Tuesday, May 26, 2009

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.

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