Thursday, March 29, 2007


We will today see the 9th sloka from the same Thirukkannamangai temple:

sanjaya uvaca
evam uktva hrishikesham
gudakeshah parantapah
na yotsya iti govindam
uktva tusnim babhuva ha

“ Sanjaya told [Dhridhrashtra]. Having said thus, Gudakesa [Arjuna] told Sri Hrishikesa [Sri Krishna] ‘Govinda! I will not fight’ and became silent, what a surprise!”

Arjuna has told his reasoning for not fighting. All the relatives, friends and teachers have assembled and he could not fight with them. Killing relatives and annihilating a dynasty or family is a sin, which will lead to eradication of kula dharma and so take him to hell. Enjoyment cannot be with blood stained hands. Even if the enemy camp was ready, killing near ones is sin. The very sight of these people ready to fight dries up his senses. Even if a prosperous, entire world or heaven is offered to rule, Arjuna can never think of fighting. Having given out his mind so elaborately, Arjuna takes asylum at Sri Krishna and stops talking with a final say that he will not fight. Sanjaya, who is narrating alive the happenings on the battlefield to King Dhridharashtra, exclaims with the word ‘ha’. Because he is surprised that a great warrior Arjuna is declaring he will not fight. Sanjaya refers to Arjuna as Gudakesa or the one who has conquered sleep and laziness, the hallmarks of Tamas quality. Arjuna is not tired or feeling weak to fight. Nor is he cowardly and afraid to fight.That is why the word paranthapa or the one who burns the enemies is used by Sanjaya.But out of shear sympathy for those arrayed against, he is refusing to fight. In the last sloka Arjuna tells Sri Krishna, that his sensual organs are all dried up at the sight of his loved ones in the opposite camp. So, significantly, Sanjaya denotes Sri Krishna with the epithet Hrishikesa or the Conqueror of the organs [both sensual and active]. We have to understand that God is the prime mover behind all the organs functioning in our body. Arjuna tells Sri Krishna that he is not going to fight. He addresses Him as Govinda. This word implies three meanings. Sri Andal in her Thiruppavai repeats this name of the Lord in the 27th [koodarai vellum], 28th [karavaigal pinsenru] and 29th [chitran chirukalai] pasurams. Govinda means Protector of cows. It also means protector of the earth. And, it can also mean protector of souls. In this temple the Lord is called Bha[k]tharavi Perumal, which means He is the Aavi or Soul of the devotees. It seems the Lord prefers cow herding to being the Leader of all the gods or residing in Sri Vaikuntam. Sri Andal says karavaigal pin senru, which is going behind the cows. The cows do not say to Sri Krishna, Who is following them, not to come behind them. In fact, He is in every soul and follows as the inner conscience and directs. But if we say to Him that He need not follow and we will go our own way, He lets us go and we get entangled into all types of situations. On the other hand, if we allow Him to follow us or direct us, we are assured of proper destiny. So here Arjuna calls Him Govinda and wants Him to direct in the right path

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Dieties Bhakthavatsalapperumal, Abisheka Vallith Thayar
Theerthangal Darshana Pushkarini
Vimanam Udhbala Vimanam
Mangalasasanam Thirumangaiazhwar
Direction and Posture Standing Posture and East-faced.
Travel Base Thiruvaarur
Access to the temple About 4 miles from Thiruvaroor Station.
Features There was found a bee-hive in the sanctum sanctorum of the Goddess for many years but not now.
The Moolavar of this kshetram is Bakthavatsala Permal. He also known as Bhaktaraavi perumal. The Moolavar is giving his seva in standing posture with his face facing the east. Prathyaksham for Lord Varuna and Romasa Munivar.This temple lies in the Tanjore district of Tamil Nadu. It is about 25 kms from Kumbakonam, 15 kms from Thirucherai[Sri Saranatha Perumal temple] and 4 kms Northwest from Thiruvarur Railway station. Bus facility and facility to stay are also available.

Today’s lecture is from Thirkkannamangai, one of the 108 Divya Desam and one of the five Sri Krishna Kshetrams. The Divine marriage of Sri Narayana and Sri MahaLakshmi is believed to have been held here and so this place is also called Krishna Mangala Kshetram. The Lord here has Sri Perumpurakkadal and Sri Batharaavi Perumal as Divine names. His Consort is called Sri Abhishekavalli Thayar. Garuda is prominent here. Long ago when the milky ocean was churned, Sri Lakshmi appeared. She wanted to marry the Lord, Vishnu, but felt shy to get married in front of all the crores of gods [Devas]. So the Divine couple selected this quiet place for the marriage. She did penance at the banks of the temple tank- Darsana Pushkarini- and the Lord fixed an auspicious date for the marriage. But here also the gods arrived to witness this Divine event. They took the forms of honeybees and had a glimpse of the marriage. Even today one can see bee hive in the Thayar sannidhi. Thirumangai Alwar has composed eleven hymns in praise of the Lord here. The lecture is from the banks of Darsana Pushkarini, a mere sight of which absolved the Moon god from his sins.

In the last sloka Arjuna submitted himself at the feet of Sri Krishna, Who thought why not Arjuna select his own remedy and solve his predicament. The 8th sloka details Arjuna’s reply:

na hi prapasyami mamapanudyad
yac chokam ucchosanam indriyanam
avapya bhumav asapatnam rddham
rajyam suranam api cadhipatyam

"I can find no means to drive away this grief which is burning up my senses. I will not be able to dispel it even if I win a prosperous, unrivaled kingdom on earth with sovereignty or one like in heaven."

Arjuna sees his beloved ones like Bheeshma and Drona on the enemy camp ready to fight and this sight dries his sensual organs like eyes and tongue. He is engulfed in anguish and finds no cure. Our forefathers convey us a great lesson here. One hears the words chithai [pyre] and chinthanai [brooding]. Chithai or a pyre is used in the cremation grounds for burning dead bodies. Whereas, chinthanai or brooding will burn out a living person. Here brooding burns Arjuna. Once sage Narada met sage Sanatkumara and requested him that though Narada had mastered all available literature but wanted Sanatkumara to preach him that which will dispel his anguish and sorrow. In reply Sanatkumara asked Narada to first tell what all he knew. Narada started telling his knowledge in the Vedas, Upanishads, all types of Shastras, etc. Sanatkumara said that Narada had studied all and there was nothing, which could be preached to Narada. This gave the hint to Narada, that he had merely studied all these without practicing or understanding the inner significance of these literatures. Worry lines appear on the forehead. But a person who has understood the God will have no such lines on the forehead. Thus Sanatkumara dispelled Narada’s worries. So one should never get worried. Hanuman, when dispatched for searching Sri Sita was wondering why Sri Rama was so worried at the loss of a mere wife. Being a bachelor, Hanuman might not have understood the role of a wife. But the same Hanuman, when saw Sri Sita, then wondered how Sri Rama was still alive after losing such a noble and righteous wife. Here, Valmiki the author of Srimad Ramayana, observes that no enemy on earth could ever kill Sri Rama and only worry had the power. Arjuna, therefore feels thoroughly handicapped by his worries, and seeks help from Sri Krishna. It was opined by Sri Krishna that no distress is there which remains forever. Even death of a dear one is forgotten after a few days or when a happier incident is encountered. So if Arjuna got back his kingdom, this grief of killing the relatives will vanish. But Arjuna says that all the so called happiness one may get by acquiring a kingdom, like music, dance, food, etc., will remind him these sins he is to commit and make him miserable. Perhaps a small kingdom, or one with enemies around or one that is stuck by poverty and famine may cause worries for the rulers. So Arjuna qualifies that even if the entire world was reigned, with no enemies and totally prosperous, will never clear him of his grief. Further, he says that even if he gains the control of the heavenly kingdom, he is unable to find the way to dispel his grief.


We will be listening to the Gita lecture in front of the Raja [Main] Gopuram of Sri Sowriraja Perumal temple. Alwar in his hymns on this place speaks of many such gopurams like the one now present. It is believed that there were seven such gopurams and seven surrounding walls [madhil in Tamil]. The outer most walls were near Thirumalarayan Pattinam near the seashore. But some unscrupulous persons went on demolishing the walls. Unable to bear this erosion of the precious symbol of culture, the Arayar- one who sings the Alwar’s hymns, with cymbals in hand to beat rhythm, and dances in front of the Lord in temples- protested before the Lord. The Lord remained calm with that charming smile. The Arayar was angry and asked the Lord was it a mere toy the Bow, Sarnga, He held. The Lord remained still calm and the Arayar perturbed, threw the cymbals at the Lord and they hit Him on the face and made a scar on His face, which can be seen even now. But the Lord pleases His devotees by heeding to their prayers and so immediately arrows were rained on the enemies and they were all driven away. The Lord never lets down those who take refuge at His feet. Arjuna does the same in the 7th sloka we are to see today.

prcchami tvam dharma-sammudha-cetah
yac chreyah syan niscitam bruhi tan me
shishyas te ’ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam

”Taken over by the cowardice and losing my bravery, I ask you to tell me for certain what is upright for me. I am your desciple surrendered unto you”

From this it is clear that only the Supreme Being can remove a person’s perpetual ignorance. This is what Alwar also declares in his hymns. Just as a river moves toward a distant ocean or jus as a lotus blossoms at the sight of a distant Sun, the wisdom of the soul [jeevatma] will yearn for enlightenment from the Supreme Being [Paramatma]. So the Alwar advises his mind to surrender unto the beloved of Mother Lakshmi, the dweller in Lotus. Unlike human nature to offer materials such as flowers or fruits to gain favours from others, to get His grace all one needs is to surrender unto Him. While the soul is groping in darkness, He is shining with brilliance, the soul is slave and He is the Master and with this attitude Arjuna falls at the feet of Sri Krishna. He says he is suffering from karpanya dosha- a defect of a kripana. Sage Yagnavalkya says the one who has not attained the knowledge of the Supreme Being is called a kripana. Ignorance of the knowledge of God or the relationship between one’s soul and Paramatma, will not make a person learned even if he has acquired thousands of various other subjects, says Swami Vedanta Desika. Arjuna says he is affected by this karpanya dosha. Because of this he has lost his courage. The Thaithriyopanishad says that as one approaches God, he gets courage and one who withdraws from Him loses courage. If we realize God in ourselves, we get motivated to do things. On the other hand virakthi or nirvedam or frustration leads to retardation. Hanuman searched for Mother Sri Sita all over Lanka and when he was frustrated, suddenly he remembered Sri Rama. Sri Rama gave Hanuman His Ring to be handed over to Sri Sita and so, how can His words fail? So he got enthused and also removed the feeling that he was searching Sri Sita and corrected that feeling by the wisdom that Sri Sita Herself will show up and successfully complete his mission. Immediately, Hanuman spotted Sri Sita. One should dismiss the thought that one is doing but realize that it is God Who gets actions done for that one. This does not mean that one should practice idling or remain inactive; but take all out efforts with the realization that He is the prime mover behind one’s actions. This leads to humility. So now Arjuna surrenders to Sri Krishna for remedy, like a person resorting to the family doctor who knows the history of the patient and so could suggest the right remedy. And who else is better equipped than Sri Krishna, Who after all is Arjuna’s cousin and Who knows Arjuna too well? Sometimes we also approach elders and seek their advice, but later act according to our wishes. To dispel that thought in Sri Krishna, Arjuna says he is His sishya or disciple and so will obey and act according to His guidance.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Today the lecture is from the same temple vimanam [the Dome above sanctum sanctorum]. A mere sight of this vimanam will give the same happiness as in Sri Vaikuntam. This Vimanam is called Utpalavataka Vimanam, which means no attachment to one’s body. That is one will have everlasting devotion to the Supreme Being. Below this dome resides the complete splendor of Sri Sowriraja Perumal. The Lord declares Sharanya Mukundatwam here. Sri Nammalwar dedicates the 9th Decade 10th Thiruvaimozhi all the ten hymns in praise of Thirukkannapuram.In one of those hymns says that saranamagum than thaal adaindavarkellam maranamanal vaikundam kodukkum piran’. Those who had earlier surrendered to Him are granted Vaikuntam [the eternal bliss from where no rebirths for the soul]. This is called sharanya mukundatwam. Thirumangai Alwar has sung 100 songs in praise of this temple. A unique feature of this Vimanam is that this cannot be seen anywhere from the ground, because it is surrounded by walls on all four sides. But if one wants to have a glimpse then one has to climb up to the terrace and then only the Vimanam will be visible. Now on the terrace near the Vimanam, we will see the 6th sloka:

na caitad vidmah kataran no gariyo
yad va jayema yadi va no jayeyuh
yan eva hatva na jijivisamas
te ’vasthitah pramukhe dhartarastrah

” [Uncertainity in the battle and so] whether winning or losing is better for us. When not interested to live by killing these children of Dhridhrashtra, the same persons are arrayed against us”. Bhagavat Gita has a reputation that a recitation of a chapter or half of it or a sloka in a chapter or half or even quarter of a sloka will accumulate punya. This is to emphasize that every word in this sacred text is rich and brimming with significance.

The first half of this sloka tells Arjuna’s predicament. Though Sri Krishna is of the opinion that the Pandavas will be victorious, practical knowledge tells that the result in any war is uncertain. Also he is in a quandary whether winning the enemies is good or not. While happiness may be there, after winning Arjuna will also face the bloodstains in their future. Instead of killing the teachers and the relatives, it looks better to abandon the battle and live on begging. So he is caught in a dharma sankatam. This happens when one is caught in a situation not knowing which decision would be wiser. Not killing teachers is a dharma; at the same time fighting a battle also is a Kshatriya dharma. Besides he is not sure of winning. In the latter half of the sloka, Arjuna argues with an assumption. He could assume victory will be his. But the persons, whom he does not wish to kill and wipe out a dynasty, are all prepared to fight with and kill the Pandavas. This is the same as a defeat in the battle. This can be explained by some examples. A father scolds the child not to wander about and get bad health, which will prevent the child from attending the ensuing examinations. The child never listens and so the father is angry and beats severely the child for disobeyance. The child cries and develops fever and as a result of this the child is unable to attend the examinations. The father is in a quandary similar to Arjuna’s plight. The father does not know whether he did the correct thing.

Or, in another example, one’s friend is a drunkard and any amount of advice does not correct him. Once the one and his friend take to a betting that the friend will not drink at least for twelve days. If the friend does not drink for twelve days he will be declared victorious, otherwise the one will be declared triumphant. The friend is unable to control his urge and so after four days he starts drinking. Now the one has won the bet; but can he be happy on that. His idea was to stop the friend from drinking and on that count he is defeated. This is the position akin to Arjuna’s.

Yet another example from Srimad Ramayana. Sri Rama is in Chitrakoot and Lakshmana spots Bharatha coming with troops and thinks that Bharatha has come to drive away or kill Sri Rama and so prepares to go and fight with Bharatha. Sri Rama stops him saying that Bharatha is not of that nature and he is coming to request Sri Rama to return and take over the kingdom. Continuing Sri Rama says that even if Lakshmana’s assumption was right, Sri Rama will consider having been killed by Bharatha the moment He realizes Bharatha’s such intention. That will be a breach of trust Sri Rama has on Bharatha.

Arjuna therefore feels that there was no use in fighting when the near and dear are all arrayed to fight.


We will be listening to the lecture [by sri Velukkudi U.Ve.Krishnan] from the Sri Vibheeshanan [Vibheeshanalwar as referred to in sampradayam] sannidhi in the Sri Sowriraja Perumal temple at Thirukkannapuram. What is the relation between Vibheeshana of Sri Rama’s time [Tretha Yuga], Bhagavat Gita [at the end of Dwapara Yuga] and the Temple [now in Kali Yuga]? Vibheeshana once prayed to Sri Ranganatha of Srirangam and requested that He should get up and grace him by walking. Sri Ranganatha seems to have replied that in this [Srirangam] temple He would grace all in the reclining posture but Vibheeshana could go east of Srirangam and visit Thirukkannapuram and there He will grace him with His strolling elegance. Thus every Amavasya [new moon day] He graces a few steps in front of Vibheeshanalwar sannidhi. The Lord’s idol is carried on the arms [it is called in Tamil kaithala sevai] by four devotees in front of the Vibheeshana sannidhi and then move on to Sri Rama sannidhi. Similarly during the Masi [Feb-March] festival daily this procession is performed at 4P.M. We will now see the 5th sloka of Chapter 2. In the last sloka Arjuna asked how he could afford to kill Bheeshma, Drona and others. The word ‘others’ include Kauravas viz Duryodana and his brothers. For this Sri Krishna is posing a question seemingly. If Arjuna runs away from the war, what will he do for food and shelter? Will he live in forests? The twelve-year exile itself was considered by the Pandavas as a shame. Then how are they going to take this forest life if he ran away from the war? Sri Krishna apparently asks this and so Arjuna’s reply is accordingly in sloka 5:

gurun ahatva hi mahanubhavan
sreyo bhoktum bhaiksyam apiha loke
hatvartha-kamams tu gurun ihaiva
bhunjiya bhogan rudhira-pradigdhan

“ It is better in this world to live begging [as a result of] by not killing these Dignified Teachers. They [Kauravas] are interested in the materialistic pleasure and so if I kill them the enjoyment will be with blood stains “ Arjuna is concerned with killing these great persons in the war and even if he is victorious it will be at the cost of the blood of all his relatives, who want to enjoy, and who will be deprived of that enjoyment by Arjuna. In a way Arjuna is concerned with the hell that awaits him if he were to kill his Teachers. He is also apprehensive that after killing all these people, living in this world with bloodstains will also be hell. So he fears hell before and after his death. Sri Krishna logically rebuts this. If Arjuna left the battle without fighting it will be a disgrace for a kshatriya [royal community] and he will have to lead life by resorting to begging, as he will be deprived of all property. Also, by abandoning his dharma of protection of his people and gifting the kingdom to wicked people will make him a great sinner and ensure hell after death. So Sri Krishna’s rebuttal was either way hell only if Arjuna refused to fight. By fighting and recapturing the kingdom he can lead a normal life in this world. He need not consider this as enjoyment with blood stains as he is expected to do his duty and be a trusty for good administration and not for pleasure. This way because he established the moral ethics of kshathriya in the war, he will be awarded heaven after death. So instead of Arjuna’s imagination as either way hell for him, Sri Krishna’s argument is that by fighting it will be either way heaven for Arjuna.

Arjuna preferred begging to killing those noble teachers. Perhaps he was reminding Sri Krishna that in one of His earlier Avatars or incarnations, He had also begged. As Sri Vamana, a young dwarf bachelor, He went to the Yagnashala or the sacred place, where Emperor Bali was performing Yagna and begged for a small piece of land to be measured by His tiny feet. Bali ridiculed the request as he thought he was a great emperor with vast wealth and a small measure of land was like asking the Kamadenu [The Heavenly Cow] or the Karpaga Vriksha [The Heavenly Tree], who could grant anything, to donate a small kerchief. But Sri Vamana was firm in His demand saying that a person not content with what he required can never be satisfied. So Arjuna feels that when Sri Krishna could go as a beggar why not he also?

Friday, March 23, 2007


Today the lecture was from the banks of Sri Nithya Pushkarini at the Sri Sowriraja Perumal temple at Thirukkannapuram. Sriman Narayana resides in various temples. Some of these are classified as Swayamvyaktha or spontaneously originated temples. These are eight and are Srirangam, Sri Mushnam, Sri Badari, Sri Pushkaram, Sri Venkatam [Thirumala], Sri Salagramam, Sri Vanamamalai [Thothadri] and Sri Naimisharanyam. These are not established by human beings or gods, but have come up on their own. Similarly, there are seven kshethrams or pilgrim centers which are reputed as ‘ mukthi tharum’ ones. That is living in these places will yield moksham or release [from the cycle of rebirths]. Each syllable in the Sri Ashtakshara mantras denotes one temple. This temple at Thirukkannapuram embodies all the eight syllables in the Sri Ashtaksharam and so a darshan of the Lord here is as much as the visits to all the Swayamvyaktha and Mukthi Kshetras. Such is the significance of this temple and the presiding Deity Sri Sowriraja Perumal. Thirumangai Alwar has composed 100 pasurams on this Lord. Who appears with Sri Kannapura Nayaki. In the temple tank Nithya Pushkarini, Sri Sowriraja Perumal appears on a grand float, which is so large that only one can realize it in an actual visit. During Tamil month Masi [Feb-March] the lord visits the seashore temple at Sri Thirumalairayan Pattinam and after a sea bath will grace all the devotees. We will now see the 4th sloka in Chapter 2. In the previous sloka Sri Krishna tries to boost the morale of Arjuna, who is mentally depressed. Today we find a section of society suffers from this depression and resort to suicides. School going children take to suicide as an answer to their failure in examinations. Today scoring marks seem to be the objective rather than cultivating better character and human qualities in the educational institutions. Parents expect their children to get high marks in the exams and a failure to do so makes these students to think that they will be admonished by parents or will be ridiculed by friends and resort to this foolish idea of suicide. The next is the youth, who out of frustration in love affairs, commit suicide. A glance at old literature and understanding the greatness of love might have guided these persons from this absurd decision to end their lives. Friends around them should advise them properly and prevent committing suicides. They should all judge whether their ending lives would solve their problems. Will a suicide declare them successful in the exams? Or, will they achieve the result for which they were in love all these days? On the contrary, only disrepute will remain. Love is too sacred to be used to end lives and it should enrich and bring happiness in lives. Any decision taken should have the approval of our elders and should lead us to higher echelons of life. Though Arjuna did not commit suicide, such dejection for the caliber of Arjuna is equivalent to death. Out of shear mercy, Arjuna resorts to this decision to withdraw from the war in spite of all encouragement from Sri Krishna. Now in the 4th sloka he asks Sri Krishna:

arjuna uvaca
katham bhismam aham sankhye
dronam ca madhusudana
isubhih pratiyotsyami
pujarhav ari-sudana

“Arjuna said: Oh! Killer of enemies! Oh! Killer of Madhu! How can I attack with arrows in battle Bhishma and Drona, who are worthy of my worship?” An important point to be noted is that how we are to behave towards our teachers or gurus. Bheeshma and Drona are teachers for Arjuna and he has to worship them; but now he is asked to aim missiles at them. This is something, which Arjuna can never think of. Here he is indirectly indicting Sri Krishna by addressing Him as Ari soodana and Madhu soodana. Ari means enemy and He kills the enemies and Madhu. Whereas He never attempted to kill His teacher Sandheepani,and He got fame by killing only enemies, how could He want Arjuna to become notorious by killing his teachers? Arjuna regards the teachers much superior to the words of advice of Sri Krishna. Who is greater- the teacher or God? This is a delicate question. Gold is superior to silver and so normally we regard the person who donates gold to us as greater than the one who donated silver. Why do we regard teacher as great? Because he is the one who guides us to open our inner eyes to see the reality of God, the Supreme Being. So by earlier analogy teacher is greater for having made us to realize the most important in life. But it is God’s design that we reach a suitable teacher. Therefore from one angle teacher is greater and from another side God is greater. That is why there is a saying that there is no god above teacher. Sri Madurakavi Alwar also reflects this in his ‘ kanninun chiruthambu’. He says “ thevu matrariyen kurugur nambi…” He regards Sri Nammalwar, his guru as god unto him. God may not forgive one for the sins committed; but the teacher not only ignores one’s sins but also guides one in the vision of the Supreme Being. Upanishad says ‘ regard mother as god, regard father as god, regard teacher as god, regard guests as god.’ This is the confusion Arjuna is entangled in- whether to regard the advice of the God and act or whether to worship his teachers and abandon the war. Before enrolling as a student, he was a barren land and only afterwards the teacher has cultivated him to such skills and so Arjuna is defiant.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Today’s lecture was from the banks of Anantha pushkarini in Sirupuliyur. When Anantha, the serpent and Garuda, the vulture had a tussle, Anantha came to this place and hid himself in this tank. Later he served the Lord as His bed. So a bath in this tank is believed to wipe out naga dosha or snake curses. We will see the 3rd sloka of chapter 2:

