Wednesday, March 28, 2007


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.

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