Monday, March 30, 2009
ennappanil, nanitthenkurugur nambi enrakkal
annikkum amudhurum en navukke.
[கண்ணிநுண் சிறுத்தாம்பினால் கட்டுண்ணப் பண்ணிய பெருமாயன், என்னப்பனில், நண்ணித் தென்குருகூர் நம்பி என்றக்கால், அண்ணிக்கும்
அமுதூறும் என் நாவுக்கே]
This is a pasuram from Madurakavi Alwar's 'kanninun chirutthambu'. He says whenever he recites any pasuram in Nammalwar's Thiruvaimozhi, he found nectar or amrut springing in his mouth! This program is also Kannanin Aaramudu [nectar of Sri Krishna]! The Lord's Bhagavad Gita is also amrut! Guided by Gita, Nammalwar's Thiruvaimozhi is also nectar! Nammalwar is famous for sweet words. As Parankusa Nayaki, 'her; words are sweet like parrot's! In Thiruvaimozhi, one can enjoy literary value, philosophical thoughts, experience in Kshetrams, social orders, etc. His Thiruvaimozhi consists of 100 decades of Ten pasurams each. Of these 73 decades are composed by Nammalwar as himself; but 27 decades are composed in the guise of a woman! In these latter verses the Alwar assumes himself to be the sweet-heart of the Lord, pining for Him! 'She' sends a mesenger to the Lord of Thirumoozhikalam. In these type of pasurams, 'she' would send a bird to convey to the Lord, 'her' condition and asking Him to come instantly to save 'her'! Four such decades are in this type - anjiramadanarai [அஞ்சிறைய மட நாராய்], ponnulagaliro [பொன்னுலகாளீரோ!], en kanal agam kazhivai [என்கானல் அகம் கழிவாய்] and vaigal poonkazhivai [வைகல் பூங்கழிவாய்]. Alwar composed enkanalagm kazhivai in praise of Thirumoozhikalam. 'She' sends an emissary to Sri Srisookti Nathan. Alwar calls the Lord as Sri Thirumoozhikalatthan [ஸ்ரீ திருமூழிக்களத்தான்]. Yesterday, we mentioned that the Lord exhibited mardava quality. By this nature the Lord can not bear the separation of mahatma like Nammalwar! But Sri Srisookti Nathan is indifferent! He is not melting down at the separation of Parankusa Nayaki! It is because of the great Bhaktas of this place. Surrounded by the Bhaktas of this place, the Lord forgot Parankusa Nayaki! 'She' thinks by sending birds as messengers, they would remind the Lord about 'her'. The Lord had forgotten His beauty. The Lord's beauty is of Two types - soundaryam [सौन्दर्यम ] and lavanyam [लावण्यम]. Soundaryam means every organ or part is beautiful. Lavanyam means beautiful as a whole! In humans we can rarely see both; but the Lord has both soundaryam and lavanyam. Alwar thinks that the Lord had forgotten about His soundaryam. So, 'she' thinks that by reminding His soundaryam, He would come to 'her'! Arjuna asks the Lord to show external and internal identifications for a person having crossed the Three qualities. Sri Krishna replied that such a person would never show dislike for unfavourable things nor will show eagerness to acquire desirable things. That person is beyond likes and dislikes. Arjuna wonders how that is possible for that person? Will not those Three qualities act on that person and make him to like and dislike? How could one remain passive when someone abuses or harms? Sri Krishna replies saying that the answer lied in the question itself! Arjuna is not able to comprehend. Satvam, rajas and tamas would act in their own way. That is inevitable. Then why we should show like and dislike, is the answer of the Lord. Arjuna said that these qualities were going to act and it was unavoidable; Sri Krishna says that therefore, why one should bother about them. It is like a driver caught in a traffic jam. Police informs that it might take half an hour to clear. What is the use in blaming and getting agitated? Some might use the opportunity to study and pass the time usefully. After half an hour the traffic eases and all proceed without any problem. That is we have to face an inevitable problem and take it in its stride. Similarly, one should understand the nature of the Three qualities and take them in their strides. This is being told by the Lord in sloka 23:
udāsīnavad āsīno guṇair yo na vicālyate
guṇā vartanta ity eva yovatiṣṭhati neṅgate 14.23
Asina = is like this. How? Udasinava = indifferent. Excepting matters relating to atman, this person is indifferent to whatever happens. It is like a situation, when we are going by a road. Many vehicles pass by and we are totally indifferent to them; but the moment we see a familiar vehcle, we instantly probe the passengers! Likewise, this person shows indifference to all worldly affairs. Na vicalyate = [he] is unperturbed, gunai = by the [Three] qualities. This happens to him because, guna = [Three] qualities, vartanta = would show their nature, which are inevitable. That s using the nature of satva quality to acquire knowledge, he is avoiding the effects of the Three qualities! That is, by having ambience such as proper food habits, yoga and careful speech, etc., this person develops satva quality and slowly crosses the Three qualities. Ye = whoever, avatishtati = stands firmly. That is understanding that all happenings are due to the influence of the Three qualities and they are inevitable. Atman has nothing to do wth those happenings. So, why anyone should be greedy or passionate or disillusioned? Clearly understanding that the Three qualities are showing their nature and atman is not at all connected with those actions, make the person to cross Three qualities. Atman, because of its association with body, has to face the effects of the Three qualities and as such atman has no role in those actions. This type of indifference to the happenings make him to cross the Three qualities. We now take leave of this Kshetram.
ANNOUNCEMENT: The conclusion [sattumurai சாற்றுமுறை ] of Bhagavad Gita is proposed to be done at the site where Gita originated - Kurukshetra. A grand tour covering Dwaraka, Brindavan, Pushkar and Kurukshetra is being organized, from 1st to 15th October, 2009. Those willing to join might approach Kinchitkaram Trust in Chennai.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
The corridor and the temple are very beautiful. Temple is built with wood and there are many rows of lamps attached to the wooden walls. Thirumangai Alwar in every pasuram describes Moozhikalatthu vilakku மூழிக்களத்து விளக்கு [Lamp of Thirumoozhikkalam]. The Lord is the Lamp of Thirumoozhikalam. Like a lamp, the Lord is visible and makes the surroundings visible! Thirunedunthandakam is a composition by Thirumangai Alwar. In the ponnanai [பொன்னானாய்] pasuram, he describes the Lord as the Light of Thirumoozhikalam, worshiped by the latecomers [pinnannar vanangm chothi பின்னானார் வணங்கும் சோதி]. Who are these latecomers? When Sri Rama was alive in this world, if we had lived, we could have had the opportunity of worshiping Him. Since we missed that, we are now latecomers. Alwar beckons all these latecomers to Thirumoozhikalam, to worship. We are going to see in each of the following Kshetrams, one quality of the Lord, which He showed to Nammalwar. In this Kshetram the Lord exhibited His quality of Mardavam [मार्दवं]. Mardavam means soft nature. This can be physically soft or mentally soft natured. The Lord has a very soft body; or, He is sorry, when His dear ones go away from Him. Soft nature makes one unable to hear bad news or unable to see others suffering. Swami Azhagiya Manaval Perumal Nayanar says that Sri Srisooktinathan has this quality mardavam, in abundance. He can not bear the separation of His dear ones, like the Alwars! In Thiruvaimozhi 9.7 decade, Alwar sends an emissary! The Lord appeared to Alwar, exhibiting His mardava quality! We also should worship the Lord by coming in great number to this Kshetram and get His blessings. In Malayala Kshetrams, only Sri Moolavar is there and so it is not possible to view any photograph of the Lord. The Lord appears standing with Four arms. He is holding discus and lotus in the right arms and conch and mace in the left arms. In the sloka 22, the Lord is going to tell Arjuna, exact opposite of the quality exhibited in this Kshetram! We can not have the same mind as the Lord, as He is Lord and we are mere servants! When devotees leave Him, He melts down like a wax. But a person who has crossed the Three qualities, never melts down! He is beyond such feelings. He is neither happy when loved ones come to him or hated ones depart, nor sorry when the vice versa happens! His mind is hardened and unmoved by any. This is the identification of a person, who has crossed the Three qualities. Here, the Lord is moved when His devotees go away; but the Lord says that a person having crossed the Three qualities is unmoved! Of course, the Lord is beyond the Three qualities, but He can melt down when devotees depart. We also can, in respect of God. We can feel very much for not having worshiped the Lord here. But we should never exhibit any feelings on worldly matters and for our kith and kin. If we do, then we will be bound in samsaram and we can never get liberated. Sloka 21 was Arjuna's querry, how to identify the person who has crossed the Three qualities and how he did that. The Lord replies in sloka 22:
prakāśaṃ ca pravṛttiṃ ca moham eva ca pāṇḍava
ta dveṣṭi saṃpravṛttāni na nivṛttāni kāṅkṣati 14.22
Prakasam = luminous Gyana, this is the symptom of satva guna's prominence, we saw earlier. Pravrtti = efforts, symptom of rajo quality. Moham = delusion, symptom of tamas quality. These Three symptoms will be seen as long as we have the Three qualities, till our atman is in a body. Na dvesti = never dislikes, when these symptoms are exhibited. That is, this person, crossing the three qualities, does not show dislike, when some thing he likes does not happen or when some thing he wants to avoid, happens. These are called anishtam, and as long as we are governed by the Three qualities, such anishtam would happen now and then. But, this person does not show hatred when such anishtam is encountered. Na kankshati = never likes. When desirables happen or undesirables do not happen, they are called ishtam. This person does not show liking for ishtam, either. That is when a desired one is going away, he does not take efforts to get it back. Thus, when anishta is encountered, this person does not show dislike; nor, this person takes efforts or yearns to get the desired ones or ishtam. Thes are the identifications of a person having crossed the Three qualities. He is beyond likes and dislikes. We should remember that such likes and dislikes should not be shown on worldly matters only, and not in atman or Paramatman matters.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
This place is popularly known as Moozhikkalam. River Bharatapuzha [பாரதப் புழா] flows nearby, attracting with its beauty. On both sides we can see trees and greenery! It is a wonderful sight to see the morning Sun reflecting and radiating multi colors! Like Ganges for North or Godavari for Maharashtra and Andhra or Kaveri for Karnataka and Tamilnadu, Bharatapuzha is for Kerala! This river is connected with Bharata and the Lord has a name Sri Lakshmana. The reason for this is traced to Ramayana! Sri Rama, obeying the orders of the Parents, went to forest to spend Fourteen years. He was in Chitrakoot wth Sri Sita and brother Lakshmana. At that time Bharata, returned from his uncle's house, found his father Dasarata dead and Sri Rama departed to forest; and so, was very angry. He abused his mother and vowed not to accept the Kingdom. Tamil poet Kamba says in the words of Guha, that even Thousand Sri Rama, would not be equal to one Bharata! He regarded the Kingdom as Sri Rama's and so rushed to Sri Rama in the forest to offer the Kingdom and bring Him back to Ayodya. But Lakshmana misunderstood, when Bharata came with army and entire Ayodya, and he thought Bharata wanted to drive away Sri Rama. When Lakshmana expressed his fear and wanted to oppose Bharata, Sri Rama advised that Bharata would never think like that and he might be coming to handover