Monday, August 31, 2009

BG 18.28

Today's [1st September 2009] lecture is from a spot, where many important incidents took place, in Naimisharanyam. It is called Vyasa Gati. It is also known as Jaimini Sthan. Here all important books are stored. On a pedestal, all books are kept and poojas are performed. It is customary to call the seat on which Upanyasakas [lecturers giving religious discourses] sit, as Vyasa Peetam. This is because sage Vyasa has done so much in spreading matters on Bhagavan. We see a portrait of sage Jaimini, to whom Vysa taught Sama Veda. Sama Veda is the musical form of the mantras in Rig Veda. Sama Veda has 1000 sakhas [branches]. Next, we see an ancient temple. In the center is Vyasa and surrounding him is all books on Puranas, Itihsas and Vedas. In Naimisharanyam we have to see Three important spots: 1) Vyasa Gati. 2) The tree under which Vyasa preached his students. It is about 5,100 years old; that is, Vyasa was sitting here in the beginning of Kali Yug. 3) The temple for Vyasa. We should know that he wrote 18 Puranas, which are even today read by 88,000 Rishis and 33 Crore Devas. Without Itihasa and Puranas, it will be impossible to understand Vedas. Of the 18 Puranas, Six each are categorised as Satvika Purana, Rajasa Purana and Tamasa Purana. We have to study all Satvika Puranas and gain Satvika Gyana. For that we should possess Satvika Dhruti. That is we should resolve that we would cultivate Satvika Gyana and perform Satvika Karma to reach Satvika Moksham. In the last sloka we had seen what Satvika Druti was. Let us remind ourselves that Satvika Druti is concentrating our mind, prana airs and organs, in Bhakti and not drifting away. The resolution to involve in such Upasana is called Satvika Dhruti. We have to understand that performing Bhakti on the Lord is pleasure. But we are habituated in seeing worldly matters. Therefore, mind will not easily shift to Bhakti. If atman has Satvika Dhruti, then mind will be controlled and turn it towards Satvika matters. That is mind will be channelised. But our Prana airs in our body also have to cooperate. This is achieved by practicing Pranayamam. This way the Prana airs will help mind. What about sense organs? In Ashtanga Yoga, Pratyaharam is an important feature, by which all organs are disciplined. For all these, the basic requirement is Satvika Dhruti. This way one can reach Moksham and will not have desires in other matters. Next, the Lord explains Rajasa and Tamasa Dhruti. We will see Rajasa Dhruti in sloka 34:

yayā tu dharmakāmārthān dhṛtyā dhārayaterjuna
prasaṅgena phalākāṅkṣī dhṛtiḥ sā pārtha rājasī 18.34

Partha = Arjuna, sa dhrti = that Dhruti is, rajasi = Rajasa [Dhruti]. Yaya tu dhrtya = by which resolve, dharma kama artha = righteousness, desires and materials. Dharma, Kama, Artha and Moksham are Four [purushartham] to be realized. Of these if we resolve to gain only Moksham, then that determination is called Satvika Dhruti. If our resolve was to direct mind, prana airs and organs twards gaining Moksham, then it is Satvika resolve. Instead, if one directs mind, prana airs and organs towards the other Three - Dharma, Artha and Kama [धर्मं, काम, अर्थ அறம், பொருள், இன்பம்], then the resolve to do so is Rajasa Dhruti. In the previous sloka it was mentioned avyabhicharinya yogena, that is without vyabhichari or not fixing anything else other than Moksham, for Upasana. Here, the resolve is to gain other than Moksham. Our resolve is to gain Dharma, Kama and Artha; and so, all efforts are directed in that direction. Dharayate = are sustained, prasangena = with attachment, phala akanksi = in desire for results, such a resolve is Rajasa Dhruti. We can note that Rajasa Dhruti is inferior to Satvika Dhruti. Next, in sloka 35, He explains Tamasa Dhruti:

yayā svapnaṃ bhayaṃ śokaṃ viṣādaṃ madam eva ca
na vimuñcati durmedhā dhṛtiḥ sā pārtha tāmasī 18.35

Partha = Arjuna, sa dhrti = that Dhruti is, tamasi = Tamasa [Dhruti]. Here, the Lord points to the person, possessing Tamasa Dhruti! Durmedha = [person with] evil knowledge. His mind, prana airs and organs are all involved in forbidden matters. We can see the difference in all these Three. Satvika Dhruti resolves to gain only Moksham. Rajasa Dhruti resolves to gain others excepting Moksham. Tamasa Dhruti directs involvement in wrong matters. Yaya = by which [resolve], svapnam = dream [we have to interpret as sleep], madam = ego or pride [being well educated or born in famous family or being wealthy]. That dhruti which directs a person in laziness and ego, is Tamasa Dhruti. Bhayam = fear, sokam = sorrow, visadam = worries. This person's activities result in fear, sorrow and worries. Mind, prana airs and organs are always involved in actions, which produce fear, sorrow and worries. This becomes a chain reaction. These fears, sorrows and worries, cause more and more fears, sorrows and worries, and one never gets out of them. These Three are also inter-related and one yields the other. If one resolves to be lazy and egoistic, then his mind, prana airs and organs are directed in wrongful activities and cause fear, sorrow and worries. Na vimuncati = unending or not getting released [from these wrongful actions]. We have heard of Vyasa, Jaimini, Visampayana, Pyla, Sumantu, Angiras, Romaharshana, etc. None of them had Rajasa or Tamasa qualities. With their blessings, we will seek Satvika Dhruti.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

BG 18.27

Due to some problem in Cable Operator's equipment, there was no transmission of any program today [31st August 2009]. Therefore, I regret that today's lecture is not available. However, for the sake of continuity, I am giving below the sloka for today.

dhṛtyā yayā dhārayate manaḥprāṇendriyakriyāḥ
yogenāvyabhicāriṇyā dhṛtiḥ pārtha sāttvikī 18.33

Thursday, August 27, 2009

BG 18.26

Saranagati is to think His Divine feet are the means and asylum, for obtaining Moksham for us. Charanam + iti + Aagati = Saranagati. Person, who comes to the Lord and states that He is the only means and He is the destination, is called Saranagata. Saranagati is unconditional surrender. If we understand the meaning of Tirumantram [Ashtaksharam], then we have to perform saranagati. It is called Dwaya Maha Mntram, or shortly Dwayam [द्वयम्]. It is with Two lines. By the First line we state that through the Divine Feet of Sri Maha Lakshmi Thayar, we seek the Divine Feet of Sri Narayana, as asylum. By the next line, we pray for reward for seeking asylum, and that is serving the Divine Couple, always. Tirumangai Alwar in his Periya Tirumozhi, described the meaning of Tirumantram, in the First Five decades [padikam பதிகம்], and then in the Sixth decade he surrendered [perform saranagati] to the Lord of the Divya Desam, we are visiting now. It is one of the wonderful Divyadesams. It is Naimisharanyam [नैमिशारण्य நைமிசாரண்யம்]. Alwar says that trusting Him, he has surrendered at His feet. Where was he all these days, the Lord asked. Alwar says that before that, he abandoned his beautiful wife, and started grabbing others' property and wives. He came to know that for all these attrocities, he would be taken to hell after death. There, in Naraka, the servants of Yama, would drag the departed soul and give a temporary body to experience the tortures that were to follow. They would make a copper idol of a beautiful woman and would heat in fire and the idol, with golden color, radiating heat would be placed near this person. Yama's servants would giggle at the soul with the new body and comment that the person was after women and so let him enjoy a full embrace of the woman idol. So saying, they would push the person on the idol! Alwar says that one day he would be subjected to such tortures. Fearing such an experience, Alwar says that he had come to Naimisharanyam, to surrender at the Divine feet of the Lord! Naimisharanyam is a beautiful place. The Lord is here in the form of forest [Aaranyam आरण्यम]. In Pushkar, the Lord appears in the form of water. Today's lecture is from the banks of river Gomati [it is more known as Gomti].

