Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 10 (of Vol 2 )

Om Namah Sivaya.
Deivathin Kural # 10 (of Vol 2 ) of 15 June 2007.
1. These e-mails, are chapter wise translations of the lectures given by, Sri Chandra Sekharendra Swamigal, of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Every day, after the daily Puja, He used to talk, on various aspects concerning Hinduism. These are published, in Tamil, by Vanady Padippagam, T.Nagar, Chennai, as Deivathin Kural, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each. To-day's talk is titled, 'Saranagathiye Mukhyam', that is, 'The Most Important Thing Is to Surrender', in pages 73 to 78, of Deivathin Kural, Volume 2. (Unless otherwise specified, 'He' herein includes 'She'.)
2. I spoke a lot about the qualifications of the Guru. Whether he is the initial Vidya Guru, who is a Vedavith or the final Guru, who is a Brhmavith, with the responsibility to fetch the Jeeva to Paramatma; for both excellent behaviour and devotion to God are essentials. I said that , if you get a Sanyasa Guru, who shows the way to inner reality, happens to be someone who never cribs, totally aware, perfectly clean, and an ocean of compassion; then you do not even need God !
3. But, I get another thought, if it is humanly possible for everyone to get such excellent role models as Gurus. 'If you are sincerely thirsting for liberation and knowledge, God will send you a Guru', say the Sastras. For Manikka Vaasakar, Easwara Himself came as the Guru and gave him Upadesa, sitting under the Kurunda tree, Manikka Vaasakar himself confirms this in many places in his poems. Still we are doubtful.
4. How to be sure that the Guru we go in search of, is genuine ? If he happens to be a fake, then what to do ? How do we find out if he is clean or not ? Initially, we think that he seems perfect. Later, we get to know differently or we hear some gossip. Then what are we to do ? If we are to change the Guru, then what happens if the second Guru is worse or equally bad ? What is the surity that we will not be disappointed a second time ? This world is not to be trusted. Different people talk differently. Even good people are not inured from being subjected to gossip and inuendo ! Those who have become a Sishya to a Guru, will find themselves in an embarassing situation, when they hear such information about their own Guru. They will be hard put to decide, as to whether they should believe it or not.
5. What can we do about this ? This is not a major issue, in the case of the Viddhyabyasa Guru. We are not expecting any outlandish character qualities in him. Mostly his aberrations if any may be within human frailties. As a married man with a family of his own, there is not much scope for too much worry. Anyhow, we will be a student under him in an age, when we will not be too interested in judging him. Having been told that he is to be treated as God, the student is not likely to troubled too much.
6. The problem is more with respect to the Sanyasa Guru, who is meant for our inner cleanliness and Moksha. How to trust him ? What do we do, if we find some faults in him ? If we leave him, is it a sin ? Is it Gurudroham, or tantamount to disloyalty ? What happens if our assesment has been wrong ? Let me answer these questions, to the extent I am capable of.
7. I take back all that I said earlier, about the required character qualities of a Guru. That is, I am telling you now to stop assessing the Guru. As the child is with the Viddhyabyasa Guru, put all your guards down with this Guru also. With this Guru who is to show you the path of Moksha, even old sishyas, should place total trust. It does not matter, if this is considered as blind belief.
8. We searched for a Guru. We came to this Guru, believing him to be clean, wholesome and beyond corruption. If we thought him to be anything less, we would not have come to him. Now if we get doubts, what can be done ? Before going to another Guru, the problem of disloyalty to this Guru, remains to be solved. What is the surity of that Guru ? The only solution is to accept this Guru, as God given, as meant for us despite his faults. Not only that God has sent him, Sastras say that God Himself has come as the Guru. All the question about assessing his behaviour arises only when we think of him as a simple, mortal, human being. When we think of him as God in human form; we can stop our assessment. Can there be a God with faults ? Even what is seemingly faults, may only be an error in our perspective. Let us look at it like that. Once we think of him as God, the question of going to another does not arise. It looks laughable to think of going to another Guru and think of him as God in human form !
9. That is why, once you have opted for some one as your Guru, instead of assessing him, we should simply become devoted and serve him. if we do that then it is God's prerogative to bless us with the necessary understanding and awareness. Whether the Guru attains to Gnana or not, we will attain to ! World may laugh at us. Let it. Even if we were to suffer as a result, let it be. Instead of doing profit and loss analysis, instead of calculating name and fame or the loss of it, if we surrender; we are sure to gain the highest advantage of 'Atma Gnana'.
10. In the world, there is no permanent loss or gain. Everything is for some days only. So, instead of being too calculative with the Guru, we should surrender. It is said that :-
bhoomou skalitha padanam bhoomireva avalambanam I
tvayi jata aparadanam tvameva aalambanam guro II
It means that, if we fall from the first floor or a tree, earth will hold us. If we fallby tripping while walking it is again the Earth, that will have to hold us. Same way, any error of omission or commission against anybody, we have to go back to the Guru only !
11. We have to search for a Guru as a duty. It is to obtain a steady mind that we approach elders. Once we identify that the most important thing is to surrender this mind, then how does it matter, to whom ? Let him be whosoever. To go one step beyond, what is so great about being devoted to someone who is great himself ? If you go to a not so seemingly great Guru, and are able to still your mind and gain maturity, we should take it 'as God's will to test and thereby refine us'. If you put a borwell in the Mahamaha pond, anyone can bathe there. But uncaring how dirty it is, if you are ready to take a dip, with the view that it is holy water; then it means that you have true devotion. All these things are a test for oneself and not others. To go to a famous Mahatma, is rather our lazyness in testing ourselves for maturity. It is not enough if the Guru is great. Our Bakthi also has to be effective. If we go to a Temple, will we forego the seeing God because the Archgar is not very well dressed ? To surrender is our job. Even if the Guru is not so great, if we are firm in our devotion, much benefit accrues.
12. Instead of letting the mind of ours go wherever it goes, if we could only tie it down, as we tie down the cattle; and surrender, it is enough. Initially we surrender with the hope that we will be saved. When we remain firm, without changing loyalties enroute, our aim will be achieved, whether by Guru or God.


Deivathin Kural # 9 (of Vol 2 )

Om Namah Sivaya.
Deivathin Kural # 9 (of Vol 2 ) of 14 June 2007.
(Continued from Deivathin Kural # 8 (of Vol 2 ) of 13 June 2007.)
34. I compared the King and Government of this world, to the Guru, for the inner or spiritual world. I said that both the initial Guru during Brhmacharya Asrama, who laid the foundation for our education is as important as the Sanyasi Guru, who gives us Pranava Upadesa and Mahavakya Upadesa. Don't we serve the government in various ways and pay the taxes ? Similarly we should serve the initial and end Gurus and pay them Guru Dakshinai. We can never get anything from anybody, without giving them something in return. Whatever it is that we get, it will be useful and long lasting only if we give value for value. For Sanyasa Guru, money is not so important as service and obedience.
35. To the 'Vidyabyasa Guru', both money and service are to be given / rendered. He has a household. For that it is not enough to give the food material obtained by Bikshacharyam. He has to do various Yagas and other Karma Anushtana. For this the Sishya has to give material and money. As it happens now, if you pay fees during education, that may lead to an idea that the Guru is dependent on us. The devotion to Guru will vanish. So this Guru Dakshinai is given at the end of Gurukula Vasam, before returning to ones, worldly life. As per Sastras, the Sishya has to give what the Guru asks for. Though one can never pay back for what all the Guru gives, one should try to, in terms of service and money / kind.
36. Till peace and vinayam prevailed education flourished. Now there are as many agencies as possible, at work in agitating and pulling the mind of the student in humpteen different directions. Drama, cinema, story books, TV serials, advertisements, magazines and so on, start affecting the mind of the child, from its birth. They diturb the peace of the mind and agitate. Another enemy is Anger and Hate. From the school days, the political parties are interested in creating the so called Youth Wing of the party, with the eye on future vote banks ! Student union elections and the related political orientation of the children's minds are the bane of the modern world. With the dwindling of Vinayam, pride and Ahambhavam have to come in filling in. It is not Vidya anymore. It is Avidya, arts and crafts with cleverness, thuggery and skullduggery.
37. If the boy is given tuition at home, the boy is the Lord and the Guru is a servant. So also in schools and colleges, the student behaves like a Lord. He goes on strike and tries to physically beat up the warden and teacher. Because, in all these places too, they take money first. But in Gurukulam, the Dakshinai is to be paid only in the end. In these things, the psychological insight that our forefathers had is really surprising. Having lovingly interacted with the Guru for a number of years, the student himself will feel indebted and deliberate on, 'how he can never be able to fully compensate the Guru !' On such occassions, there have been Gurus, who have asked for the 'impossible such as, Indrani's ear rings or the gem from the head of the snake !' But such people were rare indeed. May be some of them were wanting to prove that, there was nothing impossible to that Sishya. Normally the Guru lot were self satisfied people, easily pleased.
38. In Baghawat Gita, Sri Krishna says,
"tat viddhi pranipadena pariprasnena sevaya I
upadeshyanthi the gnanam gnanina: tatvadarsina: II "
(The word 'the' in the above line is to be pronounced similar to 'way'.) 'If you want to know about Paramatma Tatva, go to Gnanis who know. Behave with them with Adakkam and humility (pranipadena); serve them well (sevaya); attentively listen and absorb the Upadesas by repeatedly questioning and clarifying doubts (pariprasnena); If you are like that, they will certainly give you Gnanopadesa !', He says.
39. Because He is talking about, ' tatvadarsina: gnanina: ', there is no mention of the Guru Dakshinai. only service (sevaya) is mentioned. But in Taitreeya Upanishad, it is clearly mentioned that, 'for the Guru who does Viddhyabyasam, render service and give the Dakshinai as asked for': 'acharyaya priyam danam ahruthya'. Just because the Upanishad tells the Sishya to give whatever asked for, does not mean that, Guru will suddenly become greedy and ask for the 'moon'. Like the Sishya has a code of conduct, the Guru has much higher norms to live up to.
40. In taitreeya Upanishad, a Guru's advice to the Sishya, prior to his departure after finishing 12 years of Gurukula Vasam is worth taking note of. The talk being quoted here is equivalent to the convocation address given while passing out after graduation in any University ! It goes, "Sathyam vada, Dharmam chara....Mathru devo bhava, Pithru devo bhava, Acharya devo bhava, Athiti devo bhava..." and so on; meaning, what is given in the next para.
41. "Speak the truth. Stand by moral standards. Do not refrain from chanting the Vedas even for a single day. (Meaning, never let your profession go by default.) Since Veda Dharma is for ever, accept Gruhastha Dharma, beget children and spread the Vedas for the future generations. Never let your Deva, Rishi, Pithru, Bootha and Jeeva Karmas go by default. Consider your Mother, Father, Teacher and Guest, as God." Having said all that and some, the Guru adds, "Whatever good attitude and behaviour, you have seen and observed in us, emulate. Do not go contrary to that". I am sure that the Guru must have been very well behaved, to be able to say that.
42. As this last sentence may construed as self advertisement, He immediately adds, "You are likely to come across people better than us in many ways. I will tell you as to how to behave with them". Then He goes on to describe as how the Sishya should get along with those who are higher in status, in education, behaviour and social standing. Like the Sishya, the Guru had to have Vinayam too. We can see that, the Guru who is advicing is also speaking from a position of real 'Adakkam'.
43. When faced with the quandry, as to what is to be done and how, the Guru says, "Study people carefully. Those who do not jump to conclusions, but come to a clarity only after a detailed study of the situation, are worth emulating. They should be capable if independant thinking and decision. They should not be cruel minded. Instead of being materialistic, they should be morally incorruptible. You should consider such pesons as your role model. Follow such people of high moral standards, well knowledgeable in Vedas and its purport." we can easily see that the person advicing cannot be a hypocrite and must be a depository of the qualities He is enlarging. The Sishya has seen his Guru on various occassions. Now he returns to his household and the Acharya is telling to live upto the high ideals that is expected of him.
44. The love that is likely to develop between the Guru and the Sishya, is the life force of Gurukula Vasam. The Sishya's Vinayam, control of the senses, progressive advancement in devotion to God, and his personal refinement of character; is all based on this initial capital of Devotion to Guru.
45. Even if the Guru was not not capable of winning the student's devotion on his own, at a young age, when you leave the child in the Guru's household, with the instruction to the boy, to consider the Guru as equivalent to God, coupled with the Bikshacharya arrangement; automatically will evoke Guru Bakthi in the student's heart. Such Guru Bakthi would make the student and the society benefit. Contrary to the need for 'Adakkam', what we see is, 'Adangaamai', that is, uncontrollable mis-behaviour ! That is why, looking at the most unpleasant direction in which education is moving, I am keen on somehow reviving the Gurukula pattern of education.
46. I wish that, every child should go through the experience of Gurukula Vasam, at least for one year, even if it meant the loss of one year from the normal curriculum. Let him do Bikshacharyam and Gurukulam. If I say twelve years, none of you will listen. That is why I am asking for 'one year'. In the young age, even one year of such experience, will benefit the child and society immencely. That loss of one year will be more than made up by the fact that he will brighten up beyond belief. He will at least get into the habit of early morning bath, doing Sandya Vandanam three times, in the morning, forenoon and evening. Such habits will last a life time.
47. Now-a-days, don't you send your child on Scout camps for fifteen days to a month? Like that for a longer duration of minimum one year, make your child undergo, Gurukula Vasam and Bikshacharyam, under a worthwhile Guru. Through Guru Bakthi, many good habits and discipline will be imbued. We have yet to identify such Gurus, and parents who are ready to, do this social experiment. I am sincerely requesting you all to help run such organisations, by first contributing in kind, identify suitable teachers and put the idea in to practice. Basically the people who are too poor to send their children to school, could contribute by sending their children to Gurukula Vasam.
48. We do not have to make a huge infra-structure. Actually, we should avoid making a big organization, I am not saying that no organization is required. But simply, launch such Gurukulas and then periodically review, as to how best to help and overcome problems. We should all see as to how best we can help. It is important to get that mind set.
49. More education means more Agnosticism, more disbelief, more indiscipline and lack of control. If the state of affairs is to change, even if only as a model case in an experiment, we have to create Guru Bakthi and make it thrive. Till the last generation, at least in Sangeetham, Gurukula Vasam was in vogue. Now, even that is extinct.
50. So we have to make a start. We should not be inactive, thinking, who will join such. 'Small drops make the ocean.' For the welfare of humanity, Love of God is essential. For that, Guru Bakthi is the essential prelude.
(KTSV adds:- Actually this lecture led to the creation of Sankara Baktha Sabhas and Sankara Gurukulams in many cities. I personally know of one running very effectively in Malkajgiri, Secunderabad, where some 100 Brhmachary students are studying, 15 to 30 students becoming Ganapadigal every year.)


Deivathin Kural # 8 (of Vol 2 )

Om Namah Sivaya.
Deivathin Kural # 8 (of Vol 2 ) of 13 June 2007.
(Continued from Deivathin Kural # 7 (of Vol 2 ) of 11 June 2007.)
16. Where and when was the foundation laid, for that bliss of 'seperateness dissolving in oneness'; Jeeva merging into Paramatma; the individual soul subsiding in the Universal ? For that question, the answer is, "saisave abyastha vidyanam". It is the moral foundation laid in childhood, that stands by him throughout one's life. It makes him aware that all other events of life are only transient points and not the destination.
17. Childhood is the time to inculcate discipline. What is the first requirement of discipline ? Humility, control and contentedness, are the three basics for discipline. Humbleness is essential for self control and control by authority. For all good qualities, 'vinayam' is the back-drop. Vinayam is lack of pride and head weight, and a willingness to learn. More than medicine, diet is important. Similarly, for all sudents, vinayam was the essential quality. Actually the student was called, 'vineyan', that is, he had the humility, humbleness and willingness to learn. By the time he was eight years of age, he was given the 'yagnopaveetham' by a function called 'upanayanam', otherwise called the 'poonal kalyanam'.
18. What is 'upanayanam' ? 'Nayanam' is to escort. The blind man has to be escorted by someone else. From this you can understand that, it is the eye which takes us places. That is why the eyes are called, 'nayanam'.
'Upa' means, close / near. So, 'upanayanam' was, giving the young boy, 'yagnopaveetham' (to enable him to do the trikala sandya vandanam) and escort him to the Guru, for Gurukula Vasam. Till now he was playing around as a child and now he undertakes a responsible, disciplined Brhmacharya Asrama. Asrama, here does not necessarily mean, being closetted away in an asylam, but an imporant stage of one's life. In Brhmacharya Asrama, the Guru is the most important person.
19. In this first Asrama, Guru is the 'be all and end all'. Finally in the Sanyasa Asrama too, another Guru comes in to play. To cut the 'poonool' or 'yagnopaveetham' given now, that Guru has to come. What the first Guru taught as the Aim of all Upanishads as Brhmam; to enable him to realise that Brhmam, the second Guru comes as a Sanyasi Guru. By Guru Parampara, we mean that line of Sanyasi Guru, whom we reverentially prostrate to.
20. But, it is the first Guru in Brhmacharya Gurukula Vasam, who enbles us to acquire the merits, to be able to approach the Sanyasi Guru. This Guru taches us all the Vidyas / Education, arts and crafts. This Guru is not a sanyasi. The first Guru is called Vedavith(one who knows the Vedas) and the final Guru is called Brhmavith(one who knows the Brhmam). This initial Guru, who is a Vedavith has bookish knowledge of Brhmam but not aware. He is yet to go to a Sanyasi Guru and take Sanyasa and do Brhma Anusandanam !
21. But this does not mean that, he is anything less. He is exactly as he should be as per Asrama Dharma. If the student is required to be full of 'vinayam', he should be capable of inculcating that 'Vinayam' and be able to live in a manner that will evoke the natural respect of the student. He should be unfailing in observance of His Karmas. He should be morally incorruptible. While being strict with the student, he should have adequqte care and concern for a child who has left his parents, to live with him. The student as he is called, 'vineyan', has another name as 'anthevasi', meaning, 'inliving' or 'with-living'. Like 'upnayanam' means, 'taking the student near', automatically also means, 'near the Guru'; 'Anthevasi' automatically means, 'student living with the Guru'. Actually, 'anthe' does not mean, 'with or near' but 'inside'. Like the words, 'antharangam, antharatma, antharyami', 'antha', means 'inside'. Inside not only means in the same house, but also in the heart. The Guru should keep the Sishya in his heart. That is how loving he should be.
22. He has a very big responsibility towards the student. If he does not fulfill that resposibility, he will suffer most. Now-a-days, often teachers can heard saying, 'how does it matter whether the student is successful or not, I get my pay'. A Guru running a Gurukula cannot afford to have that sort of an attitude. Because, the 'Guru - Sishya' relationship is not a business contract. The present day condition is far below a business contract even. In business atleast, they will insist on true value for the money in return. Though the student might have paid for the tution, his failure does not affect the teacher, these days. But the Guru in the Gurukula has undertaken an enormous responsibility. What is that ?
23. Needi Sastram says, 'sishya (krutam) papam gurum vrajeth'. That is the effect of the sins of omission and commission by the Sishya, accrues to the Guru. That means that, the Guru not only takes the responsibility to teach the student, but also maintaining the student in an acceptable level of discipline. He is concerned, not only about the behaviour but also the attitude. If he does not live upto his undertaking, he is punishable. The Guru has to suffer for not having corrected the Sishya.
24. In a family, the wife's errant behaviour affects the husband and not her because, it is his responsibility to advice and bring her to the right path. Even in national affairs, the 'papa' that accrues due to the sins of the citizen, goes to the King who failed to correct the citizen. If the King commits mistakes, the 'papa' accrues to the 'Raja Purohithar' or religious advisor in the King's court. Thus the 'Needi Sastra', gave a very high responsibility to the Guru, Husband, King and the King's Acharya :-
raja rashtra krutham papam raja papam purohitam I
bartharam sthreekrutham papam sishya papam gurum vrajeth II
25. However this does not mean, that the husband bossed over the wife; the King ruled with an iron hand and the Guru was a task master with a stick in his hands, for corporal punishment ! They were morally held responsible for their wards' behaviour. They had to bear the burden of their ward's sins, if they had failed to apply corrections effectively. How was the Guru's behaviour in such a condition, when the Guru knew this and was afraid of the accumulation of 'papa' due to the sishya's faults. He would have kept his own behaviour so clean and above board, that the student would be motivated by example. In 'Thithreeya Upanishad', the Guru tells the Sishya, "You follow the good behaviour in us", (asmaakam sucharithaani). It is such a Guru, to whom the child should be entrusted, early enough !
26. Those days, every father knew Veda Sastras very well. Brahmins used to know the meaning and chanting of Vedas, while others knew the gist and message. But when it came to teaching their own son, they took him to another Guru, possibly to avoid spoiling the child because of too much parental liberty and blind love. The child had to learn, obedience based on inner respect to the institution of Guru. You can glean this fact, through the Upanishads.
27. Bharadwajar was a great learned Guru himself. But when it came to putting his son Sukesa in Gurukula, after a search, he took his son to Pippalada, with Sukesa holding 'samit' ( or pieces of small twigs useable in Yaga). Prasnopanishad starts like that. For easily pleased Gurus, offer of Samit was most welcome for conduct of Yagnas. There are many such examples. In Chandokhya Upanishad, there is mention of Swetaketu, who does Vidyabyasam under his own father and does not fare well, when he goes to the Kings court, there to be questioned by one Pravahana. This seems to indirectly convey that education under ones own father was not much appreciated.
28. What is called, 'adakkam' in Tamil and 'vinay' in Sanskrit, a quality that combines humbleness and contentedness, is very difficult to obtain or cultivate. Specially with more education, pride that one is educated, will keep increasing. This is elaborated in another story about Swetaketu, in Chandokhya Upanishad. He returns after a period of 12 years of Gurukula Vasam under other Gurus, with the pride that he had learnt everything. Then his own father, shatters his pride and makes him realise that he knows nothing about 'Brhma Gnana'. He causes his son to request with a bowed head, that he may please be given 'Upadesa' by his own father, on 'Brhma Gnana'.
29. The children were sent to other teachers for 'Gurukula Vasam' for the main purpose of inculcating the essential quality of 'Adakkam'. What we see now is that, when sent to hostels, children's behaviour becomes even worse. Now-a-days, the reason for this is the teacher's lack of charcter qualities. The second reason is the strict framework of tight schedules, that were enforced in the Gurukula. The most important part of that schedule was, 'bikshacharyam', which means, to beg and collect alms.
30. Immediately after the 'yagnopaveetham' ceremony was over, the father of the boy would say, 'bikshacharyam chara', which means, 'go and beg for alms and hand over what you collect, to your Guru'. Even if the father was very rich, and the son will inherit all that one day, he must make his son go through the experience of 'Gurukula Vasam and Bikshacharyam'. The boy is supposed to reply, 'baadham' to mean, 'O K, I will do as ordered'. However rich the boy may be, he had to wear a strip of cloth around his loins, and got each house and stand with a begging bowl and say, 'bavathi biksham dehi !'. This was to bring home humility, humbleness, adakkam and vinayam. The essence of education will be lost track of if this adakkam was going to be missing.
31. What he collected by begging was submitted to the Guru. He would ask the Sishya, to hand it over to the Gurupathni. The Sishya's daily food was dependent on that. When he eats at home to his hearts content and goes to school or college, the student couldn't care less for the teacher. The attitude would not be so, if he had to eat out of the teacher's or his wife's hands. What he brings would be generally more than one man's requirements. But the arrangement ensured that, he would get a feeling of dependancy on the Gurukula, instead of otherwise.
32. There should be no control on the quantity, of what a growing Brhmachary eats. But he should avoid certain type of foods, that will affect him mentally and physically, unsuitable for an educational environment. Guru / Guru Pathni would ensure that such inputs are avoided. To-day evidently no such control exists, neither at home nor in hostels.
33. Normally, to learn one Veda, (including its brahmana, karma kanda and aranyaka,) along with other essential subjects, would take 12 years. He came to the Guru at about Eight and remains there at least upto around 20 years of age. By the time he is 14 to 15, adolescence comes in with concurrent changes in the mental make-up and temptations. In that most important and most impressionable, period of ones life, if you have a kind hearted, likeable, knowledgeable yet firm, Guru of exemplary character, that enables the student to acquire a command over the senses. If the Gurukula Vasam and Bikshadanam had been created, in the later years, it would not have been as effective as the one already in vogue since eight years of age. If we try to construct a buttress wall against a flood, it wil wash away not only the wall but also those who are working to create one. That ia why our Sastras say that, six to seven years before adolescence, the child should get used to Gurukula Vasam and Bikshadanam. Before Kamam can enter inside his mind, Gayathri has already entered and started reinforcing his defences against potential threats. Brhmacharya Asrama schedules, restrictions and control, added to Bikshacharyam, have already instilled much, 'adakkam' including control of the senses. Then, he will not only be a Brhmachary in name only, but in reality too he will be moving in Brhmam, 'brhma charyam'.
(To be continued in the next e-mail, i.e.,Deivathin Kural # 9 (of Vol 2 ).)


