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.

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