same lines?” a message from WhatsApp broadcast list.
“It’s Vishnu temple. The scriptures say that a lotus flower (Padma) is an emergingfrom the navel (nabhi) of Vishnu. Hence, Vishnu is described as “lotus-navelled” or Padma-Nabha…”
“I know, Lord Brahma is born in that lotus. But isn’t it ridiculous that a lotus stem comes out of navel?”
“The stem of this cosmic lotus connecting Brahma to the Navel of Vishnu signifies the umbilical cord that binds a baby to its mother. As I told in those articles, all these concepts are related to the Brahmam, which is cosmic consciousness and the energy transformation process together.”
“Yes, you had explained that energy transformation appears to have three distinct stages – creation, sustenance and destruction. I also understood that Lord Brahma is representing the state of creation part.”
“Right, Brahma (the created and creation) has four faces – the three dimensional creation (space) and time (fourth dimension). In a human experience everything exists in four dimensions, though our scriptures talk about 14-21 dimensions. The most essential part of creation is intelligence or wisdom which is shown as Goddess Saraswati, sitting along with Lord Brahma…”
“Udayji, when you explain such things, it has amazing clarity. But all our scriptures are presented in a confusing and complicating manner. According to Hindu science, everything in this universe is perishable (that is energy transformation). Is Brahma too perishable?”
“Yes, of course. The lifespan of Brahma is 100 Brahma years, or 72,000 kalpas, or 311,040,000,000,000 human years. At the end of the life of Brahma, all worlds are completely dissolved (mahapralaya). I have explained it in Ananthasayanam.”
“Okay Udayji, my second question is about Lakshmi who is sitting at Padmanabha’s feet. Doesn’t it show gender discrimination? You always say that there is no discrimination of any sort in Sanatan Dharma.”
“According to scriptures, her position is on the chest (heart) of Vishnu as his beloved. When Vishnu is out travelling on Garuda (his vehicle) he holds Lakshmi to his chest. But Lakshmi is also Vishnu’s devotee. She takes pleasure in serving the lotus feet of Vishnu.”
“But that’s when we see Vishnu in a personified form. What’s its cosmic significance?”
“Lakshmi represents material prosperity or matter, which is at the disposal of Dharma. In layman’s terms, all the wealth and prosperity should be in the service of Dharma, that’s Narayana.”
“Okay. My third question, Udayji, is that why does Padmanabha trying to place his hand on the Shivalinga?”
“As I told the transformation of energy has three forms. Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra (Shiva) are simply three names of Brahmam! If you read scriptures, you will see that Shiva is a part of Vishnu. Vishnu is a part of Shiva. Puranas say that Shiva presents Vishnu his Sudarshana Chakra as boon while on the other Vishnu protects Shiva from Bhasmasura. Shiva is Rameshwara, the Lord of Rama, who is an avatar of Vishnu. All these Purana stories are to explain tolerance and co-operation between different concepts in relation with human beings.”
“Yes, but why is he placing his hand on small Shiva lingam?”
“Shiva is shown as an infant in the Padmanabhaswamy image. Shiva is Mahakal, the lord of space-time as well as destroyer of death. Here Vishnu is shown as Youngman, who is aware of death. Brahma is shown as an old man, who is afraid of death. The preserver is trying to reach out the time (Mahakal)… the tic-tac clock…”
“Oh, so it is to show even after Brahma’s death the Brahmam will be preserved ?”
“Hmmm, a small correction. When one Brahma is dead, another Brahma will be born. According to Puranas, Lord Hanuman will be re-born as next Brahma. It is just to reveal that creation is just a minor part in the spectrum of cosmos…”
“Oh, that’s why we don’t worship Brahma…”
“Lot of people worships Brahma. But for our sages, God is not just a creator. Creation is a minor part in the whole Brahmam…”
Mahabharata (Vana Parva) says: “The Cosmic consciousness has three forms – in the form of Brahma, it represents the creation part, and in the form of Vishnu it is the Preserver, and in his form as Rudra, it is the Destroyer of the Universe”.
Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra (also known as Shiva) are simply three names of Brahman! Everything is very clearly explained in our Puranas and Itihas in very simple language, if you have difficulty in reading and understanding Vedas.
Unfortunately, we depend upon non-credible sources in the Internet and forwarded posts, so we become more confused!
“Udayji, one last question related to Padmanabha. Why lotus flower?”
“Lotus flower grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with great beauty. Its blooming can take on a meaning of ascension or enlightenment. A lotus breaks free from surrounding burdens holding it down. The water drop in lotus leaves doesn’t wet it, which clearly shows about the attachments. In all orient literature from many sources, the lotus is a symbol for the macrocosm and the microcosm, the universe and man. It also represents the sun, the true energy source of ours.”
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