Kingdom. When Bharata arrived and fell at the feet of Sti Rama and pleaded to accept Kingdom, Lakshmana squirmed with shame for his misunderstanding of Bharata. Later, he fell at the feet of Bharata and repented for his thoughts. At that time both exchanged lots of words [or language]. Both wanted to obey Sri Rama and serve Him. In Tamil, language is mozhi [மொழி]. Since they exchanged language, that place was called Mozhi + Kalam [மொழி lamguage+ களம்place]. Thus this place is known as Thiru +mozhi + kalam, which later got transformed to Thirumoozhikkalam! It appears these words were spoken by Bharata and Lakshmana, here, after Sri Rama became the King and they toured these places! Thus this river is named after Bharata and the Lord is named after Lakshmana! The Lord is called Sri Sookti Nathan. Sookti in Sanskrit means language or mozhi in Tamil. Sri Thayar is Sri Maduraveni Nacchiyar [ஸ்ரீ மதுரவேணி நாச்சியார்]. Vimanam is Soundarya Vimanam and Theertham is Sanka Theertham. Nammalwar and Thirumangai Alwar have praised this Kshetram. We will now see sloka 21. Here, Arjuna asks a couple of questions. Thereafter Sri Krishna is going to reply. Sri Krishna told about the person with satva quality, crossing the Three qualities and attaining supreme level. He attains atma prapti. Arjuna asks Sri Krishna to tell how to identify such a person? Only then, we could follow them. What are such person's character and outward identifications? His inner symptoms might be realized by that person alone; so, we have to understand what would be the external identifications. Sloka 21:
kair liṅgais trīn guṇān etān atīto bhavati prabho
kimācāraḥ kathaṃ caitāṃs trīn guṇān ativartate 14.21
Two questions are asked here. Prabho = my [Arjuna's] Lord!, etan = these, trin = three, gunan = qualities, atita = crossed [person], kair = what, lingai = identifications, bhavati = would be? What would be the identifications of that person who had crossed all the Three qualities -satvam, rajas and tamas? What would be the inner identifications? Kim = what are, achara = his activities [external identifications], katham = how, trin gunan = three qualities were, ativartate = crossed [by him]? By what means, does he cross the Three qualities? We requre a boat to cross a river. Like wise, what is the aid to cross the Three qualities? Three qualities are not ike mere river, but are like a huge ocean! The Three qualities are inherent in the body. Then, how does the body-inbound atman, cross them with the same body? Arjuna wants to know how to identify the person. By merely seeing a person, we can not say whether he is learned or not. Identification is necessary to propagate the glory of that person. Vidura tells this as a point to Dridarashtra, for good rule. Madurakavi Alwar says that he wanted to spread the glory of Nammalwar everywhere [எண்டிசையும் அறிய இயம்புகேன்]. Only external or internal identifications might not be sufficient. Both should be known, as requested by Arjuna.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
guṇān etān atītya trīn dehī dehasamudbhavān
janmamṛtyujarāduḥkhair vimuktomṛtam aśnute 14.20
In the previous sloka, the Lord said that this person [with satva quality] attains His nature. It does not mean that person becomes another Paramatman! It means that person gets the nature of the Lord, which is unadulterated by Karma and by sufferings, and becomes the embodiment of Gyana and bliss. The Lord is unaffected by Karma and is always happy, without oldage, birth-death cycles and diseases! This will be the nature of that person also! Attaining this supreme level, the atman can ever remain serving the Lord. In that sloka, the Lord tells that atman attains atmaprapti or sees the true nature of atman. The Lord now explains what is His nature, which the atman attains. Dehi = atman [who is resident in a body], dehasamudbhavan = emerging from that body or originating from that body, trin etan gunan = these three qualities [satva, rajas and tamas], atitya = crosses. This atman crosses the three qualities, caused by body, which is a transformation of prakruti, which has Three qualities inherent. Atman is imprisoned in a body because of past Karma. Atman is influenced by the nature of the body, having the Three qualities. These we had seen earlier. Now, the Lord says that, after acquiring satva quality, he crosses over the Three qualities. What happens then? Janma = birth, mrityu = death, jara = oldage, dukha = sufferings, vimukta = released from, amrtam = nature of God, asnute = attains. By crossing the Three qualities, that atman attains the nature of the Lord of freedom from birth, death, oldage and sufferings. A doubt might arise. Earlier, the Lord has been advising that symptom for satva quality was Gyana well developed, and so one should have good character and proper food habits. Now the Lord says that the person who has crossed the Three qualities has no birth or no death! It means we have to cross satva quality also. But He has been preaching that we should cultivate satva quality and develop it. Are we to cultivate satva quality or are we to cross over the Three qualities, including satva quality? What is being advised by the Lord? Answer is, both. We have to cultivate satva quality, by having proper food habits and good character. We have to be involved in noble services like donating clothes, food, serving devotees, etc. These actions should continue as a chain and then, one crosses the Three qualities. It is like a person is told that unless he passed 12th he can not enter college; and so, he should complete the 10th standard! We will not raise any doubt here as we know that to reach 12th we have to be successful in 10th and after completing 12th standard, we reach college. This is the same position in what the Lord tells. We have to develop satva quality and continue, till we realize the true nature of atman. Then, we cross the Three qualities, including satva, and attain the nature of the Lord and are free from birth, death, oldage and sufferings! Over a period with sustained satva qualities, one crosses the Three qualities. We should take only satva food and do a number of good deeds. These would develop satva quality and after some time we cross Three qualities. We now take leave of Thiruvanjikalam and start the visit to all the Thirteen Divya desams in Malayala nadu [மலையாள நாடு]!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Tam aham shirasa vande rajanam kulasekaram ||
