Friday, May 11, 2007


Sriranga mangala nidhim karuna nivasam

Sri Venkatadri shikaralaya kalamegam

Sri Hasthisaila sikarojwala parijatham

Srisannamami sirasa Yadhusaila deepam

In the Sri Vaishnava sampradayam, certain temples are regarded as important. Among them are Srirangam, Thirumala, Kanchipurama and Thirunarayanapuram. Srirangam is also named Bhuloka Vaikuntam. Here Sri Ranganatha, Sri Namperumal, Sri Azhagiya Manavalan is gracing. Manavalan in Tamil means son in law. So here He is Handsome Son in law. He has married Sri Ranga Nachiyar in Srirangam, Sri Kamalavalli Nachiyar in Urayur and Sri Serakulavalli Nachiyar, daughter of Sri Kulasekara Alwar. Every year on three specific days Sri Namperumal along with these three consorts [each on one day] graces the devotees. This festival is called seththi utsavam. Sri Kamalavalli appeared in Urayur, from where we are going to see today’s 35th sloka. Urayur is also called Nichulapuri. Here Sri Kamalavalli appeared and married Sri Namperumal. This place also is the birthplace of Thiruppann Alwar. Long ago this was the capital of Chola kingdom. Sri Kamalavalli was the daughter of Nanda Chola, a descendant of King Dharma Varma. Even today on the sixth day festival in the Tamil month Panguni [March-April], Sri Namperumal arrives from Srirangam and graces the devotees along with Sri Kamalavalli Nachiyar. This is a spectacular sight and from that Mantapam [hall] we will see the 35th sloka. The following three slokas are, asthana sneham as described by the Acharya Alavandar, where Arjuna is showing compassion at the wrong place. In these three slokas Sri Krishna reveals the defects and bad effects occurring by showing compassion to wicked Duryodana and others. Now, 34th sloka:

bhayad ranad uparatam
mamsyante tvam maha-rathah
yesham ca tvam bahu-mato
bhutva yasyasi laghavam

"The great generals who have highly esteemed your name and fame will think that you have left the battlefield out of fear only, and thus they will consider you irrelevant."

Arjuna is surprised that he will lose his reputation if he showed compassion. Thirukkural says [in inna seidarai..] that we are to return good deeds only to our enemies who have done bad things for us. Despite, Duryodana’s bad designs, therefore, should not Arjuna return love and compassion? By doing so will not Arjuna’s reputation spread further? We have seen that a person who sacrifices his comforts for the sake of betterment of his country or village or society, is held in high esteem. By lowering their lives, many of our forefathers got independence, and they have achieved fame. Sri Krishna replies that Arjuna may abandon the war on compassionate grounds, but these great warriors –maharathas- like Duryodana, Karna and others will think that Arjuna has withdrawn from the war out of fear. One should show love to deserving persons. Arjuna’s enemies are waiting for a chance when he would slip and falter. Though Duryodana and others have been scheming to grab the kingdom, none ever found fault with Arjuna’s valor and courage. They always regarded his bravery in high esteem. But now if he did not fight, not merely they will grab the kingdom but will also start a smear campaign and malign Arjuna’s reputation. They will conclude that it will be easy and simple – laghavam- to defeat Arjuna. They will decide that Arjuna came to the battlefield but on seeing the enemies and the large army, became nervous and ran away as a coward. Ramanuja gives an eloquent explanation. An enemy may not attach importance for one running away. But if that one happens to be a valiant enemy, then gossip will start and abuses will be heaped on that one. This compassion and love, Arjuna could have exhibited before the war began. That would have been appreciated. There is a subtle difference between compassion and cowardice. A person who bears all insults with patience is termed incompetent. Such ill reputes from great warriors like Duryodana will be accepted by the public also. Even if Bheeshma and Drona may appreciate Arjuna’s intentions, it is of no consequence. His real enemies are Duryodana and others, and they will malign Arjuna’s fame all over and bring disgrace to him. Arjuna can neither disregard this bad publicity, because he is no ordinary person and his people expect him to protect them. He should never be a cause for adharma. We should thus understand to differentiate between mercy and patience on one hand and incompetence and cowardice on the other.

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