This river is also called Dhenumati [dhenu = go = cow]. Go also means water. So this river has plenty of water. This river flows from Himalayas and should not be confused with Gomati river in Dwaraka, where the river flows West. Here, Gomati river mixes with Ganga, near Kanpur. Lord Brahma started creation. First Swayambhu Manu was created. He married Shatarupa. They had Priyamvrata and Uttanapada, as sons. Uttanapada was the father of legendary Druva. Priyamvrata had Agnitra, Madi, Rishabadeva, Jata Bharata, etc.. as children. Swayambu Manu also had daughters Devahuti, Aahuti and Prasuti. Kardama Prajapati married Devahuti and their child was Kapila, who was the founder of Sankya philosophy. Shatarupa, used to bathe in this river and worship the Lord, in the form of forest, and was blessed to marry Swayambu Manu. We will now see slokas 31 and 32, in which Rajasa Buddhi and Tamasa Buddhi are explained by the Lord. We have already seen what Satvika Buddhi is. It is the intellect or Buddhi, which conveys the true form. It guides the Dharma to obtain wealth in this world and Moksham. It also guides to activities to be done [Karya] and activities to be abandoned [Akarya]. It also reveals which are to be afraid of and which are not. These were stated in sloka 30. Now, sloka 31:

yayā dharmam adharmaṃ ca kāryaṃ cākāryam eva ca
ayathāvat prajānāti buddhiḥ sā pārtha rājasī 18.31

Partha = Arjuna, sa buddhi = that intellect is, rajasi = Rajasa [Buddhi]. Yaya = by which [buddhi], dharmam adharmam = misunderstands Dharma as Adharma. By Satvika Buddhi, one understands Dharma as Dharma and Adharma as Adharma. That is the true nature was shown. Here, confusion prevails, in Rajasa Buddhi. Karyam ca akaryam eva = mistakes between do's and don'ts. Here, this buddhi guides the person to do action, which should not be done and vice versa. Ayathavat = reversing the true nature. By this one mistakes one for another. Prajanati = [like this] guides to understand. So, Rajasa Buddhi guides:
  1. To mistake Dharma for Adharma.
  2. To provoke to do an action not to be done, and vice versa.
  3. To misunderstand one for another, by suppressing the true nature.
This Buddhi emanates from Rajo quality. Buddhi, as mentioned earlier, is in a broad classification, to guide to acquire Gyana. Now, sloka 32, where Tamasa Buddhi is described. In Satvika Buddhi, true nature of a matter is guided. In Rajasa Buddhi, delusion is there and true nature is not guided. In Tamasa Buddhi, makes one to follow wrong things as right. Sloka 32:

adharmaṃ dharmam iti yā manyate tamasāvṛtā
sarvārthān viparītāñś ca buddhiḥ sā pārtha tāmasī 18.32

Partha = Arjuna, sa buddhi = that buddhi is, tamasi = Tamasa [Buddhi]. Tamasavrta = [an atma] surrounded by Tamas quality, manyate = understands, adharmam dharmam iti = understands Adharma as Dharma. In Rajasa Buddhi, Dharma was shown as Adharma. This Tamasa Buddhi nature we could see in thieves, robbers, terrorists, etc., who maintain that all their bad activities were Dharma. Sarvarthan = all matters are, viparitan ca = indicated wrongly. This Buddhi will guide to understand wrongly all things. Instead of appreciating Lord's auspicious qualities, it will guide to describe them as illusion. Tamasa Buddhi will guide:
  1. Adharma as Dharma.
  2. Misapprehand matters.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

BG 18.25

The sparkling and glaring Vimanam we see in Srirangam temple is Pranavakara Vimanam. It is in the form of AUM [ॐ], Pranavam. With nine kalash [pots] and Sri Para Vasudeva in the front, it captivates the viewers. Beneath this Vimanam Sri Ranganatha is reclining, facing Lanka in South, with Head in the West direction, Feet to the East and back to North directions. The Lord in Srirangam, between North Kaveri [Kollidam] and South Kaveri rivers, did not originate in Srirangam. His place of origin is different. He originated from some other place, but has settled in Srirangam! We should necessarily know the close connection between Srirangam and Ayodhya. Sri Ranganatha along with the Pranavakara Vimanam, many, many thousands of years back, during Kruta Yug, appeared from the Milk Ocean [Tirupparkkadal திருப் பாற்க் கடல்]. Lord Brahma carried the idol of the Lord and was performing pooja for a long time. Lord Brahma is in Satya Lok, which is the Seventh world above ours. Ayodhya, which is also in our world, was first ruled by King Ikshvaku. He was so great that he could visit lord Brahma in Satya Lok, many times! In one such visits, he was fortunate to worship Lord Sri Ranganatha. With Sarayu river having brought to Ayodhya by sage Vasisht, Ikshvaku planned to build a temple for the Lord in Ayodhya for its prosperity and for developing Bhakti in his people. Deciding to get the Lord worshiped by lord Brahma, he prayed Brahma to gift the Lord with the Vimanam. Unable to decline his prayer, lord Brahma handed over the Lord with the Vimanam. King Ikshvaku, brought the Lord with the Vimanam, and installed in a grand temple in Ayodhya. Starting from Ikshvaku, every succeeding Kings, like Dilipa, Sakara, Bhagiratha, Ambarisha, Mandhata, Amshuman, etc., worshiped the Lord. Finally after Aja and his son Dasaratha, Sri Rama worshiped the Lord in Ayodhya. While in Ayodhya, the Lord was not known by the name Sri Ranganatha. The Lord was then known as Sri Narayana and Sri Jagannatha. This can be understood from Valmiki's Srimad Ramayanam. Sri Rama was to be crowned as King, next day, selected by sage Vasishta. At that time Vasishta asked Sri Rama to worship the Lord with Sri Sita and pray for proper conduct of the ensuing coronation ceremony! Sri Rama went inside to pray along with Sri Sita. Inside, Sri Rama prayed for early commencement of His mission! Here, Valmiki mentions that Sri Rama prayed to Sri Narayana! After His return from Lanka and after becoming the King of Ayodhya, He was bidding farewell to each and every guest, who had come for the Pattabhishekam! When Vibheeshana took leave of the Lord, He felt that Vibheeshana should be rewarded with some gift, for all the help he rendered to the Lord. Considering no better gift, the Lord gifted away their family treasure [Kula dhanam कुल धनम्] Sri Narayana and the Vimanam to Vibheeshana and requested him to perform pooja at Lanka. Vibheeshana carried the Lord and the Vimanam and flew towards Lanka. That time the Lord was to enjoy Panguni Festival, which was celebrated even when the Lord was worshiped by lord Brahma in Satya Lok! Thus Panguni Utsavam was celebrated in Satya Lok and in Ayodhya! In the midway of his flight, Vibheeshana noted that it was the day for Panguni Festival. He found below, Srirangam, with orchards and gardens aplenty. He found the island bountiful with nature's gifts and, with Lord's blessings he landed in Srirangam and decided to celebrate the Ten day Panguni Festival in Srirangam, and then carry the Lord to Lanka. The festival was celebrated in a fitting manner and on the last day, Vibheeshana wanted to leave for Lanka and prayed to the Lord. But the Lord decided to stay at Srirangam itself. At the same time, First Chola King Dharma Varma, pleaded to allow the Lord to remain in Srirangam itself. Vibheeshana accepted the request. From the time He came to Srirangam, He was known as Sri Ranganatha. The Lord comforted Vibheeshana that He would be always lookig towards Lanka, and bless him. Thus Ayodhya and Srirangam are connected. He was worshiped in Ayodhya by 38 generations of Ikshvaku dynasty, in Treta Yug. With such great devotees of Manu Dynasty, the Lord is now in Srirangam, says Swami Parashara Bhattar. Sri Rama is known as Perumal, while the Lord at Srirangam is known as Periya Perumal [and Sri Utsavar is known as Namperumal]. Sri Rama's walk used to be compared to walks of Gaja [elephant], Simha [lion], Rishabha [bull], etc. Now we see the Lord at Srirangam also exhibiting such walks, while in procession! While emerging from the Moolasthanam [garbhagruha], His walk is like that of a lion! Then He walks like elephant, bull and serpent! Sri Rama trod the length of our country, Bharat. We will be delighted to see all the places Sri Rama set His Divine feet, like Mithilapuri, Siddhashrama, Chitrakoot, Panchavati, Kishkinda, Lanka, etc. While it is certainly be a pleasure to follow the paths Sri Rama walked, it is much more important to follow His conduct and emulate Him. With His blessings now we will see sloka 30:

pravṛttiṃ ca nivṛttiṃ ca kāryākārye bhayābhaye
bandhaṃ mokṣaṃ ca yā vetti buddhiḥ sā pārtha sāttvikī 18.30

Partha = Arjuna!, sa buddhi sattviki = that buddhi is called Satvika [Buddhi]. Which one? That Buddhi, pravrtti = [which guides to] pravrutti marg for worldly happiness, ca nivrttim = and Moksham for eternal happiness, karya akarya = [distinguishes between] actions to be done and not to be done, bhaya abhaye = [differentiates as to which should be] feared and not feared, bhandam = [understands what all make us] bound [in samsaram], moksam = liberation [from samsaram], vetti = understand. Thus Satvika Buddhi should guide one to:
  1. Worldly happiness, in pravrutti Marg.
  2. Eternal happiness, in Moksham, in Nivrutti marg.
  3. Actions which are do's and don't's.
  4. Afraid or not afraid of things or activities.
  5. Things that would bind us in samsaram.
  6. Things that would liberate us from samsaram.
That Buddhi or intellect which would guide the person to true Gyana as above, is Satvika Buddhi. We will now take leave of Ayodhya.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

BG 18.24

Sri Rama in His Avatar in this world, ruled for 11,000 years. His people followed His footsteps and it was a glorious Rama Rajyam. After His Avatar mission was over, He was to return to Sri Vaikuntam. Before that, Lakshmana who could not bear separation from Sri Rama, departed for Sri Vaikuntam from Lakshman Ghat, earlier. After some days, Sri Rama decided that His time for departure had come. With all His people, He came to this place, which is about 10 Miles from Ayodhya. This place on Sarayu river banks, is called Goprachara Teertham. Today's [26th August 2009] lecture is from that place. Charam means jumping and pracharam means making good jump. Jumping from this world to Sri Vaikuntam, is not an easy task. But, Sri Rama made all His people to jump to Vaikuntam, very easily! That is why this place is called Prachara Teertham. Here, Sarayu flows very calmly and steadily. Ghats here are very famous. The place where Sri Rama departed for Sri Vaikuntam, is known as Guptar Ghat.

Gupt means secret or disappear. Here Sri Rama disappeared from this world. After His departure, there was none in Ayodhya. Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrugna had, each, two sons. Sri Rama's sons were Lav and Kush. Dividing the Kingdom into two halves, Sri Rama coronated each of them as King of each part. But with Sri Rama all people had gone away, there was none in the city. The task of again bringing fresh people into Ayodhya and establishing a new city, fell on His two sons. The sons of other brothers were made Kings of various Kingdoms. Sri Rama left His place, in white dress and with darbha [a type of grass] in hand, came here with all people. He performed all rites, with sage Vasishta chanting Mantras, and then departed for Vaikuntam. Nammalwar asks 'karpar ramabiranai allal matrum karparo? [கற்பார் இராம பிரானை அல்லால் மற்றும் கற்பரோ?]' - will those wanting to learn [good behaviour], ever learn others? Kulasekara Alwar says that on that day, He despatched all moving and non-moving beings to Vaikuntam. Here, we have to note an important point. The Lord's Thousand names are described in Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam Chapter, in Mahabharata epic. Parvati asks lord Shiva whether any name equal to all these 1000 names was there and which could be easily chanted by literate and illiterate, alike? Lord Shiva replies that Divine name Sri Rama was equal to the Thousand Divine names. Why did he not mention the names of Sri Narayana or Sri Vasudeva or Sri Vishnu? Because, we should observe what was the result of chanting the Thousand Divine names. It was attaining Moksham, by chanting His names and developing Bhakti. It was Sri Rama, Who got Mpksham for so many, very easily. Therefore, as a means to attain Moksham, Sri Rama was equal to Sahasranamam! Swami Adi Shankara asks lord Shiva as to who else knew the glory of the Divine name of Sri Rama, more than lord Shiva! Though thousands of people accompanied Sri Rama to Vaikuntam, one desired to stay at Ayodhya itself. He was Hanuman. He was very firm that after having seen Sri Pattabhi Rama, Sri Janaki Rama, Sri Kalyana Rama and Sri Dasaratha Rama, he did not want to see any other! He is remaining at Ayodhya for ever. Wherever Srimad Ramayanam is studied, Hanuman would be there. We will now see sloka 29 of Chapter 18. The Lord has been categorising various aspects qualified by Satva, Rajas and Tamas qualities, and describing them. In that series we have to see Buddhi and Dhruti. Buddhi is intellect. Dhruti is determination. These two also vary according to the Three qualities. He says that these aspects are also of Three types in sloka 29:

buddher bhedaṃ dhṛteś caiva guṇatas trividhaṃ śṛṇu
procyamānam aśeṣeṇa pṛthaktvena dhanaṃjaya 18.29

Dhananjaya = Arjuna! It seems when Arjuna visited places [dik vijayam], he used to distribute wealth [dhanam धनम्] to all and thus conquered desire for wealth. So he is called Dhananjaya. The Lord says that conquering wealth was not a great feat, but he must be victorious in Buddhi and Dhruti! Bhuddher bhedam = difference in intellect, dhrte caiva = and also of [difference in] determination, gunata = on the basis of quality [satvam-rajas-tamas], trividham = are Three types, asesena = without any balance [exhaustively], prthakvena = separately, procyamanm = to be told [by the Lord], srnu = listen. On the basis of quality, Buddhi and Dhruti would be of Three types each. The Lord is going to describe each of them, without mixing, separately for Arjuna to listen. What is the difference between Gyana and Buddhi? The Lord had already described the Three types of Gyana, Karma and Karta. What is then Buddhi? Is it not same as Gyana? Buddhi precedes Gyana, is the clarification Lord gives. To understand the difference between Buddhi and Gyana, let us see an ordinary example, in our life. A person, say a student in +2 class, has to decide his career. He has, say, Three options to go forward in life. One is to study further and earn as an engineer or doctor, etc. The second alternative is to think that there was no use in further studies; all in high positions are not learned and all learned persons are not well off; and, so no more studies. The Third choice could be to take up illegal and crooked methods and become rich and great! This person has to make a choice in this broad classification. Here, he has to employ his Buddhi! After this decision, he has to be firm and determined to pursue that course, and that is Dhruti! After selecting he pusues that course and gains knowledge, which is Gyana. Thus Buddhi is the threshold to Gyana. The Lord says that this Buddhi itself varies according to the Three qualities. Like in the example, to follow legal and good learning; or, to follow as things go; or, follow illegal methods. Buddhi, therefore, differs according to one's quality. Dhruti is determination, once a decision is made. This also varies according to qualities. The Lord assures Arjuna that He would tell exhaustively about all these.

Monday, August 24, 2009

BG 18.23

Adisesha never leaves the Lord even for a moment. The Lord Sri Rama was separated from Sri Sita for some time. In His First Twelve years, marriage with Sri Sita did not take place. At the time of marriage Sri Rama was 12 years old and Sri Sita was 6 years old! Thus initially, Sri Rama was not with Sri Sita for 12 years. Next, when Sri Sita was kept captive in Ashoka Vana, Sri Rama was separated from Her for Ten months. Again, when Lav and Kush sang Ramayana before Sri Rama, He desired to see Sri Sita and Valmiki. At that time Sri Sita made a promise and entered into Mother Earth and reached Vaikuntam. Even after this incident, Sri Rama remained on this Earth and ruled for many Thousands of years. Thus, Sri Rama was separated from Sri Sita. But, Sri Rama never got separated from Lakshmana. Sri Rama was born in Punarvasu star and Lakshmana and Shatrugna were born in Aslesha [Tamil- Ayilyam ஆயில்யம்] star. Since Lakshman was born after Sri Rama, we can say that Lakshmana was never there without Sri Rama. Then, when did Sri Rama depart for Vaikuntam? And, when did Lakshmana leave for Vaikuntam? To know answer for this, we have come to Lakshman Ghat on the banks of Sarayu river.

We can see the wide flow of Sarayu river, who emerged from Brahma and who was brought here by Vasishta. From this place in Sarayu, Lakshmana, incarnation of Adisesha, departed for Vaikuntam. On the shore, we can see a temple for Lakshmana. Sri Rama, Sri Sita and Lakshmana are gracing. Sri Rama was dark blue, while Lakshmana was fair complexioned. One was personification of patience, while the other desired nothing except serving the Lord. One was incarnation of the Lord, while the other was incarnation of Adisesha. After worshiping them, we come to the Ghat, where long steps are laid. Why did Lakshmana leave for Vaikuntam from here? For this we have to refer to Uttara Khand of Srimad Ramayanam. In the Yuddha Khand, after Ravana was slain, and Vibheeshana was made King of Lanka, all Devas and others assembled over the sky praised Sri Rama. They told that He was Sriman Narayana, and since His mission was over, He could return to Vaikuntam. But Lakshmana said that Sri Rama was to return to Ayodhya and rule the Kingdom. Sri Rama also declined Devas' request and claimed He was a human only and returned to Ayodhya. Sri Rama ruled the Kingdom for 11,000 years. When this period was about to end, Brahma and other Devas discussed and decided to remind Sri Rama that He should return to Vaikuntam; they also decided to depute Kala deva [काल देव], to go to Sri Rama. Kala Deva pondered as separating Sri Rama from the people of Ayodhya was not that easy. Finally, he decided to carry out the mission, and in the guise of an elderly man, he reached Sri Rama's palace. Sri Rama welcomed him and offered all respects, due to a guest. When Sri Rama asked the purpose of the old man's visit, the old man replied that he wanted to talk to Sri Rama confidentially, with none else present. When Sri Rama accepted, the old man said that even Lakshmana should not be present! That time only Sri Rama realized that He had never considered Lakshmana as separate from Him! Since the old man insisted on Lakshmana also leaving them, Sri Rama agreed. The old man put another condition that no one should interfere in their conversation anf if anyone intruded that person should be killed by Sri Rama Himself! Sri Rama was surprised at these conditions; still, respecting the guest, He did not object and entered into private conversation with the old man. Lakshman was guarding at the door, so that none entered the room. Kala Deva, in the guise of the old man, told Sri Rama that His time on Earth was getting over and that He should return to Vaikuntam. As they were conversing, sage Durvasa appeared at the door. Lakshman stopped Durvasa from entering and told about the order. Enraged, Durvasa said that if he was not allowed, he would curse all. Lakshmana was in a dilemma. Finally, Lakshmana decided that he would go inside and get Sri Rama's permission. Lakshmana entered and conveyed the arrival of Durvasa. But having violated the order, Lakshmana had to be killed by Sri Rama! The old man took leave and requested Sri Rama to keep up His promise and not to violate His own words! Sri Rama had to kill Lakshmana. Can this ever happen? Sri Rama could never sleep without Lakshmana. Considering Sri Rama's delicate position, He was advised that if Lakshmana got separated from Sri Rama, it was equal to killing Lakshmana! Accepting this, Lakshmana came to this spot and meditating on the Lord, he left for Vaikuntam. Unable to bear the separation of Lakshmana, Sri Rama also left for Vaikuntam, from another place, Guptar Ghat. We will now see slokas 27 and 28 together. First, sloka 27, describing Rajasa Karta:

rāgī karmaphalaprepsur lubdho hiṃsātmakośuciḥ
harṣaśokānvitaḥ kartā rājasaḥ parikīrtitaḥ 18.27

Parikirtita = such a person acting is, Rajasa karta= Rajasa Karta. Ragi = desirer [one who desires]. Person having strong desire for name and fame. Karma phala prepsu = desire or expectation in result of the karmas [being performed by this person]. Though both are desires, one is in being famous while the other is for results and rewards. Lubdha = calculative [in spending for noble causes]. This person hesitates to spend for good causes. Himsatmaka = hurts others and himself. He makes others to suffer for his work. Ravana made Mareecha to suffer to get his work done. Asuci = unclean. For any work, one has to be clean. This person does not even bathe! Both body and mind are to be clean. Harsasokanvita = governed by the happiness and sorrow of performing a karma. That is he is moody and changes temperement. Thus, Rajasa Karta is qualified by:
  1. Desire in fame.
  2. Expects results.
  3. Ungenerous for good karma.
  4. Hurts others and self.
  5. Unclean.
  6. Mercurial.
Now, the Lord describes Tamasa Karta in sloka 28:

ayuktaḥ prākṛtaḥ stabdhaḥ śaṭho naiṣkṛtikolasaḥ
viṣādī dīrghasūtrī ca kartā tāmasa ucyate 18.28

Karta = such a performer is, ucyate = called, tamasa = Tamasa [Karta]. Ayukta = unqulified [to perform a karma]. Prakrta = ordinary learning [as opposed to learning Vedas]. Stabdha = like a wood [expressionless, with no interest to perform a karma]. Satha = [indulging in] evil karma [abhichara karmas, directing evil to others, something like witchcraft]. Naiskrtika = hurting others, alasa = very lazy [no interest to continue and complete task undertaken], visadi = displeasing [ always scornful behaviour], dirghasutri = scheming [against others as a habit] for a long time. Thus, Tamasa Karta is qualified as:
  1. Disqulified for a karma.
  2. Shallow learning.
  3. Expressionless.
  4. Practicing sorcery.
  5. Being cruel to others.
  6. Lazy.
  7. Unpleasant.
  8. Habitual schemer.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

BG 18.22

Sri Krishna desired to build a temple for Sri Rama. There lived one Swami Parthasarathy Iyengar in Tiruvallikeni, Chennai. He was publishing many Sri Vaishnava books from Tiruvallikeni, from circa 1870 to about 1890. He was called Yogi Parthasarathy, and with a desire to worship the Lord in all Divya Deasams, he took leave of Lord Sri Parthasarathy, in Tiruvallikenei! In his tour of North India, he visited Badarikashram, Salagramam, Devaprayag, etc., and landed in Ayodhya, the Janma Bhoomi of Lord Sri Rama. He worshiped the Lord and things were going routinely. But still there was a yearning, for a temple with Sothern Culture and with South Indian sculptures. His thoughts, perhaps, reached the Lord. The Lord decided to convey to his wife Yogi Singammal, that He desired to have a temple, through their efforts. He appeared in her dreams and ordered that in Tiruppullani, where the Lord was Sri Dharba Sayana Perumal, the Utsavar idols would be found. In about 1898-99, this couple visited here. Within Five years, all construction was completed; the idols were brought from Tiruppullani; and in 1904, this new temple was consecrated. From that time, till about Five years only, Yogi Parthasarathy was here. To serve the Lord permanently, he departed for Vaikuntam. But his wife, Yogi Singammal, lived thereafter, for about 30 years, in Ayodhya. From Tiruvallikeni, this couple came to Ayodhya and served the Lord Sri Rama. She looked after the administration of the temple and also taught important aspects of Sri Vaishnava philosophy, and spread Swami Ramanuja Sampradhayam. Though her original name was Singammal, she was known popularly as Ammaji and the temple also was called Ammaji Mandir.

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Nampillai appeal 4.jpg

Today's [24th August 2009] lecture is from Ammaji Mandir. As we enter Raja Gopuram, we come across Dwajasthambam. Further inside is the Maha Mantapam. Then is the Arda Mantapam. Sri Utsavar is Sri Rama standing at the center. He is holding His bow, Kodandam. On His side is Lakshmana, ever ready to serve Sri Rama. On the other side is, Sri Sita. Nearby is Sri Nartana Krishna, dancing! Next is Vishvaksena, the commander. Sri Balaji of Tirumala is also gracing here. Sri Ranganatha, the Lord, Who was worshiped by Sri Rama, is also here in a separate sannidhi. In this sannidhi, there is another set of Sri Rama, Sri Sita and Lakshmana! There is another sannidhi of Azhvars and Acharyas. We can see Nammalwar, Tirumangai Alwar, Swami Ramanuja, Swami Alavandar, etc. With all their blessings we are going to see how a karta or doer, sould be in satvika quality. We have already seen the Three types of Gyana and Three types of Karma. Now, in sloka 26, the Lord describes the types of Kartas. He who understands Vedas and performs Karma, is Karta. Now sloka 26:

muktasaṅgonahaṃvādī dhṛtyutsāhasamanvitaḥ
siddhyasiddhyor nirvikāraḥ kartā sāttvika ucyate 18.26

Karta = [such a] doer, sattvika ucyate = is called Satvika [Karta]. Mukta sanga = sacrificed attachmants. That is abandoning kartrutva buddhi [feeling of I-am-doing], mamata [karma is for-me] and phalam [desire for rewards]. Anaham vadi = never speaking that [karma was] for self. He never tells that the karma was done by him. That is he always tells that karma was done by Him, the Lord. That is Kartrutva buddhi tyagam. Normally, satvika persons, would think what comes out as speech. So, here even though he does not tell that he was doing, it is implied that he was having that feeling in mind also. Dhrti = [with] determination, utsahasamanvita = full of involvement. Normally, people show involvement, if they would derive some benefits. But here, the Lord says that the Karta was uninterested in rewards, but interested in performing Karma. This is what present management experts also advise. Siddhi asiddhi = accomplishment or not, nirvikara = not changing. That is while doing a karma, whether it is successful or failure, the performer is unaffected. Earlier the Lord says detachment in rewards. Here, even when the objective of the karma is not accomplished, this person performing the karma, does not show any change in his feeling. Such a person is Satvika Karta. His attributes are:
  1. Total detachment.
  2. Never boasts.
  3. Resolute in performing karma.
  4. Full involvement.
  5. Unaffected by results.
This is how, Sri Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrugna carried their duties. Swami Ramanuja, who lived for 120 years, never did his social service, with any expectation. Satvika Karta performs karma for the pleasure of the Lord.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

BG 18.21

Koojantam ramarameti maduram maduraksharam
Aruhya kavita sakan vande valmiki kokilam |
Valmikermuni simhascha kavitavanacharina:
shrunvan ramakatha natham konayadi parangatim ||
These slokas describe the glory of Valmiki and his Ramayana epic. On the top of the tree of Vedas, cuckoo Valmiki sat and sang Ramayana to delight all devotees! Valmiki taught his epic Ramayana to Lav and Kush, sons of Sri Rama. Lav and Kush sang Ramayana all over the world and spread its glory. Finally, they also sang Ramayana before Sri Rama! After Sri Rama, Lava - Kusha ruled Ayodhya and made the people of Ayodhya, devotees of Sri Rama. Today's [21st August 2009] lecture is from Valmiki Bhavan.

We find Valmiki with his disciples Lav on his right and Kush on his left.

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In Ayodhya, Valmiki Bhavan is an important spot. It is built as a large building. The entrance itself speaks of the grandeur of the building. Inside is Maha mantap, which is very large, capable of accommodating about 5,000 persons to conduct Bhajans and lectures. Ground floor is very large. There is an upper floor. All are built with marble stones. In every pillar's base, Acharyas' pictures are carved. Pictures of all Acharyas' of India are here. Valmiki wrote 24,000 slokas and each sloka is valuable in millions. All these slokas have been carved on the walls of the two floors. Like a child feeling happy in the laps of its mother, we are also happy to be amidst all slokas in this building! There is a large Library in this building. It contains Thousands of books and all the translations of Ramayana in every language. Another feature is that from Himalayas to Kanyakumari, many people write 'Ram', 'Sri Ram', 'Sri Sitaram', 'Sri Jayaram', 'Sri Ramajayam', etc., and all those books and notebooks are collected here. During Kumbhmela or during Sri Ramanavami, collected books are presented to Sarayu river, by immersion. Kulasekara Alwar, in one of his pasurams, says that Sri Rama heard and enjoyed His own story from the singing by His own children. At that time He desired to know the author of Ramayana. He then met Valmiki and Sri Sita. Later, Sri Sita joined Mother Earth and reached Sri Vaikuntam. Those visiting Ayodhya can come here and worship Valmiki and feel the divinity slokas here. What is the use in seeing those slokas here? The advantage is that we will never attain what we are going to see in the Two slokas we are to see today! We should attain Satvika Gyana to do Satvika Karma and be Satvika Karta. We have no use for Rajasa and Tamasa Gyana. We should abandon Rajasa and Tamasa Karmas. We should never be Rajasa and Tamasa Karta! The Lord is describing about different types of Karmas. We have already seen various Gyana and Satvika Karma. We will now see Rajasa Karma and Tamasa Karma together in Two slokas. First, sloka 24:

yat tu kāmepsunā karma sāhaṃkāreṇa vā punaḥ
kriyate bahulāyāsaṃ tad rājasam udāhṛtam 18.24

Tat = that [karma] is, rajasam udahrtam = called Rajasa [Karma]. Yat tu = which, karma = action or deed, kamepsuna = performed with desire [in results], sa ahamkarena = with ego [that is with the attitude I-am-doing], va = also [that is both desire in results and ego], puna = again, kriyate = performed with, bahula = enormous, ayasam = efforts. How can we find fault with Karmas being performed with enormoue efforts? After all, every action requires efforts. Then, why criticize that? Here the Lord objects to great efforts, as putting in such efforts would create ego and feeling of I-am-doing. The moment we think all efforts are His, we will never feel those efforts to be great. We will never feel tired, with such thinking. It is like with a lever we are able to lift huge objects with very little effort. Therefore, great efforts means Rajasa Karma. With Bhakti in Him, same Karma can be performed with smaller efforts and becomes Satvika Karma. Therefore, Rajasa Karma is one with any or all of the following:
  1. Desire in results.
  2. Ego [or Kartrutva buddhi].
  3. Enormous efforts.
Now, sloka 25, about Tamasa Karma:

anubandhaṃ kṣayaṃ hiṃsām anapekṣya ca pauruṣam
mohād ārabhyate karma yat tat tāmasam ucyate 18.25

