Monday, June 22, 2009

BG 17.7

Swami Vedanta Desika in his Dayasatakam, says,
'Vigahe theertha bahulam seethalam guru santhathim|
Srinivasa dayamodhi parivaha paramparam ||'
We should take bath in the refreshing cool water of daya [mercy] of the Lord! To do this we require bathing ghat. Where is it? It is the pasurams of Alwars and stotrams and guidelines given by Acharyas! Otherwise, by directly trying to 'bathe' in His mercy, might put us in problems. Lord Sri Srinivasa's daya melts down and flows as guru parampara [lineage of Acharyas], including Alwars. We have been seeing festivals organized by various Acharyas, in Tirumala. We will see some more festivals, apart from Brahmotsavam. Almost all through out the year, the Lord graces festivals! Utsavam [festival] implies Sri Utsavar has to participate! In today's [19th June 2009] lecture we will see Pavitrotsavam [பவித்ரோத்சவம்]. Pavitrata means sacred and so, pavitrotsavam means very sacred festival. When the Lord Himself is sacred, where is the necessity for sacred festival?, we might wonder. It should not be seen in that meaning. During the entire year, we might have committed known and unknown errors due to ignorance or incapability or due to shortage in the quality and/or quality of materials, or due to inadequate time. As an example, flowers offered should not have been plucked using our nails; their fragrance should not have been smelt by us; and so many such stipulations. While assembling flowers as garlands, we could have committed so many mistakes. While He might pardon our ignorance and incapability, our mistakes committed knowingly, have to be pardoned after proper prayer to the Lord. In the festivals any such deficiencies like mantra lobha [deficiency in mantras] or kriya lobha [ deficiency in duties], are being sought to be pardoned in this pavitrotsavam.

Next, appropriate to His exemplary valour, He graces pari vettai [பரி வேட்டை]. Usually, in all temples this is celebrated on Vijaya Dasami day as Kanu Parivettai [கனு பாரி வேட்டை]. The Lord carries bow and arrows. It signifies that the Lord destroys our enemies, just as He shot arrows at Ravana and Kumbhakarna and killed them! Next, is Vasanthotsavam and associated Tirumanjanam. Vasantam is spring season. Though it is also like summer, during this season all flowers bloom, and this season was prescribed for Sri Rama Pattabhishekam. The Lord graces from Vasanta Mandapam, surrounded by cool flowing water and breeze from surrounding trees and plants! Lord's real beauty is exhibited during Tirumanjanam! The Lord graces with Sri Ubhaya Nacchiyars! He graces holy bath in water mixed with fragrant materials. It is a memorable sight to see the Lord and His consorts with dripping wet yellow clothes and with green Tulasi garlands! We will now see sloka 5 of Chapter 17:

aśāstravihitaṃ ghoraṃ tapyante ye tapo janāḥ
dambhāhaṃkārasaṃyuktāḥ kāmarāgabalānvitāḥ 17.5

Slokas 5 and 6 are in continuation, convey the same meaning. In sloka 1, Arjuna asked the Lord as to what reward was there for actions done with sincerity, but not conforming to shastras. Instead of directly replying that question, Sri Krishna talked about others in sloka 2, 3 and 4, and then in slokas 5 and 6 He answers that question. Arjuna wanted to know whether some benefits would accrue to the person who was sincere but not doing actions as per shastras. If an action has not been specified in shastras, no rewards would accrue. In fact, negative effects might accrue! That person might land in Naraka, as Asuras did actions not conforming to shastras! Violation of shastras, is the nature of Asuras and so, no rewards would be reaped. But this answer was not told, and in the intervening slokas 2, 3 and 4, the Lord told that actions done in conformity with shastras are of Three types according to the Three qualities. After giving a round about reply, here He says that anything done violating shastras would not fetch any reward. He says that ashastras means actions done with Asura quality. Ye jana = those people, ghoram = very violent, tapyante = perform tapas or meditation. The Lord was about to say that such violent actions would not give rewards; but Arjuna felt that such wild actions were also prescribed in shastras. Knowing Arjuna's doubt the Lord clarified by saying asastravihitam = not prescribed by shastras. So, He talks of those people, who perform meditation or poojas, not in conformity with shastras and perform them violently [torturing themselves]. They do with dambha = publicity or for fame, ahamkara = with ego or self pride, kama = with passion or lust, or for sensual desires, ragha = desire in such sensual pleasures, balanvita = with their strength or muscle power. Hanuman and Hiranyakasipu had muscle power. While Hanuman never had kamaraga or desire for sensual pleasures, Hiranyakasipu had plenty of it. We should recollect sloka 7.11 [BG 7.13], wherein the Lord told that He was the Power in strong men. Does it mean that the Lord is the strength in Hiranyakasipu? The Lord is not praising that, but says that the strength of such persons, without kamaragha, is the best. Hanuman's strength was useful to the world. Nuclear energy could be useful or can destroy. How this power is deployed is important. Muscle power used for sense pleasures would be dangerous. Those persons doing actions not prescribed in shastras, and doing it with muscle power, for publicity and with self pride, will not be rewarded and would be destined to hell. Thus Sri Krishna tells that even if done with sincerity, actions not prescribed in shastras, would not fetch those persons any reward.

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