Thursday, November 27, 2008

BG 11.46

In the last sloka [46] Arjuna requested the Lord to grace Him with His image with the usual Four arms. Now, the Lord is going to hide His Viswaroopam. We may have a question, as to why the Lord does not show like this to us? Reply is, did we request the Lord? If we had requested, the Lord would never refuse to reveal Himself. If one says that one had requested, then that request might not have been sincere and true. If our prayer is sincere and with devotion, the Lord would never hide Himself. If we carefully study Alwars' pasurams, we could notice that they had named Him as Kalvan [Thief or Cheat கள்வன்]. Are they calling Him so because He stole butter or the hearts of the girls or the minds of devotees? Our ancestors in their commentaries have mentioned that the Lord has a cheating property. Other things like stealing butter are not the ones; because butter,etc., are His. Only when we take other's property, we are said to steal. Taking one's own possession is not stealing. If the Lord hides His image, desired to be seen by His devotees, then it is cheating [kallathanam கள்ளத்தனம்]. Alwars pray the Lord not to cheat them like this. We have come to the Kshetram, Thirukalvanur [திருக் கள்வனூர்], to worship the Lord with that quality of 'deceit'. It is a small sannidhi in Sri Kamakshi Amman temple in Kanchipuram. Here the Lord is called Sri Kalvan [ஸ்ரீ கள்வன்]. Thirumangai Alwar has praised the Lord here, in one pasuram in Thirunedunthandakam. It is the same pasuram [8], we had seen earlier starting with neeragatthai [நீரகத்தாய்...], in which he mentions the name 'kalva!' [கள்வா!]. The Lord's Utsavams [festivals], qualities, Divine names, ornaments and weapons are all for the enjoyment of the devotees. If devotees could not see and enjoy them, what is the use of them? The Lord graces so many utsavams, like Pavitrotsavam, Brahmotsavam, Adyayanotsavam, Vasantotsavam, etc. Does the Lord's eminence going to increase by these? His eminence continues to be great from where He is. Why prasadam offerings for the Lord? Is He going to open His mouth and eat? What we desire and when we desire, we prepare and we just show to His image. And, then we eat! So, prasadam or flower or dress, are all graced by the Lord for our enjoyment. His qualities are also for our sake. He has mercy to show it on us. His patience is to bear our misdeeds. His simplicity is to mingle with us. if He does not reveal these, then Alwars accuse Him as Kalvan or Cheat! We enter the temple crossing the large door. We can worship the Lord in a small sannidhi.

In earlier days the Lord was called Sri Adivaraha Perumal [ஸ்ரீ ஆதி வராஹ பெருமாள்]. Sri Thayar is Sri Anjalaivalli Nacchiyar [ஸ்ரீ அஞ்சலைவல்லி நாச்சியார்]. Pushkarini is Nitya pushkarini [நித்ய புஷ்கரிணி ]. Vimanam is Vamana vimanam [வாமன விமானம் ]. The Lord appeared for Asvatta Narayana. Swami Periyavacchan Pillai says that the Lord is Sri Kalvan, because He is hiding Himself in an obscure place and not revealing to the pleasure of all! Pujas are performed to the Lord. Right lower arm is in abhaya mudra, while the left arm is on His left lap, indicating that He would rescue us by reducing the samsara ocean to knee deep level. At present neither the Vamana vimanam nor the Nitya pushkarini is available for viewing; but the Lord and Sri Thayar are gracing. Sri Thayar is with folded hands. Though Sri Thayar is imageless, the kumkum [குங்குமம்] distributed here is presumed to be obtained from Sri Thayar. We should worship the Lord without deceit. Should we worship Him or not? Is there God or not? Who is sustaining all of us? Going with such doubts, is the deceit we possess. Going secretly and alone to worship also is another deceit. We have to worship the Lord with everybody. His deceit is not revealing Himself to His devotees. Swami Pillai Perumal Iyengar has composed a pasuram on this Kshetram in his 'Nootrettu Thiruppathi Andhadi [நூற்றெட்டு திருப்பதி அந்தாதி]'. He says that though our soul is servant to the Lord from long ago, yet we assumed that the soul was ours and that we were independent not servant to anyone. That is, we considered His property - soul - as ours. So, who is kalva [thief]? Are we not the kalvas? asks the author. But unfortunately, the Lord is called Sri Kalva, pities Swami Pillai Perumal Iyengar. But the Lord in Chapter 11 has no such deceit and He agreed to show His Viswaroopam at the request of Arjuna. We are to see sloka 47, from which the Lord speaks. Till sloka 46 Arjuna described what he saw, how he respected and was delighted and finally requested the Lord to reduce His image to the usual one. For that the Lord replies in the next Three slokas starting from sloka 47:

sri-bhagavan uvaca
maya prasannena tavarjunedam
rupam param darshitam atma-yogat
tejo-mayam vishvam anantam adyam
yan me tvad anyena na drsta-purvam

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, happily have I shown you, by My internal potency, this supreme universal form within the material world. No one before you has ever seen this primal form, unlimited and full of glaring effulgence."

The Lord pacifies Arjuna. Darshitam = showing [Viswaroopam ], tava = to you [Arjuna], prasannena = happily, maya = by Me [Sri Krishna], atma-yogat = with My [Sri Krishna's] sankalpam or will power. The Lord decides or resolves to grant a person a thing or His darshan. His resolution or will is atma-yogam. This is His sankalpam. We also resolve to do certain things; but we are not sure whether all would be carried out. Many obstacles might impede such resolutions. While, when the Lord resolves, there are no obstacles whatsoever. In this only, we also should try to come nearer God. In our case, out of Ten resolutions Eight are failures and only Two might get completed. But, when the Lord resolves it is 100% success. Why are yogam, bhakti, shastras, sampradhayam, etc., mentioned? Those are to progress us from making our sucess in our resolutions, say from 20% to higher. We can never be successful in 100%, as we are not God; but, we can appraoch near His level. Yogis and Alwars are great because they choose what to decide and mostly all of them are carried out. This is because of Bhakti and the feeling of servitude to the Lord. These themselves would take us near Him. By His resolution, Arjuna got to view His, param roopam = most supreme Image. That is His Viswaroopam was shown . How did Arjuna view that image? Tejo mayam = full of brightness [possessed by various things in this Universe]. Normally, what is predominant is expressed. If we say golden ring, even though it might be an alloy of gold and copper, the predominant gold is used to describe. But here by saying tejo mayam, it does not mean that the Lord's image had some dark patches and predominantly bright; the image was absolutely full of brightness alone. Vishvam = pervading everywhere in the Universe. Arjuna was able to see everything in this Universe, in His Viswaroopam Image. Ananta = unlimited image. The Image he saw was not limited by time, by place, by matter, by image or by anything. Anantam also means that without beginning or end or middle. Adyam = Prime Cause. He is the Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer. He is the Origin for everything. Anyena = others, na drushta = had not seen, poorvam = earlier. Arjuna got this rare view because the Lord decided so. The Lord thus explained the greatness of the Viswaroopam and indicated His decision to get back to His usual form. We may have a doubt here. Is it that the Lor is full of brightness only in Viswaroopam and not in His usual form? Is He infinite and unlimited only in Viswaroopam? Though the Lord comes back to His usual form of Sri Krishna, by no means His greatness and eminence get diminished. We see the Lord as a small idol in temple. It is not correct to think that His power and greatness is infinite only in Viswaroopam and not in the idol in temple. This, the Lord has explained in Chapter 4 itself. In 4.6 the Lord said that whatever form He took, be it a worm or animal, His greatness and Powers were never less. There is no compromise on His greatness according to the form He took. His greatness like full of brightness or infinity or being the Origin of all, continue even when He is a Chariot Driver or a Messenger or a Boar or a Tortoise. Then why does He reduce Himself to such forms? That is another greatness of His quality of soulabhyam or simplicity. With this quality He is available for our view. One, who thinks that those simple forms of the Lord could not have the same greatness, loses Bhakti and one tends to be nastika. We have to understand that the Lord graced us, not because of our efforts, but because of His sankalpam. Since the Lord has used the words prasannena [His delight] and atma-yogam [His sankalpam], we have strive for His happiness so that He decided to bless us. With this we take leave of Thirukkalvanur, and having visited all the Kshetrams in Kanchi mandalam, we will now proceed to other Kshetrams in Thondai Nadu.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

BG 11.45

Due to the incessant rains lashing Trichy and other parts of Tamilnadu, perhaps, there was no cable TV transmission. Therefore, I will reproduce the sloka 46 and the available interpretation in the web:

kiritinam gadinam cakra-hastam
icchami tvam drastum aham tathaiva
tenaiva rupena catur-bhujena
sahasra-baho bhava vishva-murte

"O universal form, O thousand-armed Lord, I wish to see You in Your four-armed form, with helmeted head and with club, wheel, conch and lotus flower in Your hands. I long to see You in that form."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

BG 11.44

Swami Pillai Perumal Iyengar says in one pasuram that the father [Hiranyakasipu] got destroyed because he lived for himself; while the son [Prahalada] lived for the Lord and so he prospered. Therefore, we should surrender at the feet of Sri Alari at Thiruvelukkai and prosper. Hiranyakasipu lived for himself and so got destroyed. We should live for the Lord and others. This is evident in the word nama: [नम:]. We have seen in earlier slokas that Arjuna repeatedly salutes the Lord. Nama: means we [our soul and body] are not for us; but they belong to the Lord. Nama: has to be split into ma:, mu and na. Ma: = to me, mu = I, na = not. That is 'I am not for myself'. Hiranyakasipu thought he was for himself. By thinking 'I am for myself', we get declined. Whether it is atman or body, none of them is ours. We should realize that they are the property of the Lord. Prahalada practiced this and taught all Asura children. He taught them the Nine methods of serving the Lord - sravanam, keerthanam, smaranam, pada sevanam, archanam, vandanam, dasyam, sakhyam and atma nivedanam. Though very young, he was able to realize the Lord pervading everywhere. The Lord said in Gita also that everything was pervaded by Him. This is what is reflected in Viswaroopam also. This is the only sentence Prahalada told and was considered as insult by Hiranyakasipu. Commentators say that Hiranyakasipu thought Prahalada did the greatest mistake by telling that. He was angry and asked Prahalada to show the Lord. He thought that some one was instigating Prahalada to chant 'om namo narayanaya' instead of 'om hiranyaya nama;'. Prahalada with a smile said that the Person, Who made his father to ask that question, was making Prahalada to chant His name. There could not be one leader for his father and another for him; entire Universe was ruled by one Leader alone. With these words Hiranyakasipu was enraged further and so he blasted one pillar.We should remember this story. 'Satyam vidhatum nijabhrutya bhashitam...' - in Srimad Bhagavatam, sage Sukha says that to prove the veracity of the statement of the little boy, the Lord appeared as Sri Narasimha from the pillar. We are worshiping that Sri Alari in this Kshetram. In the sannidhi we see the Lord showing anger on one side and love and affection on another side. He looks at Sri Thayar with benign grace. Sri Thayar of this Kshetram is Sri Amruthavalli. She is called Sri Amrutotbhava [श्री अम्रुतोत्भव ], meanig She appered from Amrut. When milky ocean was churned so many things emerged - elephant Airavatam, horse Ucchairavas, poison Halahala, tree Parijata and nectar Amrut. Along with them Sri Thayar also emerged. Devas desired to have Amrut, but we should pray for the blessings of Sri Amrutavalli Thayar. She adds beauty to the beautiful Lord. With Her recommendation, if we seek the feet of the Lord, we are certain to get His whole hearted blessings. We have to choose to which group we belong to -Hiranyakasipu group or Prahalada group? Hiranyakasipu group will be subject to the heat of anger from the Lord; while Prahalada group will have the cool and kind blessings of the Lord. Like Prahalada, we should salute the Lord after getting recommended by Sri Thayar. We are more culpable than Hiranyakasipu, as we always think that we are to ourselves. We should seek His pardon for this type of assumption. Arjuna prays the same in sloka 45. Arjuna is no longer able to see the frightening Viswaroopam and desires to see the Lord is His earlier form as Sri Krishna with just Two hands, holding the whip and reigns of the horses. In this Kshetram also we saw on one side Sri Yoga Narasimha and on the other side Sri Vennaikadum Pillai. Both are charming. One is showing anger and also showing yoga in a peaceful way. Sri Krishna appears as the simple Boy stealing butter; but when He is enraged, shows the Viswaroopam. Arjuna saw the Viswaroopam and was delighted as he had not seen anything like that earlier. Yet, he is also afraid. So, he prays the Lord to assume the form he is accustomed to. Sloka 45:

adrsta-purvam hrsito ’smi drishtva
bhayena ca pravyathitam mano me
tad eva me darsaya deva rupam
prasida devesa jagan-nivasa

"After seeing this universal form, which I have never seen before, I am gladdened, but at the same time my mind is disturbed with fear. Therefore please bestow Your grace upon me and reveal again Your form as the Personality of Godhead, O Lord of lords, O abode of the universe."

First, all the words by which Arjuna addresses the Lord. Deva = Merciful, devesa = Leader of all gods, jagan-nivasa = Supporter of the Universe. Since the Lord is Deva - full of mercy, He ought to pardon Arjuna. The Lord can not direct Arjuna to other gods either, because He was the Leader of all other gods like lord Brahma, lord Shiva, lord Varuna, etc. This is what Swami Desika also told in the sloka 'tvayi rakshati rakshakai kim anyai' - who else is needed to protect, when the Lord has decided to protect? By telling jagan nivasa Arjuna tells that for everyone in the Universe, He was the sole asylum or refuge. Drishtva = [Arjuna has] seen, adrsta-poorvam = ealier unseen, hrsitosmi = delighted [I, Arjuna, am]. Arjuna says that earlier he had never seen such an image [of Viswaroopam] nor heard of. By seeing such unseen and unheard of image, Arjuna was delighted. At the same time fear grips him. Me mana = My [Arjuna's] mind, bhayena = out of fear, pravyathitam = shivering. Though Arjuna was wonderstuck at seeing an image seen never before, yet the frightening image caused fear in him. Me = to me [Arjuna], darsaya = show, tad eva rupam = the same image or form [of Sri Krishna], prasida = please favour. Arjuna requests the Lord to return back to His usual form as Sri Krishna. Why Arjuna makes this prayer, has to be connected with Two incidents. One happened in Sri Rama Avatar and the other when Sri Krishna was a Seven year old boy. Sri Rama had destroyed Ravana. All the Devas assembled in the sky, including Dasaratha. All of them prayed the Lord and praised Him. Lord Shiva, lord Brahma, and others are all there. Lord Brahma tells that Sri Rama was none other than Sriman Narayana. His mission was over and so He should return to Sri Vaikuntam. At that time Sri Rama replied that He did not want to be addressed as Devadeva and Sriman Narayana. 'Atmanam manusham manye ramam dasarathatmajam' - 'consider Me [Sri Rama ] as a human and son of Dasaratha'. This is one incident. Next, in Gokulam, Indra wanted to destroy the gopis and gopikas, and so for Seven days continuously poured rain . All gopis, gopikas and the cattle sought the protection of Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna decided to protect them as it was at His persuation that the annual offerings of food was done to Govardana hill instead of Indra. Now, Indra was angry as he was deprived of the offering. Sri Krishna told the Yadavas to offer to Govardana, as He was the inner soul of Govardana also. So He decided to protect them with the same Govardana. Alwar says that the Lord protected the stone shower by raising another stone [kalledutthu kan mari katthan கல் எடுத்து கன் மாரி காத்தான்]. Swami Periyavacchan Pillai in his commentary says that since stones were rained, the Lord used another stone to protect. Had it been a shower of oceans, He would have used ocean itself to protect! Even now in Nathdwara, in Rajasthan, the Lord is Sri Govardhana Giridhari. All gopis viewed the Lord with awe. Such a little boy was lifting a huge hill and protecting them. Was He a Deva or Gandharva or Rakshasa or Yaksha? They asked Him. The Lord replied 'na aham deva: na rakshasa: na gandharva: - I [Sri Krishna] am not deva or rakshasa or gandarva'. 'Aham wo bhandavyo jata: - I am one related to you all'. He threatened that if they doubted Him to be any other, then He would drop the hill He was holding and would go away. Sri Krishna told them that He was like one among them all. In both incidents the same concept is emphasized by both Sri Rama and Sri Krishna. Arjuna reminds Him that since He was one among them, He should pardon Arjuna. Like a father to son, like a friend to another, like a lover to darling, He should show same tolerance and forgive Arjuna. Arjuna has realized the eminence of the Lord and he wants to see the same form he was accustomed to. We will now take leave of Thiruvelukkai Kshetram.

Monday, November 24, 2008

BG 11.43

Swami Koorattalwan in his Varadaraja stavam tells why the Lord appeared as Sri Narasimha. Though Hiranyakasipu infuriated the Lord by his misdeeds for many years, the Lord never appeared to kill him; but, when he started torturing His devotee Prahalada, He appeared with enormous anger. Sri Narasimha is gracing in Thiruvelukkai Kshetram in Kanchi mandalam. After destroying Hiranyakasipu, the Lord wanted to practice Yoga in a good place. In His search He found Kanchi as most suitable and so arrived at the place and is gracing. Also, when Saraswati wanted to spoil the yagna of lord Brahma, she sent many Asuras and to eliminate them the Lord appeared here. Avatara nakshatram is Chitra - Swati [சித்திரை சுவாதி]. Earlier we saw that in the month of Chitra on various stars the Lord appeared in various temples - Revati : Sri Deepaprakasa [ரேவதி - ஸ்ரீ தீபப்ரகாசர்], Rohini ; Sri Ashtabhuja Perumal [ரோஹிணி - ஸ்ரீ அஷ்டபுஜ பெருமாள்], Punarvasu: Sri Yatoktakari [புனர்வசு - ஸ்ரீ யதோக்தகாரி] and Hastam : Sri Varadaraja [ஹஸ்தம் - ஸ்ரீ வரதராஜர்]. Amidst these the Lord appeared in Swati in Thiruvelukkai. Swami Koorattalwan says that just to make His devotee's statement true, the Lord appeared from a pillar. Swami Vedanta Desika says that the Lord appeared as a combination of animal and man. We can now worship the Utsavar of the Lord.

Thiruvelukkai ALari-2

In this Kanchi, one can find all the idols of the Lord and the Alwars and Acharyas are very beautifully maintained, by the Archakas. Unlike in other places where the Lord would be holdinga mace, here the Lord is showing abhaya by the right hand and the left hand points to His divine feet. Those who surrender at His feet would be protected. That is, all have to surrender to the Lord. Along with the Lord we can see Sri Krishna also. On one side we see Sri Nara Singam and on the other side we see Sri Yadava Singam! Viswaroopam itself is like a Lion! That is He is the King. Here the Lord Sri Krishna appears as Sri Vennaikkadum Pillai [ஸ்ரீ வெண்ணைக்காடும் பிள்ளை]. Seeing the Lord dancing on the hoods of Ka;inga, one is tempted to address Him as Sri Krishna and Sri Yadava; but seeing the Sri Narasimha form, one respectfully addresses as Sri Paratpara! The Lord is appearing in gigantic Viswaroopam; at the same time, just for a handful of butter, the Lord dances at each gopika's house! We have thus worshiped the Sri Yoga Narasimha as well as Utsavar with His Ubhaya Nacchiyars and Sri Krishna, Who can be praised as dancing on Kalinga or dancing for butter. Arjuna repents for having addressed Sri Krishna by such insignificant names. So, he addressed the Lord as Father and requested that he might be pardoned. Who else could be a Guru like Him? None was equal or greater than Him. Now sloka 44:

tasmat pranamya pranidhaya kayam
prasadaye tvam aham isam idyam
piteva putrasya sakheva sakhyuh
priyah priyayarhasi deva sodhum

"You are the Supreme Lord, to be worshiped by every living being. Thus I fall down to offer You my respectful obeisances and ask Your mercy. As a father tolerates the impudence of his son, or a friend tolerates the impertinence of a friend, or a wife tolerates the familiarity of her partner, please tolerate the wrongs I may have done You."

In this sloka Arjuna further states why the Lord should pardon him and what other relations exist between them. Tasmat = therefore. The relationship between them or jsut now Arjuna has realized the Lord's eminence and so, he uses the word therefore. Or, he has fallen at the feet of the Lord and so He has to pardon him. Pranamya = prostrating, pranidhaya = shrunk, kayam = body. When paying respects one normally shrinks one's body and salutes. Nama: implies the head is bent in sheer respect. When paying respects to the Lord and His devotees, body should bend, mouth should say 'nama:' and mind also should respect. In bhakti paying respects [vanakkam in Tamil] is very important. In Chapter 9, in the last sloka - manmana bhava mat bhakta... mam namas kuru -, the Lord says that mind should be thinking of Him, bhakti should be for Him and always prostrate to the Lord. Earlier Arjuna also prostrated many times and told namonama thousand times. Nama: means the teller has nothing to possess and praying to be accepted the teller as His. Nama: also means saranagati = ultimate surrender. Here, Arjuna uses the word pranamya instead of nama:. All the three - body, word and mind- should be engaged in prostrating to the Lord. Isa = Iswara [ Leader], idyam = Praised by all. We may praise mortals, but they might not fit into such praisings. We call doctor a person who has never visited a school, we call someone, who has never seen a battle field, as Lion; and call a miserly person as bountiful! But the Lord fits into every praise we make. Tvam = to You [Sri Krishna], aham = I [Arjuna], pay respects and so He should, prasadaye = bless. Arjuna is already scared of the Viswaroopam and so He should take pity and bless him; or, Arjuna has realized his mistakes and so He should bless him. Now Arjuna tells the relationships and reasons out that the Lord should bless him. Piteva = like a Father, putrasya = to his son, sakheva = like a friend, sakyu = to another friend, priya = [Arjuna] with affection or a lover, priyaya = with love or to his darling. Arjuna says like the relationship between father and son, or between friends, or between lovers, the Lord should pardon him. But the Lord is Paramatman, and why should He pardon Arjuna? Sodhum = for pardoning, arhasi = [Arjuna] deserves, deva = embodiment of mercy [the Lord is]. In the last sloka Arjuna told the Paratvam or the Most superior nature of the Lord. It is not enough to show only anger. To Hiranyakasipu, He showed His extreme anger; but at the same time He showered kindness on Prahalada. So, here he prays for the kindness of the Lord. Swami Vedanta Desika [in Kamasikashtakam] tells - tvayi rakshati rakshati kim anyai? Tvayi sa arakshati rakshati kim anyai?'- If the Lord decided to protect, who else is needed? But, if the Lord decided not to save, who else can protect? When father deserted the son, Prahalada, it was the Lord Who protected the child. Elder brother Ravana did not save Vibheeshana. Vali did not protect Sugriva. But the Lord assumed all those relationships and protected His devotees.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

BG 11.42

The Lord has taken many Avatars in the form of Animals like Fish, Boar, etc., or in Human forms such as Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, etc. But, long ago He took the form of a combination of Animal and Human as Sri Narasimha, at the request of Prahalada. Now we have arrived at Thiruvelukkai [திருவேளுக்கை], in Kanchipuram, to worship Lord Sri Narasimha. He is called Sri Alari [ஸ்ரீ ஆளரி] by Alwars. Peyalwar and Thirumangai Alwar have praised the Lord here. Velukkai is derived from the words vell [வேள்] + irukkai [இருக்கை]. Vell means King as well as desire. Irukkai means seat. So velirukkai or velukkai means either seat of King [of animals], that is Lion or the Lord desired or decided to stay here and so is seated here. Thirumangai Alwar in his pasuram calls the Lord as Sri Alari. Alari = Aal [man]+ ari [lion]. Alari thus denotes Sri Narasimha. We enter the temple. At the entrance is the pushkarini, Kanaka saras or Hema saras [கனக (அ) ஹேம ஸரஸ்]. Then we come across the tall Dwajasthambam. Garuda sannidhi is facing the Lord's sannidhi. It is said that Garuda is like mirror for the Lord. Then we come to Maha mandapam. On one side we see the sannidhi of Sri Amruthavalli Nacchiyar [ஸ்ரீ அம்ருதவல்லி நாச்சியார்]. Further inside, we see all Alwars and Acharyas. Then we reach the sannidhi of Lord. Moolavar is gracing as Sri Yoga Narasimha [ஸ்ரீ யோக நரஸிம்ஹர்].

