Sunday, March 09, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 117 (Vol # 7) Dated 09 Mar 2014

 DEIVATHIN KURAL # 117 (Vol # 7) Dated 09 Mar 2014

(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 889 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)

'Namo Nama:'
'The Privilege that He Couldn't Have'
1.            As you people consider me as an elder and pay your regards and respects to me by doing Namaskãr, I also wish to sincerely pay my respects to my elders in age, experience and knowledge.  But in my case, position / status as – Jagat Guru, Peeta Adipathy and the title as 'Sankara ÃchãryãL' – have intervened, that too from the very young age without any qualifications or merit as known to me – have come in-between, preventing me from expressing my sincere appreciation and respect to others, who are immediately in my presence identifiable as seniors and elders with vast erudition, practical experience and apparent knowledge!  Often I used to feel bad about this life of such pride that does not let me pay my regards where it is due!  From the day I became a 'Sankara Acharya' I had lost the privilege of paying my respects to others, who are apparently worthy of being respected.

ÃchãryãL's Ruling about Sanyãsis
2.            In all this our ÃchãryãL has done something very good for the Sanyãsis, so that they may not start bloating with pride that they are being highly respected and appreciated.  That is, even if others sincerely pay their regards and respect, we are not to think that it is addressed to us.  So that we may remember that, whosoever expresses his respects by Namaskãra wherever and whenever to whomsoever, goes only to that one omniscient and omnipotent being, and so that we may pass it on instead of misappropriating the credits, our ÃchãryãL has made a simple procedure, which may look too easy but having in depth meaning!

ÃchãryãL and NarãyaNa Nãma
3.            The causal power for all worldly transactions, as the governing power or the C.E.O., sort of Paripãlana Shakti would have been indicated in all his Bhashyams and PrakaraNa Granthas as 'NarãyaNa'.  There are many reasons for that.  Instead of getting in to a discussion about the relevance or otherwise of that Nãma, let me tell you one particular bit of information and stop there.  Our country is one that has deeply analysed the highly subtle, esoteric and abstract principles, ideas and thoughts, and have established different schools of thought as Vedanta, Meemãmsa, Sãnkhyam, Nyãya and so on.  Mostly our ÃchãryãL has written his Bhashyam books, with this class of the reading and discerning public in mind. 

4.            But still, though this country is famous for discussion on such subjects, greater than that it is heir to both a good and bad reputation in – having instead of only dry insentient ideas, but having live forms of so many Devatas representing those ideas, thousands of them, in fact 330 millions of them to be precise.  So our ÃchãryãL in his Bhashyams and PrakaraNams, instead of referring to the causal root Paramãtma only as a principle of philosophy, has made use of a particular Nãma of a Powerful Divinity, for the sake of the society used to personal relationships, has mentioned a particular individual name of a God.  So, what is the suitable name of a God, here in our context?

5.            Though there are many Gods, from the beginning till date, our society can be broadly divided as Saivites and Vaishnavites.   Amongst them he must have evaluated between two main Nãma-s, that of Siva and Vishnu.  He was himself an Avatara of Siva, he must have wondered if he should make use of his own name sake Easwara or his close associate Vishnu.  They are very dear to each other though they are seemingly different.  So, wherever he had to point out a Jagat-KãraNa Shakti, as Prapancha Paripãlana Shakti, as SaguNa Brhmam, the C.E.O., of the Universe, he used the name of 'Narayana'.  In between I used the name of Easwara as the Governing power-in-being, which is generally considered as Siva, in Vedanta Sãstrãs that name Easwara is used for the SaguNa Brhmam and not Siva, as also meant by Ramanuja ÃchãryãL and Mãdhvã ÃchãryãL.

6.            Now you may have a question as to how our ÃchãryãL has composed and written so many Siva Stotras, the answer is that, those are devotionals songs.  He has written many other devotionals on a number of other Swamis for the sake of those who have those Gods as their Ishta Devata, so that they could stop and rest their minds in the Ishta Devata.  So, how could he have not sung prayers to Siva?  That is the reason for his works such as, Siva Bujangam, Sivãnanda Lahari, Siva Pãdãdikeshãnta VarNana Stotram, Siva Keshãdipãdãnta VarNana Stotram, Siva Aparãdha KshamãpaNa Stotram, Siva Mãnasa Pooja, Sivãshtakam, Siva Panchakshara Stotram, Siva Panchãkshara Nakshatra Mala Stotram, Veda Sãra Siva Stotram, and so many others!

7.            Our ÃchãryãL was one who never cared for his own separate identity and lived as Ãtma Swaroopa.  By that fact, he could identify himself with others views and identities and could raise them from wherever they were to the highest.  Like water that is colourless becomes black, brown or red depending on the colour of the earth on which it is flowing; while singing the praise of various Devatas, he could identify himself with a true devotee of that particular Swami.  In that trend, as he identified himself as a devotee of Siva, instead of being just Siva Avatara, he could sing like a Siva Bhakta.  As a Siva Avatara, he couldn't have done self-praise but, as a Siva Bhakta he could sing about Siva any amount, isn't it?

8.            In his Matams he has kept Siva as Chandramouleeswara as the main deity and all other Devatas as part of the family, isn't it?  If your question is, as to why he has given the Pride of Place sort of, to one particular deity, in a place where all sorts of people are likely to congregate, the answer is that this was not a deliberate action on his part at all.  It is Parameswara himself who had given five Sphatika Lingams to our ÃchãryãL, for them to be installed in five different places in India, so that regular pooja may be done forever.  So, keeping the Siva Lingam as the main Deity, others had to be part of the family of deities.  This also enabled for the divisions of GãNãpatyam, Saivam, Sãktam, VaiNavam and Souram to come together under one systematic method of worship known as 'Panchãyatana Pooja' – 'पञ्चायतन पूजा', for the sake of uniformity. 

