Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Today the lecture is from the south Uthra street. [Yesterday due to problem in the cable-distributing place I cold not listen to the lecture and so I am unable to reproduce what was lectured. But it appears the lecture was about sloka 31 which is reproduced here with the meaning as given in the text, for the sake of continuity.

sva-dharmam api caveksya
na vikampitum arhasi
dharmyad dhi yuddhac chreyo ’nyat
kshatriyasya na vidyate

"Considering your specific duty as a kshatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles; and so there is no need for hesitation."]

Arjuna was born as a kshatriya and their duty was to protect dharma by proper rule of the country and so it was his duty to fight and establish dharma, so advised Sri Krishna. We have to see now the 32nd sloka. We should not think that Sri Krishna is simply inducing Arjuna to fight and so repeatedly, Sri Krishna tells the nobility of Arjuna’s duty. We are at the Sri Kandhadai Ramanuja Muni mutt. He was a kshatriya and we will be amazed at the antecedents of this person. He was the elder brother of the king in the Chaluva dynasty in the 15th century. When he was in Ayodhya meditating on Sri Rama, gold coins with Sri Rama’s image showered on him. He thought this might have been done by Sri Anjaneya and so he went to Badrikashram in search of Sri Hanuman. Sri Ranganatha had gifted a thaniyan [introductory sloka on an Acharya] on Swami Sri Manavala Mamuni. It is the well known “srIsailesha dayaapaatram dIbhaktyAdi gunArnavam |
YatIndrapravanam vande ramyajAmAtram munim
||” He heard one half of this thaniyan and he decided to have a darshan of Swami Manavala Mamuni and so he started his journey down south. When he reached Thiruppathy, Swami Manavala Mamuni passed away in Srirangam and so he was deprived of meeting Swami Manavala Mamuni. But he still came to Srirangam and associated with Sri Annan Swami who was a disciple of Swami Manavala Mamuni. From that time he was known as Kandhadai Ramanuja Muni. He was assigned an important duty in the temple affairs. He was staying in the same place where a disciple of Sri Ramanuja, Pillai Urangavalli Dasan, lived. Even today this mutt has a sanyasin jeer. Pillai Urangavalli Dasar functioned as a bodyguard for Lord Sri Ranaganatha. He used to wear an apron and carry a sword in his waist and walk in the front of any procession of the Lord. That noble work is carried out by the mutt jeer now also. He also is authorized to put the final seal on the lock when daily the temple doors are closed. He involved himself in the service of God after completing his duties as a kshatriya. Because duty also is service to God. This is what Sri Krishna is trying to make Arjuna understand. Now the 32nd sloka:

yadrcchaya copapannam
svarga-dvaram apavrtam
sukhinah kshatriyah partha
labhante yuddham idrsam

"O Partha, happy are the kshatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them unhindered the doors of the heavenly planets."

One need not go after war. But only the fortunate kings get spontaneous opportunities to fight a war to establish righteousness or dharma. This war is such a one and has already started. This He says is unhindered path for heaven. Here, swarga is not the one among Bhu. Buva and Suva. Arjuna does not need the 3rd of these but, surrendering at the feet of Sri Krishna, he wants the Vaikunta and that is indicated by the word swarga. The path to that swarga has many obstructions and rebirths. This war will remove all those obstacles and yield Moksha. This war has come as unsought and spontaneously. So, because this duty will yield Moksha, he should fight. Before we engage ourselves in any work we will have to see these points:

· Is this legally allowed?

· After starting the work, will there be need for any unlawful activities?

· Is the objective a virtuous one or evil?

· Is there precedence by elders?

These four points are required to be examined before we embark on any activity. In the present context, the fighting of this war has to answer all these questions. Fighting is legally permitted. But it has to be a righteous war. Sri Andal indicates this in Her 11th pasuram of Thiruppavai- katrukkaravai kanangal…It is one of the poems to wake up friends. This friend is the daughter of a great hero. What type of hero? Sri Andal says ‘setrar thiral azhiya senru seru cheyyum kutromonrillada”. She does not say fighting is bad. But during the fight one should be blemishless. That is he will not wait for the enemy to come to his place and, just as encountering a lion in his den, he will go to enemy’s camp and fight. During fight never will he run away. He will not fight when the enemy is unarmed or resting. If one goes against these three qualities, then he is not fighting rightly. So fighting as such is not a sin, but unrighteous wars are wrong. Here we can note the marked difference in the wars in various times. We have Kritha yug, Thretha yug and Dwapara yug. In Kritha yug the Lord took five Avatars or incarnations- Matsya, Koorma, Varaha, Sri Nrusimha and Vamana. In none of these He lead any army to fight anyone. All were mere duels with individuals or none was killed. In the next yug, Thretha yug, Sri Rama went with a battalion to Lanka to fight with Ravana. This war lasted seven days and there was not a single incident of illegal methods to fight. Now in Dwapara yug, Sri Krishna says it is a righteous war and asks Arjuna to fight. But in this war only a single unarmed person, Abimanyu, was killed by a multiple enemies. Bheeshma was killed using Shikandi as a cover. Drona was killed by Dhrishtadyumna, when Drona was unarmed. Karna was killed when his Armour was taken away and when his chariot wheels got trapped in the mud. Are all these righteous methods? So, dharma changes as times change but still the yuga dharma was followed. Even if the opponent wages an illegal war, Arjuna has to fight a righteous war. Any activity, for a very noble objective, is also considered noble. If one jumps from a tall tower to get into the Guinness book of World records, it is applauded. But if the same person from the same tower wants to jump to commit suicide, he is arrested and found guilty. Thus same action is treated differently, as objectives are different. A person observing fast on ekadashi or for the freedom of his country is appreciated. Same person if he fasts to commit suicide, he will be arrested. So, no action as such is condemned, but examined for what objective it was performed. In Thirukkural in the poem poimayum.., it is said that even a lie for a noble cause is treated as truth. Therefore, only fortunate kings with punya will get this type of opportunities to fight and Arjuna should fight.

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