Wednesday, August 08, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 36 (Vol # 6) Dated 09 Aug 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 36 (Vol # 6) Dated 09 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 247 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)

Preamble for Gnaanam: Karma and Bhakti
34. There are three clear stages in a Saadhak-’s progress namely, Karma, Bhakti and Gnaanam. What we are going to consider in depth is only our AachaaryaaL’s Adwaita Saadhana – that is, the Gnaana Marga only. But for one entering this path, it is necessary that his mind is fully cleansed and has attained ‘Aikaagrata’ that is, one pointed single mindedness; so as to be able to progress on the path. How to get the mind spotlessly clean? For under taking Gnaana Yoga Saadhana, the mind has to be focussed. But how to do that when there more thoughts generating than waves in the ocean?

35. For this reason only, for getting the mind cleansed and focussed, our AachaaryaaL has kept Karma and Bhakti as the prelude before venturing into the Gnaana Marga. If you throw some seeds on dry hard surface will they take roots? First the land has to be tilled, irrigated and then if you sow the seeds, then you can expect them to grow, isn’t it? To till the mind that is like a dry and hard surface that makes it soft and receptive is the Karma Yoga. To irrigate and make it wet and arable is the Bhakti Yoga. Whatever may be your caste, if you accept your initial wherewithal as God given and meticulously play your role and do your Karma as per the Saastraas, the dirt and cobwebs of the mind will drop off on their own, in the course of time. Devotion to God will help in gradual focussing of the mind in only the job in hand that may be doing Pooja (of Shodasa Upachaaras – 64 devotional acts conducted in treating God as being present in the idol before you including reception, washing the feet, bathing and so on till offering the Neivedyam, then offer Taamboolam that is, betel leaves and areca nut for fragrant chewing and finally singing, fanning and putting God to sleep) or Japa (of chanting Mantras keeping account on a chain of beads known as Rosary) or Chintan (Meditation)! The mind that has become fully engrossed with one Murthy or form of God thus, can then slowly settle and go on to deliberate in the formless reality of God, life and existence! Karma enables cleansing the mind and Bhakti enables single mindedness. Once this happens we can progress in Gnaana Yoga quite easily.

36. The Utter Necessity of Shraddha (Nambikkai that is, a Deep Rooted Trust in the Words of Guru). I have made it all look rather easy, while I am fully aware of the problems faced by all of us. Most of us do not know as to what is the right path of Karma Yoga. Or we are not knowledgeable about the Saastraas and what is the right way to go about in the Bhakti Marga either. So we are like the one whose hands are tied at the back, his eyes are tied by a blind-fold and is left to fend for on his own in the forest of confusion! Most of the time, we do not know if we are on the right path and if we are making any progress at all! So, let me tell you now itself that ‘Shraddha’ is one essential quality in a Saadhak. Shraddha means trust and belief. Take my word for it that progress will only be slow. We need not lose heart. You need not feel lost and not taken care of. Please do not give up thinking, “Enough of all this effort and Saadhana. All this will not work for us.”

37. There is a famous proverb in Tamil saying, “muyarchi udaiyaar Igazhchi adaiyaar”, meaning that, ‘effort will never go waste and you will not be subjected to ridicule’! Whatever the time taken, you will reach the destination. God will not let us down and Guru’s words will not go waste. That should be the firm conviction in our minds. That is Shraddha. When we say that, ‘Someone did such and such an action with Shraddha’, we mean that he did that in all sincerity whole heartedly. So, it is based on ‘Nambikkai’ and deep rooted trust that he is doing the right thing and belief in eventual success. In matters where we get direct proof like in laboratory experiments, it is easier to believe and we do not need ‘Nambikkai’ there, except correct observation and interpretation of data. But in matters of religion and what is said in the Saastraas, we will not get such direct proof and some of them may seem to prove the opposite. In life we come across sincere deserving people struggling and suffering; while the bluffing swindlers are seen to be prospering! We often see the sinful renegade giving lectures on the right and wrong behaviour and legality! This can be understood only by understanding clearly the system of Karma, by which the effect of our good and bad actions continue to be reaped by us over many life times in which it is very difficult to exactly relate as to which good action gave which benefit and which crude and cruel action led to which calamity in our lives! Like this there are many occasions and situations where our acceptance of our fate depends upon Shraddha! All this is very well explained in the Saastraas about the system of Karma. But what we generally understand by the word ‘Karma’ is may be the name of some lady somewhere.

38. We classify people as Gnostic – believers and Agnostic – non-believers. (In Tamil and Sanskrit, these two words can be translated into similar sounding, ‘austiga or astikya, and ‘Naastiga or naastikya’.) In it, the gnostic is not only believing that there is a God or Swami, but also is convinced that such a God is taking care of the world quite well! God is observing our good and bad actions, arranging for their proper recording and processing; giving judicious returns accordingly as the Phala Dhaata. Moreover, as the most beneficent power in being, he is constantly guiding us on the right path. Through Rishis of the past he has given us the Saastraas. In addition he ensures that a whole array of saints and sadhus keep coming into being as prophets to shepherd the erring masses. So we have to have a belief that he is there, a trust that he is doing the right thing, an awe to be respectfully obedient and a fear that otherwise, we are sure to be punished! We should have the same respect, trust and awesome fearful obedience towards our own Guru and AachaaryaaL, as we believe that our master is like a God or rather, God in human form come for our sake! To believe firmly that we can also improve and finally come out successful in the spiritual sense is to be a gnostic. That is as good as saying, ‘to have shraddha is to be a gnostic’! In Chaandokya Upanishad in Chapter 7, Mantra 19, in explaining the statement given there that, only a man with Shraddha will make an effort to understand and comprehend the purpose and meaning of life and existence, our AachaaryaaL says, ‘aastikya buddhi: is shraddha’, equating both.

39. Here I am compelled to make an observation that the western man has gone a step ahead in comprehending this. What we call the ‘matham’ a synonym for Religion; has the literal meaning as the thing got through cogitation by the mind. What cannot be directly proved by ourselves but, we believe it to be true because it is as given in the Saastraas, as told to us by our elders; is also ‘matham’. Still, this ‘mathi’ or this human mind, when it gets convinced by its own thinking and analysis, then only it can be considered as ‘matham’ and not otherwise. To just take the words of elders as God given truth, instead of being a religion aka matham; will only be a ‘faith’! Nowhere in our religion are people asked to believe blindly and follow like cattle. There are more than 108 Upanishads, collectively known as Vedaantam or Veda Siras. In all of them there are questions raised and answers given after due investigation and analysis. Hence the importance of the word Shraddha and its correct understanding. But the westerner calls the religion itself as a faith, as they had given so much importance to ‘faith’ in religious matters. Only in later days, they gave due importance to true understanding and comprehension of the religious tenets, concepts and principles. But the fact remains, that for the majority due to their preoccupations, religion remains a matter of faith and for some of the intelligentsia, it is to be individually analysed, absorbed and accepted!

40. Shraddha is essential. I will broach this subject again later when in this very discussion of the order of Adwaita Saadhana; there will be a need to go into more detail. There, for what is required to be like a huge tree with deep roots; what I have given now is only to have just planted a sapling. But only if we plant the sapling, the tree will come into being on a later day. To start with we have to hold our breath and swim near the sea shore. Only later much later by building up our stamina and strength, we will have the knack and ability to go deep to the bottom of the sea to do pearl farming! Presently, it is the Shraddha for practicing swimming nearer the sea shore and then later is the Shraddha like deep sea diving.

41. By talking about the pearls called as ‘muthu’ in Tamil, and ‘muktam’ in Sanskrit the analogy is most appropriate for more than one reason. The word ‘muktam’ has a connotation of being relieved of ties and bonds. This pearl is like that thrown or sprung out of mother of pearl. Similarly it is ‘mukti’ to be sprung out of worldly involvement and such a person is known as a ‘mukta’. Then to realise oneself from our own idea of what we thought ourselves to be, by diving deep into oneself, is often compared with deep sea diving for pearls. The Atman we so find is as precious as the pearl or even more!

42. One poet observed Mother AmbaaL’s laughter. Its bright whiteness reminded him of the shine of the pure white of the shell and so he compared them and said so. Another poet went to fight with him as to how he can equate the ever so light smile of AmbaaL with the bright whiteness of the shell that spurts out the pearls, when AmbaaL’s smile attracts the devotee’s longing and adoration! (PeriyavaaL has made a short story of the idea expressed in the Sloka No 65 in Mandasmita Sadakam of Mooka Panchasati.)

43. The Shraddha required for gathering the pearl of Atman after diving deep into oneself, though comes much later in the order of Saadhana Krama, I was mainly talking about the Shraddha required at the very start of the process only. With Shraddha, if we start the process today, sometime in the future we could reach the destination. Whenever it may be, we should be starting with the surety of Shraddha and follow the Saadhana Krama that; what is first given in the Veda Siras, Vedaantam of the Upanishads; later confirmed in the Bhagawat Gita; then elaborately serialised by our AachaaryaaL; will one day reach us to that coveted destination most certainly!
(To be continued.)
Sambhomahadeva

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