We are reaching the end of this program Kannanin Aaramudhu. The 66th sloka of Chapter 18, of Gita is known famously, as Charama sloka. That sloka is:
sarvadharmān parityajya mām ekaṃ śaraṇaṃ vraja
ahaṃ tvā sarvapāpebhyo mokṣyayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ 18.66
In this sloka, the Lord asks all of us not to be worried. We are going to study this sloka, in the very same spot, where Gita was born, in Kurukshetra. Already, we visited Brahma Sarovar. From there, we have arrived at Jyot Sarovar, from where today's [3rd November 2009] lecture is held. This is the place, where the Lord preached Gita to Arjuna.
This is known in this place as Jyotisar. It is the spring of Gyana or pond of knowledge. We acquire Gyana from Gita. He, who gets Gyana from Gita, becomes equal to the Lord in Dharma. That is, in Gyana, power, unaffected by papa/punya, birthless, deathless, hungryless, oldageless, diseaseless, etc., he is like God. Such is the Gyana provided by Gita Shastram. Gita is reverberating through out the world. In every Bhakta's mind it is deeply rooted. Such a great source of Gyana, originated in a small place. It is written here, that the banyan tree is the witness to the discourse of the Lord. It is also written as 'Gita Upadesha Sthal'. It does not mean that the Lord lectured at the very same spot; but the entire Kshetram is very sacred. Anything done here, is considered as Dharma. Yagna, Dhanam, Tapas or anything performed here, rewards us in many ways. In this place, the two armies of Kauravas and Pandavas, assembled. Pandava army of Seven Akshauhini and Kaurava army of Eleven Akshauhuni, were ready to fight. If so many millions of people had to assemble, we can imagine, how vast this place should have been! Amidst the Two armies, Sri Krishna preached Gita. We can see idol of Sri Krishna preaching to Arjuna, here. Arjuna is seated on the top, with folded hands, and Sri Krishna is sitting at the bottom, and preaching. In 2.7, Arjuna told the Lord that he was not knowing which was Dharma and whch was Adharma, and requested the Lord to clarify. We also, in our lives are confused many times at many places with many persons. Arjuna was confused as to whether to kill his brothers and other relatives and friends. It was not that Arjuna did not possess the skill to fight them. He was confused, whether to get Kingdom, after killing them. His mind was filled with emotion and compassion. So, he requested the Lord to advise him the best and beneficial to him. He fell at His Divine feet and prayed for proper advice. We have to learn from Gita that if we had faith in the Lord and prayed Him, He would certainly lead us properly. At no time, we should have the feeling that we were doing ourselves. We should be firm that He was the protector and that He would lead us. It might appear that the Lord was finally telling something illogical; we should remember that we have crossed all those logical steps and arrived at this concluding part. Swami Shankaracharya, that is why, says that again and again rebirths would not be salvation; but only singing Sri Govinda's Divine names with devotion and love. We are fortunate that more than 3,000 persons have assembled here to chant Gita, together. Each letter in Gita, was spoken by the Lord and so have divine power. In Gita, the most important sloka is Charama sloka. The interpretation for this sloka could be told for even 100 days. But, we will see to the extent time permits. This sloka defines saranagati. Before we see the meaning of this sloka, we have to see an introduction to this sloka. Saranagati is of Two types:
*SWATANTRA PRAPATTI स्वतंत्र प्रपत्ति
*ANGA PRAPATTI. अंग प्रपत्ति
Prapatti means saranagati or ultimate surrender. Sharanamiti aagati: Saranagati: - [The Lord's Divine] feet are asylum, and [we] come to surrender. We have to very carefully note the following explanations. One method is, to seek the Divine feet of the Lord, as means or upaya, for Moksham, and surrendering. That is Saranagati at His feet, is means, upaya, prapakam or way. That is, the Lord Himself carries us to Moksham. This is called Swatantra Prapatti. That is, saranagati, independently, by itself, fetches Moksham and no other effort is expected from us. In the other method, saranagati is not used to get Moksham. We know that we could reach Moksham, by Bhakti also. Bhakti means Bhakti Yoga. By practicing Karma and Gyana Yoga, we reach Bhakti Yoga. And, by Bhakti Yoga, one can reach the Lord. Thus, Bhakti becomes the means or way or upaya to reach the Lord. This is, what we had been seeing all these days, in Gita. Puranas say that Moksham could be attained by Bhakti or Prapatti. Latter is known as Swatantra Prapatti. In Bhakti marg, we are seeking something other than the Lord, as means to reach Him. We have to remember that to do Bhakti Yoga, we should have done Karma and Gyana yoga. We should know all our limitations also. We may think we are all Bhaktas. We have to remember that our present Bhakti, is not what the Lord told in Gita. The Lord had been telling Arjuna all about Bhakti. Those words should make us realize our limitations and so it was necessary for the Lord to tell in detail about Karma Yoga, Gyana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. Two slokas back, the Lord asked Arjuna to surrender. There was a pause, and we also ran through all the Chapters to recapitulate what we learnt all these days. Arjuna thought that Bhakti Yoga was quite pleasant and so decided to opt for that. Seeing that, the Lord asked in 18.65, to worship Him alone, and get salvation. But now in sloka 66, the Lord asks Arjuna to surrender to Him. We may get the doubt, whether the Lord was recommending saranagati or bhakti to get Moksham? Why this alternating words from the Lord? In 18.62, when the Lord suggested to surrender, Arjuna did not surrender. Arjuna did not show any eagerness. We should know that saranagati is Nivrutti Marg and Bhakti is Pravrutti Marg. Pravrutti means taking lots of efforts and doing many actions. Bhakti requires a lot of effort from us. In saranagati, we move away from any efforts and simply pass on the responsibility, to the Lord. No effort is nivrutti. It is like an infant being looked after by the mother. The child takes no effort for its welfare and growth. In fact, if a child is harmed, people would blame the mother only, for not taking precautions! Similarly, if we, children of the Lord, come to Him and surrender, the Lord as a Mother, has all the responsibilities! The Lord is willing to take the responsibilities, provided we seek asylum. Unfortunately, many of us think that we could take care of ourselves! Similarly, many of us think that we could reach Moksham, by our own efforts. Therefore, in Bhakti, there will be a little of ahankaram! Seeing both, we might think that when saranagati is so easy, would there be anyone choosing Bhakti, a difficult path, to reach Moksham? Yes, there are persons desiring to follow pravrutti marg or Bhakti, to reach Him. They have some traces of Ahankaram. But persons without any Ahankaram, would choose Nivrutti marg or Saranagati, only. Arjuna was a Kshatriya, with great skill and fame. He would naturally, choose the path, where efforts were needed. So, he was passive to saranagati. The Lord suggested, therefore, Bhakti marg in sloka 18.65! But Bhakti is not easy to follow. The Lord Himself said earlier, that it was very rare to find a person in Bhakti and saying that Sri Vasudeva was all for him. Bhakti Yoga needs so many preparations. So many hurdles, like papas of past karmas, would prevent practicing Bhakti. Swam Koorattalwan says that accumulating papa is very easy; but to wash them off, it takes even, many births. When Arjuna thought that he could choose Bhakti yoga, he found that past karma effects were very great hurdles. He was perplexed and did not know what to do! How to remove all those hurdles? Papa could be cleared by two methods: 1. To expend the papa by undergoing its results. This is almost impossible, as even one papa may need many births to undergo all its effects! 2. Prayacchittam or atonement or expiation, is the second method. One has to atone for the papa committed and make amends, as specified in Shastras. This is also difficult, as we might not know, what is the atonement for which papa, and atonement itself might consume many births. Thus clearing papas to start Bhakti, seemed impossible to Arjuna and he was worried. This is the Third time Arjuna was worried. First, at the start of the war, he was worried as to how to kill his relatives. Next, in Chapter 16, he was worried whether he was Deva or Asura, and the Lord cleared his worries. Now, for the Third time Arjuna was worried. Arjuna did not know how to start Bhakti yoga. For this, the Lord gives the remedy in sloka 66. Ma sucha = do not worry! Sarva dharman parityajya = leave all prayacchitta dharma or atonements. He is not asking Arjuna to leave all his duties or Karma, but only the atonements needed to clear his papa. Mam ekam saranam vraja = surrender at My [Sri Krishna's] feet only, as means, aham = I [Sri Krishna, the Almighty and All Capable] will, mokshayishyami = relieve, tva = you [Arjuna, incapable of doing atonements], sarva papebya = from all sins obstructing [from performing Bhakti], . So, in lieu of Prayacchitta Dharmam, Arjuna should surrender to the Lord, to start Bhakti yoga. Prayacchitta would destroy papas, in the way of performing Bhakti. The Lord says that He would destroy those papas, if He surrendered unto Him. Arjuna could then start Bhakti and reach Moksham. That is, saranagati helps in Arjuna performing Bhakti; and by Bhakti alone he could reach Moksham. That is, saranagati or prapatti, independently, is not the means for Moksham here. It assisits in perfroming Bhakti, and through Bhakti, he would attain Moksham. Prapatti is just an angam or subsidiary or auxilary, to Bhakti, only. This Prapatti is called Anga Prapatti. This is what is specified in Gita. We will wait to see how saranagati, independently, fetches Moksham.