Saturday, September 13, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 75 of (Vol 2) of 23 Jan 2008.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 75 of (Vol 2) of 23 Jan 2008.

(Note 1. We are to remind the readers that herein, 'he' as a word stands for 'she' as well. When Tamil or Sanskrit words are transliterated in English, the single vowel will indicate a short utterance and a double vowel will indicate a longer pronounciation. Words in Sanskrit script not being available, the transliteration spellings and thereby the pronounciation, especially of names may be at variance from what it should be! I offer my sincere apologies for the likely errors, as the one doing the translation. ---KTSV Sarma. Note 2. It may please be noted that the talk is dated some time in the late 1950's and early 60's.

(Continued from Deivathin Kural # 74 of (Vol 2) of 21 Jan 2008.)

13. I had pointed out that, at the time Adi Sankara came on the scene, there was Buddhism, Sankhyam and Meemamsam. We will see about how Buddhism was countered a little later. Of immediate concern are Sankhyam and Meemamsam. The people belonging to Sankhyam had decided that, Easwara or God is not the 'Jagat Karta'. Easwara is Gnana personified. The Jagat is made of ignorant matter. The thing of Intelligence cannot be the cause for 'Jada' or gross matter. So, to say that Easwara is the 'Karta for Jagat' is blasphemy! Easwara is not the Karta, say the Sankhyas.

14. God having nothing to do with 'Jagat', as the pure Gnana-Being is called by the Sankhyas as the 'Purusha'. By definition and description this 'Purusha' seems the same as what Acharyal calls as the be-all-end-all 'Nirguna Brhmam'. This itself by Maya seemingly becomes the 'Saguna Brhmam', having the responsibilities to create, sustain and do all sorts of things with the world! This is the basis of his differing from the Sankhyas.

15. Meemamsakars on the other hand, do not say anything about Easwara. They give pride of place to the conduct all 'Karma Anushtanam' as given in the Vedas. For them, God's being the 'Jagat Karta' or not is irrelevant. But they do insist that, He is not the 'the Giver of the fruits of action'. He is not the 'Phala Dhata', they insisted. As per their view, the good and bad actions have good and bad effects, invariably, irrevocably. God has no role to play there. So, out of the two points that has been said about God in our Vedas and Brhma Sutra, One, that He is 'Jagat Karta' and Two, that He is 'Phala Dhata'; the first one has been discarded by Sankhya Religionists and the second has been objected to by the Meemamsakars!

16. The reason for Meemamsakars to say that it is not Easwara who is the 'Giver of the Effects', is due to the fact that, they sincerely believed that, the very act of doing, has the effect. If you did or did not say your prayers, for example, 'Sandya Vandanam', it had that much positive/negative effect. So, 'Karmas' themselves gave the effect; and not Easwara. They believed so. Within the religions that accept the Vedas, these are the two, Sankhya and Meemamsai, that were not ready to accept that, 'Easwara is the Jagat Karta' / 'Easwara is the Phala Dhata', respectively.

Buddhism Won over by Nyayam and Meemamsai.

17. There are many who believe or say that, due to Adi Sankara's advent and condemnation of Buddhism, that religion was eased out of India. This is far from the truth. Though Buddhism objected to Vedas, in His Bhashyams, we hardly see any direct criticisms of Buddhism. He has disputed the Vaidik Religions of Sankhyam and Meemamsai, more intensively. Since they maintained that, Easwara is not the Creator of the World and Distributor of the Effects of Actions; He went deep into their Philosophy and picked holes in their logic. He established beyond doubt that, as said in the Vedas and Brhma Sutras; Easwara is the 'Jagat Karta' and 'Phala Dhata'. Without God, there can be no world. 'Karmas' by themselves cannot give the results. Karmas on their own are not intelligent, sentient entities. It is the 'Chaitanya' of God, that is the discretionary sentience. He has said and written much on these lines. In some places it seems as though He has criticised Buddhism. But even there, we will notice that, since the Suthra has that message, he has written the commentary accordingly. So, the contention that, Adi Sankara was responsible for chasing Buddhism out of India, is not the truth.

