'Prabhatye tam girim praya: srinivasa anukampaya |
Ikshusara sravantyeva yenmurtya sarkarayitam ||'
This is the First sloka of Daya Satakam, by Swami Vedanta Desika. The Lord Sri Srinivasa is like sugarcane! As such tasting sugarcane is difficult and could be problematic to some. His mercy or compassion is the juice from the sugarcane! Even though drinking sugarcane juice is easier, how long we could preserve it? But if the juice could be processed and made into sugar, then it would remain for a very long time. Thus, handling sugarcane juice is easier than biting sugarcane; and, handling sugar is much simpler than sugarcane juice! Thus, the juice - mercy, flowed down from sugarcane - Sri Srinivasa; and, had solidified as sugar and stands as Tirumala hills! Around Tirumala are many 'Theerthams' like Pandava theerthem, Japali theertham, etc,. Today's [2nd June 2009] lecture is from Akasha Ganga, one of the many theerthams, and which is connected with Tiruvenkatam. Swami Periya Tirumalai Nambi was serving Lord Sri Srinivasa in Tirumala. He was the maternal uncle of Swami Ramanuja. Daily he used to go upto Papavinasam and bring water in pot for the Lord. Once the Lord took the form of a young Boy. When Swami Periya Tirumalai Nambi was returning with pot full of water, this Boy approached him and requested for water to drink. The Lord as Boy addressed him as 'tata [तात தாத]', which in Sanskrit meant father! Thus the Lord personified Swami Tirumalai Nambi as His father and requested for water! But Swami Tirumalai Nambi declined to offer water and proceeded to go to the temple! The Boy, from behind, threw a stone and made the water to leak out from the pot; and, He drank water as it flowed out! Realizing pot was emptied, Swami Tirumalai Nambi chided the Boy, as he had to go back again to the far away Papavinasam to fetch water. The Boy replied that he need not go that far and pierced the earth at a nearby place and water sprang out abundantly! It is believed that Ganga sprang out and so it is called Akasha Ganga. This water was brought by the Lord Himself and is used for the Lord in the temple. Swami Tirumalai Nambi found the Boy had disappeared and he collected water from Akasha Ganga and presented at the temple. The Lord, through Archaka, conveyed that He had already drunk water. Then, Swami Tirumalai Nambi realized that the Lord had appeared as the Boy. Thus water could be presented to the Lord from Papavinasam or Akasha Ganga or another place inside the temple. We can see a well very near the sannidhi of the Lord and it is called Bangaru bavi [பங்காரு பாவி बंगारू भावी] or golden well. Thus for poojas, water is collected from any of the Three places. Once when Swami Alavandar visited, there was some problem in bringing water from Akasha Ganga. He decided that water from this golden well could be used.
Alwar says that the many water falls in Tirumala are making sound, and beckon all the devotees to come and get all sins washed away! Alwar says that he who came to the Tirumal hills, with many water falls, and worshiped to the amusement of others, who thought the person was mad and so making noise, would climb to reach Vaikuntam! Why should anyone feel shy to shout one's own Father's name? If others made fun of Alwar for shouting the Lord's name, Alwar would use their clappings as metre to sing more and more of His name! Now, we will see sloka 19. With ego, muscle power, pride, lust and anger, these Asura quality people are living. What is the destination of such people? The Lord answers in sloka 19:
tān ahaṃ dviṣataḥ krurān saṃsāreṣu narādhamān
kṣipāmy ajasram aśubhān āsurīṣv eva yoniṣu 16.19
The Lord says that He pushed them again and again in Asura quality rebirths. Aham = I [Sri Krishna, the Mightiest and Most Superior],ksipamy = push, tan = them [Asura quality persons], dvisata = haters [of the Lord], kruran = cruel [minded towards the Lord], into, samsaresu = in samsaram [this society], naradhaman = as lowest among humans, ajasram = many, many times [in samsaram]. We are born and do actions to collect papa/punya; and after reaching appropriate hell or heaven, we are again reborn and continue in the cycle. These persons are not simply pushed into rebirths in samsaram. Even Swami Tirumalai Nambi or Swami Ramnuja or Swami Vedanta Desika were also born in samsaram. They lived a noble life. But these persons are not born in such noble families. Asuris = most wicked natured, yonisu = families, asubhan = [they are also] most inauspicious. Therefore, we learn that we should not abuse God. We think that we are the designers of our lives. Our births are decided by our past papa/punya. After obtaining a birth as human, we should utilise the opportunity properly. Instead if we miss the opportunity, and commit papa, we have to repeat in this cycle. Are our past Karma, shaping our life? Think of the various persons around us. One could argue that a person in his forties, gets what he did earlier. But, what about an infant or toddler? Why should an infant is born rich or intelligent? One could again argue that those could be due to the papa/punya of the parents. But how the Karma of someone else could affect us? We should realize that cause and effect should be for the same person. One's cause can not have effect for another! Therefore, our past Karma decides our birth and circumstances. It is hence, necessary to accept past Karma and rebirths. Transfering our effects of Karmas done in one birth to the next birth, is decided by the Lord. Accepting this is Deva quality; and, thinking that the self was responsible for all, is Asura quality.