DEIVATHIN KURAL # 65 (Vol # 5) Dated 11 Oct 2011
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 65 (Vol # 5) Dated 11 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 last para on page No 387 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)
159. According to the Sruti / Smruties there are 40 Samskaaraas (laid down procedures as per Vedas), which have to be strictly adhered to. If a religion were to say that to be part of this religion you have to follow only some of those procedures and not all, then that is against the Vedic religion only. For example amongst those 40 Samskaaraas, there is no such procedure as branding your body with hot signs of Sanku / Chakra (that is the Shell or Wheel) or Soolam / Rishabham (the Spear or Bull)! Such procedures have no place whatsoever in the Sanaatana Dharma of the Hindu religion! In addition, if you abide with the VarNa and Ashrama Karma Anushtaana, then only you can be considered as a follower of the Vedas. If you say that for us devotion is more important and not the divisions of VarNa and Ashrama, then please do not claim yourself to be Vedic!
160. The same yardstick applies for those religions which investigate the various principles and concepts of the Vedic Dharma only as cerebral exercises while having no time for devotional practices. It has to be seen as to for whom are those principles made applicable and at what stage of that person’s development. If those who cannot reach such levels were to simply accept some procedures and leave out some as not required, and then claim that what they are doing is approved in the Vedas that would be sacrilege! They should also not get away with the idea that they are only discussing philosophy and have nothing to do with the practical aspects. Based on such observations it has been decided as to what belongs to the Vedic religion and what does not, as brought out in Maha Bhaarata itself.
161. Bhishma Pitamaha’s advices given to Dharma Putra, while lying on a bed of arrows, forms the Shanti and Anusaasana Parva-s in the epic Maha Bhaarata. In it the two devotional religions of Pancharaatra and Paasupata and Saankhya which analyses concepts and principles and Yoga that discusses procedures of body and mind control based on the Saankhya principles ; that is all these four have been identified as religions outside the scope of Vedic Sanaatana Dharma. That is, it lists the five, “saankhyam yoga: paancharaatram veda: paasupatam tathaa” as different religions! Though Veda is considered as one amongst five religions, it also means that they are not the same as Veda, isn’t it? In Maha Bhaarata in another place, Yogs ia being referred to by the name of the originator Patanjali Muni as Patanjalam and calls these five religions as “naanaa madaani” meaning ‘varied religions’!
162. There is one Stotra known as, ‘Siva Mahimna Stotram’, which describes the endearing qualities of Siva. This Stotra written by one Pushpa Danta is rather popular and famous in North India. In that Stotra too, Vedam, Saankhyam, Yogam, Paasupatam and VaiNavam have been identified as different religions. The sloka says, “trayee saankhyam yoga: pasupate madam vaishNavam iti prabhinne prastaane”. Trayee means Vedas. That is one. Saankhyam is another. Yoga is the third. Paasupatam is the one that holds Pasupati that is Siva as the main deity. That is the fourth religion. Finally is the VaishNavam addressing mainly Vishnu. These are all (prastaanam) ways that are (prabhinna) different from each other. The fact that this statement that they are all different from each other; being made in Bhaaratam and Siva Mahimna Stotram carries more value. Because Bhaaratam is basically Krishna Paramaatma’s, that is an Avatara of Vishnu’s story. “Harivamsam’ a supplement of Bhaaratam is all about Sri krishna Paramaatma’s story only. Still, Paancharaatram which is basically VaiNavam except for the peculiar requirement of branding one’s skin with hot metallic sign of Sanku and Chakram, makes it a religion which is contrary to Veda’s sense of balance and equality (sama rasam), and contrary to the practices of Sruti and Smruti. Moreover it denigrates other deities and mainly extols Vishnu and so has been identified to be different to the religion based on Vedas! Similarly Siva Mahimna Stotram has identified the purely Siva oriented Paasupatam as different to the religion based on Vedas because of very similar logic of branding the body with a hot metallic Soolam and denigrating Gods other than Siva!
