Thursday, April 30, 2009

BG 15.19

Nammalwar says that the Lord of Thirukkaditthanam is seated in his heart. Normally, if we want the Lord to be seated in a place, we ensure the place is clean. Alwar says, he requested the Lord to drive away all bad elements like anger, jealousy, etc., from his heart, so that the place was clean for the Lord to come in! Kadi [கடி] in Tamil means fragrance. Thanam [தானம்] is the mutilated form of sthanam, meaning place or residence. Thus, this place is the residence for fragrance! A large variety of flowers with captivating scent, are here. This place is famous for flowers. This place was reconsecrated by Sahadeva, the youngest of Pandavas. Sahadeva, who was an expert in Astrology, came to this place. He saw the great compound walls of this temple.

Thrickodithanam MadhiL.
Even now we can see the grand compound wall and the greenary. He wanted to know about the history of this place from the locals. Rukmangadha was a King and he had a garden with many fragrant flowers. He used to offer these flowers to the Lord and worship. Once sage Narada came to the King, who offered a garland made from these flowers. Narada went to Indra. Indra was captivated by the flowers and enquired from Narada, where he obtained those flowers. Narada told that he got the flowers from King Rukmangadha. Indra wanted to have the flowers for him and so he deputed some Devas to daily procure those flowers from the King's garden, unnoticed by others. Thus he was recieving the flowers daily; but on earth, King Rukmangadha was noticing that he could not offer flowers to the Lord as earlier and he was puzzled! So, he reinforced the security of the garden, Still, the culprits could not be found and flowers were disappearing. It was one cold morning in Winter, and watchmen on duty had made fire out of branches from some particular trees in the garden and were basking in the heat! The smoke from those wood was surrounding the garden. This smoke had the capacity to cancel the power of Devas and so those Devas who came to take away the flowers lost their power and were caught by the garden security. They were produced before the King, but the King knowing that they had come from Indra to fetch flowers, took pity on them and released them. But those Devas said that they had lost their power and they could regain only if someone, observing Ekadasi fasting properly, came and offered his punya, and then they could go back to Indra! King searched all over this place to find any person observing Ekadasi fasting. Finally, one old woman was identified and in front of the Lord, she offered her punya to the Devas, who regained their lost power and flied to meet Indra. From that time King Rukmangadha realized the greatness of Ekadasi and decided to observe Ekadasi fasting strictly and regularly. When the old woman offered her punya, the Lord as Sri Adbhuta Narayana appeared to her and to Rukmangadha. Sahadeva on learning this history of the place decided to meditate here and reconsecrate the temple. We will now move to see sloka 18:

yasmāt kṣaram atītoham akṣarād api cottamaḥ
atosmi loke vede ca prathitaḥ puruṣottamaḥ 15.18

"Therefore, I am being glorified in Vedas and Smritis", says the Lord Sri Krishna. The word 'therefore' is the logical conclusion of what the Lord told in sloka 17. That is, as He was pervading in all, as He was supporting all, as He was the Commander for all and as He possessed all, He was different from all Chit and Achit. Therefore, He was the Most Supreme entity or Purushottama, and was praised in Vedas and other scriptures. Apurusha indicates Achit, purusha indicates Bhaddha Jeevatman, uthpurusha indicates Mukta atman and utthara purusha indicates Nitya atman. The Lord alone is Utthama Purusha. In the last sloka, the Lord established by reasoning that He was Paramatma. Therefore, the Lord says in this sloka, that He is being acclaimed by Vedas and other holy scriptures! Yasmat = by which. That is by the quality of all pervading, all supporting, commanding all and possessing all. Ksaram = Ksharam [bhaddhatma], aksara = Akshara [Mukta atma], aham = I [Sri Krishna] am, atita = much, uttama = Superior. The Lord is different from Kshara and Akshara and much superior to them. We have seen that Kshara means Bhaddhatma like us, where atman is in Achit bodies, which decay. Akshara are Mukta atman, who are liberated souls and have no decaying body. Ata = therefore, [that is, being different from all others], asmi = I [Sri Krishna] am, vede = in Vedas, loke = in smrithi, Itihasa, Purana and all holy scriptures, prathita = well acclaimed, purushottama = as Purushottama. In the last sloka He described Himself as Purushottama and Paramatma. Here, He confirms that He was Purushottama. We saw the Lord reasoning why He was superior to all others. We have to see this reasoning from another angle. The Lord is different from and superior to Achit, Bhaddhatma, Mukta atma and Nitya atma. We will see the limitation or defects in each of them. Achit is subject to change in its physical form. Our body undergoes change from birth and finally, gets destroyed in death. It is the nature of all matter without Gyana, which we call Achit, to be in constant change and destruction. This defect is not there in the Lord and so He is superior to Achit. In Bhaddhatma, though atman in a body never undergoes any physical change, its quality changes according to the body in which atman is resident. This Bhaddha atma enjoys, suffers, and does all sorts of things, and so does good and evil, and accumulates papa/punya. This is a defect in Bhaddha atman, not found in the Lord and so He is superior to Bhaddha jeevatma. The Lord is same always. His nature never changes, despite the many forms He takes, whether He is Narayana or Hari or Vamana! What about Mukta atman, who is no longer burdened by the decaying body, as it is liberated? But Mukta atman had a past history as Bhaddhatma! This defect is not in Paramatma, Who is Paramatma always. The Lord never underwent the turmoils of samsaram and so He is superior to Mukta Atman also. How about Nityasuris or Nitya atman like Adisesha, Garuda, Vishvaksena, etc., who never had a birth in samsaram like Bhaddhatma or Mukta atma? Their glories are not from self made, but because of service to Paramatma. It is derived glory for them. Therefore, He is superior to Nitya atma also.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

BG 15.18

We should understand that Bhagavan, God, is superior to all. It is a wonder unexplainable. It is a wonder or adbutam अद्भुतं, in Sanskrit [arputham அற்புதம் in Tamil]. The Lord as Sri Adbhuta Narayana [ஸ்ரீ அற்புத நாராயணன்] is gracing in Thirukkadithanam [திருக் கடித்தானம்]. We have come to this Kshetram in Kerala. As usual, nature is bountiful in this place, also. We first see the temple pond, Bhoomi Theertham. Vimanam is Punyakoti Vimanam. The Lord is Sri Adhbhuta Narayana and Sri Thayar is Sri Karpakavalli Thayar [ஸ்ரீ கற்பகவல்லி தாயார்]. Nammalwar had dedicated 11 pasurams [8.6] in Thiruvaimozhi, to this Lord here. In the pasuram 8.6.10, Alwar says 'arputhan narayanan ari vamanan, nirppadhu mevi, iruppadhu en nenjagam [அற்புதன் நாராயணன் அரி வாமனன், நிற்பது மேவி, இருப்பது என் நெஞ்சகம்!]'. He describes Thirukkaditthanam as surrounded by orchard of Karpaka trees! Even now, the pleasant greenary, beautiful pond and other natural surroundings, induce Bhakti in Him. This temple is opened as early as 4:30 A.M. One can have a bath in the pond and then worship the Lord and get peace of mind. As in all Kerala temples, the cleanliness in the temple, bathing in the pond, not chatting inside temple, non-usage of electric lamps inside temple, etc., can be seen here also.


