Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Today's sloka is latter half of 29th and first half of sloka 30:
gandivam sramsate hastat
tvak caiva paridahyate
na ca saknomy avasthatum
bhramativa ca me manah
Today's lecture was from the thousand pillar mantapam. This is the place every year during Raapathu [nights ten] which is also called Thiruvaimozhi thirunaal Sri Namperumal listens to Thiruvaimozhi of Sri Nammalwar with all other alwars in attendance This festival has been conducted for so many centuries that each pillar can tell so many history.
Arjuna continues: My bow Gandeevam is slipping and my skin is burning . I am unable to remain in this chariot and my mind is reeling.
When one thinks of bow or archery, immediately the names of Sri Rama, Sri Parasurama, Bheeshma, Dronacharya, Arjuna and Karna come to mind as they were all great archers. Such a hero feels that his bow is slipping. Gandeevam comes from the word Gand which means knot. The bow had many knots for grip and so in spite of it with such a troubled state of mind the bow was slipping from his hands. The bow of Arjuna is not an ordinary one . It was gifted by Soma Deva to Varuna who gifted it to Agni from whom Arjuna got it while helping Agni in burning down the Kanteeva forest . Normally, no warrior would that easily leave grip of his bow. In the Ramayana war, Sri Rama destroys the chariot and horses of Ravana and when Ravana stands only with a bow and arrows , Sri Rama breaks the bow and Ravana feels highly humiliated. Similarly, Sri Parashurama is humbled and He gifts away His Vishnu Dhanus to Sri Rama in acknowledgement of defeat. Arjuna has a name [I am unable to remember] which means he can hold the bow in either hand and fight. Such a person was unable to hold the bow.
Much earlier, Drona calls his sishyas Aswattama, Duryodana , Arjuna etc. when they were boys learning archery from Drona, and asks them to aim a bird sitting on a tree.Duryodana first comes and when he was about to shoot, Drona stops and asks whether he saw the tree, Duryodana says yes, and further he sees the bird, its feet etc. Drona asks him to keep away and asks Aswattama, his son, what he saw when aiming.Aswattama replies he saw only the bird and its feet etc. Drona asks him also to keep away and finally comes to Arjuna and asks him what he saw while aiming. Arjuna says he saw only the eye of the bird and nothing else and Drona pats him as the superior hero as he fully concentrates on the object and nothing else distracts. Such was the prowess of Arjuna.
Much before the war began, Arjuna in some context makes a vow or sankalpam that he may tolerate anyone if Arjuna is ridiculed but never if his Gandeevam is made fun of and he will kill such a person whoever it may be. After the war started and after a couple of days when the Pandava army was destroyed by the other side and Yudhishtra is very much annoyed and blames Arjuna that he was not up to mark and ridicules Gandeevam. Arjuna became very furious and as per his pratigya he wanted to kill his elder brother for making remarks about his bow. Sri Krishna sees this and wanting to end the feud amicably, asks Arjuna to address his elder brother with disrespect [like thum instead of aap in hindi] and tells it is equivalent to killing. his is a sookshma [subtle] Dharma that by disrespecting elders and great persons one almost kills them.

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