Monday, October 29, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 75 (Vol # 6) Dated 29 Oct 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 75 (Vol # 6) Dated 29 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 last paragraph on No 511 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)

412.  In reality when Aatma wakes up – that Aatma is of course never asleep and always awake – from being an unknown entity, when it is apperceived, it is said to be awake!  Then, when it happens, this man, the individual who thought his self to be a separate entity, is no more!  That is, this man may physically be still alive and doing everything normally as any other person.  But he has lost his sense of being a separate individual.  He may think, “Oh! What brilliant and powerful effulgence is this Aatma!  In my ignorance I have been blind to it as though sleeping, assuming the Aatma to be asleep.  To think that the Aatma is awake is only an assumption and our imagination.  It is beyond anyone’s ability to describe.  But we will continue to have an idea of the existence of something as Aatma, or Brhmam, an indivisible being aware of its blissfulness – Sat – Chit – Anandam!  Though not able to conceive as to exactly what it is, some trace of an idea will be with us.  Since, till the Antah KaraNam is totally wiped out, some thoughts will continue to linger, and so this sort of a hazy picture will continue to be there in our inner awareness.  Thus when we think of the Aatma as having been woken up in us, instead of thinking of it only as an idea or principle , we should be thinking of it as a living entity and wish to sacrifice our infinitesimally small and negligible being to that all pervasive Aatma.  To do so is Bhakti!  That is ‘Anusandaanam’ after ‘Avabhodham’.  To wake up to this sense is the first and then after waking up is the next step of establishing our mutual relationship and then is to ardently desire to become one with it, which we already are!
413.  “Instead of conceiving anything about the Aatma that it is like this or like that, let it be the way it is.  Let it do whatever to absorb us or devour us, you just keep watching.  Do not give any adjective to qualify it as, Sat – Chit – Anandam or anything.”  That may be the advice of people experienced in ‘Aatma Gnaana’, give the Saadhak.  Though it is difficult not to describe it, in advanced stages of ones progress to passively accept it, the way it is, is not entirely impossible.  As you are thrilled and start to heap a lot of adjectives on it, there may be times when your own inner conscience maybe prompting you, “Just keep quiet and watch the fun!” 
414.  Thus when you simply look at it without any preconception, there is a likelihood of its seeming to be just a void.  So regarding Aatma even when there is no preconception, it is not simply a void, it is alive.  Not just alive, but the very essence or meaning of Life and to know it is the very purpose of existence!  We should never forego this idea that it is the Uyir and since we are also basically a life form, the connection, the relationship is easily established.  Once the contact has been made, instead desiring for any advantage or return or benefit, the aim should be to add this minute form of life to that.  That should become a burning aspiration as a true, sincere, natural and inevitable corollary.  To know this loving relationship to be a true eventuality, our AachaaryaaL has inserted the phrases of ‘स्व स्वरूप अवभोधं’ and ‘स्व स्वरूप अनुसंधानम्’, in both places there is ‘स्व +स्वरूप’.  The first ‘swa’ means one’s own and the second means natural.  So the phrase ‘स्व स्वरूप’ means our own natural form – now when mixed with Maya it is Jiva Aatma and when not mixed with Maya, we are naturally and truly Aatma itself!  How else to say it?
415.  Here you may raise a question as to how can the Aatma have a Roopam, ரூபம் or உருவம் or a form? This word ‘Uruvam’ in Tamil is from the Sanskrit word ‘Roopam’.  Its meaning is form as well as the true quality or its nature.  When any word starting with ‘R’ is written in Tamil, traditionally we add a oror to it, like ‘Rangan’ becomes ‘Arangan’ and ‘Raman’ becomes ‘இராமன்.  Here the Roopam means its natural quality.  Still generally when we use the word ‘Roopam’ in addition to being the inanimate form it informs us of its natural quality, and means that we are alluding to its animate aspect of being with life.  When we say that musician while singing displayed the ‘Roopam’ of the Raaga, what we mean is that he not only displayed the form of the Raaga but made it lively.  We do not say that when describing a lecture by a Professor in Physics or Chemistry!  The reason being, while art forms are considered to be animated with life, science is purely inanimate only.  I happened to point this out because when we mention the form and its nature, its liveliness is understood.  As we hear the phrase ‘Aatrma Swa roopam’, it is comprehended as live thing.  Then when it is prefixed with another ‘Swa’ – as ‘Aatma swa swaroopam’ meaning what is ‘its natural quality’, we will not think of Aatma as some inanimate entity.
416.  While talking about life, we notice that some words have a unique sense of liveliness.  In the phrase, ‘Sat – Chit – Anandam’, take the word ‘Sat’ – ‘सत्’.  It means ‘Being or Existence or Life’.  Though the word ‘Being’ has a sense of being with life, it is not so clear, as even insentient beings can be there.  Similarly the word ‘Existence’ though with life, sounds too academically insentient.  But the word ‘Life’ of course has to be automatically sentient.  As the word itself has life, it is not a dry concept only.  Similarly the phrase ‘Swa Swaroopam’ clearly brings out its aspect of liveliness.  To make us understand that ‘Aatma’ is a sentient lively thing and not a dry concept only, our AachaaryaaL has prescribed that we should be keen on Mumukshuta for ‘Swa Swaroopa Avabhodham’ and after ‘Avabhodham’, that is, after the awareness in us has been awakened, we need Bhakti for ‘Swa Swaroopa Anusandaanam’!  Then he said, “स्वात्म तत्व अनुसंधानम् भक्थिरित्यपरे जगु:”, as there are people who opine that to celebrate our oneness with the inner Aatma is the real Bhakti!  Here ‘apare jagu:’ means that, ‘some others say’.  What do they say?  They say that, ‘to do continuous mulling of the principle of one’s own self is devotion’.
417.  When he says that some others are of that opinion, it is clear that it is not his opinion.  His own opinion has already been expressed by him of course when he said that, ‘swa Swaroopa anusandhaanam’.  So the difference between his opinion and others’ as to what is devotion’,  lies in the difference between ‘swa swaroopa’  / ‘swaatma tattva’ – anusandhaanam.  They both seem to be same except in one’s attitude to it evidently.  For so long, we have been discussing and analysing Aatma to be considered as a lively, sentient Uyir to be loved and venerated and not simply as an abstract principle.  To think of Aatma as loveable and lively as the object of our adoration, is Bhakti as our AachaaryaaL says and there are those who opine that to continuously think of Aatma as a principle that defines one’s own self is devotion.  Instead of thinking of the goal as a loveable and lively entity in which the Saadhak could hope to dissolve his self in love intrinsically; to think of the goal as an abstract principle is a bit of a comeback, isn’t it?  Then how did they name it as Bhakti?    Possibly because of thinking the love in Bhakti to be a one way traffic I suppose!
418.  Roopam instead of meaning only the form is indicative of the nature or quality.  Tatvam also means the same or rather the intrinsic nature.  However ‘swaswaroopa anusandhaanam’ seems to convey the sense of inhering one’s own form and natural liveliness than the phrase ‘swaatma Tattva anusandhaanam’ as to enjoy some principle from the outside.  Anyhow, we need not spend too much time in this differentiation and take our AachaaryaaL’s advice of adoring our own inner living form as the goal of devotion.  I must point out another opinion present within the Adwaitins.  To tell you the truth, it is that differing view that has had more publicity.  It is a fact that some people believe that Bhakti / Devotion is only applicable in duality and has no place in Adwaita Saadhana.  I myself had to raise that question, “How can there be a place for Bhakti in Adwaita Saadhana”, before giving all this explanation, isn’t it?  I bring a full stop to that explanation by saying that, “To do Aatma Chintan with the idea of establishing a relation of love with Aatma; not so as to carry on retaining our separateness for ever, but to melt ourselves out of the scene is Bhakti”.  I hope by now you understand as to how to be devoted to the NirguNa Brhmam and as to how it is the most powerful tool in our hands as – ‘गरीयसी सामग्री‘, as our AachaaryaaL says!
வேதமே விதிக்கும் ஞான மார்க்க பக்தி
Devotion in Gnaana Marga as Directed in the Vedas

419.  In the path of Gnaana, the direct method that fetches the aspirant to the goal is Nididhyaasana as part of Gnaana Yoga.  Having a well-defined object as the goal, to concentrate one’s mind in contemplating on it to the exclusion of all other thoughts is Nididhyaasana.  When saying so, there is no implication of a relationship with a live entity but only to be in deep meditation of a concept or principle, is what is meant.  But, that is not how it is, says our AachaaryaaL.  It is not only an object or goal but a living entity with which we have to establish an intimate relationship unto which we have to finally do ‘Aatma SamarpaNam’ of Self-Sacrifice with love and adoration.  Not only that he says so, but also he says that to be the order of the Vedas.  Now listen to the Sloka No 46 (or 48 in some editions), of Viveka ChudamaNi –
“श्रद्धा भक्ति ध्यानयोगान मुमुक्षोर्मुक्तेर्हेतून्वक्ति साक्षातस्रुतेर्गी: |
यो वा एतेष्वेव तिष्टत्यमुष्य मोक्षो आविध्या कल्पित देह बन्धात् ||”
Now let me give you the transliteration –
“shraddha bhakti dhyaana yogaan mumukshor
Mukterhetoonvakti saakshaat sruter gee: |
yo vaa eteshveva tishtatyamushya
moksha: avidya kalpita deha bandanaat ||”
420.  Now, let me give you the meaning.  “Faith, devotion and the practice of meditation --- these are mentioned in the songs of Sruti as the chief factors that help a seeker to attain liberation.  Whosoever pursues these is liberated from the bondage of the body which is a projection mysteriously accomplished by his spiritual ignorance.”  Basically Shraddha and with that to do Bhakti Yoga and Gnaana Yoga – while doing Dhyaana to have an under- current of devotion – is the way for a Mumukshu for getting liberation.  So say the Vedas themselves – साक्षातस्रुतेर्गी:“  Is that so?  Is the Veda telling us to mix a bit of Bhakti in the path of Gnaana also?  Where is it given?”  If you have those questions, the answer is due in the next issue of Deivathin Kural.




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