Monday, May 19, 2008

BG 8.17

Today's [20th May 2008] lecture is from the sannidhi of Sri Ranganayaki, the Consort of Sri Ranganatha, at Mandangudi. The Universe is protected by this Divine Couple. When She is there the Lord protects, otherwise He is angry. We should always first worship Thayar and pray for forgiving our sins and then we should go to the sannidhi of the Lord. Because the Alwar sang in praise of the Lord and His Consort in Srirangam, here in this temple also the Divine Couple is gracing the Alwar. In Thondaradipodi Alwar's pasurams we understand the great significance of nama sankeerthanam. By chanting His Divine names our long standing sins are all destroyed. Sri Andal in Her Thiruppavai, in the pasuram 'ungal puzhakkadai...', says 'senkazhneer vai negizhndu ambal vai koomina kann' [செங்கழுநீர் வாய் நெகிழ்ந்து ஆம்பல் வாய் கூம்பின காண்]. The flower senkazhuneer blossoms and at the same time flower aambal closes its petals. Accordingly, in this temple Sri Ranganayaki Thayar holds a fully blossomed flower and in the other a flower with closed petals. This is unique here. With the blessings of the Alwar we will now proceed to sloka 16. As mentioned earlier 14, 15 and 16 slokas explain the greatness of the objective and means to attain the objective of a devotee eager to attain the Lord. In sloka 14 Sri Krishna told that for such devotees He is very easily available. In sloka 15, He explained the difference between aiswaryarti and bhagavallabharti. Aiswaryarti gets again and again the abode of sorrows, and temporary, this world. Bhagavallabharti never returns to such sorrowful places for ever. We are seeing the three types of devotees - aiswaryarti, kaivalyarti and bhagavallabharti. Of these aiswaryarti, even if attains any great position and happiness, has to be born again in this Universe. Kaivalyarti once attained his objective never has rebirth and so never returns to this Universe. He can neither go to Sri Vaikuntam. He has to remain in an isolated place enjoying his own atman, for ever. Since he is experiencing his own atman he does not have a body. He remains bodyless. He will neither have the perceptible body [sthoola sareeram] as we are having currently; nor will he have a very minute body [sookshma sareeram ]. So he can neither return to prakruti, that is our Universe; nor can he go to Vaikuntam, the abode of Sriman Narayana. Alwars and Acharyas pity this devotee as he would not be able to get Vaikuntam ever. Kaivalyanubhavam and Bhagavath anubhavam, both ensure that the atman does not return to this Universe. Arjuna asks why this is so? Why does persons reaching high positions of Indra or of Brahma or the likes, return back to this Universe? Sri Krishna replies this in the 16th sloka:

a-brahma-bhuvanal lokah
punar avartino ’rjuna
mam upetya tu kaunteya
punar janma na vidyate

"From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again."

Sri Krishna tells why the person who attains Him does not return back to this Universe. As a simple answer we should realize that once we have attained Him, neither we will have a desire to leave that, nor will He wish to leave us. Even if a person gets the Indra position, which tenure extends for many thousands of years, at the end one will feel disgusted or stale and would like to return. This we realize in real life also. All new ventures become stale one day and we feel bored with those sooner or later. It is not so with experience with God. We listen to Srimad Ramayana umpteen times, still every time it appears fresh and new and never we get bored with that. All other things appear stale very early. So getting stale or bored in Vaikuntam can never arise. Therefore return never happens. But the experience in other worlds, will make us bored one day. This sloka does not tell this reason. Sri Krishna tells, a person reaching the world of Brahma or Indra or Pithru, one day will have to return to this Universe. But a person reaching Vaikuntam will never return. Lokah = worlds of, a brahma = starting from Brahma's [satya loka] , bhuvana = all the worlds. The so called 14 worlds [upper seven and lower seven] are all created for the play of the Lord. Punar avartina= one day are bound to be destroyed. Where as the World of the Lord, Sri Vaikuntam, never gets destroyed. This is a reason. If one reaches Satya loka, how long he could remain there? Perhaps till that world lasts. In this world, we are here. Our life time is much shorter than the life of this earth or Universe. Of course we should bear in mind that the atman never gets destroyed and only the body is destroyed. So even after the separation from the current body, one may get newer bodies in future and continue. Even after the pralayam, when all the Universe are destroyed, this atman will continue and be born again when creation takes place. All the worlds are to be destroyed one day. Vaikuntam remains for ever and so it is called Nitya mandalam or Nitya vibhooti. It has other names like Sri Vaikuntam, Aparajita , Ayodhya, etc. It has no end nor depreciation. 'Tad vishno paramam padam sada pasyanti sooraya:', etc., Veda pronouncements speak of the ever lasting nature of Vaikuntam. The Lord's abode Sri Vaikuntam is reached by these devotees and so there is no return for them. Tu =but if, upetya = [this devotee] attains, mam = Me [Sri Krishna], punar janma = re birth, na vidyate = never gets. All the other worlds of Brahma and others are all to end one day as also the Chiefs of those positions. Thondaradipodi Alwar exhibits the same theme in his Thirumalai pasuram, 'membadu..'. Without ego and with humility, we should discard the material and worldly pleasures and seek the Lord's grace by controlling our senses and with uninterrupted devotion. We should learn from this Alwar the greatness of Total Surrender [Saranagathi] and the bestowing power of nama sankeertanam. We should also realize that the dust [podi] of the feet [ adi] of His devotees [thondar] can absolve us from all our sins. Let us so, make a trip to this Kshetram and recieve the blessings of the Alwar. We now move on to thye next Kshetram.

No comments: