Wednesday, April 30, 2008

BG 8.3

Today’s [30th April 2008] lecture is from Thiruvelliankudi. Here the Lord is gracing as Sri Rama. In the four yugs this place was called by different names. In Kritha yug it was called Brahmapuram; in Thretha yug it was Parasarapuram; in Dwapara yug it was Indrapuram; and now in Kaliyug it is also called Bhargavapuram. Sri Rama is gracing in the reclining pose, which is rare. The sthala vruksham or temple tree is sevvazhai in Tamil [செவ்வாழை] or the red variety banana tree. In Sanskrit it is kathali pala tree. Pushpalaka vimanam is the canopy here. Thayar is Sri Maragathavalli Nachiyar. The Lord is called Sri Kola villi Raman. Though the temple is in a small village, its fame is very great. We can get the reason for the name of this Kshetram from puranas and from Alwars’ poems. Thirumangai Alwar has dedicated the 4.10, entire decade for this Kshetram in his Periya Thirumozhi. He mentions the name of the Lord as Kolavilliraman. Velli [வெள்ளி] in Tamil indicates Sukra [Venus] planet. Indra was ruling the three worlds Bhoo, Bhuva and Suva. Emperor Bali defeated Indra and captured his entire kingdom. Indra’s mother was very much grieved and prayed to the Lord and observed certain fasting [vratham]. She was blessed with the Lord Himself being born as the Younger brother [Upendra]- Sri Vamana. In the guise of a bachelor and with deerskin on His shoulders the Lord arrived at the place where Emperor Bali was performing yagna. He demanded ground measuring three steps by Him, which was readily agreed by the Emperor. What can be that area, we might think, but the Lord is capable of doing beyond our imagination and that is what was to happen. Normally, any such grant has to be authenticated by pronouncement with water flowing from the hands. So Bali took the water pot to make the promise. His Guru was Sukracharya and he knew that the Lord had come in disguise to take away all wealth of Bali; and to prevent that Sukracharya in a bee form went and blocked the hole from which water was to flow to solemnize the promise. But the Lord knew the cause and so like dirt being removed in any block, He used a grass [dharba] to clear the block. It hurt one of he eyes of Sukracharya, in the guise of a bee, and with pain the bee fell out and water flowed, and the promise was legalized. Sri Vamana took the gigantic Sri Trivikrama form and in one step measured all the worlds and in the second step measured all the upper worlds and asked Bali, which was the place for the third step. Humbled, Bali bowed down and offered his head for placing the third step and the Lord placing His foot on his head pushed him to live in the nether worlds. Sukracharya wanted to regain his lost eye and wandered all over. The Lord is the eye for all and so Sukracharya finally landed in this Kshetram and for 48 days –one mandalam- prayed sincerely and regained his lost eyesight. The Alwar narrates this incident. This place became from then on Thiruvelliankudi, after Sukracharya. Many devotees come to this place for regaining eyesight and other eye problems. Near the Lord there is a lamp called Netra deepam and is never extinguished; that is, it is lit all 24 hours, 365 days, continuously. With good eyesight we gain more wisdom. Now we will see the Fist sloka of Chapter 8. The first two slokas are the doubts or questions raised by Arjuna to clarify what Sri Krishna told in the slokas 29 and 30 of Chapter 7. Now to slokas of Chapter 8:

arjuna uvaca
kim tad brahma kim adhyatmam
kim karma purushottama
adhibhutam ca kim proktam
adhidaivam kim ucyate

"Arjuna inquired: O my Lord, O Supreme Person, what is Brahman? What is the self? What are fruitive activities? What is this material manifestation? And what are the demigods? Please explain this to me."

Arjuna asks what the three types of devotees – Aiswaryarti, Kaivalyarti and Bhagavallabharti- should practice and know. Kim tad brahma = which is brahmam?, kimadyatma = which is adyatma? Kimkarma = which is karma?, Purushottama = Sri Krishna, [to be followed by kaivalyarti type of devotees]. We will see he details of reply in the later slokas. Here only the questions are posed. Adibhuta kim= which is atibhutha? Adideivamkim = which is adi deivam?, these are to be known by aiswaryarti type of devotees. These include pleasures of this world as well as in heaven. In this sloka 1, thus the requirements of kaivalyarti and aiswaryarti are sought for by Arjuna. Here brahmam is not the Paramatma, but the objective of kaivalyarti. In sloka 2:

adhiyajnah katham ko ’tra
dehe ’smin madhusudana
prayana-kale ca katham
jneyo ’si niyatatmabhih

"Who is the Lord of sacrifice, and how does He live in the body, O Madhusudana? And how can those engaged in devotional service know You at the time of death?"

Adi yagna = which is called ati yagna? Atra = here, asmin = in this, dehe = body. Body here does not mean the body of Arjuna or others; but means all the gods and others who are all body of the Lord [He is the soul for all]. So which is called adi yagna in these gods? Katham adi yagna = how it is called ati yagna? That is how this quality of ati yagnam has come on these gods and which is called ati yagnam. This question has to be clarified for all the three types of devotees. It is a common clarification. Prayana kale = in the last moments [of life’s journey], katam neyosi = how You [Sri Krishna] are to be worshiped?, niyatam atmaabhi = even by those who have controlled the mind and organs. All the three types of devotees, when they are about to die or when their atman is going to leave respective bodies, how are they to worship the Lord?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

BG 8.2

Ahobile garudasaila madhye krupavsat kalpitha sannidhanam|

Lakshmya samalingitha vamabagam Lakshminrusimham saranam prabathye||

By His mercy or compassion, with Sri Lakshmi on His left, Sri LakshmiNrusimha has chosen to be in Ahobilam, in the Garudasailam mountains.

We have been seeing Bhagavad-Gita for past few days from this Kshetram, Ahobilam, which is under Sri Ahobila mutt management. Thiruvellore, Adhanur, Pullamboothangudi and Ahobilam- all these four Divya desams are under the management of Sri Ahobila mutt. In the Lower Ahobilam Sri Prahalada Varada temple, Swami Adi vann satakopa Jeer [1st jeer of the Mutt] is gracing the devotees. He was born in 1378 and with the name Srinivasacharya. As a bachelor, he came to Ahobilam in his twentieth year and was blessed with ascetic life [sanyasasramam], by Lord Sri Narasimha Himself. He was given the new name Sri Satakopa yati. He lived for 80 years till 1458. The Utsava moorthy of Sri Malola Narasimha jumped into the hands of Swami Adi van Satakopa jeer and was ordered to carry Him through out the country. He is the main Aradhya Perumal in Sri Ahobila mutt. Now the 45th Jeer is administering the Mutt. In the mutt silver mantapam, Sri Malola Narasimha [Utsavar] graces the devotees along with many other idols, like the Child Sri Krishna [worshiped by Swami Ramanuja], the Golden Sri Narsimha donated by the King of Kakatya, etc. We will also listen to the speech of the present 45th Jeer of Sri Ahobila mutt and with that we will conclude our pilgrimage to Ahobilam. It is requested all to come and worship the Nava Sri Narasimha here. A few years back about 50,000 pilgrims visited and this rose to 500,000 last year. Authorities here are expecting this figure also to rise to One Million shortly. Though it is happy to note more devotees come here, it is also the worry of the authorities here that the natural resources and beauty of the place should be preserved. Many facilities are arranged but devotees should ensure that they do not misuse and abuse these facilities. Now, on the way from Alaghatta to Ahobilam, in about 10 Acres, a new township is being constructed. It is called Nava Ahobilam, with the Dwadasa Nama of the Lord for its twelve blocks. Transportation and simultaneous viewing by about 1000 persons are being planned. It is expected to function in the next one year. We will now be ready to go to the next Kshetram. In the last tenth pasuram on this Kshetram [senganalai ittirainjum singavel kunrudaiya…], Thirumangai Alwar says that those, who come here to worship the Lord, will find evil things do not come near them.

