DEIVATHIN KURAL # 125
(Vol # 7) Dated 28 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 the middle of page No 960 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)
go on your knees while praying to God is a common habit of Christians and
Muslims. In our religious practice too,
whether you do Sãshtãnga or Panchãnga Namaskãra, it may look as though you have
to get down on your knees. But we do it
slightly differently while doing Ashtãnga Namaskãra by placing one leg forward,
then putting both your hands on the ground and then extending the leg in front
also to the rear. For Panchãnga Namaskãr
of course you do go down on your knees while placing both the arms palms down
on the ground. Then among Muslims there
is a method of greeting known as 'Salãm' and Christians Salute, both starting
with 'Sal'! It is so pleasing to note
such commonality between people from all over the world in this one act of
expressing one's respect to others. To
add up to the oneness, here in this Matam we have a ritual known as 'Deevatti
Salãm', conducted every day! At the time
of lighting up the lamps in the evening, to celebrate our ÃchãryãL who came
amongst us human beings like a leading light for the whole world. At that time we do Namaskãra to his 'pãdukayen'
aka foot-wear and submit the day's accounts to him, that is known as 'Deepa
Namaskãram'. After the accounts have
been submitted, the Elephant in the keep of the Matam will lift the ornamental
fan known as Chãmaram and wave the same.
Then it will lift its trunk high overhead and make its characteristic
call of trumpeting as though saluting.
This whole event is known traditionally as 'Deevatti Salãm'.
99. Though in other countries there is one
handed salute, in our Sãstrãs it is very clearly forbidden –'eka hasta
prNãmaschha hanti puNyam purãdanam,' –'एक हस्त प्रणामस्च हन्ति
पुण्यं पुराधनं', meaning that doing Namaskãra
with one hand will erase all merits earned earlier. The same Sãstrã, which says that if done
properly Namaskãra can save even a sinner, warns against improper method of
doing it thus. In our country also there
are rules about saluting the constitution and National Flag. To get offended against such procedures and if we say that
'I will do it in my own way', what will be the end result. The rules and regulations are meant to be
obeyed if any organization or society or a country is to pull together.
matter of army and police is different.
There the requirement is the readiness to give one's life for the upkeep
of the Nations honour. To work for law
and order in the nation and protection of the country against aggression from
outside being the purpose, we have to persevere for fearlessness and physical
fitness in both body and mind. So, there
the body language is one of standing like a ram-rod, like the soldiers
presenting a Guard of Honour. Instead of
the one handed salute, if we can find after a detailed search, some other
bodily sign which combines in itself valour and respect, to be displayed as a
drill by the soldiers of our nation, I would prefer that. But one thing is not to be forgotten that,
for courageousness to be bodily displayed, rigour and tightness are
required. Since that courageousness is
for the Nation's welfare, it has to be permitted.
the dress one wears helps in this, the security guards in this Matam also are
wearing police-like dresses only. In the
name of nationality and some other such thing we should not be doing anything
contrary to the requirements of security.
In the other religions too, a Salute or Salãm has
been indicating obedience and abidance with some bending of at least the right
hand, isn't it? Muslims while doing Salãm do bend their head and body to some extent. Only in Salute it is crisp, brisk and
straight. Christians have the tradition
of kneeling only before God / Jesus Christ and Royalty. For all others senior in rank or status it is
102. As I said earlier the Military Man and
the Police Man while saluting not only do not bend, but also stand ram-rod
straight! Then at the top of his voice
orders his comrades-in-arms to come to 'Attention', banging his boots on the
ground and smartly saluting, which will look like orders of command than an
expression of respect and homage! But,
undoubtedly it is respect being shown.
As they are not to give-in the slightest in their strictness in being
prepared to give even their life in maintaining law and order and protecting
the nation's well-being, discipline, rigour and name; even when displaying
their respect they do it so vigorously.
Though they are most obedient and respectful towards their seniors,
their display of respect is so exuberant and that is how it is meant to be. Even their 'bhavyam' – 'भव्यं' need not be the normal one as for others full of
humility, but required to be robust and that is the rule!
103. But, generally unlike the above
example of soldiers, for all others, the body language should reflect the inner
deference and compliance, without any contradiction between the inner and outer
for the expression to be effective. To bend your head, bow your body and kneel
down are all those outer indication of inner submissiveness. But in Danda/Sãshtãnga Namaskãram about which
I have been talking about all this time, though you are flat on the ground,
this aspect of soft compliance does not seem to be there at all except for the
fact that they have gone down on the ground.
When we think as to why it is so, another exalted principle occurs to my
mind. If we are handing over our minds
to the person we are being respectful to bend it the way he pleases; we show
our respect in a pliant manner. But when
we have no mind of our own and are simply annulling it or just throwing it
away, then this letting our body to lie in front of the person being venerated,
to lie before him like a stick or a piece of wood – this body of ours, there is
a lot of sense in the action of Namaskãra, that we do as per our
tradition. All said and done, in all
these actions of Ashtãnga or Panchãnga Namaskãra or Salute or Salãm; the inner
attitude is one of Submission / Obedience / Obeisance, to be compliantly
104. Here also we
note the oneness of people's minds, thought processes and actions. Obedience is a word that derives from the
verb 'to obey'. The Latin root of this
word means 'to listen carefully'. Sushrusha
is a Sanskrit word reminding us of Sanskrit scholar Sushruta, an ancient master
physician cum surgical specialist who advocated the art and science of Ayurveda,
as an expert in surgery and patients care.
