Thursday, October 30, 2008

BG 11.26

Paritranaya sadhoonam vinasayacha dushkrutam |
Dharmasamstapa nartaya sambhavami yuge yuge ||
Sri Krishna tells in Gita that protecting the good, destroying the bad and establishing Dharma are important actions of the Lord. The purpose of His Avatar is these Three only. In this Chapter 11, Arjuna sees in the Viswaroopa Image of the Lord, good persons and also finds evil persons entering His mouth, destroyed, and again get spewed out. Whichever side or directions Arjuna looked, he found the Lord's presence without any exception. He was astonished to see the various colors and Devas, Gandarvas, Yakshas,etc., on the image. He was also frightened. He has been explaining what he saw and why he was frightened. We have to see the sloka 25 now. Visiting Sri Pavalavannan, we were able to realize to some extent the colors on the Lord's image.

But in Sri Pavalavannan, we could see only the red color of the coral, though in the Viswaroopam, multi colors were displayed. Therefore, along with Sri Pavalavannan, another sannidhi also we have to see. He is Sri Pacchaivannan [ஸ்ரீ பச்சை வண்ணன்]. This sannidhi is separate and outside Sri Pavalavannan sannidhi. Both the sannidhis are looked after by same person. Sri Pacchaivannan is fully green in color. Moolavar is in standing pose with right arm in abhaya mudra and left arm in kati mudra. Utsavar also shows abhaya and graces along with Sri Sridevi and Sri Bhudevi. Sri Thayar is Sri Mragathavalli Thayar. Accompanied by Two elephants on the sides showering water on Her, Sri Thayar captivates all the devotees. Moolavar of Sri Thayar is established on Sri Lakshmi Yanra [ஸ்ரீ லக்ஷ்மி யந்த்ரம்], preapred as per shastras. Therefore, we worship Sri Thayar sprouting from the Yantra. Another speciality is that the Adisesha lamp in the sannidhi is always glowing. In Srimad Ramayana, Sri Rama asked Lakshmana, incarnation of Adisesha to guard Sri Sita, while He chased the deer to capture; but, Lakshmana left Sri Sita unguarded and came to Sri Rama on hearing the voice of the demon in the form of deer. To compensate for that mistake, here Adisesha in the form of a lamp, guards Sri Maragathavalli Thayar always. We can worship Sri Maragathavalli Thayar as Sri Sita, the Lord Sri Pacchaivanna as Sri Rama and the lamp as Lakshmana. Today's [31st October 2008] lecture is from a mandapam in sri Pavalavanna temple, where a mirror room [கண்ணாடி அறை] is the centrepiece. We see many homa kunds. Sri Varadaraja, during brahmotsavam festival, on the 5th day, arrives here in the morning and remains for about Three hours. Thus, this mandapam is famous for. Thirumangai Alwar has praised this Kshetram in one pasuram. He says, 'Pavalavanna! Enguthai emperuman unnai nadi adiyen ezhaiyen! ' [பவளவண்ணா! எங்குத்தாய்? எம்பெருமான் உன்னை நாடி அடியேன் ஏழையேன்!]. That is, Alwar says he suffered a lot in searching for the Lord everywhere. While commenting on this pasuram Swami Periyavachan Pillai [பெரியவாச்சான் பிள்ளை] noted that Alwar stretced his hands in search of the Lord. Alwar wondered why he was unable to recognise, in spite of the Coral Light of the Lord. This could be one meaning for the word enguthai in the pasuram. In Srimad Ramayana, after Sri Rama departs to the forest, Dasaratha cries and searches for Sri Rama. He tells his wife Kausalya, near him, that he was unable to see her and so she should touch Dasaratha to know whether he was still alive or not! Similarly, Alwar is searching for the Lord. This is another interpretation. By addressing the Lord as Emperuman, that is our Owner, Alwar suggests that he and also all of us are the Property of the Lord. Owner should always keep the property with Him and He should even go to a court and claim the property. Here, Alwar laments that the property is searching for the Owner, to be claimed. Alwar accuses the Lord it was unjust to make the property search for the Owner. Alwar says that he did not know where the Lord had gone and looks in all directions. Similarly, Arjuna tells that he did not know in which direction the Lord was, after seeing the Viswaroopam. Sloka 25:

damstra-karalani ca te mukhani
drishtvaiva kalanala-sannibhani
diso na jane na labhe ca sarma
prasida devesa jagan-nivasa

"O Lord of lords, O refuge of the worlds, please be gracious to me. I cannot keep my balance seeing thus Your blazing deathlike faces and awful teeth. In all directions I am bewildered."

He addresses the Lord as Devesa and Jagan-nivasa. Devesa = Leader of Devas, jagan-nivasa = having the Universe in Him. He is the Commander of Devas. We name our houses as Nivasam; but, This Nivasam is very huge and the entire Universe is accommodated in it. Damshtra-karalani = frightening teeth, te = [in] Your [Sri Krishna's], mukhani = various faces, drishtva =seeing, eva = and so. That is, just by seeing the teeth and faces of the Lord's image in Viswaroopam, Arjuna is frightened. Neither he nor the Lord touched each other. Still, he feels afraid. Kala = doomsday, anala =fire, sannibhani = like [faces]. Arjuna sees doomsday fire like faces or faces raging with doomsday fire, and frightening teeth. Disa =directions, na jane = not knowing. Arjuna is perplexed and seeing the faces of the Lord in Viswaroopam, everywhere, he is not aware of the directions, whether the faces were facing South, West, North or East! When we visit temples we are able to distinguish the direction in which the Lord is facing. But here, Arjuna sees faces everywhere! This can be compared to the word enguthai, cried by Alwar. Alwar cried because he lost sight of Him; while here, Arjuna is seeing the Lord in Viswaroopam and so in fear he is unable to find the directions. Sarma = comfort or happiness, na labhe = not got. That is, he is sorrowing, out of fear. Prasida = have mercy [on Arjuna], Devaesa, Jagan nivasa! Why should Arjuna plead for mercy on him? Was the Lord about to punish Arjuna? No. Arjuna requests the Lord to mercifully eliminate his fear! Jagan-nivasa means supporter of the Universe. Entire Universe is seen in the Viswaroopam. That means this coutry Bharat, the place Kurukshetra, battle field and the warriors must also be seen. Arjuna also must be seen. In that case is Arjuna now on the body of the Lord or is he still by the side of the chariot in the battle field? Arjuna saw all including himself and other warriors on the image of the Lord; and also, all, including Arjuna, were in their respective places! How this was possible? This is called akatithagatana shakti [அகடிதகடனா சக்தி]. It is an unimaginable power of the Lord. The Lord swallows entire Universe and has it in His stomach. Then, as a small infant, He is seen chewing His toe and reclining on a tender banian tree leaf! Alwar wonders how, when the entire Universe was swallowed, the banian tree with all leaves also should have been swallowed. Then, how the Lord is reclining on a single leaf? That is akatithagatana shakti! Similarly Arjuna is seeing from outside his own image on the Viswaroopam. Thus he is confused about directions. Fear brings in gloom and so he prays the Lord to have mercy on him and restore him normalcy so that he could appreciate the Lord and pay respects. We will now take leave of this Kshetram.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

BG 11.25

Alwar in one pasuram says that the Lord appears in Four colors in the Four yugs. In Krutha yug, He appears in White color, in Treta yug in Red, in Dwapara yug in Green color and in Kali yug in Black color. The Lord appears in the color His devotees desire. In the sloka 24 we are to see today, the colors of the Lord are mentioned. We have arrived at the temple of the Lord Sri Pavalavanna [ஸ்ரீ பவளவண்ணர்] displaying color. This is an important sannidhi in Kanchi. The Lord is Sri Pravaleeswara and Sri Thayar is Sri Pavalavalli Nachiyar [ஸ்ரீ பவளவல்லி நாச்சியார்].
pavaLa vaNNan

The Lord displays the Red color of pavalam [பவளம், प्रवळ, coral]. Sage Brgu, Aswini Devas and other sages meditated here. They prayed to see the Lord on pavala vannam [coral color] and accordingly, the Lord is gracing here. Great poet Pillai Perumal Iyengar [பிள்ளை பெருமாள் ஐயங்கார்], composed ashta prabhandam. He composed one pasuram for each of the 108 Divya desams. He says the Lord appeared in White color like butter; black color like rain bearing clouds; green and Yellow mixed color; and, red like coral. Moolavar is in seated pose. Adisesha is acting like umbrella. He is showing abhaya to the devotees. If we carefully observe we can see the hue of coral, on the Lord, Utsavar, Who has right hand in abhaya mudra and left arm holding the mace.

pavala vannan

We can see the belt [ஒட்டியாணம் in Tamil ] in the waist. The Lord is wearing many ornaments and garlands. Sri Thayar is Sri Pavalavalli, is seated and one arm shows abhaya and the left arm is in varada mudra. We will now see sloka 24:

nabhah-sprsam diptam aneka-varnam
vyattananam dipta-visala-netram
drishtva hi tvam pravyathitantar-atma
dhrtim na vindami samam ca visno

"O all-pervading Vishnu, seeing You with Your many radiant colors touching the sky, Your gaping mouths, and Your great glowing eyes, my mind is perturbed by fear. I can no longer maintain my steadiness or equilibrium of mind."

