The Lord of Sri Vaikuntam is far away and it is not that easy to see and worship Him. But He is kind enough to grace every one and is available easily at this Kshetram, Vaikunta Vinnagaram [வைகுந்த விண்ணகரம்] . In the pasuram 'vangamadhu' [வங்கமது], Thirumangai Alwar says, that sages and Devas went to Thirupparkkadal [Milk ocean] and prayed the Lord, after offering flowers, that He should grace them as He was their Leader. Accepting their prayers the Lord is pleasing gracefully at this Kshetram. In this Kshetram, He is seated on Adisesha, whose hoods are like umbrella over the head of the Lord. Right leg is folded and right foot is placed on the serpent, while left leg is folded. Right hand is placed on the folded right knee and left hand is placed on the left lap. On His right is Sri Sridevi, and Sri Bhudevi is to His left. Seated beyond Sri Bhudevi is Sri Vaikuntavalli Nachiyar.What we see here is described in Gita, Chapter 10, slokas 1 and 2, we are to see today. First sloka 1:
bhuya eva maha-baho
shrinu me paramam vacah
yat te ’ham priyamanaya
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Listen again, O mighty-armed Arjuna. Because you are My dear friend, for your benefit I shall speak to you further, giving knowledge that is better than what I have already explained."
Sri Krishna addresses Arjuna as maha baho = Arjuna with great hands. Why does He describe Arjuna as great handed? Swami Vedanta Desika in his Tatparya Chandrika explains. Sri Krishna is going to explain the Chapter 10, because Arjuna is dear to Him. In spite of listening to the greatness of the Lord, Arjuna did not develop any jealousy. He never envied the Lord. In fact, he was listening with love and affection. If this lecture were made to an asura or wicked person, he would develop jealousy and tried to come to kill the Lord. So Arjuna is priyamanaya = dear to the Lord. With such large hands Arjuna has been conquering enemies; but that is not a wonder. He has conquered jealousy for the Lord. So he is priyamanayo mahabaho. So, bhuya eva = again this topic [of the greatness of the Lord], me = about Me [Sri Krishna], paramam vacha = most superior words [ Bhakti yoga], hita kamyaya = for Arjuna's benefit [ as he has to foster Bhakti yoga], shrinu = [so] listen carefully. Aham vakshyami = I [Sri Krishna] am going to tell [Arjuna]. The Lord is going to tell Arjuna, hita or righteous path, so that Bhakti grows in him, those superior words about the Lord, ie. Bhakti yoga. Arjuna is wondering. In Chapter 2, He told about Atman. He told about Atman darshan in Chapters 3,4,5 and 6. This way He told about Atman sakshatkaram. Thereafter, He described Bhakti yoga as a means to have Bhagavat sakshatkaram. This was described in Chapters 7, 8 and 9. So, Arjuna was told about gyana on Atman, karma yoga, gyana yoga and Bhakti yoga. All have been covered and so Arjuna thought the preaching was over. But here Sri Krishna is again starting something and alerts Arjuna to be attentive. Arjuna never requested to preach again. Then why does the Lord start again? The Lord has so much confidence in Arjuna that he would listen. This is the greatness of our Acharyas and Alwars. They do not need any gifts for their preaching; but they want our attention alone. It also shows the great regard the Lord had for Arjuna. That is why even when Arjuna is not asking for more advice, the Lord spontaneously lectures further. Now sloka 2:
na me viduh sura-ganah
prabhavam na maharsayah
aham adir hi devanam
maharsinam ca sarvasah
"Neither the hosts of demigods nor the great sages know My origin or opulences, for, in every respect, I am the source of the demigods and sages."
Here the Lord says He is not accessible to anyone. Why should He tell about His inaccessibility, while preaching Bhakti yoga? Excepting Bhakti, by no other means He can be accessed. It is the only way to reach Him. Bhakti alone will bind Him. Even Vedas declare that they could not understand the Lord. The Lord also does not know Himself fully. But a simple devotee is able to understand Him. A great scholar might not be able to grasp the Lord. But a devotee, though ignorant of studies, might understand the Lord and get the rewards. So, says Alwar. Sura gana = groups of Devas, like Sanaka, Sanatkumara, Indra, Chandra, Brahma, Narada, etc., na me vidhu = may not know Me [Sri Krishna], prabhavan na maharishi = [Sri Krishna's] greatness [is not realized by ] great sages also. Maharishi like Vasishta, Vamadeva, Jabali, Viswamitra, Gautama, Bharadwaja or Valmiki or Veda Vyasa, have not known His greatness. Devanam = to Devas, Maharishinam ca = and to great sages, aham adi = I [ Sri Krishna] am the Cause, sarva sa = by every means. He is the Cause of all the Devas' and great sages' origin, state, prayers and everything. Therefore, they can never understand Him. Arjuna gets a doubt. It is OK that He is the Cause of all. But it is difficult to understand that therefore, they are unable to understand Him. What is the connection between He being the Cause of them and they are unable to realize Him? Because, their power is granted by the Lord and is limited. With limited gyana and power, how can they understand the infinite and unlimited God. Effects can not understand the cause. Present in this Universe or Prakruti mandala, can they attempt to understand the Lord of Sri Vaikuntam? Lord Brahma says that he or lord Shiva or other gods, or sages, do not know where Sri Vaikuntam is. He is beyond the grasp of everyone. None has seen that Vaikuntam nor the Lord of Vaikuntam. Upanishads say that they can never describe the Lord. Only the real devotee understands. Therefore, Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that He is going to tell about Bhakti yoga and he should listen to carefully. We will now take leave of this Kshetram.