In Guru Sishya relationship the most important duty of a disciple is
'Guru Sushrusha, the direct meaning of the word being 'to carefully listen' and
absorb what the Guru says! These two
words in different contexts mean the same thing as 'paNividai' – 'பணிவிடை' in Tamil, which once again mean, 'to carefully listen to what is
being said and act accordingly'. The
doctor has to listen to the patient, then ask probing questions and then fully
understand the problem before prescribing the medicines for the illness
indicated. So also the student has to
carefully listen to the teacher and understand accordingly. Thus obedience is said to be 'keezh padidal'
– 'கீழ் படிதல்' in
Tamil and it occurs to me that, to lay down your body with respect on the
ground in front of a respectable elder is this Sãshtãnga Namaskãra, which is once again the same as 'கீழ் படிதல்'.
Krishna places all these ideas in that order in 'Gita (4.34), telling Arjuna as
to how he is to learn from a Gnãni who is
तत्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया |
praNipaatena pariprasnena |
उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्वदर्शिन: ||
te Gnãnam gnãnina: tatva darshina: ||
(KTSV adds: – Swami
Sivananda gives the commentary for this sloka in the following words, which I
Quote, "Go to the teachers [who are well versed in the scriptures dealing
with Brahman or Brhmastotris, and who are established in Brahman or
Brahmanishthas]. Prostrate yourself
before them with profound humility and perfect devotion. Ask them questions, "O venerable
Guru! What is the cause of bondage? How can I get liberation? What is the nature of ignorance? What is the Antaranga Sãdhana (inner spiritual
practice) for attaining Self-Realization?"
Serve the Guru whole heartedly. A
teacher who is versed in the scriptures (Sãstrãs) but who has no direct
Self-Realization will not be able to help you in the attainment of the
knowledge of the Self. He who has
knowledge of the scriptures and is also established in Brahman will be able to
instruct thee and help thee in the attainment of Self-Realization. Mere prostrations alone will not do. They may be tinged with hypocrisy. You must have perfect faith in your Guru and
his teaching. You must serve him
whole-heartedly with great devotion. Now
hypocrisy is not possible" Unquote.)
the above paragraph we have made use of three new words such as 'PraNipãdam'
which means Namaskãram, 'Pariprasnam' is to listen and absorb by questioning
and clearing one's doubts and finally 'Seva' means to serve / PaNIvidai. PraNipãdam will separate as 'pra-ni-pãdam. The 'na' that comes after 'ra', will become
'Na' and so 'pranipaãdam' will become 'praNipãdam'. It is not just 'padam' but 'pãdam' meaning to
fall. When you add 'ni' to 'pãdam' it
becomes 'to fall flat', to which another prefix 'pra' is added for emphasis to
mean 'just simply fall flat'! To
indicate that the Sishya has just cut off the sense of 'I', he just simply
falls flat in front of the Guru. That is
the first thing the disciple has to do, 'to do away with his 'Ego' – do 'praNipãda
Namaskãra', as mentioned by Sri Krishna in the sloka quoted above.
this word 'PraNipãdam' there is another word 'PrNãmam' which is used all over
the North India as a shortened 'PraNãm' – 'प्रणाम्' as a fashionable Hindi word. Though in South India it is fashionable to
object to Hindi, apply black paint or tar to the Hindi writings in public
places, I note that on the other hand Hindi names for cinema theatres, hotels
and individual's names is becoming fashionably popular! So this word 'PraNãm' is spreading a lot.
In this word 'PraNamam' this word 'Nãmam' is a variation of the word
'Namanam', meaning 'VaNakkam' or Namaskãram!
So also is the English word Name, it seems to have evolved similarly!
the act of Namaskãra there is an immediate
follow-up and that is known as 'Abhivãdanam'.
Immediately after being given the PooNool, this child who has been given
Yagnyopaveetam is asked to learn to say the Self Introduction by saying his
Gothra, the names of the first three Sages of that Gothra, the Sutra or that
portion of the Vedas that they normally are closely acquainted with and his Name. All this together is known as this Abhivãdanam. From what I said now, first action is to do
Namaskãra and then to introduce oneself.
With this I presumed a special meaning for PraNãmam! This prefix 'pra' has several meanings. It emphasises the word following adding
meanings such as 'pre' or 'preceded by', 'previous' and or 'ere'. So, for Nãmam / Namanam / Namskãram, the
special mention is 'PraNãmam' and that is 'PraNam'. The slightly funny meaning that occurred to
me about this is the fact that, since he should do this act of Namaskãra before
his self-introduction of his name, 'PraNãm' comes to mean 'pre-name-act'!
Labels: posted by Lt Col KTSV Sarma