Friday, December 12, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 28 (of Vol 3) Dated 13 Dec 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 28 (of Vol 3) Dated 13 Dec 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 middle of page number 121, of Vol 3, of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein the word 'man' includes 'woman' too. )
(Note:- These e-mails are all available at constantly up-dated.
119. 'Yenn naangu aram' mentioned earlier meant, '8 into 4 = 32 'must-be- done' essential dharma-s'. In addition to this the Veda Saastraa-s talk about many daanam-s to be given. One Sri Hemaadri, who was an important official in Rashtra Koota Rajya (may be the present day Maharashtra!), has written a book in which he has listed all 'to be done daanam-s'. This book itself was written some seven centuries back, in which he quotes 'Krutya Kalpataru', written by one Laxmidara of Kanya Gubja state another 200 years before. There is no daanam that you can think of, not listed in that book!
120. Not only donating materials, giving of free food, free education and even social service activities are also listed as daanam only! In the Veda-s and Upanishad-s everywhere 'thyaga' , the act of sacrificing has been spoken of very highly! Amongst the Upanishad-s Bruhad Aaranyaka Upanishad is the biggest! The very meaning of the name of the Upanishad is 'big forest'. In it there is a story [5.2]. The Upanishad-s are not only a repository of dry philosophic statements but interesting stories too! Through those stories very subtle and noble ideas and morals will be conveyed. This is a story like that on the value of giving.
121. Deva-s(divine beings), Asura-s(ogre like monsters) and Human beings, are all equally children of Brhma the Creator. His actions are called divine play or 'leela' having some allegorical or symbolic connotations. He is also duty bound to give them the right advice.
122. Once all the Deva-s went to Brhma and asked for his advice in short, terse and brief. He just made it very short by uttering one letter 'da' and asked them as to whether they have understood the meaning? We are very quick in grasping our own mistakes rather fast. If others make only an oblique indication, we are likely to catch it instantaneously. So Deva-s too immediately understood.
123. Deva Loka is a place of enjoyment, pleasure and merry making. So the divine residents of that place indulge in all sorts of sensual pleasures with no end. So they took his advice to be one telling them to restrain and control their preoccupation of sensual pleasures. They replied, "Yes. We understand that your advice is 'Daamyata'. Dama and sama are two words meaning 'controlling and equanimity', which in Tamil is covered by one word, 'adakkam'.
124. There are six defining qualities which form the ethical foundation of spiritual life. Their practice prepares the inner faculties for the cultivation of higher knowledge. They are as follows:- (a) Sama or calmness, (b) Dama or self control, (c) Uparati or stability and solidity, (d) Titiksha or forbearance, tolerance and endurance rolled into one, (e) Samaadhaana or total absorption, acceptance and concentration and (f) Sraddhaa or faith, belief and sincerity! So, Brahma's one letter advice, 'da' was construed as 'daamyata' as a direction to apply Self -Control, by the Devata-s.
125. Instead of the whole word, the first letter when mentioned seems to have more power. During the Second World War, you may remember how Sir Winston Churchill as Prime Minister of England, coined the phrase, 'V for Victory', and spread it like a Veda Mantra, which is being used even these days, with many people not knowing the reference to the context!
126. Brhma sent the Devas away telling them that they had understood very correctly. Human beings were not far behind. They also wanted to get Brahma's advice. In those periods I suppose, they were capable of directly approaching Brhma. Brahma's advice was once again the one letter, 'da'. Their guilty consciousness was active enough, that they understood immediately. He asked them as to whether they could understand. Their reply was, "Yes Sir! You have advised us to be generous and give plenty of Daanam!" 'Datta' is to give daanam or donate. Brhma told them that they had correctly understood.
127. When Devata-s and human beings had some consultations with Brhma, Asura-s also wanted to do so. Brhma told them the same cryptic 'da'! He asked them as to whether they have understood His advice. They at once answered that they have understood His advice for them to be more compassionate. 'Dayatvam' means care and consideration, which normally Asura-s do not have at all.
128. When the cumulo-nimbus clouds come in the sky, as an indication of the coming rains, the thunder sounds, 'da....da....da'; which tells the Devata-s (daamyata) to exercise restraint; Human beings (datta) to donate and sacrifice; and Asura-s (dayatvam) to exhibit more care, compassion and consideration for other beings. This is a story occurring in Brihad Aaranyaka Upanishad, as I said earlier [5,2].
129. While writing the Bhashyam on this story, Sankara Bhagavad Padaal's comments are very interesting! "Here what is mentioned as Deva-s and Asura-s are not some exotic beings. They are all very much part of the human beings only. Those happy-go-lucky pleasure seekers and party-bashers who do not control their craving after sensual pleasures are the Deva-s; all those who are greedy, grasping after money and materials, never wanting to part with their possessions are the true human beings; and the sadists amongst us who are cruel and create problems for others are the Asura-s. There are also some who specialize in all these bad qualities at different times! So we should take all the three advices to be free of vices!"
130. How true! However the most classic vice of human beings seems to be miserliness. There may be many who have mastered their penchant for sensual gratifications and controlled their capacity for hurting others. But when it comes to 'giving' they become tight-fisted! That is the reason why the Upanishad-s which are at the head of Veda-s as 'Vedantam' , advice us, "Datta - give and give alms".
(To be continued.)


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