DEIVATHIN KURAL # 106 (Vol # 5) Dated 02 Jan 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 106 (Vol # 5) Dated 02 Jan 2012
(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 657 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)
544. In Bruhad Aaranyaka Upanishad we see that Yaagnyavalkya leaves his wives and sets out as a Sanyaasi. There are some ten or fifteen Upanishads just to explain in detail as to how to lead the life of a Sanyaasi such as, Narada Parivrajaka Upanishad, Sanyaasa Upanishad, Avaduta Upanishad and so on. Manu is the first man to beget a son. He taught his son as to how he is to carry on as a Man. His instructions are contained in a book called Manu Smruti aka Manu Dharma Saastra. In it as well as the subsequent Dharma Saastraas, having mentioned the four Ashramas, Sannyaasa has been laid as Tureeya Ashrama, from which one can transcend to Samaadhi crossing Wakefulness, Dream and Sleep. There are such books also known as Nibandana Granthas in which the Do’s and Don’ts as given in a number of Dharma Saastraas have been collected, collated, serialised and prioritised. Among them the one that elaborates on Sannyaasa Dharma is known as Visveswara Sruti or Samhita. So, it is clear that from the earliest stages of creation there have been those who have taken up Sannyaasa quite systematically. Amongst them there has been complete or partial Adwaitins and those who had transcended all classifications as Atyaashramees! Our AachaaryaaL has described some of them Sanyaasis and Atyaashramees in his Bhashyams.
545. Still, in the Guru Parampara of our AachaaryaaL, (including all of us as his disciples,) his Parama Guru Gowda Paada and Guru Govinda Bhagawat Paada both took up Sannyaasa quite legally, systematically. People like Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanaatana, Sanat Kumara, Dutta and Suka being Mahatmas who have transcended all classifications, have the power and right to give Sannyaasa Deeksha. That is how Gowda got Sannyaasa Deeksha from Suka. Keeping up the trend of sorting and classifying even those beyond such systems; the Atyaashramees are further classified into Gudisaka*, Bahutaka*, Hamsa and Paramahamsa. (Note: These two words marked with the ‘ * ’ sign in the above line indicate that the spelling may vary as the Sanskrit original of the words were not available for correct transliteration.) The Adwaita Sanyaasis belong to this highest class of ‘Paramahamsa-s’ and as ever being on the move they get the further adjective as ‘Parivrajaka-s’. With both these two words combined they are known as ‘Paramahamsa Parivrajaka-s’!
546. Our AachaaryaaL as well as those who become the heads of such Matams come to be known as ‘Jagat Guru Sankara AachaaryaaL Paramahamsa Parivrajaka’ so and so. But, as the heads of such organizations, since they have to supervise and manage the running of the Matam-s and have the important responsibility of safeguarding and spreading of Dharma in our thoughts and actions, certain changes have been accepted in the ways of functioning of these heads as Mata Adhipathi-s. Instead of being totally without any responsibilities towards anyone, they have certain onus, duties and accountability in their being a Sanyaasi. Some changes have also been necessitated as their dynamic mobility of not stopping anywhere for more than one night is also slightly modified to suit their needs to camp in one place for more than a few days!
547. Let it be so. But I was about to point out something else. ‘Atyaashrami’ is one who has gone beyond the state of Sannyaasa as we have noticed. But I have also observed in some of the old Saastraas description of Paramahamsa Sanyaasis also matching the definition of what we call the Atyaashrami, as having abandoned vastram, dandam, kamandalam and everything else too. Suka and Dutta are included in this. Above Paramahamsa Sannyaasi, even after the practice of separately indicating two more classes as Tureeyaateeta and Avadoota as Atyaashrami, had been accepted; they have all been mentioned as ‘Parmahamsa Parivrajakas’. Our AachaaryaaL himself in the Bhashyam for Chandokya Upanishad (VIII – 12 – 1) has used the phrase ‘paramahamsa parivraajakai: atyaashramibhi:’!
