Thursday, July 2, 2009

BG 17.17

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Alwar calls all to come and worship the Lord at Badarikashram. When we are young, we walk with pride and think we are great. As we geow older and older, we find we need not merely the two legs, but additionally a stick to support. That is usual; but without Bhakti, in young and old ages, there is no gain for us. When young, the person never cared to bend and worship the Lord, but as old age comes, body bends forward and instead of taking support of the Lord or Bhaktas, support of a stick is sought! Alwar asks why all these sufferings? He calls all to come to Badarikashram and worship the Lord, Who will eliminate sufferings as He eliminated Poothana, the demon who came to kill Sri Krishna. In youth times if we come here, weather, trekking the hilly terrain or taking bath in the swift river Alakananda, would never be a problem. Near the river, Sriman Narayana meditated under Badari tree. We are studying [in Gita] various types of tapas [deep meditation] performed bodily, by speech and by mind, at the same spot where the Lord meditated! This place is called Panchasila [पंच शिला Five rocks]. Each rock has a name and in the middle of these Five rocks was the Badari tree. Under that tree the Lord was meditating. On each of these rocks, river Alakananda is dashing and making noise! First is Garuda sila, just outside Sri Badrinath temple. Here Garuda lived for a long time. It is believed that Garuda is inside. Along this is the hot water spring. Next is Narada sila, where Narada performed tapas. Near this is Narada kund, a pond. It appears the Lord's idol which is of saligrama, was found in Narada kund only. The Lord was later installed in the temple. Next is Markandeya sila, near Tapta kund. Sage Markandeya was and is performing pooja for the Lord for a long time here. We hear that Devas, Rishis, etc., perform pooja. Are not humans alone to perform pooja? Sri Badrinath temple is open only for Six months. From about Akshaya tritiyai to Deepavali or so, the temple is open for public. From Deepavali till Akshaya tridiyai, temple is closed and no one lives in this place. Only defence personnel guard the frontiers and this temple. When the temple is closed, entire place is covered by snow and is unfit for living by humans. As told earlier, during that time the Lord is in Joshi math and poojas are performed there. During this time rishis like Markandeya and Devas like Brahma come here and perform pooja! Next we see Narasing sila. Here Lord Sri Narasimha rested after slaining Hiranyakasipu! We can also come and relax and forget all our problems in routine life! Opposite this is Varaha sila. Tirumangai Alwar also in the very first pasuram mentions yenamumagi [ஏனமுமாகி], meaning the Lord took the form of Boar! The Lord Sri Varaha, after killing Hiranyaksha, came and rested here! Amidst all these Five rocks, the Lord Sri Badrinath meditated. In contact with these places and sprinkling sacred water on us, we are bound to do tapas! This surrounding will encourage tapas. We are to see sloka 15. How are we to perform tapas by our speech? It is called vak-tapas. Earlier bodily tapas was explained. Speech tapas is important. Poet Tiruvalluvar says we have to control our tongue. He also asks, when sweet words like fruits, are aplenty, why pick bitter harsh words? We have seen some persons very helpful to many; but their words are very harsh to hear! Sri Krishna tells how one has to be guarded in one's speech. Now sloka 15:

anudvegakaraṃ vākyaṃ satyaṃ priyahitaṃ ca yat
svādhyāyābhyasanaṃ caiva vāṅmayaṃ tapa ucyate 17.15

Vanmayam = by speech, tapa = tapas, ucyate = so are described. Great people mention these as tapas performed by speech. Speech is a noble gift of God to us. Listening to one's speech, we can infer about the person. We should be careful in speaking, lest others might judge us. We do not have to broadcast our deeds from roof top of the house! Controlling speech will add strength. We would have observed that great persons rarely speak. At the same time people wait to hear them. Uncontrolled speakers are never cared for! We should slowly bring into our habits less speech. Our voice should be heard only when we chant His Divine names! We see people gossip in temples; they are never tired of speaking for hours on the phone! Topics for conversation also are highly useless! Anudvegakaram = causing no bitterness, vakyam = speech. Our speech should never be despised by others; they should never hurt others. Satyam = [speech should be] truthful. 'Satyam bhutahitam proktam' - we should speak the truth for the welfare of all living beings. When a cow entered a sage's hut, in protection from a person trying to harm it, the sage told the person that the cow was not in his hut. Though it might appear as a lie, shastras say the sage had uttered satyam! Satyam should protect all. Our truth should not harm anyone. 'Satyam bruyat; priyam bruyat; nabruyat satyam apriyam' - speak the truth; speak the pleasant; speak not just the pleasant but that is helpful [hitam]; speak not the helpful, but that is pleasant. Sometimes what we think is helpful, might be unpleasant. Similarly, what we think as pleasant might be unhelpful. So, our speech should be good and pleasant to all. To ensure our speech should be good, the Lord further says, svadhyaya abhyasanam = practice chanting [vedas]. Here, like Vedas, Gita, Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam, Alwars' pasurams, Acharyas' stotrams, etc., are also to be chanted. All these are regarded by great persons as vak-tapas or speech tapas. So, unharmful, helping all and pleasant words are to be spoken. Sri Rama is an example of how one should speak. His words will be soothing to others. His speech would be straight forward and honest. He would never utter harsh words and would keep silent when it was necessary!

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