We pay our respects to Swami Ramanuja and to Swami Manavala Mamuni, considered as reincarnation of Sri Ramanuja. We are at the Brindavanam of Manavala Mamuni. Near the North gate of the temple, on the banks of Kollidam, we saw the Padithurai of Thirumangai Alwar. East of this was the Padithurai of Alavandar. Further going east we come to a street called Panchakkarai Veedhi. On the North of this street is a bathing ghat called Thavarasan Padithurai. Thavarasan means Yathirajan that is Ramanuja. When he was alive he used to take bath in Kaveri, considered more sacred than Ganges, at this place. Since Ramanuja considered Alavandar as his guru, he selected this place for bathing, so that it is in the downstream from Alavandar Padithurai. Such was his reverence to his Guru that he wanted to have bath in the water that has already washed his Acharya’s ghat. On the South of this street is the Brindavanam of Manavala Mamuni [1371-1443 A.D] is located. We are now at that place. On one side is Ramanuja Padithurai and on the other side the Brindavanam of Manavala Mamuni. Near the Thavarasan Padithurai, there was another sannidhi called Panri Alvan Koil, dedicated to the Varaha [Boar] avathara. History reveals that when aliens invaded Srirangam, this sannidhi was destroyed and 12,000 persons who were living here were killed in defending Srirangam. This incident is called the Revolt of Panri Alwan Medu. Similarly, near the Manavala Mamuni Brindavanam, there was a sannidhi of Sri Adi Kesava Perumal. Surrounding this were streets on all the four sides named East Street, North street, etc. long ago only here all the residents of Srirangam stayed. The present eight streets [four Chitra streets and four Uthra streets] were without any residential houses, at that time. Frequent floods in Kaveri inundated this area and many houses were immersed. This made all residents to migrate and set up houses in the present streets. These are all reports about this place and those who visit Srirangam may visit these spots also and enjoy the still preserved natural surroundings. We will now go to the 29th sloka. In the last three slokas Sri Krishna advised how one should not grieve at the loss of a body. Arjuna was surprised as how such a clear concept was not understood by him and why he was confused about atman. But this confusion is there in many of us. What we know of atman is a mere drop and there are not people who have understood the nature of atman. Some may know a little and so we should not ridicule persons ignorant of this atman. Now the 29th sloka:
ascarya-vat pasyati kascid enam
ascarya-vad vadati tathaiva canyah
ascarya-vac cainam anyah srnoti
srutvapy enam veda na caiva kascit
"It is amazing only very few see soul, amazing onlyvery few talk about soul, amazing very few hear soul while others even after hearing cannot understand soul at all ."
Sri Krishna says that one in a crore [ten million] see atman, one in a crore only hear about atman and one in a crore only talk about him. But it is much more rare to find a person who understands atman. This may cause a doubt in us that there is no one knowing about atman. So there is nothing like atman. Because, if anything exists, then at least some persons should know about it. We talk of Mount Everest. Very few persons would have seen it. From them we understand it is there. We believe an object only if someone who had seen the object tells us. So, Arjuna doubts whether there is an atman, as nobody has seen it. Sri Krishna replies that He did not say there was no one who had seen the atman, but it is very, very rare to find a person who had seen atman. Such a person is a noble one, who can be followed. This second chapter unlike the first one is quite difficult to follow, for everyone learning Gita. Because the soul is abstract and it has no form to recognize nor are there any similar substance in the world to identify. But constant studies and thinking can slowly make us to understand. We are able to conceive God, as many forms are available. But for atman there are no icons. A beginning is now made and by continuous efforts we can refine our knowledge about atman. As earlier told a tour covering Sri Krishna’s historical places is arranged for 7 days from 6th to 16th September covering Mathura, Brindavan, Gokulam, etc. There will be lectures on Srimad Bhagavatham and Divya Prabhandam, and Dance Dramas. Interested persons can contact Chennai phone 2499 2728.