Sri Laxmi Narayana Aithal
In the world, everyone desires to have Supreme Felicity (Paramananda)PaP; but, he never tries to have it; he is caught up by the offensive pride of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ and by the defects of mind like – desire, anger, greed, mistaking one to other, arrogance, jealousy, etc., and , as the result of his good and bad works he attains different bodies. Thus, people suffer in the pulley of worldly life; due to their actions they obtain agreeable and disagreeable and accordingly they are either elated or depressed. Only devotion to God and no other means helps to cross such living beings from this difficulty; thus, the Spiritual Guide Narada apprehending through the scripture and experience wants to preach the Principle of Devotion concisely in the form of compilation of Aphorisms on Devotion and, hence, he starts his scripture. The following is the first aphorism of this scripture :-
A SOLEMN DECLARATION IN THE BEGINNING OF THE SCRIPTURE
अथातो भक्तिं व्याख्यास्यामः ।।1।।
ATHATHO BHKTHI VYAKHYANAMAH
1.Now, therefore, (we) explain devotion.
MEANING OF THE ATHA WORD
Here, the word Atha (here after) is employed to indicate the beginning of the scripture and, as well as, auspiciousness. Employing words like Atha and Atah in the beginning of aphorisms has become a traditional custom in the works of theists. By the declaration that ‘we explain devotion’ alone indicates the beginning of the scripture; therefore, this ‘Atha’ word is mainly employed to indicate auspiciousness. The theists consider that listening to the sound of auspicious musical instruments like tabor, flute, conch, Indian lute, etc., itself is the auspiciousness; similarly, though the Atha word has another meaning, when the word is employed in the beginning of the work, it obtains the meaning of auspiciousness.
ओंकारश्चाथशब्दश्च द्वावेतौ ब्रह्मणः पुरा । कण्ठं भित्त्वा विनिर्यातौ तस्मान्माङ्गलिकावुभौ ।।
According to this sentence of the book of traditional law – first, the words Omkaara and Atha have emanated from the throat of Brahma-god; therefore, all theists believe that these words indicate auspiciousness. Hence, it has become a practice to employ this word for the successful end of without any impediment.
But, there is no obstacle to the works like the Scripture of Devotion; therefore, one cannot tell that the sage Narada has employed this word for the successful completion of the work without any obstacle. This is further explained :-
सर्वदा सर्वकार्येषु नास्ति तेषाममङ्गलम् । येषां ह्रदिस्थो भगवान् मङ्गलायतनं हरिः ।।
According to this sentence of a पुराण, श्री हरि who is the shelter for all auspiciousness always dwells in the heart of devotees; they never attain inauspiciousness. In spite of this, in order to follow the custom of good people (शिष्टाचार) of conducting auspiciousness, नारद who keeps the Lord नारायण in his heart has employed the अथ word in the beginning.