Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Today's [31st October, 2007] lecture is from Govinda kundam, a pond, near Govardan hill. Govinda name is heard in the pilgrimage to Thirumala- Thiruppati kshetram. Gopalan means managing cows. Govindan means possessing cows. Sri Andal in Her Thiruppavai, uses this word Govinda at three places in the 27th, 28th and 29th pasurams. Variety of birds come to this pond and we have noticed a new type, seen nowhere else. We saw Indra trying to create problem by lashing this area with rains for seven days. But Sri Krishna took the challenge and protected the Brijwasis. Indra was humbled. He realized his mistake and Sri Krishna also pardoned him. Normally, any coronation is done by Abhishekam or sacred bathing. Sri Rama, Vibheeshana, Paduka, and others were crowned to rule their kingdoms after a ceremonial bath. So Indra also thought that the Govardan hill was being made a king and that is why the Thirumanjanam or Abhishekam was being done. Actually, by mounting on the Lord's hands, the hill became the King of hills. Indra also bathed Sri Krishna with the water from this pond, for His great feat in rescuing the people, and so this is called Govinda Pattabhishekam or the Coronation of Govinda. The sandals of Sri Rama and the Govardana hill got the coronation, because both clinged to the Lord- one at the feet and the other in His hand. We should therefore realize that by clinging to Him, we will also get this Pattabhishekam - at the Moksha Samrajyam [ Kingdom]. Now the 33rd sloka:
sreyan dravya-mayad yajnaj
jnana-yajnah parantapa
sarvam karmakhilam partha
jnane parisamapyate

"O chastiser of the enemy, the knowledge is better than the mere sacrifice of material possessions. After all, O son of Pritha, all sacrifices of work culminate in transcendental knowledge."

The meaning of this sloka has to be very carefully understood. Dravya mayad yajnaj = materials used or the materialistic part of the yagna[ like preparing garlands, sandal paste, lighting lamps or drawing rangoli, etc., are all the part with which we do some work using various materials]. These are all in any pooja and is the karma portion of the pooja. This part is inferior. In the same pooja, jnana yajna = the intellect or gyana part is, sreyan = superior. Why this is so? We decorated the Lord with a long beautiful garland of fresh flowers. We prepared fragrant sandal paste and smeared it all over His image. We also prepared tasty dishes in large quantities and offered to Him. All these are the action part of the pooja. While doing these we should have been thinking that the Lord is our Master and we are bound to serve Him. These offerings are going to be distributed as prasad to many and all are going to be benefited. Good will is being created and this would benefit us also. Without this thinking the pooja is of no use. Large amount of prasad after offering to the Lord if distributed to needy children, would gladden the Lord. All the time we should be thinking that we are His servants and we are doing what He has ordered and accordingly we are trying to help others. This way we would get atman sakshatkaram and we will reach Moksham. Therefore the Karma part of the Karma yoga is inferior to the Gyana part. Sarvam = in all respects, akhilam = with all the attendant actions, parisamapyate = reach finally, jnane = in the true knowledge of atman. The garland or sandal paste or the food offered, will all disappear or decay in a few days. So all the karma or actions of the pooja disappear. But the thought that we are serving our Lord remains for ever and there is no end to this. That is why the gyana portion is superior to the dravya portion of the Karma yoga. Here Arjuna is to fight with materials like bow and arrows. After the war they are all exhausted. But during the fight, his thinking that he is engaged in the noble task of protecting his followers will remain for ever. Only this Kshatriya dharma will make this as a Karma yoga. There are however some clarifications to be explained and this will be done in the next lecture.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Today's [30th October,2007] lecture is from a place called Aniyora jathisooda, near Govardan hills. In Ayarpadi or Nandgaon, there used to be a yearly festival, when carts load of food used to be brought here and offered to Indra, who was believed to be responsible for the timely rains. This is also called Annakoota utsavam [annam = cooked rice, kootam = hill shaped heap]. Once, they prepared food like this and were making arrangements. Sri Krishna pretending to be not aware, asked what they were doing. When they told that they are to be offered to Indra, Sri Krishna said that the Govardana hill was responsible for rains and all their needs like wood and vegetation for cows to graze. So He said that they should offer the food to Govardan as gratitude. All saw justification in Sri Krishna's arguments and so they brought the food here and offered to Govardana hill. Sri Krishna asked all to close the eyes while offering. When they did, Sri Krishna , Who dwells in the hill also, devoured all the food offered in seconds. The people found all food eaten away and Sri Krishna told that it was the proof that the hill accepted their offerings. Indra, egoistic, got angry and thought he would teach Sri Krishna a lesson, forgetting that he owed his position to Sri Krishna. Govardana means cows or cattle development. Indra ordered rains to lash and cause trouble to the people of Nandgaon for seven days. But the seven year old Sri Krishna protected and saved all of them from the rains, by lifting and holding the Govardana hill as an umbrella. In the present pilgrimage also different types of food and other eatables were offered to the Giridhari here. People go round this hill frequently and so they are all hale and healthy. There are persons who go round the hill [21 kilometres] by lying down on the ground. Then they stand up with their feet at the place where the head was when they lied down. Again they lay down and like this they complete one round in 3 or 4 days. This is called dhandaka pranamam. All the 1600 pilgrims also went round the hill though only seven kilometres could be walked. A small idol of the hill is kept here for worshiping and bathing with water, milk and curd. This type of offering also is a type of yagna. Now the 32nd sloka:

evam bahu-vidha yajna
vitata brahmano mukhe
karma-jan viddhi tan sarvan
evam jnatva vimoksyase

"All these different types of sacrifice born of work. Knowing them as such, you will become liberated."

