We are now in one of the Divya [Sacred] Kshetrams of Chola Region, Thiruvellarai. Both Periyalwar and Thirumangai Alwar have composed hymns on this Kshetram. Perialwar has sung Pallandu [Long Live] on this Kshetram. The Lord here is named Sri Pundareekakshan. Thayar is called Sri Sengamalavalli Thayar and Sri Pankayaselvi. The Vimanam [Dome] is Vimalahruthi Vimanam. Great Acharyas Uyyakkondar and Engalazhvan were born here. In the Garba Gruha [Sanctum Sanctorum], Soorya and Chandra are serving the Lord with Chamaram [a fur material to make light breeze]. On each side Garuda and Adisesha are standing with folded hands to serve the Lord. Below are seated Sri Bhoo Devi and Maharishi Markandeya. Surrounded by all these, the Lord is facing the East with Prayoga Chakra [ready to deliver Dicus] in one Hand. In this place the Thayar has more importance than the Lord. In processions, the Lord follows Thayar. In names like Srinivasan or Thirumal, Sri, that is Thayar, is in the forefront. The Lord has three Principal Consorts – Sri, Bhoo and Neela Devi. There are three Kshetrams giving prominence to each of them. In Thirvellarai, Sri Devi is prominent. In Sri Villiputhur also known as Sri Nachiyar ThiruMaligai, Bhoo Devi is prominent. In Thirunaraiyur, also known as Nachiyar Koil, Neela Devi is prominent. We will see the next sloka in Gita from the Thayar sannidhi in Thiruvellarai. Sri Thayar, as Pankaya Selvi, prayed here and the Lord appeared as Sri Senthamarai Kannan – Sri Krishna- before her. Senthamarai Kannan is the Tamil equivalent of Pundareekakshan. The Vedas declare that He is the Paramatma or Almighty God, Who has Pundareekaksham or [Red] Lotus eyes. We will now see the 42nd sloka. The 42nd, 43rd and 44th slokas are all together convey the same meaning. So we will have to see all of them together. We learn Yoga. What is it? It is an exercise to concentrate our mind on a single target. This is what Patanjali declares in his Yoga shastra. We have to control all our external sense organs and concentrate the mind in one particular direction. Sri Krishna says that this single target has to be only Moksham. Our desires can be classified into three broad areas. To lead a comfortable life with good education, job, marriage and pastime. This is the first category and almost everyone has this type of desire. It is said ‘loko binna ruchi’- that is each person has different desires and hobbies like reading or playing or postage stamp collection, etc. These desires are in multitude. Whether these desires will take one to Moksham is a question. So Sri Krishna says that if Arjuna performs these types of karma, they will not bring him to Him. Mostly these desires arise because of ignorance that soul and body are different. But knowledge that the two are different makes one to think what will happen to the atman and are there anything one could do to make atman comfortable and happy after leaving the present body. So, the second plane of heavenly comforts is realized. These pleasures are superior to the earthly ones. But, when one realizes that even the life in heavens is limited and one has to terminate and return according to the punya and papa, the next area is pondered. Is there a possibility of eternal happiness and never to return to worldly life with its pitfalls? That should be a place where there is no iota of sorrow and nothing else is superior to it in happiness. This is the aspiration for Moksham. Thus earthly pleasures, heavenly pleasures and the endless pleasures in Moksham are before us. Sri Krishna classifies these into two; one earthly/ heavenly pleasures and the other is the Moksham. He tells Arjuna that the various karmas performed for attaining the earthly/heavenly pleasures, will lead one to nowhere. But a single-minded karma with Moksham as target, will progress in a single direction and there will be no need to do the karmas for the earthly/ heavenly benefits. That will be karma yoga. Here we may think like this. All may not be interested in Moksham. Besides, if Sri Krishna declares that by doing karma yoga one will soon get Moksham, many will withdraw from practicing karma yoga or even listening to these lectures. People will discourage younger ones from listening to Gita lecture as they may think that Moksham will be attained immediately, and they may not be able to do the expected domestic duties. So, it is emphasized that mere knowing Gita will not immediately fetch Moksham and only after the prescribed life is over one will attain Moksham.
Sri Krishna encourages Karma yoga with Moksham as the goal. Then what happens to our domestic compulsions and duties? So one may doubt whether this sermon is practical. Actually, by practicing Karma Yoga as preached by Sri Krishna one will get all the comforts in this world as a bye-product. But karmas done with aim for earthly/ heavenly comforts will never get Moksham. Sri Krishna clearly says that all karmas with Moksham as objective will, by the Grace of Sri Krishna, satisfy all the necessities in this earth, besides guaranteeing Moksham. One need not aspire for these worldly desires and Sri Krishna will take care of all those. It is like one pounds paddy to get rice. In the process, one sweats profusely. Seeing this the neighbor asks whether one was pounding to sweat. Sweating was only a bye-product and aim was not for sweating. Similarly, we should perform our karmas with Moksham as the only objective and nothing else. Paramatma will on His own take care of our comforts in this earth also. This declaration is necessary for anyone to aspire to do karma yoga. We will not waste our energy in going to astrologers, resort to numerology or perform homam [sacred fire] to reap petty benefits. We are not here to encourage or discourage these. But actions with Moksham as target will get all the benefits we wanted by doing these petty actions. It is like in the exam if we are prepared for very high score, getting good marks will be easier. But if we are prepared for smaller score, we may not achieve good results. If we request someone for Rs.100 and if he agrees, it will look silly to change our request and ask whether he would lend Rs.50. God is ready to give us the Ultimate- Moksham. The trivial benefits will automatically follow suit. So Sri Krishna declares:
yam imam puspitam vacam
nanyad astiti vadinah
"Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various trivial activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth”