Sunday, September 01, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 33 (Vol # 7) Dated 01 Sept 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 33 (Vol # 7) Dated 01 Sept 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 229 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)

321.            All said and done, the point to note is that there are many small devotional procedures which do not require that they can be done only after taking Upadesa from a Guru specially meant for that purpose.  In this enormous multitude of what is the world's population, when everybody is constantly concerned and too busy about such things as name and fame or making ends meet or are   hard-up for resources and time, these prayer procedures are such that they can be under taken by most of the people on their own.  Our people nowadays are getting employed in all sorts of jobs in such odd corners all over the world, that you may not be able to locate someone who can act as the Guru to initiate you for a particular type of Pooja, in a radius of even hundreds of miles.  So there are simple procedures especially meant for such people who do not have sufficient time or resources or the exact availability of specific materials.  Already our Sãstrãs and procedures cater for enormous 'in-lieu' arrangements.  For example, the grains of rice dipped in turmeric and Kumkuma known as 'Akshata' can be used in place of flowers, Yagnyopaveetam, decorative ornaments and so many other things in a formal Pooja-like situation.  Otherwise how are we to find or locate things like beetle leaf and nut or jasmine flowers made in to garlands with the thread like veins of the trunk of banana tree, in a suburban area of Okinawa or Milwaukee?  Here is where, we should think of all those Originators (of many of the books for PãrãyaNam, Pooja Kalpam, and various Bhajan Sampradãya systems,) to whom we are indebted that we should be saying 'Thank You', with a genuine sense of gratitude, every time we think of Guru!

 322.           Without any other avenues available for 'Shreyas' – 'श्रेयस' these days in the world, we have to be more than sincerely thankful for what is the only way for a majority of people – these Nãma Sankeertana and Bhajan Sampradãya. Even then, if our Sanãtana Dharma can be compared with a huge widely spread Banyan tree, one of the main roots of such spread is the idea of Guru Bhakti.  So, even if we cannot have the individual intimate Guru-Sishya relationship of yore, one can still be thankful to someone who shows us the way, generally may be, but as a Guru.  I am still emphasising this because, the Guru Upãsana, is the way for Vinaya, Adakkam along with self-confidence to flourish, in this world of one-up-man-ship by hook or crook!

Vinaya and Shraddha
323.                     Adakkam is the same as Vinaya, while faith, trust and belief put together is Shraddha.  These two, Vinaya and Shraddha are like the two eyes of the disciple.  In the past few issues of Deivathin Kural on the topic of Guru, we have repeatedly seen the symbolism of Guru showing and leading the way while the disciple sees the reality and logic of the way shown and follows the Guru.  You have to have eyes to see the way isn't it?  So, as I said that these two qualities are like the two eyes.  I hope that you are aware that the two eyes enables three dimensional vision as far as space is concerned and catering for the future as far as time is concerned. Interestingly these two qualities are mutually supportive of each other that if you have one it nurtures the other.  If we believe that someone is respectable and our benefactor, we will be automatically full of Vinaya towards that person and so also our trust and faith in him that is Shraddha will be increasing.

324.            In Bhagawat Gita, Sri Krishna while on this subject of Vinaya and Shraddha mentions that the three defining qualities of a disciple are 'praNi-pãdam, pari-prasnam and Guru-seva' – 'प्रणि-पादं, परि-प्रश्नं व गुरु-सेवा'.  Amongst them it is quite clear that 'praNi-pãdam' meaning, doing Namaskãra to demonstrate one's obedience and 'Guru-Seva' being various actions of service to Guru taking care of his creature comforts; both being part of Shraddha.  Sri Krishna says 'shraddhavãn labhate gnãnam' – 'श्रद्धावान लभते ज्ञानं', an oft repeated quotation, meaning that a person who has Shraddha attains to Gnãna.  It is understood that doing Namaskãra and Guru-Seva are part of Shraddha alright but, how about Pari-Prasna?  How can it be considered as part of being humble?  Or in other words, how can questioning the Guru be construed as having the quality of Vinaya?

How can Pari-Prasna be Vinaya?
325.            To repeatedly raise questions from every angle till the matter under consideration is completely understood is this concept of Pari-Prasna.  The moment there is a doubt, it assumes many shapes in the matter, procedure and even the authenticity of the person.  So, do we question the Guru?  Here another quotation of Sri Krishna comes to our mind and that is, 'shamshai Ãtma vinasyati' – 'शम्शै आत्मा विनश्यति', meaning the doubting man perishes!  If one is disciplined and also has trust and faith in the Guru and his words, how can there be questions and if there are questions does it not mean that there is some lack of trust and faith?  Then having said that a doubting Thomas dissipates, how is it that, this Pari-Prasna is thought to be one of the defining qualities of Vinaya with doing Namaskãra on the one side and doing Guru-Seva on the other?  Evidently, it cannot be meaning that one is having doubts about what the Guru says! 