klaibyam ma sma gamah partha
naitat tvayy upapadyate
ksudram hridaya-daurbalyam
tyaktvottistha parantapa

"O son of Pritha! do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not becoming of you. Give up such petty weakness at heart and getup, Oh! destroyer of the enemy."

Sri Krishna calls Arjuna, Paranthapa or one who creates fear in his enemies’ hearts. When Arjuna is on the chariot and takes his bow the enemies will shiver out of fear. Is that Arjuna, who has to lead the army is perturbed? Then how can he lead the army to victory? People want protection of them by Arjuna and if he falters and sits with tears in his eyes and mind shaken. then who is going to protect them? Sri Krishna asks him to get up. Any person mentally weak could be encouraged to his self by these 2nd and 3rd slokas of 2nd chapter. God’s advice rich in meaning has the power to wake up anyone from gloom and depression and make him cheerful. Elders’ advice can dispel darkness and gloom. Such depression sometimes leads one to commit suicide saying the end has come. No one knows what the end is and when it is going to come. One has to pass his life happily. With a suicide the problem never gets solved nor one should worry about the casual remarks of a few when the world is waiting for more important things to be done. Being cheerful makes others around also cheerful. Spending even a few minutes with such people make others to forget their woes. So Arjuna should never feel depressed. Retirement from official activities some times make one feel dejected. Why should that be? One can always be useful to the house and society. With recent trend for early voluntary retirement how can one waste the rest of his life idling? Unless we engage our body and mind on some noble objective, one gets depressed and feels dejected. Arjuna is expected to destroy Adharma or wrongdoing as an objective and so how he can feel gloomy. Especially when Sri Krishna, the Lord and his cousin is by his side and guiding. When Sri Krishna reminds him that He is there to guide him, Arjuna should not feel despondent. This advice is not only to Arjuna but also to every one of us. This type of cowardice mentality is not fitting Arjuna. We many times wonder if a person shows an unusual behavior. Arjuna’s habits are courage, bravery and daring. So Sri Krishna is trying to clear him from the unusual behavior. Mental dejection is like quicksand and may ruin the person unless someone from outside gives a helping hand. This is precisely what Sri Krishna is doing to bring out Arjuna and cheer him.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Today the second sloka of chapter 2 was taken up. The lecture was from the Swamy Sri Manavala Mamunigal sannidhi at Sirupuliyur temple. Sri Manavala Mamunigal is considered as the rebirth of Sri Ramanuja and was Acharya for Lord Sri Ranganatha. He has offered a number of commentaries and they are all related to the discussion on Gita.

In the 2nd sloka Sri Krishna tells Arjuna:

sri-bhagavan uvaca
kutas tva kasmalam idam
visame samupasthitam
anarya-justam asvargyam
akirti-karam arjuna

“ Arjuna! How these inferior thoughts have grabbed you. They do not fit higher [thinking] persons nor lead to higher worlds nor bring fame”.

Here the Lord is not using very soft words to wake up Arjuna from his sorrow but like patting a sleeping person to get up. He is telling that casting away the bow and arrow and sitting with a determination not to fight is unfitting to heroes like Arjuna. He is going to tell him that nothing great has been lost for Arjuna to get depressed. We see people complain that they are depressed and taking medicines. They should read this chapter. If we compare what Sri Rama suffered our problems are nothing. Sri Rama tells Lakshmana that He was denied the kingdom. Not only that, He was asked not to stay in Ayodya and go to forests. There His wife was abducted. To cap all these His family friend Jatayu.was killed. What more sufferings one needed? Comparatively we do not face such serious problems and so they are all resolvable. Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that history will blame him for running away from the battle. No one is going to see his reasons for not fighting but will only speak of the end result and that is going to plunge him in disrepute.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Today we will start the 2nd chapter. This chapter starts with Sanjaya uvacha – Sanjaya speaks. In the last chapter when the last 47th sloka also started with Sanjaya uvacha and again here also same words. Why? Reason is it is the start of a new chapter and we should not mistake this as again Sri Krishna or Arjuna is speaking; but Sanjaya is continuing and so Sage Vyasa reminds that Sanjaya is speaking:

sanjaya uvaca
tam tatha kripayavistam
visidantam idam vakyam
uvaca madhusudanah

“Sanjaya tells [Dhridharashtra]: To Arjuna who out of mercy has a perturbed mind and whose eyes are brimming with tears, Madhusoodana spoke these sentences” Here the name Madhusoodana is used to denote Sri Krishna. Two demons Madhu and Kaitapa were creating lots of hardships to all and they were killed by the Lord and got the name Madhusoodana or Kaitapasoodana. The Lord has destroyed twins like Ravana- Kumbakarna, Sisupala-Dhandhavaktra, Hiranya- Hiranyaksha, etc. Underlying these,it is to be noted that the Lord is destroying someone also. They are Kama [the desire after materials] and Krodha [the anger arising when the desire is not fulfilled]. It can also be Rajo guna [the mental state of anger and pride] or Thamo guna [the mental state of ignorance or drowsy]. So Sri Krishna destroys these twin evil qualities and so He is aptly addressed Madhusoodana. The three qualities, which always are sticking to our character, are Satva, Rajo and Thamas behavior. Satva quality induces clarity, enthusiasm and hard work. Rajo quality brings out desire and the resultant anger and condemning others. Thamas quality gives raise to drowsiness, sleepishness, ignorance and laziness. So it is necessary for us to encourage Satva quality and destroy the other two evil qualities to maintain a godly power in us. Sanjaya indicates this. Sri Krishna is going to destroy the Rajo-Thamo qualities in Arjuna and cultivate the Satva quality in him. Thirumangai Alwar in one of his six prabhandams [collections] viz Thiruezhukootrirukkai tells this. This prabhandam is composed of numbers in ascending and descending order and the lines are arranged like a chariot. He says that the two qualities are to be cast aside and the one quality has to be nourished and maintained. So we should avoid Rajo and Thamo qualities and cultivate Satva trait. Here Arjuna is described as one obsessed by mercy or compassion. It is better for everyone to avoid being obsessed by any quality good or bad. We should not cultivate, or attach ourselves to, habits, which will make us addicts, or fanatic to them. Sri Krishna at the time of His departure from this world told one of His ardent devotees, Uddhava, that He was leaving for His eternal abode and Uddhava wondered how they could remain without Him. Sri Krishna says that Uddhava should cast away his attachment to Him and go to Gandhamana hills and do penance at Badarikashram. Uddhava questions whether attachment to the Lord also should be stopped. Sri Krishna replies that His advice should be adhered to without questioning.

After completing His exile to the forests Sri Rama returns to Ayodya and is crowned the King. At that time He calls Lakshmana and tells him that He wants to make him as His deputy [something akin to Prince of Wales or yuvaraj]. Lakshmana flatly refuses and wants to remain as a servant to Sri Rama. Then Sri Rama called Bharatha and told His intention to crown Bharatha as deputy. Bharatha said if that was Sri Rama’s order he would accept it. Now if we examine the acts of both, Lakshmana, though was having a noble trait, wanted to serve Sri Rama no matter what Sri Rama wanted him to do. Whereas, Bharatha was totally detached and considered to obey Sri Rama as the only objective. So one should obey the Lord and not attach oneself to any other, however noble it is. That is why He is going to correct Arjuna who is steadfast in having mercy at wrong circumstances, though compassion is a noble trait. A surgeon cannot say that he is overcome by mercy and so he will not operate on the patient. So it should be understood that it is wrong to addict to be merciful.

Monday, March 19, 2007


From today the chapter II will be taken up. This is also from the same Sri Krupasamudra Perumal temple Sirupuliyur. In this temple the Lord in smaller image is appearing, unlike in Srirangam or Thiruvananthapuram or Thiruvattaru where the images are bigger. But this in no way is smaller in fame or name. That is why Thirumangai Alwar praises the Lord in the 10 hymns. The elders of this place are planning to renew the gopuram [tower] of this temple and with prayers for a successful renovation of the temple we move on to Chapter II of Gita.
Before we take up the actual Gita slokas, let us see the essence of the 2nd Chapter condensed by the great Acharya Sri Alavandar in his Gitartha Sangraham:

nity¯atm¯asangakarmeh¯agocar¯a s¯a ˙nkhyayogadh¯ıh.
 dvit¯ıye sthitadh¯ılaksa prokta tanmoha santaye. 6

“The second chapter in removing the worry in Arjuna has its objectives of eternalness of Atman [soul] and the detached performance of one’s assigned duties [karma]”. In this chapter it is emphasized that the soul or Atman is everlasting or nithyam. While body in which the soul is there is perishable, atman does not perish. To realize this atman one requires wisdom or budhhi as the usual sensual organs like eyes, ears, mouth, etc cannot perceive it. In Sanskrit sankya means wisdom or budhhi and so the atman or soul is called Saankyam. This chapter, because it details about the eternalness of atman, is called Saankya yoga and the previous chapter was called Arjuna vishada yoga. By understanding the Atman’s permanency and by performing one’s duty with detachment to the results one gets the wisdom about the Atman or one gets Gyana. This is an important step. If one gets proper perception of Atman, one will not be able to differentiate between various persons as all differences such as old or young, male or female,short or tall, literate or illiterate, rich or poor, etc. are related to body only. Understanding all souls or Atmas or equal is called Atman Saakshthkaram. This “seeing” or Atman darisanam is very important in the next step of Gyana yoga. How the baffled Arjuna is related to this realization of soul is all the second chapter. Arjuna thinks that in the war he is going to kill his grand father and teacher and others and Sri Krishna is going to tell how Arjuna cannot destroy the soul, by diagnosing his problem in thinking, and suggesting proper remedy.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Today also the lecture is from the Sirupuliyur temple. One of the great Acharyas, Sri Alavandar also known as Sri Yamunacharya, has condensed the Bhagawat Gita and composed Gitartha Sangraham. In his sloka on the first chapter[asthanasneha karunya dharmadharmadiyakulam Ipartham prapanna muddisya sastra vatharanam krtam, - GS sloka5]Sri Alavandar tells that Sri Krishna sermoned to Partha. Which Partha? Sri Krishna tutored the one who did not know where to be merciful, where to be friendly and where to judge righteousness, that Partha. Using that Arjuna as pretext Sri Krishna has delivered this precious Gita for the world. Last 46 slokas have dealt how Arjuna was perturbed in the battlefield. We should note that it is not that Kurukshetra alone is a battlefield. Every one of us is an Arjuna and the world is a battlefield. Our battle may be health reasons or mental or due to family or due to work conditions and we get perturbed. Like Arjuna everyone possesses a skill may be in games or studies or arts etc. and so like him we also get perturbed for various reasons. Only a person who is not affected by any of the happenings in this world and that is Sri Krishna, Who created and protects this world and Who is always doing good for everyone, can remove this. Sri Krishna presents the Gita and we will now see the last [47th] sloka of chapter I:

sanjaya uvaca
evam uktvarjunah sankhye
rathopastha upavisat
visrjya sa-saram capam

