Friday, February 27, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 59 (Vol # 3) Dated 28 Feb 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 59 (Vol # 3) Dated 28 Feb 2009
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 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. To day we are proceeding from the middle of page 258 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly.) (Note:- These e-mails are all available at constantly updated.)
436. When Sage Vyasa had completed the writing of all the 18 Puranas, his disciples requested him to give the gist of those Puranas in a few sloka-s for easy memorization. "Why do I need a few sloka-s for that? I will give you the gist of not only those 18 Purana-s but, all that ever has been said or written in crores of Saastra-s in half a sloka", he said in the first part of the Sanskrit sloka, I Quote, "slokaardhena pravakshyaami yaduktam granta kotishu I ". In the second half of the sloka he said, "paropakaara: punyaaya, paapaaya parapeetanam II."
437. For all the crores of religious books on Saastraas, the highest philosophy is this:- "If you are desirous of earning Punyam(holy merits), do paropakaaram. If you wish to amass Paapam(sinful demerits),do such things that would hurt others." Our whole Hindu religion is about identifying what is Paapam and obviate that and identifying what is Punyam and doing it at all costs. The foremost authority in our religion is Vyasa Acharya, who collected, collated and serialized all our Veda-s into four parts of Rig, Yajur, Saama and Atharva Veda-s, wrote 18 Puranas and 18 Upa Puranas, Maha Bharata, Bhagavatam and Brhma Sutra; says that helping others (para + upakaaram) is Punyam and hurting others (para + apakaaram) is Paapam; the minimum that we can do is to, sit up and take notice! So, there is no chance to discuss whether there is place for Social Service in our Religion or not!
438. Though without knowing the facts some people say that our religion contains a lot about individual improvement and ennoblement, and not much about taking care of others, there is a point to be noted here. Unless a man attains to a certain degree of self improvement in terms of morality and discipline, there is no chance for his actions to be useful in social service for the public at large! Then it is his spiritual power of 'Atma Shakti' that will enable him to do effective social service, further ennobling him. So these two, individual and social efforts of empowerment go hand in hand, mutually complimenting each other. That is how it has been evolved in our religion!
439. Adi Sankara, our Acharyal who reawakened and rejuvenated the whole of Hindu Religion in the entire Indian sub-continent, has given us in the question and answer format, a book called, 'Prasnottara Ratna Maalika'. There is one question that occurs there, "kim manujeshu ishta tamam?", meaning, 'what is most desirable for man?' His answer is, "swa para hitaaya udhyatam janma", meaning that, 'we are born as humans to persevere for personal and social welfare!' There can be no room left for any doubt as to the importance of Social Service in our Religion!
440. In the same treatise in another place he says, the good are equivalent to the rays of the moon. The rays of the moon has a cooling effect after the hot Sunlight has done its job of heating up the whole planet. For this the Moon is not required to take any special effort. Its cooling effect is natural. Similarly, the good Samaritans (‘sajjan’ in Sanskrit,) do not have to go out of their way to be of use to the society. They do not have to make an effort to do service to others. Neither do they have to publicize the same. They just have to be themselves naturally. That will prove to be of much help to the general public automatically! The same idea is reflected when he describes the character qualities of the very supremely peaceful ‘Mahatma-s’ of this world, in Viveka Chudamani. There instead of likening them to the effects of ‘rays of the moon’, he likens them to the effect of the ‘spring season’!
441. “...vasantavat loka hitam charanta:...”, meaning that, such people breeze through the world imparting benefits galore all around. Do you see the spring season? At least the moon is seen. You only see the effects of the Spring Season! There is a pleasant breeze. Flowers bloom, especially the jasmine flower spreading its fragrance all around. All the trees which had dropped their leaves in the fall season of ‘Sisir Ritu’, now show the green flag of fresh green tendrils and sprouts, to the Spring Season. Similarly, the person who has realized his oneness with all that seemingly exists, knows also that none of these things are real! So, it is like an air-tight entity in which there are no You, Me or any one else! So, there is no chance whatsoever for anyone to do anything else to anybody! But as long as you attain to total reality, you by nature, by just being a realized soul, do good to others, like the moon light and or the Spring Season ! Without any intension on his part, sans deliberation, sans volition, goodness happens because of him, the realized soul! Adi Sankara, our Acharyal who demonstrated such a life, is actually talking about himself without being conscious of doing so!
442. "Generally there is no chance for Paropakaaram in Hindu Religion. That too, within that religion, Adwaitam is such a part which maintains that, 'there is no reality to the world or anybody else other than the Atma'. In such a situation, there is no scope for Paropakaaram as who is anybody else?" Even if such was the charge leveled against it, Adi Sankara as the Adwaita Acharyal is saying that such a man who has attained to Adwaita Siddhi will be roaming around the world for the sake of the world and not for himself!
443. Lord Sri Krishna and so many of the Jeevan Mukta-s like Janaka, who have no work to do of their own, are still very active for the sake of 'Loka Sangraha' only, He says in Bhagawat Gita. 'Loka Sangraha' means to guide this world lovingly towards betterment. Such people have no more achievements yet to be made or aspired for but, themselves the aims to be reached. Still they are ever active incessantly as 'pointers and examples' to be followed and emulated! This is exactly what our Acharyal says when asking 'kim saadhyam?' to mean, 'what is to be achieved?' and answering 'bhoota hitam' to mean,' to do the needful for the living beings'.
444. Our Adwaita Acharyal advised Paropakaaram only to the well established human beings in the higher rungs of the society. For the common man still enroute, he only says, " happy with what you earn and if you use that sensibly in the ways of dharma you could ennoble yourself...". He goes on to say, "...sing the Gita and Sahasranaama, do dhyanam on God's roopa, involve your mind in the teachings and company of great saints and give money to the poor people...":- geyam gita naama sahasram dyeyam sripati roopam ajasram I neyam sajjana sange chittam deyam deena janaaya cha vittam II
445. So, Veda Dharmam and even Adwaitam, (which holds the world in all its manifestations to be only imaginary Maya), requires that, all the actions for spiritual attainments should go hand in hand with actions for social welfare and for the benefit of all human beings and other life forms too! That is the way of our elders and forefathers. We should simply follow their guide lines and look at all life forms animate and seemingly inanimate as expressions of the same divinity and do our bit for the welfare of all! "...sarve janaa: sukhino bhavantu I lokaa: samastaa: sukhino bhavantu II ..."


Thursday, February 26, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 58 (Vol # 3) Dated 27 Feb 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 58 (Vol # 3) Dated 27 Feb 2009
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 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. To day we are proceeding from the middle of page 254 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/ she' too, mostly.) (Note:- These e-mails are all available at constantly updated.)
427. As I was telling you, any need for seeking publicity will only result in hankering after self aggrandizement! We will start looking for our own photo in the news papers. We will start aspiring for being given the opportunity to give the welcome speech or vote of thanks or garland the guest of honour; so that we will be thought to be an important person. This will inevitably lead to aspirations and expectations. When the expectations are not realized, that will lead to disappointments and hatred!
428. Instead of 'Chitta Shuddhi', the exact opposite will be the result! The idea of social service giving us humility will be lost sight of! Instead we will be nurturing and feeding the 'Ahankaara' to unmanageable levels. The ideal is for us to do and not be seen! That is why it is said, "...dharme ksharati keertanaat...". The reference to the context is that, as a person's sins become cancelled when he expresses genuine regrets for the sinful thoughts and acts; his 'punyam' too dwindles when he claims that he has done so and so act of 'Dharma'! This is said in Sanskrit in a delicate way as "...dharma dwajan...", meaning, 'the flag-bearer of dharma'. Though it sounds like a title of honour and merit, it actually is a dig at the person who is rather a 'show off'.
429. I was going to talk to you about 'institutionalization' of social service! If in the western countries they are having 'orphanages and old-people homes', as per saastra-s there is a place in each house-hold for orphans and visitors, (called 'atithi' with respect,) here in our country! In the western countries, in their houses, there will be a guard dog, preventing any orphan or guest from entering! To take care of visitors is in our blood, as part of the customs and traditions ingrained in us. In an institution, this may happen mechanically. I am not just criticizing what happens in other countries. In every country I am sure that, there are great thinkers, do-gooders and philanthropists. So also are there selfish narrow minded people everywhere. But I am making it clear that, "...atithi devo bhava...", as a principle is imbedded in our very being, breath and conscience! As per Vaastu Saastra, our houses had a 'thinnai' or 'bhaitak', where any visitor coming late at night could sleep. He was not even expected to take anyone's permission to stay there. That place was meant for him. The house holder before going to sleep, would keep some food and water to be utilized by such unwary travelers. such arrangements are gone now in the modern architecture of houses especially in the flat / apartment systems.
430. Copying the western family systems, individual family’s have become self-centric in our country too. Accordingly social service has become institutionalized and the governments have had to take on the responsibilities of taking care of Orphanages and Old-Age-Homes and giving pensions to such people has become a necessity. Compared to the earlier arrangement where every house holder shared the responsibility of taking care of the orphans, destitutes and travelers on the principle of “...vasudeiva kutumbakam...”, meaning that 'the whole world is one family', the present arrangement lacks in love and compassion!
431. In short Veda Dharmam holds that; all our powers are only a minutesimal fraction of divine powers. So all our powers should be offered as a compliment of those divine powers only. All our actions should be offered to God. So, let all our thinking with our minds be meditation; let whatever we say with our mouth/tongue be His names and His praise; let all our actions be devotional offerings; and let all our duties become a pooja in His celebration! Whatever are one's duties as per 'Swadharma', amongst the common duties, the most important is this Paropakaaram.
432. So, as we take God's names with our tongue, we should be telling some good nice words to others. As we do Dhyanam with our minds, we should have some thoughts for the welfare of the whole world. As we do pooja, circum ambulation of the temple and do namaskarams to God, with our physical body, we should also do some 'Kainkaryam' such as, sweeping the premises of the temple or community hall or repair dilapidated temple structures. Similarly we should contribute some flowers or fruits for common purposes. That is, we should divinize our daily life without failing in our duties towards God, our families and the society!
433. We are not to believe anymore that Paropakaaram has not been mentioned in our religion. Even in childhood, the children are taught, 'Subhashitam' and 'Needhi Saastram', in which there is much mentioned about social service. One of them goes like this, "...paropakaaraartam idam sariram...", which means that, 'this human body is meant for other's service'! Another one says, "...paropakaaraaya sadaam vibhutaya:...", which means that, 'all our materials and powers and possessions are meant for paropakaaram only'! This idea is conveyed by three different examples. One is that the trees bear fruits for the eating pleasure of birds, animals and humans, (paropakaaraartam phalanti vrukchaa:). The second example is that the rivers carry water for use by others, (paropakaaraartam vahanti nadya:). The third example is that all the milk that cows produce is not meant only for its calf only, (paropakaaraartam duhkanti gaava:).
434. Now let me put this across a little more subtly and effectively. Trees do not eat their own fruits. River does not drink its own water. The clouds do not eat up the agricultural yields raised by its rains. So also good peoples' abilities, materials and wealth are meant for the common welfare only! "paropakaaraaya sadaam vibhutaya:..."
435. When the child is still going to schools, the advice is given, "Think of your self as a permanent divine entity and carry on earning your education, money and materials." In the same breath, it is also said, "When it comes to doing Dharma, instead of postponing, do it at once as though, the Yama the God of Death is sitting on your head and pulling your hair!" It is said that, "...ajaraamaravat pragnya: vidyaam artam cha saadayet I gruheeta iva keseshu mrutyunaa dharmam aacharet II..." . (To be continued.) Sambhomahadeva.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 57 (Vol # 3) Dated 21 Feb 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 57 (Vol # 3) Dated 21 Feb 2009
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 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. To day we are proceeding from page 249 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/ she' too, mostly.)
(Note:- These e-mails are all available at constantly updated.)
417. Let me add one more to the list of activities under Paropakaaram. To keep ones own body and mind clean is a great help for the rest of the world and so should be included in the list. By bad habits when someone becomes diseased, how can he do Paropakaaram? Not only that, his disease could spread to others. So, you become a source of illness for others. That is 'para + apakaaram' instead of 'para + upakaaram'!
418. Some 40 to 50 years back, there were not so many people suffering from diseases, as obtaining these days. The reason for this is lack of morality and prevalence of more wide-spread bad habits. (KTSV adds:- Periyaval must have said this some 60 years earlier. Now the situation is worse. Such statistics of the past may not be available to make a true comparison. But what is clear all over the world is the fact that, the cost of 'medical care' takes away a major chunk in individual, corporate and governmental budgets!)
419. The reason for the existing state of affairs is not far to seek. There is a general dilution of morality in the whole world. There is a quote which goes as, "...sastraaya cha sukhaaya cha...", meaning that, 'to abide with the Saastra-s is convenient too!' Being disciplined in mind, speech and action, one obviates many infectious diseases. In the name of fashion we are letting all matters of personal hygiene go by default!
420. Not that only physical diseases are infectious. Even thoughts do affect other's thought processes. The way our brain functions have been identified to be electronic impulses. So, it is true that thought power can influence and affect others. By keeping our own mind and body clean, we are contributing to other's well being. If not, at least we will not be affecting them negatively!
421. Instead of sitting down with the purpose of cleansing ones own mind that is 'chitta shuddhi', if you get involved in doing some or all the activities of Paropakaaram that I have been talking about, 'chitta shuddhi' will just occur as a by-product. For Paropakaaram to be effective in cleansing one's own mind, it is necessary to completely rid oneself of the sense of 'Ahankaaram', that we are doing something great! It is equally important that we should not expect any returns for our such actions in social service, such as money or name or fame! It is cleansing of our own hearts and mind that is, the biggest return.
