Thursday, August 30, 2007


Today [31/08/2007] we are at the Srivilliputhur, where Sri Andal was born in the Tamil month of Aadi in the star Pooram. We are at the same spot where She was found as a child by Perialwar. A Tulasi plant is here as She was found near a Tulasi plant. This place is also called Sri Varaha Kshetram. When the Lord's Consort Sri Bhoodevi was abducted, the Lord killed the demon Hiranyakshan by taking the Sri Varaha avatar and rescued Her. By embracing Her, all fears were removed. At that time She prayed the Lord Sri Varahamurthy to suggest a simple and easy way for the people to follow and get rescued from the sufferings in this world and attain salvation. He advised people to meditate, sing His praise and offer flowers at His feet; but with a pure mind and devotion. This was in Sanskrit. So Sri Bhoodevi took the form as Sri Andal and appeared in this earth to preach this simple method to all, through Her Thiruppavai. In the 5th pasuram She tells 'manathinal sindikka, vayinal padi , thoomalar thoovi thozhudu' in simple Tamil. From here we will see the 37th sloka. The six slokas from now on are Sri Krishna's words and are full of important matter. Understanding this is not difficult though we have to put in efforts as Sri Krishna has made the Gita for us to understanad and with the help of simple Thiruppavai we will follow what Sri Krishna wants us to follow. Now the sloka:

sri-bhagavan uvaca:

kama esa krodha esarajo-guna-samudbhavahmahasano maha-papmaviddhy enam iha vairinam
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world."

In the last sloka Arjuna put a question. Why a person though not interested in the worldly passions and wanting to follow Gyana yoga, is forcibly pushed into worldly desires? What is that force? Sri Krishna replies. Esa = he is, Mahasanah = person with enormous capacity to eat. Rajo gunamudbhavah = grown in rajo quality, kamah= and he is kama or desire or passion or attachment. Desire is embeded in us for innumerous births. This desire is in sight, scent, listening, taste and touch. So the vasanai or habit is like a seed in us in every birth. This germinates as kama. Our rajo guna like water to a plant, grows the kama into a plant. This grows in all sides into a gigantic tree. This tree wants to enjoy all worldly pleasures. What is krodha? When with kamam we are prevented from enjoying or when an unwanted thing is presented to us, kama gets transformed into anger or krodha. This krodha will push us into maha papma = large sin. Enam = this kama, iha = when trying to practice Gyana yoga, viddhi = understand as ,vairinam = enemy. Though Sri Krishna tells that Arjuna should recognise Kama as the enemy, since Kama gets transformed into krodha, it is also included as an enemy. Sri Andal also in Her 13th Pasuram in Thiruppavai [Ungal puzhakkadai..] says ' sengal podi koorai ven pal thavathavar'. This means saffron or brick red coloured cloth as dress and white teeth. Dress is outside the body and teeth is inside the mouth. Normally, red is associated with rajo quality and white with satva guna. So rajo guna has to be out and satva guna has to be in, is implied in this pasuram and this reflects this sloka in Gita. Because by keeping rajo quality out, the water needed for the kamam plant is denied and so the plant can not grow and we would have succeded in recognising our enemy and would have destroyed. Our mind also will be able to devote its attention on atman.


Today [30/08/2007] we are in Nammalwar sannidhi in the Garuda mantapam in Srirangam. In the picture here Nammalwar is seated at the Tamarind tree. On his right is Thirumangai Alwar and on his left is Madurakavi Alwar. During the invasion when Sri Namperumal went away from Srirangam, Nammalwar idol in Alwar Thirunagari also was taken out and both the idols where kept in hiding in the hills of Kerala. Sri Namperumal made Nammalwar to be seated by His side and called the Alwar as " nam' [our] Alwar. Swami Ramanuja lived between 1017 and 1137. During that period only, Nammalwar idol was installed here. Before that the idol of Nammalwar in Alwar Thirunagari, some 320 kilometres away from Srirangam was to be brought to Srirangam for the 20-day Vaikunta Ekadasi festival. Including travel time Alwar used to be away from Alwar Thirunagari for nearly 3 months. Apart from the time, for security reasons Swami Ramanuja installed this idol here. From that time the Vaikunta Ekadasi festival is performed with this idol of Nammalwar. The fear Alwar had is reflected in Arjuna's question in the 36th sloka:

arjuna uvaca

atha kena prayuktoyampapam carati purushahanicchann api varsneyabalad iva niyojitah
"Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrishni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?"

