Thursday, November 29, 2007


Perialwar's original name was Vishnuchittha. In his Upadesa RAthnamalai, Swami Manavala Mamunigal, tells that while all the Alwars had care for the Lord, Perialwar had overflowing care and love and so he is called Perialwar. Like a mother he was worried about the welfare of the Lord as He stole butter and ate, and the troubles Asuras were making around Him. His daughter Sri Andal married the Lord. He has sung devotedly about Sri Kallazhagar of this temple. Though he was a native of Srivilliputhur, he expired in Thirumaliruncholai. The place where great persons like Alwars join the feet of the Lord, is called 'Thiruvarasu' and today's [ 30th November, 2007] lecture is from the Perialwar Thiruvarasu. It is a small mandapam amidst enchanting garden surrounding. This hill gets another honour as the launch pad where Perialwar joined the Lord in Vaikuntam. In his songs on this Kshetram, Perialwar tells us the history that the Pandyan king Malayadwaja worshiped the Lord here. Normally in all Kshetrams, Nammalwar's joining the feet of the Lord is celebrated on the last day of Adyayanotsavam, that is on the last day of Irappathu [ ten nights]. But here to mark the special significance of Perialwar's association with this Kshetram, on the tenth day of Pagalpatthu [ ten days], Perialwar's joining the feet of the Lord is celebrated. This place is surrounded by trees, plants, hill peak and the animals and birds,and all are reflections of nature's beauty. Nammalwar, that is why calls it ' mayal migu cholai' or making us crazy garden. In this Perialwar Thiruvarasu, we can recollect an incidence associated with Nammalwar. When Nammalwar was getting ready to depart from this world and start his journey to Vaikuntam, the Lords of three Divya Desams arrived at him. They were, Sri Kalamega Prumal of Thirumogur, Sri Adikesava Perumal of Thiruvattaru and Sri Sundarabahu of this Kshetram. Sri Kallazhagar told Alwar that he could now go to Vaikuntam. But Alwar was perplexed. Normally, none goes to Vaikuntam wih this mortal body and so Alwar has to cast off his mortal body here. But the Lord said that, just as in the modern day we preserve great souls' bodies, He wanted to show Nityasooris in Vaikuntam, the wonderful body of Alwar and preserve it there! But Alwar refused saying that everyone wanted to discard the earthly body as that was the cause of so many miseries. Finally, the Lord conceded and took his soul alone along with Him. This shows the great love the Lord had for the body of Alwar. This happened because of this place driving everyone crazy. We will now see the 11th sloka:

kayena manasa buddhya
kevalair indriyair api
yoginah karma kurvanti
sangam tyaktvatma-shuddhaye

"The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification."

Here Sri Krishna is setting up the the Customs of eldrs [aacharam] as an example we have to emulate. Earlier He told that just as water does not stick to a lotus leaf, papa of any Karma will not stick to that person who does Karma with the concept that the organs are doing their assigned duties, that karma is not done by atman[ me] and that not desiring for lower rewards. Now He cites that ancestors lived like that only. Kayena = by body, manasa = by mind, buddhya = by resolve, kevalair indriyair api= and even by the organs without 'I-am-doing' feeling, yogina = he who has practiced Karma yoga, karma kurvanti = is doing his activities, sangam tyaktva = relinquishing rewards, atma shuddhaye = but only for the purification of his mind. In every action we have to have the unity of mind, body and word or speech. That is one should speak what the mind thinks and act according to speech. Such persons are all called Mahatma. Karma yogi will act like this and will always be constantly thinking of atman. They do not desire any rewards because they want their mind to be removed of all pollutants and become pure.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Today's [29th November, 2007] lecture is from the sannidhis of Swami Ramanuja and Swami Koorathalwar in Sri Sundararaja Perumal koil in Thirumaliruncholai. Both of them are connected with this Kshetram. Swami Ramanuja came to this temple and did an important service to Sri Andal. Swami Koorathalwar was born and brought up in a village Kooram in between Kanchipuram ana d Arakkonam. Learning the greatness of Swami Ramanuja, he relinquished all his property and became Swami Ramanuja's disciple and all of them settled in Srirangam. Swami Ramanuja, unable to bear the problems from the king, left Srirangam and stayed in Melkote / Thirunarayanapurm in the West [Karnataka]. Swami Koorathalwar too left Srirangam and came to Thirumaliruncholai, in the South. He expressed his seamless love for God in Five sthothras, known as Panchsthavam. He composed Sri Sundarabahu sthavam, in praise of the Lord here and is being recited daily. As a mark of His care for Swami Koorathalwar, the Lord arrives here every Thai month Hastham star - the birth day of Swami Koorathalwar- and receives all the temple honours. The Lord here has handsome shoulders and that is why he is called Sundara [Handsome] Bahu [ shoulder]. Alwars imagine Him to be the desire-fulfilling Karpaga tree and the shoulders are the branches. Moolavar is called Sri Paramaswamy- that is there is none superior to Him. He and the Utsavar, grace the devotees with Five weapons - Conch, Discus, Mace, Sword and Bow. Discus in the right hand of the Moolavar, is in the Prayoga pattern- that is ready to fly and destroy the enemies and protect the devotees.
The right lower hand is held to direct the devotees to fall at His feet. While, the right lower arm of the Utsavar is in the Dhaana mudra, ever granting all the desires of the devotees. Swami Koorathalwar says that whatever the Lord does is all pleasant to him, just like we admire a child whatever it does. The jaws of the Lord here are slightly fattened, according to Swami Koorathalwar. He thinks this is due to mother Yasoda frequently holding the Lord's jaws and fondling Him. Such a captivating image if remains in our minds, then the mind will never drift away. This idea is brought in the 10th sloka:

brahmany adhaya karmani
sangam tyaktva karoti yah
lipyate na sa papena
padma-patram ivambhasa

"One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water."

He is not touched by papa. What has he to do? Karmani = all his actions, brahmany = sense organs [which are the effect of prakruti. Brahmam means very large moola prakruti, which slowly transforms into our organs], adhaya = are doing, sangam tyaktva = not desiring for any inferior and cheap rewards, karoti = is doing his karma. So one has to do his rightful duty. It has to be done not with the presumption that 'I-am-doing'. It should be done not for any low and cheap rewards. Sa = such a Karma yogi, na lipyate = is untouched or unaffected, papena = by papa, just like padma patram = lotus leaf, ambhasa = by water [unaffected or does not become wet]. Lotus plant is grown in plenty of water , still any amount of water does not wet the leaves.Similarly, a Karma yogi, in spite of living in this world and doing all the activities, is unaffected by them and he is free from all the papas arising out of the actions. Why this sloka has come up? In the last sloka, He listed 13 activities and told that all these are done by the respective agents like organs or vayu, and this concept makes the person to practice Karma yoga properly. Arjuna gets three doubts. Assuming one does with the concept that he is not responsible for all actions, but if he does a karma for seeking wealth or child, will he not get what he desired for? Can he get ataman sakshatkaram? What is the use of such a karma? That is one can assume that one is not doing a karma but one can aspire for various results. Second doubt is, what benefit will accrue by abandoning the feeling that 'I-am-not-doing', and at te same time time doing all the activities? That is mere thought that one is not doing, will it get any benefit? Thirdly, we have to live in this world and so all its advantage and disadvantages have to be felt by us. How, then we can escape these? All these are replied in thhis sloka. Sri Krishna tells Arjuna not to desire for lower rewards. He is not telling not to have any desire for results but keep our goal at a high pedastal. This answers the first doubt. This thought that 'I-am-doing', if abaandoned, then the stigma of sins will ot adhere to him. So this is the reward for doing karma in that way. This is the answer for the second doubt. By giving the example of the Lotus leaf, He answers the third doubt also. Amidst the world with all sinful actions, his action will never cause any papa unto him, like water never wets a lotus leaf.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


In his Thiruvaimozhi [2.10], Nammalwar, says 'kilaroli ilamai keduvathan munnam..', meaning one should go to Thirumaliruncholai hill, before one loses vigorous youth, that is before becoming old. If we imagine Sri Bhoomadevi as South India, then She has the Thirumala hills on one side and Thirumaliruncholai on the other. Both are seven hills. This is also called Vrishabadri. Vrishabam means bull, in Sanskrit. Yama meditated here and according to his prayers, the Lord is appearing here as Sri Sundara Raja. Yama got the temple, pond and all others constructed with the assistance of Vishwakarma. Moolavar is called Sri Parama Swami and Uthsavar is Sri Sundara Tholudayan and Sri Kallazhagar. At the entrance to the temple, there is Padinettampadi Karuppan. Today's [27th November, 2007] lecture is from here only. Once, eighteen persons from Kerala came here with the idea of carrying the idol and its power to their place. But the devotees here, knowing their intention, got the idea destroyed and made them to remain here as Eighteen steps at the entrance. Thus the name. The leader among them, after worshiping the Lord, prayed the Lord to make him stay here permanently and accordingly he is stationed here as the watch-god for the temple and he is called Karuppanna Swami. The doors are normally not opened and any disputes of villagers here are settled in front of this door. Karuppanaswami is honoured by offering the garlands used by the Lord, daily. He is alos offered all the prasadams of the Lord after the six time pooja. Annually, before going to the river Vaigai, on Chitra Pournami, the Lord first stands before this gate to bless Karuppanna swami. We will now see the Eighth sloka. In the Seventh sloka, Sri Krishna told that by practicing Karma yoga, one's mind gets purified and is in control and so, one is able to control the sense organs. He views all as equal and whatever action one does, papa never adheres. From now till 12th sloka important message is given out. Swami Alavandar, while summarising the 5th Chapter, told that Karma yoga yields result early and easily. Karma yoga should be done with a feeling of akartrutva, or 'I-am-not-doing' sense. This is most important. We will see both Eighth and Ninth slokas together as they convey a single message:

naiva kincit karomiti
yukto manyeta tattva-vit
pasyan shrinvan sprsan jighrann
asnan gacchan svapan svasan

pralapan visrjan grhnann
unmisan nimisann api
vartanta iti dharayan

"A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all. Because while speaking, evacuating, receiving, or opening or closing his eyes, he always knows that only the senses are engaged with their objects and that he is aloof from them."

Yukto = one who is practicing Karma yoga, tattva-vit = in order to understand the true knowledge of atman, manyeta = thinks like this. Kincit karomiti = even a small work also, naiva = not done [ by him]. A true Karma yogi in pursuit of the real knowledge of atman, never thinks, at anytime, that even a small work or karma was done by him. Are we not coming to the temple? Are we not prostrating? Are we not chanting His names? Then, why does He say that Karma yogi never feels that he is not doing any of these? All these and the domestic activities are done by the sense organs and not by the atman. He is resolved that the organs are doing their duties. Api = even [ this word has to precede every activity Sri Krishna is listing now], pasyan = seeing, shrinvan = listening, sprasan = touching, jighran = smelling, asnan = tasting, gacchan = walking, svapan = sleeping, svasan = breathing, pralapan = talking, visrijan = passing away [ stool and urine], grahnan = grabbing, unmisan = eyes opening, nimisan = eyes closing, he thinks all the respective organs are doing these activities and atman has nothing to do with these actions. We have earlier seen that no action is done by an individual but is the team work of five : God, atman, body, organs and the [five] airs [ prana, apana, vyana, samana and udhana]. Sri Krishna has listed 13 activities here. Of these, the first five are of Gyanendriya [knowledge seeking] organs. Walking, talking, grabbing and passing off waste matter are all of Karmendriya or organs of action. He then lists four activities of the five airs - sleeping, breathing, closing eyes and opening eyes. These activities will always be done whether one wants to do or not. Even while sleeping or in faint, we breathe. If one in sleep blabs, one after waking up says that it was done by the mouth. Same one, while in wake-up stage can not say that the mouth is speaking but says he was speaking. Actually, atman never speaks and it is the organ for speech has spoken. This body and all organs have all arrived at this soul. Soul does not need any of them. Atman by itself, can get all the knowledge and experience these organs individually do. This is possible only when we realize atman swaroopam. Indriyani = all organs, indriyartesu = their respective organ based duties, vartante = are there, iti = like these, dharayan = resolved. Karma yogi, resolves that all the organs are to do their respective duties and atman has nothing to do with those activities. Such a resolved thinking takes him away from this samsaram and leads him to atman sakshatkaram and Moksham.

Monday, November 26, 2007


We have now arrived at another important Divya desam in Pandya region. Of the 18 Divya desams in Pandya region, we are at Sri Kallazhagar temple in Thirumaliruncholai. This place is called Malirunkunram, Maliruncholai, Vrishabadri, etc. This place is mentioned in the ancient sanga literature like Paripadal and Silappadikaram. Puranas acclaim the greatness of this Kshetram. Six of the Ten Alwars have sung in praise of this place. Today's [27th November, 2007] lecture is from this temple. Sri Krishna has stated that Karma yoga yields the same result as Gyana yoga would, and does it quicker and easier. Now the Seventh sloka:

yoga-yukto vishuddhatma
vijitatma jitendriyah
kurvann api na lipyate

" A Karma yogi gets purity of mind, control of mind and control of senses. For him all living beings are alike him and the actions he is doing never affect him"

Here all benefits accrue to a Karma yogi, are listed like a staircase. Yoga yukta = one who is practicing Karma yoga, visuddhatma = gets purified mind without any blemish, vijitatma = wins his mind, meaning has full control of mind, jitendriya = and so, all sense organs are controlled. By practicing Karma yoga, the mind is serene and pure, mind gets controlled and all organs get controlled. Such a person's next level is sarva bhuta = all living beings, atma bhuta = equal to himself, kurvannnapi= even when he is doing his karma, na lipyate = is not affected [by any confusion which are opposing his atman sakshatkaram]. This way the Karma yogi attains Moksham very easily. The Lord here is called Sri Kallazhagar, which means Beautiful Thief. Since He steals our hearts, He is called like that. By stealing our minds, they do not drift away from devotion. What is purity of mind? Was it polluted? Raga- dvesha and kama-krodha are the ones which pollute our minds. When our minds get pure, we should be away from likes and dislikes, happiness and sorrow. With such impurities we develop hatred on some and unwanted liking on others. Continuous practice of Karma yoga gets all these impurities cleared. This can be explained by a small story. A person lived in a place and in front of his house there was a huge rock. One day, God came in his dreams and ordered him to shift the rock. Waking up, he tried his best, but the rock was huge and could not move it. He went on trying daily, for almost a month. Neighbours laughed at him for his useless pursuit. Again God appeared in his dreams. He lamented at his efforts going in vain. God pacified him and said that He does not need his help to push the rock and saying, with His toe He effortlessly pushed the rock aside. But He wanted to test whether the person would heed His orders. Person's duty was to follow what was ordered and result was with God. The person asked whether that meant he did not get any benefit? God replied and told him to look at a mirror. When he did that he could not believe that his body has been perfectly trimmed because of the exercise. Similarly, Karma yoga has been ordained by the Lord. It is not necessary to show how the mind gets purified, one can nevertheless feel such a change taking place. The result of atman sakshatkaram will accrue with His blessings automatically. It is like standing on the first step of an escalator. When mind gets pure, it does not get drifted and so gets controlled. He succeeds in controlling sense organs also. He is able to see the atman, which is same in all and so he sees all as equal. Such a person does karma and the papa of any karma never affects him. That is he is not confused by atman body relationship. He sees only atman everywhere and not the bodies. A person A beats another B. B complains to the police and investigating the police finds, A is insane and so lets off A without any punishment. That is A's action was done without mind involved and so the action was not considered as wrong. This is only to illustrate, that when mind is not involved in the karma we are doing, the papa will not stick to it. Because, the mind is engaged in atman and not worried about trivial results.

Azhagar Kovil

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Today's [26th November, 2007] lecture is from the Sri Andal sannidhi in Sri Koodalazhagar temple. Perialwar is connected with the Lord in two ways. One, he established the Lord as the Supreme God in this city. Other, he got his daughter Sri Andal married to the Lord. Sri Ranganatha thus became the Son-in-law and Perialwar, the father-in-law. We will see the Sixth sloka now. Sri Krishna in the last two slokas ridiculed the person who sees difference in the result obtained in Gyana yoga and Karma yoga and commended the persons who appreciated the unanimity of both in the result obtained. Now Arjuna raises a doubt. Since both are equal, why should Sri Krishna recommend Karma yoga? The Lord replies this saying that Karma yoga fetches atman darshan easier.

sannyasas tu maha-baho
duhkham aptum ayogatah
yoga-yukto munir brahma
na cirenadhigacchati

"Gyana yoga without Karma yoga cannot make one happy. But a person engaged in devotional service can achieve the Supreme without delay."

Sanyasas tu = whereas Gyana yoga, aptum = attaining is, dukham = misery or sorrow, ayogatah = without Karma yoga. It means, that to get atman sakshatkaram, Gyana yoga needs Karma yoga. Otherwise it is full of sorrow or it is impossible. But, yoga = Karma yoga, yukto = one, who practices, muni = like a sage or who has controlled the mind. A Karma yogi always thinks of atman's qualities and so is able to control. Such a person, na cirena = within a short time, adhigacchati = attains, brahma = atman darshan or atman sakshatkaram. So Karma yogi gets the result easily and quickly, while Gyana yogi has to struggle hard and attains after pretty long time. Karma yoga is inevitable for Gyana yogi, but Karma yogi does not need Gyana yoga. Because while practicing Karma yoga, his mind is fully engaged in atman qualities, and this becomes a substitute for Gyana yoga.

Friday, November 23, 2007


"Spurathsahasrara..." is a sloka in Sri Panchayuda stothram. Sri Sudarsana Chakra destroys all the miseries of devotees. Pleasant to look at and dircting the right path, he is called Sudarssana. The Lord graces with 16 types of weapons, and Sudarsana is the leader among them and so he is addressed as Hetiraja or Hetipungava. Today's [23rd November, 2007] lecture is from the Sri Chakkarathalwar sannidhi in the Sri Koodalazhagar temple in Madurai. Whenever we pray to him, we remember his dazzling brilliance, his magnificent power and his instant action on the mere thinking of the Lord. We never think that he is meditating on the Lord but think as the doer of the Lord's commands at all times. This tends to think that Sri Sudarsana also is following Karma yoga only. He is not doing the service to the Lord for atman sakshatkaram, but he serves the Lord for the service sake. Sri Sundararaja Perumal is holding Sri Sudarsana on His right hand. Thirumangai Alwar calls Him as Kovalar, which means cowherd. Perialwar also assuming himself to be Yasoda, imagines doing many services for the Child Cowherd, Sri Krishna, in his Perialwar Thirumozhi. He attributes ten verses for the bathing of the Child, ten more for the plays, ten more for the decorations, etc. Swami Koorathalwan imagines the Lord as a majestic river flowing. The two feet appear as two branches of the river. Knee caps appear as bubbles in the stream. Thighs appear as logs floating in the river. Waist appears as a reservoir. Navel appears as whirlpool. His broad chest appears as the plains where the stream falls from the top. This can be visualised in a Thirumanjanam in a realistic way. During this, He appears with wet clothes and Tulasi garland. After the bathing is over, He graces the devotees with full decorations. Both are captivating the devotees. While sages could imagine the Lord in meditation, ordinary people like us find it possible only by attending such Thirumanjanam and concentrate our minds. Barring a very few, we all find it easier to practice Karama yoga. Yogis and sages visualise the Lord after following difficult path of meditation done in solitary forests or amidst fire or under the water. We the commoners are able to get the same experience sitting at home comfortably or attending nearby temples. Thus there is no difference in the end result and both the sages and we get the same experience at the end. This is what Sri Krishna is telling Arjuna. Now the 5th sloka:

yat sankhyaih prapyate sthanam
tad yogair api gamyate
ekam sankhyam ca yogam ca
yah pasyati sa pasyati

"One who knows that the position reached by means of Gyana yoga can also be attained by devotional service[ Karma yoga], and who therefore sees Gyana yoga and devotional service to be on the same level, sees things as they are."

