Wednesday, January 14, 2009

BG 13.7

We have come to Poovirundavalli [பூவிருந்தவல்லி], more popularly known as Poonamalle [பூந்தமல்லி], a sub-urb of Madras city. Today's [15th January 2009] lecture is from Sri Varadaraja Perumal sannidhi. Apart from Sri Varadaraja, here Sri Ranganatha [Periya Perumal பெரிய பெருமாள்] and Sri Srinivasa [Tirumalai Appan திருமலை அப்பன்] are also gracing. We might be wondering how the Lord from Three Kshetrams are gracing here? We have already seen that Swami Thirukkacchi Nambi [திருக்கச்சி நம்பிகள்] was born in this place. He got the name Thirukkacchi Nambi, though born here. It is because, daily he used to collect flowers and make them into beautiful garlands, and would visit Sri Varadarajaswami temple in Kanchi and offer the garlands. He would remain there and serve the Lord by fanning Him and return by evening. This service is called Thiruvalavattam service[திருவாலவட்டம் கைங்கர்யம்]. Aalavattam [ஆலவட்டம்] means fan [விசிறி]. When he was born his parents had christened him as Gajendra Dasa [கஜேந்திர தாசன்]. But because of his daily service at Kanchipuram Sri Varadaraja Perumal temple, made him popular as Thirukkacchi Nambi or Kanchi Poorna.While doing such noble service to the Lord, once he was indisposed and so could not go to Kanchipuram. After waiting for His devotee, till night, the Lord decided to meet Swami Thirukkacchi Nambi at his place. Here, Swami Thirukkacchi Nambi also was restless as he could not serve the Lord. Next day as the day dawned, the Lord presented Himself before Swami Thirukkacchi Nambi; thus the Lord is gracing in this temple in Poovirundavalli.
varadharAjan in thirukachchi nambigal sannidhi poovirundhavalli

The Lord as Moolavar is with right arm showing abhaya; left hand is above the left knee, promising good things for those who worship Him. Utsavar is Sri Devarajan or Sri Varadarajan. He is showing abhaya by His right hand and left arm is pointing to His Divine feet. Those who seek His divine feet, need have no fears. Like Swami Thirukkacchi Nambi we can also serve the Lord. For this we should go to this place and worship the Lord and Swami Thirukkacchi Nambi. The Lord seem to tell us that we should also cultivate the service attitude Swami Thirukkacchi Nambi possessed. Why the Lord of Srirangam and Thirumala also are gracing here? Swami Thirukkacchi nambi decided to do the aalavattam service and wanted to select the temple. First he went to Srirangam. When he approached the Lord, He told that since He was amidst cooling rivers, and so did not need that service. Next he approached the Lord of Tirumala. There the Lord said that being atop hill, already weather was cool, and so He also did not want fanning service. Next he came to Kanchipuram, where the Lord was amidst Yagna kunds and so place was very hot! In fact one can notice scars on the face of the Lord, as He emerged from the flames of Yagna kund! Thus Swami Thirukkacchi Nambi selected Kanchipuram and started Aalavattam service! One can notice Kacchikku vaitthan mandapam [கச்சிக்கு வைத்தான் மண்டபம்] on Hastigiri. The Lord arrives there and there Swami Thirukkacchi Nambi served the Lord continuously for many years. This is the reason why the Lord of all the Three kshetrams are here.

Sri Ranganatha, Moolavar, is with Four arms and is reclining. Utsavar is radiating with brightness and is gracing with Ubhaya Nacchiyars. Sri Srinivasa resembles the Lord at Tirumala. He directs His devotees to surrender at His feet, and He would reduce the ocean of samsaram to knee depth. One can thus very quickly worship the Lord of the Three Kshetrams in one go [Three in One!]. In Chapter 13, the Lord tells what are the benefits that accrue by worshiping the Lord. We understand that atman is different from body. We then know that serving the lord is our duty. We have to gain this knowledge and cultivate good qualities. Now, the Lord is going to list some Twenty qualities, we ought to develop, in the next Five slokas starting from sloka 7:
amanitvam adambhitvam
ahimsa ksantir arjavam
acaryopasanam shaucam
sthairyam atma-vinigrahah

"Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bona fide spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control;"

Here Nine qualities are described:
  1. Amanitvam = avoiding disrespect to elders. Mani [मानी] means disrespect. Amani [अमानी] is opposite, being respectful.
  2. Adambhitvam = avoiding advertising for fame. Even good things we might do should not be for any publicity.
  3. Ahimsa = Never hurt. It means not to hurt by action, by words and by thoughts. Never to offend anyone.
  4. Ksanti = patience. We should remain composed even when provoked. Remaining calm while asleep is not ahimsa; but when we are kindled to retort, we maintain calmness.
  5. Arjavam = honesty. All our deeds, words and thoughts should be same. Mere talking truth or not stealing alone are not honesty. Our actions should conform to our speech and mind.
  6. Acaryopasanam = serving Acharyas [Teachers]. We derive all qualities from Acharya and so it is necessary to serve Acharya. In Srivaishnava tradition, it is an important task. Swami Ramanuja wanted to serve Swami Thirukkacchi Nambi; Swami Koorattalwan wanted to serve Swami Ramanuja. We should always remember the help given by Acharyas, and be grateful to them, always.
  7. Shaucam = cleanliness. Mere body cleanliness is not intended; but also cleanliness of our words and thoughts. Chanting the Divine names of the Lord keeps our speech clean; and, meditating on the Lord keeps our mind pure.
  8. Sthairyam = determination.We should be firm in our belief in the Lord and in Vedas. We should have unwavering faith in the Lord, that He protects us always. Even devotees face hardships. At those times they might be provoked by others to lose faith in Him. They should never allow such opportunities to shake their determination.
  9. Atma-vinigraha: = control of mind. Here atma indicates mind. Unless mind is controlled, we can never gain any other good quality. Sometimes we donate to temples and want our names to be publicized. At those times mind should ponder, whether our thinking to publicize our names was alright. After all, we are not donating anything of ours to the Lord, but we are returning some of His property to Himself. We should feel that an opportunity was given to us to participate in His service. This type of thinking is possible, only if mind is controlled.
Thus respecting elders, modesty, non-violence, patience, straight-forwardness, service to Acharya, cleanliness, resolve and control of mind, are the Nine qualities we ought to develop.

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