In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important discussion as to why do Mahatmas / Sadgurus keep going from one place to the other constantly and not staying at one place for a longer period of time. We’ve witnessed three different dimensions to this discussion, as per my limited understanding of this subject, however, there might be multiple other angles through which this can be viewed. Readers can explore at their own convenience. We’ve witnessed that Mahatmas keep travelling to establish more and more “Punya-Kshetras”. Every place that they go and every place wherein their divine lotus feet touch the earth would become a “Punya-Kshetra” by itself. This applies not only to Mahatmas, but also to Bhagawan as well. This is why we have so many places where Bhagawan Rama’s divine lotus feet have touched the ground, in the likes of Chitrakoota, Saket, Rishyamukha Parvatha, and all the way till Rameshwaram and Sri Lanka in the south of India. Every place where Bhagawan Rama had visited and set foot, are “Punya-Kshetras” and have enormous significance. Moreover, Sadgurus / Mahatmas travel all around to reach out to their disciples / devotees who are yearning for their divine presence, but couldn’t make it to their ashram / abode. Thus, the Guru goes to the disciple to provide the divine “Anugraha”. Like these, there are many reasons why Mahatmas are always “on the move”, and readers should understand this point very clearly.
Thus, summing up the whole context, Yudishtra is asking Sage Naarada about the significance of embarking on “Teertha-Yatras” and Sage Naarada in turn refers to an important conversation between Sage Pulasthya and Bhishmachaarya on the banks of River Ganga. The first thing that both of them talk about is to forgo our “Ahankara” and “Mamakara” as we embark on spiritual journeys. We should understand that the presiding deity of every “Punya-Kshetra”, be it Bhagawan Vishnu in His various incarnations like Bhagawan Rama, Bhagawan Krishna, Bhagawan Narasimha, etc. or Bhagawan Shiva or Goddess Devi or Bhagawan Ganesha or Bhagawan Muruga mark their divine presence in their respective “Kshetras” even today. We should understand that these deities do not have the heart to leave these places and till today, all of them keep providing us with their divine “Anugraha”. In fact, as part of the “Shri-Vaishnava Sampradhaaya”, Bhagawan Vishnu is said to have five different “states” – The first state of Bhagawan Vishnu is His divine abode, Vaikunta. Second state is the Ocean of Milk (Paar-Kadal in Tamil). While the third state of Bhagawan Vishnu encompasses all His divine incarnations, the fourth state is the place where He dwells in all the hearts of His ardent devotees. Finally, the fifth state is in the form of “Vigrahas” (Idols) in all the “Punya-Kshetras” that He has designated.
Of all these five states of Bhagawan Vishnu, we can only worship Him through the fifth state – The “Vigraha-Rupa” (Idol worship). Why is this so? If we’ve to see and worship Bhagawan through our inner self, we’re not great “Yogis” or spiritually realized souls to do all this! We’re normal ordinary people who do not even exhibit 1% of Bhakti towards Bhagawan! 🙂 Secondly, going to Vaikunta and worshipping Bhagawan – Only great saints like Sage Narada, and the others can afford to do that! Even at the end of this birth, we might not be assured of getting a berth at Vaikunta or “Paar-Kadal”, given the amount of “Paapa-Karmas” that we’re accumulating every passing day! Hence, these two are also ruled out for the moment! If we’ve to see Bhagawan as divine incarnations, we’re unfortunately not living at a time when Bhagawan Rama and Bhagawan Krishna were living! Thus, this is also ruled out for all of us! Hence, the only way and perhaps the easiest way of worshipping Bhagawan Vishnu is by going to His temple(s) at various “Punya-Kshetras” and praying in front of His divine “Vigraha-Rupa” (Idol). To make things easier for normal people like us, Bhagawan has also pumped in His divine “Anugraha” into all His “Vigraha-Rupas” across temples, so that we would be benefited in this “Kali-Yuga”! We can always visit these places, worship Him, sing in praise of Him and finally obtain the ultimate “Moksha”. We should always remember that in this “Kali Yuga” that we’re currently living in, the easiest way to attain “Moksha” is through “Naama-Sankeerthanam” (Chanting Bhagawan’s divine names and Mantras). We should hence take this opportunity seriously and do the needful!
So for today, let us understand up to this point, and with this, we shall conclude the discussion on “Teertha-Yatras”. We’ve spent many episodes discussing the importance of “Teertha-Yatras” and “Punya-Kshetras” and I hope all of us would have gained a fair understanding of the same! From the next episode onwards, we shall move on with what Yudishtra did next and which are the places that the Paandava brothers visited henceforth! Stay tuned for an absorbing accord! 🙂