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.

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