Sunday, July 03, 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 17 (Vol # 5) Dated 03 July 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 17 (Vol # 5) Dated 03 July 2011

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavaaL of Kanchi Kaamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. Today we are proceeding from the last para of page No 103 of Vol 5 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated constantly)
29. One Devotion – One Grace. The question we raised sometime back gets resolved now, as to whether there are two varieties of devotion and two different Graces! For once we are clear that all the obeisance to any human beings, birds or animals as well as icon or idol representing any and every God; it is all reaching the same destination. The point raised is that our attitude towards the Guru should be one of respect, trust and belief, put in one word as Shradda. With that possibly what we need to have is patience and confidence that we will get the Grace, when we deserve it.
30. Regarding Grace also, once again there are not two types or varieties. As our devotion reaches the one and only destination the Grace is also automatically from God. The Upadesa and Aaseervadams, that is, blessings from the Guru are God’s Grace only! OK! Since all obeisances go to the One God only, whosoever we are praying to or devoted to with our Namaskarams; they are not received by them as they have no right to be the recipients. If that is so how can they give us Aaseervadams? Though responding to our obeisance they may be giving us the Aaseervadams as part of good manners, inwardly they must be praying to God to bless us suitably. With their sincerity it will have an added effect on the flow of God’s Grace to us. I am sure God is not going to insist only on receiving all the obeisance and delegate the giving of Aaseervadams to one’s Guru!
31. We often hear complaints that despite Aaseervadams by such a great being, the blessings were not fruitful and that such and such a tragedy happened! The reason for it could be many. May be that particular ‘great man’ being referred, knowing the future likelihood of the event, might have given the Aaseervadams as a temporary alleviative! May be temporarily that ‘great man’s’ eyes might have been blinded as part of Easwara Leela (play of Maya). Anyhow the point emphasised is that, it is God’s sole prerogative to be the ‘Phala Daata’! To enter the mind of the disciple or bhakta to be humble and cause them to do a Namaskar is His and receive the Namaskar is also His prerogative and then finally give the blessings is also His job only! MaNikka Vaasagar’s is the most appropriate quote here – “avan aruLaale avan taaL vaNangi” meaning, ‘we do Namaskar or pray to God by His Grace only’!
32. Without His sanction not an iota is to move! When we do not know we may think that we are doing the Namaskar and Guru is giving the Aaseervaadam! Then we may think of devotion to God and devotion to Guru as separate things. It is for us to inculcate the clarity that He is seen in all and all actions and effects are also His only! Since all powers are His the Guru cannot be having some exotic power of his own!
33. As we go on analysing like this, the sloka we mentioned earlier may have to be interpreted slightly differently. We said earlier that ‘for the one with devotion to God and an equal quantum of devotion to Guru, for him all the secrets of inner meanings will become apparent – that is attainment of Gnaana and obtaining of Mukti – will simply happen’! Now after some amount of analysis what we see is that ‘assuming God to be our Guru and or Guru to be God’ if we have one single minded devotion – that is ‘ananya bhakti’ – that will endow us with the brilliance of Gnaana and fetch us to Mukti!
34. In the process we also observed that ‘nothing gives us fructification of our efforts – but for Easwara’. Accordingly our endeavour and efforts by themselves are not the cause but God’s Grace the only cause. Then we also noticed that all devotion is to that one God only and His Grace may come through in any form through anybody. Thus amongst many forms, when His Grace comes through the Guru, it gives us eternal asset of Gnaana and entitles us to everlasting bliss! There may be some amongst you who may still nurture a doubt as to, ‘If Guru is Easwara and Easwara is the Guru, why not simply be devoted to God and why have a Guru as a ‘via media’? There may be yet another lot who may have the exact opposite doubt that, ‘since after all, we say “guru saakchaat para brhma tasmy sri gurave namaha”, why bother with God and why not simply be devoted to one’s Guru’? Since the topic under which we are discussing is ‘Guru’, I am going to say that we should totally surrender to Guru with 100% devotion and faith!
