DEIVATHIN KURAL # 105 (Vol # 5) Dated 31 Dec 2011
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 105 (Vol # 5) Dated 31 Dec 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 page No 650 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)
534. Now, the difference between the NirvaaNam as mentioned by Buddha and Bhagawat Gita lies in the fact that in the Gita, the word NirvaaNam comes with the prefix ‘Brhma’! Buddha talks about simply ‘NirvaaNam’, thereby meaning that there is a total obliteration of ‘Jeevaatma Bhaava’ with the arrival at ‘soonyatvam’ or ‘zeroness’! Instead it is our belief that the Saadhak losing his separateness is no more an individual entity but is completely merged in the universal whole of ‘Brhmatvam’! That is the reason for reiterating the phrase ‘Brhma NirvaaNam’ in the last Sloka (that is the 72nd Sloka), in Chapter 2 of the Gita and here, in all the three Slokas 24, 25 and 26th of Chapter 5!
535. I was saying that Suka was not even wearing the ochre clothes of a Sanyaasi and so was a Digambara! Not only was he uncaring of the physical differences between man and woman, in his presence others also had the same feeling. There is a story slightly different to what I had told you earlier. I had told you that he left home and hearth and ran away even before he was given the Yagnyopaveetam and that Vyasa his father ran after him calling his name, isn’t it? As per this changed version, he is said to have run away only after he had attained to adolescence. Vyasa was wishing that he may be blessed with an off spring, while working on the ‘AraNi Kattai’ to start a fire. (This needs to be explained. In the days of yore there was no electric lighter or match box. So they used to make use of a particular type of wood. The base was a bowl of wood on which another log was made to move at a fast pace with the help of a rope twisted around it with two loose ends. When you pulled the loose rope ends alternately, this captive log would rotate vertically while one end of it was rubbing against the surface of the wooden bowl. The wood was of some such composition that sparks would fly off. This used to be caught in a bundle of coir wool that would easily catch fire. On that you piled some small twigs and blew till there was a blazing fire!)
536. From that fire Suka emerged already with a youthful figure. As he emerged he started walking away. Vyasa knew that he was his son. So he ran after him, calling for him. Enroute there were women bathing in the nude. Suka walked by in the altogether and carried on not even noticing the ladies. Neither he nor the ladies felt any embarrassment at their nakedness! A minute later Vyasa came by, well covered by clothing made of barks of the trees as well as deer skin. The moment they saw Vyasa, the women were over taken by shame and abashment! They covered themselves hurriedly with whatever clothing they could get hold of. Vyasa felt compelled to ask, “What is the matter? When my son as a youth walked by you people continued to enjoy your bathing and here I am an old man passing through and you are so chagrined with shame!” They are said to have replied, “How does it matter as to what is his age? We were touched by his innocence and purity. In his presence we did not feel the difference as in your proximity!” For people like Suka there are no rules and regulations.
537. Amongst the four Ashramas the last one is Sannyaasa. So, there are rules for it with so many Do’s and Don’ts. Suka despite being born in this world remained in the (Swaroopa) or form of Brhmam, not subject to any rules. So, he had gone beyond the Sannyaasa Ashrama. Such people who have gone beyond the parameters of the VarNa – Ashrama – Aachaaras are called the ‘Ati-varna-aashrami’ or simply ‘Atyaashrami’. The one who has gone beyond the confines of Aashrama has any how transcended the VarNa divisions too and so, ‘Atyaashrami’ as a title will do most sufficiently!
538. In the Guru Parampara that is lineage of Gurus, after DakshiNa Murthy and before Maha Vishnu, there is a tradition to take the name of Dattaatreya. Formless Parabrhmam is DakshiNa Murthy, then the Trimurthy Swaroopa of Dattaatreya, then one of the Trimurthy Maha Vishnu then Brhma; and thus goes on the Guru lineage. Siva as one of the Trimurthy already comes as DakshiNa Murthy. Then as the central piece in the garland of gems is Sankara Bhagawat PaadaaL also Siva only. Like Suka, Dattaatreya was another Atyaashrami. Though he was a combined form of DakshiNa Murthy, Maha Vishnu and Brhma; unlike the deities he came into the world as a human being and transcended all divisions and classification as ‘Ativarnaashrami’ like Suka. Never staying in one place, forever on the move, having discarded all ownerships and relationships with no rules and regulations, he roamed about as a Digambara (not wearing any clothes) with only matted hair covering his head!
