Friday, October 31, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 13 (of Vol 3) Dated 31 Oct 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 13 (of Vol 3) Dated 31 Oct 2008

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyavaal of Kanchi Kamakoti peetam, over a period of some sixty years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of last century. These have been published in Tamil by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each, as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from page number 55, of Vol 3, of the Tamil original.)
(Note:- These e-mails are available at constantly up-dated.)
Deities as Disciples.
1. We lack in our devotion to our Guru-s. But the original pioneers of the various traditions known as Sampradaya, though great in themselves as Guru-s, in their young age have been great disciples to their Guru-s.
2. Adi Guru Dakshinamurthi himself had to be an obedient disciple to receive Upadesa from a Guru. He got the Upadesa from His own son, Kartikeya. He had to stand with reverence for receiving the Guru-s Upadesa, hold his two hands in respectful supplication, while holding the palm of the right hand in front of his own mouth so that, no particle of saliva may inadvertently besprinkle on the Guru! It was then that the Gnaana Guru Murugan gave him the meaning of Pranava Omkaaraa as 'saravanabhava'.
3. Ambal the very manifestation of Gnaana, also had to be a disciple of Her husband Siva and receive many Upadesa-s of Aagama and Tantra Saastra-s. For example, the 'Taraka Mantra' of Raama Naama, that by repeating Raama's name thrice, is as good as chanting the Sahasra Naama, was given for the first time by Siva to Ambal! The mantra as under may be known to many who regularly chant the 'Vishnu Sahasranaama' :- "sri raama raama raameti rame raame manorame I sahasra naama tattulyam raama naama varaanane II".
4. In many temple towns of significance such as Thiruvaanaikkaaval, the Stale Purana-s talk of Ambal receiving Upadesa from Easwara. Mahavishnu in His avatara-s as Rama and Krishna has done Guru Kula Vaasa under Vasishta, Sandipani respectively, with great respectful humility.
5. Sri Krishna during such stay in the Guru's place has gone to the forest to collect faggots for the Agni Karya of His Guru, along with class mate Sudama aka Kuchela, in thundering rain. This is described in Bhagavatam. Sri Rama refused to return to the capital Ayodhya, when Bharata had come to fetch Him with Vasishta in Chitra Koota. It is a scene to be seen, heard and enjoyed, as to how politely Rama declines their request and how He takes His Guru's permission for doing so.
6. In the lineage of Guru-s, Dattatreya has a very high position of eminence. With very becoming humility, He lists 24 different entities as His Guru-s from whom He has learnt valuable lessons. The list includes sand, earth, water, python, wasp, a prostitute, a hunter, a baby and so on! In Bhagavatam, he describes as to what lessons he has learnt from them. If you are humble and receptive enough, you can learn from every aspect of Nature, even when things apparently go wrong! One can learn from accidents as to how to avoid them. One can learn from very bad behaviour of others, as to 'how not to behave!'
Adi Sankara's Acharya Bhakti.
7. Though there have been many who rightly deserved the prefix 'Acharyal', somehow the world over, the word brings to mind Adi Sankara as 'Jagat Guru'. In Badrinath he came across his Guru Govinda Paada and Parama Guru (i.e., Guru's Guru) Gowda Paada. He saw in them Dakshina Murthy himself and so instantly composed the Dakshina Murthy Ashtakam. For each line of the Ashtakam he prostrated himself. He himself was an Avatara of the very Dakshina Murthy Swami that he was venerating. He compares his Guru with 'sparsa vedi' which turns brass into gold and says that the Guru is far superior. Because, the 'sparsa vedi' only turns a piece of brass into gold, whereas the Guru turns his disciple in to such completeness that the disciple goes on to continue the tradition by becoming a Guru himself! In Kaasi when Parameswara Himself comes before him as a 'Chandala' (of the fourth caste of Paraya) and teaches him a lesson in 'Aatma Gnaana', he goes on to say that, "once someone is an 'Aatma Gnaani', irrespective of which caste he belongs to by birth, He is my Guru!" The one who was called the 'Jagat Guru' announces his conviction thus in the market place, for all the world to hear!

Ramanuja's Guru Bhakti.
8. You all might have heard as to how Ramanujacharyar transgressed his Guru's advice that the Guru Mantra that he gave was to be kept a secret. The mantra was "Om Namo Narayanaya!" Out of his love for the common man, he made a public announcement of the 'Guru Mantra' from the top of the Temple tower. His Guru was Thirukkottiyur Nambi. His intension was not to rebel against his Guru's directions. He knew that it was a sin to do so. But, he was prepared to take the punishment for the sin, so as to be able to impart the Guru Mantra to all and sundry!
9. However, there was never a doubt about how acquiescent he was towards his Guru! His Guru tested the disciple's sincerity of purpose by making him walk from Sri Rangam to Thirukkottiyur 18 times, before he gave him the 'Guru Mantra'. He did those 18 trips with never a complaint in his face or heart!
10. It was the normal custom to do 'Sashtaanga Namaskarams' to one's Acharya, four times. But Vaishnavas would do that till the Acharya tells them to stop. Once Thirukkottiyur Nambi was standing in the water or may be in a Mandapa with overhead roof. The sand in the river bank was terribly hot under a scorching Sun. There was Ramanuja who kept doing the 'Sa + ashta + anga namaskara', uncaring for his body getting burnt! Nambi had to directly tell him to stop, to save his disciple from further inconvenience!
Sankara's Disciples.
11. Similarly, Sankara's and Ramanuja's disciples too, though great by themselves, had extreme veneration and admiration towards their Guru-s. One of Adi Sankara's disciples, Thodakacharyar says addressing his Guru, "You are yourself Parameswara! You are the one with the flag which has a bull as an emblem." Once, Vyasa himself came to have a debate with Adi Sankara, on esoteric concepts, in the garb of a poor brahmin. Looking at the Guru and the visitor, Padmapaada another disciple of Sankara Acharya says, "I can see that my Guru is anyhow the God Parameswara Himself. Now I can make out that the visitor is Vyasa himself who is none else but Maha Vishnu Himself. One is Siva and the other is Narayana! Oh! How wonderful!" He says, "sankara: sankaras satchaat vyaso narayana: swayam!"
12. Vyasa had authored the Brhma Sutra to which, Acharyal was writing the Bhashyam. The discussion between them was about that Bhashyam only. Finally Vyasa showed his real swaroopa and gave his approval for the Bhashyam by Acharyal. Later Padma Paada was to go on to write a piece further elaborating this very Bhashyam! In that to-day we have only five steps known as 'Pancha Paadikaa'. In it also while paying his obeisance to his Guru the Acharyal, he repeatedly refers to him as "apoorva sankaram", meaning, 'the original sankara'.
13. His own original name was not 'Padma Paada' but Sanandana. He got the name Padma Paada, because of his implicit obedience to his Guru. Actually he was a Brahmin from Tamil Nadu. We will see as to how he got the name of Padma Paada and as to how his short life term of 16 years got extended, all due to his overwhelming Guru Bhakti; in the next e-mail!


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