DEIVATHIN KURAL # 126
(Vol # 7) Dated 30 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 969 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)
statement made by the one doing Namaskãra for the hearing of the one being
respected is known as Abhivãdanam. In
it, the person introducing himself, tells the elder, his name and the tradition
to which he belongs in terms of ancestors and the branch of the Vedas that they
are well versed in. Manu, the ancient
proponent of Laws of Dharma says that, "When someone elder than yourself,
approaches you, your PrãNa will come up and try to get out. At that time if he gets up and respectfully
welcomes the visitor and does Abhivãdanam, this PrãNa that ventured out returns
unto him and steadies itself".
प्राणा ह्युत्क्रमन्ति यून: स्तविर आयति |
hyutkrãmanti yuna: stavira ãyati |
पुनस्तान् प्रतिपध्यते ||
punastthãn pratipadyate ||
110. Here the sloka is talking
about when the youngster is sitting down or lying and an elder happens to pass
by. Manu Smruti and all other Dharma
Sãstrãs too have emphasised the necessity of good behaviour to be respectful to
all elders. First is Namaskãram. Then you have to get up, put both your palms
around the ears, touching the right ear with the right hand and left ear with
the left hand, you have to formally introduce yourself to the elder, narrating
the text of Abhivãdanam. You have to
touch your ears as they are the sensory organs receiving the sounds of the
highest of Pancha Boothas, the Ãkãsa.
After that the two hands have to be removed from the ears and touch the
knees sliding down to the ankles.
111. The act of standing and
bending forward displays the sense of 'PaNivu'.
The one who had done Namaskãr by falling flat on the ground, instead of
standing erect, when he bends his body, the humbleness is underlined. The hands from the ears sliding from the
knees to the ankles, is indicative of total surrendering of the whole body and
person. I told you the importance of the
ears already, of hearing the 'sound', the 'tanmatra' of the Ãkãsa. The one to hear the Upadesa of the elder are
also the ears only. Other than these
reasons, the whole series of actions put together from going down to do the
Namaskãra to the getting up, saying Abhivãdanam and then moving the hands from
touching the ears, sliding them down along the sides to the knees to the
ankles; is an exercise in Yogãbhyãsa, energising the nerve ends all over the
body, contributing to the cleansing of the mind called 'Chitta Shuddhi'! This Yogãbhyãsa can be said to have in itself
the idea of total surrender of the body and mind of the person doing it, to the
elder to whom the gesture is addressed to.
Finally he has to touch the elder's feet with his hands.
112. If you are going to pose a
question as to why should the feet of the elder be touched, I cannot give a
logical reply. This is a natural
expression of devotion and humility, of touching the feet of the person, to
whom respect is shown. In this gesture
are included our Vinaya, PaNivu and Adakkam completely. To treat him as a very respectable person,
whomsoever we are doing Namaskãra to, as representing God or as a conduit to
God thereby to touch the flow of Easwara Anugraha through him, this touching of
his feet is an 'electrical circuit' related to the Ãtma. In our South India this touching scene
remains only as a gesture, short of really touching physically, in
practice. There is a reason for
this. The one who is not very 'madi' – 'மடி', that is, not maintaining certain
required standards of cleanliness, that too a youngster, to touch an elder who
is maintaining such standards of 'Soucham' – 'सौचं', is just not done.
Let this 'madi' and 'soucham' matter be set aside. That physical touch may be avoided as, to some
extent our physical and mental predilections could affect the one to whom we
are respectfully demonstrating our obeisance.
Why not spare him from them? Like
electric current, these things can be passed on to the other by that touch, as
even confirmed by modern scientists.
113. More than all this about
'Madi' and 'Soucham'; there is the effect of Karma. Whomsoever we are paying our obeisance to, if
he happens to be a kind hearted being, our negative Pãpa Karma could pass on to him, making him partake some of
the negativity and suffer on our behalf.
