DEIVATHIN KURAL # 167 (Vol # 5) Dated 01 Apr 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 167 (Vol # 5) Dated 01 Apr 2012
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavaaL of Kanchi Kaamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. Today we are going ahead from page No 1040 of Vol 5 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated constantly)
Thotaka: The Very Incarnation of Devotion to One’s Guru.
1128. If Hastamalaka was totally in Adwaita Anubhava all of the time, the last of the four disciples, Thotaka was the opposite from the other end of the spectrum. What did our AachaaryaaL say as to what should be our attitude? He had said, “Bhaavaat adwaitam sadaa kuryaat; kriyaat adwaitam na karhichit”! This means, “Inwardly, attitudinally understand and feel all to be one always and forever. But when it comes to actions and interactions, do not fail to differentiate!” Actually as you go on imbibing the idea of oneness, it will start getting reflected in your actions too! You may not notice the differences often on various occasions and you may be using a silk cloth for wiping surfaces and come to attend formal occasions in dirty or torn clothes! Then food may be anointed on the body and inedible things eaten; a donkey may be revered and respected and a king may be kicked in the bottom! Then, when the sense of Adwaitam is imbedded in the mind, you may see all the three worlds – this, that and beyond – past, present and future – ‘adwaitam trishu lokeshu’; still one should never claim oneness with the Guru – ‘na adwaitam guruNaa saha’! This quote is from our AachaaryaaL’s Sloka ‘Tatva Upadesam’!
1129. We should never think that we are equal to the Guru. You may feel one with even God. What is this ‘you may’? At the end of it all you have to know and feel the oneness with God. But till there is an iota of thought of I, me, mine and myself; one should never feel and or claim equality with one’s Guru. (PeriyavaaL speaks the further sentences with an ongoing, gurgling laughter! Since he is himself known by the title of ‘Jagat Guru’, it is as though he is telling his followers to be showing due difference to him, and hence, the grin and laughter in PeriyavaaL’s speech!) Particularly with one’s Guru, we should be respectfully different. If your doubt is as to how this difference being a matter of duality – dwaitam – and since all duality is bluff, lie and false – as to how can we be bluffing and lying with our Guru; the answer is ‘Yes’! All the bluff and falsity of duality is permitted in one’s dealings with the Guru! That is the wish of AmbaaL. That is what she has ordered!
1130. Who is she? We call her ‘Brhma Vidya SwaroopiNi’ and call her, ‘GnaanaambaaL, Maya and Maha Maya’. What does it mean? It means that all bhedam, difference, bluff and duality are all her creation only. Within that there are some beautiful relationships such as, loving subservience, surrender, service and Saranagathi isn’t it? ‘Gur is enabling me to see, understand and comprehend the oneness of Abhedam – in all humility I should show all the difference to him! To this man who is teaching me the truth of Adwaitam, I have to be an embodiment of the opposite! All the Adwaitam that he is teaching me, in his case I have to pack it off and set it aside in apparent display of abject and humble gratitude!’ That should be our attitude, AmbaaL says. Then we should be feeling in our hearts, “Swami, you are the Guru and I am your disciple. You are different and I am different! You are like the ocean and I am only a drop. You are the ruler and I am the ruled. You are the owner and I am your slave.” ‘With such an attitude serve and service the Guru’, says AmbaaL. If you keep and maintain duality in this one relationship and by such attitude if you cause Guru’s Anugraha Bhaava to spring, your Adwaita Bhaava will strengthen and solidify. Thotaka, the fourth disciple of our AachaaryaaL was like that! The name Thotaka was not as given by his parents. That name came into being for a reason. We will shortly be talking about it. His original name was ‘Aananda Giri’!
1131. He used to be doing some service or the other all of the time. Extremely quiet, almost looking like a dullard. Our AachaaryaaL would be teaching his disciples. It seems that there used to be some 6,000 students around him, all highly intelligent and effervescently brilliant. They will be enjoying the learning and at times expressing their appreciation by verbal kudos! Thotaka was the only one to keep quiet. Other students used to think of him as a nincompoop! One day, he was late for the class and AachaaryaaL was waiting to start the class. Other students were commenting in hushed tones amongst themselves, as to why should they all wait for this one tardy student, whose being in the class and not being in the class was but the same! AachaaryaaL happened to overhear. “Is that so?” AachaaryaaL thought. The students who have come to me accepting me to be their AachaaryaaL, should not be having the unnecessary sense of ‘vidya garvam’, that is intellectual pride, he thought with compassion! More than this he felt kindly towards this student who was late for the class. Just then Thotaka came in dancing and singing a song composed by him on his Guru, written in a meter known as ‘Thotaka’ that would cause the singer and hearer to clap in tune with the beat of the poem. It was a meter difficult to compose in, as it is! Then the words, ideas expressed, and the natural intensity of the singer; instantly elevated the mood of the class! There were eight stanzas in that song, which became famous as ‘Thotaka Ashtakam’, endowing the title of ‘Thotaka AachaaryaaL’ as the permanent name for the composer!
1132. Let me tell you one sloka from that. What is there for me to say more than what great elders have already said? Some sense of devotion is what is to be shared and enjoyed with others. Gnaana is the thing to be enjoyed and savored in privacy, which we will see when it comes. It is devotion that can be shared and enjoyed with others like some delectable snacks. No other recreation can initiate the honeyed spring inside us as devotional songs can! Thotkashtakam is one such Stotram. One sample from that, I am giving here. “Jagadeem avitum kalitakrutayo vicharanti maha mahasaschalata: I ahimaamsu – rivaatra vibhaasi puro bhava sankara desika me charaNam II” The phrase ‘maha mahas’ means a huge effulgence. There is one such enormously huge effulgence full of grace and compassion. For saving the people at large (jagadeem avitum) and to prevent people from going astray, such people have taken a human form and roaming about on the surface of the earth! This word ‘roaming’ in Sanskrit is ‘chalata:’. With an emphasis in the first syllable of that word, it becomes ‘chalata:’. The meaning of the word now instead of roaming, becomes duping or cheating! Now the meaning of the sentence changes to, ‘for the sake of saving people from their own inconsistencies the great mahatmas are deluding them’! ‘What do you mean? Are you accusing the saints of double dealing?’ If you ask those questions, the answer is ‘Yes’! In truth, are they just people like us? Their very human form is a disguise, isn’t it? Are they not the effulgent ‘maha mahas’ that I have been talking about? What do they have to get out of their being so involved? So instead of ‘chalata:’, it is ‘chalata:’ only, isn’t it, as they are duping all of us!
1133. Thus there are many saints, mahatmas, jyotys, stars and planets roaming (chalata:) about. Combining all their light and effulgence, is the Sun on the celestial sphere of the wild blue yonder! When that Sun is up all others vanish from the scene. “So amongst all such radiant dazzles, you are shining as the Sun in the firmament”, he is telling our AachaaryaaL, “ahimaanshu: iva atra vibaasi puro”! The word ‘himaanshu’ is the Moon whose rays are cool and ‘ahimaanshu’ is the opposite of that, the Sun. Planets, stars, sun, the galaxies and even the whole milkyway are said to be on the move forever – ‘chalata:’ and at the same time they are also ‘chalata:’ – deluding all of us, all of the time! So, also all these Mahatmas are giving the light of Gnaana for us all. One more point occurs to me. It is believed that when ‘Agasthya’ star rises, all the turbid sources of water become crystal clear! Similarly, by the rising of our AachaaryaaL the Sun, all doubts and confusion in our minds are gone forever!
1134. In the last sloka of Thotaka Ashtakam he says, “If you ask me as to how I, who has been looking like a dull witted person, am singing like this”, I ask you a counter question, “Am I the one singing? If you are the one knowing all the 64 Arts and Crafts and known to the world as (the ‘sarvagnar’) the Omniscient, I do not know even one of them Arts – ‘viditaa na maya visadaika kala’! ‘Visdam’ means to know fully. I do not know anything fully!” In Sivaananda Lahari, AachaaryaaL who is known to be a ‘Sarvagna’ calls Easwara as Omniscient and asks him, “What do you know? Do you know the Smrutis? Do you know the ‘Shat Saastraas’? Do you know the sciences, medicines, sign language, music, poetry, PuraaNaas, mantras, dance, literature, mimicry, and what not? What do you know?” Having seemingly gone on the offensive, he suddenly changes track and says, “I do not know any of these things like a cow which only knows how to bellow out a, ‘Mooo’! You are supposed to know everything and also are supposed to be known as ‘Pasu Pati’ and so the leader of all animals. So, now you have to show me all love and compassion!”
1135. So also Thotaka says, “I know nothing. I am not capable of pleasing you with my intelligence or brains. I am penniless and do not have even a counterfeit coin – ‘na kinchan kaanchanam asti guro!’ It is your natural kindness and grace that is protecting me and it should continue to do so, “drutameva videhi krupaam sahajaam”. He finished each of the eight slokas with “Bhava Sankara Desika me CharaNam”, meaning that it is the lotus feet of yours that is my refuge! It is good if you finally surrender to the Guru, as after that, it is his problem as to how he reaches or fetches us! He surrendered to our AachaaryaaL, his Guru with tears running down his cheeks. What he did that day in the eerie past, is till date touching our hearts and causing us all to cry in gratitude! Those 6,000 other students also cried copiously in a sense of awe, adoration, admiration and repentance that they have been thinking of him to be dull dead wood! They are prostrating to the Guru and then to Thotaka AachaaryaaL. Then realizing that it is wrong to do so, to do Namaskaar to others in front of one’s own AachaaryaaL, they again fell and prostrated in the feet of their Guru! There is a book authored by Thotaka AachaaryaaL by the name of ‘Sruti Saara SmudhdharaNam’ about the Adwaita Anubhava, also set in the Thotaka Vruttam (meter). He was the first Peetaadhipathy in Jyotish Matt of the Badrinath Aashrama.
(To be continued.)
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