Nammalwar says why the Lord here is Adbhutan or Wonder. The Lord is Sri Narayana, Sri Hari and Sri Vamana. Narayana indicates the quality vatsalyam or rejoicing over blemishes of the devotees. The faults of the devotees are pleasing to Him [like the dirt on a calf is tasty for the cow!]. This is an abnormal quality. We never praise others' mistakes! So, this quality is a wonder in Him. Next, Hari means destroying the enemies. Inherent enemies in us, like jealousy, anger, lust, ego,etc., are destroyed by the Lord. This is the second wonder. Finally, as Vamana, the Dwarf, to get back the lost Kingdom of Indra, He, Who is used to grant profusely, begged. This is also a wonder. Thus He proved to be a wonder as Narayana, as Hari and as Vamana! Alwar thus establishes the Lord as Wonder or Adbhuta! In the sloka 17, we are to see, the Lord tells that He is Paramatma and He is Purushottama. In slokas 17, 18 and 19, we are to see Three concepts, the Lord telling Arjuna. In sloka 17, He is to establish that He was Purushottama, from chosen reasons. Therefore, He is the main theme in Vedas and Puranas/Itihasas, the Lord tells in sloka 18. Again, therefore, Arjuna [as also all of us] should worship only Him, the Purushottama, the Lord tells in sloka 19. Thus He reasons out to say He was Purushottama, and hence He was the One described in Vedas and Puranas, and therefore, we all have to worship and surrender unto Him only. Now sloka 17:

uttamaḥ puruṣas tv anyaḥ paramātmety udāhṛtaḥ
yo lokatrayam āviśya bibharty avyaya īśvaraḥ 15.17

Uttama purusa = the Supreme entity, anya = is different. In the previous sloka, we saw two entities Kshara [bhaddhatma] and Akshara [Muktatma]. In this sloka He says that the Purushottama mentioned is different from Kshara and Akshara. Like we have degrees - good, better and best - here, the Lord is Utthama purusha. In Sanskrit it is purusha, uth purusha, utthara purusha and utthama purusha. Utthama purusha is the most superior of all and that is the Lord. The Lord is the most Superior to Bhaddhatma like us in this Universe amd also to Muktatma in Vaikuntam and in Kaivalya Moksham. Ity = this [utthama Purusha] is, udahrta = called, paramatma = Paramatma. Paramatma means none else above Him. In Upanishad it is told 'tasya sikhayamadye paramatma vyavastita: sa brahma, sa shiva:, sondra: sokshara: parama swarat'. Paramatma is in midst of the flame burning in the heart of all living beings. That Paramatma creates [this world] as [in the body of] lord Brahma; that Paramatma destroys [this world] as [in the body of] lord Shiva; that Paramatma is leader of Devas, as [in the body of] Indra; that Paramatma is as [in the body of] Muktatma! Ya = He Who, lokatrayam avisya = pervades all the Three entities. Here we should not interpret loka to mean world as then it will mean the Lord is pervading only the Three worlds, Bhu, Bhuva and Suvar Lokas, whereas the Lord pervades much more. So, loka trayam means the Three entities the Lord has been talking about - Achit, Bhaddhatma and Muktatma. Thus the Lord is pervading in all Achit, in all jeevatma we see in this Universe and in all muktatma, liberated from samsaram. Bibharti = sustains or supports, avyaya = indistructible or everlasting and without any deficiency, isvara = commander. Here the Lord is pervading everything both inside and outside. He is supporting everything from within and from without. Swam Adi Shankara says Iswara denotes Sriman Narayana only. Thus Sriman Narayana is Paramatma, because He commands everyone, He is everlasting, He is supporter of everything, pervading everything. Therefore, He is Purushottama, Who is different from and superior to Kshara and Akshara! By these reasons the Lord is Paramatma. Swami Koorattalwan says that in Shastras there are many common names like Brahmam, Atma, Sath, etc. There are also some special names like Shiva, Indra, Brahma, etc. All these common as well as special names denote only the Lord Sriman Narayana. Here we may get a doubt. In the sloka it is mentioned that Uttama Purusha is different. But nowhere in the sloka Sri Krishna tells that He was Paramatma! It looks a Third Person is referred to! But we should never forget the context in which Sri Krishna is telling Arjuna. If we read and interpret the sloka out of context, then it would lead to confusion. In sloka 15, Sri Krishna told Arjuna that He, Sri Krishna, was dwelling in the hearts of every living being and that He was responsible for memory, forgetfulness and Gyana. Therefore, since this sloka is to further explain His qualities, Paramatma refers to Sri Krishna only! Swami Alavandar in his Stotra Rathnam, asks Who was the Consort of Sri [Lakshmi]? Who was with lotus eyes? Who was embodiment of satva quality? Who was Purushottama? He answers that all these qualifications pertain only to Sriman Narayana. Also in Gitarta Sangraham, Swami Alavandar again says that since He was pervading all, supporting all, commanding all, Sri Krishna, the Lord was Paramatma and Purushottama. Alwar reiterates the same theme in His pasurams, and further says that such a great Purushottama lived in his heart!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

BG 15.17

In Thiruvaimozhi, 6.1.7, oruvannam senru pukku [ஒரு வண்ணம் சென்று புக்கு] pasuram, Alwar [as Parankusa Nayaki] deputes a bird [parrot] as messenger to the Lord Sri Rama, Who is gracing here as Sri Pambanaiappan! Alwar wants the bird to convey to the Lord that here was a 'woman' suffering and He had to rescue 'her'. The bird did that duty and brought the Lord and pacified Parankusa Nayaki! In this Kshetram the auspicious quality, which the Lord exhibited to Alwar, was 'rakshana sthairyam [रक्षण स्थैर्यं ரக்ஷண ஸ்தைர்யம்]'. It is the resolve of the Lord to rescue His devotees. Alwar tells that though he had, heard of this resolve, in Ramayana, he was yet to be rescued and did not want that name He had tarnished! Sri Rama as also Lakshmana were well trained in fighting and they would never let down those surrendered to them. Swami Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar, calls Thiruvanvandur as Pampottara desam - region North of Pampa [river]. If we remember the Lord here we need not feel any fear from anybody, as the Lord is here to rescue! Especially, Sri Rama is known for His determination to protect His devotees. In Srimad Ramayana, Sri Rama along with Sri Sita and Lakshmana, is wandering in the forests. Sages in the forests surrendered at the Divine feet of Sri Rama and prayed for rescue from Rakshasas! Sri Rama assured them full protection. Time was running, and Sri Sita got doubt whether Sri Rama had forgotten His assurance. She wondered whether the bow and arrows in the hands of Sri Rama were mere toys! To test His mind, Sri Sita told Him to keep away dangerous weapons like bow and arrows, as they may tempt Him to harm others! Because Sri Sita had heard of a story of a sage turned killer! One warrior wanted to go on pilgrimage; he wanted to keep his sharp sword safely with someone. He found a sage meditating and requested the sage to take care of the sword till he returned. The sage agreed and kept the sword in a corner. As the sage started his meditation, his mind was on the sword and so he kept it close to him. Slowly, he started trying the sword and later became a killer! Thus even a person like a sage became a killer, because he was having a dangerous weapon. Similarly, Sri Sita feared that Sri Rama might deploy His weapon on others! But Sri Rama was able to know what Sri Sita meant, and at that time He said that He might let down Sri Sita or Lakshmana, but He would never fail in His assurance to those surrendered to Him! He says that He would never betray His promises! Alwar as Parankusa Nayaki, reminds those words to the Lord through birds and bees! We see the daily festival of Sriveli, as in most of the Kerala temples. In the evenings, temple priest would offer food to the Lord and place them on bali peetam. A small idol of the Lord would be carried in procession and the priest would go round the temple Three times. It is different from the Sri Utsavar we normally see in Tamil Nadu temples. Here the Sri Utsavar will be in procession only during Sriveli [it is Sri Bali transformed]. At the entrance of the temple we can see the dancing Sri Krishna! He is dancing with one foot on the hood of Kalinga and the other foot raised! We also see Gajendra Moksham. Around the temple we see the Lord in Dasa avatars! Inside is Sri Rama! Vimanam is Vedalaya vimanam. In the last sloka we saw that the Lord is the soul of all Vedas. In sloka 16 the Lord explains further. Other than the Lord who else would be preaching Arjuna? Because, the Lord alone knows all the Vedas. He is only described in all Vedas. Then, who else could preach Vedas to Arjuna? Sloka 16:

dvāv imau puruṣau loke kṣaraś cākṣara eva ca
kṣaraḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni kūṭasthokṣara ucyate 15.16

He tells about two types of people. Imau = these, dvav = Two [types], purushau = people, loke = in Shastras [ loke does not mean world here]. Two types of peaople are mentioned in Shastras or Vedas. Who are they? Ksara = decaying, ca = and, aksara = non decaying or everlasting. Kshara means bhaddhatma, who are in decaying bodies. These atman are in bound bodies or achit, which decay. Akshara means atman, which are not in decayable bodies, but are Muktatman, who are liberated and would never come to this samsaram nor would ever get bonded in decayable bodies! Akshara could be those in Vaikuntam or in Kaivalya Moksham. Thus Kshara [bhaddhatma] and Akshara [Muktatma] are mentioned by the Lord. But we see only Bhaddhatma and not the Muktatma. Ksara = decayable, sarvani = all, bhutani = living beings [we see]. That is whatever we see with our physical eyes are all destroyable. Again we should remember that the bhaddhatma does not decay but the achit body gets decayed. Aksara = [while] the Muktatma is, ucyate = regarded as, kutastha = leader. Kootastha means the foremost or the First or leader of a group. Nammalwar is regarded as prapanna jana kootastha or the leader of all those desiring Moksham! But here the Lord talks of Kootastha in another context. Muktatma has got liberated from bhaddhatma like us, and so any Muktatma is foremost or the First. Another way of looking is, kootastha means anvil in a blacksmith shop. The blacksmith keeps the hot iron to be transformed, on the anvil and hammers the hot iron into knife or other articles. While the iron piece gets transformed, the anvil does not undergo any change. Thus the anvil which does not undergo any change, but changes the articles beaten on it, is called kootastha. Bhaddhatma undergoes change, while Muktatma never changes, like kootastha or the anvil! According to Shastras, Two types of people we come across - Kshara and Akshara. All we see in this Universe are Kshara or Bhaddhatma; but leader or never changing is Akshara or Muktatma! The Lord is going to describe further about Bhaddhatma and Muktatma, and finally the most Superior Paramatma or Purushottama! He is our saviour and has resolved to rescue us as mentioned by Sri Andal as 'Ootramudaiyai [ஊற்றமுடையாய் = resolved to rescue]. Now we will take leave of this Kshetram.

Monday, April 27, 2009

BG 15.16

This temple at Thiruvanvandur was reconsecrated by Nakula. Nakula, when he came here, enquired about this Kshetram and understood that the Lord here had appeared to sages Narada and Markandeya. We know that Narada is the son of lord Brahma. Because of a curse by his father lord Brahma, Narada is always on the move - triloka sanchari [त्रिलोक संचारी]! Lord Brahma first created Four sons [Sanaka, Sanatkumara, etc.] by his mental power, to assist him in his job of creations. Sage Narada did preach these Four a number of philosophical thoughts. As they gained gyana, they lost interest in this Universe. There are three types of behaviour - Karma bhavana [करमा भावन ], Brahma bhavana [ब्रह्म भावन ] and Ubhaya bhavana [उभय भावन]. In Karma bhavana, a person indulges only in worldly activities. In Brahma bhavana, one is always experiencing Brahmam [God] and is totally away from worldly activities. In Ubhaya bhavana, one is having both, like lord Brahma, doing worldly activities as well as meditating on Brahmam! Lord Brahma sought the help of his Four sons in his Karma or duty of creation. They refused to obey their father and said that they were interested only in Brahma bhavana. Lord Brahma was angry and he thought Narada was responsible and so, he cursed Narada that he would never stay at any one place and be always on the move! While thus wandering, once Narada came to this place. He worshiped the Lord here and prayed for Two boons, when the Lord appeared. One was that his wandering should stop so that he was able to compose one Purana from here. The other boon was that he should be blessed with Tatva Gyana or the knowledge about Brahmam and His creations. The Lord blessed Narada with the boons and Narda composed the mammoth Naradeeya Purana. Once sage Markandeya prayed the Lord that he should be able to see the great Pralayam, creation and have glimpse of all. Immediately, the Lord wide opened His mouth and Markandeya entered the body of the Lord through His mouth! Inside he could see all the Seven Worlds, Seven Seas, Seven Mountains, and everything. Afterwards he saw everything dissolved and only a tender small Banyan leaf, floating on the water. And, on that tiny leaf he could see the Lord lying as a small child sucking His toe! this also happened in this Kshetram! Learning these from the locals, Nakula decided to stay here and meditate on the Lord. Now, we will see sloka 15, a very important one:

sarvasya cāhaṃ hṛdi saṃniviṣṭo
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṃ ca
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedāntakṛd vedavid eva cāham 15.15

Sarvasya = of all the living beings, hrdi = hearts, aham = I [Sri Krishna], samnivista = well existing. The Lord says that He resided in the heart of every living being and commanded. Because of this existence, matta = by My [Sri Krishna's] control, smrti = rememberance, jnanam = percieving for the First time, apohanam = forgetfulness. By being in the heart of all living beings, the Lord is responsible for every living being's remembering, acquiring knowledge about what was perceived and also, forgetting! The Lord is in our body so that we are able to remember, to acquire knowledge and to forget what we knew! All these activities in every living being were controlled by Him! Sarvair vedai = by all Vedas, aham eva = I [Sri Krishna] am alone, vedya = described, vedanta = the final result of all Veda Karma [here vedanta does not mean Upanishads], krd = grant, vedavid = knowledgeable in vedas, ca = also, aham = I [Sri Krishna] am. The Lord alone grants the result of the many actions we do according to Vedas. The Lord alone knows Vedas. Though this sloka has got many detailed commentaries, we will see what are possible in the given duration. Shastras say 'antapravishta sasthaa jananam sarvatma' - sasthaa means Leader and indicates Sriman Narayana. He is pervading inside us. From inside He commands, controls and sustains everyone. This is what the Lord says in this sloka. Shastras say that our heart is like an inverted lotus bud! The Lord remains in this heart. Our body is Achit and in that is Jeevatman or Chit. Within this jeevatman is Paramatman! The combination of all the Three [Achit body, Chit atman and Paramatman] is called a living being or jeevarasi or bhuta! The Lord is thus present in all living beings. He is not merely present, but present and ruling! Space is also present everywhere; but it does not command nor rule the place it is! Smriti means something experienced earlier is remembered. Gyanam means the First time perception of anything. If we come to Thiruvanvandur for the First time, it is Gyanam. If we happen to visit again this place after some years, we remember the place. This is called Pratyajigya. That is, we remember after seeing the place or person again. But smriti, means, we do not visit that place again to remember, but without physically seeing the place or person, we remember. Gyanam, the First perception, can be of Four types: Pratyaksham, Anumanam, Shastra and Yoga. These are the ways one could perceive an entity and gain Gyana. Apohanam is forgetfulness. All these three - Gyana, Smriti and Apohanam - are in His control in every living being.
Swami Vedanta Desika in his Tatparya Chandrika uses 'eva [only]' in Three places in the Second part of the sloka. Sarva vedam eva aham vedya - the Lord is described by Vedas only. That means the Lord [God] can not be realized by other Gyana [pratyaksham and anumanam]. Vedas are called pramanam and the Lord is prameyam. In Brahma sootram, it is said 'shastra yonitvat' [1.1.3] - meaning this knowledge is only from Shastras. Aham eva vedya - all Vedas describe only the Lord [and none else]. But we come across the names of Indra, Varuna, Brahma, etc., are n't we? All those gods are the body of the Lord and He alone commands them. So all those words really mean the Lord only! Aham vedya eva - only by describing the Lord, will Vedas get merit. By telling that He alone knows Vedas it is implied that others like great sages Parashara, Agastya, etc., do not know vedas to the extent known by the Lord!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