This sloka glorifies Kulasekara Alwar. He was born n Thiruvanjikalam in Masi-Punarvasu. He is regarded as the reincarnation of Kaustubha [கௌஸ்துபம்], the bright centre-piece jewel on the chest of the Lord! As the Lord is, so he was. Daily he used to listen to Ramayana. For this he had employed many scholars to lecture on Ramayana. One day, the lecture was about the fight between 14,000 Rakshasas on one side and Sri Rama, alone, on the opposite side, in Janasthanam! King Kulasekara, thought he was in Sri Rama's time, and immediately ordered his army to follow him to help Sri Rama, and proceeded to the ocean! While Sri Rama lived in Treta yug, Kulasekara Alwar lived in Kali yug. Forgetting the difference of Thousands of years, out of shear Bhakti, Kulasekara Alwar, was about to travel to defend Sri Rama! The lecturer realizing the mind of King Kulasekara, immediately said that Sri Rama destroyed all the Rakshasas in one muhurtam [about 45 minutes]! The lecturer further said that Sri Rama is with Sri Sita. On hearing this Kulasekara Alwar could see Sri Rama and Sri Sita gracing him! Kulasekara Alwar got pacified and returned to the palace! Thus he regarded Sri Rama's problems as his and so he is also addressed as Perumal! Kulasekara Alwar had composed Perumal Thirumozhi, taking Perumal from his title! It consists of 105 pasurams and praises Sri Srinivasa, Sri Govindaraja of Thillai [Chidambaram], Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Sri Ramganatha, the Lord of Thiruvittuvakkodu [திருவித்துவக் கோடு], etc. He had a daughter, Sri Serakulavalli, and was married to Sri Azhagiya Manavala of Srirangam. Even now on Sri Ramanavami day, the Lord appears together with Sri Serakulavalli Nacchiyar. He used to plan to go to Srirangam daily from this Kshetram. Today's [25th March 2009] lecture is from the sannidhi of Kulasekara Alwar.
It is a great fortune we could visit the temple on his birthday - Masi Punarvasu and so could see all the celebrations here. On this day Alwar is taken in procession near Sri Mukunda temple and graces Teertavari [தீர்த்தவாரி]. He is bathed in sacred water, milk, honey and blend of fruits, etc! Then the Alwar is taken to the pond for three dips! Then the Alwar returns to his sannidhi and along with the Lord, he listens to the sweet chanting of his pasurams by devotees. Swami Manavala Mamunigal praises this day as the celebration by good people! Now we will see sloka 19:
nānyaṃ guṇebhyaḥ kartāraṃ yadā draṣṭānupaśyati
guṇebhyaś ca paraṃ vetti madbhāvaṃ sodhigacchhati 14.19
By this sloka the Lord tells how an atman should think. How does one understand that satva quality is developed and dominant in oneself. In the beginning of this Chapter in Swami Alavandar's summary of Chapter 14, in his Gitarta Sangraha, we saw how these three qualities bind us. Upto sloka 18, the Lord told this aspect to Arjuna. Jeevatman is not the doer or atman is not responsible for actions. Then who? The combination of the Three qualities enable atman to do any action. By nature atman never acts. But under the influence of the Three qualities, atman acts in a body. This is the second aspect in this Chapter. The Third aspect is, how to get rid off the influence of the Three qualities. The Lord is going to explain this from sloka 19 to sloka 26. We have already seen how the Three qualities keep us bound in samsaram. Now, we are to see, how these qualities only are responsible for actions and not atman. The Lord calls that person in whom satva quality has well developed and is dominant, as drashta - looker. Are we and others, not seeing? The Lord says that only the person with satva quality sees the atman in its nature! For others looking will not be clear. Drashtan = [one with] satva quality, na pasyasi = does not see or look, like this. How? A Jeevatman sees, gunebhya = qualities, anya = different, kartaram = as doer. That is, person with well developed satva quality, does not see the atman as doing actions, but the Three qualities. Here, the Lord makes a point that for atman to act, it is the Three qualities only and nothing else. An atman in mukti or a muktatman never does any action, as it is the nature of atman. But when the atman has not reached mukti and is ordinary jeevatman like us, it is in a body formed from prakruti, inherent with the Three qualities. This concept should be well understood and borne in mind always. We should strive to cross the influence of the Three qualities. Gunebhya = from the Three qualities, param = superior, is atman, vetti = so, understands. This person with satva quality realizes that atman by nature is not responsible for actions and the Three qualities are cause for all actions. This way one should look at him. Then only will he understand that atman is not responsible for actions and atman is different from qualities. This way he should detach himself from tha actions. Person, who crosses the Three qualities, will never indulge in any bad actions. Does it mean we can disown our bad deeds? If Gita is properly understood and the nature of atman, the Three qualities and dedication of our actions to the Lord are properly grasped, then one will never act wrongly! Mad bhavam = My [Sri Krishna's] nature, sa = he, adhigacchati = attains. That is, such a person, attains the nature of the Lord. The Lord's nature is unalloyed with miseries and sins. Most superior nature is attained. There is an important question to be answered, for which we will wait!
Monday, March 23, 2009
From now, for some days, we will be visiting temples in Kerala. We are in Kerala, place where nature is in its beauty. Surroundigs attract our minds. From Trichur, at about 47 KMs is Kodungalur, from where at about 4 KMs is Thiruvanjikalam. Nearby is Thirukulasekarapuram [திரு குலசேகர புரம்], named after Kulasekara Alwar. As we enter the town we can notice the temple, raised in Chola architecture, for the Alwar. The Lord is Sri Srinivasa and there is a sannidhi for Alwar also. We now enter the temple. We see dwajasthambam and beyond it is maha mandapam. Then we see the sannidhi of Lord Sri Srinivasa, gracing as in Tirumala. Sri Utsavar is also Sri Srinivasa.
