DEIVATHIN KURAL # 164 (Vol # 5) Dated 25 Apr 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 164 (Vol # 5) Dated 25 Apr 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 going ahead from the third para on page No 1018 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 http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated constantly)
Defeating the Husband & Wife Team of
Mandana Mishra and SarasavaaNi.
1101. This exponent of Naishkarmya Gnaana reached the house of proponent of dynamic activities of Karma! Mandana Mishra was not prepared to welcome our AachaaryaaL like, Kumarila Bhatta did. He used to consider the Sanyaasi type of people who have given up their Karma, to be detestable. He was not the gentlemanly sort to be hospitable to his opponents. He used to think of it as a sin to even look at a renunciate. Our AachaaryaaL reached his household as the uninvited guest! He was of the view that it was his duty to elicit and tell the truth even to an enemy, out of his enormously abundant unconditional love for all! On this particular day in Mandana Mishra’s house, there was Sraardham (obsequies for the departed souls of ancestors) scheduled to be conducted. On such a day, Mandana Mishra would have considered meeting a Sanyasi to be doubly sinful!
1102. The very word ‘Sraardham’ means what is done with extreme sincerity and commitment, as offerings to the departed souls of ancestors. That is what Mandana Mishra was doing just then inside the house. So the doors had been securely closed to prevent any unauthorised entry of unclean individuals or animals, not commensurate with the gravity and seriousness of the situation. Whereas our AachaaryaaL was keen on making a dramatic entry and bless the owner of the house! There are two versions as to how he entered the house when the doors were bolted from inside! In Sankara Vijayam books it is mentioned that he entered that household using his yogic powers. There is another story coming down the generations by word of mouth as heard from one’s elders!
1103. In these parts of the country, there used to be a set of people known as ‘Marameri’ or ‘ChaaNar Jaati’. They used to know a special mantra to which the coconut tree responded. They would go near a tall coconut tree and chant that mantra and tap the tree with their hands. The tree would immediately bend down and touch the ground with its top. This man would climb on top and the tree will stand up. The ‘Marameri’ would get his job of plucking the coconuts or unload the pots tied to the neck of the tree for tapping into its juicy sap, which is later used for making liquor or drunk directly for its light intoxicating effect! Then he will make use of the mantra a second time for getting down from the tree most obligingly!
1104. Our AachaaryaaL saw a nice coconut tree outside Mandana Mishra’s house and also happened to notice a ‘Marameri’ passing by. He requested him to teach the mantra to him. He had the humility to be able to ignore position and status when it comes to learning from anybody. That man was obliging enough. Using that mantra, our AachaaryaaL was able to climb that tree and get down in the inner court yard of Mandana Mishra’s house. That was the time when the invitees were being seated for their ceremonial feast. On such an occasion, there would not have been a grand gala get together. Only two or three Brahmins would be the invitees. There were two such Brahmin invitees already there. One was Jaimini Maharishi who had originally authored the basic Saastraas of Meemaamsai religion. The other was the very Vyasa AachaaryaaL who had arrived, respecting the gravity of the occasion and come to honour Mandana Mishra’s arrangements for the Sraardham, in a visible form.
1105. You recall the story as to how when Parikchit Maharaja, in trying to safe guard his life, was erecting an extensive security barrier around his person, this Dakshaka the Serpent King could still find a way in, by hiding in the lemon fruit, didn’t he! It is said that no system is fool-proof for the fool and the very clever! Similarly, our AachaaryaaL could reach Mandana Mishra despite his safety precautions! There in the story of Parikchit Maharaja, Dakshaka was going to inject poison into the person whereas here our AachaaryaaL was going to inject the nectar of Gnaana into the situation! What a time to come face to face with a Sanyaasi, that too when he was coming in uninvited! Mandana Mishra was shocked! He burst out, “Wherefrom is this ‘Mundi’?” Sanyaasis shave off the hair in their heads. A person with a shaved off pate derisively is called by the fact of his bald head as ‘Mundi’! AachaaryaaL answered with a slight twist in the meaning to say that he was ‘shaved off from the neck upwards’ – “Mundi from the neck up”! Sanyaasis are not supposed to shave off below the neck! Similarly AachaaryaaL gave prompt replies to whatever Mandana Mishra asked, repeatedly punning on the words.
1106. In fact followers of the philosophy of Meemaamsai pride themselves that they understand the words and phrases of Vedas most correctly by splitting the words and relating to the roots of the meanings! Here AachaaryaaL could find two different meanings for every word that he spoke, that Mandana Mishra felt insulted and up-staged! His anger knew no bounds! The invitee Brahmins Vyasa and Jaimini pacified Mandana Mishra, as they were well aware of AachaaryaaL’s greatness. It was suggested that the Sanyaasi could be seated in the place meant for Vishnu, as acceptable to the concerned Saastraas meant for Sraardham. As it is, both Jaimini and Vyaasa were very senior and respectable figures. Moreover, the words of the invitees in the function of Sraardham are not to be ignored at all, as one represents all the Devatas and the other represents all the souls of the ancestors! So very reluctantly Mandana Mishra had to accept their ruling. So he did Namaskar to our AachaaryaaL and prayed to him to be seated in the seat of Vishnu, where the food had already been served. (In such functions a set of two plantain leaves are symbolically laid in a prominent spot where the function is being held and food served as though the Maha Vishnu is seated there. Our AachaaryaaL was offered that seat.) While occupying that seat AachaaryaaL responded saying, “I did not come here for ‘Anna Biksha’ (food being given as a dole) but for ‘Vaada Biksha’ (that is being challenged for a debate), as directed by Kumarila Bhatta!” The name of Kumarila Bhatta changed the entire atmosphere! Mandana Mishra became very humble and respectable towards our AachaaryaaL. He requested that they could most willingly enter in to discussions and debate, once the partaking of the food is over and done! The ‘Divasam’ function was over in good humour. Vyasa and Jaimini returned to their abodes. Then our AachaaryaaL and Mandana Mishra started their battle of wits. They selected Mandana Mishra’s wife SarasavaaNi as the Adjudicator.
