DEIVATHIN KURAL # 63 (Vol # 5) Dated 07 Oct 2011
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 63 (Vol # 5) Dated 07 Oct 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 page No 376 of Vol 5 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that here in 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated constantly)
144. The fact that the general populace is not much bothered about the intricacies of the different theoretical nuances of that religion is equally applicable to all religions. If they happen to come across one great gentleman eulogising on a particular aspect of a Siddhantam, they will follow him. It happened with our AachaaryaaL too. I am not ready to think that, all his followers understood all that was meant by the principle of Adwaitam. “Here is a great Mahan. He will tell us only what is good for us.” That would have been the trust and belief with which they would have embraced his religion. Let this be aside. After the passing away of Buddha and Jaina how could those people have been made to stick to that religion?
145. Simple emphasise on discipline does not make them adhere and high philosophy is anyhow beyond their reach. The general public does not bother about religious principles and the paths of Sadhana as they are not aspirants for Gnaana or something like that! The only thing that can keep them interested is a lively God of many dynamic abilities and presence. Such being the case both Buddhism and Jainism were under compulsion to arrange for some alternative as wished for by the followers of those religions! So, never identifying anything as God that is not recognised by their philosophies, somehow they decided to arrange for ideals and their idols that could be worshipped! So they installed the statues of such beings, of those who had attained to the highest levels of existence through their religions and arranged for procedures to be adopted for their worship! (KTSV adds: Are we not witness to, let alone political leaders today, but even cine stars being raised to the status of icons to be adored, admired and worshipped? When Rajnikant, a cine star in South India, is admitted in a hospital for some illness, people are ready to immolate themselves!) So, in Buddhism and Jainism too, though they are known to be Godless religions, temples with idols and methods of worship came to be evolved. The reason forwarded for such worship was very similar to Easwara being the ideal in the Yoga Saastra. Such Ideals were called, Buddhas, Bodhi Satvaas or Thirthankaraas. The devotees were to hold them as ideals and endeavour to also become like that by emulating their views and ways. But it is a moot question as to whether people did as expected of them?
146. Once big Viharas came into being with idols installed in them, these would have attracted people in huge numbers undoubtedly. But instead of being motivated to emulate them and become Bhodi Satvaas or Arhar themselves, they would have ended up treating them like Gods only making prayers asking for more of this or that. They would not have been bothered with idealism but appeals for health, wealth and protection! At the most their prayers would have been to ennoble them to greater Gnaana and impassion. That is how the human mind works. To get such boons, there had to be a Karma Phala Daata. So, instead they would have simply equated in their minds, ‘for God read Buddha or Teertankara’! The followers of those religions, though the statues were not meant to be considered as so many Gods, would have looked at them as another set of beings to be worshipped for their wants, needs and ambitions! This led to a situation that the leaders of those religions had to create more and more Gods or whatever you may call them. So virtually they ended up creating a parallel array of Gods with the same names or slightly modified names as it obtains in Hinduism! When the aim was different and practice was something else, these religions were under compulsion to make believe or playact as though it is all as per intended aims only. That was their greatest handicap. This was the state of affairs some 2,500 years before now.
147. Overt Materialism as a Religion: Lokayatam aka Atheism. Other than these religions that we have talked about, there was also a literal Atheism also known as Lokayatam in existence during those times. In all the religions that we have so far talked about, this worldly life is considered as a ‘Bandam’ that is, a binding restriction from freedom; and so various suggestions are offered to turn our attention from extroversion to inversion, or in other words from Pravrutti to Nivrutti. Each one of them has its own valuable high lofty ideals. Contrary to all this, instead of calling the Moksham as the ideal to be attained, the religion that suggested ‘what is seen is the scenery and what is worn or assumed is the guise’; is the religion known as ‘Chaaruvaakam’. ‘Charu’ means beautiful and ‘Vaakam’ means sentence or speech. So ‘Charu +Vaakam = Chaaruvaakam’ is the name of that religion meaning, ‘what is nice to hear’! It says, ‘No fasting or Vratam required. Do not bother about all these high ideals and deep philosophies and confuse yourselves. Eat well and drink to your heart’s content. Simply enjoy life. Life is meant for enjoyment! What is God and what are Ghosts. Do you see any of these things? You can see this body. Keep it strong and healthy. You can see this world. That is all. Take what you can take and enjoy.’ The Guru of Devas, Bruhaspati is said to have created such a religion for Asuras so that they may not come to the rightful ways. Since Asuric tendencies had entered the main stream of human beings in Kali Yuga, this religion was also there at the time of the advent of our AachaaryaaL.
148. Religions Which Approved of Vedas but not Vedanta. Unlike Buddhism, Jainism and Chaaruvaakam, which were completely against Vedas, there were yet other religions which, saying that they approve of the Vedas, but making much about some aspect of it as the main issue, were critical of other religions as objectionable. Importantly these people of these religions were against ‘Jeeva – Brhma Aikyam’. That is, they were completely contrary to the oneness of the individual soul with the universal. So they were hitting at the very root of Sanaatana Dharma’s integrated approach. Amongst these, specially recognised for their excellence in research and analysis of materials and methods were five, namely Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaaya, Vaiseshika and Meemaamsai. In Yogam, in addition to analysis of matters and materials, Saadhana Marga, that is procedural practices were of a high order. But, when it comes to the essential principles of Sanaatana Dharma, they are nowhere near! Out of these five, Meemaamsai specially selected by Sri Krishna Paramaatma for criticism, was on the upswing popularity wise at that time. The other four, namely Sankhyam, Yogam, Nyaayam and Vaiseshika; were being followed by only some learned scholars. Meemaamsai being fully oriented towards Karma Anushtaana was being followed by a substantial number of the Brahmin community. In that Saastra which talks about conduct of Agni Hotra and various Yagnas, there was also much research in to meanings and interpretations of the Mantras. This was the reason for its popularity amongst the Brahmins who always pride themselves in intellectual pursuits.
149. Still amongst the Brahmins, quite a lot of them had embraced the Buddhism. So, Vedantam was on the decline, but was somehow surviving as though holding its breath by its own hands! Not finding much satisfaction by their own, being interested in metaphysics and abstract meditational procedures, the Brahmins might have been attracted by possibilities of adventures into uncharted areas. As Brahmins were the mainstay for Vaidic Karma Anushtaanaas and had shifted in substantial numbers to what were seemingly greener pastures in Buddhism, in ‘Sankara Vijayam’ books, a little exaggeratedly, it is said that the Devas went complaining to Parameswara that the times were so extremely bad that the moment the word ‘Yaaga’ is mentioned people were running away closing their ears with their hands!
150. The Methods of Worship Those Days. We had seen earlier that as far as the general public is concerned, when you say Religion, it means what they do and what they have seen being done in temples isn’t it? In this respect, let us see as to what was the in thing those days. On the one hand, crude and cruel methods of worship such as Kapalikam, KaaLaamukam, Bhairavam and such were on the ascendant. In Saaktham that is in the quintessential worship of female Goddessess, such as KaaLi, Vamaachaaram in which live sacrifices of animals, use of liquor, nonvegetarian food with sexual aberrations were included in a big way. Though these were more on the side of phantasmagoria, such practices were picking up in Vaishnava Taantra traditions too. The interesting thing in all this was that, though essentially bad practices, these were happening with the label as though they were essential for noble and spiritual upliftment!
(To be continued.)
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