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.

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