9.            Now, you can possibly ask another question as, "That is alright.  But while writing about Ãtma Sãstrãs, you said that our ÃchãryãL without any identity of his was just the Ãtma Swaroopa, didn't you?  So he should have remained like that only isn't it?  Why should he have retained the 'Siva Avatara Identity' and thought as to, 'How I could be arranging for my own fame and name to be worshipped' and so let me insert the name 'NãrãyaNa'?  How and why should this sort of 'Crisis of Conscience' be happening for our ÃchãryãL"? I have an answer to that question also.  (PeriyavãL smiles at his own humour, saying that he has come prepared with both the likely Question Papers as well as the Answer Sheets duly filled in.)

10.          The answer is that Ãtma Swaroopa will not write books.  It won't do anything other than being.  The moment he sat down to write books on abstruse aspects of philosophy, the Ãtma Swaroopa is gone and Avatara Swaroopa is on.  To say that correctly, Ãtma Sãkshãtkãrã Samãdhi state is set aside when he is aware of the fact that he is an Avatara with a duty to re-establish Dharma in the country, then he sits down to pen those poems of Bhashyam and Vedãnta PrakaraNams.  Then when he started writing poems of devotion of Siva, he is in the mode of a serious devotee.  When he is himself an Avatara of Siva, it is not in order, style and good manners for an Avatara Siva to be singing encomiums of praise of the Ãdhãra Siva, isn't it?  So, during those occasions, he is purely identified with a devotee of Siva totally.

11.          So all said and done, when the basic cause of all existence is named as 'NãrãyaNã' in the Bhashyams, please understand that the main purpose of those books are, the oneness of 'Jivãtma and Paramãtma'.  In them, for the Siva Avatara to have placed the Vishnu Nãma and for Sri Krishna and Sri Rama to have done Siva Pooja; is all indicative of 'Hari-Hara-Adwaitam' that they are one and the same.  When there are thousands of names of Maha Vishnu, what is the speciality about the NãrãyaNã name?  It is the Nãma that occurs in the very special mantra known as the 'Ashtãkshari' – 'Om Namo NãrãyaNãya' – 'ॐ नमो नारायणाय' |.  

11.          AyaNam in Sanskrit means the path and PrayãNam is the journey.  For the human beings known as 'Nara' in Sanskrit, NãrãyaNa is the path and the destination too.  In Bhagawat Gita (10.32) as Sri Krishna he says, that he is the Science of the Study of the Self meaning that he is the very approach to know oneself, 'adhyãtma vidya vidyãnãm' – 'अध्यात्म विध्या विध्यानां'. At the end of that study course, the result is to attain to him itself and that is 'NãrãyaNa'.  That is why when the Guru Parampara of Brhma Vidya is listed the first name is 'NãrãyaNam Padmabhuvam' – 'नारायणं पद्मभुवं'.  So it is in the rightness of things that the Bhashyam for Brhma Vidya refers to the Nãma of 'NãrãyaNã!

12.          By combining the names of Hari and Hara we have many temples of Sankara-NãrãyaNa all over South India, the important ones being located in Sankarankoil in Thirunelveli District, Udupi in Kerala and in Chennai.  The presiding deity in Sankarankoil is called 'Sankara-NãrãyaNan'.  Though some die-hard Vaishnavites do not subscribe to the idea of such oneness of Siva-Vishnu, most others do.  There was one devotee visiting the Matam here, who though being a 'Smãrthã' Brahmin, was like the followers of Veera-Saiva sect who do not accept other Gods as equal to Siva.  When he did Namaskãra to me, he did not like the idea of my chanting the name of NãrãyaNa.  Normally I do not chant that name too loud.  But he knew that to be the tradition.  So one day he asked me as to why we should be taking the name of 'NãrãyaNa' despite being Saivites? 

13.          Without going much into the intricacies of the oneness and differences of Saivam and Vaishnavam, I had to give a quick reply.  I told him, "The Upanishads are common for all followers of Sanãtana Dharma isn't it?  Among them there is one in the name of Siva Kumara Skanda as 'Skandopanishad'.  In that Upanishad it is mentioned that in the heart of Vishnu, it is Siva who resides – 'vishnoscha hrudayam siva:' – 'विष्णोश्च हृदयं शिव:' and so it means that in the name that I take when others do Namaskãra to me, in that name of NarãyaNa too, the residing deity in his heart is Siva, isn't it?"  He went away happily satisfied.

14.          But I had been a little over smart with that gentleman because, I had told him only half the truth.  The other half of the truth as the first line of the statement, of that quotation is that, 'sivasya hrudayam vishnu:' – 'शिवस्य हृदयं विष्णु:' – that 'Vishnu resides in Siva's heart'.  Because he was a little too seriously a devotee of Siva, I could get away by quoting only the convenient part of the couplet.  But when you combine both the statement they make the whole truth.  (PeriyavãL smiles while saying this.)  It so happens that for all the dynamism of any activity, including the most violent storm, there is a calm center as the heart or Hrudayam.  Similarly in all the things that are seemingly static, the dynamic center is in a violent turmoil. The static calm center is Sivam and the dynamic point is Vishnu!

(To be continued.)




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