Tuesday, July 7, 2009

BG 17.20

In one pasuram on Badarikashram, Tirumangai Alwar, in Periya Tirumozhi, mentions about the curse lord Shiva had from lord Brahma, and the resolving of the curse by Lord Sri Badri Nath. Lord Shiva told Parvati that in Badarikashram, Lord Sri Badri Narayana was there. Lord Shiva approached Him and prayed to get the Kapalam [skull] sticking on lord Shiva's hand should be filled and he should be relieved of the curse. Then, the Lord removed His sweat on His chest and a few drops were put into the skull. Instantly, the skull broke into countless pieces and lord Shiva was relieved of the curse. This incident is also mentioned by Alwar in a pasuram on Tirunaraiyur. Sage Viswamitra brought Sri Rama and Lakshmana to Ganga river. Viswamitra had performed tapas and raised his status. Similarly, Bhagiratha performed tapas to bring Ganga in this world. On the banks of Ganga, the Lord is gracing, says Alwar. Today's [8th July 2009] lecture is from Brahma Kapalam [ब्रह्म कपालं ], near the temple.
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This is the place, where the Kapalam [skull], sticking on lord Shivas hand, was shattered to pieces. What is the greatness of this Brahma Kapalam? According to Vedas, every son has to perform rites to his parents, who had died. We have heard of Gaya shrarddham, which is performed at Gaya Kshetram. Also, every year on the day of death of his parents [thithi ], he has to perform shrarddham. Next day he has to perform Tadheeyaradanam and please devotees of the Lord. These are important duties of a son. After performing Gaya shrarddham, people come to Badrikashram. In Gaya, the Lord is gracing after killing the demon Gaya. There, after bathing in Palguni river, pinda pradhanam [offering food] is to be performed. Likewise, here also after bathing in Alakananda, at this place pinda pradhanam is performed. By doing so the deceased souls as well as we attain welfare. Our sins are diminished. Therefore, pinda pradhanam here is customary. Are we to perform this on the same thithi? No. When doing such punya karma in sacred places after bathing in sacred rivers, one need not look for particular day or time. The day we perform it, is the correct day for these karmas. The day we offer pinda pradhanam is the shrarddham day. Also, we need not try to find the exact spot where the skull was broken to pieces. For example, according to shastras, at any place within 5 Mile radius of Gaya, any shrarddham done is considered as Gaya shrarddham. Though, like wise, entire Gandhamadana Parvatam is sacred place, a particular place has been arranged for doing such karmas. We can see many people performing pinda pradhanam. For this, rice balls have to be made and designate them for our deceased parents, grand parents, great grand parents, etc. Also pinda pradhanam is designated to unknown and unrelated, in a general way. Bathing in Alakananda river is a bit difficult as it will be cold. We can avoid this by bathing in tapta kund. But more difficult is cooking of rice. Only well cooked rice could be made into proper balls. We can get cooked rice from temple, but it is possible it might not have been cooked fully. In the open and in cold wind, with shivering hands we have to prepare the balls! But once the pinda pradhanam is performed, we feel great satisfaction that we have followed Vedas! Our parents have sacrificed to get us to this level. With gratitude, nay with great love and affection, we should do this at least. It is a bit difficult to perform this with wet clothes in cold surroundings. Some might even feel, when encountering problems, whether they are performing for the deceased or for themselves! But we have to face these problems for a small time and by having determined mind, body can be controlled to face such physical discomforts. Any karma like Yagna, tapas, japam or shrarddham done here gives rewards of performing million times! We will now see sloka 18. Here the Lord mentions about rajasa tapas. In slokas 17, 18 and 19, the Lord explains the Three types of tapas. In sloka 17 we saw that satvika tapas is that which was performed for the pleasure of the Lord. Now rajasa tapas in sloka 18:

satkāramānapūjārthaṃ tapo dambhena caiva yat
kriyate tad iha proktaṃ rājasaṃ calam adhruvam 17.18

Tat = that, iha = here, proktam = is called, rajasam = rajasa [tapas]. What are its benefits? Calam = slippery, adhruvam = never permanent. The Lord says that the benefits accrued by performing rajasa tapas, would slip and would never be stable. How is rajasa tapas performed? Satkara = for others to think great of us, mana = others to praise by speech, pujartham = others to worship us. Thus a person performs rajasa tapas so that others think high of him, acclaim his action by speech and bodily prostrate and perform poojas to him! Expecting such respects from others by mind, by speech and by body, is rajasa tapas. Caiva = also performed with, dambhena = publicity and pomp. Such tapas are performed only for others to have us in high esteem! Kriyate = [such tapas] are performed. This is regarded as rajasa tapas. Tapas was performed by Hiranyakasipu, Ravana, Kamsa, etc. They are all rajasa tapas and their results would slip and never be permanent. Only short term benefits, temporary gains and ordinary rewards are obtained.

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