Sunday, June 3, 2007


As already mentioned Acharya Vishnuchitha [Engalazhvan], a disciple of Swami Ramanuja lived here. Since he was the Acharyan of another great acharya Nadathur Ammal also known as Kanchi Varadacharya, he was also called Ammalacharya. The members of this family serve this temple at Thiruvellarai and have contributed to many sacred works. They are also called Melathirumaligai [western house] and Keezhthirumaligai [eastern house] swami and serve in the temple. Today [31st May, 2007] we are at the house of Ammalacharya and will see further the 46th sloka in the 2nd chapter. This Acharya was born as Vishnuchitha in the Tamil month of Chitra and in the star constellation, Rohini. He was a disciple of Swami Ramanuja and lived here. Nadathur Ammal was at Kancheepuram and he was keen to learn Sri Bhashya of Swami Ramanuja. When he sought his father’s guidance, his father suggested to go to Thiruvellarai and learn from Vishnuchitha. He, accordingly, rushed from Kanchi and knocked the doors of Vishnuchitha in Thiruvellarai. From inside the Acharya enquired as to who had come? Nadathur Ammal replied,” I have come from Kanchipuram”. From inside came the reply, “ Come after I die”. Puzzled, Nadathur Ammal was wondering how he could come after his death and so returned to Kanchipuram and reported to his father the happenings. The father told the son that the reply by the Acharya implied that Nadathur Ammal should come to him after the ego ‘I’ dies or eliminated. So, Nadathur Ammal again returned to Thiruvellarai and again knocked at the doors of the Acharya. This time when the same enquiry as to who had come was raised, Nadathur Ammal replied,” Adiyen [servant] has come”. Satisfied with this reply, the Acharya taught Nadathur Ammal what he wanted to learn. Thus a teacher refined a disciple and taught the philosophy. We are all servants of God and not to the mortal humans and this was implanted in the minds of such great people and we should follow their example. We will now see the 46th sloka. In the preceding sloka Sri Krishna advised Arjuna to contemplate on the atman only and to discard passion to acquire or retain material benefits. By doing these Arjuna can eliminate rajo and tamo qualities and develop satva quality. This will result Arjuna being immune to the pairs – happiness and sorrow, victory and defeat and gain or loss. Arjuna is commanded to take initiatives to achieve these. Now citing an example Sri Krishna tells in the 46th sloka:

yavan artha udapane
sarvatah samplutodake
tavan sarveshu vedesu
brahmanasya vijanatah

"Water in a reservoir is common to all kinds of people and purposes and at all times. Similarly, all the Vedas serve all and brahmana selects the one needed by him."

Arjuna enquired when all karmas are mentioned in the Vedas, how he can choose. Why not the Vedas tell what he should do only? Why mention so many and ask him to choose? Vedas could have as well not recommended these karmas like puthra kameshti for begetting children, etc. It is impossible to expect all to be desire less in the first instance itself. Even repeated advice cannot eliminate some desires in us. This happens to great people also. But Sri Krishna feels that such repeated advice will bear fruit at least to the extent that the passions may not grow or increase. Sri Krishna says that His commands in the Vedas are for all types of people, just as a mother is common to her various children. So, Arjuna should pick up what is applicable to him. He now cites an example. Let us consider river Ganges or Kaveri or a large lake where water from various rivers is stored. There are many ghats in the river or lake. People of various requirements are at these ghats. One wants to get his thirst quenched. Another wants to have a bath, and so on. Even for the person who wants to quench his thirst, he can take water to the extent he needs. Also, he can drink the quantity his palms can collect. One cannot complain that he is not drinking all the water in the river or lake, just because so much water is available. Because, he has to take water to the extent to quench the thirst only and cannot take more. He also cannot complain that there should be water in the river to his requirement only. The water in the river or lake is meant for all and at all times. Also, the water is required for not only drinking but for other uses also. Similarly the commands in the Vedas are for all types of people with various degree of the triguna –satva, rajo and tamo qualities. Vedas are also meant for the people in various eras or yugas –kritha, thretha, dwapara and kali yugas. It is also meant for persons at various stages in life like bramhachari [bachelor], grahastha [familied persons], vanaprastha [secluded life] and sanyasi [renounced]. It is meant for both males and females, young and old, learned and the ignorant. So, everyone should accept what is suited or prescribed for him. Sri Krishna now advises Arjuna not to resort to some karmas as he is not suited for those. Arjuna is having the satva quality and the other two –rajo and tamo- are absent in him. Arjuna should fight to establish dharma. At the same time, he should not fight to gain inferior rewards like swarga, but for obtaining Moksham. He should not fight for acquiring the kingdom or for enjoying regal comforts. Besides, Arjuna being His cousin, who else could be dearer to be preached to cultivate satva quality? Thus, Sri Krishna preached that Moksham was the appropriate path for Arjuna in this juncture. We may not be in the same high level as Arjuna and so it may be difficult to relinquish our desires. We can write down our desires and review them periodically to see whether we have renounced any as preached in Gita. We can also note the dos and don’ts, Sri Krishna has advised and review all those where we have drifted away from His advice. Small progresses achieved are great steps in the path Sri Krishna has shown to us. Sri Krishna further says that all the Vedas prescribe the karmas for all types of people and a brahmana should follow those suitable and applicable to him. Here the word brahmana does not indicate a Brahmin as a caste member. Any person who is desirous of reaching the Brahman as mentioned in the Vedas is addressed as Brahmana. Such persons should follow the commands in Vedas, which will take them to the Paramatman. All other destinations should be treated as mere impediments in reaching Moksham and they should be avoided. Any karma, which takes one to swarga or other worlds for enjoyment, will prevent the person from reaching Moksham till that tenure was over and to that extent they become obstacles in the path for eternal happiness. Avoid all those objectives of inferior results. They are the techniques of rajo and tamo quality persons. So advices Sri Krishna and induces Arjuna to fight for dharma with Moksham as the end result.

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