422. Each at their own level of income and capabilities, should do what they can for Paropakaaram, in whatever way they can. When any part of the body is affected or injured, the eyes shed tears, don't they? Similarly, when anyone is suffering in any part of the globe, our hearts should melt in sympathy. To help others in need is our duty. There is nothing to be proud about in this. Nor is this done out of compulsion. Once you are clear in your mind that the whole world is God only in manifested form, to remove others worries will become our second nature. Even when we persevere in doing so, it will not be much of a burden for us. However much we may sacrifice, it will be done with pleasure sans limit. The smile seen the face of the person helped, will more than compensate for all our efforts.
423. Daily before going to sleep, we should make a self assessment as to whether we have helped anyone that day or not! It is said in Tevaram that, every day spent without talking about God is a day wasted. Similarly, everyday spent without Paropakaaram is to be considered as a day wasted. That day should be treated as a day of mourning. That day we are as good as not being alive.
424. However small or poor we may be, there will be some small way that we can be of use to others. May be singly or in groups, we must do what we can. To dig a well in a village where there is no water source; to repair the walls of a temple which is in disrepair; to re-start the Pooja in a temple that is going by default; to install a stone for the cattle to conveniently rub their bodies against; to tell others the beauty of some Sloka or Pasuram; to sing some Bhajans enabling others to think of God; to sweep and clean up say a community hall; there are many ways in which one could quietly contribute. To do so without much publicity is more important! You do not have to launch your self in social service, leaving your family uncared for. Taking care of your family and doing social service, both are duty only.
425. In the western world, they institutionalize social service. Here in our system to do social service singly and in groups, is part of the way of life like religion. Like the cells in the human body help each other without any special promptings, we in India do this as part of the social milieu. The one advantage in our way of doing it is that, there is effective curb on 'pride that I have done so and so act'. The pleasure is in doing it without anyone knowing about it! There is a proverb in Tamil that says, "while giving, the left hand should not know what the right hand has given!"
426. Once you institutionalize social service, it leads to office bearers, their election, competition, publicity, heart-burn and so on! That is why I have been insisting that we must avoid making too elaborate set-ups for this. May be the weekly Bhajan committee or an informal get together, should bring such activities under their purview. Do not make big plans. Do not collect more than what is required. I am warning like this for the main reason that, the vicious cycle of more money, more publicity, more corruption will come in to being, inexhorably! Cleansing of our own minds, that is ‘chitta shuddhi’, as the main aim, will be lost sight of, in the bargain!
(To be continued.)


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 56 (Vol # 3) Dated 19 Feb 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 56 (Vol # 3) Dated 19 Feb 2009
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 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. To day we are proceeding from the second para of page 244 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/ she' too, mostly.)
(Note:- These e-mails are all available at constantly updated.)
407. The greatest help you can extend to anyone is to enable him to find his roots, source or origin, i.e., reach the Param Dhaama! By chanting the names of God, to make a man think of God in his last few seconds of existence, there by making him acceptable to Him, is the highest Paropakaaram!
408. That thinking of God in the penultimate few seconds, even if it does not fully erase all his sins, will cleanse him to a very great degree of fineness, undoubtedly! When the names of God totally permeate a man's mind, will certainly erase all his paapam. Such person if at all, will not be born as a detestable sinner, but take the life of a potential Mahatma, a sacred being. He will born as a sacred being, not because of being endowed with plenty of money, beauty and status. But, the Bhagwan Naama Smarana that came to him in the last few moments of his this life, will happen in a big way, enabling him to cancel out all the accumulated Paapa of many life times, in his next life time on his own efforts!
409. That is why we should do what we can to help him on the way. This great Dharma, unmatched Paropakaaram, should be done by the Sanga, which I mentioned earlier. The collective organization of regional associations or groups of people formed for weekly prayers, bajans and social service, should keep this as priority one task before them. Once you get to know that someone in your locality is in his death bed, one or a few people should visit him. We are not to make it a big gathering.
410. There are also people who die in a hospital or jail. For such places, we should have the permission of the concerned authorities and regular communications, so that we are informed in time. We should not go there with empty hands. Yes, the names of God is a panacea for all sorts of problems alright! We do not need any more thing whatsoever. But a material thing in kind has its own encouraging effect. It will give some solace to the person on the way out!
411. For this purpose, we should have Sivan / Murugan / Pillaiyar Koil Vibhuti, Perumal Koil Tulasi, Amman Koil Kumkumam, and such things in stock, regularly replenished. Ganga Jalam should also be kept ready as it is 'sarva paapa samanam', and acceptable to everybody. Depending on whether the individual is a Saivite or Vaishnavite, the suitable combination of 'Prasadam' should be taken. Ganga teertham and Tulasi is acceptable to all. Actually now-a-days within Hindus, they will accept all these prasadam-s. It is for us to show some prudence and discrimination. Having gone to see off another soul in his last journey, we do not want to hurt anyone's sensibilities or start an argument on matters of principle! What ever is the most pleasingly appropriate, it is that type of prasadam that should be taken.
412. Vibhuti prasadam should be what has been used for Abhishekam of Dakshinamurthy Swami in the Siva temple or Pillayar or Subrahmanya Swami. The water that has been used to wash the feet of Ambal could be collected and mixed with Ganga Jal and kept in store. This could be given to the person about to die, to sip. The Tulasi leaves used for Archana of Perumal could be collected and dried. Normally Perumal is Alankara Priya while Siva is Abhisheka Priya. But we could get the water used to wash His Feet as Paada teertham. Any how some Ganga Teertham should kept handy always.
413. Everybody in the world is afraid of death. No one wants to die. Even when chronically diseased and declared by the medical experts as beyond recovery, still no one is ever prepared to die! In the last few moments of one's life, even the 'die hard' agnostic also will know as to how, his own life is not in his control! He will be having a glimpse of or some comprehension of that supreme power, beyond all human frailties. As though to compensate for a life wasted, I think, he would like to die with redeeming thoughts of God as a final act of piety and surrender! So he will accept our offer of help. His relatives too would be welcoming our this offer. In the case of some who are refusing to die even after running enormous medical bills, the relatives may rather welcome our help, which may enable the person to ease out of life! Since we are not an additional item of expenditure, we may be invited with open arms!
414. Even if we are not invited, once we know that somebody is in his death bed, we should visit on our own too. If the relatives are hard-core agnosts and object, we may try to convince them to some extent. But if they do not budge, without getting in to a fight, we may withdraw from the scene, with silent and sincere prayers for the soul of the person about to die. In these sort of activities of service to kindred souls , we should not bother for prestige or stand on formalities! If we do so, it is not service anymore!
415. What is to be done is like this. We should go to the person about to die with the Koil Prasadams as I mentioned earlier, give him a little of the Ganga Jal. Put the tulasi in his mouth. Apply Kumkum and or Vibhuti in the forehead. Sit close to the person and chant 'Siva Siva Siva or Rama Rama Rama' loud enough so as to draw and hold his or her attention to the Divya Nama-s of God. It is best to continue like this for some time. If it takes more time, people could take turns to do this chanting. The person should be made to hear at least 1008 names to reach the inner consciousness. This is the best of all Paropakaarams that I have been talking about!
416. Should we still do the Sraardham after this act of Divya Naama Smarana? Yes, we should. We have made an effort to enable that person to think of God in the end moments of one's life. But we do not know as to how successful we were. Giving Ganga Teertham, Vibhuti, Kumkum, Tulasi Dalam and chanting of God's names, is all alright. The Antyeshti as explained earlier, should also be done without fail! I have covered many areas of Paropakaaram, some of which may not have been considered as part of social service at all.
(To be continued.) Sambhomahadeva.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 55 (Vol # 3) Dated 17 Feb 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 55 (Vol # 3) Dated 17 Feb 2009
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 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. To day we are proceeding from the second para of page 239 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man' includes 'woman' too, mostly.)
(Note:- These e-mails are all available at constantly updated.)
396. Go to sleep with the mind fixed on God! What ever is the predominant thought in one's mind normally every day, will also occur at the time of death too. We can test ourselves to see if we will get 'Bhagawat Smarana' at the time of our death. Let me explain how!
397. We do go to sleep every night, don't we? Our Saastra-s view this act of going to sleep, very equal to death. When asleep, we are unaware of this body and the world. We say also, "I have been sleeping like a log!" That is why, this sleep is known as, 'Nitya Pralaya' or 'daily dissolution'. Thus daily we can train ourselves to think of God before going to sleep. It could be your Ishta Devata of, Krishna or Kumara or Hanuman or Ambal. Test your self to see if any other thought intrudes. Saying it may be easy. Doing is always difficult.
398. It could even be our Guru, the one who gives us peace and solace. Before trying, you may think as to what is so difficult about reminiscing on what pleases our minds. But this mind is a great duper. With effort and practice this can be overcome. Depending on our sincerity, God Himself will help us. Slowly we will get the surety and certainty that we are on the right lines for the eventuality!
399. Short Cut to Moksha. So, whatever the subject in which we were fully involved and deeply engrossed, throughout our lives, will attract us in the last moment of our lives too. Deliberating on God all of the time, will also happen in the last moment, surely. OK. But why should Sri Krishna, who said, "at all times think of me!", should add the sentence, "think of me in the last moment too!"? That was anyhow inevitable. Why did he include this final direction, to what was most likely to happen?
400. It is here that it looks as though, he has pointed the way to the short-cut! He says clearly in Gita [8.6]:- "yam yam vaapi smaran bhaavam tyajatyante kalevaram I tam tam eva iti kounteya sadaa tad bhaava bhaavita: II ". This means that, even if the individual is not in the habit of thinking of God normally, and does so in the last moment, he becomes entitled to release! It is here that, there is scope to understand that God Himself is showing the way to the 'short-cut' to Himself the Param Dhaama!
401. Normally it is true that, what is generally the predominant thought, will come to one's mind in the last moment too. Contrary to this, what was never thought of, if occurring even accidentally at the time of death, that ultimate thought of God, becomes materialized and realized as God's Gift! Then he does not hold you past misdeeds against you. This is the meaning of the Gita Slokam.
402. Even if you have never been a devotee of God, even if you have never considered God as something to be revered, it is enough to think of Him in the last moment, promptly you attain to Moksha! Is this not a real short-cut? But we know that what has been in our minds all of the time throughout ones life only, will come to our minds in the last minute too. Then how is this short-cut going to work? Are we being duped by God?
403. It is here that for the man in his end moments, the greatest 'Paropakaaram' by others comes into play. A man in his last lap, is likely to get some confused, disjointed, haphazard thought waves. Mostly people die like that. Or he may have lost all consciousness. But, in these moments, if the people around are continuously chanting God's names, that will keep pulling him back from discordant thoughts. Even a trace of consciousness still connecting, may relate to this chanting and do him a great favour!
404. We go to the beach or cinema. We think of all sorts of events, materials and matters of interest and are discussing. On the way, we happen to hear from some loudspeaker, "...hara hara mahadeva or hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare...". See how all other thoughts vanish and for a few moments you experience the bliss of sublime divinity! The name of God has that power!
405. So, at the last few moments of one's life, when the life is still sticking to the body, when he is buffeted from all directions by all sorts of unnecessary thoughts, those around him, the near and dear ones, by chanting God's names, would be very effectively pulling that Jeevatma towards Paramatma. Even if he had gone astray throughout his life otherwise, you would be doing him a great favour, by extending a life line to him thus! It is likely that he will be aspiring to escape from his decadent thoughts. Even otherwise, it is likely that he will grab this life line extended by us, in all avidity! As Appar Swamigal said in 'Thiru Anga Maalai', "...urtraar yaar ularo ? uyir kondu pom pozhudu? kurralattu urai kootthan allaal namakku urtraar yaar ularo?...", meaning, 'who is our savior at the time of our departure other than the dancer of Kurtraalam?'
406. When you are about to leave all the kith and kin, it will come to ones mind that after all is said and done, the only relative for all of us is only, the one and only God! This understanding will come. All Karma Vasana-s may be pulling us like dogs fighting over possession of a bone; but chanting of God's names will work like pulling of the reigns of the horse, we may be able to pull his attention to God's Grace! Then as per God's Promise given in the Gita that, irrespective of whatever that man has been doing in his whole life, the last thought focused on God, gets him the 'Jack Pot' of God's Realization! In addition to the dying man's anxiety and helplessness, combined with our chanting of 'Bhagawan Naama' full of heart felt sincerity, will do the trick, so to say! The best Paropakaaram you can ever do to anyone, is to show him the way back to his source or origin!
(To be continued.)


Saturday, February 14, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 54 (Vol # 3) Dated 11 Feb 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 54 (Vol # 3) Dated 11 Feb 2009
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 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. To day we are proceeding from the second para of page 234 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man' includes 'woman' too, mostly.)
(Note:- These e-mails are all available at constantly updated.)
385. Now and forever, even if we have not been doing that ever, what we have to do is to make us deeply engrossed in thoughts of God. Though straight away we may not be able visualize or comprehend the indescribable, imponderable; we can train ourselves by repeatedly dwelling on the wonderful, salubrious 'Kalyana Gunas' of that Ultimate, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Immanent principle known as God in the form of Rama or Krishna or Muruga. Throughout one's life whatever one may be working on in any business or profession of this worldly involvement, one mode of ourselves should be constantly searching for that connection to God!
386. If such is the case, then even at the time of death, instead of all sorts of confused distraction, our minds will be thinking of God only. As He said, 'maam eva', in our final moments too we would be deep in His thoughts only! Whether it is a lingering death through some disease or an instant death, as through an electric shock or an attack by a tiger; this mind will be able to merge in the immanent reality, with total concentration. Before awareness goes, 'Bhagawat Smarana' will be there!
