Vishwaroopa Darshanam in Temple and its Significance as per Pâncharâtra Âgamam
Vishwaroopam as per Puranas
The phrase “Vishwaroopa Darshanam” invokes a sense of familiarity as many of us would have been fortunate to have had the early morning darshanam atleast once at a Divya Desam or abhimana sthalam.
The simplest meaning of “Vishwaroopa Darshanam” is Bhagavân showing His original representation or the universal form.
This article makes a humble attempt to illustrate the significance of Vishwaroopa Darshanam, based on worship practices prescribed in the tenets of the Pancharatra Agamam as well as highlight the “Saulabyam”(easily accessible) of Bhagavân through giving us His Vishwaroopa Darshanam every day at temples.
The Puranas explain that Bhagavân showed His expanded form to specific devotees during various avatars. To remind us of few such instances, in Varâha Avatar, He took the huge form of boar to kill Hiranyâksha and free our Boomi Pirâti from captivity. This expanded form was witnessed by the Devâs and Bhoomi Pirati only.
In Vâmana Avatar, He took the Thrivikrama form to bless Mahâbali.
In Krishna Avatar, He had shown His Vishwaroopam at various times including to Mother Yashodha, Kaurava Sabha, Bheeshmachâryar and Arjunan.
Bhagavat Gita sloka describes that Vishwaroopa Darshanam has two aspects, first being the one and only Bhagavân is the Vishvam with everything in Him and second being He is in everything.
ihaika-sthaṁ jagat kṛitsnaṁ paśhyādya sa-charācharam
mama dehe guḍākeśha yach chānyad draṣhṭum ichchhasi –BG 11-7
Behold now, Arjun, the entire universe, with everything moving and non-moving, assembled together in my universal form. Whatever else you wish to see, observe it all within this universal form.
Even those blessed with His Vishwaroopa Darshanam desired to see Bhagavân’s simple form as we need a Divya Chakshu (Divine Eye) to see the Vishwaroopam. Only the realized jnānī and to whom Bhagavân provides this divine eye were able to see His expanded form.
Purânas show those people who saw His expanded form were bewildered and scared by the vision. All wished to see Bhagavân as the blue hued boy with a mischievous smile on His face, adorning Divya Ayudhams in four hands which put them in complete bliss.
We can appreciate the level of Tapas and Bhakthi needed for a person to visually perceive His expanded form, which is not an easy feat to achieve for us in Kaliyuga. If that is the case, how can we experience Bhagavân’s Vishwaroopam in Kaliyuga, is there a way?
Soulabhyam, the divine attribute
When we talk about his kalyana gunas or divine attributes, the attribute of “Soulabhyam” means ease of access by one and all, which is what bestows us with Vishwaroopa Darshanam in Kaliyuga.
Now let us see how our Âgamâs bring the above Vishwaroopam within our reach, not once, but every day.
Overview of Pâncharâtra Âgama
Pâncharâtra Âgama governs the worship rituals at several Vaishnava temples including Sri Ranganathar Temple, Srirangam and Sri Varadarajar Temple, Kanchipuram. Pâncharâtra Âgama, talks about three types of temples.
The highest status is accorded by the Âgama to temples where the Deity is manifest in all four forms i.e. Moolavar (immovable Deity within the inner sanctum) is in a standing form and other shrines (sannidhis) will have sitting, lying and walking forms called Uththamothama (best among the best). Other categories are Uththama-Madhyama and Uththama-Adhama temples, where the Deity is manifest in three or two of the above forms only.
From our point of view, in Uththamothama Temple, the Moolavar form can be likened to ParaBrahman, sitting form to ParâVasudevan, reclining (sayanam) form to Thiruppaarkadal and walking form to the Vibhava form. Hence the devotee enjoyes Bhagavân’s Parâ,Vyuha,Vibhava aspects in Archâ Murthy.
The Moolavar Deity being the immovable, the movable/processional Deity is manifest in six forms to fulfil ordained purposes of the Âgama Sastras including accepting offerings, enjoy processional visit to bless home-bound devotees and sayanam (put to sleep).
What is Vishwaroopam as per Pâncharâtra Âgama
As per Âgama Shastram and as part of the sacred rituals when Perumâl is put to sleep in the night, the collective divine energy of the Shadbera Moorthies (six Deities) is transferred to the Moolavar.
When the temple is opened the next morning, the Priests conduct sacred rituals to awaken the Moolavar where Perumâl witnesses auspicious things and sounds. As part of this ritual, the divine energies from the Moolavar are transferred back into the Shadbera Moorthies (six Deities). This divine wake-up ritual is called “Vishwaroopa Darshanam”.
Hence, Vishwaroopa Darshanam is highly auspicious and reminds us that the Vishvam (the first name in the Vishnu Sahasranama) is standing in front of us with divine weapons in four hands and a mischievous smile.
Out of His Soulabhyam, Bhagavân is providing the same experience to us, to see INFINITY to ONE form with our ordinary eyes. So we witness the omni present, omniscient and the omni-potent Bhagavân in the one Moolavar Deity.
This expands our mind to see the universe in His form and His form as the Universe, which yogi’s and rishi’s yearned for through arduous penance for thousands of years. In Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna says
“yo mam pasyati sarvatra
sarvam ca mayi pasyati
tasyaham na pranasyami
sa ca me na pranasyati” — BG 6-30
For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.
As per Vaikhanasa Aagama, during the sacred rituals of Vishwaroopam, Perumal is addressed as ‘Kousalya Supraja Rama’ as Sage Vishwamitra did in Ramâvatâram. Similarly, the Suprabatham is chanted where the Priest pleads for Bhagavân to shower His grace on all of us (jeevâs) just as He did for Mother Kousalya.
According to Âgamas, through the Vishwaroopa Darshanam, the all-pervading Bhagavân can be enjoyed as a totality of the “Shadgunya Paripoornan” comprised of the six Bheras, hence bestows all types of auspiciousness. The darshanam relieves the sins of devotees accumulated over multitudes of births. Hence, I urge you to please visit a nearby temple for the Vishwaroopa Darshanam.
Wikipedia definition of Agama
These are texts describing cosmology, epistemology, philosophical doctrines, precepts on meditation and practices, four kinds of yoga, mantras, temple construction, deity worship and ways to attain sixfold desires. Pâncharâtrâ Âgamam is one of the two texts related to practices of worship for Vishnu temples. Out of infinite grace, Bhagavân taught the Pâncharâtrâ Âgamam to five rishis (sages), who codified into simple texts for our easy understanding.
Bhagavan’s six divine attributes or Shadgunas are Jnanâ, Sakti, Iswarya, Bala, Virya
Shadbera Murthy (six forms of Utsava Murthy): Main Utsavar; Utsava archa(Daily Utsava Murthy); Bali archa Murthy; Snanarcha Murthy; Theertharcha Murthy.