There is Utsavar, exact replica of Moolavar. The Lord is seated with both lower hands stretched on the knees. Those who practice ashtanga yoga sit like this. It is also called Paryanka bhaddhasanam [पर्यन्कभद्धासनम]. Sitting like this controls the Five airs -prana, apana, vyana, udhana and samana - and Five Gyana and Five Karma organs. Swami Vedanta Desika, in his Kamasikashtakam, says that the Lord has been praised in Upanishads. Kama = desire, asika = seat, and so Kamasikashtakam, Eight verses composed in praise of the Lord. He says that the Lord is in North as well as in South [sruthinam uttharam bhagam vegavadyascha dakshinam]. The Lord is seated on South of river Vegavati. Swami Desika puns on the word uttharam, which means North as well as end or top. The top of Vedas is Vedanta, that is Upanishads. So the Lord is in the sruti [Vedas] uttharam. He says the Lord is seated at His will and He is gracing magnificently. Now we see sloka 43. Arjuna repents that not knowing the greatness of the Lord Sri Krishna, he had called him by obscure names, like Krishna, Yadava, Friend, etc. He requested the Lord to excuse him. Arjuna is standing in front of the Viswaroopam, like a pebble in front of a mammoth mountain. But the Lord asks why He should excuse Arjuna, or anybody for that sake? Arjuna replies; and we can say that he did it on our behalf also. Arjuna says that the Lord has to pardon, since there is that type of relationship between the Lord and Arjuna and all of us. Sloka 43:

pitasi lokasya caracarasya
tvam asya pujyas ca gurur gariyan
na tvat-samo ’sty abhyadhikah kuto ’nyo
loka-traye ’py apratima-prabhava

"You are the father of this complete cosmic manifestation, of the moving and the nonmoving. You are its worshipable chief, the supreme spiritual master. No one is equal to You, nor can anyone be one with You. How then could there be anyone greater than You within the three worlds, O Lord of immeasurable power?"

Apratima = without equal, prabhava = glory. There is no one who can be considered as copy of or equal to the glory of the Lord. Asya = this, caracarasya = Universe with moving and non-moving or stationary things, pitasi = [Sri Krishna] is Father. Tvam = You [Sri Krishna ], asya = are, pujya = worshipful [by all in Universe], gariyan = supreme, guru = teacher. Father gives the body and Teacher instills Knowledge.Na asti = none, sama = equal to, tva = You [Sri Krishna]. Kuto = how, anyo = any other, abhyadhika = could be excelling [Sri Krishna]. When there are no one equal to the Lord, how could anyone be higher or more Supreme than the Lord. Loka traye pi = even in all the three worlds. Having none equal to Him, the Lord is worshiped by all in the Three worlds. For all of them the Lord is Father. Sriman Narayana is Father, Mother, Brother, Husband, Wife, etc. The Lord is every relative to all. But the relationship of Parents is very important. By mentiong the relationship of Father, Arjuna is replying to the question why the Lord should pardon Arjuna. Whatever be the mistake, Parents would never punish the child. By saying worshipful, Parnts are to be worshiped. One might have liberty with the parents, but they have to be respected. Prahalada was a child. His father never liked him. His father tortured him; yet, the Lord as his Father, rescued him everytime. The Lord is also Guru. The Lord was kind to teach Arjuna. Did He do that for any gift from Arjuna? In fact all Arjuna gave was his faults only. Arjuna played with Him and addressed Him disrespectfully. But the Lord took mercy on him and taught Arjuna, such a wonderful shastra. An Acharya is to be respected more than a father. Three worlds imply all worlds. It could also mean the Three Vedas -Rig, Yajur and Sama. In all these worlds or in Vedas, there is none equal to Him, not to speak of greater than Him.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

BG 11.41

The Lord appeared in Avatars and took the forms like Fish, Tortoise, Boar, etc. The Avatar of the Lord as Sri Rama can be worshiped in the North in Ayodhya and in the South in Thiruppullani [near Rameswaram]. But we are in the Northern tip of Tamil Nadu, in Thondai Nadu. In Thiruputkuzhi, Sri Rama is gracing as Sri Vijayaraghava. In the Dynasty in which the Lord was born as Sri Rama, there was a King Raghu; and so the the Lord got the name Sri Raghava. Since He was victorious in every act and in every battle, He is called Sri Vijayaraghava. He is called here as Sri Poreru [ஸ்ரீ போரேறு]. The nandavanam [garden] in the temple adds beauty. Flower service [புஷ்ப கைங்கர்யம்] to the Lord is important and all the Alwars have praised it. It seems even the Commander of the Army of the Lord, Vishvaksena, is also involved in Flower service to the Lord. Perialwar, Sri Andal and Thondaradipodi Alwar were involved in this service. Among Acharyas, Swami Anantalwan did Flower service to the Lord. So, to gather flowers a garden is maintained in the temple. In the centre is a mandapam and is surrounded by multi colored flowers. All flowers are waiting to decorate the Lord. Perialwar says thet he wanted to present the Lord with Eight types of Flowers. The heat due to the surrounding place can be easily dissipated by sitting in theis garden. Swami Ramanuja appeared in this Earth to reduce the sufferings of the people in the heat of samsaram. Vedanta has many sentences, which appear as contradictory. Swami Ramanuja, took up the task of properly interpreting all the sayings in Vedas and removed the apparent contradictions in some of them. The Lord Himself called [Swami Ramanuja's interpretations] as Emperumanar Darsanam [எம்பெருமானார் தரிசனம்], otherwise known as Visishtadvaitam. Swami Ramanuja spent his younger days in this place -Thiruputkuzhi - and learnt Vedas under Swami Yadavaprakasa, an Advaitic sanyasi. The interpretation of Vedas in Advaitam is known as Poorva paksha [earlier arguments].

Emperumanars school.JPG

In the mandapam in the temple Swami Ramanuja was learning Vedas from Swami Yadavaprakasa. Swami Ramanuja is standing near Swami Yadavaprakasa. During such learning, there used to appear disputes between the Two. Swami Yadavaprakasa would tell an interpretation of a particular Veda sentence; Swami Ramanuja would refute and place his considered interpretation. These disputes finally resulted in their separation. As an example, yatova imani bhutani jayante, yena janati jivanti . yatra yam vism visanti tad vidigyasasya tad brahmeti is a sentence. Upanishad identifies Brahmam - God - by quoting some attributes. From Whom the Universe got created, from Whom the Universe is sustained and from Whom the Universe finally merges, is Brahmam or God. Also Upanishad says that the Lord is satyam [everlasting], gyanam [fully knowledgeable, unlimited] and anantam [ infinite]. Swami Yadavaprakasa stated that Brahmam could not be identified; because Brahmam could not be described by any quality, nor any form and so It was abstract or nirvisesham, devoid of any attributes. As an example, to drive his statement, he said that seeing a cow without horns, with small horns and with full horns, means all these three could not be in a single cow and so refers to Three cows seen. According to him, creation and destruction were two actions opposed to each other. How could the same Brahmam create as well as destroy? And, so his argument was that these can not be identifications for Brahmam. But Swami Ramanuja gave the counter argument satisfying the apparent contradiction. According to him, same Brahmam creates, sustains and destroys. In the cow example, at the same time the same cow might not be displaying without, with little and with full grown, horns; but at different times the same cow could have appeared with all the three features. Similarly, the Lord creates the Universe at one time, maintains it in another time and destroys it in yet another time. He is not destroying during creation nor creating during destruction. Therefore, Swami Ramanuja established that the attributes in Vedas were correct and no contradiction was there. We will now proceed to sloka 42, which is continuation of sloka 41. Arjuna seeks pardon for his indifference. After seeing for the First time the glory of the Lord, Arjuna said that he might have addressed the Lord, earlier out of ignorance, indifference and affection; and, sought to be excused. He continues in sloka 42:
yac cavahasartham asat-krto ’si
eko ’tha vapy acyuta tat-samaksham
tat ksamaye tvam aham aprameyam

"I have dishonored You many times, jesting as we relaxed, lay on the same bed, or sat or ate together, sometimes alone and sometimes in front of many friends. O infallible one, please excuse me for all those offenses."
Tat kshmaye = please excuse, aham = me [Arjuna], tvam = You [Sri Krishna] are, aprameyam = beyond understanding [by Arjuna]. Arjuna requests Sri Krishna to pardon him for all indifference and ignorance. Yac = those words, avahasartham = teasing, asat-krto si = to humiliate, during vihara = in playing or relaxing, sayya = while in bed, asana = while sitting, or bhojanesu = during eating. Arjuna says that he might have teased or ridiculed Sri Krishna with words spoken while playing or in bed or sitting in assembly or during meals. Eko = in private, athavapy = or otherwise [in assembly], Arjuna might have spoken disrespectfully. Arjuna now seeks pardon. Because the Lord was aprameya - beyond anyone's reach. Just as these glorifying words can not reach such a great person Sri Krishna was, Arjuna's insignificant words also should not be minded by Sri Krishna. Sri Andal says that when Sri Krishna appeared as a cowherd and did pranks, it gives us an experience to feel; but those actions in no way would affect His greatness. We now take leave of this Kshetram.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BG 11.40

At present we are in Thiruputkuzhi in Thondai Nadu [தொண்டை நாடு]. The Lord here is called Sri Poretru Nayanar, Sri Vijayaraghavan and Sri Samarapungava. Around the prakaram [corridor] Acharyas all are gracing. We can see Swami Ramanuja's sannidhi. Swami Ramanuja is closely associated with this Kshetram. Next we see the sannidhi of Vishadavak Sikhamani Swami Manavala Mamunigal. It is said that he came here and was greatly absorbed by the beauty of the Lord. Next, is Swami Vedanta Desika's sannidhi. Swami Desika published Paramarta stuti stotram and explained that here we see the proof of and truth of the grant of Moksham to a vulture King. Today's [20th November 2008] lecture is from Sri Thayar's sannidhi.

Sri Thayar here is Sri Maragathavalli Nacchiyar [ஸ்ரீ மரகதவல்லி நாச்சியார்]. No one worships by simply saying this name; but by saying varuttha payiru mulaikkum Sri Maragadhavalli Nacchiyar [வறுத்த பயிறு முளைக்கும் ஸ்ரீ மரகதவல்லி நாச்சியார்]. Why this special title for Sri Thayar here? Those who do not have children, come here and bathe in Gruddhara pushkarini. They,then tie on their body, some fried payiru [pulses], and worship and stay in the place overnight. Next morning they discover germination of the pulse seeds, and are blessed with children. Such is Her greatness. Sri Thayar as Sri Santhana Lakshmi and Sri Maragadhavalli Thayar graces. We should regard Her as Sri Sita, as the Lord is Sri Vijayaraghava. It is a pleasant coincidence that the recording of the lecture was done on a Friday. Her hand showing abhaya, suggests that She assures us that She would make the Lord to agree to bless our needs and ensure grant all pleasant things including Moksham. Her left hand is pointing to Her Divine feet. It is customary to first worship Her, before worshiping the Lord. When Sri Rama granted Moksham to Jatayu, Sri Thayar was not nearby; but to offset that shortcoming, here Sri Thayar is along with the Lord. About this Kshetram, Swami Pillai Perumal Iyengar has composed a pasuram in his '108 Thiruppati andhadi [நூற்றெட்டு திருப்பதி அந்தாதி]'. He imagined the pit as a pit of fire. When Prahalada refused to utter names other than Sri Narayana, Hiranyakasipu tortured him by pushing down a hill, made him to drink poison, tried to tramp on him by an elephant, made snakes to bite him, immerced him in ocean, etc. Finally, he drowned Prahalada in a pit of burning fire. But Prahalada was not harmed by the fire. He was chanting the Lord's name and, after all, fire got its power from the Lord only. In the last sloka we saw Arjuna mentioning the Lord as Agni, god of fire. Thus Prahalada was unaffected by the fire. Swami Pillai Perumal Iyengar compares neruppukuzhi [pit of fire நெருப்புக் குழி ] and Thirupputkuzhi. Vimanam of this temple is called Vijaya Veera koti vimanam [விஜய வீர கோடி விமானம்]. Vimanam publicizes to the World that below it is the Lord of Victory [Vijaya] and Valour [Veeram]. By prostrating unto Him, one can obtain Moksham. Now we will proceed to sloka 41. Arjuna now prays the Lord to pardon him for his faults. Sloka 41:
sakheti matva prasabham yad uktam
he krishna he yadava he sakheti
ajanata mahimanam tavedam
maya pramadat pranayena vapi

"Thinking of You as my friend, I have rashly addressed You “O Krishna,” “O Yadava,” “O my friend,” not knowing Your glories. Please forgive whatever I may have done in madness or in love."
Normally, this sloka and the next [42nd sloka] are to be read together. But since there are deep meanings, at present we will see this sloka today. Sakha = friend [of Arjuna], matva = thinking. Before Arjuna saw the Viswaroopam, he thought of Sri Krishna merely as his friend of him or a close cousin of him. Prasabham = indecently or irrespectfully, yad uktam = whatever was uttered [by Arjuna], he krishna = hey! Krishna, he yadava = hey! Yadava, he sakheti = hey! [my] Friend. Arjuna might have called the Lord by His First name or by His profession of cowherding. Though Sri Krishna was still Arjuna's friend, he had realized the greatness of his Friend after seeing the Viswaroopam. Ajanata = out of ignorance, tava = Your [ Sri Krishna's], idam = this, mahatmanam = great glory [of the Lord in Viswaroopam showing that everything was His property and everyone was in His command], maya = by me [Arjuna], pramadat = casually, pranayenava = or out of love. Arjuna prays to the Lord that he might have addressed Sri Krishna, without dignity, as Krishna or Yadava or My friend, etc. Krishna actually is a very noble word. Krishna means showering happiness to the earth. But Arjuna might have called the Lord as Sri Krishna meaning the Black! Yadava denotes the Gem of Yadava dynasty. But Arjuna addressed the Lord as Yadava meaning cowherd! He addressed the Lord as Friend, with the ego that he was from Kshatriya community and Sri Krishna, after all, was from cowherds. All these he told out of ignorance of the greatness of the Lord. He told out of carelessness or out of affection. We may remember these words, and see how they coincide with the words used by Sri Andal [in Thiruppavai - karavaigal pin senru கறவைகள் பின் சென்று... ]. She says that She addressed the Lord by insignificant names [siru per சிறு பேர் ]. So He should not mind and get angry [ seeri சீறி]. She says that starting from the First pasuram [ margazhi thingal மார்கழித் திங்கள்.. ], She had addressed the Lord by casual names; but She realized later and so made amends to this indifference. Why did She address like that? Because, She and Her friends were ignorant [ariyada அறியாத ]; out of childishness [pillaigal பிள்ளைகள் ]; out of love [anbinal அன்பினால்]. These three words are used by Arjuna as ajanat, pramadat and pranayenava. But there is a difference in Arjuna and Sri Andal telling. She addressed the Lord as Narayana [1st pasuram], parkadalul paraman [பாற்கடலுள் பரமன் 2nd pasuram], ulagalanda utthaman [உலகளந்த உத்தமன் 3rd pasuram], oozhi mudalvan padmanabhan [ஊழி முதல்வன் பத்மநாபன் 4th pasuram] and mayan [மாயன் 5th pasuram]. According to her all these were insignificant names! In reality, those were all very sacred and great names. But in pasurams 27 [koodarai vellum கூடாரை வெல்லும்], 28 [karavaigal pin senru கறவைகள் பின் சென்று] and 29 [ chitranchirukalai சிற்றஞ்சிறு காலை ], She mentions the name Govinda. According to Her, again, this is a great name of the Lord! Till these pasurams She did not know the True Self of the Lord and so addressed Him by insignificant or casual names; but after truth dawned in Her, She addressed Him by great names. Govinda means going behind cattle. While Narayana means the Prime Cause of Universe. Which is greater name? Actually, Narayana is the great name. But Sri Andal tells the other way. Because, after all, the Lord took Avatar in Gokulam, to hide His greatness. So, He never liked people to remind Him of His greatness. In this Avatar Sri Krishna wanted people to address Him as Krishna, Yadava, Navanita Chora, etc. This is the opinion of Sri Andal and so She sang like that. And, for that She seeks His pardon. While Arjuna is doing the opposite. He, before seeing the Viswaroopam, addressed the Lord casually and with insignificant names. Now, he addresses the Lord as Narayana, Padmanabha, Trivikrama, etc. Sri Andal was in Bhakti marg and so She wanted to address the Lord in Her way; while Arjuna in Gyana marg, wants to address the Lord in his way.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

