Friday, June 29, 2007


By the grace of Sri Thiruvankatamudayan [the Lord of Tirumala] Nammalwar was born in this world. It is believed that the Lord Thirkkurungudi Nambi, Himself was born as Nammalwar. He is considered as the incarnation of Senai mudaliyar [Vishvaksena], the commander in Vaikuntam. Though his real name was Satakopan, the Lord fondly called him Nam Alwar. Though it is said that Alwar Thirunagari is his birthplace, in particular he was born in locality called Appan Koil. He was born some 5108 years ago in the Tamil month of Vaikasi and in the star constellation Visakam, as he son of Kari and his wife Udayanangai in Appankoil. This place is called Appan Koil, because the Lord in the temple in this locality is Sri Thiruvankadathu Appan. He is gracing the devotees as Sri Srinivasa [of Tirumala]. His parents have been worshipping this Lord only. He was born in a small room in a house here. Sri Rama was born in the City of Ayodhya and Sri Krishna was born in a prison in Mathura. We are all blessed to visit this birthplace of Alwar. We are not worthy of going near this place. But as Alwar himself said, to be in such places shown to us by God we have never done any great sacrifice but ignoring all our shortcomings Alwar has shown to us this place. From the house where Alwar was born and remembering with gratitude Alwar’s great hymns, we will proceed to the next 65th sloka in Gita. In the 62nd and 63rd slokas He showed how by not engaging us in God’s service wefall from grace down the steps and get destroyed. The 64th sloka however told us that by serving and singing in praise of Him, we can climb up steps to reach higher echelon. Now in the 65th sloka:

prasade sarva-duhkhanam
hanir asyopajayate
prasanna-cetaso hy asu
buddhih paryavatisthate

"For a person with such enlightened mind, all miseries are removed;only for enlightened person the intllect [gyana] get well established immediately."

In this sloka Sri Krishna removes some more doubts. In last 64th sloka He told prasadam adhigacchati-[ the atman] gets purified or serene mind. Asya – such a person who obtained serene mind, sarva dukhani-all sorrows and miseries, hanir-loss or removal, upajayate- happens. That is, for the atman gyani, after acquiring purified mind, all his miseries get removed. This is the last step. If God were to enquire as to what we want, we would promptly say all our miseries should be removed. Here Sri Krishna indicates the miseries of samsaram [the birth due to papa and punya karma]. Arjuna gets a doubt here. What is the relation between serene mind and the miseries of samsaram? Sri Krishna replies in the second half of the sloka. Prasanna cetasa– the enlightened one [acquiring serene mind], hi-only, asu- immediately, buddhi- knowledge or intellect, avatisthate –firmly established or installed, paryavatisthate- well established. So enlightened person gets intellect well founded. This we had earlier mentioned as stithaprajna. The one who understands atman properly and fully and is about to perceive atman or get atman darshan. It is also called atman sakshatkaram, when he will perceive all atman are identical, atman is the quintessence of knowledge and bliss. For this our buddhi has to be well founded. Enlightenment or serene mind is essential for this. Atman darshan will lead to bhakthi yoga. To remove all our miseries, we have to have devotion or bhakthi. Since atman darshan is a pre-requisite for devotion, enlightenment is necessary. We can visualize this also in steps. 1.Enlightenment or purity of mindà 2. Atman darshanà 3.Bhakthi yoga à4. Removal of all miseries. In the first part of the sloka, He combined directly 1 and 4 and said enlightenment would remove all miseries. This skipping of 2 and 3 was clarified to Arjuna in the second half of the sloka. If we now see the 64th and 65th slokas together we can build the entire stairway:

1.Meditating on Godà2.Lessening of rajo/tamo guna and increase of satva gunaà3.Discarding likes and dislikes or elimination of raga/dveshaà4.Control of senses à5.Stay away from materialistic desiresà6. Control of Mind.à7.Mind is purified or enlightenment.à8.Atman darshan.à9.Bhakti yoga.à10.Elimination of all miseries. If we take efforts to put us on the first step of meditating on God, all other steps would follow suit and we can reach the ultimate step. This is like we stand in the line in Tirumala. Automatically, the line moves and takes us near the Lord to have darshan and get His blessings. So by singing His names and serving His devotees we can gradually reach the Bhakthi yoga. This is what Alwar also says that by devoting ourselves to Him, all our misers get destroyed and we reach eternal happiness.

Thursday, June 28, 2007



 We are in the Rettai Thiruppati Kshetram also known as Thirutholaivillimangalam.
There are two temples wit two Leading Deities. This place is situated on the
Northern banks of Thambraparani River. Yesterday we were in the Sri Aravindalochanan
sannidhi. Today we are at Sri Devarpiran sannidhi. The former is on the North and
the latter on the South. Once a sage came here from North and was meditating in this
Kshetram. Daily he used to perform homam [holy fire] and in the end he used to offer
the Havirbaga [food for the gods offered in the fire]. The Devas [gods] used to
accept this and since the Lord of this Kshetram was responsible, the Lord here is
named Sri Devarpiran. Piran in Tamil means helping. Since He helped the Devas to get
their dues in the Homa, He got this name. The Moolavar is called Sri Srinivasan and
the Uthsavar is Sri Devarpiran. The sage used to gather many lotus flowers and used
to make beautiful garlands and decorate the Lord here. Earlier only this Sri
Devarpiran sannidhi existed. Once Sri Devarpiran, without the knowledge of the sage
followed him to see how such handsome garlands are done. He saw the sage gathering
flowers in the garden near the river. While He was watching, the sage suddenly turned
back and saw Sri Devarpiran. He was enchanted by the Lotus like eyes of the Lord and
prostrating before Him, requested Him to appear with the Lotus eyes always here. So
the Lord agreed and from that time another sannidhi got up for the Lord as Sri Aravi
ndalochanan. Thus this place got twin sannidhi. Already we saw that the Lord here is
very close to Nammalwar. In the last pasuram of Thiruvaimozhi [6.5] he says sindhai
yaalum sollaalum seygaiyinaalum* thEva piraanaiyE,* thandhai thaayenRadaindha*
vaNkurukooravar sadagOpan.

Nammalwar says that he reached Sri Devarpiran as his mind, words and body [organs] always regarded Him as father and mother. There is yet another interesting incidence connected with this Kshetram. In Srirangam, the Adyanothsavam is celebrated in Tamil month Margazhi [Dec-Jan]. It is of 20 days duration with Vaikunta Ekadasi as the eleventh day festival. On the 21st day is the final day when the Iyarpa of Nalayira Divya Prabhandam is recited. Though at present an icon of Nammalwar is available in Srirangam, some centuries back- before the time of Swami Ramanuja- the Nammalwar idol used to be brought from Alwar Thirunagari for the festival in Srirangam. After the festival ended the idol used to be returned to Alwar Thirunagari. Since it used to take considerable time for such transportation, by the time the idol of Nammalwar reached this place it would be the Tamil month Masi [Feb-March]. Therefore even now the Adyanothsavam for this place is on three days corresponding to the star constellations Swati, Visakam and Anusham. After this Namalwar idol would reach Alwar Thirunagari. This is yet another example of the intimacy between the Lord here and Nammalwar. Though Alwar talks of beautiful fortress and buildings of the temple, until a few years back this and other temples of Navathiruppati were in shambles. But a person, not interested in publicity, out of pure devotion, repaired and rebuilt all these temples and today we witness a marvelous getup of the entire kshetram. We pray that this selfless and unassuming person’s such noble works should continue. Like Alwar, if we can devote our action, speech and thoughts in Him, we would have controlled our organs. In the last two slokas –62 and 63- we saw how by not devoting ourselves in Him, we tumble down and plunge to the bottom. Now we will see the 64th sloka

raga-dvesa-vimuktais tu
visayan indriyais caran
atma-vasyair vidheyatma
prasadam adhigacchati

"But a person free from all attachment and aversion is able to control his senses and skips materialistic lures and controls mind resulting in pure mind by the mercy of the Lord."

What greatness one achieves by such devotion to the Lord? Here He explains how gradually the atman is climbing in steps to reach pinnacle. By thinking of Him, the rajo and tamo qualities in our mind are cleared and the mind is purified. Only satva quality would dominate in us. By doing Aradhana [Pooja] and consuming only that food offered to Him, rajo and tamo gunas get reduced and satva qualities flourish. The first step reached by devotion to God, is we are relieved of raga and dvesha. By concentrating our thoughts in Him, by singing His names, by hearing His names, by performing Aradhana and by consuming only the food offered to Him, satva qualities thrive and the other two qualities fade. This will get rid of raga and dvesha. As told earlier, raga is the desire to acquire or expecting some pleasing incidence. Dvesha is hatred or enemity. Both these are housed in us. We do not like even good things rendered by those we hate and accept bad things from our dear ones. This is because of rajo and tamo gunas. If we have uprightness in our mind then we will accept good things irrespective of who did that. With raga and dvesha removed, all are our dear ones and all actions are impartially looked into. This will result in the control of organs and they will not be after the pleasures arising from smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch. If organs are to be disciplined we should be rid off likes and dislikes. By disciplining the organs, we stay away from the five sensual pleasures and their sources. After this atman, here it means mind, is in our control. Recapitulating, devoting ourselves to God and by proper food, rajo and tamo gunas are driven away and satva guna thrives. Raga and dvesha are destroyed. Organs are disciplined. Sensual and cheap pleasures are cast away. Mind gets controlled. Then we get prasadam. Prasadam means here serene and pure mind. This will take us near atman darshan. Contaminated mind is unable to properly perceive atman.

