Saturday, July 20, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 13 (Vol # 7) Dated 19 July 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 13 (Vol # 7) Dated 19 July 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL 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 86 of Volume 7 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 continually)

119.        The word Father must be from the Sanskrit word 'Pita & Pitru' – 'पिता & पितृ' which means Father, singular and plural.  In English they call their religious preachers as Father only.  In Tamil there is a word 'Pãdiri' – 'பாதிரி', which is derived from the word 'Padre', which is from the Portuguese language.  Before the English and French, the Portuguese had landed in India and carried out much of looting and ransacking the locals in their efforts to establish a foot-hold in the Indian main land.  They captured existing townships and villages and did much to spread their domination and religion by establishing their churches.  They also carried out a lot of conversions of locals to their religion in places like Goa, Diu and Daman.  They called their religious leaders as Padre from which this Tamil word 'Pãdiri' came into being.  So, whether Father or Padre, the root word is 'Pita' only.

120.        Amongst the European languages, typical words of one will undergo slight variations in others.  For example there is a place named after Saint Thomas which in Portuguese is 'San Thome'.  So we have in Madras place names such as 'Santhome' and Saint Thomas Mount.   All the French people were called by one common word 'Frank' which in North India was referred as 'Firangi', a word which was used to refer all foreigners instead of only the French and in Tamil became 'Parangi'.  So we have place names such as 'Parangi Pettai' near Chidambaram and in Madras St. Thomas Mount is known as 'Parangi Malai'!  This 'Parangi Pettai' was originally 'Porto Novo' as named by the Portuguese originally, which means a 'New Port'!  As the Guru is considered as a 'Pita', so also the use of words like 'Padre' and Father came into being for teacher, especially the religious teachers.

121.        But except in the religions of Indian origin such as Buddhism and Jainism, this intimate relation between Guru and Sishya is not to be found in other religions.  The system by which the Guru formally and ceremonially passes on the traditional power of Mantra to the disciple and taking over the total responsibility for the physical, mental and moral up-bringing of the child right up to his Moksha and self-realization and the disciple reciprocating with complete surrender to the Guru, thinking of him as God-incarnate; is not to be seen in other religions which are popular to-day.  One Muslim gentleman told me that in Islam the status and position of Guru can be equated with 'Murshid' and 'Murid' with the Sishya.  He also confirmed that the system of Guru – Sishya relationship is not widely prevalent in his religion.  I was pointing out as to how like the Father-Son relationship in the world of transactions, there is, in the inner world of spiritual flowering the Guru-Sishya connection, as especially present in our traditions.  Then I was saying that in other religions there is a similar addressing of religious leaders as you would address a Father, though the relationship is not so deep rooted.

122.        Amongst Muslims such persons are referred as 'Baba'.  By dint of long association with Muslims in North India, even Hindus refer to their religious leaders as 'Baba' there.  That word 'Baba' also means 'Daddy / Father / Appã / அப்பா' only, isn't it?  Jews call their religious leaders as 'Rabbi' and say that the word 'Rubh' is big and mighty.  In Sanskrit there is the word 'Bruh' from which is 'Brhmam' and 'Brhmãndam', meaning bigger than the biggest and the 'huge egg' that contains everything in itself, denoting the Universe are derived!  So also the word 'Guru' means Big, as I had said earlier!  So, 'Bruh' in one language has been termed as 'Rubh' in another.  The scripture that talks about that big thing, that is, the Vedas is also known as 'Brhma'.  So, the Jews call the one who tells them about their scripture Talmud as Rabbi.  It shows that all the world over, there has been a similarity in the religious thought processes almost similar to Vedic utterances.  May be that we all belonged to one religion only in some eerie and bygone past and may be that it was all Vedic as they are the oldest going back into many an Armageddon or Pralayas, Kalpas and Maha Pralayas!

123.        There is an Upanishad known as Prasnopanishad.  In it towards the end, the disciples tell their Guru, "Since you were kind enough to take us across this ocean of Ignorance to the far off shores of enlightenment, you are our Father" and do Namaskãr to him.    To put it more correctly they tell him, "Aren't you really our Father?"  That means that they believe that he is their Father by any method of assessment or evaluation!   The physical or bio-logical father only happens to be the one who gave a mortal life, like whom we have had many parents in many life times; while, the Guru begets us in to immortality of eternity!  He is the only one who gives us Amrita or Amirta.  This word does not mean a miracle potion by drinking which one becomes immortal.  In fact in Sanskrit it is 'a + mrutam = amrutam' – 'अ + मृतं = अमृतं', that is, 'non-mortal meaning immortal and evolves from the realization of one's reality!  Here our ÃchãryãL says in his Bhashyam, "Like a boatman pulls the boat by rowing the oars across the waters full of crocodiles of diseases, old-age and death in this ocean of ignorance of 'Samsara Sãgara' by this boat of Gnãna from repetitive births and deaths and be born unto immortality of awareness, knowledge and self-realization: Guru more appropriately deserves to be called the real Father, more than any other parent!  If amongst all respectable elders it is the father who has to be given the top most place of reverence, then for this Guru who grants the endowment of fearlessness, what title or honour can be more deserving?"  To be in constant fear from 'one-up-man-ship' to mortal danger, all fears are about the second, the duality of Dwaitam.  Fearlessness is the Anubhava of Adwaitam!  All fear – 'Bhayam' is in duality.  There is much to talk about this subject and one can carry on talking about it till the proverbial 'cows come home'.  That is not required now!  We all know that the 'present' is known as 'bhavam' – 'भवं'.  With that there is a constant lurking fear.  So add fear to the present and that becomes the one well known phrase, 'bhava + bhayam' – 'भव + भयं' = 'भवभयं', meaning the 'fear of the present moment', that is our present moment when and wherein anything can go wrong and it does, including our death!  From that, the state of fearlessness is 'Adwaitam' isn't it?  And the one who enables us to reach such a state is only the Guru, isn't it?  Can we ever be done with talking about his greatness?  We cannot!

124.        I only wished to point out that the name Father and Guru are almost synonymous.  To call the Father as Guru is a worldly tradition.  But I wanted to show you how in the Prasnopanishad all his students tell their Guru that, 'He is their Father in fact'!  Each one of those students are themselves great Rishis by their own rights!  Kamban is a poet par excellence in Tamil known as 'Kavi Chakravarty', meaning that he is an Emperor among poets.  He has made use of this tradition of the Upanishad about the Guru being the de facto Father while talking about Sri Rama that too in the presence of Sri Rama's future Father-in-law Janaka in the Royal Court in Mithila.  Sage Vishwãmitra had taken Sri Rama and Lakshmana to that adjacent kingdom to try out the Siva Dhanush.  At that time Vishwãmitra introduces the two brothers to all those assembled there.  He starts talking about the greatness of Surya Vamsam in which starting from Surya the Sun, he describes each one (as Maha Kavi Kãlidãsa has done in Raghu Vamsam,) he ends with Dasarata, who is the 36th in the lineage.  Then he says that Dasarata had done 'Puthra Kãmeshti' Yãga to get Sri Rama and his brothers as off-springs.  The point of our interest here is that, here Kamban says that Vishwãmitra said that, 'See here that, Dasarata was only name sake Father!  It is the great sage Vasishta who gave them Upanayanam, Brhma Upadesam, taught them the Vedas and brought them up well versed in all arts and crafts.  Look at the end product before your eyes!'  It is worth its while to note the very words of Kamban here – 'புதல்வர் என்னும் பெயரே காண்! உபநயன விதி முடித்து, மறை ஒதுவித்து வளர்த்தோன் வசிட்டன் காண்'!  (KTSV adds – I have given the meaning in italics but am not giving the 'trans-literation'.  Please tell someone who knows Tamil to read it for you.)

Father as Well as Guru – Some Lineage
125.            We also come across certain other ancestries in which the biological father himself is also the Guru, especially in Rishi lineages, where fractional Daddy also becomes the wholesome Father!  (PeriyavãL laughs at his own humour!)  Especially amongst us the Smãrthãs of the Brhma Vidya Guru Parampara starting from Guru Vishnu / Narayana, his son Brahma, then Vasishta, his son Shakti, then Parãsara, his son Vyãsa and his son Suka; until then they are all Father/Guru and Son/Sishya.  Suka was never interested in worldly affairs at all and remained celibate as a 'Naishtika Brhmachari'.  The lineage continues from him as Guru to Sishya who is a Sanyãsi.  His disciple was Gowda Pãda and his Sishya was Govinda Bhagawat Pãda whose disciple was our ÃchãryãL, continuing with only Sanyãsi Sishyas down the line.  Generally the Rishi lineages have all been Father-Son as well as Guru-Sishya ancestry only.

Lineage of Rishis as the Son of so and so Mother
126,        There is one place, where we find a totally different ancestry mentioned and that is in the end portion of the last of the ten Upanishads, known famously as the very foundation of all our religious beliefs and tenets.  The last of the ten Upanishads is the biggest, Brihad ÃraNyaka Upanishad.  Its last part is VamsãvaLi in which, a whole list of names of Rishis are given as the son of so and so.  Though a son is the off-spring of both a father and a mother, normally it is the custom to mention the Father's name only.  In any document or application for in all countries almost, it is only the Father's name asked for.  Even the initials are formed by the place name and father's name only mostly!  In this matter no Women's Liberation Movement seems to have started an agitation.  May be I am now sowing the seeds for one to happen, I do not know!  As in the Vedas and Upanishads, since the father was also mostly the Guru, the son's names have been mostly evolved from the father's names.  We also introduce ourselves while doing Namaskãr by taking the names of the first three Rishis who were the originators of that Gothra in the lineage, don't we?  There may be some here listening to my talk now, who might have been just rattling out those names without even noting that they are the names of his earliest forefathers!

127.        Contrary to this generally prevalent tradition, in that Brihad ÃraNyaka Upanishad, at the last chapter each name of the Rishi has been given with the Mother's name!  It is a very long list containing only their Mother's names and the name of the Rishi.  That portion of the Upanishad contains no other Upadesa or philosophical concepts whatsoever!  When we wonder as to why it is so, we learn from our ÃchãryãL's Bhashyam the reason for this, when he says that it is so given because it is the Mother's qualitative input that a son becomes famously known and hence the Ãchãrya Parampara has been so described with each Rishi's Mother's names!
(To be continued.)



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