539. The Ativarnaashrami dwelling constantly inwardly in his Brahmic experience, can be any which way in his outer appearance and behaviour. He can own property or be a land owner or even be a King and stay in one place all his life and do anything! Still, Suka and Datta (in short for Dattaatreya) were like Sanyaasis having no properties and never stayed in one place but kept roaming. As the sloka starts off ‘yam pravrajantam’, Suka had opted for a nomadic life of the Sanyaasis and so had Dattaatreya.
540. Very venerable and respectable as Gnaana Aachaaryaas, there were four brothers, namely Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanaatana and Sanat Kumara. The four put together were considered as one of the 24 Avataras of Maha Vishnu called ‘Kumara Avatara’, derived from the name of the last of the four brothers. Another reason for their being called thus is the fact that, they were the first four ‘mind born children’ to come into being as part of Brhma’s act of creation. The third reason for calling them ‘Kumara Avatara’ is the fact that they were eternally young!
541. DakshiNa Murthy and Suka are also ever young. Markandeya is said to be ever 16. These ‘Sanakaadi’ (meaning the four starting from Sanaka), are not youths but forever kids, but with the highest wisdom! So, they are children without being childish! Born without a trace of the Agnaana like Suka, uncaring for even differences between genders, from birth they have gone on to the Nivrutti Marga and become Maha Gnaanis. They have also imparted that Gnaana to whosoever cared to approach them. They have also not taken Sanyaasa or shaved off their heads or taken to wearing ochre clothes. They also roam about not wearing any clothes and so should be included amongst the ‘Ativarnaashrami’ lot.
542. In the Matams of the Adwaita tradition, on the day of the Vyasa Pooja (which is also known as Guru PoorNima), we do pooja to all the Guru Lineage. In that we group the whole lot of them in sets of five each. One of those sets contains this Sanakaadi foursome to which we add Sanat Sujaata, making it five and pay our respects to them. In summing up, in the Guru Parampara up to and including Suka, none have taken to Sanyaasa as per rules on the subject. Still being Brhma Gnaanis, they have been Aachaarya Purushas for imparting Brhma Vidya to others. We have seen earlier that in kali Yuga, remaining in Gruhasta Ashrama, to do Gnaana Upadesa will not be appropriate. The same applies to Ativarnaashrami also. Uncaring for whether they have the Brhma Gnaana or not, taking only the excuse that they need not bother about any of the Aachaaraas, it is likely that such people are likely to claim that they have transcended all classifications. Such aberrant behaviour does create a lot of confusion and scope for ridicule, disrespect and distrust in the general public. In Kali Yuga there is no possibility whatsoever for Ativarnaashrami-s to come in to being. So, after Suka AachaaryaaL onwards, they are all those who have taken Sannyaasa quite legally and ceremoniously as per rules of the Saastraas. Such tradition started from Gowda Paada.
543. My saying this may not please be misunderstood to mean as though, taking up Sannyaasa started only from Gowda paada. It is a tradition from much earlier ages from the time of Vedas. In Vedas there are four major divisions as Samhita, BrahmaNam, AaraNyakam and Upanishad. This very division and order is meant to cater sequentially for the requirements of people in each stage of life. Samhita contains the slokas, mantras and rules and regulations for the Brhmachari’s Adhyayanam and his periodical Karmas. BrahmaNam caters for all the daily, monthly and special occasions Karma and Yagna Anushtaanaas of a Gruhasta. AaraNyakam covers all the Karma Anushtaanaas and philosophical Tatva Vichaaraas to be observed by the person in Vanaprastha, having retired from worldly involvement, but still in the transitory period of life between Pravrutti and Nivrutti Margas. Finally the Upanishads are meant for the Sanyaasi who is completely in the Nivrutti Marga! That means that the four Ashramas of Brhmacharya, Gruhasta, Vanaprastha and Sannyaasa are as old as the Vedas! You will be surprised to note that this understanding of our ways is kind courtesy, the research and analysis by a German by birth who had unlimited interest in our Hindu religion and the teachings and philosophy of Adi Sankara Bhagawat PaadaaL! That gentleman’s name is Paul Deussen!
(To be continued.)
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