om namo bhagavate tasmai
yata etac cid-atmakam
sri-gajendrah uvaca—Gajendra, the King of elephants, said; om—O my Lord; namah—I offer my respectful obeisances unto You; bhagavate—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tasmai—unto Him; yatah—from whom; etat—this body and the material manifestation; cit-atmakam—is moving due to consciousness (the spirit soul); purusaya—unto the Supreme Person; adi-bijaya—who is the origin or root cause of everything; para-isaya—who is supreme, transcendental and worshipable for such exalted persons as Brahma and Siva; abhidhimahi—let me meditate upon Him.
The King of the elephants, Gajendra, said: I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Person, Vasudeva [om namo bhagavate vasudevaya]. Because of Him this material body acts due to the presence of spirit, and He is therefore the root cause of everyone. He is worshipable for such exalted persons as Brahma and Siva, and He has entered the heart of every living being. Let me meditate upon Him.
In this verse the words etac cid-atmakam are very important. The material body certainly consists only of material elements, but when one awakens to Krsna conscious understanding, the body is no longer material but spiritual. The material body is meant for sense enjoyment, whereas the spiritual body engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Therefore, a devotee who engages in the service of the Supreme Lord and who constantly thinks of Him should never be considered to have a material body. It is therefore enjoined, gurusu nara-matih: one should stop thinking of the spiritual master as an ordinary human being with a material body. Arcye visnau sila-dhih: everyone knows that the Deity in the temple is made of stone, but to think that the Deity is merely stone is an offense. Similarly, to think that the body of the spiritual master consists of material ingredients is offensive. Atheists think that devotees foolishly worship a stone statue as God and an ordinary man as the guru. The fact is, however, that by the grace of Krsna’s omnipotence, the so-called stone statue of the Deity is directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the body of the spiritual master is directly spiritual. A pure devotee who is engaged in unalloyed devotional service should be understood to be situated on the transcendental platform (sa gunan samatityaitan brahma-bhuyaya kalpate [Bg. 14.26]). Let us therefore offer our obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by whose mercy so-called material things also become spiritual when they are engaged in spiritual activity.
Omkara (pranava) is the symbolic sound representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Om tat sad iti nirdeso brahmanas tri-vidhah smrtah: the three words om tat sat immediately invoke the Supreme Person. Therefore Krsna says that He is omkara in all the Vedic mantras (pranavah sarva-vedesu). The Vedic mantras are pronounced beginning with omkara to indicate immediately the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Srimad-Bhagavatam, for example, begins with the words om namo bhagavate vasudevaya. There is no difference between the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, and omkara (pranava). We should be careful to understand that omkara does not indicate anything nirakara, or formless. Indeed, this verse immediately says, om namo bhagavate. Bhagavan is a person. Thus omkara is the representation of the Supreme Person. Omkara is not meant to be impersonal, as the Mayavadi philosophers consider it to be. This is distinctly expressed here by the word purusaya. The supreme truth addressed by omkara is purusa, the Supreme Person; He is not impersonal. Unless He is a person, how can He control the great, stalwart controllers of this universe? Lord Visnu, Lord Brahma and Lord Siva are the supreme controllers of this universe, but Lord Visnu is offered obeisances even by Lord Siva and Lord Brahma. Therefore this verse uses the word paresaya, which indicates that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshiped by exalted demigods. Paresaya means paramesvara. Lord Brahma and Lord Siva are isvaras, great controllers, but Lord Visnu is paramesvara, the supreme controller.
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