Saturday, March 15, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 120 (Vol # 7) Dated 15 Mar 2014

 DEIVATHIN KURAL # 120 (Vol # 7) Dated 15 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 916 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)

One Doing Namaskãr is More Lucky
39.          So far I have been describing the fate of the person, who has to receive the expression of respect and veneration, as the head of a religious organization like this Matam of Kanchipuram, Kãmakoti Peetam.  On the other hand, looking at the one doing Namaskãr, he seems to be the luckiest!  That is one of shedding his own load in front of one who seems to be elder that, while doing Namaskãr he has already decided, "From now it is not our own problem.  He will take care."  That is to say, 'na mama' – 'न मम', to hand over your problems to the competent authority as 'not mine' is the true meaning of Namaskãra, if it is done with the right attitude!

40.          Mostly the Namaskãra done, may not be with that 100 % attitude of handing over the entire problem as 'not mine', and may range anywhere lower down to the 'pass mark' level.  Still at least at that moment, he would have got rid of his load and be that much relieved as seen practically.  I have lost this facility and privilege of handing over my care, concerns and problems to somebody else happily lying flat on the ground that has been denied to me from the very early childhood!  The 'Sthãnam' – 'स्थानम्' aka Position has arrived snatching away my facilities and privileges!  (KTSV adds: - 'This I have mentioned at least twice before in the course of Seven Volumes of Deivathin Kural that, PeriyavãL had to suddenly take over as the Jagat Guru, sans any preparation mental or physical as the previous Pontiff whom he had replaced had suddenly died within ten days of being installed.  For that matter, he had also been installed as the Head of the organization, due to the sudden demise of the one in office at that time!')

Ascetic's Namaskãr
41.          For a true Sanyãsi – whom I would call a 'Jivan Muktan' that is, already realised while still living in the body; will not care about doing Namaskãra to anybody nor bother about anybody else prostrating before him in supplication or subservience or whatever.  That is because of the fact that he is not aware of the differences between his self and others; or between me, you and him, as everything from his perspective are one and the same Brhmam.  Then who is there for him to do Namaskãr to?  Our ÃchãryãL asks the question 'praNamet kam' – 'प्रणामेत कं' in Upadesa Sãhasri, as to who should do Namaskãra to whom? (Here there is a sloka quoted from the Upadesa Sãhasri.  But since the correct reference could not be identified, here we are giving only the meaning of the sloka.)  For a person who has correctly and exactly identified the one Ãtma without a second, and established himself in the total self-rule beyond the constraints of names, place, position and status, what has he got to do with any action anymore?  Since all actions are interactions between one thing and another in the non-absolute entities of time and space; and this one has nothing other than his self anywhere, he has nothing to do with any action anymore. In such a situation who is there for him to do Namaskãra to?

42.          But such a cent per cent ascetic will rarely be there.  Those aspiring and endeavouring in the Sãdhana way for Self Realization will either be still short of it or often just touching and slipping back, mostly.  So, most of the Swamiji-s can and should be physically expressing their surrender and subservience by way of Namaskãra to many of the Devatas and elder Sanyãsis and there is no bar on that.  Here too except for some rare occasions, Sãstrãs do not allow us to do physical prostrations of the body on the ground while doing Namaskãr.  We are supposed to do what is known as 'Danda Vandana', by making use of the stick in our hands in a certain way by which we are to express our Anjali. 

What is 'Dandan Iduvadu' / 'தண்டன் இடுவது'?
43.          The Ashtãnga Namaskãra men do and the Panchãnga Namaskãra that women do, are both known as 'dandakãra Namaskãra' – 'दण्डाकार नमस्कार:' in Sanskrit and 'தண்டன் இடுவது' in Tamil. This word Dhandan in Tamil means standing like a wooden pole.  When the pole is held vertically it just stands without even the slightest indication of bending.  Don't we tell people lacking humility, 'Why are you standing like a ram rod, don't we?'  The same rod when not being held, that is with the removal of pride and conceit, falls flat on the ground, virtually hugging the ground, isn't it? That is the difference between the presence of 'Aham Bhãva' and its removal.  Once the tight hold of pride and 'Aham Bhãva' is there, you are standing like a pole and the moment the pride is gone, you are flat on Mother Earth!  Mind will get humble and at the same time attain to the highest of peacefulness!  If you understand this principle of doing Namaskãra, the act of Dandakãra Namaskãra would have borne the most effectiveness.   Otherwise the act of prostrating your body on the ground is a sheer waste, that is, another 'Dandam' – 'தண்டம்', in Tamil meaning 'sheer waste'.

