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.