He is accompanied by Sri Sridevi and Sri Bhudevi. The doors of the sannidhi are beautifully carved. We can notice the Lord as in Paramapada [Vaikuntam], as in Thirupparkadal [Milk Ocean], His vibhava [incarnations] and the Lord appears as Sri Rama and as Sri Krishna, resembling the Lord at Mannargudi! We can also notice Alwars and Acharyas. This Alwar derives his glory from the very ancient temple of Lord Sri Mukunda, here. Kulasekara Alwar had composed Mukunda Mala, in praise of Lord Sri Mukunda. Some peaople say that one of his descendents had composed Mukunda Mala.
Sri Vallabheti varadeti dayapareti bhaktapriyeti bavaluntana ko videti |
Natheti nagasayaneti jagannivaseti alapanam pratipadam kuru mam Mukunda ||
Mukunda means He Who grants Moksham. Kulasekara Perumal, prays that he should chant Sri Mukunda's name daily. Alwar describes the advantages of the sense organs: tongue to chant His names, ears to listen to His names, eyes to see His divine images, hands to perform pooja and legs to reach His temples. He says that entire body is to serve Him only. It is requested that everyone should study Mukunda mala. Alwar says that he is not worried where he is born, in hell or heaven. That is His will; but, wherever he is born, he should get His blessngs and should always have devotion or Bhakti in Him. That is the only request he has. With Kulasekara Alwar's blessings we will now proceed to sloka 18. Sri Krishna describes further. In sloka 17, the Lord told that the result of satva quality was Gyana; result for rajo quality was greed or lobham; and, for tamo quality, ignorance or carelessness was the result. Now, the Lord tells where further these persons with different qualities were heading for. Sloka 18:
ūrdhvaṃ gacchanti sattvasthā madhye tiṣṭhanti
rājasāḥ jaghanyaguṇavṛttisthā adho gacchhanti tāmasāḥ 14.18
Where do persons with satva, rajo and tamo qualities, go, is explained here. Satvastha = those stable in satva quality. These persons develop satva quality in all ways: by taking satva type of food, by having satva lifestyle, surrounded by satva freinds, etc. Urdhvam gacchanti = [such persons, after life in the present birth] attain higher levels. Urdhvam does not merely mean up, but very high status pertaining to atman. That is he attains atma anubhavam and get atman sakshatkaram. Thus he goes up and would never have sufferings like, rebirths and deaths, hunger and oldage, etc. Rajasah = those with rajo quality, madhye = in the middle, tishtanti = remain. That is these persons will never get the high atma prapti, but swarga prapti and live in heaven. By being in the intermediate stage, they will have to come back to samsaram and suffer in rebirths, hunger, etc. Tamasa = those with tamo quality, vrittista = would develop tamo quality further, adho gacchanti = go to lower levels. It means they are reborn as animals or as human beings with very mean character, with no intellect. We may think swarga or heaven means all happiness; but, the thought that it is a tenure and one has to return back, will never keep one from enjoyment there. There are some shastra pronouncements for those who harm others. We harm others in Three ways: by speech, by mind and by action. By abusing noble persons and others by speech, one attains rebirth and is born as birds and animals. So we have to be very careful with what we speak. Mental abuse, would make one to be reborn as very low charactered humans, with ambitions for others' properties. Bodily hurting others would result in being born as plants and trees! It is rare to get birth as humans, that too with all proper organs, good mind and intellect. If we utilise this rare opportunity to develop satva quality in us, we will reach the zenith and be in atmanubhavam. Otherwise, we have to suffer in samsaram.
Friday, March 20, 2009
- Poigai Alwar - Kanchipuram
- Boothattalwar - Thirukkadalmalli [Mahabalipuram]
- Peyalwar - Mylapore, Chennai
- Thirumazhisai Alwar - Thirumazhisai
- Nammalwar - Alwar Tirunagari
- Madurakavi Alwar - Thirukkolur
- Kulasekara Alwar - Thiruvanjikkalam, Kerala [yet to be visited]
- Perialwar - Srivilliputtur
- Sri Andal - Srivilliputtur
- Tondaradipodi Alwar - Thirumandangudi
- Thiruppan Alwar - Nisulapuri or Woraiyur
- Thirumangai Alwar - Thirukkuraiyalur
- Swami Nathamuni - Kattumannar koil - 823
- Uyyakkondar -Thiruvellarai - 886
- Manakkal Nambi - Manakkal - 929
- Alavandar - Kattumannar koil - 976
- Periya Nambi -Srirangam - 997
- Thirukkoshtiyur Nambi - Thirukkoshtiyur - 987
- Thirumalai Andan - Azhagar koil - 988
- Alwar Tiruvaranga Perumal Araiyar [s/o Alavandar] - 1017
- Thirukkacchi Nambi - Poovirundavalli [Poonamalle] - 1009
- Swami Ramanuja - Sriperumbudur - 1017
- Koorattalwan - Kooram - 1010
- Mudaliyandan - Pettai - 1027
- Embar aka Govinda Perumal - Maduramangalam - 1021
- Engalazhvan - Thiruvellarai - 1097
- Parasara Bhatta [s/o Koorattalwan] - Srirangam - 1122
- Nanjeer - Tirunarayanapuram - 1113
- Nampillai [Varadacharya, author of Eedu] - 1147
- Periyavacchan Pillai - Chenganur - 1167 to 1262
- Vadakku Thiruveedhi Pillai - 1167
- Pillai Lokacharya [s/o Vadakku Thiruveedhi Pillai] - 1205
- Azhagiya Manvala Perumal Nayanar [s/o Vadakku Thiruveedhi Pillai] - 1207
- Thiruvaimozhi Pillai - Kuntinagaram - 1290
- Swami Manavala Mamunigal - Azhvar Tirunagari - 1371
- Nadathur Ammal aka Vatsya Varadacharya -
- Kidambi Appullar -
- Swami Vedanta Desika [nephew of Kidambi Appullar] - Thoopul - 1268