326.            Point to understand is that Pari-Prasna does not mean that you cross-examine the Guru, but with trust and faith in the Guru's statement, to try and understand the subject matter from all possible angles and to go back to Guru to get the grey areas clarified, only when such a move is considered essential.  So the doubt is not in the veracity of the Guru's statement but in one's own understanding and comprehension.  It does not matter if I look like a fool in others' view and the Guru is going to think a little less of my intelligence and understanding.  But, clarify the doubt I must!  This readiness to being looked down upon and risk one's reputation is Vinaya. Isn't it?
327.  There is a machine that is running and the operator or the salesman nearby is explaining the 'how' of it.  We have no doubt in the fact that the machine is running alright.  But do we understand all the points?  Do we not clarify our doubts on such occasions, before purchasing that piece or before placing orders for some numbers?  Here to test ourselves if we have fully comprehended the situation and having identified exactly as to what is the confusion or doubt in our minds and get it clarified is what is known as Pari-Prasna.  Now, please do not have any doubt that it is very much part and parcel of the quality of Vinaya.  Only a man with conceit will smugly assume that he knows everything and claim that he has no doubts!

ÃchãryãL Explains the Value of Shraddha
328.            Thus after explaining as to how PraNi-Pãdam, Pari-Prasnam and Guru-Seva are part and parcel of the quality of Vinaya, he extols the other eye that a disciple is supposed to have, to be able to correctly see the path shown by the Guru.  It is here at this juncture that he makes this famous statement that 'shraddhavãn labhate gnãnam', meaning that only the man with Shraddha attains to Gnãnam!  At this juncture our ÃchãryãL touches a very subtle point of deep psychology!  PraNi-Pãdam, Pari-Prasnam and Guru-Seva as part of the quality of Vinaya   are all such things as outer demonstrations, in which one can get away with being insincere and hypocrisy.  Without real Bhakti for the Guru, one could fall flat on one's face repeatedly in doing Namaskãra!  Without genuine interest in the subject, one could ask questions as though one is keen.  Though these activities do come under Vinaya, one can playact and pretend, in being subservient, asking probing questions and taking care of the Guru's creature comforts!  Without genuine sincerity one can get away with a good name!  Though all these three things are part of humility, there is no certainty.  Similar is not the case with Shraddha!  This is not a quality as seen and assessed by others!  There is no way of displaying Shraddha!  This is unshakeable trust and belief where there is no chance for play-acting!  This is an inner state of affairs.  There is no question of this Shraddha leading to wasted efforts at all!  It is a 'Zero or One' scenario as there cannot be a half-hearted faith and trust!  That is why our ÃchãryãL has put it in words leaving no chance for any doubt or confusion that, 'shraddhavãn labhate gnãnam' – 'श्रद्धावान लभते ज्ञानं', making it clear beyond any possibility of doubt.

Shraddha to SaraNãgati 
329.            Total Shraddha also leads to complete SaraNãgati as there is no more need for oral or verbal Upadesa from Guru to the Sishya, no need for the disciple's understanding at the cerebral level, no need for investigation and analysis by either of them like the Guru testing as to what is the level of disciple's absorption and comprehension and the disciple getting the grey areas clarified.  Guru will directly instil his own experience into the disciple.  The arguments for and against at the cerebral level will also be transferred so that, the disciple may be able to explain to his students when he has to play the role of a Guru.  It is that total surrender that has been laid as the most important duty of female citizens as a wife to surrender to their respective husbands and male members of the society to surrender to their respective Gurus!

Two Types of Surrenders and the Guru Sishya Relationship
330.            There are two distinct types of Surrender.  One is known as the 'Mãrjãra Kishora Nyãya' and other known as 'Markata Kishora Nyãya'.  In this, ' Mãrjãra Kishora' means a baby cat and 'Markata Kishora' means a baby monkey.  Amongst monkeys it is the baby monkey that catches hold of the Mother inextricably and tightly.  That is how a devotee is supposed to catch hold of God.  If you look at the cats, the baby cat has no fear or need to catch hold of the Mother.  In this case it is the Mother who picks up the baby so delicately, that too with her teeth!  The devotee leaves everything to God without any effort on his part.  Here we are not going to have a discussion as to the relative merits and demerits of either of these two attitudes of the devotee to God and God to devotee!  But we are going to relate this to the Guru – Sishya relationship.

331.            Relating this Mãrjãra and Markata Kishora Nyãya to Guru – Disciple relationship, there is one idea that occurs to me.  First the disciple should go searching for a Guru and get adhered to him strongly like the baby monkey latches on to the mother, because he needs the Mother's/Guru's care more than anything else as in Markata Kishora Nyãya.  Then Guru takes total care of the disciple as the mother in the cat's family does with her off-spring, as in Mãrjãra Kishora Nyãya.  Then without any thought as to who takes care of the other, they remain totally attached to each other!

(To be continued.)




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