Thursday, May 31, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 01 (Vol # 6) Dated 31 May 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 01 (Vol # 6) Dated 31 May 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 page No 01 of Vol 6 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)


Padinaarum Pertru Peru Vaazhvu Vaazhga!

1. How to get rid of all obstacles and road blocks in one’s life? When you start your education, at the time of one’s marriage, when starting out on a journey, at the time of war; why keep on adding one by one, we can simply say that in all our endeavours, somebody has no obstacles or hurdles in his way at all: “vidyaarambe vivaahe cha praveshe nirgame tataa / sangraame sarva kaaryeshu vignas tasyaa na jaayate //”. At the time of education is ‘vidyaarambe’ – that is the start of Brhmacharya Aashrama. During that period there will be no blocks or hurdles, neither mental nor physical. Then ‘vivaahe cha’, that is (in Gruhasta Aashrama) during one’s married life, there will be no hindrances. As the percentage of people who take up ‘vana prastam and sannyaasam’ is dwindling these days, we can take it that the whole life span is covered by the blessing being given; to him there are no obstacles or hindrances whatsoever!

2. What is a life time? What happens in that period? They are all so many movements. What is there today is not there tomorrow. By mind, speech, body, brains and money; we keep doing so many things and keep on changing our dress, look, environment, status, position, approach and attitude – that is what is life! All the time we are leaving something and entering something. Entering something is ‘praveshe’ and leaving something is ‘nirgame’. The whole of life is a series of movements in which what is clearly visible are the movements done by the body. So, since we are all of the time either leaving or entering something, I defined life as a ‘movement’. There is another definition more in use nowadays known as ‘Life Struggle’ and ‘Survival of the Fittest’ as theorised by Darwin and Herbert Spencer respectively, as per which all life forms are constantly continuing to struggle against all odds for survival.

3. On deep cogitation it will be found that, this idea of ‘movement’ and ‘struggle’ are connected and inter-related. When one is on the move and others are static, there will be no obstacles. But when every life form is on the move endlessly, there will have to be or may be something or the other, coming in the way of something else. If that is the condition amongst life forms that are mobile, think of the so called static things which are seemingly inanimate and insentient. Even there, we are told that inside the atom the electrons are constantly in orbit around the nucleus, like planets revolving around the Sun! Even at that level possibilities of crashing into each other exists and so the struggle for life is there in the micro to the macro level in the cosmos! Further if you go to the basics, you notice that whether it is a Jivan (a life form) or Jada (lifeless), any movement is a struggle and when it is at peace, there is no struggle. So, it is clear that movement, struggle and war are synonyms and to become inactive, inert and peaceful are their antonyms in this context! That is why I suppose the most non reactive elements in the atomic table are known as the inert elements!

4. Though the whole of life is a struggle, individual competition with each other is what is noticeable prominently in the class room, sports arena and the battle field. That is called the fight or war or ‘sangrame’. There will be one who is the winner without any obstacles coming his way in war too! To further enlarge the scope of the meaning, in life’s many exits / entries that is, transportations, wars, competitions, examinations, endeavours, enterprises, transactions, and tests; he will be successful! To further extend the meaning, we can say that, he will reach the state of no struggle, devoid of movement and competition, while being successful enroute in attaining to the state of wholesomeness of Samaadhi! As the phrase ‘vidyaarambe’ indicated Brhmacharyam and ‘vivaaha’ pointed out Gruhasta Aashrama; we can take it that by being so endowed that he has no obstacles whatsoever, in his entire life cycle, in which Vanaprastha and Sanyaasa Aashrama are also indicated and included.

5. Instead of saying that he will be successful in this, or in that, in so and so Aashrama, all that has been tersely put in to a few words by saying ‘sarva kaaryeshu vignastasya na jaayate’ – meaning, ‘tasya’ – for him; ‘sarva kaaryeshu’ – in all his works; ‘vigna:’ – obstacle; ‘na jaayate’ – happens not. By nature, we absorb an idea only when a number of examples are given in support of an argument. That is why it has been said here that, ‘sarva kaaryeshu vignastasya na jaayate’ – after describing a number of occasions when there will be no obstacles to a person in whatever he ventures! The question arises as to ‘whom are we talking about all this time’? The answer to this question is in the very first line –‘shodasa etaani naamaani ya: patet sruNuyaadapi’. That means, – ‘etaani’ – meaning the above said; ‘shodasa naamaani’ – sixteen names; ‘ya:’ – the one; ‘patet api sruNuyaat’ – reads or hears being read. Whosoever reads these 16 names or hears someone reading them – for that man there is no obstacle in his way, in whatever he attempts or does! This reading – listening has become a commonly familiar phrase in usage. In earlier times very learned and knowledgeable people who had specialized in reading the Saastraas, PuraNas and also had some musical knowledge, used to conduct what is known as Pravachanam, virtually play acting the scenes in evening times (after everybody have had their evening supper), in the temple premises, through whom the common man was exposed to the very subtle points of the religion and dharma. They used to be known by their professional title of ‘Pouraniks’! But here, there isn’t any big story of the PuraNas, only just 16 names. If you hear them being listed by someone or if you knew them by heart, such a person will have no problems in education, married life, all transactions, entries and exits, in war or business of give and take; will just have no problems whatsoever!

6. What are those 16 names? Of which Swami? Are they all of one Swami or many? We can guess from the very fact that such a person will have no ‘vignam’ to mean problems or obstacles; that we are talking about ‘Vigneswara’, isn’t it? Vigneswara has a list of thousand names (Sahasra Naama) and another list with 108 names (Ashtaottara Sata Naama). Then so that we may do ‘Archana’ with 21 different varieties of leaves and flowers, there are other lists of 21 names for doing Archana with ‘Arugam Pul’ ( a type of grass) that is offered to Vigneshwara in tufts of twos; and so on. Here for smooth sailing in all our endeavours there are just 16 names only.

7. The number 16 is by itself a great number. It is said that, ‘shodasa kalaa poorNam’ meaning that ‘sixteen parts makes a whole’. Like starting from New Moon to a Full Moon there are 16 variations through which the moon attains to wholesomeness on reaching the 16th. When we do Pooja in detail, it is said to have 16 different Upacharas or gestures of respect such as washing the feet, then the hands and so on! The Mother Goddess is thought of as seven (‘sapta maatruka’) and then as sixteen also (‘shodasa maatruka’). In the mantras meant for AmbaaL Raja Rajeswari, the ‘Shodasatchari’ is tops. So AmbaaL has a name as ‘Shodasee’! For the Mother the mantra with 16 letters and for the Son 16 names or Naamaas!

8. There is a saying in Tamil, which is used by elders while blessing newlyweds, which goes something like, “Padinaarum petru peru vaazhvu vaazhga”. That statement means that the newlyweds may have all 16 blessings and live a wholesome life! In the Vedas (Rik Veda 10.85.45) the blessing for a married woman is more meaningful and sensible which says, “Oh my God! Let this woman have as many children as may be even ten and then let her treat her husband also as the eleventh!” But these days are the ‘Era of Family Planning’ and I am afraid that for my above statement, I may be put behind bars! But the Tamil proverb does not really indicate that the newlyweds should have 16 children! These 16 things are such attainments or gifts that one may get in life for leading a wholesome and purposeful and meaningful life. There is a phrase as ‘perum peru peruvadu’. The ‘peru’ is what is received or obtained more as a gift than earned. That is why the period of pregnancy in a woman is called a ‘pertrukkaalam’ that is, ‘the period of gift’ that you get as a gift from God! From that idea in the background, amongst what you receive from God there are things that you get naturally, automatically and deservingly including what we have persevered for! On deeper analysis what is seemingly without any effort on our part, luckily obtained at the time of birth is also; in fact is what we have worked for in our past life. Here is the basic difference in approach towards the idea of what is lucky and what is unlucky and what is deservedly so!

(We will see more of this above issue in the next e-mail.)



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 181 (Vol # 5) Dated 29 May 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 181 (Vol # 5) Dated 29 May 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 page No 1128 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)

6. Many of us have started in a big way doing Paaraayanam, Japa, Upavaasam, visiting temples, attending Bhajanai, Satsang, taking part in religiously oriented social service and so many such activities, haven’t we? Then as the days go by, our keenness dwindles or some small incident becomes a dampener! I myself started a plan called, ‘Mudra AdhikaarigaL Dhittam’, as though I will turn the whole world around, by which many service activities and periodic prayer meets were organised; which have all gone and vanished without a forwarding address! Whereas, have we ever seen a club running a bar, card room, dances and organised gambling; ever go bankrupt or pack up and go? Many members may become bankrupt but, the club goes on thriving forever! There is ‘Ajaadhyam’ there!

7. No other history or biography or even fiction can match Anjaneya’s indomitable will to succeed coupled with a ‘never say die attitude’ against all odds and opposition of Himalayan proportions! There is super ‘Ajaadhyam’ there! Immediately after his birth as an Avatara, the infant baby, thinking of the Sun to be a red fruit, just launched itself in an orbit to the Surya Mandalam! Then itself monumental obstacles started cropping up! Indra the King of all Devas threw the Vajra Aayudham (the bolt of lightning and thunder is said to be the weapon of Indra – the Vajra Aayudham) and broke his jaw. ‘Hanu’ means the jaw. Hanuman as a name evolved to indicate a man with something noticeably wrong with his jaw, I suppose. But, He did not give up at once. He went to Surya, approached him as a Sishya goes to a Guru and learnt many things from him including the ‘Nava VyakaraNa’ (the nine grammer books in Sanskrit), without tiring and giving up, travelling from ‘Udaya Giri’ (Hill of the Rising Sun) to ‘Asta Giri’ (Hill of the Setting Sun); facing the Sun all the time with due respect and reverence! As a child also he played many pranks and got on the wrong side of many. Entering the quiet and peaceful Ashramas of many Rishis, he would pluck the flowers and fruits from plants, biting and tasting some, dropping many littering all around. One of those Rishis cursed him that he may forget his divine powers, till when he will one day serve the purpose of Sri Rama Avatara! Still he did not pull a face and sit down in a corner. He did all that he could in the service of his friend Sugriva. There also obstacles galore came up. The great warrior Vaali came up to vanquish Sugriva. So, Hanuman took Sugriva to a place inaccessible to Vaali due to a curse and took able care of his friend. Then after he came under Sri Rama, his divine powers were also back with him, after Jaambavaan reminded him of his super human powers, just before he launched himself across the oceans from the Mahendra Hills, in search of Sita! Then he did many impossible feats of valour such as crossing miles of oceans as though jumping over a puddle of water, picking up mountains as though plucking weeds from the ground, fighting with and defeating well built and strong Raakshasaas in combat!

8. Just note the number of obstacles that he had to encounter, while crossing the ocean through the air! Three different Raakshasees (female ogres) came in the way to prevent him from proceeding further, namely Surasai, Himsikai and LangiNi. Surasai opened her mouth wide for gobbling him; Hanuman became smaller than a mosquito, entered her mouth and came out of her ears, without getting stuck in the Raakshasee’s mucous membranes! He could have fought and defeated her but that would have affected Swami’s time schedule, delayed release of Sita, affecting Sri Rama’s return to Ayodhya beyond the 14 years of Vana Vaasa period; and there Bharatha would have committed suicide by jumping in to the fire! He had to be calculative of all that time and have the presence of mind – that is Ajaadhyam to the core!

