Dewagam Stotra (Apta Mimansa)
Tarkik Chakrachudamani Acharya Samant Bhadra was a great acharya of the second Vikram Century. He is famous as the first writer of adoration verse. He has written many stotras full of deep logic. Dewagam Stotra is incomparable and is also called Apta Mimansa, wherein a thoughtful discussion on Apta (the real God) has been reported. Acharya Samant Bhadra wrote a commentary named ‘Gandh Hasti Mahabhasya’ on the Tatvartha Sutra (Moksha Shastra) of Umaswami. This Dewagam Stotra is the benedictory verse of Gandh Hasti Mahabhasya, in the context of the same of Tatvartha Sutra.
Many serious and spacious commentaries in Sanskrit have been written on this stotra, amongst which, the Ashta Shati of Acharya Aklankdeo with eight hundred verses and the Ashta Shahastri of Acharya Vidyanand with eight thousand verses are very famous. This stotra has one hundred and fourteen verses. It is not possible to give them here. Its meaning is also very complex and this is no place for its exposition. The first sixteen verses are reproduced here as sample. The stotra and its commentaries need studies in the original.
The subject matter of the stotra is to clarify the chief characteristics of the Apta in the style of adoration verses. This has been written as an irony. Acharya Vidyanandi writes explaining the irony .-
“It is as if Bhagwan (Apta) himself asked Samant Bhadra why Acharya Uma Swami in his great scripture Tatvartha Sutra has adored him without describing His great attributes, when such attributes are present in countless numbers. Samant Bhadra wrote this Dewagam Stotra in answer to this question.
DWAGAM STOTRA (APTA MIMANSA)
Oh God ! you are not great in my vision, only on account of the facts that gods from the heaven come to have your Darshan, that you move in the sky and that you are adorned with whisks and divine umbrellas; for all these are seen in an illusive being also.
In the same manner external and internal embellishments of the physical form etc., though not found in illusive beings, are found in heavenly beings, having attachment and other passions. On account of these also you cannot be great in my view.
Your greatness does not hold good, because you are the basis of all scriptural knowledge and a propagator of the religion, because there are many writers of religious scriptures and propagators of religious sects and communities and the utterances of all these are generally mutually contradictory.
Oh Lord! your greatness lies in omniscience and complete detachment. Omniscience and complete detachment are not impossible of achievement.. The complete elimination of delusion, attachment and aversions and other blemishes and non-existence of Gyanawaran and other Karmas are possible, because their progressive elimination is seen. Just as in this world impure gold-stone with the help of fire becomes pure, discarding all internal and external impurities, in the same way with the fire of meditation of the pure operative consciousness, a soul can be free from its blemishes and become omniscient and completely detached.
Very small atoms etc., internal attachments etc. and distant substances like Mount Meru are the objects of vision of some being; because they are known by inference. All those that are known by inference are actually seen by somebody. Just as we infer by the presence of smoke the existence of fire, somebody sees the actual fire also. Likewise if we know the subtle, internal and distant objects by inference, somebody can know them directly. This way the existence of an omniscient being is proved.
Oh Bhagwan! that omniscient and detached being is yourself, because your voice is without any contradictions as is clear from the scriptures and logic.
Those who are burning with the fire of the pride of being Aptas or Omniscient Beings, that is, those who have thought themselves to be Aptas, though in fact they are not, are quite distant from the nectar of multifacedness of things, as propounded by you, and believe that their wrong beliefs are true. In reality, they cannot be regarded as Aptas, for the nature of things as propounded by them is antagonistic.
Oh Lord, those who are in the grip of the ghost of single-facedness, are enemies of themselves and others, because in their opinion there is no systematic other world etc., and merit and demerit karmas.
Oh Lord, if we accept the exclusive existence of the substances, we will have to uphold that there is nothing like non-existence. If we don’t accept non-existence of things, all the substances will become universal and eternal, having no separate existence of any, which is not acceptable to you.
If we accept the non-existence of Praagabhava (absence of the present modification in the former one of a substance), all the manifestations of substances will become eternal. Likewise if we don’t accept Pradhvansabhava (non-existence of the present modification in the future modification of a substance), all the modifications of all the substances will be without an end.
If we don’t recognise Anyonyabhava (which shows that the present modification of a matter substance cannot disturb at all the present modification of other matter substances), all the visible matter substances will assume one shape only, in the present; and if we do not recognise Atyantabhava (complete non-existence of one substance into the other) all the substances will be eternally one and will not be able to be described.
How will the Abhavaikantwadies establish their own opinions and find fault with those of others, in the absence of the reliability of consciousness and speech, if existence is treated as altogether non-existence ?
If somebody, in order to save himself from the defects of both Bhavaikant and Abhavaikant accepts Ubhayaikant, then those, who are against the logic of multifacedness, will uphold that being mutually contradictory, both will have separate faults of their own. If somebody to save himself from this awkward situation accepts Avachayaikant, then a substance will become an object of speech, by saying that it is really not so.
Oh Lord, therefore, a substance is from some point of view Sat (existent), Asat (non-existent), Sat-Asat both (existent as well as non-existent), inexplicable, existent and inexplicable non-existent and inexplicable and existent non-existent and inexplicable, respectively. All this is true according to the Sapta Bhang logic, not absolutely.
Who will not accept the existence of substance from the Point of view of self-substance, self-space, self-time and self-manifestation ? Likewise who will not recognise the non-existence of the substance from the point of view of other substance, other space, other time and other manifestation ? Every reasonable man will accept these. If some one does not do so, the godly scheme of things will stand shattered.
From the point of view of description step by step, substance is both existent and non-existent (Bhavabhava) and since it is not possible to express both existence and non-existence simultaneously, substance is inexplicable from some point of view. After this the three applications of the Bhangas existent and inexplicable, non-existent and inexplicable and existent-non-existent and inexplicable should be followed, as they are from individual point of views.
Dr. H.C. Bharill