Monday, October 01, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 61 (Vol # 6) Dated 01 Oct 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 61 (Vol # 6) Dated 01 Oct 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 421 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)

288.  Our AachaaryaaL has given a story setting for Viveka ChudamaNi (VC as an acronym).  A disciple goes to a knowledgeable gentleman and treating him as a preceptor, asks him questions such as, “को नाम बन्ध: कथमेष आगत: कथं प्रतिष्टास्य कथं विमोक्ष: |” That is VC. Sloka No. 49, in which we have quoted only the first line.  The Sloka means, “What is bondage?  How has it come about?   How does it get established and continue to exist?  How can one get out of it completely?  What is the not-Self?  Who is the supreme Self? And what is the process of discrimination between the Self and not-Self?  Please explain all these to me”.  The reply given by that Guru forms the subject matter of the book, through which our AachaaryaaL has given Upadesa to us all.  As that disciple had sincerity of purpose and faith in the Guru’s words, at the end of the Upadesa, he got the fruit of such Upadesa experiencing the truth of those words having obtained the highest Brhma Gnaanam and Brhma Anubhava; got released from the enmeshing ties that he had asked about originally, prostrated before the Guru and took leave of his Guru saying, “निर्मुक्त बन्दन:” meaning that he is freed of the ties. Guru also, though he had no specific aspirations, started out on his peregrinations as such Sadhus do, never staying in one place for more than a day.  That is how the story setting gets completed.  The Sloka No. 579 reads “इत्याचार्यस्य सिष्यस्यसंवदेनात्मलक्षणं | निरूपितं मुमुक्षूणां सुखबोधोपपत्तये ||” – meaning, “Thus, by means of a dialogue between a teacher and disciple, the Aatman has been indicated for the easy comprehension of seekers of liberation.”  After this is the Sloka quoted earlier (in the previous e-mail) in which the Mumukshu-s have been described with those six qualifications.
289.  Among Mumukshu-s also in accepting the gradation as manda, madhyama, and uttama adhikari-s; the complete spectrum starting from people like us with a very light wish for release to the most placid minded Sanyaasi-s; are all included.  With a very broad heart, he has conferred the Mumukshu title on all and sundry, like now-a-days people call passing out from baby-class to kinder-garden as a graduation!  But, while being so liberal in distributing his largesse, he was keen on raising their worth by advising them to pay more attention to practicing Vairaagyam and Samadhi Shatka Sampathi and display implicit obedience to Guru’s advices by which they can earn Guru’s Anugraha as Prasaadam that I have already told you about!  However, it may be noted that unless the aspirant has very serious power of Mumukshuta and Guru’s Anugraha; he cannot be successful in his endeavour, as Mundakopanishad (III.2.4.) says a ‘weakling cannot attain to Aatman’!
290.  Guru’s Anugraha should be seen as God’s blessing only.  The disciple should never forget that it is Easwara who comes in the form of a Guru.  In that too for a person progressing on Adwaita Saadhana without a SaguNa Easwara Upaasana, as he goes on with NirguNa / Gnaana Marga only, it is very essential that he should be convinced within that ‘Guru and Guru Prasaadam is synonymous with Easwara and Easwara  Anugraha.  I will come back to this matter a little later.  Before that let us get over the Mumukshutvam issue.  Mundakopanishad which says that a weakling can never hope to catch the Aatman, in the mantras before that has in some way defined as to who is a Mumukshu.  It says that those who courageously root out all other desires and retain the sole aim of learning about the Aatman; Aatman enables them to have a revelation!  
291.  “To wish solely for the Aatman”, as said here is the positive form of Mumukshuta.  To dislike the worldly affairs and try and break the ties that bind you is the negative opposite.  Instead, with love to decide that this is what I want, is like a ’Swayam Varam’, setting aside all not-Self (Anaatma Vastu-s), opting for the Aatman!  As a happy, beautiful and positive opinion, the Mundakopanishad talks of the goal and its allure. This positive form of Mumukshuta is echoed in Sopaana Panchakam Sloka No 1, by our AachaaryaaL when he says, “आत्म इच्छा व्यवसीयतां”.  Aatma Ichcha that is the aspiration for attainment of Aatma Saakshaatkaaram should be lovingly cultivated and nurtured.  This Sopaana Panchakam also known as Upadesa / Saadhana Panchakam, in five slokas delineates 40 different actions to be taken by the aspiring Saadhak.  Starting from Karma and Bhakti it takes the aspirant to the point where he is to take up Sannyaasa.  In it instead of talking about things to be discarded, he is only talking about the positive aspect of focussing one’s mind and heart on Aatman. 
292.  Instead talking about things to be avoided and discarded, in many places in the Upanishad-s we see exhortations egging the Saadhak to go in search of what is to be obtained / found!  Appar one of the foremost saints collectively known as the ‘அறுபத்து மூவர் (the sixty three-ers), said – என்னுளே தேடிக் கண்டு கொண்டேன்”, to mean that he found by searching within!  Those who are keen on getting to know the ultimate are known as, ‘Brhma-Para-s or Brhma Nishta-s’.  Here the Nishta is not the state of Samadhi, but means ‘the dedication’ to the idea of searching for Aatman like solving a puzzle.  So now you have ‘ब्रह्मपरा, ब्र्ह्मनिष्ट & अन्वेषमाण’ all investigating, researching and locating the Brhma as the goal or treasure to be found out.  In Chandokya Upanishad Brhma is said to be ‘अन्वेष्टव्य:’ meaning that he is worthy of being investigated.
293.  The characterization of Nachiketas seems to be mainly so as to picture paint an ideal Mumukshu to the world, who just cannot be deterred or distracted!  That young boy was keen on getting to know the truth about the Aatma and the secret of Life and Existence! His father was donating his all in a spurt of giving Daanam.  The son asked his Father, “To whom are you going to donate me?”  Not receiving an answer he asked the same question thrice!  The father Vajasrava possibly was irked by the repeated questions of the boy snapped at him that he is donating him to Yama the God of death!  At once as an obedient son the boy lands up in Yama Loka.  After one’s death, it is Yama who takes control of the souls of people, isn’t it?  So, Nachiketas was convinced that Yama will know all the answers to his questions about, Life, Death, Aatman, and the meaning of existence.  Normally people would shake with fear even to think of death and Yama’s place.  But Nachiketas decides that Yama Puri will be an ideal Guru Kulam for learning the most important lessons of his life!  Yama was not at home as Nachiketas’ arrival was not in the agenda at all!  Whatever hospitality that was extended, was ignored by Nachiketas who remained fasting, possibly with the idea, “Instead of getting the Upadesa worthy of our attention, what is the use of other types of hospitalities?”  He thus remained clear about what he has come to Yama Puri for.
294.  Yama returned, on the mention of whose name people world over shiver with fear!  It was Yama who was shivering with fear at the potential threat brewing in his house in the form of a Brhmachari Brahmin boy, who was so keen on getting the answers to his questions, fasting that too for three full days!  His keenness was burning like the fire in the belly of a volcano!  So Yama offered the boy three boons.  The most important one in those three boons asked for by Nachiketas was about the Aatman!  Before answering him, Yama possibly wished to ascertain the intensity of Nachiketas’ thirst for getting the reply to his questions, or maybe he wished to demonstrate to the world as to how an ideal Mumukshu will be and so tested him.  Yama said “This Aatma Tattva is a matter that could confuse even the most erudite scholars and celestial beings.  So you better ask for some other boon.”  Nachiketas’ reply was a classic example of clear headedness and sense of purpose.  He said, “By your very reply, my wish to know the answer to my question becomes more strengthened.  No other boon can match my original request.  So you have to give Upadesa on Aatma Tattva only and you are the best to give that reply, as none else can know the answer so well and explain the same in clear terms!”  For every gambit of Yama, Nachiketas was ready with the counter gambit plus!
295.  “I shall give you elephants, horses, gold, lands, sovereignty,  progeny, long life and further whatever you may wish for; shall be granted!  I shall give you such wealth and longevity and send my Bootha GaNas in service for you as servants, cooks, butlers, house keepers and musicians.  Please do not be adamant on your original demand, you may add anything else as a bonus.”  Yama tries his level best, tests him, and showers his blessings on Nachiketas, pressing a golden necklace on him.  But, Nachiketas did not move even an inch from his position.  “Whatever you may give or offer are all things that will come back to you some time or the other!  I am not interested in them.  This Nachiketas is interested only in what is eternally permanent.  He will not ask for anything more nor is he going to be satisfied with anything less!”  Saying this, he does not touch that golden necklace, even with his fingers!
296.  Yama is fully satisfied and says, “My dear Son, you are great!  You are the one to discard all desires as unworthy of attention, solely concentrating on Aatma Gnaana as the only deserving goal.  I hope that I will get such students in the future too. You are courageous.  The gates of Heaven and Brhma Loka are open for you.  It is just not another place in space!  You fully deserve to know the truth of Brhmam.  Now let me tell you the answer to your questions.”  Having praised the chance visitor to his Yama Loka, he gives Upadesa, which is the second important message of the Upanishad!   Of course, the first important message of the Upanishad is to demonstrate the purpose and attitude of an aspiring Mumukshu!  At the end of the Upanishad, it is said that Nachiketas became a Muktan and that ‘such people who get to know the principle of Aatma Gnaana like that (‘एवं विद्’), will all become a Muktan.  ‘Like Nachiketas’ means with such intensity of Mumukshuta.  The Saadhana Chatushtyam finishes with Mumukshutvam.

(To be continued.)




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