The Nārāyaṇa-kavaca Shield
To take protection from this shield, one must first touch kuśa grass and wash one’s mouth with ācamana-mantras. One should observe silence and then place the eight-syllable Viṣṇu mantra on the parts of his body and place the twelve-syllable mantra on his hands. The eight-syllable mantra is oṁ namo nārāyaṇāya. This mantra should be distributed all over the front and back of the body. The twelve-syllable mantra, which begins with the praṇava, oṁkāra, is oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. One syllable should be placed on each of the fingers and should be preceded by the praṇava, oṁkāra. Thereafter, one must chant oṁ viṣṇave namaḥ, which is a six-syllable mantra. One must progressively place the syllables of the mantra on the heart, the head, between the two eyebrows, on the śikhā and between the eyes, and then one should chant maḥ astrāya phaṭ and with this mantra protect himself from all directions. Nādevo devam arcayet: one who has not risen to the level of a deva cannot chant this mantra. According to this direction of the śāstra, one must think himself qualitatively nondifferent from the Supreme.
After finishing this dedication, one must offer a prayer to the eight-armed Lord Viṣṇu, who sits on the shoulders of Garuḍadeva. One also has to think of the fish incarnation, Vāmana, Kūrma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha. Paraśurāma, Rāmacandra (the elder brother of Lakṣmaṇa). Nara-Nārāyaṇa, Dattātreya (an empowered incarnation), Kapila, Sanat-kumāra, Hayagrīva, Nāradadeva (the incarnation of a devotee). Dhanvantari, Ṛṣabhadeva, Yajña, Balarāma, Vyāsadeva, Buddhadeva and Keśava. One should also think of Govinda, the master of Vṛndāvana. and one should think of Nārāyaṇa, the master of the spiritual sky. One should think of Madhusūdana, Tridhāmā, Mādhava, Hṛṣīkeśa, Padmanābha, Janārdana, Dāmodara and Viśveśvara, as well as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa Himself. After offering prayers to the Lord’s personal expansions known as the svāṁśa and śaktyāveśa-avatāras, one should pray to the weapons of Lord Nārāyaṇa, such as the Sudarśana, gadā, śaṅkha, khaḍga and bow.
yayā guptaḥ sahasrākṣaḥ
krīḍann iva vinirjitya
tri-lokyā bubhuje śriyam
bhagavaṁs tan mamākhyāhi
yena gupto ’jayan mṛdhe
śrī-rājā uvāca—King Parīkṣit said; yayā—by which (the spiritual armor); guptaḥ—protected; sahasra-akṣaḥ—the thousand-eyed King Indra; sa-vāhān—with their carriers; ripu-sainikān—the soldiers and commanders of the enemies; krīḍan iva—just like playing; vinirjitya—conquering; tri-lokyāḥ—of the three worlds (the higher, middle and lower planetary systems); bubhuje—enjoyed; śriyam—the opulence; bhagavan—O great sage; tat—that; mama—unto me; ākhyāhi—please explain; varma—defensive armor made of a mantra; nārāyaṇa-ātmakam—consisting of the mercy of Nārāyaṇa; yathā—in which way; ātatāyinaḥ—who were endeavoring to kill him; śatrūn—enemies; yena—by which; guptaḥ—being protected; ajayat—conquered; mṛdhe—in the fight.
King Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī: My lord, kindly explain the Viṣṇu mantra armor that protected King Indra and enabled him to conquer his enemies, along with their carriers, and enjoy the opulence of the three worlds. Please explain to me that Nārāyaṇa armor, by which King Indra achieved success in battle, conquering the enemies who were endeavoring to kill him.
vṛtaḥ purohitas tvāṣṭro
tad ihaika-manāḥ śṛṇu
śrī-bādarāyaṇiḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; vṛtaḥ—the chosen; purohitaḥ—priest; tvāṣṭraḥ—the son of Tvaṣṭā; mahendrāya—unto King Indra; anupṛcchate—after he (Indra) inquired; nārāyaṇa-ākhyam—named Nārāyaṇa-kavaca; varma—defensive armor made of a mantra; āha—he said; tat—that; iha—this; eka-manāḥ—with great attention; śṛṇu—hear from me.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: King Indra, the leader of the demigods, inquired about the armor known as Nārāyaṇa-kavaca from Viśvarūpa, who was engaged by the demigods as their priest. Please hear Viśvarūpa’s reply with great attention.
mantrābhyāṁ vāg-yataḥ śuciḥ
sannahyed bhaya āgate
pādayor jānunor ūrvor
udare hṛdy athorasi
mukhe śirasy ānupūrvyād
oṁ namo nārāyaṇāyeti
viparyayam athāpi vā
śrī-viśvarūpaḥ uvāca—Śrī Viśvarūpa said; dhauta—having completely washed; aṅghri—feet; pāṇiḥ—hands; ācamya—performing ācamana (sipping a little water three times after chanting the prescribed mantra); sa-pavitraḥ—wearing rings made of kuśa grass (on the ring finger of each hand); udak-mukhaḥ—sitting facing the north; kṛta—making; sva-aṅga-kara-nyāsaḥ—mental assignment of the eight parts of the body and twelve parts of the hands; mantrābhyām—with the two mantras (oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya and oṁ namo nārāyaṇāya); vāk-yataḥ—keeping oneself silent; śuciḥ—being purified; nārāyaṇa-param—fully intent on Lord Nārāyaṇa; varma—armor; sannahyet— put on oneself; bhaye—when fear; āgate—has come; pādayoḥ—on the two legs; jānunoḥ—on the two knees; ūrvoḥ—on the two thighs; udare—on the abdomen; hṛdi—on the heart; atha—thus; urasi—on the chest; mukhe—on the mouth; śirasi—on the head; ānupūrvyāt—one after another; oṁkāra-ādīni—beginning with oṁkāra; vinyaset—one should place; oṁ—the praṇava; namaḥ—obeisances; nārāyaṇāya— unto Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; iti—thus; viparyayam—the reverse; atha api—moreover; vā—or.
Viśvarūpa said: If some form of fear arrives, one should first wash his hands and legs clean and then perform ācamana by chanting this mantra: oṁ apavitraḥ pavitro vā sarvāvasthāṁ gato ’pi vā/ yaḥ smaret puṇḍarīkākṣaṁ sa bahyābhyantaraḥ śuciḥ/ śrī-viṣṇu śrī-viṣṇu śrī-viṣṇu. Then one should touch kuśa grass and sit gravely and silently, facing north. When completely purified, one should touch the mantra composed of eight syllables to the eight parts of his body and touch the mantra composed of twelve syllables to his hands. Thus, in the following manner, he should bind himself with the Nārāyaṇa coat of armor. First, while chanting the mantra composed of eight syllables [oṁ namo nārāyaṇāya], beginning with the praṇava, the syllable oṁ, one should touch his hands to eight parts of his body, starting with the two feet and progressing systematically to the knees, thighs, abdomen, heart, chest, mouth and head. Then one should chant the mantra in reverse, beginning from the last syllable [ya], while touching the parts of his body in the reverse order. These two processes are known as utpatti-nyāsa and saṁhāra-nyāsa respectively.
kara-nyāsaṁ tataḥ kuryād
kara-nyāsam—the ritual known as kara-nyāsa, which assigns the syllables of the mantra to the fingers; tataḥ—thereafter; kuryāt—should execute; dvādaśa-akṣara—composed of twelve syllables; vidyayā—with the mantra; praṇava-ādi—beginning with the oṁkāra; ya-kāra-antam—ending with the syllable ya; aṅguli—on the fingers, beginning with the index finger; aṅguṣṭha-parvasu—to the joints of the thumbs.
Then one should chant the mantra composed of twelve syllables [oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya]. Preceding each syllable by the oṁkāra, one should place the syllables of the mantra on the tips of his fingers, beginning with the index finger of the right hand and concluding with the index finger of the left. The four remaining syllables should be placed on the joints of the thumbs.
nyased dhṛdaya oṁkāraṁ
vi-kāram anu mūrdhani
ṣa-kāraṁ tu bhruvor madhye
ṇa-kāraṁ śikhayā nyaset
ve-kāraṁ netrayor yuñjyān
ma-kāram astram uddiśya
mantra-mūrtir bhaved budhaḥ
savisargaṁ phaḍ-antaṁ tat
oṁ viṣṇave nama iti
nyaset—should place; hṛdaye—on the heart; oṁkāram—the praṇava, oṁkāra; vi-kāram—the syllable vi of viṣṇave; anu—thereafter; mūrdhani—on the top of the head; ṣa-kāram—the syllable sa; tu—and; bhruvoḥ madhye—between the two eyebrows; ṇa-kāram—the syllable ṇa; śikhayā—on the śikhā on the head; nyaset—should place; vekāram—the syllable ve; netrayoḥ—between the two eyes; yuñjyāt—should be placed; na-kāram—the syllable na of the word namaḥ; sarva-sandhiṣu—on all the joints; ma-kāram—the syllable ma of the word namaḥ; astram—a weapon; uddiśya—thinking; mantra-mūrtiḥ—the form of the mantra; bhavet—should become; budhaḥ—an intelligent person; sa-visargam—with the visarga (ḥ); phaṭ-antam—ending with the sound phaṭ; tat—that; sarva-dikṣu—in all directions; vinirdiśet—should fix; oṁ—praṇava; viṣṇave—unto Lord Viṣṇu; namaḥ—obeisances; iti—thus.
One must then chant the mantra of six syllables [oṁ viṣṇave namaḥ]. One should place the syllable “oṁ” on his heart, the syllable “vi” on the top of his head, the syllable “ṣa” between his eyebrows, the syllable “ṇa” on his tuft of hair [śikhā], and the syllable “ve” between his eyes. The chanter of the mantra should then place the syllable “na” on all the joints of his body and meditate on the syllable “ma” as being a weapon. He should thus become the perfect personification of the mantra. Thereafter, adding visarga to the final syllable “ma,” he should chant the mantra “maḥ astrāya phaṭ” in all directions, beginning from the east. In this way, all directions will be bound by the protective armor of the mantra.
ātmānaṁ paramaṁ dhyāyed
dhyeyaṁ ṣaṭ-śaktibhir yutam
imaṁ mantram udāharet
ātmānam—the self; paramam—the supreme; dhyāyet—one should meditate on; dhyeyam—worthy to be meditated on; ṣaṭ-śaktibhiḥ—the six opulences; yutam—possessed of; vidyā—learning; tejaḥ—influence; tapaḥ—austerity; mūrtim—personified; imam—this; mantram—mantra; udāharet—should chant.
After finishing this chanting, one should think himself qualitatively one with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is full in six opulences and is worthy to be meditated upon. Then one should chant the following protective prayer to Lord Nārāyaṇa, the Nārāyaṇa-kavaca.
oṁ harir vidadhyān mama sarva-rakṣāṁ
pāśān dadhāno ’ṣṭa-guṇo ’ṣṭa-bāhuḥ
oṁ—O Lord; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vidadhyāt—may He bestow; mama—my; sarva-rakṣām—protection from all sides; nyasta—placed; aṅghri-padmaḥ—whose lotus feet; patagendra-pṛṣṭhe—on the back of Garuḍa, the king of all birds; dara—conchshell; ari—disc; carma—shield; asi—sword; gadā—club; iṣu—arrows; cāpa—bow; pāśān—ropes; dadhānaḥ—holding; aṣṭa—possessing eight; guṇaḥ—perfections; aṣṭa—eight; bāhuḥ—arms.
The Supreme Lord, who sits on the back of the bird Garuḍa, touching him with His lotus feet, holds eight weapons—the conchshell, disc, shield, sword, club, arrows, bow and ropes. May that Supreme Personality of Godhead protect me at all times with His eight arms. He is all-powerful because He fully possesses the eight mystic powers [aṇimā, laghimā, etc.].
Thinking oneself one with the Supreme is called ahaṅgrahopāsanā. Through ahaṅgrahopāsanā one does not become God, but he thinks of himself as qualitatively one with the Supreme. Understanding that as a spirit soul he is equal in quality to the supreme soul the way the water of a river is of the same nature as the water of the sea, one should meditate upon the Supreme Lord, as described in this verse, and seek His protection. The living entities are always subordinate to the Supreme. Consequently their duty is to always seek the mercy of the Lord in order to be protected by Him in all circumstances.
jaleṣu māṁ rakṣatu matsya-mūrtir
yādo-gaṇebhyo varuṇasya pāśāt
sthaleṣu māyāvaṭu-vāmano ’vyāt
trivikramaḥ khe ’vatu viśvarūpaḥ
jaleṣu—in the water; mām—me; rakṣatu—protect; matsya-mūrtiḥ—the Supreme Lord in the form of a great fish; yādaḥ-gaṇebhyaḥ—from fierce aquatic animals; varuṇasya—of the demigod known as Varuṇa; pāśāt—from the arresting rope; sthaleṣu—on the land; māyā-vaṭu—the merciful form of the Lord as a dwarf; vāmanaḥ—named Vāmanadeva; avyāt—may He protect; trivikramaḥ—Trivikrama, whose three gigantic steps took the three worlds from Bali; khe—in the sky; avatu—may the Lord protect; viśvarūpaḥ—the gigantic universal form.
May the Lord, who assumes the body of a great fish, protect me in the water from the fierce animals that are associates of the demigod Varuṇa. By expanding His illusory energy, the Lord assumed the form of the dwarf Vāmana. May Vāmana protect me on the land. Since the gigantic form of the Lord, Viśvarūpa, conquers the three worlds, may He protect me in the sky.
This mantra seeks the protection of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the water, land and sky in His incarnations as the fish, Vāmanadeva and the Viśvarūpa.
durgeṣv aṭavy-āji-mukhādiṣu prabhuḥ
pāyān nṛsiṁho ’sura-yūthapāriḥ
vimuñcato yasya mahāṭṭa-hāsaṁ
diśo vinedur nyapataṁś ca garbhāḥ
durgeṣu—in places where travel is very difficult; aṭavi—in the dense forest; āji-mukha-ādiṣu—on the war front and so on; prabhuḥ—the Supreme Lord; pāyāt—may He protect; nṛsiṁhaḥ—Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva; asura-yūthapa—of Hiraṇyakaśipu, the leader of the demons; ariḥ—the enemy; vimuñcataḥ—releasing; yasya—of whom; mahā-aṭṭa-hāsam—great and fearful laughing; diśaḥ—all the directions; vineduḥ—resounded through; nyapatan—fell down; ca—and; garbhāḥ—the embryos of the wives of the demons.
May Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, who appeared as the enemy of Hiraṇyakaśipu, protect me in all directions. His loud laughing vibrated in all directions and caused the pregnant wives of the asuras to have miscarriages. May that Lord be kind enough to protect me in difficult places like the forest and battlefront.
rakṣatv asau mādhvani yajña-kalpaḥ
rāmo ’dri-kūṭeṣv atha vipravāse
salakṣmaṇo ’vyād bharatāgrajo ’smān
rakṣatu—may the Lord protect; asau—that; mā—me; adhvani—on the street; yajña-kalpaḥ—who is ascertained by performance of ritualistic ceremonies; sva-daṁṣṭrayā—by His own tusk; unnīta—raising; dharaḥ—the planet earth; varāhaḥ—Lord Boar; rāmaḥ—Lord Rāma; adri-kūṭeṣu—on the summits of the mountains; atha—then; vipravāse—in foreign countries; sa-lakṣmaṇaḥ—with His brother Lakṣmaṇa; avyāt—may He protect; bharata-agrajaḥ—the elder brother of Mahārāja Bharata; asmān—us.
The Supreme indestructible Lord is ascertained through the performance of ritualistic sacrifices and is therefore known as Yajñeśvara. In His incarnation as Lord Boar, He raised the planet earth from the water at the bottom of the universe and kept it on His pointed tusks. May that Lord protect me from rogues on the street. May Paraśurāma protect me on the tops of mountains, and may the elder brother of Bharata, Lord Rāmacandra, along with His brother Lakṣmaṇa, protect me in foreign countries.
There are three Rāmas. One Rāma is Paraśurāma (Jāmadāgnya). another Rāma is Lord Rāmacandra, and a third Rāma is Lord Balarāma. In this verse the words rāmo’dri-kūṭeṣv atha indicate Lord Paraśurāma. The brother of Bharata Mahārāja and Lakṣmaṇa is Lord Rāmacandra.
mām ugra-dharmād akhilāt pramādān
nārāyaṇaḥ pātu naraś ca hāsāt
dattas tv ayogād atha yoga-nāthaḥ
pāyād guṇeśaḥ kapilaḥ karma-bandhāt
mām—me; ugra-dharmāt—from unnecessary religious principles; akhilāt—from all kinds of activities; pramādāt—which are enacted in madness; nārāyaṇaḥ—Lord Nārāyaṇa; pātu—may He protect; naraḥ ca—and Nara; hāsāt—from unnecessary pride; dattaḥ—Dattātreya; tu—of course; ayogāt—from the path of false yoga; atha—indeed; yoga-nāthaḥ—the master of all mystic powers; pāyāt—may He protect; guṇa-īśaḥ—the master of all spiritual qualities; kapilaḥ—Lord Kapila; karma-bandhāt—from the bondage of fruitive activities.
