KURAL # 73 (Vol # 7) Dated 03 Dec 2013
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
Story is Taking Shape
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'
effect'. How to annul that? To expiate for the 'Dosha' as mentioned in
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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