Sunday, May 4, 2008

BG 8.6

The three types of devotees - aiswaryarti, kaivalyarti and bahgavallabharti- worship the Lord to seek some benefit. What are they supposed to know, which means they have to follow and what all they should avoid - these are being told by the Lord Sri Krishna to Arjuna, in slokas 3 and 4. In sloka 3, He told the things kaivalyarti should know and in the sloka 4, in the first half, He told the aiswaryarti should know and in the second half and in the sloka 5, we are to see today [5th May 2008], the common knowledge all the three types of devotees are to have is being told. In the sloka 4, second half, Sri Krishna told he was ati yagna. The gods we see all over are all like bodies for the Lord. So, any pooja or worship performed for any god, will ultimately be for the Lord. So, He is the ati yagna in every pooja, homam and yagam. In sloka 5 we are to see today, the Lord answers another doubt of Arjuna. Arjuna asked in the sloka 2, at the end, how to worship Him in the last hours of this life or before death. This is called antima smaranam - thoughts at the time the soul departs body. Sloka 5 is reply to that. We have seen the Lord as Sri Jagannatha in Thiruppullani [Rameswaram]. In Puri, in the North also He is called Sri Jagannatha. Jagannathan means He is the Leader of Universe. Anatha means orphan or without a protector or leader. But being Sri Jagannatha, He is the protector and leader for all and none is anatha. We are now in a third Kshetram of Sri Jagannatha, called Nathan Koil or Nandipura Vinnagaram, very near Kumbakonam.

Nathan koil.JPG

He is also called Sri Srinathan, meaning the Consort of Sri Mahalakshmi. We are at the sannidhi of Sri Shenbagavalli Thayar. From Mannargudi, all over the place shenbaga trees were aplenty. She appeared in this forests of shenbaga trees [shenbagaaranyam] and prayed facing East to get married to the Lord. The Lord appeared and facing West [looking at Thayar], the Lord gave Her His right chest for Her to remain for ever. He is Nathan for Thayar or for the Universe, and so the place is Nathan Koil. This place is about 6 kms from Kumbakonam in the road to Thanjavur. From Darasuram in the direction of Thippirajapuram, this temple is there. The Lord graces the devotees in the sitting posture. Left arm is in the ahvahana mudra or welcome sign and the right arm conveys abhayam or protection. Left leg folded and on the seat, the right leg is stretched down. Upper two arms are holding the discus and conch in the prayoga [ever ready] form. Thirumangai Alwar has dedicated all the ten pasurams in the 10th decade of 5th centenary. Alwar mentions the name Nandipura vinnagaram in each poem and we will see why this place got that name later. Now sloka 5 of Chapter 8:

anta-kale ca mam eva
smaran muktva kalevaram
yah prayati sa mad-bhavam
yati nasty atra samsayah

"And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt."

Slokas 5,6 and 7 are about the antima smrithi or the thoughts at the time of soul departing body. When a person is about to die or he is in the death bed and what thoughts should occupy his mind? is told here. Sri Krishna tells a very important message that what one thinks at the last moments of life will decide his next birth. This also conveys one basic concept that after death, there is another birth for the soul. If we think next birth is not there, it will give raise to many confusions. One might be suffering a lot or in a very happy position, in the current birth. A good person might be experiencing lots of difficulties. We see thoroughly wicked persons enjoying and are very happy. Wicked Duryodana enjoyed life, while noble Yudhishtra suffered a lot. Thus we find no relationship between one's current activities and experience in life. It should be borne in mind, therefore, that the current experiences in life are due to the good or bad deeds of the past births. All accumulated papa/punya are yielding the benefits in this birth. Without this rebirth concept, none can satisfactorily answer various experiences of various persons we see. We will not be able to say why some people shine as engineers or doctors , etc. Without a cause there can not be an effect. Our past karmas are cause for the experiences we are having as effects now. But these karmas will one day get exhausted. Till then we have to undergo this cycle of rebirths. After every birth, one has to die and at that time what one should think is detailed by the Lord. Those thoughts will determine the next birth. Anta kale = in the last moments, mam eva = I [Sri Krishna] alone, smaran = to be thought of, kalevaram = body, muktva = departed by soul. That is when the soul is departing the body, one should think only of Him, Sri Krishna. Sa = he [ person who dies, thinking of Him], mad bhavam = My [Sri Krishna's] status, yati = attains. Atra = in this [conclusion or concept] , samsaya = doubts, nasti = never. There can be no doubt that a person who thinks of Him in the death bed just before the soul departs, attains the status near about the Lord. His status does not mean that this person will be born as Sri Krishna in the next birth. Because there is only One Lord and that is He. We can never become Him at any time. It is not integrating with the Lord either. This person will resemble the Lord in some of His very superior qualities. The difference should be properly understood. Sri Krishna never told that this atman will unite with Him nor this soul would become Him. Only bhavam is indicated. The Lord will not be duplicated or cloned by this atman which has departed. So the essence of this word mad bhava means, this atman will attain many auspicious qualities which the Lord possesses and approach His level or status. For aiswaryarti, he should think the Lord with the wealth he desires. A kaivalyarti should think of the Lord with the atman he wants to be. A bhagavallabharti, on the other hand, should think of serving the Lord at the last moments. Some more explanations are there which we will see later.

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