BG 11.39

Sriramarameti ramerame manorame |
Sahasranama tatulyam rama namam varanane ||
The Divine name Sri Rama has the capacity to stop a departing soul.At the same time the Divine name Sri Rama ie. Sri Vijayaraghava, can also facilitate reaching Moksham. We have come to Thiruputkuzhi and had darshan of Gruddhara Pushkarini. We can also worship Jatayu, worshiping the Lord. After entering the temple, beyond Gopuram, we find beautiful prakaram [corridor]. As we go round the prakaram, we find number of monkeys on trees. Monkeys, perhaps, suggest that we are in Sri Rama's place. We enter the temple further and see ardha mandapam, maha mandapam and garbha gruham. Thirumangai Alwar has praised the Lord of this Kshetram in 2.7.8 pasuram. This pasuram is engraved in the temple. Alwar assumes a woman form in this pasuram. 'She' is the mother of the sweet heart of the Lord. 'She' pleads with the Lord to accept 'her' daughter, as 'her' daughter is madly in love with the Lord. 'Mother' says that 'her' daughter had lost herself to the sweet tunes coming from the flute, Cowherd Sri Krishna was playing. 'She' further says that 'her' daughter was singing in praise of Thiruputkuzhi, which has water, perhaps Gruddhara Pushkarini water, capable of attracting all sense organs. Today's [19th November 2008] lecture is from the sannidhi of the Lord. The Lord is Sri Vijayaraghavan or Sri Samarapungava [samara = war or fight, pungava = skilled] or Sri Poreru [por = war, yeru = bull]. Always victorious in any fight, is an attribute to Sri Rama. Another proof that the Lord here is Sri Rama, is that the Avatar day of the Lord here is Chitra [சித்திரை ]month, Punarvasu [புனர்வஸு ] star, identical with the birthday of Sri Rama. We will now worship the Moolavar.

The Lord is in seated pose. Left hand is ready to embrace Jatayu to perform the last rites and is in ahvahana mudra. Right arm is displaying abhaya. On His right is Sri Bhudevi and on the left is Sri Sridevi [ yes, positions are different from normal!]. We may have a doubt as to how, during the performance of last rites to Jatayu, Sri Sridevi and Sri Bhudevi could be with the Lord? This incident took place while searching for Sri Sita, was it not? We should remember that the Lord is enacting that incident which took place long ago, for devotees' benefit, here and now! But to prove that the incident took place, the Consorts are inter changed. Unbearable of the heat from the pyre, Consorts are inter changed and appear to be bending Their heads away from fire! Swami Kooratalwan poses a question to the Lord. The Lord granted Moksham to the bird. Arcchiradi marg, invisible for others, was visible to Sri Rama! That is He was able to see the path for Vaikuntam. But then how He was not aware of the place where Sri Sita was imprisoned? The Lord it seems cried ignorant of Her place! Thus the Lord having taken the guise of a normal human, suddely forgot His role and displayed He was the Paramatman, in this Jatayu incident! Also, He granted Moksham to Jatayu, who did nothing to obtain that position. Therefore, if the Lord wills, He can grant anything including Moksham. Also, it is impossible for the Lord to hide His true qualities! Swami Desika says that the Lord has an identification mark on Him. That is the scar of burning the body of Jatayu on the pyre - gruddhraraja deha vibaksha. That identity reminds us that the Lord is full of mercy - vatsalyam - towards His devotees. He would do anything for the devotees. This Swami Desika tells in Raghuvira ghatyam - bhakta jana dakshinya! We will now worship the Utsavar.


But we can do that as we study sloka 40 of Chapter 11. By appreciating the sloka, we can have a grand view of the Lord. Earlier, Arjuna repeatedly saluted the Lord by utteing the word nama:. He continues in sloka 40:

namah purastad atha prsthatas te
namo ’stu te sarvata eva sarva
ananta-viryamita-vikramas tvam
sarvam samapnosi tato ’si sarvah

"Obeisances to You from the front, from behind and from all sides! O unbounded power, You are the master of limitless might! You are all-pervading, and thus You are everything!"

Arjuna says that the Lord is everywhere around. Without exception He is pervading in everything. So Arjuna prefers to call Him, Sarva = Whole. Are not others separate from Him? Yes, all are different from Him, but it is He, Who is the Antaratman in all and controlling and commanding all. Purastad = to [Your, Sri Krishna's] front, nama = [I, Arjuna] salute, atha = also, prsthata = from [Sri Krishna's] behind, namostu te = salute You [Sri Krishna], sarvata = from all sides [salutations], sarva = [the Lord as a] Whole. The Lord is Whole and so Arjuna offers salutations from front, behind and from every side. Ananta-virya = boundless valour, amita = beyond description, vikrama = powerful, sarvam = all in this Universe, including all chetana-achetana [movables and non-movables or with or without knowledge], samapnosi = pervading [without exception], tata = therefore, sarva = everything [Sri Krishna is]. Earlier Arjuna mentioned the names of certain gods, and told that the Lord was all of them. Before that we also saw that Arjuna mentioned that the Lord was chit, achit, baddha and mukta, etc. Arjuna tells that the Lord is inanimate objects like stone, mud, etc., and also says that the Lord is superior beings like Agni, Vayu, etc. He says lord Brahma also is Sriman Narayana. That is everything from mud, tiny grass to animals, birds, etc., to Devas, is the Lord, Arjuna says. Reason for mentioning that is Arjuna tells here; that the Lord is pervading all without any exception. We see a pillar made of stone and call it as stone pillar; a ring made of gold, as gold ring; a dhoti made of cotton as cotton dhoti. Since the Lord is pervading all, it is correct to call the pillar as Bhagavan pillr; to call ring as Bhagavan ring; to call a dhoti as Bhagavan dhoti. That is why Arjuna calls everything - Vayu, Agni, Varuna, everything - as He, the Lord. His valour is beyond our imagination. Sri Rama -Sri Vijayaraghava - symbolises valour. When we worship the Lord Utsavar from His front, we see His abhaya mudra, allaying all our worries and fears. He graces with left arm firmly holding the mace and with the Consorts. Nearby, yet another Utsavar, without Consorts, is also gracing. This Kshetram is also famous for the 'keel kudhirai' [mechanical horse கீல் குதிரை].

On the Eighth day of Brahmotsavam, the Lord mounts this Horse. The Horse has many mechanical features, which enable the Horse to make movements; and for the spectator, it would appear as though the Lord was riding a real Horse! On days other than Utsavam day, the Horse is disassembled and kept as Three parts. It is because of the belief that if kept assembled, the Horse might run away! The carpenter who designed and fabricated this Horse, dedicated the Horse to the Lord and vowed not to make another for any other temple. When he was forced to make another, he preferred death at His feet. Even today, as a mark of appreciation, the Lord visits the locality of carpenters in this place on Horse vahanam day, before continuing His procession. We also would offer our obeisances to the Lord, on the Horse, from all sides.

Monday, November 17, 2008

BG 11.38

Aapadamapahartaram dataram sarvasampadam |
Lokabhiramam sriramam bhuyobhuyo namamtaham ||
This sloka is chanted by all at all times. Lord Sri Ramachandra removes all our fears and blesses us with what we need. Treading from Himalayas to Rameshwaram, Sri Rama has converted many places in India, sacred. When Sri Sita was abducted by Ravana, Sri Rama came in search of Her in every place. When Ravana carried away Sri Sita, Jatayu, the vulture King, fought with Ravana. He wanted to rescue Sri Sita. But Ravana, with his sword Chandrahasa, cut off the wings of Jatayu, who fell down. Jatayu in sampradhyam is called Periya Udayar [பெரிய உடையார்] or Jatayu Maharaja. We should not regard him as a mere bird. He was involved in the service of Sri Rama. So, anyone wanting to be of service [கைங்கர்யம்] of the Lord, should emulate Jatayu or Hanuman or Lakshmana or Adisesha. Not merely Jatayu served the Lord, but his last rites were performed by Sri Rama and Sri Rama despatched him to Vaikuntam. Sri Rama was about to perform the last rites for Jatayu. Sri Rama and Lakshmana, having lost Sri Sita, went on searching and enquired the trees and rivers, whether they had seen Her. On their way they found Jatayu struggling for life. Seeing Sri Rama, Jatayu paid respects and prayed that He should live long. He further told that Ravana had abducted Sri Sita. He told that Ravana was forcibly carrying Sri Sita and was proceeding Southwards and requested Sri Rama and Lakshmana to rescue Her. Finally, after telling details, he breathed his last. At that time Sri Rama carried the vulture on His lap and cried. He told Lakshmana that more than the separation of Sri Sita, He was grieved at the demise of the bird Jatayu. He ordered Lakshmana to arrange for the funeral pyre. Sri Rama then placing the body of Jatayu on the pyre, did the last rites. Sri Rama then permitted the soul to reach Vaikuntam. The most superior place, Vaikuntam, which one can not easily reach by any number of yagnas, which Devas, Rishis and Siddhas could not easily reach, was ordered as the destination for a bird by Sri Rama. This happened somewhere and at sometime. But to worship Lord Sri Rama and Jatayu, we have come to Thirupputkuzhi [திருப் புட்குழி] Kshetram in Kanchi mandalam.

view of the Thiruputkuzhi gopuram and the pushkarini.JPG

Thiruputkuzhi = Thiru [associated with Sri Lakshmi], pul [புள்] = bird [Jatayu], kuzhi [குழி] = pit [made for the pyre]. Thus this place is considered as the place where Sri Rama performed the last rites for Jatayu. The Lord here is Sri Vijayaraghavan [ஸ்ரீ விஜய ராகவன்], also known as Sri Poretrinayanar [ஸ்ரீ போரேற்றி நாயனார்] and Sri Samarapungava [ஸ்ரீ ஸமர புங்கவன்]. Sri Thayar is Sri Maragathavalli. Pushkarini is Gruddhara pushkarini [most of the literature refer this as Jatayu pushkarini]. Gruddharam means vulture. Swami Vedanta Desika has composed a sthotram on the Lord, Sri Paramarta stuti [श्री परमार्त्थ स्तुति]. Parama means the last or the most superior and artha means outcome. Sri Vijayaraghava is the Ultimate objective of our actions and he has praised Him. Swami Desika opens the stotra with the words Srimad gruddhara saras teere parijatam upasmahe. The Lord is like the Parijata tree, granting anything desired. He is gracing on the banks of Gruddhara saras [pond]. He grants anyone irrespective of whether he is high or low. To pluck the fruits from a tree, dwarfs will find difficult if the tree is tall and tall persons will struggle if the tree was dwarf. But this Parijata Tree -Lord Sri Vijayaraghava - makes available the 'fruits' easily for everyone. Swami Desika says that Jatayu is the proof of this quality of the Lord. Jatayu got Moksham. We may get doubt here. We have heard of Sri Rama granting Moksham in a place near Saket in Maharashtra; also, we have heard that in Pullambhutamkudi Divya desam [near Kumbakonam] also it is told that the Lord gave Moksham to Jatayu. All are true. Because the purpose of Arcchavatara, that is the Lord in temples, is a reminder of the happenings in Vibhava avatars, like incidents in Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, etc., stories. We should therefore, take that the Jatayu incident is enacted here for our benefit. We see Sri Ulagalanda Perumal, which reminds of Sri Trivikrama Avatar of the Lord and not that Sri Trivikrama Avatar actually happened there. This exhibits the Lord's simplicity towards devotees. So considering this Jatayu incident took place here or in Pullambhuthamkudi or in Saket, near Yugatpuri, in Maharashtra, are all correct. The fact that He granted Moksham to Jatayu is important. Bathing in this pushkarini not merely removes our sins, but also ensures good health. We will now see sloka 39. In all these slokas we find that Arjuna saw the Lord in Viswaroopam and was wonderstruck. He started praising the Lord, as pervading everything in and around. Everything is His body. He knows all and is to be understood by all. He is also the Ultimate destination, Vaikuntam. Now sloka 39:

vayur yamo ’gnir varunah sasankah
prajapatis tvam prapitamahas ca
namo namas te ’stu sahasra-kritvah
punas ca bhuyo ’pi namo namas te

"You are air, and You are the supreme controller! You are fire, You are water, and You are the moon! You are Brahma, the first living creature, and You are the great-grandfather. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You a thousand times, and again and yet again!"

By this sloka Arjuna salutes the Lord repeatedly. the Lord is manifesting in others and Arjuna offers his obeisance to the Lord in every form. Seven persons are mentioned by Arjuna. Vayu = Vayu or wind god, yama = Yama or god of death, agni = Agni or god of fire, varuna = Varuna or god of rain, sasanka = Moon or the god Moon, prajapati = Prajapati or god of progeny, prapitamaha = great grand father or Father of lord Brahma, Sriman Narayana, tvam = You [Sri Krishna] are. That is the Lord is the Prime Commander in all these gods. Lord Brahma is considered as the grand father of the Universe. Since Sriman Narayana is considered as Father of lord Brahma, He becomes the great grand father. Nama = [I, Arjuna] salute, namastestu = offer salutes, sahasra - kritva = do [salute] Thousand times, punas ca = again and, bhuyo = again, namo namaste = salute and offer salutes. We can interpret that these words like Vayu, Agni and Varuna, are all names of the Lord. Or, whoever is named by these words, are empowered by the Lord, Who is inside them as their atman and commanding them. By naming those persons also, those ultimately mention the Lord. So both interpretations are possible. Agni, for example, means agram nayati is agni. That is He who takes you forward is Agni. The Lord carries us forward. So Agni could mean the Lord directly. But we can also take that Agni denotes the god of fire. The Lord controls and commands Agni from in and out. So, Agni could mean the Lord inside god of Fire also. Therefore, the Lord is, either directly, by the word, or indirectly, by refering to the ruling god, indicated by these names. Arjuna repeatedly offers his obeisances to the Lord. We will now enter the temple.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

BG 11.37

perumal closeup

Lakshmyasaha rishikesa: devya karunya rupaya|

Rakshaka traya siddhante vedante pi cha diyate ||
From this sloka we understand that the Lord along with Sri Maha Lakshmi protects us. Without Sri Lakshmi, the Lord could punish; but if Sri Lakshmi is with Him, the Lord always saves. Alwar says the Lord's nature is to protect us. Vali thinks why Sri Rama hit him unseen? After search, he tells Sri Rama that since Sri Sita was separated from Him, He was not aware what He was doing. That is why He lost His balance and hit Vali, says Vali. From this we should know that the Lord kills someone, only when His Consort Sri Thayar is not near Him. If He has to save devotees, then certainly She must be along with Him. So, when She is nearby, the Lord protects. To save devotees, enemies have to be killed. When She is nearby none can be killed. Here, we may get confused and raise a doubt. Is Sri Lakshmi encourages Him to kill or is She inducing Him to protect? To know the answer we have to come to the temple of Sri Ashtabhja Perumal. Here we should worship Sri Thayar, called Sri Pushpavalli Thayar [ஸ்ரீ புஷ்பவல்லி தாயார்]. She is seated and beckons the devotees to come and surrender at Her Divine feet. The Lord carries weapons in His arms. Seven of them are recognized as weapons. But why should He hold a Lotus flower? Is lotus a weapon to kill anyone? The Lord is symmbollically having Sri Pushpavalli Thayar in one of His right Hands. Is She then a weapon? We might think. But Sri Thayar is certainly needed to protect anyone. The Lord carries Seven weapons to kill enemies and in one hand He is carrying flower to protect devotees. Thirumangai Alwar imagined himself to be one of His Consorts, and composed 10 pasurams [2.8]. 'She' asks who was the Person, like the ocean or like the lit lamp. etc? And, for every question the answer is the Lord Sri Ashtabhuja Perumal. Thus the hymns are composed. In one pasuram [2.8.9], Parakala Nayaki worships the Lord. Admiring 'her' beauty, the Lord says something. Commenting on this pasuram, Swami Periyavacchan Pillai, enquires what the Lord could have told. Why Alwar did not elaborate on what the Lord told? Reasons could be many. Parakala Nayaki was mesmerized by the beauty of the Lord and so could not grasp what the Lord told. Or, though 'she' knew waht He told 'her', since it was the exclusive secret between the Lovers and so 'she' preferred not to reveal what He said. But, Swami Periyavacchan Pillai further probes and says that since 'her' waist was so narrow and fragile, the Lord asked 'her', whether He could hold and support 'her'! The Lord is with Eight hands and so support could be secure! Does it mean this pasuram is about lust and passion? Waist is called idai [இடை] in Tamil. Idai also means middle. In Ashtaksharam mantra, pranavam [AUM ஓம் ॐ ] and Narayanaya [नारायणाय] are at the ends and nama: [नम:] is in the middle or idai. Nama: that protection of the self is only by the Lord and one can not protect oneself. Seeking His feet alone as refuge or saranagati is meant by nama: and for that He is means [upaya उपाया]. So here when Alwar has clear perception of the idai, the Lord has to support 'her' only. We will now see sloka 38. In sloka 37, Arjuna wondered who would not worship the Lord with folded hands. As told in Alwar's pasuram, the Lord protects all who worship Him with folded hands. Arjuna says further that the Lord is antaryami in everything:

tvam adi-devah purushah puranas
tvam asya vishvasya param nidhanam
vettasi vedyam ca param ca dhama
tvaya tatam vishvam ananta-rupa

"You are the original Personality of Godhead, the oldest, the ultimate sanctuary of this manifested cosmic world. You are the knower of everything, and You are all that is knowable. You are the supreme refuge, above the material modes. O limitless form! This whole cosmic manifestation is pervaded by You!"

