Friday, October 30, 2009

BG 18.71

Lord Brahma wanted to conduct one yagna. But, since Saraswati Devi was not with him, he married Gayatri Devi and conducted the yagna. After it was started, Saraswati Devi came, and found Gayatri by the side of her husband. She got angry, and cursed Brahma that he would not have any temple anywhere! That is why, only in this place, Brahma has a temple.

Brahma Temple, Pushkar, Rajasthan, IndiaBrahma Temple, Pushkar, Rajasthan, India

In Pushkaram, we have to worship Four important places. One is Pushkar lake. Second is temple of Brahma. Here, Brahma is in meditating pose. On one side of Brahma is Gayatri Devi and on the other side Savitri Devi, are gracing. There are Two temples Purana mandir and Naya mandir, in South Indian architecture and with poojas performed in Southern pattern. In Purana Mandir, Sri Venugopala, as a very large idol, is gracing, along with Consorts. On one side Sri Ranganatha, reclining, is gracing. On another side a huge idol of Swami Bhagavat Ramanuja is there. Next we see the reincarnation of Swami Ramanuja, Swami Manavala Mamunigal. All these are in Purana [Old] mandir. We can see the antiquty of the temple in its mantaps, gopurams and in prakaramas. From there we reach Naya [New] mandir. Here Sri Vaikuntanatha Swamy is gracing. There is a sannidhi for Swami Vedanta Desika, who has given us Tatparya Chandrika, commentary on Gita.

See full size image

Pushkaram is famous for Brahma, Gayatri, Savitri and the lake. The Lord resides in water and when the water was Milky Ocean, He churned it, to get Nectar or amrut for the Devas. When same water was obstructing in reaching Sri Sita, the Lord got Sethu bridge constructed. Thus the Lord is worshiped as Water and as Bridge on water! Now, we will see the summary of Chapter 17. In Chapter 16, the Lord advised to do according to Shastras. Arjuna had a doubt. What if, one did, not according to Shastras, but sincerely and earnestly? This might be the doubt in many. Is there result for such actions? It need not be great, but at least a little. In mathematics exam, students expect some marks for the steps, even if answer was wrong! Arjuna raises this doubt [17.1]. He wanted to know that what was the reward for those, who violated Shastras, but did sincerely - would they get Sattva or Rajo or Tamo result? Sri Krishna was irritated at this quaetion! He had already stressed that every action should be in accordance with Shastras. So, doing sincerely, is secondary. He then, says that such actions in accordance with Shastras, have to be done sincerely. Thus, both the conditions - in accordance with Shastras and sincerity - are important. This is what the Lord says through out the Chapter. Swami Alavandar in his Gitartha Sangraha mentions as:

a´s¯astram.¯ tsnam.´s¯astr¯ı thak |´s¯astra siddhasya tridh¯a saptada´soditam || (21)

Those done, violating Shastras or done without sanction of Vedas, are all with Asura quality. But those done in accordance with Shastras, will vary according to the quality [sattvam, rajas and tamas] with which they are done. Also, such Shastra accepted actions would have to be done with the Three - OM, TAT and SAT. Why we should do anything according to Shastras? Because, they are as desired by the Lord. It is like rules and regulations, in any administration. Even in a republic, people have to abide by rules and regulations. Similarly, the Lord has prescribed certain rules and regulations for the people of this Universe. That is Shastra! For those abiding by Shastras, Three types are told by the Lord in this Chapter. Those with the Three qualities, differ in worship of deities, in performance certain yagnas, do certain Dhanams, perform some Tapas, eat certain type of food. Satva persons worship Sriman Narayana and other Devas [17.4]. Rajasa persons worship Yakshas and Rakshasas. Tamasa persons worship ghosts and manes. In 17.7, He lists the food eaten by people with various qualities. Sattvika food would grow happiness and satisfaction. It would provide good health, in the long run. Too much spicy would be rajasa food. Tamasa food are spoiled and over cooked food, without natural taste and with strong smell. In 17.20, He speaks of Dhanam. Sattvika donations are done at proper time to proper person, as prescribed and donated happily. If donations are done for publicity and fame, it is Rajasa dhanam. Tamasa dhanam is done carelessly and humiliating the recipient. We will now proceed to Kurukshetra, where we will complete Gita lectures, in a fitting way!

BG 18.70

equiv="CONTENT-TYPE" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">title>

After worshiping all Dwarakas in Gujarat and Rajasthan, we have arrived at Pushkaram Kshetram in Rajasthan.

See full size image

This is one of the swayam vyakta Kshetram. Long ago, this entire place was full of water. Now only, we see houses and streets. In those days, only Pushkaram lake was existing. Here, the Lord is appearing in the form of Water. Lord Brahma wanted to do meditation in this place. That time, there was a rakshasa by name Vajranatha. He was habitual, in killing the children of this place. Realizing that only after destroying the rakshasa, he could perform meditation or yagna, lord Brahma, threw the lotus flower he held, on the rakshasa. It killed the rakshasa and the petals fell on 52 places, in about 5 miles around this place. At each of these 52 places, theerthams or sacred ponds were formed. All those 52 ponds became one lake and was called Pushkaram. Pushkaram means water fromed by lotus flower. We know that water does not stick to lotus leaf. But lotus itself becoming water, is in Pushkaram only! Later, at the request of Rishis, the Lord agreed to be present, as the water in the lake. Water and the Lord are closely connected. 'Aapo narayiti prokta: aapovai narasunara:'. Aapa – water, naara: - water, ayanam – residing place. Since the Lord is having water as His residence, He is Narayana [नारायण]. While creating, the Lord has given great importance to water. He might be seated on land or standing on hills, but He is never separated from water. It is not that the Lord is reclining only in Paarkkadal [Milky Ocean]; wherever water is there, the Lord is reclining in all those waters, be it saline ocean, or ghee ocean or even milky ocean. In all oceans, the Lord is reclining. Here also, the lake is vast and appears like an ocean. Presently, the lake is being repaired and cleaned. But once upon a time, this entire city was full of water. Presently, Pushkaram is made of Three lakes – Jyeshta Pushkaram, Madhya Pushkaram and Kanishta Pushkaram. Madhya Pushkaram is the main pushkaram, place where Sri Vishnu resides. Away, outside the town is Jyeshta Pushkaram, for lord Brahma. Each of these Pushkarams is large like an ocean! Kanishta Pushkaram is the residence of lord Shiva. There is another important incident, which we will see next day. We will also see why there is temple for lord Brahma in this place. Now, we will see summary of Chapter 16:

dev¯asura vibh¯agokti p¯urvik¯a ´s¯astrava´syat¯a
tattv¯anus.t.h¯ana vij˜n¯anasthemne s.od.a´sa ucyate || (20)

In Chapter 15, the Lord established that He was Purushottama. We have to see only Chapters 16, 17 and 18. Theses are mentioned in Chapter 16: all of us are bound by Shastras [we have to perform pooja according to Shastras; we have to follow Shastras while doing Karmas].While mentioning this, Sri Krishna tells another aspect.There are some who obey and follow Shastras. And, there are others, who do not obey Shastras. So, the Lord classifies all those who obey Shastras into one group; and those, who do not obey and violate, as another group. He calls those obeying as Devas and those not obeying as Asuras! Thus, in Chapter 16, He groups people as Devas and Asuras. Thus, this Chapter is called Devasura vibhaga adyaya. But this classification is not the theme of this Chapter. People should obey Shastras, is the main purpose. Therefore, using this classification, the Lord says that we are all bound by Shastras. We should get the Gyana about Tattvam – that the Lord is the Most Supreme God. We also need Anushtanam or practice, in accordance with that Gyana. Once we realize the Lord is the Supreme Leader, then we have to follow His orders. So, anushtanam has to be in accordance with Shastras and we can not independently do whatever we like or think. He, who does not obey Shastras and violates, is Asura. We should tell truth, not because we like to do so, but because Shastras say so. If we tell truth, just because we like it, then there could be instances, when we might not like to do what Shastras say. So it is fundamental to obey Shastras, whether we like or not. Shastras stipulate that one should observe fasting on Ekadashi. But one can not say that one would observe fasting on Sunday, being a holiday! That is, we can not choose at our will any day for fasting. If we do, we will not be obeying Shastras. Those observing fasting in accordance with Shastras are Devas. The Lord indicates the identifications of Devas and Asuras; He mentions the means of Devas and Asuras. [16.1]. Gyanam, Yagna, Tapas, Swadhyaya, etc,. are identifications of Devas. Abhayam- person called Deva is not afraid of anyone; because he is straight forward and follows Shastras. His mind should be clear. That is , he is always thinking of atman. He should be always in Gyana Yoga. Dhanam – he should donate in accordance with Shastras. We should control our sense organs. We should perform the daily Pancha Maha Yagnas. Swadhyayam – chanting Vedas regularly. Arjavam – living honestly. These are all qualities of Devas group of persons. When the Lord was to describe the qualities of Asuras, Arjuna got the fear as to in which group he belonged to! To know whether one was Deva or Asura, it is not physical outlooks like cruel face, canine teeth, horns on the head, etc. The Lord says that if Deva quality was there, it would fetch Moksham; and, Asura quality, would make the person to be reborn again and again. The Lord comforts Arjuna and asks him not to be despondent. He assured that Arjuna was certainly, a Deva. How did the Lord classify Arjuna as Deva? Simple! In all these preceding 15 Chapters, the Lord has been proclaiming about His supremacy. Had Arjuna been an Asura, he would have objected to that and stopped further lecture! Asuras will always think that whatever they had, were all earned by their efforts alone. They would claim, they were the lords, and all belonged to them. Such people with Kama, Krodha, etc., are made to be reborn again and again. The Lord asks Arjuna not to acquire any qulities of Asuras. He should go by Vedas, to know what should be followed and what should be abandoned.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

BG 18.69

We are at the entrance of Srinathji mandir in Natha Dwar[aka]. It has silver doors. As soon as doors are opened, devotees rush in for Darshan, shouting 'Jai! Srinathji!'. Inside the mantap, women are allowed to have darshan from near the Lord, and males have to be behind. All pray with fervour. There are many sevas.Every time the temple doors are opened, an alert siren is blowed and people rush to have darshan. First in the morning, is Mangala Harati, similar to Viswaroopam in South Indian temples. We now have a darshan of the Lord.

See full size image

The Lord is lifting up and holding Govardhana hill, in His left hand. The hill appears very small, within the palm. Both the hill and the arm are decorated with ornaments. Right hand is on His waist. The Lord appears with just Two hands. The idol is black and with muscles. On the idol itself, one could notice cows, peacocks, snakes, etc. The Lord was just Seven years old, when He lifted Govardhana giri. Govardhana giri is near Brindavan. As mentioned earlier, only in 18th Century, the idol was brought to this place. Next sewa is Shringar sewa or Bala bhog. Before evry sewa, the Lord is offered food items and immediately, followed by public darshan. Prasads of this temple are beyond words! Each prasad is Two palms large and one bhog prasad would be sufficient for a family of six! The Lord is decorated with dresses similar to kurta-pyjama seen in North India. Then, Raja bhog sewa. For half an hour, the Lord is offered food. Then again darshan for devotees. At about 12PM, the temple is closed. At 4:30 PM, it is Utthapan sewa. Then there is harati, when people in Thousands worship. In the evening Harati, the Lord is decorated with all ornaments. The temple is closed by about 7:30 PM, and so, sayana harati is at 6:45 PM. While the Lord is made to sleep, in summer, to remove heat, fans are used. These are not electric fans we use, but the old pankha, where air is wafted using ropes and pulleys. Two families, by tradition over centuries, are engaged in pulling the ropes through out the night. It is a great service to the Lord. Two pankhas are used - one for the Child Sri Krishna and the other for Sri Srinathji. The pankha pullers deserve our respects. Srinath means Husband of Sri or Mahalakshmi. To protect Jagat, the Lord has to be Srinath. Srinath means He is Paramatma and Purushottama. The Chapter 15 we are to see, is also called Purushottama Vidya. In 15.19, the Lord says that he, who realizes Him as Purushottama, attains Him. Swami Alavandar says that only He, Who has lotus eyes, Who is Purushottama, Who is embodiment of sattva guna, could be the Husband of Sri Mahalakshmi. Now, summary of Chapter 15:

acinmi´sr¯at vi´suddh¯acca cetan¯at purus.ottamah. |
vy¯apan¯at bharan.¯at sv¯amy¯at˜ncada´soditah. ||(19)

This is told in Chapter 15: Purushottama is different from, and superior to all others [which include atman or chit, is of Three categories - Baddha (like us, bonded in samsaram), Mukta (liberated from samsaram) and Nitya (ever remaining in Vaikuntam, like Adisesha, Vishvaksena), and achit (all inert matters having no Gyana). To easily remember that the Lord is different from all these Four, we can see our fingers. Thumb is different from other Four fingers; no finger can do anything, without the aid of Thumb! Similarly, the Lord is associated with all Four categories]. Let us glance at some slokas of Chapter 15. In 15.1, the Lord says that samsaram is like an inverted banyan [aswatta] tree, with roots up in Satya lok [symbolises Brahma creating from above], branches down below. This tree can be cut off only by an axe of vairagya or detachment [15.3]. In 15.15, the Lord says that He resided in everyone's heart; under His control, one understood, remembered or forgot anything. He is the One, understood from all Vedas and Vedantas. Result of Vedas are also granted only by Him. He further says that He is different from baddha and mukta atman [15.16]. He is praised as Purushottama in Vedas and in this World [15.18]. He si pervading in all, supporting all and commanding all, and so, He is different from and superior to all [15.17]. Person, recognizing Him as Prushottama, [Who has descended for our benefit as Sri Srinathji], attains Him [15.19]. We will now move to the next Kshetram.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BG 18.68

Two Divine names are very important. Sri Vallabha and Sri Nathan are those. The Lord is the Sweet Heart of Sri Mahalakshmi; and, He is the Husband of Her. Divine name Sri Jagannatha is well known. He is the Leader of Jagat or Universe. More Divine, is the name Sri Sri Natha. In Nathdwara, in Rajasthan, the Lord is Sri Srinathji. Today's [27th October 2009] lecture is from Nathdwara. We are at the front of the temple.

See full size image

This side of the gate is called Moti Mahal. There are Two gates, one for entrance and other for exit. Before entering, we could see the pond in this place. Actually there are Twin ponds. There is close contact between these ponds and the Lord here. We find many shops selling pictures of the Lord. Pictures of the Lord, in various decorations inside, are available. Sri Srinathaji was originally in Brindavan. The Lord appears as Sri Govardhana Giridhari. For many Thousands of years, the Lord was in Brindavan. In circa 1726, He came to this place. One Daoji, had gone to Brindavan to worship the Lord. At that time there was an invasion and there was a necessity to protect the Lord. The Lord had commanded Daoji, to carry Him Westwards. Daoji took a bullock cart and with assistance of Two persons, he carried the Lord, wrapped in husk and grass, to this place. The trip took many days. The Lord had told Daoji, that he should stop at the place, which would be indicated. When the cart came here and tried to cross the pond, it could not. Daoji realized, that place might be His desired spot. With the help of King Rana Singh, he got the Lord installed in this place and a temple was built. From that time, Millions of devotees are visiting the temple and worshiping the Lord. The Lord's sannidhi is raised on some steps. Main Deity is Sri Srinathji. Besides, as Child, Sri Navaneetha Krishna is also gracing. In this temple Swami Vallabhacharya has done many services. Poojas are performed according to Vallabhacharya tradition. Each sewa is only for a few minutes, as the Lord is Child and He might not stand posing, for long! In our tradition, temples are opened in the morning and remain so, till noon; and, again, in the evening, when the sannidhi is opened at about 5 PM, it is kept opened till 9 PM or so. Here, at 5 AM the sannidhi opens and closed by 5:30 AM. Again harati at 7:15 AM and closed by 7:45 AM! Then again, between 9:15 and 9:45 AM; 11:15 and 11:45 AM. Like this for very short durations dharshans are available. We will see the Lord in the next day's lecture!
We will now see summary of Chapter 14:

gun.abandhavidh¯a tes.¯am.kartr. tvam.tannivartanam |
gatitrayasvam¯ulatvam.caturda´sa ud¯ıryate ||(18)

In Chapter 13, Sri Krishna told Arjuna that body was different from atman, both of which were different from the Lord. Kshetram was body, to be recognized as cultivable land. This is known by Kshetragya or atman. The Lord resides in both of them. Arjuna got the doubt, as to how the body was binding atman. One takes birth because of past karma and gets a body to reside. How body controlled atman? What Sri Krishna told as reply, is mentioned in Chapter 14, says Swami Alavandar: the three qualities bind atman in samsaram; actions are due to the inducement by the three qualities [by nature atman is not to do any action]; [does it mean atman can not get liberated?] means of liberation; the Lord only, grants the Three desires [of Bhaktas - wealth, Kaivalyam and Paramapadam, to serve the Lord for ever]. These four points are told in Chapter 14. In 14.2, He says that with the Gyana, described in Chapter 13, acquired, he reaches saadharmyam [that is, whatever is His nature, like Satyam, Gyanam and Anantam, he also attains the same. That is, by reaching Vaikuntam, this person also acquires equality with the Lord in these qualities. We have to note that this person does not become one with the Lord, as told by Sri Krishna]. Jeevatma's Gyana was covered by samsaram, and it is cleared. He further explains how each of these Three - sattva, rajo and tamo - qualities bind us. Sattvam keeps us in happiness and comforts, and binds us in samsaram [14.9]. Rajo quality binds us in desires arising out of action, tamo quality puts us in delusion. Sattva quality keeps one in happiness, good health and with knowledge [ 14.6]. Rajo qualitywill keep our desires enhanced [14.7]. Tamo quality will keep us in carelessness, laziness and sleep [14.8]. He, who understands that his actions are due to influence of qualities, and atman is not responsible, attains similarity with the Lord. Soul is inside body, formed by the Three qualities; and so influenced by them. In 14.23, the Lord says that qualities would be doing their nature, and why atman should get worried about that. We should be indifferent to them. In 14.25, it is said that if we keep ourselves away from worldly activities, with this knowledge, and be indifferent to praises and abuses, then we are considered to have crossed those qualities.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BG 18.67

Sri Krishna was the darling of the Five lakhs females of Brindavan. From there, He came as Sri Dwarakadeesha in Dwaraka, which He got constructed. Dwaraka city was about 120 Miles in length! In that, Gomati Dwaraka was the beginning or the Drawing hall! We have now come to Bhet Dwaraka after travelling by boat, and this is the place where His palace was. This place is also called Bhent Dwaraka. Bhet means island, in Gujarati. Bhent means offering. Kuchela offered Two handfulls of puffed rice. This is the place where he offered and so it is Dwaraka [where Kuchela] offered. Sri Andal desired, that at dawn, getting up from bed, She should hear the sweet music of birds, singing the arrival of Sri Dwarakadeesha of Tirumaliruncholai! This She told from Srivilliputthur! Her Bhakti was so great that She desired the garlands worn by Sri Krishna in Dwaraka, thousand Miles away! If we also want the arrival of the Lord to our houses, then we have to acquire the knowledge indicated in Chapter 13! Chapters 13 to 18, form the Charama Shadka. We will see them one by one. In the summary of Charama Shadka, Swami Alavandar says that the Lord had told whatever was to be told to Arjuna, in the preceding 12 Chapters.
pradh¯ana purus.avyakta sarve´svara vivecanam |
karmadh¯ırbhaktirity¯adih.p¯urva´ses.o 0ntimoditah.|| (4)
Those which were left out in the preceding Chapters, are being told in the last Six Chapters. Pradhana means all associated with body or prakruti. That is, it includes ahankaram, mahan, Five Bhoota, Five Karmendriya, Five Gyanendriya, Five Tanmatras and mind [24 in total]. These are inert matters. Purusha means Jeevatman. Then Sarvesvara, the Lord, Who controls Pradhana and Purusha. Vivecanam means viveka gyana or analytical knowledge. That is understanding that body and soul are different in all respects. Also, understanding the Lord as the Owner and Commander of body and soul. All these were told in previous Chapters. Now, we will see summary of Chapter 13:

dehasvar¯upam.¯atm¯aptihetuh.¯atmavi´sodhanam |
bandhaheturviveka´sca trayoda´sa ud¯ıryate || (17)

In Chapter 13 these were told: Body is temporary, got out of past karma. Soul is not natural associate of any body [13.2]. Body is like the cultivable land and good crops of good characters, are to be grown. Atman which realizes this need, is Kshetragya. Person pervading both, Kshetra and Kshetragya, is the Lord. Once this atman gyana or realizing atman swaroopam [nature] is achieved, one can attain the Lord. To make our mind proper, certain qualities have to be built up. Twenty such qualities are listed from 13.8. Amanitvam - without attachment, adambitvam - without publicity. Talking of publicity, we can see it in Kuchela's story. Kuchela was known as Sudhama, was a classmate of Sri Krishna, under Sandheepani, in Ujjain. Sudhama was poor and had a large family to look after. His wife suggested to visit Sri Krishna, Who was a great King of Dwaraka, and bring some money for support of the family. Kuchela was reluctant to go and pray for material benefits. She argued that if Sri Krishna were to know that Sudhama was not able to support his family, it would cause Him agony. At least to avoid that he should visit Sri Krishna. Finally Sudhama agreed to go, but wanted to carry something to offer to the Lord. She gathered some puffed rice from other houses and making it into a small bundle, she gave it to her husband. When he reached Sri Krishna's large palace, Sudhama was hesitant to enter. At that time Sri Krishna saw Sudhama from balcony and arranged to receive His old friend. He offered Sudhama seat and personally comforted him! Sri Krishna's Wives were also at the service of Sudhama. After enquiring about his welfare, Sri Krishna asked whether he brought anything for Him! Feeling shy, Sudhama;s hand automatically went for the bundle. Sri Krishna immediately, grabbed the bundle and started eating the puffed rice. He praised the taste of it and took Two morsels. Instantly, in Sudhama;s place, all wealth were granted. Sri Krishna talked to Sudhama about their school days and mentioned that their teacher had blessed them both, prosperity. Sudhama felt shy to ask for any help from Sri Krishna and he, after sometime, took leave of the Lord. Kuchela felt relieved that he did not ask for anything! Not knowing what had happened at his place, Sudhama, when reached, was surprised at the transformation. Bhakti can fetch material benefits; but if we pray for material benefits, Bhakti would not grow. All such noble qualities should be acquired. In 13.20, the Lord told that because of association with the Three qualities[sattvam, rajas and tamas], atman suffers rebirths. To get released we should realize the difference between atman and body [13.24]. Now, we take leave of this place and proceed to Sri Nathji mandir in Rajasthan!

