Thursday, July 23, 2009

BG 18.1

We have reached the final Chapter of Bhagavd Gita. It is a long Chapter [with 78 slokas]. We have been visiting many holy places and reached a highly elevated place; and, we have reached an equally elevated Chapter, also! It has got one of the best slokas, but we have to wait for another 66 days' of lecture! Swami Alavandar says that the essence of Gita and shastras, is bahkti and is expounded in this. In the 108 Srivaishnava Divya desams, North Indian [வட நாடு] Divyadesams are 12. Among them is Deva Prayag, where Sri Maryada Purushottama is gracing. Today's [24th July 2009] lecture is from His sannidhi. Perialwar has praised the Lord as Sri Hari and Sri Purushottama [Sri Maryada Purushottama is the name by which Lord Sri Rama is addressed in North India]. In Perialwar Tirumozhi [பெரியாழ்வார் திருமொழி] , all the 11 pasurams of decade 4.7, are about this Kshetram. All these and their meaning in Hindi, have been carved in Devnagari script on stones here! All pilgrims read these inscriptions. Perialwar says that the Lord is Sri Purushottama and is carrying Divine weapons. Here the Lord is gracing standing majestically with bow in one hand. In the right hand He is holding an arrow. On His side is Sri Janaki Mataji. On another side Sri Utsavar is gracing. During festivals, Sri Utsavar is on procession and visits Sri Rama Gati [the rock on which Sri Rama meditated]. We will now see the sloka summarizing Chapter 18, in Swami Alavandar's Gitartha Sangraha:
ı´svare kartr. t¯a buddhih.sattvop¯adeyat¯antime |
svakarma parin.¯ama´sca ´s¯astras¯ar¯artha ucyate || (22)

Isvare kartrta buddhi = the understanding that the Lord only does [and not we]. The Lord is the doer. But we are implements or accessories for the Lord to do. When we do like that, with what quality of mind we should do? Sattvopadeyata = with satvika mind. It is not enough to perform Vedic karmas; but they should be done with satva quality. We should have interest in satva quality. Antime = in the last [18th] Chapter. Svakarma = one's [shastras] prescribed duties, parinamas ca = will transform [to yield Moksham]. Everyone should perform his prescribed duty, with satvika quality and without aspiring result. Such doing, by itself, would get Moksham. He advised Arjuna to fight the war not with the notion that by winning he would get Kingdom, nor with the feeling that he was killing others. He should fight, because he was a Kshatriya and protecting his Kingdom by fighting enemies was his prescribed duty. That was his Dharma. Sastra = [this Gita] Shastra [with 18 Chapters and 700 slokas], sara artha = essence of meaning, ucyate = are described. Therefore, in this Chapter, Four important aspects are described:
  1. The cognition that Iswara or the Lord is the doer of all actions.
  2. All actions have to be done with satva quality.
  3. Doing our prescribed duties, would get transformed to obtain Moksham.
  4. The essence of Bhagavad Gita is Bhakti.
We should see how the previous Chapter is connected with this Chapter. In the Chapter 17, the Lord said how various Vedic Karmas were being performed with satva, rajas and tamas qualities. Many perform yagnas for wealth [Vayave Yagna], for children [Putrakameshti Yagna] or reaching Swarga [Jyotish Homam], etc. These can be performed in Two ways. One is, to perform expecting the desired result. The other is to perform these s, without expecting any result or performing detached from results. While the former would obtain the result desired, the latter would be the means for reaching Moksham. Thus, the very same karmas, are responsible for Moksham, if they are performed without desire for any results but done with satva quality and involvement. We should recollect earlier advice of the Lord, that we should do any action without the feeling that we were doing. We had also seen Three types of Tyaga [sacrifice] earlier: Kartrutva buddhi tyagam, mamata tyagam and phala tyagam. With such sacrifice if we do karma, it becomes the means for Moksham. If we do them without such sacrifices, then we might get the desired result or something but Moksham slips away. Here, Arjuna is enlightened that it was not enough performing such Vedic karmas, but more important was the sacrifice in performing them. Thus he became more inquisitive to know more about these sacrifices. He wanted to know more about sanyasam and tyagam. Are they same or different? If different, how each is defined? This eagerness sprouted because karmas with sacrifice, obtained Moksham. Therefore, we have to look more at the sacrifice, rather than only on karma. In Vedanta, both sanyasa and tyaga are mentioned. Arjuna's doubt was whether these words were one and the same or not. Swami Alavandar says that in this last Chapter, the Lord is the doer. Tyagam and the Lord is the doer, more or less convey the same meaning. Tyagam is sacrificing the feeling that we were doing. Sanyasam is sam [सं] - well, nyasam [न्यासम्] - presented or submitted. That is we present the result of our action at His Divine feet! When we sacrifice the feeling that we were the doers, then, someone has to do that action. Thus logically, it is He, Who does the karma. Thus saying Tyaga or Sanyasa from our side and He is the doer, from His side, are same! This is what Swami Alavandar conveys. Now we will see sloka 1 of Chapter 18:

XVIII. athāṣṭādaśodhyāyaḥ. (mokṣasaṃnyāsayogaḥ)

arjuna uvāca

saṃnyāsasya mahābāho tattvam icchāmi veditum
tyāgasya ca hṛṣīkeśa pṛthak keśiniṣūdana 18.1

Arjuna addresses the Lord as maha baho = Long handed!, kesi nisudana = Killer of Kesi [demon]! and hrsikesa = Controller of senses! Sanyasasya = about sanyasa's, ca = and, tyagasya = about tyaga's, tattvam = truth, veditum = to understand, icchami = I [Arjuna] am eager, prthak = [and their] difference. If tyaga and sanyasa were different, Arjuna wants to know the true meaning of each of them. But, if they were one and the same, then their combined meaning. Upanishads say 'na karmana na prajaya na danena tyagenaike amrutasyamanishu:' - Moksham can not be obtained by more of karmas, or by having children, or by wealth; only tyagam will lead to Moksham. In another place, Upanishad says that one attained Mukti only by sanyasa. Arjuna asks the right Person to clarify! He wants the explanation to be detailed, and capable of Arjuna's understanding and killing Arjuna's doubts! Perialwar says at the end of the decade on Deva Prayag, that mere reciting of these pasurams are equal to visiting Deva Prayag! So, those of us not fortunate to have visited Deva Prayag and worshiped the Lord after a bath in Ganga, need not feel despair. Perialwar says that recitation of these pasurams would fetch them the same punya of going to Deva Prayag and worshiping the Lord after bath in Ganga! Because either way the Lord Purushottama is pleased! We will now take leave of Deva Prayag aka Kandam ennum Kadinagar!

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