Sunday, October 09, 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 64 (Vol # 5) Dated 09 Oct 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 64 (Vol # 5) Dated 09 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 382 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 updated constantly)
151. From the time the human race came into existence, there have been some who have been crude and uncultured and some quite refined and sophisticated. Those crude and uncultured would have been opting for live sacrifices of animals, use of liquor, coupled with immoral self indulgence, debauchery, and binge; in the name of spiritual worship and celebration! Not only that we see this in uncivilised societies deep in the forests in Africa, India, South America or elsewhere; we see this amongst highly advanced and wealthy societies too! Whosoever they are, man sees God as the root cause of existence of himself, other living things and the environment. So, when he thinks of propitiating and worshipping that God, he is likely to offer what is pleasing for his own mind! You like drinking liquor, eating meat and having sex; and so all these are offered to your God also. Funny thing is that, as it obtains in the human species, amongst the Devatas (or Angels) too there are all varieties of characters, such as Ktchudra Devatas and Ugra Devatas! Whether crude or lacking in refinement, still they are Devatas only and not Asuras. So, offering them what pleases them as Neivedyam and Upachaara cannot be declared to be all wrong. In those periods that I am describing, even these unrefined methods of worship were being projected as the ‘royal path for spiritual progress’ and Saastraas came into being in support of such claims. The uncivilized instead of keeping all such methods to themselves were trying to pull others also into believing that their methods lacked in the zest content!
152. Some detestable, dangerous and repulsive practices are suggested in Yoga and Tantra Saastraas too. May be some have practised such methods and attained to some special powers! They might have even obtained some powers related to Self-Realization too, instead of just Ashta Maha Siddhies. But these methods are like walking on the Razor’s Edge. A slip could have the exact opposite effect. Anyhow short of Self-Realization, these powers could lead the Saadhak astray and end up duping oneself and the gullible public! A slight slip in the devotional practices addressed to cruel Devatas, can derail the whole process making one the recipient of punishments instead of boons! To walk on ‘Razor’s Edge’ seems to be a very respectable achievement. In our Vedantam, the very effort for Brhma Vidya Saadhana is said to be similar to walking on Razor’s Edge (Katopanishad : 3-14).
153. {KTSV Adds: In this respect I am referring to the second and third para of Chapter 15, with the heading ‘Visions and Psychic Powers’ in the book titled ‘The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi’, edited by David Godman. Quote “Sri Ramana discouraged his devotees from deliberately pursuing either visions or Siddhies by pointing out that they were products of the mind which might impede rather than facilitate Self-Realization. If visions came spontaneously he would sometimes admit that they were a sign of progress but he would usually add that they were only temporary experiences in the mind and that they were ‘below the plane of Self-Realization’. If Siddhies appeared spontaneously he would outline the dangers of becoming attached to them, explain that such powers were more likely to inflate the ego than eliminate it, and emphasise that the desire for Siddhies and the desire for Self-Realization were mutually exclusive.” Unquote}
154. So, instead of looking at such methods with awe, we should see them from the point of view as pointed out by Ramakrishna Parama Hamsa, who said, “Though one could reach the destination by these methods, it would be tantamount to entering a house instead of by the front door, jumping the fence and entering by the back door of the toilet.” Though this method may be needed for some, it cannot be easily replicated by others without serious hazards and so should not be recommended by them for others! Still, in the period under review that we have been talking about, just prior to our AachaaryaaL Aadi Sankara’s arrival on the scene, many advocates of such methods were about with missionary zeal!
