DEIVATHIN KURAL # 108 (Vol # 5) Dated 06 Jan 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 108 (Vol # 5) Dated 06 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 668 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)
563. Unity between SankaracharyaL & RamanujachaaryaaL. Though their philosophies of Adwaitam and Visishtadwaitam are not exactly similar, there are some aspects of unity! Normally the latter did everything as differently as possible from the ways of the former. In fact his Visishtadwaitam is not exactly opposite to Adwaitam as Dwaitam is. But in methods and procedures, it is Ramanuja who tried to be as different as possible. In the aspects of going directly from Brhmacharyam to Sanyasam, to be shorn of hair from the head and removal of PooNool; are all being equally practiced by Madhvas as done by followers of SankaracharyaL, whereas amongst the followers of Ramanuja, you can continue to have hair on the head and continue to wear the PooNool! If the Sanyaasis of ours have a Dhandam (a twig or stick), they have something known as Tri-Dhandi (in which three sticks are tied together and held in their hands). If we show many proofs that only in our tradition there is the state of Paramahamsa as per Saastraas, they claim that their Sanyaasis are also Paramahamsa only and claim that there is authority enough for that in the Saastraas. All told they have tried to be as different as possible to the ways as advised by our AachaaryaaL!
564. Sankara and Madva both established Matams, Ramanuja did not. The 74 Simhasanadipati-s are not Sanyaasis as heads of Matams. They are means of spreading the Vaishnava Sampradaaya through Gruhasta-s only. Amongst Sanyaasis there are ten different types known as ‘Dasa Naamees’. One of them is called the ‘Teertha’, who are also ordained Sanyaasis only. Amongst Madhva’s Mata Adhipathi-s, they are of this variety known as Teertha-s. His Sannyaasa name is Aananda Teertha. Krishna Chaitanya is also like that only. He is said to have taken Sannyaasa under Kesava Bharathi and Easwara Puri. Names such as Bharathi and Puri are also included under Dasa Naamees. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa too got Sannyaasa Ashrama from one Tota Puri.
565. But, Ramanuja did not become a Sanyaasi under any of the Dasa Naamees! In the initial stages he learnt Aatma Saastraas under one Yadava Prakasa. But, they say that he could not accept his Guru’s views fully. That was before his becoming a Sanyaasi. Looking into books on Adwaita, one is not able to trace out anything about this Yadava Prakasa. (After our AachaaryaaL and before Ramanuja, it seems there was a Bhaskara AachaaryaaL who is said to have propounded a Bheda – Abheda Siddhaantam. ‘Bheda – Abheda’ would mean a philosophy of ‘Different – Non-different’, between Jeevaatma and Paramaatma. There seems to have been one Yadava Prakasa who was a follower of Bhaskara Aachaaryaal’s views. He is said to have written a Brhma Sutra Bhashyam, which is not available nowadays. However his views being very close to what Ramanuja AachaaryaaL stood for, we have to presume that he might have been Ramanuja’s guru or that his writings influenced Ramanuja’s view points.) Our AachaaryaaL emphasised strictly the VarNa Ashrama Dharmas. Ramanujacharyar on the other hand occasionally played down the severity of them as seen from some of the stories on Guru Parampara. (KTSV Adds: Like Guru Nanak admitted anybody who was ready to wear the five signs as a Sikh, Ramanuja is said to have broken through the VarNa – Ashrama divide by a simple act of sprinkling sanctified holy water on them. What was given as sacred and secret Mantra Upadesa by his Guru, he is said to have announced from the ramparts of the temple to the assemblage for them to be admitted amongst the Vaishnava fold! I am not for or against his action. But simply my observation is that, though he might have been fairly well exposed to the Adwaita Philosophy through Yadava Prakasa, he might have felt that Bhakti per se is more important than making Adwaita Gnaana universally available to all and sundry!) However from his Bhashyams one can make out that he also quite strongly supported the VarNa Ashrama Dharma Anushtaana only, though we have to give the due weightage to stories that are prevalent. Madhva AachaaryaaL too like ours required his followers to abide with VarNa Ashrama Dharma very strictly.
566. I was wondering as to why Ramanuja countered all the actions of our AachaaryaaL and Madhva was not so? One answer occurs to me. After our AachaaryaaL came Ramanuja and then came Madhva. Each propounded their point of view contrary to what was predominantly the Siddhaantam prevalent in his time. If we take that all that happens in this world is still part of God’s play, we will see the reason and logic for their actions and point of views! Evidently there was an up-swell of Adwaita philosophy due to our AachaaryaaL Sankara’s approach and teachings, when Ramanuja came on the scene. Intrinsically he must have felt that Adwaitam is alright may be for one or two in millions to reach, for which you do not have to train or teach. Short of it, if everybody goes around thinking that he is God himself, there can only be misuse and chaos! When you go against an existing ground swell, you have to go contrary to every bits and pieces of such principled point of view. Then only your point of view will stand apart and shine. Like a new political party against an existing one, you have to change not only the Siddhaantam (that is, the Principled stand point of view), but also the flag, colours, symbol, dress and so on. So Ramanuja coming after Sankara differed with his predecessor in the social and religious milieu in as many respects as possible. Madhva coming after Ramanuja did the same thing and in the bargain came closer to Sankara in his efforts to distance himself from Ramanuja. In the meanwhile Adwaitam of Sankara was opposed by Visishtaadwaitam of Ramanuja which was contradicted by Dwaitam of Madhva. As two negatives make a positive, Madhva’s ways and means came closer to Sankara’s, though Adwaitam and Dwaitam are totally contrary to each other! Point to take note of however is the fact that all of them remained very loyal and ensured the loyalty of their followers to Vedas, Saastraas, PuraNas and Sanatana Dharma!