Vimoksyate = he gets released or attains Moksham. Evam = like this, bahu vidha = many types of, yajna = yagna [ all the 13 types listed by Sri Krishna], vitata = were described, brahmano mukhe = as methods to attain atman sakshatkaram, tan sarvan = all those Karma yoga, karma = from karma, jan = are born, viddhi = understand. Sri Krishna tells that the various types of Karma yoga all originate from karma. That is the daily and occasional duties - nitya naimittika karma- are necessary for the Karma yoga one wants to pursue to have atman sakshatkaram. Evam jnatva = understanding this way, one gets Moksham or gets released. As an analogy, we can see how great rivers originate. Gangotri or Yamunotri are the places where the rivers Ganges and Yamuna originate. Here the rivers look like a very small streams. Then a number of tributaries join and the river flows gigantically in places like Kashi or Mathura. Finally all the rivers mingle in the ocean and disappear. We should think atman sakshatkaram like the rivers mingling in the ocean. The gigantic flow in the middle could be compared to the Karma yoga practiced. But the small stream at the origin could be compared to the nitya naimittika karma. Without this small stream, the big river can not be formed. One may do noble donations and grant help to many. But if he is ill treating his family members or if the wealth distributed is from ill gotten wealth, then the dhana [ donations] will never get him the desired result. Sri Krishna therefore advises that honest way of earning and faithful act of the daily routines one is expected to, are essentials for any Karma yoga listed by Him.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Sri Krishna enacted many pranks and plays in Gokulam , Brindavan and other places. Today's [29th October,2007] is from an important place -Govardana Giri. All the 1600 persons who accompanied this pilgrimage went round the Giri - called Parikrama. Sri Krishna once lifted and held this hill on His fingers and so He is called Govardan Giridhari. Once Indra out of anger made rains to lash this place. When the gopis and gopikas and the cattle ran, seven year old Sri Krishna protected all of them by lifting this hill. Though we are at the spot near the hill, Sri Krishna as Sri Giridhari, graces the devotees at Nath Dwaraka in Rajasthan. Out of the five places in Pancha Dwaraka, four are in Gujarat and one in Rajasthan. But we are in the state of Uttar Pradesh and this place is about 30 miles from Mathura. People here love and respect this hill so much and they call it as Giriraj or King of Hills. The Lord graces atop many hills like in Sri Sholingar and in Thirumala. But this is the only hill atop the Lord. To do parikrama we have to walk about 21 Kilometres. At some places the maximum height of 80 feet is there and at some other places the hill is not visible. Sage Pulastya once went to see Dronachalam hills. Govardan hill was the son of Dronachalam. The sage was attracted by the beauty of the Govardan with its water falls, springs and greenery. So, he requested Dronachalam to give away Govardan to him so that he could take it to Kasi and meditate sitting on Govardan. Dronachalam had no objection. But Govardan agreed to accompany Pulasthya with a condition that in case the sage places the hill on the way on the ground, then Govardan would stay put there itself and would not move further. Agreeing, the sage with his mystic power, compressed the Govardan hill to hand held size and made it weightless for easy transport. On the way the sage came to this spot and saw the prestige of this place where Sri Krishna played. Govardan hill also saw this place. This unique experience made the hill heavier and at one stage the sage could no longer hold it and so placed it on the ground. According to the condition, Govardan refused to move away from this place. We may have a doubt that how the hill which was formed much earlier to Sri Krishna avatar, could experience Sri Krishna's pranks and plays? But knowing the future only, the hill decided to stay here and be of service to the Lord. Pulasthya got angry on the hill and cursed that it would get reduced daily a mustard size. That is why a tall hill during Sri Krishna avatar, has come to this size over the long period. Now we will see the second half of 31st sloka. Earlier we saw the second half of 30th sloka and the first half of 31st sloka. There He told that he who selects one of the many Karma yoga listed and practices it sincerely, and part takes the remnants of those offered to the Lord, gets his sins dissolved and is able to realize the very ancient atman. Now the second half of the 31st sloka:

nayam loko ’sty ayajnasya
kuto ’nyah kuru-sattama

"O best of the Kuru dynasty, without performing yagna, None can live happily on this planet or in this life: what then of the next?"

Ayam loko = this world, na asty = is not for him, anya = the other world, kuta = where is going to be for him? kuru sattama = noble one of Kuru dynasty. Arjuna queries as to who will not have this and the other world? Ayajnasya = [this is the most important word in the sloka] the one who does not perform yagna. That is the one who does not perform the duties expected of him, he can not get this world. When this world is not there for him, the question of getting the other world, does not arise. Ayajnasya does not mean the one who does not do one of the thirteen Karma yoga listed. Everyone is expected to do certain daily and occasional - nitya and naimittika karma. Ordinary dharma like speaking truth, not stealing , nor aspiring for others' property, etc. are to be practiced. Additinally, depending on his varnam and ashram, he has to perform certain rituals. By following these he is said to have performed yagna. We need not imagine the yagna mentioned here as the one done with sacred fire and in front of an assembly of great scholars chanting mantras. In our daily life we commit unknowingly so many sins like killing insects and small creatures, while using stove [ even if it is gas/ electric], grinder [ even if it is mixie or wet grinders], pounders, sweeping and cooking. Unless these sins are washed off, mere pilgrimage or donations will not get us Moksham. To wash off these sins it is necessary, one practices the daily rituals prescribed. We have to look after our guests, feeed the animals, chant the Vedas to the extent possible, not failing to do the daily and occasional rituals, etc. Failing to do these will deprive him of this and the other worlds. That is the benefits of dharma, artha and kama [ righteousness, property and desire] will not accrue in this world. So, Moksham also will not be attained by him. So basic requirement is one has to perform without fail the prescribed duties. Kuru dynasty had many noble persons who performed their duties and so Arjuna should not think of abandoning fight which is a Kshatriya dharma.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


