Geetha Saram 18-45 to 18-49..

..sloha 18-45..Boo loha vaikundatm..Nammalwar, in his Tiruvaimozhi [10.9], gives a running commentary of an atman crossing various stages! All these, he does, sitting under the tamarind tree at Azhvar Tirunagari! Using this description of Alwar and Chandokya, Brihadaranya and Kata Upanishads, we can find the path given below. Alwar says that as an atman journeys to Vaikuntam, oceans wave bidding farewell with joy. Devas up in the sky are welcoming the atman. Clouds roar to blow welcome signal. As the atman travels, at every stage atman is accorded welcome and respected..1. Archit – This is the first stage. Archit means light. Atman travels from darkness in this world to brightness.
2. Day – This is not indicative of time, but the god representing that stage. Accepting their welcome, atman travels further.
3. Shukla Paksh – Representing the brighter portion of Moon, from Amavasya [New moon] to Pournami [Full moon].
4. Uttharayana – Six months from Tamil month Thai to Aadi.
5. Samvatsaram – Stage representing year.
6. Vayu lok – Place of wind.
7. Surya mandalam.
8. Chandra mandalam. [This may look reverse of our science learnt in schools. But this is the order mentioned in Upanishads]
9. Vidyut lok – stage of lightning. The god here Amanava, will accompany the atman and guide to Vaikuntam.
10. Varuna lok.
11. Indra lok.
12. Satya lok of lord Brahma.
Then comes Moola prakruti or primordial cause. It is a a tall, wide and long mass. Crossing this, atman reaches Viraja river. After bathing in this river atman enters Vaikuntam. This path is called Archiradi marg. ‘Nachapunar avartate‘ – those travelling in this route never return [to samsaram..

sve sve karmaṇy abhirataḥ saṃsiddhiṃ labhate naraḥ
svakarmanirataḥ siddhiṃ yathā vindati tac chṛṇu ..

Tac chrnu = listen to that [carefully]. Sve sve = each of themselves, karmany = in their karmas, abhirata = involved, nara = [those born as] humans, samsiddhi = result of sublime level [indicates Moksham or Vaikuntam], labhate = is attained. Sva = [in one’s] own, karma = duties, nirata = involved, yata = how, siddhim = sublime result [Vaikuntam], vindati = attains…

Ramanuja’s Commentary  for sloha 18-45..Every human achieves samsiddham or self-realisation by perfectly executing their own natural prescribed duty according to qualification as ordained by Vedic scriptures. How this is accomplished is explained next by Lord Krishna.

 ..sloha 18-46..Kaveri virajaseyam vaikuntam ranga mandiram |
sa vasudevo rangesa: pratyaksha paramampadam ||
In this sloka on the glory of Srirangam, similarities between Srirangam and Vaikuntam are shown. Kaveri is Viraja. Srirangam is Vaikuntam. Sri Ranganatha is Sri Para Vasudeva. Viraja river flows near Vaikuntam. Viraja means without rajas [and tamas] qualities. There is also a pushkarini Airamvadam [ஐரம்வதம்]. An atman reaching Vaikuntam, has to take bath in this river and go to Vaikuntam..fter dip in Viraja all impurities are cleared and association with prakruti is removed. This side of Viraja river in which moola prakruti and all worlds [including ours] are there, is called prakruti mandalam. The other side of Viraja, where Vaikuntam is there, is called Aprakruta mandalam..When atman raises from Viraja river after a bath, Amanava [who has been accompanying from Vidyut lok], helps to cross over to the other side of Viraja river. There is a pasuram at the end in Upadesa Rathnamalai. Swami Manavala Mamunigal is the last of Sri Vaishnava Acharyas. In this pasuram, it is said that he who is touched by the Divine feet of Swami Manavala Mamunigal, is certain to be helped by Amanava, and cross Viraja river. During that instant, the atman gets another body. This body will be in contrast with all the bodies this atman resided in the infinite births in samsaram. It will be an aprakruta body. This body is not made of the pancha bhoota or the five great elements [space, air, fire, water and earth]; but is composed of suddha satvam or pure satva quaity matter, uncontaminated by rajas and tamas..

yataḥ pravṛttir bhūtānāṃ yena sarvam idaṃ tatam
svakarmaṇā tam abhyarcya siddhiṃ vindati mānavaḥ

Manava = human, siddhim vindati = attains result [Vaikuntam], sva karmana = by doing one’s own duty, tam = I [Supreme Lord Sri Krishna] am, abhyarca = well worshiped…Bhutanam = all living beings, yata pravrttir = from Whom originate, sarvam idam = all these are, yena tatam = well pervaded by Whom [without exception]…

Ramanuja’s Commentary  for sloha 18-46..It is natural that those spiritually intelligent human beings who worship the source of their very existence, Lord Krishna who is the root, the foundation from whence all creation originates and by whom all existence is pervaded will certainly receive His grace and achieve the perfection of self-realisation. The Supreme Lord’s position has already been established in chapter 7, verses 6 and 7 where Lord Krishna confirms: He alone is the origin of all as well as the demise of all. There is nothing superior to Lord Krishna for all creation depends upon Him. In chapter 9, verse 4 He states: In an unperceivable manner He pervades all existence yet everything is in Him but He is not in it. In chapter 9, verse 10 He states: That His external energy manifests all moving and stationary jivas or embodied beings according to His direction and in chapter 10, verse 8 He reveals: That every aspect of creation, maintenance and existence as well as the Vedic scriptures has Him alone as the sole source. Such examples are unique to Lord Krishna exclusively and unprecedented.

 ..sloha 18-47..Vaikunta is derived from kuti – meaning obstacles. Nikata means removal of those obstacles..It has other names like Parama Padam – most superior place with nothing else above it, Parama Akasam  – very much higher sky, and Parama Vyoma , etc. All these are Sanskrit names. There are Tamil names also for Sri Vaikuntam Viinulagu [விண்ணுலகு], Ponnulagu [பொன்னுலகு], Tirunaadu [திருநாடு], Vaikundham [வைகுந்தம்], Telivisumbu Tirunaadu [தெள்விசும்பு திருநாடு], Nalamandhamilladhor Naadu [நலமந்தம் இல்லதோர் நாடு], Maaga vaikundham [மாக வைகுந்தம்], etc. All Alwars have praised this place in 73 pasurams..vaikunda vasal..During Pagal Patthu the procession starts around 6 A.M; while during Irappatthu, it starts around 11 A.M. During that festivel, the entire city of Srirangam will wear festive look. The festival is also called Periya Tirunaal [பெரிய திரு நாள்] in Tamil. On the first day of Irappatthu, the doors of this Vaikunta vaasal, are opened. In fact, the Lord enacts a drama for opening..

śreyān svadharmo viguṇaḥ paradharmot svanuṣṭhitāt
svabhāvaniyataṃ karma kurvan nāpnoti kilbiṣam

..Viguna = imperfectly did, svadharma = one’s own duty, sreyan = is very superior. So Karma yoga even if not done perfectly is praiseworthy. It is superior to, sva anushtitat = performing perfectly, paradharmot = another person’s duty, like Gyana yoga..Svabhavaniyatam karma = duties [we are] accustomed to, kurvan = do, na apnoti = does not attain, kilmisam = sufferings [samsaram]; or na kilmisam = without any sufferings, apnoti = attains [Vaikuntam,,

Ramanuja’s Commentary 

To adhere to one’s own natural path of dharma or righteousness is what is being emphasised by Lord Krishna here. It is not as if one must follow the path of another. Everyone is entitled to perform those activities that are appropriate for their rank and station in life in constituting their propitiation to the Supreme Lord; but one must eliminate all sense of doership and desire for rewards. Such karma yoga or actions facilitating communion with the Supreme absolute expressed in visible activities which conform to the inherent nature of the individual manifest easily and naturally. Thus karma yoga performed in this manner is factually one’s own path of dharma albeit destitute of merit. By another’s dharma is meant jnana yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme absolute by knowledge which depending on time and circumstance may or may not be helpful. Perfection in jnana yoga demands the consistent ability to completely control the mind and conquer the senses which is a lifetime endeavour and fraught with danger of lapses in constancy. So karma yoga is more fortuitous as the risks are minimal and chances for succeeding are greater even though jnana yoga is on a superior platform. A jiva or embodied being ensconced in a physical body with an appropriate mind and senses finds it normal to act in accordance with the natural impulses instigated by the senses. This is karma yoga and fulfilling activities in this manner if they do not contradict the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures or disregard the prohibitions thereof incur no sin, for actions speak for themselves. Whereas in jnana yoga once control of the mind and mastery of the senses has been achieved they must be kept controlled and mastered otherwise one will fall down from their position and subjected again to mundane desires and the influence of objects the senses which propels one to sin and locks one in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. So by clearly elucidating the fact that karma yoga is indeed safer and more sure of success, Lord Krishna further corroborates what He previously had promulgated in chapter three.

 ..sloha 18-48..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.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…We will see an important sloka of Swami Nadadur Ammal in Paratvadi Panchakam ..
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..

sahajaṃ karma kaunteya sadoṣam api na tyajet
sarvārambhā hi doṣeṇa dhūmenāgnir ivāvṛtāḥ

..Kaunteya = Son of Kunti [Arjuna], sahajam karma = habituated Karma yoga or associated from birth Karma yoga..Sa dosam api = even if [Karma yoga has] disadvantage..Na tyajet = [even with that disadvantage] never abandon [Karma yoga]…Karma yoga and Gyana yogaKarma 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.

Ramanuja’s Commentary  for sloha 18-48..The conclusion Lord Krishna gives for this subject is that actions that are initiated naturally and easily executed and are beset with no difficulties should be done even if there may be some fault or defect. The inner purport is that even those situated in jnana yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme absolute by knowledge, they too should adopt the path of karma yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme absolute by actions. All endeavours in the material world are accompanied by some sort of fault or defect and all living beings must perform actions to exist but the following of one’s own natural path is not in the least difficult or beset with unpredictable dangers. Whereas the standard of jnana yoga being higher the possibility of mistake and the chance of defect is greater as well as the demerit incurred. So karma yoga is encouraged.

 ..sloha 18-49..Tirumamani Mantapam [திரு மா மணி மண்டபம்] in Srirangam.
Koormadin divya lokam tadanu manimayam mantapam tatra sesham
tasmin dharmadi peetham tad upari kamalam chamara grahineescha”
vishnumdevim vibhusha ayudhaganam uragam paduke vainateyam
senesam dwrapalan kumudamuga ganan vishnubhaktam prapadye ||
From this sloka we can imagine how the Lord is gracing at Paramapadam..In Tirumamani Mantapam, the Lord is at the center. Here Two important festivals take place. First, on Vaikunta Ekadasi day, the Lord graces Lakhs of people from here. The Second is in the same festival on Seventh day, Tirukaitthala sevai [திருக் கைத்தல சேவை].
..Such a great Person, the Lord is, graces for our benefit on the Seventh day of the festival. On Tenth day of the festival [during Irappatthu], Nammalwar Moksham or Nammalwar Tiruvadi thozhudal [ஆழ்வார் மோக்ஷம்/ நம்மாழ்வார் திருவடி தொழுதல்].
..The Lord will hold this atman‘s hands and place him on His lap and stroking the head fondly, would enquire, who he was. This new Muktatman would reply ‘aham brahmasmi‘! The Lord is his atman and he is body of the Lord. He has come to serve the Lord. The Lord embraces this atman. The Lord then orders this atman to serve along with Billions of Muktatman and Nityasooris. The atman is immersed in that blissful atmosphere! This is enacted in this Alwar Moksham. Nammalwar is covered by heaps of Tulasi leaves. After sometime, the Alwar is taken out of Tulasi leaves, in accordance with our prayers to release the Alwar for the benefit of Jeevatman in samsaram! This is called Vaikunta Prapti..

asaktabuddhiḥ sarvatra jitātmā vigataspṛhaḥ
naiṣkarmyasiddhiṃ paramāṃ saṃnyāsenādhigacchati

..He who does Karma yoga with the Three Tyagas – kartrutva buddhi tyaga, mamata tyaga and phala tyaga -, attains samsiddhi. Sarvatra = in the karmas being done and in the results of the karma, asaktabuddhi = unattached intellect, jitatma = conquering mind, vigatasprha = desireless, samnysena = performing Karma yoga [with the Three tyagas], paramam = most superior, niskarmya siddhi = result of Gyana yoga..Adhigacchadi = attains..

Ramanuja’s Commentary  for sloha 18-49..Lord Krishna explains that when buddhi or spiritual intelligence is unfettered meaning unattached to desires and rewards and the mind is controlled and senses conquered, with no conceptions of doership, established in renunciation even while performing prescribed Vedic activities one attains the supreme serene state of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord by dhyana or meditation in communion with Him internally as well as propitiation to Him with one’s physical body externally such as japa or chanting His divine, holy names in ecstasy and promulgating His glories everywhere one goes throughout creation. By the wonderfulness of bhakti the mind and senses are already controlled and conquered quite easily and have surpassed the limits of jnana yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord by knowledge.

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