387. Kulasekhara says that, "at the time of the final journey of Life out of this body, one would be affected by the problems related to the imbalance of 'kapa, vaada and piththa'; when such is the condition, how can I think of you God!". He uses the phrase 'prana prayana', to point out the last moments of one's existence. Adi Sankara Bhagawat Paadaal also has used the same phrase. "praana prayana bhava bheeti samaakulasya lakshmi nrusimha mama dehi karavalambam". He is praying, 'at the time of the final journey of this life, to save me from the mortal fear, Lakshmi Narasimha Murthy will have extend me the dependable supporting hand'. Exactly similarly in Subrahmanya Bhujangam, he says, "...prayaanon mukhe mayi anaate...", meaning, 'when this destitute orphan starts off on the long journey, Appa the ever compassionate Guha, you should come to stand before me!' Thirup-Pugazh also echoes the same sentiment, verbatim! Those great devotees of God were not and could not have been really afraid for themselves. They have sung these lines for our sake, very clearly!
388. Periyazhvar takes a little more liberty with God. He says that anyhow, I am likely to forget about you in the last moment, with too many distractions and preoccupations! So, he says since now I am in full control of my senses, I take your name now, keeping it in reserve for then! You better do not fail me, when required! To quote him, "...appodaikku ippode solli vaithen...". As others put money in fixed deposit, Periya Aazhvaar is placing his prayers in God's memory for keep-sake!
389. But looking at the sentence in the Gita again, we can make out that God does not mean that sort of keeping 'Bhagawat Smarana' in reserve. By using the word, 'cha', He says that we should be thinking of Him only, at the last moment too! He is indirectly telling us that we should be thinking of God at all times including the ultimate few seconds! Actually two sloka-s later, He says so in as many words, "...tasmat sarveshu kaleshu maam anusmara...". If relentlessly our minds are in Him, we will think of Him only, in the last moment also.
390. The Importance of That Last Moment's Thought! What is this importance of the thought content of the mind in the last moment of one's existence? What is the connection to Paropakaaram, that is topic of so many of these e-mails since Deivathin Kural # 17 of (Vol 3)? Come to think of it, death does not affect the Atma even a flimsy bit! Only the body there is death. When a shirt is torn, does it affect the wearer? He removes the old shirt and wears a new one. Exactly similarly, the Atma gets into a new body when the old one wears out. So says Bhagawan Sri Krishna in Bhagawat Gita, Chapter 2, Sloka 22. How many times does the Atma thus has to wear out a body and get a fresh one? Is it not the same cycle of so many births and deaths? What is the way out? Is there no end to this?
391. There is an answer to these questions. Once your bodily identification comes to a stand-still, once you have attained to Brhma Gnana, Nirvana, Mukti; there is the release from this endless cycle that very second! It is not a matter of Time and Space at all! You lose your separate identity, become one with the only reality instantly. Like darkness disappears when there is light, Agnaana vanishes when Gnana dawns! Then you do not need another shirt of separate identity.
392. I know as to what is going to be your next doubt or question to God! "On the one hand you are saying that death is not an issue at all and that it is as relevant or irrelevant as changing a shirt. Then the next moment you are saying, that if I think of You at the very instant of death, the separate I-ness will go and I will become You! So You are giving importance to the time of death and what my mind is thinking at that instant! So, You are giving importance to the fact of death and its timing! Is it not an apparent contradiction?"
393. From the point of view of Atma, the body and its death are very much minor issues of hardly any relevance! But we are unaware of this fact that we are not the body. Is it not so? All that we are aware of, are the ever changing mind and world, which are both always in a state of flux! When death occurs, whatever are the connections of this life are severed and fresh connections are established in the next edition of life! Even if we are to be born again in the same place, in the same family, we are not going to be aware of that. For all we know, we may be born in a different place, species, tradition, religion, nation, culture, civilization and so on!
394. Though Atma may not undergo changes, that is an unknown area of knowledge as far as we are concerned. It is only the vacillations of the mind that we are aware of. The growth of the mind in the right direction or wrong, to a large extent is dependent upon the environment. Throughout our lives, we have somehow lived with a set of conditions and circumstances. Lived with a set of traditions and procedures. With death all these are cut off. Though death does not affect the Atma, it does affect this individual who thinks that he is a separate entity. So when he dies, he is born again under a totally different set of conditions. He has to learn all over again from scratch one! Great philosopher thinkers have been afraid of this dramatic and traumatic, re-plantation into a different life! Thayum Aanavar says, "Ippiravi thappinaal eppiravi vaaykkumo?!" What he means is that, "If I miss out in this life, I do not know what is in store in the next edition of life for me!?"
395. So, God in all his infinite compassion, at the moment of this transition when all connections are going to be severed and new set of connections are about to be made; may be considers our case on the following lines of logic! "Poor chap! He is again to start with a new set of circumstances and start all over again. As a concession let us leave a life-line open. It is possible for him to cancel out all the arrears of Karma or further add to his burden of Karma! So, if he thinks of Me, his immanent reality, at least in the last moment of existence in this life, let us salvage him out of this vicious cycle." So this is a concession from God!
(To be continued.)


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 53 (Vol # 3) Dated O9 Feb 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 53 (Vol # 3) Dated O9 Feb 2009
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 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. To day we are proceeding from the second para of page 231 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man' includes 'woman' too, mostly.)
(Note:- These e-mails are all available at constantly updated.)
376. 'Let us hear that again! This is a very simple method! However horribly one might have led one's life, all you have to do is that, at the last moment of our death, we should be thinking of God! Very good! We can simply get away from the Samsara Saagaraa, the never ending cycle of birth and death, by that one act of remembering God in the last moment! How easy is this!' That could be your response. But there is a catch 22 situation here!
377. He did not say simply, 'anta: kaale maam smaran' , to mean just, 'thinking of me in the last moment', but something more! He said, "anta: kaale cha maam eva smaran". That means, 'at the last moment too thinking of me only'. That means that you should be doing that throughout your life, to be able to do that at the last moment also. That is one point. The second point is that, it is no good if you are thinking of God also, but paying total exclusive attention to God alone! With that one sentence, God is demanding both regular practice and complete, exclusive focus of concentration!
378. We know how our mind runs around like a horse without reigns. For a minute it will seem as though it is totally immersed in divine thoughts. The next moment it will run away without your notice and be wallowing in a dust bin like a donkey or pig! We will notice the fact only after some time and be shocked and extremely sorry! 'We were pleasantly peaceful and when did this mind of ours run away?', we will wonder. In a fraction of a second it is capable of flitting from thought to thought, never steady and never static! Under these conditions, how is it going to be possible to totally focus on God alone? Sri Krishna is asking us to, "...maam eva smaran..."! How is that to be done?
