Saturday, November 02, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 59 (Vol # 7) Dated 02 Nov 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 59 (Vol # 7) Dated 02 Nov 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 the last paragraph in page No 474 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)

10.           Even in the melancholy of sadness there is some elevating and ennobling influence.  That is why many of the western dramatists of note have authored great tragedies.  But that is more appropriate for their culture.  They are capable of otherwise being happy with themselves and their life.  So for them a tragedy is something like a change from the normal.  In our life style so much of dancing and make-merry is not there normally.  So, when we go to attend a drama for entertainment, we naturally do not wish to feel heartbreak, hopelessness and misery by choice.  Hence those who systematised our arts naturally decided that all such depiction must end in a hopeful note.  But however, it does not mean that they were all inane comedies.  They meant that all different feelings must be depicted on stage and gave importance to nine different clearly identified feelings or sensations and named them as 'Nava Rasa', meaning 'Nine different feelings'.
'Nava Rasam – Sãntam'
11.           Whether it is a novel or drama, there will be some story with a plot in which there will be many events and descriptions of nature.  There may be some decorative use of comparisons, rhyme, iteration, reason, word play and such things.  But none of these things are like the life line.  The basic life for the story is said to be the 'Rasam' or the essence, the crux.  However much a sentence may have beauty, flounce and flourish, without 'Rasam' it does not get elevated to the level to be called classic literature.  A critic by the name of Viswanatha in 'Sãhitya DarpaN' has said 'Vãkyam rasãtmakam kãvyam' – 'वाक्यं रसात्मकं काव्यं' meaning that only when it has the juicy bit of deep inner essence, speech or saying or a sentence can be called as 'Kãvyam'.  

12.          There are two different opinions in listing what these different feelings or sensations are, that can be considered as Rasam.  Some say that there are eight different sensations and some say that they total nine. They are 'srungãra:' – 'शृङ्गारः' (love and passion), 'hãsyam' – 'हास्यं' (humour), 'roudram' – 'रौद्रं' (anger), 'karuNã' – 'करुणा' (sadness), 'veeram' – 'वीरं' (courageousness), 'bhayãnakam' – 'भयानकं' (evoking fear), 'beebhatsa' – 'बीभत्सं' (disgust or abomination), 'adbhutam' – 'अद्भुतं' (wonder); are the eight dominant feelings or sensations as per one set of literary critics.  But those who believe in 'Nava Rasa' claim that along with the above eight we have to add 'Shãntam' – 'शान्तं' (quietude of peacefulness) as the ninth Rasa.

13.          Just because some did not include Shãntam as one of the Rasa, does not mean that they thought it to be anything less.  In fact they valued that Shãntam very highly.  Our culture as people of India is to virtually merge in the totality of peacefulness.  All our religious functions and rituals end and get completed with the chanting of 'Om Shãnti: Shãnti: Shãnti:' – 'ॐ शान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति:' saying the mantra three times.  In that state of absolute peace, there is no body to feel any of the feelings or sensations!  All sensations and feelings are based on there being a separate individual who reacts or responds to stimuli from the world.  All the eight separate sensations listed are such responses of the mind of the observer or participant to situations or events or words spoken by others.  But this Shãntam is a state in which all agitations and responses have subsided, in a cool and calm way when there is no observer with a separate identity or a mind of his own.  So, how to consider this at par with the other eight Rasa-s?  Here this mind is so quiescent as though it is dead and so Shãntam is neither a feeling nor a sensation. 

14.          So, how are we to think of this Shãntam as one of the Rasa-s in which the feelings and the person feeling the sensations are different entities?  Whether it is bravery or passion, anger or laughter, they are agitations of the mind and temporary passing phases.  None of them yield the permanent peace and happiness of Ãnandam.  In fact that final state of Peace and Shãntam cannot be one of the Rasa-s at all, is the opinion of the 'Eight Rasa-s only' party.  Hãsyam or humour that is one of the Rasa-s is different from the deep permanent Ãnandam, the real state of our inner self.  Unattached to anything, without an iota of sadness, it is by itself the true and real inner being, this peaceful Ãnandam.
15.          Like the Sunlight this Ãnandam is all encompassing.  But we are not aware of it, exactly as we are not aware of the Sunlight under the shades of a banyan tree though we see the bits of the light when the branches move with the wind; we feel bits of anger, hate, fear and sorrow.  During the play of such feelings also bits of Ãnandam are felt by us in the gaps.  The basis of those bits of Ãnandam experienced is the fact that the truth of our reality underlying all those fleeting sensations is the reality of our inner being that is, Ãnandam.  Such is the shade of Maya under which we are unaware of our reality.

