CHAPTER THIRTY SEVEN

A FLAMING SWORD AND THE SUDARSHAN CAKRA

DEVOTEE: The Vedas inform us of the Sudarshan Cakra, a manifestation of the Lord's spiritual potency which acts in different capacities according to the Lord's desire. Generally the Sudarshan Cakra appears as a weapon like a discus with a razor sharp edge that may also exhibit intolerable heat. In his prayers to the Sudarshan Cakra, Ambarisa Maharäja said, "O master of speech, by your effulgence, full of religious principles, the darkness of the world is dissipated, and the knowledge of learned persons or great souls is manifested. Indeed, no one can surpass your effulgence, for all things, manifested and unmanifested, gross and subtle, superior and inferior, are but various forms of you that are manifested by your effulgence. [Bhag. 9.5.7] One of the functions of the Sudarshan Cakra is to chastise the demons, but another is to uplift the consciousness of the living beings. Do the Jewish scriptures give any information about a weapon of the nature of Sudarshan Cakra?
RABBI: There is one verse in the Torah, after God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. It is said, "He drove away the man, and stationed the cherubim (angel of destruction) at the east of Eden, along with the revolving sword blade, to guard the path of the Tree of Life." [Torah, Genesis, Bereshith 3:24] "Man is told that he must eventually die and is banished from paradise. He can only return to paradise after death, and before doing so, he must pass by these angels of purgatory (Bachya). The prophet must also pass these angels to approach the Tree of Life." [Torah, Note: 3:24]
Regarding the revolving sword or flaming sword that revolves, it is said "the manner in which the sword rotates depends on the readiness of the individual attempting to enter. If he is worthy, it becomes the mirror through which he perceives, while if he is not worthy, he is burned out and cut off by the fire of this sword. The one who oversees the sword, preventing the unworthy from entering, is the angel Metatron." [Meditation and Kabbalah p 80 Chapter 4, Teachings of Rabbi Abraham Abulafia]
DEVOTEE: There is a long history in the Vedas in which the Sudarshan Cakra functioned both to punish a demon and to ultimately enlighten him. Very briefly, one day, the great mystic Brahman Durvasa Muni came to visit Ambarisha Maharäja at his palace. The king was eager to serve Durvasa royally. While Durvasa took his bath, the king, not wanting to eat before his guest, but obligated to break his religious fast, took only a little water. Durvasa understood that Ambarisha Maharäja had drunk water and felt unlimitedly offended that the king had eaten before him. Due to extreme anger, Durvasa created a fiery demon to kill the king, but the Lord's Sudarshan Cakra immediately came and killed the demon. Then, the cakra started chasing Durvasa Muni all over the universe until finally the sage approached the Supreme Lord Himself for protection. The Lord refused him protection and sent him back to Ambarisha Maharäja to seek forgiveness for his offenses to the king. At the humble request of the king, the Sudarñana Cakra ceased pursuing Durvasa. After this incident, Ambarisha Maharäja sumptuously fed Durvasa Muni and they became very good friends. By the grace of the Sudarshan Cakra, Durvasa Muni was enlightened as to the exalted spiritual position of the king. Thus, the Sudarshan Cakra simultaneously punished Durvasa and enlightened him.
RABBI: Do the Vedas describe any other functions of the Sudarshan Cakra?
DEVOTEE: It is also said, "You [Sudarshan Cakra] are the original vision of the Lord, and therefore you are known as Sudarshan. Everything has been created by your activities, and therefore you are all-pervading." In his explanation to this verse, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says, "The word Sudarshan means auspicious vision. From Vedic instructions we understand that this material world is created by the glance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (sa aikñata, sa asåjata). The Supreme Personality of Godhead glanced over the mahat-tattva, or the total material energy, and when it was agitated, everything came into existence. Western philosophers sometimes think that the original cause of creation was a chunk that exploded. If one thinks of this chunk as the total material energy, the mahat-tattva, one can understand that the chunk was agitated by the glance of the Lord, and thus the Lord's glance is the original cause of material creation." [Bhag. 9.5.5 Purport]
RABBI: There is a statement in the Zohar that "When God was about to create the world, He produced a secret spark from which there issued and radiated all the lights, which constitute the upper world. Then it continued its radiation, and the Arificer made it into a light without brightness, and thus He made the lower world. [Zohar II, 156b]
DEVOTEE: After Durvasa Muni begged forgiveness from Ambarisha Maharäja, the king offered prayers to Sudarshan Cakra. He said, "O master of speech, by your effulgence, full of religious principles, the darkness of the world is dissipated, and the knowledge of learned persons or great souls is manifested. Indeed, no one can surpass your effulgence, for all things, manifested and unmanifested, gross and subtle, superior and inferior, are but various forms of you that are manifested by your effulgence." In his explanation, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada said, "Without illumination, nothing can be seen, especially in this material world. The illumination in this world emanates from the effulgence of Sudarshan, the original vision of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The illuminating principles of the sun, the moon and fire emanate from Sudarshan. Similarly, illumination by knowledge also comes from Sudarshan." [Bhag. 9.5.7, Purport]




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