Friday, August 6, 2010

Srimad Bhagavad Gita - Issue#1




Dear Readers


Bhagavad Gita is the conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna in the Battlefield of Kurushetra. In a way we are also like Arjuna waging war against the materialistic forces. After hearing the Bhagavad Gita Kirshna enquired Arjuna whether all his illusions are removed? And Arujna replied that all his illusions have been removed and told “Karishye Vachanam Tava” [18.73] I will follow whatever you have said. At the conclusion Krishna also says “Those who study or listen this sacred conversation shall attain the blessed worlds of those who perform virtuous deeds”. [18.71] That is the greatness of reading the Gita.



The Gita is like an ocean that many philosophers and erudite scholars have written commentary on it. Adi Sankaracharaya says in his Bhaja Govindam “Bhagavad Gita Kinchida Deeta, Ganga Jalalava Kanika Peeta” i.e. “please read atleast few verses from Bhagavad Gita or take a sip of Ganga”. Reading Bhagavad Gita is such a sacred act. There is no doubt any who reads with faith and sincerity will attain the Supreme Bliss.


My association with Bhagavad Gita started when I used to attend Bhagavad Gita classes in ISKCON, Coimbatore. I also used to attend the Bhagavad Gita class at Kovaipudur by a Swamiji, who is a disciple of Swami Dayananda. In that class we used to chant the Gita Dhyana. Since this being the first article, I have given as an invocation for this series of article..
Am planning to send few Bhagavad Gita Slokas. I have referred some few commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita and here I have tried to give whatever I have understood in my own language. Hence if there is any mistake in the interpretation here please forgive me.


Any comments or feedback is most welcome.


Happy reading!


Warm Regards


A.V. Devan
Chennai – 6th August 2010






Sri Gita Dhyana (Meditation on the Gita)


Om parthaya pratibodhitam
bhagavata narayanena swayam
vyasena grathitam purana munina
madhye maha bharatam
advaita amrita varshineem bhagvateem
ashtadasa adhyayineem
amba twam anu sandadhami
bhagavad geete bhava dweshineem

Om, O Bhagavadgita, with which Partha (Arjuna) was illuminated by Lord Narayana Himself and which was composed in the middle of the Mahabharata by the ancient sage Vyasa, O Divine Mother, the destroyer of rebirth, the showerer of the nectar of Advaita (teaching of Oneness in all things) and consisting of eighteen chapters – upon Thee, O Bhagavad Gita! O affectionate Mother! I meditate.


namostu the Vyasa visala buddhe
phullaravinda aya tapatranetra
yena tvaya bharata tailapoornah
prajvalito jnana mayah pradeepah

Salutations unto thee, O Vyasa of broad intellect and with eyes like petals of full-blown lotus, by whom the lamp of knowledge, filled with the oil of the Mahabharata, has been lighted.

parapanna parijataya
totra vetraika panaye
jnana mudraya krishnaya
geetamrita duhe namah

Salutations to Krishna, the Parijata tree or the Kalpataru or the bestower of all desires for those who take refuge in Him, the holder of the whip in one hand, the wielder of he symbol of knowledge, and the Milker of the nectar of the Bhagavadgita.

sarvo panishado gavo
dogdha gopala nandanah
partho vatsah sudheer bhokta
dugsham geeta amritam mahat

All the Upanishads are cows; the Milker is Krishna, the cowherd boy; Partha (Arjuna) is the calf; men of purified intellect are the drinkers, the milk is the great nectar of the Gita.

vasudeva sutam devam
kamsa chanoora mardanam
devakee paramanandam
krishna vande jagad gurum

I salute Lord Krishna, the world teacher, son of Vasudeva, the destroyer of Kamsa and Chanura, the supreme bliss of Devaki.

bheeshma drona tata jayadratha jala
gandhara neelotpala
shlya graha vatee kripena vahni
karena velakula
ashwathama vikarna-ghora-makara
duryodhana avartini
sotteerna khalu pandavai rana nadee
kaivartakah keshavah

With Keshava as the helmsman, verily was crossed by the Pandavas, the battle river whose banks were Bhishma and Drona, whose water was Jayadratha, whose blue lotus was the king of Gandhara, whose crocodile was Salya, whose current was Kripa, whose billow was Karna, whose terrible alligators were Ashvattama and Vikarna, whose whirlpool was Duryodhana.

