Saturday, February 25, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 133 (Vol # 5) Dated 25 Feb 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 133 (Vol # 5) Dated 25 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 830 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)
822. Which Poem or Sloka Was Written by Which Sankara AachaaryaaL? In each of the five Matams established by our AachaaryaaL there have been many Peetaadhipatis who have all been named Sankara AachaaryaaL only. Then there are also other Matams which have come in to being, with their Head being called Sankara AachaaryaaL! In Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam itself there have been 70 Heads as ‘Jagat Guru’, the present one being the 70th in the lineage! They have all had the name ‘Sankara’, even in the name assumed by them after taking Sannyaasa, such as, ‘Krupa Sankara’, ‘Ujjwala Sankara’, ‘Mooka Sankara’, ‘Abhinava Sankara’ and so many more! In Sringeri, they call their Guru with love and respect as ‘Vidya Sankara’. Any one of them could have written the poem ‘Siva Bhujangam’ in which there is a reference to Siruthondar as ‘Suta Drohi’, without claiming any copy-write or authorship. Over time the sloka could have been construed to have been written by the first Aadi Sankara! This one reference thus cannot be the basis of deciding the time of Aadi Sankara Bhagawat PaadaaL!
823. Divine Grace is More Important than doing Research. Slokas, Stotras and prayers written by those who have been heads of such Matams, have been chanted over long number of years with the belief that they are the words of Sankara AachaaryaaL, and they have benefitted many devotees over the years immensely. Actually while chanting those slokas, one does not even bother as to who has written them, as the authorship is irrelevant and immaterial! Come to think of it, you will realise that they are very much his creations in spirit, as it is his inspiration that is the motive. So, there is no need to undo such faith and belief. More such research will only result in erasing the devotion. 824. But when people keep doing all sorts of so called Researches and Discoveries and try to thrust their own views on others as the one and only truth, we feel compelled to at least say that, there could be yet other points of views with equal validity. Today when much emphasis is being laid on establishing the date and time period as though it is very important, I felt the necessity to talk about some of our AachaaryaaL’s writings. Even if we do a lot of research and exactly establish as to who has written what, there can be no doubt that they are all Guru’s Anugraha only. So, this searching is irrelevant as to who is the author of which poem. Practically it is seen that all of those Slokas are our Gurus’ sanctions and our attitude should be one of benefitting by chanting them!
825. How does it matter to us as to who wrote it and when? Guru’s Grace’s effectiveness is not a function of time. Whether very ancient or contemporary of our AachaaryaaL or a Peetaadipathy much later in the lineage, they are all equally adorable and are to be revered. Anybody in the Guru Sthaanam (in the position of a Guru) even today is seen to be capable of granting us Gnaana. So it does not matter whether our Guru the AachaaryaaL was of the 6th Century B.C. or A.D.! That does not affect his powers for Anugraha. Listening to or reading his story, is for us to become deserving of his Grace and Anugraha. That main aim should not be lost sight of!
826. But, it does not mean however that anybody can say anything and get away with it. So, we have to pay some attention to it and try to give a suitable response. There are three things to be careful about such response. Just because they are very vocal and insistent, we should not try to be equally so. If what they say is found to be true, we should open heartedly accept the same. We should never get annoyed or angry with them. Any discussion about our AachaaryaaL should be about removal of doubts and confusion and not permitted to end in hatred. Thirdly Guru’s Grace should remain the foremost aim in our order of priority.
827. The Matter of PoorNa Varman. Let us look at another issue raised by the Orientalists in deciding our AachaaryaaL’s time period in the calendar. In our AachaaryaaL’s Bhashyam to Brhma Sutra, he mentions the name of a king PoorNa Varman and says, “How ridiculous it is to say that before him the one who ruled was the son of an infertile woman”! The Orientalists claim that there was a king by the name of PoorNa Varman in Magadh in the 7th Century A.D. and that AachaaryaaL is referring to him! Can we insist that he was referring to an existing king only? When generally referring to someone in Tamil we say, “Yaaro Ramano, Krishnano, Seshano, Subbano” or in English we say, “Some Tom, Dick and Harry”. These names are not indicative of anyone particularly. Someone’s name has to be taken in giving an example. In many places in his Bhashyams, AachaaryaaL has used names such as some Deva Dutta and Yagnya Dutta. Nobody has bothered to find out who such a person was till date, as they have correctly understood that the name of that person was irrelevant to the message.
