Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BG 17.6

Swami Ramanuja respected both Pancharatra [पांचरात्र] and Vaikasana [वैकानासा] Agamas, equally and followed. In Tirumala temple, Vaikanasa agama is followed in respect of poojas and other religious activities. We will have a glimpse of the eagerly awaited Brahmotsavam celebrations:
The Lord's avatar day here is on Tiruvonam [Shravanam] in Purattasi month. The festival is for Nine days. On the first day is Dwaja Arohanam or flag hoisting. In the evening the Lord is in procession on Periya [big[ Sesha vahanam.


On Second day morning He is on Chinna [small] Sesha vahanam and in the evening He is on Hamsa [Swan] vahanam.

Chinna Seshavahana

The Lord gave back Vedas, by taking the form of a Swan. On Third day morning He is on Simha [Lion] vahanam and in the eveninSimha Vahanamg He travels by Muthu [Pearl] pallakku [palanquin].

On Fourth Day morning He is under Kalpaka Vruksham, which would grant anything we want. Alwar says the Lord is the real Kalpaka Vruksham, because He grants even Himself to Alwar! In the evening He is as Sarva Bhoopala! The Lord graces as the unquestioned Monarch!

Kalpavriksha Vahana

On the Fifth Day, the Lord graces in Nacchiyar Tirukkolam [நாச்சியார் திருக்கோலம்], or in Mohini alankaram, when we can see Him as a captivating Damsel! When He finds that we do not surrender to Him after making available Vedas and Shastras; and, making available Alwars and Acharyas to guide us; then, as a last resort He wants to captivate us by His beauty! In the evening is the very important festival of Garuda vahanam.

Mohini Avatarotsavam

Garuda is considered as embodiment of Vedas. Crowds of devotees come to worship. On Sixth day morning it is Hanumantha vahanam, when Hanuman sees the Lord as Sri Rama and carries Him in procession. In the evening Vasantotsavam is celebrated and the Lord is in procession inside Golden Chariot. In Tirumala, they call it Bangaru Ratham! In the night the Lord rides on Elephant, Gaja vahanam.
Hanumad Vahana

On Seventh day, in the morning the Lord is in Surya prabha and in the evening He is in Chandra prabha. Sun and Moon are like His eyes.
Suryaprabha Vahana

On Eighth day is Ther [தேர்], most important. All the persons in a town should gather and pull the Chariot along the streets.


With lots of decorations, it is quite difficult to see the Lord inside the chariot. But that is also very interesting! In the evening on Eighth day, the Lord gallops on Horse - Aswa vahanam. The Lord also took Sri Hayagriva Avatar, when He had the face of a Horse! Horse reminds us speed and power. The Lord, like an Horse, transports us to Vaikuntam as we surrender unto Him! On the Ninth day - last day of the festival- the Lord graces from a palanquin. While devotees worship the Lord from both sides, the Lord Himself sees His beauty in the mirror kept in front of Him inside! After this is Chhornabhishekam and Theerthavari. In Choornabhishekam, the Lord is smeared with fragrant powders and He also graces Tirumanjanam. Theerthavari is also known as Chakra snanam and Avabhruda snanam. The Lord asks Sri Chakra, to get bathed in the pond and this ensures the well being of the World. In the evening the Lord is in procession in 'tirucchi [திருச்சி]'. It is the short form of Tirucchivikai [திருச் சிவிகை], and nothing to do with Trichy town! In fact even in Srirangam, this palanquin is called Tirucchi! Finally in the evening is Dwaja avarohanam or flag dehoisting. That day is Purattasi Tiruvonam. During Tiruvonam every month, the Lord is in durbhar, facing East. But only in Purattasi Tiruvonam, He faces North, at Swami Ramanuja's sannidhi! Normally, in all temples on the Tenth day of Brahmotsavam, Dwadasa Aradhana would be performed; but in Tirumala, Dwadasa Aradana is celebrated for Sri ugra Srinivasa on Sri Jayanthi [Gokulashtami] day! Now we will move to sloka 4 of Chapter 17:

yajante sāttvikā devān yakṣarakṣāṃsi rājasāḥ
pretān bhūtagaṇāñś cānye yajante tāmasā janāḥ 17.4

Classifying the people according to the Three qualities of satva, rajas and tamas, the Lord mentions which gods these people worship. In the beginning of this Chapter, Arjuna asked what benefits accrue to a person performing duties sincerely, though not as per Vedas. Instead of directly answering, that no rewards are granted for those doing anything not conforming to Shastras, the Lord, with slight irritation at Arjuna's query, says something different. He says that actions performed as per Shastras, are of Three types. In the last sloka we saw that according to one's shraddha, one would be characterized. Person with satva quality, would have satva shraddha; with rajo quality, one would have rajo shraddha; and, with tamas quality, he would have tamasa shraddha. The person is identified by his shraddha. After this type of classification into Three types, what result each person gets for Vedic rituals like dhanam [donation], yagna, tapas [meditation] and poojas, performed. Satvika persons would worship Devas; Rajo persons would worship Yaksha and Rakshasas; and tamo persons would worship Demons and dead persons [ghosts]. According to the deities worshiped, each person reaches the world of such deities and enjoy their company! These happen according to the type of shraddha each person is having. Satvika = persons with satva quality and satvika shraddha, yajante = worship, devan = devas. Devas also include Sri Maha Vishnu, Who is Deva of Devas. Rajasa = persons with rajo quality [and rajo shraddha], yaksaraksamsi = [worship] Yaksha and Rakshasas. Those worshiping Devas, reach Devalok and enjoy company of Devas. Those worshiping Devadi Raja or Deva of Devas, reach Vaikuntam and would never return to samsaram. Those worshiping Yakshas and Rakshasas, reach their worlds and enjoy Yaksha and Rakshasa company. This is inferior to pleasure in Devalok or in Vaikuntam. Tamasa jana = Tamo quality persons [with tamo shraddha], yajante = worship, pretan = dead persons [or ghosts], bhutaganas = demons. These tamo type persons reach the worlds of demons and ghosts and enjoy their company, though very inferior.

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