On the auspicious occasion of Sri Purandara Dasa Aradhana (Pushya Bahula Amavasya – 23 January 2012), I am uploading five compositions of the greatest ever Haridasa, in Kannada and English scripts.
The 4th chapter of the Srimad Bhagavadgita has been uploaded at the mantras page. It is available in the Kannada, Devanagari and English scripts.
In this chapter, Lord Krishna once again explains to the Arjuna the need for renouncing the fruits of action. He also explains Karma, Akarma and Vikarma. He also details the various types of yajnas people perform in the world and the importance and position of knowledge in attaining Him.
Wishing everyone a very happy Krishna Jayanti!
You can download the Kannada and Devanagari transliteration of the Sri Krishna Stotram from the mantras page.
I have uploaded the Kannada, Devanagari and English transliteration of the third chapter of Srimad Bhagavadgita at the Mantras page.
In this chapter, Arjuna asks the Lord which of the two, out of Karma and Jnana (knowledge) is the right path to undertake. Krishna’s explanation of the importance of following one’s Varnochita maarga, the path according to one’s Varna is beautiful.
Lord Krishna explains that it is impossible to stay without performing any Karma at all and even those on the path of Jnana have to do a little Karma at least.
Lord Krishna further explains that it is much better to perform the Dharma according to one’s own Varna rather than take a path not destined for ourselves.
Lord Krishna highlights the fact that great Kings like Janaka have attained salvation through Karma Maarga itself.
Today is Gita Jayanti, the Shukla Ekadashi of Margashira month, when it is traditionally believed that Lord Krishna narrated the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna (and the rest of us). On this ocassion, I am uploading the transliteration of the Gita Mahaatmyam in Kannada, Devanagari and English scripts. These can also be downloaded from the mantras page under the “Srimad Bhagavadgita” section.
The Gita Mahaatmyam describes the greatness of the Bhagavadgita and is revealed by Lord Vishnu himself to Bhudevi. It is part of the Varaha Purana. Some salient points about the Gita mentioned in this stotra are as follows
- One who indulges in regularly chanting the Gita is freed from the bondage of Karma and all his sins are washed away
- The place where the Gita resides (as a book) and is regularly chanted is equal to a pilgrim place
- Lord Krishna himself resides in the place where Gita is chanted regularly
- Chanting the Gita daily results in salvation
- If one has a problem chanting all the 18 chapters daily, one should attempt chanting as much as possible (9 chapters, 6, 3 or 1 chapter – or at the least a few shlokas). Each of these attempts has proportional, but still immense, benefits!
- Even a big sinner can obtain Vaikunta if he develops interest in the Gita, understands it and chants it
- One has to chant the Gita Mahaatmyam after one finishes reading the entire Gita
|| Sri Krishnaarpanamastu ||
Today, the 13th of August is celebrated as Sri Krishna Janma Ashtami, as per the lunar calendar. Under this system, Lord Krishna’s birthday is celebrated on the 8th day of the second half (Krishna Paksha) of Shravana Masa.
Many people, including yours truly, follow the Solar calendar in celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna, which is called as Krishna Jayanti. This year, Sri Krishna Jayanti falls on September. As per Jayanti Nirnaya written by Srimadacharya, Krishna Jayanti is to be celebrated on Ashtami day when Rohini nakshatra occurs at midnight. The same combination occurs on September 11.
Anyways, it is just another opportunity for prayer to Lord Krishna. May HE bless us all!
The fact that “Dharma” is an extremely subjective issue is well known. In any given situation, the answer to “What is the right thing to say/do?” is tricky to determine. Having the right principles and firm belief in those principles is what comes handy in situations requiring a finer interpretation of Dharma.
In the Mahabharata, Lord Bhimasena is a follower of the Bhagavata Dharma. One of the principles of this route is complete surrender to the Supreme Lord Vishnu. For the followers of this path, whatever Lord Vishnu states constitutes Dharma. Bhimasena demonstrates this on numerous occasions. One such occasion was the slaying of Dronacharya.
On the 15th day of the great war, when Acharya Drona was staging an impressive battle destroying thousands of Pandavas, Lord Krishna decides that the time to end Drona has come. He instructs the Pandavas to adopt a seemingly incorrect method to kill Drona. He advises them to tell Drona that Ashwathama has been slain. This, he says, will make Drona lay down his arms. The reaction of the Pandavas clearly reflects the extent to which they follow Dharma. I reproduce the below paragraph from Ganguly’s translation of the Mahabharata.