163. Regarding this issue of what is acceptable as a Vedic religion and what is not I will now add yet another proof. Maha Kavi’s (that is great poets’) words also have power of Satya Pramaanam. Sri Harsha Kavi’s words carry much respectability amongst the learned scholars, because his writing cannot be easily understood by the not so erudite people. He has written a book on NaLa Charitram known as ‘Naishadam’. In it the scene being referred to is the marriage of Damayanti. NaLa has come to the hall where Swayamvaram is being conducted. He and Damayanti are already in love with each other. As per the custom those days, in ‘Swayamvaram’, the aspiring eligible bachelors will all be seated in the hall. The girl to be married will walk around with the garland in her hands accompanied by an all knowing Pundit, who will introduce each aspirant, giving out his name, his Kula, Gothra, Vamsa and such things. Here something happens that enhances the literary merit of the story. Instead of one NaLa, one after another, there are five exact lookalikes of NaLa. One of them is the true NaLa. Other four have come dressed up to look exactly like NaLa with similar body, dress and decorations as only deities can do! The four deities are Agni, Yama, Indra and Varuna. Damayanti is standing perplexed as to who is the real NaLa! Now the poet Harsha comes to the crux issue with the statement, “As we get flummoxed and baffled when faced with the true religion of Adwaita Veda Madam and similarly disguised lookalikes of Saankhyam, Yogam, Paasupatam and Paancharaatram; Damayanti was in confusion as to who is true and who is false NaLa?” (Between Devas and human beings, the matter of identification is based on the fact that human eyes will keep flickering and their feet will be firm on the ground, which may not be perfectly replicated by the ethereal deities! Damayanti is supposed to have correctly identified NaLa on these two points. That is anyhow besides the point under discussion.)
164. Thus in our country, from time immemorial, the word of the Vedas has been believed to be the word of God equally acceptable to the well read Pundits as well as the unread common man. So even religions which were not truly Vedic used to claim to be so and thereby tried and gained acceptance among the gullible public. Amongst them some attracted the learned with intellectual exercises in philosophy and general public as being devotional avenues. All Upaasana Margas were not like this. Even within the Vedas, there were special devotional procedures for particular Devatas. So, many great souls while remaining within the ambit of Vedic religion spent their entire life as the devotee of Rama or Krishna or PiLLaiyar or Hanuman. But they did not go about denigrating other Gods or other devotees of those Devatas. But the fact remains that there were many such big and small Non-Vedic religions in the garb of being true to the Vedas.
165. I must mention one more thing. There were also some who said, “What is so great about the Vedas? More than the Vedas, it is the ‘Aagamaas’ which are devotional procedures as advocated by God himself. They have more authority.” There were many such Tantras in vogue those days. “You claim great authority for the Vedas because they are said to have been God’s own words. So also our Tanatra is God’s own making.” Having claimed thus, they created Puranas in support, watered down the rules and restrictions of the Vedas, thereby attracting more followers to their fold!
166. At all times, everywhere, at least in some corner of the society, there will be some who will wish to break the shackles of the past and do something new and experiment, as they call it these days with an aptitude for, ‘rebelliousness’! May be compared to the modern times, in the olden times, people would have hesitated to break with tradition. May be when one or two break away, it could have set a trend. As in a well firmed bank of a lake, when there is a small leakage in a trickle, suddenly it erodes the surrounding areas and in no time there is a huge flood and inundation. So, when some started out saying, “What are Vedas? It is our Saastraas that have been given by God”, yet some others claimed, “What are Vedas and what is God? It is our Saastraa that is correct that has done away with both God and Vedas!” I told you about Buddhism, Jainism and Saarvaaka, which came into being on such logic. Amongst them the third one had only a small following. People were not much attracted by the idea of ‘no God and sensual happiness is the only criteria and priority’!
167. Buddhism and Jainism were more popular as having been led by leaders from royal families as well as the fact that there were many learned intellectual giants who flowered through those religions. Most importantly those religions had the support of kings like Asoka and others. Then setting aside the classic Sanskrit language, when many Buddhist religious literatures came to be written in the spoken language of Prakrutam, their attractiveness increased many fold. This was followed by the founding of many institutions which combined teaching of bread-earning education with religious propaganda, that too in the local languages. People couldn’t care less for neither the material nor the spiritual content of such teaching. It was good enough that, when I or my father could not go to a school in our times, now my son is going to school! Then there was some God being prayed to, how does it matter if it is a Buddha or Teertankara?
168. Amongst these religions, at the time of our AachaaryaaL’s arrival on the scene, Jainism was not so ascendant, it seems. In his books, the criticism of Jainism is not much evident. Even Buddhism is not the major target for criticism. Meemaamsai is the main target. We will see the logic of this later.
(To be continued.)
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