Monday, March 26, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 149 (Vol # 5) Dated 26 Mar 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 149 (Vol # 5) Dated 26 Mar 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 page No 927 of Vol 5 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated constantly)

969. As there can be two persons with one name, there could also be one person with more than one name, which can also give scope for some confusion. As there are people with aliases, This Mandana Mishra who became Sureshwara after becoming our AachaaryaaL’s disciple, is said to have had a name as Viswaroopa. Moreover, those who wrote these histories would have based their version on what they heard or gathered from others or other books. In them also, their reporting would have been based on what they believed to be true. As our AachaaryaaL had established many institutions in various parts of the country, people who were loyal to those organizations, would have given more weightage to them and could have said a few things in favour of those. In addition to these differences between books, even simple copying from palm leaf scripts to other media could have led to some additions and omissions!

970. You might have heard of the adage, “ezhudinavan ettai keduththaan”, meaning that, ‘the one who wrote spoiled the paper’! Thus the scribes could have been responsible for errors of commission and omission. Yes, writing should be objective without any grinding of one’s own axes. Though in principle it will be agreed that the source material should be objectively seen, some likes and dislikes do come in. When it comes to the matter of talking about AachaaryaaL and Adwaitam, these likes and dislikes have no place anyhow. Without taking sides on any issue, there is nobody who has analysed truth for the sake of truth, as he has done, undoubtedly. That is why in his Adwaitam, it has been possible for accommodating Dwaitam, Karmam, Bhakti, Saankhyam, Yogam, Bouddam, Meemaamsai and many other Siddhaantams. But none can be as unbiased like him and that is his greatness and uniqueness.

971. The biographies written by people of the past, is a matter that is already over. They all had much devotion for him and whatever they felt towards him, they wished to share with the generations yet to be. So they have all done a beautiful job to the best of their ability for which we should be indebted towards them all with a sense of gratitude. The matter that should get our attention now is as to how we are going to make use of them. Whichever biography we select to read, we should be approaching them as books of devotion. No question about that. Devotion is more important than questions and answers. Reading about our AachaaryaaL, wherever our hard heartedness is slightly melted, we should be thankful for the opportunity. So, let us read them all.

972. In our efforts to find the truth in the variations between the versions, we should not be biased. The way he looked at the truth without being self opinionated – we should be praying to him to guide us to be able to see the truth and only the truth. With truth, love is also important. For the sake of one, we should not be losing the sight of the other. If something looks absolutely certain to be the truth, we should not be against those who are not able to have a similar view. The very word Adwaitam means unity, integrity, absoluteness, comprehensiveness and universality. That immediately imposes on us a ban on being too mindful about differences with opposing viewpoints. We cannot commit a greater crime than causing differences of opinion about his life itself! We should know the truth for which we should have the courage to face it. That courage is not readiness to go to war with people who have differences of opinion. Without any lessening of the love in our hearts, we should be able to state our point of view. While approaching this discussion, we should be praying to our AachaaryaaL that even our opponents may be granted truthful outlook and a loving heart. That should be our mental attitude.

973. ‘Madhaveeya Sankara Vijayam’. I told you that Madhaveeya Sankara Vijayam is quite widely read and well known. One of the reasons for its popularity is that, it is full of literary merits. At the same time, it contains deep analysis of principles, viewpoints and concepts of our AachaaryaaL as well those of his opponents, putting forth the arguments from either side. It was the first of the Sankara Vijayam books to be printed, distributed all over the country and sold out. There were many ardent followers of Sankara AachaaryaaL, who were keen on its publication and distribution. The first issue was published from Bombay in 1863 and the second was from Ananda Ashram, Pune in 1891. It contained elucidation with comments from two experts on the subject namely, one ‘Adwaita Rajya Lakshmi’ by Achyutaraya Modak and ‘Dindima Vyaakhyaanam’ by Danapathy Suri.

