Wednesday, May 23, 2007


We are at the sannidhi of Uyyakkondar and Engalazhvan, in Thiruvellarai. These two are great Acharyas in the Sri Vaishnava Guru Parampara [lineage of Acharyas]. Though Sriman Narayana is the first Acharya, when we reckon those who were born as mortal human beings, Nammalwar is considered as the first Acharya and is regarded as the Kulapathi [community head]. Then comes in the lineage, Swami Nathamuni, who was born several centuries after Nammalwar. Uyyakkondar was the disciple of Nathamuni. Uyyakkondar’s disciple was Manakkal Nambi, whose disciple was Alawandar. His sishya was Periya Nambi and his sishya was Swami Ramanuja. Uyyakkondar was born here. Engalazhvan was one of the important disciples of Ramanuja. His real name was Vishnuchitha, and had made a commentary on Sri Vishnu Purana, and because his style of writing was like another disciple of Ramanuja, Koorathazhvan, he was affectionately called as Engal [our] Azhvan. Swami Nadathur Ammal was a sishya of Engalazhvan. At the feet of Engalazhvan, we can observe Nadathur Ammal idol. The actual name of Nadathur Ammal was Varadacharya, and he lived in Kanchipuram. While offering warm milk to the Lord of Kanchi, Sri DevadhiRajan, he used to ensure that the milk was not too hot to burn His lips, like a mother [amma in Tamil] would do and so he was called Ammal by the Lord Himself! Since Engalazhvan was Acharya of Ammal, he was also known as Ammalacharya. Even today this Kshetram is maintained by the members of Ammalacharya hereditary. In their administration, many Archakas [temple priests] are magnificently performing the rituals as per the Panchrathra Agama [codified temple rituals]. All these three Acharyas are gracing the devotees from this sannidhi and it is appropriate that we will see what the Acharya [Sri Krishna] tells His sishya [Arjuna]. We will see, as mentioned earlier all the three slokas [42,43 and 44] together:

yam imam puspitam vacam
pravadanty avipascitah
veda-vada-ratah partha
nanyad astiti vadinah
kamatmanah svarga-para
bhogaisvarya-gatim prati

vyavasayatmika buddhih
samadhau na vidhiyate

“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. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this. In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place."

Through all these slokas, Sri Krishna is instructing that all actions should be performed with Moksham as the only purpose. Our aim should not be for the lower benefits of comforts in this world are other heavenly pleasures. Why does Sri Krishna say so? Firstly these earthly/heavenly delights are trivial. They are transient in nature. The wealth accumulated is not permanent. What was comfortable yesterday may be irritating today. Thirdly, we are His servants and so we should accept only what He ordains. Our service also should only be for His pleasure. By aspiring for lowly results, our attribute as His dependent is maligned. Jeevatma is the servant or slave of Paramatma. Jeevatma is dependent on Paramatma. So, it is necessary to listen to What Sri Krishna orders and do the same. Every action of us should please the Lord. By independently choosing a goal and doing karma to attain that, will displease Him. Thus these pleasures are trivial and momentary, and realizing we are in His possession, we should never do any karma with results anything other than Moksham. Though, this may be accepted, it is not easy to drag away our actions from performing for petty results. Even Alwars lament that the mind is pulled towards smaller pleasures. So one cannot avoid this struggle and only continuous efforts will make us to realize this. Never at anytime think that this is impossible. As long we keep faith in Him, our efforts in karmas for lowly benefits will fade and we will perform all our actions only for Moksham. An action could be done for smaller results or for lofty purpose and the attained results will be as intended. We see Nuclear power harnessed for constructive or destructive purposes. Nuclear science helps a lot in medicine and utilities. But if used to explode, all are scared of it. Thus there are two sides of the coin. Therefore, the intention makes all the difference. Similarly our karmas or actions could be intended for lowly benefits and the same will be reaped. But with an intention to achieve Moksham, the same karmas will yield not only Moksham but the worldly happiness also. This temple has many pillars made of stone. The idol of God in the temple also is made of stone. And, there are stones on the street. But the way the stones are used varies. By proper rituals and daily prayers a stone is regarded as God and He is present in that form and blesses all. A stone in the street remains useless. So, our intentions change the utility. We adore pictures of God in our pooja rooms and worship with reverence. Similar pictures are on the wrappers of many pooja materials we purchase, like camphor, but we throw away these wrappers along with the pictures of God. Same picture is worshipped at one place and thrown away at another place. If we perform actions with lowly intentions, then we will obtain only them and we cannot avoid the recurring cycle of rebirths. Therefore, with a determination to set goal as Moksham only, Arjuna is advised to perform his duty. Apart from doing this way just because Sri Krishna has told, Arjuna should have realized the temporary nature of the worldly desires. We are able to distinguish, in our daily life, what is good for us and what is bad. The confusion emerges because we think atman and body are same. Since body gets destroyed, our aim should be to do good for the atman. Atman, like Paramatma, is in eternal bliss, but being a captive in the body, is unable to attain its natural everlasting happiness. Therefore, if this thought is always in our mind, we can understand Karma Yoga properly. The true basic nature of atman is necessary.

No comments: