Friday, September 25, 2009

BG 18.46

25. THIRU THALAICHANKADU திருத் தலைச்சன் காடு :

The Lord here is Sri Thalaichanga Nanmadiya Perumal [ஸ்ரீ தலைச் சங்க நாண்மதியம் பெருமாள்]. It is about 15 miles from Seerkazhi and Mayiladuthurai, and about 6 miles from Poompuhar. The Lord is also called Sri Vensudar Perumal [ஸ்ரீ வண் சுடர் பெருமாள்]. Divya desam is called Thalachanga Nanmadiyam [தலைச் சங்க நாண் மதியம்]. Just like the daily appearing Moon reduces heat of the environment, the Lord reduces the hest arising out of samsaram. Sri Thayar is Sri Senkamalavalli Thayar. Vimanam is Chandra vimanam and pushkarini is Chandra pushkarini.

26. THIRU INDALUR திரு இந்தளூர் :


The Lord is Sri Parimala Ranganatha Perumal. This Kshetram is known as Suganda vanam. The Lord is gracing in reclining pose, with Four arms and with discus and conch. This is a rare pose. Pushkarini is Indu pushkarini. Indu, that is Chandra, got rid of his curse by bathing in this and worshiping the Lord here. In the mantap here, one can notice the skillful sculptures. Tirumangai Alwar has praised the Lord in Ten pasurams. Alwar, accuses the Lord, with affectionate right, for not according him darshan immediately on his visit! When the Alwar came, the doors were closed. Alwar could not bear denial of darshan. He requested the Lord to show Himself instantly; but the Lord did not! The Alwar then burst out and beautiful verses followed! He accused the Lord for treating him same like others!

27. KAZHI SRIRAMA VINNAGARAM (SIRKAZHI) காழிச் சீராம விண்ணகரம் [சீர்காழி] :

SeergAzhi_ThAdAlankovil.JPGThadalan.jpgLokanayagi Thayar.jpggaruda-sevai-2008

The forest in this place is called Pasavika vanam. The Lord appeared as Sri Trivikrama for sage Romasa. The Lord is called Sri Thadalan [ஸ்ரீ தாடாளன்]. Since He measured with His feet [Thaal தாள்], He is Sri Thadalan. Did not He measure all the Seven Lokas in Two strides? Sri Thayar is Sri Lokanayaki Thayar. Tirumangai Alwar has composesd 10 pasurams on this Kshetram. The Lord is gracing with the left leg raised up, and with left fore finger stretched, asking Emperor Mahabali for the place to have His next step! Here, there was a competition between Tirugyana Sambandar and Tirumangai Alwar, in composing verses. At that time Alwar speaks out all his titles in the last pasuram: Alinadan, Arattamukki, Adayarseeyam, king of Mangai, Kotravelan, Parakalan, Kaliyan, etc.! Once, when there was an impending danger, an old woman kept the Lord in safe custody, in a husk pot [thavittu paanai தவிட்டுப் பானை]. Therefore, the Lord here is also known as Sri Thavittup paanai Thadalan [ஸ்ரீ தவிட்டுப் பானை தாடாளன்].

28. TIRUK KAVALAMBADI திருக் காவளம்பாடி :

We are going to see the 14 Divya desams of Tirunangur. First being Tirukkavalambadi. The Lord here is Sri Raja Gopala. Kavalam means garden. Kavalampadi means place with gardens. This is about one and half a mile from Tirunangur. The Lord Sri Rajagopala is gracing, on arrival from Dwaraka along with Sri Rukmimi and Sri Satyabama. Tirumangai Alwar while praising this Lord prays to remove all his distress.