May Lord Nārāyaṇa protect me from unnecessarily following false religious systems and falling from my duties due to madness. May the Lord in His appearance as Nara protect me from unnecessary pride. May Lord Dattātreya, the master of all mystic power, protect me from falling while performing bhakti-yoga, and may Lord Kapila, the master of all good qualities, protect me from the material bondage of fruitive activities.
sanat-kumāro ’vatu kāmadevād
dhayaśīrṣā māṁ pathi deva-helanāt
kūrmo harir māṁ nirayād aśeṣāt
sanat-kumāraḥ—the great brahmacārī named Sanat-kumāra; avatu—may he protect; kāma-devāt—from the hands of Cupid or lusty desire; haya-śīrṣā—Lord Hayagrīva, the incarnation of the Lord whose head is like that of a horse; mām—me; pathi—on the path; deva-helanāt—from neglecting to offer respectful obeisances to brāhmaṇas, Vaiṣṇavas and the Supreme Lord; devarṣi-varyaḥ—the best of the saintly sages, Nārada; puruṣa-arcana-antarāt—from the offenses in worshiping the Deity; kūrmaḥ—Lord Kūrma, the tortoise; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; mām—me; nirayāt—from hell; aśeṣāt—unlimited.
May Sanat-kumāra protect me from lusty desires. As I begin some auspicious activity, may Lord Hayagrīva protect me from being an offender by neglecting to offer respectful obeisances to the Supreme Lord. May Devarṣi Nārada protect me from committing offenses in worshiping the Deity, and may Lord Kūrma, the tortoise, protect me from falling to the unlimited hellish planets.
Lusty desires are very strong in everyone, and they are the greatest impediment to the discharge of devotional service. Therefore those who are very much influenced by lusty desires are advised to take shelter of Sanat-kumāra, the great brahmacārī devotee. Nārada Muni, who is the guide for arcana, is the author of the Nārada-pañcarātra, which prescribes the regulative principles for worshiping the Deity. Everyone engaged in Deity worship, whether at home or in the temple, should always seek the mercy of Devarṣi Nārada in order to avoid the thirty-two offenses while worshiping the Deity. These offenses in Deity worship are mentioned in The Nectar of Devotion.
dhanvantarir bhagavān pātv apathyād
dvandvād bhayād ṛṣabho nirjitātmā
yajñaś ca lokād avatāj janāntād
balo gaṇāt krodha-vaśād ahīndraḥ
dhanvantariḥ—the incarnation Dhanvantari, the physician; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pātu—may He protect me; apathyāt—from things injurious to the health, such as meat and intoxicants; dvandvāt—from duality; bhayāt—from fear; ṛṣabhaḥ—Lord Ṛṣabhadeva; nirjita-ātmā—who fully controlled his mind and self; yajñaḥ—Yajña; ca—and; lokāt—from the defamation of the populace; avatāt—may He protect; jana-antāt—from dangerous positions created by other people; balaḥ—Lord Balarāma; gaṇāt—from the hordes of; krodha-vaśāt—the angry serpents; ahīndraḥ—Lord Balarāma in the form of the serpent Śeṣa Nāga.
May the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His incarnation as Dhanvantari relieve me from undesirable eatables and protect me from physical illness. May Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, who conquered His inner and outer senses, protect me from fear produced by the duality of heat and cold. May Yajña protect me from defamation and harm from the populace, and may Lord Balarāma as Śeṣa protect me from envious serpents.
To live within this material world, one must face many dangers, as described herein. For example, undesirable food poses a danger to health, and therefore one must give up such food. The Dhanvantari incarnation can protect us in this regard. Since Lord Viṣṇu is the Supersoul of all living entities, if He likes He can save us from adhibhautika disturbances, disturbances from other living entities. Lord Balarāma is the Śeṣa incarnation, and therefore He can save us from angry serpents or envious persons, who are always ready to attack.
dvaipāyano bhagavān aprabodhād
buddhas tu pāṣaṇḍa-gaṇa-pramādāt
kalkiḥ kaleḥ kāla-malāt prapātu
dvaipāyanaḥ—Śrīla Vyāsadeva, the giver of all Vedic knowledge; bhagavān—the most powerful incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; aprabodhāt—from ignorance of the śāstra; buddhaḥ tu—also Lord Buddha; pāṣaṇḍa-gaṇa—of atheists creating disillusionment for innocent persons; pramādāt—from the madness; kalkiḥ—Lord Kalki, the incarnation of Keśava; kaleḥ—of this Kali-yuga; kāla-malāt—from the darkness of the age; prapātu—may He protect; dharma-avanāya—for the protection of religious principles; uru—very great; kṛta-avatāraḥ—who took an incarnation.
May the Personality of Godhead in His incarnation as Vyāsadeva protect me from all kinds of ignorance resulting from the absence of Vedic knowledge. May Lord Buddhadeva protect me from activities opposed to Vedic principles and from laziness that causes one to madly forget the Vedic principles of knowledge and ritualistic action. May Kalkideva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appeared as an incarnation to protect religious principles, protect me from the dirt of the age of Kali.
This verse mentions various incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who appear for various purposes. Śrīla Vyāsadeva, Mahāmuni, compiled the Vedic literature for the benefit of all human society. If one wants to be protected from the reactions of ignorance even in this age of Kali, one may consult the books left by Śrīla Vyāsadeva, Upaniṣads, Vedānta-sūtra (Brahma-sūtra), Mahābhārata, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Mahā-Purāṇa (Vyāsadeva’s commentary on the Brahma-sūtra) and the other seventeen Purāṇas. Only by the mercy of Śrīla Vyāsadeva do we have so many volumes of transcendental knowledge to save us from the clutches of ignorance.
As described by Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī in his Daśāvatāra-stotra, Lord Buddha apparently decried the Vedic knowledge:
The mission of Lord Buddha was to save people from the abominable activity of animal killing and to save the poor animals from being unnecessarily killed. When pāṣaṇḍīs were cheating by killing animals on the plea of sacrificing them in Vedic yajñas, the Lord said, “If the Vedic injunctions allow animal killing, I do not accept the Vedic principles.” Thus he actually saved people who acted according to Vedic principles. One should therefore surrender to Lord Buddha so that he can help one avoid misusing the injunctions of the Vedas.
The Kalki avatāra is the fierce incarnation who vanquishes the class of the atheists born in this age of Kali. Now, in the beginning of Kali-yuga, many irreligious principles are in effect, and as Kali-yuga advances, many pseudo religious principles will certainly be introduced, and people will forget the real religious principles enunciated by Lord Kṛṣṇa before the beginning of Kali-yuga, namely principles of surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord. Unfortunately, because of Kali-yuga, foolish people do not surrender to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Even most people who claim to belong to the Vedic system of religion are actually opposed to the Vedic principles. Every day they manufacture a new type of dharma on the plea that whatever one manufactures is also a path of liberation. Atheistic men generally say, yata mata tata patha. According to this view, there are hundreds and thousands of different opinions in human society, and each opinion is a valid religious principle. This philosophy of rascals has killed the religious principles mentioned in the Vedas, and such philosophies will become increasingly influential as Kali-yuga progresses. In the last stage of Kali-yuga, Kalkideva, the fierce incarnation of Keśava, will descend to kill all the atheists and will save only the devotees of the Lord.
māṁ keśavo gadayā prātar avyād
govinda āsaṅgavam ātta-veṇuḥ
nārāyaṇaḥ prāhṇa udātta-śaktir
madhyan-dine viṣṇur arīndra-pāṇiḥ
mām—me; keśavaḥ—Lord Keśava; gadayā—by His club; prātaḥ—in the morning hours; avyāt—may He protect; govindaḥ—Lord Govinda; āsaṅgavam—during the second part of the day; ātta-veṇuḥ—holding His flute; nārāyaṇaḥ—Lord Nārāyaṇa with four hands; prāhṇaḥ—during the third part of the day; udātta-śaktiḥ—controlling different types of potencies; madhyam-dine—during the fourth part of the day; viṣṇuḥ—Lord Viṣṇu; arīndra-pāṇiḥ—bearing the disc in His hand to kill the enemies.
May Lord Keśava protect me with His club in the first portion of the day, and may Govinda, who is always engaged in playing His flute, protect me in the second portion of the day. May Lord Nārāyaṇa, who is equipped with all potencies, protect me in the third part of the day, and may Lord Viṣṇu, who carries a disc to kill His enemies, protect me in the fourth part of the day.
According to Vedic astronomical calculations, day and night are each divided into thirty ghaṭikās (twenty-four minutes), instead of twelve hours. Generally, each day and each night is divided into six parts consisting of five ghaṭikās. In each of these six portions of the day and night, the Lord may be addressed for protection according to different names. Lord Keśava, the proprietor of the holy place of Mathurā, is the Lord of the first portion of the day, and Govinda, the Lord of Vṛndāvana. is the master of the second portion.
devo ’parāhṇe madhu-hogradhanvā
sāyaṁ tri-dhāmāvatu mādhavo mām
doṣe hṛṣīkeśa utārdha-rātre
niśītha eko ’vatu padmanābhaḥ
devaḥ—the Lord; aparāhṇe—in the fifth part of the day; madhu-hā—named Madhusūdana; ugra-dhanvā—bearing the very fearful bow known as Śārṅga; sāyam—the sixth part of the day; tri-dhāmā—manifesting as the three deities Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara; avatu—may He protect; mādhavaḥ—named Mādhava; mām—me; doṣe—during the first portion of the night; hṛṣīkeśaḥ—Lord Hṛṣīkeśa; uta—also; ardha-rātre—during the second part of the night; niśīthe—during the third part of the night; ekaḥ—alone; avatu—may He protect; padmanābhaḥ—Lord Padmanābha.
May Lord Madhusūdana, who carries a bow very fearful for the demons, protect me during the fifth part of the day. In the evening, may Lord Mādhava, appearing as Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara, protect me, and in the beginning of night may Lord Hṛṣīkeśa protect me. At the dead of night [in the second and third parts of night] may Lord Padmanābha alone protect me.
pratyūṣa īśo ’si-dharo janārdanaḥ
dāmodaro ’vyād anusandhyaṁ prabhāte
viśveśvaro bhagavān kāla-mūrtiḥ
śrīvatsa-dhāmā—the Lord, on whose chest the mark of Śrīvatsa is resting; apara-rātre—in the fourth part of the night; īśaḥ—the Supreme Lord; pratyūṣe—in the end of the night; īśaḥ—the Supreme Lord; asi-dharaḥ—carrying a sword in the hand; janārdanaḥ—Lord Janārdana; dāmodaraḥ—Lord Dāmodara; avyāt—may He protect; anusandhyam—during each junction or twilight; prabhāte—in the early morning (the sixth part of the night); viśva-īśvaraḥ—the Lord of the whole universe; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kāla-mūrtiḥ—the personification of time.
May the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who bears the Śrīvatsa on His chest, protect me after midnight until the sky becomes pinkish. May Lord Janārdana, who carries a sword in His hand, protect me at the end of night [during the last four ghaṭikās of night]. May Lord Dāmodara protect me in the early morning, and may Lord Viśveśvara protect me during the junctions of day and night.
bhramat samantād bhagavat-prayuktam
dandagdhi dandagdhy ari-sainyam āśu
kakṣaṁ yathā vāta-sakho hutāśaḥ
cakram—the disc of the Lord; yuga-anta—at the end of the millennium; anala—like the fire of devastation; tigma-nemi—with a sharp rim; bhramat—wandering; samantāt—on all sides; bhagavat-prayuktam—being engaged by the Lord; dandagdhi dandagdhi—please burn completely, please burn completely; ari-sainyam—the army of our enemies; āśu—immediately; kakṣam—dry grass; yathā—like; vāta-sakhaḥ—the friend of the wind; hutāśaḥ—blazing fire.
Set into motion by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and wandering in all the four directions, the disc of the Supreme Lord has sharp edges as destructive as the fire of devastation at the end of the millennium. As a blazing fire burns dry grass to ashes with the assistance of the breeze, may that Sudarśana cakra burn our enemies to ashes.
niṣpiṇḍhi niṣpiṇḍhy ajita-priyāsi
bhūta-grahāṁś cūrṇaya cūrṇayārīn
gade—O club in the hands of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; aśani—like thunderbolts; sparśana—whose touch; visphuliṅge—giving off sparks of fire; niṣpiṇḍhi niṣpiṇḍhi—pound to pieces, pound to pieces; ajita-priyā—very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; asi—you are; kuṣmāṇḍa—imps named Kuṣmāṇḍas; vaināyaka—ghosts named Vaināyakas; yakṣa—ghosts named Yakṣas; rakṣaḥ—ghosts named Rākṣasas; bhūta—ghosts named Bhūtas; grahān—and evil demons named Grahas; cūrṇaya—pulverize; cūrṇaya—pulverize; arīn—my enemies.
