Today's [15th July 2009] lecture is from a place, which is about 4 KMs from Badarikashram. After crossing Vyasa cave, Bim pul and Draupati temple, we reach this place. There is an importance for the path here. Along this way only, Pandavas and Draupati journeyed to reach heaven. We find many badari [बदरी in Sanskrit and ilandai இலந்தை in Tamil] trees here. We come across Vasudhara. We have to attentively lfollow the lecture. In this path Pandavas were journeying. We find the tall mountain and the great water falls.
This path leads to that. It is a difficult terrain. Vasudhara is at about 5Miles [8KMs] from Badrinath. Every drop of this water falls, is equal to many punya. It is very rare to get them. After Vasudhara is Lakshmi vanam [Laxmivan]. It is a glacier.
From there another road Sat path [commonly known as Satopanth], leads to Swargarohini..
Path or panth means marg or road. 'Nanya:pantha ayanaya vidyate' - there is no other way to reach [Brahmam, except by Gyana and Bhakti, says Upanishad]. Sat means noble persons. This is therefore, the road of noble persons. We will see that sat and OM [pranava] and the sloka we are to see today are interconnected. In Lakshmi vanam, Sri Lakshmi had meditated. Sri Narayana was in this place teaching His disciple Sri Nara under a badari tree. To get married to Sri Narayana, Sri Lakshmi meditated here. At this place, Draupati, unable to continue her journey fell down and died and reached heaven. Without turning back, the Five Pandavas continued their journey. Next, they came across Sesha dhara. At this place the youngest of Pandavas and son of Madri, Sahadeva, died. After some distance, Nakula, also died unable to proceed further. The remaining Three - Yudhishtra, Bhima and Arjuna continued their journey. Eight KMs from here Sathopanth glacier starts. Then we come across Balupata. Beyond this Bhimasena was unable to continue and he died here. Then, Yudhishtra and Arjuna continued further. Then we come to Chakra Theertham. Here Arjuna died. Yudhishtra continued and along with him one dog followed. Next, we see Trikona saras, a lake surrounded by hills on Three sides.
Just before this we can also see Sahasra Dhara, where many water falls could be seen. If we proceed from one side of Trikona saras, we come across Swargarohini.
That is the place which was reached by Yudhishtra and left for Swarga! On another side we come across Alakapuri. Earlier, it was mentioned that from Alakapuri, river Alakananda flows.
This river flows upto Badarikshram. Vasudhara is 8 KMs from Badrinath and one could reach it. But beyond that one should have strong body, strong will power and adventure spirit to trek further. The path is very arduous, though the adventure will be thrilling! Yudhishtra and the dog reached Swargarohini.
The dog requested Yudhishtra to help it by removing worms and fleas on its body. When Yudhishtra was about to remove them, the worms and fleas prayed Yudhishtra that they lived on the blood of the dog only and if they were removed and thrown out, they would die of starvation. Yudhishtra pondered over and was in a dilemma. Finally, he decided to have the worms and fleas on his body, thereby saving both the dog and the insects! Seeing Yudhishtra's fine judgement, Indra and Yama Dharmaraja, came down to meet Yudhishtra and praised him for his just action. Later on, they escorted Yudhishtra to heaven. We should remember that apart from the difficulty in reaching this place, it might take about 8 days for a round trip. On the way we will not get anything to eat, etc. With a local as guide, we must take all we want ourselves for the trip. Those desirous of this adventure could try. Badrikashram is the birth place of Pranava [OM or AUM ]. We also saw sat in sat path. Now, Sri Krishna is going to tell Three words - OM, TAT and SAT [ॐ, तत्, सत्]. The Lord says that any vaideeka activity [activities based on Vedas], has to be associated with these Three words. From sloka 8 till sloka 22, we have seen Triplets. Slokas 8,9 and 10, describe Three types of food. Three types of Yagnas were mentioned in slokas 11, 12 and 13. In slokas 14, 15 and 16, the Lord mentioned the types of tapas performed bodily, by speech and by mind. In slokas 17, 18 and 19, Satvika, Rajasa and Tamasa tapas were described. Satvika, Rajasa and Tamasa dhanams were indicated in slokas 20, 21 and 22. Thus, Sri Krishna told about the Yagna, Tapas and Dhanam mentioned in Vedas. Now, the Lord tells that performing any Vedic karma or any rites mentioned in Vedas, have to be associated with the Three words OM, TAT and SAT. Now sloka 23:
oṃ tat sad iti nirdeśo brahmaṇas trividhaḥ smṛtaḥ
brāhmaṇās tena vedāś ca yajñāś ca vihitāḥ purā 17.23
Pura = in the ancient time, that is at the start of Creation, tena = this way [the Lord created]. Om tat sad = OM TAT and SAT, iti nirdesa = these words, trivida = three types. Brahmana = while performing Vedic activities, smrta = are always associated. Vedas ca = and the Vedas, yajnas ca = and the activities mentioned [in Vedas], vihita = were created [by the Lord]. Thus at the time of Creation, the Lord created Vedas, activities mentioned in Vedas and persons chanting Vedas and performing Vedic activities. The Lord says that He created them with the Three words OM, TAT and SAT. The Lord says these are Three types of words. Because, while performing some karma we have to chant OM; in some others OM TAT; and in some others OM SAT. Brahmana means activities mentioned in Vedas. The Lord had already mentioned the different types of activities in Vedas, like Yagna, etc. Now He says that every Vedic karma has to be associated with these words. That is why, the Lord tells that during creation, He created Vedas, activities and persons to do them, all together along with these words. Thus, He mentions the indispensability of these words. Is it not that OM and SAT refer to God? Yes, it is true. But we have to see the context. Because when the Lord says He created OM, it has to be the word and not Himself! Thus we see the connection between these words and the place we are visiting! Later, Sri Krishna is going to tell where each word has to be deployed. We have to attentively follow, just like we carefully walk this difficult path!