Deivathin Kural # 7 (of Vol 2 )

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 7 (of Vol 2 ) of 11 June 2007.

1. These e-mails, are chapter wise translations of the lectures given by, Sri Chandra Sekharendra Swamigal, of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Every day, after the daily Puja, He used to talk, on various aspects concerning Hinduism. These are published, in Tamil, by Vanady Padippagam, T.Nagar, Chennai, as Deivathin Kural, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each. To-day's talk is titled, 'Gurukula Vasam', that is, 'Living in Guru's Household', in pages 51 to 72, of Deivathin Kural, Volume 2. (Unless otherwise specified, 'He' herein includes 'She'.)

2. Rajangam or government, is meant to make our normal life, care free. Law abiding citizens should not be troubled by unlawful elements. Physically weak should not be bossed over by the strong. To provide this protection and make other creature comforts available to the common man
we had a king in the past, who ruled over the land with the help of a team of ministers. Now we do not have the king, but still have a team of ministers, with a chief or prime minister as the head. Whatever it is, we all do service under the government in some capacity and pay the taxes.

3. This world is not eternal. We have to find a place in the eternal world. There are six internal enemies, who are strong, powerful and under no one's control or law. They are Kamam, Krodham, Lobham, Moham, Madham and Ascharyam; meaning respectively, mis-directed desire, violent anger, miserliness with greed, passion, egoistic pride and envy. If we can guard ourselves from these internal enemies and progress through Devotion, Meditation and Awareness, then we can and may arrive at our destination. That eternal is now and for ever within us only. But is seemingly far away, and to reach there is Brhma Prayatnam or a Herculean task. The direction pointer, driver, enabler, provider, friend, guide, philosopher, helper, king and government; is the Acharya / Guru.

4. It is not enough, if we are comfortable in this world. Even if we are uncomfortable here does not matter. But it is more important to reach the eternal and not keep coming back. During this temporary transient period, we have to make way for the permanent. At a young age, we are more flexible and adaptible whereas, we are more stiff and rigid in our later years. So, it is important that, we are guided on to the right path at a young age itself. So was created Brhmacharya Asramam and Gurukula Vasam. But, this does not mean however, that at that young age itself, the Jeevan or the individual soul, was literally 'short circuited', by being told that this world is all a big lie and only the inner world and Paramatma are real and true.

5. It is true that in Gurukula Vasam, Atma Vidya sastras were tought. But it did not mean that the student was driven away from the worldly life, straight away. All the Vidyas and Sastras were taught during this period, which included many of the modern day Sciences, Arts, Crafts, Literature, Dance, Drama and Music. Our forefathers were very much aware that in this huge drama stage of this world, things happen in an orderly fashion. They knew that a fruit, goes through many stages, before 'fruition'. There are some beautiful words to describe these stages in Tamil and Sanskrit, which to my knowledge are lacking in English. Like 'back' and 'small of the back', you simply add, 'a small of the ---'. In Tamil, it is Arumbu > Poo > Pinju > Kai > Kani. Rarely someone, somewhere, at a very young age itself, could have become completely dispassionate, detached and devoid of involvement. Our forefathers were well aware that, all others have to and can progress only, step by step. ( KTSV adds:- It is interesting to note that, Periyaval himself, who is lecturing here, was suddenly elevated to the level of Jagat Guru, Kanchi Kamakoti Mata Adhipathi, when he was less than 13 years of age, because the previous incumbent died in office. Normally, a 'Pudiya Periyaval' as he is endearingly addressed, goes through long years of apparentship. In his case, he did not have even this. One day he was a child in a household. Next day he was Jagat Guru ! )

6. But the arrangement should progress step by step and not regress. That is why, after a period of Brhmacharyam, was Grahastham, in which you got married, begot children, earned an income, managed your affairs, looked after your family, behaved as a responsible member of the society, payed your taxes, and looked after Sadhus and Athithies / guests. During all this, you continued your Vaidika Karmas. Brahmin did Sandhya Vandanams three times a day, Brhma Yagnam, Agni Hothram daily, Pithru tharpanam once a month and Yearly Samskaras, visit to temples and Kshetradana. Some of them taught other craftsmen their trade. Some of them conducted yaga karmas for others. The Kshatrya and Vaisya, did Gayathri mantra chanting and visit to temples and holy places and did their respective jobs in the society. Sudra was required to take the name of God, minimum once in the morning and once in the evening, and did his duties / service in the society.

7. After a period of three or four decades of Grahasthasrama, was Vanaprastha, in which you left the household duties,but continued with Vaidika Karmas. You lived with your wife but, devoid of sex. In the modern times, this is comparable with retired life, as it should be. You are in the world, but not involved. (KTSV adds:- Not anyhow like the King of Malaysia, who got married a second time, at the age of 67 to a widow, both with two children from the first marriage !)

8. Vanaprastha was as preparatory to taking up Sanyasa, in which you did not take up anything new, but gave up everything, including Vaidika Karmas. You did not stay in one place, more than a day. You ate the food that people gave you, as a Biksha / alms. No more relations and no more attachments. The worldly life cannot be given up suddenly, but simultaneously, life's mission is not to be forgotten either. Does not matter if you do not atatin to the pinnacle or peak, but should not fall to the lowest bottom either. That is why, the Dharma Sastras were guide posts, so that you retained, Atma Chintana, Devine devotion, good behaviour, tendency to be helpful to others and society, at every stage in your life.

9. In the early stages itself, the seed for the supreme Parmatatva should be sown. Even though one may not completely surrender to the idea then, during all his life, this plant has to be nurtured. That is why, in Brhmacharya Asrama itself, Vedas and Upanishads are taught. He does not, cannot and is not expected to straight away do Atma Vichara and become Jeevan Mukta, that is, attain to Nirvana or Mukthi. It is like a fixed deposit in the bank. Till he attains to maturity, he keeps getting some interest. Then at a suitable time, he can draw it completely. But the deposit should be done early enough as otherwise, he is quite likely to go astray, in the speed and pace of youth, in the over involvement and sensitivity of middle age and in the weakness, incapacity and inefficiency of old age.

10. As they give you job oriented skills in schools and colleges; it was done in the old days too. But, instead of stopping at that, certain amount of Adhyatmic, that is spiritual essentials too were taught. These days we are only teaching ways and means of earning a living. Nothing about morality, let alone anything spiritual ! This was not how it was and how it should be. Neither was human nature ignored and natural development curtailed; nor was he he left totally to himself with no control. People talk of sympathy and understanding as a requirement in dealing with the student community. It was with sympathy and understanding of the human requirements at successive stages of development, that the four Asramas were devised and ensured.

11. This is clear in Kalidasa's words. He says, 'saisave abyastha vidyanaam'. It means that learning not only the baiscs, but even expertise, should be done very early. (KTSV adds :- This point is proved beyond doubt, by the investigators in what is known as Transactional Analysis. They hold that, a person's personality is almost totally made up by the time he or she is five years of age. Subsequently what ever happens is only slight amendments and modifications.) Vedas and Upanishads too should be learnt then at a young age. It does not mean however that, you straight away 'run to a corner and catch hold of your nose', so to say.

12. Then Kalidasa says, 'yowane vishayaishinam'. In youth he says,taking over responsibilities, one should experience worldly life, with ups and downs, comforts and difficulties. The talk that, 'even these ups and comforts are only part of the unreal', will not be understood now. But, the self control he exercised in Brhmacharya asrama and his understanding of the Vedas and Upanishads will stand by him, guarding him from going on a tangent. He will earn a living, but not become too greedy about money and possessions. His earlier learning will protect him from crossing the limits of Dharma. His Karma Anushtana schedules, yagas and yagnas will keep him disciplined. If this was about the Brahmin, others were kept in line by the idea that their, 'work is worship', avoiding greed and avarice.

13. While it is true that, 'having divinified ones vision, one should see God in everything, everywhere'. But, it is also true that, everyone cannot attain to that vision easily. In the meanwhile, we can atleast try to see God in the things He has described as Himself in Bagawath Gita, chapter VII. He says that He is, Iravada amongst elephants, among snakes He is Vasuki, among the months He is Mrugaseersha, amongst Pandavas He is Dananjaya, amongst Yagas He is Japa Yagna; and so on. One of the things He says is, "dharmaavrtto bhootheshu kaamosmi". Without falling from morality, there are many pleasures of life. (Bharathiyar, the Tamil poet says, "eththanai kodi inbam vaithai Iraiva !", meaning, 'Oh God ! how many crores of pleasures you have kept !') Coming back to Bagawat Gita, Krishna says that, 'He is the rightful pleasures of life'. Desire is not forbidden in Sastras ! God Himself says that, amongst morally incorruptible, He is the thrill of life. He is desire, want, longing, love, passion, urge; all rolled into one, 'kama : asmi'. That is approved in youth - 'yowane vishayaishinam', as said by Kalidasa.

14. Then as time goes by, the pull of desire must come down. As the effect of Karma Anushtana increases, automatically, the command of desire, want, anger and such things mellow down, by the time one reaches middle age. Now, "vaartake munivrutteenam", says Kalidasa. This is the time one should be approaching Mahatmas, Gnanis, Rishis, in the search for a Guru and listen to their talks and advices. At this point in one's life. all wants, needs, requirements, necessities and desires, would be lessening in influence, 'viragam or veetharagam'. Now is the time to spend more time on Atma Chintana, Tapasya, Bagawath Dhyanam, and control of mind to nullity. Now is the time for Vanaprastha Asrama, to leave the family and relatives and retire to a secluded place, only with your wife. Wife, not for anything other than assistance in vaidika karma anushtana.

15. Then is the last stage, Sanyasa. Kalidasa says, "Yogenaanthe thanuthyajaam", that is, leave Karma Anushtaana too. Sacrifice everything, including the body. No tears, no regrets, no complaints, no balances, nothing due, no credits, no debits, no accounts to be settled. Total satisfaction, complete clarity, peace, p e a c e, p e a c e , om shanthi : Om Shanthi : OM SHANTHI ;

( to be continued )



Deivathin Kural # 6 (of Vol 2 )

Om Namah Sivaya.
Deivathin Kural # 6 (of Vol 2 ) of 09 June 2007.
1. These e-mails, are chapter wise translations of the lectures given by, Sri Chandra Sekharendra Swamigal, of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Every day, after the daily Puja, He used to talk, on various aspects concerning Hinduism. These are published, in Tamil, by Vanady Padippagam, T.Nagar, Chennai, as Deivathin Kural, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each. To-day's talk is titled, 'Guru Bakthi', that is, 'Devotion to Guru', in pages 43 to 50, of Deivathin Kural, Volume 2. (Unless otherwise specified, 'He' herein includes 'She'.)
2. If you ask me as to why it is said that, 'Guru is geater than God himself; devotion to Guru is more important than devotion to God', my answer is as follows. No body has seen God. But, Guru is the one we could directly see, interact with, is also a very clean person having Gnanam, has an unshakeable mind firmly rivetted on the Reality, to whom we can surrender. If we can have the chance to get such a Guru, we can get the peace of mind for which we quest for God. That is why, it is said :- Gurur Brhma Gurur Vishnu Gurur Devo Maheswara : I
3. In this sloka, one speciality is that, it talks of the oneness of Guru and God. The second speciality is that it talks of the oneness of Brhma, Vishnu and Maheswara. So through Guru Vandana, we not only get their blessings, but also attain to 'abheda bhava', that is non-differentiating attitude.
4. God has to do many things. He has to create, sustain and destruct. Guru has no such job. God has an office. Guru does not have one. Instead of troubling someone with too many duties to perform, we can get our job done easily through someone who has no other job. Whatever great qualities are there in God, Guru has them also. He is perfectly clean. He does not bluff. He does not dupe. He has mastered his senses.
Brimming with love and kindness. We see Him directly. We do not see God. So, to be devoted to Guru is considered to be superior to being devoted to God. This does not mean to say that devotion to God is to be forgotten. If to get a Guru is God's blessings, Guru connects us with God. So, neither are to be forgotten or ignored, as long as we think of them as apart. You have no problems whatsoever, when you have started seeing their oneness.
5. Sri Sankara's Viveka Chudamani says, 'By God's blessings, a man gets three big opportunities, namely, one - to be born as a human being; two - to get the urge to know the truth / reality; three - to get a Guru who is a Mahatma' :-
durlabham thriameveithath devanugraha hethukam I
manushyathvam, mumukshutvam mahapurushasya samsraya : II
6. The Guru for all people, for ever is God Himself, in the form of Dakshinamurthy :- 'sarva poorvesham api guru : kalenaanavachedat'.
meaning that, 'as he is not bounden by the factor of time, God is the Guru of all Gurus'. If you go back in time, as to who is your Guru, his Guru, Guru's Guru and so on and so on; we will have to end up with God. That is why I said that, whosoever is your Guru, we are not to forget, God as the Guru.
7. This same thing can be viewed in a different way too. Not thinking Guru and God as two different entities, if we take that God has come in the form of Guru, then we do not have to be devoted seperately to God and Guru. With the idea that Guru and God are one, we can surrender to Him. Then we do not have to assume the responsibility to assess the Guru's worth. Whether that Guru is worth or not, even when He is not very clean or attined to Gnana, our surrender is inclusive of our capabilities of assessment, since after all, through the human Guru, we are surrendering to the ultimate. Then, through that Guru, God sanctions our liberation! That is why, in childhood we are told, :-
gurur brhma gurur vishnu : gurur devo maheswara : I
gurus satchath parabrhma thasmai sri gurave nama : II
8. While talking about Vyasa, as amongst the acharyas for 'Brhma Vidya', the essence of this above sloka, is said in a more interesting way as under :-
achatur vadano brhma, dvi bahur aparo hari : I apala lochano sambu : bagawan badarayana : II
9. Badarayana, is another name for Vyasa. He is, 'achatur vadano brhma', meaning, 'Brhma, though not with four faces, but one'; 'dvi bahur aparo hari :' meaning, 'Vishnu, though not with four hands, but one'; 'apala lochana : sambu :', meaning, 'Sambu, though without the third eye'.
10. There is nobody better than Guru. We should have total devotion to him. It should be true devotion. We should feel that God has come to us in human form. Once we have that feeling, then, we do not even need to have seperate love for God and Guru. Our love for the Guru will do quite sufficiently. For Vaishnavas, the devotion to Guru is more important. If we commit an error of commission or omission against God, we do not have to go to God and ask for a pardon. It is enough to take up with the Guru and he can sort it out. But if we do something wrong in our dealings with the Guru, God is likely to say, 'Sorry. You better go back to your Guru. I can not intervene'. 'If Guru recommends the Sishya's case, God will accept. But if you antogonise your Guru, no one can help you', says a sloka in Guru Gita :-
Sive rushte guruthratha gurow rushte na kaschana II
11. That is why, Guru Bakthi is spoken of highly by Sastras. Even if you get, not so good a Guru, keeping him as friend, guide and philosopher, you should continue to be devoted to him and God. By our devotion we are not doing a favour to Guru or God. It is us who have to benefit from this relationship. What is this benefit? We are full of dirt, inefficient, incapable, unsure and full of doubts. We are not able to stop our minds from its oscillations. Unless we become complete, peaceful, undisturbed; either become or realise our completeness; we will always remain short of the ultimate. But, if we think of the Guru as being full of the qualities, that we find wanting in ourselves and be devoted, that is enough. We will imbibe the needed qualities and benefit. We will become that or the sense of seperateness will drop off. That is, we will know our real, happy state. Our Sastras say that, to know about our reality, we need to have devotion to Guru and devotion to God.
12. The fact that, 'we will get Gnanam by Gurus grace', is given in Santokya Upanishad. 'acharyavan purusho veda'-- says the Upanishad, meaning that, 'the man who has Guru, gets to know'. It runs like a small story. There was a man from Gaandhaar. (What is called the Kand-haar, a semi desert area, in Afganistan now.) If he is taken far away to another country, given a tight bandage around his eyes with his hands tied to his back. If he is left in a forest, what will be his condition? That is our condition now. Total confusion. (KTSV Adds - In Tamil, when completely bamboozled, they used to say, "kannai katti kattula vittappola irukku". I am certain, similar expression must be there in other Indian languages too, since the idea has been taken from the Santokya Upanishad, and we Indians are imbibed with such wisdom without knowing the origins) Somebody comes to him, unties him and gives him directions to go to Gaandhaar. He does not cry or fear any more, but goes back to Gaandhaar, where he came from ! Similarly, by Guru's upadesa, we can trace our way back to the starting point -- says Santokya Upanishad.
13. Sri Sankharacharya, who came to be known as 'Jagat Guru', sings the praise of his Guru, everywhere and everytime. "What is the use of whatever name and fame that a man can get, if he has not tied his mind securely to the feet of his Guru? Then what?" He does not ask, "then what", once, but four times in each stanza of the poem, 'Gurvashtakam', -- "tatha : kim? tatha : kim? tatha : kim? tatha : kim?" In that small poem of eight stanzas, four into eight, thirty two times he asks (our minds), 'so then what?'
14 In the end, before dropping this mortal coil too, he advices:-
sad vidvan upasrupyatam
prati dinam tat paduka sevyatam
brhmaikaksharam ardyatam
sruti siro vakyam samakarnyatam, meaning, "find and adopt a 'sat vidvan' (good learned) as the Guru; do daily pooja to his feet; from him take/get pranava and upanishada mahavakya upadesa." (For the Guru who said, 'prati dinam tat paduka sevyatam', His paduka are being venerated with 'pada puja', every day, till date.
15. What he says here is about the 'Sanyasa Guru', who gives Sanyasa. In that asrama only, pranvopasana, maha vakya anusandanam and search for moksha, happens. This is the last asrama. First is the Brhmacharya Asrama, wherein one has to approach a Guru, who is a Gruhasta and learn Veda Adhyayana and Veda Karma Anushtana. In between are the Gruhasta and Vanaprasta. Finally come to the state of Sanyasa, advices the Guru.
16. Why Veda Karma in the beginning ? Only when ones mind has fully subsided, the Pranava and Mahavakya upadesa can be effective. With a scattered mind, these upadesas cannot be of any use whatsoever. If you sow the seeds on ground which has not been tilled and irrigated, will it sprout? We hear many upanyasas, lectures on many spiritual subjects, read the Gita and Upanishads with translations, explanations and commentary in the language we understand. Do we gather any value out of it ? If so, we should have become calm and quiet and peaceful ourselves first. (KTSV adds :- We should get over our proclivity to assess others, unless it was our business to do so. More importantly, if the would be Sishya ventures to assess the Guru's potential, he will never get a Guru. However as a touch stone, one of the tests to know whether sombody is a Gnani or not, and whether he may be one's future Guru, check this out :- 'The one whose proximity and very presence subsides one's mind and creates an atmosphere of peace; know that, such a person is a Realised soul'.)
17. So, such reading and lectures do not give lasting effects, due to lack of preparation on our part. Acharyal says, 'Do Vaidika Karmas as required of you, without awaiting the results. Instead of expecting results, think of those actions as 'Easwara Arpanam', meaning 'offerings in obeisance to God'. Over time, this gives clarity of mind and peace. The mind has to be tilled and irrigated, by Karma and Bakthi respectively. Devotion to God and Guru. In the presence of such noble souls, whether we hear them, or hear someone else saying some thing. it gets deeply into our minds. This is because of the uni-directional-attention that evolves in their 'sannidyam' or presence. This does not happen in the office or club or library. That is why it is said that, Mantras and Upadesas should be got through a Guru. Our lack of awareness is very deep and thick. So if we go to that place where the thickness of our 'agnana', will lessen, 'gnana' can and will enter.
18. Thus having done adyayana and learnt the Vedas from the Guru in Brhmacharya Asrama; having done ones duties as meticulously as possible, without being too concerned about the apparent results of such Karma, in Gruhastha Asrama; and having refined oneself physically, mentally and spiritually in Vanaprastha Asrama; when we hear the Pranava and Mahavakya Upadesa from the Sanyasa Asrama Guru; Jeeva attains to totality of Gnana. For the Jeeva to find his oneness with Paramatma, from the beginning to the end, 'it is Guru, who is the friend, guide and philosopher !' That is why, Guru Bakthi is spoken so highly of, everywhere.


