Wednesday, February 27, 2008


We are in the Kshetram Kapisthalam. Around this place on the North Kollidam river and on the South, Kaveri river flow. To reach this place, we can come to Thanjavur and from there to Papanasam. This place is very near to Papanasam. Though it is just 2 miles from Papanasam, we have to cross four rivers. The Lord graces in the reclining pose as Sri Krishna. This place is called Kapisthalam in Sanskrit and Kavithalam in Tamil. Many Kavis [poets] lived and so this could have got the name Kavithalam. Or, kapi means monkey in Sanskrit. But we can not notice any monkeys in this place. There is a sannidhi for Anjaneya. Once, he had a peculiar desire to see the Lord as He appeared to Gajendra. So once he came to this place and after a bath in Gajendra pushkarini, meditated on the Lord. The Lord appeared before him, seated on His vahanam Garuda. This also could be a reason for the name of this place. This is one of the Five Sri Krisjhna Kshetrams. Slokas 37, 38 and 39 were the query of Arjuna. Will a person practicing yoga, if he discontinues, be shattered and lost like the cloud piece broken by wind? Sri Krishna in reply to this question assured in slokas 40 to 45, that person discontinuing will never be ruined like that nor his efforts would go waste. He would enjoy the pleasures of this world as well as atman prapti. Now in the 46th sloka, Sri Krishna compares the yogi with some others and gives His opinion. This yogi is superior to those by the objective he has chosen to practice yoga. Sloka 46:

tapasvibhyo ’dhiko yogi
jnanibhyo ’pi mato ’dhikah
karmibhyas cadhiko yogi
tasmad yogi bhavarjuna

"A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogi."

Arjuna = Arjuna!, bhava = be an yogi [ practice yoga], tasmad = therefore. Because He is going to list persons and certify that the yogi is much superior to them, and so Arjuna also should practice yoga. Arjuna means white and which symbolizes satva quality, Sri Krishna advices Arjuna to follow this noble quality. Yogi is superior to Tapasvi = meditating persons, jnani = intellectuals and karmibhyas = those who perform duty . Yogi = the person we have been talking about, who has atman anubhavam as the only objective, detached from results of the duties he is performing and meditating on atman, viewing all equally, such a person is superior to a tapasvi or gyani or karmibhyas. But we normally regard tapasvis very high? Srimad Ramayanam starts with the sloka tapasyad.. and there Valmiki mentions Narada as a great tapasvi. Here Sri Krishna is not ridiculing such thapasvis, but talks of those whose objectives are not sublime or for noble causes. Many persons cause sufferings to themselves in the name of thapas. Alwar says these - like remaining without food for many days, standing in scorching sunlight, etc. - are unnecessary. There were sages and rishis wno performed such severe thapas, but we should know what was their objective. Ravana and Hiranyakasipu also performed such severe thapas. But what were their objectives? They wanted to rule the entire world and improve their strength. How such people can be regarded as better than a yogi? Thapas for cheap results is to be avoided. Thiruvarangathu Amudanar, a disciple of Swami Ramanuja says in his Ramanuja Nootrandai, one of the Nalayira Divya Prabhandam, not to perform thapas, the power of which could dry the oceans and destroy forests, etc. There are persons who perform thapas to injure others and yet others are there, who want to extend their longevity or amass more wealth. Amudanar says he does not want to join either of these groups. But this yogi stands apart on a very high plane by having atman sakshatkaram as the only objective. Next, Sri Krishna talks of intellectuals. These are persons who know so many things in life, but not about atman. What is the use of knowing all those? Duryodana had 99 brothers, what is the use in remembering those names? It is more important to know the essence of Mahabharatha. Knowing worldly matters is important to decide how low they are and concentrate on knowledge about atman and Paramatman. Knowledge other than atman and Paramatman is waste and so He regards yogi better than these gyanis or intellectuals. Karmibhya means those who do karmas regularly. Swami Ramanuja says, these persons perform many karmas in line with shastras, like aswamedham, vajapeyam, etc. Though they are very good karmas, they do not take the person anywhere nearer to atman. So any karma for which the objective is not atman sakshatkaram, is to be avoided. Therefore, a yogi is regarded as superior to a thapasvi or gyani or one who performs rituals for inferior results, by Sri Krishna. Here we may have a doubt, whether the yogi praised by Sri Krishna, should he do thapas? Should he have worldly knowledge? Should he do rituals? Actually, this yogi does all the three, but in all, his objective is atman sakshatkaram and Paramatman, only.

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