BG 18.66

We will see Chapter 12. Arjuna said that he had hopes that by acting in Bhakti marg, he would get salvation. But he also felt that Bhakti was not in our habits. Can we switch over to Bhakti so easily? Can our habits and practices that easily change? Sri Krishna replied him, that it was not like that, and there were many easier steps available for practice. This is the summary of Chapter 12. Swami Alavandar says this as:

bhakte´s´srais.t.hyam.up¯ayoktih.a´saktasy¯atmanis.t.hat¯a |
tatprak¯ar¯astvatipr¯ıtih.bhakte dv¯ada´sa ucyate ||(16)

Sri Krishna tells that those who could not practice Bhakti yoga, should remember His auspicious qualities, continuously. Besides, they have to follow some habits. In 12.13, He says that they should never show any hatred to any living being. They must be friendly with all. They should show compassion. But many do not behave like that with us. What to do then, even when we show friendship? Then, it is better to be away from such persons. On no account we should have contacts with them. Vibheeshana left Ravana, when the latter did not heed good advice. We should be in touch with noble persons only. Because, we are not that refined to be friendly with persons who hate us. Alwars and Acharyas might have been in such elevated positions. The Lord further advised that one should show same quality to both friends and enemies. We should show the same temperament to both praises and abuses heaped on us. Slokas 12.13 and 12.18 are important. We are reviewing this Chapter, in the ocean on the way to Bhet Dwaraka. It is on an island.

See full size image

On one side is Gomti Dwaraka and on the other side is Bhet Dwaraka. Earlier they were all one and called Dwaraka. Sri Krishna established a single city Dwaraka. There are many boats to transport people. In Sri Rama Avatar, we saw boats of Guha. It takes about Twenty minutes to reach Bhet Dwaraka. After reaching it, we will see what happened when Kuchela was with the Lord. Beneath this Ocean, many archaeological studies are being conducted. Both ASI and Private Agencies, have written many reports of their findings. Those interested may see them. We could know how Dwaraka was in those times; how it was submerged in ocean, etc. Now, while travelling, we will see the summary of Chapter 12. His Bhaktas should be without ego. Where ahankara is, likes and dislikes emerge. This atman has acquired countless Karma effects, and as a result, it is now residing in this body. We take efforts to get freed from this cycle of rebirths. But when we think atman is this body, it is ahankara. Atman as such has no enemies or friends; but, through the body we acquire relations like mother, father, etc. Atman has no mother or father. Its only relation is with the Lord. So, we assume all body relationships as atman's. So we think we are happy, when our relations are happy and feel sorry, when they face problems. When our head aches, atman suffers, though atman has no head or any organ. And, we complain 'my head aches'! Thus we assume all our likes and dislikes, as atman's. We are carrying unnecessary relationship and bondage. Therefore, the Lord advises that only removal of ahankara, would result in impartial outlook, and likes and dislikes will disappear. When we go on tour, we hop from one place to another. At no time, we think of any attachment with any one place. Because, we know it is transient. Our rebirths are also like this tour. But we seldom think in any one life cycle, that it is transient and we should not show any attachment! In 12.13, He says that we should be without ahankara and view happiness and sorrow equally. Though this might look formidable, by devoting more and more on the Lord, we can achieve success. This the Lord says in 12.8. We can realize this in practice. As we travel to many such Kshetrams, our outlook and short temper will change for good. If we absorb Gita properly, then our attitude will change and get refined. Arjuna again asks how we can try to think of the Lord, when we are used to think of ourselves only? Sri Krishna climbs down a step lower, and asks him to meditate on atman. Here, a hidden agenda of the Lord exists. As one thinks of one's atman only, slowly one would realize atman's true nature! One would realize atman is servant of the Lord. But Arjuna says thinking of atman is also difficult. Sri Krishna gets to a lower step and asks Arjuna to do service. That is doing one's own Karma. Doing one's own Karma continuously, would enlighten one's knowledge about atman. Thus, again thinking of atman can be started. That would result in knowing the true nature of atman and devoting oneself to the Lord. That will result in Bhakti and eventually, reaching Him. First the Lord wanted Arjuna to do Bhakti. When he expressed difficulty, He suggested thinking of Lord's auspicious qualities. When this was also found difficult, He suggested meditating on atman. Finally, when that step also was difficult, He suggested to do one's own Karma, continuously.

Monday, October 26, 2009

BG 18.65

See full size image

After bathing in Gomati river, we have come to enter the temple. There are 56 steps to climb. Above the steps, is the tall Gopuram. On the Gopuram, a flag is hoisted on 52 Yards flagstaff! It appears, Sri Krishna lived here with 56 Crores of people! They were all brought from Mathura in a single night! Since, we can not see those 56 Crore people, 56 steps are representing them! After climbing the steps, we enter. On one side there are Four tiers and on the other side, Seven tiers. What is the reason for 52 yards staff? Stars are 27, Zodiacs are 12, Planets are 9 and Four directions - all together make 52! The flag is hoisted 5 times in a day, Three times during day and Twice during night. This is done to indicate that Sri Krishna was a King. Near the Lord, is Sri Balarama's sannidhi. He is also called Sri Trivikrama. He is holding discus and conch, and mace and lotus flower. He is also decorated with Plough as weapon. On the other side Sri Madhava is gracing. Then we see Pradyumna, son of Sri Krishna, and Aniruddha, Pradyumna's son. When we go round the temple, we can worship sage Durvasa. Once Sri Rukmini had invited Durvasa for food. It is customary for the host to eat only after feeding the guest. But Sri Rukmini had drunk water and so Durvasa was angry. He cursed that She would be separated from Sri Krishna. That is the reason, there is no sannidhi for Sri Rukmini in the temple. Her temple is about 3 KMs away, on the way to Bhet Dwaraka! Seeing Sri Rukmini suffering separation, the Lord gave His beautiful idol to Her to worship. And, that is Sri Dwarakadeesha!