Devotionà Satva gunaà elimination of likes and dislikesà Control organsà Avoiding sensual appetite à Control mind à Mind purity à Atman Darshan. While 62nd and 63rd slokas explained how one plunges to degradation, 64th sloka details how the atman is uplifted. We can clear our doubts from Vedas, if we have that capacity to learn them. We can control our organs by deep meditation and yoga. These are possible for a few capable persons. But for ordinary people like us, devotion or bhakthi is the recourse. Thondaradipodi Alwar says he gets all doubts cleared by seeing God, Lord Sri Ranganatha. By looking at His feet, he knew he was His attendant. By looking at His abhaya hastha, he realizes He would protect him. By looking at His Crown he recognized that He was his ruler. Therefore it is necessary for us to dedicate ourselves to Him and serve Him. God’s image is made of satva guna only. So by looking at that image the satva guna in us grows. While in temple also, it is not correct to close the eyes while in front of God.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Swami Aathipiran, Swami Namalwar

Swami Aravindalochanar

Swami Devarpiran

The Kshetrams around Alwar Thirunagari are Nava Thirupati. These are spread on the banks of river Thamrabarani. Three are on the south bank and six are on the northern bank. We are now at the Kshetram known as [I]rettai Thiruppati, also known as Thirutholaivillimangalam. This is on the northern bank of the river. As the name Rettai [twin] Thiruppati suggests, there are two temples and two presiding Deities. As part of the Nava Thiruppati, these are counted as two Kshetrams and we arrive at nine temples. But in the 108 Divya Desam this is counted as a single Kshetram. In the two temples the Lords are Sri Aravindalochanan and Sri Devarpiran. We are in the sannidhi of Sri Aravindalochanan. The main Deity [Moolavar] is called Sri Aravindalochanan and Uthsavar is called Sri Senthamarai Kannan. In the 6.5 Thiruvaimozhi, Nammalwar has praised this Kshetram. Alwar in the Nayika Bhavam [imagining himself to be a girl] cries Aravindalochana. That is the intimacy Nammalwar had with this temple. From here we will see the slokas 62 and 63 together. Alwar and this Kshetram are closely connected. Alwar places his thoughts, words and deeds at the feet of the Lord here. Like this if we could also direct our mind, speech and action in Him, our mind and organs will get disciplined and be under control. This we saw in the last sloka. Yesterday we mentioned about the Vaikasi Visaka festival when on the 5th day all the Deities from the Nava Thiruppati reach Alwar Thirunagari. On the 6th day morning all the Deities would take leave of Alwar and return to their temples. That time the Deities of Rettai Thiruppati would be on two palanquins and would be near Nammalwar to take leave. Each Deity of the various temples would come near the Alwar and after the hymns of that Kshetram are sung by the Arayar, that Deity would leave for His temple and Alwar would turn his attention on the next Deity in line. But in the case of Rettai Thiruppati there is a difference. After the hymns are sung and the Lords take leave, Alwar would wait till they disappear from his sight and then only he would attend to the next Deity on line. This is because his deeds, words and thoughts are always in Him only.

kuzhaiyum vaaLmugaththEzhaiyaith* tholai  villi mangalam kondupukku,*
izhaikoL sOthich chenNthaamaraik kaNpiraan* irundhamaikaattineer,*
mazhai peythaalokkum kaNNa neerinodu*  anRu thottummaiyaandhu,* ivaL
nuzhaiyum sindhaiyaL annaimeer!* thozhum  aththisaiyuRRu nOkkiyE. 
[She has got soft, tender, smooth beautiful face. She had so much love
for the Lord and you all showed this Divya dEsam; she is now trapped in
His beauty of this Divya Desam sthalam. Oh Mother! Hence, you have already
lost her. She is always on thoughts about Him only. She has lost herself
in His beauty. He shines so brightly and beautifully much above the
quantum of lustre of His ornaments (due to His own shining Body). >From
the day she saw His such Great shining Beauty, her tears are flowing down
the cheeks like rains. She keeps looking at that direction where
Devapiraan is there and is paying obeisance to Him, with her mind lost in
Him and His guNAs completely.]
In this pasuram the last words are ‘atthisai utru nokkum’ meaning she [Alwar] would attentively look in the direction [of the Lord].  This illustrates the intimacy Alwar had for these Deities of Rettai Thiruppati. In his Nayika Bhavam, when the Alwar was a small girl, the parents wanted to prepare her horoscope and the Astrologer told that if the parents wanted the girl [Alwar] to be with them, then they should never expose her to the Lord of Tholaivillimangalam. She would become His. But the parents made her to worship the Lord and from that time onwards she is thinking of Him only [anNnaaL thotangi innaaL dhoRum,* irundhirundhu 'aravindha lOsana!'*  enREnRE nNaindhirangumE.        6.5.8]
 If we want to control our organs, therefore, we have to submit ourselves to Him. The beauty of the Lord here is charming and no wonder Alwar did not want anything else. More than others, His eyes are captivating. By placing our organs in this Beauty, we can easily control our organs. If we do not do this, then the consequences are frightening and dreadful. This is explained in the 62nd and 63rd slokas:

dhyayato visayan pumsah
sangas tesupajayate
sangat sanjayate kamah
kamat krodho ’bhijayate [62]

"While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises uncontrollably."

krodhad bhavati sammohah
sammohat smriti-vibhramah
smriti-bhramsad buddhi-naso
buddhi-nasat pranasyati [63]

"From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the birth cycle."

Sri Krishna describes the gradual deterioration if one does not concentrate on Him and allow the mind and intellect to wander. If the atman does not direct the intellect on Him, then thinks only of the materialistic pleasures. The mind starts wandering on cheap and inferior matters. Next, this will induce a desire in them. It will slowly sprout. The desire sprouts in all the organs. This tiny spark of desire then grows into a flame, that is Kama or lust. This develops into a craving to appease that passion. When the sought desire is not fulfilled, krodha-anger and hatred, engulfs the mind. This will be on the desired objects and on those who are considered as impediments. Sri Krishna says that the krodha is not simply developing but becomes indiscriminate and uncontrollable anger. This anger is not restricted only on those preventing the desire to be achieved, but on all those related to them, their friends and supporters. This is not exaggerating, nor could happen only to ordinary persons. Sri Rama also was enslavened by this feeling, Valmiki says. When Sri Rama came to know that Sri Sita was abducted by Ravana His anger knew no bounds. He declares that before dawn, if Sri Sita were not returned back, He would destroy Ravana, his relatives and others. Sri Rama was passionately in love with Sri Sita, and so this passion was converted to anger when She was missing. This grew in such a magnitude that He declared He would destroy Ravana and his relatives. In fact, not only those, Sri Rama says, He would destroy all gods, humans, etc. Because anger is very difficult to control. It is said that a person caught in anger, will not even hesitate to murder his teacher. Once anger steps in, the person would lose his balance and sense of discrimination as what should be done and what should not be done. That is he would lose his rational behaviour and would be senseless. This leads to memory loss. That is we forget the purpose of trying to controlling the organs. This means loss of intellect or buddhi nasam. That is the buddhi to have atman darshan is lost. This results in disappearance of atman swaroopam or the basic knowledge about atman. So, the person indulges in Kama and krodha and is destined for rebirths. To summarize:

Not concentrating on God à wandering of mind and pursuing inferior pleasuresà desire sproutsà Greed and passion à Kamaà turns to anger at impedimentsà loss of rational thinkingà forgetting the purpose to control organsà loss of buddhi to have atman darshanà Inability to come out of birth cycle.

