Sri Varagunamangai Perumal
Today we are at the Kshetram Varagunamangai. Varam means supreme, gunam is character and mangai is girl. The Lord’s Consort is called Sri Varagunavalli Thayar or Sri Varagunamangai Thayar. She possesses supreme character and blesses devotees with mercy and enables them to reach the Lord. The Lord here is Sri Vijayasanar or Victory seated. He is seated victoriously. The right palm is in the gesture of varada or granting boons and the left palm is in ahvahana or welcoming sign. Thus the Lord welcomes the devotees to grant boons if they surrender and hold on to His feet. He is also called Sri Idarkadiyan [idar= our miseries, kadiyan= remover]. There was a sage Romesa. He had a disciple Sathyavan. Once Sathyavan bathed in a tank nearby. There was a fisherman fishing in the tank. As Sathyavan emerged from the tank, he saw a snake bit the fisherman. The fisherman fell dead and just then a float from the Heavens came down and carried the soul of the fisherman. Surprised Sathyavan rushed to the sage and enquired the reason for a simple fisherman reaching higher worlds. Sage Romesa then told the greatness of this Kshetram. Anyone born here is bound to get Moksham. By his good deeds in the earlier births he was born in this place and obtained Moksham Further the sage told that another disciple of him, who lived on the banks of river Rewa, came here and meditated. When the Lord appeared before him, he requested the Lord to be here in a seated posture to bless the devotees. We have seen that the Lord was in a reclining posture in Thiruppulingudi. In the Kshetram Sri Vaikuntam, we are to see in due course, the Lord is in a standing posture. The Lords of these three Kshetrams revealed a trait of the Lord – Bhogya thapa swarat. In our house when cooking is taking place and if we feel hungry we go to the kitchen and enquire whether the cooking was over. The reply could be to wait for 10 minutes. We wait and after sometime again we enquire as hunger increases. Some more time, is the reply from kitchen. Because of the intensity of hunger, we sit and wait. After sometime again we enquire and we are told to wait for a couple of minutes more. Unable to bear the hunger we lie down. Then the food is served and we eat eagerly and are happy. So as we expected food to be ready we were standing, then sat and finally laid down till food was served. Similarly, in these three Kshetrams also the Lord is waiting for the devotees in the standing, seated and reclining postures. Just as there was expectation of the completion of cooking, the Lord here waits for the devotees to be fully ‘cooked’ so as to be taken to His abode. Therefore Alwar in the same poem has praised all the three Kshetrams.
[puLiNGkutikkitandhu varaguNamangaiyirundhu* vaikundhaththuL ninRu*
theLindha_en_chindhai akangaziyaathE* ennaiyaaLvaay enakkaruLi*
naLindhacheerulakam moonRutanviyappa* naangaLkooththaadi nNinRaarppa*
paLingunNeer mukilinpavaLampOl* kanivaaychivappanNee kaaNavaaraayE. 9.2.4
4. BhagawaanE! At ThiruppuLingudi, You are blessing us with your reclining Beauty! At
VaraguNamangai Thirupathi, You are sitting so gracefully! And at Sri Vaikuntam, You
are showing Yourself in standing posture, so beautifully. You are in my (clear) mind
in all these three postures and are blessing me (without any gap and uninterruptedly).
You should shower Your mercy on us and show Yourself just by a mere thought of You by
Your bhakthAs and cool our hearts. You should surprise them by showing Your most
auspicious qualities and kalyANA guNAs and come straight. We should be excited and
highly elated to be blessed to see the most Beautiful Red mouth which is like the
most beautiful lightning and the Coral lipped creeper as seen in the midst of dark,
rain laden black clouds on the sky.In my front, for us to see Your exquisite lovely
beauty, You should bless us with Your presence right here, PHYSICALLY.]
From here we are going to start the 3rd Chapter of Gita. On Gita, the great Acharya Alawandar, born in Kattumannar koil near Chidambaram and the grand son of Acharya Nathamuni, has made a great poem Gitartha sangraha condensing the entire concepts in 32 slokas. We will see the condensed sloka on the 3rd Chapter of Gita in the 7th sloka of Gitarthasangrha:
asakty¯a lokaraks.¯ayai gun.es.v¯aropya kartr. t¯am
sarve´svare va¯ nyasyokta¯ t.rt¯ıye karmaka¯ryata 7
We have to necessarily practice Karma yoga as it will result in atma sakshatkaram. So the essence of third Chapter is Karma yoga’s greatness. Did not we see this in the second Chapter? Previous Chapter had a small shortcoming. Let us review the steps involved in the second Chapter. With a rough basic knowledge of atman, the Karma yoga is to be practiced. This purifies the mind and then Gyana yoga is to be practiced. Then we get atman sakshatkaram. The doubt here is whether all are qualified to practice Gyana yoga. From 55th to 71st slokas in the 2nd Chapter we saw what is control of organs and senses. Is control of senses possible for the ordinary persons like us? This doubt would have surfaced. Sri Krishna realizing that all cannot practice Gyana yoga but all can surely practice Karma yoga, starts the third Chapter. The main difference between the 2nd and 3rd Chapters is this. In the midst of our daily chores of official work, domestic compulsions, social get together, etc., will we have time for Gyana yoga? This doubt has arisen in us and it is also due to Him. So He knows our mind and suggests ways. He is the One to uplift us from this mechanical life. It is difficult to find persons for Gyana yoga but for Karma yoga fairly large number of persons would be available. Karma yoga is performed, as we are involved in our chores. But some limits and boundaries are drawn within which we can freely do our routines. Some basic thoughts are needed while doing our duties and then that becomes the Karma yoga. If we say that persons are invited to sit in a place and meditate for half an hour, very few will turn up. But if we get a kilogram of flowers and invite persons to make beautiful garlands for the God, a large number of persons would volunteer. Because the latter is an action to be done with our limbs. While the former was to control the limbs and mind. Sri Krishna wants His message to reach a larger group and so He decides to defer Gyana yoga for the time. It is a very noble yoga and is not to be abandoned but just for our sake He keeps the Gyana yoga away for sometime.
Alawandar says that for the protection of all the persons in this world, this Chapter is told. We have seen in many corporate firms, there will be an R&D department finding new products. But all products will not be taken for manufacture and production, but only those, which are commercially viable. Because the product should be within the reach of consumers. Gyana yoga is very valuable but will lack any followers. Whereas Karma yoga can be practiced by many and so, Karma yoga itself can directly get atman sakshatkaram. So we do our daily duties realizing that they are performed driven by the three gunas- satva, rajo and tamas- but remembering that He is the Prime mover, and doing the duties with no attachments. So we have to realize that God commands the three qualities in us and we perform our duties. By such dedication of our duties at the feet of the Lord, we can get atman sakshatkaram. Here we are removing the Gyana yoga step and so the steps would be: atman knowledgeà Karma yogaà Clarity of mindà Atman darshan. The Gyana yoga is hidden in the Karma yoga itself. So separate Gyana yoga is unnecessary. We will see the 3rd Chapter in detail later.