Opposite the Lord's sannidhi is Devaki Matha's sannidhi, and not Garuda, as seen in other temples. This is to compensate for the initial 10 years, Devaki missed Sri Krishna. This temple was established by Vajranabhi, Sri Krishna's great grand son, with Vishvakarma's assistance. The Lord is gracing with mace in His upper right hand, discus in upper left hand. He is holding conch in lower left hand and lotus in lower right hand. The Lord's Consorts and others are on His body. Many haratis are performed for the Lord, daily. Decorations change for every Harati. In the morning, pooja starts with Mangala Harati, like Viswaroopam. All come and worship this pooja, before commencing the day. Then the Lord is offered Bala Bhog, with a new decoration. Before 8 AM, we can have Swaroopa Darshan. The Lord can be seen without any decoration. Shringar Harati is at 9:15AM. At about 11:30 AM, Raja Bhog is offered. The Lord is decorated like a King. At about 4:30 PM, Utthapan and Harati are performed. Finally, in the night Sayana Harati is done. This temple has been praised by Alwars. If we climb up and go via Gopuram, we can see the idol of Yoga Maya, sister of Sri Krishna. Flag hoisting is done after pooja for Yoga Maya. She is believed to be saving the temple. Temple has survived many natural and other disasters.
We will now see the gist of Chapter 11:

ek¯ada´se sva y¯ath¯atmya s¯aks.¯atk¯ar¯avalokanam |
dattamuktam.vidipr¯aptyoh.bhaktyekop¯ayat¯a tath¯a (15)

In Chapter 11, to actually view His Natural state, He granted special eye power to Arjuna and showed that Bhakti alone was the means to understand and to reach Him. We try tu understand the Lord through books or lectures. Here, Arjuna was gifted with Divine eyes to view Him. Alwar asks people to perform Bhakti at His divine feet. In Chapter 10, the Lord described His wealth. All were under His command. Arjuna in 11.3, expresses his desire to see Him, with His wealth! Sri Krishna tells that with the ordinary eyes Arjuna possessed, it was impossible to see Him. He was beyond His eyes and intelligence. But, because Arjuna desired, He said He would bless him with Divine eyes to see Him [11.5]. Then the Lord showed His unimaginable Viswaroopam. Sanjaya was explaining Viswaroopam to Dridharashtra, in the palace [11.9]. Arjuna sees and for sometime, he was not knowing what he was seeing. The Lord appeared with many weapons, His body with sandal paste, wearing Vanamala, with Sun and Moon appearing on His body. He saw Sri Lakshmi on His body. He found lord Brahma and lord Rudra on His.body. He could see many soldiers entering His mouth, and many others coming out. He could not see the beginning nor end, and so neither middle. He found the entire Universe on His body. Seeing this frightful image, Arjuna became panicky. He was delighted to have seen the unseen; but, that gigantic image caused fear in him. So, with trembling voice he asks the image Who He was? The Lord replies in 11.32, He was Kaala [time]. He determined what should happen at what time. He came to relieve Earth of her burden. Arjuna was a mere tool [11.33]. He directs Arjuna to fight the war and get whatever fame due. He allows Arjuna to see whatever he had seen, in the past, on His body. He could also see the result of the Mahabharata war. Arjuna says in 11.45, that the Lord was Father, Mother, the God to him. There was none equal or superior to Him. He felt ashamed that he was thinking of Sri Krishna as his mere cousin! In 11.41, he repented for having called the Lord by names, out of ignorance and immaturity! In 11.46, he requests that the Lord with thousands of arms and eyes, should return to His old Self as Sr Krishna! The Lord agreed and became Sri Dwarakadeesha.

BG 18.64

We have reached an interesting Kshetram, in Kannanin Aaramudu tour. Today's [20thOctober 2009] lecture is from the place where river Gomati enters the ocean, in the West of Gujarat. Vasishta, Brahma's son, was the Acharya for Sri Rama's dynasty. His daughter was Gomati. When she was born, she was not in the form of a river, but like all other girls. When she reached the age for marriage, Vasishta desired to find a suitable groom. Accompanied by her, he visited many places. But Gomati was in deep love with Sri Krishna. Like Sri Andal, she never wanted to marry mortals. She prayed to the Lord. With His blessings, she told her father Vasishta, that she would follow him from behind, till he was able to find a suitable match for her. At no time he should look back to see her. If he violated this, she would turn into a river. Vasishta wanted to know how he could find she was following him? She replied that her anklets would be making noise and that would signal him that she was following. They proceeded from place to place and reached present Gujarat. This is the place of Sri Krishna and Dwaraka. Gomati was happy to reach the place of her beloved. They came to the spot, from where lecture is being conducted. Being ocean side, they had to cross the ocean. Therefore, the sound of the anklets stopped! Vasishta felt that Gomati had stopped following him. When he turned back to look for her, she was walking through the water. But as per her condition, immediately, she took his permission and became a river and started flowing! This is not a river that originates from a distant place. Its total length is juat Five Miles! Thus Gomati is always near her beloved Lord Sri Krishna!

See full size image

The Lord is Sri Samudra Narayana. The Ocean is in the form of the Lord and accepting Gomati river. If we cross this and go beyond, we find Pancha Kunds. Five sages were meditating here. There were problems from Rakshasas. As prayed by the sages, the Lord destroyed the Rakshasas, and Five Kunds were established. The water, in each of the Kund, was different in taste. The taste reflected the mindset of various Rakshasas. Over the ages, the water in the place is sweet now. From a distance, the tall gopuram of Sri Dwarakadeesa temple, welcome us!