974. The author of Madhaveeya Sankara Vijayam has given it a name as, ‘Samkshepa Sankara Vijayam’. He has given in the preamble of the book that he has given in brief (in samkshepa), life history of our AachaaryaaL, from already existing books. He has quoted that he has mainly made use of Vyasachala’s book and others’. He says in all humility that, “The poems by those earlier authors are rather sweet. So that you may not be satiated by too much sweetness, I have included other tastes also by adding some of my slokas also in a style of my own”. In his vinaya (humility) there is vaastav (genuineness) also. Vaastav does not mean that only the poems quoted are sweet and his poems are not! Actually his poems are also very sweet indeed, in fact more so. Then what is the vaastav part? He has genuinely quoted many portions from Vyasachaleeyam, Raja ChudaamaNi’s Sankara Abhyudhayam, Rama Bhadra Deekshidar’s Patanjali Vijayam, and Jagannatha Kavi’s Bhagawat Paada Saptasati, liberally. He has also made use of Aananda Gireeyam as a main source. But since Aananda Gireeyam is part prose and part poetry, in this book which is fully in slokas, he could not include all of them verbatim. He has made use of some of the poems from Aananda Gireeyam as it is and from the portions which are in prose, he has versified. All said and done, by putting together the crucial portions from various books, he has given us a virtual literary feast. Thus he has made use of the source materials in three modes; such as giving it verbatim, slightly modified and versified. Thus the book is popular with the intelligentsia as well as the common man.

975. Some people ask me a question. “He himself has quoted Vyasachaleeyam and Aananda Gireeyam as the source material. But, what is the proof that he has made use of ‘Sankara Abhyudhayam’, Patanjali Charitam’ and ‘Bhagawat Paada Saptadi’? Can it not be that, those authors made use of the ‘Madhaveeya Sankara Vijayam’, in writing their books?” Point one is that he has himself confirmed that he has made use of many authors before him. Not only that. However much the Sankara Vijayam books may be literarily high class, more than their literary value their religious sanctity is of greater importance. The authors never meant them to be great literary achievements but, more focussed on devotion to the Guru and religiosity of the reader. In such books, authorship and copy-right are not as important, as the intrinsic spiritual value! ‘Let us write a book which people can read with devotion’, would have been their intention. But, Raja ChudaamaNi Deekshidar, Rama Bhadra Deekshidar and Jagannatha Kavi are all firstly poets known more for their literary acumen, aspirations and achievements. Such people will consider below their prestige to add other’s writings in their works, unless when unavoidable, isn’t it? Otherwise, when their plagiarism if any becomes public, they get blamed for such endeavours by being called, ‘chora kavi’ or ‘ilakkiya thirudar’! If there is any such Sankara Vijayam, certainly it must be known word by word, at least to some of scholars. So, people who are famous as ‘Kavi’ (poets) will never make use of other’s writings except under quotes!

976. One more point. Madhaveeya Sankara Vijayam is a big book with some 2,000 slokas. Sankara Abhyudhayam and Patanjali Charitam are much smaller books. Bhagawat Paada Saptasati has only 70 poems. In a big book quotations from other’s writings will be acceptable. When the basic book is small, if it contains much material on loan so to say, will such a book see the light of the day in the literary world? Will that poet have much prestige? Whereas, in Madhaveeyam you will find that other’s writings have been suitably interpolated, without their becoming a stumbling block in the narrative. When the author himself has confirmed that he has made use of many authors’ writings without a tinge of any hurt to his ego, why should we be the one to object to it?

977. Vyasachaleeyam. In quoting Vyasa Achala’s (achalam means a mountain) book, the author of Madhaveeyam says at the very start of his book, “On the mountain of the elder poets like Vyasa Achala, there is the wonderful tree of Aachaarya Charitram, which is full of flowers. The erudite scholars of literature are like the bees which are drinking the nectar of those flowers. I am plucking those flowers, whatever can be reached by the pole of my limited intelligence, stringing them in to a garland, with my thoughts focussed on God in the form of my Guru and presenting them to you as this ‘Samkshepa Sankara Vijayam’. The same simile has been used by Govinda Natha in his Sankara Vijayam, while talking about Vyasachaleeyam.

(That we will see in the next e-mail.)




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