155. In this, it is most peculiar that though in Buddhism, though he never said anything about there being a God, the general followers of that religion could not do without worshipping a God and so they ended up deifying Buddha himself creating bigger and yet bigger statues of him than what was ever made for any of the Hindu deities! OK, let us leave that point aside. Looking at those statues of such extreme piety and apparent peacefulness, nobody could have walked away without at least a few seconds of calmness and composure! But without stopping at that, without looking into the individual aptitude, maturity and fitness, they enrolled people as Bikkus in droves, may be based on the presumption that the number of Sanyaasis is a matter of prestige to be proud about. Though people might have joined their ranks of Bikkus on the spur of the moment, they might have been lacking in the required amount of control of the senses. Without a central authority of control, in a religion which abjured devotional procedures, all sorts of such procedures came to be practised including what were forbidden and taboo! This had a counter backlash in Hinduism too that many self styled God-men came into being, pulling the minds of the masses in every other which way of odds and sorts with the main purpose of one-upmanship in all the forbidden and unholy ways and inserted them into Hinduism!
156. Looking only at the devotional Bhakti Marga, without being able to be classified as cruel or unholy, many other traditions came into being such as Vedic Pasupada with acceptable methods, Avedic Pasupada and in VaiNavam the Pancha Ratra Sampradaaya came into being, with much deviations from the accepted methods! There was also a line known as Kashmiri Saivam which was high on esoteric philosophy, in its early stages of evolution those days. But none of them really reflected the wholesome end philosophies of the Vedas, which I am tracing out graphically here. “Starting from doing all our actions of Karma for its fruits for personal benefits  doing it for the benefit of the society without aspiring for personal benefits or aggrandisement  being devoted to God and by following concurrently the paths of Bhakti and Karma Yoga  thereby getting Chitta Suddhi and Chitta Aikagrata, that is clarity of the body, mind and intellect with focussing of all faculties with inversion  reach finally the end in which the devotee the Upaasaka, the act of Upaasana and the object of such devotion; all are found to be the one and Only One and the same!” This essential understanding was lacking or being objected to in all these religions varyingly. Even Kashmiri Saivam came very close to the above but stopped short of it as not exactly pure Adwaitam! Thus many Bhakti traditions though claiming to be Vedic were invariably differing on some crunch issues, while still assuming greatness and acceptability on that score of being Vedic!
157. The Prefix or Suffix – Vedic Only If Vedas are Totally Acceptable. If a religion is to be considered as a Vedic religion, it is not enough if some of the things said in the Vedas are picked up while ignoring other things. It should not object to any part of the Vedas. This is the crux point. There are Sooktaas about Siva in the Vedas. From those are developed religions such as Pasupatam. Similarly there are Sooktaas about Vishnu and religions like Pancharatram are evolved from that. But this basis of being developed alone is not the only criteria for that religion to be considered as Vedic. In Vedas, Siva and Vishnu have been eulogised, adored and venerated equally. Each one while being praised has been adored as the Parabrhmam itself. So, there is nothing wrong in Saiva religions that consider Siva as the primordial and the VaiNava religion that consider Vishnu to be the foremost one. But if instead of stopping at praising their own Ishta Devata, if they start decrying other’s Gods and or start saying and considering other Gods as lesser or lower in some imaginary order of merit of their own yardstick, then those religions are not true to the Vedas! That is the crunch issue. It is alright, if they stop at taking whatever is to their liking from the Vedas. But, if they start attacking any other part of the Vedas, such a religion which permits such attack cannot be considered to be Vedic anymore.
158. This to some extent is what we say from the broader perspective. Let us make this more strict and precise. In Vedas for each Swami there is a particular Yagna specified. In each Yagna too many Gods are given their share of the offerings. The true follower of the Vedas will equally be respectful to them all as required and not show bias or preferences. If he says that I will do my Yagna addressing only my Ishta Devata and not others even if they are Gods, his action is Avedic. Let him be absolutely devoted to his Ishta Devata. But when it comes to Karyam, Karma, Pooja or Yagna, he has to be letter perfect and true to the spirit of the Sruti-s and Smruti-s! Let there be differences amongst Gods on their role, form, shape, colour, decorations, qualities or whatever. You are welcome to prefer whichever God as your’ favourite. But when you consider any one of them as disliked, it is tantamount to decrying a portion of the Vedas.
(To be continued.)



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