Saturday, February 11, 2017

961. The Cobra Hood.....!

When we had been to Melkote, a small Vaishnava pilgrim center in Karnataka the priest there explained about how Srimad Ramanuja, the proponent of Vishishtadvaita had Avinabhava Sambhandha (Universal Relation of Inseparability) with the place. He also told about an incidence when a few ardent followers of Jainism argued with Srimad Ramanuja about Vedas and Hindu way of ritualistic worship. The Jain followers insist that Srimad Ramanuja answer their questions and if he convinced them that the ritualistic practices followed were logical, and then they would accept him as their Guru. Prior to this Srimad Ramanuja had cured the mental illness of the daughter of Jain King Bittideva (who later on embraced Hinduism and was called Raja Vishnuvardhana of Hoysala Dynasty). Jain monks had tried to cure her too but had failed. 1000 Jain monks challenged Srimad Ramanuja with 1000 questions. It is said that Srimad Ramanuja took the form of a 1000 hood Cobra and answered all questions. After hearing this story about Srimad Ramanuja I happened to see photographs of him with a 1000 hooded snake behind as a canopy.

Further Jayathirtha (Teekacharya), the sixth pontiff in the linage of the Dvaita Siddantha exponent Sriman Madhva is also shown with a canopy of snake hood. Vidyaranya, an unrivaled Advaita Vedanta and author of many works like Panchadasi was his contemporary. Enthralled by the extent and depth in the philosophical works with rapier-thrust logic Vidyaranya had Jayathirtha seated on a decorated elephant and paraded in a grand procession. Even the 23 Thirthankara Parshvanatha is shown sitting in meditation under the canopy of snake hood.   
Is there any connection with the flared up snake hood and all these great saints???

Science has explained how the snake fares up and form the hood as a defensive move. A snake creates the hood by extending the ribs behind its head. The scientists have found that there is an electrical activity which makes the group of eight muscles in the upper portion of the snake to flare up and form the hood. Interestingly these set of eight muscles are present in non-hooding snakes also.

Now let me share what I understand from this. Awareness is an ability which gets alerted and opens up when there is knowledge of a subject. Cobra which has formed the hood is always alert and aware of itself and its surroundings. Human mind is the avenue by which the awareness unfolds; become alert and gets manifested.

Just as all the Serpents have the eight muscles to flare and yet only few have the capability to form a hood, we human species have mind and only a few like Srimad Ramanuja, Sri Jayathirtha and Sri Parshvanatha are ever aware. In a way they are always in the state of wakefulness but in tranquillity. Cobra is a symbol of the psycho-spiritual energy that raises and opens up; energy which is alert and at the same time restful.

One should not visualise as there is a real cobra at the back of their head. It is just to symbolise that they are wakefulness and at the same time in deep state of rest. This state is called Meditation. Always in totally bliss, doing nothing, wanting nothing, being nothing but just being open, like the hood of a cobra; alert without any effort.

Now what can I say about my Lord who is reclined on Adhishesha???

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