DEIVATHIN KURAL # 82 (Vol # 5) Dated 14 Nov 2011
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 82 (Vol # 5) Dated 14 Nov 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 493 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)
311. Upakaram in Sanskrit means, ‘to be of some help or assistance to somebody’. At times to do Upakaram to somebody or one set of people automatically could end in hurting somebody else’s interests in some roundabout way! We who started out on that venture may feel sad in the bargain eventually. So, whatever the Upakaram, it is well neigh impossible to equally help all the people at large simultaneously and there will always be somebody who expecting that help will be disappointed. Even a multi millionaire, when he starts contributing for charity, people start going to him pestering him for donation for ‘n’ number of causes that, somewhere along the line he is compelled to put up his hands and say, ‘no more’! The latest in the queue may have a very noble cause. Prior to him some undeserving characters might have exploited his largesse. But somehow the end result is disappointment for both parties! Many grand gala get-togethers are held with much pomp and show with the avowed intention of amassing funds for charity. But what exactly is meant to be the purpose of that charity and where does all that money go to, remain moot questions! Even when running a hospital or school on charity, sometimes a genuinely sick patient or a very intelligent child may have to be denied admission! I will quote from my personal experience once again.
312. How seemingly noble it is to save a life from extinction? In that endeavour also there could be contrary side effects! Let me explain. Once we were camping in a huge palatial house of a rich man of some ages past. Though the whole premises were clean and tidy, the wooden beams high up in the roof were evidently not in a good condition as they were being eaten up by some beetles or weevils or whatever you call them, which were buzzing about all over the place. One of them inadvertently hit the ground and fell on its back. It was trying its level best twisting and turning in endless circles, working its six legs in vain. After a few minutes there was an army of ants attacking this weevil in the inverted prone position, trying to bite off its legs! It was pathetic to look at and I thought that if the upside down beetle is straightened, it could fly off and save itself. I did not realize what I was getting into!
313. On my wish the beetle was enabled to get back on its legs. But on being saved he did not fly off from there. He that beetle or weevil simply started taking revenge. He caught hold of the ants by his forelegs and ‘labak’, put them straight in to his mouth! There was mass murder going on over there in front of my eyes! Upakaram for one life ended up in Apakaram for many lives! Before my ego could feel happy about having saved one life was given a good thrashing with a lesson for the future, not to interfere in the way nature functions. Even when saving a deer from the tiger, as the tiger is basically an obligate carnivore which cannot eat vegetables, it will be tantamount to saving one and denying the other. Is that animal responsible for its nature? This is one side of the story! On the other, when the horrendously corrupt Ravana was killed by an Avatara of Mahavishnu, is seen to be in the rightness of things, the suffering of Mandodari as a most pious and excellently behaved lady wife of Ravana seems an injustice!
314. In every Avatara that came about with the intention of doing something good of re-establishing dharma, there were some such negative outcomes too. Though Ramachandra Swami was the very picture of all wonderful character qualities, he not only caused so much suffering for the enemy’s wife, his own wife had to plod through years as a prisoner in Sri Lanka. And again even after return to Ayodhya, despite proving her chastity by walking through fire, she still had live separated from her husband. Then Rama’s father King Dasaratha who loved his son so much, anyhow died a death of agony due to being separated from his son! So, after so many Avataras for doing good which had side effects of sadness and sorrow, now was an opportunity for an Avatara for the purpose of ‘not doing anything’! If we have to ensure that there is no adulteration of sadness and sorrow, even doing beneficial actions will not suffice. To keep quiet not doing anything is the highest ideal. There has to be an Avatara to depict this ideal of not doing anything. To convey that message is the Avatara of Adi Sankara Bhagawat PaadaaL.