Ayam =this, purushah = jeevatma interested in pursuing Gyana yoga, why should be carried forcibly like caught in a hurricane, away from such noble pursuits? Anicchann api =in spite of no desire to be caught in kama krodha or likes and dislikes, kena prayukatah =by what he is propelled, papam carati = and gets involved in worldly desires, balad = forcibly, jyotitah = pushed into. Arjuna asks what is the force like a hurricane forcibly pushes an atman who has no desire in worldly pleasures and who is sincerely seeking Gyana yoga into kama krodha? Though one may be pursuing Gyana yoga, one is pushed away from that and dragged into low level desires the senses seek. What is that force? Arjuna mentions purusha or atman here. An inanimate object like a stone may not think to adore the God's idol as a necklace. But here an atman which has intellect and which sincerely wants to have atman sakshatkaram by Gyana yoga. He wants to go in the path for atman sakshatkaram, then why he is pulled into the disastrous path with worldly desires which are going to acquire him papa and punya? This is what Alwars have been crying in their verses, like an ant caught in the middle of a log which has fire on both ends. We sincerely try to follow so many righteous paths and every time some force drifts us away forcibly. What is that force? Alwar also asks who is preventing him from service to Him alone. The reply by the Lord is very interesting and important.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


We are to see a very important 35th sloka today [29th August,2007].

sreyan sva-dharmo vigunahpara-dharmat sv-anusthitatsva-dharme nidhanam sreyahpara-dharmo bhayavahah
"It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though faultily, than Gyan yoga perfectly. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in Gyana yoga, for to follow that path is dangerous."

Sri Krishna clears another doubt in Arjuna. In the last sloka, He said that the Gyana yoga path is full of impediments such as likes and dislikes which he can not win over and so Arjuna should take the Karma yoga path, with which he is accustomed over many births. But Karma yoga also has many difficulties to tide over and only when we go in that path we will, know the difficulties. In fact for the ordinary persons like us, neither Gyana yoga nor Karma yoga is easy to practice. But for this we have to wait till the 18th Chapter 66th sloka, when Sri Krishna is going to tell us the easiest path to attain salvation. We may think why not tell this now itself and why waste so much time and effort? With the "I" feeling so much in us we have to understand that we have to cast away that "I" by knowing all the difficulties and have unfaltering faith in Sri Krishna to surrender and believe in His words. This will come only if we systematically understand the process and our inability. Sri Krishna asks what difficulties Arjuna anticipated in Karma yoga. In Gyana yoga actions are less. But in Karma yoga activities are plenty and so committing mistakes and incompletion are possible. For example, shastras say eat only after bath. But in today's fast world one has to reach office early from a distant place one lives. So, many persons feel they could take bath in the evening. This is violation of shatras. This will fetch papa. We have heard the story of Raja Harischandra and the insurmountable difficulties he faced. He incurred all these because when he was a king, while washing his feet he did not wash properly and so papa surrounded him and he faced all the difficulties. So these are disadvantages in Karma yoga. All rituals will have deficiencies and incompleteness and so they will affect the Karma yoga. Now Sri Krishna clarifies. Svadharma = One's self faith of Karma yoga, [because we are accustomed to Karma, Sri Krishna calls Karma yoga as svadharma and the unaccustomed faith of Gyana yoga as para dharma or alien faith] vigunah= even if done incomplete or with deficiencies, sreyan =is better than, sva anushtitat= fully practiced, para dharmat= Gyana yoga. That is, an incomplete and faulty Karma yoga is superior to a fully practiced Gyana yoga. Now Arjuna asks another question. Even if Karma yoga is superior, will not partial and deficient Karma yoga yield no results? Jyotish homam if not done properly and incompletely, will not yield swarga or heaven. Similarly other rituals. How then Sri Krishna tells that Karma yoga with all defects could yield atman sakshatkaram? Sri Krishna replies that those karmas like Jyotish homam etc. are all for inferior rewards and so will not yield desired results if not done properly. Whereas Karma yoga is for atman sakshatkaram and is advocated by the Lord Himself. This is the great advantage in Karma yoga. Even while doing that if the person expires, it would continue to yield results for the soul in the next birth. So the effort is never wasted and rewards are assured. This is because Karma yoga is based on the vasanai inherent in every living being in every birth. Karmas like Jyotish homam are done by studying texts and so are not natural to us. Sva dharme = while practicing Karma yoga, nidhanam= if death occurs, sreyah = is superior. Then the question comes if that be, why not follow Gyana yoga and even if death occurs Gyana yoga could be continued in the next birth? Sri Krishna tells that para dharmao= Gyana yoga, bhayavaha = will cause danger. Gyana yoga is not our nature and is not following the vasanai. The danger is that the senses will not get controlled as that is against nature.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The vimanam [dome above the sanctum sanctorum] in Uthamarkoil is called Udyoga vimanam. Beneath this is the Lord reclining on the serpent. The stala vriksha [sacred tree of this place] is Banana tree and surrounded by many banana trees the place is enchanting. Near this temple is a place called Azhwar pattavarthy, where Thirumangai Alwar lived while executing the sacred work of building the walls in Srirangam temple. By the side of this is the Kadamba theertham, pushkarini of the temple. Some 250 years back, British and French forces fought here but they ensured no damage was done to this temple. They also donated ornaments to this temple. Andal in Her Thiruppavai 3rd song says, "Ongi ulagalanda uthaman per padi..". So His name is more sacred than Himself. In the last sloka Sri Krishna asks how His law book could not correct people? Swami Desikan tells why the text books are not able to correct us. There are umpteen text books preaching us to obey parents, to speak truth, to be kind to all, to respect elders, not to desire for other's wife, etc. In spite of these, people continue to indulge in bad actions. Why? Because, the vasanai that is lingering in so many births is still there and it is not that easy to get rid of them. Such a knowledge can not be abruptly cut by mere reading of all texts preaching good actions. Secondly, the senses feel what is clearly visible or felt which is called prathyaksham. Whereas what the vedas say are abstract and so is difficult to follow. But by reading vedic texts only one could get Gyana yoga. For this senses have to be controlled. But the senses are accustomed over millions of births the way they are functioning. It is therefore very difficult to abruptly divert by mere reading of vedas. Whereas in Karma yoga such abrupt change is not expected and the senses will function in their accustomed way and slowly little by little, they will come to be controlled. Arjuna feels that if he could find the root of this lingering vasanai, he could eliminate and proceed to Gyana yoga. Sri Krishna replies this in the 34th sloka:

indriyasyendriyasyartheraga-dvesau vyavasthitautayor na vasam agacchettau hy asya paripanthinau
"There are principles to regulate attachment and aversion pertaining to the senses and their objects. One should not come under the control of such attachment and aversion, because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization."

He mentions two things by usage of dvesau, agachettau and paripanthinau. Indriyaye = the five gyanendriya or the organs by which we learn or know. These are eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin which are used respectively to see, hear, smell, taste and feel anything to know. These are knowledge organs. The second indriya mentioned denotes Karmendriya or action organs. These are also five and are mouth [ to eat to live], hands [to do], legs [to move], anus [to excrete waste matter] and the reproductive organ. Arthe = the targets of these ten organs. For example good sight is the target for eyes and similar for other organs. Raga dvesau = the twin likes and dislikes, vyavastitau = get established. That is when we deploy the ten organs, likes and dislikes get involved. When we listen to sound if it is good music we like and if it is noise we dislike. These likes and dislikes enable us to act. If these actions are not for obtaining Moksham or are with the feeling " I am doing", then we acquire papa/punya, which fetch us more rebirths and the rebirth will involve us in actions with likes and dislikes and again we acquire more papa/punya and the cycle continues. But if we do our actions with detachment then no papa/punya will adhere and we can get out of the rebirth cycle. We do not like to hear noise and we like to hear sweet music. Just like a child likes to have mother's milk. This like and dislike is embedded in us in so many births that these are natural to us. Only by eliminating this vasanai one can enter Gyana yoga. This is very difficult as the vasanai is embedded. Tayo = these likes and dislikes, na vasam agachhetau =should not captivate us, asya = because, paripanthinau = these twins can not easily be defeated or driven away. Sri Krishna tells that Arjuna should vanquish the likes and dislikes. This tends Arjuna to think that he could drive this twin and start Gyana yoga. But Sri Krishna tells that he should avoid that path or proceed in that path with proper escort and guards. Here also we are near the Udyoga vimanam. Udyogam means Karma yoga and so Sri Krishna advocates Arjuna to follow Karma yoga and avoid Gyana yoga.

Monday, August 27, 2007


We are at Uthamarkoil Kshetram where Sri Poornavalli Thayar graces the devotees along with the Lord Sri Purushotaman. The word poornam in Her name suggests She will bless the devotees totally. She blessed Brahma and Shiva completely. It is said that the Lord's one eye is like the Sun burning bad people like the demons and another eye is like the Moon blessing the devotees. We may be doubting which eye of the Lord is going to see us. But the Thayar's both eyes are like the Moon with cool grace and so when we stand before Her here, not only we will be blessed in spite of our bad qualities but She will convert our such qualities to good ones and get the blessings of the Lord also. We have so far seen that as the Prime mover the Lord induces the three gunas to act on our karma and so it would be beneficial to surrender unto Him and dedicate all our actions at the feet of the Lord. From the 33rd sloka onwards Sri Krishna is going to tell the difficulties in following Gyana yoga. When we want to divert a person from his current path, which is wrong to a right path, we have to tell the impediments of the path he is following and all the advantages of the new path he has to divert. Alwars do the same by praising the qualities of the Lord and at the same time mention all the drawbacks of our worldly things so that we will cling to His feet. Similarly, Sri Krishna told all the greatness of Karma yoga till now. He starts to sermon the drawbacks of practicing Gyana yoga now. The 33rd sloka is:

sadrsam cestate svasyahprakriter jnanavan apiprakritim yanti bhutaninigrahah kim karishyati
"Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows the nature he has acquired from the three qualities. What can mere laws enactment accomplish?"

Here Sri Krishna tells that mere enactments of laws can not reform anyone unless his mind accepts the laws and makes him to follow. Arjuna does not want to follow Karma yoga as it means he has to fight in the war which is his dharma. He thinks it is better to abandon fight and go to a forest and meditate and practice Gyana yoga. Jnanavan api= Even learned persons in spite of good knowledge [like Janaka capable of practicing Gyana yoga], cestathe =will act, according to nature. We have had many births and we are accustomed to certain actions and so this will become our nature. Prakriti = nature or vasanai. Vasanai means scent. When a flower is kept for sometime and then removed, the scent still lingers. We have been doing some actions in all our births like eating by mouth or seeing by eyes, etc. These have not changed in any birth. So in our multitudes of births we have not changed our habits of rising children or eating, etc. These actions do not disappear and so we are accustomed to these karma. Bhutani = all living beings, follow prakriti. What is the use in mere laws for them? Kim karishyati = what are they [the laws] are going to do? Sri Krishna tells that it would be against nature for Arjuna to follow Gyana yoga against the natural Karma yoga with which he has been associated over many births.


