DEIVATHIN KURAL # 41 (Vol # 6) Dated 19 Aug 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 41 (Vol # 6) Dated 19 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 page No 280 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)
Basic Education about Adwaitam for All
83. Dividing the whole of human population as Karmaakkaaran and Gnaanakkaaran, he required that only the latter should be entitled to Adwaita Saadhana. Though Saadhana was meant only for the one in the Karma Marga, he levied that the knowledge about Adwaitam should be available for all, including the one in the path of Karma. Inheriting his name, I have a responsibility to make his doctrine of Adwaitam and the method of approach of Saadhana, known to all. That is why I started talking about it to you all. I am not just talking about it without any rhyme or reason! In fact it has become the in-thin g nowadays for any Tom, Dick and Harry to talk, give lectures, run seminars and publish books on the subject of ‘Adwaita’ that, without taking the basic steps in practice, everyone goes about as though they are all already Adwaitins, thus spreading wrong things against what is given in the Saastraas.
84. Normally I also do not wish to join the cacophony and add to the confusion and so, avoid talking about this subject! But, recently when we conducted our AachaaryaaL’s Jayanthi, we also held a Vidvat Sabha (experts committee meeting). At that time some people approached me and asked as to why not I broach the subject and as to why should they not be instructed about the subject of Adwaitam! So, I decided to talk about what is Adwaita Saadhana, its discipline, rules, regulation ns and restrictions as to who are eligible to take up the Saadhana, since I am supposed to be a Guru for that very purpose. Since in today’s gathering, those who requested me then, are present I decided not to postpone the subject any further. Thinking about Aatman and the principles about Adwaita should be in the general know how of all people, felt our AachaaryaaL too and that is the reason for his writing the Baala Bodha Sangrahaha, I told you. There is another book by him known as ‘Prasna Uttara Ratna Maalika, addressed to a normal family man, in the form of question and answers. Like a ‘Raaga Maalika’, it is a string of possible questions on the subject and its answers. One question in it is, “Who is the living dead – को हत:”? In answer, he says, “kriya brashta:”, meaning, ‘the one who has failed in doing his duties’. At a different level he says in Viveka ChudamaNi that, ‘only those who giving up all their Karma Anushtaana, have taken up Sannyaasa for doing Aatma Vichara; are the ones who have gained the right purpose of his coming into being as a human, rest are as good as having committed suicide! Having said so there, the same AachaaryaaL says slightly differently here that, Karma Anushtaana is the thing to be done and not doing that is as good as being dead while still living!
85. There is no contradiction here. When the question is asked, “Who is the man who has no worries?,” the answer is, “The one with an obedient wife.” Then again is the question as to who is the best friend for a man and the answer is, भार्या “Baryaa”, meaning his wife! What he is saying is appropriate at this level for the average common man who is a house-holder, for whom the work ‘प्र्स्नोत्तर रत्न मालिका’ is meant. In such a book also, our AachaaryaaL has not failed to mention transcendental matters about the self, but nicely. While describing a person in the path of Aatma Saadhana, he would have just touched the subject, as though to say, “My dear Sir! You are not required to be like this from now itself, but this is how a person who has entered the path of Aatma Gnaana would be behaving.” If I give you an example, my point will be clearer.
86. For example, at the very beginning he talks about the Guru – by way of questions and answers only. For the question as to ‘What is acceptable?’ the answer is, ‘The words of the Guru’. ‘What is to be abjured?’ is the next question, for which the answer is ‘That which is forbidden by the Saastraas is to be abjured’. ‘Who is Guru’ is the next question for which, the answer is, ‘सततम् सिष्य हिताय उद्यतः’, ‘He who is constantly keen on the disciple’s wellbeing and working for it’! In the third stanza of ‘प्र्स्नोत्तर रत्न मालिका’ itself, comes the question as to what is the earliest job to be done by a learned person – ‘त्वरितं किं कर्तव्यं विदुषां? We are not talking about the lay men here. The word ‘vidushaam’ is the sixth declension plural of the root word ‘vidwas’, meaning ‘the learned scholar and knowledgeable person’. The question is as to what is to be done by a learned person in haste – ‘त्वरितं’? The answer is very prompt, “To break the continuity of the cycle of ‘birth - death – birth’ – ‘संसार संततिच्चेद:’! That is, to get out of the never ending cycle of repeated births and deaths, at the earliest. Here we can make out that even for the common man our AachaaryaaL never fails to point out the Moksha Marga, at the very beginning. But, at the same time since the common man need not do so in a tearing hurry, AachaaryaaL differentiates by adding the adjective ‘विदुषां’.