H.H. Sri Lakshminrusimha paduka sevaka Sri Van Satakopa Sri Narayana yateendra maha desika in his anugraha bhashanam [felicitation speech]:

All Alwars had special mention for Sri Narasimha. Nammalwar says en singappiran – My Lord Sri Narasimha. There are many pasurams in which Sri Narsimha is praised. In Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam, Sri Narasimha is addressed as Sriman [possessor of wealth] [narasimhavapu sriman kesava purushottama]. It is believed that Sri Narasimha appeared in Ahobilam to protect Prahalada and kill Hiranyakasipu. Since then the Lord is residing in their Kshetram. Utsavar of this Kshetram is the main Deity in our Mutt also. Normally, people have special attachment to their Acharyas. In that respect since Sri Narasimha was the Acharya for Swami Adi van satakopa jeer, who was born in Thirunarayana puram in Mysore. It is believed that staying overnight in a kshetram yields lots of punya; but a night stay in Ahobilam yields millions of times those punya. Here, even animals worship the Lord says Thirumangai Alwar and cites Lions prostrating at the feet of the lord. For the word ‘senganaalai ittirainjum’, in his commentary Swami Periyavachan pillai, does not say the superficial red colored eyes, but says it depicts the red ochre robed Swami Ramanuja and he was blessed to propagate Visishtadwaitam through out the world. It shows that Swami Ramanuja was worshiping Sri Narasimha. By remaining in nine sannidhis spread out, the devotees’ devotion is tested. Every Acharya and ascetics

worship Sri Narasimha. Swami Parasara Bhattar praises the Sri Narasimha avatar. His blessings for all.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

BG 8.1

It is believed that the 6th Jeer of Sri Ahoila Mutt, Shashta Parankusa Yatindra Mahadesikan, is still performing pooja in the cave, where he entered in Aangirasa, Masi month, Krishna Panchami.
Shravanam keerthanam Vishno smaranam pada sevanam
archanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma nivedanam
This is a sloka from Srimad Bhagavatham. Prahalada describes the nine methods by which one can worship the Lord, to his father. Shravanam = listening to His names and histories, keerthanam = singing His names, smaranam = continuously meditating, pada sevanam = worshiping His feet, archanam = performing pooja with fresh flowers, vandanam = prostrating to Him, dasyam = serving Him, sakhyam = developing friendliness wth Him and atma nivedanam = realizing our atman as His property. But Hiranyakasipu did not heed to this advice of Prahalada and after some years, he asked him to show Sriman Narayana in a pillar and got killed by the Lord. Afterwards, cooling off His anger, the Lord came near Prahalada. This is depicted in the present sannidhi of Sri Yogananda Narasimha, the 9th sannidhi from where today's [28th April 2008] lecture is being made. Yogaananda can mean anandam [happiness] in performing yoga or anandam in preaching yoga. The Lord is seated in a yoga posture with legs crossed and folded and the lower two arms placed on the knees. Prahalada was taught all the yoga and raja needhi or administrative skills for maintaining kingdom, as he was to succeed Hiranyakasipu. With eyes closed the Lord graces as He taught Prahalada. By yoga one can have the same peacefulness as at the center of the ocean. Thirumangai Alwar describes the heat [due to the Sun] in the region, in his pasurams. But lots of comforts have been arranged presently by the Sri Ahobila Mutt, for which we have to be grateful to the Jeer.
Thirukkallam U.Ve. Sri Narasimha Raghavachaya, an eminent Vidwan of Sri Ahobila mutt had published commentary on Bhagavad Gita in three volumes and had mentioned the greatness of each Chapter by a story as told by lord Shiva to Parvati. When Parvati asked about the greatness of Seventh Chapter, lord Shiva said that this question was raised by Sri Mahalakshmi and that he would narrate the reply given by Sriman Narayana. Sankukarna lived in Pataliputra. He was a brahmin. Though he was well learned, he had great passion in amassing wealth. He had married three wives and wanted to marry fourth one also. One day he was travelling with lot of gold coins. On the way, while he was resting he was bitten by a snake and was about to die. He hurriedly buried the gold coins in the ground and with the snake bite in mond, he died; and so he was born as a snake. This snake remembering the place where the gold coins were hidden, came to the place and guarded. This did not give the mental peace and suddenly he remembered the good advice given to him by a noble person and he thought he should come out of this snake body and reach nobler places. He appeared in the dreams of his three sons simultaneously and told the same to all. That they should all do good last rites to him and then come to this place where the gold treasure was hidden and where as a snake he was guarding. All the sons woke up and debated their dreams and afraid of snake, they decided not to venture in this effort. But within their minds each one schemed to grab all the wealth for himself and so without others' knowledge, each went to the place to take the treasure. But the snake would not allow them to touch. Each described he was his son; but the snake said they were to come after performing the rites. The sons decided to perform the rites, but did not know what to do. Normal rites were not enough to clear the sins their father had accumulated. The solution was given by the snake itself. Snake told them to engage a brahmin, who was in the habit of studyiing 7th Chapter of Gita regularly [parayanam], and by feeding that brahmin, the sins could be absolved. The sons did accordingly and the snake also got a superior stage of life. Sons later took the treasure and spent it for noble deeds.
We will now begin studying the Eighth Chapter. This Chapter's essence has been condensed by Swami Alavandar in his Gitartha Sangraham. It is:

ai´svary¯aks.aray¯ath¯atmya bhagavaccaran.¯arthin¯am
 vedyop¯adeyabh¯av¯an¯am as.t.ame bheda ucyate 12

Bheda ucyate =The differences in the Eighth Chapter are told. That is the differences among the three types of devotees. Aisvarya = those seeking wealth or worldly pleasures, akshara = everlasting or never destructible [atman] [ different from worldly matters including our body], yatatmya = real and true meaning of this [atman]; that is those kaivalyarti who want to enjoy only atman and do not want to be reborn. Bhagavaccarana = [differing from the earlier two types] The Lord's feet, arthi = seekers [of those divine feet]. Vedya = things or objectives they should know, upadeya = means to realize those objectives. These are explained in Eighth Chapter. In Chapter 7, in slokas 29 and 30, Sri Krishna made an introduction to the various knowledge, objectives and means for the three types of His devotees; but did not elaborate what they were and now in Chapter 8, He is going to give all those details. We will see all the Nine Sri Narasimhas tomorrow along with a short discourse by Srimad Azhagiyasingar of Sri Ahobila Mutt.

Friday, April 25, 2008

BG 7.36

Thirumangai Alwar says that lions would follow the tracks of elephants, hiding from behind bamboo bushes. By doing so lions would judge whether it would be possible to take on the elephants or not. Commentators say that the lions not merely see the tracks of elephants, but also to judge what the elephants were upto. In case they were going to worship the Lord of Ahobilam, the lions would not harm them. In all these pasurams, the Alwar talks of elephants, lions and tigers, why? To make us understand that in this Kshetram, even animals are devoted to Him. Today's [25th April 2008] lecture is from the sannidhi of Sri Chatra Vata Narasimha. Chatra =umbrella or shade, vata = banyan tree [ஆல ]. Here the Lord is seated but Hiranyakasipu is not on the lap. After finishing the Demon king, the Lord was in great anger. At that time two Gandharvas - Haha and Hoohoo- who excelled in music wanted to please the Lord by singing. So, the Lord, a great lover of good music, is seated listening with the left lower arm beating the metre . Nammalwar says the Lord is in ragas and metres. Right lower arm is in Abhaya mudra and the upper two arms are holding the discus and conch. We will conclude this Chapter 7, with the last sloka, 30, here. In this soka He says that both Aiswaryaarti and Bhagavallabharti have to follow the three things of brahmam [ objective], adhyatmam [ avoidables] and karmam [ means]. Also in this sloka He is to tell certain things common to all the three types of devotees.

sadhibhutadhidaivam mam
sadhiyajnam ca ye viduh
prayana-kale ’pi ca mam
te vidur yukta-cetasah

Seekers of Me, for material benefits, have to follow these adhi bhutha nd அதி deivam. All have to understand the adi yagna; and in their last journey should know that தே ஷௌல்து ஹவே தெயர் மிந்து புல் ஒப் Me."

