Wednesday, April 02, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 127 (Vol # 7) Dated 02 Apr 2014

 DEIVATHIN KURAL # 127 (Vol # 7) Dated 02 Apr 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 977 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)

119.                  Mostly in Pravaram three Rishis names will be mentioned starting with the name of the Rishi from whom the name of the Gothram has evolved with their lineage mostly of the Rishi's name then his son's name and then the name of his son.  In Pithru TarpaNam this list will be in reverse order, that is, first the father's name then that of the grandfather and then the name of the great-grand father will be mentioned.  In marriages it is the custom to say this Pravaram loudly for all the assemblage to hear, if need be with a loud-speaker.  It is a must that the bride and bride-groom should be from different Gothram, evidently to avoid in-breeding.  So to indicate that the marriage is taking place with that dictum as the ground rule, a sort of announcement is made for all to hear in which, the Pravaram as in Abhivãdanam as well as the way it is done in TarpaNam with a slight change in the order is announced.  That is, first as in Abhivãdanam the names of the first three Rishis will be mentioned and then the name of the great-grand father, then the name of the grand-father and then the name of the bride-groom's father and then the name of the bride-groom.  Then similar information is provided with equal gusto by the Pundits who are accompanying the bride's family from their side, about their first three Rishis and then the names of the girl's antecedents.

120.                  In Abhivãdanam that the first three Rishis' names will be mentioned is the main thing.  Then the name of the Gothram will be followed by mention of the particular Sutras which list the daily and periodical Karma Rituals the individual follows, the specific one of the four Vedas followed by his family and the branch of the Vedas specially studied and followed by his own name, ending with a 'Bhoh:' – 'भोः' completing the action of his Namaskãra.  The whole thing would mean to say after his Namaskãra, he says as follows, "I belong to so and so Gothram of the first three Rishis of names so and so, belonging to and practicing this particular branch of the Vedas, known as so and so, here I am submitting my regards and obeisance to you, my dear Sir!"

121.                  Just think of what a great tradition we belong to!  As much as we can remind ourselves, as to how we belong to which branch of the Vedas, that do the utmost for the wellbeing of the all the living beings of the world, it will be that much good for our own attitude and behaviour.  We will strive to live up to our reputations and try and be worthy descendants of such wonderful traditions.  Thus saying of Abhivãdanam itself is a reminder and inspiration.  So that this idea may instil in our minds, it has been insisted that we should be repeating the contents of the Abhivãdanam even to people like our close relatives.  Every time we say the Abhivãdana mantra, we are reminded of that branch of the Vedas to which we belong to, the names of the great Rishis who have been our fore-fathers, the greatness of the dynasty to which we belong, are all be replayed in our minds; and that is meant to be so!  Our own name is only part of the latest addenda, which is mentioned at the end.  For all this, when we start saying 'Abhivãdaye…' it means to say, "Let me correctly introduce myself to you, expecting your reply of blessings"!

122.                  The correct response for Abhivãdanam is known as 'Pratyabhivãdanam'.  It is said that Namaskãram is not to be done and Abhivãdanam is not to be conveyed to such a person who does not know as to how to correctly respond with 'Pratyabhivãdanam'.  The one receiving the Namaskãra is supposed to respond with, calling the name as announced and say, "Deerga ãyushmãn bhava, sowmya" – ''दीर्ग आयुष्मान भव सौम्य!"  Like the embargo not to do Namaskãra to someone who does not know as to how to respond with formal Pratyabhivãdanam, there are some other restrictions.  Even if knowledgeable of all systems and procedures, when an elder is lying down, or is in the process of doing Pooja, Japa or Homa, when he has applied oil to his head preparatory to having a bath, or when he is having such preparatory materials such as Teerta Pãtram, flowers, Akshata, darba grass and Samit (for an intended Karma) or when he is about to have food and on certain other occasions; we are not to do Namaskãra to him and say Abhivãdanam. 

123.                  Then again there are some taboos about whom this formal announcement of Abhivãdanam is not to be done, like to people who are 'Yateen', that is Sanyãsis like us.  Before finishing with Yateen there are some names listed to whom the Abhivãdanam is not to be made to: -
devãn, nadeem,  sabhãm, vrukshãm, agneen api tathã yateen |
देवान, नदीं, सभां, वृक्षं, अग्नीन् अपि तथा यतीन् |
dandavat praNamet bhoomow nãbhivãdanam ãcharet ||
दण्डवत् प्रनामेत भूमौ नाsभिवादनं आचरेत् ||  For all these listed here, we are to fall flat on the ground like a pole and do Namaskãra and are not to say the Abhivãdanam of self-introduction.  Who are they?  They are first, the Devas, the Gods.  That is why at home after a Pooja and in the temples we are not broad-casting information on our antecedents.  Then the rivers, which can be and should be respected but, no Abhivãdanam please!  We do Ganga Pooja in Prayag and Samudra Pooja at Rameswaram.  During those occasions we are not to say the Abhivãdanam.  Say there is big assembly of learned Masters.  If you meet any of them separately, we should be doing Namaskãra followed by Abhivãdanam individually to each one of them.  But when meeting them together as a Sabha though we have to do a Namaskãra to the Sabha collectively, no Abhivãdanam need be said here.  So also, we are to do Namaskãram to trees like the Banyan or Pipal / Bodhi / Fig Religiosa aka Holy Fig, without Abhivãdanam and to the sacred Agni or fire of a Yagna Kundam.     