“Beholding the sons of Kunti afflicted with the shafts of Drona and inspired with fear, Kesava, endued with great intelligence and, devoted to their welfare, addressed Arjuna and said, ‘This foremost of all bowmen is incapable of being ever vanquished by force in battle, by the very gods with Vasava at their head. When, however, he lays aside his weapons, he becomes capable of being slain on the field even by human beings. Casting aside virtue, ye sons of Pandu, adopt now some contrivance for gaining the victory, so that Drona of the golden car may not slay us all in battle. Upon the full of (his son) Aswatthaman he will cease to fight, I think. Let sonic man, therefore, tell him that Aswatthaman, hath been slain in battle.’ This advice, however, O kin was not approved by Kunti’s son, Dhananjaya. Others approved of it. But Yudhishthira accepted it with great difficulty. Then the mighty-armed Bhima, O king, slew with a mace a foe-crushing, terrible and huge elephant named Aswatthaman, of his own army, belonging to Indravarman, the chief of the Malavas. Approaching Drona then in that battle with some bashfulness Bhimasena began to exclaim aloud, ‘Aswatthaman hath been slain.‘ That elephant named Aswatthaman having been thus slain, Bhima spoke of Aswatthaman’s slaughter…”
All the Pandavas know very well that Krishna is the Supreme Lord himself. Still, Arjuna outrightly rejects the advice. Arjuna’s action is even more difficult to comprehend because just 15 days earlier, he listens to the Gita and swears that he would completely follow Krishna’s instructions (Bhagavadgita – Chapter 18 – Shloka 73). Clearly, this constituted a complete deviation from Dharma. Yudhishtira only hesitatingly accepts to do this.
Bhimasena, on the other hand, proceeds to kill an elephant named Ashwathama and immediately informs Drona that Ashwathama has been killed. Drona, expectedly does not believe him because he knows that Bhimasena always does what Krishna asks him to do. So, he questions Yudhishthira. According to me, Bhimasena’s anticipates this and therefore kills the elephant. Otherwise, if Drona would accept his word itself, Bhimasena wouldn’t have even blinked to say the same without even bothering to kill the elephant.
Yudhisthira, with great difficulty, tells Drona that Ashwathama has died. He whispers at the end that it was an elephant that had died (“Ashwathamo hatha kunjaraha”). The chariot of Yudhisthira, which always stayed a few inches above the ground, comes down after this “Adharma”. Outwardly, it would appear that the chariot came down because of the lie. But, the real reason is that Yudhisthira did not follow the words of Krishna, which was Adharma and hence the chariot came down.
One of the names of Vishnu in the Vishnu Sahasranama is Dharma (“Dharmo dharmaviduttamaha….”). The Dharma in the world is governed by Krishna. What he says is Dharma. Hence, Yudhisthira not following Krishna’s words is very much against Dharma.
There is one more reason why Yudhishthira did a grave mistake. Just before the commencement of the war, on the battlefield, the Pandavas approach Bhishma and Drona. They seek their blessings and ask them how they can be slain. At that time, Drona clearly tells them (link – Page 101) that they would need to make him give up his arms in order to kill him. In effect, Drona permits them to do whatever is necessary to make him give up arms. So, Krishna was only advising them to follow the option provided by Drona. Even after this, Yudhisthira refuses to comply!
In the Karna Parva of the Mahabharata, a very interesting incident takes place on the 17th day, just prior to the slaying of Karna by Arjuna. This particular episode has some great lessons that are valid even today.
Karna and Yudhishtira enter into a duel. Karna defeats Yudhishtira very badly and in fact the Pandava suffers serious injuries. He is carried back to the camp and is made to rest and recover there. Arjuna after fighting valiantly with the Samsaptakas approaches Bhimasena and enquires about Yudhishtira. Bhimasena tells him about how the King was badly injured fighting Karna. Arjuna then requests Bhimasena to head back to the camp and check on the older brother’s health. Bhimasena refuses to do this. He says that he will never return from the battlefield leaving a fight in-between. He instructs Arjuna to check on Yudhishtira and calmly assures him that the Samsaptakas will be taken care of!
Heeding to Bhimasena’s advise, Arjuna returns to the camp with Lord Krishna and approaches Yudhishtira. Being very weak on account of the injuries and seeing Arjuna near him, Yudhishtira mistakenly assumes that Karna has been killed and Arjuna has returned to give him that news. Insult and injury by Karna makes Yudhishtira’s anger towards him very acute. Arjuna replies that he had arrived there only to check on him and that he will return back and kill Karna. This news disappoints Yudhishtira a lot and he resorts to berating Arjuna. Yudhishtira vents out all his frustration at Arjuna and accuses him of deserting Bhimasena and returning from the battlefield.
In the heat of the moment, Yudhishtira asks Arjuna to “give up the Gandiva” and says that he will ask Bhimasena or Lord Krishna to kill Karna. This statement makes Arjuna extremely furious. He draws his sword and rushes towards his brother. Krishna stops him and asks him the reason for drawing the sword. Arjuna replies that he has a secret vow that anyone who asks him to give up his bow shall be slain by him. In those days, Kshatriyas had the habit of making a secret vow at the time of completion of their training and they were expected to keep the vow at any cost. Yudhishtira, in fact, had a vow of his own that he would never refuse an invitation for a game of dice. No wonder he ended up losing his entire world, and twice at that. Similarly, Bhimasena had a vow that he would kill the person who calls him moustache-less (which was a symbol of manhood then).
Arjuna tells Krishna that he had to stick to his vow at any cost and hence he would kill Yudhishtira. Krishna tells him that he is making a mistake with such senseless insistence and reminds him of his bigger Dharma – that of winning the war. He tells Arjuna that the right, and only, way to “kill” an elder was to use harsh words and berate the elder. He instructs Arjuna to do the same against Yudhishtira. Arjuna complies and showers his choicest abuses on Yudhishtira. In his outburst, he keeps telling his brother how only Bhimasena has the right to snub him (Arjuna) and not Yudhishtira. He calls Yudhishtira incapable.
Upon completing his outburst, he draws his sword out once again. A seemingly surprised Krishna asks him the reason for this repeat act. Arjuna tells him that he can no longer live after having abused his beloved brother in this manner. Krishna once again counsels him and reminds him that suicide is not appropriate for any human being as the body is the “Kshetra” where the “Sadhana” of the soul can take place. Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha can be achieved only by utilizing the body and therefore self-destruction of one’s body is strictly prohibited. Krishna then provides a way out for Arjuna to atone for the sin. He tells him that self-praise is equivalent to suicide and so he should praise himself from the core of his heart.
Arjuna follows Krishna’s advice (once again!) and indulges in heavy self-praise for a while. He goes on about how powerful he is and how many kings and kingdoms were defeated by him. Thus, Arjuna “kills” himself.
At the end, Yudhishtira who is very down because of Arjuna’s abuses proceeds to kill himself. Krishna stops him and explains the whole situation. Arjuna falls at his brother’s feet and begs for pardon. Yudhishtira excuses him and both of them embrace each other.
Thus, Arjuna “kills” Yudhishtira and also commits “suicide” during the war.
Relating this incident and Krishna’s message to our own lives, it is startling that murder and suicide are the two things we repeatedly commit in our lives, almost on a daily basis. Berating elders and self-praise is among the most prevalent habits in society today. We do not even realize the extent of the evil in both these behaviors.
I have uploaded the Kannada transliteration of Dashavatara Stotra by Sri Vadiraja Swamy at my mantras page. Just like all his other compositions, this one is a pleasure to recite. Even for someone like me who is a novice with music, I find his compositions very rhythmic!
Along with this, I have uploaded two other stotras at the same page.
- Sri Krishna Dvadasha Nama Stotra – from the Aranya parva of Mahabharata
- Avatara Traya Stotra – By Sri Vadiraja Swamy
Tomorrow is Sri Krishna Janmashtami. A very important festival for all Vaishnavas throughout the world. There are several ways in which this festival is celebrated. Madhvas celebrate it by fasting the whole day and offering Arghya (oblations) to Krishna and Rukmini late evening. Special Pujas are also held.
On this ocassion, I am uploading the kannada version of “Ashta Mahishi Yukta Krishna Stotram” to my mantras page. This is a very unique stotra composed by Sri Vadiraja Swamy. Lord Krishna is glorified along with the praise and description of his Ashta Mahishis or eight queens. These eight i.e. Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Kalindi, Nila, Mitravrinda, Bhadra and Lakshana were the main wives of Lord Krishna during his avatar. While Rukmini and Satyabhama were avatars of Lakshmi, the rest had a partial “avesha” or amsha of Lakshmi.