18. Then, why did Buddhism vanish from India? Some one must have criticised them rather seriously, for them to lose all following! Who were responsible for that? They were the Meemamsakars and Tharkees. (Don't panic that I have introduced yet another set of people, Tharkees. I will explain! Tharkees are experts in 'Tharka Saastram'. 'Tharkam' is a part of 'Nyaayam', which comes immediately after Meemamsai as the next subject 'Nyaayam', as another 'Upaanga' of the Veda.) Experts in Nyayam were known as, 'Nayyayikars'; experts in 'Vyakaranam' were known as, 'Vayyakaranis'; and in Puranas were called, 'Pouraanikars'. Some of these names were famous in the society of earlier days like Lawyers and Auditors of to-day. Later these names became Caste names, by the time people had no idea as to why they have that name! Udayanachariyar was a Tharkeekar. Kumarila Bhatta was a Meemamsakar. Both of them, vituperatively criticised Buddhism, each for his own reason.

19. Udayanachariyar, took Buddhism to task for not recognising the existance of God! Kumarila Bhatta was critical of the Buddhism, for completely ignoring the need for any 'Karma Anushtana'. Though they said that Easwara is not Phala Dhata, they did believe in the Karma Anushtana as levied by the Vedas and so, since the Buddhists totally negated the need for this, Meemamsakars disputed Buddhism. Kumarila Bhattar has written extensively against Buddhism on these lines. Between Udayanachariyar and Kumarila Bhattar, Buddhism lost all acceptance amongst the intelligentia. Adi Sankara came on the scene shortly after this. It was his job to pick holes in the arguments of Udayanachariyar and Kumarila Bhattar, mainly to re-establish that, Easwara is the 'Jagat Karta' as well as the 'Phala Dhata'.

20. I mentioned this, mainly to correct the wrong notion in the History books, created due to insertions by foreign authors that, Adi Sankara was responsible for the decline of Buddhism in India. One should refer to Kumarila Bhattar's, 'Tharkapaadam' and Udayanachariyar's, 'Boudda Adhikaram', to know as to how Buddhism has been criticised by them.

Buddhism and Indian Society.

21. I am of the view that at no point in time was India ever too much under the influence of the Buddhist religion. Some people join the Theosophical Society. They still continue with the activities as it normally happens in the Hindu Religion. Some join Ramakrishna Mission. But that does not preclude continuing with Sandya Vandanam and other Hindu like activities. Take Sri.C.Ramanujachariyar or 'Anna' Sri N.Subrahmaniya Ayyar, (he was the Principal in Ramakrishna Mission High School, Mamabalam Main School, where my elder brother Sri K.T.Sundaresa Sarma was studying in 1950's, and your's truely, KTSV Sarma, was studying in R.K.Mission High School, East Branch, near the Mambalam Bus Stand), for example. They managed to adopt the modern ideas without giving up on tradition and Sampradaya. Similarly take Mahatma Gandhi and Gandhiyam. His views are quite respected and revolutionary. His principles of Ahimsa, Sathyam, Desha Bakthi and service orientation, have all been accepted and fully assimilated. But people do not necessarily run away from the old values. It is the evil in the system which is discarded, like ill treating other castes as though they are untouchables. But it also does not mean giving up on cleanliness, 'Madhi' and Acharam. Similarly, with Buddha, the general mass of people admired and venerated the fact that, 'a prince in youth, with the sole motive of saving the common man from, disease, old age and death; renounces his kingdom, his young wife and children, sacrifices his princely life and becomes a bikku!'

22. Many joined him as his followers. But, that was not something totally unheard of. Hinduism, always had that sense of tolerance and accommodation, built into it. Point to understand is that, Hinduism always had the dynamism and freedom to accept new ideas into itself. Accommodate, adjust, adopt and assimilate, good ideas and concepts and value systems; has always been the strong point of what is Hinduism and Indian Ethos! Come Ye! Come all and sundry! Parsis, Jews, Muslims, Christians and whatever. We will accept the good points in You. We will also Indianise You! That is not a threat but an assurance and promise! Since each and everyone had the freedom to have his or her own, 'Ishta Devata', 'Jehova' and 'Allah' and 'Jesus Christ' were all welcome. Since the learned Hindu's idea of God was Omniscient and Omnipresent, your God was also included in his God of Adwaita, though you may have a different name for Him! The not so well read Hindu, respected your freedom to have your God as much as he had free will to Love his own God! So there was no problem. (KTSV adds:- It is entirely a different matter now, when there is mass scale conversion, being done by various Inter National (Christian and Muslim) Organisations, enticing the poor on promise of employment and financial allure; being objected to by Hindu Organizations also with equal fervour and ferocity.)

23. King Asoka, was sufficiently disgusted with war, fighting, killing and resultant individual and social degradation, that he embraced Buddhism. However from his famous Edicts etched on the Asoka Pillars, it is evident that, he continued to protect the 'Varna Aashrama' arrangement of the Hindu Dharma. (Casteism has been made into a monster by the detestable behaviour of some renegades within the Hindu framework; but more so by the vested interest of the British while in power and the 'so called' Reformers of India itself. We will discuss this subject in more detail, on a later date.) The point made is that, there was no mass scale conversion into Buddhism, even after Asoka converted to Buddhism. Other than the 'Bikkus' of Buddhism, the common folk continued as before. Though Buddha did not talk about Easwara and other Deities, even big religious leaders of Buddhism, continued with obeisance to Saraswathy, Tara, Neela Tara and many such deities. Many Tantra Sastra books have been obtained from areas like Tibbet, where Buddhism has been rather predominant. From the Sanskrit books of Harsha, Bilhana and Tamil books of Ilango, it is very clear that, even when Buddhism was rather on the ascendent, Vaidik activities and Varna Aashrama system continued to be observed and maintained, uninterrupted.

24. Even to-day, people who call themselves 'Reformers' and are sincere about their calling, do have regards and respects for Vyasa, Adi Sankara, Ramanujacharyar and such for their nobility of character and individual qualities of exceptional integrity. Even people who do not accept me as a Guru, do come to me for consultation, for solving social problems. That is because, they do have some regards for this person, for his individual character qualities! That is how in this country, what ever the differences in Religion or Policies or what ever, the traditional way of life tested over eons of time, never faltered. Till as recently as a hundred years back, no one dared to renege the 'Karma Anushtana' and Vaidika Karyas. That is how, though individually Buddha could motivate many to join His movement, their was no major social upheaval! Though, Buddhism spread to other East Asian countries automatically through trade, commerce and cultural exchanges; once countered by Udayanacharyar and Kumarila Bhatta, it lost it's appeal with the masses.

Sankara and Others.

25. Yes. Sankara did advice that, finally one should leave everything, and meditate on the Essential Truth, beyond Time and Space. No Karma, no Anushtana, no Yaga, no Dharma. Forget about everything including thinking and meditate on 'Sivoham Sivoham'! But, at the initial preparatory stages, he did emphasise the importance of all Karmas till the 'Chitta Suddhi', of egoless, selfless, greedless clarity of mind and heart was attained. Otherwise, such an established Gnani that He was, had no reason to have sung so many beautiful slokas on each and every deity of the Temples that He visited! His advice was a progressive, gradual maturing, from Karma through Bakthi to Gnana. (KTSV adds:- Adi Sankara, walked around the whole of India on foot, visiting each and every town or village, if it had a Temple! For example, if I am not wrong, He installed the Bakthi Chakra in Guruvayoor and Dhana Chakra in Balaji Temple in Thiruppati! Those interested may read about His exploits in Sankara Vijayam, I am sure to be covered in detail some time later, in Deivathin Kural. It is interesting to note that our Periyaval also, did that walking his way to every nook and corner of India, for almost 60 years, in the just the previous century!)

26. So, He accepted, Buddhism, Meemamsai, Sankhyam at some preparatory stage of development. His objection was about getting stuck up enroute, short of total development, to 'Adwaita Anubhava' or 'Brhma Satchatkaram'. We will see as to how Adi Sankara, sorted out Sankhyam and Meemamsai, in the next e-mail!

(To be continued.)




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