Tuesday, December 03, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 73 (Vol # 7) Dated 03 Dec 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 73 (Vol # 7) Dated 03 Dec 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 middle of page No 562 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)

The Story is Taking Shape
13.           If everything is going on as planned there is no story.  Only when something goes wrong there can be a story, isn't it?  Now in the Yagnya organised by Kesitdwaja there was such a mishap.  The cow that was providing milk for the conduct of Yagnya was mauled by a tiger and killed.  Killing of a cow as it is will cause intolerable sorrow to any Hindu.  That too, when the particular cow that was directly involved in providing the Yagnya Sãmagri met with such a fate, it virtually unnerved Kesitdwaja extremely.  Then the Vedãntam that he had read came in handy.  He consoled himself by thinking, "What was to happen has come about.  What is the use of worrying about it now?"

14.          One can get over one's sorrow like that, but when the cow which was part of the conduct of Yagnya had died in the middle of the Yagnya.  That is a 'Dosha' – 'दोष' meaning 'detrimental effect'.  How to annul that?  To expiate for the 'Dosha' as mentioned in the Sãstrãs, the method of atonement would have been given in the Sãstrãs themselves.  What is the 'Prãyaschittam' – 'प्रायश्चित्तं', meaning method of expiation for what has happened?  He convened a Sadas of experts and consulted them.  Though he was involved in 'Karma Anushtãna', being an expert in Brhma Vidya, he was not so well versed in the procedural aspects possibly.  So neither did he know the way out nor, did his advisers know as to what should be done!

15.          Our ancestors were aware of the need for correctness in procedures and were also extremely humble in accepting the limitations of their knowledge.  So, they never hesitated approaching those who knew better and learn from them.  In the Vedas, PurãNãs and Itihãsãs we will come across many examples of such behaviour.  Now what was not known to him and his advisers was thought to be known possibly to one Kacheru.  So, the King Kesitdwaja went to this Kacheru and asked for suitable means of expiation for the Dosha that had happened.  He did not know the 'Parihãra' – 'परिहार', meaning the method of confutation.  If we were in position of Kacheru, we could have responded, "The King himself has come to us, thinking us to be knowledgeable about it!  So, let us give some reply anyhow.  Who is there to dispute our statement?"  He did not do that.  He said, "I do not know the answer.  You may ask Bhargava."  Kesitdwaja went to Bhargava.  He also did not know the answer.  He said, "I am afraid that I also do not know the reply.  May be Sunaka knows it.  Please go to him!"  We might have thought, 'enough is enough of this nonsense' and would have quitted after possibly chanting, 'Govinda' three times.  But this supreme ruler of a State, feeling sincerely that he must identify the correct method of expiation for the error that had occurred, went to Sunaka also. 

Prãyaschittam: Chanting God's Names & Vedic Methods
16.          If you have a question as to whether chanting God's names, is not a method for expiating one's sins, the answer is that, "It is very much a method of cancelling our sins for atonement"!  But when we have tried all other avenues for atonement and failed, then only should we go for that final medicine.  Even in treating patients, we do not go for the most potent means from the very beginning.  Medicine, injection, intravenous and then the invasive surgery; is the order in which they are administered depending on the need isn't it?  Only when we are not able to do as per the Sãstrãs for some physical reasons are we to resort to 'Nãma SmaraN' as the only and final resort.

17.          Just because 'Nãma SmaraN' is easy and do this as the Prãyaschittam for others, if others pay back in the same coin, will we accept the same?  Let us assume that somebody has taken a loan from us, and is refusing to pay back saying that, "I have taken the name of Govinda three times and so I am no more indebted to you," will we accept such a reply?  Only when are unable to do the Parihãra, if we take God's name in our inability beseechingly, Govinda will absolve us of our debt!  This is the meaning of Christianity's dictum, 'Do not take the God's name in vain'!  Let me explain this with another example.  We reach someone's house very hungry and tired, let us say.  We wish to have a good bath and have good food.  The householder is telling us, "It is said, 'Govinda iti sadã snãnam'.  Just chant his name and that is as good as having a bath.  Similarly, 'Govinda is Nãma Amrita'.  So instead of food also chant his name and go to sleep!"  Just imagine as to what will be our reaction!  At that time we will be fuming inside and outside and not be aware of the value of 'Nãma Mahima' at all!  But, when we realise the value of Nãma Mahima, that very act by itself will be expiation for all past, amelioration for the present and exaltation and ennoblement in the future.

Asking the Enemy for Atonement
18.          Kesitdwaja went to Sunaka.  He threw a big bomb.  "Whomsoever you thought to be the one to suggest the method of overcoming your problem like Kacheru, Bhargava, myself and further whosoever, none of us know the answer to your question.  There is only one who can solve your problem.  He is the one whom you have defeated and driven to the forest, your sworn enemy Kãndikya Janaka.  He having completely mastered the whole of Dharma Sãstrãs knows everything of the Karma KãNdam.  So, he would also be aware of the solution to your problem too. "What?  Go and ask help for resolving my problem from my sworn enemy?  Will he help me, even if he were knowledgeable about it?"  That would have been the reaction of anyone in his condition.  Then we would have resigned to our fate that, having made all our efforts, as all of them have ended in vain, the best is to do 'Nãma Japa'.  But Kesitdwaja did not do that.

18.          'Let him be the enemy or whatever. There is someone who can resolve my quandary.  If we are observing our moral principles, for the Dosha Nivrutti whosoever can suggest the right method of expiation, we should approach such a person and pray to him to make us knowledgeable.  If he retains his enmity and refuses to help us, it is his problem.  Whether he tells us the 'Parihãra' – 'परिहार', meaning suggested method of atonement or does 'Parihãsa' – 'परिहास', meaning make fun of us; to ask him is still our duty!'  That was the decision by Kesitdwaja.

19.          So, he told Sunaka, "Dear Sir!  Thank you very much for the information.  I will just now go in search of Kãndikya to the forest.  If I go with all my followers, he may construe that I have come there also to arrest him and so may evade me.  So, I shall go there as a single individual.  It is alright if he kills me in the bargain, as that would give me the effect of successful completion of the Yãga.  Then the Yãga that has remained incomplete, can be considered as having been completed, if need be by my death.  Instead of that if Kãndikya tells me as to how to do the Prãyaschittam, thereby enabling me to complete this Yagnya that has remained incomplete for so long, well and good." So saying, Kesitdwaja got on the chariot and proceeded to the forest in search of Kãndikya.  A person who was a king, that too a victorious king, because of his sincerity in his mission to complete a Yagnya, went to the forest for the specific purpose of wishing to complete the Yagnya, went to the place of his enemy.

20.          There is another special aspect that has to be taken note of here, that is, the humility, readiness and willingness with which he was prepared to go to the enemy to request, beg and beseech, so that he may get to know the right method of carrying out the Prãyaschittam!  Normally, if we are interested in knowing something, the tendency is to assess the qualifications of the would-be teacher.  If that person happens to be disliked by us or a man from a lower status in life, we will be hesitant of going to him.  Here comes to mind what Thiru Valluvar says, 'epporuL yãryãr vãik ketpinum apporuL meipporuL kãNbadarivu' – 'எப்பொருள் யார்யார் வாய்க் கேட்பினும் அப்பொருள் மெய்ப்பொருள் காண்பதறிவு', meaning, 'Whatever you may hear from whosoever, to understand the truth of that statement is knowledge'!  We find that lofty and exalted attitude in the story of Kesitdwaja.

21.          Having halted the Yagnya half way through, it was that Kesitdwaja had gone to a number of people, in trying to find the correct solution to the problem.  The Yajamãna, who starts such endeavours like conducting a Yagnya, has to take Deeksha and remain so till at the end of it, he completes the conduct of it and takes 'Avabruta Snãnam'.  Till then he is not to shave, wear 'Krishna Jinam' that is black deer skin, practicing moderation and celibacy, not eating meat or drink alcohol and many such observances and restrictions.  For example if any part of the body feels itchy, he is not to scratch himself directly with his hands but use the horns of a deer.  That was the condition of Kesitdwaja wearing black leather clothes, with moustache and beards growing on his face.  It was in that get up that he had gone to the forest.

22.          Kesitdwaja located the place where Kãndikya and his small caboodle were living and drove the chariot directly to that place.  Like Lakshmana who got angered on seeing Bharatha coming to the forest in Ramayana, Kãndikya also was enraged on seeing Kesitdwaja approaching.  While Bharatha was with all his attendants and followers, the fact that Kesitdwaja was all alone, itself made Kãndikya wonder if it was all a ruse!  "Hey Kesitdwaja, what do you think?  If you come in the Yagnya Deeksha disguise you think that I will spare you?  I have understood you, my dear!  Just now I shall sort you out with my arrows.  If you think that by wearing the skin of the deer, I will be deceived, you are mistaken.  As per our Kshatriya Dharma we can kill a live deer and so can we kill someone wearing the skin of a deer and hunt you down just now."  Saying this, he started aiming his arrow at the visitor.

(To be continued.)




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