DEIVATHIN KURAL # 44 (Vol # 6) Dated 25 Aug 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 44 (Vol # 6) Dated 25 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 page No 299 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)
113. Let us give this ‘Anaatma Sri VigarhaNam’ a little closer look. As I said there are 18 Slokas in it, each containing four lines. The first three lines will all make a statement of some achievement or gain such as ‘royal recognition, national award, some high quality clothing or ornament, state of health or beauty and so on’; ending with the phrase ‘तत: किम्?’ That phrase means, ‘So what or then what?’ The fourth line in each Sloka will end with, “येन स्वात्मा नैव साक्षात्कृतो अभूत”, that is to mean if one’s Aatman is not directly apperceived or comprehended! The message is that, ‘all the accolades of this life and this world are irrelevant as long one does not know oneself!’ One is thus trained to look down on all the things we normally think of as great, in comparison to the only achievement worth aspiring for namely, Self-Realization! After Self-Realization, anyhow these things are all minor matters only! The interesting thing is that as long as you are giving importance to all these worldly gains and achievements, you are far away from Self-Realization aka Adwaita Aatma Anubhava!
114. If someone tells you that we are going to honour somebody, whom we do not know, as to who he is and we are going to give him a bag full of money as an expression of our regards; how silly it will look? If that man does not know himself, anyhow all that expression of respect is a waste, isn’t it? And then for a Gnaani who knows his self, do these things have any relevance? So, to set aside all that this world has to offer as non-essentials is, ‘अनात्म श्री विगर्हणं’. Everybody knows the meaning of ‘Sri’ – Lakshmi, MangaLa Vastu, wealth. Another meaning that none of us know is, ‘poison’! That is why, Siva who has the ‘aala haala visham’ in his throat is known as ‘श्री कण्ठ:’! What looks now as invitingly attractive is abjured, as ‘to be avoided poison’ is, ‘Anaatma Sri VigarhaNam’. ‘Aatma Anaatma Viveka’ is only another way of saying, ‘Nitya Anitya Vastu Viveka:’.
Vairaagyam / Dispassion.
115. Having assessed and evaluated as to what is ’नित्य and अनित्य’, all transient temporaries have to be discarded. More than accepting the eternal values, discarding the non-essentials is more important! In life itself, amongst the ‘to be done’ and ‘not to be done’ things; even if you do not do the first lot of ‘to be done-s’, it is not so grossly bad as not avoiding the second lot of taboos and forbidden things! Suppose you are just about to catch a cold, and you are told to eat some hot steaming rice mixed with mustard powder, salt and cow’s ghee. You are also told to avoid eating ice cream. You may ignore the first suggestion but, if you take the ice cream, you are certain to accentuate the onset of cold! You are not so quickly relieved of cold by eating the ‘steaming rice’ as so adversely affected by eating ice cream against the second part of the advice! It is good to bathe in the Cauvery River for the body and mind. But, you are warned to avoid the deep eddies. If you do not listen to the warning it can lead to a major problem threatening life itself! Somehow in this world of Maya, the negative aspects seem to have more power than the positive sides.
116. So in the process of improvement and ennoblement of the self, having analysed what is suitable and what is avoidable, you have to give more importance to abjuring the latter items than observing and abiding with the former ones! Though the requirements may be listed in some order as a series of steps, it does not mean that their importance increases successively! All of them have equal importance and are not to be ignored. I only said that avoidance of certain things take precedence over certain other things to be obediently followed. When a child is forming in the womb, isn’t there a wholesome growth of all the body parts coming into being progressively simultaneously and not one part at a time! Similarly all the steps in the process of our spiritual endeavour have equal validity and importance, to be simultaneously attended to. At various stages, any one of them may have to be given some extra special attention.
117. First action is to differentiate between the good and bad; the positives and the negatives. As you do the sorting the Anitya aka Anaatma is to be abjured and the items Nitya are to be absorbed, adopted and adhered to. As this becomes a habit, the sorting out takes place automatically. At that time we have to give greater attention to abjuring the non-essential taboos! That is what is known as the second step in Saadhana Chatushtyam known as Vairaagyam or Virakti (वैराग्यं / विरक्ति / Dispassion). Raagam or Rakti means desire and leaving desire is Vairaagyam or Virakti. (In the fine art of Music, the word Raagam has a different meaning of a set or fixed notes in the ascending and descending order, as suited to a particular mood.)
118. The greatest obstacles in the path towards Aatma Gnaana are sensual distractions only. All the sensual distractions are the causes for our running after pleasures. This desire is a powerful motivating force in the wrong direction as it proves to be the greatest obstacle in our spiritual endeavour. All the wishes, wants and what is thought to be the needs and essentials thus become our obsessions – from wanting to munch pop-corn or Sundal to wanting name, fame, recognition to being awarded Bharath Ratna, are included here! To leave and ignore all such pulls and desires is Vairaagyam! Thiru Moolar says, going to the limits of dispassion,
ஆசை அறுமின்கள், ஆசை அறுமின்கள் ! ஈசனோடாயினும் ஆசை அறுமின்கள் !
ஆசைப்படப்பட ஆய்வரும் துன்பம்
ஆசை விடவிட ஆனந்தமாமே ! That means get rid of all desires, even with God! As you give up desires, happiness increases proportionately! Desire and happiness are inversely related. Total erasure of desire results in complete pleasure! Nammaazhvaar has also sung, “அற்றது பற்றெனில் உற்றது வீடு”, meaning that, ‘as attachment is severed the goal is attained’!
