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:
katham bhismam aham sankhye
dronam ca madhusudana
“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.