Wednesday, May 9, 2007


In Upadesa Rathnamalai, Swami Manavala Mamuni praises Sri Andal as She appeared on this earth only for the benefit of the devotees. Sri Andal has a sannidhi in the west of Srirangam temple. This is popularly known as veli andal [outer Andal] sannidhi [as against ull andal or inner Andal sannidhi]. This temple is associated with Sri Andal’s marriage with Lord Sri Ranganatha. Periyalwar brought up Andal and She was absorbed in Sri Krishna’s child plays. She imagined being His Wife only and saw Sri Krishna in Lord Ranganatha. She desired to offer Herself to the Lord. This was reflected in Her thirty poems of Thiruppavai and 143 poems of Nachiyar Thirumozhi. Recognizing Her love, the Lord sent His palanquin and a message to Her father to bring Her from Srivilliputhur to Srirangam. Perialwar happily carried out the order of the Lord and brought Sri Andal to Srirangam. At that time they stayed in this place only. They bathed in the [south] Kaveri behind this temple and with bridal makeup She went to the Sanctum Sanctorum and grasping the Holy feet of the Lord She disappeared and went in unison with the Lord. We are at this temple for today’s lecture and a visitor can see the portrait of this incident. Sri Andal is seated and gracing the devotees from this temple with a grand crown, the right hand in ahvahana [beckoning] posture, left hand in blessing [the devotees] posture, right leg folded and left leg stretched. Yearly twice Sri Namperumal arrives at this temple and exchanges garlands. One, on the 18th day of Tamil month Adi [Padhinettam Perukku] and the other on the 6th day of Panguni Uthram festival, when Sri Namperumal comes from Uraiyur. The great Acharya Annan Swamigal mutt manages this temple. Since Sri Krishna is delighted at hearing the name of Sri Andal, it is our fortune to listen to Gita from this spot.

In the last two slokas Sri Krishna advised Arjuna that he should not slip from his kshatriya dharma, which paves the way for the eternal bliss at Sri Vaikuntam. In the coming two slokas, He describes what consequences will accrue if he fails to uphold the Kshatriya duty. By listing the difficulties and sorrows he would encounter if he slipped from his expected duty, Sri Krishna is encouraging him to fight. In any act we have to state the benefits by doing that and the ill effects by not doing. By judging both one has to conclude to perform an action. Now sloka 33:

atha cet tvam imam dharmyam
sangramam na karishyasi
tatah sva-dharmam kirtim ca
hitva papam avapsyasi

"If, however, you do not perform your duty of fighting for dharma, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and lose your reputation as a fighter."

Sri Krishna uses the words dharmyam sangraman, which means fight performed righteously. This war is for establishing dharma, it is to be performed legally and the outcome also is for dharma, a high objective. Since Arjuna, desirous of preservation of dharma, this is a holy and upright war. The word sangramam is used instead of yudhdham. Yudhdham means it could start even next day or after. But sangramam means that is already started and when both sides are aligned and ready to fight. Peace efforts could have been initiated before start of a fight but not after it had started. Such efforts before the fight began would be appreciated; but after it had started any such efforts would be branded as act of cowardice. So Sri Krishna cautions that if Arjuna decided to withdraw from the war, he will be defamed and then he would also be slipping from his expected dharma, resulting in sins or papa to accumulate. So by abandoning the fight he will fail in his swadharmam, that is his duty as Kshatriya to fight, and lose kirti or fame. Even if he does not care for the fame, sins or papa will accrue for slipping from swadharma. Sri Krishna lists the two, swadharma and kirti, as necessities for life in this world and in the nether world. Without a reputation it is of no use in this world. Thiruvalluvar in his Thirukkural says [in thonrir pugazhodu] that if one is born he should be famous, otherwise, is better to be unborn. For a hero like Arjuna defame is a great loss. Arjuna felt that even if he loses fame here, he would lead an austere life by living in forests and reach heaven after death. Sri Krishna with a smile repudiated that also as Arjuna after abandoning his swadharma and leaving in a lurch his brothers and the subjects, will never reach heavens. Thus defame will destroy dhrushta palam or perceivable results. Abandoning swadharma will destroy adhrushta palam or unperceivable results [in nether worlds]. Apart from these, papa will accrue which will destine him to meaner births. So by not fighting, Arjuna will lose pleasures in this and nether worlds and with accumulated papa will be born in disgraceful births. Therefore, this is a lesson for all of us not to abandon our swadharma. We can visualize two destinations: one, happiness in this life and the other is happiness after death in this world. For reaching Moksha after death to have eternal happiness we have a choise between performing Bhakthi yoga and sharanagathi [surrender]. For doing bhakthi yoga one should do the karma yoga that is follow swadharma. So in Arjuna’s case if he abandoned his swadharma, he cannot do karma yoga and so cannot follow bhakthi yoga and consequently, no eternal happiness. To get happiness in this life one has to do punya. Punya will accrue only if one follows dharma. That means one has to perform his duties or swadharma. So, Arjuna may not get the pleasures in this world also. Arguing that he can correct in the future also will not hold good as the sins or papa will engulf and no scope for doing punya in the future. Abide by swadharma is what is advocated.

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