DEIVATHIN KURAL # 46 (Vol # 6) Dated 29 Aug 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 46 (Vol # 6) Dated 29 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 of page No 314 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)
134. In Bhagawat Gita too, Bhagawan Sri Krishna has given emphasis to two qualifications of the aspirant namely, “Abhyaasam and Vairaagyam” that is, ‘practice and dispassion’! To rein in the mind that is ever running in every other direction means, constant and incessant practice – that is Abhyaasam – the only answer. With that the other requirement is Vairaagyam, says Bhagawan. Having started his Upadesa in Chapter 2 of Bhagawat Gita, while defining ‘Stitapragna’ of the one whose power of concentration has been strengthened, as the first mark or sign he says, “प्रजहाति यता कामान सर्वान पार्थ, मनोगतान | आत्मन्येवात्मना तुष्ट: स्तितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते ||”, meaning thereby that, ‘When a man completely casts off, O Arjuna, all the desires of the mind and is satisfied in the Self by the Self, then he is said to be one of steady wisdom.’ That quality is the same as Vairaagyam! Later at the end of Bhagawat Gita in Chapter 18 he reiterates, “…नित्यं वैराग्यं समुपाश्रित:” meaning thereby that, ‘dispassion is to be resorted to everyday’!
135. In Viveka ChudamaNi our AachaaryaaL has said that, ‘the disgust in the things seen and heard is Vairaagyam’. I then told you that, Sri Krishna has defined it slightly differently setting aside the ‘seen’, ‘disgust in the heard and yet to be heard’ is Vairaagyam. Here our AachaaryaaL, while explaining the phrase “…नित्यं वैराग्यं समुपाश्रित:”, from the same Gita, has said, “lack of desire in the seen and unseen is Vairaagyam – “दृष्टाद्धृष्टेषु विषयेषु वैद्रुष्ण्यं”! What is that desire for the unseen? That is the desire for unseen advantages that one may get somewhere in the heavens. Seen or known advantages are ‘दृष्टं’ and the unseen are ‘अदृष्टं’ – what is thought to be lucky in Tamil as ‘அதிர்ஷ்டம்’. If you think of Vedic Karma Anushtaanaas as an end in itself, you will get certain benefits in the heavens. As these are unseen advantages they are ‘अदृष्टं’.
136. Thus we see Vairaagyam in three different types – one: giving up all desires in the seen and heard things; two: giving up all desires in the heard and yet to be heard; third: giving up all desires in the seen and unseen. Put together, to give up all possible variations of desires and expectations that could find a place in our minds, as Sri Krishna said, ‘कामान सर्वान पार्थ, मनोगतान’ is Vairaagyam. It is the most important part of Saadhana. Bartruhari was a great scholar and poet of superior knowledge and personal comprehension. He has written a Sadakam of a hundred poems on the fourth Aashrama about a sanyaasi with much feelings and understanding. He could have named it as ‘Sannyaasa Sadakam’ but, instead named it as ‘Vairaagya Sadakam’! So, we can make out that Vairaagyam is the main distinguishing quality of a Sanyaasi. Come to think of it, only when you give up desire other things can be forsaken, isn’t it? So, there is nothing surprising in the fact that, renunciation (that is, Sannyaasa) and dispassion (that is, Vairaagyam) are considered as almost synonymous!
137. The great man of religious authority in Tamil is ThiruvaLLuvar. In the Adhikaaram on Renunciation, having discussed the other aspects of Sannyaasa, he ends with “பற்றுக பற்றற்றான் பற்றினை அப்பற்றைப் பற்றுக பற்று விடற்கு”, meaning that, ‘we should get attached to such a one who is bereft of all attachments, to be able to give up all attachments ourselves’. That one ‘who is bereft of all attachments’ can be taken to mean such a Saint or God Himself! This ‘பற்று’ or attachment comes from connection, relation and desire with it as it is said in Gita (II. 62.), “संगात् संजायते काम:”. Thus desire and attachments are mutually cause and effect. So the phrase “பற்று விடற்கு”, that ThiruvaLLuvar has spoken about is for getting Vairaagyam only, and he finishes his ten KuraLs of the Adhikaaram of Sannyaasa with that phrase ‘பற்று விடற்கு’, only. Then the second next Adhikaaram, after the one on Renunciation, has been devoted for ‘அவா அறுத்தல்‘, which is the same as Vairaagyam or curbing greed!
138. To forsake all wealth and properties, position and power, ownership and rights; and launch out virtually in the altogether is Vairaagyam! That is the greatest asset. There is nothing to match that in the whole world of ‘Iham’ and not even in ‘Param’, or anywhere else, ThiruvaLLuvar says beautifully! Same idea has been brought out by Sadasiva BrhmendraaL also. He symbolically equates a Sanyaasi to an emperor and says, “स्वीक्रुत वैराग्य सर्वस्वन”, meaning the ‘one who has accepted the greatest wealth of renunciation’! Bartruhari, ThiruvaLLuvat and Sadasiva BrhmendraaL are all such brilliant stars and past masters of Vairaagyam, that they are well qualified to talk about this subject and what they say touches the core of our hearts, at least when we hear or read their words! Though we may not be able to immediately walk away from our attachments, we learn from their writings as to how great such freedom and independence could be! I cannot over emphasise as to how our AachaaryaaL too was of the same mould! At the age of eight leaving his house, his village and his loving Mother, did he not demonstrate as to how a man of Vairaagyam will behave? He has also written a poem known as ‘Yati Panchakam’ or Koupeena Panchakam’ in which he asks at the end of each Sloka, “कोउपीनवन्त: खलु भाग्यवन्त:” – meaning, ‘How lucky he is, the one wearing only the loin-cloth!’ In Baja Govindam also he has thrown us the question, “कस्य सुखं न करोति विराग:” thereby meaning, ‘Who is the one that does not get the greatest pleasure by renunciation?”
