Thursday, May 03, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 168 (Vol # 5) Dated 03 Apr 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 168 (Vol # 5) Dated 03 Apr 2012

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavaaL of Kanchi Kaamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. Today we are going ahead from the last para on page No 1047 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)

Two More Gems of Disciples: Sarvagnaatma & Prutvidhava

1136. Though there were four disciples of our AachaaryaaL famously known, namely Sureshwara, Padma Paada, Hastaamalaka and Thotaka; there are two more disciples who could be considered as gems by their own right namely, Sarvagnaatma and Prutvidhara or Prutvidhava. Like Sureshwara, both of them fought with our AachaaryaaL in debates, lost and then became his Sishya. Out of the two Prutvidhara is an old man and Sarvagnaatma is a young child! In our AachaaryaaL’s end days when he was about to ascend the Sarvagna Peetam in Kanchipuram, there were many who came forward to argue with him. There were many who had come from the banks of the Tambra BaraNi River, amongst whom this young boy of seven and his father were also present. At that time this boy was known as Mahadevan. Even earlier when his father as a hard core Meemaamsaka had argued and condemned the Buddhist and Jain Philosophies, this child had also participated in the debates and made an abiding impression on people’s minds. Even now when in front of AachaaryaaL’s Uttara Meemaamsai (Vedaanta), his father and others had become tongue tied, this boy had gone on arguing his case for another four days! Though finally the boy had lost in the debate, his intelligence and sincerity had made a favorable impression in our AachaaryaaL’s mind.

1137. Our AachaaryaaL ascended the Sarvagna Peetam, that is, the Throne of Omniscience. Like Govinda Bhagavat Paada was immensely impressed by our AachaaryaaL in his childhood once upon a time, this young boy had gained the loving admiration of our AachaaryaaL now. Instead of feeling bad about losing the debate, the boy was happy to have come to know the truths beyond what he had known earlier. So this boy was evincing love and devotion for our AachaaryaaL for having opened his eyes. Even at his young age of four, the boy was asking our AachaaryaaL to grant him Sannyaasa! AachaaryaaL obliged with complete willingness and blessing – PoorNa Anugraha! The child was given the name of ‘Sarvagnaatmar’. AachaaryaaL was Sarvagnar and this Sishya was closer to his heart with a similar name of omniscience. Before our AachaaryaaL breathed his last, (just before ‘Brahmee Bhaava’), he appointed this Sarvagnaatmar as the Peetaadhipathy of Kanchi Kaamakoti Peetam under Sureshwara’s supervision. So he has mentioned his Guru’s name as Sureshwara. As it is considered disrespectful to directly mention the Guru’s name, instead of Sureshwara, he has referred to it as ‘Deveshwara’ to mean the same!

1138. Sarvagnaatmar has authored a book ‘Samkshepa Saareerakam’, based on our AachaaryaaL’s Bhashyam on Brhma Sutra. Samkshepa means ‘in brief’. Though it is said to be in brief, it has some 1,000 slokas. There is hardly any who have written books on Adwaitam in verse. One is this Sarvagnaatmar and the other is the VidyaraNya Swami. He has also written another book on Adwaitam, called ‘Pancha Prakriya’. Our AachaaryaaL’s way is that there are acceptably good ideas and concepts in every approach towards divinity, isn’t it? Accordingly, he has also written a small book on the Path of Karma as per Meemaamsai, known as ‘PramaaNa LakshaNam’. In Vyasa Pooja, Sarvagnaatmar is given a special place of reverence. Six groups of five Sages each are selected for special mention in that pooja. In that, amongst Dravida Aachaarya Panchakam, he gets special mention as ‘Samkshepa Saareeraka AachaaryaaL’! He is revered as the ‘Sarvagnaatma Muni’ the ‘all knowing saint’.

1139. Prutvidhara was elder to our AachaaryaaL. We had seen earlier that many had written Bhashyam for Brhma Sutra, numbering some 99, not exactly following the teachings of Vedaanta. One of them was by this Prutvidhara. In a book written by Uma Maheswara Saastry, known as ‘Tatva Chandrika’, it is mentioned that ‘our AachaaryaaL had shattered to pieces all those Bhashyams written by Prutvidhara, Abhinava Gupta and such others totaling some 99 in numbers’! This Abhinava Gupta was said to be an expert in Tantra and Alankara Saastraas. Since in that listing Prutvidhara is mentioned even before anybody else including Abhinava Gupta; it is clear that he had a high standing of his own! After his interpretation of Brhma Sutra was set aside as unacceptable by our AachaaryaaL’s refutation, he is said to have surrendered to our AachaaryaaL and became a disciple of his.

1140. About a century back one gentleman by name Mr. Aufrecht had prepared a catalogue of our old palm leaf manuscripts. Out of that one is available in Leipzig University Library in Germany. Another catalogue is available in Oxford University in England. In that catalogue by Aufrecht while describing the ‘Guru Padaadi Namaskaaram’ manuscript, names of Thotaka AachaaryaaL and Prutvidhara AachaaryaaL are mentioned. From the Oxford catalogue we learn as to what was the contribution of Prutvidhara ( or Prutvidhava) AachaaryaaL. There does not seem to be any book written by him, after AachaaryaaL had refuted his ‘Sareeraka Bhashyam’ – that is, his explanatory notes on Brhma Sutra as written by Prutvidhara. But he had done something very great, as revealed by the same catalogue. In it, there is mention of a book written by one Vaikuntapuri, known as ‘Dwadasa Maha Vaakhya VivaraNam’, from which the following information is revealed.

1141. In our country, the Sannyasis of the tradition of Vedaanta were spread all over India. Our AachaaryaaL had thought of organizing them in some order, based on certain criteria of origin, dress and distinguishing characteristics. In the North these are called the ‘Dasa Naami’ order of renouncing Sadhus. They were classified as belonging to, ‘Tirtha’, ‘Aashrama’, ‘Vana’, ‘AraNya’, ‘Giri’, ‘Parvata’, ‘Saagara’, ‘Saraswathi’, ‘Bharathi’ and ‘Puri’; totaling ten. All these ten classifications were the creation of Prutvidhara AachaaryaaL – “prutvidharaachaarya: dasyaapi sishyaa dasa”, says Vaikunta Puri! What does it mean? How can all those organized and or classified in to ten groups become his disciples? It means that he effectively executed into action what was only an idea in our AachaaryaaL’s mind. Thus classifying the whole lot of renouncing saintly people from all over the country, (even if the governing principles and final achievements are one and the same), into easily recognizable lots was indeed a monumental task! From the way the small piece of cloth is tied to the twig or pole that they carry, you can identify as to which branch of the order they belong to! This organization and classification has been done by Prithvidhara AachaaryaaL. Amongst them there are those who wear white dhoti too! Actually you can never organize or manage the rag-tag army of such renouncing hoards, who could not care less for obeying anybody’s orders! To do it in a clean manner and to note that the system is functional till this date, is to accept that it is a great achievement indeed! If other disciples of our AachaaryaaL contributed by their abilities in writing about Adwaitam, he contributed on the organization side thus deserving our kudos and respect! There are some differing opinions as to where was he appointed as the Mataadhipathy. The German University catalogue refers to him as ‘Sringeri Pruthvidhara AachaaryaaL’. I have noticed that his name is referred to as, ‘Prutvidhara Bharathi’. Amongst the Dasa Naami-s, ‘Bharathi and Tirtha’ are both traditionally the AachaaryaaLs in that Matam. We have seen earlier that all the ten divisions of Dasa Naami-s are said to be Prithvidhara Bharathi’s disciples.

1142. The Great Digvijayam of Phenomenal Achievement – Spiritual and National Unification! With six thousand such disciples, our Guru Sankara AachaaryaaL went around the whole country and literally defeated and won over all, in 56 different nations big and small, his opponents of other religions of every hue, shade and denomination! If something could be called ‘Dig Vijayam’, that was one, as an all-conquering royal visit in all directions! He thus defeated all other religions and installed the flag of Sanaatana Dharma and especially that of Adwaitam flying high! Without using any weapon, without killing or even hurting anybody, his winning over all opponents; has not been done by anybody in the whole world anywhere! ‘Jaya Jaya Sankara’ was the war cry as well as the winning Mantra! Many of his opponents were so attracted and won over just by one look at him that they surrendered to him without even a cursory debate. The mission is to unify the individual who thinks of himself as a separate entity, with the only reality of Paramaatma! This is not something that can be achieved in a hurry, as the problem in not something physical but an idea in people’s minds. It takes much time to get over desires and tendencies. But you have to get to grips with the situation and make a start somewhere. That he did by launching the whole lot of people of India on the right lines, in the right direction!

1143. This matter is directly related to the very purpose of his coming amongst us all as an Avatara. Aim is the unity of the individual with the oneness of reality! While moving towards that Aim, what happened was that, the whole lot of people of India became unified automatically! If before that, people of India were following 72 other religions means that, they were looking at 72 different directions of paths, methods, aims and understanding! As they were all turned towards the one aim of Sanaatana Dharma, unity and integrity of the whole nation was achieved as a by-product. We are hearing about the need for national integrity day in and day out, isn’t it? He achieved it all, our AachaaryaaL as a ‘one man army’ without any help from any government; causing the present day historians to place their finger on their nose in apparent wonder! Even Nehru with greater admiration for Buddha than any of our historical figures, appreciates the monumental achievement of our AachaaryaaL, just by the power of intelligence. Nehru says, “I told you about the Rajas and dynasties. More than all those kings and emperors, this wisp of a Brahmin boy from the South proved to be the National Integrator. This one man has done more than anybody else, surprisingly without any sensationalism, simply by going through reason and logic; not only did he attract the intelligentsia and the Brahmin community, but has enraptured the common man all over the country!

(To be continued.)




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