In Gopala vimsati, Swami Vedanta Desika, salutes Brindavan where Sri Krishna walked all over the place. Brinda is the name of a thorn and Brindavan indicates this was a forest full of these thorns. The Lord converted this place into a fine grazing place. Now the palce is full of greeneries all over. It appears that Sri Krishna came along with about 900,000 cows for grazing. He has performed Rasakreeta during the Vasantha Poornima and Sarath Poornima [ full moon corresponding to the spring and autumn seasons]. We are at a spot where a Rasakreeta took place. Even now, in the night one could hear the jingles of the ornaments gopikas and Sri Krishna were wearing. Such is the sanctity of this palce. This place is called sevakunj, and here Sri Krishna and Sri Radha are gracing the devotees. Lots of monkeys could be seen here. The temple doors are closed by evening. All the monkeys as though by an order, disappear from this place after 8 p.m. in the night and again come back only after sunrise. None is allowed to stay in the night here and the place is believed to be occupied by Sri Krishna and the gopikas for Rasakreeta. Swami Koorathalwan wonders whether the plants and trees sprouting are the result of goosebumps mother Earth had as He danced on Her. Now we will see the second half of sloka 30 and the first half of sloka 31:

sarve ’py ete yajna-vido
yanti brahma sanatanam

"All these performers who know the meaning of sacrifice become cleansed of sinful reactions by not discarding their daily and occasional duties, and tasted the nectar of the results of Karma yoga, they advance toward the atman sakshatkaram."

Sanatanam = very ancient, brahma = atman, yanti = they attain. That is atman sakshatkaram. Sarvepy ete = all the thirteen types of Karma yogis described so far, yajna = the duties one is expected to do daily and on special occasions, vida = performed properly. We can note that Sri Krishna is making no difference in the various types of Karma yogis He had described and all of them without exception get the same result. We have seen thirteen types of Karma yogis:

  • worshiping God by pooja [25th sloka]
  • offering ahuti in the agni imagined to be brahman[25th sloka]
  • senses offered as ahuti in the sense organs [26th sloka]
  • sense organs offered as ahuti in organ control [26th sloka]
  • activities of organs and the five air [prana] offered as ahuti in mind control ignited by gyana [27th sloka]
  • donating honestly earned materials [28th sloka]
  • volunteering body sufferings to meditate [28th sloka]
  • pilgrimage to sacred places and rivers [28th sloka]
  • chanting Vedas repeatedly [28th sloka]
  • reflecting on the meanings of Vedas [28th sloka]
  • offering prana in apana during poorakam [ 29th and 30th slokas]
  • offering apana in prana during rechakam [29th and 30th slokas]
  • offering all the five air in respective air during kumbhakam [ 29th and 30th slokas]
All these have certain common qualities while they practice different types of Karma yoga. They are speaking truth, follow dharma, not greedy after others' properties, fostering good qualities, etc. In addition they are expected to perform their daily and occasional duties. These will vary according to one's varna and ashram. For example, one is expected to perform annual rites for the deceased parents. Without doing these indulging in Karma yoga will not yield results. Even if one does advanced studies, one can not forget the basics like arithmetic. A famous wrestler also needs to do certain daily practices to keep the body in proper condition. This is what He indicates by saying yajna vida. Yajna = the karma he does, kalmasha = blemishes, ksapita = get nullified. Thus the performance of daily and occasional duties, wipe out the accrued sins. Yajna = the performed karma, sista = remaining, amrita = elixir, bhuja = by eating and consuming. For example, he does pooja and after offering the food to God, he eats the food. Similarly, after performing yagna, he uses the remaining prasad. After donating the honestly earned wealth, he uses the remaining for his requirements. So, by doing a lofty deed, the person uses the remaining for personal needs. This way he removes selfishness and lives for the society. Such persons attain the very ancient status of atman or see the atman. So, by not discarding one's daily and occasional duties, by eliminating sins accrued and by contentment with the residual of the lofty Karma yoga practiced, the persons actually consume the elixir of life and have the ancient atman sakshatkaram.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Though Sriman Narayana has many avatars, ten avatars are prominently mentioned. These avatars can be of two categories: one, mukya or important avatar and two, aavesh or transient and partial avatar. In the second category, He does not directly descends on the earth but possesses any living person for a specified period to aciehve certain results. Sri Parasurama avatar is of this category. Sri Rama and Sri Krishna avatars are in the mukya category. Sri Balarama was born as avatar of Adisesha. Today's [25th October, 2007] lecture is from Dauji mandir. River Yamuna flows nearby, thanks to Sri Balarama for having changed the course of the river. Sri Vishnu Puran tells us the story of the avatar of Sri Balarama. Due to the misrule and atrocities by persons like Kamsa, the sufferings of Sri Bhooma Devi [Mother Earth] became unbearable and so all devas under the leadership of Devendra, approached Sriman Narayana at Thirupparkadal [ Milky Ocean] and prayed for relief. Agreeing to help, Sriman Narayana plucked two hair strings from His head and threw them on the ground. One was white and the other was black. This was to indicate that white represented Sri Balarama and the black Sri Krishna. After growing and playing for ten eventful years in this Vrajabhoomi, they came to Mathura and after killing Kamsa remained there. In the highway from Delhi to Agra, at a place called Kosi, Seer ghar is there and Ramghat and dauji mandir are nearby. The entire place is pollution free and can be a welcome change for city dwellers. Now we will see three more Karma yogis described in the 29th sloka and in the first half of 30th sloka. All the three described practice pranayamam or breathing excercise. Now the sloka:
apane juhvati pranam
prane ’panam tathapare
pranapana-gati ruddhva
apare niyataharah
pranan pranesu juhvati

consists of three stages : poorakam, rechakam and kumbhakam. Poorakam is deep inhaling through one nostril with the other nostril bloked by our hand. Releasing the breathed air through a nostril is rechakam. Retention of the inhaled air is kumbhakam. The prana air in our body raises from stomach to the wind pipe. During poorakam, the inhaled air enters the wind pipe from the nostrils and pushes down the raising prana air. Apana air goes down from our stomach to anus. We have to now imagine the apana air as the agni or sacred fire and in this the prana air, which is pushed down by the poorakam proces in pranayamam, is offered as havis, like in a yagna. This is described by the words apane pranam juhvati = prana is offered into apana. This is pooraka action. Now, during rechakam, the exhaling forces air to go upwards from stomach to the nostrils via the wind pipe. This changes the direction of apana air from going down to raising up. Here we have to imagine prana air as the agni and in that apana air is offered as havis. This is mentioned in the words prane apanam = in prana apanam, tata = similarly, apare = by some others. Thus in rechakam stage apana is offered into prana as havis by some Karma yogis. Prana apana gati = the flow of prana air and apana air, ruddhva = are arrested, pranayama parayana = by those involved in the pranayamam excercise, pranan = prana and other four air[apana, vyana, samana and udhana] , pranesu = in their respective air [ that is prana into prana, apana into apana, etc.], juhvati = are offered as havis. This is the kumbhakam process , when we retain the breathed air in our body. At this time the prana air flow is stopped from going up and the apana air is arrested from flowing down. This pranayamam is not to be done just like that and Sri Krishna tells that niyata = controlled, ahara = food. Here the necessity to maintain the food intake limit is mentioned. Dharma shastras say that we have to consider our stomach to be of four equal parts, and food should occupy two parts, water one part and air the remaining one part. This way the body is maintained properly. Pranayamam apart from being a Karma yoga as mentioned here, could be done for our health. It is said that a normal person inhales and exhales 16 times a minute. Perturbed persons and sickly do these, may be 20 times. But by reducing these to say, 12 times, our health is improved. By meditating on the Lord, pranayamam can be a karma yoga and control our mind.


In Thiruppavai, in the 25th verse 'oruthi maganai', Sri Andal says Sri Krishna was born as the child of one woman [Devaki] in Mathura, but grew up as the child of another woman [Yasoda] in Gokulam. He was the eighth child of Devaki and Sri Balarama was conceivrd as the seventh child for her. At that time Sriman Narayana called Yogamaya, which was His power, and commanded her to do two things for Him. One was she should withdraw the fetus, which was to develop as Sri Balarama, from the womb of Devaki and place it in the womb of Rohini, another wife of Vasudeva, in Gokulam. Secondly, she should be born as a daughter of Yasoda in Gokulam, at the same time as Sri Krishna would be born as the eighth child of Devaki. Vasudeva would interchange the child Yogamaya with Sri Krishna so that Kamsa would think the eighth child of Devaki was a girl. She could then announce that Kamsa's real enemy was thriving at Gokulam. Since Sri Balarama was withdrawn from Devaki, He is called Sri Sankarshnam. Due to His extra ordinary strength He also got the name Sri Balarama. Both the brothers Sri Balarama and Sri Krishna had many a pranks in the Vrajabhoomi. Today's [24th October, 2007] lecture is from Ram ghat on the banks of Yamuna, where Sri Balarama exhibited His strength. Sri Balarama is referred to here as Dauji, as He was the elder brother. There is a temple for Sri Balarama here and we can see river Yamuna here. The river flow from Kher ghar to Seer ghat [ what we saw earlier], is about 5 kilometres, and is flowing in the opposite direction - South to North. Once when after a Rasakreeta here, Sri Balarama wanted to bathe in the river, He found the river was away and using His plough and strength He dragged the river to this place and the course of the river changed. This also justifies His name Sri Sankarshanan, as He dragged the river course. we will now see the other types of Karma yogis. In each of the 25th and 26th slokas, Sri Krishna listed two types of Karma yogi and in the 27th sloka one more was listed. Thus so far five types have been described. In the 28th sloka He describes five more types of Karma yogis:

dravya-yajnas tapo-yajna
yoga-yajnas tathapare
svadhyaya-jnana-yajnas ca
yatayah samsita-vratah

"Resolving to complete the efforts, some become enlightened by sacrificing their possessions, some others by performing severe austerities, some by pilgrimage to sacred places, some by studying the Vedas and some others to advance in knowledge."

Yataya = with good efforts, samsita vrata = resolved to complete the tasks undertaken without interruption. This adjective is common to the five types of people He is going to describe. All those are resolved to complete their tasks without interruption. Dravya yajna = performing oblations with materials. That is performing yagna or pooja or donating to needy persons, all these are done by this type of person. This requires lots of materials to be offered. But these materials are earned in an honest way. Materials earned by dishonest means can not be donated or offered and they will never erase the sins committed by wrong means. So says shatras. In fact, noble persons will not accept materials earned dishonestly. We have seen sacred materials are offered in the holy fire in yagnas. Costly silk sarees and dhoties are sometimes offered into the fire and these are reduced to ashes. Many may think that this is waste when lots of persons do not have dress to wear and food to eat. Yes, it is true that there are many deprived in our society, but this does not mean this activity is forbidden. These are having results but this does not mean we drop into the fire all sorts of things. At the same time we have to ponder over the crores of rupees being spent on crackers every Deepavali festival. This way of spending is not prescribed in our shastras. People do it for sheer enjoyment. None questions this. Whereas the offerings in yagna are all prescribed and are done chanting the relevent mantras. Yagnas bring prosperity. Even in a marriage, we print costly invitation cards and feed thousands of our friends and relatives. They are not needy ones and we drive out the beggars outside who need food for survival. All these are done to satisfy our ego. Donations are to be done to the needy only. This would please God also. Tapo yajna = voluntarily taking body sufferings and meditating. Meditating inside water or on mountain cliffs, not caring for weather conditions, etc. Such persons could be spotted in Himalayas even now. Yoga yajna = [the third type is] persons who undertake pilgrimage. Bathing in sacred rivers like Ganges or Kaveri, visiting sacred places like the 108 Divya desam, etc. This type of travel broadens one's mind and makes one to understand others, apart from devotion to God and temporary freedom from one's own place. Swadhyaya yajna = learning vedas thoroughly and practicing it all times. Gyana yajna = [this is the fifth type described in this sloka] understanding the true meanings of Vedas and other mantras. Thus five types of Karma yogis are listed here and all of them are determined to go ahead with their efforts and complete them. We have thus seen ten types of Karma yogis listed by Sri Krishna.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