119. Aasai is the desire known as ‘trushNa’ in Sanskrit; it is like the thirst that you feel for water when you are dehydrated. Similarly the thirst for sensual pleasures causes an incessant itch, in our minds. Buddha’s main finding and message is, “Only if you get rid of your desires can you attain the NirvaaNa”, as given in their scriptures. Whatever the modern religions of the world, they are all certain to give importance to erasing this desire. Our AachaaryaaL also has given importance to this destruction of desire with firmness. In Aparoksha Anubhuti while talking about Saadhana Krama, he has emphasised this under वैराग्यादि चतुष्टयम् , amongst four measures including Vairaagya. It is interesting to note as to how he has defined this Vairaagyam, saying “That is dispassion, when you wish to give up all transitory enjoyments gained through the five senses and also experiences gained through all the bodily sensors and tools ranging from a mortal body to the form of Brhma! Here he uses a word ‘jugupsa’ or ‘jihasa’, both meaning the disgust you feel towards all such titillations.
120. Once you have Gnaanam you will have only Love towards all and have no hatred. But within yourself, you will feel hatred towards your own hate, anger towards anger and disgust towards all such titillations which causes a fall into the mire of flimsy gratifications! To become an embodiment of unconditional love towards all, you have to develop the hate for all weaknesses in our own character. There will be just no disgust towards other people at all. The disgust is towards the inherent danger of attachment to others. The hate is for the ego traps that others can set knowingly or otherwise. Running away from home and hearth of the family is not due to any hate towards anyone. If you are fasting, Mother may bring some fragrant eat and say, “Why are you starving like this? Why don’t you eat this and relieve your stomach, from being tortured?” If the wife is near, one may break the fast out of pity for her! If you have a son, even at the risk of bribing some, you may have to try and get him a seat in the engineering college, you may feel. If you have a daughter of marriageable age, you will feel compelled to find a suitable match and cater for the expenses. Thus the hate is for the binding compulsions of life. The aversion is with the compulsions and traps and not with people or animals.
121. Even in the Sloka referred above, it is mentioned as, “भोग्य वस्तुनि जुगुप्सा” – the abhorrence is for things desired for – and not at others. That is, you do not avoid other’s company out of hatred for them but, for the binding fetters that are likely to develop. Using the yard stick of ‘नित्या अनित्य विवेकं’, having identified all sensual gratifications as fleetingly temporary to develop the animus or loathing for them is Vairaagyam – “जुगुप्सा...........ह्यनित्ये भोग वस्तुनि”. Instead of अनित्ये it is ह्यनित्ये. हि + नित्ये in the ‘sandhi’ becomes ह्यनित्ये. That ‘hi’ is for emphasis, meaning the aversion is only for sensual pleasures and binding factors. We have to develop this animus towards all such temptations. Here, we should not have the attitude of ‘let it be’ but, actively resist it. The attitude of ‘letting it be’, is not the quality of ‘satva’ of tolerance here, but stupidity!
122. ThiruvaLLuvar has said, “அஞ்சுவது அஞ்சாமை பேதைமை”, meaning, ‘not to fear what should be feared is idiocy’!
He did tell us all to be strong and courageous only in his ThirukkuraL. But in our effort to become brave, we should not do stupid things, isn’t it? We should not behave like ‘Don Quixote’ surely! If you say that I am not afraid and enter the Lion’s den, you are most likely to be killed or badly mangled. So, in this world, we should be cautious enough to avoid certain things which are to be avoided, bypassed, shunned and carefully obviated! Not to do so is rank பேதைமை. Our AachaaryaaL, who strongly upheld universal Love, did advise us all to develop the sensitivity to abhor those things which would entrap us irretrievably!
123. He, our AachaaryaaL makes use of an example to prick the ego bubble of ours quite effectively. Though disgusting enough, he has used the same example in बाल भोध संग्रहं, अपरोक्षानुभूति and सर्व वेदान्त सिद्धान्त सार संग्रहं. In the first two books he has used the phrase ‘यथैव काकविष्टायां’ and in the third he has said ‘काकस्य विष्टावत असहस्य बुद्धि’. The message is that we should detest the sensual pleasures of life and other so called pleasures of life as much as we would the ‘crow’s shit’! We are assembled in a woody enclosure for a get together for what is known as ‘Vana Bhojanam’, that is a ‘forest jaunt’! A variety of eats have been prepared, brought and being served on plantain leaves or paper plates. Everybody is in a mood to celebrate, cutting jokes and greeting each other. There is Vadai, Pongal, Chitraannam, Paappads, pickles, salad, fruits and so many other things! There is a crow sitting on a branch of a tree directly overhead and he decides to directly drop his excreta on your leaf which scatters on to the nearby peoples’ plates also. Think of the abhorrence on people’s faces and minds! You are most likely to get up disgusted saying, “What is this Vana Bhojanam? Whose stupid idea is this?” Even if others pacify you and you are given a new plate, while eating you are likely to be overcome by an overwhelming sense of nausea! Our AachaaryaaL says that all the so called sensual pleasures of life should be rejected like the ‘Crow’s Shit’, if you wish to progress in the Path of Gnaana and that is वैराग्यं!
(To be continued.)
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