The first line is for the Aiswaryaarti and the rest of the sloka is about the common feature for all the types of devotees. Mam = I [Sri Krishna], ye vidu = those who understand. 'தோஸ்' mentioned here, is different from 'தோஸ்' [kaivalyaarti]mentioned in last sloka. இன் திஸ் sloka He ரேபிர்ஸ் டு the Aiswaryaarti. Aiswaryaarti should understand the Lord with adhi bhuta [आदि भूत] and adi deivam [ आदि देवं]. What do these mean will be explained in due course. This part of the sloka states what the aiswaryaarti has to do. Adi yagnam is an attribute of the Lord and this should be understood by all the three types of devotees. Yajnam means yadha devapoojayam- that is all worship of God is yajnam or yagyam. All daily and occasional karma. This was explained earlier also. Daily sandhyavandanam and pancha maha yagya, etc., are all deva pooja. In our daily household routines we inadverently kill many insects- at the grinders, broom stick, etc. To ward off any sins for such killing we are supposed to perform these pancha maha yagna- deva yagna, manushya yagna, pithru yagna, brahma yagna and bhootha yagna. Performing all such yagnas and our mandatory duties are denoted by the word adhi yagnam. These are to be carried out by all the three types of devotees. Some feel that after attaining gyana marg, there is no necessity for doing our daily routines like sandyavandanam or occasionals lik tharpanam. This is not acceptable on two counts. Firstly, none of us has gone anywhere near Gyana marg as stipulated in Shastras. If anybody has realised such Gyana yoga, might at least ponder over whether to perform the prescribed duties. But almost all of us are not in that category and so we have to follow all these rituals. It is useless to debate whether to do those duties or not. As an example, if volunteers are called for listening to atman perhaps very, very few will turn up. But if we call volunteers for physical service like preparing garlands, or cleaning the place, many will rush in. So we are all prepared for any physical service. So karmas are always with us and we can not relinquish them. It is wrong to assume that we need not perform tharpanam or shrarddham, and mere chanting of His names is enough. Next He says another common requirement for all types of devotees. Prayana kale = during the [last] journey. For all the three types of devotees , when about to end their life in this world. Pi = even then. Mam = I [ Sri Krishna], te = they [ all the three types of devotees], vidu = should know. Here when He says even when in the death bed, it means that we are to never forget Him and continue it in the last journey also. It is not correct to say that we remember Him only at the last minute and forget Him during our normal life. For prapannas [who have performed the Ultimate syrrender] are guaranteed Moksham, even if they do not remember His name in the last moments. Even the person who has reached Gyana yoga also can not avoid karma. Cetasu = mind, yukta = with this thought. Each of the three types think this way and leave this world. Which way? is not explained in this sloka but would follow. We have seen Eight of the Nava Narasimha.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

BG 7.35

Thirumangai Alwar wonders, whether the sky is red hued because of the fire generated by the friction of bamboos in the forests, or because it was evening when Lord Sri Narasimha appeared, or because of the blood that sprouted when Sri Narasimha tore off the chest of Hiranyakasipu.
நாத்தழும்ப நான்முகனும் ஈசனுமாய் முறையால்
ஏத்த அன்கோராளரியாய் இருந்த வம்மானதிடம்
காய்த்த வாகை நேற்றோளிப்ப கல்லதர் வெய்ங்கழை பொய்
தேய்த்த தீயால் விண் சிவக்கும் சிங்கவேள் குன்றமே.
Today's [24th April 2008] lecture is from the sannidhi of Sri Bhargava Narasimha. Many people like Brahma, Shiva, Indra, etc., came to praise Him. They could only try, but His greatness could not be satisfactorily brought out. Finally, He thought that He Himself should try to praise His greatness. To meet this task, Sri Parashu Rama, known as Sri Bhargava Rama, came to this place and meditated on the banks of the pond Akshaya Theertham, here and to some extent succeeded in praising Sri Narasimha. How can One praise Oneself? Sri Narasimha avatar. like Sri Rama and Sri Krishna, is mukya or complete avatar, while Sri Parashu Rama avatar is gowna or avesha [ஆவேசம்] avatar, and so there is nothing wrong in one avatar praising another. This reasoning justifies defeat of Sri Parashu Rama at the hands of Sri Rama. So the Lord here is known as Sri Bhargava Narasimha. With upper two arms holding discus and conch, the lower two arms are tearing off the chest of Hiranyakasipu, laid on His lap. By getting boons from Brahma, Hiranyakasipu became uncontrollable and he forgot, Sriman Narayana was superior to Brahma. He forgot that those who granted boons to him might one day vanish away. In the Prabhai, an art work surrounding the statue, we can see the Dashavatara, sculpted. Now we will see the 29th sloka. In this and the next sloka 30, the things which are to be known by the three types of devotees [ earlier the Lord told four types, but in that the first two, namely those seeking lost wealth and those seeking fresh wealth, are essentially one group and are called arthaarthi or wealth seekers, and the next is kaivalyaarthi or seekers of atman anubhavam, and the last is bhagavallabhaarthi or seekers of the Lord Himself - thus three types]. They are brahmam, adhyaatmam and karmam. These three are different for the three types of devotees.
1) Aiswaryaarthi is the type who seek wealth for sensual pleasures - lowest among devotees.
2)Kaivalyaarthi is the type who do not want this worldly pleasures nor rebirths, but want to enjoy their own atman and never return to the samsaram.
3)Bhagavallaabhaarthi, is the best among all devotees, and they seek the service to the Lord only and nothing else.
Each of them should know what is the objective, what is to be avoided and what is the means.
Bramham is here known as the objective and it differs for each of the types of devotees. It is also called prapyam.
Adhyaatmam means that which is to be avoided.
Karmam means the means or the activities to be performed to get brahmam.
In sloka 29, the Lord tells the three requirements for the kaivalyaarthi type of devotees; and in sloka 30, the requirements for aiswaryaarthi and bhagavallabhaarthi types of devotees. This has to be carefully understood. After seeing these and another four or five slokas in Chapter Eight only, the substance of these will be clearly understood. Now sloka 29:

mam asritya yatanti ye
te brahma tad viduh krtsnam
adhyatmam karma cakhilam

"Those seeking liberation from oldage and death, try to approach Me; they should know completely their objective, avoidables and activities ."

