Monday, December 31, 2007


Today's [1st January 2008], lecture is from the sannidhi of Sri Varagunamangai Thayar. It is normally the procedure to first worship Sri Thayar before we worship the Lord. With our innumerable sins, He may not even look at us, if we go directly to Him. But, if we first pray to Sri Thayar, then She knows how to convince Him to pardon us for our sins and get His blessings. As told earlier the Lord has appeared in this temple on His own choice and so this Kshetram is considered as a Swayamvyakta. But Sri Thayar has appeared in this temple long after. Vanamamalai Mutt was established in the year 1447. Vishadavak Sikhamani swami Manavala Mamunigal, installed Ashtadhik Gajam - Eight eminent Mutt heads. Swami Ponnadikkal Jeer [ the First Jeer] was installed as the Vanamamalai Mutt head. He looked after all the sacred affairs of this Kshetram. He wanted to visit other temples and took a pilgrimage. The present Sri Varagunamangai Thayar was in Tirumala Devasthanam in an independent temple. Devotees there, desired to perform a Kalyanotsavam for this Sri Thayar and Sri Srinivasa of Thirumala. But in the dreams of the devotees Sri Thayar, seated on the Vaksham [Right Chest] of Lord Srinivasa, told them none other than She could be celebrated in Kalyanotsavam with Sri Srinivasa. Devotees were surprised and did not know what to do further. At that time Swami Ponnadikkal Jeer of Vanamamalai Mutt reached Thirumala on pilgrimage. Sri Varagunamangai Thayar, appeared in the dreams of the devotees there and ordered them to request Swami Ponnadikkal Jeer to take Her and install in Vanamamalai temple. Obeying the holy order, the Jeer also brought Her here and She is now gracing the devotees as the Pattamahshi [Royal Queen ] of Sri Deivanayaka Perumal. From then onwards She is considered as the Daughter of the Vanamamalai Jeer and all festivals are performed accordingly. Sri Thayar and the Lord [ as the Daughter and Son-in-law] visit the Mutt thrice every year - on the 9th day of Bramhotsavam, on Kanu festival after Pongal and on the Purattasi month Punarvasu star day, the birth day of Swami Ponnadikkal Jeer. With Sri Thayar's blessings we will see the 4th sloka of Chapter 6:

yada hi nendriyarthesu
na karmasv anusajjate
yogarudhas tadocyate

"A person is said to have attained atman sakshatkaram, when, having renounced all material desires, he neither acts for sense gratification nor engages in fruitive activities."

In the previous sloka two types of persons were mentioned. Arurusha is the one who has not got atman sakshatkaram but is practicing Karma yoga and slowly ascending towards the goal. Arudha is the one who has already attained atman sakshatkaram. How are we to spot these two categories of people? If we can identify Yogarudha, he second category, at least then we can deduce the first category. It is, this identification, explained here. Yada = when, arthesu = objects [of desire], na anusajjate = are not attracted by him or he has no desire for those objects. Na anusajjate = nor interested in, Karmasu = the actions or efforts to do a Karma to achieve anything which may give him worldly pleasures. He has no desire to perform any Karma that may lead to worldly happiness. First he is not interested in the materials of desire or their experience. Second, he does not show any interest even in the efforts leading to worldly pleasures. Sarva =all, sankalpa = desires or wishes, sanyasi = renounced. This is the third quality, that he has absolutely no desire for any worldly pleasures. These three symptoms identify the person who has got atman sakshatkaam. Sloka starts with yada - when, and ends tada -then. So the person when shows no interest in objects, when does not involve in the activities to achieve worldly pleasures and when he renounces the desire for such happiness, then he is accalimed to have got atman sakshatkaram. Here, karma anusjjyate - not involving in karma, is likely to be misunderstood. For attaining heavenly happiness Jyotishtoma homa is to be performed. Similarly, to obtain children puthrakameshti homam is to be performed. Is it that such Karmas are not to be performed, meant in this sloka? No, we have already discarded these much earlier. We are talking of those who are practicing Karma yoga. This itself suggests that such lower results are not intended. But, what is intended here is, even for the person after atman sakshatkaram, worldly necessities can not be abandoned totally. We have to eat, smell and see as we practice Karama yoga. We may not be interested in heaven or other materials, but we have to live to practice karma yoga and so we have to eat and do our daily routines. He renounces the desire to perform any karma for these daily requirements. Secondly, it is possible to think that this person renounces the prescribed duties for him to do daily or occasionally. This is also not correct. One has to perform the prescribed duties till and after he gets atman sakshatkaram. He abandons any effort required to experience beyond this daily duties. We may think it is very difficult to achieve this status. But the Lord in the 5th Chapter itself has suggested that if we dedicate all our actions in favour of the Lord, then we do not have to worry and doing these actions also would be pleasing. We can do our actions as service to Sri Thayar, then our efforts will bear fruit easily and without any hardship.

Sri Ponnadikal Jeeyar 1st DAY

Sri Ponnadikal Jeeyar


Vanamamalai Kshetram is one of the Swayamvaktha Kshetram [self originated]. In the passage of time, this place was covered by earth and was not visible. The Lord also was beneath the ground. Most land of the place was part of Chetru Thamarai kulam. Long ago there was a King Kari of Travancore kingdom. Once, in his dreams, the Lord appeared and ordered him to recover Him from the ground and to construct a temple. The King obeyed and started searching this place. He found at one place in the Chetru Thamarai Kulam, series of ants were marching and the King followed their path. The ants were entering an anthill and the King ordered the laborers to dig the anthill and they did with crowbars. In the process, one crowbar hit the Idol below slightly and blood started oozing. The King was very much perturbed at this and he stopped use of crowbars and with his own hands he started excavating the place. He found the Idol of the Lord and brought the Idol out. The King, prostrating to the Lord, prayed for excuse as he was responsible for the injury done and was prepared to undergo punishment for the same. The Lord appreciating King’s sincerity told that such things happened when major works were undertaken and wanted the King to bring some oil and apply it on the wound to heal. From that day, the Lord is massaged with oil daily. The oil is then collected and poured into the well in the temple and so it is called oil well, from where today’s [31st December 2007] lecture is made. This oil is recommended for curing many skin problems. This temple is managed by Vanamamalai mutt and the Jeer is administering all activities. Apart from this temple, the Mutt also is in charge of a Shiva and an Amman temples. This is yet another instance of Vaishnava – Shaiva unity. Oil massage is done in these temples also. We will now see the 3rd sloka of Chapter 6:

aruruksor muner yogam
karma karanam ucyate
yogarudhasya tasyaiva
samah karanam ucyate

"For one aspiring to climb to reach atman darshan, karma yoga is the cause. While for the one already achieved, abandoning climbing in Karma yoga is the cause ."

Sri Krishna explains two reasons here. In the last sloka, He told that Gyana was part of Karma yoga. Aruruksor = the one who is climbing up [in the Karma yoga for atman sakshatkaram], mune = for such an intellect [as he is thinking always of atman; muni is manana seela: in Sanskrit], karma yogam = Karma yoga, karana ucyate = becomes the cause. That is for attaining atman sakshatkaram, Karma yoga is to be practiced incessantly and so it becomes the cause to achieve. Muni denotes that the person is always thinking of atman and karma karane insists that Karma yoga has to be practiced continuously. To avoid any confusion that Gyana yoga is the step for atman sakshatkaram, Sri Krishna clearly tells that Karma yoga itself is the cause for achieving atman sakshatkaram. Because the person is addressed as muni as he is constantly thinking of atman and its superior qualities and this thought is part of the Karma he is doing. Samah = abandoning [normally this word would convey equalizing, but here it is to mean abandoning karma yoga]. Who can abandon Karma yoga? Yogarudhasya = he who has achieved the objective of Karma yoga, that is atman sakshatkaram, tasyasya = such a person, karanam ucyate = is considered as a cause. Person who has not got atman sakshatkaram has to perform Karma yoga and so it becomes the cause to get the result. But for a person who has already got atman sakshatkaram, practicing Karma yoga is not necessary. After reaching the top of a place, we do not need the ladder, which helped us to reach the top. But normally, we are all told that we should not discard the ladder after reaching the top. But Sri Krishna has laid the emphasis on the need for Karma yoga to attain atman sakshatkaram. Abandoning Karma yoga after achieving the result is not the main intention of the Lord. Yet another interpretation also is there. When we practice Karma yoga, we do pooja, chant His names, visit temples, help the needy and do our prescribed duties. Without the feeling that ‘I-am-doing’ and with no desire for cheap results all these activities become part of Karma yoga. Slowly we ascend in this and at one stage we attain atman sakshatkaram. That is we now get the sama darshan or view all as same. Great people like Prahlada, Dhruva, Vidhura and Akrura realized this stage. Even after attaining atman sakshatkaram, all these great persons never abandoned their legitimate Karma. What Sri Krishna has intended here is that after attaining atman sakshatkaram, the person continues with his Karma yoga but without any objective of getting atman sakshatkaram, as he has already got it. In fact, Karma yoga will be more pleasant to perform now. We study to get good scores in the exam and get a good job. After getting the job, we can still study the subjects of our liking, just for the pleasure of it. Our understanding of the subject will be better. So, there is no bar for practicing Karma yoga after getting atman sakshatkaram, but to get it Karma yoga is a must.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


We are in Srivaragunamangai Kshetram . It is also known as Vanamamalai, Nanguneri, Srivaraguna Mangalam and Thodhadri. The Lord here is Sri DaivaNayakan. Nammalwar says that he has not practiced Karma yoga, not to speak of Gyana yoga and Bhakti yoga; but he has come to this Kshetram, which has a pond called Chetru Thamarai kulam, and has surrendered to the Lord. Though it is called a kulam [pond] in Tamil, it is a very vast lake and when full waves roar. In Sanskrit, thudati means banishes or drives away. So, Thodhadri means our sins even of mountain size are all banished. Since the Lord here does that He can also be called Thudhan and His mountain is called Thodhadri. Or, He is there like a mountain, stable and large to protect us. This place is also known as Gagana giri which is the Sanskrit equivalent of Vaanamamalai [vaanam = gaganam]. By worshiping this Kshetram or the Lord here, our sins are all driven away. Sri Thayar of this Kshetram is known as Sri Srivaragunamangai Nachiar. Sri Varaguna Mangai means, She has the quality of granting us our requests. Vara also means exalted, and so the name may also indicate the Most Exalted Lady or Woman. There is also another reason for the name of this Kshetram. A Pandyan King, Sriparan has donated lands and vilages to the Lord of the temple here. Such royal donated villages are called Mangalam. Hence, this place came to be known as Sripara mangalam, which became Srivara mangalam, as 'pa' and 'va' are interchangeable. Nanguneri means surrounded by four lakes on four sides or a big lake diveded into four smaller lakes. The Lord here depicts the Lord at Vaikuntam and so the place could have been named Vaanamamalai. Now we will see the 2nd sloka of Chapter 6 today [28th December 2007] from the pond :

yam sannyasam iti prahur
yogam tam viddhi pandava
na hy asannyasta-sankalpo
yogi bhavati kascana

"Scholars acclaim the gyana sans karma in Karma yoga as Gyana, know thus Oh! Son of Pandu. One who has not cast off the gyana [ that body and soul are different] can never become a karma yogi"

Earlier, Sri Krishna told that he, who practices Karma yoga without any desire for results, is a Gyana yogi, in the sense that both Karma yogi and Gyana yogi accomplish atman sakshatkaram. This was the essence of the First sloka. In the next, that is Second sloka, He further elaborates this theme. Yam =that which, sannyasam iti = is called Gyana by, prahur = learned people would call, tam = that Gyana is, yogam = [in] Karma yoga, viddhi= understand so, pandava = the Son of Pandu. Sanyasam means Gyana, as it is minus karma. The Knowledge or Gyana or sanyasam, acclaimed by learned persons, is part of Karma yoga. How Gyana could be part of Karma yoga was the doubt Arjuna had and Sri Krishna answers in the next line of the sloka. Asannyasta= unabandoned or unfailing, Sankalpa= determination or resolve [such a person], that is one who has not abandoned a knowledge or resolve. What is it he has not abandoned? He has no resolved thinking that atman and body are separate. So, this person is still clinging to the idea that atman and body are same. Such a person is called here asanyasta sankalpa. He, na yogi bhavati= never becomes a Karma yogi. How to correlate the two lines? First line says in Karma yoga, Gyana is a part. But the second line says that person who still considers atman and body are same, does not become a Karma yogi. Unless we are resolved that atman is different and it is superior to body, we will not begin Karma yoga. It becomes now clear that Gyana about atman, that it is different from body, is essential to start Karma yoga. So, this Gyana is part of Karma yoga and is acclaimed by scholars. What is atman yatamagyanam? How this is part of Karma yoga? Yatatma gyanam means deep thought or understanding a thing thoroughly. Therefore, atman yatatmagyanam means understanding thoroughly atman's true nature. A person with this knowledge, knows that atman and body are different and so he tries to seek more knowledge about atman and sets atman sakshatkaram as his objective. Therefore, he practices Karma yoga. Conversely, person practicing Karma yoga has this gyana. Some are likely to err in interpreting this sloka to mean that which is Gyana yoga is Karma yoga. We should be clear that Karma yoga and Gyana yoga are different. But, because both have atman sakshatkaram as the objective, there is no bar to praise a Karma yogi as Gyana yogi. He has the knowledge of a Gyana yogi, at the same time, he has not abandoned his rightful duties.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Due to Cable Operator's problem today [27th December 2007], there was no transmission of programs and so I will post the available commentary for sloka 1 of Chapter 6, for the time:

sri-bhagavan uvaca
anasritah karma-phalam
karyam karma karoti yah
sa sannyasi ca yogi ca
na niragnir na cakriyah

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic, not he who lights no fire and performs no duty."

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Chapter 6 is full of explanation of yoga and so we were wondering where to start this Chapter. In Thirukkurungudi hills large number of great persons and Siddhi Purushas were and are living and so we thought this is the right place to start Chapter 6. So today [26th December 2007] after completing Chapter 5, we are starting Chapter 6 from the same sannidhi of Sri Malaimel Nambi. Swami Alavandar in his Gitartha Sangraham, has condensed the Chapter 6 in a sloka:
yogaabhyaasavidhiryogii caturdhaa yogasaadhanam .
yogasiddhiH svayogasya paaramyaM ShaShTa ucyate .. (10)
Chapter 6 conveys five things to us. In Chapter 5, yogam was indicated. It was told that by dedicating the yoga to the Lord, we can never feel tired by performing Karma yoga and peace would prevail. Now, how this Karma yoga has to be performed is explained. With unbiased mind and with an objective to achieve, we can try to understand and practice the Yoga as detailed in Chapter 6. Let us first see the five things this Chapter is to convey:
  • vidhi - procedure, to perform Yoga.
  • yogi caturdha - four types of yogi
  • yoga sadhanam - the tools required to perform yoga viz. chintanam- thought and vairagyam - detachment
  • yoga siddhi - attaining the objective by practicing yoga, even if interrupted in between.
  • svayogasya paramyam - the yoga on Sri Krishna, that is Bhakti yoga, and paramyam- its eminence.
With Chapter 6, both Karma yoga and Gyana yoga are concluded and from Chapter 7, Bhakti yoga is sermoned.


We are on the top of the hill here and with a heavy heart we will shift the lecture venue from tomorrow. Today [26th December 2007] we will see the conclusion of Chapter 5. Sri Malaimel Nambi here is also called Sri Hrishikesa, which means He is the controller of hrishikam, that is our organs. We have seen that there are five stages in which the Lord resides. Param in Vaikuntam, Vyuham in Milky Ocean, Vibhavam as Sri Rama and Sri Krishna at different times, Antaryami in our heart and Archa as the Lord in various temples. We have also seen that in this Kshetram all these five stages are depicted and Sri Malaimel Nambi represents the Antaryami. In the annual festival on the Fifth day, all the Lords [Nambis] assemble on Garuda Vahanam. Alwar assumes the woman form and yearns for the Lord, as her Lover. She [he] says that one evening in a pensive mood she was sitting with hands supporting the chin. Her mother asked her not to keep the hands like that. When she asked her mother why so, the mother replies that no person's hand should touch another person's cheek. She implied that none, including oneself, can support another and only Sri Narayana supports all. That is we can not protect ourselves and only Sri Thirukkurungudi Nambi can protect us at all times. Just as a child looks for mother for everything, we also, as children of God, should realize that He alone can look after us. We will now see the greatness of the Chapter 5. Parvati requests Shiva to tell her the greatness of Chapter 5 and Shiva tells her, what he heard when Sri Vishnu told Sri Lakshmi on Chapter 5. There lived a person named Pingalan and he was well educated. Because of his qualifications, he served the King. But he came across wrong company and had relationship with an undesirable woman. She killed him for some reasons and the atman of Pingalan, took many bodies in many births. In every birth, this woman also had association with him. Once he was born as a vulture and she was born as a parrot. One day the vulture saw the parrot and chased. Parrot entered a garden and vulture followed. Parrot was drinking water in a human skull and seeing this the Vulture pounced on the parrot. In this process both the vulture and parrot got entangled in the skull and both died. Both went to hell and Yama asked what for they had come. They replied that they had committed many sins in many births and to expend the same they were at the doorsteps of Yama. Yama thought how this change in them had occured and found the answer for their honesty. The skull was of a person, who was always chanting the 5th Chapter of Gita and these two souls when they were in vulture and parrot had contact with that skull and so good thoughts had come to them. He directed them for better treatment. This showed the greatness of Chapter 5. Before we conclude let us recapitulate Chapter 5. Swami Alavandar has told that Karma yoga is easy to perform, quick in yielding results, and while doing it one should never think that the karma was performed by him [abandon 'I-am-doing' feeling] and as one practices he sees all as equal - sama darshan- and so wants to help everyone.

Monday, December 24, 2007


It is said that Sri Krishna gave us the milk of Gita [using Arjuna as a calf]. The Lord graces the devotees in many temples and today [25th December 2007] we are at the hills in Thirukkurungudi. We are able to worship the Lord on top of the hills as Sri Malaimel Nambi. River Sindhu nadhi, also called Nambiaru, flows from here. It is surrounded by the Mahendra Giri mountain. It is at the tip of Podhigai malai or Western Ghat hills range. This hills range will end if we go further another 20 miles. Beyond that is the Cape Kanyakumari. This spot is connected with Srimad Ramayana. Sri Anjaneya was to go to Lanka in search of Divine Mother Sri Sita. From this Mahendra giri only, he jumped to cross the ocean and reach Lanka. There are seven peaks around this hill. From one of those peaks Sri Hnauman, chanting Sri Rama's name and growng gigantically in size, jumped. A bath in this river and worshiping the Lord here will be a great releif from the mechanical life we are having in cities. Even a trip to this place in picnic, with a bath in the river and eating well prepared tiffin and worship the Lord, can be a memorable experience. With some difficulty if we can cross a rock nearby, we can see a beautiful temple of Sri Rama with Sri Sita, Sri Lakshmana and Sri Hnauman. After a successful mission to locate Sri Sita, Sri Hanuman returned here to join others and all of them went to Kishkinda, where Sri Rama, along with Sugriva, was waiting. Kishkinda is present Hampi, in Karnataka. Sri Rama then proceeded to Lanka travelling over this Western Ghat hill range, as Sri Rama did not want to enter any city and disturb people with His huge monkey army. By the side of Hampi is Sahyadri mountain and starting from the western side of it Sri Rama and the army of monkeys travelled to Lanka. They crossed Kudagu [Coorg], where river Kaveri starts, then Naganahode, which is a tourist spot, and Lakshmana theertham and then through the forests of Mysore, then west of Nilgris [Ooty], reached Mahendra giri. Here Sri Rama and the monkeys crossed the mountains to come on the eastern side.They came to Kanyakumari and Thiruchendur and finding the places not suitable for crossing the ocean, they all came to Rameswaram. Thes details are available in Srimad Valmiki Ramayana. This place is called Sri Varaha Kshetram and so it is connected wit Sri Varaha avatar of the Lord. Sri Parashu Rama, after losing to Sri Rama, did meditation here to gain His lost power. The Lord here is Sri Vamana and Sri Trivikrama. Thus this mountain is associated with many avatars of the Lord. Now we come to the 29th and the last sloka of Chapter 5:

bhoktaram yajna-tapasam
suhridam sarva-bhutanam
jnatva mam shantim rcchati

"A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries."

Arjuna asked in the beginning of Chapter 5, after mentioning that he was confused with the words Karma sanyasam and Karma yoga, that is Gyana yoga and Karma yoga, which was beneficial to him. Sri Krishna in reply has been advising that Karma yoga was good for him as it was easy and yielded result quickly. To top the advantages of Karma yoga, Sri Krishna tells a very important message in this sloka. This is the only sloka in this Chapter, wherein He mentions His connection with the Karma yoga. He says that Karma yoga is Aradhanam [pooja] for Him. In this world all Yajna = yagna or homam or yagam, tapasam = meditation, performed, bhoktaram = objective or beneficiary, is Sri Krishna. Here we may have a doubt, that Hiranyakasipu and Ravana did tapas and propitiated Brahma to grant deathless life. Bot here we are talking about the meditation and yagna for attaining Moksham, and in such cases, the ultimate beneficiary is Sri Krishna. Now He mentions three things. Many perform yagna in many places, but all finally reach Sri Krishna. Why? Sarva = all, loka = worlds and the people residing in all these worlds, Maheshvaram = the greatest Isvara, is Sri Krishna. So, who ever does any yagna to propitiate any god, the Lord, as the Antaryami or Inner power in all of them and commanding them, gets the offerings and so is the Ultimate beneficiary in all poojas performed. Ishvara means, Isha = commanding power, vara = that is natural . So the Lord has the natural commanding power. He is the Lord of all and commands all. Sarvabhutanam = for all creatures or living beings, suhridam = welfare. Sri Krishna does good only for all. Mam = [such] I [Sri Krishna]. The 'I' here denotes the great Commander He is and the great Donor He is capable of granting anything to anyone. Jnatva = understanding [Sri Krishna], rcchati = attains, shantim = peace. Person who understands Sri Krishna [ as the Ultimate beneficiary, as the One who is for the welfare of all living creatures and as the Greatest among all] and performs pooja, will attain peace. Normally, when we do a work we get tired. Then, how by doing Karma yoga will get peace? Yes, it will give peace if we dedicate it to Sri Krishna. He is our Lord and so we can never grudge to serve Him. He says He is for our welfare. So, we also feel happy to serve Him. He is the greatest Donor and is prepared to grant whatever we wish, including Moksham. This also makes us to serve Him happily. All these induce us to serve Him happily and we get peace. Our duties to our children are not burden to us. A mother does not hesitate for the labor pain. We are happy to undergo medical treatments so that we can be healthier. So also Karma yoga, recommended by the Lord, will never make us tired, rather it will give us peace and happiness.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


We are listening to the lecture today [24th December 2007] from the Karandamadum Poigai in Sri Nambirayar Sanndhi. There is a single palm tree [panai maram] at the pond. In Sanskrit this tree is called Thala vriksham and it is the Sthala vriksham [sacred tree]here. Thirumzhisai Alwar has praised about this tree in his pasuram. Karanda means crow and Adum is playing, poigai is pond. He further says that the fruits of this tree falls into the pond and the fish compete with each other to eat it. Thirukkurungudi is such a fertile place. The reason being the Lord and He, as Trivikrama, is blessing the devotees. A bath in this pond or at least sprinkling the water of the pond on our heads, many sins are washed off and it will pave way for Moksham. For obtaining atman sakshatkaram, we have to practice Yoga and Sri Krishna tells how to do that in the 27th and 28th slokas. Here a glimpse of it is mentioned and full details are going to be explained in Chapter 6. Now the slokas:
sparshan kritva bahir bahyams
caksus caivantare bhruvoh
pranapanau samau kritva

munir moksha-parayanah
yah sada mukta eva sah

"Shutting out all external sense objects, keeping the eyes and vision concentrated between the two eyebrows, suspending the inward and outward breaths within the nostrils, and thus controlling the mind, senses and intelligence, he is a muni constantly thinking of atman to attain atman sakshatkaram. One who is always in this state is certainly liberated."

Bahya = external, sparsa = contact [listening, seeing, touching, tasting and smelling], bahir kritva = pushed aside or out, that is our sensual experience from outside contact are expelled, bhruva antare = in the middle of the two brows, chaksus = keeping our sight. When a person wants to start practicing yoga, he has to keep off all contacts with external things which can be experienced by our sense organs and sitting on a seat comfortably he has to see the middle between the eye brows . Nasabhyantara = in the nostrils [or nose], carinau = travelling [or passing], pranaapanau = the prana and apana airs [ vayu], samau kritva = equalising them. This way He says how pranayamam has to be done, by equal passage of inhaling and exhaling. Keeping off from all senses except atman, yata = such, indriya = sense organs, mano = mind, buddhi = intellect or resolve, muni = [by controlling organs, mind and buddhi] he becomes a muni or one always thinking of atman, moksha parayana = with atman sakshatkaram as the sole objective, vigata = dispelled, iccha = desires, bhaya = consequent fear, krodha = and consequent anger, ya = such a person, sah mukti eva = he is always in a state of liberated. That is as he starts to practice yoga he attains the state of emancipation. How to practice this? Can we afford to sit in yoga free from all external contacts? Yes, but it does not mean that we have to go to far off places like Badarikshram or Himalayas, but in one's own place and for a short time like 15 minutes or half an hour to start with. Cutting off external contacts is not new to us, as daily while sleeping for 6 or 7 hours we are away from all such contacts. Sleep means a sort of atmanubhavam and we become one with Paramatma. So yogam is possible for all of us. Only difference is that sleep is a result of tiredness and fatigue, while the yoga mentioned here is we have to get atmanubhavam while we are awake. First we have to choose a calm place and have a proper seat not too high nor on the plain floor. It should be comfortable to the person, as many complain of knee joint pain, etc. We should create the ambient atmosphere for practicing the yoga. Padmasana is preferred but it should be possible for the person. We have to keep off all external contacts which can hinder the yoga, from the place where we have to practice yoga. Eyes have to be open as He instructs to watch the mid region between the eye brows. [In a later sloka He is going to tell to see the tip of the nose. But both mean that we have to keep the eyes open and concentrate on a region between the eye brows and nose tip]. Closing the eyes may induce sleep and so with partially open eyes, we have to set our sight. We have to then equalize our breath, intake and outgo. Inhaling is called poorakam and exhaling is rechakam. Retention of the inhaled air in our body is called kumbakam. Sri Krishna tells to equalize prana and apana. We have seen earlier that prana air always goes up and apana air always down. So, equalizing means the time for inhaling, exhaling and retention should be equal. That is poorakam, rechakam and kumbakam should have equal time. All these are body related. Now we have to think of atman and its qualities. Buddhi should direct mind in this only. Once this is done, we will have no likes and dislikes and so we conquer fear and anger arising out of desires. Our objective will be only atman sakshatkaram. Such a person, even in the short duration of half an hour or so yoga is practiced, is like any soul that has attained Moksham. This is the crux of this sloka. This state will be there as long as we practice yoga and so by slowly increasing by constant practice we can improve and even while doing our daily routines we can be in a state of liberated.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


We sometimes feel that we did not live when Sri Rama or Sri Krishna were in this world. To compensate this, the Lord appears in various temples of great Kshetrams. Here, the Lord appears as Sri Vamana and Sri Trivikrama. In a pasuram in Thirunedunthandakam, Thirumangai Alwar tells about the Lord here. Alwar was having a pet parrot. He taught the bird the Lord's names. Whenever, Alwar was depressed and felt the separation of the Lord from him, the parrot would repeat the Lord's names and Alwar would get encouragement. He calls the Lord a mugil, which means in Tamil, cloud pregnant with rain. Such a cloud brings happiness to old and young alike. Similarly, the Alwar gets happiness at the sight of Sri Nambi. This si a very big temple and needs proper management and administration so that all pooja are performed properly. Foreseeing this, Swami Ramanuja, while on a visit to this temple, some 1000 years ago, appointed a Jeer [pontiff] to look after and administer. We are aware that Swami Ramanuja had Five Acharyas, viz. Periya Nambi, Thirumalai Nambi, Thirukoshtiyur Nambi, Thirumalaiandan and Azhwar Thiruvaranga Perumal Arayar. Of them, Periya Nambi was the senior most. Swami Ramanuja appointed one of the hereditary of Periya Nambi as the Jeer in charge of this temple. Today's [21st December 2007] lecture is from the Mutt of the Jeer in charge of this temple. Srimad vedamarga prathishtapanacharya ubhaya vedantacharya paramahamsa parivrachakarya Thirukkurungudi Perarulala Ramanuja Jeer is the full title. Present Jeer is the 49th in the lineage. Appropriately, in the 26th sloka we are to see today, the word yati, meaning sanyasi or jeer, occurs. The sloka:

yatinam yata-cetasam
abhito brahma-nirvanam
vartate viditatmanam

"Those who are free from anger and all material desires, who are self-realized, self-disciplined and conquering the mind find atman sukham very near."

Brahma = atman, nirvanam = happiness [ atman anubhavam of a Karma yogi], abhito = very near, vartate = is available. Person who has got atman sakshatkaram, finds atman sukham or happiness close by. Sri Krishna has shown the 6 steps in the slokas 20 to 25. Kama = lust, krodha = anger, vimuktanam = discarded, yatinam= yati or sanyasi or he who has abandoned any attachment to woldly desires and finds only God as all for him, cetas = mind, yata = directed only in the atman. Once he has abandoned all worldly desires, it does not mean the mind is blank. Mind is also an organ and it has to be deployed. So, after stopping his mind from all worldly desires, the mind is directed to view atman. Viditatmanam = therefore, conquering his mind, for him the atman anubhavam is just close by. Mind is powerful and it has no limits, unlike other external organs like hands or mouth. To conquer a mind, we require something which is superior. Atman is able to do that. Mind as such has no gyana or intellect. Mind is not eternal. Such limitations are not there for atman and so mind is conquered by atman, once mind is directed to concentrate on atman. With that he abandons kama and krodha, detached from worldly desires, mind concentrated on atman, he conquers mind and finds happiness of atman anubhavem at close by. The six steps mentoned in the slokas from20 to 25, are mentioned in the four words in this sloka- kama krodha vimukhtanam, yatinam, yata chetasam and viditatmanam. Steps mentioned are: 1] unaffected by likes and dislikes 2] unaffected by worldly desires 3] realizing the defects in the worldly pleasures 4] conquering kama and krodha before atman casts off the body 5] atman alone is regarded as bhogyam, bhogasthanam and bhogopakaranam and 6] seeks to help all living beings in their hour of need. Person whio has come on all these steps finds atman sukham or happiness at hand's reach.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


The name Thirukkurungudi came from the Tamil word kurugiya, meaning short. The Lord wantonly took a dwarf form and later He grew gigantically as Sri Trivikrama. Such is the greatness of this foremost Sri Ninra Nambi. Today's [20th December 2007] lecture is from the entrance to this sannidhi. Near this spot, there is a big bell, which was donated by Aditya Varma, a king of Kerala, in 1468A.D. The sound of this bell reverberates all over daily as though announcing the great qualities of the Lord. Inside the sannidhi also, there is a bell called Nadha Vinodha Mani in Tamil. The Lord is very much interested in music. Nammalwar's mother was Udaya Nangai and father Kaari. Udaya Nangai's native place was Thiruvann Parisaram [near Nagarkoil and is in Kerala]. It is one of the thirteen Divya Desam of Chera region. This couple used to visit many Kshetrams and prayed for a child. Once they came to this place and prayed to te Lord for a child. Granting the request, the Lord asked what type of child they needed and they requested a child like the Lord. The Lord thought that there was none equal to Him and so decided to be born as a child to this noble couple. So, Thirukkurungudi Nambi was born as Nammalwar, in star Visaka and in the month Vaikasi. Sri Nambi is Nammalwar here, and so there is no idol of Nammalwar in this temple. This being one more reason. Nammalwar has sung ten pasurams in praise of the Lord. Besides, Thirumazhisai Alwar, Perialwar and Thirumangai Alwar also composed pasurams on the Lord. So, the Lord is quite eager to listen to the singing of these pasurams by the Arayars set to melodious music. For some reasons the music by Arayars got stopped for some time and the Lord became restless without those songs. Devotees then decided to make a bell out of the brass cymbals used by Arayars. This is that Nada Vinoda Mani inside and thereafter the Lord was happy. Inside, the Lord graces the devotees in the most beautiful form and we can enjoy Organ by Organ or in Full, this Divya Mangala Vigraham of Sri Nambi. Acharya Swami Nayanar addresses the Lord as Ruchi Janaka Vibhava Lavanyam. The Lord tries to attract us to Him by various means and finally, He shows His beautiful image to us and we are conquered instantly. Once we look at His idol here our mind will never drift away. Lavanyam means the image in toto is beautiful. If we see the beauty part by part, then it is called soundaryam. So Sri Nambi has both Lavanyam and Soundaryam, though Lavanyam is more. Alwars and Acharyas praise and say that He has the combined luminiscence of all the bright objects in the World like, the Sun, the Moon, Gold, Diamonds, etc., and all added up. This can be felt only when one visits this temple. As mentioned earlier, the Moolavar Lord graces in many colours. Here the Utsava Moorthy does not hold the Mace[gadha]. It seems once due to some reasons, Sri Azhagar of Thirumaliruncholai had to reside here. When that Lord returned, the Mace of Sri Nambi also was sent along and so here the Lord does not hold the traditional mace. Earlier at the spot Thiruvattaparai, it was told that the Lord served Swami Ramanuja in the guise of his desciple Swami Vaduka Nambi and got the name Sri Vaishnava Nambi. Yet another reason is there for this name to this Lord. Near the Lord in the sanctus sanctorum, a seat is placed . Swami Ramanuja visited this place and after worshiping, was about to leave. The Lord then asked Swami Ramanuja as to how, what the Lord could not succeed in making people to worship Him inspite of His many Avatars and deputing Alwars to preach Vaishnavam, Swami Ramanuja was able to attract so many people to his philosophy and bhakti started a s torrent flood? The Lord wanted to know the secret. Swami Ramanuja replied that he could tell provided the Lord approached as a desciple and Swami Ramanuja was given proper seatbefitting an Acharya. Immediately, the Lord gave Swami Ramanuja a seat and He stood before him humbly with folded hands. Swami Ramanuja then sermoned on the three manthras [Ashtaksharam, Dwayam and Charama sloka of Gita]. In this world none believed if the Lord Himse He walf proclaimed that He was the Supreme. But the same people listened to Acharyas like Swami Ramanuja.This way also Sri Nambi became Sri Vaishnava Nambi. We will now see the 25th sloka:

labhante brahma-nirvanam
rsayah ksina-kalmasah
chinna-dvaidha yatatmanah
sarva-bhuta-hite ratah

"Those Karma yogi who cut off the dualities that arise from karma and whose minds are engaged in atman, are always busy working for the welfare of all living beings, and are free from all sins and achieve happiness from atman anubhavam."

From the sloka 20, Sri Krishna has been telling the various steps a person gets while practicing Karma yoga and attains atman sakshatkaram. In that series this is the last step, Samadhi. After getting atman sakshatkaram, sarva bhuta hite rata = wants to do good to all living beings, Chinna dvaidha = cutting off the twin [ the likes and dislikes mentioned in sloka 20], yatatmana= he regards atman as bhogyam, bhogasthanam and bhogopakaranam [ sloka 24]. By mentioning the stages in sloka 20 and sloka 24, it is understood that all the previous Five stages have been mentioned here. Rsaya = [rushi] the Karma yogi who is trying for atman sakshatkaram, ksina = destroys, kalmasha = all blemishes [ the beginninglss karma and the papa/punya accumulated is referred to here as blemishes], labhante = gains , brahma nirvanam = the happiness of atma anubhavam. Such a Karma yogi as he gets atman sakshatkaram, runs after all the living beings needing help.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


In this temple, as mentioned earlier, the Lord blesses the devotees in three forms -Sri Ninra Nambi, Sri Irundha Nambi and Sri Kidandha Nambi. Sri Ninra Nambi is on the South corner of the temple. Sri Irundha Nambi is to the North and further North is Sri Kidandha Nambi. So, unlike in most temples, where we can have the pleasure of viewing one of the postures only, in this temple one can have a feast of all the three postures of the Lord. Today's [19th December 2007] lecture is from the middle sannidhi -Sri Irundha Nambi, also called Sri Veetrirundha Nambi. The Lord represents Sri ParaVasudeva of Vaikuntam. Near this sannidhi, is the idol of Maha Bali, humbly bowing to the Lord, Who is appearing as Sri Trivikrama with the Left foot raised to measure the upper worlds and the Right foot on this earth and the lower worlds. The Lord of this sannidhi appeared before lord Shiva.Thirumangai Alwar in his Periyathirumozhi, tells that lord Shiva, in tiger skin attire and wearing rudraksha garland worshiped this Lord and got his sins washed off. That is why lord Shiva is given importance in this temple and there is a separate sannidhi of lord Shiva. It is one of the attempts to encourage Vaishnava - Shaiva unity, so that sanathana dharma flourishes. We will see the 24th sloka:

yo ’ntah-sukho ’ntar-aramas
tathantar-jyotir eva yah
sa yogi brahma-nirvanam
brahma-bhuto ’dhigacchati

"One whose happiness is within, who is active and rejoices within, and whose aim is inward is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme."

This details the Fifth stage of the one who has attained atman sakshatkaram. We earlier saw the four stages, viz: 1) likes and dislikes unaffect [sloka 20], 2) external matters do not affect [sloka 21], 3) defects of the materialistic pleasures are realized [sloka 22] and 4) conquers kama and krodha before death. Now the fifth stage is mentioned for which we have to see how the Alwars lived. In the pasuram Unnum soru, parugum neer, thinnum vetrilai ellam kannan, Nammalwar says that for him Sri Krishna is all. This represents Dharaka, Poshaka and Bhogya in our activities. In food, water is most essential to keep alive and so it is called Dharaka. Rice is needed for body development and growth and so it is Poshaka. We take Vetrilai [pan in Hindi or thamboolam in Sanskrit] purely for pleasure and so it is Bhogya. We can classify every item in this world in these three groups. For Nammalwar and other Alwars, Sri Krishna was representing all the three -Dharaka, Poshaka and Bhogya. This is the stage mentioned here. Ya = one, antah sukha = who considers atman as object of desire, just as we consider betel or sandal paste as objects of pleasure, antar arama = considers atman as a garden or the place where the objects of desire grow or available, tatha = and, antar jyoti = considers atman as light for enjoying or as tools for such enjoyment. These three are called bhogyam [objects which give us pleasure], bhogastanam [the place where these objects are available or grown] and bhogopakarana [the facilities needed to enjoy the object in the place it is available]. As an example if one wants to enjoy eating mango fruit, he has to have the mango and it is available in the garden and to pluck it he needs light. Here mango is bhogyam, garden is bhogasthanam and daylight is bhogopakarana. We need all these three in all our activities. Sri Krishna tells that for the person attained atman sakshatkaram, all these three are same- atman [three-in-one]. Excepting Paramatma and atman, no other object represents all the three. In the example, mango is to be eaten but we have to go to garden and garden can not be eaten,. Similarly, light is needed to pluck the mango but light can not be eaten to enjoy. On the other hand, if we think of our organs as bhogasthana, then we will be dragged by them in their direction. Sa yogi = such a person practicing Karma yoga, brahma bhuta = reaches [the high level of atman, when it is called] brahman, that is he becomes like Brahman in happiness and Gyana, brahma nirvanam = pleasure of atman [atmanubhavam], adigacchati = acquires. So, the person who sees atman as bhogyam, bhogasthanam and bhogopakaranam, reaches the high level of atman [brahman] and gets the pleasre of atmanubhavam. How to enjoy atman? Instead of asking, we have to make a beginning. We can keep half an hour for this and try, taking tips from elders and experts. We can sit in our pooja room and meditating on our favourite image of the Lord, we can definitely concentrate on the atman. We have to practice whatever good things we have heard.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Today's [18th December 2007] lecture is at the Dwajasthambam [Flagmast] of Sri Nambirajan temple. Unlike in all temples, where the dwajasthambam will be exactly in front of the sannidhi, here the dwajasthambam appears to be slightly shifted on one side. The reason for this is in a story, which will surprise us and is connected with the 23rd sloka we are to see today. First we will see the sloka and later we will see the story.

saknotihaiva yah sodhum
prak sarira-vimokshanat
kama-krodhodbhavam vegam
sa yuktah sa sukhi narah

"Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is well situated and is happy in this world."

Sarira = body, prak = before, vimokshanat = falls down [before death], yah = anyone, kama = passion, krodha =anger [arising out of that passion], udhbhavam vegam = speed or haste arising out of these [in mind, speech and action], ihaiva = in the efforts [ in performing Karma yoga to attain atman sakshatkaram], saknothi = capable of, sodhum = protecting or containing, sa = that person, yuktah= is the right person for attaining atman sakshatkaram, sa= that, nara = jeevatman , sukhi = enjoys. Person, who before casting off this body, is capable of shielding himself from the haste connected with lust and consequent anger, even at the stage of attempting Karma yoga for atman sakshatkaram, is the right person for attaining atman sakshatkaram. That person enjoys the atman. Here, Sri Krishna talks of a person in the Fourth stage of Karma yoga. In the 20th sloka, the person is unaffected by anything of his liking or not. This is the first stage. Srcond stage was, the person avoids effects of external objects and concentrates on the internal atman. In the Third stage, the person realizes that all those which we think are pleasing us, are all sources of misery as all of them have great defects. In the Fourth stage the person conquers lust and anger, and the resultant recklessness, before his body falls down, when atman departs. Such a person, is the right one for atman sakshatkaram and attains Moksham and enjoys atman experience after death. We will now see the story.Varaha Puranam is what the Lord told Sri Thayar. In that, there is an event called Kaisika Mahatmyam [ greatness of Kaisika]. Of the 24 Ekadasis, one is Kaisika ekadasi, which occurs in the month of Karthigai in Shukla paksha. It is not Kausika ekadasi, as Kausika is the name of a sage and no ekadasi is named after any Rishi [sage]. Kaisika is the name of a raga [tune] like Kalyani or Thodi. In Tamil, raga is called Pann. A great devotee of Sri Thirukkurungudi Nambi was Nampaduvan and he was in the habit of coming to this Kshetram every ekadasi and sing in praise of the Lord. [As per customs of that time, he could not enter the temple and have a view of the Lord and so he would remain at the Dwajasthambam and sing and then go back]. Once, he was coming to sing in this Kshetram on the ekadasi falling in the shukla paksha in Karthigai month. On the way he was captured by a bramha rakshasa [demon] and wanted to eat him. Nampaduvan told the demon that he had no objection to the demon eating his body as he had no interest in it; however, he pleaded, that he must be allowed to go to this Kshetram as he was in the habit of singing on ekadasi, and promised that after singing, he would return and make himself available for the demon's food. The Demon did not want to be cheated and so it refused the plea. At that time Nampaduvan made a series of promises and told that in case he violated the promise he would acquire the consequent sins. The Demon was not agreeing to every one of them. Finally, he made a very big promise, that in case he did not return to the demon, he would acquire the same sin as anyone who thought of anyone as equal to Sri Vasudeva. Immediately the Demon let Nampaduvan go and come back after his usual singing in the temple. Nampaduvan came to the temple and at that time the Dwajasthambam was exactly in front of the sannidhi and he sang in the Kaisika raga. He thought it was his last visit, as on return he would be killed and his body would be food for the demon. So, with tearful eyes he prayed to the Lord for a darshan. The Lord also felt that after all He, the Idol or the Prasad are all for the benefit of His devotees only and so with a miracle, the Dwajasthamba got shifted instantly and Nampaduvan coud have a clear view of the Lord from where he was standing and singing. Satisfied with this, he returned back to the place where the demon was waiting. To test him further, the Lord in the guise of an old man stopped him on the way and cautioned him not to proceed further as a demon was there and might kill Nampaduvan. Nampaduvan replied that he did not want to flout his promise and he never had any attachment to his body or the bodily desires, and he proceeded and reached the demon. He told the demon that he could get his last wish of viewing the Lord fulfilled and that he was ready for the demon to kill and eat him. Demon realized the greatness of Nampaduvan and prostrating at his feet, the demon requested that he should renounce the punya, acquired by him as a result of his devotion to the Lord, in favour of the demon, so that the Demon could redeem its original form and live a descent life. But Nampaduvan said that he never prayed for anything from the Lord and so he acquired nothing to renounce. He sang for the pleasure of the Lord and so he could not think of any punya which could be transferred to the Demon. Demon further pleaded and requested to transfer the punya of at least one song he sang in front of the Lord. Finally, he agreed that in case the Kaisika raga had any punya, he would pray the Lord to transfer it to the Demon. Demon got back his original form. We can note that Nampaduvan was able to conquer Kama and krodha just before his death. Swami Vedanta Desika in his Tatparya Chandrika, gives a beautiful explanation for the word vegam in the sloka. When we desire for something undesirable, the mind starts thinking of it. So the thought becomes reckless. We then start talking about it and so the speech becomes reckless. Our efforts to accomplish makes our actions reckless. Similarly, in the case of anger. Anger becomes unrestricted in thought, language and action. Thus both Kama and Krodha affect mind, word and body. So, this recklessness has to be conquerred and then he b ecomes eligible for atmanubhavam. In Sanskrit grammar, the word 'ra' denotes destroyable. So 'na' + 'ra' is negating destruction. Sri Krishna by using the word 'nara' indicates that this atman is going to avoid rebirths and enjoy the durable Moksham.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Today's lecture is from the entrance gate of temple of Sri Nambirajan at Thirukkurungudi. On the right side of the Gopuram, Sri Trivikramavataram is sculpted, because the Lord inside, Sri Ninra Nambi is considered as Sri Trivikrama. The temple elephant here is called Kurungudivalli. Purana says that in this place the Lord appeared and rescued elephant Gajendra. This Kshetram has the inherent feature of all the Five stages of Paramatma Swaroopam. The Vimanam is Pancha Kedhaka vimanam and the Pushkarani is Karandumadu Poigai and Thirupparkadal. Shastras state that the Lord is in Five stages. One, in Vaikuntam as Sri Para Vasudeva in the seated position. Second, the reclining Lord in Thirupparkadal[Milk Ocean] as Sri Vyuha Vasudeva. Third in the Vibhava form, where He took Avatars like Sri Rama and Sri Krishna. Fourth, He resides n every atman as Antaryami. Finally, in the Fifth stage He resides as Archa form in Various temples like Srirangam, Thirumala and Thirukkurungudi. All these Five stages can be worshiped here. In the temple there are three idols of the Lord as Sri Ninra Nambi, Sri Irundha Nambi and Sri Kidantha Nambi. Sri Irundha Nambi depicts Sri Para Vasudeva, the First stage. Sri Kidantha Nambi represents Sri Vyuha Vasudeva, the Second stage. Sri Ninra Nambi in this temple reflects Archavatara as He is considered as Sri Vamana. In the spot Thirupparkadal here, the Lord is the Archa Murthy, Fourth stage. The Lord on top of the hill here is called Sri Malaimel Nambi. He is also called Sri Hrushikesa. Hrushikam in Sanskrit means all our organs. So, the Lord has conquered all those external and internal organs of the body. Therefore, He is regarded as Antharyami. If our mind can be concentrated on the Lord, then all other desires will get subdued. We normally keep a lumber room in our house where we store all the unwanted materials and usually, it is also not kept clean. Our mind is like that lumber room and we have kept in memory all unwanted things. We will remember an abuse by someone ten years back with full details. Whereas, we will not remember the name of the Lord in a temple we visited an year back. Mind, thus remembers bad things easily. If we can install in our mind the Lord and His deeds, then automatically all undesirable memories will vanish. Slokas 20, 21 and 22 are all linked. In the sloka 20 He told that we should not have likes and dislikes and avoid the delight and sorrow, as a consequence. By this the person abandons the attachment to external matters and thereby, avoids all the consequential happiness and sorrow. This was told in the 21st sloka. Now, the 22nd sloka:

ye hi samsparsha-ja bhoga
duhkha-yonaya eva te
ady-antavantah kaunteya
na tesu ramate budhah

"An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them."

Why does Sri Krishna wants one to cut off the attachments to external matters? It is because they have lots of defects in them. Ye hi = those [the external objects], bhoga = pleasures [the delight arising out of listening, touching, tasting, smelling and viewing], samsparsha ja= by substantial contact. When we view an object, the eyes make contact with that object. Such a contact gives a person pleasure by viewing. Similarly, other sensual pleasures. Dukha yonaya = [these pleasures have] inherent miseries, [ because], adyantavanta = they all have beginning and end. By this it is to be inferred that those which have no beginning and end, like atman and the Lord are all always happy. So, budha = learned ones or a gyani, na tesu ramate = will not desire for them. By this it does not mean that Gyani never eats or works for living. But he is not affected by the delight or sorrow associated with them. Eating does not make him to dance with joy nor starving makes him brood. He knows that eating or sleeping and all such activities are natural for upkeep of the body. Those actions are not the objective of life. While, atman darshan is his objective. Swami Vedanta Desika, in his Tatparya Chandrika, examines the defects Sri Krishna mentioned. He lists five defects in the materialistic pleasures we are all after. They are Arjava dosha, rakshana dosha, kshaya dosha, bhoga dosha and chinta dosha. First the difficulties one has to encounter in acquiring these materialistic pleasure. If we want to enjoy living in a good house, we have to struggle to acquire that. We may have to work extra hours to raise funds and we may have to sacrifice our health and sleep, to ensure that we have more money to purchase what we want. But to enjoy atman or Paramatman, we do not even have to go out. Raksha dosha is the eforts and hardships to maintain and protect what we have acquired. Fear of thieves and tax burden will make many sleepless. Such a fear is not there for atman anubhava. Kshaya dosha is the defect arising out of the reduction in the material and the happiness arising out of them. If one thinks drinking Kheer or Payasam is happy, it gets reduced as consumed or distributed to others. We can worship the Lord and be happy and this will not get reduced if more people worship. Even the happiness in heaven is having this defect and after all it is a tenure and once the time is over we have to get out of heaven. That is why the Lord is called Sri Aravamudan, meaning the pleasure by worshiping never reduces. Bhoga dosha, is the greed that develops. Just as fire requires more and more of fuel to burn, these pleasures will demand more and so more hardship and fear. Last is chinta dosha and one has to be constantly thinking about the object, how to avoid competition and ensure continuous happiness, and like that. So, all these defects are inherent in every material and the so called happiness arising out of them. Therefore, no Gyani will ever go after these worldly pleasures.

Friday, December 14, 2007



Thursday, December 13, 2007


The Thaniyan [kalayami.. in Sanskrit and Vaazhi Parakalan.. in Tamil] give an insight to the history of Thirumangai Alwar. He was the last of the Alwars , who appeared in this world. He was born in Thirukkurayalur, near Sirkazhi. He visited many Divya Desam and composed Six compilations on the Lord. He was born in the Tamil month Karthigai [Nov-Dec] and in he star constellation Kruthika. He took up lots of works in Srirangam. Finally, he prayed Sri Ranganatha to grant him Moksham. The Lord ordered him to go to Thirukkurungudi. As Sri Vamana Murthy and as Sri Nambi, the Lord is blessing all in Thirukkurunkudi. Thirumangai Alwar came here and worshiped the Lord. It is told that he constructed the fortification wall. After serving the lord here, he prayed for Vaikunta prapti or Moksham. The Lord consented and offered him the greatest wealth of Moksham. Alwar also proceede to Vaikuntam from here after casting off his mortal coil, on which the Thiruvarasu has been built.
Thirumangai Azhwar Thiruvarasu - Thirukkurungudi.JPG

Today's [14th December 2007] lecture is from the Thuruvarasu of Thirumangai Alwar. Because of this, this Alwar is given a special status. In almost all Kshetrams, at the end of Irappatthu [ten nights] festival in the month of Margazhi, Nammalwar [normally referred to as Alwar] idol is brought near the Lord of respective temple to enact Alwar's Moksham event, on the last day of the festival. But in this Kshetram there is no Vigraham or idol of Nammalwar, and the idol of Thirumangai Alwar is taken to the Lord's feet on the last day of the Irappatthu festival. It is presumed that Nammalwar becomes Thirumangai Alwar in this Kshetram, in accordance with Swami Peryavacchan pillai's writing ,'alwar thirumangaialwar agirar'. Thirumangai Alwar idol is brought to the feet of the Lord here on the last day of pagal patthu [ten days] festival also. So on two occasions in the Thiruayanotsavam [10th and 20th days], this Alwar's idol is brought at the feet of the Lord. He concentrated his mind on the Lord alone and attained Moksham. Sri Krishna also is advising that we should abandon our mind from the worldly pleasures and concentrate on atman sakshatkaram. Alwars and Acharyas have practiced thus. This is explained in the 21st sloka:

bahya-sparsesv asaktatma
vindaty atmani yat sukham
sa brahma-yoga-yuktatma
sukham akshayam asnute

"Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme."

Bahya = external, sparsa = contact, asaktatma = not mentally interested, atmani = [but] in the interior soul, ya = that person, sukham = happiness, vindaty = attains. Person who has concentarted his mind on atman enjoys and is never interested in the sensual experience of external matters. Sa = such a person, brahma = atman, yoga = exercise or ceaseless efforts in atman darshan, yuktatma = concentrating only on atman, asnute = attains, akshayam = unmitigated or undiminishing, sukham = happiness. He is not interested in external matters and concentrates his mind in the internal atman and so he enjoys unmitigated happiness. Both the words vindate and asnute convey the sama meaning- attains. But the difference is vindate is used while starting the Karma yoga. Asnute is at the end of achieving the objective. That which is happy in the efforts and after reaching it, is very good. We want to go to a place where we are to enjoy. It is possible that the road leading to that place may not be proper and so reaching that is difficult and tedious. This may discourage many from attempting to go to that place. But if the road also is good then more people would like to reach that destination. Atman sakshatkaram is like the second part of the example. The efforts or means also fetch happiness and after reaching the destination also boundless happiness is there. We have to detach ourselves from the external objects and never like or hate those. By this happiness is not reduced in anyway. Because even as he starts practicing atman sakshatkaram, he is blessed with happiness. Karma yoga or atman experience gives happiness as one starts practicing and after reaching the goal, it gives unrestricted happiness. We think we are enjoying all these external objects;but in reality, they are not so. But our mind does not concentrate on even externally perceptible matters, then how one can concentrate on an abstract matter like atman and get enjoyment? Sri Krishna tells that this has to be believed as He is telling that. For this first we have to critically examine all those which we think are giving us happiness. We have to see whther those objects give happiness always or not;whether the happiness is permanent or not; whether any side effects are there or not. If we get a positive answer for all these , then there is no stopping from enjoying them. But in practice none offer this happiness. As an example, eating is a pleasure. But we can find the limitations and so it is not in this list of enduring happiness. In fact some of these will make us addict and then we can not concentrate on noble matters. This applies to our relatives and friends also. Because all are never permanant. Atman is eternal and so Sri Krishna tells Arjuna to concentrate on atman and attain happiness.