Tuesday, January 1, 2008


We might be wondering whether it could have been better, if we were born without the sensual organs, which are drifting our attention from more sublime things. In his pasuram 'agathinul vaittha..' sung in praise of this Kshetram, Nammalwar says that the Lord has created the sensual organs like a fishnet so that we will be caught in the net and we can not go forward to reach Him. But Alwar with the Gyana and Bhakti provided by the Lord, says he knew how not to get entangled in this net. Appropriately, today's [2nd January 2008] lecture is at the sannidhi of Sri Andal, Who is considered as the incarnation of Sri Bhoodevi. During the Irappatthu utsavam, the Lord will be gracing from the mandapam here along with Sri Sridevi, Sri Bhoodevi, Sri Varagunamangai and Sri Andal. In the sanctum sanctorum [garbharuham] of the main sannidhi, both Sri Sridevi and Sri Bhoodevi are also there [we are yet to go to that sannidhi]. In that sannidhi apart from the Consorts, Soorya [Sun] and Chandra [Moon] are also there. Dancers of heaven, Urvashi and Thilothama are serving the Lord by waving the fur [ven chamaram]. In the Srinivasa Kalyanam tale, we come across sage Brughu in search of the God with sathva guna. During that search, he got angry with the Lord for not noticing him and so he kicked the Lord on His chest, where Sri Sridevi is resident always. Sri Sridevi got angry and She came to a place, which is the present Kolhapur in Maharashtra. Realizing his great mistake, sage Brughu prayed the Lord for pardon and the Lord asked him to come to this Kshetram and meditate on Him. The Lord, pleased with the sage's sincerity granted a boon that Sri Sridevi would be born as his daughter and the Lord would marry Her and allow both of them [Sri Sridevi and sage Brughu] to remain with Him in the garbhagruha. Thus Brughu and sage Markandeya could be seen inside the sannidhi of the Lord here. In Kumbakonam [Thirukudanthai], near the Padma pushkarini [temple pond], Sri Lakshmi was meditating on the Lord so that She could remain with the Lord in this [Vanamamalai] Kshetram. The Lord appeared before Her and reminded that She was the daughter of sage Brughu and so Her name was Sri Bharghavi and married Her and brought Her to this sannidhi. It appears that demons Madhu and Kaitapa were born on this earth from the body impurities of the Lord. Later, the Lord destroyed them. But Sri Bhoodevi was very sorry that the impurities were on Her and so She prayed the Lord in this Kshetram, to purify Her and the Lord granting Her prayer, made Her also to be with Him in the garbha gruha. We will now see the 5th sloka of Chapter 6:

uddhared atmanatmanam
natmanam avasadayet
atmaiva hy atmano bandhur
atmaiva ripur atmanah

"One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well."

Sri Krishna tells that we have to keep our mind pure. Atmana = by thought or by mind, atmanam = self [ jeevatman], uddharet = one should uplift or rescue [from the samsaram], atmana = by mind or thought, atmanam = self [jeevatman], na avasadayet = should not allow to slip [and fall back and remain in samsaram]. So, by thought or mind, one has to uplift oneself and with the same mind one should not allow oneself to slip away. We may wonder, how this is possible? After all mind is same. How it could do two contradictory things? We see friends and enemies as separate persons. Same person can not be both enemy and friend at the same time. So, here we have to add one small adjective to understand what Sri Krishna is talking about. A detached mind will uplift the self and a mind with attachment will push the self to fall down. So with a mind detached from worldly things, we can come out of samsaram. Arjuna gets a doubt. How one's own mind can be unfriendly to oneself? Arjuna saw all friends and relatives of him ready to help and he also found the enemies wanting to destroy him. Sri Krishna asks why Arjuna calls certain persons as friends and others as enemies? Arjuna tells that friends are doing good to him and others are doing bad for him. What good the friends are doing and what bad, the enemies are doing? Friends take care of him. They provide all comforts. Enemies do not care for him and they do not give him comforts. With a smile, Sri Krishna tells that Arjuna should interchange the attributes. He says that the friends Arjuna considered were actually doing bad for him and the enemies considered by him were doing good for him. So called friends by giving all comforts and agreeing with what all he does, actually immerse him further in samsaram. So, they are not doing good. Enemies as considered by Arjuna, on the contrary, make him to get detachment from the worldly matters and so they help him. This is conveyed in the second part of the Asloka. atmaiva hi= mind alone is, atmano = for the soul [jeevatman], bandhu = friend, atmanaiva = mind alone is, atmana = for the self, ripu = enemy. Here also we have to add the adjective to understand. A detached mind is friend and mind with attachment is enemy. We are part of the family and society. But we have to realize our role and do our duty without attachment. By attaching, we never train our mind on the Lord and so we can not escape from this birth-death cycle. Arjuna if he fought the war as a duty enjoined on him and to fight with detachment, then his mind helped him. If the same mind advised him to fight the war for mere kingdom and the regal pleasures, then the mind is enemy to him. Alwar says at many places that a detached mind is able to cling to the feet of the Lord.

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