Wednesday, November 12, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 16 (of Vol 3) Dated 13 Nov 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 16 (of Vol 3) Dated 13 Nov 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 the last para of page number 69, of Vol 3, of the Tamil original.)
(Note:- These e-mails are available at constantly up-dated.)
32. Ekalaivan's story is rather off beat. He was a prince of a tribe of hunters and not from the organized social milieu. He approached DroNa, the BrahmaNa Acharya, for learning archery. Not knowing his antecedents, DroNa refused to accept him as a disciple. Ekalaiva went back to the forest and made a statue of DroNa and learnt archery pretending as though his Guru was sitting there under the tree. By dint of his sincerity and practice, he had learnt many tricks.
33. One day brothers Kauravas and Pandavas, all students under DroNa had gone to the forest for game hunting. Their dog which was leading, came across Ekalaiva and started barking at him. He immediately shot off seven arrows which did not kill the dog but effectively shut his mouth. The cousins were flabbergasted with wonder. They asked Ekalaiva as to who his Guru was. Promptly came the answer, ’Acharya DroNa’! This was too bitter a pill to swallow for them. Their own Guru had taught this sprite of an urchin such mastery of the art of archery, while not teaching themselves anything like that!
34. When DroNa heard about this, he was shocked beyond belief. He went to the forest to confront Ekalaiva. Then he realized that it was the same boy who had approached him years earlier! Ekalaiva told him that he had learnt all the tricks by keeping a likeness of the Guru in sand and stones, which he proudly displayed to his Guru! Now DroNa asked the boy Ekalaiva to pay him Dakshina. When Guru asks Dakshina, it has to be whatever he asks for. Possibly to mollycoddle his princely disciples, DroNa asked him to offer the thumb of his right hand! Which meant that Ekalaiva could never be adept in archery anymore! DroNa did not exactly cover himself in glory, by asking for this Guru-Dakshina! But Ekalaiva did cover himself in everlasting glory with an awesome display of implicit obedience! Without a second’s hesitation, he promptly cut the thumb of his right hand nonchalantly and offered it to his Guru! Long live Ekalaiva’s Guru Bhakti!
35. Amongst Aazhvaar-s there was one Madura Kavi. He had sung only one Paasuram of eleven lines. That is also not about The God Vishnu, but his Guru, Nammaazhvaar. It is simply his Guru Bhakti, which has raised him to be accepted as an Aazhvaar! In Ramanuja Siddhantam, all Aazhvaar are held at the same high level as a Guru. Amongst them too, Nammaazhvaar has a place of pride as, ‘prapanna jana kootastar’, meaning, 'some one who attracts people who wish to surrender'!
36. Nammaazhvaar was a non-brahmin. Madura Kavi was a brahmin. When he was visiting various places of religious importance in North India, he saw a powerful source of light, deep down south. He followed that light for more than thousands of miles, and reached Kurugoor in Thirunelveli district (now known as Aazhvaar Thiru Nagari). There the light source was inside a cavern of a huge tamarind tree.
37. Inside that hole Nammaazhvaar was in Samadhi for many years. Madura Kavi woke him up from Nishtai and asked him questions in the sign language. Nammaazhvaar also replied in sign language. Do not ask me as to what were the questions and answers. Because that will go into too many subtle areas requiring detailed explanations, which in turn may create more doubts. We were mainly discussing Guru Bhakti. Let me go back to that subject. Whatever were the replies by Nammaazhvaar in the sign language, gave Madura Kavi the complete Gnaana.
38. He did total surrender to Nammaazhvaar then and there. That is the time when Madura Kavi sang the one and only ‘Paasuram’ of eleven lines, which raised him to be called an Aazhvaar himself! He says, “devu martru ariyen”, meaning, ‘I know no other God than yourself’! That one song on his Guru could give him an equal exalted place of eminence in the pantheon of Aazhvaar-s. That one song on his human Guru, was considered good enough to be included in 'Naalaayira Divya Prabandam', (which is a collection of 3,999 songs by 15 other Aazhvaar-s + one Paasuram by Madura Kavi, making a total of 4,000)!
39. As Madura Kavi says that he does not know of any other God than his Guru, Vedaanta Desikar has also said, "achaaryaat iha devataam samadikaam anyaam na manyaamahe", meaning, 'I do not respect any other Gods other than my Guru'!
Guru Bhakti Amongst the Sikh-s
40. 'It is enough if I have my Aacharyaa; even God is only secondary and not equivalent to my Aachaarya,' is a line of thinking in Guru Bhakti, reflected elsewhere in other traditions too, especially amongst the Sikh-s. The very name of the Sikh religion evolved out of this need for the existence of a Sishya or disciple who has to learn from a Guru.
41. Guru Govind Singh was the tenth Guru in that religion. When he created the Khalsa organization, he wanted to test their integrity of purpose and intensity of devotion. He called for volunteers who were ready to give their life for the cause. One person came forward as a volunteer. He was taken behind the screen and after some noise, Guru Govind Singh emerged with his sword held high, dripping blood! Four others volunteered one after the other, to undergo the same ordeal. Later it was revealed that they were alive and the blood was that of a goat! The five were collectively known as, "panj pyare" and made the office bearers of Khalsa!
42. Like this there have been disciples who adored and revered their Guru-s above all, implicitly in total surrender. Such Sishyas have been there in all religions, who have attained to the highest spiritual status and continued to have the same respect towards their Guru, as the sole reason for their attainments!
(That brings to an end our discussion on Guru Bhakti.)


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