Arjuna addresses the Lord as Vishno. Vishnu means pervading everywhere [व्याप्ति vyapti ]. The Viswaroopam is spread everywhere and so Arjuna addresses as Vishno! Nabah-sprsam = [the Lord's] head is touching Paramapadam or Vaikuntam, diptam = illuminating, aneka varnam = many colors, vyatta = wide opened, ananam = mouth, dipta = bright, visala = large, netram = eyes, tvam = [such described] You [Sri Krishna], drishtva = having seen, pravyathita = frightened or trembling, antar-atma = conscience or mind, dhritam na vindami= [Arjuna] can not support [his body], samam = [Arjuna's mind] equilibrium. By seeing the gigantic image of the Lord with head touching the farthest Vaikuntam, many colors being displayed by the body, wide opened mouth and large eyes, Arjuna is frightened and so is unable to control the shivering body losing stability and mind is perplexed losing balance. In sloka 23 Arjuna told that he was also afraid like others, who saw the Viswaroopam. This sloka explains the fear he had. Nabha means sky and sparsm is touching. So it should mean the Lord's body was touching the sky. But the great commentators interpreted this to mean the Lord's image was touching the Paramapadam or Vaikuntam. Because earlier [sloka 11.20] Arjuna exclaimed that the Lord's image went beyond sky and all the intermediate worlds. Beyond sky is Satya loka of lord Brahma, then the Moola prakruti, then Viraja river and finally Vaikuntam. Also, since Arjuna addresses as Vishnu, it should mean that the Head of the image was touching Vishnu loka or Vaikuntam. Upanishads say tad vishnor paramam padam sada pasyanti sooraya: [in that supreme place of Vishnu, Nityasuris are constantly viewing the Lord - even without winking]. The sky we see is visible to the ordinary eyes and Arjuna with the gifted Divine eyes was able to see the Lord's image stretching as far as Vaikuntam. But does it mean that Arjuna was able to see Vaikuntam? Vaikuntam is not visible to Devas, not even to lord Brahma in Satya loka. So what is meant is that Arjuna saw an image very huge and he did not know upto what level it was stretching. He said earlier that Devas and Gandarvas were all seeing the image in fear. So, we have to deduce that he meant the image stretched to Vaikuntam and not the sky we see with our ordinary eyes. Or, the Lord earlier said that He is pervading Vaikuntam and the lower Worlds, without exception. He also said that all these were a small part of His body. Arjuna is relating the words of the Lord told earlier and the present sight of the image stretched gigantically. Therefore, he could be refering to Vaikuntam. He sees many colors radiating from Viswaroopam. Alwar says that when Hiranyakasipu was killed, the red color of the blood, the reddish sky as it was evening, the Lord's face in red color as He was angry and the red color of the tongue of the Lord - all these provided a concentrated red color! Like this many colors are seen by Arjuna. Arjuna sees the wide open mouth of the Lord. After all, the Lord swallows everything in the Universe during pralayam or samharam. On another side He is also spitting out everything during creation or srushti. The eyes are very large - to search for evil minded persons like Ravana and Hiranyakasipu, and to grace coolly devotees like Prahalada and Vibheeshana. Since Arjuna had never seen an image like this, he is frightened and trembles. His body is shaking and so is not stable. Though Viswaroopam might be frightening, the images of the Lord in various Kshetrams are pleasing to the eyes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BG 11.24

thuppul rajagopuram (thanks SrI Sriman venkatesan)

We are in Thiruthanka Kshetram in Thondainadu and praised by Thirumangai Alwar in Two pasurams. The Lord here is Sri Deepaprakasa. We saw the reason for this name. Since Saraswati tried to prevent the yagna being performed by lord Brahma, by creating darkness, the Lord appeared as Sri Deepaprakasa and illuminated the area so that the yagna could be carried out. Having this in mind, Thirumangai Alwar in his last prabhandam, Thirunedunthandakam [திருநெடுந்தாண்டகம்], praises the Lord. Alwar loses his male form and imagines as a woman, Parakala Nayaki, deeply in love with the Lord. 'She' yearns to be with the Lord and 'her' grief makes 'her' unable to say any words. So, 'her' mother speaks for 'her'. That is how this pasuram is composed. Parakala Nayaki has trained a parrot to repeat the names of the Lord. The parrot goes on shouting the names. It says 'vilakkoliyai' [விளக்கொளியாய்]-that is light of the lamp. A light will identify itself and all surroundings to others. Like wise, with the help of the Lord we are able to identify all things in this world, as well as identify Himself. That is the significance of the Lord here. The parrot also speaks out 'marakathathai' [மரகதத்தை]. The Lord is like emarald. Just like every product from a particular place is famous, like horses from arabia, emarald from Thiruthanka is famous. That emarald is the Lord here, along with Sri Marakathavalli Thayar. It seems pilgrims of North India on tour of South, first enter Kanchi and worship Lord Sri Vilakkoli Perumal First. Immediately, all their travel fatigue disappear and with enthusiasm, they continue their travel South! What are being identified by Vilakkoli or Lamp light? Swasya roopam, partva roopam, Upaya swaroopam, Virodhi swaroopam and Purusharta swaroopam. These Five are identified by studying Alwars' pasurams. The knowledge we obtain by studying Alwars' pasurams are: Paramatman, Jeevatman, means to reach Him, obstaces in reaching Him and the result after reaching Him. This knowledge about these Five are essential to reach Moksham. These Five are called Artha Panchakam [அர்த்த பஞ்சகம் अर्थ पंचकं]. The Lord here illuminates to get this knowledge a bout artha panchakam. Since the parrot sings the names of the Lord, Parakala Nayaki thankfully salutes the parrot, says the Mother! We will worship the Lord now.

perumal purappadu

His right hand is in abhaya mudra. Upper arms are holding discus and conch. The Lord is radiating like a bright lamp. It is said that all illuminating objects we see, like the Sun, etc., get their radiating power from the Lord. We can see the Lord gracing with Ubhaya Nachiyars. The Lord blessed Swami Vedanta Desika to write many works to help Sri Vaishnava world. In sloka 22, we saw that all viewed the Viswaroopam with awe and wonder. In sloka 23, Arjuna exclaims that people were viewing with fear. Sloka 23:

rupam mahat te bahu-vaktra-netram
maha-baho bahu-bahuru-padam
bahudaram bahu-damstra-karalam
drishtva lokah pravyathitas tathaham

"O mighty-armed one, all the planets with their demigods are disturbed at seeing Your great form, with its many faces, eyes, arms, thighs, legs, and bellies and Your many terrible teeth; and as they are disturbed, so am I."

Drishtva =seeing [Viswaroopam of the Lord], loka = [all in this] World, pravyathita = are frightened, tatha aham = same as I [Arjuna]. Arjuna says that like all people were frightened to see the Viswaroopam, he was also frightened. Arjuna has been so close to Sri Krishna, but suddenly when Sri Krishna showed His Viswaroopam, he was terrified. It is not the fear that He might kill or harm him, or the fear some of them were having, as seen in earlier slokas; but it is a fear arising out of wonder. A fear born out of reverence. Te = Your [Sri Krishna's], mahat = great, rupam = image [Viswaroopam], bahu = [with] many, vaktra = faces, netra = eyes, maha baho = Oh! the Lord with long hands. It seems the Lord's hands were lengthened because He always granted and gifted away to everyone; and, that is why He is Sri Varadaraja! Bahu = [with] many, bahu = hands, uru = thighs, padam = legs, bahu = [with] many, udharam = stomachs, bahu [with] many, dhamshtra karalam = frightening canine teeth. How can many stomachs be mentioned here? This may raise a doubt whether this Viswaroopam is the image of One or many. We should understand that stomachs could be many; but waist would be single. Waist joins the upper and lower parts of the Body. Thus Viswaroopam is with countless faces [or mouths], eyes, hands, thighs, legs, stomachs and frightening canine teeth. Therefore, people, as also Arjuna, are afraid in viewing the Viswaroopam. We will now take leave of this Kshetram.

BG 11.23

Sri Krishna Himself preached Gita. By understanding Gita, we understand all others. Without knowing Gita, there is no use in learning others. In order that we should all understand Gita well, Swami Ramanuja wrote detailed commentary, Sri Gita Bhashyam. As a further explanation, Swami Vedanta Desika wrote Tatparya Chandrika. We worshiped Swami Vedanta Desika yesterday. Today's [28th October 2008] lecture is from the temple of Sri Vilakkoli Perumal, nearby. As we enter we find the Dwajasthambam and the striking cleanliness around. The temple built in stones is attractive. As we go around the temple we can see green trees, plants and the exclusive Tulasi garden maintained for the Lord. The Lord is Vilakkoli [lamp light], and so we have to understand Gita in that Light only. Our practice has been First to visit Acharya, then Sri Thayar and finally the sannidhi of the Lord. We have already visited Swami Vedanta Desika's sannidhi. We will now proceed to Sri Marakathavalli Thayar [ஸ்ரீ மரகதவல்லி தாயார்]sannidhi. The Lord here is Sri Vilakkoli Perumal in Tamil and Sri Deepa Prakasa in Sanskrit. But the place is called Thiruthanka. Than [தண் ] in Tamil means cool and ka [கா] means place. Thus this is associated with Sri Thayar and a very cool and esteemed place. We should not confuse this with Thiruthangal [திருத்தங்கல்], near Srivilliputhur. There the Lord graces in standing pose in many colours. Since Sri Maha Lakshmi stayed [தங்குதல்], that place is called Thiruthangal. But this is a cool place. We first worship Sri Marakathavalli Thayar and recieve Her blessings. She shows abhaya by Her right hand and the left arm is pointing to Her Divine feet. The Lord is like the precious stone marakatham [மரகதம் emarald], in radiating green colour. Sri Thayar is gracing as the appropriate match for the Lord. We have seen part of the history of this Kshetram, while visiting Sri Devaraja and in Thiruvekkha. Lord Brahma performed Aswameda yagna. First he went to Pushkaram Kshetram in North. There the Lord appeared to him in the form of Water. He then proceeded to Naimisharanyam and meditated. There the Lord appeared to lord Brahma as a forest. In order to worship the Lord in Idol form, lord Brahma came to Satyavrata Kshetram. He started his meditation. But Saraswati wanted to prevent his meditation and yagna. Why did she want to prevent her husband's actions? Because lord Brahma performed the yagna with his other wife Savitri. Since she was not properly accorded a place in the yagna, Saraswati decided to prevent the yagna. So, First she created darkness so that yagna could not be performed. That time the Lord appeared as Sri Deepaprakasa and drove out the darkness. Thus the Lord was a great support for lord Brahma in performing the yagna. We will now see sloka 22, in the illumination provided by the Lord Sri Deepaprakasa. Arjuna earlier told that the Lord's radiance was more than the combined brightness of Thousands of Suns. Now, sloka 22:

rudraditya vasavo ye ca sadhya
visve ’svinau marutas cosmapas ca
viksante tvam vismitas caiva sarve

"All the various manifestations of Lord Shiva, the Adityas, the Vasus, the Sadhyas, the Visvedevas, the two Asvis, the Maruts, the forefathers, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Asuras and the perfected demigods are beholding You in wonder."

Sarve = all, vikshyanta = see, vismita = with wonder, tvam = You [Sri Krishna]. Everyone is viewing the Viswaroopam with wonder. Rudra = Rudras, aditya =Adityas, vasavo = Vasus [வசுக்கள் वसुनानी ], sadhya = Sadhyas. In Chapter 10 we have seen that some of these were mentioned. The Lord mentioned, there, that He was Shankara among Rudras, Vishnu among Adityas, etc. Now Arjuna is seeing the same. There he only listened to the Lord mentioning He was the Head among many groups. Though Arjuna believed what the Lord told, he had the doubt as how the Lord could be present simultaneously in Twelve Adityas, Eleven Rudras, etc. Besides, when the Lord mentioned that He was Shankara among Rudras or Vishnu among Adityas, we could not perceive that all of them were part of His divine body. But now we can see that everyone of them is a part of the Lord and all of them are supported by the Lord. Eleven Rudras, Twelve Adityas, Eight Vasus are mentioned. Visve sadhya means all the Nityasuris [நித்தியசூரி] in Vaikuntam. We should remember that excepting Sadhyas, who are in Vaikuntam, all others are in the Leela Vibhuti or Prakruti mandalam [as we are all]. Asvinau = Two Aswini devas, maruta = 49 Maruts [wind gods] [ Indra fractured the foetus in Diti's womb into Seven, and further fractured each of the Seven to another Seven, making 49 foetuses, by his vajra weapon]. Cosmapa = ancestors [the lecturer mentioned the word Ooshnata (could be a variance in the Gita edition), which means blood suckers - not the ghosts and spirits, we usually hear, as according to our sampradhayam, we do not believe in them and once we have surrendered to the Lord, nothing else would affect us. Here, it is to be interpreted as ancestors or pithrus [பித்ருக்கள்], like deceased parents, grand parents, and so on. Ooshnatha also means sucking atman. How can our deceased ancestors drink our atman? After all our ancestors were very much after our welfare. But when we perform the rites like tharpanam [தர்ப்பணம்] every amavasya or annual ceremony [திவசம்] on the particular thithi, in which they died, we offer pindam [பிண்டம் rice balls], sesama seeds [எள்] and water, they, in pithru form, drink them and so ooshnatha. Also it is said that a father's another form is his son. Thus we can say this atman shares the body of the children. Therfore, ooshnatha could mean drinking blood]. Gandarva = sky bound Gandarvas, yaksha =Yakshas, sura = Devas, siddha = accomplished persons, sangha = in groups. All these people see the Lord bewildered. The Lord's every action is fascinating, whether we hear about His Childhood pranks or His lifting Govardhana hillock. Naturally, Viswaroopam would be most astonishing to everyone. Another factor for their astonishment is that they see themselves in the Viswaroopam. Yakshas, Gandharvas, etc., are in their respective places, but they also see themselves in the Divine body of the Lord. This appears incredible to them and so astonished. in Upanishad - yatra poorve sadhya santi deva - sadhya means the residents of Vaikuntam, beyond Viraja river. Sadhya means those who had accomplished their ultimate desire [of reaching Vaikuntam]. Or, sadhyas could mean a separate division among devas.

Monday, October 27, 2008

BG 11.22

May Thayar and the Lord bless all readers of this blog a very happy Deepavali and prosperous future.

Sriman venkatanatharya kavitarkika kesari |

Vedantacharyavaryome sannidattam sadahruti ||
This sloka is about the well renowned Swami Vedanta Desika. Many Acharyas appeared in Sri Vaishnava sampradhyam and made us to understand saranagati shastra [philosophy of ultimate surrender शरनागति शास्त्र ]. Among them Swami Vedanta Desika has a special place. We have come to the place where he was born. We are at Thiruthanka [திருத் தண்கா], in Kanchi mandalam of Thondai Nadu [தொண்டை நாடு]. The Lord here is Sri Deepaprakasa [ஸ்ரீ தீபப் பிரகாசர்], and in the nearby place Thoopul [தூப்புல்], Swami Vedanta Desika was born. Today's [27th October 2008] lecture is from the house, where he was born. He was born as the child of Anantasuri [அனந்தசூரி ] and Thodaramba [தோதாரம்பா] in 1268-69. Thoopul means sacred grass - dharbha தர்ப்பை - used in all religious activities, like homa and yagna. Dharbha was grown here. He lived for 100 years in this world. But the amount of services he had rendered in 100 years, are so much that others could not have done even in 1000 years. He laernt from his parents, from his maternal uncle Swami Kidambi Appullar [கிடாம்பி அப்புள்ளார்] and from Swami Nadathur Ammal [நடாதூர் அம்மாள்] in Kanchi. From an early age he became an Acharya and fostered the Ramanuja sampradhayam. He had a title sarvatantra swatantrar [सर्वतंत्र स्वतंत्र]. That is, he knew all arts and could predict happenings. Many had been defeated by him in logic debates. He also had title kavi-tarkika simham [कवि तार्किक सिहं]. He was a lion among poets. Among logicians he was a lion. He was also called as Swami Vedantacharya and Swami Nigamanta Mahadesika. Vedantacharya means, he was knowledgeable in Vedanta and taught others. Nigamanta means vedanta and he was a great teacher [maha desika] in that. He wanted to explain clearly saranagati or prapatti [ப்ரபத்தி] or nyasa [ந்யாச]. For this he composed Four stotrams. They are Nyasa Dasakam, Nyasa Vimsati, Nyasa Tilakam and Saranagati Deepika. Nyasa Dasakam, praises Lord Sri Varadaraja. In Nyasa Tilakam, Lord Sri Ranganatha was praised. Saranagati Deepika is in praise of Lord Sri Deepaprakasa or Sri Vilokkoli Perumal [ஸ்ரீ விளக்கொளி பெருமாள்]of this place. He lived here and did all his daily ablutions in the large well [நடவாபி natavapi] behind and would visit the temple of Sri Varadaraja for worship. Even now Sri Varadaraja, on Five occasions in a year, arrives at this place and graces Swami Vedanta Desika. We could see his ancestral house and worship his idol in the adjacent sannidhi. Right hand is in upadesa mudra and left hand is holding palm leave scripts [ஓலைச் சுவடி]. We can also worship Lord Sri Hayagriva, Who was worshiped by Swami Desika. Swami Desika's idol here was established by his son, Swami Nayanaracharya [நயினாராசாரியார்]. Swami Desika had composed many stotrams, many rahasya granthas [intricate subjects], great works like Yadavabhyudaya and Paduka sahasram, many philosophical works, drama, commentary on Srimad Ramayana, on Alwar's pasurams, etc., and had helped the sampradayam in a big way.


Now we will se sloka 21 in Chapter 11:

ami hi tvam sura-sangha vishanti
kecid bhitah pranjalayo grnanti
svastity uktva maharsi-siddha-sanghah
stuvanti tvam stutibhih puskalabhih

"All the hosts of demigods are surrendering before You and entering into You. Some of them, very much afraid, are offering prayers with folded hands. Hosts of great sages and perfected beings, crying “All peace!” are praying to You by singing the Vedic hymns."

Arjuna further exclaims at the numerous Devas, Rishis and Siddhas worshiping the Lord. This sloka as well as the earlier ones give us the impression that many, apart from Arjuna, were viewing the Viswaroopam. Ami hi = all these, sura-sangha = groups of Devas, vishanti = are nearing, tvam = You [Sri Krishna]. Many Devas seeing the Viswaroopam, are arriving to worship. Kecid = [among those nearing] some are, bhita = with fear, pranjalaya = folded hands, grnanti = praise [the Lord]. Among the many Devas arriving to see the Viswaroopam of the Lord, some are praising the Lord with fear and folded hands [in respect]. Maharsi = great sages, siddha = accomplished persons, sangha= in groups, svasti uktva = shouting 'long live' [பல்லாண்டு], stuti = praising words, pushkalabhi = replete [with praise], stuvanti = praising. Rishis and Siddhas are chanting words replete with praise of the Lord. We find from the sloka that many are viewing the Viswaroopam. Many Devas are approaching the Lord in Viswaroopam. Among such Devas, some are with fear and folded hands, praising the Lord. But, Sages and Siddhas are als approaching the Lord, without any fear. This indicates that Devas are inferior to Maharishis and Siddhas. By Devas, is meant Devas like Indra, Kubera, Varuna,etc. Maharishis means sages like Brghu, Kashyapa, Vasishta, etc. Siddhas indicate lord Brahma's sons like Sanaka, Sanatkumara, Sanatsujata and Sanathana. They all have realized the Lord and so have no fear in nearing Him. Devas on the other hand, come to the Lord only when they need His help and remain indifferent at other times; and being selfish, they approach Him with fear. A doubt might arise here and this is clarified by both Swami Ramanuja and Swami Desika in Tatparya Chandrika. Only Arjuna was gifted by the Lord to view Viswaroopam. How then Devas, Maharishis and Siddhas also could view Viswaroopam? Were they also gifted with divine eyes? Or, is it possible, that these groups did not see Viswaroopam? Yes, these people -Devas, Maharishis and Siddhas- also saw the Viswaroopam; otherwise they would not be in fear to approach Him; nor, would they be praising Him. Therefore, they were also gifted with divine eyes, by the Lord. But why there is no mention to this effect in the sloka? Arjuna was gifted with the special eyes, so that he could realize the eminence of the Lord. It is not enough if Arjuna alone was able to see and appreciate the greatness of the Lord. He should realize that the greatness of the Lord is being realized by all others like Devas, Maharishis and Siddhas. He should realize that the entire Universe paid obeisnce to the Lord. It is practical that our regard or respect increases manifold, if we know others also have same regard or respect, to any person. Svasti is wishing for long life. Maharishis and Siddhas have great love for the Lord and in their anxiety that nothing bad should occur to the Lord, they shout long live, as Perialwar did when he saw the Lord in the sky. It is like a motherly care for the child [பரிவு or மங்களாசாசனம் mangalasasanam]. Jatayu, even at the last moments of his life, cried long life to Sri Rama, out of affection and care. Swami Vedanta Desika also composed many stotrams like this in praise of the Lord. Abidistavam -in praise of Sri Ranganatha, Kamasikashtakam - in praise of the Lord of Velukkai, Vegasethu stotram - in praise of the Lord of Thiruvekkha, etc., are some of them.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

BG 11.21

In Aippasi [ஐப்பசி]month and in star Moolam [மூலம்], was born Vishatavaksikamani Swami Manavala Mamunigal. He is praised as the last Acharya in Sri Vaishnava Guru parampara [Teachers' lineage]. He was born in the South, Azhvar Thirunagari. His Acharya was Swami Thiruvaimozhi Pillai [திருவாய்மொழிபிள்ளை ]. Since he was deeply interested in Nammalwar's Thiruvaimozhi, he was called Swami Thiruvaimozhi Pillai. Also Swami Thiruvaimozhi Pillai was born in the same Vaikasi [வைகாசி] month and in the same Visaka [விசாகம் ]star [as Nammalwar]. Though the Vedas in Sanskrit had great eminence, these Two Acharyas wanted to spread the Dravida Veda, Thiruvaimozhi, and also the other 3000 verses in Nalayira Prabhandam to be propagated and spraed all over for recitation in temples. Swami Manavala Mamunigal stayed in this Kshetram Thiruvekkha for an year. His Acharya Swami Thiruvaimozhi Pillai had instructed him to carry out an order. Sri Bhashyam penned by Swami Ramanuja was a commentary on Vedantha and was in Sanskrit. It was a detailed explanation of Brahmasootra by Veda Vyasa. All Acharyas learnt Sri Bhashyam and taught others. But Swami Thiruvaimozhi Pillai desired that Swami Manavala Mamunigal should teach Sri Bhashyam only once and afterwards through out his life he should be involved in Thiruvaimozhi in Tamil. He, therefore, ordered his disciple to teach only once Sri Bhashyam and afterwards he should concentrate on Thiruvaimozhi in the easily understandable Tamil. Accordingly, Swami Manavala Mamunigal arrived at Kanchi and taught Sri Bhashyam for one year. Today's [24th October 2008] lecture is from the place, where he taught. As we enter we find on the left Sri Andal's sannidhi. Between this sannidhi and Periyalwar's mandapam, he was teaching. While in this place, he got installed Swami Pillai Lokacharya's [ his Acharya's Acharya] idol here. We can worship Swami Pillai Lokacharya - author of Ashtadisa Grantha and Sri Vachana Bhooshanam, a very sacred book. He lived a bachelor and so his idol has white robes. As a bachelor through out his life, he elaborately explained the interpretations of Thirumantram [Ashtaksharam], Dwayam and Charama sloka [in Gita]. Next we worship the idol of Swami Manavala Mamunigal in safron robes as he was a sanyasi [ascetic]. He is holding Tridanda. He was born in star Moolam and we can say because of him [ moolam in Tamil also means cause] Tamil Prabhandam was enlivened. We have to see how intimately the Lord is connected with the Azhvars' pasurams, which Swami Manavala Mamunigal propagated. The First Three Alwars refered to as Mudhal Azhvargal, were respectfully called as in kavi padum parama kavigal [இன் கவி பாடும் பரம கவிகள்]. They praised the Lord in sweet Tamil. All the pasurams of them were in venba [வெண்பா] style [a class of poetry]. Thirumazhisai Alwar is associated with this Kshetram and one can say the Lord of this place got the name Sri Sonnavannam Perumal, because of him. This place was ruled by a King, who desired to be praised by Thirumazhisai Alwar. But Alwar never sang in praise of mortals. Alwar had a disciple Kanikannan [கணிகண்ணன்]. King tried to get Alwar to praise him, through Kanikannan, who refused. The King ordered Kanikannan to be exiled. Alwar thought that because of him, his disciple was to move out of the place, and so Alwar also decided to follow suit. Alwar saw Sri Yatoktakari reclining on the serpent and he immediately told ' kanikannan poginran; kamaru poonkachi manivanna! nee kidakka venda! Sennapulavanum poginren; neeyum unran pai nagappai suruttik kol [கணிகண்ணன் போகின்றான்; காமருபூங்கச்சி மணிவண்ணா! நீ கிடக்க வேண்டா! செந்நாப் புலவனும் போகின்றேன்! நீயும் உன்றன் பைந்நாகப் பாய் சுருட்டிக் கொள் !]' - Alwar said, " Kanikannan is going [out of Kanchi, on the orders of King]. Oh! Manivanna! Fluent poet [Thirumazhisai Alwar] am also going. [So] You [the Lord, Sri Yatoktakari] need not remain resting here and may roll up your serpent bed [and follow us]". Thus Kanikannan was leaving followed by the Alwar and further followed by the Lord Sri Yatoktakari! They went out of Kanchi and reached a place, which is known as Oriravu irukkai [ஓர் இரவு இருக்கை], which is now popular as Orikkai [ஓரிக்கை] . King got panic as with the Lord leaving evil things surrounded the place. The King prayed the Lord to return. The Lord said that He would return only if Alwar returned. King requested Alwar to return to Kanchi. Alwar said that he would return only if Kanikannan returned. The King finally requested Kanikannan to return and stay in Kanchi and Kanikannan returned; he was followed by Alwar and the Lord. Alwar said 'Kanikannan pokkozhindan; kamaru poon kachi Manivanna! Nee kidakka vendum, thunivudaiya sennapulavanum pokkozhinden. Neeyum unran pai naaga pai nagappai paduthukkol' [கணிகண்ணன் போக்கொழிந்தான்! காமருபூங்கச்சி மணிவண்ணா! நீ கிடக்க வேண்டும்! துணிவுடைய செந்நாப் புலவனும் போக்கொழிந்தேன்! நீயும் உன்றன் பைந்நாகப் பாயில் படுத்துக் கொள்!]. Alwar said, " Since Kanikannan has changed his mind [from going out of Kanchi]. I [Alwar] am, as a determined poet, also changed my mind [and returning to Kanchi], Oh! Manivanna! You may also return and unroll Your serpent bed!". The Lord obeyed the Alwar and hurriedly unrolled His bed and reclined. This hurry might have caused Him to reverse His posture. Thus He did what the Alwar said [sonna vannam seidha Perumal ]. Swami Vedanta Desika says [in Vegasethu stotram] ekam vegavati theere hasthisailesa drusyate - He is the One on the banks of river Vegavati and atop Hastisailam. How can They be the same? The Lord at Thiruvekkha is Upayam [உபாயம் Means] to reach the Phalam [फलं பலம் result] at Hastigiri. Bridge is the means to cross! Now we will see sloka 20:

dyav a-prithivyor idam antaram hi
vyaptam tvayaikena disas ca sarvah
drishtvadbhutam rupam ugram tavedam
loka-trayam pravyathitam mahatman

"Although You are one, You spread throughout the sky and the planets and all space between. O great one, seeing this wondrous and terrible form, all the planetary systems are perturbed."

Arjuna is seeing the Viswaroopam of the Lord. It is spread the entire space without exception. Where all the Image is spread is explained in this sloka. A Dyav = from sky, prithivi = to earth, antaram = between, tvaya ekena = by You [Sri Krishna] alone, vyaptam hi = pervaded only, disas = directions, sarva = all over. The Image of the Lord is spread all over from this earth to sky, covering all the worlds in between, and in all directions, by the Lord alone. Idam = this, adbhutam = wonderful, rupam = Image [of the Lord], ugram = frightening, drishtva = seeing, tava = Your [Sri Krishna's], loka-trayam = all the Three worlds, pravyathitam = very much trembling, mahatman = Oh! Mahatma [Sri Krishna]. Atman means mind and mahatman means determined mind. Arjuna exclaims that by seeing the determined Lord, all the Three Worlds - people and living beings in them - were very much trembling. Arjuna says the entire space between the Upper Worlds and this Earth are pervaded by the Lord, alone. In our body, the soul pervades the entire body. Soul is very minute and is is at one place only; but its intellect is spread all over the body. Whether injury is on toes or on head, the soul feels through its gyana. We have to remember that the Lord also is not like the soul, pervading all over through His Gyana. The Lord Himself is Omni Present. If He Himself is present everywhere, why are we not able to see Him? Because. He has not gifted that special eyes for us to see Him. Arjuna was gifted and he saw the Lord everywhere and people trembling. Who are those Three types of people? They are anukula [अनुकूल favourable], pratikula [प्रतिकूल unfavourable] and udhasina [उधासीन careless] peoples. Devas are anukula people and Asuras are pratikula people. But we need not tremble to worship the Lord Utsavar of this Kshetram.


The Lord graces with right arm showing abhaya and left arm holding the mace. Whatever qualities Arjuna described like Sun's brilliance, etc., can be seen in the Lord here. The place where lord Brahma performed the yagna, is also part of the Devastanam. This Lord appeared one week before, that is in Chitra Punarvasu. We will now take leave of this temple.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

BG 11.20

Poigai Alwar was the First among Alwars to have appeared in this World. He was born in Dwapara yug, in the monthof Aippasi [ஐப்பசி], in star Thiruvonam [திருவோணம்] in a lotus flower pond in Thiruvekkha in Kanchi, as the incarnation of Panchajanya, the Conch held by the Lord. Pond is called poigai [பொய்கை] in Tamil. When we take bath in a pond by immersing, heat in the body is reduced and we feel cool. Similarly, if we immerse ourselves in Brahmam [thoughts on the Lord], our heat created by samsaram is reduced. This Alwar is like a poigai, in which if we get immersed in his pasurams, our miseries will be reduced. Today's [ 23rd October 2008] lecture is from his sannidhi.

We can worship the pond where the Alwar was born and remember that he was the starting point for all the pasurams in Nalayira Divya Prabhandam. Aippasi month is sacred says Swami Manavala Mamunigal. In this month only the Three Alwars - Poigai, Bhootham and Pei - were born respectively, in the stars Thiruvonam, Avittam and Sadhayam, consecutively. Thiruvarangathamudhanar [திருவரங்கத்து அமுதனார்], author of Ramanuja Nootrandhadi [இராமானுச நூற்றந்தாதி] of Nalayira Divya Prabhandam, says Poigai Alwar was like a lamp, clearing all darkness in the World. He knew Vedas and Tamil pasurams very well. It was like lighting the lamp with two wicks, thereby the illumination also gets doubled. He composed Mudhal Thiruvandhadi [முதல் திருவந்தாதி]. This Kshetram has been praised by Poigai Alwar, Peialwar, Thirumazhisai Alwar, Thirumangai Alwar and Nammalwar. Perhaps, since this place is considered as a Sethu, all the Alwars have praised this Kshetram in the middle of other Kshetrams. Now we will see sloka 19:

anadi-madhyantam ananta-viryam
ananta-bahum sasi-surya-netram
pasyami tvam dipta-hutasa-vaktram
sva-tejasa vishvam idam tapantam

"You are without origin, middle or end. Your glory is unlimited. You have numberless arms, and the sun and moon are Your eyes. I see You with blazing fire coming forth from Your mouth, burning this entire universe by Your own radiance."

Pasyami = [I, Arjuna] am seeing, tvam = You [Sri Krishna], dipta-hutasa-vaktram = with brightly burning fire like mouth. Anadi-madhyanantam = without beginning, middle and end. Arjuna admires at the Image of the Lord and says it has no beginning or middle or end. Ananta-viryam = endless Six qualities of Bhagavan, namely, Gyana, Bala, Aiswarya, Veerta, Shakti and Tejas, ananta-bahu = infinite shoulders or hands, sasi = Moon, surya = Sun, netram = eyes. Sva = Self [Sri Krishna's], tejasa = brightness, idam vishvam = this Universe, tapantam = is won over. Though tapantam means burns, here we should interpret it as to mean winning the Universe with His tejas. The Lord does not have beginning, middle or end, the Lord is always present. He has no birth or death or even growth. But here since Arjuna was seeing the Viswaroopam, he talks about the image of the Lord. Viryam denotes the Six qualities: Gyana - knowing everything at all times, bala - strength to support entire Universe on His body, aiswaryam - everything and everyone under His command, veeryam - at no time He is subjected to any change, shakti - power to defeat anyone at any time and tejas = brilliance to captivate anyone. 'Bhaga' means these Six qualities and 'Bhagavan' means He, Who possesses these Six qualities. Sasi surya netram means possessing eyes like the Moon and the Sun; which means eyes showering cool mercy like Moon and burning like Sun. If we approach Him with devotion like Prahalada or Vibheeshana, His eyes shower kindness; but, approaching Him like Ravana or Kumbakarna, His eyes emit anger and burn like the hot Sun. Arjuna says he was seeing burning fire like mouth. Upanishads say that He has the entire Universe as food, during pralaya. But the Universe entering this burning mouth is not burnt to ashes, but carefully stored in stomach and let out again during creation. With His tejas or brightness He captivates the Universe or illuminates the Universe. Arjuna sees whatever he heard in Vedas. Like Arjuna, Poigai Alwar also saw the Lord in Thirukovalur and praised.

BG 11.19

Kanchipuram has a speciality, that in it are many Divyadesams [Kshetrams]. It is also praised as on of the Seven - Ayodhya, Maya, Mathura, Kasi, Kanchi, Avantika and Dwaraka- Kshetrams, which give Moksham. In Tamilnadu, is situated Kanchi. The Lord of Kanchi grants us Moksham. One has to travel via Archiradi marg, to reach Moksham from this World. This has to be accomplished by the Lord only. To cross this [ocean of samsaram] we need a bridge or sethu. The Lord is in this Kshetram, Thiruvekkha [திரு வெஃகா], as Sri Sonnavannam Perumal [ஸ்ரீ சொன்ன வண்ணம் செய்த பெருமாள்], acting as the sethu. In Sanskrit the Lord is called Sri Yatoktakari [श्री यातोक्तकारी ] Perumal. Today's [ 22nd October 2008] lecture is from this Kshetram. It is considered as one of the important Kshetrams of Kanchi and the Lord here is also called Sri Periya Perumal [ஸ்ரீ பெரிய பெருமாள்]. In the Little Kanchipuram [சின்ன காஞ்சிபுரம்], near Rangaswamy tank and Sri Ashtabhuja Perumal temple, is this temple. Among the Alwars, Potgai Alwar was born in this place. It is also famous because of an year long Kalakshepam [காலக்ஷேபம் lecture] on Sri Bhashyam by Swami Manavala Mamunigal. As we enter the temple we see the dwajasthambam and the corridor [பிராகாரம்]. Then we see the maha mandapam, where in one corner is Alwars' sannidhi. On another side we see the sannidhi of Sri Rama and a very beautiful Kannadi [mirror] mandapam. We can see the Lord from many angles. Then we come to garbha gruha, where the Lord Sri Sonna Vannam Seidha Perumal is gracing in the reclining pose. In all temples the Lord is reclining on the Right, while here the Lord is reclining on His Left side. Let us first know why the Lord came to this place and then we will see the reason for the reversal in the reclining posture. The Lord graces with just two hands; the Left arm is used as pillow to rest His head and the Right hand is raised to bless the devotees. At His feet is river Saraswati, worshiping the Lord. The Lord came to this place because of this river. As told earlier, lord Brahma started to perform Aswamedha yagam. Saraswati tried to stop that yagna. First she created darkness, and the Lord appeared as Sri Deepaprakasa and eliminated the darkness. Then she sent a demon and the Lord appeared as Sri Ashtabhuja Perumal, with Eight hands. Thus lord Brahma's yagna could not be stopped and so Saraswati decided to flood the place and submerge the yagna. So she came as a turbulent river Vegavati. In accordance with the prayers of lord Brahma, the Lord immediately came here and by reclining stopped the river from submerging the yagna. This place therefore, came to be known as Thiru Vekkhanai [திரு வெஃகணை], which got transformed as Thiruvekkha. Since He acted as prayed by lord Brahma, that is acted as told by Brahma, He is called Sri Sonnavannam Seidha Perumal or Sri Yatoktakari. Perhaps, in a hurry, the Lord reversed the reclining sides. Thus He came to protect the yagna of lord Brahma and remains as a sethu for the river. Swami Vedanta Desika has praised the Lord in Vegasethu Stotram. He says that the Lord here has the capacity to transport us from this shore [of samsaram ocean] to the other side [Vaikuntam]. The Lord is in Vegavati acting as a bridge for us to cross over. We will now see next sloka 18:
tvam aksharam paramam veditavyam
tvam asya vishvasya param nidhanam
tvam avyayah sasvata-dharma-gopta
sanatanas tvam purusho mato me

"You are the supreme primal objective. You are the ultimate resting place of all this universe. You are inexhaustible, and You are the oldest. You are the maintainer of the eternal religion, the Personality of Godhead. This is my opinion."

This is one of the slokas with larger syllables [trushtup chandas]. Upanishads eulogise the Lord. He is Avyaya [inexhaustible]; He is aksharam [indestrutible]; He is anadhi [without a beginning]; He is veditavya [ realizable by Vedas]; He is sanathana [ Ancient]; He is Purusha [Paramatman]; etc. Arjuna says thet he was able to see those praises, in person. So far Arjuna has been listening to various attributes of the Lord found in Upanishads and in Gita. Now, for the First time Arjuna was able to 'see' those attributes Himself. Once we see and store it in our mind we can never forget them. Earlier, Arjuna believed on the various statements of the Lord and now those beliefs are confirmed to him. Tvam = You [Sri Krishna] are, paramam = supreme, aksharam = never diminishable, veditavyam = realized only by Vedas. Our body as also all objects diminish over time. But the Lord has no such diminishing [either in image or in qualities]. Dve vidye vedidavye - by Two skills [learning], we can meditate and realize, Aksharam paramam narayanam - indiminishable Supreme Sriman Narayana. Arjuna is able to see this attribute of the Lord. Tvam = You [Sri Krishna] are, asya visvasya = this Universe's, param = supreme, nidhanam [निधानं] = support [ஆதாரம்]. The Lord sustains this Universe. Entire Universe is dependent on Him. Univers is a fraction of His body. Tvam = You [Sri Krishna] are, avyaya = always present or inexhausible, sasvata = permanent, dharma = righteousness, gopta = protector. The Lord ensures the protection of permanent dharma in this Universe. He himself is Dharma. In this Kshetram, Thiruvekkha, we can see beautiful Sri Rama. Valmiki says ramao vigrahavan dharma: - Sri Rama is the embodiment of Dharma. Sometimes Dharma is threatenes by evil factors. At those times the Lord takes Avatars like Sri Rama or Sri Krishna and ensures Dharma is well protected. Krishnam dharmam sanathanam - Sri Krishna is the ancient dharma. In fact in Chapter 4, the Lord said in sloka paritranaya sadhoonam....dharma samstapi...Sri Krishna appeares to establish Dharma. At that time Arjuna merely listened to the words of the Lord and now in Chapter 11, he is able to see that in real. That is he is now realizing those words. Tvam = You [Sri Krishna] are, sanatana = always present, purusha =Person, mato me = I [Arjuna have] realized by seeing. Universe is totally established in Him and Universe is sustained by the Lord. Everybody is supported by an atman. But all atman are supported by Prana or the Lord. Thus He is the basic adharam [ஆதாரம் आधारं] for entire Universe. Viswaroopam is so mammoth, that it looks like a long bridge or sethu linking this Universe and Sri Vaikuntam.