1107. When even the women of the village had been rendered in to learned scholars of Saastraas and even the pet birds were capable of discussing the intricate nuances of such knowledge by the influence of Mandana Mishra, his own wife must be a very learned person indeed and so acceptable to our AachaaryaaL. This is from the human and humane aspect. Then if you consider the fact of our AachaaryaaL being an Avatara of Siva, he would have known Mandana Mishra to be Brhma himself and SarasavaaNi to be the very Goddess of all Learning, the Saraswathi Devi! Who can ever object to her adjudication? But she had a quandary. Sometime or the other she would have had to declare one of them as the loser! To declare one’s own husband to be a loser is not in order and so also to declare a Sanyaasi to be a loser also, did not seem to be very correct. So, she devised a method of not saying anything by her own mouth. She asked both to wear a flower garland each and declared whichever garland remains without wilting will be the winner. Before starting, they had one condition accepted between them. If AachaaryaaL wins, Mandana Mishra was to give up Gruhastam and all related Karmas and take Sanyaasa. If Mandana Mishra were to win, our AachaaryaaL was to give up Sannyaasa Aashrama and become a married man doing all Karmas as required of him as per the Saastraas! Our AachaaryaaL, who had directly moved on to Sanyaasa bypassing Gruhasta, could never have agreed to sucha condition of becoming a married man! So it is said that he agreed to starve till death known as ‘MaraNaanta Prayaschittam’!
1108. The debate started. Similar to the earlier duel between Vyasa and our AachaaryaaL, this was another battle of wits between two giants of erudition! Tirelessly they went on for 21 days, continuously! Starting with Karma Marga, one has to move on to being devoted to divinity by Bhakti Marga which finally with the maturing and ripening of the minds lead you onto state of ‘Satyam, Gnaanam and Anantam of the Adwaita Anubhava’. By such progress only does an individual Jeeva attains to totality of experience, understanding and comprehension. This is the wholesome message of the Vedas. Sanyaasi is thus a very respectable achiever of wholesome purpose of life, who is not to be ridiculed and disrespected, for having given up Karma; our AachaaryaaL made it clear. There are statements in various places in the Vedas against any effort on anybody’s part to discontinue Karma! But such statements are meant for specific target audience of those too involved in the Pravrutti marga. For example In Taitreeya Brahmana there is a statement that, ‘the one to extinguish the Agni Hotra Fire’ is liable to the Doshaa of ‘Veera Hatti’ (that is, killing of Courageousness)! But that is not for the one who has officially taken up Sannyaasa by the proper method. It is addressed at those who are hap hazard in the performance of their duties and fail to live up to their required standards, while still in the Pravrutti Marga, to prevent them from falling further lower.
1109. But, the man who has changed gears to ascend further unclimbed heights, and progressed on to Nivrutti Marga; has taken up the outer fire within himself as the fire of Gnaana; as he has matured with wisdom like a fruit that has ripened. So he has further caused the fire to be enlivened and not extinguished the same! In the tree of life he has to go on being dynamically active, sucking up the nourishment from the earth down below, absorbing the Sun’s Rays from above and inhaling the oxygen from the atmosphere, petal by petal, with varying colours and fragrances and tastes from bitter to bland to sour to sweetness; becoming bigger and bigger in size till one attains to maturity. Till that happens, if you try to cut it off, there will be crying all around; the not yet ripe fruit will be tearful as though when the connecting stem will be oozing out some excretion while mother tree will be bleeding with the sap as though in sympathy. But a time will come when all the dynamic activity will end, the green colour will turn to red and ochre; bitterness and sourness will become sweet; and now nobody can keep the fruit attached to the tree anymore! No more tears and oozing out from anywhere. Once you are full of compassion, kindness and universal unconditional love – all actins will come to a stand-still. Once you have yourself become a matured fruit of sweetness, you simply have to announce to the whole world by ‘Prysha UchchaaraNam’ – “do not be afraid of me anymore” – before becoming a Sanyaasi! Mandana Mishra realised the truth of our AachaaryaaL’s point of view. He wholeheartedly accepted Gnaana Marga! Since they had accepted SarasavaaNi as the Adjudicator, he waited for her ruling with due respect. She had also left it to the condition of the garland of flowers. Mandana Mishra’s garland, it was that wilted! If the husband is to become a renunciate, how sad the wife would have become?
(To be continued.)
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