parasharya vachah sarojam amalam
geetartha gandhotkatam
nana akhyanaka kesaram harikatha
sambodhana bodhitam
loke sajjana shatpadair ahar ahah
pepeeya manam muda
bhooyad bharata pankajam kalimala
prashwamsi nah shreyase

May this lotus of the Mahabharata, born in the lake of the words of Vyasa, sweet with fragrance of the meaning of the Gita, with many stories as its stamens, fully opened by the discourses on Hari, the destroyer of the sons of the Kali age, and drunk joyously by the bees of good men in the world, day by day become the bestower of good to us.

mookam karoti vachalam
pangum langhayate girim
yatkripa tamaham vande
para manada madhavam

I salute that Madhava, the source of supreme bliss, whose grace makes the dumb man eloquent and the cripple cross mountains.

yam brahma varunendra rudramarutah
stunwanti divyaih stavaih
vedaih snaga padakarmo panishadir
gayanti yam samagah
dhyana avasthita tadgatena manasaa
pashyanti yam yogino
yasyantam na viduh sura asuragana
devaya tasmai namah

Salutations to that God, Whom Brahma, Varuna, Indra, Rudra and the Maruts praise with divine hymns, of Whom the Sama-chanters sing by the Vedas and their Angas, in the Pada and the Krama methods, and by the Upanishads, Whom the Yogins see with their minds absorbed in Him through meditation, and whose end the hosts of Devas and Asuras know not.
Srimad Bhagavat Gita
Chapter – 7
Verse – 19


Bahunam janmanam ante
Jnanavan mam prapadyate
Vasudevah sarvam iti
Sa mahatma su-durlabhah


Bahunam – many ; janmanam – births ; ante – at the end
Jnanavan – the man of knowledge ; mam – me ; prapadyate – take refuge in
Vasudevah - God who dwells within ; sarvam – all ; iti – that
Sa – such ; mahatma – great soul ; su-durlabhah – is very rare

Meaning

“At the end of many births the man of knowledge take refuge in me realizing that [Vasudevah] i.e. the God dwells everywhere and such a person is very rare to find.”

Explanation

From the above verse it is clear that realization of the truth is not that easy. Why it is said after many birth? The reason is for the atma there is no death. It transmigrates from one body to the another for many many years. Here the word Jnanavan is used which means the person who possess the knowledge. But how an ordinary person can become knowledgeable? Only by the Grace of Guru who is God himself will a person becomes knowledgeable. However the question arises as to how in the modern world one will get a Guru. Guru can be in any form. One can get the wisdom through going to a Guru or by reading the teachings of the Guru. In the modern world we are blessed with knowledge available through books, cassets, CDs, and other multi media through which one can get the knowledge. If one associate with ‘satsang’ like going to religious discourses etc., one will be in contact with knowledgable persons who can also impart the knowledge. Thus by the above one becomes knowledgeable and realizes that every thing is Vasudeva the all pervading God and he surrends himself to that all pervading God. Such a person is very very rare to find.
Chapter – 8
Verse – 6


yam yam vapi smaran bhavam
tyajaty ante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti Kaunteya
sada tad bhava bhavitah


yam yam va api – whichever may be smaran – remembering ; bhavam – nature
tyajati – gives up ; ante – at the end ; kalevaram – this body ;
tam tam eva - that very state eti – attains ; kaunteya – son of kunti
sada – always ; tad – that ; bhava – state of being ; bhavitah – engrossed

Meaning

“Oh Son of Kunti, whatever the state of being which a person engrossed with while quitting one’s body, that state he will attain without fail”

Explanation

In this verse it is said whatever the sate one got engrossed at the time of death he attains the same state. The thoughts and actions of one’s life influences a person to think in his last moment. So in order to remember the God at the time of death one has to constantly remember God throughout one’s life. It is said that Maharaja Bharata who had renounced from worldly life however got attached to a deer and thought about the deer at the time of death. In his next life he was born again as a deer. However due to his perseverance he was born again as Jada Bharatha and attained Mukti. The river while going throught its course if the land is black will get the colour of black like river Krishna, if it is red the river will be red in colour like the river Soan, if it is pure it will without colour like the Ganges. In a similar way our vasanas will determine our next birth. Hence every one should make effort to purify our soul through Gnana, Karma and Bhakthi margas by offering everything unto him.




