Thursday, February 23, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 132 (Vol # 5) Dated 23 Feb 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 132 (Vol # 5) Dated 23 Feb 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 the third para on page No 824 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 updated constantly)
809. Buddhists and Jains of the Olden Times. In reply to the objection that if our AachaaryaaL is of the 6th Century B.C., then Buddha and he will become contemporaries, there is another answer that occurs to me. It is the fact that, even Buddha is not the originator of Buddhism. Experts of that religion itself vouchsafe that, ‘Suddhodhana’s son Gautama Buddha is only the 24th Buddha. Before him there have been 23 Buddha-s. So our religion is also, as you say about your Vedas is Anaadi, that is without a discernible origin! In support of this contention there is evidence in the Ramayana.
810. After Rama went away to live in the forest, Bharata went to the forest to persuade Rama to come back, isn’t it? One of the Rishis who accompanied Bharata was Jaabaali. He tries to tell some out of the way logic to somehow make Rama to give up obeying his father’s orders or may be his inner intention was to bring out Rama’s absolute courage of convictions and his unshakeable strong belief in Vedas and Saastraas! His arguments go against the Vedic and borders on agnosticism. Rama gets very annoyed and while putting down Jaabaali’s arguments, calls them Buddhist views like the out and out agnosticism of the Saarvaaka which is also a non-religion in the garb of one! Having roundly criticised Jaabaali’s advices, he says that, “We should not wake up from our sleep looking at the faces of such people even. They should be punished as we punish thieves!” These are very strong words for Rama who is normally extremely soft spoken. (Refer to the 34th Sloka in the 109th Sarga of Ayodhya Kaandam in Vaalmeeki Ramayana. At the end Jaabaali accepts Sri Rama’s words and says that he only spoke as though he believes in Nastik Vaada, because the occasion demanded that he should try and persuade Rama to come back to Ayodhya, somehow!)
811. Here Rama uses the word Buddha and another name normally used amongst Buddhists, ‘Tataagata’. From the above conversation between Sri Rama and Jaabaali, we can make out that this Buddhism was current even in Sri Rama’s time! But Gautama Buddha emphasised the aspects of self control, good attitude and behaviour, respect for elders, control of senses, practice of non-cruelty, deep meditation and Dhyana and Samadhi; that he literally overhauled the objectionable practices of the past, and was considered as the proponent and supporter of Buddhism and not the founder!
812. Similarly the Jains too claim that their religion is very ancient and that out of 24 Teertankara-s the last is Mahavira aka Jaina, who is considered the one who established it as a separate religion. In fact one of the Avatara Purushas mentioned in PuraNas, Rishabha is the first Teertankara. Even the Orientalists, who doubt these, say that the 23rd Teertankara Paarshvanath might have been there in the 9th Century B.C. 813. Moreover, we have to take note of the fact that in Brhma Sutra itself there is criticism of Buddhism. Sri Krishna in Bhagawat Gita says that, “brhmasutra padaschaiva hetumatbir vinischitai:”, that even the words of Brhma Sutra are interpreted in various ways! So people who claim that Brhma Sutra and Bhagawat Gita are all after Buddha only, should pause and think about these statements. There have been many known as Buddhas before Gautama Buddha and also, there have been many Teertankaras before Mahavira. So there is no need to claim that Vyasa who wrote the Brhma Sutra and Sri Krishna who gave out Bhagawat Gita on the battle field of Kurukshetra are of a time period after Buddha!
814. There is one more thing about the Gita sloka just using the phrase ‘brhmasutra’, as quoted in the above para. Our AachaaryaaL in his Bhashyam of Gita says, ‘brahmaNa: soochakaani vaachakaani brhma sutraaNi’, that is, they are words indicating brhmam’. Here Bhagwan Sri Krishna or Vyasa for that matter, are not referring to the famous book of that name, but such words and phrases pointing at Brhmam. Now from the above quote we can draw two opposing conclusions. If you take that phrase ‘brhmasutra’ as referring to the book, then you can come to the conclusion that Brhma Sutra is predated to Gita. If you take the phrase only as pointers to Brhmam, then you can correctly conclude that Gita is much earlier than Brhma Sutra. In Brhma Sutra, the Gita is referred to by the word ‘smaryate’ meaning, ‘that is said so in Smruti’! Then once you get to know that Vyasa is the Author for both, the options are still the whole spectrum spread between, total clarity and absolute confusion!
815. What I wished to point out is the fact that, before we come to any conclusions about the dates of many principled points of views aka Siddhaantam-s, those ideas have always been there in some form, long back in time! Thus Saarvaakam, Soudraantikam, Vaibaasikam, Soonyavaadam and many other Buddhist and Jain Siddhaantams, could have been there at the time of AachaaryaaL already and later Asaanka, Dingnaaga and Naagaarjuna might have rejuvenated and revived those ideas! One more important point to note is that, there is a lot of guess work involved in fixing the dates of these three also in the Christian Calendar, like in the case of KaaLidaasa!
816. In ‘Megha Sandesha’ (Sloka 14) KaaLi Daasa is painting a picture of how the clouds are trying to go higher, beyond the Diggajaas (aka Eight Elephants said to be positioned in the eight directions all around, protecting the outer sphere of the earth). There, instead of Diggajaas, he uses the word ‘Dingnaagaas’, meant to be a slight take on, Dingnaaga to be bypassed, as per the view of some scholars! That would mean Dingnaaga must have been a contemporary or of a time even earlier than, KaaLi Daasa whose date we do not know anyhow!
817. As per Nepal’s Raja VamsaavaLi, Naagaarjuna’s time goes back to the 13th Century B.C.! Thus when we try and fix the time of our AachaaryaaL from those whose time itself is rather vague, it is like using a vague and nebulous landmark as a reference point in Map Reading or ‘a blind man leading and guiding another blind man’!
818. The Matter of Mahayana Branch of Buddhism. The disciple of our AachaaryaaL, Padmapaada has commented on Mahayana branch of Buddhism. We saw earlier that one of the arguments against Our AachaaryaaL having been there in 6th Century B.C. was that, Buddhism got divided in to Mahayana and Hinayana at the time of Kanishka, who is said to have been the Ruler in 1st Century A.D.! Yes, after Buddha attained to Maha Pari NirvaaNam, in Rajagruha, there was huge get together of all the followers of Buddhism. It was during that conference, two opposing set of followers of that religion, namely those of Staviravaada (aka Terravaada) and Maha Sangikam, had a big confrontation; which became Hinayana and Mahayana respectively as we learn from their religious texts. But for a long period of time the two opposing views must have been there for such clear division to take place. So there is no apparent chronological error in Padmapaada commenting on either of those views. Anyhow keeping the Megasthanis incident in mind, if we push the whole history a little back in time, all these questions get struck off!
819. The matter of ‘Dravida Sisu’. Let us look at this matter of ‘Dravida Sisu’! Why go to Thiru Gnaana Smbandar at all? Our AachaaryaaL himself was only a ‘Dravida Sisu’ – that is ‘a Tamil Baby’. In the Malayala Desa of Kerala, they say that he as a small baby drank the Milk of Divinity and got astounding powers of erudition and expression! Near Kaladi there is a small village by the name of MaaNikka Mangalam. There is a temple for AmbaaL by the name of Kaatyayani. Our AachaaryaaL’s father Siva Guru used to go there and do daily Pooja. He used to offer Milk as Neivedyam, from which he used to give a little bit to his son as AmbaaL’s Prasadam on his return home. As a baby he used to think that AmbaaL is partaking the milk being offered and returning some of it for him as Prasadam.
820. One day when his father had to go away, he himself undertook his father’s duty and went to the temple. He did whatever he had known his father to be doing and told AmbaaL, “Mother, please drink the milk!” So as to endow him with the Divine Grace, AmbaaL played a small drama (aka Leela) and drank the whole milk offering. Then when the child was disappointed to see nothing in balance, AmbaaL breast fed him! Such a story is prevalent as ‘Idihyam’ there. In the three bhashyams of ‘Soundarya Lahari’, namely ‘Lakshmidhara’, Sowbhagya Vardinee’ and ‘AruNamodinee’; this is the explanation for ‘Dravida Sisu’. In the book Lakshmidhara, it says, ‘the author of this Stotram as a baby, born in the Dravida Jaati’ as an explanation for Dravida Sisu – ‘dravida Jaati samudbhava baala: etat Stotra karta’. In the other two bhashyams the complete story as above is given in full. So, you cannot hold the view that our AachaaryaaL’s time is after that of Thiru Gnaana Sambandar in the 7th Century A.D.!
821. The Reference to ‘Suta Drohi’. What is answer to the reference to the ‘Suta Drohi’ incident, in which Siruthondar is said to have killed and cut the body of his own son as the food for Bhairava Upaasakar, who had fasted for six months and the point about that AachaaryaaL could not have written poems of Bhakti genre? To say that our AachaaryaaL, who was fully steeped in Gnaana, could not have written devotional poems at all is a wrong assumption. In fact total Gnaana makes one highly devoted and total devotion leads you to Gnaana. Both are Royal paths to divinity. But it is doubtful however if all the devotional poems were his or not. Soundarya Lahari, Sivaananda Lahari, Baja Govindam, SubrahmaNya Bhujangam, Kanaka Dhaara Stotram etcetera are very much his writings only. But in some of them there are inherent question marks. For example there is a sloka ‘Devi Aparaadha KshamaapaNa Stotram’ in which there is this statement, ‘kuputro jaayate kvachidapi kumaataa na bhavati’ to mean, ‘there could be a bad son, but a mother can never be a bad mother’! In that sloka, the author says, “Amma! I have crossed 85 years of age. If you do not give me your grace, whom shall I turn to?” Our AachaaryaaL who lived only for 32 years could not have made that statement at all! Now let us come to the point about the mentioning of ‘Suta Drohi’ in the next issue of Deivathin Kural.
(To be continued.)



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