O club in the hand of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you produce sparks of fire as powerful as thunderbolts, and you are extremely dear to the Lord. I am also His servant. Therefore kindly help me pound to pieces the evil living beings known as Kuṣmāṇḍas, Vaināyakas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, Bhūtas and Grahas. Please pulverize them.
darendra vidrāvaya kṛṣṇa-pūrito
bhīma-svano ’rer hṛdayāni kampayan
tvam—you; yātudhāna—Rākṣasas; pramatha—Pramathas; preta—Pretas; mātṛ—Mātās; piśāca—Piśācas; vipra-graha—brāhmaṇa ghosts; ghora-dṛṣṭīn—who have very fearful eyes; darendra—O Pāñcajanya, the conchshell in the hands of the Lord; vidrāvaya—drive away; kṛṣṇa-pūritaḥ—being filled with air from the mouth of Kṛṣṇa; bhīma-svanaḥ—sounding extremely fearful; areḥ—of the enemy; hṛdayāni—the cores of the hearts; kampayan—causing to tremble.
O best of conchshells, O Pāñcajanya in the hands of the Lord, you are always filled with the breath of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Therefore you create a fearful sound vibration that causes trembling in the hearts of enemies like the Rākṣasas, pramatha ghosts, Pretas, Mātās, Piśācas and brāhmaṇa ghosts with fearful eyes.
īśa-prayukto mama chindhi chindhi
cakṣūṁṣi carmañ chata-candra chādaya
dviṣām aghonāṁ hara pāpa-cakṣuṣām
tvam—you; tigma-dhāra-asi-vara—O best of swords possessing very sharp blades; ari-sainyam—the soldiers of the enemy; īśa-prayuktaḥ—being engaged by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; mama—my; chindhi chindhi—chop to pieces, chop to pieces; cakṣūṁṣi—the eyes; carman—O shield; śata-candra—possessing brilliant circles like a hundred moons; chādaya—please cover; dviṣām—of those who are envious of me; aghonām—who are completely sinful; hara—please take away; pāpa-cakṣuṣām—of those whose eyes are very sinful.
O king of sharp-edged swords, you are engaged by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Please cut the soldiers of my enemies to pieces. Please cut them to pieces! O shield marked with a hundred brilliant moonlike circles, please cover the eyes of the sinful enemies. Pluck out their sinful eyes.
yan no bhayaṁ grahebhyo ’bhūt
ketubhyo nṛbhya eva ca
bhūtebhyo ’ṁhobhya eva ca
sarvāṇy etāni bhagavan-
prayāntu saṅkṣayaṁ sadyo
ye naḥ śreyaḥ-pratīpakāḥ
yat—which; naḥ—our; bhayam—fear; grahebhyaḥ—from the Graha demons; abhūt—was; ketubhyaḥ—from meteors, or falling stars; nṛbhyaḥ—from envious human beings; eva ca—also; sarīsṛpebhyaḥ—from snakes or scorpions; daṁṣṭribhyaḥ—from animals with fierce teeth like tigers, wolves and boars; bhūtebhyaḥ—from ghosts or the material elements (earth, water, fire, etc.); aṁhobhyaḥ—from sinful activities; eva ca—as well as; sarvāṇi etāni—all these; bhagavat-nāma-rūpa-anukīrtanāt—by glorifying the transcendental form, name, attributes and paraphernalia of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; prayāntu—let them go; saṅkṣayam—to complete destruction; sadyaḥ—immediately; ye—which; naḥ—our; śreyaḥ-pratīpakāḥ—hindrances to well-being.
May the glorification of the transcendental name, form, qualities and paraphernalia of the Supreme Personality of Godhead protect us from the influence of bad planets, meteors, envious human beings, serpents, scorpions, and animals like tigers and wolves. May it protect us from ghosts and the material elements like earth, water, fire and air, and may it also protect us from lightning and our past sins. We are always afraid of these hindrances to our auspicious life. Therefore, may they all be completely destroyed by the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.
garuḍo bhagavān stotra-
stobhaś chandomayaḥ prabhuḥ
garuḍaḥ—His Holiness Garuḍa, the carrier of Lord Viṣṇu; bhagavān—as powerful as the Supreme Personality of Godhead; stotra-stobhaḥ—who is glorified by selected verses and songs; chandaḥ-mayaḥ—the personified Vedas; prabhuḥ—the lord; rakṣatu—may He protect; aśeṣa-kṛcchrebhyaḥ—from unlimited miseries; viṣvaksenaḥ—Lord Viṣvaksena; sva-nāmabhiḥ—by His holy names.
Lord Garuḍa, the carrier of Lord Viṣṇu, is the most worshipable lord, for he is as powerful as the Supreme Lord Himself. He is the personified Vedas and is worshiped by selected verses. May he protect us from all dangerous conditions, and may Lord Viṣvaksena, the Personality of Godhead, also protect us from all dangers by His holy names.
sarvāpadbhyo harer nāma-
sarva-āpadbhyaḥ—from all kinds of danger; hareḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; nāma—the holy name; rūpa—the transcendental form; yāna—the carriers; āyudhāni—and all the weapons; naḥ—our; buddhi—intelligence; indriya—senses; manaḥ—mind; prāṇān—life air; pāntu—may they protect and maintain; pārṣada-bhūṣaṇāḥ—the decorations who are personal associates.
May the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s holy names, His transcendental forms, His carriers and all the weapons decorating Him as personal associates protect our intelligence, senses, mind and life air from all dangers.