Deivathin Kural # 5 (of Vol 2 )

Om Namah Sivaya.
Deivathin Kural # 5 (of Vol 2 ) of 08 June 2007.
(Continued from Deivathin Kural # 4 (of Vol 2 ) of 06 June 2007.)
26. Prior to Sankara Acharya, his Guru Govinda and his Guru Gowdapada, (mentioned in the Sloka,) does not mean that there have been no other human Gurus after Sukha till Govinda. Narayana to Sukha, are included in the Guru Parampara, by Non-Adwaitins too. But Gowda Pada and Govinda Pada, maintained that Adwaita was the ultimate quintessential philosophy, in which all other principles end. They disproved or discarded other philosophies as intermediate steps. However there have been some great thinkers and proponents of Adwaita, prior to these three Acharyals. Let me mention at least the names of some of them. Athreya Brhma Nandi, was one; there was one Sundara Pandya, (sounds like the name of a South Indian King); Barthru Prapancha was another; Barthruhari and Brhmadatta were also there. The last mentioned Brhmadatta, is said to have written a commentary on Brhma Sutra. One more is Dravida Acharya. This gentleman Dravida Acharya is reverred by followers of Visishta Adwaita philosophy too. Though whatever these phlosophers have written are not fully available, later day Adwaitins including Sankara Acharya have quoted from their writings. Amongst them, we are mainly concerned with 'Dravida Acharya'.
27. 'Tamizh' is the correct pronounciation of the word Tamil. Tamil is Dravid, not beause of any race or caste but because, Tamil becomes Dravida in sanskrit. It is a custom in Sanskrit, that 'tha' becomes 'thra'. Thodaka Acharya mentioned earlier, becomes 'throdaka'. Some people over Sanskritize in making, 'deham' into 'dreham'. In Ta-mi-zh, 'ta' becomes 'tra' or 'dra'; 'mi' becomes 'vi'. Philologists will give many examples for this convertion of 'va' into 'ma' amd vice-versa. For example, 'salgravam' has become, 'salagramam' and 'mandodari', can become 'vandodari'. Thus, 'dravid' is 'dramid'. 'zha' and 'la' exchanges places with each other and are very close to 'da'. In Ramanathapuram district, 'vazhaip pazham' becomes 'valaippalam' (the 'la' is the double 'lla'), and you would often hear, "vallappallathil vallukki villundidppore, be careful". In all, 'tha' > 'da' > 'dra', 'mi' > 'vi', 'zh' > 'dh': 'thamizh' has become 'dravid'.
28. Since now-a-days, showing the Tamil connection gives special happiness, I showed the same in relating 'Dravida Acharya' to Tamil.
Sri Sankara Baghawat Pada himself has used this phrase of 'dravida sisu', in Soundarya Lahiri, in saying, "Amma, you did give milk to the Tamil Child". When I say Tamil is Dravid; do not get carried away with the wrong interpretation that, I am talking of 'Arya - Dravida' race theory. If we look in to the Vedas and Sastras, there is no evidence of the existance of two different races of Arya and Dravida, whatsoever. The Britishers as per their strategy of 'devide and rule', have created this canard of two different races theory!
29. What is there in Sastras about this? There is no race as Aryan. The word 'arya', means 'respectable'. In Gita Sri Krishna while telling Arjuna, "What is this? You have lost heart like a coward!", he uses the word, 'anaryam'. Like 'happy' and 'unhappy', the prefix 'un' is a negative. 'Anaryam' is the same as 'un-Aryam', meaning 'disrespectable'. There is no connotation of any 'race' here. In old dramas, the queen addresses the king as 'arya putr'. Then she should not be and cannot be 'arya putri', if the word is supposed to mean a reference to 'race'. The word was only meant as 'dear sir or respectable sir', as otherwise, all the heroines must have been 'dravida putris', to call all the heros as 'arya putra'.
30. Let us say, an Iyer girl marries an Iyengar boy. Then when addressing him she may say, 'You son of an Iyengar!'. When she is herself daughter of an Iyengar, would she say that? WhenSita called Rama, 'Arya Putra', in Ramayana, if you give the race-connotation, then she will become a Dravidian girl!! Here also there was no race or caste being referred; but only meant, 'respected sir'. In all my readings, nowhere have I come across, either 'Arya or Dravida' to allude to any race or caste or creed!
31. The whole of India was one race, the Indian Race. Those living North of the Vindhyas, were Gowda and those living South of Vindhyas were Dravida. The division was regional and not racial. The entire land mass North of Vindhyas was Gowda Desam and South of it was Dravida Desam. Gowda Desam was regionally divided into five parts called Panch Gowdas. In the far North, Kashmiris were Sarasthawas; in Punjab and Central West, were Kanyagubjas; in UP and Bihar, were Mythilas; In Orissa were Utkalas; and finally in Bengal and East of it. simply Gowdas. Thus, Saraswathas, Kanyagubjas, Mythilas, Utkalas and Gowdas were Pancha Gowdas. In the South of Vindhyas, were Pancha Dravidas. They were Gurjaras (may be Gujjars and Gujrathis,); Maharashtras; Andhras and Karnatakas; and finally the Southern most were Dravidas or Tamilians. Malayalam is a derivative of Tamil in the recent ten centuries.
32. Not two different races; ten regional divisions. Gowda and Dravida became the name for the Easternmost and Southernmost areas. To-day, Gowdas has come to mean Bengalis and Dravidas has come to mean Tamilians. Sri Krishna Chaitanya was a Bengali. The Math that has started on his name is known as Gowdiya Math. Similarly, Dravidas has come to mean Tamilians. It is funny that it is these two areas cought on to British customs and education very fast. They provided the English educated clerical cadre for running the country.
33. When one set of people shift residence to another area within the country, it has been the custom to call them by the place name of their origin. In Maharashtra, after their natural names, many are called, 'telang', which is considered a caste name. It is a fair guess to conclude that their forefathers must have gone from the 'Telugu' land and settled in Maharashtra. Similarly, many brahmins in Uttar Pradesh have, what is seemingly a caste name, such as 'Dravid' and 'Kannad'. Point to note is that they are all brahmins. As per the so called 'Race theory', brahmins are non-dravidians or even enemies. But in North India, it is brahmins who have, 'Dravid and Kannad' as surname. It is clear that the surnames stand for the forefathers place of origin and not their race.
34. As per Tamil pronounciation rules / customs, 'Dravid' is 'Tamizh'. What comes in Sanskrit as half a consonant + ra, the ra drops off; sramana becomes samana; pravala becomes pavala and dra becomes da. In talking about 'Dravidacharya', I have covered so much ground about philology and race theory! I said that he was an Adwaita Siddhanti, preceding Sri Sankara Bagavat Pada.
Vedane Raja; Jeevane Brhmam.
35. Sri Sankara Bagavat Pada and other commentators while writing the Bhashyam on Santokya Upanishad's third and fourth chapters on 'Madhu Vidya and Samvarga Vidya', have quoted Dravida Acharya. In this Upanishad is the Maha Vakya, 'tat tvam asi', meaning 'You are that Brhmam'. Sweatakethu's Father and Guru Uddalaka Aaruni, repeats this nine times. In 'Tat - Tvam - Asi', 'Tat' is the Paramatma Brhmam; 'Tvam' is You, meaning Jeevatma or its personification Swetakethu; 'Asi' means are. Father is telling the Son, "You are Brhmam. Not that you are going to become Brhmam one day in the future. You are that already. Not somethig becoming Brhmam. Everything is already Brhmam only."
36. 'Then what is the need for Sadhana, to get to know this, if I am already one and why is that we do not know this?', can be the doubt. 'Had we known this, we would not suffer all this deprivation, anxiety, fear and hate. We would have been the ocean of happiness, encompassing the entire space, waveless as peace personified. Are we not going about without being aware that such a state of peacefulness could even exist ? Now if you tell me, that I am that, how to accept this fact?' To make us accept the fact of existance, Dravida Acharya, has told us of the story of the 'hunter boy who is a prince'!
37. Sri Sankara Bagavat Pada, while commenting on the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (II - 1 - 20), while explaining the mantra on how the entire universe has evolved out of Atma itself, describes how the Spider spins out the web, from out of itself and the fire throws out the sparks out of itself; has quoted this story by Dravida Acharya, without mentioning his name, 'there is a story like this from someone who knows it all' - 'atra sampradayavida agyayikayam samprakshate', he says. Ananda Giri, who wrote further explanatory notes on Sankara's Bhashyam, has given the name of Dravida Acharya.
38. In the story, did the boy who was thinking of himself to be a hunter, change into a Prince? Did he transform? Did he convert? No. Even when he was thinking himself to be a 'Vedan' or hunter, he was still a Prince only. He did not know the truth. So he lived the life of a 'Vedan'. (There is an appropriate 'pun' on the word Vedan. Vedan means hunter. Vedan also means Veshan, which means 'someone wearing a garb'.) The hunter boy, who was always a Rajakumara, once he realised that he is a Rajakumara, lived as a prince. There was no change and no two persons involved. The change is only in awareness. Initially he did not know himself. Once realised, he claimed and obtained his rightful place as the King.
39. Like the prince in the garb of a hunter(in veda vesham), we the jeevatmas are all thinking of ourelves to be, son, daughter, father, teacher, engineer, lawyer and so many other things than the real self. Though our garb changes, what is inside is Paramatma only. Pulled by the senses, we are hunting in this world, for this and that elusive prize to be captured. Even when we know this, our own senses, will not let us accept the truth.
Though he was a prince, he had to train himself in archery and other princely capabilities, before he could become the king himself. Similarly, we who are Parabrhmam only, start with good attitudes and behaviour of Karmas acceptable in Dharma; and progress via the path of Bakthi or devotion; fight the inner enemies through Atma Sadhana; win over to Atma Gnana; thereby become the king of Atma Samrajya. Atma Gnani is called the Samrat in Upanishads.
40. Ice and Spatikam or crystal, are look alikes. Ice can melt into water. Crystal cannot. Because, ice is wearing a garb / vesham. It can and will become the original water, given the right circumstances. Brhmam frozen into jeevan can revert back to its real self. Ice melts on its own we are refusing to melt. Thayumanavar has come down to our level and sung on our behalf:-
kallenum ayya oru kalathil urugum
en kal nenjam urugavillaiye !
41. To melt us back to our reality, we need some thing. As in the story, to make the prince come back to his senses, he needed a minister, who despite the resitance from the boy'side, could pull him back to princehood. What we need is someone, who could turn us away from the pull of the senses, towards divinity and reality. Is there someone like that availabale? Yes, he is the Guru, who would pull us back to our real self. That Mantri is the Roopakam for the Guru, to make us realise our real self. Someone who could tell us the Parama Atma Tatva, make us experience it in practice, make us do the necessary Sadhana, and till our balance Karma is worked out stand by us, spending his tapasya in doing so; is the Guru.