29. ARIMEYA VINNAGARAM அரிமேய விண்ணகரம் :

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As mentioned earlier, there are Five Vinnagarams - Tiruvinnagar, Kazhi Sri Rama Vinnagar, Nandipurs Vinnagar, Parameswara Vinnagar and Arimeya Vinnagar. The Lord here is Sri Kudamadum Koothar [ஸ்ரீ குடமாடும் கூத்தர்]. The Lord is gracing in seated pose. Sri Thayar is Sri Amrutha Gatavalli Nacchiyar [ஸ்ரீ அம்ருத கடவல்லி நாச்சியார்]. The Lord appeared before sage Udanga. He graces with Four arms, lifting Govardana giri and rescuing people and cattle. Kudamadu Kootthar means the Lord does juggernaut with many pots in His hands! The Lord excels everyone in Rasakreeta, Jalakreeta, Kuravai Kootthu and Kudak Kootthu! Arimeya means always present Hari, vinnagar, that is, Vaikuntam like place.

30. TIRU VAN PURUSHOTTAMAM திரு வண் புருஷோத்தமம் :


Among people, the lowest are Adamas, middle ones are Madyamas and the best are Uttamas. Did not Sri Krishna, in Bhagavd Gita, in Chapter 13, proclaim that He was the Purushottama? We worship that Sri Purushottama only here! Van [வண்] means full of strength. Sri Thayar is Sri Purushottama Nayaki, graces equally here. The Lord appeared to sage Vyagrapada, whose son was Upamanyu. The sage left the child and went out for some work. The child was hungry and started crying, when Sri Thayar supplied milk and pacified the child.
Now we will see sloka 54 of Chapter 18:

brahmabhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu madbhaktiṃ labhate parām 18.54

Sri Krishna tells that then Bhakti emerged. In slokas 50, 51, 52 and 53, we saw the methods to have atman darshan. When atman darshan is reached, thereafter Bhakti has to originate. A person, who understands the atman's real nature alone would get Bhakti. Bhakti's initial stage is called Parabhakti. Brahmabhuta = person, who has attained atman darshan, prasannatma = with clear mind. Mind is uncontaminated. The contamination is caused by klesa [Five worries - avidya - lack of knowledge, asmita - assuming body as atman and so ego, raga - likes, dwesha - dislikes and abinivesa - fear of getting undesirables and fear of losing the desired], karma [accumulated papa/punya], vipakam [result of papa/punya, like birth, oldage, etc] and kama, according to yoga sutra. Na socati = does not suffer, na kanksati = neither delights or expects any. Other than the Lord, this person is not worried about others nor is delighted by others. Sarvesu bhutesu = towards every other living being, sama = [he is] equal. It means not only he sees all as good and does good to all, but he is isolated from all others. He thinks always about the Lord and considering all others as His belongings, renders help to the society. If we think of directly helping others, then we must be prepared for all consequences and disappointments. In fact by considering others as His belongings and helping, will be better and more fruitful. Param labhate = acquires the supreme [gift of], madbhaktim = devotion to Me [Sri Krishna]. Bhakti in Him, is got after atman darshan, which itself is a superior stage. Understanding that atman is different from the world and our body, and knowing its nature of eternality, full of bliss only, servant to the Lord, embodiment of Gyana, etc., is a very sublime stage. If such a person could start devoting himself in the Lord, what to speak of the greatness of the Lord? How much more superior, He is, to atman? This brings him from a self stage, to serving the Lord. Does He have so much greatness? Swami Ramanuja says that the Lord is the Leader of all. He is the Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer. He is blemishless. He is the repository of most wonderful and infinite auspicious qualities. He is embodiment of beauty and excellence. He is always with Sri Thayar, Sri Ranganayaki, who is ever ready to recommend us for pardon, in spite of our infinite crimes. He has lotus like eyes, with which if He glanced at us, all our papa would vanish. He is the Owner of all. Therefore, we have to perform Bhakti, only to Him! Parabhakti matures to Paragyana, which matures to Parama Bhakti. Finally, that person attains Vaikuntam.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

BG 18.45

19. TIRU NAAGAI [NAGAPPATTINAM] திரு நாகை [நாகப் பட்டினம்]:

Because Adisesha, the great serpent, worshiped the Lord in Kruta yug, this place is known as Nagappattinam. The Lord Sri Soundara Raja Perumal, is in standing pose. Sri Thayar is Sri Soundaryavalli Thayar. Tirumangai Alwar was so much attracted by the beauty of the Lord that he wanted to mention the beauty in every pasuram. But he lost himself in the beauty and excitingly cried 'accho! oruvar azhagiyava! [அச்சோ! ஒருவர் அழகியவா!]' - like a bride! In Kali yug, King Salisuka worshiped and did many services. One can be attracted by the Lord's eyes, chin, nose, cheeks and what not! Alwar found the Lord here as Soudara [beautiful] Raja [King].

20. TIRU TANJAIMAMANI KOIL [THANJAVUR] திரு தஞ்சை மா மணிக் கோயில்:

This temple is in Tanjore, on the banks of Vennaru. Actually, this Kshetram consists of Three temples, counted as a Single Divya desam. In Thanjaimamani Koil, the Lord is Sri Neelamega Perumal. Next is Sri Manikkunra Perumal. Third is Sri Narasimha as Sri Thanjai Aali Perumal. [ஸ்ரீ தஞ்சையாளி பெருமாள்] Why here the Lord is in Three forms? There were Three Asuras - Tanjakan, Gajamukan and Dandakan, were tormenting devotees. They meditated on lord Shiva and tried to get immortality. Once sage Parashara was meditating near a pond, which was the only water storage at that time, here. The Three Asuras came here and after spoiling the water tried to give trouble to the sage. The sage prayed to the Lord. The Lord took Three forms and destroyed all of them. First He killed Tanjakan, who requested that the place should be named after him. Thus this place came to be known as Tanjavur. Then, the Lord took the form of Sri Narasimha or Sri Tanjai Aali, and killed Gajamukan. The Third Asura, Dandakan was driven away by Sri Manikunra Perumal.
21. TIRU NANDIPURA VINNAGARAM [NATHAN KOIL]திரு நந்திபுர விண்ணகரம் [நாதன் கோயில்]:
This place is known as Nandipura Vinnagaram and as Nathan Koil, very near Kumbakonam. The Lord is Sri Jagannathan. There are Five Vinnagarams in the 108 Divya desams - Tiru Vinnagar [Oppilappan Koil], Parameswara Vinnagaram, Kazhichirama Vinnagaram, Nandipura Vinnagaram and Arimeya Vinnagaram. This temple is ably administered by the Jeer of Sri Vanamamalai Mutt. Sri Thayar is Senbagavalli Thayar. Sri Thayar, in order to be with the Lord, meditated facing East. The Lord, facing West and seated, accepted Her on HIs chest. The Lord appeared before Sri Thayar on Aippasi Shukla Paksha Friday. The Lord is gracing with all the Five Divine weapons. Nandi is the vehicle of lord Shiva. Once Nandi came to worship Sriman Narayana. Nandi was stopped at the gates by the Dwara Palakas. Nandi tried to go in and so the Dwara Palakas cursed Nandi. Lord Shiva advised Nandi to go to Nathan Koil and pray to the Lord there. Thus this place is called Nandipura Vinnagaram.

22. TIRU VELLIYANKUDI திரு வெள்ளியங்குடி :

Here also the Lord is gracing as Sri Rama. Velli means Shukra. Shukra's curse was resolved. So, this place is known as Velliyankudi. Viswakarma was Devas; carpenter and Mayan was Asuras' carpenter. While the former had many jobs, Mayan was without any job and so he came to this place and worshiped. The Lord is Sri Kolavilli Rama [we saw Sri Valvil Rama in Pullambhutamkudi]. Sri Moolavar is in reclining pose. Sri Thayar is Sri Marakathavalli Nacchiyar. One speciality is that Garuda graces with Four hands. Another thing is Banana tree is on stone surface! It is the Sthala Vruksham. Also every year bunch of bananas are produced.
23. THERAZHUNDUR [TIRU AZHUNDUR] திரு அழுந்தூர் [தேரழுந்தூர்]:

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The Kshetram has been praised by Tirumangai Alwar. The Lord is Sri Aamaruvi Appan aka Sri Gosakan aka Sri Devadiraja. When Tirumangai Alwar came to this place, he was told that Sri Devadeva was here. Alwar, thining it was another demi god, returned without worshiping the Lord. But he could not go beyond Pushkarini and some force was preventing him to go further. When he turned back, the Lord appeared with cow and calf. Sri Thayar is Sri Senkamalavalli Thayar. Sri Moolavar is not accompanied by Sri Thayar, but by Garuda and Prahlada on either sides. Prahlada prayed to Sri Narasimha, to appear with shanta swaroopam and the Lord obliged him here. Garuda wanted to donate a precious Vimanam and found this place suitable and presented it to the Lord, and remained here ever worshiping Him. King Uparichara Vasu's chariot was always running above the ground. But once in a debate between Rishis and Devas, his judgement was one sided and then the chariot got into the ground. Thus it is Ther [தேர் chariot], azhundu [அழுந்து pressed] place. There are sannidhis of Sri Ranganatha and Sri Govindaraja.
24. SIRUPULIYUR திருச் சிறுபுலியூர்:
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The Lord is Sri Arulmakadal or Sri Krupa Samudra Perumal. If His mercy could be like an ocean, how great the Lord would be?! To resolve a dispute between Garuda and Adisesha, the Lord is reclining here in a small form! Sri Thayar is Sri Tirumamagal aka Sri Dayanayaki Thayar. There is separate sannidhi for Adisesha. At the entrance of the temple is a sannidhi for Swami Manavala Mamunigal. Tirumangai Alwar has praised this Kshetram in Ten pasurams.
Now, we will see sloka 53:

ahaṃkāraṃ balaṃ darpaṃ kāmaṃ krodhaṃ parigraham
vimucya nirmamaḥ śānto brahmabhūyāya kalpate 18.53

Brahmabhuyaya = in order to have Atma darshan, kalpate = [this person] is qualified. Thus, if one lives with qualities as mentioned in slokas 51, 52 and 53, then he qualifies to have atma darshan and gets it. Vimuchya = abandoning. This word has to be placed before every quality mentioned. Ahankaram = ego, with the misunderstanding that body is atman. With this knowledge, how atma darshan is possible? Balam = strength [of the imprint or vasana of the feeling that body is atman, which has been carried over in numerous births]. Like this there are many undesirables sticking to us from many births. Darpam = pride or haughtiness. Because we consider body as atman, we are proud that we are handsome, we are strong, etc. Kamam = greediness. Desiring to possess anything seen. Krodham = anger. It is a result of unsatisfied desires. Prigraham = relatives. We think those connected with body as relatives and never search for atma bhandu or relatives of atman. Relatives should mutually cultivate Bhakti or good qualities. Thus one has to discard ahankaram, balam, darpam, kamam, krodham and parigraham. Nirmama = without the feeling of mine. We should never think an act as 'my' act, 'my' effort, 'my' result, etc. Santa = with calmness or shanti. Such a person gets atma sakshatkaram or atma darshan. The Lord has told what we should possess and what we should not possess. With atma sakshatkaram, one should be involved in Bhakti and performing Bhakti yoga for a long time, reaches the Lord. In these slokas - 51. 52 and 53 - the Lord has told the means to have Atma darshan. We should strive to follow whatever is possible.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BG 18.44

13. TIRU VINNAGAR [OPPILIAPPAN KOIL] திரு விண்ணகர் [ஒப்பிலி அப்பன்கோயில்]:

Main gOpuram-close viewsudhdhAnanda-vimAnam-westahOrAthra-pushkariNioppiliappan04-Towards yennappan sannidhi.jpg


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We are at Tiruvinnagar aka Oppiliappan Koil and Uppiliappan Koil. Sage Markandeya wanted to get his Daughter, Who was an incarnation of Sri Bhudevi, married. The Lord appeared as an old Man and proposed to the sage to get his Daughter married to Him. The sage was baffled. How could he get his young Daughter married to an old Man? He said that his daughter was too young and did not know even how to cook by adding salt! The old Man replied that the father need not worry on that and He was prepared to sacrifice salt altogether! Thus He became Sri Uppili Appan. Many people observe Sravana Vratam, here. The Lord gracing with Sri Bhumi Devi Nacchiyar, has been praised by Tirumangai Alwar and Nammalwar.
14. TIRUNARAIYUR [NACCHIYAR KOIL] திரு நறையூர் [நாச்சியார் கோயில்]:

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thirunaraiyur-theanGarudaservai 16-03-08.JPGat Vahana Mandapam.JPG

We are at Nacchiyar Koil aka Tiru Naraiyur, praised by Tirumangai Alwar. The Lord is Tirunaraiyur Ninra Nambi [திரு நறையூர் நின்ற நம்பி] aka Sri Srinivasan, and Sri Thayar is Sri Vanjulavalli Thayar. There was a sage Medhavi and he found a girl Child under Vanjula tree. In this Kshetram, Sri Neela Devi [ஸ்ரீ நீளா தேவி] is appearing as Sri Thayar. Sri Sridevi Nacchiyar is famous in Tiruvellarai. Sri Bhudevi is famous as Sri Andal in Srivilliputhur. Sri Neeladevi is famous as Sri Vanjulavalli Thayar aka Sri Nambikkai Nacchiyar [ஸ்ரீ நம்பிக்கை நாச்சியார்] in Tirunaraiyur. Tirumangai Alwar [in the guise of His sweet heart] wrote Madal [a Tamil poetic form] here. Also, according to Sri Vaishnava sampradhayam, Pancha samskarams have to be got done for every Sri Vaishnava devotee. Among those Pancha samskarams, samasrayanam is important. In this the discus and conch emblems are imprinted on the shoulders of a devotee. Here, the Lord imprinted these emblems on the shoulders of Tirumangai Alwar. The Lord is gracing in Vyuha [ Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradhyumna and Aniruddha] form, in a large salagrama stone, in standing pose, here. The Kal Garuda [கல் கருடன் -stone Garuda] is very famous. The Lord appears on Kal Garuda twice a year. It seems, once a sculptor carved this Garuda out of stone and it was so beautiful and life like, that it started flying like real Garuda! Frightened, the sculptor hit the bird with his chisel, and the Garuda statue landed in this Kshetram and is gracing devotees. Kal Garuda is both Moolavar and Utsavar. Daily poojas are performed. One interesting feature is that when the Kal Garuda is taken out from garbhagruha, only Four persons are able to lift. But after crossing the threshold, the weight increases and Eight persons are needed. At the next stage 16 persons are needed to lift and finally 32 persons are needed to take on procession. While returning the weight reduces and gradually number of persons needed to lift, are reduced in the same order!

15. TIRUCCHERAI [PANCHA SARA KSHETRAM] திருச்சேறை [பஞ்ச ஸார க்ஷேத்ரம்] :


17-shining beauty35-Divine Entrance19-dancing beauty20-gopalan beauty27-royal seat

Pancha saram - Sri Saranathan Perumal, Sri Saranayaki Thayar, Sara Kshetram, Sara Vimanam and Sara Pushkarini, are here and so it is Pancha Sara Kshetram. Lord Brahma desired to store seeds of all, in a mud pot. He found that mud from various places did not suit to make the pot. He prayed the Lord, Who directed Brahma to take mud from Pancha Sara Kshetram and prepare the pot for storing all seeds. Brahma did like wise. Tirumangai Alwar has praised in Ten pasurams. Sri Kaveri Thayar once meditated on lord Brahma and She came here and the Lord graced Her. Thai Poosam is important here. The Lord holds a lotus flower in His right hand.

16. TIRUKKANNAMANGAI திருக்கண்ணமங்கை:

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The Lord here is Sri Bhaktavatsala Perumal aka Sri Bhaktaraavi Perumal, and Sri Thayar is Sri Abhishekavalli Thayar. Tirumangai Alwar has praised in Ten pasurams. Sri Thayar emerged from Parkkadal or Ksheerabdi [Milk ocean]. She immediately sat on the Lord's chest. To get married, the Divine Couple came here. All the 33 Crore Devas came here to celebrate the marriage. Brihat [large] Bahar [outside] Sindhu [ocean]. The Lord is very large and so is called Sri Brihat Bahar Sindhu Perumal [Sri Perum Purak Kadal ஸ்ரீ பெரும் புறக் கடல்]. One of the notable feature is that all the 33 Crore Devas are in bees form and are in a beehive in Sri Thayar sannidhi. Here also, Garuda is important and is draped in checkered clothe. All prayers are fulfilled. Swami Tirukkannamangai Aandan, a disciple of Swami Nathamuni, preached the importance of Saranagati and lived here.
17. TIRUKKANNAPURAM திருக் கண்ணபுரம்:
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This is also referred to as Keezhai Veedu [கீழை வீடு]. The Lord is Sri Neelamega Perumal aka Sri Sowriraja Perumal. Sri Thayar is Sri Kannapura Nayaki Thayar. King Vasi was returning after participating in Deva - Asura battle. He found in this place sages very lean and thin, due to starving. Mistaking them to be some wild grass, his soldiers were about to cut them off. The sages prayed to the Lord, Who appeared and saved them. Utpalakavada Vimanam. The Lord blessed Gandaka rishi in this place. The Lord as Sri Saranya Mukunda, grants to all those surrendering, Moksham. Once one Archaka honoured the King with a garland, presented to his lover. One of the hairs of the lover was in the garland. The King saw the hair in the garland. He called the Archaka and asked how hair was in the garland. The Archaka lied that the Lord had hairs on His head and so the garland had the hair. Unbelieving, the King wanted to see the Lord next morning. The Lord did not want to let His devotee down and so, when the King inspected the Lord next day, he found real hair on the Lord's head! That is why He is called Sowri [wig] Raja! Muniyodharam Pongal [முநியோதரம் பொங்கல்] prasad is very famous here.
18. TIRUKKANANGUDI திருக் கண்ணங்குடி:

Here the Lord appeared to sage Vasishta as Sri Damodara Narayana Perumal. Sri Thayar is Aravinda Nayaki. Vasishta was a great devotee of Sri Krishna. He, by his yoga power, made an idol of Sri Krishna in butter and ensured it did not melt away. The Lord in the guise of an young Boy, took the idol and ran away. Sage Vasishta chased the Boy! On the way there were many sages meditating. The Boy stood there and revealed His true form as Sri Damodara Narayana! Tirumangai Alwar has described the Lord as Sri Shyamalameni Perumal.
Now, we will see sloka 52. In slokas 51, 52 and 53, the Lord has been telling the means for Atman Darshan. In the last sloka it was told that person desirous of Atman Darshan, should control his mind and sense organs, without desire in materialistic pleasures and should concentrate on atman. More requirements are told in sloka 52:

viviktasevī laghvāśī yatavākkāyamānasaḥ
dhyānayogaparo nityaṃ vairāgyaṃ samupāśritaḥ 18.52

Viviktasevi = selecting isolated place. Ths person should choose a place away from crowds. Crowds will distract concentration. For beginners it will be difficult to meditate in places where people are there. Those in very advanced stage might be able to perform Dhyana, even in crowded place. Laghvasi = eating just sufficient food. More food would induce sleep; fasting or very less food will not give strength. So, optimum quantity of food should be eaten. Yata = try, vak = speech, kaya = body, manasa = mind. He should try to concentrate mind, speech and body in atman. Dhyana yoga = meditating on atman continuously. After this only he would achieve Bhakti and concentrate on the Lord. Nityam = daily. Dhyana can not be for once in a few days, but should be daily, till atman darshan is attained. Vairagyam = detachment from desires [raga - desire, viraga - without desire]. Sam upasrita = well attained [vairagyam]. That is he will remain steadfast in vairagyam and would not come away from it. Our vairagyam are very transient! This person has understood the disadvantages of all other pleasures and understood that atman alone gives eternal pleasure. Thus, selcting a solitary place, with minimal food and controlling speech, mind and body, this person practices atman dhyana daily and has no desire in all other things. More requirements will be told in sloka 53.