Monday, October 20, 2008

BG 11.18

Veda Vyasa wrote Mahabharata epic and in that the episode of Sri Pandavadhoota is very important. Today’s [21st October 2008] lecture is from Sri Pandavadhoota sannidhi. The vimanam is Chakra vimanam. Chakra is the weapon discus the Lord is holding in His hand. This vimanam is also as famous as the discus. Swami Parashara Bhatta says that by viewing vimanam all our blemishes are eliminated. Sloka 17 we are to see also mentions that we can identify the Lord by His Chakra or discus. These are exclusive identities of Sri Krishna. Arjuna says that Sri Krishna Himself has taken the huge form of Viswaroopam. In this sloka mace and crown are also mentioned. We have to learn about an important Acharya’s sannidhi in this Kshetram. He is Arulala Perumal Emperumanar. His original name was Yagnamurti. Later he became Swami Arulala Perumal Emperumanar. He was born in Karthigai month in star Bharani. He was one of the important disciples of Swami Ramanuja. It is interesting to know how he became a disciple of Swami Ramnuja. Advaitam philosophy says that Paramatman and Jeevatman are one and the same and excepting Paramatman all are illusions and not real. But in Visishtadvaitam, propagated by Swami Ramanuja, everything we see is real and not imaginary; Paramatman and jeevatman were separate, but are inseparable like soul and body. Swami Yagnamurti was a staunch follower of Advaitam. He was able to win many scholars in debates. He came to argue in a debate with Swami Ramnuja. This debate continued for 17 days; Swami Ramanuja could not defeat Swami Yagnamurti in all these prolonged debates. This showed that Swami Yagnamurti was a very capable person. On the Seventeenth night, Swami Ramanuja was to go for bed and he was very much worried as to how to win in the debate. The Lord Sri Varadaraja does not allow His devotees to suffer and He grants everything to them even without their asking for anything. He appeared in the dreams of Swami Ramanuja and comforted him not to go despondent, but to use Swami Alavandar’s Siddhitrayam work to argue. Swami Alavandar had very clearly established Visishtadvaitam and so Swami Ramanuja could rely on that to defeat Swami Yagnamurti. Waking up fresh in the morning, with the course shown by the Lord, Swami Ramanuja got himself ready for debate in the morning. Seeing a confident Swami Ramanuja arriving at the debate hall, Swami Yagnamurti realized that his opponent was armed with very strong arguments and so without any further debate, conceded defeat and fell at the feet of Swami Ramanuja, and prayed to take him as his disciple. Swami Ramanuja agreed and after explaining the Visishtadvaitam philosophy, from Siddhitrayam, included Swami Yagnamurti in his group. He was rechristened as Swami Arula Perumal Emperumanar [Arulalaperumal denotes Sri Varadaraja and Emperumanar denotes Swami Ramanuja]. Swami Arulala perumal Emperumanar was born in Vinjimur, near Nellore in Andhra Pradesh. His descendents are called Vinjimurars, who are maintaining the sannidhi of Swami Arulala Perumal Emperumanar in this Kshetram. Swami Ramanuja was in the habit of closely associating his disciples in all his services. Everyone was given a duty like maintaining cow shed, maintaining accounts or upkeep of library, etc. Swami Arulala Perumal Emperumanar was given the duty of performing aradhana [daily pooja] of the personal God of Swami Ramanuja. Later, Swami Anantalwan was deputed to work with Swami Arulala Perumal Emperumanar. Though, he was a great scholar and debated very skillfully with Swami Ramanuja, he was very humble and wanted to be always simple. Once a stranger asked a local resident [of Srirangam], where the mutt of Emperumanar was. That is he wanted to go to Swami Ramanuja’s mutt. The resident asked as to which Emperumanar mutt, he wanted direction. That is whether he wanted to go to Swami Ramanuja’s mutt or Swami Arulala Perumal Emperumanar residence. Overhearing this conversation, immediately Swami Arulala Perumal Emperumanar got his house demolished. He did not want any doubt in anyone to know which Swami Ramanuja’s mutt was! There could not be a second mutt in Srirangam, was his conviction. They were all real great Acharyas, who were very staunch disciples. From his biography we have to learn that whatever be one’s learning one should know one was a server to the Lord and to one’s Acharya. With his blessings we will now see sloka 17:
kiritinam gadinam cakrinam ca
tejo-rasim sarvato diptimantam
pasyami tvam durniriksyam samantad
diptanalarka-dyutim aprameyam
"Your form is difficult to see because of its glaring effulgence, spreading on all sides, like blazing fire or the immeasurable radiance of the sun. Yet I see this glowing form everywhere, adorned with various crowns, clubs and discs."
Pasyami = [I, Arjuna] am seeing, tvam = You [Sri Krishna], durnirikshyam = [ordinarily] can not be seen, samantad = even a part, dipta = well burning, anala =fire, arka = the Sun, dyuti = their brightness, aprameya = beyond intelligence. Arjuna exclaims that he was able to see the splendor of the Lord. Kiritinam = crown, gadinam = mace and, cakrinam = discus. These are the unmistakable and exclusive identities of the Lord. Other attributes could be used for others also. These unmistakably point to Sriman Narayana only. Tejo = brightness, rasim = concentrated, sarvato = everywhere and in every direction, diptimantam = illuminating, pasyami = am seeing. Samantad means part by part and durniriksyam means can not be seen. That is even one part could not be seen fully. Earlier Arjuna said that he was unable to see beginning or middle or end of the image of the Lord. So, is it possible to see part by part? Say, crown, could it be seen fully? Or, His limb, could that be seen completely? Even this was not possible. It is like infinity and could not be measured. A portion of infinity also is infinity only. Next, Arjuna says that he saw the Lord’s image like the brilliant Sun and well ignited fire. Aprameya means beyond his intelligence [prama]. Prameyam means understandable by intelligence. The Lord is Aprameyam or beyond intelligence, could not be described by words nor thinkable by mind. Arjuna imagines brightness to be concentrated or brightness multiplied. He imagines the brightness of all brilliant objects brought together. The Lord appears brighter than this integrated brightness. This brightness is not in a single direction; but all over in all directions. Alwar says the Lord appeared as a flood of brightness. Arjuna says he was seeing and also says He could not be seen. Is there a confusion? This image could not be seen by our ordinary eyes; but with the gift of the Lord, Arjuna was able to see somewhat. He sees the Crown, discus and mace. Swami Kooratalwan says that the Lord Sri Ranganatha is reclining with one palm on the Crown. It is to say that He is the Lord of lord Brahma and lord Shiva. The Crown proclaims that He was the Lord of the Universe. The mace is Kaumodaki and He is holding that. In another arm He is holding the discus Sudarshana. We will now take leave of Thirupadakam Kshetram.

Pandava thoodar sannadhi with scenic beautyPandava Thoodar-2

BG 11.17

We worship Sri Gitacharya in Thiruvallikeni [Triplicane]. Here, in Thirupadakam, He graces as Sri Pandavadhoota. Utsavar also is Sri Pandavadhoota. He is gracing along with Sri Sridevi and Sri Bhudevi, with right hand in abhaya mudra and left arm is holding the mace. Nearby is Sri Rukmini Thayar. She is in a separate sannidhi and today's [ 20th October 2008] lecture is from this sannidhi. After the marriage of the Lord with Sri Rukmini, one day She was on a swing and Sri Krishna was moving the swing. Casually Sri Krishna wondered that though He had nothing nor His devotees had any, yet She, being a Princess, married Him, Who was after all a messenger to Pandavas and a chariot driver! Hearing this Sri Rukmini swooned and fell down. Sri Krishna sprinkled water on Her face and slowly brought to conscience. Puzzled, He asked Her, what made Her to swoon. Sri Rukmili replied that everything was His, as confirmed by Arjuna when he saw the Viswaroopam. Sri Krishna consoled Her that He did not mean that way. He meant that there was nothing more to be gained. His devotees also having got Him, did not expect anything else. By falling at the feet of Sri Rukmini, we can easily reach Him. This Kshetram has been praised by Boothathalwar, Peyalwar, Thirumazhisai Alwar and Thirumangai Alwar. Alwar says that the Lord was standing in Ooragham, reclining in Vekkha and sitting in Thiruapdakam, and praises that He is gracing for all to worship Him. Thirumazhisai Alwar says that before He was blessed with Gyana, he thought that the Lord graced standing or sitting in Kshetrams like this place or other places; but once he acquired Gyana, he realized that the Lord was standing or sitting or reclining in his mind! How could such a large Lord stay in the miniature mind of the Alwar? That is His unimaginable Power [அகடித கடனா சக்தி]. He is microscopic in micro items and larger than mammoth items [अणोर अणीयान, ..]. In this Sri Pandavadhoota form only He finished the wreatlers in Duryodana's court. Swami Pillai Lokacharya says that to save the mangalya sootra in the neck of Draupati, the Lord did so many acts like Parikshit being saved, acting as messenger of the Pandavas, etc. When Parikshit was in the womb, the Lord saved his life. Again when Parikshit was delivered by his mother, he laid lifeless and at that time the Lord brought back him to life. All these because, a helpless Draupati cried to protect her virtue. Now we will see sloka 16:

pasyami tvam sarvato ’nanta-rupam
nantam na madhyam na punas tavadim
pasyami visvesvara vishva-rupa

"O Lord of the universe, O universal form, I see in Your body many, many arms, bellies, mouths and eyes, expanded everywhere, without limit. I see in You no end, no middle and no beginning."

We should have noticed that in today's sloka or the previous one, the syllables are more than the usual. Most of the slokas in Gita are in the anushtup [ अनुष्टुप]metre. Every sloka will have four pada [पाद feet]. If the sloka has 32 syllables it is in anushtup chandas [metre]. That is, every pada will have 8 syllables. In this sloka we find 11 syllables, per pada or 44 syllables per sloka. Sloka in Gayatri chandas have the least syllables of 6 per pada or 24 per sloka. Today's sloka is in Thrushtup chandas [44 syllables]. Arjuna says that he was seeing more. Pasyami = [I, Arjuna] am seeing, tvam = You [Sri Krishna] with, aneka = countless, bahu = hands, udara = stomach, vaktram = faces or heads, netram = eyes. Ananta rupam = omnipresent or spread everywhere, sarvata = from all sides or directions, Arjuna was seeing. Arjuna saw everywhere the Lord. He could not see the beginning or middle or end of the Lord's images. Na pasyami = [I, Arjuna] am not seeing, adi = beginning, madyam = middle, antam = end. Visveswara = the Lord of Universe, viswaroopa = Universe as body or image. Arjuna first says what he saw. He saw countless shoulders, faces, stomachs and eyes of the Lord. In Purushasooktam, it is said that the Lord has thousands of heads, thousands of eyes and thousands of feet [sahasraseersha purusha: sahasraksha sahasra pad..]. Thousands means countless, here. Our eyes can see in one direction things. But due to the special eyse provided by the Lord, Arjuna is able to see in all directions. Arjuna was able to see the Lord pervading all and everywhere. He says he could not see the beginning or middle or the end of the Lord. Why? Because, it is not there. When we say we could not see horn of a rabbit [முயல் கொம்பு], it is because there is no such thing as horn of a rabbit! We may be ignorant of all things in this world, and so one might not be able to know or see; but here, it is not that type. There is no beginning or middle or end to the Lord and so Arjuna could not see. Viswaroopa, means the Lord has this Universe or prapancham as His image.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