In the sloka starting with hemanthe prathame mase.., in Srimad Bhagavatham, the young girls of Nandgaon, worshiped an idol of Sri Kathyayani Devi, to get married to Sri Krishna. This pooja was done in the first month of Hemantha Ruthu, that is Tamil month of Margazhi [Dec-Jan]. For the entire 30 days in that month, these girls used to observe strict diet of only rice cooked in milk. This happened in Dwapara yug in Nandgaon in North. Tamil literature shows that in the ancient culture bathing in ponds was in habit in Kaveripoom Pattinam. Similarly, this practice existed in Nandgaon to bathe in Yamuna river and worship Sri Katyayani Devi. Today's [ 23rd October, 2007] lecture is from the temple of Sri Kthyayani Devi. Sri Andal imagining Herself to be one of those gopikas of Nandgaon, practiced this vratham [ritual] in Kali yug in the down South of Srivilliputhur. In Her very first verse of Thiruppavai, She calls all Her freinds to bathe in the river Yamuna. In Thiruppavai, every verse will end with the words yelor empavaai. Pavaai is same as Tamil word pavai, which means padumai or vigraham or idol. So, Sri Andal worshiped Sri Kathyayani Devi idol and performed the rites, which gopikas did long, long ago. We will now go to the 27th sloka. As told earlier, 26th and 27th slokas describe the activities of three types of Karma yogi. In the 26th sloka we saw a person offering the sensual experiences such as listening, into the organs and destroys the desire for such experiences, like offering havis materials into sacrificial fire. In the same sloka we saw another type of person, who despite the objects for sensual experience available, has already offered the sensual organs into the fire of sensual organs control and so is immune to any desire for those objects. Now the 27th sloka:

prana-karmani capare
juhvati jnana-dipite

"Others, who are interested in achieving self-realization through control of the mind and senses, offer the functions of all the senses, and of the life breath, as oblations into the fire of the controlled mind."

Atma samyama = control of mind is the action of one more type of, yoga = Karma yogi. Earlier we saw a type where the objects of desire are avoided and thus control is effected. Another type was the control of organs themselves so that the desire for those organs are avoided. Here the mind which is superior to the sense organs , is controlled. This action of mind control is that of yet another type of Karma yogi. Certain people do not want to be in usual places so as to avoid all sorts of distractions. In this place, we saw a person, carrying a belt on the waist as tree climbers would wear and he has vowed to carry this for 18 years. He never removes it and with that only all his daily activities are done. So each person chooses a method to voluntarily undergo some physical hardship and control. Here, the person described controls the mind. Controlling the organs is hard. Controlling the external objects of desire is harder. Here, the control of mind is described which is much harder. Here mind control is personified as the sacrificial fire. How to ignite this fire? Gyana is the entity to ignite. Sarvani = all, indriyani = sense organs, karmani = activities, prana = our body has five types of air circulation - prana, apana, vyana,udana and samana - and are to function properly for the upkeep of our body system. One could live without the organs, but if prana air is removed, one dies. So these air circulations are essential. Prana air is inhaled and exhaled out of nostrils. Prana karmani capare = the functions of prana and other air circulations. Agnau = in th fire [ of mind control], juhvati = offers [ the organs functions and prana and other air circulation functions ] as ahuti. Thus, by igniting with Gyana, the mind control fire is made and in this the Karma yogi offers as havis all the activities of the organs and the functioning of prana and other air circulation in the body. Gyana deepa means the knowledgethat atman and body are different, that atman is superior to body, that atman is an embodiment of Gyana, that atman is indestructible,that atman should be freed from the miseries of samsara, that atman sakshatkaram should be realized and that many noble things have to be done to the society and country. This thinking makes one to control mind. The small fire spark of atman gyana will manifest as the big flame of mind control in the sacrificial fire. We can avoid undesirable objects of desire to some extent but not always and at all times. Organ control would be better. But mind control would be far better. We have experienced that sometimes, even when we are looking at an object, our mind might not be involved. Then that object never affects us. Therefore this type of control some Karma yogi practice. This is the 5th type Sri Krishna describes.

Monday, October 22, 2007


We are at the spot where Sri Krishna as a boy teased gopikas. The gopikas went for bathing in Yamuna. They removed all their dresses and bathed naked. Sri Krishna wanted to teach them and so He hid all their dresses on the nearby tree branches. Gopikas finding their dresses not on the shore, found Sri Krishna sitting on the branch of the tree. They prayed Him to give back their dresses. He wanted them to salute Him. They did with one hand and the other hand was used to hide their modesty. But He did not accept it as saluting with single hand was against shastras. Then they tried to combine two girls' hands to make one folded namaskar and the other hand of each of them to cover their modesty. Sri Andal says that gyana is our garment and that only will give the person respect. If this garment is lost, then we are in the samsara ocean and we are haunted by the five organs acting as sharks. In this situation we pray the Lord to give us Gyana or the garment to protect us from the sharks. This spot is called seera haran [ dress grabbing]. Later, Sri Krishna gave back their dresses and they also went home. We will now go to the 26th sloka. In the 211st, 22nd and 23rd slokas, Sri Krishna advised Arjyna to view Karma as Gyana and vice versa. In the 24th sloka He said that a Karma yogi views all the havis, the agni, himself and the ladles used, as Brahman. From 25h to 29th slokas, He describes various types and one could choose anyone. In the 25th sloka two types were described: one performing pooja to God's idol and the other performing homam or yagna using sacred fire. Here we should not think that the first type is superior to others. All are equal and yield the same result. Now in the 26th sloka and in the first half of 27th sloka, He describes three types of Karma yogis. Now 26th sloka:

srotradinindriyany anye
samyamagnisu juhvati
shabdadin visayan anya
indriyagnisu juhvati

"Some [karma yois] sacrifice the hearing process and the senses in the fire of mental control, and others sacrifice the objects of the senses in the fire of the senses."