Ye =those [wanting], mokshaya =release from, jara = old age, marana = [and] death,asritya = approach, mam = Me [Sri Krishna], yatanti = take efforts. Te = such people [kaivalyaarthi], tad brahama = the objective they should attain, vidhu = should know, adhyatmam = avoidable, karma = activities, ca kilam = entirely, krtsna = and completely. What are they will be detailed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BG 7.34

Thirumangai Alwar says it is very difficult to go to Ahobilam and worship the Lord there. Today's [23rd April 2008] lecture is also from the sannidhi of Sri Pavana Narasimha, on a cliff, reaching there is a bit difficult. Pavanam [ पावनं] means sacred and pure. So the Lord here is very sacred and pure. Sri Krishna tells that we do not understand Him properly because of our limited intellect and so we imagine wrong things about Him. For example, when Hiranyakasipu was killed, some might ask why should the Lord kill him or anyone? He is the Protector for all, is it not? Why Asuras and Rakshasas are considered as to be eliminated? Why should He favor Devas? Is He not partial? But these are raising because of our limited knowledge about Him. Even when His hands are stained by the blood of Hiranyakasipu, He remains sacred and pure. A child is playing with a stick. Mother sees and she feels that the child might harm itself or others, and so asks the child to drop the stick. If the child does not heed, she reprimands and removes the stick from the child. If she does not do that, the child is sure to get harmed. Similarly, the Lord has tried to persuade Ravana, Hiranyakasipu, etc., to tread on path of Dharma. Ravana was advised by Vibheeshana, Angadha, Hanuman, and others. Hiranyakasipu was advised by Prahalada. But all these went in vain and they continued to do evil things and earned more and more of papa. Finding no other alternative, the Lord removes the atman from their bodies, by killing them to stop the papa earning. It is same as removing the stick from the child. By removung the body, those atman of Ravana, Hiranyakasipu, etc., get another chance to reside in a different body and do good thngs and ultimately reach Him. He has no intention to kill anyone; and by killing, they are prevented from deteriorating further. That is why Thirumangai Alwar in his pasurams refer the Lord as Punithan [Tamil word for Pavana]. Sri Chanchu Lakshmi Thayar is on the lap of Sri Pavana Narasimha. In a cave, there is a separate sannidhi for Sri Chenchu Lakshmi Thayar. Chenchu means hunters and lots of them are there around this place. Alwar also says this in his pasurams. Hunters are carrying bows and arrows. It seems the Lord has appointed them to rob pilgrims, of their wealth, so that the pilgrims would surrender to the Lord! Swami Periavachchaan Pillai, in his commentary noted that the Lord, once decides to bless some one, then He ensures that one's property and wealth are removed from one. [यस्य अनुग्रहम इच्छामि तस्य विथ्थं हराम्यहम ]. When one is having plenty of wealth, he has no time for God. That is why when pilgrims come here, their belongings are robbed, so that pilgrims develop vairagyam and come to Him. During such robbing, the hunters make noise and beat drums. Frightened, the pilgims drop their belongings and surrender to Lord Sri Narasimha, says Alwar. In this community of Chenchus, Sri Thayar appeared and so she is called Sri Chanchu Lakshmi. She is seated on the lap of the Lord. With left lower arm embracing Her, right lower arm in Abhaya mudra and the upper arms holding discus and conch, the Lord graces the devotees. Adisesha is spreading the Seven hoods over the Lord. Now we will see the 28th sloka:

yesham tv anta-gatam papam
jananam punya-karmanam
te dvandva-moha-nirmukta
bhajante mam drdha-vratah

"Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life and whose sinful actions are completely eradicated are freed from the dualities of delusion, and they engage themselves in My service with determination."

Persons whose all papas are expended and are in the last stages of such process, they come to the Lord with a determination. Now the twins mentioned in the last sloka is no longer there. Twins create delusion in the worldly affairs. When the twins are not there, illusions are not there and so they are fully involved in knowing Sri Krishna. In the last sloka, the Lord said that likes and disikes, produce actions which originate papa and punya. Likes and dislikes make us to take some actions. If these actions conform to Shastras, then we earn punya. Otherwise papa. We can not choose the procedure for those actions ourselves as they should agree with Shastras. In Srimad Bhagavatham, it is said vedapranigitho karma: adharmasya viparyaya:, while there was argument between the messengers of Sriman Narayana and Yama, in the story of Ajamila. This reply is given by Yama's messengers that any action in conformity with Vedas is Dharma and actions done aggainst Vedas' teachings are Adharma. Dharma earns punya and adharma earns papa. Punya and papa, repeat birth cycles and so spending away them takes lots and lots of births. If one desires to have immediate result of Moksham, saranagathi [ total surrender] to the Lord is the only alternative. Otherwise the progress is very slow and may take millions of births. Those good actions which earn punya, slowly destroy the papa already accumulated. In our behaviour also, by cultivating good behaviour and speech, satva qualityies grow and rajo qualities decline. The Lord also helps this process. Classic example of this is the story of Jata Bharatha. He was ruling righteously for about Ten million years. He, by his actions earned plenty of punya. Once as he was meditating, found a fawn and started fondling it. In his last breath also, his thoughts were all full of the fawn, and so after death, he was reborn as a young deer. We are going to see this in eighth Chapter that our last thoughts decide our next birth. Though Jata Bharatha had almost exhausted all the papa, some traces were there and so he had to be born as a deer. This was a small reaction for his last thoughts. But even in this birth as a deer, he never mixed with others and spent in isolation eating grass and leaves. After completing this birth as deer, he was again born as a Gyani and attained Moksham. We can note that the vasana of punya continues in every birth. These punya tend to clear the papa. Dvandva- moha = [such persons] from the twins' illusion, nirmuktena = get released. Our likes and dislikes produce twins of joy and sorrow, etc., and we get further involved in worldly bonds. These prevent devotion to God. So to direct ourselves towards the Lord, we have to get released from the illusion of the twins. Bhajante = [after this release from twins] worship, mam = Me [ Sri Krishna] , drdha vratham = with resolute determination. Earlier Sri Krishna talked of four categories of devotees - aspiring to regain lost wealth, new wealth, atman darshan and the Lord alone. By losing most papas, the first two categories are seen. With only one papa still lingering, the devotee seeks atman darshan and gets kaivalyam. But when all papa are totally eliminated, the devotee seeks only Him and reach Moksham.

Monday, April 21, 2008

BG 7.33

There are Nine Sri Narasimha sannidhis in Ahobilam. Sri Prahalada Varadan is in Lower Ahobilam. By worshiping Him, we lose our heart and soul; such is His beauty. Pillai Perumal Iyengar was a devotee and a poet. He had composed 108 Thiruppadhi Andhadhi. In this he had presented one poem for each Divya Desam. In the poem on Ahobilam, the poet exposes an important character of the Lord, Sri Narasimha. The Lord simultaneously shows two feelings from the same face, on the child devotee Prahalada and Hiranyakasipu. He showers mercy and love on Prahalada and shows anger and hatred for Hiranyakasipu. The Lord in this Avatar had combined two impossible features - Lion head and human body. Similarly two emotions -anger and compassion- which can not appear at the same time from the same face, are exhibited by the Lord simultaneously. We can see this in the Sri Prahalada Varada in this sannidhi, from where today's [22nd April 2008] lecture is being made. He stands with right lower arm showing protection to the devotees and the left lower arm is holding the mace. Upper arms are holding discus and conch. With compassion filled in one eye and anger in another, the choice is for us to select us as target for one of the eyes. If we go with a resolute belief that He will protect and bless us, then we will be in His view of the eye that is showering compassion. But if we go with doubts and disbelief of His avatar, then His eye filled with anger would view us. Just like in the Upper Ahobilam, the Lord graces with His two Consorts Sri Sridevi and Sri Bhoodevi. As told earlier, in the Brahmotsavam in Panguni, the Garuda sevai is on the last day. Sri Amruthavalli Thayar is in a separate sannidhi. She also graces the devotees with mercy; but there is a difference in the look of the Lord and Sri Amruthavalli. Wnile the Lord exhibits mercy from one eye only, Sri Thayar gracs compassion from both Her eyes. There is no place for anger and She is, therefore addressed as nithyam agyatha nigraha . Every Friday in the month of Aadi, Sri Thayar graces from the Oonjal [swing] mandapam. Here we can see beautiful sculptures and one can see all forms of Sri Narasimha, here. When we see so many Sri Narasimha in all these pillars here, it is remembered that while Sri Narasimha emerged from only one pillar, which Prahalada showed, He is waiting to emerge from all other pillars in this Universe! We will now see the 27th sloka:
dvandva-mohena bharata
sarva-bhutani sammoham
sarge yanti parantapa

"O scion of Bharata, O conqueror of the foe, all living entities are born into delusion, bewildered by dualities arisen from desire and hate."

