Grandeur of Gita is well known and is unnecessary for me [Jeer] to tell. It was preached by the Almighty, Sriman Narayana in His Avatar as Sri Krishna and so is regarded as a supreme philosophy. If one masters understanding of Gita, there is no need for him to learn others like Vedas and Itihasa/Purana. Because it contains the extract of essences of all. Gopalan means a cowherd and such a person would look after cows and will get good milk for him and for others. But Sri Krishna has given us ambrosia [amrut]. A cowherd first allows the calf to drink milk and then milks to get milk for all. Similarly, Sri Krishna has milked the essence of all Upanishads with Arjuna as the calf, so that we have a better life in this world and beyond. He has shown four ways for us to reach Him. But in the 18th Chapter, He indicates the way for all and the easiest - saranagathi or surrender. This is what Nammalwar has indicated. By announcing one's inability [to follow more difficult yogas] and helplessness [by all others], one surrenders to the Lord and this is called Prapatti. May the Lord bless everyone all auspices for better life.
[We will now proceed with the regular lecture by Sri Velukkudi Swami]
We are blessed today as we are at the feet of H.H. Sri Kaliyan Ramanuja Jeer of Vanamamalai Mutt. In the earlier Nine slokas, Sri Krishna mentioned the need for yoga and the qualifications for doing yoga. From sloka 10 to sloka 28, He elaborates Yogabyasam and how yoga has to be performed. Therefore, it is only the blessings of Sri Deivanayaga Perumal and Sri Srivaramangai Thayar that we are starting the slokas on Yogabyasam in the presence of a Yogi like the Jeer of this Mutt. This Mutt was established in 1448 and for the last 660 years the Mutt has been flourishing. Present Jeer is the 30th of the lineage of Mutt Heads. We will see the 10th sloka now:
yogi yunjita satatam
atmanam rahasi sthitah
"A transcendentalist should always engage his mind in meditating on atman; he should choose a secluded place and be alone. He should be free from desires and feelings of possessiveness."
Sri Krishna is beginning to tell how to perform yogabyasam. Yogi = person who has begun Karma yoga. Not the person who has already got atman sakshatkaram, but the one who has started practicing Karma yoga. Satatam = always. He has to be always thinking or meditating on atman darshan. Does it mean all 24 hours? Then, how will he sleep or eat? What will happen if he faints? Here, we have to understand that always denotes the time meant for yoga. Early morning [around 4 a.m.-Brahma muhurtham], is ideal for meditation. Raha = calm place, undisturbed by people, sthitha = place, ekaki = alone. We have to choose a place, for meditation, which has silent ambiance and is secluded from people. Sri Krishna tells this requirement because we are to start the yoga and so all sources of distraction should be avoided. But once we have acquired skill in meditation, then even amidst noisy gathering, we may be able to meditate. Yata cittatma = mind meditating on atman is controlled, nirasir= not desiring for anything other than atman, aparigraha = not wanting to attain the pleasures of world [ that is relinquishing the possessive attitude]. He is devoid of ahankaram [indicated by nirasir] and mamakaram [by aparigraha]. When mind is devoid of this, it will automatically think of atman only, as mind can not remain thoughtless. Instead of thinking of various worldly matters, he thinks of atman. It is like not allowing water to just flow, but by channelising to the fields. Such a person or yogi, atmanam yunjita = starts meditating on his soul. We have to choose a time and place within our dwelling like a pooja room, with a reservoir of thoughts on Him, we can try to practice yoga. Efforts alone will yield results. After describing the method for yoga, at the end of this Chapter Sri Krishna is going to tell that meditation on Him is better. With prayers to bless the Jeer for long services to the Lord, we will take leave of this Kshetram.