Today [24th August,2007] we are at Karambanur or more popularly known Uthamarkoil, near Srirangam. The Lord here is known as Sri Purushothaman and the Moolavar is in a reclining pose on the serpent Adisesha. A unique feature is Brahma along with his consort Saraswati and Parama Shiva along with his consort Parvati are also here blessing the devotees. From here we will see the 32nd sloka. In the 30th sloka Sri Krishna told that Arjuna should offer all his activities at the feet of the Lord [Me] and start fighting. Both Swami Ramanuja in his Gita Bhashyam and Swami Vedantha Desika in Tatparya Chandrika have explained what Sri Krishna meant when He said "My". He is diiferent from all inanimate objects, all atman like us who are caught in the samsaram, all those who have attained Moksham and all the Nithyasoori [Like Adisesha or Garuda], and He is much superior to all as Sri Purushothama. There are those who want to live even at the cost of others. Some others are those who want to live and let others also live. But Uthaman is the one who will lower himself to make others live. Thirumangai Alwar in his Periya Thirumozhi [5.6] he addresses the Lord here as Karambanoor Uthaman. The Lord appeared before sage Kadamba and so this place was called Kadambanoor which got mutilated to Karambanoor. Brahma worshipped the Lord in a kadamba tree and the water Brahma offered became Kadamba theertham, which is the temple pond or pushkarini. We saw in the 31st sloka He praises him who has faith in Karma yoga and follows it. In the 32nd sloka He ridicules the one who does not have faith in Karma yoga and who does not follow it. We should have faith in this as this is recommended by Upanishads and preached by the Lord, Who cares for us. Great He is, and caring for the welfare of Arjuna [ and all of us], His words are to be believed and followed. Even if we can not follow at least we should have shraddha or interest. Least of all we should not be envious. For all the three types of people Sri Krishna guarantees atman sakshatkaram. Now the 32nd sloka:

ye tv etad abhyasuyantonanutishthanti me matamsarva-jnana-vimudhams tanviddhi nastan acetasah
"But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not follow them are to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and ruined in their endeavors for perfection."

The non-belevers in His faith are foolish. When such people do not believe His words, where are they going to have faith? Ye tu = he who, etad = this, me matam=My faith [ Karma yoga preached by Sri Krishna], asuyanta = is envious, na anushtanthi = does not practice, sarva jnana vimudhan= possesses no knoeledge [ even if he has all other knowledge]. Here He says " My faith" by pointing to His chest. He is Sri Purushotaman and He is the one Who is praised by vedas, maharishis and Alwars. Such a Person's words can not and should not be ignored. One may possess extensive knowledge in so many matters but if one disregards His preachings, then one is considered to possess no knowledge. One may believe in Him but say thet one does not believe in His words or vedas or Gita. Here one should realize that the fact that God is there is propounded by thes vedas only and so it is foolish not to believe in His words which are vedas. Just as a mother knows what is good for the child, Sri Krishna Who is like mother to all of us, preaches and we should have complete faith in His words. Nastaan =loses, acetah= he becomes lifeless. Though they live it is worthless life and so termed here lifeless. Though here the person who does not show interest is not mentioned we have to assume such persons also, apart from those not practicing and those jealous, are included. Andal calls Sri Trivikrama as Uthaman as He reduced Himself sa a Dwarf to save His devotees. His nature is to grant all to others but went for begging to save His devotees. Therfore He is Uthaman.

Friday, August 24, 2007


We are at the sannidhi of Swami Nathamuni near the South gopuram. To preach the people, the Lord took various avatars. Then He ordered the birth of various Alwars, who were immersed in the devotion to the Lord. After this Acharyas came on the scene to explain the Nalayira Divya Prabandham of the Alwars. Among the Acharyas Swami Nathamuni is the first. He was born in 823 A.D. in the Tamil month of Aani and in the star Anusham. Born as Ranganatha, he brought to light all the 4000 verses of Divya Prabandam, by meditating on Nammalwar and chanting Kanninun siruthambu 12000 times at the tamarind tree in Alwar Thirunagari. He taught these to his nephews Melagathualwan and Keelaiagathualwan to be sung in proper metre. In this sannidhi Sri Veera Narayana Perumal of Kattumannar koil is the moolavar. Swami Alawandar and Swami Thiruvarangaperumal Arayar also are in this sannidhi. This sannidhi is maintained properly by Sri Poundareekapuram Srimad Andavan and his disciples. We will see 31st sloka:

ye me matam idam nityamanutishthanti manavahshraddhavantonasuyantomucyante te ’pi karmabhih
"Those persons who execute their duties according to My injunctions and who follow this teaching faithfully, without envy, become free from the bondage of fruitive actions."

Here the Lord praises the one who realises that the Karma yoga is propounded by vedas and shastras and practices this Karma yoga sincerely. ye manava= these persons,itam me matam = in this my faith, nityamanustinthi = continuouely follow and practice. Matam does not mean the normal Vaishnavam or Saivam, but His religion or faith of Karma yoga. Here He talks of the person who practices the Karma yoga which is mentioned in Vedas which are the Lord's commands and Karma yoga now mentioned to all of us in Gita using Arjina as an excuse. Arjuna felt that he on behalf of all of us, he may not be in that category to follow and practice Karma yoga in the daily routines and so he showed disinterest. So Sri Krishna tells another category of a person who has faith in Sri Krishna but unable to practice. This is sraddha. A desire to practice. Arjuna feels this type of person also is difficult to find and so Sri Krishna tells a third category of a person who is at least not jealous or have aversion on Karma yoga. All these three categories - one who practices, one who is desirous of following and the one who is not envious of Karma yoga- will be relieved of the papa and punya acquired over so many births. How is this possible? We may ask. By not being envious appears to be easier and so why not do that and get the reward of Moksham? There is also another question. How can the reward be same for all the three types? Practically rewards are granted according to the efforts put in. But these are all examples of this world where rewards are ordered by human beings . In the Order of Sri Krishna , He has full rights to award as He wishes and there is none to question and worldly rules do not apply. So we have to find a way to be in anyone of these three categories. Actually by remaining unenvious, slowly we will get a desire and later on we will also practice. His blessings are for all of us by adopting any of these. In Ayarpadi that is Gokulam, during Sri Krishna's avatar. all the gopikas [milk maids] fasted and followed rituals. Whereas Sri Andal Who did not live in those days imagined Her to be a gopika and in Her imagination did those rituals. We on the other hand know only recitation of the Thiruppavai of Sri Andal. All the three - Gopikas, Sri Andal and ordinary persons like us who only recite Thiruppavai- get the same blessings from Sri Krishna. This is how Swami Parasara Bhattar explained. This is like Dharma whether done or spoken or heard will grant equal benefits. It is also like the Ganges, whether bathed or drunk or seen, removes all our sins. On these lines Swami Alavandar also in his Sthotra Rathnam says that he should be rewarded not by seeing his actions but because he is the grand son of Swami Nathamuni, who is connected with Nammalwar, Viswaksena and Sri Lakshmi.


We are at the sannidhi of Sri Parthasarathy. It is apt that the Gitacharya sannidhi is between the Lokacharya Swami Pillai Lokacharya and Jagadacharya Swami Ramanuja sannidhis. We will see the 30th sloka from here.

mayi sarvani karmanisannyasyadhyatma-cetasanirasir nirmamo bhutvayudhyasva vigata-jvarah
"Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight."

We have already seen that all our actions are propelled by the three gunas which are associated with prakruthy or this world. But these are abstract and so we also saw that the Lord induces these gunas to act on our actions. Thus the Lord is the prime mover. Therfore it is wise to surrender the rewards of all our actions at the feet of the Lord. Sri Krishna emphasises this by the word mayi. We should dedicate all our actions to the Lord and do the actions with detachment.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


We are at an important ghat in the river Kaveri at Srirangam and is called Ammamandapam. This river starting from Karnataka province flows west ward and appears as a garland around Srirangam as a garland. The river water is clear. One Alwar says the Kaveri water is mucky or unclear, why? When she [Kaveri] flows from West, she brings her daughter Sri Ranganayaki and lots of wealth and so is in an exuberant mood and so she is confused. When leaving Srirangam, the agony of parting away from her son-in-law Sri Ranganatha and her daughter, makes her look mucky! The Lord Sri Ranganatha arrives at this ghat during Padhinettam Perukku on the 18th day of Tamil month Aadi and on the full moon day of Tamil month Chitrai. During the latter festival, Gajendra Moksham is enacted. We can see how the elephant and crocodile of this story and the 27th sloka are related:

prakriteh kriyamananigunaih karmani sarvasahahankara-vimudhatmakartaham iti manyate
"The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three qualities of material nature."

Till now Sri Krishna has been advocating Karma yoga, as that is habitual to us, it is easier to follow and can be done by those who have not been able to control the senses. Now in the next four slokas He says that all our actions are propelled by the three gunas or qualities. Instead of thinking that we are doing our actions, but we are induced to act by the three qualities and nurturing a detachment will make us wiser. aham= I, kartha = am doer, iti manyate = like this believes, ahankaram = this feeling [that I am the doer], vimudhatma = makes him foolish. He advises Arjuna that no individual can claim to be the sole doer of any action as many others are in the team that does the action. We do alright. But there is a force behind that. The three gunas induce us to do any action. But these are abstract qualities and so how satva, rajo and tamo gunas could induce? If we analyze further, God commands the three gunas which surround us to act. God is like a charioteer, with the three qualities as reigns, drives us, the horses. But when an action is thought as done by us, we develop interest in that. Daily we see news paper and if someone achieves a distinction in sports or other activities we simply read the item and forget it. But if the achiever happens to be us, then we preserve the news paper cutting and see frequently, as we develop interest only when the action is done by us. When we do not think an action is not by done us we get detachment and this keeps us away from the papa and punya associated with that action. We can draw this lesson from the story of Gajendra. That elephant was grabbed by the crocodile, and for 1000 years it thought it could get freed from the crocodile by its power [ahankaram]. But when it realised that there was another force motivating the crocodile and its sufferings are also propelled by that force, the elephant cried out for the help of that Force, Sri Narayana and it was saved. Prakrutie gunaihi = this world with all the three gunas, sarvasaha= always and by all means, kriyamanani = getting done, karmani = all actions are there. Our body is made from this Prakriti and so is always associated with the three qualities. So all our actions are induced by these. But when he thinks that he is the doer, he is foolish not to realize the motive of the three gunas. Such realisation will come if one knows that the atman and body are different. So like the elephant we should discard the ahankaram feeling. Atman can not do anything by itself but with the association of the three qualities and this feeling alone will make us wiser to attain Moksham.


Like Sri Rama avatar, Sri Krishna Avatar also is magnificent. Devotees remember Sri Krishna's childhood plays like stealing butter, bonded by His mother, killing of Poothana, protection of people by using the Govardana hill as umbrella, Rasakreeta, etc, The same Sri Krishna is gracing the devotees as Sri Ranganatha. We are at the sannidhi of Sri Vittala Krishna near the South gopuram in Srirangam. He stands there with His two hands on the waist. He appears as in Pandarpur Kshetram in Maharashtra. We will see the 26th sloka from here. In the last sloka Sri Krishna told how a leader has to use loka sagraharam for Karma yoga and slowly bring his followers to higher level. The message is that we should continue with our daily chores and follow Karma yoga. But with the feeling that all these are not done by us and these are done for attaining Moksham. Now the 26th sloka:

na buddhi-bhedam janayedajnanam karma-sanginamjosayet sarva-karmanividvan yuktah samacaran
"So as not to disrupt the minds of ignorant men attached to the fruitive results of prescribed duties, a learned person should not induce them to stop work. Rather, by working in the spirit of devotion, he should engage them in all sorts of activities [for the gradual development of Krishna consciousness]."

Ajnanam= One who has not attained atman gyan fully, karma sanginam = still wanting to perform karma [people like us], because all karmas are related to body,na buddhi bedam janayed= [Arjuna] should not cause intellect confusion. We are doing some karma with dedication to God amidst our daily routines. If we are told that these will not fetch us Moksham and we should follow Gyana yoga then only we will attain Moksham, we will get confused. So Arjuna should not resort to Gyana yoga abandoning war as that would confuse his followers and this is told by Sri Krishna. Here Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that all these He told not because Arjuna had the capacity to perform Gyana yoga. If he had that capacity then after the war he should have abandoned Royal life and gone for meditation to pursue Gyana yoga. Since he did not do that it is clear that Arjuna was capable of doing Karma yoga only and only for an argument Sri Krishna told as though Arjuna was qualified for higher levels. This also has a lesson for all of us that we should not run away from life and its problems, as that will amount to escapism and not be considered as following Gyana yoga. We should fulfill our responsibilities with the feeling that it is all for the sake of God and follow Karma yoga in its true perspective. Sarva karmani josayet = all karma renunciated, vidwan =learned person, yuktan =should induce [ the importance of Karma yoga], samacaran= by performing karma.

Monday, August 20, 2007


We are at the Ullandal sannidhi in Srirangam. Sri Andal lived at distant Srivilliputhur, but dedicated Her life for Sri Ranganatha. All the 30 songs of Thiruppavai and 143 songs of Nachiyar Thirumozhi are sung in praise of Sri Ranganatha. Accepting Her devotion, on the 6th Day festival after alighting from the Elephant Vahanam, the Lord stays for sometime in front of this sannidhi before entering sanctum sanctorum. At that time they exchange garlands. There is a connection between, Sri Andal and the 25th and 26th slokas we are to see now. Unlike in other places, Sri Andal is in a sitting posture with a parrot in Her hand. Her father Perialwar is standing nearby. Both the idols are Utsava murthy and the idols in Veliandal sannidhi are Moolavar. During the Vaikunta Ekadasi festival, the Perialwar idol here is brought near Sri Namperumal. We have already seen loka sangraham. Though we may be capable of doing many things, if there are going to be persons following what we do, then we should do only what others can easily follow. This is loka sangraham. Swami Vedantha Desika in his Tatparya Chandrika says that loka sangraha is that making all the people to follow that principle which will be taking people forward and which all people can follow. If a scientist invents a new thing, it should be useful to all and it should be possible to produce that commercially. Suppose his invention could be produced only once in 10 years, none will use it. Or, if the invented thing could be marketed at very high price then also none will use it. Likewise our methods or ideas should be lofty and at the same time they should be practical for all to follow. This is explained in 25th sloka:

saktah karmany avidvamsoyatha kurvanti bharatakuryad vidvams tathasaktascikirsur loka-sangraham
"As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, the learned may similarly act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path."

