Tuesday, July 24, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 28 (Vol # 6) Dated 24 July 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 28 (Vol # 6) Dated 24 July 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 194 of Volume 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 http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated constantly)
24. The Value of Parents. By what I have said about the relative value of one’s parents and Guru, it does not mean that parents are to be discarded as no good! The Veda itself puts them foremost by saying ‘maatru devo bhava, pithru devo bhava, aachaarya devo bhava’ and then ‘atiti devo bhava’ (तैत्र्योपनिशद - शिक्षावल्ली 1.11.2.) So the parents precede the preceptor. The parents are the first teachers and then at the time of Upanayanam the boy is handed over to the Guru. I have to tell you something about it.
25. There is a word ‘Aachaaryavaan’ which means ‘a good student of a good teacher’! Chandokya Upanishad (vi. 14.2) says, ‘aachaaryavaan purusho veda’ (आचार्यवान्पुरुषो वेद). That means, ‘only the man who is a good student of an excellent Guru attains to Gnaana’. There are mantras in Bruhad AaraNyaka Upanishad in which, before this word ‘aachaaryavaan’, there are words as ‘maatrumaan’ and ‘pithrumaan’. Janaka is telling Yagnyavalkya Rishi about the Upadesas that he has received from various Gurus in the past, one by one. Each such Upadesa is approved and appreciated by the Rishi that the advice is, as it should be from a ‘maatrumaan, pitrumaan and aachaaryavaan’, as mentioned in the Upanishad. While further elaborating the meaning, our AachaaryaaL says in his Bhashyam that the one who has been correctly advised by the mother is ‘maatrumaan’ and after learning whatever from one’s mother, when such a person is advised by his father similarly to adopt the right means and the correct path is ‘pitrumaan’; and that when such an individual is also advised and directed on the right lines by the Guru from Yagnyopaveetam till the end of Gurukula Vaasam, is called as an ‘aachaaryavaan’. Thus when a student has had the correct coaching and guidance from three such important people who have powerful influence on the mind, attitude and behaviour of the student, is the one who in later years will prove to be a shining star in the life of future generations of people, to be adored and admired as a great teacher without deviating from the path of Aachaaraas. Thus, before he joins Gurukula Vaasa at the very young age of eight, the child that has been rightly guided and moulded by the mother and father becomes fit enough to receive the advises from the Guru. This has been lightly touched upon by the Bruhad AaraNyaka Upanishad and highlighted by our AachaaryaaL.
26. In the Katopanishad, this matter has been hinted at. Yama Dharmaraja is teaching Agni Vidya to Nachiketas. At the end, he says, “The one, who does this Yagnya thrice, related to three things, doing the three jobs; transcends beyond the cycle of birth and death. Normally the Brahmin is known to be doing six jobs as, ‘அறு தொழில் புரிபவர்’ or ‘षट् कर्म निरत:’. ThiruvaLLuvar also has called them ‘அறு தொழிலோர்’ (aru tozhilor). These jobs are, learning and chanting the Vedas and teaching the Vedas to others; conducting Yaagas oneself and for others sake; to receive alms from the good and holy who could spare them and to give alms to the deserving and needy! Thus between the self and others, these six actions could also be considered as ‘three sets of jobs’! But here we are not concerned with these six or three sets of jobs.
27. We are more concerned with the phrase ‘related to three things’ as given in the original as ‘tribiretya’ (त्रिभिरेत्य). Which are these three things, as referred by Yama and as mentioned in the Upanishad? While writing the Bhashyam for this, our AachaaryaaL has given the explanation that, ‘as related to the Mother, Father and Guru – that is, having been rightly advised and guided by those three people’, is the purport of that phrase त्रिभिरेत्य. In evidence, he has also quoted the Bruhad AaraNyaka Upanishad’s statement of ‘Matrumaan, Pitrumaan and Aachaaryavaan’. Mentioning the other two set of three jobs of ‘षट् कर्म’, he says that it could be taken as those things also! But first he has mentioned about being advised and guided by Mother, Father and Guru only.
28. I am emphasizing this point because, earlier we had noted that our AachaaryaaL had said “शरणं न भवति जननी न पिता न सोदरा: च अन्ये | शरणं देसिक चरणं”. So, with that as a pretext, whether people strictly follow what the Guru says or not, they may start on discarding the words of the parents, before inculcating any other discipline! Already I notice that there is deterioration and erosion in the value and attention given to the words of one’s parents. (The situation is further complicated with the elements / factors of step-father and step-mother coming in!) A lot of excuses are flaunted about freedom of choice, generation gap and such things! So, it is likely that people may decide and claim that, “Whether I follow our AachaaryaaL totally or not, at least I am following his advice to some extent”!
29. In matters of ‘Self-Realization’ and understanding of life, death and existence, it is not good enough to remain stuck with the words of the parents. It is in that vein, that he had said, ‘it is not enough to stop at that level’. One should always be respectful, considerate and thankful for what our parents do for us and tell us. But, for recognizing the inner core of one’s own being and reaching the final destination, we have to go and fall in Guru’s feet! The parents mainly concentrate on one’s physical growth and also cater for socially acceptable behavior and to some extent for one’s attitudinal progress. Whereas the Guru’s main area of interest is in your moral progress and erasing of Agnaana. So, concentrating on Aatma, your inner reality is the only area of interest for the preceptor. Thus, since Guru’s main emphasis is in guiding us on the right path in our best interest, in gratitude for this supreme help, he has been given this name of ‘Desika’ the Director.
30. Though the parents do a lot for our benefits, we often notice that by their pre-occupation with our material well being, they often end up diverting us from the narrow path of truth and integrity. If the offspring is not interested in marriage and wish to follow the path of renouncement, it is never accepted by the parents. That the youngster should study well and get employed in a remunerative job and earn a lot of money, get married and beget children; seems to be their main concern. Then they also wish to leave a lot of immoveable property, gold ornaments and shares in the market for their offspring. They do not seem to notice the fact that these things are all detrimental for the inner growth of the individual. If the son takes up even one day’s fast, their reaction is one of, “Why should one do such things so early in life?” Though we have to be beholden to the parents for their love, concern, kindness and the troubles that they undergo in taking care of us; when it comes to our inner growth towards realization of Aatma and understanding life and existence, they tend to corrupt us without intending to do so. That is all the more reason, for strongly adhering to the words and directions of the Desika.
31. In using the words ‘aasai’ ஆசை or आशा (desire) and ‘disai’ திசை दिच् (direction), I am reminded of a play on words by Bhoja Raja who was also a poet. This word आशा has two meanings one is desire and the other is direction! In ‘Ramayana Sambhu’, commenting on Agasthya Maharishi’s giving up all desires but preferring the southerly direction, he says, ‘अपास्त समस्तासं अब्युपगत दक्षिणासं’. In the first part ‘समस्तासं’, the word ‘aasam’ means desire – meaning that though he had given up all his desires; in the second part, अब्युपगत दक्षिणासं the word ‘aasam’ means direction – meaning that he went to the southerly direction.
32. There was this gentleman who organized some Vedic function in his house during which the priest aka Vaadyaar who was conducting the function, instead of paying attention to the mantras, was pestering the owner of the household for ‘DakshiNa’ repeatedly. DakshiNa means wages or remuneration for conduct of that function. When the owner of the house was getting annoyed, the Vaadyaar changed his tune that he should show some, ‘DaakshiNyam’, again a pun on the word to mean kindness and tolerance. Once his mood changed, the Brahmin again started pestering the owner of the house for ‘DakshiNa’! The owner of the house got fed up and asked, “Is there no end for your desire for DakshiNa?” The Brahmin again punned on the word saying, “How can there be an end to my desire for DakshiNa? Such a great sage like Agasthya himself has shown everlasting love for DakshiNa, isn’t it?” Here again he played on the meaning of word DakshiNa, to mean the southerly direction! So the story goes. The parents who themselves have desires and are bound by the ties of relationship cannot show the way out of the involvement out of the darkness of ignorance. The guidance on the right path out of the blind can only be shown by the Desika. His love for the Sishya is not less than that of the parents by any standard. So also his sacrifice is nothing less if not more, than that of the parents!
33. Gnaani’s Cucumber Mukti! This world of mirages and magic of duality drops off the mind and consideration of a Gnaani who is matured to total ripeness! He is in such a stage of experience of ‘Anubhuti’ as cannot be put in words or explained. It is equated to the way a cucumber separates from the mother plant when it is ripe enough. In fact the fruit does not physically do anything to separate or severe the connection. The Gnaani does not even bother or notice the connection or its severance. By itself the world of duality leaves him. Thus the Gnaani does not do anything to move away from the delusion of Maya, but like there is no more darkness when there is light, with the awakening of Gnaana, ignorance is no more! This idea is mentioned in the ‘Thrayambaka Mantra’ in which the devotee prays to the Three Eyed Parameswara to relieve us of the involvement with the imaginary world of existence! Oorvaarukam is the cucumber fruit. The full Mantra is like this – ‘thrayambakam yajaamahe sugandhim pushtivardanam oorvaarukamiva bandanaat mrutyor muktcheeya maam amrutaat’ - “त्रयम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्दिंपुष्टि वर्धनं ऊर्वारुकमिव बन्दनात मृत्योर मुक्षीय मामृतात”
(To be continued.)
Sambhomahadeva

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