139. Talking about Vairaagyam we cannot help remembering another great renouncer, Pattinaththaar! Born as an ‘amsam’ of Kubera, the Lord of Wealth, carrying out trade and commerce overseas with East Asian countries, endowed with tremendous business acumen as well as enormous good fortune; he turned a corner when he finds that his adopted son (with an amsam of Lord Siva), returns from overseas with a ship full of rice and wheat husk! He finds a note which says, “காதற்ற ஊசியும் வாராது காண் உம் கடை வழிக்கே”, meaning that, ‘In your last journey please note that even a needle (that too, even one without an eye-let), will not come with you!’ Later, it is noted that all the bags of husk were actually filled with gold dust and gems! But the message has reached home! Leaving all that wealth as ‘good for nothing’ he launches himself as a Sanyaasi – a mere ‘कोउपीनवन्त:’! Then while walking away with a begging bowl he says, “வீடு நமக்கு திருவாலங்காடு விமலர் தந்த ஓடு நமக்குண்டு”! Then refusing to accept even that begging bowl as his property, he broke it to pieces! You only have to read his poems, at least for the moment, you will feel motivated to get up and walk off from all the responsibilities and pulls and pressures of life, even if only as a ‘Prasava Vairaagyam or Smasaana Vairaagyam’! In one poem he says, “The place of our birth is not for ever ours, relatives are not forever, even the name given to us as identity is not permanent! Some time you are that boy, brother, leader, friend, enemy, husband, Colonel, that old man, that dead body! What are we?” In Tamil it is – ‘ஊரும் சதமல்ல, உற்றார் சதமல்ல, உற்றுப்பெற்ற பேரும் சதமல்ல ...’.(Are you wondering as to what is ‘Prasava / Smasaana Vairaagyam’? If you have seen the agony a mother goes through while delivering a baby child; or attend the obsequies of a departed soul, being taken to the cremation grounds, the relatives crying with various intensities and then finally the dead body being covered with logs, lighted and finally reduced to ashes; however hard hearted you may be, at least temporarily you are bound to feel vexed and fed up and at least for a fleeting second think of renunciation! When reading the poems by Pattinaththaar we are also likely to feel that way! That is it!)
140. I told you about Bartruhari. There is a story that he was a disciple of this Pattinaththaar. Bartruhari in Tamil becomes பத்திரகிரி, and the same name with respect is called பத்திரகிரியார். He was a king in Ujjaini, became a Sanyaasi and was in the western entrance to the temple in Thiruvidai Maruthur, with just one begging bowl. He used to beg and share the alms with his Guru Pattinaththaar who used to be in the eastern entrance of that same temple. One who had been a rich trader the Guru and the other, who had been a king the disciple, both were renouncing ‘Aandi Pandaaram’ with such Vairaagyam! But it seems that the Guru thought that his disciple lacked in dispassion, because he had a begging bowl!
141. As the story goes one beggar went and begged in front of Pattinaththaar. There is a version that the Mahalinga Swami the presiding deity of that temple, was in that disguise as a beggar! Pattinaththaar reportedly told him, “I am myself a pauper, what is the use of begging with me? Go to the western entrance. There is a family man there and he may be able to help you!” So the beggar went there to Pathiragiriyaar and told him about his conversation with his Guru at the eastern entrance. He was shocked that his Guru had called him a family man! For a moment he thought as to why should he do so? In a flash, he understood that he is called a family man, because of his owning a begging bowl. So it seems that he broke it to pieces!
142. There are more interesting angles to that story. I have not shared them all with you as there will not be time enough to talk about Saadhana and Vairaagyam. But since the story about such saintly persons would enable us to understand better, I told you a little bit. The same person, who sang ஓடு நமக்குண்டு, later goes to the extent of saying that even a man with a begging bowl as his possession is only a family man! There is a similar incident in the life of Sadasiva BrhmendraaL. He was the type who had his folded hand as a pillow, bare ground as the bed, Virakti (aka dispassion) as the wife and the open sky the covering; as he has sung; happily sleeping in the bliss of Samaadhi! One day in a field he was lying like this. It was mid-day. Some women who were working in the fields passed by and commented. “Look at this supposed to be Sanyaasi! See, how he is holding his head high!” Brhmendraal intensely felt the insult and removed his hand being used as a pillow. He thought, “See, really what type of a Sanyaasi can I be? Unless I keep my head high, I am not able to relax! Through that woman AmbaaL Herself has instructed me!” Sometime later the women were passing by once again. This time she commented, “Look at this! A Saamiyaar should know better isn’t it! Why should he be responding to the comments by all and sundry?” From that moment Sadasiva BrhmaendraaL really became totally released from all ties, it seems! Even the common folks were aware of the level of true renunciation that a sanyaasi should be in. Only now we have people in the garb of Sanyaasi, who cannot do without coffee and or Tea or Ovaltine! They will claim, “We are AtivarNa Aashramees. We know as to what we can do and what we should not do!”
143. Anyhow we cannot over emphasise the importance of Vairaagyam, as the critical essential for Aatma Gnaana. Once you have that, there is no turning back! Your renunciation is then irrevocable and complete.
(To be continued.)
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