Tuesday, August 4, 2009

BG 18.8

After visiting Sri Muktinath in Salagrama, we have come a little above to the cave of Sri Narasimha. Here, Sri Narasimha is in colors and in idol form. He is in standing pose. The idol and temple are according to Nepalese architecture. In one pasuram, Tirumangai Alwar worships the Lord at Salagrama, as Sri Narasimha. He says that the Lord as Sri Narasimha, split the chest of Hiranyakasipu, with His nails.

An statue of the Hindu god Vishnu in Muktinath, Nepal

He says further that, the Lord is in each and every object we could perceive. Entire Universe is His body. He says 'thanai [தானாய்]', meaning that He has everything, like air, fire, earth, etc., as His body. But how can devotees worship the Lord in those forms? No doubt the Lord is as Annapoorna hills or Himalayas. But we are not satisfied with mere worship of those hills. We desire to see the Lord seated in Padmasana and gracing us! We want to worship the Lord in an idol form and perform pooja. Though, the Lord is as air, water, etc., we will not feel satisfied to worship them. Understanding the desires of ordinary devotees like us, Tirumangai Alwar, therefore, adds the word 'thanum aanan [தானும் ஆனான்]', meaning He is also available in idol form to worship. The Lord takes an unique form and graces us. Yogis and Siddhars could perhaps, see the Lord in mountain and in air; but for us, simple devotees, the Lord has to grace in an idol form, either in standing or reclining or seated pose, facing East or West or any other direction. This cave is above Sri Muktinath temple and one has to climb some forty steps in this very high altitude. Due to thin atmosphere, climbing is strenuous and so one has to climb slowly and pausing at intervals to get breathing! Now, we will see sloka 8 of Chapter 18. In this sloka the Lord mentions about Rajasa tyagam. Last sloka was about Tamasa tyagam. If our food is rajasa type, then rajo quality flourishes. Tamasa food induces tamo quality. Tamo quality makes a person to mistake one object for another. It is vipareeta gyana. The shastras prescribed varna-asrama duties are to be followed and that is Dharma. Whether one is in Bhakti marg or Gyana marg, one should have understood that those karmas are one's Dharma. Instead, he thinks they are Adharma, as those karmas involve hurting and karmas in no way help in Gyana. Thus, with tamo quality, he mistakes Dharma as Adharma. And, he forgoes all karmas. One, due to problems in surroundings, might not be able to perform such karmas. But when all things are conducive, some do not perform karmas and claim that they had passed that stage! Sri Krishna tells, emphatically, such thinking is wrong. It is possible, one might not have understood shastras properly; but that is clarified by the Lord. Vipareeta Gyana makes one to mistake Dharma as Adharma and abandons karmas. In today's [4th August 2009] sloka, the Lord mentions another type of understanding called Anyata Gyana. Here, the object is understood properly; but its attributes are wrongly understood. For example, one sees a conch, which is white in color. But due to Anyata Gyana, one understood conch to be yellow in color! Though conch has been understood properly, its characters are wrongly perceived. If one is governed by rajo quality, then one wrongly understands the implications of karmas and abandons them. During Ekadasi one has to fast. It means some discomfort. Similarly, while doing Tarpanam, one has to avoid eating before it is over. It is also a discomfort. During pilgrimage, due to unforeseen reasons, there could be delay in eating or sleeping. One might feel why all these troubles and why not forgo pilgrimage itself! Getting frustrated with such discomforts and abandoning karmas, is due to rajo quality. That is, we interpret small inconveniences in performing karmas as suffering, instead of considering them as of routine nature. We mistake the happy results of such karmas as sufferings and abandon. This is Anyata Gyana. Kaya klesam means straining the body. These are necessary to perform Tapas. In a Sudarsana Homam, one has to sit near fire and with folded legs; eating will be only after the Homam is finished. Considering these as sufferings is Anyata Gyana. We forget that they are all for our good. A mother carries the baby in her womb, for ten months. Can she think that it is suffering? So, we should understand these karmas in proper perspective. Actually, one feels relieved after scolding or hurting another, not realizing that such actions would fetch him papa! Instead, one should feel relieved that one had followed shastras and completed the karma. Sufferings encountered during performing a karma, in reality, are not sufferings. But a person affected by rajo quality, does not realize this and considers them as sufferings and abandons such karmas. Unlike the person with tamo quality, who mistook Dharma as Adharma and abandoned karmas; this person in rajo quality, realizes that performing karmas is Dharma, but abandons because of the inconveniences. Sloka 8:

duḥkham ity eva yat karma kāyakleśabhayāt tyajet
sa kṛtvā rājasaṃ tyāgaṃ naiva tyāgaphalaṃ labhet 18.8

If one sacrifices karmas, because of rajo quality, one would not reap any benefits for such sacrifice. We saw earlier that one has to perform karmas with tyaga or sacrifice - kartrutva tyaga [sacrifice the feeling I-am-doing], mamata tyagam [sacrifice the thought karma belongs to me] and phala tyagam [sacrifice rewards for performing karmas]. With these tyaga if we do karmas, we avoid vipareeta gyana and anyata gyana, and good knowledge will blossom and pave way for Moksham. But if we altogether sacrifice the karmas, due to tamo or rajo quality, then it will not induce proper Gyana and the person will have to face rebirths in samsaram and suffer. Tyagaphalam = result of sacrifice, naiva = never, labhet = obtained. Karma = [this person, affected by rajo quality, thinks] actions, dukham ity eva = these are only sufferings, kayaklesabhayat = are only hurting the body, tyajet = [and so] abandons [karma], sa krtva = he does, rajasam tyagam = rajasa sacrifice. So, he does not reap any rewards for sacrifice! Both tamasa and rajasa tyaga are therefore, unacceptable, the Lord says. We will see satvika tyagam in the next meeting.

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