44.          As I said this Tamil word 'Dandam' means a wooden pole and also means 'good for nothing'. When it was a branch of the main tree, it drank the sap partaking and absorbing the inputs into the system including the Sunlight, sprouting with leaves, flowers and fruits and was thus a useful part of the tree. But now having come away from being a part of the society, it has become lifeless and good for nothing.  That is what is called 'Dandam' in Tamil, a mere wooden pole.  Often we were claiming, I / me / myself and mine; taking care of the body, eating, drinking, decorating ourselves and feeling mighty proud about our body.  But just for a moment think that, this body is also like that 'Dandam' only if there was no life in it!  This body is just a cadaver good only for being buried or cremated or being dissected on the table for the medical intern for studying body parts!  So it is laid on the ground in front of God and or those elders who have some or more of those divine virtues in them and do Namaskãram.  Generally Vaishnavites instead of using this phrase of 'doing Namaskãra' call it 'sevippadu' – 'சேவிப்பது', as an act in service of the God!  Further endearingly some people say 'dandam samarpippadu' – 'தண்டம் சமர்பிப்பது' to mean that your Namaskãra is paying obeisance.  That is the way they start their letters by first saying that they are 'offering their Dandam' instead of the 'Hi' / 'Howdy' / Best wishes, as we do these days!

45.          Till very recently even the most uneducated poor people would say 'kumbidaren or swami dandam' – 'கும்பிடறேன் or ஸ்வாமீ தண்டம்' and Telugu people used to say – 'dandam pettedhi'!  Sri Rama's famous Bow was known as Kodandam and his name deriving from that is 'Kodanda PãNi' – 'कोदण्ड पाणि', as he is often depicted to be standing with his weapon held in the right hand.  To that 'Kodanda PãNi' Thyagaraja Swami has sung Keertana saying, 'Dandamu Pettedurã'.   If the body is called 'Dandam', in fact it is the mind that is controlling, directing and dictating the body to see, or hear or do whatever; that is the real 'Dandam', the good for nothing character.  If all the great achievements of life are by the mind, all the heinous and despicable actions are also by the mind only.  So it is clear that one of the most important steps to be achieved in any endeavour including in the Ãdhyãtmic field, is to win over the mind to be able to channelize one's efforts which are individually and collectively ennobling and elevating for the individual and the society!  So this body is only a tool and it is the mind that is the controller, director.  

45.          If the mind is the controller, director of the body, God is the only power that can control this mind of ours and make it do things for the benefit of the community, society and the whole world.  He is the one who can not only control the mind's vacillations but make it also peacefully quiet.  So this 'Manas' that is constantly running out has to be turned back from its tendencies as 'Namas' and that action is Namaskãram.  (It is interesting to note that the same act of submitting to the power of divinity is called 'Namãs' by Muslims and is called the Mass by Christians).  To cause the mind to lie down quietly like a piece of log of wood – 'Dandam' in the divine presence is this act of Namaskãram.  The mind does this act making use of the only tool it has, that is the body.  Thus mind enables the body to get some merit and benefits itself in expiation of all sins it has caused the body to do in the past!

46.          Though Dandam is decried as 'good for nothing', for the people unable to walk, it is this stick that comes in handy.  So, to progress in the path of Ãtma Gnãna, this lying flat on the ground as 'Danda Namaskãram' comes in handy as the walking-stick.  With a chuckle PeriyavãL says, 'The action is to lie flat on the ground doing nothing, while its effect is as a Walking Stick in the most important journey of Ãtma Gnãna!'  Anyhow the idea is to, somehow stop and arrest this mind to nullity as sheer 'Dandam' and submit to Him.  When we are ill with fever we feel totally debilitated devoid of any power, isn't it?  Where was that power come from?  If it is clear that all the power on the Earth is from the Sun, all the power of the Sun and Universe is from one source only.  It is all alms from God!  So to tell Him, "All this power of mine is in fact yours only.  So I surrender all my bodily powers, and the mind and the body – unto You, Oh God as the only source of all powers anywhere!"  That is Namaskãram.

Sanyãsi's Dandam
47.          We Sanyãsis have been divested of all decorations and accoutrements.  But we are required to carry a 'Dandam', that is meant to keep our minds under control.  The stick or Lath is used for controlling a crowd by the Police as an effective weapon.  Lord SubrahmaNya is having a Dandam as his weapon and he has a name as 'Dandãyudha PãNi' – 'தண்டாயுதபாணி'.  In Tamil the punitive powers of the government is known as 'dandanai' – 'தண்டனை' which is derived from this word Dandam only.  To control and prevent the citizen from going on to the wrong ways and to guide them on to the lawful ways and to prevent the enemies of the state from raising their heads is the main job of governance.  This very subject of Governance as a Science is known as 'Danda Neeti' – 'தண்ட நீதி' – 'दण्ड नीति'!  Similarly for us to keep our mindsin line, symbolically we are required to carry a stick, not for use against others, but to control our own minds only.  It is not only a symbol but a thing on which necessary Mantras have been invoked and instilled for it to be effective on our minds, preventing us from going astray! Then when the Guru does Anugraha to others this Dandam becomes really effective in 'Mano Nigraha' – 'मनो निग्रह:' of not simply mind control but erasing / destruction of the Mind!

(To be continued.)




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