The All Fiery Protector - Part 3

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

This is in conclusion of the previous offering, "The All Fiery Protector" wherein we were meditating on the glories of Lord Parasurama. 

We saw how Lord Paraśurāmā who is compared to fire, is the destroyer and protector. Also we saw that Lord Paraśurāmā has His special presence in the fire and all fire worship is ultimately directed towards Him. In addition to protection and destruction in this material world, Lord Paraśurāmā also guides the living entities towards liberation from material existence. There will be so many obstacles on the path of spiritual progress and all can be removed by surrendering unto His lotus feet and praying for His grace.

In many Vedic mantras, prayer is addressed to Lord Agni to remove the obstacles on the path of spiritual progress and this prayer is actually addressed to Lord Paraśurāmā who is present in fire. The Isopanishad (Mantra 18) states as follows.

agne naya supathā rāye asmān viśvāni deva vayunāni vidvān
yuyodhy asmaj juhurāṇam eno bhūyiṣṭhāṁ te nama-uktiṁ vidhema

O my Lord, as powerful as fire, O omnipotent one, now I offer You all obeisances, falling on the ground at Your feet. O my Lord, please lead me on the right path to reach You, and since You know all that I have done in the past, please free me from the reactions to my past sins, so that there will be no hindrance to my progress.

Srila Prabhupada explains in the commentary of this mantra “By surrendering to the Lord and praying for His causeless mercy, the devotee can progress on the path of complete self-realization. The Lord is addressed as fire because He can burn anything into ashes, including the sins of the surrendered soul...Since the omnipotent Lord is situated within the heart of everyone, He can give directions to His sincere devotees by which they can attain the right path. Such directions are especially offered to the devotee, even if he desires something else...Such directions are given to the sincere devotee in two ways: one is by way of the saints, scriptures and spiritual master, and the other is by way of the Lord Himself, who resides within the heart of everyone. Thus the devotee, fully enlightened with Vedic knowledge, is protected in all respects.” 

The biggest hindrance for spiritual progress is the impurities in our heart, due to our past sinful tendencies. And these impurities make us lazy and indifferent in devotional service. Lord Paraśurāmā burns all our sinful tendencies and their impressions in our heart and make us cross over all difficulties in spiritual progress. The Bhagavata purana (12.3.47) confirms this as follows.

 yathā hemni sthito vahnir durvarṇaṁ hanti dhātu-jam
 evam ātma-gato viṣṇur yoginām aśubhāśayam

Just as fire applied to gold removes any discoloration caused by traces of other metals, Lord Viṣṇu within the heart purifies the minds of the yogīs.

Above example of gold getting purified by fire is significant. The living entity covered by the influence of material nature is like gold covered by impurities. Lord Paraśurāmā who is compared to the fire, can burn these impurities and restore us to our original constitutional position. And most of the years (like this year) Paraśurāmā Jayanti falls on the Akshaya Tritiya day. Some people have the misconception that if we buy gold and jewellery on Akshaya Tritiya, then our wealth will increase. This year, due to the lock downs announced because of COVID, many people ordered gold via online for Tritiya and sale of gold increased dramatically on this day. 

But the real spirit of Akshaya Tritiya is that we (living entities) are like gold, discoloured by material impurities. And if we put ourselves in the association of Lord Paraśurāmā, who is like fire, by the process of devotional service, then we will be restored to our original purity. So festivals like Akshaya Tritiya, Paraśurāmā Jayanthi, Narasimha jayanthi are meant to fan up our devotional service and make it more fiery so that we can approach the All Fiery Protector. We will conclude our meditation on Lord Paraśurāmā by the following prayer from Yajur Veda which prays to the Lord present in Agni to remove all obstacles on the path of bhakti.

sa naḥ parṣadati durgāṇi viśvā nāveva sindhuṁ duritātyagniḥ

May He, the divine fire that leads all, protect us by taking us across all perils even as a captain takes the boat across the sea. May He also saves us from all sinful tendencies.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Narahari Krishna das
Chennai.