DEIVATHIN KURAL # 91 (Vol # 5) Dated 02 Dec 2011
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 91 (Vol # 5) Dated 02 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 the middle of page No 548 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)
395. Thotaka Aachaaryaar without making much show of his brilliance remained rather subdued and did a lot of physical service in taking care of his Guru’s creature comforts. For him it is but natural that when he gives vent to his adoration for his Guru, he gets carried away and calls him the very incarnation of God! Sureshwara Aachaaryaar is not in the same category. He had been an erstwhile Karma Meemaamsaka, having done much Tapas and Yaaga-s. He was also a very active defender of that tradition and had debated with our AachaaryaaL himself, as it happens in some of the modern day cases in the court of Law! AachaaryaaL’s superlative intelligence and brilliance did not make much of an impression on Sureshwara Aachaaryaar. He was completely anti – Gnaana Marga principles! So he originally started his tirade against our AachaaryaaL with the least of respect for his opponent, as revealed in the various versions of Sankara Vijayam.
396. Later having lost his arguments against our AachaaryaaL, he adopted AachaaryaaL as his Guru and his Adwaita Siddhantam whole sale! From being an ardent advocate of Karma Marga, he turned the corner and became the exact opposite, talking of Gnaana, Vedaanta and Nivrutti Marga. As the end destination of his this new path, he wrote a book by the name of, ‘Naishkarmya Siddhi’! So, both earlier as an ardent Pravrutti Marga specialist and later as an authority on Nivrutti, he remained stoic and not easily given away to feelings and sensations. Earlier he was too active with Karma Anushtaana and cerebral fisticuffs. Later he became the quintessence of ‘satyam gnaanam anantam brhma of absolute quietude’! Such people will only be interested in establishing their principled point of stand with logic and reasoning. There is no chance of him singing the praise of his Guru as Thotaka did with elation and overflowing love towards his Guru saying, “samajaayata chetasi koutukitaa”. Despite all this Sureshwara says with absolute certainty that his Guru is the Gnaana Bhaskara who chases away the darkness of ignorance, in his Vaartikam on his Guru’s Bhashyam on Bruhad Aaranyaka Upanishad.
397. Sureshwara has written a Vaartikam on his Guru’s Bhashya on Taitreeya Upanishad also. In it he has mentioned in one place conveying the meaning that his Guru is an Avatara of Parama Siva. “Mumukshu – saartavaahanasya bhava – naama – bruto yate:” – thereby meaning that, ‘he is the leader of all Mumukshu-s, having the name of Bhava, he is a Yati (that is a Sanyaasi)’. Mumukshu is the one desirous of attaining Moksha. The word, ‘saartavaahana’ means the Head Chief of a collection of traders. You see, a team of traders when they get together and go overseas in a number of ships or carry their loads on camel backs in trying to cross the deserts in a caravan; there will be a chief tradesman who would know the ins and outs of the sea routes or the desert terrain fully conversant with likely weather conditions too, isn’t it? Such a chief trader is ‘saartavaahana’. Similarly this life on earth is an ocean of unpredictable vagaries. Here our AachaaryaaL is the ‘saartavaahana’ who leads the Mumukshu-s desirous of liberation and freedom in the long voyage of being too involved in the worldly affairs. This trader’s goods are basically Gnaana and the methods of achieving that. While talking about this, it comes to my mind that Padma Paada, another of our AachaaryaaL’s disciple, calls his Guru ‘Bhashya Viththaga Guru’ meaning that his Guru’s wealth and goods for trading are the very Bhashyaas that he has written! That was only an aside.
398. We were looking at the matter of our AachaaryaaL being an Avatara and his disciples’ views on that. In support of that contention, Sureshwara says that his Guru is having the name of Bhava, ‘bhava naama brut’. Why should he say so? There can be no other logic except for hinting that his Guru is an Avatara of Siva, out of whose eight sacred names, ‘Bhava’ is the first one!
399. Let us go back to Padma Paada AachaaryaaL where we left him. If in writing the explanatory notes as ‘Vyaakhyaana’ for the Bhashyas by his Guru, Padma Paada’s Gnaana and erudition are revealed, on many occasions in the Sankara Vijayam we come across indications of his high level of Bhakti for his Guru. Thotaka controlled his Gnaana and erudition and seemed to be purely a devotee. Hastaamalaka on the other end of the spectrum was purely an embodiment of Gnaana like DakshiNa Murthy. He never got into any disputes or discussion on any subject, but was merged in absolute Gnaana. Feelings do not come anywhere near him. Sureshwara also was not much given to feelings, but in a different way. Padma Paada in addition to being a great Gnaani was also emotional, intellectual and a devotee, as well as one who could explain subtle axioms and principles of Vedaanta in very clear terms.
400. In Pancha Paadika, he has eulogised on AachaaryaaL in a very endearing way, as the Avatara of Sankara. Having described AachaaryaaL as having the exact opposite qualities as that of Siva, he has played around with the words in a very beautiful way, saying that ‘the original Siva is like this and the Avatara Siva is like this’! Now we call our AachaaryaaL as Aadi Sankara, don’t we? After him all the heads of the institutions that he has created have the title of Sankaracharya, isn’t it? So as to differentiate the subsequent Mata Adhipathi-s from the original first Sankara Aachaarya, this tradition has come about calling the first one as ‘Aadi Sankara’. But his contemporaries could not have called him as ‘Aadi Sankara’! His contemporaries having known him to be an Avatara Purusha would have considered the Kailasa Natha as Aadi Sankara and our AachaaryaaL as the New Sankara or Abhinava Sankara only. In that vein Padma Paada calls our AachaaryaaL as ‘Apoorva Sankara’! From time immemorial the name Sankara is the Kailasa Natha Parameswara only. He having arrived in the present day world becomes ‘Apoorva Sankara’!
401. In this word ‘Apoorva’ there is a pun or double entendre (which is ‘sleshaa’ in Sanskrit and ‘siledai’ in Tamil) with one apparent meaning and one inner and subtle meaning. Actually the sloka is full of double entendre usage. ‘Apoorva’ means new and surprising. Having listed many of the apparent differences between Aadi Sankara and the Avatara Sankara, when he ends in Apoorva Sankara, it looks as though he is saying, “See how surprising that this Sankara is so different but, the same!” Let me tell you the whole sloka. “namaamyabhogi_parivaara_ sampadam nirasta – bhootim anumaarta _vigraham I anugram_unmrutita kaala_laanchanam vinaa_vinaayakam apoorva sankaram II
402. How is this Avatara Sankara? He is surrounded by disciples who are all renunciates. In Sureswara’s ‘Naishkarmya Siddhi’, he is said to be, “sarvagnam brhma samstam munigaNa sahitam”. He is said to have gone about the whole country with some six thousand disciples, as given in the Sankara Vijayam. For the renunciate Sankara this collection of renunciates is the only property and wealth that he has accumulated! For a man who had given up everything, his most valuable assets are, his Gnaana, his writings of Bhashyas and slokas and the crowd of disciples only. That is what is referred as the ‘abhogi parivaara sampadam’, in the sloka under reference. The sloka starts with expression of prostrations to his Guru saying, ‘Namaami abhogi’, meaning ‘I am doing Namaskaar to the Abhogi renunciate’! Avatara Sankara is like this. How do you get the exact opposite meaning that the poet has managed to convey?
403. In Sanskrit, for each word if you add ‘a’ as a prefix, the meaning of the word is the exact opposite. For example, ‘satya, bhogi and dharma’ are antonyms of ‘asatya, abhogi and adharma’ respectively. So if ‘abhogi parivaara sampada’ is the adjective for Avatara Sankara, then ‘bhogi parivaara sampada’ is descriptive of Kailasa Sankara! How is that? Let us see how. How is Kailasa Sankara? All over his body he has many snakes that he has heaped on himself. Snakes are his main decoration, jewels and necklaces. He does not wear ornaments like Maha Vishnu. But the snakes have the red ruby like Ratna in them. Siva is like the crystal. So the Ratna in the snakes make his crystal like body shine with a red colour. AachaaryaaL has described this in ‘siva kesaadi paadaanta varNana stotram’, “...rooksha – chakshu – sruti gaNa paNa – ratnouka bhaaabheekshaNa shobham ... Spatika maNi silaa mandalaabham”.
404. The word ‘chakshu’ means eyes and ‘sruti’ is the ear. Snakes’ eyes are also the ears for the sense of sound. Instead of having eyes and ears, snakes have the same organ doing both the jobs. That is why in Tamil they are also known as, ‘Katsevi’! Another name for the snake is Bhogi, derived from the fact that the expanded hood of the snake is called ‘bhogi’. So ‘bhogi parivara’ means being surrounded by a mass of snakes. Thus, Siva is a ‘bhogi parivaara sampada’, while the Avatara Sankara is ‘abhogi parivaara sampada’! Then what else?
(We will see more about this sloka in the next e-mail and so it is to be continued.)
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