So we should like Alwar did, devote all our mind and activities at the service of Sri Aravindalochanan and succeed in disciplining our organs.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


In the sloka Srinagaryam mahapuryam thambraparni uthare thate sri thinthruni moula dhamne satakopaya mangalam, it is said that we prostrate to Satakopa under the tamarind [thinthruni] tree in Thirunagari [alwar thirunagari] Kshetram situated on the northern banks of river Thamraparani. This recording is being done in the month of Vaikasi [May-June] when the Visakam [Nammalwar’s birth star] festival is taking place. It is a ten-day festival. Today is the eighth day of the festival. Today Nammalwar is taken on procession from here to Appankoil nearby. Alwar was born in Appankoil but from there he crawled and came to this place and stayed below the tamarind tree. We see here a large mandapam called Alwar mangalasasana mandapam. During the festival on the fifth day, the Lords of all the [nearby] temples would assemble here. There are nine Kshetrams including Alwar Thirunagari, known as Nava Thirupati. The Lords of all these temples gather here. Each Lord arrives here on the fifth day morning and is welcomed by Alwar. Whole day they will be present in Alwar’s sannidhi. During that time All will have Thirumanjanam or holy bath. At about 11p.m. each Lord mounted on Garuda will grace the devotees. The doors of Alwar's sannidhi would then be opened and one by one all the Lords of all the temples would emerge out. Then Alwar would be seated on Hamsa [swan] vahanam [vehicle] and taken on procession. Madurakavi Alwar, disciple of Nammalwar and born in the nearby Thirukkolur, would grace the devotees seated on an ivory chair. All the eleven –nine Lords on Garuda, Alwar on Hamsa and Madurakavi- would be on procession whole night. Then all will return to this mandapam. Then on the sixth day morning, all Lords of all temples would be seated in palanquins and would take leave of Alwar to return to the respective temples. That time Arayar [temple hereditary persons authorized to sing and dance before the Lord] would recite those hymns sung by Alwar on each of the nine Lords of Nava Thirupati and dance. Then all the Lords would reach their respective temples. After bidding farewell to all the Lords, Nammalwar would return to his sannidhi. So the 5th and 6th days’ festival in this time is a feast to the eyes. Thus God comes to the devotee’s place to grace and bless. We have pictured the streets of this place. What is the use of taking picture of mere roads? One may ask. But the superiority of this place is such that everything here is sacred. On the other side banks of the river there lived a yogi or sage. By his side always one dog used to remain. Sage would be on meditation. The dog in the midday would swim across the river and reach this place. It would eat the remnants of food thrown by residents of this place and swimming back would return to the sage. This was happening daily. One day the dog after eating here started returning to the sage. But due to floods in the river the dog was carried away by the floods and died. The soul or atman of the dog sprang up as a brilliant light. The sage saw this and was surprised that the dog’s soul could rise to Moksham just by consuming the leftovers of the residents of this place. So it is not a disgrace to be born as a dog if that could be in Alwar Thirunagari and eat the leftovers of devotees here. So these streets are also important. Alwar also propagated the same message of Gita. We are to see the 61st sloka of 2nd Chapter. In 59th sloka it was told that by visualizing atman the organs are controlled. In the 60th sloka however, it was told that control of organs would enable atman darshan. Arjuna was confused and he did not know which one to precede which? He requested Sri Krishna to solve this riddle. Sri Krishna replies that unless organs are controlled the atman cannot be perceived; there is no doubt on this. But He would suggest an easier way to control the organs. Then he could perceive atman. We also desire to see and hear good things only. But the organs are not disciplined. This is because of the ever-remaining rajo and tamo qualities in our mind. Our mind has the mixture of satva, rajo and tamo qualities. When satva quality is prominent our organs are well disciplined. When the rajo and tamo qualities are exalted, our organs also seek cheap pleasures. So it is important to cultivate our habits to reduce rajo and tamo qualities. This is explained in 61st sloka:

tani sarvani samyamya
yukta asita mat-parah
vase hi yasyendriyani
tasya prajna pratisthita

" For one who restrains his senses, keeping them under a little control, and fixes his consciousness upon Me, his intellect gets firmly established."

Tasya-that atma gyani’s, prajna- intellect, pratisthita- gets firmly founded or established. Tani sarvani- all the organs, samyamya- at least somewhat controlled, mat parah- direct them on Me and yukta asita- remain resolved. So instead of allowing the organs to wander as they like, direct them with a small effort, on Sri Krishna. Vedas say that all the best tastes are all inherited in Him, all the fragrance of the world are all lodged in Him, and He is the repository of all the auspicious things in this world. The things we see or hear continuously affect us. If a song is played frequently, we automatically start humming it. If that song is good then we inherit that goodness; but if it is a bad song then we go in that way. Since mind follows what is frequently seen or heard, we should try to see or hear superior sources. Superior entities will influence superior results in us. On the contrary if we go after inferior matters, the influence on us also will be inferior. Why do we go to temples and sacred Kshetrams? These are all embodiment of satva qualities. The Lord’s image is supposed to be suddha satva mayam. Our bodies are a mixture of the five elements. But the Lord’s image is aprakrutham or eternal. It consists of only satva quality. By constantly worshiping His image, our organs do not wander and get disciplined. Even though we can worship God in our own houses, in temples we get the ambience of sanctity and our minds will have more of satva quality and the rajo and tamo qualities fade away. This is what Sri Krishna is telling. By directing the organs on Him we pacify the mind and His supreme qualities affect and influence our mind. So he whose organs have come under the influence of God, his intellect gets properly founded. That is why nama snkeertan – singing His names- or listening to His stories or talking in praise of Him or going to temples and involving in sacred activities there, are all efforts to place our organs in His service. This will with His blessings, enable us to control the organs. Disciplining organs will pave the way for atman darshan. We can also follow this simple and easier method.

Monday, June 25, 2007


We are in front of the gate of Navarathri mandapam. During Navarathri festival the Lord graces the devotees along with the Alwar. Navarathri festival is for the Thayar. Alwar has imagined himself as a girl [lover] and sent emissaries to the Lord. The Thiruvaimozhi has 100 decade of 10 songs each [each is called a Thiruvaimozhi]. Of the 100 Thiruvaimozhi, 27 are sung imagining himself as a woman. In some he imagines himself to be the lover and in some other he thinks of him as the beloved’s mother and in some others he sings as the beloved’s girl friend. In the Margazhi adyanothsavam the Alwar is decorated as a lady and graces the devotees. His longing to get married to the Lord is one of the states of a true devotee. That is Bhakthi yoga and one has to master Gyana yoga to reach this stage. In the 59th sloka we saw that if atman darshan is available then all the organs and mind get controlled and there will not be a trace of desire for inferior pleasures. Nirahara, that is starving will prevent the organs from seeking such cheap pleasures but mind will still remain uncontrolled. If we can see the param or atman, then even this mind also gets controlled. So Arjuna queries as to what should be done to see atman or have atman darshan. Here we should understand that atman couldn’t be seen with our eyes as we see materialistic objects. Here it means feeling the atman. Its magnificence can be felt.

yatato hy api kaunteya
purushasya vipascitah
indriyani pramathini
haranti prasabham manah

"The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them."

If organs could be controlled atman darshan will be achieved. As told in the last lecture this is a peculiar situation. This is called anyonya asraya dosham or inter dependent fallacy. It is like asking location of A and in reply it is told it is by the side of B. where is B located and reply is it is by the side of A. this will create confusion. Here also it appears like that. In the previous sloka Sri Krishna told that if atman darshan is acquired, the organs get controlled. But here He says that controlling organs could enable one to achieve atman darshan.

Vipaschita means one who can differentiate and understand or rational thinking. He is said to have viveka gyana. One who distinguishes that the body is perishable and atman is eternal. He tries to control organs and concentrates his mind on the atman. Purusha here indicates atman. Yati is effort and api means even. So, even a person who tries to take efforts in Gyana yoga, is the meaning of first part. For him also the organs and mind will not get controlled. He says the organs have lot of strength. That is the strength of seeking pleasure or desire. This desire is in the mind and the organs exhibit this as strength. The organs compel mind and drag it in their way. This desire becomes ammunition for organs and so they are able to forcibly take in their direction. Like a hurricane uprooting large trees the desire in the organs uproot the mind. In Thiruvaimozhi [7.1.1] Alwar says that he has five tenants in his house. But they are all enemies. That is in his body [house] the five organs are occupying as tenants and are forcing him in their way. In emma veetu thiran poem, he complains to God that He is partial and rescues an elephant Gajendra but not the Alwar. God told that it was an animal and was suffering for the past 1000 years seizeed by a crocodile, so He had to rescue. Alwar replies that then it is all the more he deserves immediate rescue. Compared to the big elephant he is a weaker being. The elephant was suffering only for 1000 years while the Alwar has been suffering for thousands of births. One crocodile grabbed the elephant while five crocodiles in the form of organs have seized the Alwar. So organs are a great menace to all including the Nithyasuris who are doing intimate service to the Lord at Vaikuntam. We see persons doing very noble service to the Lord in temples. But they are not free from the power of organs. We are daily witnessing the fights for position and greed for money in such persons involved in sacred assignments also. This is the domination of organs in persons. The organs function very well in youth time. But that time only the mind is uncontrollable. When the person becomes old his mind is some what controlled but now the organs do not function properly. Organs are so strong that they dictate even learned persons. So to control the organs it is necessary to have atman darshan. Sri Krishna says controlling the organs is difficult even for viveka gyana persons. We should see the subtle difference Sri Krishna is making. He did not say control the organs to get atman darshan. But He says even for rational thinking people, controlling organs is difficult. It gives an impression that there is a negative thinking by Sri Krishna that controlling organs is not possible and so atman darshan is never possible. But actually, He drives home the great effort required to bring the organs in control. Also when we see the next 61st sloka then the real import of this sloka will be clear. It is said that once Nithyasuri Garuda was chasing a snake for food. The snake sought asylum in the Lord and so He prevented Garuda from capturing the snake. Garuda got angry and picked up quarrel with the Lord. So the anger arising out of mere hunger is not controlled even for such persons. But there is a way to control and Sri Krishna tells that in the next sloka.

Friday, June 22, 2007


It is said that the Alwar appeared in this world to present Vedas in Tamil. That is why he is called Vedam Thamizh seida Maran. He is called Azhwar because he was immersed [Tamil azhndu] in devotion to God. Sri Namperumal affectionately called him Nam [Our] Alwar. His poems are all soaked [in devotion] unlike the Sanskrit words in Vedas, which are dry. Vedas describe the greatness of God and it gives us the feeling that God is too great for us to reach. But in Alwar’s works, God is described as great; at the same time He is simple and kind available for the devotees with pure mind. God is great and simple at the same time. In the ten avatars or incarnations the Boar or Varaha avatar is considered to be easily approachable. We are in between the sannidhis of Sri Varaha Murthy, also known as Sri Gyanapiran and Garuda. In his Thiruvirutham, Nammalwar praises Sri Varaha Perumal as Gyanapiran. He says all good things in life can be at the feet of Sri Gyanapiran. We have seen all the four stages of Gyana yogi: Yatamana samgya, Vyatireka samgya, Yekendriya samgya and Vaseekara samgya. In the 59th sloka He tells how we can get rid of all desires and attachments.

visaya vinivartante
niraharasya dehinah
rasa-varjam raso ’py asya
param drishtva nivartate

"The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, starving such engagements and by experiencing atman, he is fixed in consciousness."

If one wants to get rid of even the small traces of desires, Sri Krishna tells a method. Slokas 59,60 and 61 make one part. If we are able to visualize atman then all organs get disciplined, Sri Krishna says in 59th sloka. By comprehending atman in its true form, all other organs are controlled. It is interesting to note what He says in the next 60th sloka. Arjuna asks what he should do to ‘see’ atman. Sri Krishna replies that if Arjuna could control all organs, atman can be visualized. This normally will puzzle and confuse. One depending on other can never give a solution. But Sri Krishna removes the confusion in the 61st sloka. So we will have to see all these three slokas as one. Dehi is atman. Niraharam means without food or starving. What is food for atman? When atman is in a body, enjoyment by various organs is all food for atman. Taste is food for tongue but pleases atman. Music is food for ears but pleases atman. So if we have to starve atman, it means we have to prevent various organs in their desires. Rasam here means trace of desire. We can prevent various organs their food like listening for ears, scent for nose, etc. But the small trace of such desire lingers on. How to get rid of this trace? By concentrating on the eternal and quintessence of happiness –atman, and a glimpse of it will drive away this small trace also. After getting atman darshan, the small trace of desires lingering in the mind also is got rid off. When atman is in a body, if all desirable objects like tasty food, good music, etc, are removed it starves the organs and we do not indulge in such pleasures. But in the mind traces of these desires will be sticking. Many people have developed a custom of not eating or drinking certain type of food or drinks, but when such persons are in a company of friends who eat or drink such articles, there could be compulsions or curiosity to taste. By yielding to such temptation we may spoil our health. So it is better to avoid such events altogether and resist temptations. But even then mind will not get controlled. This can be suppressed only if we are able to have atman darshanam.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Nammalwar is called Satakopan and he wears a garland made of Vakula flowers. This place is Thirukkurugur or Alwar Thirunagari. It is also known as Dhantha Kshetram. There was a person living in Salagramam in North. He was not bright in learning and so people used to tease him as mandhan, meaning dim knowledge. In his next birth he was born as Dhanthan. A sage advised him to go to this place and worship Sri Adinatha Perumal and he would be blessed with vast knowledge. He lived in a place Appan koil on the North of this place. Again the same sage met him and advised him to stay in Thirukkurugur and worship Sri Adipiran. He came here; but he was teased here also. Those people suffered a lot and later they all realized the greatness on Dhanthan and this place also got a name Dhantha Kshetram. Alwar had a name Satakopan. Every child when in the womb of its mother possesses total knowledge or gyana. But as the delivery takes place, a gas satam surrounds the child and conceals the knowledge. This is mentioned by Sukhacharya in Srimad Bhagavatham and by Parasara in Sri Vishnu Puranam. But when Nammalwar was born, he was able to throw out that satam gas with kopam or anger and so he was called Satakopan and he possessed the full knowledge. Therefore by worshipping Nammalwar and reciting his poems, we can also get knowledge about Paramatman. We will now see the fourth and most important state of Gyana yogi – vaseekara samgya. The first step Yatamana samgya in 58th sloka was our efforts to withdraw from objects creating inferior desires. The second step Vyatireka samgya in 57th sloka explained diversion of our organs from those objects and remain detached. The third step was Yekendriya samgya in 56th sloka where we were told to train our mind also detached from pleasures and sorrow. Now we will see the fourth step of Vaseekara samgya in the 55th sloka. Here we will be told that we have to get rid of all traces of all attachments and hatred, and ensure a sparkling pure mind.

prajahati yada kaman
sarvan partha mano-gatan
atmany evatmana tustah
sthita-prajnas tadocyate

" O Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of desire for sense gratification, which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind, thus purified, finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness."

He is praised as sthitaprajna then. When? When all desires in mind are expelled and atman is made the objective of the mind and remains happy. That is when mind is no longer becomes happy or otherwise with ordinary pleasures and sorrow but becomes happy with atman only. This is a very difficult stage to attain. Normally the mind is happy with pleasures enjoyed through the organs. We listen to a good music or we see a beautiful figure and become happy. But atman is formless and does not make sound nor can be tasted nor smelt. Then how can one get happiness? We all know that all images or sounds or tastes or scent will fade away one day. But atman is eternal. It is a quintessence of gyana and ananda or happiness. So this has to be inculcated in our mind. Normally we take vegetables for nourishment; but when we are sick, same nourishment is given to the body by drips. So it is possible to experience all our happiness felt in life, by engaging the mind on atman. This happiness will be everlasting unlike the worldly pleasures. This can be understood from the story of Prahlada. He was tortured in many ways: by making serpents to bite, by making elephants to tramp over him, by throwing him tied to a stone in mid ocean, by surrounding him with fire, etc. All these were never even felt by Prahada. Because he had engaged his mind fully in Sri Krishna. By this he was detached from the worldly miseries and pleasures. This is Vaseekara samgya. All including the mind is under control. There will be no trace of any worldly miseries and pleasures. To achieve this level the gyana yogi had to understand atman is superior, practice Karma yoga and remove all blemish in the mind and start Gyana yoga and reach the ultimate stage in Gyana yoga. We can see Alwar also as an example. In the mannai irundu thuzhavi Thiruvaimozhi ten pasurams, he shows that happiness and sorrow are mixed in this world. We have to withdraw our mind from all these and understand atman, then understand the inner atman of our atman as Paramatman. Our mind should be trained to concentrate only on Him. He squeezes the mud below and says this mud belongs to Sri Vamana [an incarnation of Sri Narayana]. Though there was considerable time span between the Sri Vamana incarnation and Alwar’s time, he sees God in all. While ordinary person will think of how to purchase the land where this mud was scooped out or what plant could be cultivated to earn money, Alwar thinks entirely different. When he sees burning fire he runs to embrace it as he sees the glowing figure of God. Because of this mentality the fire does not burn him. So we have to inculcate this habit in our mind. We see in karate and kungfu sports, persons are trained to break bricks with hands without being hurt or dipping the hands in fire without getting burnt. This is by practicing mind and organs to concentrate. Such practice can make us do anything. When mind is trained to see atman, he is admired as sthitaprajna. His intellect is set up firmly when nothing can disturb his mind. He can remain isolated without being affected by worldly affairs. This does not mean he will remain in solitude and be of no use to the society. He can do all the good works for the society without being influenced by others. By training mind to engage in atman we can perform all our duties efficiently. This will be perfected if the mind is further trained to engage in God, Who is the atman of all atman.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Nammalwar has sung hymns on this Kshetram. Principal Deity is Sri Adipiran or Sri Adinathan. Uthsava Murthy is Sri Polindu Ninra Piran. We are today in front of Nachiyar sannidhi. There are two main consorts Sri Adinayaki or Sri AdiNachiyar and Sri Kurugai Nachiyar. When we worship the Lord, we can at the same time get the blessings of Sri Polindu Ninra Piran, Sri Sridevi, Sri Bhoodevi, Sri Neeladevi, Sri Adi Nachiyar and Sri Kurugai Nachiyar. This place got the name Thirukkurugai and it is an interesting story. Sri Narayana told Brahma to do penance on the banks of river Kurunai [Thambrabarani] and pointed to this place. The Lord appeared before him after many years of meditation and told him ‘ mama archanam kuru’ [‘do pooja on Me’]. So this place got the name from the word kuru and was called Thiru Kurugai. Also a chieftain Kurugan was administering this place and so this got this name. After Alwar’s birth, this place got the present name Alwar Thirunagari. Alwar says when Sri Adipiran is there why divert your attention on others? He advises us to cling to Sri Adipiran’s feet with steadfastness. In the Nalayira Divya Prabhandam, mostly hymns are composed in praise of the Main Deity or Moolavar. But there are exceptions and in this Kshetram, the Alwar has explicitly praised both the Moolavar and Uthsavar [4.10]. In Srimad Bhagavatham epic, Sukhacharya has indicated the appearance of great Sri Vishnu Bhakthas on the banks of rivers Thambrbarani, Kaveri and Palar at the beginning of Kali yug. In such a great Kshetram we will see the next samgya. We are seeing the various stages of Gyana yogi. The first step was the efforts. That Yatamana samgya was described like a tortoise withdrawing its feet and head into the shell from enemy attack, here the person withdraws the organs from contact with inferior desires. Next was Vyatireka samgya. Here the person assumes an impartial role of not joyful when desirable things occur nor brooding when sad things occur and observe detached mindset. Why does Sri Krishna ask Arjuna to be neutral and neither feel happy nor sorrow? It is seen practically that by having a neutral mind the work is done more efficiently. By being emotionally attached to a work, it gets ruined. A surgeon takes an impartial view of the patient. In such situations emotion could spoil the work. We now go to 56th sloka:

duhkhesv anudvigna-manah
sukhesu vigata-sprhah
sthita-dhir munir ucyate

"One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness, and who is free from expectation, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind."

