Monday, April 16, 2007


In the second Chapter, Sri Krishna commends the greatness of the soul and importance of Karma yoga. On this day [13th, April, 2007] we are under the Magizhampoo tree, in Thirukkannankudi. About this place, there is an old saying. The saying is ‘oorakinaru, kaya magizha maram, uranga puli, thola vazhakku Thirukkannankudi’. It is humorous one connected with Thirumangai Alwar. This Alwar was building the great boundary walls for the Srirangam temple. He collected gold from nearby Nagappattinam, and was passing by this place to go to Srirangam. Here, in the night he kept the gold buried under the ground and slept requesting the nearby tamarind tree to look after the gold from thieves till he got up in the morning. The tree obeyed Alwar's request and guarded the gold without sleeping. So, the tree got the name uranga puli [tamarind]. Afterwards, the Alwar felt tired and hungry and rested under the Magizhampoo maram. God sent food for him and both his hunger and mental desire were quenched by worshiping the Lord Sri Damodara Narayana Perumal. He was so happy that he blessed this tree to be ever alive without bearing any fruits. Was it a boon or a curse? Normally, when the tree starts bearing fruits, it means ageing and so this tree is always fresh and green. Similarly, our souls also, do not age and are always eternal. [The lecturer did not elaborate on the other two sayings]. In the last sloka we saw that just as a soul watches the various changes happening on the body it is residing, it changes its residence from one body to another. Arjuna then had a doubt. He could see the changes in the body like from childhood to youth to middle age and to old age. Similarly, if he were to see the soul going from one body to another, then there could not be any doubts about what Sri Krishna told and he could believe what He said. But this is not so and so all sorrow death. Sri Krishna told that though one does not see his rebirth, others are seeing and explains further. We see the Sun in the day and after it sets, we see it only in the next morning. Can we say the Sun disappeared during the nighttime? But everyone knows that because of the Earth’s revolution, though the Sun is not visible for a person at a place, the Sun is visible to persons on other parts of the world. So just because one did not see the Sun, one cannot conclude that there was no Sun in the night. Thus we believe others in the other part of the world saying that the Sun is still shining. So, He asks Arjuna, 'you believe others but why not what I said about the Atman?'. This is a difficult suggestion. But only when we have this unshakable faith in Him that what He told is the truth and correct, we can be regarded as Bhakthas. This appears to be illogical. There are many yogis and saints, who have seen the atman going from one body to another. They are able to tell what was the previous birth and what the future birth would be. If one cultivates one’s knowledge, one can also know all these abstract happenings. So Sri Krishna says that just because Arjuna did not know the traverse from one body to another, he cannot deny that phenomenon. We will now see the 14th sloka. Arjuna says that granting what He said was accepted, why still one should fight and suffer? Even if the body and all matters are momentary, all feel the pain and why should we suffer? Sri Krishna says that when objectives are exalted, one has to bear these pains and says:

matra-sparshas tu kaunteya
agamapayino ’nityas
tams titiksasva bharata

"O son of Kunti, the cold and heat and happiness and distress, are transient. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed."

Sri Krishna says ‘ Hey! Bharatha- one emerged in the Bharath dynasty- you should bear these’. Which? Cold and heat and happiness and sorrow should be tolerated. Which are responsible for these feelings? Sri Krishna mentions mathra and contact. Mathra denotes the pancha thanmathra or the five basic feelings related to the five basic elements. The five elements are earth, water, fire, air and space [prithvi, appu, agni, vayu and akasam]. Each of these has a unique characteristic. These characteristics are called the thanmathras. Smell or gandham is earth’s feature. Taste or rasam is of water. Appearance or roopam is of fire. Touch or sparsam is of air and sound or shabdam is of space. Each of these thanmathras are felt by specific organs in our body, nose for smell, tongue for taste, eyes for vision, ears for hearing and skin for touch.


Earth *********smell or scent********* nose

Water********* taste***************** tongue

Fire************vision or sight ********eyes

Air ************touch****************skin

Space********** sound**************** ear

When there is a contact between the elements and the organs, we get that feeling which is responsible for happiness or sorrow. If this contact or connection was not there, we will not feel. So Sri Krishna says that this sparsam or connectivity between the organs and the matter [composed of the five elements] happiness, sorrow, heat and cold are felt. This cannot be avoided and inevitable. Similarly, in a fight such pains are inevitable and with that knowledge Arjuna is advised to bear the sufferings.

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