16.          There is no colour in Sunlight.  Similarly in the reality of our inner being in the peace of that Ãnandam, there does not seem to be any of the other colours of other feelings.  As revealed in the spectroscopy all the colours are contained in the white light of the Sun.  When that light is diffracted we see all the colours of the spectrum VIBGYOR.  Same way as all the colours are contained in the white light, all the gradations of feelings and sensations are contained in the peaceful Ãnandam.  It is all a matter of self-control instead of letting them become scattered.

17.          When any of the elements are heated up, they shine with its characteristic colour. So also do the chemicals.  Normal match stick burns yellow.  With different chemicals they burn with red or green colour.  Petrol and natural gas has a blue coloured flame.  Copper sulphate burns with a green colour.  Since all the elements are contained in the Sun and they are burning together, the Sunlight is a wholesome white.  In addition to all these elements it has been found out that the Sun contains a whole lot of Helium, that is not plentifully available on earth, the scientists say.  In the Latin language the world Helios is a name for the Sun.  So, our Solar System having the Sun in its centre is known as 'Helio-centric'.  Finally if we search as to from where is this word Helium derived, we find that it is from the Sanskrit language only.  In Sanskrit the Sun is called 'Heli:' – 'हेलि:' and the surprising thing is that Helium is very light and non-inflammable!  

18.          Having started in Nava-Rasa we have come up to the story about the Sun, for one important understanding.  As all the colours are already merged in the white light from the Sun which contains all the basic elements giving out the colours; exactly similarly the Shãntam, which is devoid of all sensations, is the source for all of them.  For all those feelings and sensations and the persons feeling those sensations are included in it.  Everything is that peaceful Ãtma only.  It is all and everything while simultaneously is the stand-alone entity.  When everything else burns, Helium is non-inflammable, it is very light unaffected by any of the feelings or sensations. 

19.          When it is all Shãntam, it is the all-permeating ocean of peace.  It is that one thing as other Rasa-s gives some Ãnandam. Even cruelty gives some pleasure to the sadist!  Like each element gives out some colour while burning, in some mental attitude we display some feelings.  If we reach or attain to or realize the source of all feelings and sensations, we become sans all feelings and sensations and like the Sun become self-brilliant and shining.  By the by one of the meanings of the Sanskrit word 'हेलि:' is dalliance or amorous sport!

Arts Should Facilitate Attaining to Shãntam
20.          I told you about the Rasa-s in literature.  Similarly there are six different tastes as recognised by the taste buds in the tongue also, that is also known as Rasa only.  In the performing arts they are eight or nine of them if you include Shãntam.  In the culinary art there are six of them.  But I am afraid that there are not parallel words for them all in English.  Let us list them.  One is Sweet or 'Inippu' – 'இனிப்பு' in Tamil like the taste of sugar or honey.  Next is 'Kasappu' – 'கசப்பு' like the taste of bitter-gourd.  Then there is 'Tuvarppu' – 'துவர்ப்பு', for which there doesn't seem to be any synonym except bland, like the taste of betel-nut.  Next Rasa is 'PuLippu' – 'புளிப்பு', that is Sour like the lemon. Fifth Rasa is 'URaippu or Kãram' – 'உறைப்பு or காரம்'.  In English it is said to be also either bitter or hot, which is the taste of hot-pepper.  The sixth taste is 'Karippu' – 'கரிப்பு' that is the taste of common salt that is, Sodium Chloride.  All those words are ending in 'ppu' that we can say that all of them contain some 'Uppu' or salt thus may be giving rise to the adage in Tamil, 'uppu illãp-paNdam kuppayile' – 'உப்பு இல்லாப் பண்டம் குப்பையிலே' , meaning that the stuff without salt is good only for the dust-bin! 

21.          But none of these tastes can be enjoyed by itself whereas, various combinations can be enjoyed.  Nobody can eat a hot pepper or a lemon by itself, but the two with some salt added in right proportions, used as flavouring to some cooked vegetable, can make a great dish.  Same is the case with all these Rasam-s or tastes by themselves.  Combinations in the correct proportions make culinary delights.  So also in life, all the Rasam-s of feelings and sensations too are to be mixed in varied proportions leading to the proverb, 'Variety is the spice of life'!

(To be continued.)




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