Wednesday, February 13, 2008


We are in Thiruppullani, one of the 18 Kshetrams in Pandya region. Every Kshetram will have a sthals vruksham or temple tree, that would be famous. Today's [14th February 2008] lecture is from beneath the Aswatha vruksham in the temple. It is called arasa maram in Tamil and commonly referred to as peepal tree. Here, it is not merely the sthala vruksham, but the Lord appeared as this tree long ago. Later on only, at the request of sages He appeared as Sri Adi Jagannatha. Sriman Narayana first created the four faced Brahma, who by shear sankalpam or thought created his four sons Sanatkumaran, etc,. Brahma requested them to help him in the creation of the world and others. But their interest was in meditation on Sri Narayana and so they refused to participate in Karma like creations. Discouraged Brahma along with his four sons proceeded to Thirupparkadal or Ksheerabdi or Milk ocean, to seek the advice of the Lord reclining on the serpent bed. On the way they all saw in this place a very luminous tree, which is the present tree in the temple. When Brahma approached the tree to find what it was, the Lord announced that He was appearing as a tree. This tree is considered as the king of trees. In Gita also Sri Krishna proclaims that He is Aswatta tree among trees. To prove this, perhaps, He is appearing as an Aswatta tree here. It is a very old tree and the branches are long and wide spread. Many naagars [snake sculptures in stone] are installed. They are very important. Those in need of children or to ward off snake curses, stay for three days and worship naagars. Stone sculptures of snakes, after placing at the feet of Sri Santhana Gopalan idol in the temple for 42 days, are installed beneath this tree. The branches grow and when hit the ground, another tree shoots up. The leaf of this tree is unique. The stem is veru long about half a foot in length and similarly the tip of the leaf also is equally long. The shape is the usual cordate [heart] shape, however. In an ancient Tamil poem Pullani andhadi, this tree is described as having the power to cure many diseases. That poem is carved in a stone slab here. Swami Vedantha Desika has composed a philosophical treatise on saranagati -Abhayapradanasaram, explaining the Vibheeshana saranagati performed in the Kshetram. Vishadavak sikamani swami Manavala Mamunigal had visited this place and stayed beneath a tamarind tree. He had blessed that tree and tree was able to get Moksham. Thus this Kshetram is full of wonders. Now we will see sloka 36:

asamyatatmana yogo
dusprapa iti me matih
vasyatmana tu yatata
sakyo ’vaptum upayatah

"For one whose mind is unbridled, self-realization is difficult work. But he whose mind is controlled and who strives by appropriate means is assured of success. That is My opinion."

An understanding of this sloka will complete the method to practice yoga. Asamyatat mana = one, who is not controlling his mind, yogo = [here it means] samadarsanam or viewing all equally, dusprapa = impossible to attain, iti = this is, me = My [Sri Krishna's], mathi = conclusion or opinion. Only person who controls mind can have samadarshanam. Persons not able to control their minds can never get sama darshanam. Sama darshanam is obtained only by yoga, which requires disciplined mind. Only by controlling the mind and practicing yoga, the person will be able to look at all as atman without body, and so will be able to perceive identical nature. He will realize all atman are embodiment of gyana and ananda, and all are identical and so will view all equally. Uncontrolled mind will only see the differences perceptible on the bodies. Alwar says that he could control these five scoundrels - five sense organs- only with His blessings. Tu = but, vasyatmana = one who has tamed the mind [ controlling mind], yatata = if tries, avaptum sakya = can attain, upayata = by following this method. This method will enable him to control the mind and so atman darshan will be achieved. Which method? Earlier He mentioned vairagyam and abhyasam. Vairagyam is tutoring the mind of the inferior happiness of materials, transient nature and consequent miseries. This way a sort of hatred for such desires will grow. Mind should at the same time be diverted on atman, by constant and repeated practice. This is abhyasam. Armed with vairagyam and abhyasam, this method has to be followed. Here the method is Karma yoga, Sri Krishna has been preaching from Chapter 2. If one practices the assigned duties, without any intention for selfish gains, mind will get controlled. When we go to temple, if we have only devotion in our mind, then for that small time we are present in the temple we perform Karma yoga. Similarly all our other assigned duties in service of God. Let us tabulate the process:

  • Vairagyam
  • Abhyasam
  • Karma yoga [includes Gyana yoga as part]
  • Control of mind
  • Sama darshanam [Here there are four types 1] all atman are equal by gyana. 2] equal with Paramatman in 8 qualities. 3] Realizing as body of Paramatman and so all others. 4] Gyana in its full blossom and no happiness or sorrow would affect.
So Karma yoga is the upaya to reach sama darshanam.
We will now take leave of Thiruppullani.

No comments: