DEIVATHIN KURAL # 170 (Vol # 5) Dated 07 May 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 170 (Vol # 5) Dated 07 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 1060 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)
1152. In Kamaakhya Temple in Assam what he did was to adjust and accommodate to the slightly different sensibilities of forest / hill tribes of those areas, which are not so very civilized and sophisticated! So he decided that if he makes the devotional procedures too very refined, the people will ignore the same and slide back to their old methods of crude devotional procedures, like proffering live sacrifices of animals and birds to the Goddess as though she is the one hankering for the same! More over the very worldly life is a mix of many gradations and shades. So one norm or standard cannot match and fit the needs of all type of people. So, he slightly moderated the prevalent ways of out and out cruel methods known as ‘Vaama Aachaara’. In Madras, there is the ‘Vadivudai Amman’ temple in Thiruvotriyur. She was also initially an Ugra Swaroopa only. AachaaryaaL pacified her and restricted her in to the well there and arranged for her pooja and veneration, once a year. There in the well she is known as ‘Vattap – Paarai Amman (Round – Rock Goddess)! Though AachaaryaaL has visited all sorts of temples, in these places where he has pacified the Ugra Swaroopa of the deity, the devotional procedure for pooja will follow the Vedic system only conducted by Brahmins who follow the Smaarta system. In South there is a parallel system known as ‘Saiva Aagama’ done by ‘Aadi Saiva GurukkaL’. The procedural Do’s and Don’ts known collectively as Aachaaraas, are more meticulously observed and adhered to by the Namboodri Brahmins, who have been detailed to conduct the rituals in such temples and the tradition continues till date. For example, In Thiruvotriyur, Madras; it is a Namboodri Brahmin in charge of procedures. So also in Badri Narayana Temple in the Garhwal Himalayas, it is a Namboodri Brahmin who oversees the proceedings with royal panache with a title as ‘Raawal’! Even otherwise, not exactly for moderating the intensity for vehemence, he has installed Yantras to increase the potency of divine presence, in certain other temples. In Guruvayoor Krishna temple for example he is said to have installed the Bhakti Chakra and you can feel the intensity of devotional vibrations as a tangible thing till date in that temple! In Thiruppati, in Andhra Pradesh, the Sri / Lakshmi Chakra has been installed by him causing the eternal and abundant flow of wealth there!
1153. Removal of Preferences between Gods! This is another important contribution of his! Before him there were many great saints and devotees of various Gods! Those great devotees would have spread the devotion for that particular God only. In the hands of a less refined person this could lead to schism and narrow-mindedness! The problem was one of bringing in the selfish preferences of ‘mine and yours’, there also! My Rama or My Hanuman was thought to be better than the other’s whichever God! It was first our AachaaryaaL who clearly laid out the procedure for reverence for each Devata in a formal manner in a book known as ‘Prapancha Saara Tantram’. It is that Adwaita Anubhava Gnaani who gave a re-awakening fillip to the very path of Devotion! Especially, he streamlined the methods of doing pooja to Easwara, AmbaaL, Vishnu, Surya, Vigneshwara and SubrahmaNya, known as Saivam, Saaktam, VaiNavam, GaaNaapatyam, Souram and Koumaaram; together as the Six Religions of ShaN Madam and got the special epithet as, ‘Shanmada Sthaapana AachaaryaaL’!
1154. The people who totally became his followers came to be known as ‘Smarthas’ (not meant to be a pun on the smart people of the world!) He wished that they should not be making too much of the differences between various deities, except as functional variations required more for specific role-playings of theirs and not as a permanent matter of differentiation! So he laid the procedure for conducting daily worship for Easwara, AmbaaL, VishNu, Vigneshwara and Surya the Sun; the procedure to be known as ‘Panchaayatana’ Pooja. This was basically a revival of what is given in ‘Markandeya Samhitai’ (72nd Kandam, 7th Parispandam, 27th Sloka) already.
1155. In these five, whosoever is your preferred Ishta Devata, you may keep that Devata’s Idol in the centre and arrange the others around it. There are rules about, for which Devata in the middle, which Devata goes to which corner in which direction! Here in this Matam, in the centre it is Chandra Mouleeswara. Instead of AmbaaL Tripura Sundari going to a corner, is kept also in the centre, to depict their inalienable oneness and ‘Sama Praadaanyam’ that is, Equality of Importance! When he did not believe in differentiating between Gods, why did he keep Easwara in the centre? One answer could be that, oneness of Adwaitam is a thing of mental attitude, whereas devotional worship is an activity in duality. One more thing occurs to me...that instead of getting idols of these Gods made with a face with eyes and ears; certain naturally occurring stones have been recommended to be used as representative figurines preferably!
1156. Amongst them VishNu is represented by the SaaLagrama stone obtained from the Gandaki River in Nepal. AmbaaL is represented by SwarNa Rekha Shila from the Swarnamukhi River near Gudur. Vinayaka or GaNapathi is represented by the stone obtained from the Sone River, known as ‘SoNapatra’. Like the Tungabadra River this one is called the SoNabadra River, which joins the Ganges some 20 miles west of Patna. When I had gone there to Koilkar, a place on the river bank, I had myself dived into that river and brought out a stone SoNapatra (in April 1935). The Sun God is represented by naturally occurring crystal aka Spatikam. In Tanjore, the Collectors office is located in a place Vallam. There is a natural lake in which these crystals are available. The fifth one is the BaaNa or naturally occurring Lingam in the Narmada River which is located in the centre of the whole country. That is, for the whole world India is like the heart located in the centre. In the centre of that heart of the world, Easwara has situated himself naturally! So, when the devotional worship takes place in the Matams established by him, AachaaryaaL has deemed that the central figure has to be Easwara. But in our Matam the Chandra Mouleeshwara is not a BaaNa Lingam, but a Spatika Lingam! There is another story about that, which I shall narrate later!
1157. Panchayat in India is the executive, bureaucracy, policing and judiciary combined in to one organization of five representatives at the village level for all practical purposes of governance; similarly Panchayatana Pooja is a wholesome expression of devotion and prayers for the smooth conduct of world governance! When we keep these ‘Panchayatana’ stones in Pooja for being worshipped ceremoniously, these stones obtained from Nepal to Tanjavur; it is as though we have brought the whole nation under one roof in our own house! Parameshwara who has taken residence in the Narmada River in the very heart centre of the Earth / the Nation; has spread in all directions in Somnath, Sri Sailam, Ujjaini, Omkar Mandaata (also located on the Narmada bank), Parali, Nagesam, Kaasi, Bhima Shankar, Rameshwaram (in the southern tip of India), Trayambak near Nasik, Kedarnath in the Garhwal Himalayas, and KusruNeshwar in Ellora; as twelve Mahalingams in twelve important Kshetras! AachaaryaaL has gone to each one of them and has bestowed Dwadasa Linga Stotram, one each for those twelve Kshetras, for us to chant, imbibe and benefit! In fact he brought the whole lot of people of India under one divine umbrella, ‘aran kudi makkaL aakki’!
1158. In Ananda Gireeyam, it is said that as he defeated each opponent of some differing Siddhaantam (that is, Principled Stand), as he turned them back towards Vedic methods, in many places instead of saying that he made them into ‘Suddha Adwaitins’, it is said that he made them into ‘pancha pooja paraayaNaa’; that they became regular practitioners of ‘Panchayatana Pooja’! Further he made them into ‘Nitya Karma Saktas’ that is people who are meticulously doing all the daily and periodical devotional procedures. He caused them to become ‘smaarta srouta sakala karma seela-s’; that is, those who will do all that is required of them as per the Sruti-s and Smruti-s; that as written/given in the Vedas and as remembered by the elders! Thus, through Karma and Bhakti; he raised everybody to Gnaana Marga gradually, slowly, and steadily step by step! The requirement was not only to do Swadharma Karma plus Pooja; but to do Swadharma as Pooja as ArpaNam (or offerings) to Easwara! He says so in ‘Sopaana Panchakam’, “karma swanushteeyataam”, immediately followed by the injunction to “tena Eashaya vidheeyataam apachiti:”, meaning that, ‘by that very action of doing your Swadharma, let it be considered as necessary pooja as having been done to God’, he says. Here the Karma Marga becomes Karma Yoga! “I am not the doer. He, the God is the doer! I am not interested in the returns. He is the Phala Dhaataa and let the returns also go to him only!” That is how every declaration of intention of action was started with the ‘Sankalpa’ of ‘Parameshwara Preetyartam’ and ended with ‘Krishna ArpaNamastu’ and ‘Janaardhana Preeyataam’ – starting with the intention of pleasing Eashwara and ending with pleasing VishNu – by handing over the returns to Him and bringing in the oneness of the Gods Siva – VishNu as well as the oneness of their followers – as total Adwaitam!
(To be continued.)
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