Sanjaya [who by the grace of his guru was able to visualize the happenings in the battlefield sitting at Hasthinapur] tells Dhridharashtra “ the perturbed Arjuna moving away from his position in the chariot and with grief sat in the middle and threw away his bow and arrows”. Arjuna at the eleventh hour just before the start of the war does this out of shear dejection at the sight of the relatives and friends arrayed to start the fight and kill each other. Instead of keeping this dejection within himself, he tells his mind to Sri Krishna. From this we should also learn that we should tell our problems to someone near to us like to husband or wife or father or mother. This way one can avoid misunderstanding and problems get solved by discussions. Arjuna did not care about others’ mocking at him and compassion was upper most in his mind and he brought out all these to Sri Krishna,

Sri Parvathi asks Sri Parameshwara to tell her the greatness of Bhagawat Gita. In a similar query on Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam, Sri Parameshwara replies that Sri Rama name is equivalent to the thousand names of the Lord. Once Lord Sriman Narayana was reclining and resting, when Thayar Sri Lakshmi asked Him as why unlike the earlier times He is not active by descending on earth in various avatars, for which He replied that after the Gita has been delivered to the world, Gita has taken up the work of reforming and so He is resting. He added that the first five chapters represent His five faces, the next ten chapters are His ten Arms, the Stomach is the 16th chapter and His feet are the last two chapters. So Gita is the Lord embodied.

Susharma was born in a noble family but was having bad habits and after his death, he was born as a bull. Once this bull was hurt seriously and lay on the road suffering. Passersby wanted to end the bull’s agony by donating the punya earned by their good deeds, if any, so that the bull may die instantly and be relieved of the sufferings. The bull did not die and continued to suffer. At that time a prostitute passed by that side and she donated her punya if any to the bull and the bull instantly died and the soul reached the hell. There he suffered for the bad deeds of the past, but later he got a new birth and was able to do good things and then reached better worlds. Here, he got the new birth and did good things because of the punya gifted by the prostitute. How did such a bad woman earn punya and gift it to Susharma? There was a parrot, which lived in a forest where a number of sages were daily chanting the Bhagavat Gita and by constant listening it picked up the first chapter. Later when this bird was with the prostitute it used to utter the first chapter and by listening to that the prostitute got punya and that enabled the soul of Susharma to gain a birth where he could do good deeds and reach better worlds. This brings out the greatness of the first chapter.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007


Today we will see the 46th sloka of Chapter I, from the temple at Sirupuliyur. The God here is called Sri Arul Ma Kadal and in Sanskrit He is Sri Krupa Samudran. There is a sannidi of Swami Manavala Mamunigal.Thirumangai Alwar has made ten hymns on this Perumal. Long ago a sage named Vyagrapada went to Sri Shiva at Chidambaram and asked Him to grant him place in Vaikuntam. Shiva asked him to go to Vishnu for that and he guided the sage in the guise of a lingam and to keep pace with Shiva’s speed the sage got Vyagra [tiger]’s feet and reached this temple. As the name suggests the Lord here is an ocean of mercy. Here the Lord is in a reclining posture facing south as in Srirangam and stretching His feet in the east direction. The Lord’s Consort is Daya Nayaki. At a time when the Adisesha and Garuda had a tussle, the Lord gave asylum to the serpent by asking him to be His bed and protected from Garuda. That is why the ground level of Garuda is slightly lower. Thus here He is appearing as One who settled a fight between Adisesha and Garuda. In the Gita also He is attempting to settle disputes and we will see how He does that. Again guessing a query from Sri Krishna that even though Arjuna may not be willing to fight, but the others here may not stop the war and fight and perhaps kill Arjuna, how could he avoid that? As though a reply to that Arjuna tells in the 46th sloka:

yadi mam apratikaram
ashastram shastra-panayah
dhartarastra rane hanyus
tan me kshemataram bhavet

“Even if the armed sons of Dhridhrashtra were to kill me, unarmed and unresisting, in this battle field, it will be better for me” It is not out of fear Arjuna utters these words that he will not even resist or return the blows he is to suffer in the battle; but out of shear mercy. Arjuna unlike Duryodana who in the beginning expressed his panic and doubt at the sight of the great warriors on the Pandavas’ side, is quite confident of winning the war. Besides, Sri Hanuman as flag on his chariot and Sri Krishna, the Lord of the Universe as his charioteer, Arjuna cannot have any doubts on his victory. With such confidence, his refusal to fight is due to the fear that he will incur sin or papa by doing adharma. That is why he says that he would not resist and in order to do that he will drop the bow and arrow and remain unarmed. This war also is like a havan or yagna. In yagna there will be sacrificial fire or Agni and the sacred materials or havis like ghee, curd etc. will be nearby. Using ladle or srakku the materials will be offered into the fire. If the ladle was not there, how can one perform the yagna? Similarly, Arjuna feels that by keeping away the arms, the fight can be halted. Both the sides are greedy to have the kingdom and so if they kill Arjuna who wants to remain passive and unarmed, it is going to get him greater kshemam or good. According to him that if he were to fight and either he wins and gets back the kingdom and the associated royal pleasures or he is killed in the fight and he reaches heaven for following the Kshatriya and yuddha dharma, it will be only good or kshemam. But better or kshematharam will be avoiding this great sin of killing the kith and kin and not participate in the war and remain passive, even if he is slained. With this Arjuna concludes his concept of this war. The essence of all the words spoken by Arjuna can be summarized as: Even when the Almighty Sri Krishna is on his side, he would not commit this great sin of killing relatives. Even if the regal pleasures were denied, he would not want to see the sufferings of the near and dear ones. Thus in spite of Sri Krishna’s help and the possibility of others’ mock at his valor, he does not want to commit this sin of slaying relatives and friends. Hereafter Sanjaya will narrate [to Dridharashtra] what happens next. Since this chapter deals with Arjuna’s perturbed mind it is called Arjuna vishada yogam.

