Thursday, May 24, 2007


Periyalwar has praised Thiruvellarai Perumal. In the compilation Periyalwar Thirumozhi, the ten pasurams under Kappidal [a sort of decoration] are all in praise of the Lord of Thiruvellarai. All the gods like Indra, Soorya and Chandra, are all waiting with fragrant flowers to decorate and please the Lord. Why Sri Pundareekaksha Perumal made this kshetram as His abode? That is an interesting story. Earlier to Sri Rama, in His [Ikshvaku] dynasty was there a king Sibi. Once Sibi came down south with his troops and camped near Thiruvellarai. A white Boar was running here and there before the troops and they could not capture it. Surprised, they went and reported to the King, who also started searching for the Boar. Finally, it was sighted on the top of a hillock and from there it disappeared into a bush. The King went near the bush and saw the great sage, Markandeya, who had come there earlier in search of a vision of the Lord. Hearing the King’s narration of the Boar, the sage asked Sibi to bathe [Thirumanjanam] the bush where the Boar had disappeared. When the King performed as was told, the Lord, as Sri Pundareekakshan, appeared and graced all. The sage asked Sibi to request the Lord to permanently remain in that place to grace all devotees. He also told the King to inhabit 3700 Sri Vaishnavas in this place and build a grand temple for he Lord. Sibi obeyed the request and relocated 3700 persons from North, in this place. He established 3700 residences for them. During this resettlement, one person expired and this saddened the King. At that time the Lord taking the form of a Sri Vaishnava, appeared before Sibi and stated that the 3700 persons included Him. From that time the Lord is gracing all devotees from this temple. We are at the main entrance of the temple. We can see from here the Dwajasthamba [Flag staff] and the Vimalahrutha Vimanam [Dome]. Vimala means blemish less and the sins of those who look at that and worship are also removed. At the entrance, also is the Bali Peetam [stone table for offerings]. It is customary for many devotees, for the fulfillment of their requests, to perform Thirumanjanam [bathing] and decorate it with Sandal paste and flowers. Just by the side is the Ganga Pushkarini [temple pond]. Around the temple there are many such Pushkarinis like Padma Pushkarini, Manikarnika, etc., and many devotees get their sins washed away. From here only today’s lecture is given.

To understand the full sense of the 42nd sloka we will have to consider together the first two words of 43rd sloka [kamatmanah svarga-para] and the last two lines of the 44th sloka [vyavasayatmika buddhih samadhau na vidhiyate]. Vyavasayatmika buddhih is resolute [unwavering] wisdom of the atma swaroopam or the true nature of atman. ‘This will never occur’ is the meaning of samadhau na vidhiyate. We try to perform karma thinking that we have the knowledge about the atman. When this will not happen? When we perform all sorts of karmas with lowly objectives like reaching swarga or heaven for happiness, by listening to all those who proclaim heaven as the ultimate goal for us, and get involved in those activities. In such minds there is no possibility of gyana or knowledge about the nature of atman – that it is different from body, it is indestructible, it is subservient to Paramatma. Without this gyana they can never be successful in karma yoga. This is the substance of the three slokas. In the 42nd sloka, Sri Krishna is censuring someone. Vipascitah means full knowledge or wise man. Avipascitah means person with poor or scanty knowledge. Who are these? Those who learnt Vedas well, but with meager knowledge. Arjuna is puzzled. How can Vedic scholars be called as persons with scanty knowledge? Sri Krishna answers this doubt. In the Vedas there are many actions detailed to be performed. Puthrakameshti yagna for begetting children. Kareeri Ishti yagna for rains. Vayavvaya yagna for abundant wealth. Senai yagna for elimination of enemies. Jyosis soma yagna for reaching heaven. Some persons are interested in arguing that the purpose of Veda and the karmas mentioned therein are only for reaching heaven and enjoying heavenly pleasures. Nothing else is required or to be done. These are all persons of small intellect. They have learnt the Vedas for just learning and have not realized the true content of Vedas. They indulge in unnecessary arguments. They use flowery language. That is there are some trees which blossom and later these flowers become fruits. But there are some other trees, which give out only flowers, which may be attractive, but yield no fruits. Likewise, these people argue that Vedas are for obtaining trivial swarga. We see so many types of plants. Some emerge from earth with fragrance, like Tulasi, which we use for the decoration of the Lord in the temples. We also grow plants only for decoration and they have no utility other than appearance. These cannot be compared to Tulasi or Lotus plants. So, those who believe such flowery languages of Vedic scholars, who proclaim swarga is the ultimate objective, and perform karmas, never understand the true nature of atman. Without this gyana, the actions by him will never fetch supreme result, Moksham. Vedas describe all these karmas but we are to concentrate our mind in learning Paramatma and the way to reach Vaikuntam. There are two portions in all the Vedas- Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana. One is called the poorva bhaga or earlier part. The other is called the uthara bhaga or later part. The first one mentions all the types of karmas, like what yagnas or poojas can be performed. Whereas Upanishads or Vedanta is in the later part. These will never mention the karmas to be performed but only about Brahman or Paramatma. These silly minded people have learnt only the poorva bhaga and advocate only swarga. These people employ flowery words of no substance and never guide anyone for reaching the Feet of the Lord. Therefore Arjuna should never get distracted to performing these actions for reaching swarga.

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