As part of Karma yoga one has to do meditation now and then. It is also called Ashtanga yogam and Sri Krishna tells how this is to be done from sloka 10, Chapter 6. We saw sloka 10 in Vanamamalai mutt. One has to select a secluded place, cut off attachments and concentrate mind and start yoga. How to sit and what type of seat has to be chosen are all going to be described by Sri Krishna. Slokas 11 and 12 describe how the outer atmosphere should be there. But slokas 13 and 14 tell how we have to control our internal mind. When we were wondering where to have the next lectures [after Vanammalai], the Lord gave us this Kshetram and we are here. This Kshetram is Thirumeyyam, one of the Pandya region Divya Desam. Here Garuda, Chandra, Adisesha and sage Satya have done meditation and so this is an appropriate place for describing Yogabyasam. What is the aim of yoga? To go after Truth, which is called Mei in Tamil and Sathyam in Sanskrit. God is Truth ans so here all are Mei and so this Kshetram is called Thirumeyyam. The Lord here is Sri Sathyamurthy or Sri SathyaNarayana. Here the Moolavar is in a reclined pose and Utsavar is in standing posture. In a separate sannidhi the Moolavar is seated while Utsavar is standing. Two big sannidhis are here in this temple. The temple is formed in a cave and is regarded as a monument by the Archaelogical Department of Government of India. Sculptures and the way the cave has been formed, are all a treat to the eyes. Like a mountain, truth remains firm and steady. With a steady Yoga we can find the steady Lord in the steady mountain. The Lord graces the devotees with Sri Uyyavanda Nachiyar or Sri Ujjeevana Nachiyar. Invoking Her blessings we will go ahead with study of Gita. Today's [10th January 2008] is from the sannidhi where the Lord is reclining on the Serpent Adisesha. Here the garbagruha is very large like a Maha mantap in other temples. Adisesha, being a serpent, felt that the rajo quality of anger was high in him and so wanted to reduce that and increase the satva quality. So, he decided to practice yoga here. He reduced his very large body and came. The river nearby is so called Pambaru [snake river]. The Lord appeared before Adisesha and enquired. Adisesha was so pleased that he offered himself as seat for the Lord and started fanning the Lord with his tongues. The jewels on his hoods were providing illumination. Afterwards, Adisesha prayed the Lord to grant him satva quality. He granted satva as well as satyam and the mountain is called Sathya giri. In the reclining pose He is granting asylum at the right foot to Sri Bhoodevi, Who was threatened by demons Madhu and Kaitapa. Sri Sridevi on the right chest of the Lord was also afraid and so the Lord as a protection is keeping the left palm in front of Her. Seeing both Sri Sridevi and Sri Bhoodevi getting threatened, Adisesha got angry and blew hot air on the demons and the demons ran away. On second thoughts, Adisesha felt ashamed and fear as he had acted without his Master's order. But the Lord comforted Adisesha, by patting the snake with His right hand. All these can be seen on the Moolavar here. He is surrounded by all the gods and rishis. Those in search of truth can make a trip to this temple. Now the 11th sloka:
sucau dese pratishthapya
sthiram asanam atmanah
"To practice yoga, one should go to a neat place and should lay kusa grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat should be neither too high nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place."
Our selection of the place for yoga is very important. We should never select a place which is surrounded by bad smell and which does not give a decent appearance. We have to avoid all such distraction. Atmana = self [ the person who is going to start yoga] select, suca = clean, dese = place, sthiram asanam = on a wooden and firm seat, prathishthapya = seated. A good selection of clean place and firm seat will go a long way in the yoga. From this we have to infer that we have to keep our houses and surroundings neat and clean. Then it is possible to practice yoga anytime of the day. We should not sit on the floor but choose a seat. By the word sthiram asanam, we can interpret that wooden seat is indicated. So, we should not do yoga on mattresses and cushions. What should be the height of the seat? Asks Arjuna. Nati nicam = not too low, naty uccritam = nor too high. High seats will pose difficulties to climb and once seated will induce constant fear of falling down. Too low may cause fear of insects and serpents. Kusam = dry kusa grass [ darbhai], cela = silk cloth, acinam = deer skin. On the seat we have to spread the kusa grass and over that the deer skin is to be spread. Over that the silk cloth is to be spread. On this we have to sit and practice yoga. Kusa and deer skin are auspicious and silk for comfort.