124.                  Now let me carefully tell you that, for elder women other than your mother, we are supposed to do Namaskãra without Abhivãdanam.  Had I said so earlier, in these days of demand for equal rights of women all over the world, people would have been ready to pick up cudgels at once.  But now, since I have said that, we are not to make the Abhivãdanam statement to Devatas, Sanyãsis, Sacred Waters of Rivers and Oceans, Learned Assemblages of Sabhas and ladies other than one's own mother; it is emphasized that there is no partiality than for some unknown reasons, there is a rule like that, for which there may not be any objections, please!

125.                  Though for ladies who are elders we are to do Namaskãram, Abhivãdanam is done only to one's mother.  That is how it has been going on in tradition.  (May be the Mother will know and check as to whether the boy is correctly remembering the words or not.  Anyhow, that is how it has been going on.)  Guru Patni and after mother's demise, the elder brother's wife are given the same respect as shown to one's mother.  Then there is a rule that we are not to do Namaskãram to anybody who is at a height or at a lower ground, may be for the obvious reason that one, he may not notice and two, you may fall down, doing a Namaskãr to someone on a lower ground.  Of course, if you have taken the title as a Guru, you have to suffer in silence, receiving more Namaskãram-s than others that you cannot help! 

126.                  There are rules galore to be followed by the one doing Namaskãra.  He should not be having in his hands what the person being respected is having.  Menfolk should not be wearing the Anga Vastram or shirt.  He should tie it around the hips.  Bare body is important as he is surrendering without hiding anything, especially with an open heart.  Both the one doing it and the one receiving Namaskãram, should not be unclean.  You cannot be doing your ablutions or munching something or spitting out while doing Namaskãram.  The person who is highly qualified in Vidya or Anushtãna or Gnãnam, should be respected by our doing Namaskãra, even if he is younger in age.  There is one view that to do Namaskãra the other should be at least three years elder.  I am of the opinion that, instead of being too finicky about it, starting from someone who looks slightly elder, it is good to lay this body down on the ground in an expression of humility, abidance and respect, aiding one's own sense of PaNivu.  On the yearly day of AvaNi-Avittam even a person elder to us by one period of Muhurtam is searched for and given homage to by way of Namaskãra.

Our Namaskãra Precedes the God's Names!
127.                  Before telling his own name through Abhivãdanam, what he does is 'PraNãma' (a synonym of Namaskãra), punning on the word as it sounds like 'Pre-Name'.  But in fact our Namaskãra is preceding even the names of Easwara and NãrãyaNa as in Panjãkshari and Ashtãkshari Mantras, as we say, 'Om Nama: Sivãya' – 'ॐ नम: शिवाय' and 'Om Namo NãrãyaNãya' – 'ॐ नमो नारायाणाय'!  Thus in both the Mantras our Namaskãram is placed ahead of their names.  Though we Sanyãsis pass on your Namaskãra to NãrãyaNa, Parameswara is also fond of Namaskãra.  Generally Siva is considered as being very fond of continuously bathing and so is called as 'Abhisheka Priya' – 'अभिषेक प्रिय' and Maha Vishnu is said to be fond of decorating himself and so is known as 'Alankãra Priya' – 'अलङ्कार प्रिय'.  Siva is said to be ever fond of bathing as Ganges River is pouring down from his locks on his head.  Maha Vishnu as the Emperor of all the worlds, as the King of all Kings, is wearing his ear rings, necklaces, silken clothes, golden ornaments inlaid with any number of the nine-gems known as Nava Ratna, in every part of the body in the fingers, hands, hips, biceps, anklets in the legs and so on.  Easwara is also fond of Namaskãra, as the famous 'Sri Rudram' is so full of obeisance-s with repeated 'Nama', that it is also known as 'Namakam'!     

No Abhivãdanam to a Sanyãsi
128.                  We were discussing the matter of Abhivãdanam.  I mentioned about the fact that, we Sanyãsis are neither supposed to receive the Namaskãra-s nor are we supposed to give Asirvadam-s.  So as to remove any doubt that people may have on the subject, I wish to tell you that there is no question of your having to do Abhivãdanam before us.  Let me further elaborate the issue.  For a Sanyãsi, just so as to accommodate the societies' need to express their respects, this Namaskãra has been allowed, as I said earlier.  Whether I said so earlier or not, I am now saying so!   Sanyãsi is not supposed to even see as to who is doing Namaskãra to him and getting to know the details about that person, as his mind and entire attention is to be about Ãtma.  For him the one respecting him (doing 'vandanam' – 'वन्दनम् ') and disrespecting him (doing 'nindanam' – 'निन्दनम्') are one and the same!
(To be continued.)




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