DEIVATHIN KURAL # 68 (Vol # 5) Dated 17 Oct 2011
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 68 (Vol # 5) Dated 17 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 409 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)
185. Humaneness and Divinity in Avatara. In taking a birth amongst us, for the main purpose of ‘Dharma UddharaNam’ that is to salvage, recover, resuscitate and re-establish the moral standards that were declining, God packs in many more additional aims. It is not enough to simply give advices to others. He has to demonstrate by personal example so that, his entire life as an Avatara becomes a case study for future generations. These noble principles of life will not gel by itself except when they become role – models for others to emulate. “Aha! They not only tell us what to do, but are themselves so perfect, clean and blissfully happy that by their very presence they are proving to be a source of inspiration, motivation and happiness!” That would be the natural response in people’s minds on seeing them, interact with them and learn from them. If ‘to err is human’, to demonstrate perfection is the reason for Avatara.
186. Still, to be an Ideal with a capital ‘I’ is not good enough! He cannot prove to be too idealistic that others will straight away give up emulating, saying that it is all very difficult and impossible! People are very facile with their excuses to fall back on their old ways saying, “How can I ever be like another Ramana Maharshi or Ramakrishna Paramahamsa or Vivekananda?” An Avatara should also be as much like anyone of us, with human abilities, sensibilities, feelings and desires; subject to hunger, thirst and such frailties. If a tough acrobat in the touring circus makes the elephant place his legs on his chest, we may clap our hands but will not be tempted to copy his action! An Avatara Purusha without human foibles will fail in the main purpose of his coming into being. If such a one remains in a higher world of his own without any of the human pulls and pressures, high above the normal humanity, we may pay respects to him but not get encouraged to follow his methods!
187. So, an Avatara Purusha will not reveal his super human powers but living within human parameters, he will portray a very normal picture of himself, while when there is a crisis of conscience between the morally correct righteous ways which are difficult and the easier ways of the wrong, he will show as to how Dharmam is the way for peace and bliss in the long run. Though exactly like anyone of us, wherever we fail, he will show as to how he will come out successful. Then only we will get motivated that we can also go by the same route and be successful in living a life of righteousness and morality and that we can also pass the test of our mettle as conducted by the examiner the Saastraas!
188. He cannot be totally like a common man either, as no one will care to note if he is on the right lines or not. Even now, there are many unsung heroes in day-to-day life; men of grit, determination, integrity and courage, like the unknown-soldier on the battle field. But this cannot be the rallying force for the common man. In recent times, do you think that Mahatma Gandhi was the only one who followed the principle of ‘being strictly truthful as per one’s conscience’? There might have been and are many like him in every nook and corner of the world, but you hardly ever get to know them that they are also there! By the very fact that he was a pioneer paving the way known as Gandhiyam, many others tried to follow his example. When God assumes an Avatara with the intension of having an influence over people’s minds for longer periods, though he adopts human like qualities, so as to attract others employs some divine powers also. Remaining mostly like other human beings, he will also undertake superhuman endeavours. Being only a child, he may destroy Asuras such as Thataka and Subhahu. Or give up his rightful throne on the day of his coronation with a disarming smile on his face. Then if ordered to be banished to the forest, he will comply most obligingly, winning people’s mind and heart! Before we can think that this man is really superhuman and we cannot possibly replicate his actions, instead of being too outlandishly divine, he will also show how down to earth he can be by crying with tears in his eyes and running nose asking every tree and plant, if they have seen Sita being taken away! By behaving alternately like a human and divine being, he will motivate us also the way to progress in the path of Dharma!
189. Yes human ability and power are certainly less than that of divine beings. Still, human beings are not so badly off and incapable as they underrate themselves. Controlling their senses and mind, they can also raise themselves to almost unreachable heights of excellence. They can match and even overtake the Devas in competence and reach! Actually it is said that even the jobs of the Devatas are only like appointments for a period of time, which may be much longer in the human scale. But the fact remains that even the Devas will have to one day take birth as a human being if they have to attain to Gnaana eventually! So to remind us of our abilities, our untapped inner resources and to goad us as well as encourage us, God is born amongst us as an Avatara!
190. All this time I have been saying that God plays amongst us, to show us the way and that his Avatara is meant to re-establish Dharma, as simply willing it so, does not satisfy the purpose. But all that, still does not fully justify His having to take an Avatara, I feel. More than any other reason, I think it is like the wish of the parent to play with his children! Come to think of it, God is the Father and Mother of all of us, and we are all his children, isn’t it? Somewhere in some corner of his mind, he will have the wish to play actively with us. If he were to remain the formless being, how are we to comprehend him? How to interact with him, if he were to continue to remain incommunicado? Even if he were to come in front of us with four hands, holding his conch and wheel and what not, we may go down on our feet and beg him of mercy and ask for some boons or simply swoon in awe! That is why, he comes amongst us as another man or a hunter or a monkey or a shepherd, to make it easy for both him and us! That is how in his Avatara-s, he has revealed his wishes, desires, anger and even sorrow. All said and done, he has depicted the highest of love, compassion, Gnaana, valuable character qualities of friendship, loyalty, integrity and truthfulness, through Avatara-s. It is not only so that his intensions should be fulfilled, but in the bargain show us the way also to emulate him. Connecting these two aims, the moment he gets an opportunity, he comes amongst us, as an Avatara.
191. In this, if he is totally like us, who are subservient to our whims and fancies, subject to our feelings and sensuality, it would not suit the bill. He can neither be completely beyond all this either. So, he has to enact as though he is subject to Maya while at the same time show us the way of mastering the human foibles! ‘However much I may seem to enjoy the pleasures of life, I am not subject to them. So keeping Maya under my control, I come amongst you all – ‘prakrutim swaam adhishtaaya... ...adhishtabhya’ – (Prakruti means Maya) – I do all this’, he says. ‘As Parabrhmam, I am not touched by any of the need for actions or qualities or variations of Maya. So, as Easwara, keeping Maya or Prakruti under my direct supervision and control I do all the acts of creation and sustenance followed by reabsorption when the time comes for that. At the time of creation, I let out the ‘Bhoota Graama’ of the various life forms once again to take birth. In the drama of the world when there is total dwindling of Dharma, once again I pull back the Maya bringing it under my control and take Avatara’. Thus he said in Gita Upadesa.
192. While talking about ‘Bhoota Graama’, he says ‘avasam prakruter vasaat’ meaning, ‘helplessly under the control of nature’; that is the whole lot of living things are having no control whatsoever on their natural tendencies. You cannot straighten the tail of a dog, just to take one example. Water will have liquidity and wetness. Fire will burn and turn things into ashes and so on. In contrast this Avatara Purusha will have the Nature or Prakruti or Maya under his control. That is the major difference between the creator and the creation! Though the Avatara may look like a human being, at no point in time should we think that he is also like us only! ‘Like you all, I am not under the nature’s control’, he says. In both the places in Chapter 4 and then in Chapter 9, while saying, “prakrutim swaam adhishtaaya” and “prakrutim swaam adhishtaabhya” respectively, he has used the word ‘swaam’, he has emphasised that ‘like you I am not under nature’s control, but nature is under my control’. At any time he can tell Maya to ‘come’ and play with it; and also tell it any time to ‘go’ and simply be ‘sat – chit – anandam’ and Maya will cease to be!
(To be continued.)
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