Deivathin Kural # 4 (of Vol 2 )

Om Namah Sivaya.
Deivathin Kural # 4 (of Vol 2 ) of 06 June 2007.
(Continued from Deivathin Kural # 3 (of Vol 2 ) of 05 June 2007.)
Guru Parampara.
14. The moment I mention 'Adwaita Acharyar', you are likely to think of Adi Sankara, who came down to earth as an Avatara of Parameswara and gave detailed description of the Adwaita philosophy and established the same firmly, eternally. But he is not the founder of Adwaita. He was only the proponent. If I say that before him, long before him, Brhma created the whole world, with reference to the Vedas. Still Vedas are not the world's original Adwaita documents because, Vedas predate the creation of the worlds. That is to say that, Adwaita Philosophy is mentioned in the Vedas, even before the creation of the worlds. Upanishads are called the Veda Siras, that is, the 'head of the Vedas. They also talk of Adwaita. Sri Krishna Paramatma, at the end of Bhagawat Gita, has talked of Adwaita. Though His Gita is now famous with the prefix of Bhagawat, in every Purana of every God, there have been a Gita. 'Siva Gita, Devi Gita, Guru Gita', to name some of them. They all have given the Adwaita philosophy as the end message. The point to note is that, before Adi Sankara, there have been many Adwaita Acharyars.
15. Dakshinamurthy, Dattatreyar, Narayana and Brhma; are the four mentioned in the Adwaita Acharya Sampradaya Parampara, that is, the
traditional line of teachers of Adwaita. After these four Deities, Vasishta, Sakthi, Parasara, Vyasa are the Rishis, who are father / guru - son / sishya.
Rishis should not be included in the line of human acharyas. Rishis have had super-human capabilities of hearing, seeing and understanding. They were receptors of divine vibrations of the 'Paramatma Thatva'. They are known as 'Mantra Dhrashtas' who could see the Mantras. So, they are not to be considered normally as equivalent to human beings.
16. For example, even amongst the statues installed in temples, there is a classification. They are, 'swayam vyaktam', 'daiveekam', 'maanusham', 'asuram' and 'arsham'. When God reveals himself in some place and a temple arises there, it is called, 'swayam vyaktam' or 'swayambhu', meaning 'self-expressed or self-created'. In Tamil, it is 'thaanthonri or thaanthoni'. In many of the Siva sthalas we find swayambhu lingas. Vaishnavas consider, Sri Rangam, Thirupathi, Badrinath, Sri Mushnam, Naimisaranyam, Pushkaram, Saligramam and Nanguneri, as eight 'swayam vyaktha kshetras'.
17. What Devas have installed are known as Deiveekam. Ambal herself made a Lingam in Kanchipuram out of clayish earth. In Thiruveezhimalai, Mahavishnu installed a Siva Lingam. In many stations, Indra is said to have installed Siva or Vishnu, for absolving him of his errors of commission. These are all Deiveekam. The Siva installed by a Rakshasa Thirusira, (possibly he was three headed), in Thiruchinappalli and by another Rakshasa, Onan in Onakanthan Thali, near Kanchipuram; are 'Asuram'. Many Rajas and other devotees have also established many temples and these are naturally called, 'Manusham'. The 'Arsham', I mentioned earlier, are those established by Rishis. In Kutralam, Agasthya muni has installed a Siva. In Sikkal, Vasishta; in Thirukalavur, Durvasa; in Thiruvanaikkaval called Jambukeswaram, Jambu Maharishi; and in many more Kshetras, it is Arsha Prathishta only. I am only rattling out, whatever comes to my memory.
18. What I described in the last few minutes, was to emphasise the point that, generally we make a distinction between, Devas, Asuras and Human beings. Rishis are to be considered as a class apart at least by us, common human beings. Raja Raja Sozhan installed Brhatheeswara in the Periya Koil in Tanjore. It is to be considered as a 'Manusha Lingam'. But instead of doing it himself, he got it done through Karuvur Siddhar, a saint of that period. When it comes to Prana Prathishta, that is, invoking and installing the life force of the Gods, even in the so called 'Manusha Lingams', it is done through some Mahatmas or Siddha Purushas. As it is done even now in so many new colonies / towns / settlements, where a Mata Adhipathi or some Swami is asked to do the Prana Prathishta and Kumbha Abhisheka. The actual chanting of the necessary mantras are done by some Siva Achariyar or Battar. If they do so with the required discipline and shraddha, the mantras have their own power to bring the living presence of the Gods in the statues and that will benefit the masses.
19. I came to emphasise that Rishis have to be considered as a class apart. That is why, while doing 'Brhma Yagnam', we seperately do, 'Deva Tharpanam', 'Pithru Tharpanam' and 'Rishi Tharpanam'. In Adwaita sampradaya, after the line of Devas of, Dakshinamurthy, Dattatreya, Narayana and Brhma; comes the Father - Son line of Rishis, namely that of, Vasishta, Shakthi, Parasara, Vyasa and his son Sukha. There ends the Father - Son line because, Sukha remained a brhmachari / celibate. He was above all classifications. He was greater than humans / rishis / devas and is referred to as Sukhabrhmam. After him, the Sampradaya went the Guru - Sishya parampara way.
20. After Sukha, Sanyasis (who could not be called Rishis,) Gowda Pada and his sishya Govinda Pada, came as Adwaita Acharyas. All Rishis were not Sanyasis. Many of them were married householders. Vasishta Maharishi's wife was Arundhathi, Anasooya was Athri Maharishis wife. Rishis had to wear Yagnopaveetham and they used to do Yaga Karmas. Sanyasis do not have to do all that. Adi Sankara came after Govinda Pada. The Sanyasi Acharyals used be known as 'Paramahamsa Parivrajakars'.
21. Though he was Parameswara in human form, Adi Sankara acted and behaved as a human only, without exhibiting any super-human capabilities. He lived within the parameters as required of a devotee, observed Vaidika Dharma, and established Adwaita Philosophy. Govinda Pada's greatness was that he was our Acharyal's direct Guru. While singing the 'Baja Govindam' song, Acharyal took his Guru's name as well as that of Govinda the God. Though there are thousands of names to select from, Acharyal opted for Govinda because of this connection!
22. Now let us look at the Sloka listing all the names of the Guru lineage:-
Naraayanam, Padmabhuvam, Vasishtam,
Shakthim cha tat putra Paraasaram cha I
Vyaasam, Sukham, Gowdapaadam mahaantam
Govinda Yogeendram athaasya sishyam II
Sri Sankarachaaryam athaasya Padma
Paadam cha Hasthaamalakam cha sishyam I
Tham Thodakam Vaarthikakaaram anyaan
Asmat Guroon santhatham aanathosmi II
23. Having listed all their names, the poet concludes that he prostrates before them all. This Guru lineage is also called, 'brhma vidya sampradaya kartas',(the 's' added to the word 'karta', is to indicate the plural). The first is Narayana or Maha Vishnu. Second is 'padmabhuvam' or the 'lotus born' meaning Brhma. Then as he lists the other names, Vasishta, Shakthi, Parasara, Vyasa, Sukha, Gowdapada, the poet adds a prefix 'mahantam' and a suffix 'yogeendram', to the name of his Guru Govinda! Another point to note is that, the prefix 'Sri', has only been added to Sankara and he has also been given the title of 'Acharya'. Then the slokam lists, Sankaracharya's sishyas, namely, Padmapada, Hastamalaka. Thodaka and Sureshwara. Sureshvara has been referred to as, 'Vartikakaara', since he has written detailed notes, explanations and references, to all that Sankaracharya had written. Acharyal himself had written notes / bhashyam to Baghawat Gita, Brhma Sutra and Upanishads, such as Brhadaranyaka, Thaitreeya and others. Sureshwara had further elaborated them with his commentaries and explanatory notes. After Sureshwara the Varthikakaara, the slokam finishes with the confirmation that, the person chanting the sloka, prostrates to all others who have been a Guru in the order till date.
24. What was quoted here is the Guru Parampara Slokam for those who have Sri Sankara Baghawat Pada, as their Guru. Others should get to know the names of their Guru Parampara and amend the sloka suitably. To rekindle one's inner lamp of 'Atma Jyoti' and enable us to live optimally, we need this line of Gurus. The Guru in his later life, earmarks or details the next incumbent, to take over his duties. Thus the Acharya Parampara goes on. We should be very grateful for this arrangement. They have been practicing, cultivating(including periodic deeweeding the Un - Atmic), sustaining and safe-guarding the procedural keys, for the the greatest treasure, that man could ever aspire for. So those keen on self-analysis/realization, should be aware of the Guru Parampara.
25. The permanent wealth of the Empire of Atma or Self has been shown to us by these Masters. We should think of them at least once a day with gratitude, by chanting this sloka. Here I mentioned the Empire of Atma or Self. First I started with that boy who thought himself to be a hunter, but was rightfully entitled to an Empire. Then, talking about Guru Parampara, I have evidently gone far away! What is the connection between that story of the hunter boy and this Guru Parampara? I will tell You.
(To be continued in Deivathin Kural # 5 (of Vol 2).)


Deivathin Kural # 3 (of Vol 2 )

Om Namah Sivaya.
Deivathin Kural # 3 (of Vol 2 ) of 05 June 2007.
1. These e-mails, are chapter wise translations of the lectures given by, Sri Chandra Sekharendra Swamigal, of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Every day, after the daily Puja, He used to talk, on various aspects concerning Hinduism. These are published, in Tamil, by Vanady Padippagam, T.Nagar, Chennai, as Deivathin Kural, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each. To-day's talk is titled, 'Nammai Naamaakkugiravar', that is, 'He Who Turns Us into Our Real Self', in pages 19 to 42, of Deivathin Kural, Volume 2.
A Story of a King and Queen.
2. There was a king. Once there is a king, he will have to have an enemy king and war. There was an enemy against our this king too. His bad luck, he lost the battle and ran away. Some kings may give up their life saying, 'victory; or otherwise heavens of the brave'. Some may run away from the battle field to hide. That does not mean anything to be ashamed of. Even a tiger back-tracks before pouncing. Even brave rajput kings have had to withdraw, so as to regroup and go on the offensive; while fighting the moghuls and turks.
3. The king in our story too, ran away from the battle field, instead of committing suicide. He was not alone. He was also carrying his wife on horse-back. She was 'eight months plus' in the family way at that time. The practice of people going 'under ground' to avoid detection and apprehension now-a-days, used to be in vogue, those days too. The king's minister had gone 'dogo' then. He knew that the king and queen had escaped on horse back.
4. The horse was passing through a forest. The enemy king had sent his cavalry in all direction, to trace out the missing king. Some of them had picked up his trail and were close on his heels. The king happened to notice a hunter's hut in the forest. He got an idea. He stopped the horse. Got his wife down. He told her, "Go inside the hut and save yourself. There are too many of the enemy soldiers closing in. Neither can I escape nor can I fight. It is best that You save yourself, since you are carrying my off-spring in your womb. One day in the future, he can fight and regain our lost empire. So instead of dying with me and get name and fame as a 'pathi-vrata-nari', you better take care of yourself and our baby, by surrendering to this hunter." Though this was an intolerable order, she could not go against his wishes either, as there is a 'Rajputa kula dharma' to abide with.
5. The king was shortly captured and his story ends there. The captors were not looking for anything more. They were happy with getting this priced catch. After all the king intended exactly that. In the hunter's hut was the mother of the hunter. She gave welcome hospitality to this pregnant woman, who had come from nowhere and surrendered to her. More than sophisticated and educated, poor people are always more prompt and forthcoming, in taking care of the people in need. The royal lady was looked after by the hunter-woman, as though she was her own daughter. The queen gave birth to a baby boy. She died while in labour, as though her job was over.
6. Some twelve years passed by. The enemy king was still in power. People were unhappy. Though their king had lost the battle, their loyalty to the traditional king was still active. The citizens were not knowing of the fact of the king's failed effort to escape, the queen's death in labour and the birth of the baby boy, in the hunter's place. They were silently tolerating the reign of the usurper. The minister was the only person still alive and aware that, the king had made an escape bid with the queen, who was pregnant at that time. He started looking for the progeny. His ananlysis of the situation was that, had the queen been saved somwhow and had she given birth to a boy, that boy would be about twelve years of age. By God's grace, if such a thing had happened, it was his duty to search and locate the boy. Then it was necessary to train the boy in 'Dhanur Veda', that is, archery; and other kingly attributes. Once the people know that he is the rightful incumbent, they would rally around him quite naturally, in overthrowing the enemy king. He set about this task on the quiet.
7. The minister happened to come across, the hunter's hut in the forest. The king's son was playing around with some children. He was sparesely clothed. He was wearing a bandana with a colourful feather stuck in it. He had a necklace of beads and toe-nails of the tiger. Despite the crude and poor get-up, his royal bearing and resemblance to the earlier king was unmistakeable. The old mother of the hunter was still alive. The minister approached her. Simple folk of the forest unexposed to sophistication, do not know how to bluff and cheat. She spoke the truth, when she said, "some years back, a pregnant woman suddenly appeared in my hut one day and asked for asylum. She was far advanced in her pregnancy. She died in labour without ever revealing as to who she was. Since then I am looking after this boy as my own son. I could guess that the boy belonged to some aristocracy. But we could never know for sure. So he is growing up as one of us. The minister could easily discern the truth.
8. When the minister told the old lady and other hunters, the boy's royal antecedents and his intention to take him away, initially they were very reluctant. Later with great magnanimity, they agreed to part with the boy. Such is the pull of attachment, that even great Maharishis such as Kanva and Jada Bharatha, were much affected by it. The boy however was just not interested. He liked the company of hunters only. He said so in as many words that he could not care less for royalty and such high sounding things.
9. The minister did not give up easily either. He explained with great perseverence that, 'He, the boy was the rightful son of the traditional ruler of the country. His father had been defeated in battle. He had evaded capture and made an escape with his pregnanat wife. But when his own capture was imminent, he had secreted his wife in the Hunter's hut and distracted the attention of his captors away from his pregnanat wife, in doing which he gave his life. His wife had delivered the son and died in labour. So, both his parents had sacrificed their own life, in saving their son's.' Thus the minister was able to convince the boy that, it was his Dharma now to take up arms against the pretender enemy king and that, he is not to waste his life as a mere hunter in the forests.
10. That boy got an exposure to bravery, love of parents and thus became aware of his duties. Once he was aware that he is a prince, his power, brightness, keenness and attitude towards life as such, became changed. Then when he was taught archery and other war like abilities, including tactics and strategy; he absorbed them very avidly. He left his hunter's life. With the help of the minister, he started amassing a fighting force. Once people realized his antecedents, there was no stopping him.
11. Now-a-days, in the world of democracy, in the name of a leader, they make much about someone, completely interfering with the normal life of the populace; and after a few days, you never get to know about his whereabouts even! It has also become quite clear that politics is the game played by ruthless manipulators, who have no love lost with principles and value systems. Loyalty is a bargainable commodity to-day. It was not so in the olden times. Loyalty to the king was something for which the people were ready to give their lives. The kings too had to live a life of discipline and humaneness, to be able to earn and sustain such loyalty. The kings used to consider the citizen as their children. You might have heard of the story of Sibi Chakravarthy, who ran the chariot on his own son, as a punishment for his running over a calf and killing it with his chariot accidentally.
12. In the politics of today, people scheme and invest huge amounts in unfair means, so as to get in to a position of power. Once such a power is obtained, then that power is mis-used and abused to retain themselves in power. This is not the way of traditional royalty. Like the boy in this story under consideration, the culture ingrained in the blood over the years, saved him from going astray and prevented him from falling prey to minor temptations. The history in India as revealed through Puranas indicate that, there were hardly any kings like, Venan and Asamanjan. They are exceptions to the rule, "yatha raja, thatha praja", that is to mean that, the people are as good or bad as the ruler. In the traditional set up, both the Ruler and the Ruled took care to see that 'justice is not only done but seen to be done'. But now-a-days, fairness, humaneness and justice are words only, to be paid lip-service to! Because Dharma was the guiding principle at every level and the ruler showed the way of Dharma by example. The Ruler had a feeling for the people as 'my people' and the people had the feeling for the king that he is 'our king'.
13. Our hero similarly got the fullest co-operation from his subjects, especially once the word spread around that he was the earlier kings own son! He could muster enough to go to battle with the enemy and defeat him. He was coronated and installed as the king. The boy completely forgot that he had been a hunter. He became a complete king. I did not make up this story. A great Acharyar, who was one of the leading lights of Adwaita philosophy, while talking of Guru Parampara or Guru-Sishya-Tradition, has narrated this story. I only added some bits and pieces, here and there, like adding a few touches, to an existing sketch of a face.
(That brings us to the end of page 26 only. We still have 16 pages to go. Will be continued in the next e-mail.)


Deivathin Kural # 2 (of Vol 2)

Om Namah Sivaya.
Deivathin Kural # 2 (of Vol 2) of 30 May 2007.
(Continued from Deivathin Kural # 1 (of Vol 2) of 28 May 2007.)
17. Pillaiyar is easily accessible even to very poor people. You can invoke His presence in a spoonful of turmeric or clay or cow-dung! He is easily pleased. He comes and installs Himself, wherever and whenever You call Him, in stone or clay and bless you. You do not have to know elaborate procedures and mantras. Even an unread can get His response anytime, as He is always available 'on call / on line!'. With other devatas, it is said that a proper detailed procedure is adopted. You have to do 'Prana Prathishta' and invoke the 'life force' of that devata, in the statue. No such procedural formalities with Pillaiyar. You think of Him and He is there.
18. With other Gods, we have to look for a suitable time, have a bath, buy or collect the necessary 'pooja dravyani' and then, go to the temple. Even there, we cannot go to the particular deity directly. Go around the 'prahara', and not go too near either. Pillaiyar is not like that. Whatever time, on the way to the office or school or shop; just happen to raise your head and notice a Pillaiyar there, on the road turning or street corner or under a tree. We do a tap - tap on the head with the closed fists of both hands, and do a 'dobir karanam', in which, we catch both ears with crossed hands and do a 'sit -stand' action. That is all. The pooja is over. We get a not easily definable mix of peace and satisfaction.
19. All that He has as a temple is only a room. So without any restraint or differenciation, all are able to approach quite close and have His 'darshan'.
His ease of accessibility seems to contribute to His popularity, with which He is able to recieve 'dobir karanam' from His devotees.
20 There are some special steps which have evolved by tradition. They are, 'sidaru thengai poduvathu', meaning 'to smash a coconut to cause its pieces to scatter in all directions'. Second is to lightly tap on your forehead with closed fists. Third is to hold your ears with hands crossed in front, sit down on your haunches till the knees touch the ground and stand up. This third action is called, 'dobir karanam'. Why do we do this?
21. There is a Yoga Sastra. It tells us as to how by various exercises, we can make the body supple, control the breath and cause it to become systematic. By this process we gain control over the mind, avoiding negative thoughts and cultivating positive vibrations. The light tapping on the forehead and 'dobir karanam', are part of this process of mind control through Yoga Asanas. These changes are accentuated by faith and sincerity. Avvaiyar who has written widely for the benefit of the children, has also written 'Vinayagar Agaval', full of very deep principles of Yoga Sastra. It is only a small stotra on Pillaiyar but has very subtle esoteric truths. It is worth knowing by heart. It is good to think of Pillaiyar and Avvaiyar simultaneously. Everybody should chant this 'Vinayagar Agaval' at least once every friday, in front of Pillaiyar and submit it to Him.
22. Everybody belongs to Pillaiyar and Pillaiyar belongs to everyone. He is related to the poor and downtrodden too. Even unread people and poor urchins have a direct access to this 'common man's God'. The 'sidaru thengai' are meant for poor children mainly. They have a right over the pieces of coconut so distributed in His presence. As an infant-God, He is very popular with children. He is also very close to woman folk, as He is very dear to the Mother's instinct in every woman. As Avvai Paatti is a woman, they have a direct special right on this sloka. So, it is in the rightness of things that, woman and children, should all learn this 'Vinayagar Agaval'. You need not worry if the meaning is somewhat difficult and the pronounciation in places is slightly tough. Avvaiyar's words have the power to directly appeal to the inner self. By the time it becomes committed to memory, the import will be known to your heart! That will benefit the family, community, country and the world at large!
22. Say there is a beautiful box containing gems but whose key has been misplaced. Will we forsake the box for this reason? 'Let the key be found in its time'. In the meanwhile, we will keep the box very safe, 'is it not so? As otherwise, even if the key is found later, there will be no gain! Vinayagar Agawal, is such a box of Yoga Sastra gems. It does not matter if we presently do not have the necessary understanding and grasp. We will keep chanting it. Slowly the inner meanings will reveal itself. Pillaiyar will grant us the 'key' of understanding.
23. Pillaiyar is good for all, dear to all. The symbols connected to Siva will not be seen in Vishnu Temples / Perumal Koils, such as, Shiv Ling, Ambal and Murugan statues. But Pillaiyar can be seen there too. He is called, 'Thumbikkai Azhvar', there. He is beyond the conflict between the devotees of Siva and Vishnu! That is why, He is accepted by Buddhists and Jainas too. Though He may not be found as preponderate as in Tamil Nadu, He is to be found in every religious kshetra, all over India. For example, in Gokarna on the west coast, as Bala Ganapathi, He is said to have taken the 'Atma Linga' from the hands of Ravana! He is the Vatapi Ganapathy of Middle India and Dundi Vinayagar of Kasi. He is also there in Kedarnath.
24. Not only in India, but all over the world, from Japan to Mexico, Ganesh statues are reverred and cherished and continues to be discovered in excavations! We should continue to be devoted to such a God, who is popular all over the world. We should offer sugar-cane, Modakam, all types of leaves, fruits, flowers and grass to Him and distribute them to the children. He is the God who came as the child. He should be fed with enough to retain His chubby - rolly - polly - ness. His 'thoppai' that is, tummy, should never be permitted to sag or shrink out of hunger! By 'sidaru thengai', we should make his children-devotees happy. As elders if we thus make children happy, as the son of Easwara, He will enable us too, to enjoy His company as children do.
25. Growing up always increases responsibilities, care, stress, pressure and tension. We must raise above all this by making this Baby God, a partner in all our endevours and become as happy as He is. He is called, 'sumukha and prasanna vadana' meaning, sweet and pleasant faced. He can easily make us like Him, if we have true devotion. As people of South India, we should consider Him as boon never to be forgotten. If we all make it a habit to visit Ganapathy Temple, chant 'Vinayagar Agaval' and offer 'sidaru thengai'; then the existing thousands of temples may not be sufficient. With the increase in the number of devotees visiting temples, we may have to construct more temples!
26. There is one peculiar tradition I have heard about when constructing a new temple for Pillaiyar. As per that tradition, instead of making a new statue for the new temple, an old one should be stolen and installed. You may ask as to how, 'when stealing is as it is forbidden, this sort of a tradition could have come into vogue?' The only answer I can think of is that, only when such a threat exists, the already installed ones will be well taken care of. The point to understand is that, 'If we take care of Him, He will not only take care of us, but shower all His blessings on us!' The best for us, our country and the world, is to catch hold of Pillaiyar through Avvaiyar!


