Vaikuntapurasthaya swami pushkarini thate
Ramayaramamanaya venkatesaya mangalam.
When the Lord was in Vaikuntam, many sages performed yagna. Narada appeared at that spot and enquired as to whom the Havis [sacred offering] was going to be offered. All sages discussed and decided that the havis should be offered to the noblest God, Who possessed satva quality. They requested sage Brihu to find the satva quality God. Brihu visited Kailash and Satya loka and found that lord Shiva and lord Brahma were not noticing him and after cursing, he went to see Lord Vishna, Who also did not notice him and so enraged, he kicked the Lord on His chest - the Abode of Sri Lakshmi. She became angry and went to Kolapuri [present Kolhapur, Maharashtra] and started meditation. The Lord also left His place in Vaikuntam and appeared as Sri Srinivasa in the Thirumala hills. He married the daughter of Akasaraja, Sri Padmavati. Meanwhile, Sri Mahalakshmi at Kolapuri, was feeling for having departed the Lord in anger ; and sage Brihu also repented for having acted unbecoming of him and so appered as sage Hema and was meditating in Meru mountains. Then he migrated to this place and started his meditation. Sri Mahalakshmi also came from Kolapuri to this place and meditated, seated on a Thousand petal lotus flower. Even today we can worship Sri Thayar and sage Hema in idol form on the banks of this Pushkarini. Appreciating their devotion the Lord came here on Makara sankaranthi day [Pongal festival day] and married Sri Thayar, Sri komalavalli. Two important festivals are celebrated here. One is on Masi Makha, when the Float festival [தெப்போத்சவம்] is conducted. The second time is on Kanu festival, the day after Pongal festival. All females celebrate that day as their birth houses' [பிறந்தகம்] festival. Similarly, Sri Komalavalli Thayar comes out of Her sannidhi to this place; Sri Vijayavalli Thayar from Sri Chakrapani temple also arrives here; and Sri Sita from Sri Ramaswamy temple also arrives here. All of Them celebrate the kanu festival in the traditional way. This is the pond, where Sri Thayar meditated; which brought the Lord from Vaikuntam; where the Divine marriage of the Lord and Sri Thayar was performed; and where the Masi Makha float festival is conducted. We will now proceed to 23rd sloka. In slokas 20 and 21, the Lord told that kaivalyarti, after attaining his goal, never returns to this Universe. In sloka 22, the Lord told that He was Purushothama, Who can be attained only by constsnt Bhakti; and that He resides in all, as all reside in Him. He remains as the Support for all. In sloka 23, He tells a different aspect. He says who all go to various places like Moksham, Pithru lok and swargam. We are all quite eager to know where this atman goes after leaving this body. In Katopanishad, Nachiketas is a character. As a young son he was witnessing the yagna performed by his father. He saw cows which were to be offered to participants, as dhana [gifts]. All those animals were lean and perhaps had not food for days. We should normally offer good and healthy cows, to realize the result of yagna. He was worried that his father was offering such badly fed cows and lamented. He suddenly asked his father as to whom he was to offer Nachiketas as dhana. This he repeated thrice and this provoked the father and in anger he said that he would offer Nachiketas to god Mruthyu [ god of death - Yama]. Those words did not go false and Nachikeats arrived at the town of lord Yama. Yama was not in town at that time and he arrived only after three days. Nachiketas waited and on arriving Yama inquired as to why Nachiketas had come when it was not due for him. Nachiketas narrated the happenings. Yama asked him to return back to his father and said he would give him boons. Firstly, his father would not be angry with Nachiketas. A sacrificial fire [Agni] would be named after Nachiketas. He promised anything also Nachiketas desired. Nachiketas immediately asked as to where the atman goes after death? Are the atman returning again? Which place would ensure never return to this Universe? Like these he put questions to Yama. Yama after a hesitation replied in detail all the queries. Since Gita is the essence of Upanishads, the Lord explains those details:
yatra kale tv anavrttim
avrttim caiva yoginah
prayata yanti tam kalam
"O best of the Bharatas, I shall now explain to you the different times at which, passing away from this world, the yogi does or does not come back."
Bharatarsabha = noble one of Bharatha dynasty [Arjuna], yatra = in which, kale = path [here kale does not mean time but the route]. Here the Lord is going to tell the paths by which one attains the non-return Vaikuntam and other places like swarg and pithru lok, from where the atman returns. Anavrittim = no-return [to samsaram] , avrittim = return [back to samsaram],yogina = yogis would attain. Prayata = travelling, yanti = attain, vaksyami = I [Sri Krishna] will tell [Arjuna]. Here yogi means gyani who will seek only the Lord and would attain Him. They will attain a place from where there would be no more return [anavrutti] to this Universe. So only others who do not want to attain the Lord but seek other desires like reaching Satya lok, etc., would return back to this Universe. So both the types of people; one seeking the Lord or yogi and the other desiring wealth or other pleasures, are mentioned here. What is their route and what are their destinations, are told by the Lord. Since He talks of two destinations and only a single word yogi is used, we have to infer that superior yogi seeks the Lord and somewhat ordinary yogi seeks other pleasures. We should seek sayujyam or Moksham.