In this series of lectures in Kannanin Aaramudu, we have descended from Sri Badarikashram and arrived at Hrishikesh [Rishikesh]. We owe to Rishis, Munis and Kavis [poets] for the greatness of our country! Rishis are Mantra drashta or those capable of visualizing mantras, understanding their significance and glory, meditating on those mantras and making available the rewards of mantras for human society. A Rishi uplifts entire surroundings. He is able to glorify the place he lives. Thousands of such Rishis have been meditating here. Therefore, this place is also called Tapovanam. Many demons lived here to harm such great souls. Heeding the prayers of Rishis, the Lord destroyed all such demons and created Tapovanam. Apart from humans meditating here, the Lord Sri Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrugna also have meditated here. Not caring for severe winter or severe summer, but concentrating only on meditation speaks the strength of their Tapas. Today's [27th July 2009] lecture is from Lakshman jhula in Hrishikesh.
We saw Bhagirati and Alakananda confluence in Deva prayag. After such confluence, it is always called Ganga, who reaches Hrishikesh. Near Lakshman jhula is the place, where Lakshmana meditated. Jhula means hanging bridge, which connects the two sides of the river. There is small temple for Lakshmana. Once, Devadatta meditated on the banks of Ganga. He was passing time to decide on whom to meditate. When he was meditating on whom to meditate, Indra decided to disturb his meditation. He deputed a damsel to disturb the meditation. Lord Paramashiva advised him to meditate on the Lord, Who had arranged this place for meditation. His daughter Ooru also meditated. The Lord has appeared on this Earth, in many Avatars. Among them, He also took an Avatar of tree here. He appeared as a Dwarf Mango tree, with curved appearance. There was a sage Raipja in Hrishikesh. According to his prayers, the Lord appeared as the Dwarf mango tree! Now, we will see sloka 2 of Chapter 18. In sloka 1, Arjuna prayed the Lord to clarify, whether Sanyasa and Tyaga were same or different, and their interpretations. Arjuna's this query came about because, earlier the Lord had told that Vedic karmas like Yagna, Tapas, Danam, etc., were to be performed with sacrifice to reach Moksham. Such karmas were to be performed sacrificing any rewards or performed without any attachment on the results. Arjuna became eager to know about sacrifice or tyaga. Same karma with Tyaga fetched superior benefits; but obtained inferior results when same karma was done without tyaga! Thus Tyaga becomes inevitable to reach Moksham. This query is now answered by the Lord. His opinion is Tyaga and Sanyasa are same. Now, sloka 2:
śrī bhagavān uvāca
kāmyānāṃ karmaṇāṃ nyāsaṃ saṃnyāsaṃ kavayo viduḥ
sarvakarmaphalatyāgaṃ prāhus tyāgaṃ vicakṣaṇāḥ 18.2
In the First half the Lord mentions Kavaya and in the second half Vichakshana. Kavi means poet; in Sanskrit, this word is derived from kranti darshi - capable of foreseeing future over a period. Vichakshana means, very well learned and has researched to know what is good and bad. Here Two groups of persons are mentioned by the Lord, in this sloka. A Third group of persons is going to be mentioned in the First half of next sloka. Thus about Tyaga or Sanyasa, there are Three groups of persons holding different schools of thought. In the next sloka in the Second half, the Lord gives His opinion. He first describes the opinions of others and then, not agreeing with them, gives out His opinion later! Then, why not the Lord tell His opinion alone? Why this round about statement? The Lord wants to tell the various schools of thought on this slightly controversial subject and then His opinion. He is going to establish why His opinion is correct. Kavaya = poets, vidu = have understood [in the following way] about, sanyasam = sacrice [or tyaga], kamyanam karmanam = [Vedic] acts performed for [fulfilling] desires, nyasam = [should be] renounced or given up. Vedic karmas are of Three types: Nitya, Naimittika and Kamya. Nitya karmas are those to be performed daily as a routine, like sandya vandanam. It is not performed with any desire but performed as a must. Naimittika karmas are to be performed on rare occasions. We perform tarpanam for the deceased ancestors on, say, solar eclipse. It is also not done for any desired results. Kamya karma are Vedic karmas for specific desired results. Putrakameshti yagna to beget children; vayave yagna for wealth, etc. According to poets, these Kamya karmas are to be totally discarded. Because they are impediments to Moksham. This group does not say one should discard Nitya or Naimittika karmas. Because, they are not obstructing Moksham, rather they qualify and help. There is a saying in Upanishad, that to attain Brahmam, Brahmanas search by performing yagna, tapas and danam! That means, these karmas have to be done. Then how can poets say to discard such acts. Here, we should understand that Upanishads do not talk of Kamya karma; but about Nitya and naimittika karmas. This is one school of thought. Vicaksana = well learned scholars feel, tyagam = sacrifice is, sarvakarma phala tyagam = renouncing the results of all [Vedic] karmas. These scholars are of opinion that while one could do all Nitya, Naimittika and even Kamya karmas, one should renounce the results or rewards for performing them. No karma is given up, but only the result. This opinion is because the results of karmas were obstructing reaching Moksham. Here, we should note that Sri Krishna has not differentiated between Sanyasa and Tyaga; but has used both the terms to mean the same. This is logical, because in the First line He talks of Kamya karma alone, while in the Second line He talks of all karmas, which include Kamya karma also. We will now leave Lakshman jhula to go to another place, where we will see one more school of thought!