BG 15.15

Sri Rama is our saviour and grants us Vaikuntam and relieves us from the undesirables in this World. With His bow, Sarnga, and the arrows, He is capable of destroying all our enemies. Devas prayed to the Lord to rescue them from Ravana, who was oppressing them. The Lord was born as Sri Rama to Dasaratha and destroyed 14,000 rakshasas including Kara and Dhooshana! Ravana and his army were destroyed in a great war! He rescued all the Worlds, Devas and their wives, humanbeings and all. Such a great saviour Sri Rama, did not save one person! What a pity! If that was the only atman not saved, how much that person would have suffered! If Sri Rama could not save, who else could ever save? In Srimad Ramayana, Hanuman tells Ravana that once Sri Rama decided to kill someone, no one, be he lord Brahma or lord Rudra or Indra, could ever oppose His decision. Similarly, if He decided to help us, we need the help of none else. Nobody would be able to stand and fight Sri Rama. Such Sri Rama, if He did not save one, who else could ever save that one! That one was Parankusa Nayaki and 'she' had no other way but to send messenger to Sri Rama about 'her' plight! We are in Thiruvanvandur [திருவண்வண்டூர்] and Nammalwar has praised this place in Thiruvaimozhi [6.1]. In the pasuram 6.1.10, verukondu ummaiyan...[வேறு கொண்டு உம்மை யான்...], Nammalwar says that the Lord is in Thiruvanvandur, on the North of river Pampa. 'She' tells the messenger bees, that He had forgotten to save 'her' and so requests the bees to remind Him, Who powdered the fortress in Lanka, that He had to rescue 'her' also! The Lord in this Kshetram is Sri Pambanai Appan [ஸ்ரீ பாம்பணைஅப்பன்]. He is using pambu [பாம்பு], snake, as anai [அணை], bed, and so He is Pambanai Appan. Another interpretation is since this place is along river Pampa, the Lord is Pampa[i பம்பை] river anaindha [அணைந்த], that is along or He is the Lord of the place along river Pampa! The Lord is also called Sri Kamala Nathan [ஸ்ரீ கமல நாதன்] and Sri Thayar is Sri Kamalavalli Nacchiyar [ஸ்ரீ கமலவல்லி நாச்சியார்]. Vimanam is Vedalaya vimanam. Pushkarini is Shanka Pushkarini.

This temple was reconsecrated by Nakula of Pandavas. Earlier we had seen temples reconsecrated by Yudhishtra [Thiruchitraru Thiruchengunnur திருச்சிற்றாறு திருச்செங்குன்னூர்], Bhima [Thiruppuliyur திருப் புலியூர்] and Arjuna [Thiruvaranvilai திருவாறன்விளை]. Nakula and Sahadeva were born to Madri, second wife of Pandu and are the youngest of Pancha Pandavas. One reason attributed to the name of this place is that the name Thiru Pandavanur [திரு பாண்டவநூர்] got transformed to Thirvanvandur! Another interpreattion is that when Nakula came here and enquired the name of this place, he was told by the locals that Thiruvan [திருவன்], meaning the Lord, undu [உண்டு], meaning existed! So the place got the name Thiruvan undu oor [திருவன் உண்டு ஊர்], which in due course became Thiruvanvandur! Nakula was told that the place had the glory of the Lord having appeared to Narada and Markandeya! Noticing the glory of the place, Nakula decided to stay and meditate on the Lord. Presently, we will see sloka 14 of Chapter 15. We are seeing slokas which carry very important concepts. What the Lord told in slokas 12 and 13, is continued in sloka 14 also. Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that all luminous objects like the Sun, the Moon and fire are under His control and they derive their luminescence from Him only! This theme is continued in sloka 14 also. Since we all like food, this sloka is of special importance to us! Food we consume has to be properly digested; otherwise, many body problems arise. The Lord says that He is responsible for proper digestion of food in living beings and proper distribution of energy derived from digestion! The food we eat is classified into Four types, depending on how we consume:
1. Swallowing. Like rice balls in our daily food.
2, Biting and chewing. Hard snacks like murukku [முறுக்கு].
3. Licking. Like pasty honey or payasam or lehiyam [லேகியம்].
4. Drinking. Like water and sharbet.
Whatever be the type, all of them have to be digested in stomach. The difference is only before the food enters stomach! The Lord says that He as jataragni [ஜாடராக்னி जाटराग्नी ], in the stomach, which digests and sustain living! Now, sloka 14:

ahaṃ vaiśvānaro bhūtvā prāṇināṃ deham āśritaḥ
prāṇāpānasamāyuktaḥ pacāmy annaṃ caturvidham 15.14

Pacamy = I [Sri Krishna] [get the food] digest, chaturvidham = the Four types of, annam = food. Pacamy [पचामि]means, normally, cooking. But here it means digesting. Aham = I [Sri Krishna], vaisvanaro = [normally it means god of Fire or Agnidev, but here it is] jataragni or the fire responsible for digestion. It is believed that in the deep ocean there is a fire called vatavagni [வடவாக்னி वटवाग्नी ] to maintain proper temperature of the ocean and is believed to have face of a horse! Similarly, in our bodies, as also in all living beings, there is a fire controlling and maintaining temperature. Praninam bhutva = in all living beings, deham asrita = in bodies [of the living beings], prana apana samayukta = with the air prana and apana [प्राण, अपान]. The Lord as the fire in the bodies of all living beings, in association with prana and apana airs, digest the Four types of food consumed. According to shastras, there are Five types of air, in our body:
  • Prana, in the heart.
  • Apana, at the seat.
  • Vyana
  • Udhana
  • Samana, through out the body.
The Lord thus continues with the concept that He is the capacity in all living beings to digest what is eaten. He is in the body of every living being and tries to do good for this Universe. He is inside fire or agni; and, as agni, He digests the food eaten by all living beings and provide them with energy. This fire in us causes hungry feeling and we supply our stomach with food. Eating at unspecified times and eating improper food are to be avoided. Over eating has also to be avoided. Since the Lord is inside us to digest the food we eat, we should be careful in what we eat and eat only food offered to the Lord! We should never think that we can eat anything and at any time and expect proper digestion. Next sloka is very important. We will await!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

BG 15.14

In the First pasuram [8.4.1], varkada aruvi yanai..[வார் கடா அருவி யானை...], Nammalwar praises the Lord Sri Krishna. He says the Lord killed the mountain like elephant and its mahout. Next, He finished the wrestlers. When other Kings tried to fight with the Lord, He killed all of them, and then He dragged Kamsa seated on the top of the building and killed him also! Where can we worship that Lord? Alwar says we can do it at Thirchengunnur Thiruchitraru! The quality exhibited by the Lord to Alwar, in this Kshetram is, 'mahamadhigal accham kettu amarum souryadigal chittatrile poikkum [மகாமதிகள் அச்சம்கேட்டு அமரும் சௌர்யாதிகள் சிட்டாற்றிலே பொய்க்கும்!]'. So says Swami Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar in his Acharya Hrudayam. The quality exhibited was souryam [சௌர்யம்]. He showed Alwar His valour, bravery and strength in this place. It is the capacity to fight and win anyone, without getting perturbed the least! Veeram means bravery with which one enters the army of the enemy. Souryam means without any fear, fragments everyone in the enemy camp. Parakramam means, doing all these without getting perturbed! The Lord showed souryam and other related qualities. For this the Lord showed His actions in Sri Krishnavatara! Seeing this quality, we are encouraged that by surrendering to Him, He would rescue us from our enemies also. Swami Nayanar says that while ordinary persons like us are worried about ourselves, noble persons [mahamadhigal மகாமதிகள்], like Perialwar, are afraid about the safety of the Lord. Swami Nayanar says that such noble persons also would be relieved by seeing the souryam of the Lord as Sri Krishna. Mahamadi also might indicate Vidura! The Lord Sri Krishna arrived at Vidura's house, while acting as the Messenger of Pandavas. When Vidura offered seat to the Lord, he checked the seat many times for its safety! He was even doubting his own sincerity, so that no harm should be done to the Lord! Even such people would be at peace knowing the souryam of the Lord! Alwar further says [8.4.6], that even the Lord does not know His qualities. Vedas and Vedantas also do not know His qualities! Now we will see sloka 13. The Lord has been telling about various objects and that they were all His belonging and were all under His control. This sloka is continuation of that concept:

gām āviśya ca bhūtāni dhārayāmy aham ojasā
puṣṇāmi cauṣadhīḥ sarvāḥ somo bhūtvā rasātmakaḥ 15.13

Here He cites Two examples: one is Earth and the other is Moon. Both, He says, are His body or under His control. He says that having these as His body, He does these actions. Gam = earth, ca = also [ to emphasize among others], avisya = as body [of the Lord], bhutani = all living beings, dharayamy = are supported by, aham = Me [Sri Krishna]. All living beings of this Universe, are supported by the Lord. How? This is the main point to be noted. Ojas = His unlimited capacity [to support and sustain everything ]! The Lord with His boundless capacity is supporting every living and non-living entities in this Universe! Sarva = all, ausadi = all plants like trees, creepers, etc., pusnami = nurturing or nourishing [with water and other inputs], by, rasatmaka = amrut like essence, somo bhutva = in Moon. The Lord says that having the Moon, which has amrut like rays, as His body, He nurtures and nourishes every plant. Ojas means limitless capacity to support. Normally, we find one body supporting another. Usually, such supports do not allow the supported ones to go further. If there is a wall, we are prevented from going beyond that. A foundation does not allow the building it supports from going down below. We find almost everything is supported by Earth. But what is supporting Earth? It is floating as a planet, but supported by something to keep it in defined orbit. We say it is the interplanetary gravitational pull, which supports it in a orbit. The Lord says that He is exercising that force to support Earth in its orbit. Support need not be physical, unlike the way we observe in our life. Suppose there was a fire. It also prevents us from crossing it. We can say it is exercising a force to restrain us. So even such non-physical entity like heat, restrains from crossing it or, in other words, keeping at a place. This is what the Lord means when He says that He is supporting with His ojas, limitless capacity. Though we see Earth supporting all, the Lord supports all, and the Earth also! It is believed that Moon rays nourish plants. The Lord says that having Moon as His body, He nourishes all plants! Thus having Earth as His body, He supports all living beings; and, having Moon as His body, He nourishes all plants. The Lord tells that such is His boundless capacity. We now take leave of this Kshetram.

BG 15.13

At present we are in Thiruchengunnur Thiruchutraru, one of the Malayala Divya desams. Since a branch of river Pampa is flowing as a small stream [Tamil siriya aaru சிறிய ஆறு], this place is called Thiruchitraru. Since it is near Chengunnur, this place is called Thiruchengunnur Thiruchitraru. The Lord is Sri Imaiyavarappan under Jagajyoti Vimanam. Pushkarini is Shanka theertham. Nammalwar has praised the Lord as Leader of Imaiyavar [Devas]. He also calls Him as 'ennappan [என்னப்பன்]', 'my leader'! He is like amrut to Alwar. The Lord is Leader of Devas, has all Devas as His body and gets all things done through the Devas. It does not mean that the Lord is too far away from Alwar and so he calls Him as his Leader also! Sthala puranam or the history of the place is important. It was mentioned that this place was reconsecrated by Yudhishtra. When he reconsecrated, the Lord had discus in left hand and conch in the right hand. But when the temple was reconsecrated again some 25 years back, the present idol with discus in right hand and conch in left hand was installed. We will now see sloka 12. In sloka 11, the Lord mentioned a concept. It was told that after performing saranagati at the Divine feet of the Lord, if one started Karma Yoga, it was successful and one attained atman sakshatkaram; but, without performing saranagati, if a person were to try Karma Yoga, he would not be successful to attain atman sakshatkaram, as his mind would not have been cleansed and so he would not have been able to differentiate soul from body. We should also remember His earlier statements that Bhaddha Jeevatman as also Mukta Jeevatman, were all His amsam [indispensable part]. We also saw that when atman reached its true nature of Muktatman or Parishuddha atman stage, no Sun nor Moon nor any fire was needed to illuminate such atman. Such atman was swayam prakasam or self luminescent! Now in this sloka the Lord is about to tell, that like Bhaddha and Mukta atman were His amsam, similarly, the brightness of Sun, Moon and Fire were also His belonging or in His control. We had earlier seen that there are so many things in this Universe. To see these, Sun, Moon and fire help in dispelling darkness. It was earlier mentioned that Sun or Moon or fire, themselves do not give us the knowledge about things we see. Only the Gyana of atman is able to recognize all articles we see. Then what was the use of Sun or Moon or fire? They merely help in removing the impediments like darkness, so that atman is able to recognize the item we see. That is the brightness in Sun, Moon, Fire and other luminescent objects dispel darkness. So it is the brightness of these objects help us to recognize what we see. We have to appreciate that the brightness of Sun, Moon and fire, have different usage! Sun's brightness is useful to grow all organisms, to get rains, etc. But Moon's brightness is not meant for these usages. We can not even dry our clothes in Moon shine as we do in Sun shine! Moon's brightness is cooling. Fire also has brightness and is hot like Sun's. But we can not dry our clothes in fire! But fire is useful to cook. Sun's or Moon's brightness can not do this function of fire! Thus though all are bright, the brightness from each, has unique functions. The Lord says that the brightness of each such luminescent objects, is in His control. Sun or Moon or fire has the brightness because of His blessings. Now to sloka 12:

yad ādityagataṃ tejo jagad bhāsayatekhilam
yac candramasi yac cāgnau tat tejo viddhi māmakam 15.12

Viddhi = understand, tat teja = that brightness or luminous capacity is, mamakam = in My [Sri Krishna's] control. Mamakam means 'Mine- Sri Krishna's' or with 'My [Sri Krishna's]' blessings. Which brightness? Yad = that, adityagatam = Sun's, tejo = brightness, which, akilam = everywhere, jagad = in this World, bhasayate = illuminates. The brightness of the Sun, which illumintes everything and everywhere. Yad = that [brightness], chandramasi = of the Moon, yad = that [brightness of], agnau = fire. Thus brightness of Sun, Moon and fire are there because of His blessings or they are all in His control. 'Na tatra sooryo bhasi, na chandra tharakam, ....', neither the Sun nor the Moon nor the stars, lightning, nor fire, do not shine in His presence. They reflect a fraction of the brightness of the Lord. All luminous objects in the Universe, get their brightness from Him. This is to be understood that Sun or Moon, get their capacity in accordance with the papa/punya of the karmas performed by them. We see an aura of brightness, in some Yogis. This is due to His blessings. Thus the capacity of Sun or Moon, to be bright to dispel darkness and for other functions, is because of the blessings and control of the Lord. Thus all atman including bhaddha and mukta, all achit and all objects like the Sun, having special capacity, are all, without any exception, His belonging, and at His control and receive His blessings.
ANNOUNCEMENT: A month back it was mentioned that the conclusion of this Gita lecture serial was proposed to be done at the very place where Gita and Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam were born -KURUKSHETRA! At that time, after about Six months from now, it was proposed to explain the most important sloka in Gita, 'sarvadharman parityascha mamekam charanam vraja...'. At one go, it has been intended to visit all places connected with Sri Krishna. Pancha Dwaraka, Kurukshetra, Brindavan, Mathura, Gokulam, etc., are to be visited between 1st and 15th Ocotber, 2009. It is also proposed to study connected puranic tales in respective places. Those willing to participate in this grand tour should contact:
PHONE: (91) 44 2499 2728.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

BG 15.12

At present we are in Thiruchitraru Divyadesam, praised by Alwar as Thiruchhengunnur Thiruchhitraru [திருச் செங்குன்றூர் திருச் சிற்றாறு]. The Lord is Sri Imaiyavarappan [ஸ்ரீ இமையவர் அப்பன்] and Sri Thayar is Sri Senkamalavalli Nacchiyar [ஸ்ரீ செங்கமலவல்லி நாச்சியார்]. Theertham is Shanka Theertham and vimanam is Jagajyoti Vimanam. The place has beautiful surroundings.


As we enter the temple, we are welcomed by Shanka Theertham. The Lord here has conch in the right hand and discus in the left hand. He is 'Appan [அப்பன்]' or Leader of all Imaiyavar [இமையவர்]', that is Nityasuris. Though the Lord's image is black, His mind is lofty to grant anything to anyone praying. A branch stream of river Pampa, flows near this temple and so this place is known as Chitraru [சிற்றாறு]. It is near Chenganur and so it is Chengunnur. Nammalwar has praised this place in 7.4, with 11 pasurams. In those pasurams, Alwar mentions killing of Kamsa, wrestlers Chanura and Mushtika, elephant Kuvalayapeetam, etc. This is also another temple reconsecrated by Yudhishtra of Pandavas. Yudhishtra uttered a lie, which helped in killing Dronacharya by Dhrushtadyumna. With this guilt in mind Yudhishtra was worshiping the Lord in each temple. When he came to this place, he learnt that the Lord was granting devotees His blessings and so with a belief that he would also be blessed, he meditated here and got his sins washed off. He did many services to this temple. We will now see sloka 11 of Chapter 15. In sloka 10, the Lord told that an atman resides in a body, even then none saw the atman different from body; atman departed from a body, then also difference was not perceived; even when atman experienced various senses with the organs of a body, none differentiated atman from body. Because, all these people see with their physical eyes [Tamil oonakkan ஊனக்கண்] and not with their intellectual eyes [gyana chashu ज्ञान चक्षु ஞானக் கண்]. Only the person with intellectual eyes, realizes atman is different from body. Now, in sloka 11, an important concept is being told by the Lord. He who surrenders to the Lord [शरणागति சரணாகதி], and then starts Karma yoga is able to attain atman sakshatkaram, and is victorious. Without such saranagati or ultimate surrender, if one begins Karma Yoga, one will never be successful. Because he is not pure in his mind. With unclear mind, he is unable to differentiate atman from body. Hence, he never attains atman prapti or atman sakshatkaram. This is the substance of sloka 11:

yatanto yoginaś cainaṃ paśyanty ātmany avasthitam
yatantopy akṛtātmāno nainaṃ paśyanty acetasaḥ 15.11

Yogina = those beginning to practice Karma yoga, yatanta = making efforts. We have to bring in another qualification, not explicitly mentioned in the sloka, that those making efforts to practice Karma Yoga, after saranagati or surrender [to the Lord]. This is necessary, because in the next line of this sloka, a person is taking effort to perform Karma Yoga, without saranagati. In the First line it is implied that after surrendering at the Divine feet of Sri Krishna, these people get vairagyam and Gyana, and then they take efforts to begin Karma Yoga. Enam pasyanti = [they] see this, atmany avasthitam = residing [in a body] atman. These people see atman in a body, not as the body itself, but different from body. They are able to see, because they are performing Karma Yoga, which has become possible because mind is pure. Their mind is serene and pure, because, they had surrendered to the Lord. The First line therefore, conveys that those people who perform saranagati at His feet, have purified mind and are able to perform Karma Yoga and so are able to see atman different from the body, in which it is residing. As we were studying this First line, suddenly, there was hurricane and rain in this place. Clouds resemble the Lord's image! He showers mercy, while rain showers water. Rain reduces the ambient heat; He is capable of reducing our sufferings in samsaram. By falling at His divine feet, a person trying to practice Karma Yoga is successful. What is the status of those who do not surrender, but try to practice Karma Yoga? This is explained in the Second line of the sloka. Yatantopy = even if they are trying. Here the Lord is going to conclude this statement that even if they try, they would not be successful in atman sakshatkaram. Therefore, it becomes necessary to make the difference in the two lines of the sloka, by assuming that one is with saranagati and the other is without saranagati. Beacause in one line the Lord says that by trying, thay see and in the next line He says that by trying they never see. By adding the word 'py' [= even], in the next line, we have to infer that some condition is hidden. This is clear when we assume that those trying after saranagati, are able to see; and those not adopting saranagati, even if they tried, do not see. Akrtatmana = their mind [not purified, by saranagati], enam = this [atman different from body], na pasyanti = do not see, acetasa = [because, their mind has] no strength. This strength to see atman by inner [intellectual] eyes [Tamil உட்கண்] is necessary, to differentiate atman from body. Everyone has the inner eyes, but it is covered by dust. So, vision is unclear. To drive away our ignorance, we need to have purity in mind. This pure mind is necessary to have strength to realize atman and body are different. To get the pure mind we have to surrender to the Lord. Thus, he who performs saranagati at the Divine feet of Lord Sri Krishna, is victorious in his attempts to practice Karma Yoga. We saw earlier in sloka 4, 'tameva cadyam purusham prapadye - surrender unto the feet of the Lord Sriman Narayana, the Origin of everything'. The Lord said this was necessary to get vairagyam or devoid of attachment to materialistic desires. Vairagyam is necessary to cross the Three qualities and samsaram. How saranagati reaches us to vairagyam? Saranagati at His feet, gives us pure mind. Pure mind gives the strength to see the difference between body and soul. If that is so, will not saranagati directly yield Moksham? Yes, certainly, saranagati will yield any result for which it is performed. The saranagati mentioned in this sloka was not for obtaining Moksham; but to make our mind pure and give strength to try practicing Karma Yoga and finally attain atman sakshatkaram. But if one does not like to do all these or he has no patience or capacity to perform all these, then he performs saranagati in a different way. This is explained in the end of Chapter 18, which is enshrined in the Rahasyatraya [Three secrets] by Poorvacharyas. Saranagati will yield anything, including Moksham. Saranagati for Moksham means surrendering at His Divine feet of the Lord, as the means and to reach Him, as the end result [purushartam]. At present, we are trying to reach the Lord by other means - Karma Yoga for atman sakshatkaram and Bhakti Yoga for Paramatman sakshatkaram. To be successful in Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga, we surrender unto Him. Thus, saranagati is the basic foundation, on which we build various stages like Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga and then reach Him. Why all these troubles? Why not perform saranagati, and directly reach Him? The path of Alwars is that only. They never performed saranagati to get other means, by which they could get Moksham. They performed saranagati to directly yield Moksham. For this we have to wait for some more lectures. At present we should remember that by performing saranagati at Sri Krishna's Divine feet, our minds are purified. This enables us to get the capacity to see atman different from body and get atman sakshatkaram.