379. First of all we should know that we are about to die! We who think no end to ourselves, are all the time afraid of death and not for a moment do we think that we are actually going to die! Even when we know that we are certainly going to die, we will be hoping that somebody will save us in the last moment. Some Aapat Bhandavaa or Anaata Rakshakaa, in the form of some Police to save us from danger and or some doctor to save us from the clutches of some disease or something! Who can think of God at such a moment, for God's sake I say! Even if we think of God we are likely to say, "God save me this once and I will always think of you only from now onwards" and forget our promise that very instant!
380. So, now the requirement is that we should know that we are going to die. Then instead of being afraid of death, we should be clear in our minds that we are to concentrate our attention on God. Thus we should be doing at least on that second when the life departs the body! It is OK if on that precise moment we are able to so give our attention to God. That is, before our attention wavers, the life should get out of the body! But as far as we know, no one seems to be able to achieve this timing and co-ordination!
381. Even when killed by a bullet, no one seems to die in a split second. It takes five or ten minutes or ten seconds. But that is enough time for this mind of ours to go around the whole world thrice! So, what to do? Say we are to be killed in electric shock in a fraction of a second. The problem still remains that, at the moment of our death, we should be riveting our minds on God. But no, at that moment we may be thinking of our dear Daddy or Mummy or Wife or Child. It is also possible that at that instant, we may become unconscious, like an inert stone or something. Or like Jatha Bharata, we may be thinking of the baby Doe and be born as a Stag!
382. Some times it happens that even after all the doctors have given up all hope, with the body not responding to treatment, it takes days for the death to occur! All that time one has to keep his mind on God! How is anyone to keep this uncontrollable mind on God, especially when we have no idea of how to comprehend that God! After all is said and done, He is beyond our mind's power of comprehension and understanding. Instead of a certainty, we may be able to just increase the possibility of our minds dwelling on God, by training our minds to keep thinking of Him all of the time. That is why, God Himself put that 'cha' in saying 'anta: kaale cha' !
383. If our minds are fully and deeply involved in thinking of the divine attributes and deeds of God, all of our living moments, then at the last moment we may be lucky enough to hit the jackpot. That is not even intentional thinking. We have put our minds on an 'automatic mode' so to say, of keeping on thinking of God! Now-a-days, they say that, without our being aware of it, what ever are the deep impressions in our consciousness, come up to the surface. Especially when we sleep, these impressions are the ones that cause the dreams. Not only while we go to sleep, even when we sit down say for a period of Dhyanam or Meditation, some ideas just pop-up like a cork kept sub-merged in water.
384. These are what is called, 'poorva vasanaa' or 'old smells' in the Saastraa-s. Our minds have to be drained of all these 'old smells'. Then in that thought-less moments the inner illumination will flare like a sudden flash of lightning. For the mind to be drained of bad vasana-s, the only method is to replace them all with ‘sat’ vasana-s. The only real ‘Sat’ is the ‘ekam sat’ of, thoughts of the only truth, the God! Finally all the good and bad thoughts have to vanish. Finally the very mind has to go. From the position of ‘thought-less-ness’, we have to move on to ‘mind-less-ness’ described by Adi Sankara Bhagawat Paadaal as, ‘mano naasa:’. That stage comes much later Before that, let us keep at it, thinking and speaking and hearing of God and God alone!
(To be continued.)


Thursday, February 05, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 52 (Vol # 3) Dated O5 Feb 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 52 (Vol # 3) Dated O5 Feb 2009
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 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. To day we are proceeding from page 228 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man' includes 'woman' too, mostly.)
(Note:- These e-mails are all available at constantly updated.)
367. The biggest prize we want is nothing else but Ambal's Anugraha! We are not interested in the effect or fruits of conducting an Ashwa Medha Yagna. We could not care less to proceed to Brhma Loka or Deva Loka as a result of such actions of disposal of uncared for destitutes' dead body! Even if we end up there, once the merit points of our actions are over, like running out of cash, we will run out of currency there and be back to squire one, the Bhu Loka, that is 'terra firma' again! Instead, if we are in the good books of the very Ambal, no more return to this cycle of repeated life -->birth -->death! That is permanent, everlasting, Nityanandam i.e., eternal happiness!
368. How is that Ambal? As per the 'mantra' of Trisati, She is, "...hayamedha samarchitaa...", that is, 'She takes the conduct of Ashwa Medha Yagna as a special prayer of obeisance performed for Her' and is particularly benevolent to the performer of such a Yagna! We are lucky that we have a easy method of doing something equivalent to doing an Ashwa Medha Yagnam! That is, proper disposal of this dead body of an orphaned destitute! As a result if we prefer Ambal's Anugraha, that will prove to be an asset which never depreciates. That will save us from repeated returns to this world of, ‘...punarapi jananam punarapi maranam punarapi janani jatare sayanam. iha samsare bahu dustare...’. The Marana Samskaaram done to another person will save us from ever being born and the cycle of janma - marana!
369. Thus, if we are careless about this Preta Samskara, we are literally being stupid! When God is testing us to see if we will take this very easy way out of this vice like grip of the ‘cycle of janma - marana', we will not take that but, jump for sales tricks of free doles of any kind! So whatever the caste, if we get an opportunity to take the responsibility to do the Samskaara for the dead body of an uncared for poor soul, we should be grabbing that opportunity promptly. While doing that person a good turn, we will automatically become worthy of the fruits of conducting an Ashwa Medha Yagna and or more than that, become the recipient of Ambal's Grace! In future, I wish that there should be no case of the ignominy of even a single case of a dead body of a Hindu, being buried without the correct Samskara being done! We should be clear in our minds that, this is the basic foundation to the principle of the concept of Paropakaaram!
370. As there is a name for Ambal in Trisati as, "...hayamedha samarchitaa...", in Lalita Sahasranaama, there is another name as "...varna ashrama vidayinee...", which means that, 'each individual's body is disposed off as per his particular caste's 'sarira Samskaara'! I pray that She may be pleased and all people may develop mutual brotherly feelings as Her children and do the rituals as obtains in their religion, caste, creed, and further sub-divisions down to their family level; paving the way for mutual understanding, love, compassion and grace!
At the Time of Death, when the Spirit Leaves the Body.
371. I spoke about what we should do after the Life has departed from the body. But, there is one requirement of equal importance, just at the time of death. There is no other greater Paropakaaram you can do to someone else! What is that?
