Wednesday, June 11, 2008

BG 8.29

We are studying Chapter 8 of Bhagavad Gita from the sannidhi of Sri Aravamudhan in Thirukkudanthai. We are to see the last sloka of this Chapter, in which Sri Krishna tells His glory and person understanding this gets all the comforts in this universe and also in the other worlds. But we are awe struck. The Lord is so great and is at a place beyond Indra lok and Satya lok, and where even great souls are not able to reach easily. But Nammalwar allays our bewilderment. Nammalwar performs the total surrender [saranagathi - சரணாகதி] five times. By surrendering, that is clinging to His Divine feet, we can reach Him or travel by archiradhi marg. In the pasuram on Vanamamalai [5.7], he starts his first saranagathi. Again at the feet of the Lord here [5.8] he did the second saranagathi. The idol of Nammalwar here portrays him keeping his hand near the heart, as he says when he chants the name Sri Aravamudha, it sweetens his heart. If we are enjoying Nalayira Divya Prabhandam, it is because of the Lord here. Swami Nathamuni was living in Kattumannar koil, near Chidambaram. Some Sri Vaishnavites met him and recited the pasurams on this Kshetram, starting with Aravamudhai [ஆராவமுதாய்..].Swami Nathamuni lived in the 9th and 10th centuries. Nammalwar lived Thousands of years earlier. In the intervening period Nalayira Divya prabhandam went out of usage and was lost. Therefore, it was the sankalpam or determination of the Lord, to revive Nalayira Divya Prabhandam and make it popular by Swami Nathamuni. In the last pasuram it was stated by Nammalwar that these 10 pasurams out of 1000 [ஓராயிரத்துள் இவை பத்தும்], and this caught the attention of Swami Nathamuni. So, he inquired about the remaining 990 pasurams, and the Srivaishnavas replied they were not aware. Swami Nathamuni then found that these were composed by Kurugur Satagopan and so he took up journey to Kurugur or the present Alwar Thirunagari, near Tirunelveli. It was his luck that there was one Parankusa Nambi living and who hailed in the family of Madhurakavi Alwar, disciple of Nammalwar. When enquired Parankusa Nambi also replied of his ignorance of the 1000 pasurams of Nammalwar; but was knowing the 11 pasurams Kanninun chiruththambu of Madurakavi Alwar. He suggested that Swami Nathamuni could recite these under the tamarind tree, where Nammalwar was reported to have been dwelling when he was alive in this world, for 12,000 times, perhaps Swami Nathamuni might succeed in getting help. Swami Nathamuni did likewise and Nammalwar appeared before him in yoga and taught Nathamuni entire Nalayira Divya Prabhandam. From Swami Nathamuni we thus got this invaluable treasure. Like a small seed is the cause for a gigantic tree, the 10 pasurams on the Lord here were responsible for us to get and enjoy this great treasure. It is because of Sri Aravamudhan we have inherited this great literature. That is why in the namavali archana [recitation of Divine names] of the Lord here, one name is mentioned: Dravida sruthi darsakaya nama: Dravida sruthi implies Tamil Vedas, which is Nalayira Divya Prabhandam. The Lord is praised by both Tamil and Sanskrit Vedas. Understanding that nothing else we need other than worshiping the Lord, is the essence of the last sloka of Chapter 8, we are to see. He advises Arjuna not to set his eyes on dhoomadhi marg and inferior pleasures:

vedesu yajnesu tapahsu caiva
danesu yat punya-phalam pradistam
atyeti tat sarvam idam viditva
yogi param sthanam upaiti cadyam

" A person by understanding all these reaches beyond what by performing yagna, tapas and chairity as stipulated in Vedas, could yield noble results; he reaches the highest and most ancient place."

Vedesu = in Vedas, yagnesu = yagnas, yat punya phalam = whatever punya results, pradhishtam = will be recieved. Similarly, tapasu = meditations, danesu = chairities. That is in accordance with the stipulations of Vedas by performing Yagnas, meditations and gifts, whatever punya results would accrue, atyeti = stands beyond them. Who stands beyond all the good results achieved by yagna, meditation and loftiness? Idam sarvam = all these, viditva = having learnt, tat = that person. Whatever we learnt in the Chapters 7 and 8 is here mentioned by the Lord as all these. In Chapter 7, He told He is also the means. He is the Cause of the Universe. All souls are twained by Him. He is the support of all. He is prevading in and out of all and the entire Universe. All are ruled by Him. Such a great He was learnt in Chapter 7. This was to explain the 4 types of devotees and only one type wanted the Lord alone and nothing else - Bhagavallabharti. For him everything is He only and considers Sri Vasudeva for everything. Such persons are rare also was told by the Lord. In Chapter 8, what each type of these devotees should know and follow was explained. The routes and destinations were all explained. His greatness was also detailed. So after learning all these, the best course would have been learnt as saranagathi or clingfing to His feet. Yogi = person now desirous of reaching the Lord, thinking always about archiradhi marg, param sthanam = higheast place [ Vaikuntam], adyam sthanam = very ancient place [ Vaikuntam], upaiti = reaches. Such a person reachaes the place which has no equals or superiors, where happiness only is there, where there is no hatred or enmity, where there is no hunger or thirst or oldage, that is Vaikuntam and the Lord confirms it here. So He is the goal and to reach Him we should have archiradhi marg in mind always and for that also He alone can help. We should be doing all good things as long as we live here and never even think of harming anybody. This ensures happiness here and paves the path for archiradhi marg.

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