DEIVATHIN KURAL # 133
(Vol # 7) Dated 14 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 second paragraph in page No 1024
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)
Those Deserving Namaskãra – Age Limits
184. In the matter of whom to do
Namaskãra, it was the custom to do Namaskãra to someone who is elder by at
least three years. For others, they used
to say that you may show your respect by any other method like may be an Anjali. But, how to keep track of other's age? Especially in these days when the practice is
becoming almost extinct, so as to encourage and enlarge this practice as much
as possible, it is better to just do it to whosoever looks slightly older than
oneself. Even by strict rules of the
Sãstrãs, there are some younger in age than oneself, to whom this Namaskãra is
due. For example, elder brother's wife
is to be respected by a Namaskãra, even if she is younger in age. So also the wife of one's Guru is to be
respected like that. Similarly any
elders' wife is to be respected like that, whatever be their age. Anybody
who is greater in education, elder in character qualities, more experienced in
certain fields, great devotees, those known to be Gnãnis or Sanyãsis are to be
revered irrespective of age, even if they are younger. The Guru's son should also be included in the
185. I said that when you do a
Namaskãra, you may as well do it to both that person and his wife. That
is said as 'dampati sameda' – 'दम्पती समेद'. Similarly when
you are doing Namaskãra, if your wife happens to be there, she may not stand
there as a mute witness! You may as well
do it with your wife and the children included, as a family. Unity of the family has been emphasised by
our elders in such ways and it is an automatic lesson for the children in
inculcating humility. The more you fall
in other's feet, lesser will be your own conceit, is the idea.
No 'Nama:' in the Singular
186. The elders we go in search of
for doing Namaskãra, whether they bless us themselves or pray to God on our
behalf or simply transfer our Namaskãra to NãrãyaNã, without any concern of
their own, whatever it is; without thinking about that, what we should do for
all of them is to just drop this body flat on the ground with a 'Namo Nama:' –
'नमो नम:', somehow
blessings of God will flow to us in some form or the other! Never is it done or said singly. Even in the colloquial we say, "A
thousand Namaskãrãs to you" or in the letters we say, 'Koti Namaskãrãs' or
'Ananta Koti Namaskãrãs'! (One gentleman
used to write letters to PeriyavãL in which unlike the phrase more commonly
used as, 'Ananta Koti Namaskãrãs', he used to write 'Ananta Namaskãrãs'
only. One day, the compiler of these
speeches by PeriyavãL, Sri Rã. Ganapathy overheard PeriyavãL talking to that
gentleman. "I used to wonder as to
why you are cutting out the 'Koti' in 'Ananta Koti Namaskãrãs', only for a
short period. Then it was clear as to
what you mean! The word 'Ananta' itself
means infinite and it is not to be qualified by a finite number as
187. I was saying that Namaskãra is
not to be in the singular, but at least 'Namo Nama:' should be there. In fact in Durga Saptasati there are many
slokas which end in 'Namastasyai, Namastasyai, Namastasyai, Namo Nama:' – 'नमस्तस्यै,
नमस्तस्यै, नमस्तस्यै, नमो नाम:' –
stacking up a whole lot of prostrations.
I have already told you as to how a part of Rudram containing so many
Namaskãrãs is called as 'Namakam' itself!
For elders who are far advanced in age we should do Sãshtãnga or
Panchãnga Namaskãrãs at least four times.
Then amongst Vaishnavãs there is a tradition to carry on doing Namaskãra
till the elder notices it and says, 'enough'!
We are heir to such a legacy that so nurtured and nourished this
tradition of doing Namaskãra, that it is an offence if we let such tradition go
waste or defunct.
188. That this action of Namaskãra
is done with humility, wishing for further reinforcement of that quality, is
important. If this basic attitude is
missing, doing Namaskãra is like any other physical exercise only! We should not let this noble means of
inculcating Vinaya become an exercise in futility! (Here PeriyavãL is punning on the word
'Dandam' in Tamil as the word has four different meanings as a pole, waste and
punishment, while remaining a synonym for the act of Namaskãra. He says that this golden opportunity 'Dandam'
for inculcating humility should not be permitted to go waste (Dandam), by being
used only as an exercise (Dandãl) to build up animal power, as otherwise it
will prove to be an exercise in futility (Dandam), instead of being used as a
means for refinement and ennoblement!) To
reduce and thin down to nullity the fattened 'Ego', the only means available is
through Vinaya that we should repeatedly do Dandam to our elders before us in
human form saying, 'Namo Nama: & Namo NãrãyaNãya' – 'नमो
नम: व नमो नारायणाय'.
That Which Enables Attainment of the Very Purpose of
189. The Veda (Taitreeya Upanishad 3.10.4)
says, "Think of God as Namaskãr and worship that all your desires will
start doing Namaskãr to you". What
does it mean? We do Namaskãr to God in
the Temple and elders, with so many wants or desires to be fulfilled that there
is no end to them. There is an adage in
Tamil which goes, 'ãsaikkor aLavillai' – 'ஆசைக்கோர் அளவில்லை', meaning that there is no end to
our desires! When one want is satisfied
five more come up in its place. So,
sensibly one should pray for the removal of desires – 'wish for annulment of
wishes' that is said in Tamil as – 'vendãmai
vendi' – 'வேண்டாமை வேண்டி'! That stage of
being devoid of wants is the one in which desires will be doing Namaskãrãs to this man.
He is not doing any prayers of wants that the desires are praying to him
doing Namaskãrãs to him saying, "Sir!
Why are you ignoring us? Please
open your eyes in our direction!"
This is what is being mentioned by the Sruti with literary nicety.
190. A person who approaches
respectable and qualified elders daily, doing Namaskãr to them and serving them
diligently taking care of their creature comforts, stands to benefit in terms
of longevity, knowledge, fame and power; says the Manu Smruti (2.121), I Quote:
शीलस्य नित्यं वृद्धोपसेविन: |
sheelasya nityam vruddhopasevina: |
तस्य वर्धन्ते आयुर विद्या यशो बलं ||
chatvãri tasya vardhante ãyur vidya yasho balam || (In the above quote there are some difference
in the versions for the word 'vidya' in the second line as 'pragnã' or 'dharma',
meaning awareness and morality.)
191. The effect of dong Namaskãrãs
have been variously extolled by statements in our Sãstrãs such as, 'the
greatness and nobility (that is, Shreyas) attained by a person lying like a
Dandam on the ground, cannot be reached by even someone who has done a hundred
Yagas'. Then again it is said that, 'it
is not correct even to say that one sincere Namaskãra is equivalent to doing
ten Aswamedha Yagas as, the one who has done ten Aswamedha Yagas has to be born
again, whereas this act of Namaskãra gives Mochanam aka relief from rebirth'!
192. One gentleman (Appayya
Dikshidar in a poem known as 'Kuvalayãnandam' has mentioned this fact of Janma
Mochanam from Namaskãra with poetic beauty as a prayer to Parameswarã says: –
प्रातुर्भावात अनुमितमिदं जन्मनि पुरा
anumitamidam janmani pura
न क्वापि क्वचिदपि भवन्तं प्रणतवान |
purãre na kwãpi kwchidapi bhavantam
namanmukta: sampratyahamatanu: agrebyanatimãn
तदिदं अपराद त्वयमपि ||
eedishakshantavyam tadidam aparãda
dvayamapi || The poet is saying,
"Parameswarã! You have to pardon
two of my mistakes. One is that I have
not done Namaskãra to you in my last life. That I know because, I have been born in this
life. Had I done Namaskãra then, I could
not or would not have been given this life.
The second sin that you have to pardon is that I am not going to do
Namaskãra to you in my next life, because I know that there will not be a next
life, as I have done Namaskãra to you now and got rid of future
births!" Thus he has very cleverly
and interestingly brought out the 'Power of doing Namaskãra'!
193. At the end of Bhagawatam there
is this sloka of immense beauty, word play and deep meaning. It says,
संगीर्तनं यस्य सर्वपाप प्रणासनं |
nãma sankirtanam yasya sarva papa
दुःख्समन: तं नमामि हरिं परम् ||
du:khasamanam tam namãmi harim param ||
is beautiful rhyming between the start of the first line as 'nãmam' and second
line as 'praNãmam' and in between is the word 'prNãsanam'. Let that be on a side. Let us look at the word meaning. The chanting of the 'out-of-this-world-name
of Hari', as it is kills all sins, says the first line. The narration of Bhagawatam could have been completed
there in all fairness. But instead of
ending the script there, it has been completed with the mention of the
greatness of Namaskãra, saying 'praNãmo du:kha
samana:' – ' प्रणामो दुःख्समन:'
that doing Namaskãra is capable of cancelling all our sorrows'. So I am doing Namaskãra to that Hari says the
author, 'tam namãmi harim param' – 'तं नमामि हरिं परम्', with which the narrative ends!
194. 'I am going to do Namaskãra to
that exotic 'out-of-this-world' stuff Hari, chanting of whose names will cancel
out all sins and doing Namaskãra to whom removes all sorrows', is the meaning
of the complete sloka. When the sins are
cancelled out, aren't the sorrows removed?
It looks like a good question.
But the answer is that cancellation of sins does not remove
sorrows. You can become absolutely pure
devoid of sins, morally correct, righteous and almost perfect in attitude and
behaviour. But there can still be a
sorrow, a sense of deficiency and a feeling of not being complete! That completeness happens only when you
surrender unto him, by way of a Namaskãra.
195. To sing in praise of God as
'Nãma Sankeertana' is all still part of doing work. When all work ends in total surrender of
SaraNãgati, you fall in Namaskãra. That
is why Suka ÃchãryãL has completed the Bhagawatam giving the highest importance
to the Namaskãra, the act of self-surrender.
All sins are bad intentions converted into despicable actions, to cancel
out which we have to opt for 'Nãma Sankeertana', by which Pãpam goes, but Tãpam
remains and becomes intense! This cannot
go till we are there as yet another separate entity, instead of becoming one
with God! When we surrender unto God and
become inert like a piece of dead wood with the Gnãnam that it is his
prerogative as to when and how to absorb us back unto his self; we have no more
Pãpam and no more Tãpam, because 'we' are no more! This is the end sloka of Bhagawatam. The sense of this sloka is perfectly
reflected in one of the end slokas of Bhagawat Gita. We will consider that in the next issue of
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