After worshiping Veda Vyasa in the cave, we have now come to a nearby rock. This is called Bhim pul or Bhima's bridge.
When did Bhima [of Pandavas] come here and build a bridge? It is an interesting episode. Pancha Pandavas and Draupati, in the end, started their journey to heaven. After crossing Vyasa cave, they found Saraswati river was flowing aggressively. Crossing that river was the way to Swarga or heaven. Draupati being a woman was finding it difficult to cross. Till then, Sri Krishna was with them to tide them over from all their problems. Their support and stength was Lord Sri Krishna. We might have heard of this story also. That Arjuna had the bow Gandeeva, with which he fought his enemies in Mahabharata war for 18 days. With that bow, he could even take on Indra! Once, the bow Gandeeva slipped fro Arjuna's hand, before Gita was sermoned. With great worry, Arjuna asked Sri Krishna how he could fight his own relatives and Acharyas. Then the Lord gave him [and us] the Gita. Gita was over, as also the war. Later, Yudhishtra ruled the Kingdom. Finally, they relinquished the Kingdom and in pursuit of heaven, they came to Badarikashram and performed meditation. Then they started their journey. On the way, Arjuna's bow again slipped from his hand. Once the Lord had departed this World, Gandeeva was unstable in Arjuna's hands. Pandavas lived on the strength of Lord Sri Krishna. When Draupati found it difficult to cross the river, she requested Bhima to help. Bhima gathering his strength lifted a huge rock and placed it as a bridge to cross. We are seeing that rock bridge only. The sight of the huge mountain and the steep valley, and the rushing Saraswati river, all make us nervous! This bridge connects one mountain to another. As they crossed, in the way one after another died and reached Swarga. Yudhishtra was the last surviving of the Pandavas. That is called Swargaarohana. Just above Bhim pul, is a temple for Draupati. As the Pandavas climbed further, a little away, Draupati fell down first and died. Later remaining all Five Pandavas went ahead. All these characters and important portions like Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam and Bhagavad Gita, are part of Mahabharata epic. Near about there is another place where the Lord preached again Gita to Arjuna and is called Anugita! It seems Arjuna, though listened to Gita at Kurukshetra, His preachings were forgotten by Arjuna and so he requested the Lord to preach again! There is thus a close connection between Mahabharata and Badrinath. We are seeing the rock as a bridge or sethu, in Sanskrit. Shastras say the Lord is a sethu. It has to join two sides. Also bridge helps in storing water and releasing at appropriate place. Similarly, our worldly desires are rushing like a speeding river. Our worship of God acts as a bridge and stores such desires and prevents flowing uncontrollably. By opening the bridge sluice gates at proper place we utilize such desires at appropriate places and cultivate good habits. Also, the Lord acts as the bridge connecting this world, where we are born, and Moksham. By clinging to His Divine feet we can cross samsaram ocean! Thus this natural rock bridge should remind us the Lord and Gita! He has been explaining the Three types of food, Yagna, Tapas and Dhanam. In sloka 22, the Lord indicates tamasa type of Dhanam. We saw satvika dhanam is done without expecting any in return and done only for the pleasure of the Lord. In rajasa dhanam, reciprocal help or reaching better worlds is the objective. Also dhanam done with displeasure is also rajasa dhanam. We should avoid rajasa dhanam and tamasa dhanam, which the Lord explains in sloka 22:
adeśakāle yad dānam apātrebhyaś ca dīyate
asatkṛtam avajñātaṃ tat tāmasam udāhṛtam 17.22
Tat = that [dhanam], tamasam = is tamasa type , utahrtam = as told [ by learned persons]. Adesa = at improper place, akale = at improper time, apatrebhyas = to improper persons, yad danam = such dhanams, diyate = given [is tamasa dhanam]. Dhanam has to be given at proper place at proper time to noble persons and is satvikam. Instead by giving at improper place and/or at improper place and/or to improper persons is tamasa dhanam. Asatkrtam = without respect , avajnatham = with disrespect. Thus giving dhanam without respect and dhanam with disrespect, both are tamasa dhanam. Places which are improper, are where thieves or persons grabbing others' properties or persons who do not believe in Vedas, are living. In Tatparya Chandrika, Swami Vedanta Desika has listed some places like where the Lord, Vedas and Shastras are disrespected. Proper times are all punya kalam, etc. Normally, dhanam should not be done after sunset. Inauspicious places like funeral ground should be avoided. [There are some dhanams to be done at funeral ground when some one dies. That is different.] Improper persons are those not qualified to receive dhanam. Again, persons not believing in God or shastras are disqualified. Robbers and such persons are also disqualified. When dhanam is made we should treat the person recieving with proper respect, like offering seat, water for washing, etc. We should feel fortunate to make dhanam to such persons. Instead of thinking that we are gifting our property, we should think that we are passing on God's property to another, and thank God for that. We should also feel that we have not gifted anything befitting his eminence and so feel sorry for that. Without these thoughts and actions, it is tamasa dhanam. Causing humiliation to the receiver is disrespectful. We should never feel that we are great and the receiver is lower.