If he is so highly evolved, with Gnãnãgni or Shakti of Tapasya or Yoga
or some such power, it may just cauterize the negativity from us. But such people are rare. We do not know much about the other person's inner
evolution anyhow. We are demonstrating
our respect to him and why not spare him from our accumulations of
negativity? So it is better to make
believe as though we are touching that other person's feet and that will do
114. If your devotion is so
overwhelming that in the process if you happen to touch that masters feet or
even catch hold of the same in the intensity of your feelings, it is
alright. That intensity of devotion
itself will compensate for and annul all negativities, smudges and Doshas. But such true devotion is a rare thing. We should not mistake some temporary
outbursts of emotions as the real thing.
So the basic self-discipline should be not to touch, which is good for
him as well as for us. We do Namaskãra seeking
his blessings isn't it? To such a
person, we should not be adding our negativities and bad luck isn't it? It is one thing to do so accidentally and
unknowingly. From now, since I have told
you, you cannot even say that you were not aware of this. From now, if you touch the elder to whom you
are doing Namaskãr, it will be a crime and an offence and you will be missing
out on the Asirvadam and Anugraha from that elder also!
115. However much he may be evolved
and refined, even if capable of cauterizing others residual negativities, such
Sanyãsis who are also heads of institutions such as this Matam, have to be like
Role-Models for following the rules of Madi, Achãram and Soucham themselves for
others to emulate and learn by observations.
This touching of their feet by visitors will be contrary and
inconvenient and even embarrassing at times and become a hindrance in their
role playing. So the best option is for
the one to make a gesture as though he is touching the feet of the elder and
refrain from actually touching. With
that, as I said earlier the Blessings of the elder will flow into the person
doing the Namaskãra.
116. If your intentions are noble, that
very attitude is more powerful than the action.
That is what is known as 'Bhãva' – 'भाव' and God is known as 'bhãva grãhi' – 'भाव
ग्राहि', receiver of intentions and not the
outer show – 'bãhya grãhi' – 'बाह्य
a chuckle PeriyavãL says, we have misused the word
'Bhãvana' to bring it down in meaning to just play acting or what we call a
parody. I do not mean that. With the genuine regret that we are not
really able to touch that noble man's feet, increasing one's regards and
humbleness, as an indication of that, to make a move as though touching those
feet while not touching them actually, is to do so in Bhãvana! Thus with such fervour to touch the ground a
few inches from where his feet are actually, is to thereby draw unto ourselves
his blessings. Whether that gentleman so
blesses us or is not even looking in our direction, by our sincerity and
genuine Bhãvana, the God in him – Easwara – NãrãyaNa – will certainly bless, I
117. As we keep the right and left hand
around the right and left ear respectively, when touching the feet of that
gentleman in front, that is doing it symbolically, we should be crossing our
hands as his right and left are opposite of ours like in an image in a
mirror. But instead of doing so people
are only extending their hands directly in front without crossing. That is not what is given in the Sãstrãs,
that is Manu Smruti 2.72 – 'swayena savya: samprashtavyo dakshiNena cha DakshiNa:'
– 'स्वयेन सव्य: संप्रष्टव्यो दक्षिणेन च दक्षिण:'.
book it says 'kartareemiva' meaning that our hands should be going crosswise
like in a scissor.
me now tell you a little about the text of the Abhivãdanam. In telling
the Abhivãdana mantra, first there will be the name of the Gothram in which the
person is born, which is like a family name.
Then the first three Rishis of that particular lineage will be
mentioned. That is known as 'Pravaram'. The Rishis are those who have discovered a
new Mantra from the vast spaces of Ãkãsa and given it to the people of the world. 'Angirasa' Gothram is in the name of the
first such Rishis in that lineage. 'Koundinya'
Gothram on the other is named after the third Rishi of that lineage. There are some exceptions to it and we are
not discussing it here. Point to note is
that in Abhivãdanam, first there will be Pravaram in which the names of the
first three Rishis of that lineage will be mentioned.
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