Why And How to Offer Obeisances

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.06.05-07 - Why And How to Offer Obeisances (download mp3)
by Radhika Raman Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty


SB 11.6.5
tasyam vibhrajamanayam
 samrddhayam maharddhibhih
 krsnam adbhuta-darsanam

In that resplendent city of Dvaraka, rich with all superior opulences, the demigods beheld with unsatiated eyes the wonderful form of Sri Krsna.

SB 11.6.6
svargodyanopagair malyais
 chadayanto yuduttamam
girbhis citra-padarthabhis
 tustuvur jagad-isvaram

The demigods covered the Supreme Lord of the universe with flower garlands brought from the gardens of heaven. Then they praised Him, the best of the Yadu dynasty, with statements containing charming words and ideas.

SB 11.6.7
sri-deva ucuh
natah sma te natha padaravindam
yac cintyate ’ntar hrdi bhava-yuktair
 mumuksubhih karma-mayoru-pasat

The demigods began to speak: Our dear Lord, advanced mystic yogis, striving for liberation from the severe bondage of material work, meditate with great devotion upon Your lotus feet within their hearts. Dedicating our intelligence, senses, vital air, mind and power of speech to Your Lordship, we demigods bow down at Your lotus feet.

According to Srila Sridhara Svami, the word sma in this verse indicates vismaya, “astonishment.” The demigods were astonished that although great mystic yogis are only able to contemplate the lotus feet of the Lord within their hearts, the demigods arriving in the city of Dvaraka were able to see before them the entire body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the powerful demigods fell down like sticks before the Lord. Such full obeisances (called dandavat, “like a stick”) are described as follows:

dorbhyam padabhyam janubhyam
 urasa sirasa drsa
manasa vacasa ceti
 pranamo ’stanga iritah

“The obeisances offered with eight limbs are made with the two arms, the two legs, the two knees, the chest, the head, the eyes, the mind and the power of speech.”

The currents of material nature are very powerful, and one should therefore cling tightly to the lotus feet of the Lord. Otherwise, the violent waves of sense gratification and mental speculation will undoubtedly sweep one away from one’s eternal, constitutional position as the loving servitor of the Supreme Lord, and one will then fall down into the stringent bondage described here as uru-pasat, “a very powerful illusory network.”

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