Here also a type of yagna is mentioned, but there is no fire or actual havis to be offered. We are to imagine certain things here. Srotradindriyay = sensual organs like ears, anye = another type of Karma yogi, juhvati = offers into, samyam = control of senses, agnisu = fires like. There is no actual fire but we have to imagine control of sensual organs as the fire. In an yagna, havis are offered into the fire. Here, this Karma yogi offers, the sensual organs into this imaginary fire of control of senses. This way his senses do not drift. Here plural is used in the word fire. Because each sensual organ requires separate sense control and so we can imagine five 'fires' for the five senses. In the next type we have to imagine the sense organs as agni or fire. Shabdadi vishayan = sensual experience like listening are, juhvati = offered into, indriyagnisu= the sense organs [fires], anya = by yet another type of Karma yogi. All the sensual experience like listening, tasting, etc., are offered into their respective organs. This means those organs destroy those experiences like fire destroys the havis offered. There is a shastra that of all the things to be controlled the prime is control of sense organs. The organs are with us in our control. But the objects for these senses are outside us and they are not in our control. In the second type, therefore, the Karma yogi avoids all those outside him which could cause sensual attractions in him. If we know a place for gambling, we avoid that and this is the second type mentioned in this sloka. In the first type, since this Karma yogi has already got control of senses, these external objects do not disturb him. This way Sri Krishna mentions the 3rd and 4th types of Karma yogi.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Today’s [19th October, 2007] lecture is from a spot in Kamya vanam called Bhojan sthali. This is the place where Sri Krishna used to sit and take His food. This spot is quite interior and so many might not be aware of this. The impressions of the leaves in which Sri Krishna and Sri Balarama took food are on a rock. Mud tumblers in which they drank milk are also there. Above this place is the rock on which Sri Krishna used to take rest. Here He used to have dessert. He liked kheer or payasam or in Sri Vishnava sampradayam, thirukannamudhu. It seems as He drank this payasam, some overflowed from His mouth and fell into a pond below called Kshirasagaram. Now we will see the 25th sloka. He explains now on various branches in Karma yoga. We can choose that which suits us and practice it. The final result for all these is the same that is atman sakshatkaram. The 25th sloka:

daivam evapare yajnam
yoginah paryupasate
brahmagnav apare yajnam

"Some yogis enthusiastically worship God by offering different poojas , and some others offer havis in the fire of the Supreme Brahman."

Here two types of Karma yogis are described. Apare = some other, yogina = [karma] yogis, daivam = performing poojas to God, paryupasathe = enthusiastically do. Here yajna means pooja. This is the first category. Apare = yet other, brahmgnau = in the fire of bramham, yagnam = havis or the materials to be offered , yajnena = using ladles etc., juhvati = perform yagna. This is the second category. In the first category, some Karma yogis perform pooja with enthusiasm. Performing pooja has been the tradition in Hindu families since long. Poojas are nine according to Prahlada, when he was questioned by his father as to what he learnt in the school. Those are: shravanam [listening to God’s glories], keerthanam [singing in praise of the Lord], vishno smaranam [meditating on Lord Vishnu], pada sevanam [serving at His feet], archanam [uttering His names and offering fresh flowers], vandanam [falling at His feet], dasyam [considering as His servant and serving], sakhyam [to be friendly with God] and atma nivedanam [we should realize our atman is His and so surrender to God]. Hiranyakasipu got angry and questioned his son as to who was behind teaching these, and the son replied, “ He is the same who makes you to utter these words”. He says Sri Narayana is the only shastha [Leader] for all. Sri Krishna tells this only here. The pooja rules are as simple as one would get ready daily. Poojas can be performed to salagrama or pictures or idols. The actual method has to be learnt from elders in the family or from an Acharya, but certain basic things will be mentioned here. Pooja has to be performed daily, but as an exception, we can skip due to unavoidable reasons. He is to be woken up in the morning, chanting suprabhatam. By opening the box or small mantap in which the salagrama or idol is kept, we have to gently clap the hands thrice. We may sing angan ma gyalatharasar of Thiruppavai here. Then we have to pray that though we are unqualified to perform pooja, He should with grace accept our pooja. We have to then act as if brushing His teeth, cleaning His tongue and bathe Him. In Vallabhacharya sampradaya, they take several hours to do all these services to the Lord and fondly address Him as Thakurji. All these are done till He is made to sleep. He should be decorated with good dress and ornaments. We can then sing all sthothras and pasurams. Then we have to offer the food cooked. After resting Him on His bed we have to pray to forgive for all the deficiencies in the pooja [sloka: upacharathe…kshamasva purushottama]. After this only we can take the offered food for our use. This way daily pooja has to be performed. In the second category, in the sacred fire the karta offers ghee, milk, etc., using ladles. Here a word of caution. Only yagnas performed by those who have learnt the Vedas thoroughly and conversant with the rules, are in this category.

Thursday, October 18, 2007



Bhavabhave mesthubava prasadat

So prays Kulasekara Alwar in Mukundamala. He says he should ever remember His feet. Nammalwar and Thirumangai Alwar also state that His feet are the only asylum. Today’s [18th October, 2007] is from Kamyavanam, about 10 miles from Nandgaon. Here Sri Krishna has played and performed pranks. This is kamya or kama vanam and will increase kamam in us. Is kamam good or bad? As long as we develop desire for learning or in forming good character or in making our children good citizens or in devotion to God, we have to nourish kamam. For mean and cheap things we should totally avoid kamam. Also desire could be there but it should not become greed. We are on the top of a small hillock. From here if we look down we see a pond called lukaluka kundam. Sri Krishna used to play in the waters with His gopi friends. The friends will reach pinnacle of happiness and a little more may make them dead. At that time, Sri Krishna would disappear and when all His friends long to see Him, He would appear on the hilltop and play flute. With the left foot firmly on the ground and the right foot bent and crossed with only the toes on the ground He would play on the flute and delight His friends. A calf would be behind Him and lick His feet. This is available here as imprints. We can see only the left foot print and since the right foot was bent its imprint is not there. We can also see the hoof prints of the calf. Alwar asks the Lord whether He lifted the Govardana hill and as Sri Vamana measured the entire universe with His feet. The Lord told that those feats couldn’t be repeated now. Alwar says that he never wanted that but asked the Lord to show the majestic shoulders, which lifted the hill and the feet, which measured the universe. We were not fortunate to have been born when Sri Krishna was playing but at least we are fortunate to see these imprints. From this charan pahadi we will see the 24th sloka. From 25th sloka He is going to describe the various types of Karma yoga. But first the famous 24th sloka:

brahmarpanam brahma havir
brahmagnau brahmana hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyam

"A person who sees Brahman in all activities of a yajna, views Brahman and Karma as same and gets atman darshan."

The one who sees Brahmam in all one’s actions will reach Brahman. Sriman Narayana is the Brahman and He is the inner significance in all karma. Bahaman karma samadhi = viewing Brahman and karma as same. Our daily routines like eating, sleeping, etc., are all viewed as Brahman. Advantage of this is we will not do bad things. We will not be greedy to grab others’ properties. We will never do cheating or scheme to create problems for others. Then, brahmaiva tena gantavyam = he will get atman sakshatkaram. Here Brahman means atman. Brahmana = by the jeevatman. In homam or yagna, we would have noticed a person sitting in front of the sacrificial fire. He is karta. He holds wooden or metallic ladles. With these he would scoop ghee or cooked rice or curd and offer in the fire. The offered materials such as ghee are called havis and the process of offering is called ahuti. Brahmarpanam = the ladles etc used to offer havis is considered as Brahman, brahma havir = the havis is considered as Brahman, brahmagnau = the fire is considered as Brahman, brahmana = the karta is considered as Brahman, hutam = ahuti is done or offered. So Brahman [ karta] offers Brahman [havis] with Brahman [ ladle] into Brahman [fire]. He, who sees Brahman in all, views Brahman and karma as same and gets atman sakshatkaram. When one eats food, the hand that feeds, the mouth and the person doing are all considered as Brahman and the entire process is for the happiness of the Brahman. He gets atman sakshatkaram. .

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


In Her Thiruppavai 17th verse 'ambarame thanneere..', Sri Andal wakes up Nandagopa, Yasoda, Sri Krishna and Sri Balarama sleeping in the palace of Nandagopa. Today's [17th October 2007] lecture is from Nanda Bhavan in Nandgaon. After migrating from Gokulam, Nandagopa built his house here and around this place lots of spots are there where Sri Krishna played. We are at a spot called dhadhi manthana sthal, where Yasoda used to churn curd daily. Sri Krishna liked curd only and so He would prevent His mother churning curd to take out butter and dilute it to make buttermilk. Thirumangai Alwar says, she would churn the curd and preserve the butter collected in a hanger vessel so that Sri Krishna could not take the butter and after ensuring He is asleep, would go out to see other works. But Sri Krishna would get up immediately after His mother had gone out and take out the butter and swallow them. He would also roll down the vessels containing buttermilk. From here we can view Akrura marg. Akrura was sent by Kamsa to fetch Sri Krishna and Sri Balarama to Mathura. Akrura accompanied them in this marg or street only. Gopikas would weep the moment they saw this street as Sri Krishna took leave of them for the last time here. In Mathura on the western banks of amuna Sri Krishna was born and just crossing the river we come to Gokulam. From here they migrated to Nandgaon, 40 miles away. In between we can see Govardan giri. Unlike Gokulam on the Eastern banks, Mathura, Govardanam and Nandgaon are all on the Western side. Some 7 KM away from Nandgaon, at a place called Barsana, Radha was brought up, though She was born in Radhan. On another side in the border of Rajasthan, there is a place Kamyavanam, where Sri Krishna played. Now the 23rd sloka:

gata-sangasya muktasya
yajnayacaratah karma
samagram praviliyate

"The work of a man who is unattached to the modes of material nature and who is fully situated in transcendental knowledge destroys entirely papa."

Karma = all our sins, samagram = in toto, praviliyate = are destroyed. In what way? Gata = relinquishing, sangasya = attachments, muktasya = he who has been relieved from this earthly or samsara bondage, cetasa = mind of, jnanavasthita = fully engrossed in atman. He is engrossed in atman and so he has no passion or attachments and so is relieved of the shackles that bind him to samsaram. A millionaire will not care to do a job costing two rupees, while a person earning five rupees only may be interested. We are all attached to these worldly pleasures either we have not seen pleasures better than what we experience or we do not know the others' better comforts and happiness. A person engrossed in atman knows the value of the happiness and so he has no care for the worldly pleasures. Yajnaya = for the sake of yagna only, acarata = he does any karma. Such a person's sins are all destroyed in toto. Layam means an object becomes its initial stage. Pralayam means all the created objects attain their initial stage. So the papa also reach their initial stage means they are completely nullified. Here we should note that the karma or action is not nullified, but the papa which are incurred while doing any action get nullified. To achieve this we should not aspire for inferior rewards, but do all with dedication to the Lord. Atman is different from the body it is residing and so the karmas the body performs do not attach to the atman. This basic knowledge should be the undercurrent in every action of ours and then no sins can be incurred. We have to analyze our actions dispassionately and we can find the root and avoid conflicts. If others accuse us, instead of getting angry and thinking that the other person was responsible, we should realize that our papa was responsible for that conflict. Conflicts happen because something happens against our expectations. Sri Krishna thus advises to see karma in Gyana and gyana in Karma.


