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
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.