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.

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