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.

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