Ananta-rupa = Lord with infinite image, tvam = You [Sri Krishna] are, adi-deva = very First Deva, purusha = grants whatever is prayed, purana = very Ancient but appearing ever fresh [pura + api navam = puranam], asya = to this, vishvasya = Universe, param = most superior or the highest of all, nidhanam = basis, tvam = You [Sri Krishna] are. Sri Krishna is the basis for all this Unuverse, for origin and support. Vettasi = knowledgeable, vedya = to be understood, param = most superior, dhama = abode. That is the Lord is to be attained or to get the result of reaching Vaikuntam. Dhamam is also called purushartam or the ultimta objective. He knows all and all have to know Him, to reach Vaikuntam. Tvaya = by You [Sri Krishna], tatam = pervaded, vishvasya = this Universe. The Lord is pervading the entire Universe, He knows everything and all have to know Him to reach Vaikuntam, basis for entire Universe, Origin of everything and the First among Devas and Ancient, but always afresh, He grants anything prayed for. Who would not respect the Lord with such eminence? Is there any deficiency to protect us? Arms are eight. Is He lacking in weapons? Are there no predecessors, who have been rescued by the Lord? Lord Brahma and Gajendra are standing examples. Is He frightening with all dangerous weapons? Like Sri Pushpavalli Thayar, He is holding flower, symbolic of mercy. Is He ugly that we can not approach? The Lord is radiating like a lamp with the hue of ocean. So. what deficiency we can find to avoid respecting Him? To the Lord, Who is having all matters in this Universe or in Moolaprakruti, and all souls whether baddha or mukta, as His body and pervading everything without any exception, Arjuna offers his obeisance. We now take leave of this Divya desam.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

BG 11.36

Divya desams in Thondai Naadu [தொண்டை நாடு] are 22. We are now in the temple of Sri Ashtabhuja Perumal in Kanchi mandalam. The Lord graces with Eight hands.

With dark body, the Lord is carrying Eight weapons in the Eight hands. In the right arms, the Lord is holding Discus, sword, Lotus flower and arrow. In the left hands He is carrying conch, 'sarngam' bow, mace and shield. Alwars' pasurams and Swami Vedanta Desika's Ashtabhujashtakam are engraved here. In the pasuram vendhiral [வெந்திறல் வீரரில் - 2.8.2], Thirumangai Alwar lists all the weapons. As told earlier before the appearance of Lord Sri Varadaraja, the Lord appeared in Three Divyadesams in Kanchipuram. Saraswati decided to spoil the yagna performed by lord Brahma. First she made the world dark; to expel darkness the Lord Sri Deepa Prakasa appeared. Next was the appearance of the Lord here. Saraswati directed demons to spoil the yagna. To destroy the demons, the Lord appeared with Eight arms carrying Eight weapons. Next, she directed Kali and the Lord defeated her and made her to be in one corner. Next, she sent a creature with both animal and bird features. It was also sent to a corner. Thus the Lord drove away Three types of obstacles and is gracing here. He removed the distress of Gajendra and also of lord Brahma. Before the Lord appeared as Sri Ashtabhuja Perumal, He was Sri Adi Kesava Perumal [ஆதி கேசவ பெருமாள்]. Thus the Lord is very ancient. He created lord Brahma and so is the Father of Brahma. Who will not worship such ancient Person He is? Whether He appears with Two hands or Four hands or Eight hands, will we go without worshiping Him? This same question is posed by Arjuna to Sri Krishna. In the sloka 37 we are to see today [14th November 2008], Arjuna asks Sri Krishna whether anyone could go without worshiping Him. To do that we should know Who the Lord is. To know Who He was Thirumangai Alwar tried hard. The Lord appeared before the Alwar with Eight arms and unrecognizable color in dark hue. Alwar wondered was it the dark blue color of ocean or of kayambu [காயாம்பூ], a dark hued flower, or of dark cloud, in the pasuram 'enganum namivar vannam....[எங்ஙனும் நாமிவர் வண்ணம் எண்ணில்... 2.8.6]. When the Lord is ready to protect us with weapons in Eight arms, all we have to do is to simply offer our anjali with folded hands. This is what Arjuna tells in the sloka 37:

kasmac ca te na nameran mahatman
gariyase brahmano ’py adi-kartre
ananta devesa jagan-nivasa
tvam aksharam sad-asat tat param yat

"O great one, greater even than Brahma, You are the original creator. Why then should they not offer their respectful obeisances unto You? O limitless one, God of gods, refuge of the universe! You are the invincible source, the cause of all causes, transcendental to this material manifestation."

This sloka has to be understood carefully. Devesa = Lord of Devas, jagan-nivasa = having Universe as His abode or Universe residing in Him, pervading in and around Univeres, ananta = without an end in space or by time or by substance. This is called trivida parichhedarahityam [त्रिविदपरिच्छेदरहित्यम ]. That is He can not be limited by time or by place. He also can not be identified in certain materials only. Kasma = who, na nameran = will not worship, te = You [Sri Krishna]? Mahatman = superior to all atman. Gariyase = greater than, brahmana = lord Brahma, api = even, adi-kartre = prime cause. The Lord only created lord Brahma. We saw that since He was the Creator of lord Brahma, He appeared here with Eight arms to eliminate Brahma's distress. Karta indicates nimitta [result] cause. Adi indicates the Lord is also the upadhana [raw material] cause. That is He is the cause for Brahma in all respects. Tvam = You [Sri Krishna] are, aksharam = undestroyable or everlasting atman. Here, atman indicates the bhaddha atman [भद्धात्मा]or all those still in this samsaram, struggling and not liberated. The Lord is the Possessor of all these everlasting atman. That is the Lord is pervading all atman, sustains all of them and has all atman as His body. We have heard of chit and achit in Chapter 2. All materials without gyana are achit. Jeevatman is chit. Moolaprakruti is achit. All matter we see like stone, building, etc., are achit. Moola prakruti is karana [कारण காரண] or primordial cause. What we see is the result or in karya [ कार्य கார்யம்] stage. If mud is karana, pot is karya. We can compare this to moola prakruti and achit. We see in the entire Universe the perceptible matter as the karya . This relation is meant in the words sad(t)-asad(t) [सत-असत ஸத்- அஸத்]. Both are without gyana. Moola prakruti in karana stage has no gyana; nor, all the materials we see in karya stage have gyana. The difference is that in karana stage no name or form is there. But in karya level, it will have a form and name. By the word asat, formless and nameless karana stage is meant. Sat indictaes all achit with form and name. All are mud in karana stage; they assume name and form as toy or pot or plate, in the karya stage. Sat is the resultant material occupying the Universe. Asat is moola prakruti. Thus Arjuna tells that the Lord is both sat and asat. That is the Lord is both achit - in karana stage and in karya stage. Aksharam is the atman entangled in the karana, karya achit. These atman are in human body or in insect body, etc. That is why it is called bhaddha jeevatman [bound soul]. So, the Lord is [bhaddha] atman and He is achit in karana and karya stages. Tat param = superior to that. That is souls which have been liberated from the entanglement in achit and which are enjoying eternal bliss and so superior to bhaddha atman. That is Muktatman [मुक्तात्मा]. That is the Lord is,

  1. Param, that is Muktatman,
  2. Aksharam, that is the bonded souls,
  3. Asat, achit of Moolaprakruti in karana stage and
  4. Sat, achit of all perceptible materials in karya stage.
Arjuna says that the Lord has all these Four entities as His body and commands them. So, He is the cause of Brahma, cause of all, without a cause for Himself, Leader of Devas, pervading entire Universe, Unlimited or Infinite, having Bhaddha, Mukta atman and achit as His body. Hence, why should not anyone worship the Lord? Asks Arjuna. Who will not worship Sri Ashtabhuja Perumal? We ask.