BG 15.11

In Thiruvaranvilai, Lord Sri Thirukkuralappan and Sri Padmasani Thayar are gracing. Nammalwar composed 11 pasurams in praise of the Lord here. It was mentioned that the auspicious quality exhibited to Alwar by the Lord was Ananda Vrutthi. Seeing the Lord happily gracing with His Consorts and devotees, one might not aspire to go to Vaikuntam and might prefer to stay here itself! Alwar says that after eliminating all papas from him and when he was readying to go to Vaikuntam, he changed his mind and decided to stay here itself and be happy with the Lord of this Kshetram! Why such intimate relationship between the Lord and Alwar developed here? He answers this query in another pasuram [7.10.5]. He says great devotees like Valmiki, Vyasa, Parashara, and others had assembled at Thiruvaranvilai to worship the Lord! They were waiting to say a few words in praise of the Lord! But Alwar, junior among all, was standing at the fag end of the line of great devotees. Lord Thirukkuralappan along with Sri Thayar looked at the assembly of these great devotees. When Valmiki started to recite Srimad Ramayana, Parashara, Vishnu Purana and Veda Vysa, Mahabharata, the Lord gestured all to stop! He beckoned at Alwar and asked him to come to the front and recite Thiruvaimozhi! The Lord expressed His eagerness to listen to Alwar. We can imagine the great and special love and affection the Lord had for Alwar. Alwar says that he was immersed in great happiness, and says 'palaradiyar munbaruliya [பலரடியார் முன்பருளிய]'. While commenting on this pasuram, Swami Nampillai recalls an episode in Srimad Ramayana. Sri Rama is in Kishkinda with King Sugriva. In front of them are great personalities like Jambavan, Angadha, Mainda, Dwividan, Nalan, Neelan, etc., standing to carry out the orders of the King to serve Sri Rama. Hanuman is standing at one corner as a simple Vanara. At that time Sri Rama beckoned Hanuman and handed over His ring, on which His name was engraved, and asked him to hand over the ring to Sri Sita after finding Her! The happiness of Hanuman was so much as Alwar had in Thiruvaranvilai! Or, this pasuram can be used in another incident in Swami Ramanuja's life. Swami Koorattalwan, whose 1000th birth anniverasry was celebrated recently, was a humble servant of Swami Ramanuja. He had eliminated 'mukkurumbu முக்குறும்பு' - the Three ego in life [great family, great living and great education]. Chola King at that time was intolerent of Vaishnavism and was demolishing many Vishnu temples. Swami Ramanuja was afraid that the King might harm Srirangam temple also. To protect Srirangam, Swami Ramanuja approached his Acharya, Swami Periya Nambi and requested to sprinkle sanctified [by speacial mantras] powder around the temple so that no harm could cross the powder line! Swami Periya Nambi agreed and assured that by doing so none could cause any problem to the temple; but he needed some one sincere enough to carry the powder bag behind him and sprinkle it as ordered by him. He stipulated that the person must be totally detached in materialistic desires. Swami Ramanuja had Swami Koorattalwan in his mind, but left the choice to Swami Periya Nambi,who chose instantly Swami Koorattalwan, when a galaxy of great disciples of Swami Ramanuja, like Swami Mudaliyandan, Vaduga Nambi, Kidambi Aacchan, Vangipuratthu Nambi, Somasiyandan, Engal Azhvan, Arulala Perumal Emperumanar, etc., were all waiting to carry out any order! Swami Koorattalwan had the same happiness Alwar had in Thiruvaranvilai. Similarly, when a great number of people were ready to chant Thiruvaimozhi and lecture commentary, Lord Sri Ranganatha chose Vishadavak Sikamani Swami Manavala Mamunigal! The Lord was eager to listen to Swami Manavala Mamunigal, lecturing on Eedu, commentary on Thiruvaimozhi! Swami Manavala Mamunigal lectured for one year in front of the Lord. His happiness was akin to Nammalwar's in Thiruvaranvilai! In 7.10.10, Alwar says that his mind was focussed only on the Lord here and his mind, action and words were all in service of the Lord! Now we will see sloka 10. We should remember the quality exhibited by the Lord, ananda vrutti. It is happiness and only happiness here! We may get happiness elsewhere also, but satisfaction can be got here only! Sloka 10:

utkrāmantaṃ sthitaṃ vāpi bhuñjānaṃ vā guṇānvitam
vimūḍhā nānupaśyanti paśyanti jñānacakṣuṣaḥ 15.10

An atman is, gunanvitam = is always associated with the three qualities [satvam, rajas and tamas]. Ukramantam = [such an atman] departing [from one body], sthitam vapi = [or] residing [in a body], bhunjanam va = [or] experiencing [all materials from a body]. An atman in a body, associated with the Three qualities might be enjoying through sense organs, or residing or might be about to leave a body. We see these stages of atman; and Yogis also see. But the seeing is different. We see with our physical eyes, while Yogis see with the 'eyes' of Gyana. Vimudha = [not differentiating body and soul] great fools, nanupasyanti = do not see. These fools do not see that the difference after an atman had departed the body, the body which conversed and was active till yesterday, was no longer active. Only a person who knows atman and body are different, is able to see this difference. In the space we see millions of virus and bacteria are there. We do not see them with our eyes. Atma of these virus and bacteria are smaller, and so are never visible to us. Paramatma is further minute and is residing inside atman. An ignorant or Agyani, never knows the difference between atman and body. So he never sees the atman residing or departing a body. Physial blindness can be tolerated, but not this blindness of ignorance! With physical blindness one does not see body, but may be 'seeing' atman. An intellectually 'blind' person on the other hand, might be seeing bodies but not the atman! Those without viveka or the rational knowledge of understanding body and soul are different, are fools. These persons do not 'see' that atman is using the body to experience, atman is residing in a body and atman departing body. Jananacaksusa = [those] with Gyana 'eyes', pasyanti = 'see'. We verify death by holding a thread before the person's nostrild and see whether the thread is moving or not; but Yogis are able to conclude just by looking at the body, whether soul is in or departed. To achieve this skill, we should develop Yoga. Once this skill is reached, we will know why a person behaves in a particular way. Yogi knows an atman as atman and it has no image or name. Person who understands the true nature of atman, will never differentiate between atman. We will now take leave of this Kshetram.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

