Monday, March 31, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 126 (Vol # 7) Dated 30 Mar 2014

 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 updated continually)

109.                  The 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". 
ऊर्ध्वं प्राणा ह्युत्क्रमन्ति यून: स्तविर आयति |
oordvam prãNa hyutkrãmanti yuna: stavira ãyati |
प्रत्युत्थानाभिवादाभ्यां पुनस्तान् प्रतिपध्यते || 
pratyutthãnãbhivãdabhyaam 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 most sufficiently! 

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 ग्राहि'. With 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 am sure. 

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:'.  In one book it says 'kartareemiva' meaning that our hands should be going crosswise like in a scissor. 

118.                  Let 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.
(To be continued.)




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