Dhi is buddhi or intellect. Sthita dhi is well established knowledge. Person with such knowledge is praised by Sri Krishna as muni [munir ucyate]. Person capable of controlling mind and directing it at the atman is called muni. Just by sitting in forest in a particular posture does not make one a muni. Controlling and directing mind as one wants is muni. All other organs can even be controlled but it is too difficult to control mind. That is why this is called Yekendriya samgya. Yekendriya means the single organ i.e. mind as the leader of all organs. How to control mind? Sri Krishna tells the way. We should be having unperturbed mind at the cause of sorrow. Similarly we should have unexcited mind at the cause of joy. In addition we should have avoided raga, bhaya and krodha. Swami Ramanuja in his Gita Bhashyam has explained these very well. Raga is the expectation feeling one has about a joyous thing to happen in the future. If a father is elated at the prospect of his son going to score very high marks in the results that are going to be published next day, it is raga. That is our interest in a joy that is going to happen. Sri Krishna says that one should abandon this raga that is the feeling of an expectation. Not merely happiness or the cause for such happiness but even the anticipation or prospect of that event have to be avoided. Next, bhaya -fear. It is the feeling one gets when there is a prospect of a happy thing not happening or an unhappy thing is happening. When we feel happy of a joyous event in future we get raga. But if that event is not likely to happen? Then the mind gets perturbed and that is bhaya. Bhaya is not the undesirable thing coming to us or the desirable one leaving us. Today what we feel about the prospect of an unwelcome guest tomorrow is bhaya. This bhaya will transform into sorrow when actually the unwanted guest knocks at our door and we see him. So bhaya becomes the cause for sorrow and Sri Krishna advises that bhaya also should be avoided. In the next day results whether his son is going to score low marks, is fear today for the father. When the results confirm that low marks the bhaya becomes sorrow. But on the contrary if the results reveal very high marks, bhaya is converted to happiness. Krodha is anger. If one has raga and is expecting a happy event in future, and if some persons or things obstruct that event from happening then the feeling of krodha or anger is on those obstructing. So, raga transforms to happiness. Feeling of anger on the persons obstructing one from attaining that happiness, is krodha. So Arjuna is advised to abandon these three raga, bhaya and krodha and a person who achieves this is muni. To achieve this, mind has to be controlled. What if raga or bhaya is there? Let us see the example of student. When were his marks decided? Was it when he wrote the exam? Or, when the evaluator saw his answer papers? Or, when the results were published? But actually his result was decided when he put in his efforts preparing for the exams. His efforts only will reflect in the exam. What he writes only will be evaluated. And, what the evaluation is there will be published. But our expectation is on the publishing only. So a person who understands this and avoids these three qualities is praised as muni.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Yesterday [18th June, 2007] due to power failure in the cable operator’s premises there was no transmission of programs and so I could not listen to the lecture. From today’s lecture I guess yesterday the 58th sloka was explained. For the sake of continuity I give below 58th sloka as found in a website:

yada samharate cayam
kurmo ’nganiva sarvasah
tasya prajna pratisthita

"One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws its limbs within the shell, is firmly fixed in perfect”

Just as Sri Krishna churned the Milky Ocean using the Manthara Mountain and got the Amrutha [nectar] and distributed it, Nammalwar also churned the ocean of Vedas using his tongue and got the 1102 hymns of Thiruvaimozhi and gave the same to us. Nalayira Divya Prabhandam consists of poems composed by various Alwars and Nammalwar is the head of these Alwars. We are in the Rapatthu mandapam [ten nights hall] and it is here during Adyanotsavam, the Lord listens to Thiruvaimozhi when Alwar joins the feet of the Lord. Let us see the relationship between this Mandapam and Nalayira Divya Prabhandam. Among the Alwars the first Alwar [chronologically] is Poigai Alwar and the last one is Thirumangai Alwar. They appeared in this world in a sequence and composed Arulicheyal [songs in praise of the Lord]. Then all of them returned to Vaikuntam. These poems were all composed thousands of years back and over the time they all got faded from memory and were lost. Later, in the 9th century in Kattu Mannar Koil, near Chidambaram, with the blessings of Sri Veera Narayana Perumal, Acharya Nathamuni was born. His original name was Ranganatha and he was a great devotee of Sriman Narayana. One day some Sri Vaishnavas came to his place. They sang eleven songs and were heard by Nathamuni. They were part of Thiruvaimozhi of Nammalwar. In Thirukudanthai [Kumbakonam] the Lord is Sri Aravamudan and He is appearing in a reclining position. The songs sang by the guests were all in praise of this Deity of Thirukkudanthai. The first poem starts with the words Aravamude ninpal….Nathamuni was very much attracted by the contents of these songs. In the eleventh concluding song of that decade [ten songs] it was mentioned that these songs were composed by Kurugur Satagopan and were part of the Thousand songs made by him. After hearing these words, Natahmuni enquired them that they sang only ten out of the thousand songs and what about the remaining 990 songs? They replied that they were aware of those eleven songs only and nothing more. Nathamuni decided to probe into this and so he went to Kurugur [Alwar Thirunagari]. There also none was aware of Thiruvaimozhi. There was a descendant of Madurakavi Alwar by name Parankusa Nambi. Though he also was not aware of Thiruvaimozhi songs, he gave a clue. Madurakavi Alwar, the disciple of Nammalwar had composed eleven songs in praise of Nammalwar and they were titled Kanninun Chirutthambu. They knew those eleven songs and they suggested that by chanting these songs under the Tamarind tree in the temple and by meditating on Nammalwar, Nathamuni could get an answer to his pursuit. Immediately Nathamuni after bathing in the river Tamrabarani, chanted 12000 times Kanninun Chiruthambu under the Tamarind tree. Alwar appeared before Nathamuni and as per his request taught him not only Thiruvaimozhi but also the entire Nalayira Divya Prabhandam. This why Nammalwar is praised as the leader among Alwars. Nathamuni after acquiring this great treasure taught his two nephews and made them to sing metrically. The Nalayira Divya Prabhandam poems are categorized as Iyarpa [prose order] and Isaipa [musical order]. In all temples along with, why even on a higher pedestal, all these hymns are sung even now. This place is called Azhwar Thirunagari and the Lord is Sri AdhiNathan Perumal and the Utsavar is Sri Polindu Ninra Piran. Sri Polindu Ninrapiran and Nammalwar will be present simultaneously in his mandapam during Adhyana uthsavam in the Tamil month Margazhi [Dec-Jan]. On the last day of this event, tenth day festival will be there when the Arayars [temple traditional singers] will sing and dance the last ten songs of Thiruvaimozhi [Muniye nanmugane mukkannappa..]. At that time Alwar icon’s head will be touching the Lord’s feet. This signifies the Moksham of Alwar. Thus Nammalwar lived ever meditating on Him with full detachment in this world. He had thus mastered Karma yogam, Gyana yogam and Bhakthi yogam. We will now climb the next step. Yesterday we saw the first step – yatamana samgya. Today we will see Vyatireka samgya. This is to divert our sensual organs from such objects. The first step was to avoid or prevent our organs in touch with sensual objects. In this step we will divert our organs from inferior objects to superior ones. This is explained in the 57th sloka:

yah sarvatranabhisnehas
tat tat prapya subhasubham
nabhinandati na dvesti
tasya prajna pratisthita

"In the material world, one who is unaffected by whatever good or evil he may obtain, neither praising it nor despising it, is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge."