BG 15.10

Sri Krishna preached Gita; Sri Krishna also listened to Sri Vjshnu Saharanamam, which speaks about His glory. But during both incidents, Sri Rukmini was not present. It is a deficiency. In Srimad Ramayana, Sri Rama listened to Ramayana sung by Lava and Kusha; then also, Sri Sita was not present. To make up this deficiency, the Lord arrived at Thiruvaranvilai [திருவாறன்விளை]. [Since we missed the last lecture, we could have missed details about this temple. Some details are available at,,]


Nammalwar says that the Lord graced this place, along with Sri Sridevi and Sri Bhudevi, to listen to the hymns in praise of Him. The auspicious quality, which the Lord exhibited to Nammalwar was Ananda vrutthi [ஆனந்த வ்ருத்தி]. It is said 'pravana chittharai paratva vimukamaakkum [ப்ரவண சித்தரை பரத்வ விமுகமாக்கும்]'. That is the devotees of the Lord here would not even desire to reach Vaikuntam; but be happy worshiping the Lord here alone! This type of desire is induced by the Lord. Like an Emperor in Durbar, the Lord is happy here with His Consorts and devotees! Alwar saw this happiness of the Lord here and participated in that happiness. The Lord was eager to listen to Alwar's pasurams [7.10.1 to 7.10.11] and Alwar was equally eager to sing before the Lord! Arjuna came to this Kshetram and enquired about thw glory of this place. He learnt that lord Brahma came here and meditated to regain the Vedas lost to Madhu and Kaitapa. He also learnt that Veda Vyasa had come here and worshiped the Lord here. That is why the pushkarini is called Veda Vyasa Pushkarini. Therefore, Arjuna decided that he would also meditate here to wash off his sins here. Arjuna felt guilty that he had killed Karna against rules [yuddha dharma]. Earlier we saw that Bhima washed off his guilt, of haveing abetted in killing of Dronacharya, in Kuttanadu Thiruppuliyur. When Karna was fighting with Arjuna, Karna's chariot wheels got stuck in the mud, and while Karna was engaged in correcting the wheels, Arjuna on the advice of Sri Krishna killed Karna. With that guilt, Arjuna came here and served the Lord to his heart's content and attained peace. The Lord is also gracing happily, and so He was able to bless Arjuna with happiness. From this place, we will now see today's [20th April 2009] lecture on sloka 9 of Chapter 15. Earlier Sri Krishna told that a jeevatma was bound in a body. He also explained that even such a bonded soul was His amsam [indispensable part]. He also mentioned how this atman goes from one body to another. It is like a worm shifting from one leaf or grass to another leaf or grass. It will grip the first leaf with its hind part and move the front part to the next leaf and cling to the new leaf. Then it will loosen its grip on the previous leaf and shift the entire body to the new leaf. Like a worm shifting from one leaf to another, an atman leaves one body and gets bonded in another body. Like a breeze taking with it the fragrance of the flower, this atman takes with it, in microscopic form, all the past karmas, sense organs and mind and gets into the new body. In sloka 9, the Lord tells how the atman devotes itself in each sense organ:

śrotraṃ cakṣuḥ sparśanaṃ ca rasanaṃ ghrāṇam eva ca
adhiṣṭhāya manaś cāyaṃ viṣayān upasevate 15.9

Visayan upasevate = experiences matter. That is atman experiences senses like seeing with eyes, smelling with nose, tasting with tongue, listening with ears, feeling with body or skin, touching with hands, walking with legs, thinking with mind, etc. Can atman remain without doing these? No, atman has to perform all these; but atman should see or hear, what is good for it. We can see the large balipeetam in this temple. The dwajasthambam here is very tall. That also should be seen. All the pillars of the mandapam are gold plated and present a grand view. That also has to be seen. The Lord is gracing like an Emperor in Durbar. We can see the beautiful carvings on pillars and walls. Going around the temple we see the characteristic slopy roof of the temple. The Lord is called Sri ThirukKuralappan [ஸ்ரீ திருக்குறளப்பன்]. Thus eyes are meant to view the Lord; ears should listen to the history of Sri Vamana; nose meant to smell the fragrance of tulasi offered to the Lord; tongue and mouth to taste prasadams; feet to go round His temple; hands to perform pooja to Him. But unfortunately, atman uses these organs for materialistic pleasures. Srotram = organ for hearing, ears, caksu = organ for seeing, eyes, sparsanam = organ for feeling touch, skin on the body, rasanam = organ for tasting, tongue, ghranam = organ for smelling, nose, eva ca = only with [these organs], adhistaya = experiences. That is only with the aid of these organs, atman, experiences various senses. Image, food, music, etc., are the objects and are experienced by atman with those organs. Manas ca = also mind, the leader of all organs. With all these organs and mind, atman experiences. Atman has all the knowledge. Its knowledge is channelised through mind and reaches the organs. Atman's knowledge of sight, is used via eyes. Its hearing knowledge is via ears, and so on. The knowledge of sight through eyes, sees the object and understands the object. Sound waves are understood with ears, etc. Atman with its knowledge makes mind to think. Thus atman experiences all materials, using all these organs. Why the Lord is mentioning these? In slokas 7 and 8, we saw two concepts. In sloka 7, He mentioned that though, even a bhaddhatma was His amsam, due to past Karma, that atman was bonded inside a body; but after liberating from Three qualities, attains Parisuddha Atma swaroopam. In sloka 8, the Lord mentioned what were all carried by atman when transfering from one body to another. In sloka 9, the Lord tells that having entered a body, with aid of organs, atman experiences various senses. This experience itself is because of Karma. Instead of directly saying so, we can deduce that because of our past Karma we get a body, which could be human or animal, or anything else. Having entered the body atman experiences all the materials. What is not understood by most of us, is that atman experiences what is apt to that body. If atman is in human body, it would try to experience all activities and enjoyments apt to human body! A man wants to listen to music and so atman in human body likes to listen to music. Man wants to eat rice and so atman experiences the taste of rice, when residing in human body. Atman in a cow's body would like to taste grass and not rice! If we think deeply, we will find that atman as such does not eat nor listen. But atman desires to experience these senses peculiar to the body in which it is residing. Unless we remove the thought that atman is body, this desire for materilas can not be avoided. If atman thinks it is cow, it desires to eat grass. If atman thinks it is man, it desires to eat rice! If atman thinks it is atman and not the body in which it is residing, then materalistic desires will not be there. Sri Krishna thus tells that atman desires to experience materials, suiting the body in which atman is resident.