In Srirangam, during Adyayanotsavam festival, the Lord arrives at Aayirakkal Mantapam [1000 pillared hall]. During Irappatthu, all Ten days, the Lord graces the devotees from here only. We saw the Lord arriving at Vaikunta vaasal. From there the Lord crosses the sandy open space and arrives here. First, for about Two hours He stays in the Four pillared mantapam, outside 1000 pillared mantapam, and graces the devotees. He strolls here and there and gives darshan to devotees, very near to them. The Lord has a very light coat covering the Vajrangi. With smile and Kasturi Tilakam on forehead, the Lord assures Vaikuntam and devotees not to be panicky. From there, the Lord enters the 1000 pillar mantap. We saw a jeevatman on his way to Vaikuntam via Arcchiradi marg, takes bath in Viraja river and then enters Vaikuntam. That atman is welcomed by the residents of Vaikuntam. Everyone would welcome the new jeevatman to their house. They would take him around Vaikuntam for sightseeing. The beauty of Vaikuntam is described by Swami Ramanuja in his Vaikunta Gadyam. Swami Koorattalwan describes in his Vaikunta Stavam, Vaikuntam. All these descriptions are based on Upanishads like Chandogya, Brihadaranya, etc. In one sloka, Swami Koorattalwan says that Vaikuntam is the Lord's abode, which is beyond the sky, which is devoid of Tamas, which is Sri Vishnu's place, which is bright and with only Satvam, which is eternal [unlike our world which is created and destroyed, repeatedly], which is the source of Anandam, which is very beautiful and which is fresh every time it is seen. In Vaikuntam also there is a 1000 pillared mantap, in which Jeevatman first enters. Today's [17th September 2009] lecture is also from 1000 pillared mantap in Srirangam temple.
We will see an important sloka of Swami Nadadur Ammal in Paratvadi Panchakam [परत्वादी पंचकम]. We saw the sloka on Vyuha Murty in BG 18.34. Similarly the Lord's Para Roopam in Vaikuntam is in the following sloka:
Udyadbhanu sahasrabhasvara paravyomaspadam nirmala-
gyananada ghanaswaroopam amala gyanadibhi: shadgunai: |
jushtam soorijanadhipam dhrutarathangabjam subhushojwalam
sri bhu sevyam ananta bhoganilayam sri vasudevam bhaje ||
[I] worship Sri Vasudeva, with brightness of 1000 Suns, very far off, without any blemish or defect, with happiness and knowledge brimming, with Gyana and six qualities unpolluted, as Leader of Nityasooris and holding discus and others, decorated with all ornaments and served by Sri Sridevi and Sri Bhudevi, reclining on Ananta. Tiruppanalwar says that the same faultless Sri Vaikunta Natha, is gracing at Srirangam! Nityasooris had had no contact with samsaram; while, muktatman are liberated souls, from samsaram. Nammalwar says that it is a rule that every Jeevatman would enter Vaikuntam one day or other. Now we will see sloka 48:
sahajaṃ karma kaunteya sadoṣam api na tyajet
sarvārambhā hi doṣeṇa dhūmenāgnir ivāvṛtāḥ 18.48
Sri Krishna reminds us the same theme explained in Chapter 3. He advises Arjuna to perform Karma yoga only. That is, our prescribed duty is Karma yoga and Gyana yoga is other's duty. Karma yoga is in our nature. While Gyana yoga is new to us and involves control of sense organs, with the possibility of slipping away. The path of Gyana yoga is dangerous, with robbers around. Kaunteya = Son of Kunti [Arjuna], sahajam karma = habituated Karma yoga or associated from birth Karma yoga. Gyana yoga is external to the nature of the body, while Karma yoga has been within body from birth. Sa dosam api = even if [Karma yoga has] disadvantage. Disadvantage of Karma yoga is physical strain for the body, while doing Karma yoga. Gyana yoga does not involve this strain, as one has to simply sit and meditate. Na tyajet = [even with that disadvantage] never abandon [Karma yoga]. When Arjuna raises his eye brows as to why follow something which has disadvantage?, Sri Krishna replies this in the second line, saying that Gyana yoga also has disadvantage! What is the disadvantage? What is the result we are after in Gyana Yoga or Karma yoga? It is to find atman or Paramatman. Is it so easy? It is a very difficult process. This difficulty is common. The process is to find something never perceived. But in the two methods - Karma yoga and Gyana yoga - Karma yoga is habitual for us. Sarvarambha = all [Karma yoga and Gyana yoga] are, hi dosena avrta = also with disadvantages. Disadvantage of searching an abstract form, unperceived by us. Dhumenagni = [like] fire is surrounded and covered by smoke. Thus both methods pose difficulty in searching abstract entities. But Karma yoga is in our habit, while in Gyana yoga one has to be trained to control senses. It is therefore, easer to perform Karma yoga despite physical strain.