Sunday, May 18, 2008

BG 8.16

Thondaradipodi Alwar lived only to serve Sri Ranganatha. He composed the 45 verses Thirumalai and 10 verses Thiruppaliyezhuchi. In the latter one, the Alwar wakes up the Lord. We are in his birth place Thiru Mandangudi. In his sannidhi, on one side the Lord of Thirumaliruncholai, Sri Azhagar and on other side the Lord of Venkata hills, Sri Srinivasan are gracing. Indicating his ever service to the Lord, the utsava moorthy of the Alwar is with a basket used for gathering flowers and for storing garlands. On both sides of the Alwar, Swami Ramanuja and Swami Manavala Mamunigal are gracing. Sri Ranganatha, Moolavar, is in the standing pose. Normally Sri Ranganatha is seen in the reclining pose only in all other temples. The devotees here mention that here Sri Ranganatha has got up from bed, after listening to Alwar's Thiruppalliyezhuchi! Utsavar is with abhaya mudra in right lower arm and left lower arm holding the mace. Upper arms are holding discus and conch. True to the word satatam in the 14th sloka of Chapter 8, this Alwar remains servant of the Lord, ever. For such devotees He is easily available. This same theme is going to be explained by Sri Krishna in the next slokas 15 and 16 also. This Alwar stands as the best example conveyed in all these slokas. He says in his Thirumalai, that seeing the Lord in the midst of the two rivers in Srirangam, tears flow from his eyes like Kaveri; that seeing the Lord with feet in East, head on West, facing South and back to North, how could he go away from Him. He says after worshiping Him, Alwar is unable to stand and his mind melts. Such is his bhakti and is reflected in all the 45 pasurams. Thirumalai is considered as a stimulator for Nama sankeerthana. He says by constantly chanting His names, the Alwar is not scared of lord Yama nor his messengers and says further that he would tread on their heads. In the famous pasuram, 'pachchaima malai pol meni...', he lauds the sweetness of chanting His names. Sri Krishna told in sloka 14, that he who constantly chants His names and does not divert his thoughts else where, is able to reach Him easily. In sloka 15, He is telling the difference between aiswaryarti and bhagavallabharti:

mam upetya punar janma
duhkhalayam asasvatam
napnuvanti mahatmanah
samsiddhim paramam gatah

"After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection."

One who attains Him, will never be born in this Universe, the abode of sorrows, again. Why does He say that? Because, even if one goes to the position of Indra or Chandra or even Brahma, after that tenure, one has to be reborn in this world. Whereas. if one wants to attain Him and attains Him, He will never be reborn; this is the difference between aiswaryarti and bhagavallabharti. Mahatmana = mahatmans. He calls bhagavallabharti alone as mahatman and not the aiswaryarti nor kaivalyarti. In Chapter 7, Sri Krishna told , ' sa mahatma sudurlabha:'. He said that He is unable to find that person, mahatman, who is totally dependent on Him and who can not bear even a moment of separation. Here we have to keenly observe a point. We saw kaivalyarti was superior to aiswaryarti; and bhagavallabharti was superior to kaivalyarti. There are two types of devotees in bhagavallabharti: one assumes that by one's efforts one gets the Lord. The other variety is that the Lord should grace, select and induce bhakti in that devotee and He Himself should grant the final reward of reaching Him. Both the types of devotees reach the Lord and there can be no doubt on that. One assumes one's efforts and actions; while the other leaves everything to His grace. Swami Ramanuja in his Gita bhashyam has explained this, using some shastra quotations. He says that our knowledge about Him or our constant talk about Him, etc,. alone can not reach Him. But if the Lord decides to shower His grace or decides to reward us, nothing can stop Him. So to think that by His grace we get bhakti, it is more sublime level of bhakti. Also it is not correct to think that we performed bhakti and so He granted the rewards. We should think that it is His grace to make one perform bhakti and one's effort is not there. The Lord desired to grant the rewards and not because one performed bhakti. Such a bhakta is mahatman and he performs bhakti for the sake of bhakti. Sam siddhim = supreme level of attaining the Lord [ siddhi = attaining atman and sam siddhi = attaining the Lord]. Paramam = nothing superior to that [sam siddhi]. Upetya = after reaching, mam = Me [Sri Krishna], alayam = abode of, dukha = sorrows, asasvata = temporary or non-permanent, punar janma = re-birth in a body, napnuvanti = [they] will never have. By meditating on the Lord and attaining Him, they are mahatman. They will never be reborn in this sorrow filled and transient body. This is a major difference. Aiswaryarti has to have rebirth in some body and suffer. Bhagavallabharti, on the other hand, once reaches Him, never is reborn and so no more sufferings. He is in a permanent bliss. Thondaradipodi Alwar in his pasuram,' veda nool pirayam..', says that Vedas say that the age for humans is 100 years. If some one is born as a human, none is guaranteed of 100 years. Even if that person has 100 years, 50 years is spent on sleep, provided he does not sleep in the day time also. In the wake up state his time is spent as a child, boy and on hunger, disease and old age. What remains alone can be spent on the Lord. Do we need this suffering? asks Alwar and says no more of rebirths. So, reaching Vaikuntam should be our objective.

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