372. Krishna Paramatma told Arjuna that in the body that decays, Atma does not die or decay. He told him in Bhagawat Gita, "It is your duty to fight the war on a point of high ideals of Dharma. It is your self-dharma to fight on principles. Now to pull back saying that you will not kill, is adharma and not justified." The point to note is Atma does not die. So what happens to it after it separates from the body? Do all Atma that had a separate existence, immediately become one with the ultimate reality of Paramatma? Krishna did not say so. Soul or Atma depending on its Karma in that edition of life form, with accumulated 'sanchita' Karma of the past, takes another life. Before that those who have been great 'Do Good’ers, go to the Heaven and enjoy the fruits of their good deeds. Once their credit of good points has been exhausted, they are born again as human beings on this Earth. (B.G. 9.21.) 'Those who are full of hate and cruelty, will be pushed back to lower life forms repeatedly by Myself,' says Sri Krishna. (B.G.16.19.) So, does it mean that there is no getting away from this cycle of 'janana <--->marana'? 'There is a way of getting out of this cycle', says Sri Krishna.
373. By Bakti Yoga or Gnana Yoga, that is, the path of devotion or divine awareness, those who revere the very God, go back to Him, the Origin and End Destination of all Life! If the devotee becomes a Gnani, it does not mean that he has to die before attaining to God. Even while alive in this mortal body, he is in Nirvana / Moksha. There is no special indicator as to whether someone is in that state of Samadhi or not. He may be in Savikalpa or Nirvikalpa or Sahaja Samadhi or whatever! The differences are so subtle that it is of no relevance to us, who are still in the process of cleansing ourselves! He may simply look like anybody else.
374. To be rid of all fears, worries and sadness, is 'sadanandam' and that is Moksham. To enable us to tread on the paths of Bakti and Gnana, God keeps teaching us step by step in each chapter. But He also says that, "amongst normal human beings may be one in a thousand, will get in to this venture of Bakti / Gnana! Amongst all those who are trying like that, may be one in a thousand, will succeed in reaching Me!" (B.G.7.3.)
375. So, what is to be done? For everything, there is a shot-cut, isn't it so? Yes there is a short-cut. Sri Krishna Himself has said that:- "What one thinks of, at the time of leaving this body, that he attains to in his next life. If he leaves this body remembering Me, he comes to me. There is no doubt in that", He guarantees saying, " asti athra samsaya : ...". (B.G.8.5.)
(To be continued.)


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 51 (Vol # 3) Dated O3 Feb 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 51 (Vol # 3) Dated O3 Feb 2009
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 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. To day we are proceeding from page 223 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man' includes 'woman' too, mostly.)
(Note:- These e-mails are all available at constantly updated.)
357. While helping in disposing off the body of an uncared for individual, we are doing our duty to a fellow citizen as well as saving ourselves from an avoidable sin! A Doctor of Medicine asked me a question. "When we get some unclaimed dead bodies, there is a Paropakaaram in it for the students of Medicine! We do the post mortem of those bodies and take various body parts for study and analysis in anatomy classes and exhibitions. If your people of 'Jeevatma Kainkarya Sangam' take away those bodies, what is to happen to the requirement of progress in medical science?" I replied that, if required, doctors could donate their bodies for such purposes after their death! They could put it in their Wills officially legally!
358. Though this is not exactly as per the Saastra-s, since there is an element of sacrifice for sake of usefulness to the society, I could say that their decision to offer their body as such, may not entail any Paapam! Rather such an act of sacrifice will be more of a Punyam! I will give you the reason why! I was advocating earlier that to offset the demerits inherent in one's profession, one should offer such services for free, to some deserving cases. Here, in the case of Doctors sacrificing their bodies for medical research and or transplantation to other patients, this will go one step higher in that, their sacrifice will not only benefit others but will benefit the very science of medicine.
359. Other religionists have made neat arrangements for the disposal of people of their religion being killed in accidents and or dead in jails or hospitals; and happen to be orphaned destitutes! Only the dead bodies of Hindus are disposed off by the workers of the local government in a secular manner! This Paapam and disgrace should now at least be off set by undertaking proper arrangements for the same.
The Lead Shown by Avatara Purusha-s Sri Rama and Sri Krishna.
360. God who incarnated as Sri Ramachandra Murthy so as to demonstrate living in step with Dharma, especially did this Preta Samskaaram in the case of Jatayu, a mere bird! Not only that, for Vaali and his arch enemy Ravana too, he got the Antim Samskaara conducted exactly as required, through Angada and Vibhishana respectively! Because, it is the mind in their bodies which misbehaved. The human body remains an excellent equipment, a 'Gift of God' in all of us! So, Sri Rama was rather particular that the correct Samskaara is done without fail for them.
361. Similarly, Sri Krishna too, at the end of Maha Bharata war, got the necessary Antim Samskaara and cremation done for Kauravas and all others who were dead, in the battle field of Kurukshetra. Then He supervised taking of Dhrutarashtra and Pandavas to the banks of the Ganges, to do the Tarpanam! {KTSV adds:- In the Indian Army, where I served for thirty years, we have very clear drills for disposal of ours as well as enemy's dead bodies, as per the customs and traditions of that religion! We soldiers are also required to salute the enemy dead bodies and are forbidden to do anything that would be tantamount to defilement of the dead bodies of the enemy forces!}
362. So, that we are being careless about this important affair of correct disposal of the dead bodies of uncared for orphaned destitutes, is a big blotch on the name of our Hindu religion! This is a totally in-excusable default. It is high time that we found a permanent workable solution to this problem and make amends for our past sins of omission! Once the fact of such a death is known, whatever caste he may belong to, using people from his community, necessary Samskaara is to be done. People should volunteer whole heartedly with money and kind for this. Rich people who can do this single handedly, identifying this to be a very noble act of Dharma, should willingly come forward to help. There are many organizations, trusts and such created by Hindus. This Preta Samskaaram has to be recognized as a needful gap and be liberally filled, by those organizations.
Some People's Problems are Other's Test.
363. Why are some people so badly off, from childhood? It is said in lighter vein that, God makes some people suffer so much, just to test if others do Paropakaaram to them or not! Each person suffers the effects of his own actions in the form of 'Karma Phala'. So when you help him, the 'Karma Phala' can still come in the way to prevent such help. But whether our actions are effective or not, to help is our Dharma of humaneness. So we should take it that, while some one is being punished for his past misdeeds, we are being tested simultaneously about how forthcoming are we with our help! The proof of this lies in the fact that while our help may fail, sometimes it is effective too. The fact that we are able to ameliorate the intensity of the suffering some times, is indicative of, our being tested by God!
364. Similarly to the problems being faced by individuals, on occasions we see a whole mass of people suffering, due to draught, floods, earth quake, erupting of volcanoes, tsunami or some such natural calamity! These are very much likely to have an element of God's examination of our intention to do Paropakaaram, whether you are directly affected by the event or an unaffected bystander! I had not so far touched this aspect of natural calamities. There was no need to mention especially about such large scale events and cause agony and embarrassment. When such things do happen, for which one cannot plan for, basically the intension to help physically or in kind or with money, should spring automatically in ones mind without any promptings from anyone! Either one can join hands with the government or organizations such as, the Red Cross, Ramakrishna Mission; or an ad-hoc get together of similar minded people; or individually on ones own! The important point is that on such occasions, the urge to help should be spontaneous!