9. When you are deeply involved in your work, then you would not be aware of your tiredness or boredom or Jaadhyam at all. From the middle of the ocean the Mynaaka Malai (a mountain of that name) came up offering itself as a place of rest for Hanuman, who was travelling by the aerial route, telling him, “Sir! Please be kind enough to take a break and rest for some time on the salubrious environs of this mountain top rest area of mine”! He told the Mynaama Malai, “OK! Let the job be over, we shall see on my return journey!” Thus he gave a pat on the shoulders of that Mynaaka Malai expressing his appreciation and continued on his way, like an arrow from Rama’s bow that never misses its mark! Then how many Raakshasaas tried to attack and kill him! How many pestered him in so many ways! Finally they put fire to his tail! Did he ever lose heart and get diverted from his mission? Thus throughout the story he kept facing obstacles and hindrances, one over the other and he goes on with relentless vim and vigour. The greatest appreciable point in all this is that, amongst them all, so much Buddhi, Balam, Dhairyam and Ajaadhyam; he did not make use of any of his powers for selfish reasons? He is a man with no ‘personal life’ of his own! We hear about a phrase, ‘selfless service’ too often these days. Anjaneya Swami was a true embodiment of what is ‘selfless service’! Was there a wife or children or family life for him? Initially he was in Sugriva’s service and then for Sri Ramachandra Murthy, he sacrificed his whole life! As his ennobling qualities of physical prowess and mental and moral acumen were embellished by lack of selfishness, in addition to devotion, humility and integrity; they mutually increased the impact!

10. After Buddhi and Balam, the third is ‘Yashas’ – which is name and fame. True fame comes from sincere service of devotion with no mix of selfishness whatsoever! All other qualities of brains, strength, courage, fearlessness, health and presence of mind, as well as ‘vaak patutvam’ that is, the power of expression – that even characters like Ravana of olden times and Hitler in the modern day world had in plenty; but getting true admiration of yashas does not happen to all! When you think of people like Ravana and Hitler, you feel like cursing, don’t you? When you use all your great and valuable qualities for the sake of welfare of the world at large, only then can true fame come to you. Thinking of him and us as well, one is lost for words; as there is just no comparison! (PeriyavaaL becomes quiet and contemplative. Then suddenly he restarts with overflowing kindness.) Nobody need feel bad. Please do not feel insulted that I am calling you names and things like that. I have no anger or acerbity.

11. While talking about Anjaneya Swami, we should give no place for anger. Sri Rama gave him Upadesa of Gnaana and Sita as the Mother gave him Upadesa of ‘Prema’. After Ravana was killed, Anjaneya came to Asoka Vana jumping with joy, to inform the good news to mother. One look at all the Raakshasees on guard duty there, he was about to jump on them and finish them all off, for having been a pain on mother’s side all these days! Amma Sita said, “My Dear Anjaneya! What is the defining character of high culture? It is unconditional love. Who in the world can ever say that they have never erred or sinned? Do not touch them. They were royal maids. They have to obey the king’s orders. So whatever they did was as per the royal edicts. If now, VibhishaNa becomes their king, by his orders they will do Namaskar.” From that day Anjaneya became the very incarnation of love and compassion! But, that does not mean that he will not punish evil doers. If need be he will show anger or annoyance, with the deep care and consideration that we should abjure the evil ways and adopt the righteous path.

12. So, if I do become annoyed, that would mean that I am not qualified to talk about Hanuman. As a bit of a show of annoyance will cajole you on the right path, I do a bit of huffing and puffing like the ‘shock treatment’ given by doctors sometime! There is no anger. Nobody need be annoyed with anybody. Prem should be the only attitude with all beings. That is what Anjaneya loves. But he will not agree to the erosion of value systems and righteousness. He won’t sit tight and watch gradual deterioration of human value systems. So in action you have to be watchful and alert, if you have to deserve his Anugraha. So that Anjaneya may bless us to be ever actively alive, effectively abjuring laziness, let us all pray to him!


(That brings us to the end of Deivathin Kural Volume Five. From the next e-mail onwards we will be going on to the next Volume that is # 6.)



Sunday, May 27, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 180 (Vol # 5) Dated 27 May 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 180 (Vol # 5) Dated 27 May 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 page No 1123 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)



1. There is a famous sloka that is chanted at the start of Ramayana ParayaNam (chanting) on Aanjaneya (Son of Anjana Devi and the God of Air, Vayu); which is like this, “buddhir balam yasho dhairyam nirbhayatvam arohataam / ajaadhyam vaak patutvam cha, hanoomat sharaNaat bhavet //.” It lists all the benefits of thinking about Hanumaan the son of Anjana Devi and Vaayu Bhagawan. What are those things? First is Buddhi, the power to discern, comprehend, analyse, assess, evaluate and come to a decisive conclusion. As you can see in it are included all the control over the sensors, inputting devices, collection, collation, analysis and evaluating of data – all intellectual processes. Then the benefit is ‘Balam’. This can be taken as the strength of mind as well as the strength of the body. Then is ‘Yasha:’ the name and fame, followed by the courage of convictions. OK. We should be brave and courageous, all right. Why is the very next quality mentioned is ‘Nir Bhayatvam’, meaning fearlessness? The answer to that question is that, it is not only your courage that is necessary, but also that you should not be causing fear in others. Only then others will feel free to approach you, isn’t it? Sanyaasi takes a Deeksha to get rid of his ferociousness, so that he may not cause fear in other animals! Next point is ‘arogataam’ that is, to be healthy enough to be free of diseases. The devotee who does SmaraNa (that is to repeatedly remembering the name and qualities of Hanuman, happens to get so healthy to be rid of any and every type of disease. Then is this word ‘Ajaadhyam’ mentioned, meaning ‘not being inert like a piece of dead wood’. Then finally is added the quality of ‘vaak patutvam’ to mean the power of spoken and written expression. Not only as a matter of the beauty of words and their appropriateness but the correctness and incisiveness of the idea and thoughts behind it, is ‘vaak patutvam’, that is extolled in other words as, ‘vaakku vanmai, nava vyaakaraNa pandita:’ and ‘sollin selvan’ as coined by Kalki Ra.Krishnamurthy.
2. Buddhi, Balam, Yashas, Dhairyam, Abhayatvam, Aarogyam and Vaak-Patutvam are the seven very important qualities required in us all right. Without anybody telling us, we will pray for these things ourselves alright. But the eighth ‘Ajaadhyam’, (listed as the seventh in the Sloka), requires a little more attention. It may not be clear as to why we should be praying for it especially! But to me, that quality of ‘Ajaadhyam’ seems to be more important than anything else, looking at the way things are going on in this world of ours. This is what we should all be praying for and this is what Anjaneya Swami should be showering on us plentifully, it seems. Instead of being ‘Jadam’ to be sentient, meaning what? To be a dullard, without any sprightliness, to be lazy and spiritless. All lifeless matter is Jadam, while animated lively forms are all ‘chaitanyam’ evolving out of ‘Chit’. From the root ‘Jada’ is ‘Jaadyam’. The human life is supposed to have evolved from the knot of ‘chit – jada granti’. It is this connection with matter that keeps us grounded in ‘thinking ourselves to be the body instead of being aware of our spirituality! Gnaanis tell us to get rid of the ‘bodily awareness’ and become purely ‘chinmaya’!
3. Let it happen whenever it has to happen, that waking up to reality. Now, while still in the material body, let us try to the extent that we can, to keep doing things of relevance for us and others; instead of being dull and lazy. Let us be active and wakeful. Now we are in the grip of Jaadyam’ completely. We are dynamically involved in totally non-essential activities such as gossip, rumour, political discussion; drinking coffee or tea; reading second grade or even worse fiction. Thus having spent all our energies on wasteful ventures, we do not have the necessary vim and vigour for the activities we should be involved in. Half our distraction is due to applied science and the so called modern amenities of life and their sales / marketing gimmicks. Another half of the distraction is due to the inputs from the society in the name of reformation, renaissance and revolution! Despite seeing such people being shamelessly involved in purely crass and selfish ventures, people are sitting as impotent and imbecile idiots, letting Dharmam be swindled and vandalised, allowing Saastraas go to dogs and permitting Indian culture go to smithereens! When the great warrior Arjuna was losing heart and sitting on the ground on the battle field, having dropped his arms and weapons; did not Sri Krishna exhort him saying, “Don’t be a gutless creature like a dog with his tail folded between his legs – ‘klaibyam maa sma gama: Paartha’,” he said! Today Aanjaneya Swami has to motivate us like that a lot.
4. There were supposed to have been 64 different disciplines in existence for which there must have been the basic books of Sciences, Arts, Crafts and Saastraas! There have been highly qualified expert maestros in every field and disciplines of knowledge and their achievements are still there for the world to see, for which there must have been the basic and advanced theoretical books. Even if the experts are not there, what happened to all the literatures? For these irreparable and irredeemable losses, wasn’t our lethargy and slothfulness the reason? To save us from our own torpor, and likely further losses, we need Hanuman’s Anugraha of ‘Ajaadyam’, very badly! ‘Ajaadyam’ has been mentioned before ‘vaak patutvam’. Today we are all, ‘vaai chol veerargaL’ in Tamil and ‘tees maar khan’ in Hindi, claiming to be great verbally and good for nothing in actual practice! I wish that Anjaneya Swami may reduce the ‘vaak patutvam’ part a little and to that extent increase the ‘Ajaadyam’ part, while sanctioning, thereby making us more effective in action!
5. He was like that only, as a living example of all the qualities described in the poem, of Buddhi, Balam and so on. He was ever active, always on the move. That is how he is seen in the paintings and sculptures. Effortlessly lifting a hill, flying high in the air, without any indication of tiredness or laziness, forever working for the fairness and rectitude. Especially faced with any amount of opposition and obstacles, he was never to give up his efforts and was invariably successful! Are we not the exact opposite? As it is, it is very rare that we launch ourselves in such ventures, worth persevering for. Then, if at all we do so, faced with the slightest opposition, we are ready to call it quits! “This is the Kali Yuga. The very Saastraas say that this is the time for the domination by elements that are bad and evil. So let us simply stand aside and watch the fun or listen to the story!” Since we are endowed with quite a bit of ‘vaak patutvam’, if required we will go one step higher and as an explanation use such words as ‘Adwaita’ and ‘Maya’ and finish with it! But our AachaaryaaL who came down as an Avatara for that very purpose and wrote copiously of Adwaitam, did not use it as an excuse and did not keep quiet either. If there are two great historical characters for relentless perseverance and enormous hard work, they were One, Anjaneya and Two, our AachaaryaaL! If we are to be just quiet bereft of all activities, it is not a state where we can wilfully go and sit down! Starting from the first step in the ladder, if we keep progressing, at one stage or the other, we will be made to sit down quietly doing nothing! That is the real ‘summa’. So, the ‘summa’ that we say now, is all ‘summakosaram summa’. (Periyavaal laughs saying this, as there is a double entendre on the use of the word ‘summa’! The phrase ‘summakosaram’ means ‘just for the heck of it’!) Even when physically we are all quiet, the mind will be running hither and thither, doing all its mischief or dope around! ‘Over working like a dog and sleeping like a log’, both are equally matters to be ashamed of, for a human being endowed with the sixth sense, as compared to all others in the animal kingdom!

(To be continued.)



Friday, May 25, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 179 (Vol # 5) Dated 25 May 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 179 (Vol # 5) Dated 25 May 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 page No 1115 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)


1234. This is a simple document containing his advices to all his disciples and followers by our AachaaryaaL as to what they are required to do as measures to be taken every day continuously and on special days continually, in their endeavour to attain to Self Realization. Sobaanam means actions to be taken step by step. It starts off with, “Vedo nityam adhiyataam”, meaning an exhortation telling us to do our duties as given in the Vedas. “Instead of doing those actions as ‘Kaamya Karma’, to get the benefits as returns as though it is a business venture, to do them as an offering to God! By repeatedly doing so, we are to cancel out the accumulated negative balances. As your sins are compensated for by positive contributions, you will become aware of the hazards and pitfalls of this worldly life and the dirt of your mind will be washed off. Then develop the thirst in yourself that you should be proceeding in the path of Gnaana, to get to know one’s own Aatma. Once, that state of thirst for Gnaana is matured and ripe, get out of the confines of a family life.”

1235. “When you have left the company of relatives and joined the ‘Satsang’ of saintly persons of like minded devotees of morality and divinity, strengthen your devotion to God. Then go to a Gnaani, serve him and receive PraNava Upadesa and Maha Vaakya Upadesa from him. What you have received from him through the ears (SravaNam), may be repeatedly mulled, reviewed and ruminated in your mind (Mananam) with a clear mind, logically without any deviousness, with faith and belief in the Vedas. Once you have thus understood the Upadesa, let it be soaked and marinated by constant and repeated rumination. This process is known as ‘Nidhidyaasana’. In doing so, completely erase any thoughts of pride that you are doing such a wonderful thing! Doing away with the thought that you are the body, start that you and the Para Brhmam are one and the same – not to feel any superiority over others but – to realize the same, within yourself!”

1236. “Since anyhow this body is yours only, and has to remain till ‘praarabdam’ is in balance, take care of your body. When you have a disease, the medicine is given in measured quantities, isn’t it? Similarly the food has to be taken as a medicine for the disease of hunger of the body only! Instead of searching for tasty food, be happy with whatever you get as alms by begging. Be dispassionate without making a mountain of a mole hill. Have neither too much attraction for others or things nor any hatred. Be unattached like the water on the lotus leaf and or the lotus leaf on water! Do not overly react to heat or cold. Reduce your talking and interactions with others and seek Ekaantam aka loneliness. Try to merge the mind in Parabrhmam by which get to know the wholesomeness of the Aatma practically. Fully experiencing this oneness, get the accumulated effects of past karmas known as Sanchitam, cancelled out. Ensure that the yet to come ‘Aagaami’ does not tail you and gets attached. Let whatever the balance ‘praarabda vinai’ currently in force work itself out, till which time remain in this body and as and when it finishes, just abide in eternity with no more separateness – ‘para brhmaatmanaasteeyataam’.” Thus whatever we have to do has been tersely, precisely condensed and told to us, quintessentially in those five stanzas of Sobaana Panchakam! For our AachaaryaaL’s sareeram aka physical body ‘praarabdam’ is not the cause. It is an Avatara Sareeram that came into being for Loka Kaaryam! That work was over and the being and body merged in the Param as he advised ‘para brhmaatmanaasteeyataam’. ‘Aananda Gireeyam’ says that our AachaaryaaL dissolved the gross body (sthoola sareera) in the subtle body (sookshma sareera), which in turn was dissolved in the causal body (kaaraNa sareera) and thus regained his original state of undivided oneness of Chaitanyam!

1237. Phala Sruti – Fruit of Hearing this History of Sankara Vijayam. When you hear such sacred accounts of great Saadhus and Saints, they tell you what is known as ‘Phala Sruti’, as to the benefits that are likely to accrue. We know ourselves the value of hearing about the story of our AachaaryaaL. This mind of ours which is forever getting stained was crystal clear till we were hearing the story of his life. His peacefulness and kindliness was getting reflected in our minds too. The Phala Sruti is not only the effect of the story in our minds but, what we are going to do about it all also! He would expect us to reinforce and strengthen the state of clarity and peacefulness that we gained while hearing his stories, making it a permanent characteristic of ours. For that to happen, we have to do things as given in the Saastraas. We have to be devoted to God. Once our mind is cleansed and starts standing firm, devoid of vacillations, he would wish us to go on to Gnaana Marga and not jump to it prematurely. Till then Karma and Bhakti activities and attitude respectively are not to be given the go by! Still since his Avatara was mainly meant for the principle of Adwaitam, at least for five minutes every day – no, at least for some two minutes every day, we should be thinking of ourselves being in that state of inner clarity of Adwaitam! “I am the cleanest with no dirt whatsoever. I am not the stuff that can be dirtied either. I am like the stainless sky of September. Though I am ever so actively running around, I am the thing of absolute virtue of unruffled calmness!” If we think like this for even two minutes every day, our AachaaryaaL will be pleased and will give ‘Anugraha’ for such attitude to mature!

1238. Though he is not there in the physical form among our midst today, he has written a whole lot of literature soaked in Bhakti and Gnaana. From amongst them even if we were to simply read a few lines every day that will be like meeting him daily. We will automatically become devoted and aware of the truth of existence. There have been many Gurus in the past. One would say, “As a servant of God, ever keep doing some service or the other, you will attain to Moksha”. Another will say, “Become a Nothing and that is Moksham’! Another will say, “Go to the Heavens and eternally enjoy yourself and that is Moksham for you”! Yet another may even say, “You have accumulated a lot of Paapa. There is no hope for you. Yours is forever to suffer and keep praying to God for redemption”! On the other hand, AachaaryaaL is the one who says, “My Dear Sir! You are forever in Moksham only. In the delusion created by Maya, you are not aware of this truth. The thing under delusion is only the mind, brains and psyche. If you set aside this mind by Gnaanam of awareness of your reality, that is at once Moksham. In Moksham, you do not have to get to yet another Swami. You are the Swami yourself! You are Param; you are Aatma and also Paramaatma!

1239. It is not only that he did not talk of an eternal hell for the sinners! He did not stop at saying that even sinners have possibilities of redemption! Above all that he said, that even the so called sinner, is only the same God, or Paramaatma in yet another form! Thus he is the one who had climbed the peaks of not only human excellence but also the pinnacles of redemption, restitution and reclamation! There is just no comparison to equal him, the one who salvaged even the ‘gone cases’ and turned them in to masters of self awareness! In the Kannada language there is a song that goes, “Mangalam, Guru Sankara”. In it there is a line which says, ‘paadaganenu paramaatmanu maadithe’, meaning that he is the one who ‘turned or inverted even the evildoer criminal in to knowing that he is the Paramaatma’!

1240. For such an AachaaryaaL, the ‘Do-gooder Sam-Kara’, let us all sing his praise by singing together, “Jaya Jaya Sankara”. For his salubrious name, the ‘Jaya’ sound is most fitting. I am only repeating what has been said by one of the great saints of Tamil Nadu by the name of Appar, who has the sobriquet as the ‘King of the Tongue’ (as Naavukku Arasar) as given by none else than Lord Siva himself! I cannot improve upon what he has said in one of the Thruvaroor Thiruththaandakam, “Hey! My dear Nenjam! Come hear near me! (This word ‘Nenjam’ can be translated as, a combination of mind, heart, brains and apperception.) You are forever vacillating restlessly! If you are interested in peacefulness and wish to reach a state of calm rectitude, let me tell you the way. Daily get up early before day break and go to the temple. Clean up the environs of the temple with a broom, mop and water. Collect flowers from the garden, string them in to garlands and decorate the idols. By the flowers of the words also decorate the Lord God with Stotras. Sing to your heart’s content and do Namaskarams till you are tired. Dance and make merry in praise of God! Say, ‘Sankara Jaya! Portri! Portri! (Jaya in Tamil is Portri!) Shout at the top of your voice, “Gangadharaa! Jataadharaa! Aadip PoruLe! Aroorane!’ Having said ‘Jaya’ with the name of Sankara and feeling that to be insufficient, he has added, ‘Portri, Portri’ twice in Tamil!

1241. MaaNikka Vaachagar........, he spoke in chaste Adwaitam only! He was a great man indeed, who has also sung in the ‘Andaadi’ style. (Andaadi is a style of composition in which the last word in the previous song becomes the first word in the next song.) In it, he has sung, ‘Thiruchchadagam’ in which the 64th song finishes with, ‘Sankara, Portri! Portri!’ Then the next song, the 65th commences with ‘Sankara, Portri!’ Let me tell you the ‘Jaya! Portri!’ song by Appar, in Tamil.
“Nilai perumaareNNudiyel, nenje nee vaa!
Nittalum empiraanudia koil pukkup
Pulavar tanmun alagittu mezhukkumittup
Poo Maalai punaindettip pugazhndu paadit
Talaiyaarak kumbittuk koothumaadich
‘Sankara Jaya portri portri!’ enrum,
Alaipunal ser senchadai emm aathee! Enrum,
Aarooraa! Enrenre alaraa nille!

1242. Let us keep chanting the praise of our AachaaryaaL with “Jaya, Jaya, Hara, Hara”. The sound of ‘Jaya’ will get us the victory of our Self Realization of our Aatma. Hara, Hara sound will remove all evil and error prone thoughts. The very sound of Sankara including the memory of his name and words; will do all wonders and cause all well being. For us all to be unified, remembering him will do most sufficiently!
“Namah Parvathi Pataye! Hara, Hara Mahadeva!



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 178 (Vol # 5) Dated 23 May 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 178 (Vol # 5) Dated 23 May 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 second para on page No 1108 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)

1224. With many of differences in form, this Raja Rajeswari is the Tripura Sundari, as given in Sri Vidya Saastram of Sundari Vidya, with four arms holding the bow (Dhanush), arrows (BaaNas) , rope (Paasa) and the hook (Ankusa). It is the same Sri Vidya that AmbaaL had bestowed on our AachaaryaaL at Kailasa, enabling him to complete the Soundarya Lahari Stotras. That Tripura Sundari is the Shakti (Power) of the main Swami, Chandra MouLeeswara being venerated and adored, in the pooja in the Matams established by Sankara AachaaryaaL. For these reasons, for AachaaryaaL, Kaamaakshi AmbaaL is very important!

1225. (After a meaningful laughter and a smile, PeriyavaaL continues.) “What is this logic? What AachaaryaaL advocated was the total inertness of Adwaitam, whereas AmbaaL is ever so active, full of power, dynamic activity and unreal illusion of Maya! How can he be interested in her? It is she who has caused vibrant activity in what was standing apart unconcerned as Simply Sivam! (There is way of saying in Tamil, what is lying inert, not participating in any activity as being, ‘sivane endru summaa iruppadu’! This I have translated as being ‘Simply Sivam’!) It is she who has caused ‘Sambhu’ to become ‘Sankara’, to work endlessly for the welfare of the very world that he named as ‘Mithya’ – a non-being unreal that seems true – Prathibhasika Satyam! So, she as the one who has generated all the multi-various diversity, is also the power that sends this man capable of guiding us back to the Oneness of it all. If that man is doing something, or doing the enormously huge work of an Avatara Karya, to do that the power and energy is coming from the root source Parasakti only isn’t it? So, it is clear that she who brings out the variety in one, also merges the medley conglomeration back in to unity of Oneness by her compassionate grace! In addition, whatever we may make in terms of enterprise, effort and Saadhana, are all pathetically ineffective unless her grace is there! She is the one who has separated and it is her job to unify. On his or her own effort nobody can do or undo or rejoin the source. It is clear that many in the past have returned to their source to be known as Maha Gnaani or Brhma Vit, by her sweet will. So, she has to show the way for Adwaita Anubhava by her Anugraha. Our AachaaryaaL who is ‘Anta:sakta’ – inwardly an inalienable part of Shakti – very well was aware of this that ‘the deluding Maha Maya is the one to feed the milk of Gnaana also’. He knew her to be the Gnaana-AmbaaL the Brhma Vidya SwaroopiNi by practical experience!

1226. Sri Vidya which sanctions completeness on the one hand is the same as Brhma Vidya that enables the Saadhak to realize the oneness of Siva – Shakti Aikyam on the other hand. That is the reason why our AachaaryaaL who did a lot in Gnaana Marga on one side, also gave a lot of importance to Upaasanaa Marga of Sri Vidya on the other side. Whatever the Devi-Vidya methods, generally she is the Maha Sakti of Omnipotence, while simultaneously being the Mother of extreme compassion who can sanction complete release from all involvement too. That is the reason for attaching a Sakti Peetam with all his Matams such as, Kaamakoti Peetam in Kanchi Matam; Sarada Peetam in Sringeri; Vimala Peetam with the Puri Matam; KaaLika Peetam with the Dwaraka Matam and PoorNa Giri Peetam with the Matam at Badrinath!

1227. After the Kanchi city had been reorganized in the shape of Sri Chakra, he came to the Kaamaakshi temple, pacified the AmbaaL by installing the Sri Chakra there. In the sanctum sanctorum she AmbaaL, is the space of the cave as ‘Bilaakaasam’. There AachaaryaL himself drew the Sri Chakra Yantra and caused the Devi of ‘Ugra Swaroopa’ (fierce dispositions) to become pleasantly salubrious. ‘Guru Ratna Mala’ says, “Our AachaaryaaL who did that may cause us to become more morally and religiously oriented” – ‘prakrutim cha guhaatrayaam maha ugraam swakrute chakravare pravesya yogre I akrutaasrita-sowmya moortim-aaryaam sukrutam nassa chinotu sankaraarya: II’ Amongst all Yantras (divine engines) the royal one is the Chakra Raajam aka Sri Chakram. That AachaaryaaL drew the Sri Chakram directly in front of AmbaaL is mentioned in ‘Chid Vilaaseeyam’, “kaamaakshyaa: purato dese sri chakram swayam aalikhat”. In Aananda Gireeyam also the greatness of Kaamaakshi and instalment of Sri Chakra are both described in detail. AachaaryaaL thus established the Kaama Koti Peetam to shine with lively power as before. Then all over Kanchipuram he reorganized all the procedures in all the temples strictly as per Vedic methods.

1228. The six disciples went to their respective areas of responsibility all over India, and ensured that people do pooja to their Ishta Devata without any disrespect or insult to other devotees’ Gods, through Shanmada Upaasana and Panchayatana Pooja. Having done all that he had to do in terms of devotional procedures to correct existing imbalances and establishing the correct methods, as a final gesture of proclamation of unquestionable supremacy of Adwaitam, thought of ascending the Throne of Omniscience. Putting a full-stop to all discussions and disputes, our AachaaryaaL clearly ensconsed in the minds of all followers and opponents, the truth of Adwaitam. The one had become many. So the knower of one becomes the all knowing Gnaani! Our AachaaryaaL is omniscient not only as a knower of the one that has become many. In becoming many, the one has given rise to innumerable arts, crafts, sciences, disciplines and Saastraas; as well as a multitude of methods of intellectual gratifications! In the ways of the world, only a knower of all these avenues of knowledge is considered as omniscient. Only the person, who can satisfactorily answer the questions by experts in everyone of these fields of knowledge, can ascend the Throne of Omniscience, not any Tom, Dick and Harry!

1229. In common usage people often tend to ask, “Is it a Brhma Vidya?” to mean if it is so difficult to know and be aware of. Our AachaaryaaL is one who had absorbed and assimilated much more of any and every discipline. The Throne of Sarvagna Peetam would have many steps. Each step would be represented by an expert in some field of knowledge or the other. Each one of them will pose a question. The one intending to ascend that throne would have to fully satisfy that master or expert representing each of those steps, before going to the next step! The final step will be represented by Saraswathi Devi, the Goddess of Learning and Knowledge. Only after satisfying her can anybody ascend the Throne of Sarvagna Peetam! As the knower of the One that has become all, he was also aware of the ‘nuts and bolts’ of everything. So he could answer all questions and ascend the Throne of Omniscience, the Sarvagna Peetam!

1230. A careful study of his books of poems and treatises will reveal the vastness and depth of his knowledge. He is said to have authored a book on the discipline of Jyotisham (Astrology) known as ‘Sankaraachaaryam’. A Vidwaan of Music told me once, “Many of us who are supposed to be experts in our fields, still do not know many of the technical matters of Gati – Gamakam - Birka and so on; while our AachaaryaaL surprises us all by his depth and fineness of knowledge in Music, as revealed by his sloka in Soundarya Lahari that starts with, ‘Gale rekhaas thisro’! Music is known as ‘Gandarva Vedam’, as a discipline of Fine Arts. Value of Music is not only in terms of ability to entertain but, because of the possibilities of infinite varieties for freedom while still remaining within the parameters of discipline.

1231. AachaaryaaL’s acumen and awareness was not only about such fine arts but also about the techniques and slangs in various fields such as carpentry and climbing trees! I had told you earlier as to how he learnt the Mantra for making Coconut trees obey your commands from a ChaaNar, in entering the locked house of Mandana Mishra. There is another story. It seems that a cobbler once asked him if he knows anything about stitching a foot wear. Our AachaaryaaL quietly picked up the needle with thread from the hands of the cobbler and started rubbing the point of the needle against the tip of his nose! There is supposed to be a trace of some sort of oil that materializes on the tip of the nose. The needle when rubbed against that surface enters even hardened leather easily. Looking at our AachaaryaaL’s response to his question, the cobbler was simply flabbergasted. He fell on our AachaaryaaL’s feet in total awe and admiration saying, “Oh! So, you know this also?” On the request of the King, AachaaryaaL did the ‘Peeta AarohaNam’ – the crowning ceremony done by the King of the Land for the King of the Empire of Moksham!

1232. The establishment of the six religions of Shan Madam and Adwaitam at the peak of his achievements of the Avatara Kaarya, he ascended the Sarvagna Peetam to indicate that he had no more ‘To be done duties’, like the Sri Rama Pattabhishekam. The only difference was that Sri Rama’s rule was after his crowning and AachaaryaaL’s was at the end of his tenure as the culmination of Gnaana Saamrajya! He, who was continuously running around, for some time was quietly involved in Aaraadhana for Kaamaakshi. This Aaraadhana that he did without running about also contributed for the well being of all the three worlds! Sankara Abhyudhayam says that, “By praying to Kameshwari residing on the banks of Kampa River, this Sankara AachaaryaaL whose actions benefit all the three worlds, attained to Brhmaanandam. He composed so many slokas like so many ornaments for Tripura Sundari such as Ashtakam, Maanasa Pooja Stotram, Chatush Shatyupachaara Pooja Stotram and Veda Paada Sthavam, each of them with Tripurasundari as the prefix, by which he was decorating that Mother. His biographies also talk extensively about how he installed the Yoga Lingam Chandra Mouliswara in Kanchi Matam and did pooja for it. This Yoga Lingam is also mentioned in Sri Harsha’s Naishadam also.

1233. 32 Years of age was over. The Avatara that happened in the Nandana year in Vaisaka Sukhla Panchami was completed in the year Raktaakshi Vaisaka Sukhla Panchami. The 16 years added by the wish of Vyasa AachaaryaaL were also over. He was intending to stop this mortal sojourn on earth with the following Ekaadasi. Knowing about the approaching end, all his disciples assembled and requested him to give them the final Upadesa. Accordingly he gave them what is known as ‘Sobaana Panchakam’ also known as ‘Upadesa Panchakam’, about which we will see more in detail in the next e-mail.



Monday, May 21, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 177 (Vol # 5) Dated 21 May 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 177 (Vol # 5) Dated 21 May 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 second para on page No 1101 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)

AachaaryaaL in Kanchipuram

1215. AachaaryaaL’s arrival in Kanchipuram is mentioned by all the books of his biography. It was from Kanchipuram that he sent his six disciples all over the country and established the six religions known as ‘Shan Madam’, as reported in ‘Aananda Gireeyam’ (in PrakaraNa 67 to 72) and Guru Vamsa Kaavyam (Sarga 3, Sloka 36 and author’s explanatory notes for them). Bruhad Sankara Vijayam before all of them also, confirms the fact of establishment of the six religions. In this respect, the Sushama for the 33rd Sloka of ‘Guru Ratna Maala’ and the 31st Adhyaayam, 15th to 24th may be referred. Then it is reported that our AachaaryaaL ascended the ‘Sarvagna Peetam’ in Kanchipuram as revealed by ‘Sankara Abhyudhayam’, ‘Govinda Naadeeyam’, ‘Chid Vilaaseeyam’, and ‘Guru Ratna Maala’. This is also mentioned by Laxmana Suri, (who is a disciple of Sri Satchidaananda Sivaabhinava Nrusimha Bharathi, one of the AachaaryaaLs of Sringeri Peetam,) in his book ‘Bhagawat Paadaabhyudayam’ at the end of the 6th Sarga. Then we get to know that this matter is also mentioned in ‘Bruhad Sankara Vijayam’ and ‘Praacheena Sankara Vijayam’.

1216. Though it sounds as though that the Sarvagna Peeta Aarohanam was in Kashmir, as per ‘Vyaasaachaleeyam’, looking at the flow of the narrative, it seems that it must be talking about Kanchipuram! To remove this confusion, in Govinda Naadeeyam (in first two slokas of 9th Adhyaayam) there is a clarification that there is such a name as ‘Kashmiram’ for Kanchi Mandalam itself. As per what is given in ‘Siva Rahasyam’, towards the end of AachaaryaaL’s sojourn on this earth, while living in his own Aashrama (‘swakashrame’ – where he himself was the Mataadipathy), he is reported to have won over some great pundits known as ‘Misras’, in all varities of Saastraas easily – ‘vijitya tarasa akshada saastravaadai: misraan’. Closely following the ‘Siva Rahasya’ depiction, ‘Vyasachaleeyam’ too says that he defeated the ‘Misras’ while in Kanchi, (‘mate swaklupte’) and ascended the Throne of Omniscience (‘sarvagna Peetam adhiruhya’). ‘Bruhad Sankara Vijayam’ and the next oldest ‘Praacheena Sankara Vijayam’ and ‘Keraleeya Sankara Vijayam’, all confirm the fact that AachaaryaaL established the Sarada Matam named Kaamakoti Peetam to be headed by Sureshwara after him and in his care left the next in line, Sri Sarvagnaatmar; as further clarified by the ‘Sushama’ 31 – 34. In ‘Markandeya Samhita’ which is like a general Purana, the fact of the establishment of Kanchi Matam and the appointment of Sureshwara as the head of Kaamakoti Peetam are mentioned. ‘Ananda Gireeya Sankara Vijayam’ similarly reinforces the correctness of the above statements and that our AachaaryaaL thought of Kanchipuram Matam as suitable for his stay – ‘nija vaasa yogyam matamapi parikalpya’ – appointed Sureshwara as the Head (ref to Prakaranam 65). Laxmana Suri’s ‘Bhagawat Paada Abhyudhayam’ also confirms the above facts.