These words tasya pranja pratishthita will be repeated in many places. Pranjya is knowledge and pratishthita is established. This Gyana yogi’s knowledge is established. He is also a Gyana yogi. Sneha meas desire. Abhisneha is excessive desire and anabhisneha is without excess desire. Such a person who is void of excess desire on all desirable objects, is neither happy for desirable objects nor unhappy on undesirable objects, he comes across. He does not get dejected nor curse for having got undesirable things. Similarly he is not happy if he gets desirable things. How is this possible? If there is a desirable thing in this world one should feel happy if one got it. After all we are made of senses and not inanimate or inert beings. If a child gets 98% his father should feel elated is natural. Similarly if the student scores 35% only, dejection is inevitable. Then why Sri Krishna is telling that both these expressions are to be avoided? In this world joy and sorrow are mixed. None can expect to have always victory. But we speak that in sports and games victory and defeat are common. On similar lines Sri Krishna tells us to know that joy and sorrow are common in life and we should be able to meet those equitably. One need not jump and hit the ceiling when happiness is there and at the same time need not get dejected and curse when sorrow things are encountered. Whereas a mature person has a different object as desirable and he is not worried about the common desirable things in life. For him God is desirable; soul is desirable. Alwar imagines himself as a child and in front of him there are toys, ball and a parrot to play with. But he is devoted to Him. He names each of the playthings as Madhave, Kesava and Sridhara. Alwar is not interested in these toys are playful objects. At the same time like any ordinary child will get pleasure in play, Alwar gets in calling all these articles by their names he had christened, like Madhava, Kesava and Sridhara. While the sports articles may break or deform, but the names with which Alwar calls them will remain everlasting and so will give always happiness. Therefore, by diverting our thoughts on Him and get happiness in those thoughts, the worldly desirable and undesirable objects can never have any impact on us. Thus we divert our organs on God. These two steps thus train us to control our organs, which is an important step to control mind. This will be explained later.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Undo vaikasathukkoppurunal

Undo satagoparkkoppuruvar

Undo thiruvaimozhikkoppu

Thenkurugaikkundo parthanil oppu

This is in Upadesa Rathnamalai by Swami Manavala Mamunigal. Nammalwar is praised as the leader among Alwars. We are now in his birthplace of Alwar Thirunagari, also known as Thirukkurugur. We are now in an important sequence in Gita. After telling that atman is eternal and continuous practice of Karma yoga will purify our mind, Gyana yoga can be practiced in the crystal clear mind. Arjuna became eager and wanted to know the traits of a Gyana yogi. How would he speak? How would he think? What are his actions? This was in 54th sloka. Sthitaprgna means Gyana yogi. Pragna means our intellect. Sthita is steady. When our intellect or buddhi is steady and firm, it is the first step in Gyana yoga. Sri Krishna in reply to Arjuna’s query, lauds sthitapragna from 55th sloka. That is Sri Krishna praises the Gyana yogi who has acquired atma gyana. Swami Nammalwar is head among such gyanis. He is named prapanna jana kootasthar. Lord Sri Ranganatha affectionately called him Nam [Our] Alwar, even though there were ten Alwars. Around this place are the Nava Thiruppathi Kshetrams. From today we are going to experience Gita in these Nava Thiruppathi. It is our great good fortune and God’s blessings that we are here. Alwar was born in the Tamil month of Vaikasi [Feb-March], in the star constellation of Visakam. There cannot be any devotee equal to Satagopan i.e. Nammalwar. He composed four prabhandams or compilations: Thiruvirutham, Thiruvasiriyam, Periya Thiruvandadhi and Thiruvaimozhi. Thiruvaimozhi is equal to the most important among Upanishads – Chandokya Upanishad. It consists of 1102 hymns. Nammalwar gave us Vedas in Tamil. So, can there be any other equal to Thiruvaimozhi? Similarly, in this entire world there cannot be a place equal to Thenkurugur. This is the substance of the poem stated in the beginning. Why this Alwar appeared in this world? We are now sitting beneath the Thiruppuli Alwar. This is a tamarind tree, which is more than 5100 years old. In the alcove [pondhu in Tamil] the Alwar remained seated. It is now 5108 years completed after the start of Kali yug. At the start of Kali yug, in Vaikuntam the Lord Sriman Narayana was surrounded by His Consorts, His commander Vishvaksena [Senai mudaliyar in Tamil], His vehicle Garuda and Adisesha, the serpent. He said that He had decided to make available Vedas in Tamil. For that He ordered Vishvaksena to be born as Satagpan. Before that Adisesha was to be born as the tamarind tree in Thirukkurugur. He further ordered Garuda to be born as Madurakavi Alwar in the nearby place Thirukkolur. He should be Nammalwar’s disciple and spread Alwar’s works all over the world. Immediately Adisesha appeared as tamarind tree here and was waiting for Nammalwar to appear. God appeared in this world in all the four –Kritha, Thretha, Dwapara and Kali- yugs. He was born as Dattatreya in Kritha yug. Then as Sri Rama in Thretha yug. In Dwapara yug He was born as Sri Krishna. In the present Kali yug He was born as Nammalwar. So this Alwar can be considered as incarnation of Vishvaksena or Sri Narayana. Whenever God appears, Adisesha, the serpent, also appears. As Lakshmana when Sri Rama was born and as Bala Rama when He was born as Sri Krishna. In this yug, Adisesha appeared as tamarind tree. So this Tamarind tree was Alwar’s abode. Many Lords of various Divya Desams [Sacred places] appeared as leaves in this tamarind tree and desired that the Alwar sang hymns in praise of them. There are about 36 such Kshetrams around this place and Nammalwar has sung in praise of 38 Lords of various Divya Desams. When Arjuna wanted to know how a Gyana yogi would be Sri Krishna could have pointed towards Nammalwar as an example. But Nammalwar had not appeared in this world at that time when Sri Krishna was in this world. Therefore, Sri Krishna had to explain Gyana yogi in four slokas. This Gyana yoga is in four types or samgya. These are Yatamana samgya, Vyatireka samgya, Yetendria samgya and Vaseekara samgya. What we require is vairagyam or dispassion or steadfastness. We have to get detached from the worldly affairs. This only will qualify us to Gyana yoga. So we have to slowly climb step by step. The highest or the last step is explained in the 55th sloka. The third step is in 56th sloka and the second step is in 57th sloka. The initial step is 58th sloka. So we have to first see 58th sloka, as that is the first step. So there will be a reversal in the sloka order and after coming to 55th sloka we will go to 59th sloka. Let us see what these samgyas are. Normally our desires are varied. Let us assume one has the drinking habit. This is an undesirable habit and has to be discarded. Initially when he sees drinks he should turn away and control his passion. This is the first step or Yatamana samgya, where we avoid any contact with such bad things. This will not make us abandon our passion in such things. Second step will be to remove such desires or vyatireka samgya. The third step Yetendriya samgya, where we control our mind. Even after controlling all the organs, mind will be difficult to control. It is like oil in a cup. If we throw out the oil, there will still be the greasy layer sticking to the cup surface. The last step is Vaseekara samgya. It is like rubbing the cup with powder to remove the greasy layer. So the steps are 1.Trying to control our sensual organs from objects.2. Removing the desire from the organs.3. Removing the small traces in the mind.4. Total removal of such desires without any trace. No need to get panicky about these and how to practice them. Nammalwar’s father was Kari and mother was Udaya Nangai. Her native place was Thiruvanparisaram [near Nagarkoil]. In Thirkkurungudi, nearby Kshetram, the Lord is known as Sri Vadivazhagiya Nambi. Alwar’s parents worshipped Sri Nambi and prayed for a child. They desired a child like Sri Nambi. Since there was none like Him, He Himself was born as Satagopan to them. Thus Nammalwar is also called Thirukkurugur Nambi. After Alwar this place became popular as Alwar Thirunagari. The moment he was born, the Alwar went to the alcove in the tamarind tree. For sixteen years he remained in a meditation posture without opening his mouth. In the next sixteen years he composed all the four prabhandams. We will see further from this sacred place.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


We are seeing the 53rd sloka. Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that he will get atma sakshatkaram. That is matured understanding of atman. There is no difference in the atman in various bodies. Same Paramatman resides in all atman. When this state is achieved the person is detached and renounces all worldly desires. Such a person is the one who has a ripened Gyana yoga. He gets atma sakshatkaram. When we talk about this we feel weary and wonder whether we can reach that state. But Sri Krishna does not preach something, which we cannot practice. Why then we feel bewildered? Because such things have not been in our daily habits and customs. We have never cultivated a habit to look at our atman or to control our organs. We do not control and choose right food for the body and mind. Because we are not habituated, initially we find some obstacles. But slowly practicing these, they will become our habits. We will then know how sweet life is, if we practice what Sri Krishna told. Atma sakshatkaram is all souls are identical, happiness or sorrow does not affect and realizing Paramatman is residing in every atman. What a pleasure is to attain that enhanced level? Should we not make some efforts to reach that? Both the lecturer and the listeners have to struggle to understand and cross the ocean of knowledge Sri Krishna has imparted. We should firmly grasp His feet and believe that He will show us the way. With this faith in Him if we repeatedly study the 2nd Chapter, surely we can practice what He preached. Like a marathon runner not getting alarmed at the beginning itself of the distance to be covered, we have to strive to the extent possible. Karma yoga is practicing our daily routines like eating, sleeping, nithya anushtanam, cultivating lands, doing business, guarding our home land, etc. We are doing these already but with an attachment. Same actions we should do as devotion to God and to please God. This is a first step and difficult to do. We can list all our activities and review which are all pleasing to God and decide to do only those and discard those which will displease Him. After that, we should slowly remove our attachments to the activities, which are pleasing to God. We should also realize that the activities are not done by us but by Him. We have already seen that we cannot claim any activity as done by us, as five entities are involved- self, Paramatma, body, organs and the prana. So it is always a team work. If we do our routine work with a resolution that we will not do them for ordinary rewards and with total detachment, it is Karma yoga. Continuous practice of Karma yoga, reduces the impact of papa/punya. Because of papa only we suffer so many things in life like sickness, poverty, children’s problems and so many. So we have to get the impact of papa reduced. We are normally interested in rewards but we do not ponder over the ways to achieve. That is why Sri Krishna advises Arjuna to do his assigned duties with detachment and this will, as Karma yoga, yield results. He will get atma sakshatkaram. The lecturer should not lecture for fame or compensation but with a higher objective that Gita will be learnt by many and that would please God. Similarly the listeners should not listen to boast that they know Gita, but as an eye opener for practicing Karma yoga and pleasing God, thereby. This common objective of pleasing God for all of us in all works will make us practice Karma yoga. But if our objectives are all different we will be reborn. Karma yoga will reduce papa/punya and mind will get purified. All these we were doing with very little application of our intellect- that we are not doing these and not aspiring for ordinary rewards. We are yet to do meditation by controlling our organs. We have been doing our regular activities only. By continuous practice our minds get purified and we are then ready for meditation. We will have continuous thoughts on atman and our organs will get controlled. Happiness and sorrow would not affect us and we will see all as equal. This is Gyana yoga. Without interruption we will meditate on the atman. Even a half an hour such meditation will give us great benefits. But knowing the difficulty to practice Gyan yoga, Sri Krishna advises Arjuna in 3rd Chapter that he need not do Gyana yoga but by Karma yoga alone he can get atma sakshatkaram. But now Sri Krishna tells about Gyana yoga to laud its superiority. When He says that we need not practice very difficult Gyana yoga to reach Him, but continue our normal routines as Karma yoga, we have to understand His concern for us. In the 53rd sloka Sri Krishna tells how one is ready to practice Gyana yoga and get atma sakshatkaram. Arjuna is too eager to know more about such a person practicing Gyana yoga. What all he will do, what he will think- such questions rise before Arjuna and so he asks in the 54th sloka:

arjuna uvaca
sthita-prajnasya ka bhasa
samadhi-sthasya keshava
sthita-dhih kim prabhaseta
kim asita vrajeta kim

"Arjuna said: O Krishna, what are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is firm in meditation? Such a steady minded person what does he speak, and what words will describe him? What does he think, and how does he act?"

sthithapragna – he who has resolute or firm conviction. Sri Krishna is going to reply this in the next four slokas.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Sri Krishna, in Gita tells about Moksham in two parts and in two situations. Finally we have to reach the feet of Paramatman. But suddenly we cannot jump to that height. Therefore it is necessary to understand our atman. With this knowledge we should practice Karma yoga uninterruptedly. What is the knowledge about atman? This was detailed from 12th sloka to 37th sloka in 2nd Chapter. Thereafter, He started telling about Karma yoga. In the 38th sloka He explained how a karma yogi would perceive equitably victory/defeat, profit/loss and happiness/sorrow. With this as introduction, from 39th sloka He explained Karma yoga. So we see two steps. First is to realize Paramatman. Before that we have to realize our atman. This is called atma sakshatkaram. That is possessing clear understanding. Nothing more is required to clarify atman- this clarity should be possessed. This will be like seeing atman and so is called atma sakshatkaram. To reach this state what is needed? Three things are needed. One, the ordinary knowledge about atman. This only will mature to get atma sakshatkaram. This is a basic knowledge about atman. Once this knowledge is acquired, then we do karma without attachment or with detachment. This Karma yoga should be continuously performed. This will enable to eliminate the contaminations in our mind or intellect. Why this contamination was there? As long as papa and punya are there this pollution will be there. Confusion is the contamination. What is the confusion? Which is to be discarded and which is to be adhered to? This lack of knowledge to differentiate, is the confusion. As long as this knowledge is not acquired, the knowledge about atman is not going to ripen. Because we have to adhere to atman and leave all others. Thus the mind or buddhi is contaminated. Without the ripening or maturing of knowledge we cannot get atma sakshatkaram. To get this we have to meditate on the atman uninterruptedly. To meditate continuously we require serene mind. Like an automobile requires clear petrol and clean carburetor for smooth running, a serene mind is needed. Rational knowledge of on what we should have attachment and on which we should be detached should be there. In a confused mind meditation is impossible. Without meditation, we cannot get atma sakshatkaram. We can visualize this as stairway. By performing Karma yoga we can eradicate papa and punya. Eliminating papa and punya will facilitate to clear the confusion in our minds as to which are to be adhered to and which are to be discarded, and the mind is serene. Serene mind will allow proper meditation on atman. This will lead to atma sakshatkaram. With clear and full understanding of atman, the inner motive force of atman –Paramatman- will be realized. This requires Bhakti yoga. This will be explained in the 7th, 8th and 9th Chapters. That will be the ultimate and final step. So reaching Paramatman by Bhakti yoga is one part. Since we do not have the ability to go direct to Paramatman, we have to acquire knowledge about Jeevatman. This Jeevatma sakshatkaram is another part. To get this we require doing continuous meditation, which is called Gyana yoga. This requires unpolluted intellect and so we have to get rid of papa and punya. This needs performing Karma yoga. For this basic knowledge about atman is necessary. That is why Sri Krishna sermonized on the basic nature of atman from 12th to 37th sloka of Chapter II. We can recall that He told that atman is everlasting, it is different from body, it is an embodiment of gyana or knowledge, it is full of bliss, it cannot be destroyed, it is indivisible, it can not be moistened or dried and it cannot be cut or burnt. This basic knowledge was tutored and made us to realize that atman is superior to body and it cannot be destroyed and so we should find ways and means to uplift atman. What should be our efforts for this? After learning the attitude of a Karma yogi, we have now learnt till 52nd sloka Karma yoga. The one, who does Karma yoga with buddhi, destroys papa and punya and gets the bliss of Moksham. Looking back we can appreciate the logical manner all the slokas are placed. Like an able Professor teaches, Sri Krishna is taking us step by step to understand our lifestyle. Till 52nd sloka the Karma yoga was deliberated. Karma yoga removes papa/punya. Removal of papa/punya gets us nirmala or unalloyed, serene mind. The next 53rd sloka will tell us what we achieve by a serene mind. In such a mind a coherent and concentrated knowledge can be unshakably established. This knowledge is about atman. Why this knowledge is steadfast? Because, it cannot be shaken by any rewards like that pleasure or this comfort. Our objective is only atma sakshatkaram. We have already seen that in sloka 2.41, the buddhi in pursuit of atman will be unique or singular, while the buddhi striving for other rewards will be in multiples. Rewards are many, buddhi also are many and efforts also are many. In the case of atman as objective, only one effort, objective is one and buddhi also is one. This singular knowledge will be acquired. This knowledge will be resolute and unshakable. It is in a serene and clear mind. Just as a dust-free mirror reflects our face brilliantly, we can see our atman in a serene, free of papa and punya, mind. This constant meditation is Gyana yoga. Without papa/punya there is nothing to distract and drag the mind from meditation, just as a firm ground will not slip below. Continuous Gyana yoga will result in atma sakshatkaram. Let us recapitulate the steps.

· Basic, ordinary knowledge about atman.

· Performing Karma yoga with detachment

· Elimination of papa/punya and acquisition of unconfused mind

· Qualified to undertake Gyana yoga.

· Ripening of Gyana yoga will lead to Atma sakshatkaram.

There can be a doubt here. The first step is knowledge of atman and again the last step also is understanding atman. What is the difference? The first step was very elementary knowledge that atman is different from body and it is eternal. But visualizing the entire atman with its eminence is the last step. Thus this is a refinement process to get atma sakshatkaram. The knowledge at that time will enable one to realize that all atman are same and Paramatman resides in all atman. This knowledge is not acquired in the beginning or first step. We will now see 53rd sloka:

shruti-vipratipanna te
yada sthasyati niscala
samadhav acala buddhis
tada yogam avapsyasi

"When your mind has absorbed so far [Sri Krishna’s sermon], and enlightened the intellect or buddhi , and when it remains resolute and unshaken by others, then you will have attained the atma sakshatkaram

The word yogam here indicates atma sakshatkaram. So objective of second Chapter is atma sakshatkaram. Arjuna was listening to the sermons of Sri Krishna and this enlightened his intellect or buddhi and enabled him to know what is to be adhered to and what are to be discarded in life, resulting in removing the contamination of papa/punya in the mind. This knowledge is going to blossom as Gyana yoga. This will mature in due course to have atma sakshatkaram.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Today [12th June, 2007] is an auspicious day for us. We are at the front of the main gate. When we get the everlasting release [from the attachments to this world or bandham] or Moksham, the Lord of Thirumogur guides us in the Archiradi marg. He showers His benevolence on us like rain. We saw all these in the last lecture. His Discus, Sri Chakkarathalwar, cuts off all our papa and punya by His eminence. He removes our illness. Whatever we pray the Lord are all granted by Sri Chakkarathalwar. In addition He induces bhakthi or devotion to the Lord. The sloka we are going to see is also like that. We are all confused. Our confusion has to be cleared. By adding certain seeds or herbs the muddy water gets cleared. Sri Chakkarathalwar also clears our confused minds. The Discus held by the Lord in His right hand eliminates all our sins.