315. When AachaaryaaL took Sanyaasa and went away, his widowed mother had to bear extreme hardship and suffer the pangs of separation. After all he was the only son got after much tapasya of abnegation, vratam and upavaasam! So when he left the household she was all alone crying. Further when he defeated Mandana Misra, a great Meemaamsaka in debate and took him away with him as his disciple, his wife Sarasa VaaNi was heartbroken. So thus, even in this Avatara wherein the intention was to advice people to learn the value of inaction, there were some people who suffered. This only proved the point that his dynamic lifelong endeavour giving advice to people on ‘the value of inaction’, still resulted in some negative offshoot! So, he did not have to go far to look for evidence to prove his message that any noble action still has some negative effect!
316. So, this Avatara had to be there to clearly bring out the value of inaction. What we see in this world is that every Tom, Dick and Harry with their caboodle of ardent followers claiming that their principled stand (of Siddhaantam) is the best and that they are doing the best for the world and that others are out to spoil their efforts, pulling the world in every which direction as so many social parties, associations and religions. Before AachaaryaaL’s Avatara, as I said earlier there were 72 such religions clamouring for attention. In that situation of confusion confounded, there was our AachaaryaaL espousing the cause of ‘not doing anything’ as the best for others and oneself too! This was the main message of his Avatara. If we decide to do some good for some people, do you think that we can simply achieve that? When there is an Easwara as the Phala Dhaata, unless his blessings are there, will that benefit go to somebody unless he deserves it? Whether you accept the presence of a God or not, even simply by his own past Karmas, unless he is due for that benefit, it will not accrue to him. (It is here that we should remember what Ramana says, ‘karma kim param? Karma tat jadam’!) If it is written in his head that he has to suffer you just cannot undo that, even if you were to stand on your head for that!
317. This can be seen from yet another angle. As per Karma there is a phrase, ‘janmaantara kadan’, meaning ‘dues out of past lives’. May be by our help or assistance that man was to get some benefits or his problems were to be solved. That means that we unknowingly owed him. Anyhow we will be made to pay. The Law of Karma is so inexorable! Each one of us do benefit from others. Nobody can run his life without assistance from others as the English proverb says, ‘No man is an island entirely of itself’! We are all part of a whole. Mostly people benefit by the help from others and in some cases it fails. That is neither the reason for not helping others nor to be pessimistic about life. I am not for a moment recommending, “Do not help others, let anybody suffer any amount, how does it matter to us?”
318. In the present world we with our attitude, cannot help getting involved in activities. To avoid going astray and getting involved in criminal and socially undesirable activities, it is best to get involved in acceptably good activities. Even though there can be some not so very good side effects, it is our attitude and intention that should be good for our actions to be good! As long as we go by the traditionally accepted Saastraas, giving attention to the guidance of the elders, and not going contrary to one’s own conscience; we have to cancel our past negative accumulations of Karma by positive, helpful, socially useful activities only. We have to do things to help others and also accept help from others. I accept. I not only accept, with that, as I said for so long about not doing anything, (smiling) and I am not going to let you keep quiet either! Relentlessly I will keep on telling you to do this, that and so many things to do, virtually pestering you. As I kept elaborating and expanding on the point about not doing anything and keeping quiet, I hope you people did not misunderstand me!
319. I can read your minds. There are at least some who might have thought on the following lines! “Thank our stars! We do not have to any good to anybody. Not to do anything is the best Upakaram Swamiji is saying. From now we do not have to participate in the Veda SamrakshaNam, Pidi Arisi Dittam, and growing Aathikkeerai in kitchen gardens for feeding cows. We may not have to participate in activities such as Kumbha Abhishekam, digging ponds and wells and such pet projects of this Swamiji. He will not pester us anymore!” I have no such intention not to trouble you. Even Adi Sankara who took this Avatara to give us all the message of the superlative value of ‘keeping quiet, not doing anything’, gave us all a whole list of things to do, such as, “Study the Vedas, read the Saastraas, help others, be devoted, every day do Panchayatana Pooja, Sandya Vandanam, Brhma Yagnam, do ‘sravana, manana, nidhidyaasana’ and so on and so on!
(To be continued.)
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