Meaning of the Auspicious Marks on
the Lotus Feet of Sri Nityananda Prabhu
Compiled and translated by Dasaratha-suta dasa
Meaning of the Auspicious Marks on the Lotus Feet of Sri Nityananda
CONCH (sankha) -This auspicious mark indicates that those who take shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda are always rescued from all sorts of distress. Just as during the arati ceremony the conch-shell is used to hold water that is offered directly after the fire of the ghee-lamp, similarly Nityananda’s lotus feet hold transcendental water that soothes His devotees from the blazing fire of material miseries. Also this symbol proclaims ultimate victory for the devotees, since the conch-shell mark on His feet contains the entire ocean of material existence that may now be easily crossed. This mark also shows that those who resort to Nitai’s feet become completely fearless.FLAG (dhvaja) – This mark announces that for the devotees meditating on His feet, They give security and safe protection from all sorts of fear.
FISH (matsya) – This mark shows that just as a fish cannot live without water, similarly the surrendered devotees cannot live a moment without directly associating with His feet. It also shows that all the most cherished desires and longings of those who resort to Nitai’s feet will be truly fulfilled. It also means that the mind is very fickle, just like a fish that wavers this way and that, and so only after much meditation do His feet finally come into the heart. It also indicates that Nitai’s feet will come to live in one’s heart only if the heart has been liquefied by soft loving emotions; His feet do not thrive where it is dry.
LOTUS (kamala) -This mark increases greed for nectar in the minds of the bee-like devotees who meditate on Nitai’s feet. The lotus also signifies that just as a lotus grows out of water, similarly those whose eyes swell with tears upon holding the Divine lotus feet of Srila Nityananda Prabhu to their heart receive the highest benefit. This mark also shows that the goddess of fortune, Sri Laksmi Devi always resides at His feet rendering humble service. It signifies that His feet are so soft that they can only be compared to lotus petals; indeed upon first glancing at His lotus feet, you would think you are directly seeing fresh lotus blossoms. It also reveals that just as a lotus blooms by day and contracts by night, similarly those who remain steeped in meditation on Their feet always feel the blossoming unfoldment of brilliant sattvika ecstasies that dispel the darkness of ignorance. It also means that the bee of the devotee’s mind cannot fly beyond the bondage of dry jnana (knowledge) and vairagya (renunciation) without the temptation offered by the superior nectar of Their lotus feet.
BOW (dhanu) – This mark reveals that those who take shelter of Nitai’s lotus feet will be perpetually free from all worries and difficulties. It also shows that those who are stupefied in the material world remain motionless like a target and do not come to His feet. Whereas those who come to the ultimate goal of His feet remain there and never go back to the material world. Further, when the mind of the devotee meets the target of His feet, then prema condenses as a result and overflows as the tears showering from their eyes.
GOAD (ankusa) – This mark indicates that meditation on Nitai’s feet brings the elephants of the devotee’s minds under control and keeps them on the right path. It also shows that those who thus stay on the path toward Their feet be come superior among men, just as one riding on top of an elephant travels far above the rest.
ALTAR (vedi) – This mark proclaims that the sins of those who meditate upon His feet are burned up as if on the altar of sacrifice. Furthermore, it indicates that just as the universe is nourished by the brahmanas offering fire-sacrifices, similarly those who offer their minds in sacrifice to His feet stimulate universal nourishment that affects all of creation.
HALF-MOON (ardha-candra) this mark symbolizes how His feet truly provide the desired objectives of the devotees. It signifies that even devatas like Lord Siva (whose symbol is a half moon) have decorated their own heads with the soles of His feet. It also shows that devotees who likewise decorate their own head with His feet can become exalted like Lord Siva. Just as the moon showers nectar with its cooling rays, similarly Nitai’s lotus feet shower nectar upon the devotees, extinguishing the threefold material miseries. So that the minds of the devotees may reside at His feet, they bear the symbol of the moon (which is the devata or presiding deity of the mind) upon His feet. Just as the moon is one, yet it destroys the darkness seen by many people simultaneously, similarly the Lord is one and yet by His cleverness can deliver many souls at the same time. Th e half-moon also indicates that since His toenails appear like ten splendorously full moons, the real moon has shriveled up in shame and appears in half-form.
CREEPER (valli) – This mark symbolizes how intelligent persons hold on to the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda firmly just as a creeper firmly grasps whatever it is ascending.
| Sri Nitai Pada-kamala ki jai!
Excerpts taken from the book, “Radha-Krishna Nectar” Chapter: “ The Meanings of the Auspicious Marks.” Published by Nectar Books P.O. Box 574 Union City Georgia 30291 USA
Sources given: Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sarartha-darsini (Visvanatha Cakravarti’s Bhagavatam commentary), Ananda-candrika (Visvanatha’s tika on Govinda-lilamrta), Visvanatha’s Rupa Cintamani, Jiva Gosvami’s Sri kara-pada-yugala-samahti, Skanda Purana, Matsya Purana, Garga Samhita, and numerous other quotes and compilations.