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
http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated continually)
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!
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!
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?
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!
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 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
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 –
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!
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