Qualities of a Vaishnava – The Devotee of Lord

First, let us try to understand what the word “Vishnu” means. Knowing the meaning helps us understand its universal oneness irrespective of the differences in religion, race, belief, and cultures. “Vishnu” is not a monopoly of Hinduism, though it is mostly used in Hindu religion.

“Vishnu” is a sanskrit word, written as विष्णु. The root is “vis” meaning “to pervade” and the suffix “nu” together results in the meaning – “The All-Pervading One “or “The Omnipresent”. Can the All-Pervading God be limited to one body, one race, one religion and one belief ? That shows our limitedness of knowledge, but God cannot be limited. God is The All-Pervading One – Krishna, Rama, Jesus, Prophet Mohammad, Buddha – all are incarnations of God and hence can be called ”Vishnu”.

“Vaishnava” thus means “belonging to Vishnu”. In various scriptures, it is emphasized by Lord that His Devotee is dear to him, and among the Devotees, the enlighted one is most dear to HIM. Many Puranas, and Scriptures in the category of Bhakti (Devotion) Literature speak about the qualities of a Devotee. The one I am presenting below is one such written by Sant Narsinh Mehta of Gujarat.

The summary of the qualities of the devotee of Lord is beautifully presented in the four stanzas. I am presenting this poem in both Sanskrit and the Transliteration along with its meaning. Whenever I hear to the rendering of this wonderful poem by Swami Divyavratananda of Ramakrishna Mission, I get tears in my eyes. I will soon post the mp3 of this song and I am sure we will be blessed with joy and happiness after hearing it.

वैष्णव जनतो तेने कहिये जे

पीड परायी जाने रे ।

पर दुःखे उपकार करे तो ये

मन अभिमान न आने रे ।।

He alone is called a Vaishnava – the devotee of Lord, who knows and understands the sufferings of others and by helping them in their distress, does not allow pride and ego enter his self.

सकळ लोकमा सहुने वंदे

निंदा न करे केनि रे ।

वाचिका आछे मन निश्चल राखे

धन धन जननी तेनि रे ।।

He alone looks upon the entire universe as his own self and does not accuse anyone or find fault with. He keeps his mind, heart and speech filled with divine purity. O Vaishnava, thy mother is very fortunate !

सम दृष्टि ने तृष्णा त्यागी

पर स्त्री झेणे मात रे ।

जिह्वा थके असत्य न बोले

पर धन न वझाले हाथ रे ।।

He alone has equal vision, possesses equanimity and abandons all desires. He considers other women to be his own mother. Though the sense organ tongue is tired (its nature is to speak ill of others and utter falsehood), he never utters a lie. He never touches other’s property or has any desire for it.

मोह मायाव्यपि नहि झेणे

दृढ वैराग्य झीना मनमा रे ।

राम नाम सो ताळिरे लागे

सकल तीरथ तेन तनमा रे ।।

He is untouched by ignorance and maya (illusion). Armed with strong renunciation and established in self, he constantly utters “Rama”, the divine names of Lord and in him is the confluence of all sacred pilgrim centers.

वण लोभी णे कपट् रहिता छे

काम क्रोध निवार्या रे ।।

भणे नरसयो तेनु दरषन करता ।।

कुळ् एकोतेर तार्या रे ।।

He alone is without greed and deception and abandons lust and anger. Narsi, the devotee of Lord, would like to see such a person, who brings honor to the entire family through such divine qualities.

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