In this Kshetram, like in Thiruvanantapuram, but from much earlier, the Lord is reclining facing West. Which is that Kshetram? Alwar calls the Lord of this Kshetram as Vaattatran [வாட்டாற்றான்]! We are in Thiruvattaru [திர்வட்டாறு], also known as Thiruvaattaru [திருவாட்டாறு]. Today's [13th May 2009] lecture is from the banks of Vaattaru river. Here is the magnificent sannidhi of Sri Adi Kesava Perumal [ஸ்ரீ ஆதி கேசவ பெருமாள்]. As we come down from the Western gate, we can see the river flowing circularly. Since the river is encircling the temple, it is vattaru [வட்டாறு]! This is transformed and called Thirvaattaru [திருவாட்டாறு] now. Sri Thayar is Sri Margathavalli Nacchiyar [ஸ்ரீ மரகதவல்லி நாச்சியார்]. Vimanam is Ashtanga vimanam. Here, Sri Parasurama and Chandra meditated on the Lord, Who appeared to them. Why the river flows circular? Lord Brahma started a Yagna. But he forgot to inform his wife Saraswati, who became angry and decided to spoil the Yagna. She created a male demon Kesha and a female demon Keshi to spoil the Yagna. Lord Brahma prayed the Lord to help him. To finish off Kesha, the Lord came as Sri Keshava. Because of the many boons he had acquired, Kesha could not be killed by the Lord. The Lord pushed the demon from a cliff. As Kesha fell down, immediately, Adisesha pressed him under his serpent body and the demon could not come out! On the coiled body of Adisesha, the Lord started reclining! Even now the demon is trapped under the serpent bed of the Lord, in this Kshetram! The female demon Keshi was angry that her brother was trapped like that! She flowed as river Parali [பரளியாறு] and took the assistance of another river Godha. They flowed together with the idea of washing away all, including the Lord! They encircled the Lord. But Sri Bhudevi, Mother Earth, raised the place where the Lord was reclining and made it appear as a hill. Even now to worship the Lord we have to climb some steps.
The rivers could not submerge the place. Slightly away from this place is Moovaatu mukam [மூவாட்டு முகம்], where the Two rivers join together. Realizing their mistake, they sought pardon from the Lord and the Lord granting pardon, asked them to remain flowing always around Him. During the annual Brahmotsavam, Theerthavari [தீர்த்தவாரி] celebrated on the final day, is done at this place Moovaattu mukam. This place is also called Shenbaga vanam [செண்பக வனம்]. Nammalwar says by worshiping the Lord here, we can cut off rebirths in this samsaram. All our ages old sins would be washed away. The Lord develops in us the qualities of Devas and destroys the qualities of Asura. We can note that the Two rivers started with Asura qualities, but later got converted to Deva's qualities; Saraswati, one of the Devas, got unnecessarily angry and developed Asura quality. Thus we have to be very careful and avoid changing to Asura qualities. Nurturing good qualities is not easy, but once we make it a habit, then we can correct our bad qualities arising now and then, by praying to the Lord. In the First Three slokas of Chapter 16, the Lord listed 26 qualities, which make a person a Deva. In a single sloka , the Lord listed the qualities of Asura. He further explains in sloka 5:
daivī saṃpad vimokṣāya nibandhāyāsurī matā
mā śucaḥ saṃpadaṃ daivīm abhijātosi pāṇḍava 16.5
Pandava = Arjuna, off spring of King Pandu! Pandu was a satvika and had abundant good qualities. Since Arjuna was the son of Pandu, he should also possess good qualities only. We should never forget that Devas do not mean only those in the upper Worlds; nor, Asuras do not indicate only persons like Hiranyakasipu! The Lord categorises people as Devas and Asuras, purely by their behaviour and character! Generally, Devas are good. There is a saying 'vishnu bhakto deva: vipareetha asura:' - persons with devotion to the Lord Sri Vishnu are Devas and others are Asuras. Daivi = divine qualities, sampad = wealth, vimoksaya = responsible for liberation [from samsaram] or for Moksham. These earned divine or Devas' qualities will get us Moksham. Asuri = [but the wealth of] demonic or Asura qualities, nibhandhaya = will keep bonded [in samsaram]. Asura qualities will ensure bondage in samsaram, causing cycle of rebirths. Here, Swami Vedanta Desika, in his Tatparya Chandrika, enquires as to how Asura qualities could be termed wealth, like divine qualities. Instead of sampat it should have been vipat, is it not? But the person with Asura qualities considers those bad qualities as wealth, as far as he is concerned! That is what Hiranyakasipu thought! Here, the Lord pauses. Arjuna's face reflected sorrow. His body started shvering! In the First Chapter also he was very sorrowful and this stopped after the Lord started His lecture. But now, again his face displayed sorrow. The Lord was wondering why again Arjuna was weeping? Arjuna's worry was in which group he belonged to? Devas group or Asuras group? Actually, Arjuna need not have this doubt. Because, he is gifted, else he would not have been the recipient of such great lectures from the Lord Himself. Leaving aside all aspects, the single fact that the Lord chose Arjuna as His disciple to sermon such an important treasure Gita, itself shows that Arjuna could only be Deva and not Asura. Arjuna was so close to the Lord, that he was like atman to the Lord. He was so close a friend that he could share same bed with the Lord! But we have to realize that even if such a close comrade could have doubt, what should be our position?! That fear we should always have. Here Sri Krishna allays fear of Arjuna. Arjuna possessed Deva's qualities and he was born to fulfill all the duties stipulated by Shastras to him. So he need not have to get worried! Ma suca = do not worry. This is going to be repeated by the Lord again in sloka 66 of Chapter 18. Daivim = in divine qualities, abhijatosi = [Arjuna] was born, Why Arjuna was worried? Because he was a born hero and had to fight with many, when he could commit some errors. He could have ridiculed some while donating, etc. He was afraid, therefore, that by his ego, some Asura qualities might have been earned. In fact, in the last fifteen Chapters the Lord had been proclaiming that He was the Most Supreme; if Arjuna had Asura qualities, he would have contradicted that and fought with the Lord!