DEIVATHIN KURAL # 38 (Vol # 6) Dated 13 Aug 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 38 (Vol # 6) Dated 13 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 260 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)
55. So, at the third stage, when we take the initiation from the Guru to live the life of a renouncing sadhu and taking the vow of never hurting any other living beings and getting the Mantra Upadesam from the Guru about ‘Jiva – Brhma – Aikyam’ that is, the oneness of all living beings; then all thought processes virtually come to a halt and the very ability and acumen to think blanks out completely. There is nothing more to be said or done than to be that experience! Some people ask me, “The Maha Vaakya Upadesa that tells of the non-duality of Jiva and Brhma is meant only for the Sannyaasi as per the words of our AachaaryaaL! But such a Mahaa Vaakyam as given in Saama Veda is reportedly given to middle aged Sweta Ketu by his own father only! Isn’t there a contradiction in terms here?
56. Each ‘shaaka’ (branch) of the Vedas had their own Upanishad in which there would be at least one sentence on ‘Jiva – Brhma – Aikyam’ (non-dual-oneness of Jiva and Brhmam). In ancient times, there were more than a thousand branches of the Vedas. Like the adage that says ‘kazhudai theindu katterumbu aanadu’, nowadays there are only seven branches of the Vedas dimly flickering, still surviving! So, out of them four Maha Vaakyaas have been picked up, one each from the four Vedas and one of them is given to the Sishya (disciple) by the Guru at the time of giving Sannyaasa Deeksha traditionally. Set this aside temporarily and we will come back to this shortly.
57. (Before we get into a discussion about the above objection, let us first resolve the appropriateness of the above adage, given by PeriyavaaL, which he himself corrects immediately. In the adage given above ‘kazhudai theindu katterumbu aanadu’, the meaning is that, ‘donkey kept dissipating and dwindling to become an ant’, the comparison is with donkey, there being more than a thousand branches of the Vedas which over time have dwindled down to seven branches only. PeriyavaaL says though the adage is appropriate, it is incorrect to compare the Vedas with the donkey. So, he has promptly replaced the ‘donkey’ with the ‘elephant’, quite amicably and conveniently!)
58. So, as we said before, from more than a thousand branches of the Vedas, over time we are left with only seven. Out of them, as per tradition, one sentence each is picked up from each Veda and is given to the new entrant to the order of Sannyaasa by the Guru. Here the importance is given to the message of the sentence of the Maha Vaakya rather than who gave it to whom! For example in the Rik Veda, visualized, seen, grasped and revealed by Mahidaasa Aitareya Rishi, the sentence picked up as the Maha Vaakya occurs at the end of many a mantra. It is also mentioned at the last but one and the last Mantra. In the penultimate chapter, Rishi Vaama Deva is said to have received this Maha Vaakya while still in the mother’s womb. From all this we can gather that, the re-iteration underlines its importance as a Maha Vaakya and one can guess that it is God who gave this Upadesa to Vaama Deva and that Vaama Deva was already at that stage was worthy enough to receive it! Further there is justice that it should be given only to a person worthy enough, that is, already in the fourth Aashrama!
59. In the Yajur Veda, in Bruhad AaraNyaka Upanishad, the Maha Vaakya occurs in the first Chapter titled Purushavida BrahmaNam. Here too it is said that whichever Deva, Rishi or Manusha, that is a human being, observed in their experience; that they became Brhmam itself. Having said so, it has particularly singled out and mentioned only the name of Vaama Deva. From this also it can be discerned that, the God himself was the Guru in the AntahkaraNa (inner self) and that Sannyaasi-s are the only rightful entities entitled to receive this Maha Mantra.
60. In the Atharva Veda, the Maha Vaakya occurs in the Maandookya Upanishad. In another Upanishad namely Muktika Upanishad, it is mentioned by Sri Rama to Hanuman that for the Mumukshu-s interested in Moksha, it is enough if they are given this one Maandookya Upanishad. Quote, “maandookyam evaalam mumukshooNaam vimuktaye”, Unquote. So it can be said that the Maha Vaakya of Atharva Veda too is worthy of being given to Sannyaasi-s only.
61. The question was raised about the Saama Veda Maha Vaakya only. Those who object raise the issue based on that only. From among the four Maha Vaakya-s this is the only one that is as the one given by a Guru to his disciple aka Sishya. So it has been given the pride of place. The Sishya here is a young Brhmachaari of 24 years of age. The objection is based on this, as to how an Upadesa given to a man in his youth originally, can be given to a Sannyaasi? How is it justified?
