Thursday, May 28, 2009

BG 16.17

The Lord of Tirumala is in the heart of Swami Ramanuja, who reformed and brought about customs of various activities in Tirumala. Today's [29th May 2009] lecture is from the sannidhi of Swami Ramanuja in Sri Govindaraja Swamy temple in Tirupati. Swami Ramanuja is also known as Emperumanar, Udayavar, Sribhashyakara, etc. With the dawn of Sun, Swami Ramnuja, darkness of ignorance was dispelled from this World. As already mentioned, it was Swami Ramnuja, who established the sannidhi and temple for Sri Govindaraja. He had served Sri Venkatesa in many ways. His festival in Chittirai - Tiruvadirai, is celebrated grandly. When this recording of lecture was done it was the Sixth day of the festival. On that day, in the day time, vellai chattuppadi utsavam [வெள்ளை சாத்துப்படி உத்சவம்] is celebrated. This we witnessed in Sriperumbudur also. It commemorates the incident, when Swami Ramanuja on the advice of Swami Koorattalwan and others, escaped from Srirangam to Melkote in Mysore, by wearing the normal white robes, instead of the safron robes. Also Swami Koorattalwan changed his white robes to safron robes and with Tridanda, he was taken to the Chola King, where his eyes were plucked. In this procession, Swami Ramanuja is decorated with white dhoti. He graces with right hand in upadesa mudra, while the left hand is holding books. Swami Ramnuja graces with mercy and that drives away all our sins. We can note the special head gear, for the procession. In the night, in another procession, he wears a beautiful flower garland. 'Eppozhudum etirajar vadivazhagu en idayatthuladal illai enakkedirillai enakkedirillai enakkedire! [எப்பொழுதும் யதிராஜர் வடிவழகு என் இதயத்தில் உள்ளதால் இல்லை எனக்கெதிரில்லை எனக்கெதிரில்லை எனக்கெதிரே!]'. By remembering his majestic image, no evil thoughts would ever enter our minds. Asura quality would be destroyed and Deva quality would flourish! Sattva quality will dominate and rajo and tamo qulaities would diminish. The Kama and Krodha of all those who fall at Swami Ramanuja's divine feet, would be destroyed by Swami Ramanuja himself! This prayer is the substance of Chapter 16 also. With Kama and Krodha dominating, Asura quality is exalted. We desire on unnecessary things and when we do not attain them, we get angry. These are Kama and Kroda and are the real and greatest enemies, within ourselves. Desire, lust, greed or unsatisfied passion, is the First enemy. When these are not attained or not satisfied, they result in anger, which is the second enemy. Enjoying such inferior desires is considered as the only objective. These qulities are to be discarded and divine qulities are to be nurtured. This is what the Lord has been preaching and now we shall see sloka 17:

ātmasaṃbhāvitāḥ stabdhā dhanamānamadānvitāḥ
yajante nāmayajñais te dambhenāvidhipūrvakam 16.17

Yajante = [these Asura quality persons also] perform Yagnas. How is it that Asuras also perform Yagna, when only Devas perform such good acts? Did not Indrajit perform Nikumbala Yagna [to defeat Lakshmana]? Avidhi purvakam = [but they perform] not in accordance with rules. They perform to attain inferior results. Nama = for name, dambhena = for cheap publicity. Noble rituals like Yagna, donations, etc., are done for the sake of publicity. We have to perform Yagna, etc., in accordance with Vedas and Shastras. Our elders have been advising not to perform Vedas prescribed Putyrakameshti Yagna, to beget children or other such Yagnas for worldly advantages. They advise that we should not misuse them for such inferior results. They advise us to adopt saranagati, mentioned in Vedantas, and try to reach Moksham. This is for those activities prescribed in Vedas. But these Asura quality people do acts which are never prescribed in Shastras. Ravana, for example, performed meditation and sought boons from lord Brahma. He wanted to possess those not in accordance with Vedas. Atma sambhavita = self praising. These people praise themselves to publicize. Stabhda = haughtiness. These persons are never humble, but are always haughty with pride. Good quality and education should make one humble. It is like corn or paddy crop bending as the seeds mature. They never bow to others. One might not bow down for want of alms. But, well educated person should be humble in the society of noble persons. Dhanam = wealth, manam = abhimanam or pride of having born in a particular family or society or beauty,etc. Madanvita = [due to these undesirable qualities, they] move about with haughtiness. Swami Tiruvarangattamudanar says that Swami Koorattalwan overcame all the pride due to education, wealth and family. In Tamil it is called mukkurumbu [முக்குறும்பு] - Three faults. Just like an elephant goes mad, these Three defects can drive a person to go mad! Great persons would be more humble, with these assets. Asura type of persons would never show humilty. They perform acts with wrong objectives and against prescribed in Vedas. Now, we will take leave of Tirupati, to climb hills, chanting the name 'Govinda!'.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BG 16.16

Kasi was ruled by a King; but he and his queen had no child. So, the queen visited this place [Tirupati] and after bath in the pushkarini, prayed Lord Sri Govindaraja, for a child. The Lord agreed to grant her, if she could give Him something in return! When the queen inquired what He wanted, the Lord said that in return she should give a piece of land. She replied that since she was also ruled by the King, she has to get permission before offering the land. The Lord then said that if that was so, He also had to consult the Lord Sri Srinivasa at Tirumala to grant a child to her, as They mutually consulted before granting any! From this we understand that both Sri Govindaraja and Sri Srinivasa are same! The Lord arrived from Sri Vaikuntam, and is representing the Lord there, as Sri Srinivasa in Tirumala. Similarly, representing Sri Ksheerabdi Natha in Tirupparkadal [Milk Ocean], He is Sri Govindaraja, reclining at Tirupati. ' Sri Vaikunta virastaya swami pushkarini thate, ramaya ramamaanaya venkatesaya mangalam' - is the mangala sloka of Lord Sri Venkatesa. 'Esha narayana sriman ksheerarnavaniketana: Naga paryanka mudristya chapato maturam purim'. Thus the Lord at Sri Vaikuntam is at Ksheerabdi [Milk Ocean] and also here as Sri Govindaraja! Since all can not go up the hills, the Lord, out of mercy, is at Tirupati as Sri Govindaraja. He is atop the hills, so that hunters and animals could worship, He is here for citizens! Since we chant Govinda while climbing the hills, it is obvious that both Sri Srinivasa and Sri Govindaraja are same! In the last lecture we also saw that Sri Andal has mentioned Sri Govinda in Three pasurams in Tiruppavai.

Tirupati, India: tirumla form a hill

Today's [28th May 2009] lecture is from Sri Pundareekavalli Thayar [ஸ்ரீ புண்டரீகவல்லி தாயார்] sannidhi. Both Sri Padmavati and Sri Pundarrekavalli, indicate lotus flower. The Lord's divine feet are lotus like; from His lotus like navel emerged a lotus flower, in which is seated lord Brahma; His hands are lotus like; His face and eyes are lotus like; above all, Sri Mahalakshmi is seated on lotus in His chest! She is gracing as Sri Pundareekavalli in this temple. One can expect His protection only when She is with Him. We now see the large Vahana mandapam, where all vahanams are parked. Why does the Lord come in procession on Vahanams? That would instill confidence in the devotees that the Lord would protect them. If required He would arrive on Hanuman or Garuda or Elephant or horse, and protect the devotee. Near this vahana mandapam is the sannidhi of Swami Koorattalwan, who composed the Pancha Stavam and who was a noble disciple of Swami Ramanuja. Opposite is the sannidhi, where Madurakavi Alwar and Swami Anantalwan are gracing. Both of them were born in Chittirai - Chitra [சித்திரை-சித்திரை]. Both of them preached and followed that Acharya was God. Already we have worshiped Sri Govindaraja, Sri Parthasarathy and Sri Andal. Nearby we find the sannidhis of all Alwars. Behind, is the sannidhi of Sri Kalyana Venkatesa Perumal. Now we will see sloka 16:

anekacittavibhrāntā mohajālasamāvṛtāḥ
prasaktāḥ kāmabhogeṣu patanti narakeśucau 16.16

At the end, all these people reach Naraka, says Sri Krishna to Arjuna. These Asura quality persons, do all wrong things and think of doing wrong things only; and, before they could think what they had done, their end comes and they reach Naraka, to suffer. As a result of all papa committed, they reach very ugly and frightening Naraka. Aneka = many, citta = thoughts, vibhranta = [as a result] pushed into. Thinking that the Lord is there to protect us, will be only thought we would have and we would not be straying in many thoughts. These Asura quality persons think that they were responsible for themselves, for their wealth, for their success, etc., and so entire responsibility is vested on them. With such haughtiness, they think of various ways to protect them and their properties and these thoughts make them astray. Such worries and thoughts make them, moha = delusions, jala samavrta = surrounded or immersed. Worries would lead to delusions. With wrong objectives, they do wrong things and find them unsuccessful. Again they try the same wrong methods and continue to suffer failures. Since they do not realize they are in the wrong track, they continue same wrong ways. Slowly, worries and delusions surround them. Finally, these persons become wicked persons. The amassed past papa, would make them to tread the wrong paths and continue. Ravana became a slave to Kama [lust]. He desired to have Sri Sita and continued all wrong ways. His objective was wrong and to succeed in that he tried all wrong ways. He ordered Mareecha to fool Sri Sita. He himself went in the guise of sanyasi to fool Her. He tried to fool Her, by cutting the head of an imaginary Sri Rama. He also tried to fool Sri Rama, by killing imaginary Sri Sita. Thus a wrong objective, makes the person to seek all evil methods. Prasakta = devoted in, kamabhogesu = cheap and illegal enjoyments, asucau = in flthy and frightening, narake = hell, patanti = [they] fall into. With evil objectives, persons like Ravana, pursue evil designs and acquire enormous papa. Before they could realize what had accrued to them, they meet death and are pushed into Naraka, as a consequence of the papa accumulated! Evil designs make us to have continuous planning; we should avoid them and with single objective of serving the Lord, we should have singular thought and lead simpler life. We should never complicate our otherwise simple life. The Lord does not expect much from us. With mind in Him, we get the quality of Devas and lead simple life. Instead, these persons not only have evil aims, but also have a false pride that they were responsible for all pomp and show they exhibited.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BG 16.15

Due to problem in cable operator's equipment, there was no transmission of any program and so it is regretted that today's [27th May 2009] lecture could not be uploaded. However, for the sake of continuity, relevant sloka is reproduced from the web.

āḍhyobhijanavān asmi konyosti sadṛśo mayā
yakṣye dāsyāmi modiṣya ity ajñānavimohitāḥ 16.15

BG 16.14

Nammalwar composed Four prabhandams viz. Tiruviruttan, Tiruvasiriyam, Periya Tiruvandadi and Tiruvaimozhi. Of these Tiruvaimozhi is considered as the best. There are 1102 pasurams in Tiruvaimozhi. Of these Two Tiruvaimozhis [Two decades of 10 pasurams each], have special importance. In Sri Vaishnava sampradayam, Rahasya Trayam [Three secrets] are considered very sacred. They are the Eight syllablled Tirumandiram [Ashtaksharam], Dwayam and Charama sloka, delivered by Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. Of these Dwayam is of special importance. It is about service to the Lord and as a result, obtaining Moksham and serving the Lord. Nammalwar has set, as substance, this concept of Dwayam in these Two Tiruvaimozhis mentioned. They are 'Ozhivil kalamellam udanai manni [ஒழிவில் காலமெல்லாம் உடனாய் மன்னி]' in 3.3 and 'Ulagamunda peru vaaya [உலகமுண்ட பெருவாயா]' in 6.10. In the former, he prayed for service to the Lord and in the latter, he performed saranagati [ultimate surrender] at His Divine feet. Though Alwar lived in deep South in Alwar Tirunagari, he prayed for these Two acts in Tiruvenkatam [Tirumala], which is almost the Northern tip of Tamilnadu! Both these decades were presented at the Divine feet of Sri Srinivasa at Tirumala. It is therefore, not wrong to conclude that Nammalwar had highest regard for the Lord at Tirumala. In fact, in Alwar Tirunagari, one can see a number of sannidhis for Sri Srinivasa, all around; many persons have their names as Tiruvenkatam! Thus we have to visit the place which proclaims the intimate contact between Sri Srinivasa and Nammalwar. We have reached Alwar Theertham [ஆழ்வார் தீர்த்தம்]at the foot of the hills in Tirupati! Here we can see Nammalwar sannidhi.


We enter Alwar sannidhi gopuram. As we go inside we find long steps and then Alwar theertham. In the background is the natural beauty of the Tirumala hills.


We find lots of water falls. Alwar says that the noise the falls make, is heard as calling all devotees to come to Alwar Theertham and worship Sri Srinivasa! On the shores of Alwar theertham is Sri Lakshmi Narayana Perumal gracing the devotees. He is gracing as a large idol with Sri Lakshmi at His Divine feet! On the other side we can see Sri Venugopla Swamy. Alwar Theertham is in between. At one end we see a small cave. Many, many years back, when this region was ruled by Emperor Thondaiman, he used to visit Tirumala daily. Since it was difficult to cross all the Seven hills in the normal way, the Lord had shown him a shorter route via the cave! It is also heard that there was a sannidhi for Lord Sri Narasimha inside the cave. Alwar Theertham is presently known as Kapila Theertham. Here sage Kapila meditated on the Lord. Though Sri Govidaraja Perumal in Tirupati, has a separate pushkarini, for Theerthavari festival, Lord Sri Govindaraja, arrives here along with the Utsavar of Nammalwar. In the Alwar sannidhi here, only Moolavar of Alwar is gracing. Normally, in all Kshetrams, adyayana utsavam, is celebrated in Margazhi, for 21 days. Here it is celebrated for more days [we will see the reasons for that on another occasion]; of them, one of the festival is called Thanneer amudu thiruttu [தண்ணீர் அமுது திருத்து]utsavam, which is celebrated to commemorate the incident of Swami Periya Tirumala Nambi offering water to the Lord. On that day, Sri Govindaraja and Nammalwar arrive and after gracing the function, they return to Sri Govindaraja temple. Also during Sri Andal's festivals in Thiru Aadi Pooram [திரு ஆடிப் பூரம்] and in Margazhi, the Lord graces here during Neerattu [நீராட்டு] festival! Thus this place is glorified and is connected with Sri Srinivasa and Sri Govindaraja. It is customary for pilgrims to bathe here and then climb hills. Nearby is Alibiri. Actually, in olden days it was called Adi puli [அடி புளி], reminding Tamarind tree of Nammalwar. There only, Swami Ramanuja got Srimad Ramayana preached by Swami Periya Tirumala Nambi, for one year! If we consider Tirumala as Vaikuntam, then Alwar Theertham is like Viraja and so it would be appropriate to bath here before we have darshan up hills! Now we shall see sloka 14 of Chapter 16. Sri Krishna has been describing the behaviour of persons with Asura quality. Such persons haughtily proclaim that it was by their own efforts they acquired all wealth and there was nothing like punya or the blessings of the Lord. But in reality, with His blessings and with past papa/punya we are all living. Now, the Lord further explains, these people's behaviour:

asau mayā hataḥ śatrur haniṣye cāparān api
īśvaro.aham ahaṃ bhogī siddhohaṃ balavān sukhī 16.14

These people claim that they themselves earn what they desire and discard undesirables! Asau satru = this eveil enemy, hata = was destroyed, maya = by me [Asura quality person]. They claim that by their efforts alone they destroyed enemies. No one else helped them, they say. Hanisye ca aparan api = and, even the future enemies [would be killed by their own efforts]. This type of philosophy is called Charuvaka [sweet words] or Lokayada [only perceptibles, are accepted]. They speak decoratively and attract persons. They believed only in what was seen [or perceived by senses]. Punya or papa are invisible and so, they advised not to believe them. Similarly, satva - rajas - tamas qulities and God Sriman Narayana are invisible and so not existing. Therefore, they said that there was no necessity to perform Yagna or poojas, Bhakti or pilgrimage. Do these have no relevance? For this the persons advocating Charuvaka, say that punya/papa or performing Yagna and pooja, were the methods of weak persons who were not capable of doing anything by themselves! These are their imaginations to fool people, they claim. According to them, if a person is confident of doing himself, there was no God nor any papa/punya! Sri Krishna tells these qualities and mentions that on the surface these arguments could appeal to and attract the normal person; but they were far from truth. Sri Krishna is going to tell why so later. Isvara aham = I [Asura quality person says] am isvara or leader, aham bhogi = I [Asura quality person] enjoy. They ask where is the God, when they themselves enjoy all with their sense organs. Siddhoham = I [ Asura quality person] am the attainment of Gyana and other superior levels, balavan = [Asura quality person himself is] mighty, sukhi = enjoy comforts [of family, property and money]! They claim that they earned their wealth and they enjoyed, and there was none to help them nor anyone needed in ther enjoyment! Everything they enjoyed were by their own efforts only. The Lord has been telling what the Asura quality people thought and did, and He has not contradicted those thoughts yet! We will wait for them at appropriate time. We now take leave of this place.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

BG 16.13

The Pushkarini in Thirucchanur, is very beautiful and named after Sri Padmavati Thayar, as Padma Sarovaram. Sri Thayar was inside a thousand petalled lotus flower; but its petals were closed and so She could not emerge from that. So, the Lord established Surya nearby. With the radiation of Surya, the flower opened its petals, and Sri Thayar appeared. That is how She got the name Sri Padmavati! Today's [25th May 2009] lecture is from the pushkarini. In the center is a mandapam. On top of it is the image of Parkkadal madanam [Milk ocean churning], depicted in sculptures. Alwar says that after churning, the Lord obtained for Him, Amrut! Was not the amrut distributed to Devas? Yes, it is interpreted that the life prolonging ordinary amrut was given to Devas; while the Superior Amrut, Sri Maha Lakshmi, was taken by the Lord! It is believed that the episode happened here and is celebrated as Panchami Utsavam in Kartigai - shukla Panchami - uttrada day! Tiruchanur

In the brahmotsavam, Sri Thayar graces processions on various vahanams like Sesha, Karpaka Vruksha, Swan [Hamsa], Lion, Garuda, Elephant, Ther [தேர் chariot], Horse, etc. On the last day, Panchami, from Tirumala, the Lord sends Panchami Theertha padi [flowers, Tulasi, parivattam, prasada, etc.] through Archakas, and in procession lead by Jeer and other religious persons. Sri Thayar arrives in procession to the mandapam on the banks of the pushkarini and receives all the gifts. Then, She graces tirumanjanam or holy bath. Along with Her, is Sudarsana brought from Vishvaksena sannidhi in Sri Thayar's temple. During theerthavari, it is Sudarsana, who graces the holy dip in the pushkarini. With that Panchami Theertha Utsavam concludes. Now, we will see sloka 13:

idam adya mayā labdham imaṃ prāpsye manoratham
idam astīdam api me bhaviṣyati punar dhanam 16.13

Here, Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that the Asura quality persons think that whatever they desired and got, were due to their efforts alone. Also they think that they were responsible for driving away undesirables from them. In this world, we desire many. How did we get those desired and how did we not get those we despised? Or, why we do not get what we desired and get what we hated? Many times we experience that undesirables are obtained and desired are never obtained. To get a desired one, our past punya and the Lord's blessings are needed. This we believe and can be logically proved also. Similarly, if undesirables reach us, then our past papa is the reason. Above all these, there is another Super Power. If, only papa and punya were deciding all our life, then we could never get out of their influence. Then, is there no way to get out of samsaram? Yes, if we want to lessen the intensity of papa or increase punya, then the Lord's blessings are needed. We can prove these logically. But persons woth Asura quality, do not accept this. They say that only by their efforts they got all desired things. They never accept that their past punya and the Lord's blessings were responsible for what the desired things they got. Because, if they accepted punya as responsible, then they had to agree to past and future births! According to them, only what is perceived should be accepted and not the invisible papa or punya. Idam = all these [their consorts, children, properties,etc.], adya = at present, maya = by me [Asura quality person], labdham = have been acquired. Asura quality persons feel that by their own efforts they obtained all their children, properties, etc. Imam = [in addition] those, manoratham = planned [to acquire more properties, etc.], prapsye = will be attained [by their own efforts]. They think that all acquired and to be acquired were by their own efforts only. Idam dhanam asti = these wealth are, idam api = and those [wealth, planned], bhavisyati = which are going to be possessed, puna = again [by their own efforts only]. They are certain that the money they had and the money thet were to acquire, were also, again, due to their efforts only. Thus they do not think that past punya/papa or Lord's blessings are factors in their possessions! Asura quality Ravana, Kumbhakarna, Hiranyakasipu, Hiranyaksha, etc., all proclaimed that all they acquired were by their efforts and they claimed that there was no God above them! So, they thought that no wrong deeds could harm them, as they thought that they would never die! They thought that they were born to enjoy and there was no Force above them! Sri Krishna advises on persons with Asura qualities. Deva type persons do punya and seek His blessings and follow Shastras. Arjuna is advised to choose the right one. Can we prove logically that past Karma and Lord;s blessings shape our life? With Her blessings we would find answers, Now we take leave of this temple and go to another temple within Tirupati.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

BG 16.12

Nammalwar says 'veri maradha poomel iruppal vinai theerkkume! [வேரிமாறாத பூ மேல் இருப்பாள், வினை தீர்க்குமே!]'. If it rains in Tiruvenkatam [Tirumala], it means Lord is showering His blessings and so Thousands of pasurams flow out of Nammalwar's mouth! It is not merely His blessings, but Sri Srinivasa, that is in association with Sri Thayar, the Lord blesses! We are in the temple of Sri Maha Lakshmi in Tirucchanur. Nammalwar says that Sri Thayar, Who is seated on flower, removes all our ills.