35. Human nature is such that we have a penchant for variety and I am very much aware of it. Even those who have matured a lot are not able to concentrate on one thing for too long. However good it may be, we do get bored. Today’s menu was good and all the items were well prepared, let us say. But are we not over taken by ennui if the same menu is repeated daily? May be we want to change the vegetables or the method of preparation. “Let us not have any of these things. Let us try ‘Chitra Annam’ today. Or, why not make it all Chinese dishes today?” Not only in food, take any item. Even when the artist is singing beautifully, if he sings the same few Ragas, we do not like that! Or at least we wish to hear some novel undulations in gamakam. You may love ‘Thayir Vadai’ and swallow five or six. But repetition is the killer of keenness and relish. That is why in our religion we have a whole array of Gods with so many shapes and sizes, methods of decoration, varieties of ‘Vaahanam’, that is carriages; procedures and different ‘Neivedyams’!
36. We go to the temple and stand in the PiLLaiyar’s Sannidy for a few minutes. For a short period, the mind seems to have focussed without a thought. In no time the mind runs off in a tangent to any part of the globe or notices may be the dress worn by a devotee standing a few feet away. Should we let the mind run off like a dog freed of its leash? Is it not better to keep this mind of ours under some vestige of control? Poor Vigneshwara is sitting there with his beautiful protruding big tummy and a smile on his baby face of an elephant. How sad that we are not able to continue to give our attention to him even for a few minutes!?
37. “It is alright Son! Human nature is like that my dear! It is alright, if you keep at it, this mind of ours will learn the trick of one pointed concentration. You need to have changes even in your devotion. So, now go to Subrahmanya’s Sannidy.” That is the message in our Religion. “Is your concentration with GaNesha is lessening? OK! It is alright. You do not have to cry and feel bad! Go to AmbaaL, Swami, Durgai, Nataraja, Dakshinamurthy, and the 63 Nayanmars who came in human form. It is for this purpose only we have all these Sannidy-s within the precincts of one Temple. Even if you spend a few minutes in each Sannidy, over all your mind would have been thinking of God for a sufficiently long period, is it not so?” That is the idea.
38. Out of many endearing greatness of our religion, the greatest seems to be this one. Hinduism is the only religion that categorically holds and emphasizes that the Jeevaatma of all the animate and inanimate life forms and Paramaatma are one. Despite there being many shades of this belief here in our country itself, many religious minded philosophers, intellectuals and thinkers from all over the world, clearly identify this Adwaitam as the central gem, the critical idea in the whole arrangement not to be found in any other religion, they feel. Many of them have also expressed a concomitant regret that despite having this gem of an idea of Adwaitam, we seem to be laboured with too many gradations, Aachaara Anushtaana-s, and a whole medley of Gods!
39. I am of a slightly different opinion. Adwaitam in principle and variety in practice is the greatest asset of this religion! The religion which has systematically, logically and intuitively arrived at the wonderful truth of Adwaitam has also made it practical, approachable, and realizable through the VarNa – Ashrama arrangement, a whole agglomeration of a series of Gods, and correctly identified the underlying principle in all animate and inanimate existence as that God only. So we pray to trees and mountains; birds, animals and human beings as Gods and thus see God everywhere! This is the best approach to the Ideal through practical means, systematically and gradually. Instead if we try and jump the graded approach, it will end up in either a failure or hypocrisy! Having fully understood the Adwaitam and also accommodating the human nature, without any hesitation we have permitted and even enabled as much variety as possible in our religion.
40. This is the reason why, our AachaaryaaL who strongly established the Adwaita Siddhaanta also organised and strengthened the VarNa – Ashrama arrangement. He initiated the system of ‘Panchayatana Pooja’ in which GaNapathy, Siva, Shakti, VishNu and the Sun; were to be prayed to every day. Then as though to include SubrahmaNya he established the ShaN Madam (six religions) of GaaNaapathyam, Saivam, Saaktam, VaiNavam, Souram and Koumaaram! Then he sang so many scintillating poems on Rama, KrishNa, Nrusimha Murthy, Bramaraamba, Saaradaamba, Bhavaani, Tripurasundari and so on, not leaving any of the Army of Gods and Goddesses un-adored and unsung! He has even composed Ganga Ashtakam and Yamuna Ashtakam on the important sacred rivers of India!
(To be continued.)



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