Bibliography

Bhagavad Gita As It is – Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Bhagavad Gita – Sri Shanakara Acharya Commentary by Swami Ghambirananda
Bhagavad Gita – Swami Dayanada Saraswati
Bhagavad Gita – Swami Sivananda

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Guru Samarpanam - Issue#4


Dear all


The article contains :


1. Biography

2. Mahaperiyava Miracles

3. Voice of God


1. Biography


Birth – Youth


The holy birth of our Swamiji took place at Vizhuppuram in the Salivahana Sahaptam 1817 – year of Jaya, month of Vaikasi, 8th day [20th May, 1894]. He was born as the second son to his father who was working as Supervisor of Schools at Vizhuppuram. Having named his first son Ganapathi, Subramania Shastrigal named his second son after the residing deity of Swamigal, also their family deity (Kula deivam), the holy name of ‘Swaminathan’. Shastrigal had four sons and a daughter apart from our Swamigal. They were our Swamiji’s elder brother Ganapathi Shastri, younger siblings Lalithambal Ammaiyar, Sambamoorthy Shastri, Sadashiva Shastri alias Shivam, Krishnamurthy Shastri alias Kunju Shastri. Krishnamurthy Shastri learnt Rig Veda from the renowned Mayavaram Brahmashri Krishna Shastrigal who had served in the Mutt for a long time. He also had the honor of teaching Vedas to our present Peetathipathi Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal in His youth. Subramania Shastri passed away in his 74th year in July, 1929.

Subramania Shastri performed all samskaras due to by a father in the appropriate age including performing Upanayanam for Swaminathan in 1905, at Tindivanam. The 66th Acharya Swamigal of the Peetam had blessed and sent his prasadam for Swaminathan at the time of his upanayanam. Swaminathan also receievd gifts on the occasion from Shastri’s friend, the Zamindar of Soonampet, Diwan Bahadur Arunachala Mudaliar. Swaminathan’s brilliance prompted Shastrigal to home school him till the age of eight. He also trained the boy in music at a very young age.

Demonstrating the phrase that “proof of the crop can be seen in its infancy” [Vilayum Payir Mulayile Theriyum], Swaminathan was brilliant and was capable of grasping and remembering anything that he saw or heard just once. Mahalakshmi Ammal would teach all the hymns and the stotras that she knew to the kids. Swaminathan like to learn these stotrams very much but did not get the opportunity to learn Sanskrit at that time. When his father was stationed at Tindivanam, he was enrolled into second form at Arcot American Mission High School for the first time. Swaminathan was popular for his witticism, humor and especially epigrammatic speaking conveying multiple meaning in a sentence. His father him a favorite amongst the siblings and affectionately called him a name atfer a parrot.

Studies and Prizes

Swaminathan’s excelled in studies coming first in the class, first in all exams in every grade, won all trophies in every annual day celebrations. He even got the first prize in learning the Bible. All the Christian teachers treated him with affection. May be without realizing it they were proud of having a future Saint as their student in their school. When Swaminathan was studying in third form, the assistant superintendent of schools, Manjakuppam Singaravelu Mudaliar came to the school for inspection. He was attracted by the spark in Swaminathan’s face and was amazed at the way he answered all his questions without hesitation. He took Swaminathan with him in his rounds to higher classes, introduced Swaminathan to other teachers and students asked questions from the higher standard curriculum and was astounded when young Swaminathan answered every question. When he enquired about the boy and found that Swaminathan was the son of Subramania Shastri who worked for him, he called Shastri and told him that his son was going to become a genius one day. Subramania Shastri was very pleased at this comment and thanked him profusely. It did not occur to Subramania Shastri that his son was going to become the Jnana Guru of the whole world. He just thought that Swaminathan would one day hold a very high position in the Government.

2. Mahaperiyava Miracles

“Marikozhundu Miracle”

Devotees throng the place wherever Mahaperiyava camps. There were many frequenters who visit Mahaperiyava and he also knows them. One day there was an old lady who visited the Mutt to have darshan of Mahaperiyava. When her turn came she paid her obeisances to our Acharya. Mahaperiyava blessed that old lady and placed some fruits in a tray and asked her to take those fruits as prasadam. Along with fruits there was a small bit of Marikozhundu [small herb or shrub which is an aromatic herb known also called as Artemisia pallens or Dhavanam] in the tray. The Old lady saw and throwed out the small bit of Marikozhundu and took only the fruits with her. Our Paramacharya after seeing this told her, “why you have thrown that (marikozhundu) it will be useful to you please take it with you. The Old lady wondered for a minute as to why the Acharya is asking her to take it. However she instantly took that Marikhondu and ket it safely with her without even questioning it. After having darshan she left the Mutt and reached the Bustand where she catched a Bus to her place. Immediately after boarding the bus she felt tired and slept unconsicously. The lady who was sitting next was a mischivous lady and stole her purse which was kept inside her bag. When the conductor came and asked her to take the ticket she woke up only to find her purse missing and in the hands of the lady sitting next to her. The old laday started shouting that the purse belongs to her and she had stolen it the other lady told the conductor that it is her purse and even told the exact amount of money in the purse.

Now the conductor was confused as to whom the purse belongs. Suddenly there was a spark in the face of old lady and told the conductor that there is one more stuff inside the purse and if the purse belonged to lady asked her to inform what the stuff was. Now the lady who stolen her purse was shocked to hear this statement and could not utter anything. The Old lady then told the conductor that there is small piece of “Marikozhundu” inside per purse and asked the conductor to check this. When the conductor opened he noticed the small piece of Marikozhundu inside the purse. Then the lady who stolen the purse accepted her mistake. Upon the request of old day the other lady was pardoned.

The Old lady now thanked Mahaperiya for asking her not to miss the small piece of Marikhondu!


3. Voice of the God – Teachings & Discource of Mahaperiyava

"Vinayaka”

It is a distinctive feature of Tamilnadu that wherever one looks around, there are temples for Pillaiyar. In fact even without the need for a regular temple with canopies etc., our Lord Pillaiyar sits under a pipal tree with just skies above. A Pillaiyar temple on every street, Pillaiyar on river sides and under trees and so on. He has thus acquired all over Tamil Nadu a unique place not available to other gods and bestows His grace. The practice of calling Him affectionately as Pillaiyar is unique to Tamilnadu. He is the eldest son of Parvathi and Parameswara, the Mother and Father of the Universe. He is the one entitled to be first called Pillai (Son). Since it is not appropriate to call Him merely Pillai the respectable way of calling Him Pillaiyar is Tamilnadu’s distinction.

‘Kumaran’ means Pillai (son). All over Bharat the names ‘Kumaran’ Kumaraswamy refer to Subrahmanya, the younger son of Parvathi-Parameswara. In Tamil too we say Kumarak Kadavul. But He is not referred to as ‘Kumarar’. He is only called ‘Kumaran’. In order that the eldest son’s name should sound respectable we have named Him Pillaiyar. Vinayaka is the first son and He is Child-God. Yet, He was the beginning before everything else. Pranavam is the origin of everything. It is from Pranavam that the entire universe and all life appeared. Pillaiyar is the visual form of that Pranavam. If one looks at His elephant face with the curved trunk He will look exactly like Pranavam.

Even while being a child and looking a child, Pillaiyar, with the figure of Pranavam, is the first in uplifting His devotees. The example of the poetess Avvaiyar will alone do to show this. Avvaiyar was a great devotee of Ganapathi. Concentrating on Vinayaka of the form of Pranavam between her eye-brows and meditating on

Him, she sang in his praise the “Vinayagar Agawal” which contains the essence of Yoga Shastra. By regular devotional recitation of the same one can gain the highest wisdom [Jnana]. There is a story connected with Avvaiyar. Sundaramurthy Swamigal and Cheranman Perumal Nayanar started their journey to Kailas. They desired take Avvaiyar also with them. But she told them, “you may go as you please. Just to join you I will not hurry up with my puja. Puja to Vinayaka is to me Kailas. They left. Avvai completed her elaborate puja. Pillaiyar appeared before her, lifted her by his trunk and reached her to Kailas in one swing. Sundaramurthy and Cheranman Perumal reached Kailas only after Avvaiyar. There Cheranman Perumal sang the hymn ‘Thiru Kailaya Jnana Ula’. Arunagirinathar makes an oblique reference to this in Thiruppugazh.

Singing in praise of the Lord of Pazhani he refers to Pazhani as a place in Kongu territory ruled by Cheras. He thus relates Kumaraswamy to the event of Sundarar and Cheranman Perumal Nayanar having reached Kailash. However Pillaiyar the eldest is already connected with that event. He reached grand old lady Avvaiyar in a wink to Kailash. Vigneshwara is the Lord who grants great benedictions with effortless ease.




Bibliography


· Pujyasri Mahaswamy Divya Charitram – Sri Sambamoorthi Sastrigal, Sri Kuppuswamy

Iyer, Sollin Selvan “P.N. Parasuraman”
· Kanchimahanin Karunai Nizhalil – Ananda Vikadan Publications
· Voice of God – Volume – 1 – Kanchi Mahaswami Peetarohana Shatabdi Trust