DEIVATHIN KURAL # 35 (Vol # 6) Dated 07 Aug 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 35 (Vol # 6) Dated 07 Aug 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 240 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)
WHATEVER THE TIME FRAME – EFFORT HAS TO START NOW
22. There are two types as Gnaanavaan and Gnaani. Gnaanavaan is that person who as a Jivaatma knows his Atman to be the same as Brhmam by his studies and knowledge and is still trying to make the idea his personal experience by Saadhana / efforts. He is a Saadhak who has gone above the state of normal human beings. Gnaani is one who has that Anubhava or experience, having reached the pinnacle of that realization. In Bhagawat Gita, Bhagawan Sri Krishna while talking about this subject says, “Gnaanavaan also reaches him only after many life times.” That is, he realizes the Atman in himself to be the same as the Brhmam everywhere! Refer Bhagawat Gita Chapter VII Sloka 19 – “bahoonaam janmaanaam ante gnaanavaan maam praapyante”. Here, ‘bahoonaam janmaanaam ante’ means, ‘at the end of many life times’. In another place Chapter VI Sloka – 45, he says, “aneka janma samsiddhas – tato yaanti paraam gatim”. After gaining this knowledge and progressing little by little during the course of many life times, to finally get the clarity happens by God’s grace and anugraha. Otherwise that ‘bahoonaam’ and ‘aneka’ would be even more time consuming.
23. Because, as I explained earlier, the mission is too big. To become or get to know that we are nothing less than that Para Brhmam itself, is no small achievement. Though it is not an achievement but, ‘swayam siddha:’ that is, ‘already achieved’; still for all our ignorance to be erased, is no small matter. If a king with all the support of his man power and resources under his command, plans to attack and vanquish another, think of how much planning and preparation has to go into it still. If a single man on the other hand wishes to do so, look at how much effort that he has to put in! For the Jivan to capture the Aatma Saamraajyam is really a monumental task. On the one side the matter is very simple. We do not have to go to some Vaikundam or Kailasam in an unknown address! We have to realise our selves only. For us to become ourselves, seems to be so extremely simple. What is difficult about it, we feel. But to put it in action seems well neigh impossible as though nothing else can be more difficult!
24. Katopanishad (1.3.14) says that it is as difficult as walking on razor’s edge! But, that is no reason for not venturing out for this task. (Suddenly changing tone to an imperial command, PeriyavaaL says, “Get up and wake up!” Then in the kindest tone he says, “There are many great Saints who have done this and shown the way.”) Vivekananda has used this very exhortation, “Uttishtata, Jaagrata, Stop not till your Goal is attained!” “You can with some effort walk on the razor’s edge too, my dear Boy! Do not lose heart!” So all told, the task is difficult, but can be done as demonstrated by many a great Saint and Guru!
25. Our AachaaryaaL’s Parama Guru Gowda PaadaachaaryaaL also has forewarned (in Maandookya Upanishad Kaarikai (III.39.41.), “Finally Adwaitam is the only state of fearlessness, because in the state of duality the second can be a source of fear anytime! But to attain that state, even many hard core Yogis are afraid, because, it is like dipping a tuft of grass in the ocean and trying to vacate all that water of the ocean by sprinkling that water from the tuft of grass on land! But that is the type of ‘never say die’ attitude and hard work that has to be applied! If you put in such an effort only, you can rid the mind of all its thoughts and be the Atman that you are!” From all this, it is apparent that to erase the false ‘I’ and to be the real ‘Self’ is such an arduous task! False ‘I’ is the Mind and real truth is Brhmam.
26. However difficult it may be, whatever the number life times it is going to take, we have to do ‘PiLLaiyar Suzhi’ (that is, to start the process in right earnest) now itself. If you postpone the task, it is going to take that much more time, isn’t it! If we do not undertake this task now, think of what we are likely to do. We will set aside all these things and re-involve in worldly affairs and so are likely to add to the whims, fancies, likes and dislikes and prevarications of the mind! So for us to come back to even think on these lines may take some more life times! So earlier the better it is to start our venture to escape, however formidable the task may be, as they say, “subhasya seegram”! I used the words or phrase, ‘effort to escape’, ‘venture’ and ‘try’. These things put together, is what is known as ‘Saadhana’ in Sanskrit. It is not like, ‘searching for a black cat in a dark room that is not there’! Instead of us trying all sorts of permutations and combinations of our own, the great Mahatmas and saints who have been there, out of their infinite pity have described the way step by step, for our ease. To follow their directions as given by the Desika-s, that is the Executive Directors of our religion, is our task and to do so is our Saadhana.
Saadhana Chatushtyam : The Method as Devised by Our AachaaryaaL Strictly as per the Vedic Path.
27. With extreme love our AachaaryaaL, Sankara Bhagawat PaadaaL – has devised a path as a methodology of a gradual approach for the aim of Adwaita Anubhava. He would do whatever keeping the Sruti that is, the Vedas as the main criteria. For the ‘eight cubit human body, the head is the main part’ isn’t it. Similarly for the Vedas too there is a head which is also the end of Vedas – that is, ‘Vedaantam as well as Sruti Siras’! There is no other authority beyond that! Based on such strong foundation our AachaaryaaL has constructed a solid and beautiful edifice, known as ‘Saadhana Chatushtyam’ with four main parts. Amongst all his books the Brhma Sutra Bhashyam is like the pinnacle. In it, in the explanation for the very first Sutra, he has started with the four Qualitative Requirements of the Saadhak that is, the Aspirant; the first one amongst them being ‘nitya anitya vastu viveka:’ meaning, ‘to be able to discern the difference between the eternal and temporary’!
28. If Brhma Sutra Bhashyam takes the pride of place as a commentary on already existing books; he has also written many original books of his own on Vedaantic matters known as ‘PrakaraNams’. Among them the most important one is ‘Viveka ChudamaNi’ in which, at the very beginning he has explained and defined clearly as to what is ‘Saadhana Chatushtyam’. Sloka 18 says, “saadhanaayatra chatwari kathitaani maneeshibhi: | yeshu satsveva sannishtaa yadabhaave na sidhyati ||”. That means, ‘great sages have spoken of four qualifications for attainment which, when present, succeed in the realization of Brhmam and in the absence of which the goal is not gained’.
29. If you have a question as to who are these ‘Maneeshibhi:’, the answer is like this. We are all ‘manushya or manushi’, that is normal human beings. Amongst us there are and have been some intelligentsia, with a clear idea of what is good and bad; morally right and wrong, with knowledge of the Saastraas and who have practically applied them meticulously in their day to day life; they are called Sishta and Maneeshi. Such people over many life times have evolved these behavioural Do’s and Don’ts and established traditions and passed then on to the next generation by word of mouth, which has been given a title as ’Saadhana Chatushtyam’ and very ceremoniously introduced to the readers with much ardour and respect in Viveka ChudamaNi.
30. Our AachaaryaaL has graciously given us another ‘prakaraNa grantham’ called, ‘Aparoksha Anubhuti’. Aparoksham means ‘direct’ as against ‘indirect’! Instead of reading about it or hearing about it from somebody else, to know it by one self is ‘Aparoksha Anubhuti’. In that work also, he has spoken about the four fold effort one has to put in. Then in a book known as ‘Baala Bodha Sangraha:’ which is like a primer for spiritual aspirants also, he has pointed out these four steps. Then I have come across a book in Tanjavur Saraswathy Mahal Sanskrit library, a book known as ‘Saadhana Chatushtya Sampaththy’ , whose author’s name is not given! ‘Sampaththy’ means a treasure, a great asset.
31. ‘Chatushtyam’ is an arrangement of four things. In that Saadhana Chatushtyam, the third item itself has six different things included in it, like the head as part of the body has many things in it such as eyes, nose, mouth and ears. With these four, normally five more things are added to make it a nine step process which the aspirants could put into practice quite profitably. To explain those nine steps to you all is my intension today! Like a series of steps they have to be covered in the same order only mostly. But some of them may have to be considered concurrently also at times. In the school we have Physics, Maths and Chemistry and then we give more attention to one of them as the major subject and others as minor or ancillary, don’t we? Like that, having given them equal importance initially, as we go along, some of them may have to be given more weightage.
32. When we cook for a big get together, simultaneously there may be three major items cooking. Rice in a huge utensil in one; in another some mixed vegetables may be being cooked, with Saambaar in another; may be in a huge frying pan some oil may be getting heated up for frying some Appalaam; the stone mixer – grinder may be getting the batter ready for making Vadai; while cutting and paring for the salad may be happening in one corner. Similarly while partaking food also, do we not eat them separately as well as in various combinations? Some items are only touched with the fingers while other items are given special attention. The sweets are eaten all by themselves and others are eaten mixed, such as Saambaar with rice. In between we give some attention to Kaai, Koottu, Curry and Avial, while Rasam (a type of a soup) and ‘More’ (that is, butter milk) are separately asked for in cups. In the beginning when Ghee, Paruppu and Saambaar are mixed and eaten, at that time itself we add little of the curd in the form of Pachchadi. Then finally when we have curd-rice the same Saambaar becomes the side dish to be touched, isn’t it? Similarly in a vocal concert of music, the Violin and Mridangam (drum) remain the supporting cast and then at times they take centre stage, don’t they? One Brahmin gentleman said, on the days when his wife is not at home, he cooks only rice and then he has Paruppu Podi Saadam with curd as side dish and then has curd rice for which the Paruppu podi becomes the side dish! So in Saadhana too, the individual items are practiced in various combinations while at times they are given individual attention too.
33. Still, first a little bit of Paayaasam, then Paruppu, vegetable items, followed by Rice, Ghee, Saambaar, Rasam and finally More; is the order in which food is served isn’t it? So also in Saadhana there is a ‘Krama’ or order of priority. First the Aatma Vidya has to be learnt from the Guru. Then only it will have his Anugraha and his guidance will be there, like a constant force in attendance. Then his teachings should be absorbed without any doubts. Then finally we should persevere whole heartedly till the teachings become part of our Anubhava, that is, inner experience!
(To be continued.)
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