Saturday, September 27, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 103 (of Vol 2) Dt 30 April 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 103 (of Vol 2) Dt 30 April 2008

(Continued from Deivathin Kural # 102 (of Vol 2) of 28 April 2008. These are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti peetam, over a period of some sixty years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each, as Deivathin Kural. )

11. What is Karma? Karma means action. Think of how much work is involved in creating a Veshti or Dhoti or a piece of cloth. Sow the cotton seed, grow the cotton plants, at the right time harvest the cotton buds, separate the cotton wool from the seeds, clean it, make threads out of it, dye the threads, load the threads on spindles, then inter weave them into a cloth. It involves much more work than what I have listed here. Similarly, many actions have to be done to refine an individual and bring him back to his ‘Brhma Swaroopam’. These actions put together are known as Samskaram.

12. To remove the faults and instill quality and value is Samskaram. For example, ‘Kesa Samskaram’ is what is done in a hair cutting saloon, involving cleaning up, removal of lice, shampooing, cutting and dressing the hair, shaving, applying oil and may be give a head massage! Jeevatma has faults / doshas. The faults have to be removed and filled with character qualities. If you were a farmer, you will know as to what all actions are required to be taken in agriculture. The land has to be aired or let recoup itself in between one crop and the next. It should then be tilled, irrigated, seeds sown, weeds removed, periodically watered, if over wet, drained; nearing its maturity, enabled to dry up, harvested, husks removed, dried, stored, milled and the product transported to the markets and so on. I have not touched the other related jobs such as, arranging for the finance / loans, mustering the labour at the right times, storage and marketing your products!

13. We are full of complications and conflict created by our desire to do well. These cross currents of our senses are the cause of much confusion. Despite all that, we do experience some moments of intense happiness. These flashes of happiness can be made more wholesome and continuous. That can happen when we slowly unravel ourselves from the complications, by controlling our minds and progressively get nearer to our real self of ‘Brhma Swaroopam’. For this purpose, Rishis have talked of 40 Samskaras and imbibing eight character qualities or ‘Atma Gunas’.

14. When I say ‘Atma Gunas’, and talk of refining ones Atma, it is referring to the individual being. Atma is spotless, beyond any modifications. But it is the individual, call him what you may, who accumulates a lot of dust in the form of Agnana i.e., ignorance, and other defects born of that ignorance. So, it is this individual who is cleansed by the Samskaras. To know oneself to be the spotlessly clean ‘Atma’, through constant and regular practice of Samskaras, one has to gain these eight very preferable character qualities. Then of course at the end level, one has to go beyond these Gunas too. That comes later, much later! As an ideal, if we try to emulate the character qualities of people like Sri Rama or Dharmaraja, a lot of fears, hates, desires and such hinder our progress. That is why a number of Do’s and Don’ts have been evolved to bring the individuals’ mind and behaviour under control. The individual learns to reign in this mind under some discipline, to identify and progressively eradicate, pride, jealousy, hate, fear, greed and such qualities and develop noble ones. Samskaras thus assist in the control of negative qualities and build preferable positive qualities, attitudes and perspective. We will look into the Samskaras shortly. First let us look at the preferable positive character qualities, as to what are they!

15. The Eight Gunas Preferred. They are Daya, Kshanti, Anasuyai, Soucham, Anaayaasam, Mangalam, Akaarpanyam and Aspruha.

Let me explain. Daya is unconditional love towards all. Call it Love, Kindness, Care, Consideration, Compassion or Grace. This is the highest of all possible expressions. This is the basement. This is the purpose of existence. This is the back-bone.

16. Kshanti is tolerance. One is bearing uncomplainingly the diseases, accidents, poverty and so on. Another is forbearing the problems created by others. To withstand and tolerate, even when the other party is trying to hurt you is something else! Thiruvalluvar in his Kural, says, “inna saidaarai oruttal avar naana nannayam seiduvidal”, meaning, ‘the best way to cut the person trying to hurt you is to shame him by doing something good for him!’ Bharatiyar goes one step higher. He says, “pagaivanukku arulvai nannenje”! He says, ‘my dear heart, bless thy enemy!’

17. Anasuyai is the name of Atri Maharishi’s wife. She is a person without any disgust or embarrassment. Lack of ‘asooyai’ is anasooyai. (It should not be spelt as, ‘anusooyai’ which will give it some other shade of meaning! The word has a meaning of ‘lack of heart burn or irritation born out of jealousy’. The first mentioned ‘Daya’ is towards all, the second quality ‘tolerance’ is towards the erring humanity, and the third stated ‘anasooyai’, is towards people higher in status or position than you. Not to feel jealous at the apparent well being of others! ‘May be that he has done a lot of punyam in the past and so deserves his good fortune’, should be our attitude.

18. Soucham is from the word suchi, meaning cleanliness, in being. Cleanliness in the physical person and his mental attitude, in dressing, in food, in the place of living and surroundings. The Tamil proverb says, “suddam sugam tarum, suddam soru podum”, meaning, ‘cleanliness gives you pleasantly feeling and also feed you’. When you look at somebody well dressed, clean, devoid of slouch, indolence and slothfulness, it instantly generates a sense of well being, trust and confidence! When Manu talks of five common dharmas for all people, first he talks of Ahimsa, that is not hurting others; second is Truthfulness; third is dispassion in other’s property or not stealing other’s material or other’s affection; fourth is Soucham and fifth is the ‘Indriya Nigraha’ or control of senses.

19. Next is ‘anaayaasam’. Fluent facileness is anaayaasam. Not to take anything as a burden, but take it in one’s stride is anaayaasam. Keeping oneself too serious, making heavy weather out of anything and everything, crying and cribbing, all the time projecting an image of oneself as too over loaded; some people make it difficult for themselves and others. As against this, anaayaasam is to take all eventualities lightly, at the same time retaining the highest level of efficiency. Many of the Karma Anushtanas require a heavy dose of physical hard work. When doing Srardham, you may have to remain fasting, till may be three in the afternoon. You have to bear such physical discomfort, without becoming irritable! To conduct a Yaaga is not a joke! It is like managing a project work involving many people and much material in a dynamic flux, over a vast area, through a long period of time, with almost zero tolerance for errors! If you do not take the intense pressure lightly, you are likely to give in to apathy or you will run the risk of having a heart attack repeatedly! That is keeping your cool mentally, while persevering physically! There will be problems, hurdles galore. Not to worry. When the going gets tough, the tough get going! That is anaayaasam!

20. Mangalam is mangalam only. To be happy, seriously happy, not flippantly. Not easily perturbed. No outburst. Just be happy and be a source of happiness to others. Like a lamp spreads light and chases away darkness, your very arrival could and should enthuse other participants. While some people have the exact opposite effect on others. The moment they enter, the audience feel themselves on tenterhooks! Put a smile on your face. Let your very presence spread cheer. ‘Pongum mangalam engum tanguga’.

21. Next quality is ‘akaarpanyam’. Kaarpanyam is the quality of the miser. Not to be miserly is the direction. To have a big heart and plentiful liberality. Arjuna was dejected and depressed, when he was sitting on the floor of the chariot, refusing to fight and participate in the battle, he is said to have had, ‘kaarpanya dosham’. That is, he had become too miserly about his own capabilities and direction of purpose! To be apathetic, disinterested, weak and lost is ‘kaarpanya dosham’. As against this to be a ‘live wire’, full of energy, vivaciousness, and abundant good will of hospitality and accommodation is ‘akaarpanyam’.

22. The last of the eight character qualities, that are aimed to be achieved through the 40 samskaras, is ‘aspruha’, that is, lack of attachment, desire, want, need and feeling of deficiency or inadequacy. Actually, this is the root-cause of all other negative traits. By repeated conduct of samskaras, it is this which is attempted to be cut and got rid of. Goutam Buddha built his entire religion around the eradication of desire. Thiruvalluvar says, ‘parruga parrarran parrinai apparraip parruga parru vidarku’, meaning, ‘catch hold of the unattached God, to be able to get rid of all grabbing instincts!’ Thirumoolar goes one step beyond, and says, ‘cut your desires, cut your desires; even with God, cut your desires!’

23. Review this list of character qualities. You will find that, all religious leaders of the world have recommended imbibing these qualities. May be the order or the words slightly differ. But whether it is Mohammad Nabhi or Jesus Christ, Buddha or Nanak, Zorathusra or Confucious; they have all emphasized on these qualities.

(To be continued.)


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