Monday, March 31, 2008

BG 7.18

Near Sri Aamaruviappan sannidhi is a sannidhi for Sri Ranganatha. Today's [1st April 2008] lecture is from this sannidhi. Here, a unique feature is that Sri Ranganatha is in a reclining pose with His head on the lap os Sri Sridevi and His feet on Sri Bhoodevi. Lord Brahma is born as His child, and His Discus and Conch are kept near this child, as toys. The Lord, therefore, is gracing with only two arms. Koil, Thirumalai and Perumal koil are considered as very important Kshetrams by SriVaishnavas. They denote, respectively, Srirangam, Thiruppathi and Kanchipuram. The same Sri Devadiraja of Kanchipuram is gracing here in Therazhundur. In Thiruppathi, Sri Govindaraja Perumal sannidhi is there, and here also nearby there is a sannidhi for Sri Govindaraja. With Sri Ranganatha Perumal sannidhi, we can note all the three Kshetrams are represented in this place. Sri Devadhiraja is in standing pose; Sri Ranganatha is in reclining pose and Sri Govindaraja is gracing the devotees, seated. Though Poet Kambar was born here, he published his Ramayana epic from Thillai Chittirakootam [Chidambaram] and Srirangam [near Thayar sannidhi]. So, at the request of the poet, Sri Ranganatha and Sri Govindaraja [of Thillai Chittirakootam] are gracing here. Thus this Kshetram is famous in many ways. There is also a sannidhi for Sri Rama and opposite to this is a sannidhi for Bhakta Anjaneya. There is also a sannidhi for Sri Ranganayaki Thayar. We will now see Sri Krishna describing four types of persons, who surrender unto the Lord. The 16th sloka:

catur-vidha bhajante mam
janah sukritino ’rjuna
arto jijnasur artharthi
jnani ca bharatarsabha

"O best among the Bharatas, four kinds of pious men begin to render devotional service unto Me—the distressed wanting to regain loss, the desirer of new wealth, the atman inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute."

He tells Arjuna to carefully listen to what Sri Krishna is going to tell. Chatur vidha = four types, jana = of people, sukritho = of good deeds, bhajante = surrender unto or pray, mam = Me [Sri Krishna]. He calls these people as sukritho or blessed ones, in contrast to dushkrito or bad deed people mentioned in the last sloka, while explaining the four types of people who never supplicate to Him. Arjuna asks who they were? We have to clearly understand these four types, as based on these Sri Krishna is going to tell more and so these categories must be well founded in our minds. We have already seen that entities are three:

  • Chit - matter with intellect, billions of atman.
  • Achit - matter without any intellect, all inanimate objects like materials, our body, stone, etc.
  • Isvara -Paramatman, God, possessing both Chit and Achit as His dependents and His property.
Some desire to possess material wealth or Achit. These persons are involved in the sensual pleasures of the sense organs, They are called Iswarya aarthi. Here, there are two sub groups. One is those, who want to regain their lost wealth. They are called brasht-iswarya kaman. Second type is those who want to have fresh wealth. These persons are called apoorva -iswarya kaman.
Some others desire to be happy with atman anubhauam or experience. These persons consider materials as low and regard atman as superior and everlasting. They know atman is an embodiment of Gyana and Ananda, and so desire to have atman sakshatkaram and feel that pleasure is everlasting. They are called kaivalya aarthi.
Some others desire to be with God only. They are called Bhagavallabha aarthi.
Thus there are four types of people in devotion to Him.
Sri Krishna tells that all these people approach Him.
  1. Artha = regaining lost wealth.
  2. Artharti = need of new wealth.
  3. Jijnasu = to have atman anubhavam.
  4. Jnani = to associate with the Lord.
Their grades also are in the ascending order, and the person desiring to be with the Lord alone is the most superior. Instead of asking for trivial things, this person asks for Him alone.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

BG 7.17

Therazhundhur - Andal.JPG
Today's [31st March 2008] is from the sannidhi of Poet Kamban. He starts his epic Ramayana with the verse 'ulagam yavayum thamulavakkalum nilaiperuthalum neekkalum neengala alagila vilayattudai yaravar thalaivar annavarke sharan naangalae' - He, Who creates, sustains and destroys this Universe, and Who does these as a game, That Sriman Narayana, is our Leader. His birth place is Therazhundur. Here Poet Kamban and his spouse grace. When talking of this place it is said as the birth place of Kamban and the place where the curse of 'kumba' Muni was nullified. We had seen that Mother Kaveri came to this place and meditated on the Lord. Sage Agasthya, known as Kumba Muni, while at Podigai Mountains [bordering Thirunelveli], found Tamil language equal to Sanskrit, in literature and culture. Agasthya proposed to marry Kaveri, but she refused and so he was angered and packed her in his kamandalam [water pot]. Because the river was packed, there was famine, and unbearable of this, Kaveri came out of the kamandalam, and started flowing. The sage was further angered and he cursed that whichever place the river touched should go dry. To nullify that curse, Kaveri came to this place and after a bath in Darsha Pushkarini, meditated sitting near the Lord, here. The Lord blessed her and the curse was nullified. Thus we can see Mother Kaveri, is seated in the garbha gruha, near the Lord. Sage Markandeya was a great devotee of lord Shiva and he prayed lord Shiva to grant him, mukthi [Moksham]. Lord Shiva directed Markandeya to this place and meditate on the Lord here. The Lord yielded to his prayers and granted Moksham. Thus in the garbha gruha, we can see Garuda, Markandeya, Prahalada and Kaveri, along with the Lord. Two worms were conversing and one said to the other that it would reach from this hill to another hill. Other worm, mocked and said that it would take so many months to reach that place and by that time its life would be over and so it was impossible to go to the other peak. Challenging this , the first worm got on to the body of a lion, which lived there. The lion jumped from this hill to the other hill and there the first worm, got down and from there spoke to the second worm that it had successfully reached the new place. Moral of this story is that if we can not do a thing, we can attach ourselves to someone else capable of doing and get the work done. By ourselves, we can not do yoga to reach Vaikuntam; while by just surrendering unto the Lord and clinging to His feet steadfastly, we can easily reach Vaikuntam. Kambar says this in his starting verse of Ramayana. In the 14th sloka, the Lord also tells that by surrendering unto Him, one could cross the Universe or samsaram. Arjuna wondered, then why all are not following this simple and easy method to cross? What prevents them? Sri Krishna tells four types of people do not come to Him and these are told in the !5th sloka:

na mam duskritino mudhah
prapadyante naradhamah
asuram bhavam asritah

"Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, who are lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons do not surrender unto Me."

Four categories of people do not recognize Sri Krishna. Duskritino = sinned persons, na prapadyante = do not surrender unto, mam = Me [Sri Krishna] :

  1. Mudha = fools, who do not know about Sri Krishna. They are ignorant of the greatness of Sri Krishna, while they might know all other subjects. They are not aware that He is the Master and all are to serve Him.
  2. Naraadhama = lowest among human beings. These people know the greatness of the Lord; they know He is the Master; they also know what their position in relation to God. Yet, they never feel it proper to surrender unto Him or pray to Him. Such people we see in our own family and friends' circles. They are not atheists; but they have no interest in temples and devotion. It is also possible, that some in this category, might think the Lord is at a very high level for them to approach or might be fearing that their papa might stick to the Lord.
  3. Mayaya apahrta-jnana = people carried away by delusion and false words. These are persons who have studied all vedas and puranas; but they believe God has no form, He has no gunas [qualities]. He is nothing. These words cause delusion and confusion in some persons, and so they also do not go to the Lord. They are carried away by instances like the Lord stole butter and that He married thousands of Gopikas, etc. They do not realize, that what all we think ours, are all His properties and so there is no question of stealing by the Lord. He is the only Male and all atman are His wives.
  4. Asuram bhavam asrita = attaining wicked character. Persons like Ravana and Hiranyakasipu, were well learned but they had developed evil character. They consider God as their enemy. Ravana wanted to abduct Sri Sita and so sought the help of Maricha, who advised Ravana to desist from that scheme. At that time Ravana tells Maricha, that he knew the prowess of Sri Rama, yet He would not change from his contempt for Sri Rama. If Sri Rama were to kill Ravana, who says that he would rather fall backwards and not in the front, as that could be interpreted as surrender to Sri Rama.
These four categories of people never solicit or supplicate to the Lord. We should avoid all these qualities in us.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

BG 7.16

DSC00237.JPG Therazhundhur - Thaayaar.JPG

Sri Senkamalavalli Thayar Sannidhi

Therazhundhur - Andal.JPG
Sri Andal Sannidhi

We are in the beginning of Sri Krishnaaranya Kshetram. Krishnaaranyam means Forest of Sri Krishna. On both banks of Kaveri, Sri Krishnaaranya Kshetrams are abundant. Therazhundur is counted as the beginning of such Kshetrams. Known also as Rathamagnapuram, the Lord graces as Sri Devadi Raja. Thirumangai Alwar, while singing in praise of the Lord, tells that he did not know of any other refuge. He is Chandokya Upanishad. He is Sama Veda, He is Brahadaranya Upanishad, He is Thaitriya Upanishad, and He knows all these; Thirumangai Alwar thus praising says, He knows how to protect His devotees. Moolavar is gracing as a large idol and as Sri Devadi Raja, with Conch and Discus. Normally, in many temples His Consorts will be by His side; but here there is a variation. On HIs left is Garuda and on His right Prahalada, are standing. Beyond Garuda on the left, Sri Kaveri Thayar is seated. Beyond Prahlada on the right is sage Markandeya, standing with folded hands. All of them are gracing in the garbha gruha. Once Indra gave Garuda, a Vimanam and a Crown, requesting him to present them to the Lord appropriate for them. Garuda searched for suitable Lord and found the Diamond Crown [Vairamudi] fitted perfectly on Sri Sampathkumara or Sri Selvappillai, the Lord of Melkote or Thirunarayanapuram, near Mysore, in Karnataka. The place is also known as Yadavadri or Gyana mantap. After presenting the Crown to the Lord there, Garuda searched suitable place for the Vimanam. He found the temple here suitable and presented the Vimanam to the Lord Devadi Raja here and so the Vimanam here is called Gaaruda Vimanam. In all temples Garuda sannidhi will be opposite to the Lord's sannidhi; but here it is not so. In Swami Alavandar's words He treats His devotees as friend and so Garuda is by His side. If we fall at His feet, He does not treat us as slaves but as friends. In Krutha yug, Prahalada pointed a pillar and from that Sri Narasimha emerged. Seeing Prahalada slightly scared, the Lord took a pleasing [sowmya] form and graced the Child devotee, Prahalada. Worshiping such a form of the Lord, we can see Prahalada here. Therazhundur is the birth place of Kambar, considered in Tamil literature as the monarch among poets. In his Ramayana epic, based on Valmiki's Srimad Ramayanam, Kambar has sung the episode of Prahalada and is titled Hiranya vadai padalam [Chapter on killing of Hiranya]. Though Valmiki Ramayana does not contain Sri Narasimha avatara episode, how in Kamba Ramayana, based on Valmiki's, this episode came about? Since Kambar hailed from this place where in the temple Prahalada graces along with the Lord, Kambar could not sing his epic without Prahalada. Since Lord Sri Narasimha emerged from a pillar [Tamil - kambam and Sanskrit -sthamba], He is called Sri Kambar, in Tamil. Utsava moorthy is Sri Aamaruviappan, standing with a cow and calf. Thayar is Sri Senkamalavalli Nachiyar. When we see the enchanting beauty of Sri Aamaruviappan, we pray that this scene should be permanently in our memory. But we realize some obstacles preventing us from this. Arjuna asked what those obstacles were and Sri Krishna replies. We have to see the 14th sloka now:

daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te

"This divine creation of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it."

This prakruti with the three qualities, obstruct our vision of the Lord. To get this obstruction removed, there is no other way, but to surrender unto Him and hold on to His feet steadfastly. Thirumangai Alwar says that he was in great danger, as the five sense organs pounced on him and caused unthinkable problems. But once he surrendered to this Lord here, facing West, all his miseries vanished. In the first half of the sloka, the Lord says none can cross this samsaram with the three qualities, created by Him. But that is not the end. He gives an escape route in the next line of the sloka. Surrender unto Him will enable us to cross. Mama = My [Sri Krishna's], gunamayi = filled with [three] qualities, esa = this, maya = prakruti [Universe], duratyaya = can not be crossed. This Universe with all its contents, filled with the three qualities, is preventing from realization. From countless time, with births and taking various bodies, atman is having the karma due to papa and punya. These are all the transformations of the Moolaprakruti. Daivi = Godly [Sri Krishna], has created all these. One can not easily come out of this bond He has made. Swami Pillai Thirunaraiyur Arayar told that we can not even unwind the nest of a tailor bird; how can we unravel the Mystery of this Universe and God's creations? Maya does not mean magic or falsifying. It is called vichitra karya kari - that is we can not even imagine the complications and the mystery involved in His creations. Every happening is mysterious and mind boggling. Mysterious births and mysterious behavior of various living beings, all beyond our imagination. What we regard as permanent is changed and what we thought is always changing remains steady. Knowing very well that our body is changing, we are deluded to believe, body is permanent and we never even care about atman which is constant and everlasting. Prakruti is called maya and the Creator as Maayi. Why should He create confusion in us? Why not take all to Vaikuntam and keep us happy? Reason is not Him, but we. He has given a good body with intellect and other comforts in life; He has provided organs to acquire knowledge; He has provided Acharyas, Vedas, etc; despite all these if we go in our own way, how can He be faulted? He is trying His best to see that we eradicate our past karma and resort to His feet. To encourage Arjuna, the Lord then says there are ways by which one could cross these obstructions. By oneself, one can not cross these, but by holding on to His Divine feet, very easily, obstacles can be jumped over. Te = They , mayam = mysterious samsaram, taranti = cross. Who are they? Those blessed ones have,prabadyante = surrendered unto, mam eva = Me [Sri Krishna] and only Me [Sri Krishna]. Swami Ramanuja gives a beautiful interpretation for the word 'mam': He, Sri Krishna, as satya sankalpa [ He is the Creator and so He knows all the Mystery and He will keep up His word] , parama kaarunika [ boundless merciful], loka sharanyan[ all to surrender]. Swami Vedanta Desika in his Tatparya Chandrika says He alone with the unlimited Gyana, Strength, Power and Wealth can redeem us from this samsaram. But all these qualities will be of no use to us if the Lord did not have Mercy. In Dayasathakam sthothram, Swami Desika says that but for His quality of Mercy, all His other qualities such as Power, Strength, etc., would have been our adversaries. He has been merciful to very low flower vendor or elephant. So, surrender unto Him, will ensure crossing of the ocean of prakruti.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

BG 7.15

Sri Amaruviappan with Sri Senkamalavalli Thayar.
We are learning Bhakti yogam in the 7th Chapter. Sri Krishna has been telling His greatness and fame from sloka 4 to sloka 12. From the sloka 13, the subject changes. Let us recall the sloka on Seventh Chapter in Gitartha Sangraham of Swami Alavandar:

svay¯ath¯atmyam.prakr. ty¯asya tirodhi´s´saran.¯agatih.
 bhaktabhedah.prabuddhasya ´srais.t.hyam.saptama ucyate

After hearing all about His greatness, Arjuna got a doubt; in spite of so many great qualities of the Lord, why people are refusing to understand these? Why Arjuna is not able to know it? What is it that screens off and hides these qualities from people? Sri Krishna tells that Prakruti, the Universe, which has been created out of it, karma of atman, numerous births, bad habits and traditions, ahankaram, mamakaram, kama and krodha, all these block our understanding of the Lord. From the 13th sloka we are to see what are the various screens which hide the Lord from us and how to remove them and understand the Lord clearly. We are now in Therazhundur Kshetram, where the Lord is called Sri Gosaka or Sri Aamaruviappan or Sri Devadiraja. Even Brahma suffered from this ignorance about the Lord. Similarly we also have defects that make us ignorant of the greatness of the Lord. Sri Krishna was playing with thousands of cowherds and millions of cows and calves, in Brindavan. Seeing this, Brahma got jealous and he thought Sri Krishna was a mere cowherd. He forgot that God has appeared as a Cowherd. Even now we have to respect any cowherd we see, as the Lord has brought fame by appearing in their community. Brahma took away all the cows and calves and all other cowherds, and hid them in this place, Therazhundur, thinking the Lord had not noticed. Sri Krishna came to this place in search of the lost cows and His friends. To teach a lesson to Brahma for his disrespect to the Lord, Sri Krishna, in the guise of Brahma himself, went to Satyaloka, the residence of Brahma and blocked the entry of the original Brahma into his residence. After he repented for his mistakes and pleading for pardon, Brahma was absolved and reinstated. The Lord then presented Himself as Sri Devadi Raja [ King of Devas] in this Kshetram. He appeared as Sri Gosaka [freind of cows] also. He showed He is above all and has no comparison. Gosaka when translated, as Aa [ cow] and so Sri Aamaruviappan. Thirumangai Alwar has composed 45 pasurams on this Lord here. Even the cowherd friends, the gopikas and a 'jamun' [ a berry] fruit vendor, all realized His greatness, whereas Brahma could not. Why this is so? Now the 13th sloka:
ribhir guna-mayair bhavair
ebhih sarvam idam jagat
mohitam nabhijanati
mam ebhyah param avyayam

"Deluded by the three modes [goodness, passion and ignorance], the whole world does not know Me, who am above the modes and inexhaustible."

We can easily see that this sloka is the true reflection of the Lord here. He is an ordinary Cowherd and also the Almighty Lord, as depicted by Sri Gosaka and Sri Devadiraja. What prevents this understanding, in spite of the works of Alwars and Acharyas? The Universe with the three qualities [satva, rajo and tamo gunas], associated matter, associated places, desire of people to enjoy these, all come in the way of a clear vision of the Lord. Idam = this [ what is seen], sarvam jagat = all the people of this Universe; we have to understand that when jagat is told, it means all the people in this Universe. All means whether they are satvikas or rajasas or tamasas, everyone is included. Mohitam = [they are all] in an illusion. Everyone is confused and so are not having a clear understanding of the Lord. Even Brahma suffered from ego. The Lord has to uplift us. Just like He brought out the chariot from mud, hence the name Therazhundur, He has to bring us out of samsaram. Therefore, mam = I [Sri Krishna] am, nabhijanat = not understood. Ebih = this, tribhi = three, gunai = qualities, mayair bhavai = association filled. All matters in this Universe, in association with the three qualities - satva, rajo and tamo guna- prevent by causing a delusion and confusion among people. So, He is not understood clearly. Who are You? asked Arjuna. Ebhya = from these matters with three qualities, mam = I [Sri Krishna], param = much superior, avyayam = remaining constant always. People of this Universe never understand that Sri Krishna is different from all they see and that He is much superior and He is the One and Only One, not subject to any change and remain changeless always. Here the Lord says He is different from all the satva, rajo and tamasa matters we alll see in this world. We never understand He is far superior to all these. It is okay that rajo and tamo qualties associated articles might cause delusion; but articles with satva qualities are desired for cleansing our mind. Why then Sri Krishna is despising satva articles also? Rajo and tamo qualities are to be avoided, like a branded enemy, and so we clearly avoid. But satva articles are looking friendly and so we are deceived easily. If a cup is having poison and if we know, we avoid that. But if the cup is offered saying it is fruit juice, we drink and face problems. If the world is full of evil things only, then we might avoid liking any of them. But, good things are mixed with evil things and so we think we will enjoy the good things and in the process we associate with evil things also. It is like desire for the eatable, a mouse gets trapped. Similarly, we think even evil things are good and get into problems. People are daily busy with their daily requirements and do not find or allocate time for atman and Paramatman. Mind goes only after all these and it is not trained to be after atman or the Lord. Matters with three qualities are liked by us. We like a sweet or other eatables for the taste. These tastes as such might not be felt by us when we worship the Lord here. Because these tastes or other worldly feelings are all transient and very cheap. Food articles can not be taken after some days. We can not sleep continuously, though sleeping may be refreshing. So the desired experiences in this world have many limitations. But these articles are seen and felt by us. Where as Sri Krishna is Permanent and He will never change or decay. He is different from this world and He is Superior to all.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

BG 7.14

We have to have Bhakti [devotion] to God and we have to nourish it so that it grows and yield fruits. To enable this, many customs, traditions, sacred rivers and ponds, Kshetrams, etc., are made available in our country, India. We have been visiting many Kshetrams and we are now in an important Kshetram - Therazhundur, an Abode of Sri Krishna with Cow and calf. It is also called Thiruvazhundur. Today's [26th March 2008] is from the Pushkarini of the temple.

It is called Darsa Pushkarini. By understanding the reason for the appearance of this pond, we can know the history of this place. There was a King by name Uparisiravasu, who could ride his chariot in the sky. While flying like this, if the shadow of the chariot fell on any person below, that person would lose his strength. Once he was flying over this place. At that time Sri Krishna was playing with cows and calves here. Shadow of the chariot fell on the cows below, and all of them became weak. Seeing the plight of the cows, Sri Krishna, with His foot pressed the shadow and the flying chariot crash landed and the wheels got buried in the ground. Since the chariot was pressed into the ground, the place got the name Ther [chariot] Azhundu [pressed] Oor[place] = Therazhundur. In Sanskrit it is called Rathanabjanapuram. The spot where the chariot got stuck up is this pushkarini. Uparisiravasu could not take out the chariot and enquired the persons near by and they showed a Cowherd. The King approached the Cowherd and prayed to help to get the chariot out of mud. Cowherd agreed, but wanted to know what compensation the King would offer to Him. The King, not realizing the Lord as the Cowherd, haughtily said he would offer anything. Cowherd said that if the King could offer thousand pots of butter, got by churning in the same day, He would retrieve the chariot. King was able to bring 999 pots of butter. Since he could not get that one pot till evening, the King thought he could fill one pot with water and offer and the Cowherd might not notice. But the Lord, Who took Avatar to consume milk and butter in Gokulam, knew the trick of the King and He first opened the very same pot with water. When other pots were opened all of them were full of water only and the King got panic and apologised. When the King enquired as to Who the Cowherd was, the King of Devas - Sri Devadi Raja- graced the King. This incident took place on an Amavasya [New moon] day in the month of Thai. Amavasya is also known as Darshan and so this pond is called Darsha Pushkarini. Even today to mark this incident, 1000 pots of butter are offered and Sri Aamaruviappan [Utsavar] aka Sri Gosaka, comes out on Garuda vahanam along with Sri Govindarajan Sri Ranganathan of nearby temples on Their Garuda vahanams , and graces the devotees, on Thai Amavasya. From this we understand that the Lord is the king, the chariot, the cows, the pots of butter and what not. Sri Krishna has been telling Arjuna this aspect only in the last few slokas. He told in the last four slokas that He is all the desired articles in this Universe and He is the desired qualities in them. He is the desired quality of Butter and Water. When all good qualities were listed by Sri Krishna, Arjuna got doubt as who represented bad qualities like the pride of the King Uparisiravasu. We saw two qualities in the king- his pride and later his humility. If his humility, which is desired by us, was responsible for his devotion and is represented by the Lord, then who is responsible for the pride which also was possessed by the King? In reply Sri Krishna tells in 12th sloka that all the satvika, rajasa and tamasa qualities emanate from Him only:

ye caiva sattvika bhava
rajasas tamasas ca ye
matta eveti tan viddhi
na tv aham tesu te mayi

"Know that all states of being—be they of goodness, passion or ignorance—are manifested by My energy. I am, in one sense, everything, but I am independent. I am not under the modes of material nature, for they, on the contrary, are within Me."

What is the difference between the contents of the preceding four slokas and of this sloka? In the last four slokas, Sri Krishna listed all the desired good qualities of desirable objects and told He represented all of them. Strength of good persons, thermal capacity of Agni, brightness of the Sun, etc., are all He. Satvika bhava = righteous qualities, ye caiva = of all persons and objects. Normally righteous persons will prefer satva qualities only in various objects. Sri Krishna tells that He represents all those. Rajasa = [similarly] the rajo qualities and desired by persons with rajo quality or ego, tamasa = [and] tamo qualities desired by tamasa [dull] persons, tan = all these [satva, rajo and tamas], matta eva = emanate from Me [Sri Krishna], viddhi = understand. So all articles with satva, rajo and tamas qualities all, without exception, emanate or originate from Sri Krishna. Te mayi = [all these are] sustained by Me [Sri Krishna]. All these materials are Sri Krishna's body. Aham tu = while I [ Sri Krishna] am , na tesu = not dependent on nor needy of [them]. All originate from Him and all are sustained by Him; yet He is not dependent on any of them. What is satvika bhava? Clear understanding and knowledge, contentment, happiness, honesty, etc. All these qualities one gets out of satva guna and Sri Krishna already told that He represented all these. All desirous of these qualities also are represented by Him. Rajo guna is the cause for dissatisfaction, anger, intolerance, hatred, instability, etc. We can see some healthy persons gasping while conversing or unstable in their talks. Some look very hasty and we can see some dissatisfaction and they do not have peace. Some exercise like pranayamam may help them. Contentment with what we have will bring peace and happiness. Tamo guna gives raise to unclear understanding, confusion, sluggishness, etc. Sri Krishna tells that all those possessing these three - satva, rajo and tamo - qualities and the objects of such qualities, all originate from Him. We have already seen how the creation started. All persons having any or all these qualities, are all created from Him. All these three qualities and those possessing these have all originated from Him. It is just like our body is controlled and sustained by the atman inside. Body is dependent on the soul inside. Similarly, all these qualities and the persons and matters which possess these qualities are all body for Sri Krishna. All have originated from Him. But, He also says here that He is not in them. Though He resides in every matter abstract or real, here a different interpretation is meant. Our body is dependent on the soul for its activities. We should also remember that atman by itself can not do anything. It needs a body to do anything. Atman can not see by itself. It can not eat by itself. It needs a body. Even if body as such is jadam or without any intellect and it needs an atman to know things, atman also is dependent on a body for action. Body is entirely dependent on atman and atman requires a body for some of its activities. Now, we saw that all matters and living beings in this Universe, possessing any or all the three qualities are dependent on the Lord and they are created by Him. But He does not require or need any of these, unlike atman which needs a body for some activities. Not even for any minutest need, the Lord is dependent on anything in this Universe. He is absolutely independent. This is what is implied when He says He is not in them, like our atman in our body. We should remember that He pervades all matters in this Universe, and all are Body to Him, yet, He is not dependent on any of them even for a single requirement. This very important principle is announced by the Lord in this sloka.

Monday, March 24, 2008

BG 7.13

Thirumangai Alwar, aka Kaliyan, was the last among Alwars. He was born in Thirukurayalur, near Sirkazhi. He was holding a spear. He spent his life without any objective. But, in the later years, he received the blessings of the Lord and became an Alwar and composed Six prabhandams [compilations]. Sri Thirunaraiyur Nambi, was his favorite Lord. He converted him as Alwar. They were intimately connected. Alwar in his early days, was after women, and once he came across a woman in Thiruvellakkulam, the Abode of Sri Annan Perumal. That woman was Kumudavalli and Alwar expressed his desire to marry her. Kumudavalli also consented, but she wanted the Alwar should come with the signs of a Vaishnava. A person is considered as Vaishnava, if he approached a suitable Acharya and got the Pancha samskarams, of which the print of Discus and Conch on his shoulder, called Samasrayanam, is important. It is believed that by having the print of Discus on the right shoulder and Conch on the left one, the person was recognised as belonging to Swami Ramanuja's tradition. Alwar went in search of an Acharya , who could perform the Pancha samskarams for him. Finally, he landed in Thirunaraiyur and prayed before the Lord, Who accepted him as disciple. The Lord, with His Discus and Conch, printed the signs on Alwar's shoulders. Even now, we can see that the Lord is not holding the Discus and Conch in the normal way; but the arms will be in the front,so as to enable printing the signs on Alwar's shoulders. Also, the Conch position would be reversed, indicating the action for printing the sign. So, here the Lord appears as He did the Pancha samskaram for the Alwar. Sri Thirunaraiyur Nambi is the Acharya for Thirumangai Alwar. It is customary in our households that we offer double to our Acharya than what we offer to others. Here also in Periya Thirumozhi, while the Alwar composed 50 pasurams on Sri Ranganatha of Srirangam, for his Acharya, that is Sri Thirunaraiyur Nambi, he has presented 100 pasurams. Another important link between Alwar and the Lord here is Periya Thirumadal. Alwar took the guise of a woman in deep love with the Lord here. It was custom of Tamilians to write madal in ancient days. Normally, this practice was followed by male lover only, as women lovers felt shy to publicize their love. But Alwar makes a departure from that, and as the female lover he writes a madal to publicize his Love for Sri Nambi. Normally such madals will draw the sympathy of relatives and others, or the recommendation of the Ruler or change of hearts of the parents, and may result in marriage. He converted his desire for women to desire for the Lord. While normally desire for worldly things are to be avoided, it is considered sacred for an atman to have passion for the Lord. This is conveyed by Sri Krishna also in the sloka 11:

balam balavatam caham
dharmaviruddho bhutesu
kamo ’smi bharatarsabha

"I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O lord of the Bharatas [Arjuna]."

He says He is kama or lust. In all the Four slokas so far, Sri Krishna tells He is the quality which makes people to desire any matter. Here He says He is strength and lust. Balavatam = in srong persons, balam = strength, aham = I [Sri Krishna] am. Does it mean He is the strength in wicked persons like Ravana and Hiranyakasipu? But we never like the strength of such bad persons. Kama = passion, raga = hatred or attachment, vivarjitam = devoid of. That is He is the strength of persons, who are devoid of worldly passion or greed and hatred. That means the strength of noble persons like Sri Rama, Sri Krishna or Sri Narasimha. A social worker, if he has strength to do good things, then the Lord is that strength as people would love that strength for the benefit of society. Bhuteshu = among all living beings, kama asmi = [I, Sri Krishna ] am lust. How is that, just in the previous line of sloka , He said He is the strength minus lust, and now He says He is lust? Dharma = righteousness, avirudha = not opposed. So lust for doing actions which are accepted by shastras, is He. If someone is greedy to have money to do social service, it is for good cause and so He is that greed. Socially accepted desires like between husband and wife or between brother and sister or between parents and children are all not opposed to dharma. But a greed to acquire others' properties is against shastras, and is adharma. In all these four slokas [8,9, 10 and 11], He has told He is the objects of desire and the qualities which make us to desire them. What Arjuna desires to regain Kingdom is according to Dharma and so He is that quality. He is the object of desire and He is the desired quality. We will now take leave of this Kshetram.


As told by Sri Krishna, He knows the objective of every birth He makes. While, we do not know what we missed in our earlier birth and what we have to do in the present birth. So, it becomes necessary for us to surrender unto Him and pray for unison with Him. We travel place to place in search of Him. Similarly, He also takes lots of efforts to uplift us. One such effort is His appearance in various temples to grace us. We have now arrived at Thirunaraiyur and the Lord is waiting to grace us. Thirumangai Alwar has composed 100 pasurams on this Lord here. Here, festivals are galore and daily some festival can be witnessed. This is what Alwar says in his pasuram. The noise of festival never ceases. In Vasanthotsavam, the Lord is amidst gardens and groves for Nine days. Today's [24th March 2008] lecture is from the place, which instantly comes to mind when we think of this Kshetram. When the Lord wanted to marry Sri Vanjulavalli Thayar, it was His vehicle or vahanam, Garuda, who identified this place. Garuda brought the Lord here and performed the Divine wedding ceremony. So, Garuda is famous here and he is called Kal [stone] Garuda. Though, in all temples there will be stone statues of Garuda in sannidhis, nowhere the Vahanam for the Lord is of stone. Two Brahmotsavams are performed annually - one in Panguni and another in Margazhi. In both, the Lord graces on the Garuda and comes in procession. 'Vedathma vihageswara ' - Garuda is an embodiment of Vedas. Garuda will do what Vedas do. Vedas identify the Lord, as also Garuda. A divine sculptor once sculpted a Garuda. He sculpted the wings and was about to carve the eyes which is normally termed as opening of the eyes- Netronyivanam. After that the statue is supposed to have been completed. So, sincere was the sculptor, that the moment he opened the eyes of the statue, it got real life and started flying. With difficulty, the sculptor brought the statue back and made it to rest and from that time onwards, the statue is resting here. Garuda is seated majestically, with the left foot resting on ground and the right leg bent and resting on knee. With both arms stretched, Nine serpents are used as ornaments by Garuda. Serpents which are used are - Anantha on left wrist, Vasuki as Poonool [sacred thread], Dakshaka as waist belt, Karkotaka as necklace, Padmam as right ear ring , Mahapadmam as left ear ring, Sankam on the head and Kuliga on the right shoulder. By worshiping him, one is rid off sarpa dosha. On the Dwadasi following Vaikunta Ekadasi, in month of Margazhi, the Lord graces in a Float on the Manimuthaa pushkarini. We will now see the 10th sloka:

bijam mam sarva-bhutanam
viddhi partha sanatanam
buddhir buddhimatam asmi
tejas tejasvinam aham

"O son of Pritha, know that I am the original seed of all existences, the intelligence of the intelligent, and the prowess of all powerful men."

Aham = I [Sri Krishna] am, buddhi =intelligence, buddhimatam = among intellectuals, tejas = brilliance, tejasvinam = among brilliant persons. Sarva bhuthanam = in every living being or matter, mam = I [Sri Krishna] am, sanathanam = ancient, bijam = seed or cause, viddhi = understand. Partha = Arjuna is addressed as the son of Pritha, which means he is the son of Sri Krishna's aunt. A close relative like him should understand Who Sri Krishna was. Normally, people close to a person might not know the greatness of that person. By saying bijam or seed, we might think He is like a seed which is responsible for a tree to grow. But this aspect He had already told in Chapter 4. He told He is the cause for all matters. Here He is not to be faulted with repeating the same, but a different interpretation is to be seen. He is the cause for all changes in whatever we see in this world. As an example, we take curd, buttermilk, butter and ghee. These are not available as such; but milk has to be processed and fermented to obtain these. Milk has changed into these products. Similarly, we take different vegetables, fruits and food for nourishment of the Body. Each item has a target in the body. Some improve the calories, some for carbohydrates, some improve eye sight, etc. We can not directly take, say for example, carbohydrates or proteins. We eat a particular vegetable or fruit, which apart from the taste, has the particular need for the body. These items have to be processed and after eating, the body system assimilates and converts to the various needs like vitamins, proteins, etc and reaches the destination like blood or brain. Sri Krishna tells that He is this Agent for assimilation and conveying to various parts of the system. So, sarva bhutanam means all those matters which are subject to changes. Bijam means the Agent. He is the taste in all matters, and this was told already. But here, all processes and the Agent, Which carries such changes is the Lord. Tejasvi means brilliant persons. It means the skills in which such persons exemplify. From this we understand that the strength of Garuda or Hanuman , is the Lord.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

BG 7.11


In the 7th Chapter, Sri Krishna tells that He represents all, and all are His belongings. In the sloka 8, He said He is the taste in water, radiation of the Sun and the Moon, Pranavam [omkaram] in Vedas, etc. So, He says that He represents all the desired objects in this Universe and He is the desired quality in all. But our requirements are many and varied, like we want house for dwelling, food for eating, family for enjoyment, etc. Sri Krishna says He is all these desired objects. How this is possible? How can we drink Him? How can we eat Him? Here only the Lord reveals an important truth to us. We drink water to quench our thirst. If water did not have that power to quench our thirst, then we will never go after water. This applies to other needs of us. If chillies do not have the spicy taste, we will never use them. We use sugar for its sweetness. So every article in the Universe has a characteristic and we seek them for those qualities. Sri Krishna tells that He is the sweetness in sugar or spicy taste in chili, etc. He represents all articles and He is the unique characteristic in each of them. Therefore, He becomes our requirement, like breathing air necessary for us. Alwar says Kannan [Sri Krishna] is food for eating, water for drinking and betel leaves for enjoyment. He is water and the taste in water. He is wind and its breezy nature. He is fire and its warmth or heat. We will see 9th sloka, now:

punyo gandhah prithivyam ca
tejas casmi vibhavasau
jivanam sarva-bhutesu
tapas casmi tapasvisu

"I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in fire. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics."

Prithivyam = in Earth, punyo gandha = fragrance [agreeable smell]. Earth's characteristic is scent and Sri Krishna is that scent. We should note that He says He is the fragrance of earth, and not any smell including bad ones. Why? Actually, He represents all including bad small and those dirty matter which give out that smell. But here, He is telling Arjuna that all seek many for some unique qualities. Today's [21st March 2008] lecture is under the Vakula tree, the Sthala tree. Nammalwar is called Vakulabharanan, because he was wearing vakula flowers garland. These flowers have a fragrance and so people seek those flowers. But when we are near a garbage dump, we close our nostrils and avoid them. Sri Krishna replies to the query, why anyone should desire to have the Lord? He is the desired qualities in all articles we seek. Therefore, He can not tell here that He represents bad smell also, which we avoid. But it is reiterated that Sri Krishna represents all including garbage and He is the qualities in all, including the bad smell of garbage dump. Both Ravana and Vibheeshana are His bodies. So also Hiranyakasipu and Prahlada. In this context He is telling only the desired qualities and so He talks of desirable smell of Earth. Vibhavasau = in Fire, tejas = heat or thermal power, sarva-bhutesu = in all living beings, jeevanam = respiration to sustain life. Starting from Brahma to an insignificant grass, He is the respiration to sustain life. Respiration is needed for life and He is that.
We can see the Wedding pose of the Lord and Thayar. Sage Medhavi gave his daughter in marriage to the Lord. In a pasuram [6.4.1] Thirumangai Alwar says He [Sri Naraiyurninra Nambi] is sky, mountain, Vedas and Yagna. Just like a calf goes in search of mother cow, Alwar says he is searching for Him everywhere. Without Him, Alwar says he can not live and He is his breath. All people scoff at him for his acts and call him insane. But he will not let Him go from his mind and the Lord is Alwar's jeevanam. Tapasvisu = in ascetics [ like Rishis], tapascasmi = the meditating power or thapas in them. We respect such persons for the meditating power in them. [At the fag end of the lecture there was a power breakdown and so last few words of today's lecture could not be listened to].

BG 7.10

Garudaservai 16-03-08.JPG
We are in Nachiarkoil, one of the 40 Chola region Divya Desam. The Lord is called Sri Naraiyurninra Nambi and Sri Srinivasan. He graces the devotees along with Sri Vanjulavalli Thayar. The river Kaveri, flows through forests, where elephants and lions fight each other. So the river carries with it, broken tusks of elephants and teeth and nails of lions. All these are brought and enroute get deposited in this Kshetram. So says Thirumangai Alwar. Also are deposited pearls, gold, sandal wood and other precious trees. This shows the prosperity of the place. Today's [20th March 2008] lecture is just at the entrance of the last landing place in the stairs of the temple. As mentioned earlier, Sri Vanjulavalli Thayar is at the centre and She alone graces along with the Lord. To Her left are Sri Srinivasan, Sri Aniruddhan, Sri Pradyumnan and Sri Purushottaman. On Her right are Sri Sankarshanan and Brahma. Here it is believed that Brahma does the pooja and so it is customary for the Archakas, to take permission of Brahma before starting pooja. The idols are very large and are made of salagrama. The Lord, thus, graces in His five forms. Utsavar is Sri Srinivasan or Sri Naraiyurninra Nambi. He is also gracing with Sri Vanjulavalli Thayar, in a wedding pose. To marry Thayar, the Lord came from Vaikuntam, riding on His vahanam Garuda. It is the belief here that prayer, for marriage of the near and dear ones, to the Lord and Garuda, will be blessed. Thursdays are very important here [the recording of the lecture was on a Thursday and the telecasting also was today, being Thursday!!]. Thirumangai Alwar narrates an episode in the pasurams on this Kshetram. There lived here, a male bee, Alavan and a female bee, Nalli, which was in the family way. Alavan wanted to fulfill the desires of Nalli, which wanted honey. Alavan wanted to please its spouse and so went in search of honey. It was evening and it started gathering honey from a lotus flower. Before it could finish, dusk set in and so the lotus flower closed its petals and Alavan was trapped inside. It could come out only next morning when Sun rose. Hurriedly Alavan got back to Nalli with the gathered honey. Since it was inside the flower all night, it was smeared with the yellow pollens. Seeing Alavan with yellow pollens on the body, Nalli thought Alavan was with another female last night and so refused to let Alavan inside the hive. Alwar narrates this to describe the wealth of the place. When this pasuram was explained by Swami Parasara Bhattar, his disciple Swami Nanjeer, requested to clarify a point. He felt that the wife Bee appeared to be too cruel to drive the male bee Alavan, without even enquiring and summarily shutting the door. For this, Swami Bhattar replied that it was because of the peculiarity of the place. That is, this Kshetram being dominated by Thayar, the law is one sided and females have the upper hand!
We also with the support of Sri Nambikkai Nachiyar, confidently approach the Lord and He will have to listen to Her recommendation!! The lesson we derive from this Kshetram is, for a happy family only one wife and one husband are to be strictly followed. We will now see the sloka 8. From 8th sloka to 11th sloka, four slokas, convey a message. He is going to tell that the qualities which are attributed to various objects and persons, are all His. Earlier He told,
  • All Achits are His property
  • All Chits [atman] are His property
  • All created cause and effects, are all His property
  • None is equal or above Him in any of His qualities
  • He is the Creator and, at the great deluge, all merge in Him
  • All things perceived in the Universe are supported by Him, like a thread supporting pearls and studs in a necklace.
Arjuna got a doubt here. We normally seek various things for their special qualities, like sandal paste for fragrance, fire for its ability to cook, water as it quenches our thirst, etc. Then, how Sri Krishna tells that He should be sought after for all needs? Also it is common to see that the means and objectives are different. We take a road to reach a destination. We use a vehicle for our conveyance. How then, Sri Krishna tells that He is the Means and He is the Destination? Sri Krishna replies these:

raso ’ham apsu kaunteya
prabhasmi sasi-suryayoh
pranavah sarva-vedesu
shabdah khe paurusam nrsu

"O son of Kunti, I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability of man in all humans."

Kaunteya = Son of Kunthi [understand], aham = I [Sri Krishna] am, apsu = in water, raso = taste, sasi = in moon, suryayo = and in the Sun, prabhasmi = [am] light, sarva vedesu = in all Vedas, pranava = Pranavam [ AUM], khe = in sky or space, shabda = sound, nrusu = in human beings, paurusam = Male. So Sri Krishna is the taste in water, light in the Sun and Moon, Pranavam in Vedas, sound in space and Male among all human kind. Thus all items we see and seek them for their special qualitues, are all He or His qualities only. So we have to approach Him only. Every item is mentioned and their special qualities which make us to seek them and Sri Krishna tells all are He only.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

BG 7.9

We are in this Kshetram known as Thirunaraiyur, Sugandhagiri or Nachiyar Koil. Thirumangai Alwar composed 100 pasurams on this Kshetram. He reiterates an Historical event in these pasurams. 'Kocchenganar serndha koil', 'deiva vaazh valamkonda chozhan serndha koil'. There was a Chola king Kocchenganar, also known as Cholanayanar. He faced many defeats in battles and not knowing what to do, came to this Kshetram and after bathing in the pushkarini [temple pond], prayed the Lord. He got a divine sword and with that sword he conquered all. Today's [19th March 2008] lecture is from the Pushkarini. It is known as Manimuthaa. There lived a sage Medhavi, who meditated on the banks of this pond after bathing. His objective was that the Thayar should be born to him as his daughter. Conceding to his prayers, Thayar appeared as a child under a vanjula tree. The sage was very happy and brought up the Child as his daughter and christened Her as Sri Vanjulavalli. The Lord also came down as Sri Srinivasa and married Her. They grace the devotees in the wedding pose. Here, the Lord appears with a single Consort, Sri Vanjulavalli Thayar, on His right side. Once Garuda carried a diamond studded Crown -Vairamudi- and searched for a suitable idol of the Lord. One pearl fell down in this pond from that Crown and so this pushkarini is known as Manimuthaa. Incidentally, today's sloka 7 also is about studs or pearls or mani:

mattah parataram nanyat
kincid asti dhananjaya
mayi sarvam idam protam
sutre mani-gana iva

"O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread."

In the last sloka Sri Krishna told that He was responsible for Creation and obliteration of all without any exception. He also said that all chit and achit were His properties. He said these to emphasize His greatness, so that we develop devotion in Him. Also, we understand that we are all His belongings and so it is our duty to please our Master. Knowing His auspicious qualities and involving ourselves in enjoying those, become our objective. He is the Means and He is the Destiny. Dhanajaya = conquerer of wealth. Here, the Lord calls Arjuna by this name with a wink in the eyes, that Arjuna [as also we] thinks that he conquers and possesses wealth; but forgets that all are His property and nothing could be claimed as Arjuna's or our property. Matta = from Me [Sri Krishna], anyat = different, kincid = anyone, parataram = superior in qualities, nasti = is not there. None of all we see and feel, objects, persons and souls, different from Sri Krishna, not even a single item, is superior to Sri Krishna in qualities. Sri Krishna is the Supreme and superior to all, without exception. Idam sarvam = all these perceptible and atman, mayi = in Me [Sri Krishna], mani gana iva protam = like assembly of studs or pearls, sutre = secured bya thread [in a neck lace]. Swami Vedantha Desika in his Tatparya Chandrika has commented on this with his unique intelligence. Why should Sri Krishna use this example [of pearls assembled by thread in a necklace] here. Nothing different from the Lord is superior to Him in any qualities such as Gyana, strength, wealth, Power, courage and brightness. There is none equal or superior to Him. No objects or atman or gods. Upanishads say ' na tad samasya abhya vidat ca vrucyate'. There is no one equal or superior to Him. One of the neighboring Kshetrams is Oppiliappan Koil, aka Thiruvinnagaram. Tirumangai Alwar says oppilada Appan. Incomparable Lord. This is what is meant in this sloka also. We understand by this that our Master is matchless. We get the confidence that we are with the greatest Person, having no comparison. Here the Thayar is called Sri Nambikkai Nachiyar [nambikkai = confidence]. We are not the servants of some Tom, Dick and Harry; but the Most Superior Person. The Lord is known as Nambi, meaning full of qualities. Thayar is full of mercy and the pond is full of sacred water. He has all auspicious qualities in abundance and complete and there is none equal to Him to possess any qualities. So we can confidently attach ourselves to Him. He says He is thread in all animate and inanimate - chits and achits - and appear as a garland or necklace. Thread supports an assembly of pearls or studs. A single thread is keeping all the pearls together. While we see all pearls and studs, we never see the thread inside. Like pearls or studs are in great number but thread being one, we are all in great number, but are all supported by a single entity - the Lord. We see the pearls but not the thread; likewise we see all the objects and persons but not the Lord. Though the thread appears to be slender and the studs appear bigger, it is the thread which supports the studs. He supports and sustains every soul.

Monday, March 17, 2008

BG 7.8


We have now reached an important Kshetram connected with Creation. We have seen that all Achits and Chits are His belongings. Though all creations are done by Him, there is someone to motivate Him. He creates, so that all atman should, by practicing Karma yoga or Gyana yoga or Bhakti yoga, reach Vaikuntam and avoid miseries of birth-death cycles. That is His goodwill for Creations. In His efforts towards this noble objective, Sri Mahalakshmi Thayar is the Motive force behind. For any child the Mother's affection will be much more than Father's affection. A mother will forgive all wrongs of the child and shower her affection and bring up the child. The Lord has both Mercy and displeasure at the sins being committed by atman. But Thayar has only Mercy for us. She never gets angry at our faults. Alwars therefore, took refuge in Her mercy. They approached the Lord with the recommendation of Thayar. To get Her approval and nod, the Lord creates all the Universe. This is the true meaning of Creation. Despite this, in almost all temples, the Lord is prominent and Thayar is sidelined. Offerings are first made to the Lord and then only to Thayar. In processions in festivals also, the Lord is in the front and Thayar follows behind. But we have seen that, it is because of Thayar, we are all able to approach Him and He creates this Universe for Her pleasure. Then why prominence is not accorded to Thayar in temples? The Lord is called Ingitha paradheenan - that is He depends on Her nod or approval for everything. So says Swami Koorathalvan. This may be a botheration to many. But in three Divya Desam, this practice of according prominence to the Lord is abandoned, and instead, Thayar is given the prominence. One is Thiruvellarai, near Srirangam, which we have alraedy visited. Sridevi Nachiar is predominant. Next is Srivilliputhur, aka as Nachiar Thiru Maligai. Sri Bhoodevi appeared as Sri Andal and She is Primary in that temple. The Third temple is Thirunaraiyur or Nachiar koil or Sugandhagiri, one of the Divya Desam in Chola region. This is neighboring Thirucherai, we visited last. In the garbagruha, Thayar is in the Centre and the Lord is on the side. So, when we visit we can see Thayar prominently. Here all offerings are first made to Thayar and then only to the Lord. Even in procession, She is in the front and the Lord follows Her. In olden days, normally wife will take food after the husbnd had taken. Whenever, wife takes food earlier than husband, people used to ask whether Nachiarkoil custom is followed? Thirumangai Alwar has dedicated 100 pasurams for this Kshetram in his Periya Thirumozhi and the entire Periya Thirumadal is dedicated to this Kshetram only. This temple is constructed in an unique way, with first some steps followed by landing space. Then again some more steps and landing space. Thus the Lord Sri Srinivasa is gracing on a hill top. Alwar calls Him as Nambi, meaning Flawless or Complete [Poorna]. In Gita also we are progressing on steps, Karma yoga, Gyana yoga and Bhakti yoga. Invoking His blessings we will now see the 6th sloka.

etad-yonini bhutani
sarvanity upadharaya
aham krtsnasya jagatah
prabhavah pralayas tatha

"All created beings have their source in these two natures [ chit and achit]. Of all that is material and all that is spiritual in this world, know for certain that I am both the origin and the dissolution."