1217. After all that, it is a moot question as to how long our AachaaryaaL could have stayed in Kanchipuram. The only point that is clear is the fact that he attained to ‘Brhma NirvaaNam’ in Kanchipuram as mentioned in ‘Siva Rahasyam’, ‘Markandeya Samhita’ and many of the Sankara Vijayam books old and new. It is also true that they are being varyingly mentioned as, Kedaarnaath as per Madhaveeyam; vide Chid Vilaaseeyam and Sankara Dig Vijaya Saaram, the cave of Dutta in Badrinaath; as per Govinda Naadeeyam, Trichur; vide Laxmana Sastry’s ‘Guru Vamsa Kaavyam’, it is the Dutta Kshetra of Maahuri in Maharashtra! ‘Sankara Abhyudhayam’ and ‘Patanjali Charitam’ similarly though not exactly mentioning his Siddhi, says that he spent his end days on the Kampai River bank, praying to Kameshwari. It states further that Sankara AachaaryaaL who worked for the welfare of all the three worlds attained to Brhma Aanandam, which can be construed as, dropped his mortal coil. Amongst the Indian languages, the first encyclopaedia was ‘Viswakosh’ from Bengal in 1892. In it, under the heading ‘Kanchipuram’, it says that it is the place of Bhagawan Sankara AachaaryaaL’s Samadhi.

1218. It is just sad and painful to note that there are so many differences of opinion about the place of his death, when the very purpose of his Avatara was to unify and integrate the minds of the people of India! He neither left an auto-biography nor a will of his own. People who came much later have differences of opinion based on some logic or the other. The basic truth is that we are all his devotees or children only. That we should have love for each other without the least of hatred between ourselves, is the most important thing. If that basic requirement is not going to be met, we may as well stop all this search and research! If we were to be asked as to which is the place of his Siddhi, we may as well answer that, “As some Siddha Purushas are seen to exist in five or six different places simultaneously, our AachaaryaaL left this life on earth, simultaneously from different places’!

1219. One belief is that he attained to Mukti from the Mukti Kshetra of Kanchi. What is this ‘attainment of Mukti’? He is himself the very form of freedom and independence, that is, Mukti in other words. He was ever the Jivan Mukta, without any attachment or binding factors. So one day he dropped the mortal body and disappeared, isn’t it? That Videha Mukti is what I am talking about. That Videha Mukti, he attained here in Kanchipuram in front of AmbaaL Kaamaakshi, as given in some books. Bruhat Sankara Vijayam says, “devyaa: pura: paratare vililye” – ‘just in front of AmbaaL, merged in the supreme principle of existence’!

1220. In Prachina Sankara Vijayam too, similarly it is given, “kaamaakshyaa: savite sa jaatu nivisan-unmukta-loka-spruho I deham svam vyapahaaya dehyasugamam daama prabhete param II”. One day he had gone to Kaamaakshi Amman temple and was standing near AmbaaL – ‘sa jaatu kaamaakshyaa: savite nivisan’. At that moment all his attachment with the world had dropped – ‘unmukta loka spruha:’. Of course he never had any selfish attachment. He was concerned to the extent that he wished to improve the lot of people in the world. The very God, who is known as ‘partru + artraan = partratraan’ (Tamil word meaning unattached), had this sort of attachment or wish or desire, to improve the lot of people of the world! That is why he came down on the earth as an Avatara. Despite being a Sanyaasi who had renounced all, for this desire he roamed continuously his whole life about the whole country, never stopping in any one place! Now he had reached a stage of having done that job also. Somehow the people of India had been brought back to the right path. Now that wish also had been fulfilled and so there was no more wishes to be fulfilled – ‘unmukta loka spruha:’. He dropped the mortal coil of this body just then and there – ‘deham svam vyapahaaya’. He went back to his original abode – ‘dhaama prabhete param’. If you ask as to what is that ‘param’ highest abode, the answer is that, ‘it is to be Brhma Swaroopa as the Parameswara’. ‘KeraLeeya Sankara Vijayam’ too, while saying the same thing further adds, “Thus as the indivisible effulgent (Akhanda jyotis) form of bliss despite attaining to the imperishable abode of eternity, that provider of Moksha to Sadhus Sankara AachaaryaaL, stays on there at Kaamaakshi Amman Temple as an embodiment of Chaitanya as though forever, till day”! I think the reference is to the idol of Sankara AachaaryaaL enshrined at the Kaamaakshi Amman Temple in Kanchipuram!

1221. When AachaaryaaL came to Kanchipuram there were those who followed the semi Vedic religions of Saankhyam and Meemaamsai, as well as the non Vedic religions of Buddhism and Jainism. Though there were ancient temples, the procedures adopted had gone awry, contrary to Vedic methods. AmbaaL Kaamaakshi was herself with certain negative features of cruel shades of ‘Ugra Kala’! AachaaryaaL entered through the ‘Sarva Teertha Karai’ (All-Water-Bank). Like Kaasi, located in that particular river bank is the Vishveshwara Temple and Mukti Mandapa. He had his bath, did the Praata: Sandhya Vandanam, had God’s darshan at the temple, stayed for sometime in the Mukti Mandapa and went to Vishnu Kanchi. There he stayed for a few days near Varadaraja PerumaaL Aalayam, reorganizing the procedures there. Even today there is a branch of our Matam west of the Varadaraja PerumaaL Temple.

1222. During that time, he requested the Ruler Rajasena, a Chola King to reorganise the general area of Kanchipuram with the Temple of Kaamaakshi in the centre, in the form of a Sri Chakra. In Sri Chakra there are two enclosing circles of lotus petals as it happens to be in its natural state also. This is how Kanchipuram has been described in the Tamil classic of the earlier Sanga period ‘PerumbaaNaartruppadai’; “pallidazh taamarai poguttin kaaNvarat thonndrich chudu maN ongiya nedu nagar varaippin... pazha viral moodoor kachi”.

1223. Though Kanchipuram is important for many deities and their temples, its importance is more due to its being a Devi Kshetra. Sakti Peetams are said to be three, 18, 36, 51, 56, 64, 96, 108 and 6,400 in numbers. Amongst them all, one of the most important is the Kaama Koti Peetam. It is representing AmbaaL’s Naabhi or Naval. Like Naabhi is the central point in the body, so is Kanchi the centre of the whole world. Kanchi is the Oddiyaanam as a protective cover for the Naval like a bracelet around the hip – so say the books such as, ‘Meru Tantram, Kaamaakshi Vilaasam and Kanchi Mahatmiyam’! The centre of power for all representations of AmbaaL as Shakti, like the generator for all light bulbs, is Kanchi Kaamaakshi. To emphasise this point, unlike any other place in India, though there are more than 50 different Siva Temples within the periphery of Kanchipuram, there is no Amman Sannidy in any of them! In Kaama Kottam, AmbaaL Kaamaakshi is all alone. In Sundareswarar Koil in Madurai there is Meenaakshi; in Jambukeshwarar Koil there is Akhilaandeshwari in Thiruvaanaikka; in Kapaaleeswarar Koil there is Kalpagaamba in Mylapore. Unlike any of them, she is all in all without a Sannidy for Easwara in Kanchi. With more show and pomp than Ekambreshwara or Varadaraja within Kanchi, she has high raise Gopurams in all four directions, with a mighty Gopura Vaasal and wide roads for the Chariot around the temple, she is the Raja Rajeswari, the Queen Empress of all Gods!

(To be continued.)



Saturday, May 19, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 176 (Vol # 5) Dated 19 May 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 176 (Vol # 5) Dated 19 May 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 last para on page No 1095 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)

1205. As the power of Chandra Mouliswara Lingam, the pooja is done for Tripura Sundari, in the form of Sri Chakra, because like him, she is also much related to the full moon. If he has the full moon on his head, she lives in the centre of the full moon – ‘chandra mandala madhyagaa’, as given in the Lalitha Sahasranaama. Her favourite and special ‘titi’ is PoorNima. (Like Vinayaka Chaturti (4th), Vasanta Panchami (5th), Skandar Sashti (6th), Ratha Saptami (7th), Gokula Ashtami (8th), Sri Rama Navami (9th) and Vijaya Dasami (10th); AmbaaL’s ‘titi’ is the PoorNima only.) At the end of one’s effort to attain or comprehend the divinity of God, as a full moon she will be showering the eternal nectar of her grace on the peak of our heads!

1206. This divine couple of Chandra MouLi and Tripurasundari are so beautifully and pleasantly showering the cool nectar of moon light on the whole universe, wiping away the world’s sorrow, pain and affliction. She is also having the crescent moon on her head as an ornament – as it is mentioned in Lalitha Sahasranaama – ‘Chaaru Chandra Kalaa Dharaaa’. These three naamaas – ‘Maha Tripura Sundari, Chandra Mandala Madhyagaa and Chaaru Chandra Kalaa Dharaa’ occur also quite close to each other in Lalitha Sahasranaama!

1207. That the ‘Soundarya Lahari’ Stotram has been written by our AachaaryaaL is famously well known. If now you say that it was presented by AmbaaL to him in Kailasa, is there not some confusion? Is it that he only made that sloka known to others? In answer to such questions, there is a traditional story, not to be found in any of the Sankara Vijayam books, quite acceptably well known otherwise! Swami gave our AachaaryaaL, the five Siva Lingams instructing him to do daily Archana with Bilva leaves. AmbaaL gave him the book containing the Stotram for it to be publicised in the world. Our AachaaryaaL returned after thanking them both and doing Namaskaara.

1208. At the exit gates of Kailasa, there was this Nandikeswara, who did not like anything being taken out without his permission! On occasions he would do things that would occur to him on the spur of the moment! So without a second thought as to who it was and as to whether he was the authorised owner of the copies or not, or a visitor who had been presented with a gift, he grabbed the manuscript from the hands of our AachaaryaaL. All the pages of the palm leaf manuscript did not go to his hands. The first part of the 41 slokas remained in our AachaaryaaL’s hands. He made a quick exit from Kailasa holding that part of the slokas tightly! He felt bad for the loss. But there was an incorporeal announcement from AmbaaL, “It is all part of my play only! You may now complete the balance part of the 59 slokas. I wished to hear the sloka by your power of expression. It should be shining at par with the property of Kailasa! So all this was made to happen.” (Please do not get away with the impression that close circuit television and public address system are only modern gadgets and not possible with divine personages!) AachaaryaaL agreed to write the 59 poems most willingly. He completed the 59 Slokas and said, “Mother! It is all your voice and your expression only. This very Stotra of 100 slokas is made for, about and by you only, he said – “tvadeeyaabir – vaakbis – tava janani vaachaam stutiriyam”. Thus he offered it to her as an ArpaNam with extreme devotion and humility! There is such a story prevalent!

