Sunday, August 9, 2009

BG 18.12

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Among the sacred rivers of Bharat, Sarayu river is very important. On its South shore is Ayodhya town. Sarayu has a history. Manasarovar is known as manasa saras. Brahma's mind out of bhakti, got melted and became a very big lake. That is why it is called Manasarovar. From that lake, this river originates. From Himalayas in the North, the river flows South and then turns East to join Ganga at a distant place. We are almost at the middle of Sarayu river course. How many times Sri Rama would have bathed in this river! How many great persons visiting Ayodhya, would have bathed in this! Sarayu has many names. Sarathi hi sarayu - because it is flowing it is Sarayu. Sage Vasishta is said to have brought the river from North. Sarayu is to have originated from the eyes [netram नेत्रं] of Sriman Narayana, and so it is Netrata! Sage Vasishta, who was the family Guru of Ikshvaku dynasty, desired all Kings should get the blessings of the Lord, and so he brought it from Manasarovar, down South and so it is known as Vaasishti [वासिष्टि]. Performing pinda pradhanam and pitru tarpanam [rites for deceased ancestors] would greatly benefit the person. Go dan [घोदान] on Sarayu river shore, is considered very sacred. Cow with calf is donated to Brahmins, after pooja and stroking its tail. We perform shrardha for our deceased parents. Immediately after Ten days of the death of a parent, Go dan has to be performed. According to Dharma shastra, when a person dies and his atman travels to other World, he has to cross a river Vaitarani. It is very difficult to cross it. When the atman stands at the shore of Vaitarani river, persons in this World, perform Go dan. The Lord, pleased with Go dan, ensures a cow at the place where the atman is standing near Vaitarani. This atman will hold on to the cow's tail and cross river Vaitarani. That is why Go dan, here is considered important. Sri Rama was about to leave for forests in exile. He had to do many charities, before leaving. After performing many danams, Go dan was to be performed. Thousands of cows were stationed and Sri Rama started donating many cows. In the meanwhile, a Brahmin lived in Ayodhya in great poverty. He had many children and was finding difficult to maintain the family. His wife urged him to go to Sri Rama, Who was donating liberally, and seek some wealth. The Brahmin felt that when Sri Rama was about to go to forests, they should also have accompanied Him or, if not possible, should have died. Instead, he felt that seeking wealth from Sri Rama, was not correct. But the wife insisted, as by donating, Sri Rama would save a family and thereby, perform His duty. Finally, the brahmin approached Sri Rama. By that time almost all wealth had been donated and only Go dan was remaining. To alleviate the Brahmin's poverty, Sri Rama asked the Brahmin to throw, with all his power, the stick he had, and collect all the cows within the distance, where the stick fell. The Brahmin, desiring to collect maximum cows, tightened his dress and made himself ready for the throw. Sri Rama could not control His laughter seeing this, because the Brahmin was greedy and did not think of place and cost to maintain so many cows! Sri Sita while at Ashoka park, captivated by Ravana, remembered this incident and smile appeared on Her face; but soon, it disappeared at the thought that Her dear Husband was not near Her! On Sarayu river shore there are many ghats. We are at Ram ghat, most important.
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We will now see sloka 12 of Chapter 18:

aniṣṭam iṣṭaṃ miśraṃ ca trividhaṃ karmaṇaḥ phalam
bhavaty atyāgināṃ pretya na tu saṃnyāsināṃ kvacit 18.12

Why this sloka came up? Earlier, the Lord told that sacrificing the results of karma, was Tyagam and not abandoning the karma itself. Arjuna got a doubt. Whether we desire or not, for any karma performed, results are bound to be reaped. How can one escape? Whether we like or not, if a seed is sown, the plant is bound to come; if we eat, the body is bound to grow; if we take medicine, its effect will, sure to, be seen! So, there are actions, which will yield results, whether we desire for them or not. In shastras, it is said that if grahastas [those in domestic life] properly perform all rituals like Pancha maha yagna, etc., would reach Prajapati loka after death. Even though a person might not have aspired for Prajapati loka, like the seed becoming a plant, this benefit is automatic. To this doubt the Lord said, let that be so, what if? Arjuna then told that if a person performed Jyotish homam, meant for reaching Swarga, but performed without aspiring for Swarga, will not that person get Swarga? Will that not prevent that person from getting Moksham? Did it not mean that those desiring Moksham, abandon all such karmas meant for inferior results? The basis for this doubt is that karmas are bound to yield results, those karmas were meant for. Sri Krishna disagrees and says that a karma was bound to yield the result it was meant for, only if the performer so desired; otherwise, such results would not be reaped. There is a very subtle meaning and so has to be carefully understood. Arjuna's assumption was that if results are sacrificed and a karma was performed, the karma would go waste! He should not have forgotten that all such karmas were prescribed in Vedas, which were ordained by Him. So, one had to perform those karmas without desire in results, but as a pooja for the Lord and think that such act would please the Lord. If we desired in that manner and performed the karma, then that karma would fetch us this pleasure of the Lord and this in no way would be against reaching Moksham. Therefore, we have to perform these prescribed karmas, in accordance with our varna-asrama Dharma, without aspiring for any inferior results, but purely as Bhagavat-aradhanam and for His pleasure. This is in logic [tarkam] called viniyoga- prutakya nyayam. Same action could yield many results. For example, we can perform Nitya-Naimittika- Kamya karmas as for His pleasure or for reaching other pleasure worlds or enjoyment in this world itself. Whatever is our objective, that alone would be fetched by that karma. Vniyoga means objective and prutakya means different. Anistam = undesirables [like hell], istam = desirables [like swarga], misram = combined [like the life in this world mixed with happiness and sorrow], karmana = actions', phalam = results are, trividham = Three types [as mentioned - only happiness or only sorrow or mixture]. Who will get these Three results? Atyaginam = [persons who do] not sacrifice [results], bhavati = realize these results, pretya = after completing the karma. Samnyasinam = [but] for sanyasi [person, who has sacrificed results and perform karma], na kvacit = never happens. Those not sacrificing results alone will reap these Three types of results. On the other hand, for persons performing karma without desiring results, these Three types of results would never affect and they will get the eternal bliss of Moksham. We should note that the Lord has used both Tyagi and Sanyasi, showing they mean the same and the words can be alternated and substituted one for the other. Sri Krishna, therefore, advices Arjuna that he should not abandon karma, thinking result would anyway affect him.

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