In the last sloka He said that while He knew everyone, none knows Him. Why this is so was the quetion from Arjuna. In every birth we earn papa and punya and as a result we develop likes and dislikes. To satisfy these likes and dislikes, we involve ourselves in certain activities. These actions earn further papa and punya. This is a reiterative process and repeats every time. Therefore, every atman is born with likes and dislikes. During birth this causes an illusion and so we miss the opportunity to understand the Lord. Iccha = likes, dvesha = dislikes. Both are associated with this prakruti or Universe. In worldly matters we are interested in the results. Prahalada developed liking for the Lord; but that is in Godly matter, and what is told in this sloka is abour worldly affairs. Samutthena = combination [ of likes and dislikes], dvandva- mohena = [results] in twin feelings [ like profit and loss, happiness and sorrow, victory and defeat, etc.]. These twins are encountered by us because of the likes and dislikes. If we attain what we like we get happiness; if we do not get what we like we are sorry; if we get what we dislike, we are sorry; and, if we do not get what we do not like, we are happy. Similarly, by attaining what we like, we think we are victorious and feel defeated if we do not get what we like, and so on. This causes moham or illusion. Our ancestors have told janathi icchati yatate. Janati - we try to understand about something. Icchati - then we develop like or dislike on that object. Yaate - then we involve in actions or efforts to get it or avoid it. Thus the twins immerse us further in papa and punya. One may like to be in heaven and feels that one should involve in good deeds like donations, etc. If that one, spends one's earnings in an honest way, one attains punya and consequent heavens. So by involving in these twins we are in an illusion and we never come out of it. This illusion continues in every birth. Every birth is attached with all the papa and punya earned in the previous births. This is called vasanai [वासना]. When an atman takes a body and is born, this vasana creates a breeze jata and all gyana is hidden. Sarva bhutani = all living beings, sarge = while born, sammoham = great illusion, yanti = get. So, likes and dislikes produce twins, which create an illusion and with that we are born. So at the instant of birth itself all Gyana is lost . This is the reason none understands Sri Krishna. The result of every action or karma, sticks as vasana and continues in every birth. Only a very few people with the help of good Acharyas, try to understand Him. These twins and vasana are exceptions in this place. Sri Narasimha has a different twin of compassion and anger in His eyes. While all are born with the illusion, Prahalada was an exception. He is called Sriman in the garbha [womb], as he listened to the preachings of Narada to his mother Kayathu.

prahalAdha varadhan kalyAna uthsavam


Sunday, April 20, 2008

BG 7.32

In Ahobilam, Lord Sri Narasimha appered to Hanuman, as Sri Rama. The spot where He gave darshan like this is the sannidhi of Sri Karanja Narasimha [कारांज ]. Today's [21st April 2008] lecture is from that sannidhi. Karanja tree is also called punga maram or karungali maram in Tamil. Under a Karanja tree the Lord is gracing the devotees. About one and half miles away in the forest, Hanuman was meditating on the Lord. When the Lord appeared before Hanuman, as Sri Narasimha. Hanuman was puzzled as to why he could not see the Lord as Sri Rama. WhenSri Narasimha told that He was same as Sri Rama, Hanuman was doubtful. To dispel that doubt, the Lord appeared with the majestic crown He was wearing at the time of His coronation. ButHanuman could not see his Sri Rama in the dazzling brilliance of the crown and the face of theLord. The Lord by the brilliance of His Third eye, revealed to Hanuman He was Sri Rama. Butstill Hanuman could not see the Bow, which Sri Rama is always associated with, and so the Lordimmediately displayed a bow in His hand. Hanuman said that how he could come near the Lord, as he used to do when the Lord was Sri Rama? The Lord then indicated by pointing to His feetby His right hand. When Hanuman came near, the Lord showed His left hand in Abhaya [protection] mudra. Here the Lord Sri Narasimha appears with a Bow. The Lord appeared before Hanuman in Ghatikachalam or Cholasimhapuram, popularly known as Sholingar, nearArakkonam. We will now proceed to sloka 26. This sloka came up to dispel a doubt in Arjuna, whether the Lord was not perceived now only or always?

vedaham samatitani
vartamanani carjuna
bhavisyani ca bhutani
mam tu veda na kascana

"O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but Me no one knows."

The main theme of this sloka is the Lord knows all, but none knows Him. Aham = I [Sri Krishna], vedam = know, samatitani = past times, vartamanani = present times, bhavisyani = future times. We have already seen that the Lord can not be gauged or understood by the past, present and future. He can not be concieved as restricted to any particular place nor form. So, He is beyond time, place and object; that is why He is caleled Sri Ananthan. When He says He knows the three times -past, present and future, it does not mean mere times, but He knows every person or object in all these three and He knows all their activites and their results. In Sri VIshnu Sahasranamam, He is called Bhootha bhavya bhavath Prabhu. He is the Lord of the three times and all those living in those three times. Bhutani = all living beings [of the past, present and future]. Arjuna's query was however not for this reply. He never asked whether the Lord knew all; but he asked whether all of them did not understand Him and was there or will there be, a time, when people understood or understand Him. So, what the Lord says that He knew all at all times is an additional information connected with the reply for Arjuna's question. Mam = [but] I [ Sri Krishna], veda = am understood by, na kascana= no body. So, the Lord knows all and is interested in all of us. We, on the other hand do not understand Him. The Lord takes lots of efforts to redeem everyone of us. If a child is sleeping, the mother takes care of the child by warding of insects. Child safely sleeps, without the knowledge that the mother is taking care. After waking up also the child would remain unaware that the mother had taken care of. Nor the mother is going to tell the child that she took care of it. Because this task mother does without a return of gratitude; but as a duty. Mother knows all the requirements of the child, even if the child does not know what it needs or who is to provide. We are all children of God and so He takes care of us by knowing all our needs and activities. Then one might ask that if that be so, then just as a mother has to look after the child because it is her duty, so also the Lord should look after us without our asking, as it is His duty. This is correct, but the child is advised to respect the mother as God [माथ्रू देवो भव]। Therefore, we should also respect God as God. Unfortunately, everyone thinks He is a mere Cowherd or another Person like them. In spite of His many deeds to protect the gopis, He is still not understood as the Protector. When He says nobody understands, nobody word indicates all those lived in the past, living in the present and going to live in future. People therefore go to all sorts of gods to get favours. Those devoted to these gods go to them, while His devotees reach Him at the end. They do not understand that those favours are also granted by gods with the power delegated to them by Sri Krishna. To get those favours, the devotees of those gods have to tread a very difficult path; and the favours are inferior and transient. So with hardship they approach the gods to get temporary and cheap benefits. But Bhakti to the Lord is pleasant and results are unimaginably very great and permanent. The Lord expects only selfless devotion. Sri Narasimha appeared in Krutha yug, while Sri Rama avatara was in Thretha yug, thoudsands of years later. Hanuman was associated with Sti Rama. But He gave Darshan to Hanuman. If this sloka's intention was that Sri Krishna was lamenting that nobody knows Him, then all will cease to learn anything from Gita or Vedas or other scriptures. But the main import of this sloka is that Sri Krishna tells that a very infinitely small number of persons undrestand Him as everything and such a person is regarded as Gyani by Him. In 19th sloka He told that a Gyani thinks Vasudevamidi sarvam and these slokas are all to explain the greatness of such Gyani.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

BG 7.31

Nammalwar praises the Sri Narasimha avatar in the pasuram engumulan kannan [எங்கும் உளன் கண்ணன் என்ற மகனைக் காய்ந்து இங்கில்லையால் என்று இரணியன் தூண் புடைப்ப ]. Sri Narasimha avatar is unique in the sense that an impossible combination of man and lion was enacted. This is called agatithagatana samarthyam. Another notable feature of this avatar is that just to prove the words of the child devoteee, Prahalada, He appeared from the same pillar, pointed. Swami Vedantha Desika, prefixes Sri Narasimha with an adjective yadruschaya [यद्रुस्चाया] , meaning sudden. Prahalada chanted the Ashtakshara and taught he same to he children of demons. The two teachers Kanda and Marka, appointed by Hiranyakasipu, told him that Prahalada was not mentioning the name of Hiranyakasipu, but of Sriman Narayana. Hiranyakasipu's persuation did not yield what he wanted and the devotion of Prahalada increased day by day. He adopted cruel methods like pushing into fire, dropping in ocean, etc. Prahalada was rescued by Sriman Narayana. Finally, he confronted Prahalada to show Sri Hari and Prahalada told He was everywhere. Hiranyakasipu pointed to a pillar and asked whether Sri Hari was in that; Prahalada confirmed He was there. Hiranyakasipu hit the pillar and the Lord came out with an explosion. We are now in Upper Ahobilam where in the Tamil month of Panguni, festivals are celebrated, followed by similar ones in Lower Ahobilam. The Moolavar here is gracing with just two arms and Hiranyakasipu is lying on His lap. Child Prahalada is standing with folded hands. Opposite this sanndhi, there is an historic place, where the 6th Jeer of Sri Ahobila mutt [ Swami Shashta Parankusa Yatindra], to escape from alien invasion entered the cave in the ground and did not come back. There is also a sannidhi for Sri Chenchu Lakshmi Thayar. Chenchu means hunters of forests. Sri Mahalakshmi appeared in Chenchu community and married the lord. This event, Kalyanotsavam, is celebraed on the Seventh day of the festival every year. Utsavar is Sri Jwala Narasimha, with Garuda at the feet. Normally, Garudotsavam is on 3rd or 4th day of the festival in other temples. But here, Garuda sevai is on the last day evening. Just like the Sri Jwala Narasimha we saw earlier, here the Asura is on the lap of the Lord, Who graces with Ten arms. Two for holding Hiranyakasipu, two for tearing his chest, two for removing the intestine to get adored as garland, two for holding discus and conch and two for holding sword and mace. To satisfy Hiranyakasipu's many conditions for his death [he should not be killed in the air nor on land, neither inside nor outside, neither in day nor in night, not by weapons, etc.] He killed him keeping hm on His lap, by nails, at the gate and in an evening. That is why Sri Narasimha jayanthi [avatar day ] is celebrated in the evening. It is believed that lord Shiva chants the Sri Nrusimha Mantra [mantra rajan] and remains here. In the idol we can see the sharp nails also. Sri Narasimha is called Aja:. In Sri Vishnu saharanamam, Divine names from 200 to 210 [ Eleven names] are dedicated to Sri Narasimha [amruthyu, sarvabruthu, simha, sandhatha, sandhiman, sthira, aja, dhurmarshana, sastha, visrudhatma and surariha]. Aja means unborn. But we have been hearing that He has taken many Avatars? He is not born like us. None of us are born out of a pillar. We are born because of karma, while He is born out of compassion. The 25th sloka:

naham prakasah sarvasya
mudho ’yam nabhijanati
loko mam ajam avyayam

"I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by My internal potency, and therefore they do not know that I am unborn and infallible."

When the Lord appears as Sri Krishna or as Sri Rama, everyone thinks that He is also like them and never think that He had appeared out of sheer mercy. Sarvasya = for everyone, naham = I [Sri Krishna] am not, prakasa = exposing [Himself]. Only for the blessed Bhakta He is available and perceivable. They think, yoga maya samavarta = associated with yoga maya. Swami Ramanuja says here yoga maya means, the Lord assumes a body like ours and people think He is also like them. Swami Koorathalwan says the Lord as Sri Rama, wanders in search of Sri Sita as though He id not know Her whereabouts, but at the same time He is able to dispatch Jatayu to Moksham, for which He knew the exact route! Loko = in this world, mudhoyam = fools, nabhijanath = do not understand, ajam = [the Lord is] unborn, avyayam = [and] indiminishable [in greatness]. They are all fools as they do not know that He is the Creator and not created; He is Cause and not the effects; He is not born to expend papa/ punya accumulated by karma, but to redeem us out of pity for us. It seems when He killed Hiranyakasipu, blood flowed out and in that the Lord saw His reflection and became angry. When Brahma asked why He was still angry, when the demon had already been killed, the Lord replied His anger was because He saw anothe Sri Narasimha and how could He tolerate anothe equal to Him?! Near this sannidhi is Gajakundam, which gets water from Bhavanasini river. Bathing here will get us all our needs. There is also a 100 pillar mantapa, where the 1st Jeer [ Swami Adi Van Satakopa] preached his disciples. With awe and wonder we can admire the Lord here- because He is Aja. Is He a lion? or a Man?

BG 7.30

sthithE manasi susvasthE sarIrE sathi yO nara:
dhAthusAmyE sthithE smarthA visvarUpam cha maamajam (1)

tathastham mriyamANam thu kAshtA paashaNa sannibham
aham smarAmi madh bhaktham nayAmi paramAm gathim (2)

This is Sri Varaha charama sloka. When our body, mind, intellect and vital organs are properly functioning and in our control, if we surrender at the Divine feet of Sri Varaha Perumal, then, when we are in our death bed, when we can not even remember His name nor our body and mind are in our control, Sri Varaha assures that He would remember and with a helping hand would take us to Moksham. Even when we lose our memory, the Lord says He would remember and guide us to Moksham. The Lord graces in Ahobilam as Sri Varaha Narasimha. Today’s [17th April, 2008] lecture is from His sannidhi. Near this place is the sannidhi of Swami Ramanuja, in a small cave. Swami Ramanuja had visited Ahobilam. With the blessings of Lord Sri Narasimha, he published his Sri Bhashyam, commentary on Brahma soothram, by Veda Vyasa. Inside we have the Lord as Sri Varaha and Sri Narasimha. Both are the Lord’s avatar to kill the demon brothers Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu. Unlike in many other places, Sri Varaha Murthy is not large and like in Sri Mushnam, the size is compact. As the great Boar, the Lord entered the ocean to rescue His Consort Sri Bhoodevi. Here we can see Sri Bhoodevi sitting on His long nose, as rescued. Normally, we see the Globe on His nose, but here the Thayar Herself is seated. Nearby is Sri Narasimha. Alwar says Sri Varaha is with strong teeth [to carry Sri Bhoodevi] and Sri Narasimha with sharp teeth [to tear off and kill Hiranyakasipu]. We will now see the 24th sloka of Seventh Chapter:

avyaktam vyaktim apannam
manyante mam abuddhayah
param bhavam ajananto
mamavyayam anuttamam

"Unintelligent men, who do not know Me perfectly, think that I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, was impersonal before and have now assumed this personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is imperishable and supreme."

Avyaya = never diminishing [in His greatness], anutthamam = with no equal or greater, mama = My [Sri Krishna’s], param bhavam = very great quality, ajanantha = is not understood or unaware of. Millions and millions of people are ignorant of His greatness. People are unaware of shastras or God or atman. They are ignorant that the Lord is the King of Vaikunta, He is the Lord of Ubhayavibhooti; He is the Creator; He is the repository of all auspicious qualities; He is the Consort of Sri; He is the motive Force in all; He is the Supreme Lord. They do not know that the Lord is so great. Not only that. They also have misunderstood Him. Avyaktham vyakthi apannam manyata = [they think] the Lord is born because of good deeds in the past [by Him]. We all have got this human birth because of our past good karma. Similarly, these people think that Sri Krishna might have done good things in the past and so He is born as Sri Krishna now. His super natural feats like hoisting Govardhana giri or killing many demons are not considered as His great qualities, but He is regarded as a normal human being. There are many ordinary persons who possess certain super human powers and Sri Krishna could be like that. Abuddhaya = foolish people, mam manyante = consider Me [Sri Krishna]. They do not realize that Sri Krishna is born, not like us because of our past karma, but out of His own volly and determination [sankalpam]. This ha s been clearly explained in Chapter 4. He appears in this world out of His compassion and nothing can force Him to take avatar. He has neither equal nor superior. Sri Krishna is not realized as Paramatma but recognized as another person like us. They are fools. Arivinaal kuraivilla, says Alwar, which might suggest that we have enough intellect. But Swami Nampillai, in his Eedu [commentary on Divya prabhandam] says that not only we are ignorant about Him and His greatness, but we are unaware of this ignorance also! Kimapibrahmatat kishora bhava dhrushyam- Swami Vedanta Desika says in his Gopala vimsati. He was born among gopis and gopikas. He was chided and made fun off. Now everyone thinks that He is after all a gopi and never for a moment think He is the Para Brahmam. They do not think that such great Person has come down to us out of compassion. Our karma has made us ignorant of this. This ignorance, however does not belittle Him. If we correctly understood Him then we will not seek anything from anybody else. Just like here, in Simhachalam also the Lord graces as Sri Varaha Narasimha.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

BG 7.29

Nalla malai range is believed to be Serpent Adisesha. Its hood is Thiruvenkatam [Thirumala], Ahobilam is its body and tail is Srichailam, says Purana. With Adisesha spreading its hood over His head, Sri Malola is gracing. Earlier we saw Sri Jwala Narasimha, with cave like wide opened mouth and tongue like the flames of fire, and from there we have come down. Here with all anger vanished the Lord is gracing with Sri Mahalakshmi Thayar on His left lap. While the left arm is embracing the Sri Thayar, right arm is assuaging the fears of devotees and guaranteeing protection. Upper two arms are holding the Sudarshana and Panchajanya. The Lord is called Sri Malola. Ma means Mother, that is Sri Mahalakshmi Thayar, lola means playing wth Her. It shows the unique intimacy between them. In the pasuram nallainenje naam thozhudum, Thirumangai Alwar says Allimadhar pulgi ninra aayiram tholudaya [அல்லி மாதர் புல்கி நின்ற ஆயிரம் தொளுடைய ], that is Sri Mahalakshmi is embracing the Lord from His left. Alwar pats his mind, which is after the Lord as Sri Malola. The Lord graces with a smile and blessing Prahalada. In Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam, two divine names come together - Narasimhavapu and Sriman. Narasimha vapu [नारसिम्ह वपु] means body of lion and man. Sriman [श्रीमान] means Husband of Sri or Sri Mahalakshmi Thayar. So the Lord Sri Narasimha is the Husband of Sri Thayar. Another way to interpret it is, Sriman means owner of Wealth and so Sri Narasimha is the owner of wealth, which is His great image. How such a fearful looking Sri Jwala Narasimha, has calmed down and looks amenable here? It is all because of the prayer of Prahalada. Nammalwar says azhagiyaan thane arivuruvam thane [அழகியான் தானே, அரி உருவம் தானே]. When we go with bhakti like Prahalada, this Lion looks very beautiful. Here we see the Moolavar. Utsava moorthy of this Lord is accompanied by Srimad Azhagiyasingar, pontiff of Sri Ahobila mutt and He graces all by touring all over the country. In circa 1378, some 600 years back, Swami Srinivasacharya was born. He was the son of Kidambi Kesavacharya. They were in Melkote, near Mysore. Srinivasacharya went to Kanchipuram and learnt all scriptures from Swami Gadikasatham Ammal. When he was 20 years old, he was commanded by Lord Sri Narasimha to come to Ahobilam. The Lord in the guise of an elderly Brahmin, administered mantras and made Srinivasacharya a sanyasi [ascetic]. He was christened as Sri Satakopa yathi. This is the title with which all Azhagiya singars are decorated. At that time the Utsava moorthy of Sri Malola, sprang up and reached the hands of this sanyasi and commanded that He should be carried to all places to bless the devotees [sancharam]. We will now see the 23rd sloka:

antavat tu phalam tesam
tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam
devan deva-yajo yanti
mad-bhakta yanti mam api

"Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet."

Arjuna asks. Suppose one prays Varuna for rains and it is granted. Another prays Sri Krishna for rains and he also gets it. What is the difference between the results of both prayers? Sri Krishna tells that there is a great difference in the same result obtained by praying gods and Him. The results obtained by praying to gods suffers from two defects. One, they can grant only inferior rewards. They can never grant Moksham, the most superior reward. Secondly, they grant rewards by sheer delegation of powers by the Lord and such rewards are not given independently by them. Whereas when Sri Krishna grants, it is by His independent nature and none persuades Him to do so. We can make two categories of devotees - intelligent and naive. Those who do not know Sri Krishna and He should be our supreme objective, are all naive or unintelligent group. The intelligent group, though, is aware of His greatness, they seek material and worldly benefits and do not approach Him for serving Him. Slightly better than this group is the category of devotees who seek to serve Him, but they think that they can do it by their own efforts. But the best among all devotees is he, who thinks that serving Him is the reward and He only should accomplish that for him. They neither go to others to seek Him nor seek Him for other rewards. Only His blessings should get their objectives realized and not their efforts. Sri Krishna discards those naive persons. Deva yaja yanti = those who worship other gods reach, devan = those gods [only], mad -bhakta = My [Sri Krishna's] devotees, yanti = reach mam api = only Me [Sri Krishna]. By worshiping these gods, those devotees go to them and after a tenure have to come back. But those worshiping Sri Krishna reach Him in Vaikuntam and never return. His Eight great qualities are bestowed on these devotees. No more samsaram and all associated problems of life. Prahalada prayed the Lord to bestow him everlasting Bhakti in Him. When the Lord wanted to bless Prahalada with reward, Prahalada wanted that he should not seek rewards from Him! Whatever birth he might take, he should never miss the devotion to Him. Praying that Sri Malola's blessings should be showered on all.

malola narasimhan thirumanjanam


Monday, April 14, 2008

BG 7.28

Thirumangai Alwar calls Ahobilam as Singavel kunram [சிங்க வேள் குன்றம்]. Vel means young and energetic. Alwar says Sri Narasimha appeared with anger, which caused fear in the entire Universe, to kill Hiranyakasipu. He appeared at a spot and we are to listen today's [15th April 2008] lecture from that spot.

This spot is called Ugra shambam. It is on a steep rock. Here, Sri Narasimha appeared as the pillar got split. Some consider this as the original spot of Sri Narasimha avatar and others feel, it is the spot where Sri Narasimha reenacted His avatar, for Garuda. Because Garuda wanted to see Sri Narasimha here, this hill is called Garudachalam. When demon Suvamukha stole away Vedas, Devas complained and prayed for help and the Lord again appeared to kill that demon and recovered Vedas and so this place is also called Vedadhri.
Aho veeryam aho souryam aho baahu parakramah:
Naarasimham param deivam ahobilam ahobalam.
Aho balam = what a power!! When the Lord grabbed Hiranyakasipu and laid him on His lap, all Devas exclaimed Bahobalam! ahobalam!! Bilam means large cave. Either He opened the mouth which resembled a bilam or this place is situated amidst so many caves, and so it is Ahobilam.