Yah pasyati = he, who sees like this, sa pasyati = he is the one who has seen the reality or truth. Sankhyam = gyana yoga, ca yogam = and Karma yoga, ekam = as one. This person alone has seen the truth. We have to repeat here that by stating one, they are not same in approach, but same in result. We should never think that Gyana yoga takes one to a higher place and Karma yoga takes to a lower place. Yat sthanam = that place[ atman sakshatkaram or atman darshan or experiencing atman], prapyate = attain, sankhyai = by Gyana yoga, tad = the same [place], gamyate = is attained, yogair api = even by Karma yoga. Sankhya does not mean the followers of Sankhya phillosophy but Gyana yoga. Sankhya means buddhi or intellect, and person following Gyana yoga uses his intellect only. Thus the destination is same for both Gyana yoga a nd Karma yoga. Person seeing this unity in result alone is considered as one who sees truth. It is like another example. Thousands of years ago in Dwapara yug, in Gokulam in the North, gopikas performed Katyayani vratham to have the experience of Sri Krishna. Sri Andal , hundreds of years back in down South, Srivilliputhur, imagining Herself to be a gopika performed the same Vratha by singing Thiruppavai. Now, we the commoners, get the same experience by merely chanting Thiruppavai in Margazhi. So, the end experience is same for the gopikas of Dwapara yug, for Sri Andal in Srivilliputhur hundreds of years back and for us in the present times. All of us are same -Sri Krishna devotees.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


The Pandyan King Vallabha Deva celebrated the establishment of the Supreme God as Sriman Narayana, by Perialwar by citing various passages from Vedas. South India was ruled by Chola, Chera and Pandya kings in their respective regions. Pandya kings ruled with Madurai as capital. Their flag had the fish as the symbol. The Pandya kings once went as far as the Himalayas and won the region and placed their fish symbol flag on the Himalayas. Perialwar says similarly, the Lord should place His feet on his head. We may wonder how these instances are connected? The Himalayas never made a request to the Pandyan King to place Pandya flag on them. Similarly, Perialwar feels that he is not having the capacity to request for placement of His feet on his head. But just as the King placed his flag on the mountain, He should also place His feet and bless him. Purooravas was a king. His son was Indradyumnan. His son was Malayadwaja Pandyan. All these kings have served and contributed to the temple of Sri Koodalazhagar. Fish on the flag of Pandyan kings is connected with the Lord's avatar as a fish [Matsya avatar]. King Satyavratha, while praying in the water, got a fish in his hands. He put it in a vessel, but it grew and the vessel was inadequate. He then put it in a pond and it grew more and he had to transfer it to a river and then to the ocean as its size became so large. It was revealed to the King that the Fish was none other than the Lord. This King also was a Pandyan. We will now see the fourth sloka in Gita:

sankhya-yogau prithag balah
pravadanti na panditah
ekam apy asthitah samyag
ubhayor vindate phalam

"Only the ignorant speak of devotional service [karma-yoga] as being different from the Gyana yoga. Those who are actually learned say that he who applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results of both."

In the previous sloka, it was told that both Karma yoga and Gyana yoga would enable one to get atman sakshatkaram. But Karma yoga was recommeneded for Arjuna. But there are some people, who say that Karma yoga and Gyana yoga are contradictory. Such people are not learned. Because both take one to the same destination, atman sakshatkaram. So result wise both are same. Sri Krishna ridicules those who do not know this. Bala = childlike [ not by age, but by intellect], na panditha = nor learned ones, pravadanti = talk this way. Which way? Sankhya = Gyana yoga [ not the Sankhya philosophy], yogau = and Karma yoga, both, prithag = are separate [ not same]. Ubhayo = between these two, ekam apy = in anyone [either of them], asthita = one practices , samyag = firmly, vindate phalam = he attains the result of both. That is by following anyone of these two, he reaches the same result of atman sakshatkaram. It is like obtaining the same Degree either by attending College regularly or by correspondence course sitting at home. Here, people sometime give preference to the Degree obtained by attanding college regularly. Similarly, is it possible that the atman sakshatkaram obtained by Gyana yoga better than the one got by Karma yoga? No, there is no difference whatsoever in the result obtained by eithe of Gyana yoga or Karma yoga. Sri Krishann has already decisively recommended Karma yoga for Arjuna and so here Arjuna has no choice. Here He is trying to remove some doubts in Arjuna. One way of interpretting is, he who follows either of these, gets the same benefit. Another way is, by following anyone, he gets the benefit of both. The meaning can be taken this way also for the first line. Na panditha = no intellectuals or persons with little knowledge, bala = small minded persons, pravadanti = talk like this. Or, bala [ childish persons ] talk sankhya and yoga are separate, Pandita = [but] well lerned persons, na pravadanti = will never talk like this. Does Sri Krishna mean Karma yoga and Gyana yoga are one and the same? No, both are different in practice. But both are same in respect of the result. Here one more doubt may arise. It is alright that both yield the same result, but is it possible that both have to be practiced to attain the result? This type of thinking came up in the Second Chapter. There He told that one has to do Karma yoga, when the mind and organs would be controlled and becomes eligible for Gyana yoga and then by practicing Gyana yoga one would reach atman sakshatkaram. But in the Third Chapter, Sri Krishna emphasised that Karma yoga would directly get Atman sakshatkaram and there was no need for Gyana yoga. Today's [ 22nd November, 2007] lecture is from the sannidhi of Sri Maduravalli Thayar in the temple.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


We saw that the day before the start of Adyayanothsavam, the Utsava moorthy of Sri Koodalazhagar arrives on Garuda and Perialwar is mounted on an elephant, to recollect the incident that took place long ago. Also in the month of Purattasi [ Sep -Oct], Five Garuda vahanams will be there. In the second sloka, Sri Krishna told that though both Gyana yoga and Karma yoga are suitable to achieve the result, He would recommend Karma yoga for Arjuna. Now in the third sloka He substantiates His statement that Karma yoga was better. Third sloka:
neyah sa nitya-sannyasi
yo na dvesti na kanksati
nirdvandvo hi maha-baho
sukham bandhat pramucyate

"One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of his activities is known to be always renounced. Such a person, free from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated, O mighty-armed Arjuna."

He will tell that Karma yogi raises more than the Gyana yogi. Sa = he [ one who is practicing Karma yoga], nitya sanyasi neya = is considered always a Gyana yogi. A Karma yogi can become a Gyana yogi while the reverse is not possible. Sanyasi means he who has renounced all. Na kanksati = he dos not have likes for anything, na dvesti = and therefore, he does not dislike anyone. Likes only induces dislikes. So if we do not have anything in particular as liking, we will not dislike anything. This is the same status of one who practices Gyana yoga. One who has controlled his senses and meditating for atman sakshatkaram, will never have anything as to his liking. He is friendly with all. This is the nature of Gyana yogi. This point is reached by Karma yogi. Therefore, Karma yogi is equal to a Gyana yogi. Nirdvadva = the twins will never affect him. Which are the twins? Happiness and sorrow, comfort and struggle, profit and loss or heat and cold. Karma yogi is equal with the twins. Bandhat = from the shackles of samsaram, sukham = easily, pramucyate = freed or liberated. Karma yogi gets liberated from the bonds of life very easily. The key word is: easily liberated, and that makes Karma yoga better than Gyana yoga. Gyana yoga needs lot of effort and time. Whereas, Karma yoga will get the release easily and quicker. We have to remember that just as a Karma yogi is bound by the worldly affairs, so also a Gyana yogi. Though in the sloka, dvesti [ dislikes] is first mentioned and then only Kankshati [ likes] is mentioned, while understanding the sloka, we have to first know that likes are discarded and consequently, dislikes are not there. It is our likes, which create dislikes or hatred. It is a common knowledge that most of the persons have likes for bad things in spite of all warnings. Knowing such things are injurious to us, we tend to go after them. This is because of the habit formed over so many births. As a consequence, we hate and dislike those preventing us from reaching what we like. Overcoming these in Karma yoga, the person is as good as a Gyana yogi.


The river flowing in Madurai is called by three names: Vaigai, Vegavathi and Kruthmala. As it flows fast it is called Vegavati. It flowed to the Vaiyam or earth, and so it is Vaiyai or Vaigai. As it flows around this city, it is called Krutha mala. Sri Koodala Azhagar Perumal is gracing the devotees from the banks of this river. Madura means pleasing or sweet. We will today [20th November, 2007] see the Second sloka of Fifth Chapter. Arjuna asked Sri Krishna to clarify which is better suited for him between Gyana yoga and Karma yoga. We may wonder whether there is any competition to choose between these two. An apparent view might have been impressed that Gyana yoga is inferior to Karma yoga. That was not the intention and we are studying Gita on the lines of Swami Ramanuja's Gita Bhashyam and Swami Vedanta Desika's Tatparya Chandrika. Actually, there is no choosing competition between these two. A few can follow Gyana yoga and a large number can follow Karma yoga and these followers are entirely different. Then why does Sri Krishna is advocating Karma yoga? Instead of asking which is better, our question should be which is better for a person in particular? We have to understand that the choice depends on the person and it would vary with person to person. Just like a medicine is prescribed to a particular person depending on the patient's history and constitution. All medicines are good but prescription will vary with patient. Here Arjuna asks what was best for him, a kshatriya engaged in protecting a kingdom, one incapable of controlling senses, one accustomed to karma right from birth and one who can not wait for the results for a long time. Sri Krishna is going to reply recommending Karma yoga for Arjuna. Now the sloka:

sri-bhagavan uvaca
sannyasah karma-yogas ca
nihsreyasa-karav ubhau
tayos tu karma-sannyasat
karma-yogo visisyate

"The Personality of Godhead replied: The renunciation of work[Gyana yoga] and work in devotionKarma yoga] are both good for liberation. But, of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of work."

Tayas tu = between the two, karma yogo = Karma yoga, visisyate = is better than, karma sannyasat = that different from the Karma yoga, ie. Gyana yoga. Ubhau = both these, nissreyasa karau = are good [ for you, Arjuna]. Both Karma yoga and Gyana yoga are suitable for Arjuna. Here in the first line, it may appear that Sri Krishna is recommending both, but in the second line He makes it clear that His recommendation would be for Karma yoga. He has not told why He recommends Karma yoga. But we should know that it is easier to follow Karma yoga. We have to carefully see one point. In the first line He says both are suited for Arjuna. Does it mean he has a choice? This has been elaborately explained by Swami Vedanta Desika in his Tatparya Chandrika. When Sri Krishna says suitable, He means that will enable atman sakshatkaram. This is a permanent advantage. Both will lead to atman sakshatkaram. We have seen that following Gyana yoga is very difficult. We have to control our senses and we can not be doing what we normally do. Concentration of mind is essential. So, we have to filter out those who have these qualities and capabilities. Those incapable of practicing Gyana yoga have no choice and they have to resort to Karma yoga only. Of those having capacity to perform Gyana yoga, can they all resort to Gyana yoga? Here we have to see whether particular person in question, has loka sangraham or not. Loka sangraham means, as we saw earlier, those who have followers. So, even if one has the capacity to practice Gyana yoga, it would be followed by his followers. All such followers would naturally be not having the same capacity and so they would fail to achieve results in their pursuit of Gyana yoga. So this person also should not practice Gyana yoga. But if there is a person who does not have loka sangraham, then if he has the capacity to practice Gyana yoga, there is nothing to prevent him from practicing Gyana yoga.

Please see the flow chart at the top.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Of the 108 Divya Desams, 18 are in Pandya region. Madurai, also known as Koodal Managaram, is important in these. We are in the beautifully sculpted corridors of Sri Koodalazhagar temple, in this city. This temple dates back to the Sanga era and has been supported by the Pandyan kings. Many constructions and many ornaments were donated by them. Perialwar sang Pallandu, in this city. Thirumangai Alwar has sung a single verse in praise of this temple. In Srimad Bhagavatham, Sukhacharya has indicated the appearance of Alwars in this region. Sukhacharya was telling Srimad Bhagavatam to King Parikshit. That time he says that on the banks of some rivers in the South great devotees like the Alwars were to be born. In Kali yug they will preach Sriman Narayana as the Supreme God. Perialwar proved this prediction of Sukhacharya after lapse of thousands of years. King Vallabha Deva was ruling Pandya kingdom. He was on an inspection in the night incognito. He heard a person singing that to be comfortable in the night we earn during the day, to be comfortable in the winter we earn during summer, but what are we doing here [ in this world] to be comfortable in the other world [Moksham]. This triggered the King to know the answer for this question. At that time one of his counsellers, Selva Nambi, advised the King to congregate pundits from all philosophies and determine Who was the Supreme God authoritatively. Perialwar was leading a simple life with decorating the Lord at Srivilliputhur, with flowers. The Lord appearing in his dreams directed him to attend that congregation and establish His supremacy. Fearing that he was not that learned of Vedas to argue in an assembly, Perialwar hesitated. The Lord reiterated that He is the commander of all our actions simple or complex, and so Perialwar should go to the assembly and He would take care of the happenings there. In the assembly, a basket full of gold coins was hung and would automatically come down when the correct argument establishing the Supreme God was done and would be the prize for that person who established this fact. Perialwar won the prize by his arguments [ vendiya vedhangal odhi viraindu kizhi aruthan padhangal yamudaya patru]. With that prize monet he cotributed lots of works in Srivilliputhur. The King celebrated this event by taking a procession in the streets of Madurai with Perialwar on the Royal elephant. The Lord wanted to witness this event personally, and so He appeared on the skies with His Consorts, on His vehicle Garuda. Even today this place, located in the busy area of the city, is called, Mei kattum pottal [open-space showing Truth ie. God]. Every year the Lord arrives here on a Garuda vahanam, on the day before the start of Adyanotsavam [ in the Tamil month of Margazhi], to mark this event. Just as a parent would be afraid of dhrushti from others on the child, Perialwar was afraid that all people's dhrushti might affect the Lord appearing brilliantly on the skies, started singing Pallandu, pallandu.., using the bells on the elephant for metre. This is the famous Thiruppallandu consisting of 12 verses and it is customery to sing this whenever Nalayira Divya prabhandam is chanted and in festivals where the Arulicheyal group leads the procession. It is sung both at the start and on the conclusion [sattumurai]. The Lord is also called Sri Irundha Vala Nathan, as He is existing from time immemorable and has been keeping all to prosper. Now we will see the first sloka in today's [19th November, 2007] lecture:

arjuna uvaca
sannyasam karmanam krishna
punar yogam ca samsasi
yac chreya etayor ekam
tan me bruhi su-niscitam

"Arjuna said: O Krishna, first of all You talked of gyana yoga, and then again You recommend karma yoga. Now will You kindly tell me definitely which of the two is more beneficial?"

"Tell me the resolved method" says Arjuna. He addresses Sri Krishna to clarify. Sri Krishna told two things so far. Karmanam Sanyasam = here it means, Gyana yoga, punar = again [You talked of ], yogam ca = and Karma yoga, samsasi = [You] told. He sermoned on the greatness of Gyana yoga and again on the greatness of Karma yoga. Normally, sanyasam means relinquished and here it does not mean action relinquished, but Gyana yoga different from Karma yoga. Etayo = between these two, ya chreya = which is better [for Arjuna], su nischitam = decisively, tan = that one, me = to me [Arjuna], bruhi = tell. Krishi means earth and na: means pleasing and so Krishna could mean, He Who gives happiness to the earth. Arjuna is worried which to choose and so he wants Sri Krishna to make him happy by providing the right and decisive choice. He has sermoned on the greatness of both Gyana yoga and Karma yoga and so Arjuna is confused. Though Sri Krishna never confused, it is Arjuna's inability to understand the previous slokas properly. In the Second Chapter, starting from 12th sloka, Sri Krishna explained the everlasting nature of atman. This was needed as Arjuna feared he might destroy his Acharya and grandfather. So, he was told that body only gets destroyed while atman remains for ever. Sri Krishna told about Karma yoga. Then starting from sloka 50 in Second Chapter, He told of four samgyas and explained Gyana yoga. He mentioned how a sthitapragya would be. Here Gyana yoga was mentioned to be practiced after Karma yoga. This made Arjuna to feel Gyana yoga was superior to Karma yoga. But in the Third Chapter, He advised that by practicing Karma yoga also one could directly have atman sakshatkaram. In the Fourth Chapter also He maintained the greatness of Karma yoga. So it appeared that in Chapter Two He advocated Gyana yoga and in the next two Chapters, He recommended Karma yoga. So this question from Arjuna for clarification.


It is said that Sri Krishna has given the milk of Gita from the Cow Upanishad. We saw Arjuna's plight in the First Chapter. In the Second Chapter, we saw both Karma yoga and Gyana yoga. Third Chapter told us that Karma yoga will directly get us Atman sakshatkaram. Fourth Chapter told us how we should view the Karma, as Gyana. From today [16th November, 2007] we will see Chapter Five. It is a short Chapter but potent with meaning.
  • First Chapter was called Arjuna Vishada yogam
  • Second Chapter was Sankhya yogam. Sankhya means buddhi or intellect and with the help of intellect we understand atman and its qualities like eternity
  • Third Chapter was called Karma yogam as Karma yogam itself will directly fetch atman sakshatkaram.
  • Fourth Chapter is Gyana yogam as it detailed the greatness of the Gyana portion in Karma yoga.
  • Fifth Chapter is called Karma Sanyasa yogam
We are at the Ashtanga vimanam of Sri Koodalazhaga Perumal temple. It has three tiers, five peaks and eight branches. In the bottom tier, Sri Koodalazhaga Perumal graces in a seated posture. In the middle tier, the Lord graces in a standing pose as Sri Soorya Narayana. In the top most tier, He is Ksheerabdi Nathan, in a reclining pose. Going around this vimanam for a mandalam [48 days] is beneficial, is a belief here. It is one of the methods to perform Karma yoga. This temple was established in Kruth yug by Vishwakarma. The Lord here was worshiped by various persons in various yug and in Kali yug, He was worshiped by Perialwar. Just as the tiers raise one above the other, Sri Krishna also is raising our knowledge.

Before we go into the Fifth Chapter. we will see Gitartha sangraha by Acharya Alavandar.

karmayogasya saukarya shaighrayaM kaashcana tadvidhaaH .
brahmaj~naaprakaarashca pa~ncamaadhyaaya ucyate .. (9)

The Fifth Chapter is very easy to practice [saukarya]. It yields result quickly [shaighraya]. When we do the Karma yoga, we should do it with consciousness. It is called Karma sanyasam. It is also called akarthrutva anusandhanam. When we do a karma saying 'I am doing', it is kartrutva anusandhanam. But if we think 'I am not doing this karma ', then it is akartrutva anusandhanam. This is a very important view in this Chapter. Sanyasam means relinquishing. So, while we do the karma yoga, we should relinquish the feeling or thought, that we are doing it. Thus it is Karma sanyasam. The result of such Karma yoga is brahmajnana prakara. Brahma gyana means equality in outlook. Now we see all as different like that is a cow, she is a woman or it is a tree. But by practicing Karma yoga we look at all as the embodiment of Gyana. Then we see the atman only and not the body. Atman shows unity of all, while body shows the difference. By going towards atman, we tend to look at all as equal and no difference is apparent. So, Swami Alavandar says that the Fifth Chapter tells us four aspects of Karma yoga:
  1. Karma yoga is easy to practice
  2. Karma yoga yields result quickly
  3. Karma yoga should be performed without the feeling that it was done by 'me'
  4. Karma yoga thus practiced will make one to realize all as equal.
Though the easiness of Karma yoga was told in the Third Chapter, it is the quickness with which the result is obtained is emphasised in this Chapter. This is in addition to the advantages of Karma yoga detailed in the Third chapter, viz: it is habitual right from birth, it is required even by a Gyana yogi and can not slip.