Ananyāś cintayanto māṃ ye janāḥ paryupāsate
teṣāṃ nityābhiyuktānāṃ yogakṣemaṃ vahāmy aham || (9.22)
We have seen this sloka earlier. The Lord says that if, we could always remember Him, He would certainly, provide us all welfare. But how are we to remember Him always. The simplest way is by Divya Nama Sankeerthanam. Singing His Divine names, in praise of Him, is the way. In that regard, Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam, is of great help to us.
The Lord Sri Krishna describes Bheeshma, as tiger among men. Bheeshma was always remembering Sri Krishna [anusmaranam]. We can worship Bheeshma at Kurukshetra. The place, where Bheeshma, preached Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam [SVS], to Yudhishtra and others, is Bheeshma Ghat or Bana Ganga [ it is about 5 KMs from Brahma Sarovar, on the way to Jyotisar].
Gita is great, because it instructs us to chant Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam; and, Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam is great, because it was recommended by Gita! Both have the same purpose. But which is more sacred? Gita was born before Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam. Gita was delivered on the very first day of the Mahabharata war; while, Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam, was told after Bheeshma was pulled down and was lying on the bed of arrows, after the tenth day of the war! Since SVS was later, its greatness is more! Both are eyes to us, but SVS is our right eye! Nama Sankeertanam is essential for every one of us. Yudhishtra asks Bheeshma, six questions. In reply, Bheeshma says that listening to and chanting the Thousand Divine names of the Lord, is sure to redeem everyone. Nammalwar, Tirumangai Alwar and others have praised the sanctity of SVS. Sri Andal in Tiruppavai 3rd pasuram, mentions the greatness of singing His names. Even now, Sri Vishnu Sahasranama is reverberating in this place. Our group of Three Thousand persons, chanted Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam; which means His name has been chanted 3 Million times in half an hour! We are very fortunate that way. Now, we shall see more interpretation of sloka 66 of Chapter 18.
What Gita wanted to convey is in Sri Vishnu Saharanamam. One can reach the Lord by Bhakti Yoga. but, papas obstruct performing Bhakti yoga. We are incapable of undergoing the results of papa; nor, can we eliminate the papas, by atonements or prayacchittam. So, the Lord advises that if we abandon all prayacchitta efforts, by surrendering unto Him, then He would absolve us of those atonements, and release us from all papa, so that we can perform Bhakti yoga and reach Him. This is Anga Prapatti [Surrender as Auxiliary, to Bhakti] and was explained in the last lecture. What is Swatantra Prapatti? Will not Prapatti, by itself, fetch us Moksham? Yes. We do not need Bhakti yoga in between. Mere saranagati would fetch the Lord. Then, is Bhakti necessary? Let us see the meaning of this sloka, with Swatantra Prapatti. Masucha = do not worry. We had seen the description of Gyana yoga and Karma yoga, by the Lord in the earlier Chapters. It may look unsurmountable task to perform Karma yoga or Gyana yoga. Bhakti yoga seems to be impossible. Our sins are huge. Our capacity to do all these yogas, is very limited. But if we think we are ever dependent on Him [Paratantra], then is it not His responsibility to protect us? The Lord is too willing to protect us and so, should we not surrender this responsibility also to Him? This is what Sri Sita told Hanuman. Hanuman went to Lanka and found out Sri Sita in Ashoka gardens. He saw Her, conveyed the message of Sri Rama, and was about to take leave of Her. At that time, Hanuman had an idea. Why should he simply return and tell the Lord Sri Rama, that Sri Sita was in Lanka. Why not he carry Her on his back and present Her to Sri Rama? Hanuman conveyed his idea to Sri Sita. Why waste time in bringing the army of monkeys to fight Ravana and then rescue Her? Sri Sita replied that She very well knew, how to save Her from Ravana and She was capable of doing that. But, if She did so, it would be a disgrace on the valour of Sri Rama. As His dependent Wife, it was right only if Sri Rama rescued Her. Her chastity, could very well burn Ravana and entire Lanka. But She refrained from doing any such thing. Sri Rama had married Her, promising that He would be Her guardian at all times. So, it was Sri Rama's responsibility to rescue Her. Sri Rama should arrive at Lanka and after defeating Ravana, He should rescue Her and accompany Her to Ayodhya! This is the Dharma for both Him, as Husband and to Her, as Wife! From this episode, we have to understand that we are not responsible for our redemption. We should be free of swatantaryam or independence. Ahankaram or ego, should be totally absent. Abandoning everything, we should think, He was the only asylum for us. This saranagati is in Nivrutti marg or totally free from doing anything, and leaving the responsibility of fetching us Moksham to Him alone. This method would fetch us directly, without the need for Bhakti yoga. Tvam eva upaya me bhava iti prartanamati sharanagati - You are the only one, Who should be the means [to reach Him]. This prayer is saranagati. This simple Gyana is saranagati. This feeling should be in the root of our heart. By this, we do not have to seek any other, as means. So, why should we do any Karma yoga or Gyana yoga or Bhakti yoga? In fact, if we started any of them, it would amount to acting independently. It will make the Lord to feel sad? He is promising to help, then why seek any other recourse? That is why the Lord says, Sarva dharman parityajya = abandon all [Karma yoga, Bhakti Yoga, etc.]. This is a welcome direction. Because, we are incapable of doing any of these, Karma yoga or Bhakti yoga. But the Lord does not mean it that way. Even if one was capable of doing those, one should abandon all, Karma yoga, etc. Also, by saying abandon, it does not mean that, after performing saranagati, we can stop worshiping Him; we need not go to temples; we need not do any service to the lord, etc. Should we not have Bhakti, after saranagati? No. Bhakti is very much necessary, even after saranagati. In fact after saranagati, these persons should continue with Karma, Gyana and Bhakti. They are not to be performed as means for seeking Moksham; but, they are to be performed, because it is the order of the Lord; because, it would please Him; because, it was the way shown by our elders. After all, the Lord Himself had said in Gita that He was appearing every time, there was decline of Dharma. Would He ever, therefore, ask us to abandon our Karma, which is Dharma? After performing saranagati, we should continue to do our Karma and perform Bhakti, as service to the Lord and not as means for any reward. We have to do them for His pleasure alone. So, we have to abandon not the Karma or Bhakti, but expectation of any reward for the Karma or Bhakti. All Alwars had surrendered to the Lord; but, they continued with Bhakti. Granting Moksham was His responsibility; doing Bhakti is for His pleasure. Bhakti should not be the means. So, abandoning the thought that Karma or Bhakti, is means, we have to seek, mam ekam = only Me [Sri Krishna], saranam vraja = surrender, as means to attain [Him]. That is, we should consciously, be at His feet. The word 'only' is important. We should be convinced that He was the only rescue for us. That is no other action and no other devatas, are going to be our upaya or means. Here, we should be careful not to ever think that by our efforts, we surrendered unto Him. Even performing saranagati, is with His blessings only. Swami Koorattalwan says that even to utter the word 'sharanam', His blessings were needed! So, it is not correct to think that we performed saranagati and so we would be granted Moksham. But, it is His will and blessings, alone. We have to simply pray, that is all. Granting Moksham is His will. Then, why saranagati? It is like appetite for food, as compared by elders. If we want to eat food, we must have the appetite. Then only, we could enjoy the food. Similarly, we are not granted moksham, just because we have done saranagati. But, out of compassion, He rewards us with Moksham. At the same time, by doing saranagati, we show that we were ready to be targets for His compassion. In other words, we remain qualified for Him to grant Moksham. So, even that saranagati does not become a means; but, He, and He alone, grants Moksham. The first line indicates, what we are to do. The Lord tells in the second line, what he is going to do. Aham = I [Sri Krishna, Who is all powerful and with all qualities, which Arjuna or any of us never possessed. Sri Krishna is possessing the power to grant Moksham], sarva papeya = from all papas, obstructing, in realizing Moksham, mokshayishyami = release, tva = you [Arjuna]. He comforts Arjuna not to worry, because of Moksham being difficult to get; because sins are very large and strong; because samsaram is so painful. Arjuna or we have very limited capacity to remove sins, but since the Lord is taking full responsibility and since He can clear all past, present and future papa, Arjuna and we need not worry. Earlier, in saranagati as Pravrutti Dharma, the Lord assured He would remove all papa in the way for performing Bhakti. But now, with saranagati as Nivrutti Dharma, the Lord says that all papas in the way of attaining Moksham would be removed. The Lord, thus, shows that He was the means or upaya; and, this sloka is famous as Charama sloka. Who can perform saranagati? Those, who are worried, about samsaram? Eligibility is mere worry about getting Moksham and to get relieved of samsaram. Result of saranagati, is removal of worry. If we still worry, it means that we have no faith in His words.
We have tried to understand the interpretation of Charama sloka, in a small way. We will see some more slokas on tomorrow and day after. With that, our lecture on Gita Shastra would conclude.