We have returned to Sriperumbuduur, birth place of Swami Ramanuja. Today's [19th January 2009] lecture is from Sri Embar Jeer Mutt, here. From circa 1834, H.H. Embar Jeer lived with his original name Krishna. How he got the name Embar jeer? We now Thirukkovalur [திருக்கோவலூர்]. Krishna was born in a place Satyamur, near Thirokkovalur. Since he was born in Avani -Rohini [ஆவணி- ரோஹிணி], same as Lord Sri Krishna's birthday, he was christened Krishna. He learnt all shastras. The parents planned to get him married; but at that time itself, Krishna told that he was not interested in marriage. His desire was only in serving the Lord. He proceeded to worship the Lord of Tirumala. After crossing the hills, he lived in Tirumala. There he desired to become a sanyasi, and so requested the Periya Jeer Swami in Tirumala. He stipulated a condition. He agreed to initiate Krishna into priestsihood, provided he did according to Periya Jeer Swami's conditions. We would have noticed that all the sanyasins of Visishtadvaita philosophy, carry tridanada [திரிதண்டம்]. In that three bamboo sticks are fastened together. That is why it is called Tridanda. Its significance is that entities are Three: Iswara, Chit and Achit. We would have noticed Tridanda with Swami Ramanuja also. Periya Jeer Swami asked Krishna to procure three bamboos grown together at the same place. Normally, such bamboos can not be seen. But with the blessings of Lord Sri Srinivasa, Krishna was able to find and got them to Periya Jeer Swami. Krishna was initiated into priesthood and became a sanyasi. From Tirumala, he came to this place and was serving Swami Ramanuja sannidhi here. He was very much captivated by the appearance of Swami Ramanuja's idol. During Thirumanjanam, kattiyam [திருமஞ்சன கட்டியம்] used to be chanted. That is Swami Ramanuja's physical beauty would be described. Beauty of his limbs, his neck, etc., would be described. Also we have seen Nitya vibhuti and Leela vibhuti. Swami Ramanuja used to worship the Lord of Tirumala in North and Sri Ranganatha in South. That custom also was established here by this Sanyasi. Also in the Chiitirai [சித்திரை] month Thiruvadirai festival, on the Sixth day, Swami Ramanuja would be decorated with white robes [vellai sathuppadi kainkaryam வெள்ளை சாத்துப்படி கைங்கர்யம்]. We have seen earlier that due to problem from Kirumi kanda Chola [கிருமி கண்ட சோழன்] king, Swami Ramanuja had to leave Srirangam and escape to Melkote. At that time to avoid identification, Swami Ramanuja removed his usual saffron robes and put on white robes. On this day in the festival, that incident is recapitulated. This festival also was started by Swami Embar Jeer. At present the Eleventh Peethatipati [11th successor] is administering the Mutt. He is H.H. Appan Ramanuja Jeer Swami. We will now listen to his words of wisdom [anugraha bhasha அநுக்ரஹ பாஷணம்]:
Swami Ramanuja was avatar of Adisesha. Though he was taken to Srirangam, the eminence of his birthplace never lost its importance. That is why the idol which Swami Ramnuja loved - Than uganda Thirumeni தானுகந்த திருமேனி - is installed here. He had passed his power into that idol. Like Swami Ramanuja, another person appeared to reform all activities here. He was Swami Embar Jeer. He came here for services after getting directions from Swami Embar. After seeing all the prevailing conditions, he reformed the activities and brought the place into eminence. As a brahmachari [bachelor] he was worshiping a personal idol of the Lord Sri Srinivasa, which idol is still maintained in the mutt. He used to converse with Swami Ramanuja. Once he could not sleep, and he found the reason as flowers were not properly decorated on Swami Ramanuja idol! Then he got the temple archaka to open the sannidhi and organize the decoration! Such was his intimacy with Swami Ramanuja. He lived a very simple life. Initially, he was not properly cared for by the people here. He lived in a place where there were many serpents; perhaps. it is a link to his closeness with Swami Ramanuja, an incarnation of serpent Adisesha. He reorganized and ensured proper honours for Swami Ramanuja here. He established the thirumanjana kattiyam here. He developed many scholars. Thus he was also a reformist like Swami Ramanuja. This Mutt is famous for feeding pilgrims. It is apt that Velukkudi lecture on Gita, is here, and is based the Gita Bhashyam of Swami Ramanuja of this place. We wish him more success and long life.
[Now back to the lecture on Bhagavad Gita:]
We are to see sloka 9 of Chapter 13:
nityam ca sama-cittatvam
"detachment; freedom from entanglement with children, wife, home and the rest; even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events;"
Here also Three qualities are mentioned:
13. Ashakti = indifferent. Excepting atman, he has no interest in other things. He is interested in knowing more about atman and does not show any interest in other matters. He neither hates them nor likes them. He is enthusiastic to learn atman; but remains aloof from other matters. This we notice in our life also. If we have interest in a particular subject then we are keen; otherwise we are totally indifferent. Karma yogi or Bhakti yogi has understood the difference between body and soul, and so his interest will be only in knowing more about soul.
14. Anabhisvanga = detached, putra-dara-grhadisu = in children, wife, house,etc,. He is detached from family interests and worldly affairs. This is not the temperement to be possessed by ascetics or sanyasi. After all they renunciate family life and take up priesthood. Gita is not exclusively for sanyasi. It is meant for those in family life also. Then, if the person is disinterested in family, how can family be run? Sri Krishna does not preach that we should abandon or hate family and its members; but we have to follow dharma. For upholding dharma shastras, one should have interest in family. All family members should be for just upholding dharma as in shastras. Beyond that one should be away from family. We should have desires in family life just sufficient to keep dharma; beyond this anything is poison [அளவுக்கு மீறினால் அமுதமும் நஞ்சு!]. We need not abandon family. We should avoid excessive attachment. Head of the family is responsible to maintain family. We should not think that we are attached to a particular family for ever, in all our previous births also. We have a car, it should be just the need for transport purposes. But if we go on upgrading the car, then it is to publicize and show as a staus symbol. This should be avoided. Similarly, we should regard family for purposes of maintaining shastras as per dharma and nothing beyond.
15. Nityam = always, sama-cittatvam = balanced mind in, ista = desirables, anista = undesirables, upapattisu = when they are attained. Mind should be steady whether desirables or undesiables are encountered. It should be steady always.