828. In this particular case too PoorNa Varman could be some name taken at random. After all what is he driving at? He is saying that we cannot relate an existing reality (sat) with a non-existing unreality (asat), period! Even while giving a name at random, he has used a name which is most appropriate as ‘sat’, which also means ‘PoorNa’ or ‘complete’ as against a non-existing ‘ApoorNa’, (that is the opposite of ‘complete’ which is a zero), to point out the impossibility of, ‘the son of a woman without any offspring!
829. From Huan Tswang it is learnt that ‘Poorna Varman’ as a King of Magadha was a hard core Buddhist. I had told you earlier that he had replanted the Bodhi Tree in Buddha Gaya. An AachaaryaaL who had re-established the Vedaanta philosophy had no need to take the name of a king of a small vassal state. At least if he happened to have been a famous emperor, there is some logic in taking his name. He was of the period of 650 A.D. AachaaryaaL is said to be making this statement around 800 A.D. A person involved in writing a very important thesis such as the Bhashyam for Brhma Sutra, had no chance of remembering a ‘nobody’ like that king, that too, from the opposite camp. He could have made fun of the name ‘PoorNa Varman’ (totality of completeness) for being a proponent of ‘Soonya Vaada’ (Zero Vaada) of Buddhism. But, here he is not making a joke at all, but only using just some name factually, which happens to fit in most beautifully, as explained in the previous para. Without any deep thinking, people make some obtuse comment and it is accepted by the readers with equal denseness!
830. Similar are the questions raised by some Orientalists on some flimsy grounds. One of them is this question, as to why Huan Tswang has failed to mention the name of Sankara? They further ask as to how can it be that Sankara is said to be of a period before Huan Tswang? I told you that Huan Tswang was not at all interested in anything other than Buddhism. He has also not said anything about the Upanishads, Brhma Sutram and Bhagawat Gita, together known as ‘Prasthaana Thrayee’! But the same research scholars have agreed that those scriptures were of a much earlier vintage isn’t it?
831. ‘VidyaraNya Swami’ and ‘Abhinava Sankara’. In the arguments of the research scholars, there are two more points still to be countered. In the stone carvings found in Cambodia, wherein it is said that, the world of intelligentsia is converging and bending their heads in supplication on ‘Bhagawat Sankara’s’ feet like the bees hovering around the bloom of a lotus flower. Who else can it be than Aadi Sankara Bhagawat PaadaaL? From that stone carving, there seems to be confirmation that his period was between end of 8th Century and early 9th Century A.D. That is one argument and another is about the question raised by our doubting Toms, based on the sloka ‘nidhi naage bavahnyabde’, that I have mentioned earlier. These two questions seem to be about one and the same person and so we will give a combined reply.
832. In the Aachaarya Peetams established by our AachaaryaaL, there have been many great Mahatmas of name and fame. Some of the Slokas and Stotras said to be written by Aadi Sankara could have been written by them, as I told you, isn’t it? One name that comes up with much relevance in this respect is that of VidyaraNya Swami. He of the 14th Century A.D. was the cause for the creation of the Vijayanagara Empire. Had he not come on the scene at the important moment, the whole of South India would have been swallowed by the Muslims’ onslaught! Controlling the Muslims, he paved the way for the establishment of a Hindu Empire. Similarly there was also a threat for the Adwaita philosophy to become forgotten by the spread of Madhva cult from Udupi and Veera Saivam from parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. This was also blocked by his efforts. He spruced up the Sringeri Matam to function with renewed vigour and established many more such Matams in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Thus he ensured that our AachaaryaaL’s tradition is revived, rejuvenated and embellished. He authored ‘Panchadasi’, ‘Jeevan Mukti Viveka’ and ‘Vaiyaasika Nyaayamaala’, books of high value of theoretical and practical Adwaitam! With his biological brother, he also wrote the Bhashyam for all the four Vedas called, the ‘SaayaNa Bhashyam’. He is held in much esteem by all followers of Smaarta Sampradaaya.
833. Similarly there was this 38th Mataadipathy of Kanchi Kaamakoti Peetam called ‘Abhinava Sankara’. “Abhinava’ means ‘re-birth of an Avatara’. There was a wide spread belief that Aadi Sankara himself had come again in the form of Abhinava Sankara. So his Sannyaasa name of Dheera Sankarendra Saraswathy was forgotten and he was known as ‘Abhinava Sankara’ only. There are two books on his biography by the name of, ‘Sankarendra Vilaasam’ and ‘Satguru Santaana ParimaLam’. Some of the Sankara Vijayam books could have made errors of mixing up his exploits with that of Aadi Sankara.
(To be continued.)



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