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The Bhagavadgita and Padmapurana
Avvai S.N. Radhakrishnan
The Mantrasaara advises us to chant shloka 7 of Chapter XII to be rid of debt. According to the shloka:
People who fix their mind on me, I take them across the ocean of birth and death.
The wife of a Brahmin well-versed in the Vedas had several secret lovers. One night she mistook a leopard for her lover. “Why have you come in the form of a leopard?” she asked him. He replied that he had been performing yajnas for unworthy people and had eaten sinful food. Bitten by a dog, he met his end and was reborn as a leopard. He further added, “I now repent all the misdeeds of my previous birth and do not harm chaste women and ascetics. You are, however, a loose woman. Therefore I shall kill you.” Saying thus, the leopard killed her and ate her up. He was reborn and still continued his misdeeds. Finally, when he accidently listened to someone chanting the thirteenth chapter of the Gita at a temple, he attained Mukti. The Padmapurana extols the greatness of this chapter thus.
The Mantrasaara advises us to chant shloka 13 of Chapter XIII for one’s wishes to be fulfilled. According to the shloka:
The Brahman occurs everywhere, with its limbs, eyes, heads, faces and ears pervading everything.
A man was reborn as a rabbit for killing his unfaithful wife. His wife was born as a hound in a king’s palace. On the king’s command, the hunting dog pounced upon this rabbit. The rabbit escaped the clutches of the dog and fell into a waterhole. The dog jumped after it. Both emerged with divine forms and attained mukti. This was because the wise man in the hermitage used to recite the fourteenth chapter of the Gita everyday. The Padmapurana thus extols the virtue of Chapter 14.
The Mantrasaara advises us to chant shloka 14 of Chapter XIV to know the time of one’s death. According to the shloka:
He who dies while the Sattva guna is predominant, attains the perfect world inhabited by those who have realized the soul.
The commander of a king’s army plotted to kill the king, take over the kingdom and enjoy its pleasure with his wife and children. But he died of cholera and was reborn as a horse in the same king’s stables. The horse attained mukti by listening to the king, who read some parts of the fifteenth chapter of the Gita written on a palm leaf, borne to him by the wind. The Padmapurana thus extols the virtue of Chapter 15.
The Mantrasaara advises us to chant shloka 14 of Chapter XV to be rid of stomach ailments. According to the shloka:
I am the fire of digestion called vaishvanara, and with the help of the incoming and outgoing breath, I aid the process of digesting four kinds of food. (The four kinds of food are Bhakshyam (food that requires grinding with the teeth), bhojyam (food that is chewed), lehyam (food that is licked and eaten) and soshyam (food that is sipped).)
The royal elephant of the kingdom of Kurjara could not be controlled by anyone and went on a rampage on the streets. It encountered a Brahmin who came reciting the sixteenth chapter of the Gita, having just had his ritual bath. The elephant immediately became docile. The king who heard of this also took to reciting the sixteenth chapter and attained Mukti (liberation from birth.) The Padmapurana thus extols the virtue of Chapter XVI.
The Mantrasaara advises us to chant shloka 21 of Chapter XVI to emerge victorious over our enemies. According to the shloka:
Desire, anger and greed are the three gateways to hell. They are inimical to the soul. Therefore one must be rid of them.
The Padmapurana story that extols the virtue of the seventeenth chapter of the Gita narrates the incident of the royal elephant that had gone on a rampage. One of the king’s retainers who had tried to control the elephant was trampled upon, and was reborn as an elephant. The king of Malwa bought this elephant. This elephant fell sick and failed to respond to any treatment. At the behest of the elephant, the king asked a Brahmin who recited the seventeenth chapter of the Gita to sprinkle the holy water on the elephant and helped it to attain Mukti. The Padmapurana thus extols the virtue of Chapter XVII of the Gita. The Mantrasaara advises us to chant shloka 17 of Chapter XVII to overcome fear of one’s enemies. According to the shloka:
The acts of one who sincerely performs his duty (in thought, word and action), solely for God’s glory, regardless of the fruits, is called sattvika.
The eighteenth chapter of the Gita contains the essence of all shastras. The root of viveka (discrimination) pleases Sanaka and the other brahmakumaras. This story is as delightful: A Brahmin who recited this chapter regulary was given Indra’s position. Hearing this, Indra himself came to Pushkalam to chant these verses and attain mukti. The Padmapurana thus extols the virtue of Chapter XVIII of the Gita.
The Mantrasaara advises us to chant shloka 66 of Chapter XVIII for our efforts to be fruitful. According to the shloka:
Give up all Dharmas and surrender to me alone. I shall free you from all sins. Do not fear.
Now, let us look at where the Gita was preached and why this place is special:
Kuruksherta, celebrated as the dharmakshetra, is situated in Haryana, along the Delhi-Ambala rail route. King Kuru sacrificed himself here in order to establish the eight dharmas. It is in this holy place that Maharishi Veda Vyasa compiled the Vedas. Vashista and Vishwamitra attained Mukti here. In such a hallowed land is a place called Jyotisaras where Sri Krishna Paramatma preached the Gita to Arjuna beneath a famous banyan tree.
In this holy land we come across the captivating marble statues of Krishna on his chariot preaching to Arjuna, as well as Adi Shankara bestowing the Gita Bhashya to his disciples. This holy work was completed by the efforts of the Paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. In his message commemorating this event, the Acharya explained the first verse of the Gita that begins with the words Dharmakshetre Kurukshetre: If a person did his duty sincerely, that becomes the highest good, and the purest form and it will bestow victory upon him. The word Jaya corresponds to the number 18. The Gita has 18 chapters. The Mahabharata has 18 Parvas (sections). The very first shloka in the Gita contains the idea of Jaya (victory). This highlights the essence of the Gita. Krishna thus exhorts us to follow dharma, and attain victory and joy.
Translated from Tamil by Devotees from Chennai