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:
vindaty atmani yat sukham
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.