Pitharam matharam dharan puthran bandhun sakhin gurun
rathnani dhana dhanyani kshetrani cha gruhani cha...
In this sloka, we are told of the greatness of His feet and we should relinquish all others and firmly cling to His feet. Sri Krishna's feet was pressed all over Brindavan. We are at a place called charan pahadi. Here His feet impressions are preserved on a small hillock and hence the name. Like a fossil these are preserved over thousands of years. The salagrama murthy we perform pooja daily is also a fossil. On this footprints a small temple is being raised. Pilgrims visiting here place their heads on this and get mental soalce.The feet have superiority. Just as a child though loves its mother, has special liking for the breasts that feed it, devotees have special consideration for the feet though they love God. We will now see the Gita slokas. From 21st sloka Sri Krishna is advising to see gyana in every karma we do. Now the 22nd sloka:

dvandvatito vimatsarah
samah siddhav asiddhau ca
kritvapi na nibadhyate

"He who is satisfied with gain which comes of its own accord, who is free from duality and does not envy, who is steady in both success and failure, is never entangled, although performing actions."

Na nibadyate = he is not bound by the samsaram or the earthly bonds, kritvapi = even while doing his karma. If our karma are noble and we do not have attachments to results, then papa/ punya will not be incurred. There can be doubts in many as to whether all these are only theoretical and have no practical applicability? For example, if we think we do a job for money then it is inferior. We have to raise the scope and ensure we do for some noble cause. Slowly this way will lead to atman sakshatkaram. Sri Krishna assures this here. So far Sri Krishna has been advising Arjuna to do karma. Arjuna has four doubts. Firstly, in the process of doing a karma, one has to encounter difficulties or occupational hazards. Secondly, doing a work makes one to do more work and there is no end but gets greedy and passionate. Thirdly, if our work gets impeded we develop anger and jealousy. We can not get good name for all acts of us. There will be unwanted comments from so many. We tend to do our work so that others do not make comments. For example, apart from job prospects all try to admit their children in B.E. courses and not in B.Sc. This is because, many are afraid that by admitting their children in B.Sc,. others might comment satirically. We are more concerned about others' comments. Lastly, how to overcome comforts and discomforts and success and failure? So his four doubts - consequential hazards, getting more work and tending to be greedy, overcoming anger at impediments and viewing victory and defeat- while doing a karma, is answered by Sri Krishna. Yadruccha labha = getting those which come on their own, santushta = and be happy and content with that, dvandvatito = crossing the twins of comforts and discomforts, heat and cold, vimatsara = no prejudice against others and be indifferent to others' accusations, sama siddhau asiddhav ca= also viewing success and failure equally. Sri Krishna answers all the four doubts with four answers. By being content with what he gets and not increasing his needs, he does not have any difficulty in continuing his work without any expectation and so greed does not creep in. Overcoming heat and cold makes him equal to success and failures. By being indifferent to accusations he avoids prejudices. Such a person will not be bound by the samsaram and he can have atman sakshatkaram.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Sri Krishna used to graze the cows in Brindavan and every day He had to face one or the other threats from Kamsa. In Gokulam in the first five years Sri Krishna was harassed by Kamsa and to avoid others being discomforted, they moved 30 miles away to Nandagrama [ known as Nandgaon]. Gokulam was just across the river and much nearer to Mathura. He spent the next five years here. Today's [ 15th October 2007] lecture is from Nandagrama. There are many places to be visited here. The spot where we are today is called Nand baitak, where Nandagopa used to conduct discussions with his ministers. Very near this place is Uddhav kyari. This is about 15 acres and here Sri Krishna's great devotee Uddhav came. Ten years after His birth, when He was in Mathura after killing Kamsa and installing His grandfather as King, Sri Krishna thought of the Gopikas and wanted Uddhava to go to console them of His separation from them. Uddhava was a great Gyani and learned person and so he thought of advising the Gopikas of meditating on Sri Krishna. But after reaching this Uddhav kyari and after bath and other activities, he observed the Gopikas and came to the conclusion that they did not need any tution on Gyana yoga. Rather he thought he had to learn from them what devotion or bhakti was. In all these places devotion and peace are aplenty. We can see birds singing, peacocks dancing and deer grazing and running. Entire place is green with many ponds scattered all over. After Sri Krishna's departure, all the Gopis and Gopikas used to assemble at this Nand baitak and recollect Sri Krishna's plays and spend time happily. From here we will see the next sloka. Slokas 21, 22 and 23 are of explanatory nature. How by doing our daily karma we can destroy our papa/ punya and avoid rebirth and attain happiness. Now the 21st sloka:

nirasir yata-cittatma
sariram kevalam karma
kurvan napnoti kilbisam

"Such a man of understanding acts with mind and intelligence perfectly controlled, gives up all sense of proprietorship over his possessions, and acts only for the bare necessities of life. Thus working, he is not affected by sinful reactions."

Kilbisam = papa and the consequent samsaram or earthly life, napnoti = he will not get, who? Sri Krishna tells that he will not attain the life in this world due to sins. Who is that person? He identifies three symptoms or features. Nirasi = desireless, that is detached and not interested in the results or rewards. We go for work to earn. If without work we are paid, we will feel highly uncomfortable and there will be a constant fear that we are unwanted in that workplace. Sri Krishna tells here that we should not aspire for cheap and worldly rewards, but keep our goal as a supreme one. Atma = mind, cit = wandering on all sorts of thoughts, yata = well controlled. Our mind has three stages says Swami Ramanuja in his Sri Bhashyam. First is chinta or the thinking stage. Next is abimanam or ahankaram, wandering on all sides and thinking as 'mine'. hird stage is resolving to do a thing and then it is called buddhi. So a mind when thinking on all is called chintha, if it tries to claim all as its, then it is abimanam or ahankaram and finally when the mind resolves to do a thing it is called buddhi. This mind has to be controlled. Parigraha = abimanam, or 'mine' thinking. Tyakta = abandoned. Sareeram = to keep this body alive, kevalam = only to that extent, karma = those basic actions or karma. hat person does not get this birth cycle suffering, and Sri Krishna identifies that person with three marks or symptoms. He has no desire for inferior pleasures like heaven or other worldly happiness. He does not allow his mind to wander and think of all sorts of things nor he tries to think all are his. He maintains his body just to keep the life in it running so that he could do all the karma prescribed by shastras and for the good of the society or country. Such a person is not affected by papa and so does not suffer rebirths.