This sloka is a continuation of the last two slokas. The Lord said that all Achit, spread as eight entities are His. Then, He further said that all Chit, that is atman, are also His belonging. He, by sankalpam or a decision to create, creates and this is called samashti srushti. It means all are separate but integrated in a subtle form with no separate name or form. It is called nama roopa vipaga anrham. This is called samashti srushti. He Lord's body has transformed into all these achits and chits. These become the raw materials. All are in subtle form [sookshmam]. Now He says the vyakti srushti or gross creations are also His. Various names like Brahma. Shiva, Indra, Varuna, Soorya, etc., are going to be assigned to each creation. Shapes ans sizes will be formed. Reptiles, birds, animals, etc., will be formed. So names and forms will be assigned to these creations. Etad = whatever [He, the Lord] told in the last two slokas, yonnini = as raw materials or cause,Sarvani = all these which are perceptible [ both inanimate objects and living beings], bhoothani = these objects, upadharaya = understand as My [Sri Krishna's] belonging. So all effects or gross creations in sthoola [perceptible] forms, are His and the raw materials or cause which are in subtle form are also His. Mud or gold is raw material or cause. Pots or ornaments are effects. The Lord says the cause and effects both are His belongings. Bhootha means, all from Brahma to a small grass, which all have a name. We should here clearly note that the achit and chit, which are in sookshma form, by themselves can not transform to become the gross product like Brahma or a tree. It is the Lord by His decision or sankalpam, transforms the raw sookshma materials to the end gross or sthoola product. So He is the Prime cause and His body gets transformed into the sthoola and sookshma forms and so He is also the Effect. Aham = [such a graet] I [Sri Krishna] am, krtsnasya jagata = entire Universe without any exception, prabhava = the Cause for creation, tatha = and, pralaya = for merging of all. That is, in Pralaya or great deluge, all these objects, which have a name and form, merge and are within the Lord in a subtle form. When all are formed and get a name and form, the Lord is the cause for Creation. God is the Cause and He is the end product. At every stage He is there and all are associated with Him.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

BG 7.7

Today's [17th March 2008] lecture is from the sannidhi of Alwars and Acharyas in the temple of Sri Saranatha Perumal at Thirucherai. Nammalwar, Madurakavi Alwar, Thirumangai Alwar, Swami Ramanuja and Swami Manavala Mamunigal are gracing from here. Thirumangai Alwar desired to be with the devotees of this Kshetram and wanted to be at the feet of the devotees. In the garbha gruha we see Mother Kaveri and sage Markandeya. Markandeya was responsible to persuade the King of Chola to worship the Lord here for progeny. Later, their desires fulfilled, the Kings have donated large wealth and got many constructions made. We will now proceed to the 5th sloka of Chapter 7. Sri Krishna told that [moola] prakruti, branches into Eight entities and all such Achits are His property. This moola prakruti is in the Body of the Lord and He transforms it to create the entire Universe. Here, one doubt may arise that normally Brahma is associated with creations in this world. It is clarified that upto certain stage Sriman Narayana is the Creator and from that stage Brahma takes over with the supervision of Sriman Narayana. This is clear from Upanishads. 'Yatova imani bhoothani jayante | yena jatani jivanti | yatra yam tam vishanti | tad vidigyastha tva | tad brahmeti| ' - understand That as Brahmam, from Which entire Universe emerges and in Which all merge and Which is the Cause for sustaining all. Brahmam [or the Lord] first decides [sankalpam] to create and so He Himself transforms into the Universe. All the 24 entities we saw earlier are part of Him. Moola prakruti slowly gets transformed into various entities such as mahaan, ahankaram, pancha bhootham, etc. Like the seed gives rise to germination, tender shoot, branches, leaves, etc. Till all these 24 entities are created, Sriman Narayana is directly involved in the Creation. This is called samashti srushti. With moolaprakruti bunches of atman [jeevatman] will be sticking. All the 24 entities are all achit or without intellect [inanimate]. All the billions and billions of atman are Chit and they possess intellect. At the beginning of the end of pralayam or the great deluge, all atman are sticking to various achit entities in bunches. After all the 24 entities are fully developed, the Lord creates andam or a globe consisting of all the 14 worlds in which we are living. Like a potter makes a pot with the mud, water and using implements like wheel. All atman have to live in this andam, now they are without a body and are in bunches sticking to various entities. All atman have certain papa/punya of past. Depending on these, each atman takes a particular body and, are born, When we say an atman is born, it takes a body to reside and if we say atman dies, atman leaves that body. Atman never dies and is permanent entity. Brahma's work is to make each atman to be resident in a body according to the atman's karma. Here, Sriman Narayana is not directly involved. But He is inside Brahma to induce him to do this work and create various groups like devas, asuras, humans, animals, etc. This is called Vyakti srushti. So the raw materials like moolaprakruti and the 24 entities are called samashti srushti and this creation is done by Sriman Narayana. While Brahma creates the various groups like devas, asuras, etc., for the atman to reside and this is vyakti srushti. Now the 5th sloka:

apareyam itas tv anyam
prakritim viddhi me param
jiva-bhutam maha-baho
yayedam dharyate jagat

"Besides these, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature."

Here the Lord says all atman are His belongings. Apara = inferior, iyam = these. Here we have to use this word to denote the 24 entities He told in the last sloka ie, sloka 4. He says that all the moolaprakruti branching to eight entities are all lower and belong to Him. He is going to tell about His higher grade property of Chit. Achit being without intellect, He has regarded it as inferior to the Chit, which has intellect. Itas tu = from all these [Achit], anyam = different, jiva bhutam = atman , param = superior [to Achit], prakruti = entities, me = Mine [Sri Krishna's], viddhi = understand, maha baho = long armed [Arjuna]. Here He calls atman also as prakruti, because, as told earlier all atman are sticking to the 24 entities that constitute Achit prakruti and so the same terminology is used. Yaya = that atman, idam = this, jagat = world, dharyate = is sustained. Those atman, which sustain this universe is His higher grade property, the Lord tells Arjuna. The 24 entities are combined to make so many inanimate things in this world, like our body or the body of a bird, mountains, trees, etc. All these are sustained by atman. The Lord sustains the atman which sustains a body. So the Lord is in an atman and controls it. That atman is in a body made of 24 entities and atman controls it. Such is the complexity of Creation. Thus both Chit and Achit are His properties. He controls them, rules them, pervades them and sustains them. He is going to tell further what are His properties and now we take leave of this Panchasara Kshetram of Thirucherai.