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!'.

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