Monday, January 7, 2008


Nammalwar says in a pasuram on this Kshetram, that the Lord granted His feet as refuge for him and he does not know what to repay for that. Here, Alwar calls the Lord as Sri Vanamamalai. So the Lord is a mountain here and like the mountain, He is permanent and stable. Alwar performed saranagathi here and another four places, which are Thirukudanthai [Kumbakonam], Thiruvallavazh [in Kerala], Sri Krishna as an avatar and Sri Venkatachalapathy of Thirumala. This is evident in his Thiruvaimozhi. Today's [8th January 2008] lecture is from Vanamamalai Mutt. Here Sri Srivaramangai Thayar arrives as Daughter of the Jeer during Kanu festival [day next to Pongal festival], just like most daughters go to their parental homes on that day. Similarly, on the day previous to Her Thirunakshatram -Panguni Uthram- She along with the Lord arrive at the Mutt in Golden Chariot. Lord's Feet are very important to us as they represent Nammalwar. One arm is held in Abhaya hastha, guaranteeing protection and another arm beckons us -ahvahana hastha. We will now see the 9th sloka of Chapter 6. As mentioned earlier, 7th, 8th and 9th slokas are prelude to the Yogabyasam to be detailed by Sri Krishna from sloka 10 to 28. He is going to describe how one has to sit and perform yoga, what one should think and what not to think, etc. All the procedural steps of yogabyasam will be explained. But one has to qualify for practicing that and one can not just sit and start yoga. We may be slightly discouraged that the qualifications mentioned in slokas 7, 8 and 9 seem to be very difficult. But these qualifications are absolutely necessart. Once there was an argument between Swami Koorathalwan and Swami Mudaliyandan. Whether total detachment of all worldly desires[vairagyam] was necessary before one started adhering to the Lord's feet or even a small relinquishing effort is sufficient to cling to His feet. Swami Koorathalwan was very firm that after relinquishing all worldly ties or bonds one should go to the God. Swami Mudaliandan replied that if so only very very few like Swami Koorathalwan alone could approach God. Total detachment is not possible for the ordinary like us. So, Swami Mudaliandan's opinion was that with a small effort of detachment, one could approach the Lord, and with that power, the Lord Himself would ensure that our attachments to worldly matters get minimised and we become true Bhaktas. So, let us not get disheartened that we have not reached the levels mentioned in slokas 7, 8 and 9. In this world there are two types of people. One are very firm that unless we are fully qualified for a work, we should never embark on that. Second category feel that starting with the insufficient qualifications and try to the extent possible. It is this second approach we have to follow as it is quite rare to see anyone in the first category. Beginning is important and with His blessings we can progress. Sloka 9 is the third stage:

sadhusv api ca papesu
sama-buddhir visisyate

"A person is considered still further advanced when he regards honest well-wishers, friends, the neutral, mediators, the envious and enemies, the pious and the sinners all with an equal mind."

Sama buddhi = person with equality in view of all, visisyate = is the best qualified [among all qualified to perform yoga to get atman sakshatkaram]. In the last sloka also sama buddhi was mentioned- that he will view equally gold, stone and mud. Why then again sama buddhi? Last sloka was equality of view on inanimate objects and so it is possible to achieve that with some effort. Vey rich person may not be attracted by gold. Nor, the poor as they will find gold is beyond their reach. Even among us there are quite a few who are not lured by gold. Some may have peculiar health problems and they also may not need gold. So, this type of equality of view can be achieved by many on objects. Therefore, Sri Krishna feels that the person mentioned in sloka 9 is the best. He mentions here a variety of persons- relatives, friends, enemies, etc. He mentions nine types of people. First line indicates Seven types and second line lists two types. The first seven types are all related to an individual. The two types mentioned in the second line are common to the world. Suhrd = well wishers, who care for the well being of an individual, mitra = friend, ary = enemy, udasina = don't care persons, madhyastha = impartial persons, dvesya = persons with inherent hatred for an individual, bandhu = relatives. All these sevan types can be categorised into three groups. Suhrud, mitra and bandhu is one group. Dvesya and Ari is another group. Udasina and madhyastha is the third group. First group is favourable to us. Second group is against us and the third group is neutral and can switch to any side. Can we consider all equally? If one wants to pursue atman sakshatkaram, then it is possible. With detachment, he is not in need of any favours from the first group. Hatred by the second group is immaterial to him. So none can block or support the atman sakshatkaram, one is aiming at. Bandhu is blood related like one's parents. Ari is because he has a particular reason to foster enmity towards us. Dvesya has no reason but hates us. A hunter and the deer could be cited as example. Madhyasta judges a situation impatially and supports or opposes a person. Udasina, on the other hand, will switch sides depending on his gain or loss. Sadhu = persons who are committed to doing good to all, papi = creates problems for all. One who is trying to practice yogabyasam would view these two also alike. Therefore, the person who considers all these nine types of people equally, is the best suited for starting yogabyasam.

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