karmaṇaḥ sukṛtasyāhuḥ sāttvikaṃ nirmalaṃ phalam
rajasas tu phalaṃ duḥkham ajñānaṃ tamasaḥ phalam
These are the phalam [result] for satva, rajas and tamas qualities. It means, that if a person dies when anyone of satva, rajas or tamas qualities, was dominating and the result after rebirth. Sukrutasya karmana = he who has been doing noble Karmas. Sukrutasya means detached in results for the Karma being done or dedicating such Karmas as Bhagavad Aradana. Those are who perform such Karmas. We have to cross refer to earlier sloka. When a person died when satva quality was dominant, he would be reborn in the society of persons, who perform Karma with no attachment to results and with atma gyana as the only objective. Having born in such society, this person will also perform Karmas with atma gyana as the objective and dedicate them as Bhagavad Aradana. Those will be punya karma and not aspiring for inferior objectives. Nirmalam = blemishless without any alloy of sorrow and full of bliss, phalam = result, sattvikam = very pure and sacred. Thus a person, dieing when satva quality was prominent, is reborn in society of persons doing such atma gyana Karma, and performs similar Karma with no aspirations for inferior objectives, like swarga, and is full of satva quality; again, when he dies, is reborn again in society of persons with atma gyana Karmas, and is full of satvika quality; again, when he dies....It is a iterative process, repeating continuously! This is the result of dieing when satva quality was in dominant position. Rajas tu phalam dukham = but, a person dieing when rajo quality was dominant, he is reborn in the company of persons performing Karmas, aspiring for worldly pleasures, and so he also performs similar Karma. It is dukham or samsaram, as the result. Here also the cycle repeats. Ajnanam tamasa phalam = person dieing when tamo quality was dominant, he is reborn in society of animals, with no scope for intellect development. Here also cycle of similar rebirths is repeated.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
We can worship Sri Kanakavalli Thayar. We do not need kanakam [gold]; but we certainly need Golden hued Sri Thayar, as mentioned in Sri Sooktham and other Upanishads. As described by Alwars, we need those dazzling and soft Divine feet of Sri Thayar! Sri Thayar is also called Sri Vasumati [ஸ்ரீ வசுமதி]. In olden days this place was called Dharmasenapuram. This place was ruled by a King, Dharmasena and he brought up Sri Vasumati as his daughter. The Lord desired to marry Her! So, in the guise of an Youth, the Lord requested the King to get his daughter married to Him. The King was reluctant to part with his Daughter; immediately, the Lord made a promise that after marriage He would stay with His Wife, in father-in-law's place itself! Those of sons-in-law among us and staying in in-law's house might take strength from Sri Veeraraghava! After the Divine marriage, the Lord and Sri Thayar are gracing from this place. This Kshetram is being administered by Srimad Azhagiyasingar, the Jeer of Sri Ahobila Mutt. The Jeer is similarly administarting many temples and we are all able to worship the Divine Couple. The temple is kept very neatly and all employees in the temple are doing their duties very sincerely. All festivals are celebrated very enthusiastically. In the Naalayira Divya Prabhandam, Alwars have mentioned the names of 108 Kshetrams and they are called Divya Desams. This Kshetram has been praised by Thirumazhisai Alwar and Thirumangal Alwar. Swami Vedanta Desika has composed a stotram on Sri Kingruhesa! Tirumangai Alwar was praising the Kshetrams in North. As he entered South, in the Second Century [இரண்டாம் பத்து] itself, he praises this Kshetram. In the pasuram 'munnor thoodhu.. [முன்னோர் தூது..]', he mentions the Lord is lying down here, after His messenger service for Pandavas! The Lord as Sri Rama, sent Hanuman as messenger to Sri Sita and later destroyed Lanka by His bow! Same Sri Rama acted as messenger for Pandavas. Swami Parasara Bhatta, son of Swami Koorattalwan, and who lived during Swami Ramanuja's life time, was more an admirer of Sri Rama than of Sri Krishna! One of his disciples told Swami Parasara Bhatta, that Sri Krishna was more humble and showed greater simplicity, than Sri Rama! Swami Parasara Bhatta instantly replied quoting this pasuram and said that none asked Sri Rama to go as a messenger; also He sent Hanuman as a messenger. Therefore, in no way Sri Rama's greatness was lesser! The person who asked Swami Parasara Bhatta, was surprised how he could quote that pasuram even before he could finish his question and reply! He concluded that Swami Parasara Bhatta had already prepared this answer! Now we will see sloka 15. In the previous sloka, the Lord stated what the consequences were, if a person died when satva quality was predominant. Such a person, in his next birth would be born amidst persons having atma gyana and having no blemishes of ignorance; thus he continues to acquire more and more atma gyana. In today's [19th March 2009] sloka, the Lord mentions what would be the consequences, when a person died with either rajo or tamo quality predominant:
rajasi pralayam gatva
tatha pralinas tamasi
"When one dies in the mode of passion, he takes birth among those engaged in fruitive activities; and when one dies in the mode of ignorance, he takes birth in the animal kingdom."
Why only one sloka for both rajas and tamas qualities, while one full sloka for satva quality? These two qualities -rajas and tamas- are to be discarded, then why waste one more sloka! We have to regard rajo and tamo qualities as our enemies and satva quality as our freind. Rajasi = [when ] rajo [quality, was prominent], pralayam gatva = [if the person] reached death. Here pralayam does not mean the occasional deluge but the daily happening death among living beings. Karma-sanghi = [those] involved in Karmas, like performing various yagnas to attain swarga, etc. Jayate = is born [among such people]. He is reborn amidst persons interested and performing Karmas for reaching Heaven and enjoying life for greater length of time than on this Earth. This is because at the time of death, that person had rajo quality dominating. We have seen rajo quality has the symptoms of lust and desire. Tamasi = [person with] tamo quality, pralina = dying, mudha-yonishu = in senseless species, jayate = [he is] reborn. When tamo quality is predominant at the time of death, a person is reborn in inferior species like animals, where there is no scope for development of intellect. That is he is reborn with the darkness of ignorance. When we act senselessly, we are chided as 'mudha' [மூடன்]! Thus the three qualities dominant at the time of death, result in rebirths in various circumstances - satva amidst intellects, rajo amidst haughty group and tamo amidst inferior animals, with no scope for development of intelligence. We will now take leave of this Kshetram.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
We can see the enchanting beauty of the Lord, Sri Utsavar. Right hand is showing abhaya and left hand is holding the mace. We will now see sloka 14. In slokas 11, 12 and 13, the Lord indicated the symptoms, when satva, rajas and tamas qualities are predominant, respectively. When satva quality dominates Gyana will be bright in our sense organs; we understand the true nature of the matter we perceive. When rajo quality dominates, lust, greed, passion and useless activities will be symptoms. In tamo quality dominated person, lack of knowledge, understanding one for another and laziness will be symptoms. Slokas 14 and 15 are important. The Lord tells what would happen when a person dies when satva quality was dominating, when rajo quality was dominating and when tamo quality was dominating. In sloka 14, He tells the fate of person dieing when satva quality is predominant and in sloka 15, when rajo and tamo qualities are prominent. It is good for us to know what consequences are there when death occurs at the time of domination of a particular quality. In a way the Lord is threatening us with consequences. This is needed to select our routines in our daily life. Students are threatened with consequences, if they do not concentrate on studies, so that their future would be bright. Both encouragements and threats are necessary to make a person to get involved in a particular activity. Now, sloka 14:
yada sattve pravrddhe tu
pralayam yati deha-bhrt
"When one dies in the mode of goodness, he attains to the pure higher planets of the great sages."
Pratipadyate = attains; when satva quality is dominant, if a person dies, he would attain this, says the Lord. That is the atman of that person, is going to leave the present body and take up a new body, or is going to be born. Yada = when, satve = satva quality is, pravrddhe tu = well developed and dominating, deha-bhrt = supporter of body [atman], pralaym yati = departs, or the person dies, tada = then, that atman, pratipadyate = attains, amalan = blemishless, that is without the blemish of ignorance, uttama-vidan = supreme level, lokan = place or society. That is, this persons attains the company of noble persons who all want to have atman sakshatkaram. By being born in such a society, this person will do more punya karma and get atman sakshatkaram. After all our life is shaped by surroundings only! Probability to perform punya Karma increases. Our up-bringing determines our life objectives! One may argue that if this was the condition, then one would develop satva quality for a short duration before death! But none can predict death and so it is better to have satva quality always! We do not have to worry about death also.
Monday, March 16, 2009
It is called Hruththapa nasini [ஹ்ருத்தாப நாசினி]. Hruth [heart or mind], thapam [heat] and nasini [destroyer]. That is, capable of eliminating all heat [sufferings] in our mind. What makes us to feel heat? Ignorance itself is a suffering. Adyatmika [ஆத்யாத்மிகம் our own makings], adidaivika [ஆதி தைவதம் God's punishments] and adibowthika [ஆதிபௌதிகம் Nature's fury] cause sufferings. These sufferings are remedied in this pushkarini. Let us see the glory of this Pushkarini. Long ago, there was a King Pradyumna. He prayed the Lord to bless him with a child. The Lord appeared before him, on a Thai - Amavasya [தை அமாவாசை]. When the Lord enquired what the King needed, besides praying for a child, he also requested that since the Lord appeared on a Thai-Amavasya, henceforth, on all Thai-Amavasya days, all the sacred rivers of this country Bharat, should appear in the waters of this Pushkarini. By seeing or touching or drinking or bathing in the water of the Pushkarini on those days, people's heat in the mind should vanish! From that time Thai- Amavasya is very special for this Pushkarini. Ecery month on Amavasya day, Thousands of devotees arrive to worship the Lord here. It is believed that by adding jaggery [வெல்லம் vellam in Tamil], all our diseases are cured. Sashi Devi was the daughter of Daksha Prajapati. She married lord Shiva. Daksha Prajapati performed an Yaga, but lord Shiva was not invited. However, Sashi Devi attended the Yaga, performed by her father. She was humiliated and she committed suicide. Lord Shiva was provoked and he ordered Veerabhadra to destroy the Yaga. Because of this Veerabhadra incured sin and so he came to this place and after bathing in this pond, and mediatating on the Lord, got his sins eliminated. This place is also known as Veeksharanyam [வீக்ஷாரன்யம்] and Punya Avartha Kshetram [புண்ய ஆவ்ருத க்ஷேத்ரம்]. Punya will increase by manifolds. That way we gain. We can get our punyas increased by many times here. Once the Lord destroyed demons Madhu and Kaitapa, who were a menace to people. Having got victory [vijayam விஜயம்], the vimanam is named Vijaya koti vimanam. We will now see sloka 13:
aprakaso ’pravrttis ca
pramado moha eva ca
tamasy etani jayante
"When there is an increase in the mode of ignorance, O son of Kuru, darkness, inertia, madness and illusion are manifested."
Kuru-nandana = Arjuna [ of Kuru dynasty]. Since Arjuna was born in this great dynasty, he should develop only satva quality and discard the other two. He is to bring happiness [ananda] to himself and his dynasty and so he should listen to the Lord. The following are the symptoms of a person with tamo quality:
- Aprakasa = without brightness, or darkness, indicating lack of knowledge. Swami Ramanuja says it means Gyana anudaya or knowledge not born.
- Apravrtti = not engaged in [any] action [laziness].
- Pramada = carelessness, preventing performing our duties prescribed and to be done at a scheduled time.
- Moha = delusion, understanding things in confused way. Here, though knowledge is born, confusion exists. It is viparita Gyana, where we mistake one for another.
- Gyana anudayam - not understanding the matter. He will not know what Vedas and Puranas have told. He will not know what are his duties. We might not know many things. It hardly matters; but to know what is good for oneself has to be known. Not knowing this is aprakasa.
- Annasa Gyana - one sees the matter but understands its quality wrongly. For example, understanding the white color of conch as yellow due to defect in the eyes.
- Viparita Gyana - here the matter is understood differently, like thinking a rope to be snake.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
We can worship him seated and with folded hands. He is holding Tridanda [த்ரிதண்டம்] in his right arm. So, he might have adopted sanyasam, and be an ascetic. From his face it is clear that he had removed kama [lust], krodam [anger], madha [ madness] and ragam [desire]. We can worship Lord Sri Varadaraja of this place. He is gracing ready to bless anyone coming to Him to worship! Sri Utsavar is in standing pose with right hand in Abhaya mudra and left hand in Kati mudra. He is accompanies by Sri Sridevi and Sri Bhudevi. Sri Moolavar is in seated pose with right hand in Abhaya mudra and left hand is placed on His left knee. Swami Nathamuni was born in circa 823. Hia disciple, Swami Uyyakondar, was born in circa 886. Swami Mankkal Nambi was born in circa 929, in Masi- Makam [மாசி மகம்] as Ramamisra. He was well learned. He became disciple of Swami Uyyakondar and learnt all shastras. He had intense devotion to his Acharya. This place got the name Manakkal, from Swami Manakkal nambi! Swami Uyyakondar lost his wife and Swami Ramamisra [Manakkal Nambi] helped in performing all last rites. Swami Uyyakondar had two young girls and Swami Ramamisra used to accompany them to bathe in Kaveri and bring home. Once, while returning from Kaveri, there was a slushy patch in the way and the girls did not know how to cross over it. Swami Ramamisra, immediately laid down on the slushy patch and made the girls to cross by walking over his body! That was his Acharya Bhakti. Since the girls' muddy feet were pressed on his body, he was given the title manal [மணல் mud] + kaal [கால்feet]. He thus became Swami Manakkal Nambi and this place came to be known as Manakkal. Swami Nathamuni taught all that he wanted to teach his grand son, Swami Alavandar, to Swami Uyyakondar, who taught them to Swami Manakkal Nambi. We know how Swami Mankkal Nambi transformed Swami Alavandar, who was a Ruler, to Acharya status, by feeding Alavandar with particular greens [தூதுவளை கீரை thooduvalai keerai] and teacing him and showing the great treasure, Sri Ranganatha at Srirangam temple! Thus the service rendered by Swami Manakkal Nambi is important. Swami Vedanta Desika, in his Yatiraja Saptati, praises Swami Manakkal Nambi as the Fourth Rama, as he was known as Swami Ramamisra also! First Rama, Sri Parashu Rama, was claiming bhoomi or lands [Kingdoms], while the Fourth Rama, showed the patience of bhoomi [Mothr Earth]! Sri Rama, the Second among Ramas, killed rakshasas or demons, while the Fourth Rama, attached himself with satva persons [satvika] amd did good to all. Sri Balarama, was in the habit of drinking and off the mind [madham], while Swami Ramamisra, removed all madha [madness] and other bad qualities such as likes and dislikes! He bathed in the great ocean of Bhakti, and removed the heat from three sufferings [adhyatmika, adhidaivata and adhbowtika]. Many people do not visit this place, though it is situated near Srirangam and Anbil. Even if exclusive visit might not be possible, on way to Anbil, this place should be visited by all. This Acharya is famous for removing rajo and tamo qualities, and today's sloka also reveals what we are to avoid. Sloka 12:
lobhah pravrttir arambhah
karmanam asamah sprha
rajasy etani jayante
O chief of the Bharatas, when there is an increase in the mode of passion the symptoms of great attachment, fruitive activity, intense endeavor, and uncontrollable desire and hankering develop.
Bharatarsabha = Arjuna, hero among Bharata dynasty [indirectly hinting that Pandavas are going to rule the Kingdom]! The Lord lists the symptoms in a person, when rajo quality dominates. Five indications are given:
- Lobha = unwlling to share or donate, things dear to us.
- Pravriti = engaged in useless actions, like biting nails, tapping on the lap, plucking grass, etc. These actions do not produce any results but shows rajo quality.
- Karmanam arambhah = Beginning actions, for inferior objectives like reaching heaven or Chandra lok, etc. Should they not be done? No, we should never take any efforts for obtaining lower and inferior results. We should do anything which will take us to Moksham as taught by Alwars and Acharyas.
- Asamah = sama means control of organs, while here asama means uncontrolled organs. Seeing what should not be or tasting what should not be or thinking what should not be, are all indicative of rajo quality.
- Sprha = desires in objects and enjoying them.