Deivathin Kural # 1 (of Vol 2 )

Om Namah Sivaya.
Deivathin Kural # 1 (of Vol 2 ) of 28 May 2007.
1. These e-mails, are chapter wise translations of the lectures given by, Sri Chandra Sekharendra Swamigal, of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Every day, after the daily Puja, He used to talk, on various aspects concerning Hinduism. These are published, in Tamil, by Vanady Padippagam, T.Nagar, Chennai, as Deivathin Kural, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each. To-day's talk is titled, 'Kuzhandai Swamy', that is, 'Baby God', in pages 01 to 16, of Deivathin Kural, Volume 2.
2. I am going to talk to you about one old grand mother(called 'paatti', in Tamil). Paatti normally will be seated in one place, with her legs extended. But this Paatti was not like that. Instead of staying in one place, she kept moving from place to place, all over Tamil Nadu. Not sparing even a small, tiny village, she kept on spreading the word of God and a stream of advices on humaneness and good behaviour. Let us leave the Paatti to her circumambulations, and come back to her later.
3. Let us take a look at this Baby. It is a rolly-polly, well fed baby. Normally one would expect a baby to be running about, playing and prancing, without a second's let up. No. Not this baby. This one does not move easily and remains static in one place. Funny twosome! Baby like, the Paatti is ever active and mobile. Paatti like, the baby is inactive and static. But the baby is the reason for Patti's hectic power of mobility.
4. Who is this baby? If you ask this question in Tamil, it will sound, "pillay yar?". That will also be the answer, 'pillaiyar'. He is the Pillay or Son. With respect we add '' and call Him Pillaiyar. If somebody remains seated firmly in one place, we tick him or her off by saying, "why are you sitting on one place like a 'Kallu Pillayar'?" He is the first son of the Parents of the whole world and Universe, Parvathy Parameswara. So we call Him with respect, ' p i l l a i y a r '.
5. In other states, He is called Ganapathy or Ganesh. For the army of Siva's Bootha Ganas, He is the Pathy or Easar or Chief. So He is Ganapathy or Ganesar. As the Head of the Ganas, He is also known as Vinayaka. Nayak is Head. The prefix 'Vi' is added either to enhance the emphasis or indicate the opposite. So He is the 'vi + nayak = vinayak' to mean, the special chief or 'for whom there is no other chief'! There is nothing in this world that, He cannot bless us with! Especially, He can and does remove all obstacles in one's way. So He is also addressed as 'vigneswarar'. Before embarking on any venture, we invoke His blessings to off-set any likely obstacles enroute! So the first Pooja is to Him, as He is at the top of the 'pecking order'.
6. He is also known as, 'gajamukha or gajarajan', since He is depicted with the head of an elephant. Elephant is physically very powerful. Still it does not hurt or injure as does a Lion or Tiger. In places like Burma and Kerala, Elephant do the job of tractors and carriers elsewhere. Pillaiyar also does many big jobs as He is very powerful. But He does not show off His powers and never hurts but always does good to us all! Elephant has a sharp intelligence, incisive and analytical brains and a fine memory. So is Pillaiyar the embodyment of Knowledge and Awareness.
7. Whatever an Elephant does is a pleasure to watch. It's pendulous walk, it's use of the trunk and mouth while eating, it's ears and small tail flapping and relentlessly chasing away the flies, the way it uses the trunk to lift a flower delicately or a tree trunk effortlessly; is all a trmendous show! It's face is absolute peace. Those small eyes while being observant, seem to have so much Love in them, without any agitation. Out of all animals, we prefer to watch an Elephant. Similarly, out of all human beings in various activities, we prefer to watch a baby. A baby with no bad thoughts, absolutely innocent, happily playing, is again a 'sight for sore eyes'.
8. Pillaiyar is an elephant and a baby too. One can never have enough of Him. His is the innocent baby heart. Like an elephant He is powerful and brilliant and sharp. More than anything else, such a beauty that can never satiate; a fountain of happiness and a bundle of joy! Opposits and contrdictions coalesce in Him so beautifully naturally! Below the neck, a baby; human. Above the neck an elephant; an animal. In reality He is neither animal nor human; but a Deity! That too, foremost amongst deities.
9. Despite being a baby, He is the personification of immence, mammoth principles and ideas. In Him a variety of contrasts so beautifully merge; that everything seem to unify. For example, He has a piece of broken tusk in one hand and in the other a sweet 'kozhukkattai', (made of rice powder, kneeded, made in to small receptacles in which a mix of cocnut powder and jaggery is kept, sealed and steamed). This mix is known as 'Poornam', or complete / wholesomeness. So, in one hand is incomplete / half / broken tusk. In the other, complete wholesomeness. The totally complete being is Pillaiyar Himself. He is the 'poornam'. To know 'poornam' is happiness. Another name for happiness is, 'modam or modakam'. This 'kozhukkattai' is known as Modakam too.
10. Another contrast. Pillaiyar is a baby. He is a Brhmachary or ever celibate. He came as an elephant and drove Valli in to the hands of Subrahmanya, His younger brother, to enable them to get married. Even to-day, when people want to get married, they take Pillaiyar's help; this permanent bachelor! What does it mean? What He may not need in His State, He is willing to provide for the devotees and there by; lift us slowly above our wants. As a 'kallu pillaiyar' made of stone, though He is static, He can lift us to the highest level of existance. He did so for 'Avvaiyar', lifting her in one fluent stroke, from South India to Kailasa in the Himalayas.
11. As we keep looking at Pillaiyar, many such ideas and deep rooted meanings will become apparent. Actually the limitation is our brains and not His infinite abilities or grandeur. They say that, 'kuzhandaiyum deivamum kondadum idaththil', meaning, 'children and gods thrive where they are adored'. The divinity itself has come as a baby, in Pillaiyar. So in Tamil Nadu, which celebrates Him as the Infant-God, He is there in every nook and corner, blessing all and sundry. It is His blessing that the old lady paatti, ran around every village of Tamil Nadu. 'Who is that paatti?', in Tamil will be, 'paatti yar?' She is 'paattiyar' or 'Avvaiyar'. 'Pillaiyar - Avvaiyar', what a combination, as a boon for Tamil Nadu!
12. There is nobody who has done more social and religious service for Tamil Nadu, as Avvaiyar. If there was, good behaviour and devotion, for thousands of years, in this part of the country, it is undoubtedly due to Avvaiyar. From early child-hood, if good behaviour and devotion to God becomes deep rooted, based on the correct attitude to self and the world; then that attitude and behaviour becomes permanent. There have been many great poets and devotees in the past. But what they wrote or sang were mainly for elders. Avvaiyar did not lack in poetical abilities or devotional intensity. Actually she was too great a Gnani; extremely well grounded in Yoga Sastra. She correctly identified children as the target audience of her advices. So whatever she sang were in the form of 'teachings for children'. When it comes to these matters after all; even grown ups are children only.
13. She adviced all the children with the same concern that any grand mother has for her grand children. Her love is so great that, even generations later, when it comes to teaching children, 'Aathichudi' comes first. First puja is for Pillaiyar; first reading is Avvaiyar's teachings. For thousands of years, if her words have sustained and flourished; the power of her words is apparent. When you make a sincere true statement, soaked in love; that becomes universally and eternally acceptable. Avvai's words are such that they have retained their charm even after translations into other languages! Amongst us there may be many who have not read the poetry of Kambar, Pugazhendi, Ilango; but there cannot be any who does not know at least one saying of Avvaiyar.
14. Where did Avvaiyar get such power in to her words? She was also very strong physically. Walking on foot, she went to every small Patty, Thotty, Kukgramam, Puri, Puram, Palli and Halli. Assembled the children and tought them her 'Upadesas'. Where did she get such power in her being? Both power of words and physical power are Pillaiyar's blessings. She was a great devotee of Pillaiyar. It is His blessings that she became an old woman, even in her young age! She wanted to avoid the normal route of falling in love; getting married and begetting children. She got this obstacle to a life of devotion and service removed, by praying to Pillaiyar to give her the looks of an old woman, in her youth!
15. Pillaiyar, who assisted Subrahmanya Swami to get married; helped this woman to short circuit the very process of growing. When the world is full of people who want to retain their youth even in old age, (King Yayathi to Richard Gere ad infinitum ad nauseam), she asked for and obtained old age, so as to obviate lustful thoughts from the onlooker's minds! Pillaiyar agreed with her views totally. He decided that it is not enough to only retain her devotion. He spun her off as the Ambassador and Minister of Devotion, to catch the young minds of generations yet to come. From a woman with no family, He made her the grand mother of all children, including those yet to be born! She fulfilled her appointed role quite willingly. She spent her life in Pooja and Dhyana of Pillaiyar; and teaching children.
16. That old woman went around thousands of years back. I have also done so now. She went around Tamil Nadu. I have included the whole country in my ambit. What I have noticed is that, it is only in Tamil Nadu, that Pillaiyar is seated in every nook and corner, on the river banks, under a tree, with or without a roof! He is as happy under a tin roof, as with elaborate Praharam, Gopuram and Vidhanam. If nothing else, the sky as the roof will do most suffiently, thank you. This is the speciality of Tamil Nadu. Wherever she went, Pillaiyar happily took station there.
(Like Adi Sankara and Avvaiyar, in the past and Mahatma Gandhi in recent times; Periyaval as He is reverentially referred to; also went around on foot only, for more than sixty years. Here is a very rare reference to His so doing; to make a point that in other states of India; Pillaiyar is more noticeable by His absence, as compared to Tamil Nadu! The overwhelming preponderance of Pillaiyar in Tamil Nadu can only be due to Avvaiyar's influence. To be continued.)