Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BG 17.8

Sri Venkatesa has been praised by many Alwars. Many Acharyas have worshiped the Lord. In Him, Sri Venkatesa, Nammalwar performed saranagati. We will see some more Utsavams of the Lord in today's [22nd June 2009] lecture. Firstly, Teppotsavam.

Tirumala Theppothsavam

While all other festivals are held on land, this is the only festival celebrated on water! In all temples, the Lord arrives at Pushkarini, twice in a year. Once, during Teppotsavam or the Float festival; and the other is during Teerthavari. Here, we have already seen Teertavari. At present we are looking at Teppotsavam. In the temple pond, a big float is assembled. It is decorated very well. We have seen earlier, the philosophy behind Teppotsavam - water, float and the Lord in it! Pond is with water and is seen supporting the float, in which is the Lord. Likewise, our atman is in a body; the Lord resides in the atman. Swami Ramanuja in the introductory sloka, of his Sri Bhashyam, says that those desiring Bhakti, pray to the Lord Sri Srinivasa, residing in all! This float reminds us of our body, our soul and the Lord residing in the soul. Young and old, alike, are eager to worship the Lord in this Float! Many devotees get into the Float, and go round in the pond and enjoy the company of the Lord.

The Lord is in a decorated Swing [oonjal ஊஞ்சல்]! There lived one Talapakkam Swami Annmacharya. He had immense love for Sri Srinivasa. This love developed Bhakti in Him. His idols could be seen in Tirupati and in Tirumala. To spread the songs of Bhakti, composed by Swamy Annamacharya, TTD are doing numerous commendable activities. They tour many places to spread songs of Swami Annamacharya. Seeing the Lord in Dolai, Swami Annamacharya derived greatest pleasure! The Oonjal is swung gently, when great artistes [Vidwans] would sing in praise of the Lord! Like an Emperor enjoying music in his garden, the Emperor of the Universe, Lord Sri Venkatesa relaxes in the Dolai. His devotees slowly push and pull the swing. When the swing approaches us, we feel the Lord is coming to bless us! And, when the swing moves away, we get the fear that we are abandoned by the Lord! But the more He swings away from us, with more speed He arrives to bless us! So, our fears are unfounded!
Now we will see sloka 6, which is a continuation of sloka 5 of Chapter 17. Even by doing a karma with sincerity, but not in accordance with shastras, no benefits will accrue; such Karmas are of Asura quality. They are having Kamaragha and are done for publicity and self prestige. Now, sloka 6:

karṣayantaḥ śarīrasthaṃ bhūtagrāmam acetasaḥ
māṃ caivāntaḥśarīrasthaṃ tān viddhy āsuraniścayān

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna to be sure that those persons are of Asura type. Who are they? Acetasa = fools or persons with no intellect. They do not know which are the actions to be done to get happiness in this world while alive or in the other worlds after death. Karsayanta = torture [themselves], sarirastham = this body and its, bhutagramam = assembly of organs. These persons [doing actions not conforming to shastras], think that they are doing penance or meditation, by subjecting their body and organs to various tortures. They sit on hill tops, sit amidst fires, drink only water, etc. Alwar questions where is the necessity to torture oneself to realize God? If one wanted to attract a King, one might do antics; but to attract one's own mother, are they necessary? In fact seeing this, the mother might get worried as to why her child was torturing its body? Similarly, the Lord is not at all pleased with such tortures, especially, when they are inflicted to perform karmas not prescribed by shastras. These persons hurt various organs of the body! Antahsarirastham = [residing] inside the body, mam caiva = I [Sri Krishna] am also [tortured]. If we are holding a baby in our arms, and if we do anything with the arms, the baby also is subject to those actions and might suffer. Similarly, when we torture our body, we subject the Lord also to such tortures. But this is not the implication, when the Lord tells. We know that even when the Lord is present in ugly surroundings, that ugliness will never affect the Lord. It is not like a pearl or flower in mire or dust. But the Lord certainly suffers at the torture of body by these persons. How? If we beat a child, its mother feels hurt. When a body is hit, atman suffers. Since atman is child of the Lord, He suffers at the suffering of His child! This is what the Lord implies. By torturing the body atman suffers; consequently, the Lord for Whom atman is the body, suffers! Tan viddhy = [therefore] understand these persons, asura niscayan = standing firmly on Asura qualities, like not caring for shastras. Not understanding that simple Bhakti would fetch happiness while alive and after death, these foolish persons torture their bodies in actions not stipulated in shastras, and think that they can get happiness while being alive in this world and after death in the other worlds! The Lord blesses enduring happiness, if we follow shastras and perform simple acts in accordance with shastras.

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