See full size image

Dwaraka means dwaram + kayati. Dwaram means entrance [here, to Vaikuntam], and kayati means shows. Thus Dwaraka shows us the entrance to Vaikuntam. Millions of devotees come here to worship the Lord here and hope to reach Vaikuntam! Sri Krishna, having decided to leave Mathura to protect people, came here and requested King of Oceans for establishment of a city. Accordingly, about 12 yojanas [120 miles] length of land was recovered from ocean and Dwaraka city was constructed. This place was earlier known as Kuchasthali. Long back, a King performed yagnas on a island here, using darbha [type of grass]. Kucha means darbha and so this place got the name. The King invited the Lord Sri Trivikrama, to destroy Asuras in Patala lok. Thus we can worship Lord Sri Trivikrama also. In one night, the Lord brought all people from Mathura here and rehabillated them. On Sharat Poornima day about 300,000 peopel come here. That was the day when the Lord played Rasa Kreeta! Thus we can know His eminence and greatness, His wealth and glory, here. We can also know them, from Chapter 10:

svakalyana gunanantya krtsna svadinatamatih |
bhaktyutpatti vivirddhyartha vistirna dasamodita || (14)

In the Tenth Chapter Sri Krishna explains in detail, to grow Bhakti and develop it, His many auspicious qualities and His infinite wealth. This place is most appropriate to describe this Chapter. People will feel confident only, when as Emperor of Dwaraka, Sri Krishna told about His wealth and qualities! He described everything without any exception. We start devotion and allow it to grow, only when we know the person has a great personality. With Chapter 9, Karma yoga, Gyana yoga and Bhakti yoga descriptions ended. In the very first sloka the Lord says He was interested in Arjuna's welfare. Even though Arjuna never asked the Lord to detail His wealth; but taking the cue that Arjuna did not object also, the Lord starts His lecture. Great persons bestow, even if we never asked! In 10.3, He says that he, who understood the Lord as never-born and without end, as Loka Maheswara, is most intelligent. In 10.8, He says that He was Origin, Middle and End of all. Everything originated from Him. Everything finally ended in Him. He, who realized His greatness and actions in Mathura, Brindavan and Dwaraka, speaks about them with others [10.9]. For that person, who thinks of Him as everything, He blesses with Para Bhakti and blesses him with atman sakshatkaram. Finally, he reaches the Lord. Arjuna asks the Lord to give list of His properties! The Lord replied that there was nothing which was not His property! Other than His property nothing was there in this Universe and many worlds of others! Arjuna says that he wanted to hear about His wealth, any number of times. The Lord then lists some important portions of His wealth. He mentions group after group and says that for each group He was the Leader [10.21 and other slokas]. He was Vishnu among Adityas. Amsuman among Jyotish. He was Marut among Marichees. Like that He lists many. Thus our Bhakti grows hearing His greatness.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

BG 18.63

It may appear that Sri Krishna's life was full of happiness. While, one might think that Sri Rama suffered a lot by going to forest for 14 years; and, for 10 months, He was separated from Sri Sita. But we should remember that Sri Rama lived for 11,000 years. Of this 14 years is a negligible percentage! In forest also He was with Sri Sita for more than 13 years and They enjoyed life there. In forest He had no responsibility and so was free. Another difference between Sri Rama and Sri Krishna is that Sri Rama continued friendship. We can see the examples of Guha, Sugreeva and Vibheeshana. They were all invited to His Coronation and were given presents before seeing them off. Sri Krishna, however, never continued friendship. Also, when Sri Rama left for Vaikuntam, as we saw in our visit to Muktar Ghat, near Ayodhya, He took with Him all animate and inanimate objects to Vaikuntam. Only Hanuman did not accompany, that too, ecause Hanuman refused to come! In Sri Krishna's case we can notice difference. At the very instant He was born, He had to abandon Mathura. Even parents were abandoned! He was in Gokulam only for Five years; after which, He lived in Nandgaon. When He was 10 years old, Akrura came as emissary of Kamsa to take Him to Mathura back! He was invited by Kamsa to be killed! In spite of protest of people of Nandgaon, He left for Mathura. Afterwards He never returned to Gokulam or Nandgaon! He was so dear to the Thousands of gopis and gopikas, and the vast cattle. Yet, He never returned to Gokulam. In Mathura He was with His parents Vasudeva and Devaki. At Devaki's request, the Ten year old Sri Krishna, enacted all His infant pranks, enjoyed by Yasoda! From Mathura He left for Ujjaini, to learn under His Acharya, sage Sandeepani. Then He left for Indraprasta to help Pandavas. Then He got Dwaraka established and moved there. Then He left for participating in war at Kurukshetra. Then He came unnoticed to Prabhasa Kshetram. Like this He was always on the move and remained in solitude at the end. While departing for Vaikuntam, none accompanied Him. That way Sri Krishna's life was full of turmoils and makes us sorrowful. Sri Rama lived like an Emperor and enjoyed all regal comforts. Sri Krishna tells that all thought of Him as another man and treated so! In Chapter 9, summary of which, we are to see today [19th October 2009], He mentions the same complaint.

svam¯ah¯atmyam.manus.yatve mah¯atman¯am |
vi´ses.o navame yogo bhaktir¯upah.prak¯ırtitah. (13)

In Ninth Chapter Bhakti yoga is explained. This Chapter is called Bhakti yogam. His eminence and greatness is told. In Chapter 7, He told about His real state. He also mentions n Chapter 9, that even as a human, He was still greatest. For the sake of His devotees, He was prepared to undergo any difficulty. These Three points are mentioned in Chapter 9, says Swami Alavandar. In sloka 9.4, He says that He was present in every matter we perceive. He is the power of sight, listening and every form of perception. He pervades all, in and out. Arjuna wanted to know, why people did not understand His greatness. To help people, He took human form, and so all think He was also an ordinary man! They do not want to understand Him from Shastras. They never wanted to rely on anything they could not perceive. In sloka 9.11, He says that all illtreated Him, thinking He was a man. Arjuna wanted to know how His devotees treated Him. In 9.14, He says that those who had faith in Him, never considered any problem in life as problem; they considered them as His blessings. They are always worshiping Him, always praising Him and determined to reach Him. In 9.26, He says that they never expected any reward for their Bhakti; from such persons the Lord happily accepted even a drop of water, as a very great present. Because, the Lord is never in want of anything! None can ever present Him, matching His status! Finally, in 9.27, for which Swami Vedanta Desika has given wonderful interpretation in his Tatparya Chandrika, such persons, whatever they did, or ate or yagna was performed or Tapas practiced, dedicated everything to the Lord. That is what we should do. What is Bhakti yoga? The Lord answers in one sloka at the end in 9.34. That mind should be in Him, heart should be loving Him, all organs doing Karmas dedicated to Him and entire body worshiping Him alone. That is Bhakti yoga and such a person certainly reaches the Lord. We have come to the place, where the Lord Himself reached Vaikuntam. We will now proceed to Dwaraka.

BG 18.62

We are on tour of Dwaraka, in Kannanin Aaramudu program. We have reached Prabhasa Kshetram in Gujarat. It is also called Ban ka Theertham. Prabhasam means well illuminating or very bright or well exposed. What was exposed? Some of the auspicious qualities of the Lord are brightly exposed here. In Chapter 4, Arjuna asked the Lord, whether His birth was real. The Lord replied that just as Arjuna's birth was real, His Avatar also was real. Our bodies are made of Pancha Bhoota [space, air, fire, water and earth]. Was His body also similar? The Lord told that His body was made of Aprakrytam and not made of Pancha Bhoota. His body was made of Pancha Shakti. It is neither created nor destroyed. The Three qualities are not in it. Only sattva quality is there. In Srimad Bhagavatam, Sukhacharya tells that at the end of Avatar, Sri Krishna went to Vaikuntam, with His body as such. We have come to that place, from where He left for Vaikuntam.

In our case only atman travels to Vaikuntam and body is dropped here. The Lord lived on this Earth for more than 100 years. Kurukshetra war was over and many good things were done by the Lord. He decided to leave for Vaikuntam. He came here and left for Vaikuntam. Here we can see the Lord sculpted. He is sitting on a branch of a tree. One leg is on the branch and the other is on the knee of the other leg. One could see the sole of His Divine foot. He is decorated with flowers and tulsi. He is holding conch and discus in His upper two hands. He is relaxing merrily! Nearby, we can see a hunter, kneeling before the Lord and his eyes reflect fear and sorrow. Hunter might have done something wrong and so is requesting for pardon. Jara is the name of the hunter. He shot an arrow to hit the toe of the Lord. After completing His mission in Sri Krishna Avatar, the Lord decided to destroy Yadu group of people [Yadavas], and leave for Vaikuntam. For that, a drama was enacted. Once, Yadavas misbehaved with sages, after taking liquor. They tried to tease the sages by asking what child would be born to Samba, a lad in the guise of a pregnant woman! Sages understood the mischief and cursed that a pounder [pestle உலக்கை] would be born and that would annihilate Yadavas. Yadavas found a pounder and gave it to the King. Thinking that by crushing the pounder to powder, they could avoid the curse of sages, they powdered the pounder and sprinkled the powder in the ocean. A small piece of iron was thrown into the ocean. The wooden powder all grew into wild grass on the shore and the iron piece was swallowed by a fish! The fish was caught by a fisherman and he found the piece of iron in the fish. This was taken by hunter Jara. He sharpened the iron piece and fixed it to his arrow! All Yadavas once assembled in this place, near which ocean is there. Famous Somnath temple is also here. Yadavas started fighting among themselves using the wild grass and all of them died! Only Sri Krishna was alive! He came to this place in His chariot driven by Dharuka. While He was relaxing on the tree as told above, the hunter mistook the sole of the Lord as the face of deer and shot the arrow. Using that as an excuse, the Lord departed for Vaikuntam. Unlike Sri Rama, Who was accompanied by the entire population of Ayodhya, to Vaikuntam, Sri Krishna went alone! He consoled the hunter, as he was merely a tool in His drama. The Lord told Dharuka to inform all in Dwaraka, that it would be shortly submerged by ocean as Dwapara yug was ending and that all should move to Prabhasa Kshetram for safety. Saying so, He left for Vaikuntam. His chariot First went up and He followed! All Devas and Brahma witnessed the scene from the sky! Here His auspicious quality of blessing His devotees like Dharuka and Jara was exhibited. Not only that, He left along with His body in tact! This place is called Ban ka theertham, because the arrow caused all these incidents.
Now we will see summary of Chapter 8:

ai´svary¯aks.aray¯ath¯atmya bhagavaccaranarthin¯am |
vedyop¯adeyabh¯av¯an¯am as.t.ame bheda ucyate || (12)

Chapters 7, 8 and 9 explain Bhakti yoga. Here, the Lord tells Arjuna that different people come to Him for different purposes, like more wealth; but some come to Him only for His sake! What should be practiced and what should be abandoned by them is explained. Wealth, kaivalyam and Bhagavt anubhavam are sought and what they should hold on and what should be left away, are mentioned. These are told in Chapter 8, says Swami Alavandar. Do's and Dont's are mentioned for the Three categories of devotees. In sloka 8.6, the Lord says that everyone dies and if a devotee desired to reach Him, then at the last moments, he should have Sri Krishna smaranam or think of the Lord. Because, whatever is in the thoughts at the last moments, the person is reborn in that way. We have heard of Jata Bharata story, where he was thinking of a deer in his last moments and he was born as deer in his next birth. So, in 8.7. He says that one should always be thinking of Him. By worshiping the Lord here we can practice that.