Today [1st June, 2007] we are at a historically famous place. This place is near the Agricultural University on the road from Trichy to Othakadai, near Madurai. It is called Anaimalai Thirukkulam village near the Anaimalai hill. It was called Jyothishkudi in olden times. We are between a pond with lotus flowers and the Anaimalai hill. In 1323 A.D., Muslims invaded from North. They invaded the Lord Sri Ranaganathaswami temple in Srirangam. At that time to protect Sri Namperumal [Sri Utsavamurthy], Pillai Lokacharya carried the idol in a small palanquin and proceeded south. One side the fear of thieves was there and on the other side the invaders threatened. Avoiding these threats, the idol of Sri Namperumal was brought here, surrounded on one side by Thirumaliruncholai [Azhagar Koil], another side by Narasingam and yet another side by Thirumogur. Others do not easily see this place. Selecting a cave here, the Lord Sri Namperumal was housed and protected. All these happened between 1323 and 1325A.D. Pillai Lokacharya remained here and looked after the Lord’s idol. He was already quite aged and after some illness he expired here. Where great persons expire, it was customary to build a memorial called Thiruvarasu. In this place also such a memorial with a dome was built and the Samprokshanam [sanctifying ceremony] is taking place. The Lord here is Sri VedaNarayana Perumal. He was the One Who taught Vedas to Bramha. We are to see the next sloka from this place. Pillai Lokacharya and Gita are intimately connected. There are innumerous scripts in Sanskrit. Ashtaksharam, Dwayam and Charama sloka of Gita are all in Sanskrit. The deep significance and the inner substance of these mantras [sacred words] were brought out by Pillai Lokacharya in his Eighteen Rahasya Grantham in Tamil. He is therefore called mukthi neri marai thamizhal mozhintharulvon. That is all these three important Ashtaksharam, Dwayam and Charama sloka are guides for reaching Moksham and he gave these in Tamil. With the great works of Pillai Lokacharya we are able to understand the significance of these three mantras. If we are able to worship Sri Namperumal in Srirangam today; he was responsible for protecting the idol and making available to bless us. Sri Namperumal came out of Srirangam in 1323 and returned to Srirangam only in 1371A.D. Thus for 48 years He was away from His hometown. Like Sri Rama, Sri Namperumal also wandered in forests. Therefore,we have to be ever loyal to Pillai Lokacharya for not merely saving the idol of Sri Namperumal, but in the process sacrificed his life. We will now see the important and popular 47th sloka.
karmany evadhikaras te
ma phalesu kadacana
ma karma-phala-hetur bhur
ma te sango ’stv akarmani
"You have only right to perform your prescribed duty, but you have no rights for the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be inactive."
This sloka is very sweet to listen to but most difficult to follow in practice. Why Sri Krishna told this sloka and what is the connection to the previous sloka? In the 45th and 46th slokas Sri Krishna told that it is not possible to follow all that are prescribed in Vedas. Because, they are meant for a variety of people with satva, rajo and tamo traits. He cited an example. Even if large measure of water may be available one will take only the amount his needs are or what his capacity is. Arjuna should be steadfast in satva guna and avoid rajo and tamo behaviors. Therefore he should choose only what is meant for him from the Vedas. This raised another doubt in Arjuna. Sri Krishna is advising him to discard some commands of Vedas. So can he discard any? If someone is asked to follow all in a book then there is no problem. But if same person is told that some in that book are not meant for him, then he thinks that he has the discretion to choose any and discard some, as he likes. There are so many daily karmas prescribed like the simple ones: speak the truth, do not steal, etc. These are also prescribed in the Vedas. Can anyone discard these basic tenets also? Can we discard daily routines like Pooja for the God? So, there is every possibility of total confusion in following Vedas. Also whichever karma is being performed, the objective will always be lingering in mind. As a reply to all these doubts, Sri Krishna mentions this 47th sloka. Arjuna is entitled only to do his duty. The word only implies that he has no entitlement in some other thing. He cannot claim for result. That is never he should set his mind on various rewards or results for the action performed. The plural number in the word results is important as there are numerous results mentioned as goals for various karmas, after which we are running in our lives. He should not be the cause for the result of the action performed. Inaction is also not expected of him. He should do his karma without any entitlement for result. He cannot be the cause for result of the action and at the same time he should refrain from inaction. It is usual for anyone to do an action and expect a result. Every action of us is done expecting a result. Sri Krishna advises the exact opposite of this. He has right only to do the action and he cannot aspire for result. Even a dull-headed person will not move a finger unless some results are there. So it might surprise us as to why Sri Krishna is advising like this. We should note that Sri Krishna does not say Arjuna should do without expecting any results. Actually we should link this with the previous sloka and understand that one should contemplate on atman and making the atman to reach Moksham alone should be the result we should expect in every karma performed. Sri Krishna is not saying that we should not aspire for results, but asks not to desire for inferior rewards but aspire to reach the Paramatman for all our actions. In the next line of the sloka it is said that Arjuna should not be the cause of any results. We are to perform the action and even though we may not aspire for a result, unless we perform, the results are not going to be there. If in a game the player is asked not to bother about results, the player may ponder as to why he should play. What Sri Krishna means, when He says that one should not be the cause for a result, is that one should not think that one was responsible for the results. Inaction should not be there. Result may or may not be but when we do a karma we should think that we are not doing that karma for an inferior reward and we should never think that we are responsible for that reward. Arjuna then feels that instead of this elaboration, he could as well remain passive and thereby avoid any result. This Sri Krishna prohibits. Arjuna cannot sit idle; he has to fight in the battle. But he should not desire for swarga or victory. We have to see more into this in the next lecture.