With dark body, the Lord is carrying Eight weapons in the Eight hands. In the right arms, the Lord is holding Discus, sword, Lotus flower and arrow. In the left hands He is carrying conch, 'sarngam' bow, mace and shield. Alwars' pasurams and Swami Vedanta Desika's Ashtabhujashtakam are engraved here. In the pasuram vendhiral [வெந்திறல் வீரரில் - 2.8.2], Thirumangai Alwar lists all the weapons. As told earlier before the appearance of Lord Sri Varadaraja, the Lord appeared in Three Divyadesams in Kanchipuram. Saraswati decided to spoil the yagna performed by lord Brahma. First she made the world dark; to expel darkness the Lord Sri Deepa Prakasa appeared. Next was the appearance of the Lord here. Saraswati directed demons to spoil the yagna. To destroy the demons, the Lord appeared with Eight arms carrying Eight weapons. Next, she directed Kali and the Lord defeated her and made her to be in one corner. Next, she sent a creature with both animal and bird features. It was also sent to a corner. Thus the Lord drove away Three types of obstacles and is gracing here. He removed the distress of Gajendra and also of lord Brahma. Before the Lord appeared as Sri Ashtabhuja Perumal, He was Sri Adi Kesava Perumal [ஆதி கேசவ பெருமாள்]. Thus the Lord is very ancient. He created lord Brahma and so is the Father of Brahma. Who will not worship such ancient Person He is? Whether He appears with Two hands or Four hands or Eight hands, will we go without worshiping Him? This same question is posed by Arjuna to Sri Krishna. In the sloka 37 we are to see today [14th November 2008], Arjuna asks Sri Krishna whether anyone could go without worshiping Him. To do that we should know Who the Lord is. To know Who He was Thirumangai Alwar tried hard. The Lord appeared before the Alwar with Eight arms and unrecognizable color in dark hue. Alwar wondered was it the dark blue color of ocean or of kayambu [காயாம்பூ], a dark hued flower, or of dark cloud, in the pasuram 'enganum namivar vannam....[எங்ஙனும் நாமிவர் வண்ணம் எண்ணில்... 2.8.6]. When the Lord is ready to protect us with weapons in Eight arms, all we have to do is to simply offer our anjali with folded hands. This is what Arjuna tells in the sloka 37:
kasmac ca te na nameran mahatman
gariyase brahmano ’py adi-kartre
ananta devesa jagan-nivasa
tvam aksharam sad-asat tat param yat
"O great one, greater even than Brahma, You are the original creator. Why then should they not offer their respectful obeisances unto You? O limitless one, God of gods, refuge of the universe! You are the invincible source, the cause of all causes, transcendental to this material manifestation."
This sloka has to be understood carefully. Devesa = Lord of Devas, jagan-nivasa = having Universe as His abode or Universe residing in Him, pervading in and around Univeres, ananta = without an end in space or by time or by substance. This is called trivida parichhedarahityam [त्रिविदपरिच्छेदरहित्यम ]. That is He can not be limited by time or by place. He also can not be identified in certain materials only. Kasma = who, na nameran = will not worship, te = You [Sri Krishna]? Mahatman = superior to all atman. Gariyase = greater than, brahmana = lord Brahma, api = even, adi-kartre = prime cause. The Lord only created lord Brahma. We saw that since He was the Creator of lord Brahma, He appeared here with Eight arms to eliminate Brahma's distress. Karta indicates nimitta [result] cause. Adi indicates the Lord is also the upadhana [raw material] cause. That is He is the cause for Brahma in all respects. Tvam = You [Sri Krishna] are, aksharam = undestroyable or everlasting atman. Here, atman indicates the bhaddha atman [भद्धात्मा]or all those still in this samsaram, struggling and not liberated. The Lord is the Possessor of all these everlasting atman. That is the Lord is pervading all atman, sustains all of them and has all atman as His body. We have heard of chit and achit in Chapter 2. All materials without gyana are achit. Jeevatman is chit. Moolaprakruti is achit. All matter we see like stone, building, etc., are achit. Moola prakruti is karana [कारण காரண] or primordial cause. What we see is the result or in karya [ कार्य கார்யம்] stage. If mud is karana, pot is karya. We can compare this to moola prakruti and achit. We see in the entire Universe the perceptible matter as the karya . This relation is meant in the words sad(t)-asad(t) [सत-असत ஸத்- அஸத்]. Both are without gyana. Moola prakruti in karana stage has no gyana; nor, all the materials we see in karya stage have gyana. The difference is that in karana stage no name or form is there. But in karya level, it will have a form and name. By the word asat, formless and nameless karana stage is meant. Sat indictaes all achit with form and name. All are mud in karana stage; they assume name and form as toy or pot or plate, in the karya stage. Sat is the resultant material occupying the Universe. Asat is moola prakruti. Thus Arjuna tells that the Lord is both sat and asat. That is the Lord is both achit - in karana stage and in karya stage. Aksharam is the atman entangled in the karana, karya achit. These atman are in human body or in insect body, etc. That is why it is called bhaddha jeevatman [bound soul]. So, the Lord is [bhaddha] atman and He is achit in karana and karya stages. Tat param = superior to that. That is souls which have been liberated from the entanglement in achit and which are enjoying eternal bliss and so superior to bhaddha atman. That is Muktatman [मुक्तात्मा]. That is the Lord is,
- Param, that is Muktatman,
- Aksharam, that is the bonded souls,
- Asat, achit of Moolaprakruti in karana stage and
- Sat, achit of all perceptible materials in karya stage.