God has in a madura [melodious] way has given us Bhagavat Gita. Nammalwar also has rendered the same substance in a madura way, Thiruvaimozhi. To sing in praise of Nammalwar, was born Madurakavi Alwar in the present Kshetram, Thirukkolur. He was born in the Tamil month of Chitra and in the star constellation Chitra. He considered Nammalwar as his God. This is one of the Nava Thiruppati and the Lord here is Sri Vaitha Manidhi Perumal with Sri Kolur Devi as His Consort. In Sanskrit He is called Sri Nikshepa Vittha. While al the other Alwars sung in praise of Sriman Narayana, Madurakavi Alwar sang only about Nammalwar and he said he did not know any other god. Shastra says Guru or Acharya is God. He composed eleven hymns on Nammalwar and is called Kanninun Chirutthambu. He spread Alwars hymns all over. Nammalwar was alive in this world for only 32 years. After Alwar’s departure, Madurakavi Alwar wanted the works of Alwar to be publicized universally and so he carried the Nalayira Divya Prabandham in a palanquin and went to Madurai for acceptance by the Sangam poets. To test its acceptance they wanted the poems of Alwar to be carried by the Sangam Palakai [plank]. Only a couplet from Thiruvaimozhi was kept on the plank and was accepted. All the poets recognized the greatness of Prabhandham. They wondered unanimously whether the Alwar was Sriman Narayana or a human being, his abode was Vaikuntam or Alwar Thirunagari, had he Four arms or two, and was he wearing Thulasi or Vakula garland? So we have to be grateful to Madurakavi for bringing to light the greatness of Nammalwar. We should appreciate the efforts taken by him to expose the greatness of Alwar. This effort is Karma and we have to practice the same. Sri Krishna advises Arjuna not to go after Gyana yoga, as it is a mirage, while by doing his Kshatriya Dharma of fighting he can achieve atman sakshatkaram. The first Chapter was called Arjuna Vishada yogam, the next was Sankhya yogam and the present Chapter is called Karma yogam. This will straight away obtain atman darshan without Gyana yoga. Because all are not qualified to practice Gyana yoga and Sri Krishna’s intention is His message should reach all and not a few alone. Gyana yoga requires senses control while Karma yoga does not need this. Does it mean that if one practices karma yoga, control of senses is impossible? No, after sometime the Karma yoga will enable control of senses. Now the fourth sloka:
na karmanam anarambhan
naishkarmyam purusho ’snute
na ca sannyasanad eva
"Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve gyana yoga, nor by renunciation can one attain that.”
Karmanam= by karma yoga, anarambhan=without starting or beginning, naishkarmyam= Gyana yoga [where Karma or action is absent], ca= and, sanyaasanad= abandoning [in the middle], sidhim=Gyana yoga,na samadigachhati=will not attain. By not starting Karma yoga or abandoning the Karma yoga in the middle will not enable one to practice Gyana yoga. This directly answers Arjuna’s query whether he could directly practice Gyana yoga and get atman darshan, without the recourse to Karma yoga so that he could avoid fighting, which was his Karma. He cannot skip Karma yoga. For beginners Karma yoga should be practiced. Arjuna asks after all it is desire which propels a person to do Karma yoga, so why not he desire to practice Gyana yoga? Desire is different from capability. Unless the capacity to do a work one should not indulge in it. Arjuna does not have the capability to practice Gyana yoga while he is fully qualified for Karma yoga.