Tat tamasam ucyate = that [karma] is called Tamasa [Karma]. Yat = that [in which], anubandham = [sorrow] follows. After performing a karma if sorrow still folllows, it is Tamasa Karma. Ksayam = decline [of wealth due to wasteful expenditure], Himsam = hurting [performer and others]. Ravana performed many karmas, inflicting sufferings on himself and on others. He deputed his son Akshaya Kumar to fight Hanuman, and lost his son. Similarly, he sent his son Indrajit to fight Lakshmana and lost him also. To peak all these, he also got perished in pursuit of his desire. In fact entire Rakshasa community was lost. Paurusham = [human] capability. One should indulge in activities, where his capability could be shown. Anapeksya = beyond or exceeding. One should not try in activities beyond one's capability. Mohad = with delusion, arabhyate = commenced [karmas]. That is the performer thinks, he is doing and not understanding thet the Lord is the actual Doer. Following aspects, any or all, constitute Tamasa Karma:
  1. Agony continues even after performing karma.
  2. Wasteful expenditure.
  3. Hurting others and self.
  4. Exceeding one's capability.
  5. With delusion.
Valmiki taught Lav and Kush, Ramayana. Did he expect any reward? He knew, who the children were and knew Sri Sita well. But he introduced Sri Sita as a Van Devta [forest angel] to all others. In fact Shatrugna had travelled via Valmiki's Ashram. Valmiki was not in Ayodhya. We are yet to see the actual place of Valmiki Ashram. We may know about it, when we visit Naimisharanyam. Lav and Kush also sang Ramayana not with any expectations. But, finally, they attained all they deserved. So, we should do any karma prescribed by Shastras, with the Three types of Tyaga and be happy as having performed Satvika Karma. All other Karmas will never stop our misery and will hurt others and ourselves.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BG 18.20

yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya tadātmānaṃ sṛjāmy aham 4.7
paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṃ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
dharmasaṃsthāpanārthāya saṃbhavāmi yuge yuge 4.8
These are the words of Sri Krishna. He told about His time of Avatar and its purpose. Whenever Dharma was humiliated or disgraced and when Adharma was at its peak, the Lord descended on this Earth. To protect sadhus or noble persons, and to destroy evil persons and to establish Dharma, the Lord takes an Avatar, and such Avatars have been countless. In such Avatars, as He Himself, with complete auspicious qualities, the Lord was born as Sri Rama. He was a personification of all auspicious qualities, and it looked as though such qualities were coronated, when Sri Rama was crowned as King. He was born in the month of Chaitra, in star Punarvasu, in Navami Tithi and in Kataka Lagna. He was in Kausalya's womb for Twelve months. To have this Avatar, all Devas went and prayed to Sriman Narayana that He alone should rescue them from the tyranny of Rakshasas. Accordingly, Sriman Narayana made Sri Rama Avatar in this Earth. To kill Ravana and to protect noble persons and to establish Dharma, Sri Rama was born in the middle of Treta Yug, in Ayodhya. After He was born, within Twelve years His Gurukula vasam [learning] was over and His marriage was also performed. King Dasarata was planning with his ministers to coronate Sri Rama. That time sage Viswamitra, entered and he had planned for the marriage of Sri Rama. When Viswamitra entered, Dasarata welcomed him and paid respects, and offered to grant anything he wanted. Viswamitra asked for the help of Sri Rama to protect the yagna he was performing. Though Dasarata declined, after recommendation of sage Vasishta, he despatched Sri Rama and Lakshmana with Viswamitra. After guarding Viswamitra's yagna, they all went to Mithilapuri, where King Janaka was ruling. There the marriage of Sri Rama and Sri Sita was celebrated. Then all of them returned to Ayodhya, in palanquins. The place, where Sri Rama & Sri Sita alighted from their palanquin, is called Ram Durbar. Today's [20th August 2009] lecture is from Ram Durbar in Ayodhya. As in a Durbar, all are seated. In the center, are the large idols of Sri Rama, Sri Sita and Lakshmana. Below, are very ancient small statues of Sri Rama and Sri Sita. There are many idols of Sri Rama and Sri Sita in this Ram Durbar. The mahants here narrate an interesting episode. In North India, it is customary for the new bride, who is going to be the administrator of the house henceforth, to first see the faces of her father -in-law and mother-in-law. This is celebrated as a function. At that time the bride has to present something to her parents-in-law, and they would also reciprocate. Near this Ram Durbar, is a large kitchen, belonging to the palace. Well cooked, tasty food was brought from here in Four plates. Sri Sita first served one plate to Kaikeyi. Accepting, Kaikeyi presented Kanaka Bhavan, which we already visited, to Sri Sita. Sri Sita presented food, next to Sumitra, who presented Sri Sita with Choodamani [ornament worn on the head]. Next, Sri Sita presented food to Kausalya, who presented Sri Sita, a long diamond necklace. When Sri Sita presented the Fourth plate to Dasaratha, he did not find anything to offer. He said that since he was contemplating to crown Sri Rama as the King of Ayodhya, he did not have anything to present Sri Sita. Sri Sita requested Dasaratha that She did not want any property or costly present, but anything, to remember the occasion. Dasaratha said that in Kruta yug or Treta yug or Dwapara yug, people would chant 'Sri Ram' only; but in Kali yug, they would always chant 'Sri Sitaram'! That was his present to Her! We can, thus, see everywhere in Ayodhya, Sri Sitaram! If we seek His blessings through Sri Sita, we are sure to accomplish everything in life. We will now see an important sloka, 23, in Chapter 18. From this sloka, in Three slokas, Three types of Karmas are being explained. They are Satvika Karma, Rajasa Karma and Tamasa Karma. We have already seen Three types of Gyana - Satvika, Rajasa and Tamasa Gyanas. Now we are to see the Karmas which are to be performed with the help of Gyana acquired. Thereafter, the Lord is going to explain Three types of Karta or the performer. We have to see now, how a Karma could be regarded as Satvika type:

niyataṃ saṅgarahitam arāgadveṣataḥ kṛtam
aphalaprepsunā karma yat tat sāttvikam ucyate 18.23

Yat = which [karma is as per these conditions], tat = that [karma] is, ucyate = called, sattvikam = Satvika [Karma]. What are the conditions? Niyatam = [that karma should] conform to [varana asrama of the performer]. Shastras specify various karmas for various varanam and asrama. The karma taken up for performing should conform to Shastras. Can one perform such Shastra conforming karma, in any manner? No. Sanga = attachment, rahitam = devoid of. That is karma should be done with sacrifices or Tyaga [here, Kartrutva tyaga and mamata tyaga are indicated]. I-am-doing and I-am-the-beneficiary feelings should be discarded. Aragadvesata = without raga [likes] and dvesa [dislikes]. One should perform a karma without likes and disikes. Here like and dislike are not for the rewards, because in the next line of the sloka, Sri Krishna tells about Phala tyaga. Here, likes and dislikes should not be for name and fame! That is a karma should not be done with the objective that it would make the performer famous. Also, one should not hate any abuses hurled at, in performing or not performing a karma. Liking for Brahmam or God and hatred in being in samsaram, are, however, permitted! Krtam = [karma] should be performed. Aphalaprepsuna = with no desire in results and rewards. Such a Karma is Satvika Karma. Thus Four conditions are to be fulfilled:
  1. Should conform to Shastras.
  2. Should be free of attachment.
  3. Should be without likes and dislikes.
  4. Should be free of desire in results.
Sri Rama ruled the Kingdom, without the feeling He was Ruler. Lakshmana served Sri Rama, without any attachment. Bharata obeyed Sri Rama and remained in the Kingdom and took care. Bharata always considered himself as servant of Sri Rama, as long as the Sun and the mountains existed. We should serve the Lord without any attachment in the rewards nor with any selfish feeling.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

BG 18.19

Today's [19th August 2009] lecture is from Dasaratha's palace in Ayodhya.

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Here we can see the full family of King Dasaratha. We are welcomed by a large building. Entering this, we find each courtyard is capable of accommodating 1000 persons.

Further inside is Ardha mantapa, which is also a very large hall. It has large carvings and balconies. One can not say that all these existed, as we see now, in Sri Rama's days. Every succeeding King might have repaired and improved the buildings. But one thing is certain; that Dasaratha's palace existed here. Like in a group photo, all members of the family are gracing. In the center is Sri Rama and Sri Sita.

