Friday, May 16, 2008

BG 8.13

We are at Adhanur, one of the Divya desams of Chola region. We can reach this place from Kumbakonam via Swamimalai. The Moolavar is Sri Aandalakkum Ayyan, in reclining pose. Pushkarini is Surya pushkarini and theertham is Surya theertham. Like Srirangam, this Kshetram also is between the two rivers Kaveri and Kollidam. Srirangam has Pranavakara vimanam and here also it is Pranava vimanam. Here Utsava moorthy is Sri Ranganatha. Today's [14th May 2208] lecture is from the entrance to Sri Thayar sannidhi. The name of the Thayar is connected with this Kshetram. As stated earlier, Kamadhenu is in the garbagruha. She appears with the body of a cow and the head of a beautiful woman. Once sage Brihu received the garland worn by Sri Mahalakshmi as prasadam. He offered that to Indra, who, not realizing the greatness of that prasadam placed it on the head of his elephant, which removed it by its trunk and trampled on the ground. Seeing this, sage Brihu was angry and cursed Indra to lose all his wealth. Reduced as a pauper, Indra along with lord Brahma approached Sriman Narayana for regaining the lost wealth. The Lord was able to judge that this curse had come upon Indra as he lost the glimpse of Sri Mahalakshmi; that is he had lost Lakshmi kataksham. The Lord therefore, requested Thayar to pardon Indra and so the Thayar suggested that She would be born as a daughter of sage Brihu with the name Sri Bhargavi and would marry the Lord. At that time Indra could come and worship them and redeem the lost wealth. Accordingly, She was brought up as Sri Bhargavi [aka Sri Kamalavasini]. At an appropriate time Indra came and worshiped the Divine Couple here and got back his wealth. Sri Ranganatha, as Utsavar, is gracing with the right lower arm signalling protection [abhaya mudra]; lower left arm is holding the mace. Upper arms are holding the discus and conch. The smiling face assures that He is ever ready to grant whatever the devotees pray for. Thirumangai Alwar has sung only one song in his Periya Thirumadal. We will now proceed to sloka 12:

sarva-dvarani samyamya
mano hridi nirudhya ca
murdhny adhayatmanah pranam
asthito yoga-dharanam

"The yogic situation is that of detachment from all sensual engagements. Closing all the doors of the senses and fixing the mind on the heart and the life air at the top of the head, one establishes himself in yoga."

This sloka tells of a high stage. Kaivalyam also is a superior stage like His place Vaikuntam. In both places there is no birth or death; no sufferings of old age or hunger. We have to carefully note that this equality is only in respect of these alone; but the other advantages of serving the Lord and enjoying the company of other devotees like Adisesha or Garuda or the Alwars and Acharyas, in Vaikuntam, will not be there. Comparing to worldly pleasures kaivalyam may look superior, but compared to Moksham and Bhagavath Anubhavam, kaivalyam is much inferior. We should never aspire for kaivalyam; though there are some persons who do not consider being servant of the Lord and think of independence. For them kaivalyam is recommended. Sarva = all, dvaram = holes, samyamya = plugged, mano = mind, hridi = [ the Lord ] in the heart, nirudhya = well established or focussed. Sensual desires find many holes and leak out. So those holes are to be plugged. That is mind is not allowed to drift away. Then this mind has to be diverted on the Lord well founded in the heart. All through life this kaivalyarti has been meditating on the Lord. He should aspire for removing rebirths and the sufferings in samsaram. He should therefore think of the Lord as an embodiment of all these qualities. Controlling the sensual organs and diverting the mind on heart is called pratyaharam in ashtanga yoga practice. This we saw in detail in Chapter 6. This practice is to be followed thruogh out one's life, if he wanted kaivalyam. Now in the later part of the sloka Sei Krishna tells what this person has to do in the last moments of life or just before death, when the atman departs the body. Atmana = one's own [self], pranam = prana [life air], murdhanyadhaya = via the principal nerve called sushumna nadi passing through the centre of the top of the head. Kaivalyarti has to place the prana on the top of the head via sushumna nadi. Aiswaryarti placed the prana between the eye brows. Yoga dharanam = [in Bhakti yoga] remembering the Lord, asthitho = one should remain. That is this person, at the time of death with unwavering thoughts on the Lord possessing the qualities which are in kaivalyam and with the prana brought on the apex of the head via the sushumna nadi, should die. The Lord continues further n sloka 13, the reward for kaivalyarti dying like this.

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