Today's [7th July 2009] lecture is from the main gate of the temple of Sri Badrinath. Flags hoisted on the temple flutter, as though welcoming us! Poet Kamba in his Tamil epic Ramayanam says that the flags in the city of Mithila were waving as though welcoming Sri Rama to get married to Sri Sita! The flags in the temple seem to tell us that instead of wandering elsewhere, we should come here to worship the Lord, Who with His Thousands of hands churned the ocean to get Amrut. So says Alwar and says further that Devas are descending from heaven to worship Him! As we enter the temple we find Garuda sannidhi. We had already seen Garuda sila. As we go round we find sannidhi of Sri Maha Lakshmi. With Her blessings we should worship the Lord. Further ahead, we find the sannidhi of Ganta Karna! We are yet to see Pandukeshwar, where Ganta Karna lived. He had tied bells near his ears. Being an athiest, he did not want to hear the name of the Lord and so if anyone tried to speak out the Lord's names, he would violently shake his head and so in the bells noise, he would not hear His names! But according to legrnd, he finally became a devotee of the Lord and attained good position. It appears that the Lord appeared in Ganta Karna's dreams and got His idol installed; thus we find a sannidhi for Ganta Karna. Three times this Lord had been discovered under water. First time He was under Alakananda river. Next He was discovered in Narada kund. Third time He was found in Tapta kund. In each of the Three times, only great persons had discovered and installed Him in the temple. Some important Darshans are daily performed. Maha Abhishekam is performed in the morning from 4:30AM to 6:00 AM. It is combined with Nirmalya darshan and Viswaroopam. In this we can have a darshan of the Lord with all ornaments, flowers and garments removed.
At the center is seated the Lord on golden throne, with gold crown. He is seated in Padmasanam with both legs folded. His lower Two arms are on His knees. Upper Two arms are holding discus and conch. On His right is Kubera and Garuda. To His left is Narada. As mentioned earlier, sage Narada had meditated here for a very long time. Narada kund is important as from it only the Lord was discovered. Near Narada is Uddhava. In the end of Dwapara yug, Lord Sri Krishna was about to depart for Sri Vaikuntam. Uddhava was very much grieved and wondered how His devotees would withstand His departure. Either He should carry all to Vaikuntam or He should remain in this world with them! When Uddhava prayed like that, Sri Krishna said that His departure was necessary; Uddhava could go to Gandamadana Parvatam [hills] and meditate on the Lord. The hill backdrop we see behind Sri Badrinath temple is Gandamadana parvatam. After Sri Krishna left for Vaikuntam, Uddhava came here and meditated on the Lord. Further left to Him, are Sri Nara and Sri Narayana. The Lord Himself appeared as Sri Nara and Sri Narayana. Under the Badari tree, Lord Sri Narayana, as Acharya, preached Ashtakshara mantra to His disciple Sri Nara! We will see about this on another day. Thus in the garbhagruha there are Seven Murthis. In the center is Sri Badri Narayana Perumal! Here the poojas are performed by Nambudri Brahmins from Kerala, since a long time. From 7:00 AM till about 12:00 PM, it is general Darshan for the public. To worship the Lord very near, we have to book for Gita pata seva or Veda pata seva, for which we have to book in the previous day itself. Here we can spend about Five minutes sitting very closely to the Lord! Again in the evening from 3:00 PM till 6:00 PM, these sevas are available. In the evening is Harati seva. At about 8:45 PM, just before the Lord retires to bed, sayana harati is performed. At that time all His ornaments and flowrs are removed. This is also called Gita Govinda seva. These timings are all only when the temple is open from Akshaya tridiyai to Deepavali. Thereafter, the Lord is taken to Joshi math. Now we will see sloka 17 of Chapter 17. Earlier we saw tapas by body, then tapas by speech and then tapas by mind. Now we have to know which is satvika tapas, which is rajasa tapas and which is tamasa tapas. These are explained by the Lord in Three slokas. Now sloka 17:
śraddhayā parayā taptaṃ tapas tat trividhaṃ naraiḥ
aphalākāṅkṣibhir yuktaiḥ sāttvikaṃ paricakṣate 17.17
This tapas is described as satvika tapas. The tapas or meditation performed by Sri Badri Narayana is the best, we can say. Similarly, we saw, while on visit to Tirumala, that Lord Sri Srinivasa performed tapas under an anthill. There was no need for Them to perform tapas. But to preach this great mantra [Ashtakshara], what a great tapas the Lord performed! Seeing this, should not we also perform tapas? For all these tapas, the inner motive should be very great. In this sloka the Lord has uttered a very important word 'yuktai:'. Aphalaanksibhi = performed without any desire in rewards. But is it possible for anyone to do anything without aspiring for a result? Even our daily eating is for doing more work; or, even our sleep is to make us fresh and recharge our organs. Even a person simply sitting idle has an objective - of passing away time! But then how Sri Krishna is justified in asking us to do tapas without desiring results? Thousands of people come here to worship the Lord and might be praying for rewards. Each person has many desires to be fulfilled. But, might be one in million, is performing tapas here without any desire. If we ask them they would say they are doing tapas for His pleasure. The Lord, Who is their Swamy [Leader], is pleased by their services. A servant is to please his Master! They feel that other than His pleasure, any desire for them is blunder. Yuktai = [performing tapas for His pleasure is the only] objective. Paraya = best, sraddhaya = dedication, taptam tapas = so performed tapas or meditation, trividham = Three types [satvikam, rajasam and tamasam]. First line tells there are Three types of tapas and second line says what is satvika tapas, which is performing tapas for His pleasure alone.
At the center is seated on golden throne is Sri Badri Narayana with gold crown. He is seated in Padmasanam, where both legs are folded. Two lower arms are on His knees. In the upper Two arms He is holding discus and conch. He is seated in meditation pose. On His right is Kubera. Also near Him is Garuda. On His left is Narada.