87. Elsewhere (in Sloka 19), he asks, ‘कस्मात् उद्वेग: स्यात्’? It means, ‘What makes us shiver with fear?’ ‘Udvegam’ means shaking with fear. That is the real meaning of that word. Many people mistakenly interpret the word to mean an additional force. The answer to the question: ‘सांसार अरण्यत: सुधिय:’ – ‘the forest of worldly life’. Not for all, but only for सुधिय:, that is ‘the people with higher knowledge and awareness’. For the rest of the people of the proletariat, the worldly life is still attractive and full of expectations. But for the discerning people of wisdom, it is a forest full of dangers and perils; from which one should make efforts to get out of. The inner purpose of the answer is to make the common man stop for a moment to think at every situation of life as to how the intelligentsia is likely to respond!
88. Knowledgeable man of wisdom will break the continuity of life’s cycle of repeated birth and death and the man of high discernment will shake with fear at the dense forest of what is life; are statements which should be noted for the power of suggestion that could slowly but surely bring about a metamorphosis in his readers who are part of the common folk. The purpose was not only to cause us to think and relate our own responses to situations with that of the responses by the learned, knowledgeable men of wisdom, but also to keep on thinking till a reasonable via – media is identified! Actually he has given a gem of an advice to all of us in answer to another question, in Sloka 5! The question is, “किं संसारे सारम्?” That means, “What is the essence of life?” Answer to that is, “बहुशोपि विचिन्त्यमानं इदमेव”, meaning, ‘to keep mulling over it’! “What is that ‘it’?” “You just now asked a question isn’t it? To keep mulling over that question, till you find the answer is the very purpose of existence! Keep asking yourself as to why am I born? What is life? Who am I? For all questions the answer has to come from within! So, the essence of life is for you to ask yourself as to what is the essence of life!? That is what has been said as, ‘इदं एव बहुशोपि विचिन्त्यमानं’.
89. When you keep asking yourself this question, looking at various possible myriad answers, it will occur that there is no essence in this world. The whole world is too ephemeral, immaterial and meaningless. Then somewhere along the line, the attention will focus on the questioner, the self, the indwelling Aatman! From a futile search in the unreal, the attention will shift to the real. When we were thinking that to earn a living, wear, eat, drink and make merry or fight, argue, gossip and spread rumours; to be the only purpose of life; suddenly our eyes are opened by that very question as to what is the purpose of life! So it will be clear that, the very essence of life is to ask that question, repeatedly. Here, since no mention of ‘Vidwan’ or ‘Sudhee’ is made, it is clear that this is meant for all, including the common man. So it is the intention and opinion of our AachaaryaaL that we should all be asking ourselves as to what is the purpose of our existence. There is another question that comes up in Sloka 16, as “का अहर्निशं अनुचिन्त्या?” – meaning “What is worthy of deliberation day in and out?” The answer is, “सांसार असारता” – meaning “The futility of existence, that life is meaningless!”
90. There is another work of our AachaaryaaL known as ‘Sopaana Panchakam’, which is also called the ‘Upadesa Panchakam’. When our AachaaryaaL was about to finish his bodily sojourn in this world and was about to leave, his disciples and devotees were aware of his imminent departure. They told him, “You are about to leave us all permanently. Verbally and in writing you have told us many things and have given Upadesa. Still we do not know as to whether we can read all of them. May we request you to kindly give us all a Sloka in which all the important advises may be summed up? At that time he gave this poem with five Slokas. Each Sloka contains eight advises, thus totalling 40 of them. As the Panchakam lifts us progressively to higher levels of understanding and comprehension, it is called ‘Sopaana Panchakam’. The word ‘सोपानं’ means a series of ‘steps as in a ladder’. The same Panchakam is also called ‘Saadhana Panchakam’ as it contains the 40 steps that a Saadhak has to take towards Adwaita Anubhava, starting from the basics!
91. It starts with, “वेदो नित्यमधीयतां तदुदितं कर्म स्वनुष्तीयतां“, meaning ‘Vedas may be learnt and chanted every day and Karma as given in it may be practised daily’. So, it is clear that the advice is meant for the one who has to go by the Karma Marga. But subsequently it goes on to say, “Increase your wish to know and realise Aatman! Leave the house! Run away! Go to a Guru and get the ‘Maha Vaakya Upadesa’.” Then finally it ends in advising us to go and get lodged, embedded, installed and rooted permanently in the very ‘Para Brhmam’! So, it is clear that even the man presently only in Karma Marga, should also be aware of all the things about the nuts and bolts of Gnaana Marga too.
(To be continued.)
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