There are various associates of the transcendental Personality of Godhead, and His weapons and carrier are among them. In the spiritual world, nothing is material. The sword, bow, club, disc and everything decorating the personal body of the Lord are spiritual living force. Therefore the Lord is called advaya jñāna, indicating that there is no difference between Him and His names, forms, qualities, weapons and so on. Anything pertaining to Him is in the same category of spiritual existence. They are all engaged in the service of the Lord in varieties of spiritual forms.
yathā hi bhagavān eva
vastutaḥ sad asac ca yat
satyenānena naḥ sarve
yāntu nāśam upadravāḥ
yathā—just as; hi—indeed; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; eva—undoubtedly; vastutaḥ—at the ultimate issue; sat—manifested; asat—unmanifested; ca—and; yat—whatever; satyena—by the truth; anena—this; naḥ—our; sarve—all; yāntu—let them go; nāśam—to annihilation; upadravāḥ—disturbances.
The subtle and gross cosmic manifestation is material, but nevertheless it is nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead because He is ultimately the cause of all causes. Cause and effect are factually one because the cause is present in the effect. Therefore the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, can destroy all our dangers by any of His potent parts.
dhatte śaktīḥ sva-māyayā
sarva-jño bhagavān hariḥ
pātu sarvaiḥ svarūpair naḥ
sadā sarvatra sarva-gaḥ
yathā—just as; aikātmya—in terms of oneness manifested in varieties; anubhāvānām—of those thinking; vikalpa-rahitaḥ—the absence of difference; svayam—Himself; bhūṣaṇa—decorations; āyudha—weapons; liṅga-ākhyāḥ—characteristics and different names; dhatte—possesses; śaktīḥ—potencies like wealth, influence, power, knowledge, beauty and renunciation; sva-māyayā—by expanding His spiritual energy; tena eva—by that; satya-mānena—true understanding; sarva-jñaḥ—omniscient; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; hariḥ—who can take away all the illusion of the living entities; pātu—may He protect; sarvaiḥ—with all; sva-rūpaiḥ—His forms; naḥ—us; sadā—always; sarvatra—everywhere; sarva-gaḥ—who is all-pervasive.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the living entities, the material energy, the spiritual energy and the entire creation are all individual substances. In the ultimate analysis, however, together they constitute the supreme one, the Personality of Godhead. Therefore those who are advanced in spiritual knowledge see unity in diversity. For such advanced persons, the Lord’s bodily decorations, His name, His fame, His attributes and forms and the weapons in His hand are manifestations of the strength of His potency. According to their elevated spiritual understanding, the omniscient Lord, who manifests various forms, is present everywhere. May He always protect us everywhere from all calamities.
A person highly elevated in spiritual knowledge knows that nothing exists but the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (9.4) where Lord Kṛṣṇa says, mayā tatam idaṁ sarvam, indicating that everything we see is an expansion of His energy. This is confirmed in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (1.22.52):
As a fire, although existing in one place, can expand its light and heat everywhere, so the omnipotent Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although situated in His spiritual abode, expands Himself everywhere, in both the material and spiritual worlds, by His various energies. Since both cause and effect are the Supreme Lord, there is no difference between cause and effect. Consequently the ornaments and weapons of the Lord, being expansions of His spiritual energy, are not different from Him. There is no difference between the Lord and His variously presented energies. This is also confirmed in the Padma Purāṇa:
The holy name of the Lord is fully identical with the Lord, not partially. The word pūrṇa means “complete.” The Lord is omnipotent and omniscient, and similarly, His name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and everything pertaining to Him are complete, pure, eternal and free from material contamination. The prayer to the ornaments and carriers of the Lord is not false, for they are as good as the Lord. Since the Lord is all-pervasive, He exists in everything, and everything exists in Him. Therefore even worship of the Lord’s weapons or ornaments has the same potency as worship of the Lord. Māyāvādīs refuse to accept the form of the Lord, or they say that the form of the Lord is māyā, or false, but one should note very carefully that this is not acceptable. Although the Lord’s original form and His impersonal expansion are one, the Lord maintains His form, qualities and abode eternally. Therefore this prayer says, pātu sarvaiḥ svarūpair naḥ sadā sarvatra sama-gaḥ: “May the Lord, who is all-pervasive in His various forms, protect us everywhere.” The Lord is always present everywhere by His name, form, qualities, attributes and paraphernalia, and they all have equal power to protect the devotees. Śrīla Madhvācārya explains this as follows:
vidikṣu dikṣūrdhvam adhaḥ samantād
antar bahir bhagavān nārasiṁhaḥ
prahāpayaḹ loka-bhayaṁ svanena
vidikṣu—in all corners; dikṣu—in all directions (east, west, north and south); ūrdhvam—above; adhaḥ—below; samantāt—on all sides; antaḥ—internally; bahiḥ—externally; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; nārasiṁhaḥ—in the form of Nṛsiṁhadeva (half-lion and half-man); prahāpayan—completely destroying; loka-bhayam—fear created by animals, poison, weapons, water, air, fire and so on; svanena—by His roar or the vibration of His name by His devotee Prahlāda Mahārāja; sva-tejasā—by His personal effulgence; grasta—covered; samasta—all other; tejāḥ—influences.
Prahlāda Mahārāja loudly chanted the holy name of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva. May Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, roaring for His devotee Prahlāda Mahārāja, protect us from all fear of dangers created by stalwart leaders in all directions through poison, weapons, water, fire, air and so on. May the Lord cover their influence by His own transcendental influence. May Nṛsiṁhadeva protect us in all directions and in all corners, above, below, within and without.
maghavann idam ākhyātaṁ
vijeṣyase ’ñjasā yena
maghavan—O King Indra; idam—this; ākhyātam—described; varma—mystic armor; nārāyaṇa-ātmakam—related to Nārāyaṇa; vijeṣyase—you will conquer; añjasā—very easily; yena—by which; daṁśitaḥ—being protected; asura-yūthapān—the chief leaders of the demons.