SRI ARULMAKADAL Sirupuliyur - Inner Gopuram.JPG Sirupuliyur - Perumal.JPG

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Today also the lecture is from the Sri Sowriraja Perumal temple at Thirukkannapuram. There was a king Vasu and because he possessed a skill to stroll in air he was called Uparichara Vasu. He helped Devas in defeating Asuras and in that pride he was once strolling in the air. Near this kshethram he felt thirsty and so came down to drink water. A number of sages were doing penance here. They were so thin that the king mistook them for crops and so cut them off with his sword. The sages went to Sri Krishna and sought help. Sri Krishna came to this place and rescued them and made the king to tread the righteous path. Sri Krishna is blessing the devotees as Sri Sowriraja Perumal here. A unique feature in this temple is that the Perumal here is appearing with wig on His head. The king had a daughter Padmini and the Lord here married Her and so we can have a darshan of the Lord with Thayar Padmini and Thayar Thirukkannapura Nayaki. With His blessings we can understand the essence of Gita and so we will proceed to the 45th sloka:

aho bata mahat papam
kartum vyavasita vayam
yad rajya-sukha-lobhena
hantum sva-janam udyatah

“What a pity! We are attempting to destroy our kith and kin and incur great sin, just because of our greed for kingdom.” Here we have to guess that Sri Krishna asked a question and Arjuna’s words appear as reply to that question. Sri Krishna seems to have asked Arjuna that at this late stage when the fight is to begin and when all kings with their troops have assembled, he is trying to backtrack or retreat. Should not this wisdom dawned on him much earlier? Arjuna replies that already he has been burdened with one sin or papa and he is unable to find means to invalidate that and so how he could be brought to commit yet another sin? The earlier sin was when they played the gambling game, the kingdom and Droupathy were staked, which act was a great sin. So even at this very late stage at least Arjuna wants to make a retreat and escape from committing another sin. If one realizes that one is doing a wrong deed or adharma, the usual logic that one should not retreat after a forward step will not be applicable and at any time one should desist from doing adharma. Only in performing good deeds or dharma and in doing auspicious functions one should not retreat after launch. It is illogical to say we should continue with our efforts even if we realize the effort is wrong. Even in business one does not invest if one realizes the investment is bad or the product could not be marketed. Such continuance in business parlance is good money after bad money.

Again Sri Krishna seems to ask Arjuna how he could consider this [fighting] as sin, when Arjuna is only taking revenge for the sins like cheating and grabbing their kingdom and humiliating Draupathy. For this Arjuna replies that it is a pity that they are to destroy the dynasty for the sins committed by them [Kauravas] It is sin even to think of bad deeds [like killing kith and kin]. It is worse to discuss ways to do that and is worst to actually act. At least if this is for a good cause one could agree to do a sin. In Ramayana, Sri Rama accompanies sage Viswamitra to the forest. There, demon Thataka appears with a frightening figure. Thirumangai Alwar describes so and says that the same Lord is at Thirukkannapuram. This kshetram finds in the hymns of five Alwars viz Nammawar, Thirumangai Alwar, Periyalwar, Andal and Kulasekhara Alwar. Sri Rama had gone to protect the yagna being performed by Viswamitra. At that time Thataka appears and Sri Rama is hesitant to kill her as she is a woman and killing woman is considered a sin. The sage advises Sri Rama that she was a demon harming all people and so killing her cannot be construed as papa. Here if the result is for a good cause even a sin or papa could be performed. Of course here one has to follow the advise of elders to decide which is good cause or otherwise. But Arjuna feels that here they are to get back only the kingdom for their pleasure and so killing their relatives and friends is a great sin.

Another example from Ramayana for knowing good and bad deeds: Hanuman goes to Lanka and after meeting Sri Sita and obtaining the choodamani [jewel for decorating head] he should have returned. Instead he wanted to see Ravana and understand his strength and so he destroyed the Ashoka gardens, killed Akshay Kumar [son of Ravana] and other commanders. Finally as though he was defeated he acted to get bonded by Indrajit [another son of Ravana] and was dragged in the assembly hall of Ravana. Hanuman advised Ravana to let off Sita as otherwise once Sri Rama decides to kill Ravana, no one be it Brahma or Shiva or Indra could save him. Ravana is furious that a monkey should advise him and orders the monkey be killed. Vibheeshana tells Ravana that it is sin to kill an ambassador and since Hanuman had declared him as an ambassador of Sri Rama, Ravana should not get Hanuman killed. Ravana retorts that if Hanuman had come as an ambassador and did only such functions he could pardon him but the monkey had destroyed property and killed his son and commanders. So he maintained that it was in order to kill Hanuman. Vibheeshana insists that despite all the accusations against Hanuman, it was a great sin to kill ambassadors and so inflicting an injury like deforming the tail of the monkey could be a punishment. Here it has to be noted that in return for the misdeeds of Hanuman, Ravana was advised not to commit a greater sin of killing an ambassador. Therefore, Arjuna concludes that in return for the sins committed by Kauravas he cannot be induced to kill relatives and friends and commit a greater sin. He is of the opinion that gaining back the kingdom is for the Pandavas’ pleasure at the cost of destruction of all relatives and friends. This is a noble thought that one should not desire to have comforts and pleasure ignoring others discomforts or requirements.

Nearby Cities and Towns
Nannilam (5.0 nm) Ambagarattur (5.1 nm)
Muppattankudi (4.2 nm)
Tittachcheri (4.9 nm) Thiruvarur (6.7 nm)
Kil Valur (6.3 nm


Latitude / Longitude: 10.87,79.70

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