Spurath sahasrara sikhathi theevram Sudarsanam bhaskara koti thulyam l

surad visam prana vinasi Vishno: chakram sadaham saranam prabadye ll

We seek refuge in Sri Chakkarathalwar always. His lightning brilliance, which diminishes the brilliance of millions of Suns, should eliminate the darkness of ignorance in our minds. Sri Krishna also talks of clarifying our confusion in our minds in the sloka 52. The Sri Chakkarathalwar of Thirumogur is Universally famous. With sixteen hands and prathyaleeda step, we can worship Him here. In the sixteen hands He carries sixteen weapons. Swami Vedanta Desika has composed a sthothram Shodasaayuda sthothram in praise of Sri Chakkarathalwar. All the sixteen weapons have different purposes and different mantras. The good will from these sixteen weapons is also different. Sri Chakkarathalwar graces as the Leader of all weapons. There are 154 syllables around the idol of Sri Chakkarathalwar. Each syllable is a mantra. With hair rising like the Agni –sacred fire- and three eyed and ever ready to run, Sri Chakkarathalwar is gracing the devotees. In readiness to protect us He appears in running steps. This type of idol cannot be seen elsewhere. He has to refine our perplexed minds. We have to see the 52nd sloka, the last sloka on Karma yoga. Earlier by some slokas the everlasting nature of atman was told. From 39th sloka Karma yoga was described. In that sequence this is the last sloka.

yada te moha-kalilam
buddhir vyatitarisyati
tada gantasi nirvedam
srotavyasya srutasya ca

"When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard."

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that he is going to get disgusted with himself for having clung to various things and which, his mind should have concentrated, were ignored all these days. His intellect was confused all these days. Moham means confusion. When his buddhi comes out of this confusion, at that time he will get nirvedam i.e. he will start hating himself. When he is going to attain this state? After having heard all that Sri Krishna told and all that He is going to tell in due course. Sri Krishna had told him that he was attached to various things and in the coming slokas He is going to further explain on this subject. Hearing both, Arjuna is going to get nirvedam or get disgusted and blame himself. “Where I should have attachment, I did not and where I should not have attachment, I had”. This is going to be Arjuna’s lamentation. Our various actions were all targeted for inferior rewards. Did we aspire for such low objectives? Such aversion is going to overtake. We should have attachment to the Lord. Our atman should have been serving Him only. Discarding these noble things in life we have been after all inferior objectives. We desired all those which were impediments to Moksham and which were all temporary and transient. Mourning such actions of us is nirvedam. So far we have understood that karma performed with detachment and with our buddhi or conscience involved, our papa and punya are eradicated. With the elimination of papa and punya , rebirths are eliminated. By avoiding rebirth we reach God’s feet. Nammalwar says [1.2]: the Lord does not desire anything else but only us. When will we reach Him is His thought always. Therefore we should also discard our desires in other things and cling to His feet. Our query is that He is somewhere and after so much of time if we suddenly fall at His feet, will He accept? He is so great and will He not kick us out for not coming to Him all these days? In Srimad Ramayana, Vibheeshana was somewhere else. When he sought refuge in Sri Rama, he was not driven away. Whoever be, if he comes and falls at His feet, the Lord never drives him away. Sri Sita tells Ravana that if he cared to live happily with his family and clan, he should seek refuge in Sri Rama. She says He is saranagatha vatsala, who will not consider our misdeeds as a mistake but as an advantage. Such is His greatness. Similarly Sri Rama also advises Sugreeva. From all these we understand that the Lord is desirous of taking us to His domain. We should also have identical desire but we concentrated on inferior rewards. Pondering over this only will induce nirvedam and Arjuna will start disliking his behavior all these days. Our buddhi is contaminated. As long as papa and punya are there our buddhi will be like this only. Just as we cannot see our image clearly if the mirror has dust on it, with polluted mind we cannot perform any yoga properly; we cannot distinguish truth from falsehood. Which is thyajyam [rejectable] and which is upadheyam [acceptable] will not be known. This is what He calls mohakalinam. This is a great question before all of us. We cannot decide what we want. If all are asked to demand only one, which cannot be changed later, there will be total silence. We can never be firm in what we want and the requirement changes every moment. Do we want education or employment or good family or wealth? We can never be decisive. This is one type. But what Arjuna is told is that he should discard all the small and ordinary benefits like victory, swarga, etc, and desire only the feet of Sri Krishna. Thus the supreme goal will be unique or singular while the inferior rewards will be many and in multitude. We should reject the multitudes and accept the unique. This is rational knowledge. That is we are able to distinguish our acceptable and rejectable. In Sanskrit this is called thyajya upadeya gyan or viveka gyan. Once this moha kalinam is jumped over, nirvedam steps in and we start blaming ourselves for desiring such trivial things in life and having wasted our time. This disgust is a necessary step to reach Him. This only will make one to perform karma yoga with buddhi. Therefore from this 52nd sloka we understood all those multiple desires we should discard and contemplate on the unique desire to reach His feet by detached karma yoga. After this Sri Krishna starts His sermon on Gyana Yoga with introduction.


We are at Thirumogur temple today [11th May, 2007]. Nammalwar praises the Lord in Thalathamarai Thiruvaimozhi. We have no refuge other than His feet. The Lord is called Thirumogur Apthan. This place is called Mohanapuri, because the Lord took the Mohini incarnation. This place was originally called Mohiniyur and then over the times got mutilated and became Mohiyur and then Mogur. We see here the statue of Manmatha, regarded as the most handsome male. But even that Manmatha felt ashamed at the beauty of the Lord. His beauty can fascinate our mind. Apthan means he who is very dear to us. He does only good for us. Like the clouds shower rains, He showers His benevolence on us. The next sloka, 51st one and the Thirumogur Apthan and His eminence are closely related.

karma-jam buddhi-yukta hi
phalam tyaktva manisinah
padam gacchanty anamayam

"By thus engaging in devotional service to the Lord, men free themselves from the results of work in the material world. In this way they become free from the cycle of birth and death and attain the state beyond all illness [by going to Vaikuntam]."

Amayam means illness and anamayam means the place or position without illness. That is placement in Vaikunta. The one who does the karma yoga with his buddhi or consciously, reaches the place free of illness i.e.anamayam. Men discarding the karmas by which they will obtain inferior results, and by doing the karma with buddhi or intellect- that they will not do a karma for ordinary rewards but for the highest reward of Moksham, the karma is done as a devotion to God- will get the superior results. For this they are to be released from their shackles or bandham and obtain the never-to-return position. The birth and death are shackles and the karma yoga destroys these or anishta or undesirables. Then, gets the ishtam or desirable of the highest reward of Moksham where one does not face any miseries. Padam can mean the feet of the Lord or His abode, Sri Vaikuntam. By combining both we can interpret that by clinging to His feet we can reach His abode, Vaikuntam or Moksham. By seeking refuge at His feet our fetters or bandham in this world are eliminated. For this we have to perform karma yoga without aspiring for inferior rewards and with conscience that it is done as a devotion to Him. Like the same type of food, however tasty it might be, produces aversion, by doing karmas for inferior rewards our birth gets repeated and produces distaste. Whereas in Moksham He appears afresh every moment and our experience also is fascinating every moment. Namo namo bavati jayamanaha – so says Upanishad. He appears afresh every time we look at Him. The Lord is decorated everyday differently and it fascinates us every time we look at Him. Ornaments, attires, garlands, vehicles and even the prasad are changed daily. He is purana or very ancient but at the same time He appears anew everytime and graces us. Such persons attain Moksham. The Lord of this place does this important duty of getting us the Moksham. We can see how an atman goes from a body to Moksham and how Thirumogur Apthan is helping the atman in getting that highest reward. In Chandogya and Brihadaranya Upanishads and in Alwars’ hymns Archiradi marg is explained. Atman is residing in a very minute form in the heart. Let us assume that after innumerous births all papa and punya have been expended. After this the journey of the atman starts. All the shackles of papa and punya acquired not only in this life of 70 or 80 years but of the innumerous birth cycles experienced by the atman and which have been there binding us to this world are to be cut off now. Just as His birth removed the shackles in His parents Vasudeva and Devaki, karma yoga with dedication to His feet cuts off these bondages. There is a small hole on the top of our head. When a child is born this spot can be felt but later as the child is daily bathed, skull covers this spot. This spot is called Brahma ranthram. From the heart to this Brahma ranthram there is a nerve called sushoomna nadi. Normally this passage is dark and one day the Lord illuminates the entire path for the atman to take the journey. Out of the 101 nerves, the Lord identifies the sushoomna nadi as the route for the soul to take the journey. The soul with His help now pierces the Brahma ranthram and goes on archiradi marg. The Lord gives the atman a minute body to escape as the body made of the five elements is cast off in this world. Archit means jyoti or light. This brilliantly lit up route is there to the atman. Just as a person struggles when from darkness he is brought to bright light, the atman also is dazed. Now comes the Sri Kalamega Perumal. He is also called Sri Marga Bandhu or Vazhithunai Perumal. As a friend and guide Thirumogur Apthan will lead us on this grand voyage. Like the clouds, He sprinkles water, which is His compassion, on the entire route to make the Atman feel comfortable. Nammalwar wanted to reach the Holy Feet of the Lord and remain in service in Vaikuntam. We also can cling to the lotus feet of the Sri Kalamega Perumal praised by Alwar. Such is the splendor His idol and all should come here and experience the bliss.