BG 11.16

We have come to worship the huge idol of the Lord in Thirupadakam [திருப் பாடகம்]. The Lord's body is very huge. From the name of this Kshetram we can understand how great He is. In the Thondai mandalam [தொண்டை மண்டலம்] region in Kanchi is situated this important Kshetram. Padu [பாடு] in Tamil means very large and great. Agam [அகம் ] means place. Being a very great place and associated with Sri Sridevi Nachiyar, this place is called Thirupadakam. The Lord is gracing as Messenger of Pandavas [ Sri Pandava Dhootha ஸ்ரீ பாண்டவ தூதன்]. He is in seated pose. Very large idol. In seated pose, in 25 feet height, perhaps this is the only Kshetram. In this Thondai region, in close proximity, the Lord graces in Sitting, Standing and Reclining poses, in Three Kshetrams. In that in Thirupadakam, the Lord graces seated. As we enter the temple, we see the tall dwajasthambam. After that on the right we see Matsya pushkarini [மத்ஸ்ய புஷ்கரிணி]. The Lord took Matsya avatar. We have heard of fish in pushkarini; but here the pushkarini itself is in fish [matsya] form. After this we cross maha mandapam, ardha mandapam and then reach the small garbhagruha. But as Sri Pandavadhootha, the Lord is occupying the entire garbha gruha. From Mahabharata epic, we will try to understand why the Lord has arrived here and why He is called by this name. Duryodhana refused to part with Pandava'sKingdom. Pandavas requested Lord Sri Krishna to act as their emissary. Sri Krishna was too eminent and there was no necessity for Him to act as messenger. But He agreed to act for the sake of Pandavas. He need not have acted as Chariot Driver, yet He did for Pandavas. The Lord left Upaslavya, to Hasthinapura, where Kauravas were reighning, and planmed to, at least, get Five villages for Pandavas. Pandu, the father of Pandavas had Two wives -Kunti and Madri. The First Three of the Pandavas - Yudhishtra, Bheema and Arjuna - were born to Kunti, while the other Two - Nakula and Sahadeva -were born to Madri. Sahadeva told Sri Krishna that they were not knowing how this war would end; nor they or Kauravas were interested in war. But, Sahadeva said that, Sri Krishna was interested in the battle being fought. So, he said that the only way to stop the war, was to bind Sri Krishna so that He was unable to move! In the guise of an Ambassador, Sri Krishna had planned to finish off the demons like Kauravas! In Villi Bharatham [Tamil rendering of Mahabharata in poems], the author says that Sahadeva was firm in his opinion that the Lord wanted to wipe out Kauravas and make Pandavas, the rulers of Hasthinapura. Sri Krishna asked Sahadeva whether he could bind Him? Sahadeva said that it would be possible if the Lord so desired; otherwise not. Sri Krishna agreed and Sahadeva was able to bind the Lord by a garland; and the Lord could not get Himself freed! He then requested Sahadeva to free Him! Sri Krishna, as the Emissary of Pandavas, entered Hasthinapura. Meanwhile, there was consultations among Dridarashtra, Duryodana, Sanjaya, Vidura, etc. Duryodana expressed that when Sri Krishna came, He should be arrested so that He would not be able to act as Ambassador for Pandavas. Vidura and Sanjaya controlled their laughter at this statement. They thought that Duryodana was talking nonsense. But in this mad proposals Dridarashtra exceded his son, by saying that instead of arresing Sri Krishna, they could bribe Him with Money and other needs! He thought he could make Sri Krishna as their emissary, by bribing! If one was fool, the other was greater fool. Sanjaya told Dridarashtra that instead of giving bribes to Sri Krishna, he could as well give merely Five villages to Pandavas and avoid a war. Dridarashtra was preapared for illegel bribes but not for honest return of at least a portion of Pandavas' property. But if Dridarashtra had agreed [ to Sanjaya's suggestion for Five villages to be made over to Pandavas], we would not be having Sri Pandavadhootha, in Thirupadakam! It is our good fortune that Dridarashtra did not change his mind! Duryodana planned as he suggested. He got a deep pit made in the Assembly hall; posted strong wrestlers in side the pit to capture Sri Krishna when He fell inside. He covered the pit by false materials and carpet. A throne was placed on the top so that Sri Krishna would sit on that and it would crash into the pit, where the wrestlers would arrest Him! It was a mad idea. Thirumangai Alwar laughs at this plan of Duryodana and says he was more cruel than a cobra! Sri Krishna entered Hastinapura. People were mesmerized; everyone stopped the actions they were doing. A mother stopped feeding her child. A cook stopped cooking. Sages, who were performing yagna, stopped. Sri Krishna entered the Assembly hall and Duryodana, offered Him the specially erected throne to sit. The Lord said that after all He was a mere Cowherd and would prefer to sit in a corner! Duryodana compelled the Lord to sit in that throne he had arranged. Normally, anyone would smell suspicion, if too much compulsion was made. Sri Krishna knew every act and plan of everybody. So, He reluctantly agreed and occupied the seat. The floor below started cracking and was collapsing. But the Lord instantly, enlarged Himself with a very huge form and the wrestlers below were all crushed below the pit. Sri Krishna challenged Duryodana to fasten Him and walked out of the Assembly. This happened when the Lord acted as a Messenger for Pandavas, long ago. But how the Lord came here? If it was a large, Viswaroopam of the Lord, He should have been standing only. Why is He seated here? We have to trace an incident which took place after Pandavas. Arjuna's son Abhimanyu married Uthara [உத்தரை] and they had a child Parikshit [பரீக்ஷித்]. He had a son Janameyaja [ஜனமேஜயன்]. We have heard in Srimad Bhagavatam, that King Parikshit was cursed by the son of a sage and was bitten to death by a snake. King Janamejaya, was angry that his father died because of snake bite and so, he decided to perform one sarpa yaga, by which all snakes would be eliminated. As he was doing that yagna, many snakes died, sage Vaisampayan approached him to stop the yagna and narrated Mahabharata story. But Janamejaya had an unfulfilled wish to see the Viswaroopam of the Lord. Hearing about Satyavrata Kshetra [Kanchi], he came here and meditated. The Lord accepting his prayers appeared as Sri Pandavadhoota and in in a huge form. The Lord thus, graced Janamejaya and sage Salisa here.

Thirukacchi - thirupAdakam, sri pAndava thoothar

One leg is folded while the other is strtched. One can see even the nails of the toes! In many places even the Lord Himself would be the size of the foot of the Lord here! Right hand is in abhaya mudra and the left hand is pointing to His divine feet, for us to surrender. One can see the intricate sculpture, in the ornaments, garments, etc., on the idol. By viewing the Lord here it ould make us to understand and visualize sloka 15, we are to see. Everything can be seen on this Divine idol of the Lord and this is what Arjuna says, in sloka 15:

arjuna uvaca
pasyami devams tava deva dehe
sarvams tatha bhuta-visesa-sanghan
brahmanam isam kamalasana-stham
rsims ca sarvan uragams ca divyan

"Arjuna said: My dear Lord Krishna, I see assembled in Your body all the demigods and various other living entities. I see Brahma sitting on the lotus flower, as well as Lord Shiva and all the sages and divine serpents."

Arjuna starts praising the Viswaroopam of the Lord. Sanjaya mentioned what he saw in slokas 9 to 13. In sloka 14, Arjuna fell down to pay respect and saluted the Lord. Now, from sloka 15 to sloka 51, we will see what Arjuna saw, how he praised the Lord and his emotional utterings. Deva = using the Universe as a mere playground [Sri Krishna], tava dehe = in Your [Sri Krishna's] body, pasyami = [I, Arjuna, am] seeing, devam = all gods, tatha = likewise, bhuta-visesa-sanghan = the assembly of all living beings [and not merely higher persons like gods], sarvam = everything, brahmanam = [Four faced] lord Brahma, isam = lord Shiva, kamalasana-stham = seated on lotus flower. Lord Brahma was created by the Lord on His navel, which is like a lotus flower. Near him is lord Brahma's son lord Iswara or Shiva. Sarvam rsim = all rishis or sages, divyan = celestial, uragam = snakes like Vasuki. Arjuna says that He saw celestial snakes, all sages, lord Shiva, lord Brahma and all gods on the Body of the Lord in Viswaroopam. He saw all living beings in groups. Without any exception the Lord decided to show everything on His body and Arjuna saw them.