We have come to worship Lord Sri Badri Narayana. But before that, are not we to take bath and go? Our body, mind and atman have to be pure. For body cleanliness, bathing in sacred waters, is necessary. But the water of Alakananda river is very cold, making it almost impossible to bathe in it. The Lord is so kind hearted that He is not compelling us to bathe in this [cold] water only! Like a mother, the Lord has created another pond for us to bathe! It is the tapta kund [तप्त कुण्ड].
Today's [6th July 2009] lecture is from Tapta kund. Tapta kund means warm water pond. There is no cold water and it is hot water here. Devotees throng at this spot to have bath and worship the Lord! This is a natural wonder, helping devotees. It is a natural hot water spring amidst molten sulphur. We do not know from where this water comes and where it goes! This water is at the foot of sage Narada. We have to take certain precautions while bathing in this. Outside is all very cold. Many arrive in the evening and after braving a cold night, and eager to worship the Lord early in the morning, come to this pond for bathing. It is advisable not to immediately plunge into the hot water pond. There are separate ponds for males and females. First we should dip only our feet in the pond and with hands sprinkle hot water all over the body and get acclimatized. Then, if we take a dip in the water, we might not face any problem. At first, the water might appear to be too hot; but once we get into it, we might feel like bathing for long! What is the significance of this tapta kund? Upanishads say: 'Yesha brahma pravishtosmi. Greeshme seethamida pradam'. In the cold surroundings, bathing in hot water is pleasant! Thus this heat balances coldness. Similarly, enjoying Brahmam is pleasant. Like the water in greeshma [summer] season. Water in the well, adjusts to suit our body. In the cold surrounding, hot water provides us comfort; similarly, when we are suffering in the samsaram, Brahmam's qualities provide us comfort. The Lord of Badrinath, is like a large pond brimming with auspicious qualities. Experiencing His every quality, our sufferings, in samsaram, are gradually eliminated. For the heat of samsaram, the Lord provides refreshing cool comfort; while here, it is just the opposite, in cold surroundings, nature provides soothing hot water! One important fact is being told here. It appears Swami Adi Shankara, when he came here, discovered the present idol of the Lord Sri Badrinath, in Tapta kund and got it installed in the temple. What a great service! The Lord had appeared to him, when Adi Sankara came here. This is common. At many places the Lord disappears for many reasons and is discovered again by great persons. It is therefore, apt to bathe in Tapta kund and then worship the Lord. Now we will see sloka 16. Sri Krishna told about satva, rajo and tamo food, in slokas 8, 9 and 10. Then in slokas 11, 12 and 13, the Lord mentioned about Satvika Yagna, Rajasa Yagna and Tamasa Yagna. Next, in slokas 14, 15 and 16, the Lord describes Bodily Tapas [meditation], Oral Tapas and Mental Tapas. We have to see today, how to perform mental tapas. Sloka 16:
manaḥprasādaḥ saumyatvaṃ maunam ātmavinigrahaḥ
bhāvasaṃśuddhir ity etat tapo mānasam ucyate 17.16
Ity etat = all these are, ucyate = described as, manasam tapo = mental tapas. Tapas does not mean only sitting at one place and control breathing with closed eyes! Tapas means thinking about Vedas and analyzing its benefits to us. Mana = mind, prasada = clarity or without confusion, anger, jealousy and hatred. Going to Himalayas may be very difficult; but mind can be got rid off unwanted things and can be kept pure, in the same place where we live. Mind should not be after confusion and lust. Keeping mind away from anger and hatred, will make the mind pure, like Ganga here, so clear that we can see the pebbles at the bottom! Like dirt in petrol affects the functioning of the engine, our mind should not be contaminated. Soumyatvam = good thought [for the welfare of all]. Soumyam means beauty, love and good thoughts for the welfare of all. Just like we pray daily 'adiyargal vazha, arangan vazha, satakopan thandha senthamizh nool vazha, kadal soozh mannulagam vazha [அடியார்கள் வாழ, அரங்கன் வாழ, சடகோபன் தந்த செந்தமிழ் வாழ, கடல் சூழ் மண்ணுலகம் வாழ] - long live devotees, the Lord, the Tamil language given by Nammalwar and this Earth surrounded by seas! Apart from praying for ourselves, we should also pray for the World at large! This is soumyatvam or souhardam. In Puranas it is told that the Lord is in the mind of the person, liked by all and he also likes all. Mounam = silent or mind controlling voice. Mind ensures that the mouth does not speak as it likes; and this is a tapas of the mind! At many places silence is better undestood and achieves better results. Atmavinigraha = focussing atman. Not allowing our mind to wander, atman is focussed at the Divine feet of the Lord. Mind is concentarted on atman. We should not get involved in the worldly affairs going around us. If we drift our mind, then we fail in the test set by the Lord! If we are attracted by distractions, then we lose our time. Bhavasamsuddhi = [our] purity of behaviour. Our mind should not be after cheap desires. Alwar says that we should be after the fragrance of tulasi on the Lord and not after other scents! Shastras permitted and parents approved marriages would be beneficial, but allowing minds after persons of the opposite sex indescriminately will cause fall in hell only, says Alwar!