Sunday, September 02, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 48 (Vol # 6) Dated 02 Sept 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 48 (Vol # 6) Dated 02 Sept 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 329 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 updated constantly)

155. Our AachaaryaaL has written copiously on the subject of devotion addressed to the presiding deity of whichever temple or sacred place of pilgrimage he happened to be visiting. So you have a whole corpus of poems on DakshiNa Murthy, Siva, AmbaaL, Vishnu, Subrahmanya, Ganesa, Hanuman, Govinda, Achyuta, Panduranga; and then on rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Narmada and so on; the major ones being Soundarya Lahari and Sivananda Lahari.. Then he has written on how the aspirant has to go about making a combined mix of Karma, Bhakti and Gnaana, with self-realization as the goal known as ‘PrakaraNa Granthas’ . These are either in the form of discussions between the Guru and the disciple or his advices to the Saadhak. These are books such as, Aatma Bodha, Tatva Bodha, Viveka ChudamaNi, Aparoksha Anubhuti, and so on. These are excellent guide books from which the traveller on the path of Gnaana can glean and assess his own progress step by step. In addition to his two streams of works on Devotion and Gnaana, the Magnum Opus of his are the Bhashyam that he has written on Brhma Sutra, Bhagawat Gita and ten important Upanishads; together known as Prasthaana Thraya!
156. These Bhashya Granthas are like explanatory notes with detailed analysis of critical, subtle and intricate points of philosophical ideas and concepts. In it, we note that his explanations for sama and dama are contrary to how they are understood and interpreted normally, which has led to some heated arguments and conflict among the intelligentsia. I told you as to how out of the six assets of ‘samaadhi shatka sampaththi’, leaving ‘Sraddha’, the rest five have been mentioned in Bruhad AaraNyaka Upanishad, didn’t I? While doing Bhashyam for this, our AachaaryaaL says ‘saantan’, (the one who has the quality of sama aplenty), has totally controlled and curtailed the external dealings by the Indriyas! Actually this is how dama is understood normally. Then while giving the meaning of ‘daantan’ he says that, he is the one who has been fully cured of the inner thirsts of the mind! This is contrary to normally what is understood t to be the meaning of ‘daantan’. We need not make a big issue of this. In fact the Bhashyams were written immediately after he took Snnyaasa Aashrama, at the very young age of eight. At that time noticing that both sama and dama are matters of mental and moral controls only and so might have construed their meaning to relate to outer and inner control in that order. Later in the PrakaraNa Granthas written, like in Viveka ChudamaNi, he had grown in age and gone through more exposure to opinion s and views of the general public and the intelligentsia. Thus he could have changed his own views slightly to suit others, so that the word ‘sama’ could be taken to mean control of the sensory inputs to the mind and ‘dama’ to mean control of the mind per se!
157. Then ‘Shatpadi’ Stotram is more on devotion and not so much concerned with defining words of philosophical intricacies. While singing that song in Aryaa Viruttam suitability of the sounds of the words would have been more important! Both these words ‘sama’ and ‘dama’ being almost synonymous as meaning, order, control and humility; either of the words could have been used. That is how Brhma advices the Devas in Bruhad AaraNyaka Upanishad, to be applying self-control ‘धाम्यत’! I hope you know the love story of Sakuntala and Dushyanta. Their son Bharatha had another name as ‘sarvadhamanan’, as a person who had controlling power over others. Damayanthi, the wife of NaLa was so beautiful that she had such a commanding presence that dominated others and hence the name! Yama the Lord of Death could take away the life of anybody at any time and so, he had a name as ‘samanan’
158. From ‘dama’ are the words such as ‘damanam’ and ‘daanti’ evolved and from ‘sama’, ‘samanam’ and ‘saanti’ have come about. More than ‘damanam and daanti’, the words ‘samanam’ and ’saanti’ are more in usage. To balance out the bile in the body is said to be ‘pitta samanam’ and control of one’s anger is called ‘kopa samanam’. Somehow, though both are only a matter of control and dominance, somehow, ‘samanam and saanti’ sound milder than ‘damanam’ and ‘daanti’. The word ‘saanti’ thus hides the dynamic and effervescent chaos that precedes the peacefulness. ‘Shanti or Saanti’ is the state of cool and calm mind; and ‘daanti’ is the state of senses under control. The Yatis aka saintly sadhus in the state of both these two qualities are said to be ‘शान्ति दान्ति भूम्नां’. (In the official and formal Letter Head that is used by the Sankara Matams this is one of the titles used for Aadi SanKara Bhagawat PaadaaL, our AachaaryaaL.)
159. Eyes and ears can be closed without seeing or hearing. Eyes have a natural protective covers known as eye lids. By closing them we may not see when we do not want to see. Similarly the ears can be closed with cotton when we wish not hear something. You may be able to so control the hands and legs too. But this mind seems capable of endless vacillations! Even when any of the bodily sensors are not engaged in receiving sensory inputs from the world outside, the mind can imagine, aspiring, craving and ever in agitation with anticipation followed by gratification and satisfaction or disappointment! So if we control the mind all the karmendriyas and gnaanendriyas can be kept under control. Because of the importance of mind control, ‘sama’ is mentioned first and ‘dama’ is not specifically mentioned at times as it is already included in ‘sama’. You can turn around and ask another question that, ‘since ‘dama’ is already included in ’sama’, why bother about the former at all? The total control of mind and its complete destruction (मनोलय: & मनोनाश: or मनो निग्रह: ) happens much later in the process of Saadhana!
160. Here we are only talking about the initial stages of the process. Yes, right from the beginning there has to be the effort for मनो निग्रह: alright. Temporarily the mind may seem to be under control. But if the eyes focus on a favourite eatable like a Mysorepak or its aroma reaches the nose, in no time the mind would have run away without telling you and or you noticing the fact! Your legs will move and the hand will pick up the piece of the sweet meat and possibly the mouth may be already salivating! Thus the Indriyas have a store of memories of past experiences for which they are ready to run away in a tearing hurry, in every which direction! Till one reaches the commanding heights of mind control, it alternates between two extremes of being recklessly rampant when tempted and at times when attractive items are not nearby, being under some vestige of submissiveness and control. On those occasions at least, we must take the precaution of avoiding temptations thereby safe guarding the hands and legs, eyes and ears, from going berserk! That is why after ‘sama’, ‘dama’ is also separately mentioned.
161. In Katopanishad there is a beautiful ‘Upama’ that is, symbolic representation of the mind and senses. Jivan is seated on the chariot like the owner of the vehicle. Chariot is the human body. The mind (which in fact is a combination of buddhi / intellect and ego / ahankaaram;) is the Sarathy or the driver / charioteer. The horses pulling the chariot are the Indriyas, being controlled by the reigns for pulling up and whip for prodding. The reigns are the Manas or mind. Buddhi is the Sarathy. He uses Vairaagyam and Viveka for loosening and pulling up the reigns, thereby guiding the horses on the right path, permitting only the controlled and justified gratifications till the destination of Aatma Saakshaatkaara is reached. Then you can pack off the driver and let the hoses go to pasture and the Jivan can enjoy his being the Aatman!
162. Normally ‘dama’ is ‘Indriya Nigraham’ of the Gnaanendriyas only. Mind controls the Gnaanendriyas and they in turn control the Karmendriyas. Nobody talks about ‘Nigraham’ of Karmendriyas as they are not sentient. When talking or even thinking about Indriya Nigraham, it is about the Gnaanendriya Nigraham. In Viveka ChudamaNi it is mentioned that, ‘amongst the five sensors the deer is trapped by the sound heard by the ears. The deer will stop immobile on its tracks, when it hears the sound of the flute. The elephant is trapped by the sense of touch. They will make use of a trained female elephant to lure the wild male and keep him completely lost in the pleasure of the touch! The ‘vittil poochi’ is trapped by what is grasped by the sight of the eyes. One look at the flame and the insect cannot help flying into the fire and burn itself to ashes. The fish is trapped by the taste buds which forces the fish to bite. The bee is trapped inside the flower by the fragrance desired by the nose and would not know even when the flower closes air-tight suffocating the bee to death! Thus if each animal is trapped into submission by one of the five senses, the human being is trapped by all the senses and his ego to boot, “and so, what is there to talk about man who is a slave of all his senses?”
163. Still while giving definition of ‘dama’ it is said that you will have to curb the tendency of both Karmendriyas and Gnaanendriyas from indulging in activities of gratification. To do so is ‘dama’ says the Sloka – विषयेभ्य: परावर्त्य स्तापनं स्वस्व गोळके | उभयेषां इन्द्रियाणां स दम: परिकीर्तित: || I have already explained in this paragraph, the meaning of the sloka quoted above. Both types of Indriyas have to be restricted strictly within their respective spheres of operation ‘स्वस्व गोळके स्तापनं’, that automatically you have to have control over both types of Indriyas and thereby on the mind and that is ’dama’!
164. To prevent the Indriyas from indulging in विषय वासना is understandable. Now what is this new dimension of ‘restricting them in their respective spheres of operation’? Now what I understand out of this is, or what I think that I understand from this is: not that we are to see nothing, hear nothing, not eat anything, not do anything by the hands and legs and desist all the Indriyas from doing their respective jobs – at all! Our AachaaryaaL did not say that! If you do that, you cannot even live! What Saadhana can one do, if we are to die by refusing to live? We have to do things essential for the body to continue living. That essential critical action is the limit in the sphere of operation beyond which it is indulgence, like the speed limit for driving. So, it is not total inertia that is being advocated but, operations within reasonable limits. Here we should appropriately apply what Sri Krishna said in Gita (Chapter III, Sloka 8). “नियतं कुरु कर्म त्वं.....सरीर यात्राभि च ते न प्रसिध्येत अकर्मण:” |

(To be continued.)




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