Sri Thayar graces like the newly to-be-wed Girl and has Her right hand in abhaya mudra, while left arm is pointing to Her Divine feet! Today's [22nd May 2009] lecture is from the mandapam, where Kalyana utsavam is always performed. It is situated outside Sri Krishna - Sri Balarama sannidhi. There are Two thrones here. The smaller one, is for a smaller idol of Sri Srinivasa. While in the larger throne Sri Padmavati Thayar is seated. Also the oonjal [ஊஞ்சல்] utsavam or dolai is also performed daily, here only. On every Friday and on every Uthrada star [on which, in the month of Kartigai, She appeared here], She is taken on procession. Also, every Friday She graces Tirumanjanam or holy bath. She graces in a garden nearby and blesses all devotees. during Navaratri, grand festival is arranged for Nine days. Teppotsavam or float festival, is celebrated for Five days. Sri Thayar graces on Three days, while on one day Sri Krishna graces and on another day Sri Sundararaja Perumal, from nearby temple graces. 'Mata: samasta jagatam madhu kaitapare: vaksho viharini manohara divya murte [மாதஸ்ஸமஸ்த ஜகதாம் மதுகைட பாரே, வக்ஷோ விஹாரிணி திவ்ய மூர்த்தே!] - 'You are the Mother of entire Universe and seated auspiciously with mind captivating form on the chest of the Lord, Who killed Madhu and Kaitapa!'. 'Sri swamini sritajana sriyadana seele [ஸ்ரீ ஸ்வாமினி ச்ரிதஜன ச்ரியதான சீலே!]' - ' You are the [Lady] Leader and blesses all followers; You are the merciful part of the Lord!' These are daily chanted during suprabhatam. In Vasantotsavam, Sri Thayar graces processions. Like this many festivals are celebrated through out the year. By witnessing these we can dissolve all our sins. Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that such sinned persons have Asura qualities and we should avoid those pitfalls, in Chapter 16. Now we will see sloka 12:

āśāpāśaśatair baddhāḥ kāmakrodhaparāyaṇāḥ
īhante kāmabhogārtham anyāyenārthasaṃcayān 16.12

Anyayena = illegally or unlawfully, samcayan = acquire, artha = wealth, ihante = [these persons] are interested. These persons desire to amass wealth by hook or crook! In sloka 11, the Lord told that these people think of enjoying worldly desires, which are not feasible. Yet, they go on thinking about them, endlessly. In this sloka, the Lord tells that these persons amass wealth illegally. Satair = with hundreds of, asa = desires, pasa = attachment, baddha = well bonded [in samsaram], parayana = well involved in, kama = lust, krodha = anger. As earlier told by the Lord, our enemies are kama [lust] and krodha [anger]. If we could vanquish these qualites, then we are free from any enemies. Here, these asura quality persons are having lust and anger and are interested in amassing ill gotten wealth. All for, kama bhogartham = [just] enjoying worldly pleasures. They are keen to amass wealth in the unlawful ways. Swami Koorattalwan says that like wild horses pull the cart in their own ways, sense organs pull persons in various directions. Knowing well that such desires can not be fulfilled, sense organs violently run in those directions. These persons are unable to control, because they are deeply involved in Kama and Krodha. We find many persons have the habit of stealing small things in Exhibitions and Malls. It is a very mean act. Stealing books or articles is bad. It is said that obtaining freely books or medicines or teachings from Acharya, is not good. Theses are ill gotten. People get a sadistic pleasure to cheat others. But, in the process, they cheat themselves. These persons are bonded in samsaram by hundreds of desires and attachments. They take lot of efforts, only to enjoy worldly pleasures. They think such pleasures are the ultimate and nothing superior to them. Tirumangai Alwar has composed 40 pasurams on Sri Srinivasa of Tirumala. In those, he lists various sins he had committed and says that he did so because of lust and anger. Small bad acts lead to larger crimes. Alwar says that he ridiculed those who came to him for help; he killed aimlessly, etc. But, realizing his mistakes he surrendered at His feet and sought asylum. If we surrender, our sins will be dissolved, which will divert our interest from Kama. This will enable passion and attachments to be cut off. Then, asura quality would disappear. This will make sattva and divine qualities to grow. Ultimately, we reach Moksham.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

BG 16.11

Sri Venkatesa of Tirumala is gracing as the Unique Leader of Universe and to the combined darshan of Upper Worlds and this world. Adding glory to the glorious Sri Srinivasa, is Sri Alarmel Mangai Thayar [ஸ்ரீ அலர்மேல்மங்கைத் தாயார்]. At present we have arrived at Tirucchanur [திருச்சானூர்]. Though it is called Tirucchanur now, in ancient times it was called Tirucchugavanur [திருச் சுகவநூர்]. Here, Sri Padmavati Thayar is gracing. First we enter the temple.

Sri Padmavathi Devi Temple-Tiruchanoor
The Lord and Sri Thayar together grace the devotees. As we cross the gopuram, we see the large prakaram or corridor. We see thousands of devotees always, and are coming in groups to worship Sri Thayar. We worship all these devotees. Then we see the magnificent dwajasthambam.

See full size image

In the dwajasthambam itself, Sri Thayar is gracing to bless us, with Her right hand showing abhaya and left hand pointing to Her Divine feet, even before we enter garbhagruha. Sri Thayar is seated on a Thousand petaled lotus flower, known as padmam in Sanskrit, and so She is called Sri Padmavati Thayar. When and why did Sri Thayar arrive here? Though it is a known story, we will see parts related to Her. Just like Sri Varaha Perumal arrived on Tirumala before Sri Venkatesa arrived there, and that is why it is also called Sri Varaha Kshetram, much before Sri Thayar arrived here, Sri Krishna came here in Dwapara yug. We are enjoying Bhagavad Gita, which was sermoned in Mahabharata war, which took place for 18 days. After that, the Lord arrived here and meditated. Therefore, Sri Krishna sannidhi is very important. Sri Balarama is also gracing by the side. The Lord graces with Sri Rukmini and Sri Satyabhama. This sannidhi was the First sannidhi in this temple. The main festival for Sri Thayar is in Karthika, shukla Panchami, Uthrada star. That was the day when Sri Thayar appeared here. This festival, also called Panchami Theertha Utsavam, is the Brahmotsavam in this temple. Sage Brighu once started to find Who was the God with sattva qulaity. He went to lord Shiva, who was with Parvati Devi. They did not notice sage's arrival and so sage got angry and cursed. Then he went to see lord Brahma, who also was indifferent to him and so the sage moved away in anger. Then he came to Tiruparkadal [Milk Ocean], where Lord Sri Vishnu was reclining on the serpent bed! He also did not notice the sage. Sage Brighu got angry and kicked the Lord on His chest. The Lord immediately sprang up and told that He was awaiting for the feet of the sage to press on Him and so He was pretending asleep! The Lord desires to touch the feet of His devotees! Sage Brighu realized that Sri Vishnu was the God with sattva quality. He departed to tell his finding to other sages. Though Brighu's anger was quenched, another Person got angry! Sri Maha Lakshmi, Who is always seated on the chest of the Lord, got angry as to how the sage could disrespect Her and kick at Her residence! So, She left the Lord and came to Kolhapuri [in Maharashtra]. She started meditation there. The Lord, unable to bear the parting of Sri Thayar, came to Tirumala and with the permission of Sri Varaha, meditated and later married Sri Padmavati Thayar. This part of the story we may see while we go to Tirumala. The Lord despatched Sun to bring Sri Maha Lakshmi from Kolhapur and then the Divine couple was united! For the marriage, the Lord had obtained a huge quantity of money as loan - One Crore and Fourteen Lacs [11.4 Millions] of Rama nishkamas! This loan is being repaid from the contributions, devotees make! Sri Thayar mentioned that She would remain at the foot of the hills, so that She would First bless the devotees with wealth, with which the devotees could contribute to the Lord, when they came up the hill! The Lord would thus be able to repay the loan obtained from Kubera! Thus, from the beginning of Kali yug, Sri Thayar is residing here and gracing the devotees. Thus this is Her Third residence! [The other Two residences are Tirupparkadal and Kolhapur]. Festivals are celebrated enthusiastically. Nammalwar in the pasuram 'agalagillen enriraiyum alarmel mangai urai marba [அகலகில்லேன் என்றிரையும் அலர்மேல் மங்கை உறை மார்ப!]', indicates that Sri Thayar never parts the Lord even for a second. Because She is always with the Lord, He overlooks all our misdeeds, and blesses us! In Tirumala, She is on the chest of the Lord and here in Tirucchanur, She is in a separate temple. Now, we will see sloka 11. The Lord has been categorising people as Devas and Asuras, based on their qualities. Deva's qualities would incur Moksham, while Asura qualities would push down in samsaram. The Lord has been telling how persons with Asura qualities behave. All these slokas convey rare meanings. Now sloka 11:

cintām aparimeyāṃ ca pralayāntām upāśritāḥ
kāmopabhogaparamā etāvad iti niścitāḥ 16.11

Sri Krishna tells the behaviour of persons with Asura quality. Aparimeyam = unlimited, pralayantam = even upto pralayam time, cintam = thinking. These persons desire so many things. They think about them without any limit and without an end, even upto the time of great deluge! In spite of thinking and planning for such a long time, their desires would not be fulfilled. In such desires they devote their actions, without any limit. There is no limit to their desires. With such desires, kama = sensual pleasures or lust, upabhogam = experiencing [these pleasures], parama = devoted fully, etavad = with the [wrong] concept [that there was nothing superior to experiencing Kama]. They have the total wrong concept that sensual pleasures were the most superior, little realizing that those were very inferior, and much higher pleasures like serving the Lord and Sri Thayar were all available. Niscita = [they are ] certain [about their wrong concept]. Here, these persons are having thoughts about those, which we should avoid. Swami Koorattalwan says in one sloka that even if these desires were reached, we are not satisfied and our desires grow further. Thus even if worldly desires are fulfilled we are unsatisfied. Also, we desire certain things, knowing well that those desires could never be accomplished. But we never keep away. Thus we are always thinking of worldly desires, whether they are attainable or not. Then, when are we to come away from these cheap desires? Alwar says that our thoughts should be about the Lord. Thirumangai Alwar addresses Lord Sri Venkatesa as 'Chintamani [சிந்தாமணி]'. Chintamani was a jewel, holding which, whatever we desired would be accomplished! So, Alwar asks, when the Lord is there as Chintamani, what is the use in thinking about other worldly desires? For the Lord, Sri Thayar is Chintamani! So, thoughts other than the Lord, would lead us to nowhere! Alwar further says that These Chintamani [the Lord and Sri Thayar], convert night into days, with Their brilliance! Asuras never think of the Lord but think of worldly desires only till pralayam! Sriya kantaya kalyana nidhaye nidhayertinam, sri venkata nivasaya srinivasaya mangalam.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

BG 16.10

About 5110 years back, in Thiruvanparisaram, Brinda and Thiruvazhmarban got married. To them was born a daughter named Udayanangai. She was growing in this place. At the same time in Alwar Tirunagari, there lived a man called Pon Kari [பொன் காரி]. A marriage was arranged between Kari and Udayanangai. The couple did not have any child for a long time. So, they started a pilgrimage and once they came to Tirukkurungudi and worshiped Lord Sri Ninra Nambi [ஸ்ரீ நின்ற நம்பி]. They prayed for a child. When the Lord asked like whom the child should be, the couple desired to have a child like the Lord! Since there was none like Him, the Lord decided Himself to be born as a son to Kari and Udayanangai. In Tiruvanparisaram, we can see the house where Udayanangai lived. Today's [20th May 2009] lecture is from that house. We are at present in the last Divya desam in Malayala region, in this trip. The auspicious quality, which the Lord exhibited to Alwar was sowkumaryam [सौकुमार्यमசௌகுமார்யம்]. Sowkumaryam means the quality of being Sukumara or gentle. Alwar himself mentioned this, while singing about the Lord here. He was so much worried about the Lord's soft body, that he offered to carry His weapons so that the body of the Lord got rest and no damage was done to the gentle body! He cried and asked should not the Lord take him as another assistant, besides Lakshmana? Earlier, we saw that the Lord exhibited the quality of mardhavam, which also meant softness. But that was about softness of mind, while here it is the physical softness of the body of the Lord! Swami Nayanar tells in Acharya Hrudayam, ' srama manam koovum sowkumarya prakasam aai cheriyile! [ஸ்ரம மனம் கூவும் சௌகுமார்ய பிரகாசம் ஆய் சேரியிலே!]', aai cheri means mother's place. Alwars cry with concern the fatigue and physical stress the Lord had while appearing as Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Sri Varaha, etc. They were all having worried mind and this is what implied in srama manam. When the Lord displayed His gentle body, Alwar offered to reduce His strain by assisting Him! For the sake of recapitulation the qualities displayed by the Lord to Nammalwar, in various Kshetrams, are listed below:
  1. Mardhavam [மார்தவம்], the Lord is unable to bear separation of His devotees, in Thirumoozhikkalam [திரு மூழிக் களம்].
  2. Aavrutanchyam [ஆவ்ருதாஞ்சயம்], compassion to rescue devotees from samsaram, in Thirunavai [திரு நாவாய்]. (Next we visited Thiruvittuvakodu, but this was praised by Kulasekara Alwar; and so is not counted in this list.)
  3. Souseelyam [ஸௌசீல்யம்], mixing easily with devotees, without caring for His position, in Thirukkatkarai [திருக் காட்கரை]. (Uptill this we visited Kshetrams North of Trichur)
  4. Nayaka lakshanam [நாயக லக்ஷணம்], considering devotees as consorts [nayaki நாயகி], in Kutta Nattu Thiruppuliyur [குட்ட நாட்டு திருப் புலியூர்].
  5. Ananda vrutti [ஆனந்த விருத்தி], happiness with devotees, in Thiruvaranvilai [திருவாறன் விளை].
  6. Sowryam [சௌர்யம்], displaying His valour and strength, in Thiruchenkunrur-Thiruchitraru [திருச் செங்குன்றூர்-திருச் சிற்றாறு].
  7. Sthairyam [ஸ்தைர்யம்], the determination to protect His devotees, in Thiruvanvandur [திரு வண்வண்டூர்].
  8. Krutagya [கிருதக்ஞ்யை], always remembering devotees' good deeds, however small they are, in Thirukkaditthanam [திருக் கடித்தானம்].
  9. Krupa [கிருபை], assuring devotees His protection, in Thiruvallavazh [திருவல்லவாழ்].
  10. Saamyam [ஸாம்யம்], He is equal to all devotees, in Thiruvanantapuram [திருவனந்தபுரம்].
  11. Pranata Parathantriyam [ப்ரணத பாரதந்த்ரம்], His unique character of acting to the wishes of devotees, in Thiruvattaru [திருவட்டாறு].
  12. Sowkumaryam [சௌகுமார்யம்], gentle nature of His body, in Thiruvanparisaram [திருவண்பரிசாரம்].
Thus in Twelve Divya desams, the Lord displayed 12 auspicious qualities. With Thirukkaditthanam, number of Malayala Divya desams [mel naattu thiruppathigal மேல் நாட்டு திருப்பதிகள்] is 13. We also visited the birth place of Kulasekara Alwar, Thiruvanjikkalam, making a total of 14 Kshetrams in this trip. Now we will see sloka 10 of Chapter 16:

kāmam āśritya duṣpūraṃ dambhamānamadānvitāḥ
mohād gṛhītvāsadgrāhān pravartanteśucivratāḥ 16.10

Some more qualities of Asura like persons. Duspuram = unsatisfied. Enjoying sensual pleasures can never be satisfied. It is like adding fuel to fire to quench it! Swami Koorattalwan says that by adding some firewood in fire, instead of getting satisfied, the fire grows larger and demands more! There is no end to desires. Kamam = desire that can never be satisfied, asritya = attains. These persons attain desires which can never be satisfied; and so have, dambha = cheap publicity, mana = durabhimana or unlawful attachments, madam = vulgar pride [of education, wealth, beauty and family]. Such desire hungry people have cheap publicity, attachments to materialistic pleasures and ego. Asadgrahan = illegal wealth, grhitva = acquired, mohad = delusion, asuci vrata = following fasting against Shastras. Fasting on Ekadasi is prescribed in Vedas; but these people would fast on Dwadasi! Vrata also means determination. These people are determined to tread against Shastras. Pravartante = live, with such wrong beliefs and actions. Ravana could have avoided his ill fate, had he controlled his senses. Swami Koorattalwan says that our desires are not contained even if we have all comforts. Our desires are unsatisfied whether we get a thing we desired for or not! Pride of education, wealth and family, drive these types of people mad. For noble persons, the same three qualifications are catalyst for more services. The Lord advises Arjuna not to have any of these Asura qualities. If we surrender at the feet of Nammalwar, then we need not worry. With this, we conclude the visit to Malayala Divya desam and get ready for visit of Kshetrams in North.