avidvamsa = those without atma gyana but having just knowledge to do karma [most of us come in this category], karmani saktah = but are willing to perform duties prescribed to them, yatha kurvanthi = what such people could do, kuryad =should be done, vidvams= by learned persons, tatha =who, asakta = have no inclination to do karma [as they have already had atman sakshatkaram or in a position to practice Gyana yoga] , loka sangraham = for the world to follow, cikisrur= if such a desire they [learned people] have. A doubt may arise here. In a school, if in a class there is a student who is below average, should the teacher be at that student level? But this is not what Sri Krishna told. He says that if there are fore runners, they should do things which the followers could follow and raise their capability. In the student example, the teacher has to come to the level of the mediocre student and raise the standard of the student. If Arjuna follows Karma yoga, then his followers also would practice Karma yoga and he could make them realize atman sakshatkaram. Sri Andal is ranked among the Alwars and so She was as much learned. Still, in Her Thiruppavai, She tells us to do simple things to attain Moksham like vayinal padi [singing in His praise], manathinal sindikka [just think of Him] and thoo malar thoovi [ offering flowers]. Though She knew all the skills of Gyana yoga She advised us to follow what is practical for us. By asking us to do what we daily do, She raised our standards and that is why She is very popular.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Today [14th August,2007] the lecture is from the sannidhi of Sri Venugopalan near the Srirangam main Gopuram. Here Sri Krishna is with four arms and along with His mother Yasodha. This is a unique feature. He is holding a flute and appears as playing. The Lord could have sung but is playing the flute. According to an Acharya Thiruvaimozhipillai, this has a significance.In his commentary on Perialwar Thirumozhi, if He were to sing it would be direct from His mouth.But by using a flute, it is like His teachings are from another Acharya. Though Gita has been told by Sri Krishna, we are to learn it through a teacher or guru. We will see the 24th sloka from here:
utsideyur ime lokana kuryam karma ced ahamsankarasya ca karta syamupahanyam imah prajah
"If I did not perform prescribed duties, all these worlds would be put to ruination. I would be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would thereby destroy the peace of all living beings."

Sri Krishna is the One Who created the Vedas and shastras. He is not bound to follow. Yet He says that if He did not follow what He prescribed, ordinary people like us would follow only His way and that way Dharma would be corrupted. When Hiranya Kasipu and Ravana were given boons for immortality by Brahma, the Lord found exceptions within those boons to kill them and save the world. He is the Lord of all and there was no necessity nor anyone dare question Him on His doings. Still He never wanted to violate Brahma. In our house children follow the parents’ behavior. That is why one should not smoke or drink in front of children as they are likely to pick up these habits. Sri Krishna therefore says He cannot advise Arjuna to follow Gyana yoga leaving his dharma of fighting for his country. By going away from one’s dharma one is likely to tread into another person’s dharma and thereby mixing up of duties is possible and this will destroy the society and the world.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


The Lord's Sri Vamana avatar is a great one. He took a dwarf form but in the Sri Trivikrama role in the same avatar He exhibited His gigantic strides. We are not fortunate to get a glimpse of that mammoth image but in the dwarf form we can worship Him at the Sri Thirukkuralappan sannidhi at the South Gopuram [tower] of Srirangam temple. With palm leaf umbrella and kamandalam [ a small pot for carrying water] in His hands He graces the devotees. Sri Kamalavalli Nachiar is also in this sannidhi. A unique feature of this sannidhi is that when the Lord decided to marry Sri Andal as per Her wishes and conveyed the same to Her father Perialwar, who came with all entourage and Sri Andal from Srivilliputhur to Srirangam, it was this sannidhi where they first worshipped and from here proceeded to the main sannidhi of Sri Ranganatha where Sri Andal mingled with the Lord. The mantapam in this sannidhi has 24 pillars depicting Gayatri mantra which has 24 syllables. This is because Sri Vamana is a bachelor and Gayatri is supposed to be chanted by Him in the Sandyavandanam [morning and evening prayers]. We will see what is the connection between 23rd sloka and Sri Vamana:

yadi hy aham na varteyamjatu karmany atandritahmama vartmanuvartantemanushyah partha sarvasah
"For if I ever failed to engage in carefully performing prescribed duties, O Partha, certainly all men would follow My path."

Aham= the Almighty God I am [Sri Krishna tells], yadi = might, jatu=at any time, atandritah = without laziness, karmany na varteyam = do not perform the prescribed duties, mama =my, vartma = actions, anuvartante = will be followed, manushyah = men, sarvasah = in all respects.