62. Age is not the deciding factor at all. The important thing is the maturity and ripening. That maturity happens to only such a person who has done his Karma Yoga without any let and seen through life sensibly and discerningly. So our AachaaryaaL while laying the general rules said that Maha Vaakya Upadesam should be received along with taking up the Sannyaasa Aashrama. Keeping the general level of intelligence and knowledge in view, we have 14 or 15 years of age as the minimum permissible age for admission into Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC for short), isn’t it? There are some prodigies who at 7 or 8 years of age have greater sense and acumen, aren’t there? That cannot be the reason for objecting to the general rule. Accepting that every rule has its exceptions, universities sometimes permit even very young children to take up post graduate studies, giving exemption to the age limit. Like that, as an exception to the general rule comes up that Saama Veda boy Sweta Ketu, and gets exemption. First having studied under his father and then another 12 years under other Gurus, having reached a level at which he could have naturally felt that he is much above the normal run of the mill types. It is at that level when his pride could have become a hazard a complete sense of Vinaya also comes over, and a total humbleness takes over too. The not so well read cannot do the sort of surrender that a knowledgeable person can do, after realizing that all his knowledge is inferior to the inner comprehension and Anubhava! It was his father who having pricked holes in his son’s pride, raised him to the highest stage of mentality and gave him the Maha Vaakya Upadesa at that stage, to the Saama Veda boy. So, showing that as a precedent, to give Maha Vaakya Upadesa to all and sundry would not be correct.
63. For Aatma Vidya abhyaasa, the general rule as given in Brhma Sutra is that it is to be given only to the ‘Oordvaretas’ (Brhma Sutra III.4.17.). Who are these ‘Oordvaretas’? Those who have never wasted their powers in sensual gratification but have kept on increasing their powers for the inner comprehension of Aatman are called ‘Oordvaretas’. Such a person, who has erased Kaama (a one word for crass desires, wishes and lust), is fit enough to be given Sannyaasa and deeksha in non-differentiated oneness of Jiva – Brhma, isn’t it? Did not our own AachaaryaaL take Sannyaasa at the very young age of eight? He has also instituted the system of giving Sannyaasa deeksha to the very young Brhmachari-s in all Sankara Matams and so has created a tradition, didn’t he?
64. In a place called Sribali, a father had brought his son in a mentally challenged state of total unresponsiveness to any and every physical and mental inputs, with a request to treat him for this state of passivity. With one look, our AachaaryaaL understood the situation that the boy was highly matured and evolved! He gave him Sannyaasa and kept him with himself. The boy became one of the four main disciples of our AachaaryaaL, called by the name of Hastaamalaka. Then there was this boy who with great verve and intelligence argued with our AachaaryaaL in a debate and lost. Whosoever he is, if he competes with our AachaaryaaL he has to lose, isn’t it? So he did. Having lost, he was overtaken by a sense of surrender to our AachaaryaaL and fell in his feet. Our AachaaryaaL was greatly pleased. He accepted the surrender and gave the boy Sannyaasa deeksha, giving him the name of ‘Sarvagnaatmar’. Later under Sureshwara this Sarvatgnaatmar was to take over the reins of the Kanchi Matam. I told you all this mainly to prove the point that having imposed the rules as per the Saastraas, our AachaaryaaL also did not hesitate in relaxing the severity of the rules in the case of rare and deserving cases. That Saama Veda boy at 24 years of age had the worth in him that his father who was a rishi gave him Sannyaasa Upadesa.
65. Quoting some exceptional cases, it is not correct to ask for the removal of the rules. If we look at the way Vudura was born, he was not fit enough to get Gnaana as per the requirement of the Saastraas. But he was a Gnaani by his own right. Dharma Vyaada as a butcher was running a meat shop but, was a Gnaani. In the Brhma Sutra Bhashyam (I.3.38.) our AachaaryaaL quoting these very examples says, that ‘poorva samskaara’ was responsible for their position in the present life. Known colloquially as ‘vitta kurai and thotta kurai’, having reached a high state of maturity in the previous birth, with some sins, when born into this life, they may be seemingly in some odd job or profession. But quickly they would be overtaken by their inner flowering into Gnaana. But such people are an exception to the rule and they cannot be the yard stick for forming the general rules.
66. Karma Yoga is the general rule for the common folks to start with on the right lines. They will have to persevere hard even for making any progress on that path itself. To put them on the path of Gnaana straight away and expect them to go ahead with the very difficult ‘mano nigraha and indriya nigraha’, (that is erasing one’s mind and with that unnulling the pulls of the senses) would be tantamount to putting a huge palm fruit on the head of a small sparrow and expect it to fly’, as the proverb says, ‘kuruvi thalaiyil panangaai pola’! That is why, Aatma Vidya of Brhma – Aatma Aikkyata Chintanam is given as the sole prerogative of the man taking up Sannyaasa; when he has shaken off all Karmas and duties, set aside his responsibilities for the family, society, nation and everything else; not even bothering about his position, power, money, dress and or dwelling place as well as not caring about wherefrom he will get the next meal; and is capable of surrendering his very existence solely for the only task of Aatma Vichaara!
(To be continued.)
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