Thursday, November 08, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 80 (Vol # 6) Dated 08 Nov 2012




DEIVATHIN KURAL # 80 (Vol # 6) Dated 08 Nov 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 page No 541 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)

SravaNa, Manana & Nidhidhyaasana – Three Commandments as Ordered by Vedas

460.  With Sannyaasa the Maha Vaakhya Upadesa is given.  To receive such Maha Vaakhya Upadesa is known as SravaNam.  To repeat that Upadesa silently, repeatedly within, analysing it from as many angles as possible, mulling over it is Mananam.  When the idea becomes a personal practical experience, recognized as an inner reality, the Saadhana is completed as Nidhidhyaasana.  These three activities have come about as decreed by the Vedas.  The same Bruhad AaraNyaka Upanishad which lists Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha etcetera, also lists these SravaNa, Manana and Nidhidhyaasana.  There is a difference in the way these qualities are presented.  In the case of the first few qualities, instead of instructing as to how to imbibe those qualities, there is a description of such a person with those qualities, as Saantan, Daantan, Uparatan, and so on, in an indirect way.  But in the case of the last three qualities, they have been given as injunctions to be complied with – The Aatma Tattva is to be heard attentively; it has to be mulled over ardently; till the concept as a Mantra becomes a living experience – “श्रोतव्यो, मन्तव्यो, निदिध्यासितव्यो” meaning கேட்கப்பட வேண்டும், மனதில் திரும்பத் திரும்ப நினைவு கொள்ளல் வேண்டும், உள்ளத்தில் உணர வேண்டும்.
461.  SravaNa and Susrusha.  First is SravaNam that is, to hear the Guru’s Maha Vaakhya Upadesa.  With that Guru will also be telling the disciple Sanyaasi many things from the Brhma Vidya Saastraas, traditions, how to understand and comprehend the oneness of Jiva and Brhma, how to meditate on these and related matters from the scriptures as well as his own experiences.  Listening to these things is all part of SravaNam only.  SravaNam is not only the process of hearing by the ears but also the process of absorption, understanding and comprehension.  We do eat food with the mouth, the outer tool for eating.  But then, it includes masticating, munching, swallowing, digestion and absorption by the body isn’t it?  Similarly what was heard by the ears as the nectar of advices and instructions has to reach the intellect, mind and heart.  In Vinayagar Agaval, the poet Avvaiyar says, “என் செவியில் எல்லையில்லா ஆனந்தம் அளித்து, meaning ‘in my ears giving me endless bliss’!  Through the ears, the message has to reach the mind and the heart beyond the mind to give such experience of limitless bliss, isn’t it?
462.  The all-pervasive principle of sky and space is the property of sound!  That is why the Mantras in the form of sound have to be heard by the ears, giving the importance to the act of SravaNam.  From God’s breath in the sky, the seven subtle vibrations were grasped by the super-sensory powers of the Rishis converted into frequencies within human audio range and handed over to us as Veda Mantras.  That is the reason for their having the generic name of ‘Sruti’ to mean ‘what was heard’ and not ‘hear-say’!  Then there is the traditional belief that Veda Mantras should only be heard, repeated and committed to memory and heart and were not to be written or printed or just read by the eyes!  Because, then only the message from living breath of God in the Mahat Aakaasa (macro-cosm) will reach the Dahara Aakaasa of the listener (micro-cosm) without any possible corruption due to printing/ writing mistakes, the limitations of what is written in terms of fidelity to the undulations in sound and pronunciations!  So, the importance given to SravaNam is high.    
463.  Another reason for not printing the Vedas is that, printed book is a dead material – Jada Vastu – insentient media.  It can show only the letters or combination of the letters and not impart you the meanings of the words.  The Guru has intrinsically experienced the import of the principles that he is talking about.  So when he is teaching the disciple, the mantras instead of being just letters and words become messages full of sentient life!  Additionally, only when receiving the Upadesa directly from the Guru, does the disciple feel enabled to inculcate, good conduct, discipline, modesty, obedience and most importantly subservience!  These are very important for annulling and erasing the conceit in the disciple.  Otherwise it is but natural for the student to feel head weight that he is on the way to learning the highest of all knowledge and that is exactly what is to be obviated at all cost!  So, it is necessary for a person like the Guru to be there, who is aware, knowledgeable, experienced with keenness and ability for imparting instructions; to be able to correctly place the sufficient amount of pressure on the students head and shoulders, by way of his need to do ‘Susrusha’ in understanding and absorbing the instructions there by ennobling himself and also taking care of the Guru’s physical comforts, virtually like a personal assistant or servant. 
464.  Though the word ‘Susrusha’ has come to mean ‘taking care of’, the correct meaning from the root of the word is, ‘to abide with what one hears’ or in Tamil, கேட்டு நடப்பது. Because the root word in Sanskrit is ‘Sru’ which means, ‘to hear’, as I said that the Vedas are known as ‘Sruti’, meaning ‘that which is heard.  So the direct meaning of the word ‘Susrusha’ is ‘wish to hear and abide with it’.  In relation to the Guru, it is not like the ‘Listener’s Choice’ in the radio channels.  It is not like listening and discarding if you do not like it and or saying, ‘encore’ if you happen to like what is heard!.  Actually there is no scope of there being a choice of yours!  It is utter, implicit obedience that is meant ‘with wish to excel doing that’, is the extended meaning of the word ‘Susrusha’.  We often tell the youngsters and children, “Keep quiet and listen to what I have to say”.  If they do not do so, we tick them off saying, “Nobody listens to the elders in this house!”  So to listen means to obey.  So thus, the word Susrusha’ means, to wish to carefully listen, to be able to live by and abide with those instructions or directions.
465.  To be so disciplined, you have to have the quality of obedience and acquiescence.  With that there will be a natural wish to please that person and to be of use to him with respect and a willingness to serve.  The would-be disciple is often advised on the following lines, “Go to that Guru.  Fall flat in his feet.  Pay attention to his words.  Serve him well.  Learn from him by listening to him, being observant, obedient, by clarifying your doubts and by serving him well.  This is exactly what Sri Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagawat Gita (IV.34.): – “तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया | उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिन: तत्वदर्शिन: || That means, “Know that by long prostration, by question and by service; the wise who have realised the truth will instruct in that knowledge”.  He is saying, “Go to the teachers (those who are well versed in the scriptures dealing with Brhmam, known as Brhmasrotris and who are established in Brhmam known as Brhmanishtas.  Prostrate yourself before them with profound humility and perfect devotion (praNipaatena – प्रणिपातेन).  Ask them questions (pariprasnena – परिप्रश्नेन), “O venerable Guru!  What is the cause of bondage?  How can I get liberation?  What is the nature of ignorance?  What is the nature of knowledge?  What is Antaranga Saadhana (inward spiritual practice) for attaining Self-realisation?”  Serve the Guru whole heartedly.  A teacher who is well versed in the Saastraas but who has no Self-realisation will not be able to help you in the attainment of the knowledge of the Self.  He who has knowledge of the scriptures and who is also established in the Brhman will be able to instruct thee in that knowledge and help thee in the attainment of Self-realisation.  Mere prostrations will not do.  They may be tinged with hypocrisy.  You must have perfect faith in your Guru and his teaching.  You must serve him whole-heartedly (sevaya – सेवया) with great devotion.  Now hypocrisy is not possible.”  That is the message and that is Susrusha (सुस्रूषा).
466.  One by one as we search through the connections, there is one fact after another, that is revealed.  The Fourth Chapter of Bhagawat Gita is titled as ‘Gnaana Vibhaga Yoga’.  We can see that though the immediate aim in the battle field is to urge Arjuna to overcome his delusion and shed his false sense of ‘half-baked philosophy for renunciation’, to pick up his arms and fight the battle; the main thrust of the whole of the book is to finally give up all work and go to Guru for Gnaana Upadesa, only after taking up Sannyaasa!  Just one sloka prior to this, he had said that, “Better than conducting the oblations in fire (याग व यग्न्या) as part of the Karma Yoga, the conduct of the inner Yagas is superior as all actions get completed only in Gnaana.”  Then at once he is saying, “ज्ञानिन: तत्वदर्शिन:, those who have known and are Brhmanishtas will advise and give you Gnaana Upadesa.  Go to them, fall flat in their feet, serve them with utter humility, question them and get your doubts clarified.  They will give you the answers!”  The message is clear that he is talking about going to a Gnaani and getting Brhma Vidya Upadesa after taking up Sannyaasa.
467.  What is heard by the ears, to be meticulously executed with discipline is ‘Susrusha’ as part of ‘SravaNam’, with that the inalienable part of humility and respectful love with which you take care of the Master – thus the connectivity goes on.  But, somehow only the action of serving has come to mean ‘Susrusha’ in usage at the cost of the meaning of ‘abiding with what is heard’!  As far as the Guru is concerned, more than any sincere service the disciple may do; he will cherish the attention and gravity the student gives to the words of his Upadesa, understands and comprehends the meaning with inner clarity and purity – it is this ‘Susrusha’ that the Guru will be happy with.  The Guru will value  the student’s making full use of power and potency of his Upadesa more than the ‘creature comforts’ provided by the disciple as service.  So he will value the ‘SravaNa Susrusha’ more and would be thrilled by the student making full use of Upadesa and gain in Brhma Gnaana.  As far as the Sishya is concerned, he should be giving equal importance to learning from the Guru and taking care of the Master, by being useful to him.  He should be clear in his mind the truth of the sloka: –
गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णु: गुरुर्देवो महेस्वर: गुरुस्साक्षात परब्रह्म: तस्मै श्री गुरवे नम:”.  If the Upadesa does half the work, the other half will be fulfilled by the kindness and grace of the Guru.  Where are all these facilities in a printed or e-book?

(To be continued.)

Sambhomahadeva  

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