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.

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