999. अक्षोभ्यः Akshobhyah – One who cannot be exasperated by anyone, by any act or acts, however blasphemous they may be.
This is the meaning that Gurudev reveals for Bhagawan as Akshobhyah. The meaning points to a connect with the weapons we have seen so far in this verse 107: Samkhabrit Nandakee Chakree, Shaarngadhanva Gadaadhara Rathaangapanee. These, we saw were the adornments on the Lord Vishnu as He is traditionally known in His form as the One we worship.
Although this naam had been seen earlier in stanza 86 (801), which sought to show us that this entire creation is the Lord Himself, it is not a repetition in stanza 107. The context is completely different in 107 and Akshobhyah is to be understood in this new context.
In 86, the jiva was slowly coming to see the Lord as the entire Creation. Until then he was anxiously trying to find the Lord in everyone and everything – but gradually as he examined the creation around him, he comes to see that all creation is verily wrapped together as the Lord. And from ‘all this is the Lord’ or ‘all these are the Lord’, he now sees that ‘the Lord Himself is everything.’
For, in stanza 86, the seeker was seeing the entire creation as the means for bringing to him all experiences needed for his liberation. So objects, the people, the desires, the relationships, the hopes, the expectations, the anticipations, the disappointments, the losses, the realization (of the losses) -- were all seen as small waves that the Lord causes to be created in Himself, upon Himself. That was why stanza 86 referred to the creation as the Lord when it said Mahahrado mahagarto mahabhooto mahanidhih. So the seeker saw samsara as the oceanic waters rising up, wave after wave, falling and rising again... but all through being just water. And instead of identifying with the waves, he sought to just be water.
Now in 107, once again his perspective is being shifted gently – from the things and beings (creation) which make up the Lord (mahahrado mahagarto mahabhooto, mahanidhih), he is being told by Bhishma pitamah to shift the gaze beyond, to see the Lord Himself, beyond the things and beings, as the weapon wielding Lord Vishnu as we have worshipped Him, the creator, the Cause, the prime mover.
So there is no repetition. Then Akshobhyah was used as He who remains unruffled regardless of the variety of experiences He allows to play upon His self for the Jiva --- objects, people, desires, relationships, likes and dislikes, etc, are all small waves that the Lord causes to be created in Himself, upon Himself... but the ‘Owner’ of all these experiences, the Lord, is Himself unruffled by their play.
In 86, the Lord was all Creation, Isvara. In 107 He is Brahman, the weapon wielding Vishnu of the Visvaroopam. This is the difference (to my mind). Then we were seeing the Lord as all of Creation and the Lord as all the experiences. That was why it was also necessary to see the Lord as unruffled.
In para 107, naam 999 we are seeing the Lord in His ever glorious form holding all the weapons of destruction of the jiva-seeker’s vasanas.
That was why in 992, we saw the Lord as Paapanaashanah – the One who enables the liquidation of our vasanas by bringing to us experiences that will nullify our past actions. And once the vasanas are removed, the jiva will be/unite with/unravel/arrive into Brahman. For this He uses the symbolic weapons of sankha, chakra, gada etc… and He will use them without bias, without being ruffled or perturbed when it comes to cleansing us of our remnant vasanas, for He had committed to being our Guide in 218 (Agranee) and He will accomplish our union with Himself. For He had made this promise and Bhishma pitamah reminds Yudhishthir (and us) of that promise:
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
…. And hence He is Akshobhyah, His protection is unconditional and fearless. That was why when the young Sri Rama is faced with leaving home with Sage Vishvamitra, to protect the yagnas of the great sages, He is Himself willing and ready, uncaring of having to leave home and comfort of parental love; but being an uttamapurusha, He awaits His father’s permission.
Unruffled. That would be at the level of the mind (but then the Lord does not use emotion); hence we must stay with the context again and examine the power of these weapons in stanza 107: all these weapons listed here are undefeatable, cannot be vanquished, cannot be destroyed or shaken; and the Lord applies the weapons when we reveal the symptoms.
Sri Adi Sankara says, “thus equipped with the various weapons, He is said to be unassailable.” That does not be taken to mean that He is unassailable because He has these weapons, as if without the weapons the Lord cannot perform. But, no matter what the jiva’s condition, whether of his mind or of his external environment, the Lord’s weapons are precisely crafted by Him to rid us of that condition. The weapons are created according to the classifications of the jiva’s possible conditions. For each category of conditions the Lord has weapons which are symbolic of that category, but which we saw being used by Him earlier for ridding a similar condition, hence the weapon came to be symbolic of that condition.
In short, no matter what our difficulty, condition, foolishness, He cannot be ‘defeated’ by the condition; He defeats our conditions to conquer the Goal for us. For He is our Agranee. Hence let us not worry at all. Just surrender and hand ourselves to Him.
Gurudev says, “One Who cannot be exasperated by anyone, by any act or acts, however blasphemous they may be; One Whose peace and calm cannot be stormed out by any happening in his outer world; Ever-peaceful. The term suggests Infinite patience, love and kindness towards man and his frailties".
It seems the reference could be to His naam as RathaangapaaNi, where we are told in the Mahabharat that when Bhishma attacked Arjuna (with the loving grandfatherly intention to goad his dearest child to perform, to fight, to do his dharma), Krishna seeing a hopeless Arjuna reluctant to fight back, picks up the wheel of the chariot and angrily rushes at Bhishma.
Now we see the beauty of the God-devotee love. Krishna did that to fulfil Bhishma’s word: when Krishna had sworn He would not pick up a weapon during the war, Bhsihma swears he will make Him do just that. The love of the Lord for His dearest devotee was such that He allowed Bhishma’s word to be fulfilled and His act of attacking with the wheel (ratha-anga) was the fulfilment of that. Whereas look at Bhishma, he is so filled with pain edged love on seeing his Lord break His own promise and pick up a weapon, but seeing Him run through the battlefield, Bhishma is overcome with the beauty of the Lord with the wheel (RathaangapaaNi), His hair flying, the dust all over His face, the blood trickling down His face… but Bhishma does not think the Lord is angry, for He cannot be angered, cannot be upset, cannot be ruffled. Hence he adds in the fitness of things that even if the Lord did pick up the wheel, He is unassailable, un-ruffle-able, and Gurudev says ‘He is One Whose peace and calm
cannot be stormed out by any happening in his outer world; Ever-peaceful!’
What a fitting naam this is! Om Akshobhyaaya namah!
ॐ अक्षोभ्याय नमः
SALUTATIONS TO THE ONE WHO IS UNSHAKABLE