Monday, May 18, 2009

BG 16.9

In Thiruvanparisaram, Sri Kamalavalli Nacchiyar [ஸ்ரீ கமலவல்லி நாச்சியார்] never parts with the Lord Sri Thiruvazh Marban. Today's [19th May 2009] lecture is from the main sannidhi. There is the tall dwajasthambam, built by King Kulasekara. Many Kings have contributed enormous services in this temple. As we enter we come across a mandapam, and another mandapam further inside and then garbhagruha. The Lord is Nine-foot, gigantically seated. While the right arm is showing abhaya, left arm is placed on the knee. Right leg is folded and left leg is stretched. Sri Thayar is gracing from His chest! All the Seven sages [Sapta rishi] are inside the garbhagruha. Outside, we see a sannidhi on right, with Sri Rama, Sri Sita and Lakshmana gracing. On one side we see Hanuman and Vibheeshana; and on the other side are sage Agastya and Kulasekara Alwar. There are some idols in the temple, for which no poojas are performed, like Agastya and Kulasekara. Kulasekara had contributed services in this temple. He was called kolli kavalan koodal nayakan kozhikkon Kulasekara [கொல்லி காவலன் கூடல் நாயகன் கோழிக் கோன் குலசேகரன்]. We started the visit of Divya desams of Malayala region with the birth place of Kulasekara, Thiruvanjikalam [திருவஞ்சிக் களம்]. It is appropriate that we conclude Malayala Divya desam visit in Thiruvanparisaram and worship Kulasekara. There is nothing like first, second, etc., among Divya desams; but this is purely in our present trip! Agastya is seen along with Kulasekara, because it is believed here that once sage Agastya lectured Ramayana to Hanuman here. Hanuman is always interested in listening to Ramayana. Wherever Ramayana is chanted, there Hanuman arrives with folded hands and tears in eyes! Vibheeshana was returning to Lanka after the coronation of Sri Rama, as the King of Ayodya! When he reached this place, he yearned to see again Sri Rama and Sri Sita in coronation. The Lord, therefore, appeared to Vibheeshana here along with Sri Sita and Lakshmana. Thus all connected with Sri Rama, are in His sannidhi. Nammalwar has praised this Kshetram in a single pasuram in Thiruvaimozhi [8.3], It starts with 'varuvar selvar.. [வருவார் செல்வார்...]'. Nammalwar prays to the Lord. There were a number of pilgrims travelling between Azhvar Tirunagari, where Alwar was, and Thiruvanparisaram, where the Lord was. Alwar says 'en thiruvazh marban [என் திரு வாழ் மார்பன்]' - that is the Lord belonged to Alwar! This could be split as en thiruvazhmarban - meaning Alwar's LordThiruvazhmarban; or, en thiru vazhmarban - meaning Alwar's Sri Lakshmi Thayar, residing in His chest. In the latter, Alwar's proximity to Sri Thayar could be noted and that was what Alwar desired! Alwar believed that these pilgrims were telling about Alwar to Sri Thiruvazhmarban and vice versa! But nothing like that happened. Alwar laments as why they do not tell about Alwar to the Lord? What could be done? Then he gets an idea. The Lord is always carrying discus and conch. Would He not need rest? Alwar offers as volunteer to carry these weapons to give rest for the Lord! He was prepared to accompany the Lord like that on one side. What about the other side? That is taken care of by Lakshmana, who would never leave the Lord unguarded! Why not someone tell the Lord that Alwar was ready to assist Him, like this? Here, the word 'someone' might mean a great devotee, like the Mahatma mentioned by the Lord in Gita; or, it could mean an ordinary and simple devotee! Now we will see sloka 9 of Chapter 16:

etāṃ dṛṣṭim avaṣṭabhya naṣṭātmānolpabuddhayaḥ
prabhavanty ugrakarmāṇaḥ kṣayāya jagatohitāḥ 16.9

Etam = thus these persons', drstim = view. That is these Asura quality persons are of the view that God is not atman to Universe, God does not support Universe and God is not Commander of Universe. Avastabhya = cling violently [to this view], nasta atmana = lose [sight of] soul, alpabuddhaya = and are very obscure minded. Animals do not know who they are. A lion does not know it is a lion. It is disillusioned that its body and soul are same. At least humans are a bit better as they know what species they belonged to! But he should further mature to know atman is what he was and, not the body. If he thinks he was mere human being, then he is disillusioned that soul and body are same. Since he does not sublime his thoughts to higher level, such people who think atman and body are same, are called alpa buddhi by the Lord! When we say it is 'my' or 'our' body, we rightly distinguish between body and soul, represented by 'my' or 'our'. A lion or tiger never tells that it is its body! A man tells, but does not realize that body and soul are different! Knower is atman and known is body. This difference is not realized, because of ignorance. Since these little minded persons think atman and body are same, they are caring only for the body. By doing so, they know only the differences among bodies. The body of every individual is different from all others' bodies. Thus these persons are not trained to see equality or uniformity! Therefore, this thinking breeds hatred and love. Such people, ugra karmana = do violent actions, that is, they would perform deceit, for their own welfare. Ksayaya = destruction of, jagata = world, prabhavanty = take efforts. Hiranyakasipu, Ravana, etc., for their welfare destroyed all others. We see such destructive character in many human beings even now. Because they have the alpa buddhi and never think that atman and body are separate. Such people, asubha = lack auspiciousness [in some editions of Gita, this sloka has a different word here; but Swami Ramnuja has used the word asubha and so this commentary is based on that]. These persons are thus never respected. We should strive to copy Alwar and be a servant of the Lord.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

BG 16.8

Nammalwar is like nectar; and his mother is another nectar, who delivered this nectar! Nammalwar's mother Udayanangai [உடையநங்கை], belonged to this place Thiruvanparisaram [திரு வண்பரிசாரம்]. We are at the temple of Sri Thiruvazhmarban [ஸ்ரீ திருவாழ்மார்பன்], Lord of Thiruvanparisaram. At the entrance itself we can see the Lord majestically sitting and gracing. We also see Sri Rama, Sri Sita and Lakshmana. On another side Nammalwar is gracing.

The greatness of this Kshetram is due to Sri Maha Lakshmi. Also, because of Nammalwar, with benign blessings of Sri Thayar. Temple pond, pushkarini is called Soma Theertham or Lakshmi Theertham. Today's [18th May 2009] lecture is from that pushkarini, below a tree. Theertham means sacred; Lakshmi name is also sacred; and so we can imagine the great sanctity of this pushkarini. How this pond got this name? Lord Sri Narasimha appeared with enormous anger, to save child Prahalada, and killed Hiranyakasipu. His anger could not be contained and even Sri Lakshmi could not control His anger. Prahalada went and pacified the Lord and got the blessings. That time Sri Lakshmi got separated from the Lord and came to this place. She meditated on the banks of this pond, to join the Lord again. Thus this pond got the name Sri Lakshmi Theertham. The Lord, then came and the Divine Couple got united. Sri Thayar returned to Her place on the chest [மார்பு = marbu , in Tamil]. Thus the Lord is known as Thiru [திரு Sri Lakshmi], vazh [வாழ் = residing], marban [மார்பன் = chested Person]! Though in Alwar's pasurams the name of the place is Thiruvan Parisaram, it is popularly known as Thiruppati saram [திருப்பதி சாரம்]. It is very near Nagerkoil in Tamilnadu. This is the only Kshetram in Malayala Divya desams, in which the Lord is seated! Vimanam is Indra Kalyana vimanam. Now we will see sloka 8 of Chapter 16, in which the Lord tells what persons of Asura quality say and how they assume they are all to themselves:

asatyam apratiṣṭhaṃ te jagad āhur anīśvaram
aparasparasaṃbhūtaṃ kim anyat kāmahaitukam 16.8

The Lord tells Arjuna that these people tread on the wrong path. They do not accept that this Universe is governed by the Lord. Asatyam = abrahmatmakam - that is this Universe does not have Brahmam or the Lord as its atman. According to them, this Universe is by itself and the Lord is not pervading as atman! Since Brahmam is assumed to be pervading entirely, without exception and remains as its atman, and since satyam means Brahmam [from satyam, gyanam, anantam brahmam], asatyam means not accepting Brahmam's role as atman of the Universe. Satyam also means everlasting.
Apratishtam = not supported [by Brahmam]. That is they [Asuras] say that the Universe is self sustaining and self supporting.
Anisvaram = not commanded by Iswara or the Lord. There is none to command or rule Universe. Thus according to these Asura quality persons, Universe does not have the Lord as Atman, it is self supporting and it is not governed by the Lord! Te = they [Asuras], ahu = tell, jagad = about Universe! Then how is this Universe functioning? How are we created? For these also these persons have an answer! Aparaspara = without mutual, sambhutam = intercourse or union, kim anyat = what else could be? They ask that without the mutual attraction and consequent intercourse of males and females, can there be any other reason for creations? So, why Brahmam is needed or justified? Kamahaitukam = [they further say that] lust is the reason. According to them, the mutual attraction between male and female, because of lust, is the reason for creation and the Universe. There is no God and even if there was One, He has nothing to do with this Universe and life in it, according to them! These type of objections are thus not of recent origin, but have been existing for many, many milleniums! We will now closely examine this logic of them. We know from Physics that nothing changes unless an external agent acts on it [Newton's First law of motion]. We find the Universe is constantly changing, which proves that External agent is acting on it! For this they could argue that they were the external agents causing changes! Here we have to understand that there are human made actions, like the present Economic slow down. Certainly God is not responsible for this problem. But to make an atman reside in a body and to give its power of brain, mind and action, is action of the God. After this atman in a body might do so many; but the most essential act of atman residing in a body, is not by us but by God. If this is again argued that atman residing in body is because of intercourse among males and females, then we have to remember that just by intercourse a child is not born, nor its life, when born, is defined, etc. Therefore, one has to agree that there is an external force beyond male-female union. Shastras very clearly say that just like this body is commanded by the atman inside, atman are all commanded by the Lord. Also, Brahmam is of Three syllables, Shastras say. Sat [सत] + ti [ति]+ yam [यम्]= satyam [सत्यम]. Sat indicates atman. Ti indicates Achit or materials without intellect. Yam means commanding. That is He who commands atman and achit, is Satyam or the Lord. The Lord says that He is responsible for all creations, sustaining and destroying. If a plane is flying, it is supported by air below and the force generated. Plane by itself can not support itself as is apparent. All planets and other celestial objects are all supported by some force. If we agree with their argument that the Lord is not commanding, or in effect without any commander, then will that not lead to chaos? Therefore, the argument that the Lord is neither atman of the Universe, nor supports it, nor even command it, is useless. If mere male female attraction was the cause for the Universe, how plants grow? There are many insects like lice, which are created from our sweat. Where is male-female attraction in those creations? Many germs are created without any such intercourse. There are many such creations unaccounted for by male-female intercourse. Anyway, these are arguments of Asura type of persons.

Friday, May 15, 2009

BG 16.7

Alwar asks us to surrender unto Sri Thiruvaattatran! He says he did not know what good things he had done, for the Lord to reside in his mind! In this temple we can see lots of buildings, corridors, halls, etc. The praakaram [பிராகாரம்] or corridor is on all Four sides and has 224 pillars, each is sculpted with a lady with a lamp! If we add oil or ghee and light the lamp, it would burn for about Four hours. This temple also is connected with the Royal family of Travancore, like Sri Ananta Padmanabhaswamy Temple of Thiruvanantapuram! Once King Marthanda Varma could not remain in his Kingdom and after lots of struggles reached this place. He was very thirsty and hungry and was praying God. At that time an old woman came and offered him water and cooked rice and uppu mangai [உப்பு மாங்காய்], salted mango, in a coconut shell! After eating, the King took leave promising to do great things for the place. He regained his Kingdom and got many constructions made in this temple. In the Aarattu festival, on both Aippasi and Panguni festivals, even today, the Lord is taken on procession, with the Royal representatives leading with swords in their hands. Also a carpenter from the family of a carpenter appointed by the King in olden days, makes a bow, called onavillu [ஓணவில்லு], for Onam celebrations. These show the connection between the King and this temple. The auspicious quality exhibited to Alwar, by the Lord, in this temple, is Pranata Paratantraya [प्रणत पारतंत्र्यम ப்ரணத பாரதந்த்ரம்] or obeyng devotees! In Acharya Hrudayam, Swami Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar says ' moksha dhanatthil, pranata parathanthriyam valam mikka nadhiyile karai puralum [மோக்ஷ தானத்தில் ப்ரணத பார தந்த்ரம் வளம் மிக்க நதியிலே கரை புரளும்!]' ! The river is flowing profusely! But it seems that it is not water, something else! What is it? His auspicious quality of Pranata Paratantriyam. Pranata is devotee. Paratantriyam means dependent. The Lord is extremely dependent on His devotee! This He displays during the grant of Moksham! Alwar composed pasurams on this Kshetram, when he was about to conclude Thiruvaimozhi and depart for Vaikuntam! The pasurams of this Kshetram are in 10.6. Thereafter, in another 40 pasurams, Alwar would complete Thiruvaimozhi and raise to Vaikuntam. The Lord had arrived to grant Moksham and Alwar was ready to recieve! Both of them were looking at each other and nothing else happened! Then, suddenly Alwar remembered that his body was to be cast away to reach Moksham. When the Lord came to know this, then He told that He wanted Alwar to come with the same mortal body! But Alwar never liked that idea. After all, Alwar was praying all those days only to get rid of the earthly body and reach Vaikuntam. This conversation took place in Thirumaliruncholai, near Madurai. The Lord insisted that Alwar should come with the same body only. Later, the Lord relented and setting aside His desire, He told that He was more interested in fulfilling Alwar's desire. This Alwar tells in these pasurams and is carried away by this quality of the Lord to act according to the desire of His devotee, which is called Parathanthriyam, as opposed to Swathantriyam [ஸ்வதந்த்ரம்]! If we also go to this place and worship the Lord, He would certainly act according to our wishes. Such a great Lord, Who is reclining on the large 22 feet serpent bed, is simple enough to obey His devotees' command and desire! Now we move on to sloka 7 of Chapter 16:

pravṛttiṃ ca nivṛttiṃ ca janā na vidur āsurāḥ
na śaucaṃ nāpi cācāro na satyaṃ teṣu vidyate 16.7

What qualities would be absent in Asuras? The Lord tells them here. Asura jana = people with Asura qualities. It was told that during creation, two types of people are created - Deva type and Asura type. Such Asura behaviour people, na vidhu = will never know, pravrttim ca nivrttim = pravruttim and nivruttim means or methods. Pravruttim methods are for acquiring wealth and material benefits, prescribed in Vedas, as mentioned by lord Brahma. Like for example, by performing Jyotish homam, one could reach heaven or by performing Vayavya yagna, one could get more wealth, etc. That is by performing in Vedic karma, one gets more comforts in life in this Universe. These persons with Asura qualities would not know these Pravrutti methods. Nivrutti method is mentioned by Sriman Narayana Himself. To seek His divine feet and do only service to the Lord, to reach Him in Vaikuntam. This is also not known by Asura type of persons. Even if Pravrutti marg was known, people would have followed Vedas and slowly, such Vedic Karmas might induce and refine them to Nivrutti marg. To do Vedic Karmas these persons would make themselves disciplined as required in Vedas. But these persons do not believe in Vedas and Shastras and so even Pravrutti marg is unknown to them. Na saucam = no cleanliness, to perform any Shastras prescribed duties. Here both internal and external cleanliness are implied. When we go to temple we go after cleaning our body and with a serene mind. If we want to offer Prasadams to the Lord, should we not prepare them after cleaning our body? Thus, these persons, do not even prepare themselves for doing any pious actions. Na api ca acara = also not even the basic discipline, prescribed for every individual in Shastras. Performing elaborate pooja without doing, say, sandyavandanam is against achara or is anachara. Na satyam = never speak truth. The minds of these persons are occupied by schemings, prejudice and deceit. They are always scheming to grab others' properties or create trouble in society, etc. Thus their words will never have truth and would deploy exaggerated words. Their words are not helping any living beings also. If we want to avoid all these bad qualities, then we have to visit Kshetrams like Thiruvattaru and worship the Lord. His Divine feet would avoid hell for us. In olden days, this Kshetram was part of Chera region; but in the last 50 years or so, it is part of Tamilnadu. We now take leave of this Kshetram.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

BG 16.6

Nammalwar has been composing 10 pasurams on each of these Kshetrams. But in this Kshetram, listeners ask for a repeat after Alwar finished 10 pasurams. After a bath in Vaattaru, we get into the temple.

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We see the tall Dwajasthambam. Near it are the Dwarapalakas, keeping guard of the entrance, to see the Lord! Entire temple is built as a granite fort! As we enter further, we see the beautiful sculptures. WeSee full size image will just see some of them.
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An exact replica of the Lord in garbhagruha is carved as a sculpture. The Lord is reclining with left arm stretched below and right arm lifted up. The statue is 22 Feet long! He is reclining on Adisesha, and we see 'thiru namam [திரு நாமம்]' on the hoods. The Lord is surrounded by Devas, Siddhas, Rishis, etc. Just at the entrance to the garbhagruha, we see statues of Manmadha and his consort Rati. Manmada is standing with a bow of sugar cane and flower arrows! Though the pair is famous for mesmerizing others with their beauty, after worshiping the Lord, they seem to feel shy as to how they could be called beauty gods! A great Yali [யாளி], an extinct animal, welcomes us. We also see Sri Parasurama, with His weapon parasu [axe]. He was here for a long time meditating on the Lord. We find lord Rudra dancing with one foot raised and beating udukkai [உடுக்கை], a tiny percussion instrument. Near him is Nandikeswara, playing on mridangam, another percussion instrument! We see Lord Sri Venugopala, playing on the flute, standing with legs crossed and displaying peacock feather on His head! We find cows and calves attentively listening to the sweet music! There is a prakaram [பிராகாரம்], corridor, inside which the Lord is gracing. The Lord is Adi Kesava, because, even before creating lord Brahma, the Lord has been gracing here and so Adi [ancient]! This is a difference between Thiruvanantapuram and this Kshetram. There, in the lotus sprouting from the Lord's navel, lord Brahma is sitting; but here we can neither see the lotus nor Brahma. The Lord is gracing reclining on the serpent and part of the crown is hidden in the hoods of Adisesha! Here also, there are Three gates to view the Lord - one to view His divine feet, another His navel and the Third to view His face. In Thiruvanantapuram, the Lord is facing East, while in Thiruvattaru, the Lord faces West! In front of the garbhagruha is Muka mandapam, formed by a single stone. No one is allowed inside that easily. There is a large Sri Utsavar, though He is not taken on procession; but in the morning He arrives at Muka mandapam and gets a holy bath [thirumanjanam] and returns to His place. Thus if we want to worship from Muka mandapam, it is only after 8:30 A.M. As in all Kerala temples, there is a smaller Sri Utsavar, Who is taken on procession during Sriveli. Inside garbhagruha, is sage Hapalopa. There was one Somayaji, who performed Yagna, with his wife, for begetting a child. The sage appeared in that Yagna. One Devakumara, Chitivrata, playfully asked the child, who were his parents! The child not knowing what to reply showed a banana tree! But the Lord appeared from that tree and preached Ashtakshara mantra to the child and retained the child [sage] in the garbhagruha! Vimanam is Ashtanga vimanam. There are many good qualities, which the Lord desires that we follow and nurture in us. Though atman is single in a good person, many gems of good qualities are there, like in a ocean there are many jewels and precious stones!
In fact, the idol of Sri Moolavar Sri Adikesava, is made of 16,008 salagrama stones, bonded with mustard, molasses and mortar, by a process called kadisarkkarai, similar to the one at Thiruvanantapuram. Therefore, Sri Moolavar is not bathed in water [thirumanjanam]. Now we will see sloka 6. In sloka 5, the Lord asked Arjuna not to be worried. Now sloka 6:

dvau bhūtasargau lokesmin daiva āsura eva ca
daivo vistaraśaḥ prokta āsuraṃ pārtha me śṛṇu 16.6

Partha = Arjuna [son of Pruthu, aunt of Sri Krishna] me srunu = listen to Me [Sri Krishna]. By telling Arjuna to listen to the Lord, Who was Purushottama and friend of Arjuna, the Lord conveys that He cared for Arjuna's welfare. Other than the Lord, who else was there to preach him right things! Asmin loke = in this Universe. Loke does not mean only our world, but every Karma bhoomi at all places, starting from Satya loka to Patala loka! That is wherever Karma has a role to play. Because, Devas and Asuras are also born out of Karma. Dvau = Two, bhuta = living beings, sargau = creations. That is, all living beings created out of individual's past Karma, are in Two categories - Devas and Asuras. If one had punya Karma, he was born as Deva and if he had papa Karma, he was born as Asura. Again it is reminded that Deva and Asura mentioned here are not the Devas and Asuras class we normally come across; but those, by sheer behaviour and character. Thus all the Billions of creations are grouped into just Two. Daivo = [about] such divine persons, vistarasa = in a detailed way, prokta = [Sri Krishna had] explained. The Lord tells Arjuna that He had already explained in detail, about Devas or people with divine qualities. Asuram = about Asuras [persona with Asura qualities], srunu = listen [now]. When did the Lord tell about Deva natured people? In Chapters 7, 8 and 9, the Lord explained in detail about those in Bhakti Yoga. All those persons are with divine qualities. In sloka 7.16, the Lord mentioned about the Four class of devotees. All these persons are noble ones. But the Lord did not mention about those who never worshiped Him. Such persons possessed Asura qualities and the Lord wanted to tell Arjuna about them. Arjuna had a doubt. What is the necessity to know about such people? Is it not sufficient to be content with who good people were? It is possible, when the Lord describes about bad people, Arjuna [also us] might get new ideas and drift away from the Lord. But the Lord feels that only if we know the other side, we could avoid bad practices. It is also possible that we might be doing some things, not knowing they were Asura behaviour; by knowing in detail from the Lord, we could avoid such actions, if any.