To the right of Sri Rama and Sri Sita, are Bharata and his wife Mandavi. On the left are Lakshmana and Urmila. To the right of Bharata, are Shatrugna and Srutakirti. Like this all the Four couples are gracing at the center. To their right and left are some more persons. Sri Rama's marriage was celebrated in Janakapuri in Nepal. Those Two, in small idols, are there. Further ahead, Sri Rama, Sri Sita and Lakshmana are gracing. Sri Rama was in Chitrakoot, at the start of His life in forests. There Sri Rama walked followed by Sri Sita and then Lakshmana. They can be worshiped on the left of the main Four pairs. Further left, we can worship Sri Kala Rama of Panchavati. This 'black' Sri Rama is accompanied by Sri Sita and Lakshmana, who cut off the nose and ears of demoness Soorpanaka. Sri Rama derived happiness in introducing Himself as son of Dasaratha. That is at least natural. Sri Sita was born in another family and joined this family as the Daughter-in-law. But Sri Sita would, with pride, introduce Herself, as the Daughter-in-law of Dasaratha! In Lanka, Hanuman discovered Sri Sita, after a great search. During conversation with Hanuman, Sri Sita mentioned Her plight. She said that had Dasaratha been alive, She would not have had Her current difficulty. That shows the great confidence She had in Her father-in-law! She did not find fault with Sri Rama for not yet having rescued Her. That was not a big complaint; but, She felt that She would not have had that situation, if Dasaratha were alive. She had such great respect for Dasaratha. Dasaratha was here with his wives Kausalya, Kaikeyi, Sumitra and others. Dasaratha, after death, did not reach Vaikuntam, but was in heaven or Swarga. When his soul departed, none of his four sons were near him. Sri Rama and Lakshmana were in the forests; Bharata and Shatrugna were in the palace of Bharata's uncle and King of Kekaya, Yudhajit. Thus, Dasaratha died without his sons near him and later, Bharatha came and did the final rites. We are fortunate to have worshiped all the family members of Dasaratha in this place. Sri Rama could be seen in white, red and black colors! White indicates satva quality, while red and black indicate rajo and tamo qualities. We are also studying Gyana in its Three forms, as explained by Sri Krishna. Gyana, which transcends the varying and changing bodies, and sees the constant atman, is Satvika Gyana. It is the knowledge of understanding that the blissful and luminescent atman is same in all living beings and see equality in all. This, we saw in the previous sloka. Now we are to see what are Rajasa Gyana and Tamasa Gyana. We will see the Two slokas describing Rajasa Gyana and Tamasa Gyana, together as we have to discard such Gyana. Sloka 21, describes Rajasa Gyana:

pṛthaktvena tu yaj jñānaṃ nānābhāvān pṛthagvidhān
vetti sarveṣu bhūteṣu taj jñānaṃ viddhi rājasam 18.21

Tat jnanam = that knowledge or Gyana, rajasam = [emanates] from rajo quality, viddhi = understand. Sarvesu bhutesu = in all living beings, prthakvena = differences [in bodies or by birth, etc.], prthakvidhan = [and] difference in characters, nanabhavan = various groups of living beings. That is seeing or viewing in all living beings differences such as birth, gender or species, and other physical properties, and differences in characters. This knowledge is Rajasa Gyana. Instead of seeing atman and recogonizing all are identical, by seeing the bodies and mental buildup, differences are understood. We should never see the differences, but the equality of all. Our view should penetrate into the body and see atman. Then we can understand the equality of all. But a person with Rajasa Gyana, sees the differences in the physical characters, and assumes, those of atman also. Instead of seeing same type of atman is in lion's body and human body, he thinks lion has lion atman and man has human atman. He does not understand that atman is same in all, and resides in bodies, which are different. Next the Lord explains Tamasa Gyana in sloka 22:

yat tu kṛtsnavad ekasmin kārye saktam ahetukam
atattvārthavad alpaṃ ca tat tāmasam udāhṛtam 18.22

Tat = that [Gyana] is, tamasam udahrtam = called Tamasa [Gyana]. Yat tu = that Gyana, which [is different from what had already been explained in the last slokas]. Here, He attributes Two aspects of Tamasa Gyana. This Gyana is very inferior; and, the result of such Gyana also is very inferior. Ekasmin karye = in some action or karma, krsnavad saktam = full rewards or results will be found. That is, this person worships demons and manes, and believes superior results. Krsnavad means complete. Many karmas like Jyotish homam, etc., are performed, which yield complete rewards. This person believes that in the inferior karmas, he is performing, he would get same complete superior results. His enthusiasm in such karmas is Tamasa Gyana. For this involvement, ahetukam = [he has] no reasons. That is without any reason, this person has wrongly understood and involving in such inferior karmas. Atattvarthavad = based on false knowledge. He has wrongly understood that such inferior karmas would reward him with superior results. Alpam = [such knowledge is] inferior. Thus the Gyana and the rewards both are inferior, and should be avoided. We should also avoid Rajasa Gyana, and seek only Satvika Gyana.

Monday, August 17, 2009

BG 18.18

Today's [18th August 2009] lecture is also from Kanaka Bhavan, but from another important place. We can see the imprints of the Divine feet of Lord Sri Rama here. The place where these imprints are seen, has a speciality. In Accordance with the boons granted to Kaikeyi, Sri Rama departed for 14 years life in forests. To climb the chariot, Sri Rama pressed the ground and this is that place.

Those imprints have been preserved and worshiped. The Lord was Sri Raja Rama, Chakravarti Thirumagan [சக்கரவர்த்தித் திருமகன்], Dasarati, Kakutsa. Sage Vasishta decided a day for the coronation of Sri Rama, in the month of Chaitra, when flowers would be blooming everywhere. Sri Rama was married when He was 12 years old. Thereafter, Sri Rama and Sri Sita lived in this Kanaka Bhavan for 12 years. He was 24 years old and ready to ascend the throne, when He was made to exile to forests. From this place, He started His journey to forests. King Dasarata cried. He lamented that while Dasarata, who had reached the age to retire to forests, it was pity that Sri Rama in His youth was going to forests, leaving Dasarata, and accompanied by Sri Sita and Lakshmana. He pleaded to Vasishta and Sumantra, to advise and prevent Sri Rama from going to forests. In Perumal Tirumozhi, Kulasekara Alwar has written Ten pasurams as from a crying Dasarata! Dasarata used to ask Sri Rama to go, and as an obedient Son, He would go and Dasarata would admire His beauty from behind. Then, he would ask Sri Rama to come and appreciate His beauty from the front! Byadmiring the Lord like this, Dasarata would feel he was not old but an youth of just 25 years! Dasarata requested Kaikeyi, not to deprive him of this happiness; but Kaikeyi was adament and Sri Rama had to leave for forests. The chariot carrying Sri Rama left this place. Not only the people of Ayodhya were crying at that very sad event, even cows and calves were shedding tears! It seems, even cats, which would make use of all persons having gone out to see Sri Rama, and stealthily drink the milk in the houses, were sorry that Sri Rama was leaving Ayodhya! In Sri Krishna Avatar, everything like trees, calves, birds, etc., were all messengers of Kamsa trying to kill Sri Krishna! But in Sri Rama Avatar, all persons used to visit temples and prayed that Sri Rama should live with good health and for long years! When Sri Rama had to desert such affectionate people, we can imagine the great respect people have for this place. That is why people come here and go round the imprints of His Divine feet and sprinkle the dust on their heads. Even now they feel they are the citizens of Sri Rama's empire! Kanaka Bhavan is such a wonderful place, with no comparisons! After requesting all visiting Ayodhya, to visit Kanaka Bhavan, we will proceed to sloka 20 of Chapter 18. As mentioned in the previous slokas 18 and 19, the Lord is going to explain how Karta, Karma and Gyana are being classified. First He talks of Gyana. By studying Vedas, we get Gyana. But our body has the inherent satva, rajas and tamas qualities. Atman directly can not study Vedas. Atman needs a body with organs to study and understand. Satvam, rajasam and tamasam are part of the body. Thus, whatever Gyana we acquire with the body, such Gyana is influenced by these qualities. Gyana originating in satva quality is Satvika Gyana; Gyana found in Rajo quality is Rajo Gyana; and, Gyana acquired in tamas quality is Tamo Gyana. Sri Krishna is going to tell about the Three types of Gyana in today's sloka. Vedas is common. But the knowledge acquired by us, studying Vedas, would vary according to the quality predominant in us. Therefore, it is not merely enough, that the subject of study is very good; we should develop satva quality, and then study. With rajo quality, if one studies even a satvika subject, one would interpret it in rajo way only! Similarly, if one studied satva topics with tamo quality, one's Gyana would also be Tamo Gyana! Therefore, while reading Vedas, Itihasas and Puranas, we should have developed satva quality. This synergy of both the subjects of study and our qulaity, is important. In this sloka Sri Krishna talks about Satva Gyana:

sarvabhūteṣu yenaikaṃ bhāvam avyayam īkṣate
avibhaktaṃ vibhakteṣu taj jñānaṃ viddhi sāttvikam 18.20

Tat jnanam = that Gyana or knowledge is, sattvikam = [acquired in] satva quality, viddhi = understand. He tells Arjuna to understand that Gyna as Satvika Gyana. Yena = by which [knowledge or gyana], vibhaktesu = different [types of], sarvabhutesu = all living beings [which are different by species, by birth, by size, by color, etc.], avibhaktam = no differentiation or unity, avyayam = changeless or constant, ekam bhavam ikshate = [all atman are] seen as with singular quality. That knowledge, which sees in the many varied living beings, constant,undifferentiated, singular quality, is Satvika Gyana. By Satvika Gyana, one does not see the bodies which are varied and subject to changes; those differences could be because of birth or varanam or anyother parameter; but, one sees only the atman which is identical in all and which never changes. This is seen only by Satvika Gyana. In Brahmabind Upanishad, it is said that while cows might be of different colors and sizes, milk yielded is always white! Thus bodies could be various types, but atman is identical. Gyana with which one sees such unique feature, is said to possess Satvika Gyana. In Valmiki Ramayana, it is said that Sri Rama was 96 inches [8 Feet] tall! Lakshmana was slightly shorter. Sri Rama was dark, whild Lakshmana was fair. Thus there was difference in appearance. Amongst us, we find many differences. But atman of all, is identical. Pandit means one, who sees equality of all. Here, Sri Krishna tells about Satvika Gyana, not as introduction; but to have this Gyana while performing Karmas.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

BG 18.17

In Ayodhya, Sri Rama and Sri Sita had private chambers [anthapuram]. It was called Kanaka Bhavan. We are very fortunate to worship that, now. We can see the majestic appearance of the building.

Pilgrims climb the marble steps, chanting the divine name of Sri Rama. Inside we find a huge courtyard. We can imagine how many days the Divine Couple would have spent happily in this.

Sri Sita Herself says that She and Sri Rama spent Twelve years happily, after marriage. Around the courtyard are many balconies. In each we can find intricate carvings and beautiful pictures. We go further inside. Before the garbhsgruha, where the Lord is gracing, is Ardha mantapa. On one side is the picture of Sri Rama and Sri Sita wedding. At the time of the lecturer's visit, Harati Utsav was going on. In the Gaddi, on the throne are Three pairs of Sri Rama and Sri Sita.

The large one in the middle, is the recently installed pair of Sri Rama and Sri Sita. Sri Rama is seated with folded legs. He is holding an arrow in His right hand and the left hand is on His knee. To His right is another pair of Sri Rama and Sri Sita, which is very ancient. The Mahant here informed that ths pair of idols was installed by Sri Krishna! Yet another pair is near these idols. This pair had arrived from nearby, during some emergency. Lakshmana said that just as a fish could not live without water, Sri Sita could not live without Sri Rama. Sri Sita said that She could never be without Sri Rama, just as radiance [prabha] could not be without Sun! It seems Dasaratha had appointed old persons as guards for this anthapura! About this Valmiki says. Early morning Sri Rama used to get up and come outside. The old persons outside would be wearing saffron dress. They would be appearing with sandal paste and flowers. How saffron dressed persons appear with such cosmetics? It seems, these old persons were so much devoted to Sri Rama, that they did not find time to wash their clothes. That is they would go for a very quick bath and old clothes would be just dipped in water and dried, without wasting time in elaborate washing! Thus their white dress had slowly turned brown! Then how is it that they found time for applying cosmetics like sandal paste and flowers? They never had time for such make-ups, too! Sri Rama used to come out of His private chambers, so that He could perform His morning ablutions! The old persons outside guarding would embrace the Lord. They were accustomed to those actions, right from Sri Rama's childhood. During such embracing, all the sandal paste and flowers on Sri Rama, would be applied on these guards! This is what Perialwar says, 'udutthuk kalainda nin peethakavadai udutthuk kalandadundu [உடுத்துக் களைந்த நின் பீதகவாடை உடுத்துக் கலந்ததுண்டு!]' - we have to adore the flowers and other cosmetics used by Him, and use them for our decoration! This practice was first performed by these guards! When Sri Rama came out of His chambers, Sri Sita would follow Him, till the gate. She would wish Him all auspiciousness [mangalasasanam] and bid farewell. Sri Rama would take His garland and put it on Sri Sita's neck and tell that till He returned, that garland would serve as His memeory for Sri Sita! From His 12th age, till He was 24, Sri Rama spent His time with Sri Sita, in this place very happily! We will now move on to the next slokas in Chapter 18. In the last sloka -17, Sri Krishna told that if one properly followed one's varna-ashrama Dharma, as specified in Shastras, and if one fought or performed one's karma, with the Three types of Tyaga, then even if one were to kill many in the war, no sins would accrue to one; one will not suffer in samsaram. So, none should sacrifice the karma itself, but perform karma and sacrifice the result alone. Till now, He advised how we should never feel that we were the doers. Now on He is going to tell about satva and other qualities. The Lord tells with some suspense, and we have to see Two slokas together. In slokas 18 and 19, the Lord says that with full knowledge of satva, rajas and tamas qualities, performer, karmas and means would vary. In Vedas many karmas are mentioned for performing. Person performing them could be of Three types. Karmas are of Three types. The Gyana of the performer could be Three types. All these Three types are satvam, rajas and tamas based, and Sri Krishna differentiates in these Three types. Now, the slokas:

jñānaṃ jñeyaṃ parijñātā trividhā karmacodanā
karaṇaṃ karma karteti trividhaḥ karmasaṃgrahaḥ 18.18

jñānaṃ karma ca kartā ca tridhaiva guṇabhedataḥ
procyate guṇasaṃkhyāne yathāvac chṛṇu tāny api 18.19

Karmacodana = [Vedas pronouncements] inducing one to do karmas. That is the rules of Vedas are, trividha = three types. Jnanam = the knowledge or Gyana [to perform a karma], jneyam = those karmas [target of our knowledge], parijnata = knower or the person who has knowledge and who is to perform the karmas. Knowledge, karma and doer are mentioned here. Vedas say that one has to eat after bath - snatva bunjita. Here, the knowledge is that we have to bathe and then take food. Karma is bathing and then eating. Doer is ourselves. These are mentioned as Gyana, Gyeyam and Parignata. All rules of Vedas are with these Three types. In the next line, Gyeyam, that is karma is also of three types. Karma sangraha = various types of actions or karmas [specified in Vedas], karanam = implements or tools [needed for performing that karma, like curd or paddy or milk, etc.], karma = [actual] action, karta = performer. Thus any karma is of three types - materilas required to do, actual action itself and the doer or performer. Now we will see sloka 19. Yata vat tan api = about them also, chrunu = listen, guna samkhyane = [satvam, rajas, tamas] qualities, while assessing, procyate = are effected. Jnanam = knowledge, karma = action, karta = doer, gunabhedata = according to quality, tridhaiva = be differentiated into three types, accordingly. When we assess using the Three qualities, we find that knowledge, karma and doers are, each divided into Three categories. Sri Krishna tells that He would tell the true state of these things and asks Arjuna to be attentive. He is going to tell the Three types each of Gyana, Karma and Karta, in the ensuing slokas. It is a coincidence that we also worshiped Three pairs of Sri Rama and Sri Sita! We will see another important spot in Kanaka Bhavan itself.