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.

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