548. Let me make this point more clear. Sanyasi is of the fourth Ashrama with clear cut rules about his dress and code of conduct. When even these have been transcended, such a being is Atyaashrami. Though with some slight variations there are different names for them, they are all bracketed together once they have given up all desires and worldly aims and goals. These differences are only from the observers’ point of view and not theirs. There are two more names mentioned in the Saastraas for them as ‘Vividisha Sanyasa and Vidivat Sanyasa’. This classification makes clear that, the one who starts with Yati Dharma in Sannyaasa systematically and as he progresses, gives up all rules and becomes Atyaashrami. ‘Vividisha’ means the desire to know something and yearn for it. He desires to know as to what is the state of Samadhi, Aatma Saatchaatkaara, Brhmaananda and such things – such a person is Vividisha. He feels that so long as he is in the family life, he cannot dedicate himself to such goals and aspirations and work towards such aims. Therefore he takes up Sannyaasa according to the rules of the Saastraas and follows all the rules as prescribed for that Ashrama.
549. Then as he becomes a Sanyasi, keeps reading the Saastras, mulls over them by doing Aatma Vichara, as he progresses he gets convinced about what is said in the books about Samaadhi to be true by personal experience. Thus theory becomes Anubhava. But this happens in fleeting seconds like the wave reaching the shore touches your feet and goes back. When the desire that sprouts, during the time of hearing and reading about the state of Samadhi, becomes ones personal experience, ‘Vidivat’ becomes real. Having tasted it once, he gets motivated to completely merge in that state. At that moment even the rules and regulations of Sannyaasa Ashrama may become stumbling blocks. So he throws away the Dhandam, Kamandalam, Ochre robes and such things and abandons all the other rules too. That is ‘Vidivat’ Sannyaasa.
550. While not knowing as to what is Brhma Saatchaatkaara, desiring to know about it, you undertake Vividisha Sannyaasa. Having tasted the same, to make it ones living experience, you transcend even the rules of Sannyaasa and that is, Vidivat Sannyaasa and that is becoming Atyaashrami. There is a saying in Tamil in the lighter vein, ‘sanyasattukku Sanyasam’, which means something like, ‘giving up the act of giving up’! An immature person feels something like ‘Virakti’, that means dispassion, and gives up home and hearth and takes up Sannyaasa. After a few days of suffering in heat and cold and hunger, his dispassion deserts him. Now all the unfulfilled desires come back to him with redoubled vigour, causing him to come back home! That is, ‘sanyasattukku Sanyasam’! Similarly when someone who had been doing ‘TarpaNam’ regularly stops doing it, they say that he has done ‘TarpaNattukku TarpaNam’!
551. But when an Atyaashrami gives up Sannyaasa Dharma he does not intend to return to Gruhasta Ashrama. Giving up Sannyaasa Dharma is not his aim or purpose. To be able to constantly dwell in Samaadhi is his aim. Instead of coming down he intends further progressing in the path and going beyond! That is why he is called the ‘Ati + Aashrami = Atyaashrami’ to mean the one who has transcended. However this is not to mean that all Sanyaasis will do this. Eventually may be in this life or in the next life they will do that, but not necessarily. There is so much distance between the proverbial ‘lip and the cup’!
552. Janaka remaining a house holder and King was a ‘Jivan Mukta’! Samarta Ramadas remaining in Brhmacharyam was merged in Adwaita Anubhuti. (Here PeriyavaaL has not mentioned about a contemporary of his namely ‘Ramana Maharishi’. But we know that not going through any of these processes except Upanayanam and Brhmacharyam, Ramana had come to realise his oneness with all existence at the age of 17. None of these classifications can apply to him. He remained there in Thiruvannamalai till the age of 71 as a Jivan Mukta creating a tradition of his own with a whole grand galaxy of disciples and followership, which continues till date! Around him there came into being an Ashrama called Ramana Ashram which is visited by his followers from all over the world even now.)
553. Leaving these exceptions to the rule, either remaining in Sannyaasa or transcending it, there have been many Mahatmas in this holy land of Bharat Mahan as Jivan Mukta-s! Once the Aatma / Brhma Saatchaatkaara occurs in a flash, it is eternal. Like the breath in the body, it becomes involuntarily possible to follow the Ashrama rules without any efforts on their part. There have been, are and will be many such Saints, whose state of Samaadhi is eternal. But like the Sun or Moon being seen apparently to be covered by the clouds, the state of Samaadhi is also seen now and not seen again! So the majority of them remain truthfully obedient to the rules without trying to do so, with the exceptions only proving the rule! These are not things that can be explained by talking about them or writing about. Depending on their background knowledge, education and experience, whether they are Atyaashramees or Vidivat Sanyaasis is as per Easwara Sankalpa, as to how God wishes to make use of them.
(To be continued.)
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