That is, even at any time, due to fatigue or laziness Sri Krishna were to fail to perform His prescribed duties [ in the role He had assumed], all people would follow this action always. Sri Vamana is the example here. In the 22nd sloka, trishu lokeshu, that is in all the three worlds was mentioned. The Lord resides in a place far away from all the worlds and so here we have to interpret three worlds as three births He assumed. Whether He was born as deva or human or beast, He has followed the duties prescribed. When the Lord took the role of a Boar to redeem Sri Bhhoma devi, He appeared with real boar features and this made other ordinary boars to think that He was one among them and so played friendly. On the contrary, in Srimad Ramayana, when Mareecha took the form of a beautiful deer, other deers felt he was not of their clan and so ran away out of fear. The Lord however fits Himself truly to the form He takes because He has to set an example to His followers. In the Sri Vamana avatar, He has to beg for land from King Bali. The apt role for this is Bachelor form, says Swami Vedanta Desika. But the Lord is always with Sri Lakshmi as Consort on His right chest. To be true to the role He had taken, He hid the right chest by a big deer skin as was the custom followed by bachelors while going for begging [It is to avoid the grace of Sri Lakshmi falling on the King and thereby His mission might fail is another reason]. Such a great Lord with nothing needed goes for begging means the Lord is prepared to downgrade His status so as to protect His devotees and perform His duty.


We are listening to the lecture from the sannidhi of Sri Appakkudathan. He is there to bless all the devotees. We will now see the 22nd sloka. Sri Krishna is going to cite Himself as an example to follow Karma yoga. Firstly Karma yoga is easy, it is habitual, Gyana yoga is embedded in Karma yoga and Gyana yogis also follow Karma yoga. Only those who have had atman darshan can relinquish Karma yoga. Great Gyana yogis like Janaka have followed Karma yoga. Finally, Arjuna has to practice what his followers could adopt. Otherwise his followers will follow impossible tasks and fail. Now the 22nd sloka:

na me parthasti kartavyamtrisu lokesu kincanananavaptam avaptavyamvarta eva ca karmani
"O son of Pritha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I a need to obtain anything—and yet I am engaged in prescribed duties."

Sri Krishna tells that He has set aside His other actions and have come to help Arjuna and is functioning as his chariot driver. In this role He takes care of the horses and drives the chariot of Arjuna as required by him. Sri Krishna tells that though He is born as human being or a beast or a deva, there is nothing He, as the Almighty God, has to do anything as duty. In spite of this is He not performing the duties of the role He has taken in every birth? Sri Krishna has nothing to achieve by doing these duties. He is called avapta samastha kaman - that is One Who has all the desires fulfilled. There is not a single desire He is wanting to get fulfilled. While taking birth He selects the place, the time and the parents. He has to obey nobody's commands. All commands in Vedas are His commands and He need not follow those and they are meant for us. This is different from what we come across in our lives. Our law makers are bound by the laws they make. But in religion, God is not expected to obey the laws He has made for us. Despite all these Sri Krishna is performing all the duties expected of an ordinary human like chariot driver. So Arjuna should follow Karma yoga noting such great persons as examples.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Alwar was ready to conclude his life in this world and the Lord also appeared before him to take him along. Just then Alwar had a doubt. Till the previous day he was not taken to Vaikuntam. Even in the previous births he was not offered. Then why should he go now? It is like the story of a person feeling thirsty. He was offered tender coconut to drink. Just as he was to drink, he wanted to know how water entered the coconut shell. If he were adamant to know this and said that he would drink only after knowing that, others would laugh at him and ridicule that instead of grabbing the opportunity to quench his thirst he was wasting his time. Similarly, the Alwar was also told that trying to find why he was not offered Moksham earlier would waste more time.

Sri Krishna cited the example of Janaka who was capable of practicing Gyana yoga for atman sakshatkaram, yet followed Karma yoga. We will now see the second part of sloka 20 and sloka 21:

loka-sangraham evapisampasyan kartum arhasi

yad yad acarati sresthastat tad evetaro janahsa yat pramanam kurutelokas tad anuvartate

Now Sri Krishna coins a new word loka sangraham. One might be capable of doing so many things. If that one happens to be a great person then many would follow what that one does. If that one does things which others could copy it is good. But if the one does actions which others can not practice, one's followers will copy in vain and fail. This is loka sangraham. Arjuna was not capable of practicing Gyana yoga but even for an argument it was assumed that he was capable of doing Gyana yoga, since he was a king, his subjects would copy him and try to follow Gyana yoga. They will then fail in their pursuit. Here two errors take place. One incapable persons pursue and fail. The second is such persons are misguided by the leader. Whereas if Arjuna even with his capability to practice Gyana yoga followed Karma yoga, then his followers would also adopt Karma yoga and succeed and Arjuna also would be praised for leading them to atman sakshatkaram. So we should adopt that which our followers could emulate and get benefit. This is called Loka sangraham. In the 21st sloka He explains this further. Sreshta = very great persons,who have learned all and practicing,and who are regarded as great persons by all, yad yad acarati = what all they perform or follow, tad tad evetaro jana= those followed by people, tad = those actions of great persons, anuvartate= followed. Arjuna thought whether he was a great person? Sri Krishna replies in the affirmative, because Arjuna was the cousin of the Lord, he was direct disciple to hear Gita, he was the sishya of Drona and he had conquered his senses. So there were followers to him and so he had a responsibility to guide them rightly knowing their capabilities.