Viśvarūpa continued: O Indra, this mystic armor related to Lord Nārāyaṇa has been described by me to you. By putting on this protective covering, you will certainly be able to conquer the leaders of the demons.
etad dhārayamāṇas tu
yaṁ yaṁ paśyati cakṣuṣā
padā vā saṁspṛśet sadyaḥ
sādhvasāt sa vimucyate
etat—this; dhārayamāṇaḥ—a person employing; tu—but; yam yam—whomever; paśyati—he sees; cakṣuṣā—by his eyes; padā—by his feet; vā—or; saṁspṛśet—may touch; sadyaḥ—immediately; sādhvasāt—from all fear; saḥ—he; vimucyate—is freed.
If one employs this armor, whomever he sees with his eyes or touches with his feet is immediately freed from all the above-mentioned dangers.
na kutaścid bhayaṁ tasya
vidyāṁ dhārayato bhavet
vyādhy-ādibhyaś ca karhicit
na—not; kutaścit—from anywhere; bhayam—fear; tasya—of him; vidyām—this mystical prayer; dhārayataḥ—employing; bhavet—may appear; rāja—from the government; dasyu—from rogues and thieves; graha-ādibhyaḥ—from demons and so on; vyādhi-ādibhyaḥ—from diseases and so on; ca—also; karhicit—at any time.
This prayer, Nārāyaṇa-kavaca, constitutes subtle knowledge transcendentally connected with Nārāyaṇa. One who employs this prayer is never disturbed or put in danger by the government, by plunderers, by evil demons or by any type of disease.
imāṁ vidyāṁ purā kaścit
kauśiko dhārayan dvijaḥ
jahau sa maru-dhanvani
imām—this; vidyām—prayer; purā—formerly; kaścit—someone; kauśikaḥ—Kauśika; dhārayan—using; dvijaḥ—a brāhmaṇa; yoga-dhāraṇayā—by mystic power; sva-aṅgam—his own body; jahau—gave up; saḥ—he; maru-dhanvani—in the desert.
O King of heaven, a brāhmaṇa named Kauśika formerly used this armor when he purposely gave up his body in the desert by mystic power.
yayau citrarathaḥ strībhir
vṛto yatra dvija-kṣayaḥ
tasya—his dead body; upari—above; vimānena—by airplane; gandharva-patiḥ—the King of Gandharvaloka, Citraratha; ekadā—once upon a time; yayau—went; citrarathaḥ—Citraratha; strībhiḥ—by many beautiful women; vṛtaḥ—surrounded; yatra—where; dvija-kṣayaḥ—the brāhmaṇa Kauśika had died.
Surrounded by many beautiful women, Citraratha, the King of Gandharvaloka, was once passing in his airplane over the brāhmaṇa’s body at the spot where the brāhmaṇa had died.
gaganān nyapatat sadyaḥ
savimāno hy avāk-śirāḥ
asthīny ādāya vismitaḥ
snātvā dhāma svam anvagāt
gaganāt—from the sky; nyapatat—fell; sadyaḥ—suddenly; sa-vimānaḥ—with his airplane; hi—certainly; avāk-śirāḥ—with his head downward; saḥ—he; vālikhilya—of the great sages named the Vālikhilyas; vacanāt—by the instructions; asthīni—all the bones; ādāya—taking; vismitaḥ—struck with wonder; prāsya—throwing; prācī-sarasvatyām—in the River Sarasvatī, which flows to the east; snātvā—bathing in that river; dhāma—to the abode; svam—his own; anvagāt—returned.
Suddenly Citraratha was forced to fall from the sky headfirst with his airplane. Struck with wonder, he was ordered by the great sages named the Vālikhilyas to throw the brāhmaṇa’s bones in the nearby River Sarasvatī. He had to do this and bathe in the river before returning to his own abode.
ya idaṁ śṛṇuyāt kāle
yo dhārayati cādṛtaḥ
taṁ namasyanti bhūtāni
mucyate sarvato bhayāt
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; yaḥ—anyone who; idam—this; śṛṇuyāt—may hear; kāle—at a time of fear; yaḥ—anyone who; dhārayati—employs this prayer; ca—also; ādṛtaḥ—with faith and adoration; tam—unto him; namasyanti—offer respectful obeisances; bhūtāni—all living beings; mucyate—is released; sarvataḥ—from all; bhayāt—fearful conditions.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: My dear Mahārāja Parīkṣit, one who employs this armor or hears about it with faith and veneration when afraid because of any conditions in the material world is immediately freed from all dangers and is worshiped by all living entities.
etāṁ vidyām adhigato
vinirjitya mṛdhe ’surān
etām—this; vidyām—prayer; adhigataḥ—received; viśvarūpāt—from the brāhmaṇa Viśvarūpa; śata-kratuḥ—Indra, the King of heaven; trailokya-lakṣmīm—all the opulence of the three worlds; bubhuje—enjoyed; vinirjitya—conquering; mṛdhe—in battle; asurān—all the demons.
King Indra, who performed one hundred sacrifices, received this prayer of protection from Viśvarūpa. After conquering the demons, he enjoyed all the opulences of the three worlds.
This mystical mantric armor given by Viśvarūpa to Indra, the King of heaven, acted powerfully, with the effect that Indra was able to conquer the asuras and enjoy the opulence of the three worlds without impediments. In this regard, Madhvācārya points out:
One must receive all kinds of mantras from a bona fide spiritual master; otherwise the mantras will not be fruitful. This is also indicated in Bhagavad-gītā (4.34):
“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” All mantras should be received through the authorized guru, and the disciple must satisfy the guru in all respects, after surrendering at his lotus feet. In the Padma Purāṇa it is also said, sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te niṣphalā matāḥ. There are four sampradāyas, or disciplic successions, namely the Brahma-sampradāya, the Rudra-sampradāya, the Śrī sampradāya and the Kumāra-sampradāya. If one wants to advance in spiritual power, one must receive his mantras from one of these bona fide sampradāyas; otherwise he will never successfully advance in spiritual life.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Sixth Canto, Eighth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Nārāyaṇa-kavaca Shield.”
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