From Sri Jwala Narasimha, walking for about half an hour uphill, we can reach Ugrasthambam. There is a flagstaff nearby and people go around it, with care as the place is very narrow. From the foot of this hill, if we look up at the hill, it would resemble Garuda spreading wings. Appearing at the Ugrasthamba, Sri Narasimha chased Hiranyakasipu and grabbed him and laid him on His lap at the sannidhi of Sri Jwala Narasimha, to kill him. In Tamil, aal = man, ari = lion, so Alari = means Sri Narasimha. Lions of this place are great devotees of Sri Narasimha. Just as we would worship God by presenting flowers and fruits, lions worship by presenting the tusks of elephants they killed! This is what Alwar says. In those days travelling to Ahobilam was very difficult; Alwar says even gods find it difficult to reach that place. Now, thanks to the Jeer of Sri Ahobila Mutt, lots of facilities have been made and travelling is lot more easier. We will now proceed to sloka 22. World is full of varieties, and desires and ambitions are different. Everyone may not be interested in Moksham or Sri Krishna bhakti. Only a few are interested in the Lord and the Lord does not want to leave the rest just like that as they may become atheists. To bring them also under His feet, the Lord makes them to first have loyalty to gods, then believe in Vedas and finally they will reach Him. In order to do these He has to device certain methods. He empowers the gods who are all His body. These gods grant various small and temporary reliefs for various devotees. This way slowly they understand, the soul of these gods as Paramatman, and realize that He can grant much superior and everlasting happiness to them. Sloka 22:

sa taya shraddhaya yuktas
tasyaradhanam ihate
labhate ca tatah kaman
mayaiva vihitan hi tan

"Endowed with such a faith, he endeavors to worship a particular demigod and obtains his desires. But in actuality these benefits are bestowed by Me alone."

Sa taya shraddhaya = such devotees sincerely, tasya aradhanam = by such devotion or worship, ihate [ईहथे] = desires [to please them], labhate = gain [ the desired objectives]. But these gods are incapable of granting those desired objectives on their own. Just like the limbs of the master can not by themselves give any for the services of the servant, but by the command of the soul only. Similarly, these devotees do not worship these gods thinking they are the body of the Lord; but devotees think that these gods are granting independently. Mayaiva = only by Me [Sri Krishna], vihitan = granted, kaman = desires. But actually, the desires of these devotees are sanctioned by the Lord. Arjuna gets a doubt. If so, then why not the Lord directly grant? Why all these intermediaries? Sri Krishna tells that among people we have varieties according to the three gunas =Saatvikas, Rajasas and Tamasas. All are children of God and He has to take care of all of them. So people with Rajo and tamo guna also are cared for by these gods and after some time, they will realize and become satvikas and surrender to the Lord directly. It is also clarified that going after these gods is not a must and devotees can approach directly the Lord. In a saying our elders cite an example. A child wants to eat mud. Mother tells it not to do. If she beats the child for eating mud, out of sheer disobedience it may hate the mother. On the other hand, some mothers would allow the child to eat and suffer, when they will advise the harm and children also would realize their mistakes. The Lord's advice not to go after gods for inferior desires may not be heeded; but by allowing them to get those desires full filled, they are made to realize the temporary reliefs and to seek permanent happiness. Even these temporary ones are not granted by the gods on their own. We know all these gods hold on to those posts only for a tenure. If, suppose a person tries to please a god and as he is doing it if the tenure of the god ends, who is going to accept his offerings and grant him his desires? If we want to have a big stud on our ears, then we have to wait to enlarge that hole to accommodate the bigger stud.

BG 7.27

We have seen all the Kshetrams of Pandya region, while reading Gita, sloka by sloka. We have also seen many Kshetrams of Chola region. Now we are at one of the Northern Kshetrams in Andhra Pradesh, Sri Ahobilam, aka Ahobalam, Panka Srotha Kshetram, Nava Narasimha Kshetram, Singavezhkunram in Tamil. Thirumangai Alwar has presented 10 pasurams on this Kshetram. It is some what difficult to reach this place and worship the Lord here. But a dedicated devotee may not mind any obstacles and the journey could be a happy one. This hill is amidst Nalla malai mountains range. We can come by train upto Cudappah and from there by road to Ahobilam via Alaghadda, 15 miles away. Lower Ahobilam and Upper Ahobilam are there. Today's [14th April 2008] is from the sannidhi of Sri Jwala Narasimha, 4 KMs from Upper Ahobilam. Six of the Noine Sri Narasimha are in and around Upper Ahobilam and Three in Lower Ahobilam. This place is also known as Garudachalam or Garudadhri. Garuda was delighted by Sri Jwala Narasimha. Garuda wanted the Lord to re-enact the scene when He, with anger, killed Hiranyakasipu, in Sri Narasimha avatar. Garuda bathed in the Bava nasini, a sacred river famous for eradicating all sins of those bathing in it, and meditated on the Lord. Granting his request the Lord appeared as Sri Jwala Narasimha, with eight arms. Hiranyakasipu is on His lap. Two arms are holding the head and feet of Hiranyakasipu. Two arms are opening the chest, two arms are engaged in taking out the intestine and wearing as garland and another two arms are holding the discua and conch. We can also see a statue of the Lord as He emerges from a pillar. Standing by the sides are Hiranyakasipu and Prahalada. On to the left of Sri Jwala Narasimha, we can see the Sri Veera Narasimha, chasing Hiranyakasipu. We can see the Asura kula guru Sukracharya. From Upper Ahobilam to reach this place it takes about an hour, crossing rocks and climbing many steps. We will now see the 21st sloka. With the blessings of the Jeer, Srimad Azhagiyasingar, of Sri Ahobila mutt, we will see all the Nine Sri Narasimha in the coming days.
Till 19th sloka, Sri Krishna described the greatness of His devotees. Devotee, who considers Sri Vasudeva, as everything -vasudevamidhisarvam. But such a devotee is very hard to find. Such a devotee was Prahalada and we have come to this Kshetram to see Prahalada's favourite Sri Narasimha. From 20th sloka, in eight slokas, the Lord regrets that while He was there to grant anything, people swarm around other gods to seek favour. Though Sri Krishna could grant anything, He does not grant the cheap desires that easily nor quickly. But many people want such transient and temporary needs and so they seek other gods, who readily grant them. But, this power to grant such needs has been delegated by the Lord to these gods. The Lord resides in every god , and as the controller and commander inside, He makes them to satisfy the needs of people. Now the sloka 21:

yo yo yam yam tanum bhaktah
shraddhayarcitum icchati
tasya tasyacalam shraddham
tam eva vidadhamy aham

"I am in every demigod’s heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one desires to worship some demigod, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to that particular deity."

yo yo bhakta = such devotees , yam yam tanum = [approaching] such [gods who are the Lord's] body [or who are controlled by the Lord]. Shraddhaya =with dedication, arcitum = to do pooja, icchati = desires. Devotees approach the many gods , who are all the body of the Lord [just like soul is the master of the body] and desire to perform poojas to them to get their desires full filled. Tasya tasya = such devotees, acalam = unshakable, shraddhaam = faith in those gods, aham = I [ Sri Kishna], vidadhami = establish [ in them]. The Lord says that He ensures that these people have unfaltering faith in those gods. Arjuna got a doubt here. The Lord earlier told that all should worship the Lord as He alone is capable of granting anything and everything, then why should He encourage these people to go to these gods who can never grant the highest reward of Moksham? Sri Krishna is going to clear this doubt in this and the next sloka. Here we have to understand that all gods are body of the Lord. We can worship anyone, but none of them are independent. Inside them the Lord resides and controls and commands them. He delegates certain power to each of them, which they could grant to people approachng them. A servant serves the King. He is not intelligent enough to know that atman of the King is pleased by his services. He only knows that by serving, the King is pleased and he grants some money for his living. Actually, atman of the king is pleased and that atman directs the body to take out money and grant to the servant. Similarly, these gods are mere bodies of the Lord and He commands them to grant certain needs to those who sseek those gods. These people are expected to be loyal to those gods. These gods also do not have total knowledge that the Lord is in them and that they have drawn their powers only from Him. Here this hill, where the Lord Sri Jwala Narasimha is , is called Achala Meru chaya parvatam - shadow of the great Meru mountain. Nammalwar says that in infinite births we have been going after various gods for various needs. They grant only temporary satisfaction.

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