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Srimadh Bhagavath GitA

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Sun Aug 29 1999 - 05:17:25 PDT

Dear Sri KrishNa BhakthAs:

Next week is GokulAshtami (September 2).
In preparation for it , I am thinking of
two of the most important incidents of 
Sri krishNAvathAram.

One is His GithOpadEsam and the other is 
His VivAha MahOthsavam with Sri RukmiNI 
Piratti , who is SaakshAth MahA lakshmi .

Here is the article on Sri GithA .
We are fortunate to have experts on
the GithOpanishad in our group like 
Sri KrishNa KalalE . This posting is 
more at an introductory level.
Sri KrishNArpaNam ,
Oppiliappan Sannidhi V.Sadagopan  

AN INTRODUCTION TO SRI BHAGAVATH GITA
**************************************
This introduction to GitA will cover the following 
Five topics: (1) What is GitA?(2) The context of
GithOpadEsam (3)Sri VaishNavite commentaries on 
Gita (4)Quintessence of GitA and (5)GitA MahAthmyam. 

WHAT IS GITA ?
*************
Srimath Bhagavath GitA is nested in the heart of
MahA BhAratham , the great Indian epic describing 
the saga of war between the PaaNDavAs and the KauravAs . 
Lord KrishNA agreed to serve as the charioteer(Saarathy )
to His friend , ArjunA a.k.a Parthan and thus acquired 
the name , ParthasArathy .

The GitA is structured as a conversation that took 
place between the great warrior , ArjunA and the Lord
of the Universe , Sri KrishNA in the middle of 
the battle field of KurukshEthram . The entire GitA 
is set up by Sage VyAsA as the narration of that 
conversation by SanjayA to the blind patriarch king
of KauravA clan , DhrithirAshtran ,whose sons 
were fighting the righteous PaaNdavAs.

THE GITHOPADESAM 
*****************
At the beginning of the battle ,ArjunA asked 
Sri KrishNA to position his chariot betwen 
the two opposing armies so that he can have 
a good look at the assembled warriors fighting
on behalf of his evil-minded cousin , DuryOdhanA , 
the son of the blind king , DhrithirAshtrA .
ArjunA took a good look and recognized that 
his dear kinsmen and teachers were the members
of the army of DuryOdhanA. 

ArjunA was overcome with deep emotion and threw 
aside his bow and arrows in a state of despondency 
over killing his kith and kin as well as his 
worshipful elders and AchAryAs.Arjuna declared
that he did not have the heart to fight to win 
the war.He begged the Lord to show him the right path
out of his dilemma: " with my heart stricken by 
the fault of the weak compassion ,with my mind 
perplexed about my duty , I request You to say
for certain what is good for me .I am Your disciple .
Teach me who has taken refuge in You (SishyasthEham 
saadhi maam thvAm prapannam )".

Arjuna"s conflicts are our own conflicts 
and dilemmas that we experience every
day. The most compassionate Lord, Sri ParthasArathy
took on the role of GitAchAryan and used ArjunA as 
VyAjam (excuse) to bless us all with His upadEsam ,
which is the essence of all SaasthrAs ( Sarva 
Saasthramayee). The upadEsam performed by our Lord at
KurukshEthram is timeless and will always have 
enduring value for all mankind. 

COMMENTARIES ON GITAA
**********************

Many scholars and AchAryAs have commented on GitA.
The earliest commentary is by sage BodhAyanA , 
who lived 1,000 years before Adhi SankarA . BodhAyanA 
is the same sage , who wrote a vrutthi(commentary) for
BadarAyaNA's Brahma Soothrams , which was used by 
AchArya RaamAnujA to bless us with his Sri BhAshyam .
For the Sri VaishNava sampradhAyam , the commentaries of
GitA by AlavandhAr (GitArtha Sangraham ) , AchArya 
RaamAnujA ( Sri GitA BhAshyam )and Swami Desikan 
(GithArtha Sangraha RakshA and Gita BhAshya-
VyAkhyAna Tatparya Chandhrika) are the most important 
source texts .Swami Desikan's Taatparya ChandhrikA
is an elaborate commentary on Sri RaamAnujA's GitA
Bhaashyam. The second Jeeyar of Ahobila Matam 
by the name of HH NaarAyaNa Muni has also 
blessed us with GithArtha Sangraha VibhAgA .

QUINTESSENCE OF GITAA
**********************

The eighteen chapters of GitA are subdivided into
three hexads (groups of Six).The first two hexads 
deal with the topics of Jeevan , Prakruthi ,Isvaran 
and communion through devotion .In the final hexad 
(13th to 18th chapters), the above three of Tatthvams
( Jeevan , Prakruthi and Isvaran )are examined in
greater detail along with the impact of GuNAs of
Prakruthi on the Jeevan ; the upadesam of the Lord 
concludes on a majestic note , where He asserts 
the supermacy of Bhakthi to Him and Self-surrender 
(Prapatthi)to Him as the two unfailing ways to Moksham .
he famous charama slOkam (Chapter 18.66)houses 
our Lord's most assuring UpadEsam :" Completely 
abandoning al DharmAs , seek Me alone as refuge.
I will free you from all sins.Do not grieve'.

Swami Desikan focused on this central doctrine of
Sri VaishNavam in many of his Sri Sookthis.Swami
explained to us clearly that Prapatthi means 
the unconditioned acceptance of one's utter 
helplessness , seeking refuge in Sriman NaarAyaNan 
and accepting the divine couple as one's means 
and the end .Swami Desikan taught us that Prapatthi
Yogam is the most direct and simple path for Moksham
compared to Bhakthi Yogam and that every one without  
any limitation can practise it.Prapatthi requires absolute
trust and faith (mahA visvAsam )in Sriman NaarAyaNan as 
the means and the end for Moksha siddhi .

THE GITAA MAHAATHMYAM
**********************

In Varaaha PurANam , Lord Aadhi VarAhan explains 
the greatness of GitA through 22 slOkAs.The meaning 
of selected slOkams celebrating the glory of GitA are:
" If one devotes himself to the constant practice of
GitA , even though he be restrained by prArabhdha
KarmA , he will not be tainted by (new) karmAs
No evil however great can affect him, who mediates 
on the GitA.He is like the lotus leaf untouched by
the water... Where there is the book of GitA , where 
its study is proceeded with, there are present all 
the holy places , there verily , are PrayAg and 
the rest. There also are all the DevAs, Rishis,Yogis, 
the GopAs , the Gopis with NaradhA , Uddhavar and 
the whole train of comrades... Where the GitA is read ,
forthwith comes help. Where the GitA is discussed ,
recited,taught or heard on earth , there,beyond a
doubt , do I myself unfailingly reside...GitA is my 
chief abode.Standing on the wisdom of the GitA , 
I maintain the three worlds.The GitA is my supreme
knowledge... That man, who recites the eighteen 
chapters of GitA daily attains the perfecton of
knowledge and thus reaches My supreme abode ,
Sri Vaikuntam.

For us , who may not find the time or have the energy 
to recite all the 700 slOkmas of GitA daily , the reading of 
and reflection on the deep meanings of Sri KrishNA's 
charama slOkam (Chapter 18.66) alone would yield immense
peace of mind in this world .The performance of Prapatthi
through a SadAchAryan would bless us all with residence in
the Lord's supreme abode and engage in kaimkaryam for
the divine couple there along with the nithya sooris .

Sri KrishNArpaNam asthu
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan