In the program Kannanin Aaramudu, we are now on visit to Badarikashram. We know that the Lord is here as Sri Nara and Sri Narayana. But what might not be known is that there are Two mountains Sri Nara and Sri Narayana!
In between these Two mountains, river Alakananda flows down. To the West of the river is Narayana Parvat and on the East is Nara mountain. Sri Badrinath temple is on Narayana parvat. Opposite this mountain is Nara mountain, slightly shorter in height. Alwar says 'varanam konarndha gangai [வாரணம் கொணர்ந்த கங்கை]' - Ganga was brought by elephant! Was Ganga brought down by Bhagiratha or elephant? When King Sagara's 60,000 sons were reduced to ashes, Bhagiratha, a descendent of Sagara, prayed and after great meditation, brought down Ganga so that his ancestors could be redeemed. When Ganga arrived from heaven, this Himachal mountain range was a single mass of earth. Here we may have to glance a geographical incident. Many of the younger generations mention this. About 90 Million years ago, our Indian sub-continent was near Australia and South Pole. This mass of land slowly drifted for about 55 Million years and joined present Asia continent. Thus our country was annexed with Asia some 35 Million years back! But when it joined Asia, it did with severe force. This resulted in upheaval at the junction and the earth raised to form mountain, which is Himalayas. This mountain range is for about 1500 Miles from Kashmir to South East of Nepal. Many perennial rivers like Ganga, Sindhu, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, etc., are flowing from Himalayas. Ganga is praised as life stream for living beings. When Ganga rushed down with force from heaven, at the prayer of Bhagiratha, this mass of earth stopped its flow further. Seeing this, Indra wanted the river should benefit people, and so, he ordered his Four tusked white elephant, Airavata [ऐरावतम], to break the mass of earth. Thus Two mountains were formed and Ganga, as Alakananda, flowed out. This is what Alwar conveys in his pasuram. Sri Narayana, as Acharya, is on one side and Sri Nara, as disciple, is on the other side! Swami Pillai Lokacharya posed a question. Why not the Lord Sri Narayana, preach Tirumantram [Ashtakshara Mantra] to other normal disciples? Why should the Lord Himself be disciple also? This Acharya replies his question, himself! 'Sishayar irukkum iruppu naattar arigaikkaga [சிஷ்யர் இருக்கும் இருப்பு நாட்டார் அறிகைக்காக]'. The Lord demonstrated to people at large, how a disciple should be to learn. Many disciples did not know how to behave with their Acharyas and how to learn. The Lord presented them with an actual demonstration of a disciple! It is said that Sri Nara and Sri Narayana, were later born as Arjuna and Sri Krishna! While in Badarikashram, Tirumantram was preached, Sri Krishna preached Charama sloka [in Chapter 18] of Bhagavat Gita, to Arjuna, in the chariot, in Kurukshetra battle field! Gita is based on Vedas, which are based on Tirumantram. Thus Tirumantram and Charamasloka are united. From this we have to understand that we have to emulate Sri Nara! Sri Krishna also says that we have to learn from our Acharyas, by payng proper respects, like prostrating and stand with folded hands and in great humility. Disciples have to serve their Acharyas and learn. But in Kurukshetra, Arjuna was sitting on the chariot and Acharya Sri Krishna was standing on the ground! It could have been possible that Arjuna's feet might have touched the Lord's shoulders! At the foot of these great hills Nara and Narayana, we have been seeing the types of tapas. Sri Krishna now tells about tamasa tapas. Who does tamasa tapas and what does he gain, are told in sloka 19:
mūḍhagrāheṇātmano yat pīḍayā kriyate tapaḥ
parasyotsādanārthaṃ vā tat tāmasam udāhṛtam 17.19
Tat = that is, tamasam = tamasa [type of tapas], udahrtam = as described. Finest example for this is the tapas performed by Rakshasa King Ravana and Kumbhakarna. In tamasa tapas, the performer hurts himself and others. In satvika tapas, only pleasure of the Lord was the objective. Rajasa tapas is performed with pomp and publicity, so that others laud and praise, and worship the performer. But in tamasa tapas, performer subjects himself to great ordeals and causes severe hardship to others. Mudha grahena = fools, unable to grasp good. They wrongly understand things and pick up bad things. They mistake bad things as good and vice versa! Atmana = themselves, pidaya = hurting. They inflict sufferings on themselves. We should not do any tapas involving injury for us. Is not Ekadasi fasting, inflicting suffering on ourselves? No. Even by medical standards, it is better to give rest to our digestive system. A very small suffering is allowed in performing tapas; but causing severe injuries to our body, is never recommended. The Lord is never pleased by such injurious methods! If a child commits mistake, the mother expects a mere apology and not any injurious method to express sorry! The Lord is much more considerate and expects the simple vratams permitted by shastras to be followed. Ravana did tapas, involving himself in great ordeals. Utsadanartham = for causing troubles or injury to, parasya = others. Ravana did tapas and wanted long life, to oppress sages, to suppress yagnas and to depress people. He did not want people to benefit from good actions. Tat = such tapas, tamasam = is tamasa type of tapas. Injuring oneself and injuring others, come under tamasa tapas. Rakshasas did tamasa tapas, Asuras did rajasa tapas and Devas did satvika tapas. We have to avoid rajasa and tamasa type of tapas, and perform satvika tapas, just like the Lord did under Badari tree here.