Thursday, April 9, 2009

BG 15.4

In the pasuram urugumal [உருகுமால் நெஞ்சே!], Nammalwar expresses his very deep desire to worship Sri Thirukkatkarai Appan! He says that he was after all an ordinary servant of the Lord. Alwar mentions the scent of Kaavi [காவி] in the street. Kaavi is a type of water lily. By thinking of His miracles, the Alwar's mind simply melted away. Sage Kapila had worshiped the Lord here, with lotus and kaavi flowers. Now also, the Lord is decorated with lotus garlands! It is like decorating heaps of Lotus, with lotus garlands! Kerala is famous for nendiram [நேந்திரம்], a variety of banana. Its origin is from this Kshetram! Similarly, Onam festival is very famous through out Kerala. Its origin is also from this Kshetram. It is believed that Emperor Maha Bali, arrives every year to conduct this festival in Avani - Thiruvonam [Shravan]. On that day the Lord took Sri Trivikrama Avatar and so Thiruvonam is also called star of Vishnu! Long back, this festival was celebrated for 25 days, by 25 kings! It seems festival was celebrated by 64 Divisions! Now, the festival is celebrated for Ten days. There lived a rich person. Once his plantain [banana] grove, did not yield any fruits and the man was worried. He came to this temple and prayed for good yield and vowed to present golden banana bunch to the Lord. The banana trees suddenly yielded many fruits and the man was happy. He came to the temple to present the golden banana bunch. In the temple the Namboodri archaka and a yogi, only were there. Since the Namboodri was going for a bath, he asked the man to place the golden banana, and said that he would offer to the Lord on return. The rich man did accordingly and went away. On return, Namboodri did not find the golden banana. He suspected the yogi and so complained to the ruler, who also decided wrongly that yogi was the culprit. Yogi was very much disheartened and cursed that all the properties would get destroyed and only a roof of the temple should remain. After this, the yogi committed suicide and remained in the premises as a Brahma Rakshasa! Namboodri, later on found the golden banana inside, but it was too late and the yogi had died! But the curse of the yogi prevailed and the temple's wealth was reduced. Later on, other rulers came and got the temple renovated. We can even now see the place of the Brahma Rakshasa. The Lord had accepted the golden banana and graced His divine sight on it. Netram means eye, and since the Lord set His eyes on it, the banana here got the name netram + pazham [நேத்ரம்+பழம்], which later got transformed to nendrampazham [நேந்திரம் பழம்]! We can see a large peepal or aswatta tree in the temple. Now we will return to the aswatta tree in the sloka. The Lord said that samsaram is like a large aswatta tree, with its roots high up in the top most world, of lord Brahma's Satya loka; and, its branches were spread out on the ground. He also said that branches were above and below, indicating the original creation of Brahma, and then the daily births and rebirths due to Karma, indicated by branches above and below - that is rebirths as elevated Devas, etc., and degraded births as animals, etc. Similarly, the nitya srushti, indicated by roots were seen on the gound also, as different from the naimittika srushti indicated by the roots at Satya loka! Our desire, manifested by the Three qualities, is like water, nourishes this tree. Senses are sprouting like tender leaves [தளிர்] on the tree! This tree has to be visualized. In one part of sloka 3, Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that nobody understands this tree. People gain knowledge in so many things but not about this tree, the Lord regrets. We will see the First part of the sloka today [10th April 2009] and the second part in the next lecture. Now sloka 3 of Chapter 15:

na rūpam asyeha tathopalabhyate
nānto na cādir na ca saṃpratiṣṭhā
aśvattham enaṃ suvirūḍhamūlaṃ
asaṅgaśastreṇa dṛḍhena chittvā 15.3

Its origin or end or place, have not been understood by any. Tatha = thus [existing this samsaram tree], na upalabhyate = has not been understood [properly]. Thus means, in the way the Lord explained about this samsaram tree in the last Two slokas. Na rupam = not the image [of the tree with roots on top and branches spread over below]. This image has not been visualized. Na anta = its [this tree's] end not [understood], na ca adi = also not its origin [undrstood], na ca sampratishta = also not its foundation. None has understood this tree of samsaram. We do not visualize it the way the Lord explained. We do not know its end nor its origin. We also do not understand the foundation on which this samsaram flourishes. But we all know a tree well and that is the Family tree! We know our ancestors and the various branches of our family! We do not know that the roots of this samsaram tree, are the Karma we do. Our desire because of the Three qualities, is like water to grow this tree. The tender leaves sprouting on the branches are the senses we experience with sense organs. But, this tree has not been understood by us. By knowing our family tree, perhaps, we encourage our further involvement in samsaram. Unless we know this tree of samsaram, we will not take efforts to cut it off. We think end of samsaram is death and beginning is when a child is conceived. But the Lord says that end of samsaram is when we cross the Three qualities. Death does not end samsaram, as rebirth awaits and one more life starts for the atman. This has been explained by the Lord in Chapter 2, when He explained that after death, atman is again born and death is only discarding current body! Therefore, daeth and birth are not the end and beginning of samsaram. Origin of samsaram is our desire to experience worldly matters, driven by the Three qualities inherent in our body. Only by crossing over the Three qulaities, we can end samsaram. Where is this samsaram tree well founded? Agyanam or ignorance is the ground on which this samsaram tree is flourishing. We have the wrong Gyana or concept that body and soul are same. We mistake body for soul and vice versa. Because of this misplaced Gyana, we desire to experience the Three qualities. When an atman resides in a human body, atman desires to act like all humans, like earning money or accumulating properties. An animal like Lion or tiger, never tries to earn nor collect properties. But the atman in an animal does all pertaining to that body, like a lion killing its prey. It is because an atman in a particular body, thinks that atman is body and so does all typical of that body. But the moment atman realizes that it is different from body, then desire arising out of the Three qualities would vanish and that would be the start for liberation from samsaram. Therefore, this agyana of mistaking atman to be body has to be rectified. We will see the next part of the sloka, later.

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