Sunday, April 6, 2008
Mannargudi is also known as Champakaranya [चम्पकारन्य ] Kshetram, as once this place was a jungle of Champaka trees, the flowers of which are famous for the strong fragrance. The Lord also is known as Sri Champakesa and Sri Chapakaranya Nilaya. This place is also famous as Dakshina [South] Dwaraka. The Lord of Dwaraka in Gujarat, is believed to be residing here. Haridra nadhi, the temple pond is 24 acres in area. The streets and town around the main temple are called Gopala samudram. Opposite the sannidhi is 53 feet tall Garuda sthambam or pillar. On top of this pillar is Garuda with folded hands. It is believed to have been erected by Thirumangai Alwar. To erect this, an inclined plane, supported by cotton bales, was prepared starting from a place three kilometres away. Charam [சாரம்] in Tamil means inclined plane. So the place from which this charam started was called Charam kulam [சாரன்குளம்], which got transformed to present day Cherankulam [சேரன்குலம்]. Opposite the temple on one side is Sri Vanamamalai Mutt and on the other side is Sri Ahobila Mutt. The Main Gopuram is 154 feet tall. Corridors, fountains and the garden inside give a pleasant view. The area of the temple is 24 acres. The temple is enclosed by seven corridors [sapth praakaara]. After crossing the first corridor, we can see the 1000 pillar hall. Totally 16 Towers [gopuram] and 24 Canopies [vimanam] are there. With that bird's eye view of the temple, we proceed to continue with the 19th sloka. This sloka is very important and so we have to study the meaning carefully and elaborately. Samsaram is terminated by Bhakti and how a Bhakta behaves, are mentioned here. Sri Krishna tells that after a multiple births only, a Bhakta reaches Him. How many births after? 10 or 100 or Million? Nobody can say. It could be in Billions also. But in one birth, that soul realizes Bhakti in Him. That slowly develops and matures over many births. Finally, in one birth, that soul realizes, Sri Vasudeva is everything and that knowledge and resolute way of life, makes that birth as the last and he reaches the Lord in Vaikuntam. Maturing of Bhakti will take many births difficult to assess. Here our ancestors have inquired and commented. Since it takes many, many births and consequent sufferings, does not the Lord have any mercy on the souls? Does He not have compassion on us? When we are considered as His children, is it not His duty to redeem us immediately and relieve us from the sufferings? He says that we have to have so many births even for Bhakti to dawn. After Bhakti is realized, one is not granted Moksham immediately; but one has to spend more births to have the Bhakti matured and reach the final stage. These do not appear to be the comforting words of a Person with mercy or compassion. This accusation is pointed towards the Lord by both Atheists and God believers, in great distress. Reply is same for both. To get Bhakti in Sri Krishna, we have to destroy the papa accumulated over millions of births. Destroying papa is by the continuous performing of our duties - Karma yoga - without any attachment to results. This will take one to Bhakti. After spending many births, continuing Bhakti, one finally reaches the Lord. This procedure has to be followed. We may wonder, why all these lengthy and time consuming procedure? What is the loss for the Lord, if He grants Moksham straight away to all and relieve them of the sufferings? Bhagavat Bhaadarayana, aka Veda Vyasa and Krishna Dwaipayana, says this accusation can not be made on the Lord. Vaishamya naidrunye na papekshatvat - God does not have any mischievous objective. He is impartial and never tries to mislead anyone. Naidrunya - He can not be faulted as merciless. He is not breathing over our shoulder and guiding us in every step. He has given independence and sees what we choose. He has provided the basic requirements and infra structure equally to all. He has provided a body with all organs to acquire knowledge; He has provided all materials for all to enjoy; and He has created all scriptures and shastras to abide by. So it becomes the responsibility of anyone to choose and decide. If one takes a wrong route, then one starts committing papa and gets ruined. But, if one takes the right path, then also the Lord helps in one's progress in the right direction. Why can't the Lord, correct us in the initial step itself so that further wrong things are not done? If, He did that, then the logic that atman has intelligence has no meaning. He is not like a Shepherd or a cart driver, maneuvering the animals at every stage. We are provided with intellect and thinking power and so it is expected we think and decide the path we have to follow. If a boat is provided to cross a river and one either by not knowing how to steer the boat or misuses it and gets drowned in the river, how can one blame the boat provider? If a lamp is given to read, but is used to burn away the house, can the lamp provider be accused? If a knife is given to cut fruits and enjoy, is it justified to kill others and blame the knife provider? The Lord has provided all basics so that we choose and take the right path. How can we blame the Lord for having wasted the opportunity or irresponsibly choosing the wrong path? He has not prevented anyone from choosing the right path and develop Bhakti to reduce the births. When in that birth, a person realizes everything is Sri Vasudeva only, he gets Moksham. Our papa is of two types. Sanchita or accumulated papa is a heap of bundles. We have not even unpacked any of them. Another is prarabda papa, is the one to which we are exposed. After finishing this, one more bundle from sanchita papa will be opened to have its effects. One gets Moksham, only when all the prarabda papa are expended completely.