567. I started talking about the similarity between Sankara and Ramanuja, in their names prior to and after Sannyaasa, but elaborated more on dissimilarities! What was that similarity? You know that for Sankara the name remained the same before and after Sannyaasa. In the case of Ramanuja, the earlier name was Lakshmana that is called ‘ILaiya Aazhwaar’ in Tamil. You know that Lakshmana was the name of the younger brother of Sri Rama. With the same meaning, his Turiya Aashrama name also was ‘Rama + Anuja = Ramanuja’. That is the similarity.
568. Who was Lakshmana before that? He was Adisesha the thousand headed snake bed cum umbrella of Maha Vishnu. RamanujachaaryaaL is said to be an Avatara of Adisesha. We call our AachaaryaaL a Siva Avatara. Vaishnavas do not say that their AachaaryaaL is Vishnu Avatara. They say that he is Seshaavatara. Madhvas too do not say that their Guru is a Vishnu Avatara. Though Vishnu kept taking so many Avataras, these two AachaaryaaLs are not considered as Vishnu Avatara. Another similarity or closeness between Sankara and Ramanuja occurs to me. Our AachaaryaaL is the disciple of Govinda Bhagawat Paada, who is Patanjali’s Avatara, who in turn is another Avatara of Adisesha. Sri Vaishnavas say that Ramanuja is himself an Avatara of Adisesha! I was trying to tell you that Ramanuja’s name is a synonym for his name in his Poorva Ashrama.
569. There is one more aspect of closeness between them. Their birth day celebrations (that is, Jayanthi), is normally held on the same day every year. Sankara’s jayanthi is based on the panchami titi, whereas Ramanuja’s jayanthi is based on Aarudra / Thiruvadirai star. Almost always as per our calendar their birth days occur on the same day!
570. Madhva’s poorva ashrama name is Vasudevan. Then after Sannyaasa he became Aanada Theerta. He was also known as Poorna Pragna. The name that became famous in the world is Madhva! No special connection between those names. That saint from north east of India Gowraangar became Krishna Chaitanya. (Smilingly PeriyavaaL continues further.) Names cannot be more varying than that between poorva ashrama and after Sanyaasa! Gowraanga means one who is pure white, while Krishna means black! Ramanuja had synonyms for his two names but, Sankara retained the same name as in poorva ashrama. After all is said and done, amongst all in our Guru Parampara lineage, Govinda Bhagawat Paada is the one who had clearly different names in the poorva ashrama and after Sannyaasa. After our AachaaryaaL starting from his direct disciples, it has become the tradition to have a totally different name after Sanyaasa, as though to delink completely from the past.
571. Govinda’s Special Attributes. After becoming a Sanyaasi, Govinda Bhagawat Paada was roaming at random and often went deep into Samaadhi, forgetting his being and the whole world. It is not clear if he authored any books or not. There is an opinion that two books said to have been written by our AachaaryaaL namely, ‘Yoga TaraavaLi’ and ‘Adwaita Anubhuti’ are actually originally written by his Guru Govinda Bhagawat Paada. Anyhow even if they were written by our AachaaryaaL, the inspiration must have been from his Guru only. In Yoga TaraavaLi through the process of describing the subtle points of Ashtaanga Yoga, the way to fully merge in Adwaita Anubhuti and shine in the totality of experience is explained. We have to remember here that Patanjali who wrote the Yoga Sutra is the same as Govinda Bhagawat Paada in another form. What is achieved through ardent effort by the path of Yoga is attained or realized through Adwaita Anubhuti. So naturally as the highest Yogeswara as also the one experiencing the Aatma Anubhuti without any Saadhana or effort, Chandra Sarma aka Govinda Bhagawat Paada is more than qualified to write or cause our AachaaryaaL to author the book on Yoga TaravaLi as well as Aatma Anubhuti!
572. Some with education and practical experience may also be good in writing, while some may not be. But with the power of their own experience, they may have exceptional instructional ability by which they may be able train and coach their disciples to impart that knowledge, who in turn would spread the concept worldwide. Govinda Bhagawat Paada must have been a man of such acumen. First as Patanjali he created the Maha Bhashyam. Then by his Anugraha Sakti he transferred all that knowledge to Gowda. Then taking another Avatara as Chandra Sarma he received all that knowledge back from Gowda and wrote it all down in the fig-leaves. Then taking Sannyaasa from the same Guru, he becomes Govinda Bhagawat Paada and imparts all that knowledge as Adwaita Anubhuti to his disciple that is, our AachaaryaaL. He has not written any book on either Sanskrit Grammer or on Adwaita Siddhaanta. After him Sanskrit Grammer, Yogic methods and Adwaita Anubhava as a Siddhaanta have all spread far and wide; which is all proof of his instructional abilities!
(To be continued.) Sambhomahadeva.
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