1209. In the 59 slokas written by our AachaaryaaL, there is a clear description of AmbaaL’s form, from head to foot in waves of beauty. In the third sloka, (that is the 44th) there is the phrase ‘Soundarya Lahari’ occurring. So though the whole poem of 100 stanzas is known as ‘Soundarya Lahari’, it is the latter part of 59 slokas that is, rightly called by that title. In the first part of 41 Slokas known as ‘Aananda Lahari’, in the 8th sloka there is the phrase ‘Chidaananda Lahareem’, from which the title for that portion could have evolved. This collective work that AachaaryaaL got at Kailasa, instead of being referred to as ‘Soundarya Lahari’, in ‘Markandeya Samhita’ and ‘Aananda Gireeyam’ is being mentioned as the ‘Soundarya Saaram’ and ‘Ambika Stava Saaram’ respectively. This fact seems to add some validity to the story about Nandikeswara grabbing part of the palm leaf manuscripts from the hands of our AachaaryaaL!

1210. The first part containing the 41 slokas is the Mantra Saastra Saaram about Sundari. Actually I am very happy about Nandikeswara making a grab for the book of slokas. I wish to thank him for that. It is only due to his that action that we have the opportunity to read the second part by which we are made aware of the enchanting description of the beauty of AmbaaL’s form and greatness and AachaaryaaL’s power of verbal expression beyond which there is no devotion or literature to compare! As ordered by Swami, our AachaaryaaL got the four Siva Lingams installed in Sringeri, Kedaarnaath, Neelakanta, and Kanchi. Towards the end of his sojourn on earth, he sent the Moksha Lingam to be installed in Chidambaram through Sureshwara as mentioned in ‘Aananda Gireeyam’.

1211. The Value of Kanchipuram. After completing his ‘Dig Vijayam’ our AachaaryaaL came to Kanchipuram. The oldest Tamil literary works are collectively known as ‘Sanga Ilakkiyam’. Within that also there is an earlier and later periods between which a great part of South India extending to the equator was gobbled up by the ocean. From the earlier Sanga period, one of the works was known as ‘PerumbaaNaartruppadai’, which talks about the greatness of Kanchipuram. That ancient city was not only great and famous as a capital and centre of civilization, but was also well known for its being an important place for advanced learning, like Kaasi on the banks of the River Ganges in the North. It was the administrative capital of ‘Thondai Naadu’ which is eulogized as the place full of people of excellent character – ‘saandror udaithu’! It was the place where there was a Sanskrit University Gatika Sthaanam. Appar SwamigaL says, ‘kalviyaik karai ilaada kaanchi maa nagar’. From ‘Manimekalai’ we gather that it was a place where people of many religions of different hues and shades assembled. Later on there were Buddhists, Jains and Kapalikaas as revealed by Mahendra Pallava’s drama ‘Matta Vilaasa Prahasanam’. They say that history repeats itself and the wheel of time comes back to its original position after a full circle! So, in our AachaaryaaL’s time also there must have been other religious institutions there. Even now often one stumbles upon Buddhist sculptural finds there. Within Kanchipuram, the place Thiru Paruthi Kunram was famous as ‘Jina Kanchi’ a religious place of importance for the Jains.

1212. As a place of religious importance for the Hindu Religion, it is the Kshetra for ‘Ratna Traya’ the ‘Three Gems of the Hindu Religion’, Easwara, AmbaaL and PerumaaL. There are innumerable numbers of temples for all sorts of Gods there! Amongst temples for Siva of the five basic elements, (of water, fire, sky, air and earth) the Kachchi Ekamra temple is the equivalent of ‘Prithvi Kshetra’ or the Earth Station! There is also the ‘Kaama Kottam’ as the main one for many of the AmbaaL Sannidy-s there, as the ‘Moola Shakti Peetam’. Vaishnavites similarly consider the place Kanchipuram, where there is Varadaraja Swami temple, as Vishnu Kanchi and as ‘Aththiyur’, as one of the most important ‘Divya Kshetras’, the other places being Thiruppati and Sri Rangam. Vishnu Kanchi is now being called the ‘Chinna Kanchi’, whereas the place within Kanchipuram where there are Ekaambra Temple and Kaama Kottam are located is known as the ‘Periya Kanchi’.

1213. Kanchipuram is famous, not only for the location of ‘Ratna Traya’, but also for the six deities of the ‘Shan Madam’, Kanchipuram is very important! If there is no city or town or village or even a small hamlet without Pillaiyar temple in Tamil Nadu, Kanchipuram has its quota of Vinayaka temples. One area within Kanchipuram is known as Pillaiyar PaaLayam. Then within Kamaakshi Aalayam, there are six or seven Sannidy / statue for Pillaiyar. As Kanchipuram is Prithvi Kshetra, GaNapathi himself is representing the Prithvi Tatva (the earth principle) only. Then for SubrahmaNya, there is Kumarakkottam, as a separate temple for him here. Kachiappa Sivaachaariyaar wrote and for the first time presented it to the intelligentsia of his time, known as ‘Arangu Etram’, here only. Another speciality about Kumarakkottam is the fact that, as Kumara is seated between his parents Siva and Uma in ‘Somaaskanda Moortam’, here the place Kumarakkottam is physically located between Kachchi Ekambam (Siva Temple) and Kaamakkottam (AmbaaL Temple)! It is also an important place for the Sun God Surya, as in the Surya Sannidy of Kachabeswara Temple the hundred slokas of ‘Mayura Sadakam’ are etched on stone.

1214. Thus Kanchipuram is an important Kshetra for all the six religions of Saivam, Saaktam, VaiNavam, GaaNaapatyam, Koumaaram and Souram! May be that our AachaaryaaL came and stayed here because the place had that importance, value and allure. It could also be true that the value of the place gained immensely because of his stay there! Amongst the seven ‘Moksha Puri-s’, the fact that Kanchipuram is the only one in the South, is one of the most important reasons for its high value. Thus it well deserves its special sobriquet as ‘Nagareshu Kaanchi’ because of its importance in terms of religion, learning, trade and administration!

(To be continued.)



Thursday, May 17, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 175 (Vol # 5) Dated 17 May 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 175 (Vol # 5) Dated 17 May 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 last para on page No 1089 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)

1197. In the priority as to who is God, Mother comes first, then the Father and then the Guru. Once he had the Darshan of the Guru and Parama Guru, he had the wish to see his Mother and Father. Who is the mother and father? In the last slokam in AnnapoorNa Stotram, our AachaaryaaL himself has said, “maataa cha parvati devi: pita devo maheswara:” Though he is an Avatara of their combined presence, he still wished to express his love for his parents as a child. (There is a special word ‘vaatsalya’ in Sanskrit, for the love between the child and parents. I wonder if there is a parallel synonym in English for that word other than ‘calf love’! Like all of us he would have gone to many temples and had the darshan of many of the idols of the resident deity. Whereas we would have only seen the idols made of stone or metal, he would have seen that very deity that the idols represented! He now went to Kailasa where Paarvathi – Parameswara are said to reside. He is supposed to have gone there by the power of his austere penance. He prayed to them with complete devotion. The one entity had become two as AmbaaL and Easwara and was visited by the third as an Avatara Sankara, thrilling at each other’s sight!

1198. His darshan should not end with his enjoyment only, thought Parvathi – Parameswaras. They decided that there should be a permanent record of this visit and like giving a present to a child they gave a gift that would be remembered by the whole world for days to come. Parameswara gave our AachaaryaaL, five crystal Siva Lingas. This is on record in both ‘Siva Rahasyam’ (9th Amsam, 16th Chapter) and ‘Markandeya Samhita’ (72nd Kandam, 7th Parispandam). In ‘Siva Rahasyam’, though it is given that this event occurred in Kaasi, the gift is mentioned as five Siva Linga-s of Kailasa. So also, it is said in ‘Markandeya Samhita’ that the present were five Siva Linga-s. Then the names in both the references match. They are said to be, Yoga Lingam, Bhoga Lingam, Vara Lingam, Mukti Lingam and Moksha Lingam. In addition, the details about where these five Lingams were installed, is given in ‘Markandeya Samhita’. Yoga Lingam went to Kanchipuram Matam, Bhoga Lingam to Sringeri Matam, Vara Lingam reached Neelakanta Kshetra in Nepal, Mukti Lingam went to Kedaari Nath and Moksha Lingam was installed in Chidambaram.

1199. There is much meaning in their being Spatika Linga-s. Amongst all Siva Suktas, Rudra Prasnam is the most important one. In it, please note what the initial Dhyana Sloka has to say. It goes, “aapaataala – nabhastalaanta – bhuvana – bruhmaaNda – maavispuraj – Jyoti: spaatika linga – mouLi vilasat – poorNendu vaantaamrutai: I astokaaplutam – ekam – easam – anisam rudraanuvaakaan japan dyaayedeepsita siddhaye adruta – padam vipro abhishinchechivam II”. A Brahmin who is entitled to do formal pooja with proper mantras, if he is desirous of effectively gaining the advantages as expected, should be chanting the Anuvaaga known as Rudra Prasnam, without over speeding (adruta – padam), chanting it with the correct intonations of up and down as well with the correct pauses for obviating breathlessness; while doing Abhishekam for the Siva Linga. The Siva Linga, as per tradition may be made of Spatika (crystal) or BaaNa (a unique stone available only in Narmada River bed) or Swarna (gold), or Rasa (a naturally occurring stone of Mercury and Sulphur) or Maragatha (that is, Emerald). It is thus the Abhishekam should be done while the chanting of Rudram goes on. So also this should be done for Nataraja Murthy also, (that is Siva in the form of Nataraja), because he in any form is one and the same, ‘ekam eesham anisam’. This is what is said at the end of the sloka.

1200. Before that, the sloka tells us as to how the form of Siva is to be meditated upon. The effulgent fire extending from the nether worlds of ‘Paataala’ to the far reaches of this sky going beyond the mighty spheres of the Universe enlightening the whole of macro cosmos! God is that form of light as ‘Jyotir Lingam’ – a symbolic representation of light – that is a Spaatika Lingam – made of Crystal! Imagine God to be the form of a brilliant effulgence, on whose head is the full round Moon – ‘mouli vilasat poorNendu’. (‘Poorna + Indu = poornendu’.) If the form of God is a visible material body with the hands holding a deer and goad, wearing the matted locks; then he has only the thin sliver of the third crescent moon (that is the second evening after, New Moon and the next. The first evening after New Moon the crescent can never be seen from the earth!) God in the form of a Spatika Linga has the Full Moon on his head! That is why the Siva Lingams installed by our AachaaryaaL adorned by the Full Moon are known as ‘Chandra MouLeeswara’. From that Full Moon Amrutam or Nectar is flowing – ‘vantaamrutai:’. The Nectar is flowing as ‘astokam’ – that is plentifully pouring out! The third crescent moon can give only a trickle of Amrutam. But since this is a Full Moon it is abundantly flowing and Siva is not only drenched but fully soaked and covered – ‘aaplutam’. So if you also pour a bit of water, he is happy and who would not like to make God happy so easily?

1201. Even if the representative Siva Murthy, instead of being a Spatika Lingam, is in any other form; even then while doing Abhishekam with Rudra Japa, the Lord Siva is to be thought of as a Spaatika Lingam only, as it is closer to the truth, the ultimate Truth! That is the reason why Parameswara handed over five Spatika Lingas to our AachaaryaaL. Better than SakaLam (with form) is SakaLa NishkaLam (that is, formless form) is closer to Adwaitam. Lingam as a formless form is closer and if that happens to be a Spatika Lingam, it is still nearer to the truth! Adwaitam talks of the end idea or philosophy as ‘NirguNa Brhmam’ isn’t it? Spatikam is like that, colourless, transparent virtually unseen as an excellent demonstration of what is the principle of NirguNa Brhmam! Spatikam like Brhmam is spotless, colourless, clean, transparent and translucent! When you do Archana with any flower with whatever colour, the Spatika Lingam will be seen to be of that colour. This seeming adoption of the colour characteristic is like the way the NirguNa Brhmam permits superimposition of so many forms, colours and characteristics, while still remaining unsullied as itself! This omniscient, omnipresence is cool in the light of the moon, indicative of its extreme compassion. As there are five elements, five vital breath, the God with five faces (namely Sadyojaata, Vaamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Easaana) having five responsibilities of (pancha krutya:), gave our AachaaryaaL Pancha Lingams!

1202. The knower, the thing to be known and the knowledge; like the seer, scene and seeing; are known as ‘Triputi’. Adwaitam says that these three are one and the same. Here the giver is Siva, receiver is Siva and the thing given or received is also the same – five Siva Lingams! Here I am reminded of a slokam wherein, our AachaaryaaL himself is described as the Chandra Mouleeswarar. It is in the Avatara Sarga of ‘Maadhaveeya Sankara Vijayam’ (2nd Sargam, 90th Slokam) – “moordhani himakara chihnam nitile nayanaangam amsayo: soolam I vapushi spatika – savarNam praagnaastam menire sambum II” When the child Sankara was born as an Avatara of Siva, some of the visitors could see clear signs of his being an Avatara of Siva, like marks or moles. On the head there was the sign of the moon – ‘moordhani himakara chihnam’ – that is ‘Chandra MouLi’! In the fore head there was the sign of the third eye – ‘nitile nayanaangam’! On the shoulders there was the mark of the Trident – ‘amsayo: soolam’! The whole body was shining and transparent like the crystal Spatika – ‘vapushi Spatika – swarNam’. The child which looked like this, was recognised by the knowing ‘Seers’ as the very Sambu – ‘praagnaas tam menire sambum’!

1203. When the father Maheswara has sanctioned the five Lingams, will the mother Paarvathy keep quiet? She gave a Stotra Script to our AachaaryaaL. That is the ‘Soundarya Lahari’ that stands first amongst all prayers describing the beauty of the Goddess. Markandeya Samhita calls that sloka as the ‘soundarya saaram’, that is the concentrated essence of beauty. She blessed AachaaryaaL with that Sloka for the benefit of the whole world. There is total uniformity between the Markandeya Samhita and Aananda Gireeya Sankara Vijayam, in reporting about Easwara giving five Siva Lings to AachaaryaaL, their names and places where they finally reached. In Aananda Gireeyam, that sloka is called as ‘Ambikaa Stava Saaram’, for the sake of ‘Jagat Anugrahaaya’ as it says. Blessings given to the Jagat Guru is the same as blessings that is given for the whole world, isn’t it? ‘Soundarya Lahari’ means ‘Waves of Beauty’! AmbaaL is like an ocean of beauty. That beauty which cannot be defined is indicated by the poem in words.

1204. In it each sloka is like a wave. AmbaaL has many forms. This sloka is her form as Sundari. Out of the ‘Dasa Maha Vidya’ forms, here she is the ‘Ati Devata’ of ‘Sundari Vidya’ that is Sri Vidya, also known as the ‘Tripura Sundari’ of the ‘Sthula’ (gross), ‘Sookshma’ (subtle) and ‘KaaraNa’ (causal) worlds as the mother incarnate with love of compassion, support and sympathy! It is the same principle of Brhma Tatvam that is the Mother, known as Tripura Sundari as well as LalithaambaaL!

(To be continued.) Sambhomahadeva


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 174 (Vol # 5) Dated 15 May 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 174 (Vol # 5) Dated 15 May 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 page No 1082 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)


1186. Thus when our AachaaryaaL was doing great service for the whole world, as everybody’s child and also Guru, the occasion presented itself for him to live up to the promise he had given his Mother, that he will take care of her in her last few days on earth! That lady was approaching her last and knowing that, AachaaryaaL was arriving in Kaladi. He pacified his mother and told her Stotras of Adwaitam. It is believed that the end memory while still in the body becomes true after death. So that she may get Adwaita Mukti, AachaaryaaL chanted Atma Bodha: / Tatva Bodha: / Viveka ChudaamaNi and such slokas. They were not within her reach or understanding. So he changed to devotional Stotras for Siva. To take her to Kailasa the Pramata GaNas came. She was afraid of looking at them. So he changed to Devotional Stotras for Vishnu. He started chanting the Krishna Ashtakam starting with the words, “Sriyaaslishto VishNu:”, to mean ‘VishNu embraced by Sri’. The pleasant looking Vishnu Sevaks came to fetch her and she was peacefully pleased with them. So she went to Vaikundam with them and AachaaryaaL could thus fulfil his promise to his mother.

1187. As per the promise given, he wished to cremate her body. Between relatives and Brahmin Purohits, there was much confusion as to what is permitted and what is not permitted as per the Saastraas, in the case of an only son who happens to be a Sanyaasi also! So, for any and every alternative there were many objections! So they did all sorts of things that people agitating for National Independence do these days, such as ‘Non-Cooperation Movement’ and ‘Bahishkaaram’! (Please note that this above statement of PeriyavaaL was made in the year 1939, which is eight years before India obtained her Independence from the British Rule.) Finally it all boiled down to, AachaaryaaL ‘cutting and carrying the body singly himself to the backyard, for it to be consigned to flames’! As an act of penance since then in that part of the world, it has become a custom amongst Namboodri Brahmins that, after the death of their kith and kin, symbolically they cut some part of the body and then consign it to flames in the backyard of their own houses. They say one more thing in those places. At the end, it seems that relatives from either side of his parents just came to convey their condolences and stood on either side of the body that is, near the head or the legs. So, till day they are called ‘Thalay AarruppaLLi’ and ‘KaappaLli’!

1188. After a few days stay in Kaaladi after having enacted the part of a household youngster, AachaaryaaL ventured out in to the world once again, covering the whole of India from Rameswaram to the Himalayas. There are many records of his having visited them or those other places, in various parts of the country. There may be many such recordings in individual houses and or temples, which might have vanished over time or hidden to our view. We have already talked about his visit to the 12 Temple Towns known as Dwaadasa Linga Kshetrams in addition to his visit to Kaasi, Sri Sailam, Thiruchendur, Kollur Mookaambikai, Guruvayoor, Thiruvortriyur, the Kaamaakhya Temple in Assam, Kumbakonam and Chidambaram. In Thiruvananta Puram (aka Trivandrum these days) Ananta Padmanabha Swami Temple, he pacified the Veera VaishNavas and got them to agree to the Adwaitic point of view.

1189. In the areas under the erstwhile Mysore State, there is a famous VishNu Kshetram. There the Vaishnava Bhatta-s, were not ready to permit our AachaaryaaL inside as he was so evidently a Siva devotee. He told them to go inside and have a Darshan of the deity once again and then fight with him. When they did so, they noticed that the right side of the very idol to which they had been doing Pooja all these years had turned in to a Siva Lingam, while the left side had remained as before. This opened their eyes to the oneness of all Gods and they all came back to apologise and take AachaaryaaL with all due respect inside. From that day the city came to be called as ‘Harihar’ combining the names of VishNu as Hari and Siva as Hara! Then he went to Madurai to the Meenaakshi – Sundareshwarar temple, where he offered the ‘Pancha Ratna Stotram’ to AmbaaL. In that city full of learned masters, he impressed everybody favourably, that all of them accepted Adwaitam as the end philosophy of all understanding of religion and divinity.

1190. Then he visited TrichiraappaLLi Thayumaanavar temple. Actually there is a recording on stone (known as Saasanam) there, about his visit. Inside the Suganda KunthalaambaaL sanctum sanctorum walls the first 41 Slokas of Soundarya Lahari, known as ‘Aananda Lahari’, have been inscribed on stone on AachaaryaaL’s behest. Then he went to Jambukeshwaram (aka Thiruvaanaikka), where he first pacified the ‘Ugra Roopa’ of Akhilaandeswari, by installing the counter mantra in the ‘Thatangams’ (aka Ear Rings) for her to remain a ‘Shanti Swaroopa’ from then onwards. It is said that, then he completed the balance 59 slokas to complete the Soundarya Lahari, reportedly. I will tell you the Soundarya Lahari story later as part of his Kailasa Yatra. Instead of telling you chronologically, I am mixing it up, for which I am to be blamed, I beg your pardon!

1191. Then at Sri Rangam, he pacified the Sri VaishNavaas who came forward to fight with him and had a darshan of the Ranganatha Swami, the presiding deity there. So that there will be a continuous flow of devotees to the temple, he installed the ‘Jana Aakarshana Yantra’ in that place of Sri Rangam temple, which is located in an island surrounded by the River Cauveri. Then the matter of his visit to Thiru Vidai Maruthur aka Madhya Arjunam, has already been described as reported in Aananda Gireeyam. In the land area of Chola Desa, there are many temples for Siva. Amongst them all, the central one is that of Maha Lingam, the biggest and greatest by name also! One should not get away with the impression that only Vaishnavas objected to his principle of Adwaitam. Though he was equally reverential to all Gods, it was his sense of treating all Gods at par, that was being objected to by hard core followers of any and every God or Deity such as Saivites and Sakthaas. So there was a ground swell against him in Madhya Arjunam too.

1192. “What is this? Letting me the Avatara, face all objections the ‘Moola Purusha’ Parama Siva is getting all good name”, he thought! Whether he thought so or not, I am thinking so. So, he prayed to the God to do whatever to reveal the truth to assemblage. Instantly there was an incorporeal announcement in the skies, “Satyam Adwaitam”! Not only was this ‘Asareeri’ made, from behind the Siva Lingam, there was this right hand which was held up as though vouchsafing the aerial proclamation. All objections to AachaaryaaL’s Vedaantam vanished into thin air and all the people there accepted the Adwaita Philosophy whole heartedly!

1193. That AachaaryaaL also visited Maayavaram is evidenced by the Sivaananda Lahari. There is one sloka in Sivaananda Lahari that Easwara himself danced as a Peacock (Mayooram), from which the name of the place has evolved. In that slokam AmbaaL has been referred as ‘Mayoori’ a Peahen. (Siva is called the ‘Neela Kanta’ or the ‘Blue Throated’ as he had contained the ‘Aalahaala Poison’ in his throat. So also is the Peacock having a blue throat! That is the link!) That place is called ‘Gowri Maayooram’ which over time has become Maayavaram! The Tamil name is Thiru Mayilaaduthurai. In Mylapore, Madras also AmbaaL has done pooja to Easwara as a Mayil. AachaaryaaL who went to Thiruvortriyur must have also gone to Mylapore! Possibly, the ‘Sivaananda Lahari’ sloka was written in Sri Sailam. There in the huge main doors of the temple, our AachaaryaaL’s likeness has been inscribed. As desired in Yoga Taravali, next to Sri Sailam, there is Hatakeshwara where there is this water fall and banyan tree, a very peaceful and sequestered place, suitable as a place of retreat! There our AachaaryaaL stayed for some time in Aatma Nishta, as though riveted to the ground there!

1194. AachaaryaaL, who called KaNNappar the foremost among all devotees, like a crown is the last ornament to be worn on top of everything else, – ‘baktaavatamsaayate’ – (in ‘Sivaananda Lahari’, Sloka No 63), must have visited that place KaLahasti too, isn’t it, since it is the place where AmbaaL is GnaanaambaaL! Then he visited Thirupathi, where he installed the ‘Dhana Aakarshana Yantra’, so that devotees may bring and pour all money and wealth there. Panduranga Ashtakam and Jagannaatha Ashtakam are proof of his having visited the Pandaripuram in Maharashtra and Puri in Orissa. In Puri of course he established one of the important Matams of his on the East Coast. We had noted earlier that the other Matam on the West Coast was in Dwaraka. His Achyuta Ashtakam and Govinda Ashtakam and many other devotional invocations of Vishnu must have been done in places such as, Dwaraka, Mathura and Brindavan, when he visited those places, not as a dignitary but, as a devotee! Similarly he may have sung the Rama Bhujangam in Ayodhya.

1195. Many of the devotional Siva Stotras could have been written in Kaasi. Anyhow the ‘AnnapoorNaa Stotram’ was written there only as the AmbaaL there is known by that name. Then about the place and sacred waters (known as ‘Teerta’), he has written the poems such as ‘Kaasi Panchakam’, ‘Ganga Ashtakam’, ‘Yamuna Ashtakam’ and ‘Mani KarNaka Ashtakam’. He has also sung a ‘Narmada Ashtakam’ on the Narmada River, on the banks of which he took the Sanyaasa Aashrama. Then he went to Kashmir and won over all the learned pundits of that place. He is said to have ascended the Sarada Peetam over there. There he is said to have appreciated a very learned young lady and gave her a head gear known as ‘Tarangam’, which is worn with pride till date as an ornament in the head, by the women of Kashmir. In Sri Nagar there is a hillock named ‘Sankara Aachaarya Giri’, as a mark of remembrance with respect for this youthful saint from South India at the Northern Top corner of the country!

1196. Our AachaaryaaL’s visit to Badrinath aka Badarikashrama was an important event. He established the Jyotir Matam there. The sacred idol of Badri Narayana was said to have been in the Alakananda River and Swami indicated to our AachaaryaaL in his dream the exact location, for him to have recovered the same and installed there. There is a Tapta Kund (hot water spring) over there, which is an eternal Gift of God for the devotees to wash and bathe before entering the temple! More than all this, there was another incident that happened there, as would have been ardently desired by our AachaaryaaL! Though the whole world was falling in his feet, venerating him as the Jagat Guru, He also wished to fall in the feet of his Guru, deeply inwardly! To fulfil that wish, AachaaryaaL’s Guru Govinda Bhagawat Paada and Parama Guru Gowda Paada, gave him Darshan. They were both very happy to see our AachaaryaaL who was very successfully completing his Avatara Kaarya. He kept chanting the ‘Dakshinamurthy Ashtakam’ and was doing Namaskaara in their feet for each foot of the poem! The man who had evolved from DakshiNa Murthy himself was thus doing a sincere devotional drama (and not dramatic devotion)!

(To be continued.)



Sunday, May 13, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 173 (Vol # 5) Dated 13 May 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 173 (Vol # 5) Dated 13 May 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 middle of page No 1076 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)

1176. Not only religious leaders and poets, even biggest and most renowned amongst the modern scientists such as Einstein and or Sir James Jeans, talk in the language of Adwaitam only! That the basic elements of which this physical world is made of are all different is a story of the past! As per modern scientific understanding, everything in this existence is one and the same power, appearing to be different. The statement that in this physical universe there is nothing absolute by itself, but only have relative reality; is a form of our AachaaryaaL’s principle of Prathibhasika Satyam only! Thus our AachaaryaaL has endowed us with the essence of all religions, as well as the essence of all sciences, which are otherwise considered as anti-religion! Having visited every place in this land of Bharath Desh, he blessed all to be full of peace, love and happiness, by showering his philosophy of Adwaitam. The very name of AachaaryaaL as Sankara means the bestower of peace, love and happiness combined together. It is not only a matter of us individuals becoming one with God but, since everybody else is also the same divinity, to become one with all, or at least have that clarity in one’s mind that all living things and lifeless matter are expressions of the same truth! That is unity, oneness and integrity as established by our AachaaryaaL!

1177. The very purpose of his Avatara is for us all to be one in that peace of mutual love. So often, when we get down to do some research about the place and date of his birth, where all he visited what all he did and then get into disputes about these things; I wonder if we are being too objectionably contrary to his message and mission? Instead of being respectful to his memory, we are being rather disrespectful in the bargain! The only way we can claim him to be ‘our’ AachaaryaaL is, by being mutually loving and kind to each other, between us!


1178. AachaaryaaL intended that the spiritual social cohesion and Vedaanta based religion should last eternally in the world. With that purpose he established a number of Matams and detailed his disciples as their Heads. These Matams were not meant to propagate Adwaita Vedaantam only. There cannot be many capable of understanding and comprehending Adwaitam straight from the word go! To turn all the people towards that direction, we have to enable the whole society to do relentless practicing of Karma Anushtaanaas; devotion and trust in Vedas and Saastraas have to be built up; arrangements made for removal of doubts and misunderstandings; conflicts resolved. By this process still, only a fraction of people will be able to reach up to Adwaita Anubhava. But the process must go on! To make this possible, he created these Matams as Centres of Dharmic activities.

1179. Sringeri, Dwaraka, Puri, Badri and Kanchi are the five main Matams. Then he is known to have established many other Centres and he must have. In such a huge and vast area of what is India, at a time when there were not many roads or rail; or communication facilities such as postal and telegraph; would it have been enough to just have five Matams, some two thousand miles apart? North of Vindya Hills, Badrinaath is difficult to approach even today. Then, Dwaraka and Puri are in the Western and Eastern edges, while Kanchi and Sringeri are located deep in the South. So these five places could not have been enough to do justice to the task in hand at all! So it is safe to presume that he must have established many more Matams. We do not know as to how many of them were virtually erased from the surface of the earth, when Muslim marauders ran over most of India destroying many of the temples and religious institutions! Kaasi Viswanatha Temple has had to be reconstructed, we do not know how many times! In a nation that takes pride as containing the birth places of Sri Rama and Sri Krishna; are there any single temples of the past left standing in Ayodhya and Mathura respectively? There was a time in India when people were afraid of displaying that they belonged to this Hindu Religion and Veda Mantras had to be chanted in hushed tones! Though the Indian ethos is such, that later much later, we could still have the sort of atmosphere for a Kabir Das and or a Sai Baba to come into being. But, let that not make us turn a blind eye to the inhuman and monumental pogroms of destruction inflicted on the Hindus of this country by the Muslim hoards as they poured into India! It is a travesty of justice and twisting and turning of the knife in the wound, that in the modern day India, we are made to look the criminal for the one wanton act of destruction of the so called Baabri Masjid! It was a crude display of madness of a mob, the stupidity of which has drawn the curtain on all the evil of the past and ended up converting the criminal in to the victim and vice versa!

1180. So, the point I am making is that, there must have been and there were many Sankara Matams all over the country, which became the target number one for destruction. Like the five main Matams, in Kaasi itself there were five Matams and in Trichur, there were five. Kaasi was like the intellectual capital of India, where AachaaryaaL stayed for a number of years, wrote the Prasthaana Thrayee and gave Upadesa to his disciples. Trichur was the place of his birth as an Avatara. In the ‘Guru Vamsa Kaavyam’ written on the directions as well as the supervision of one of the Mataadipathy of Sringeri, it is mentioned that like the four arms of VishNu Bhagawaan, four Matams were meant for four of his disciples and one for our AachaaryaaL where he stayed for some time – “varaaNaseem yogi varodigamya bhujairiva Sri Harir esha sishyai: I sahaatmanaa pancha matrameeshaam pragalpya tistou kadichit dinaani II” (3rd Sarga, 23rd Sloka).

1181. Even in the last century there was an AchaaryaaL with the title of ‘Indra’, as revealed in a stone inscription dated Vikram Samvat 1941 (that is, 1884 A.D.), which says that in one of the river crossings known as Sivalaya Ghaat, was located a Brahmendra Matam, where there was a Viswanatha Swami, a Sishya of Chandra Sekhara Swami of the Sankaracharya tradition. The inscription is as follows:- “Jagatguro: Sankarasya paaramparya krama aagata: sishya: sanmaarga nishNaata: Chandra Sekhara naamaka:, tasyaa sishyo Viswanatha Yateendro yoginaam vara:. Look at the phrase, ‘sankarasy paaramparya krama aagata:’ – that clearly indicates that the one being referred is one of the Mataadipathy of the Sankara Aachaarya tradition!

1182. There is a Sumeru Matam also known as Paaduka Matam in Kaasi. Some time back there was an appeal for contributions for its repair and maintenance, signed by many Swamiji-s, Sanskrit scholars (known as Maha Mahopaadhyaayas), and political big-wigs. In that appeal it was mentioned that the Sumeru Matam had been established by our AachaaryaaL during his stay in Kaasi. In the Himalayas itself, other than Jyotir Matam, in Gangotri, there was a Sankara Matam in existence as reported by the 11th Volume of ‘Light of the East’ published in July 1894. You may be aware of the great service rendered by the Gita Press in Gorakhpur, who have been printing and publishing many of our religious pamphlets and manuscripts at a very low cost, without resorting to advertisements and other sales gimmicks! In one of the special editions of their KalyaN magazine known as, ‘Tirtanga Edition’, in the preamble they have made a mention of the Sumeru and Gangotri Matams.

1183. ‘Cochin State Manual’ talks about the five Sankara Matams said to have been located in Trichur. There were one in each cardinal direction with one in the centre, with names such as, ‘Tekke Matam’ (which was evidently the Southern one), ‘Vadakke Matam’ and Naduve Matam. Now, only the Tekke and Naduve ones have survived. In the Tekke Matam there have been 80 Heads of the Matam at various times. The Vadakke Matam has now become a Veda Paatashaala or School for the Vedas. In Puri Jagannaath itself, other than the main Govardana Matam, there are three Adwaita Matams by the names of Sankara Ananda Matam, Siva Tirta Matam and Gopala Tirta Matam.

1184. It may be known to some that VidyaraNya Swami, during his tenure at Sringeri as the Mataadipathy, had newly created as well as repaired and refurbished the existing ones in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, that he earned a sobriquet as ‘Nava Matee Naatha’. In fact it is not only nine but 15 places in Kerala, Andhra, Karnataka and Maharashtra that he had revived and renovated the Matams, giving the names of the Matams and their place names. All this is given in the ‘Tirtanga Edition’ of the KalyaN Magazine that spoke to you about a few minutes back. (These are, Koodali, Sivaganga, AavaNi, ViroopaaKsha, Pushpagiri, Sangeshwara-Karaveera, Ramachandrapura, Hariharapura, Pandikadi, Edaneeru, Kodandarama, Swarnavalli, Nelamaavu, Yoga Narasimha Swami and Balagunduru Matams!) Some of these are said to have been established by our AachaaryaaL’s direct disciples. Similarly some of the Trichur Matams are also said to have been initiated by Padma Paada and Sureshwara.

1185. There will be no end if we go on investigating as to who established what, where and when! Instead of being any use to the self or anybody, it will go on endlessly like the genesis of the universe itself! As it can never be proved that any of them were not started by our AachaaryaaL; and as the requirement to cover this vast country needed many such Matams in many places all over the country; accepting that all of them must have been started by him only, let us pay our obeisance to all of them as Guru Peetams and progress further with our discussion.

(To be continued.)