The Pundarikaksha Perumal temple in Thiruvellarai / The utsavar idols of Sri Senthamarai Kannan and Senkamalavalli Thayar.
[I was away from my home for five days and so I was not fortunate to listen to Sri Velukkudi Swami’s lectures on 25th, 28th and 29th. Fortunately for me Sri and Smt Vedantham readily agreed to record the lectures and I am greatly indebted to them for this great help. With the help of the recordings, my efforts continue]
Today [25th May, 2007] we are at a well in the Thiruvellarai temple where Sri Mahalakshmi Thayar meditated here to have the Divine Vision of the Lord. He also appeared as Sri Pundareekaksha. This place is called in Sanskrit Swetha Giri. Thayar has prominence here. For the sake of Sri Rukmini, Sri Krishna blesses all, just as for the sake of Sri Sita, Sri Rama blesses us all. It is customary that for the sake of Thayar, the Lord blesses. Now we shall see the substance of 43rd and 44th slokas.
In the 43rd sloka He says that people do various karma for lowly objectives. The mind would have been set on various ordinary desires. The term atman here means mind. Kama means desires. So, kamatmana means our frequently changing desires. If there was only one want, it could be fulfilled. But the desires are ever increasing and continuing. In this list of desires the final is swarga or heaven. That is these persons [so called Vedic scholars] claim swarga as the ultimate and final in happiness. By repeatedly doing these types of karma, they will only yield rebirth as the consequential benefits. Sri Krishna indicates the cycle of rebirths after attaining heaven. If one wants to get away from these cycles, then one has to do karma yoga without any desire excepting Moksham. Here we will explain this cycle to some extent. We are in this world now. We do various karmas and earn papa [sin] and punya [virtues]. Papa leads us to hell or naraka and punya takes us to swarga. In both naraka and swarga our atman will get new bodies and we will undergo sufferings and pleasures respectively. After the punya is exhausted, we will be pushed out of the heaven. This is an authoritative statement [in the Vedas]. The person enjoying pleasures in heaven does not enjoy fully as the fear of being pushed away [after the punya is over] will be lingering in his mind. It is like in a case where a person usually gets only ordinary buttermilk and rice for meals. One day he is told that he would get sarkarai pongal [a delicious sugar candy and rice preparation] for next ten days. When he is enjoying that delicacy, he will always be remembering that this enjoyment is not permanent and after the ten-day period is over, he would get the ordinary buttermilk and rice only. This thought will not allow him to enjoy the eating of delicacy fully. He may feel it was better to continue with the ordinary food itself and there was no need for this temporary spell of pleasure. This fear of being pushed out is not there in Moksham, and this is what Sri Krishna tells Arjuna. This is what Nammalwar in Thiruvaimozhi says. Instead of enjoying in heaven in constant fear of being pushed away one day, it is far better to avoid heaven. At least, if there was nothing superior to heaven also one could aspire for that happiness. Sri Krishna says that He would show Arjuna better place for pleasure and so why set the mind in such cheap targets. This cycle of births resemble yagna or homam. Just as ghee or havis is offered n the sacred fire in a yagna, this atman also is offered at many places. The birth of a child is described as Panchagni Vidya Prakaranam in Upanishads. An atman after his tenure in swarga is over is thrown out of swarga and the atman dwells in the clouds. One day, in the decision of God, the clouds make rain. The atman mingling in the rainy water reaches earth and feeds a crop, say rice. The atman gets into a grain of rice and after harvest, the rice is cooked in a house for meal.
This food is eaten by someone and later, enters the womb of a woman and takes birth as a child, who could be male or female. Thus the atman resided in space, cloud, rainwater, grains and womb and then takes the body of a child and is born. The born child grows, performs karmas and earns papa and punya and accordingly reaches hell or heaven and after the papa/punya is expended, again pushed out to start the next cycle. We have to therefore learn that we will have to do our karma without attachment to these smaller benefits, which will take us only to heaven, only to be born again after sometime. We will have to breakaway from this cycle. So, we should not be misguided by these so-called Vedic scholars. Are we born to do these karma or are we doing these karma to be born again. Which is the first? It is as difficult as to say whether the seed or the plant was first. A doubt may arise here. When we earn both papa and punya, which will be first to start yielding? Then the question will come up, whether we first did good thing or bad in the past birth? This will lead to a doubt as what was the first karma in the very first birth? We should remember that there is nothing like first birth, as atman is eternal and there was not a time when it was non-existent. So the births also are in multitudes and the swarga pala karma recommended by some Vedic pundits will result in the continuation of this cycle of births and karmas. Only a resolve to cling to the feet of the Lord will divert our fickle mind from such attractions. Swami Vedantha Desika in his Hayagreeva Sthothram says that when his head is covered by the pollen of the Lord’s Lotus feet, why should he fall at any mortal’s feet for favors and remedies? A steadfast surrender unto Him will take care of all requirements in this world for a comfortable life, besides yielding Moksham and cutting off this cycle of rebirths.