365. As we hold that the cause for individual suffering is one's own past actions, though it is stylish to call major disasters as 'Natural Calamities', it is caused by the collective burden of the sins of a whole society, being punished by God, as per the Saastraa-s! It is not necessary that past sins have to be paid for only by suffering silently. Our spontaneous out-pouring of assistance to the suffering humanity, completely nullifies our past negative accounts of Karma! On such occasions to be like a granite rock and do nothing to help, itself is a Paapam. The punishment another man receives to-day as a general representative of the masses, will be due for us also in the immediate future!
366. In one man's suffering, thus there is another man's test of character! If you pass this test, you will get a prize. In some people suffering like this and dying uncared for, others are being evaluated and tested. God is testing the humans at large as to whether they are doing what they can while alive and are they correctly returning this wonderful machine of His creation to the source, in a proper manner? The Prize is Ambal's Grace. "...anaata preta samskaaraat ashwa medha phalam labhet..." Yes, you will get all the returns of doing an Ashwa Medha Yagna. Since Lalita Trisati clearly mentions that She is, "...haya medha samarchitaa...", you will become a beloved of the Mother of the Universe, by that one action of yours!
(To be continued.)


Sunday, February 01, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 50 (Vol # 3) Dated 31 Jan 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 50 (Vol # 3) Dated 31 Jan 2009
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 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. To day we are proceeding from page 217 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man' includes 'woman' too, mostly.)
(Note:- These e-mails are all available at constantly updated.)
345. So, this wonderful equipment, facility, tool and machine that God has given us, should not be disposed off haphazardly. It should be offered in oblation to the 'Maha Smasanavasi Parameswara' (dweller of cremation grounds)! It should be returned to the one who gave us this body. All over the world, even tribals in deep inaccessible forests are aware of the importance of this human body and so have major ceremonies centered around proper disposal of the human body!
346. Even if you do not believe that divine elements are still attached to the various parts of the body after death, is it not that each individual soul, a small fraction of the supreme God Head, however infinitesimal it may be? Do not you agree that, where Easwara Chaitanya or God's Divinity, has resided for some little time, should be disposed off, with due respect?
347. If a person has done a lot of good to others through his body, you have to pay due respects to his body even when he has left! Even non-believer agnostics place garlands on dead bodies, don't they? Even if he had used his body for the wrong purposes and was not aware of the divinity in himself, we should still offer his body as an oblation to the fire God, to offset his life long sins! In Saiva Siddhantam, they say that it is Easwara who gives the Jeevan, the 'thanu, karana, bhuvana bhoga-s' i.e., body, senses and worldly enjoyments. They believe that this world is created and the Jeevan is given this body and senses in the body so as to enable him to enjoy this world, till he works out his Karma-s. So at the end, the body has to be returned with gratitude to the same Easwara.
348. There is one major difference. All other 'Ishti' Yagna-s, the Jeevan has to do himself. But when it comes to disposal of his own dead body, others have to do it for him! Whether he does all other Samskaara-s or not, the related merits and demerits of Paapa and Punya, are entirely his own. Others do not have any responsibility in it. But, disposal of his dead body is the responsibility of others only. If we do not do this properly, it is our sin!
349. 'Till a person is alive, we have to help him or her; after the death, as the soul will be somewhere, the Sraddha and such action is to be done; then having questioned ourselves as to why should we bother about the dead body of some Tim, Dick and Harry, we have come to realize that this wonderful gift of God, has to be handed over back to God with due respect and love! This responsibility entirely rests with us only! Not to do so, we realize is a big detestable default!
Un-claimed Cadaver.
350. Within relations, 'Apara Karyam', i.e., disposal of the dead body and related rituals, somehow gets done. There may be some short falls. But we are not failing to do the needful. We may not be doing the monthly Amavasya Tarpanam and such. But as per the accepted tradition in families, burial or cremation somehow gets done. But how about some of us with no known relative, totally orphaned destitute? When they die, how or who has to do the needful rituals? As per the Saastra-s, these are supposed to be taken care of by the society itself.
351. In this respect, the state of affairs amongst the Hindus, is rather pitiable. In some places some samaritan may come forward, but mostly the arrangement is only ad-hoc and not systematized! In a hospital or jail, when orphaned destitute dies, for his or her Preta Samskaaram, there is no set procedure. The hospital people may do post mortem, then the panchayat or municipality people take over. But it is stigma on the name of the Hindu society, that this is not catered for! Other religions are certainly better organized in this respect.
352. Without any co-operation or control, it is the Hindu society which is becoming liable for this disgrace and stigma! There is no one organization representing all of the Hindu-s! So this problem is literally 'a no-body's-baby'! Holding the exalted title of a 'Jagat Guru', it is me who is wholly responsible. But I am afraid that all Hindu people do not come under my control either. I really feel sad for this condition obtaining amongst our midst! Since I feel that you may listen to me, I am sharing this agony with you all. If you do some Sin, that Paapam will accrue to me only, as your Guru. You do prostrate before me, don't you? That means that you are entrusting to me the duty of removing your Paapam!
353. Destitute orphaned dead body be set aside. The whole of Hindu society is without a 'Naath' and so is orphaned! To make them 'cared for', it is my duty to exhort you to function as given in Saastra-s. To take care of 'uncared for dead bodies' of Hindus, in each city or town, we had started a 'Hindu Mata Jeevatma Kainkarya Sangam'. In many towns it is already functioning effectively. Especially in Kumbakonam this sangam is doing a very good job of it! There the sangam people are in constant touch with the staff of hospital, municipality, and jail, to be able to respond in quick time as and when required.
354. For this you do not need a separate organization. In each locality, the same set of people who normally participate in periodic devotional activities such as Satsang and Community singing of Bhajan-s, could do Paropakaaram activities as well as take care of the dead bodies of orphaned destitutes. When the need for this duty comes up, instead of doing this as a humdrum monotonous additional job, all other works should be set aside and this work taken up in full earnest!
This is Ashwa Medham.
355. Initially when I started this subject of Paropakaaram, I posed a question to all of you as to whether everybody could conduct an Ashwa Medha Yagnam? I also asked as to what is the need for it to be done? There is a name for Ambal as, "..hayamedha samarchitaa...", meaning 'specially venerated by Ashwamedha!' So I mentioned that to get the 'Anugraha' of Ambal, we should conduct Ashwa Medha Yagnam and that however it is not easily done in this Kali Yuga, since too many if's and but's and do's and don'ts are involved in conducting an Ashwa Medha Yagna!
356. Then I also said that amongst all the works of Paropakaaram, there is one which equivalent in its fruitfulness to an Ashwa Medha Yagna. Then I kept on talking about various works of social service and their relative value. But I never mentioned as to which of them all is as effective as conducting an Aswa Medha Yagna. Now let me tell you that, it is this disposal of the dead body of an uncared for, 'anaath', orphaned, destitute, without any relatives or friends to take care of! I quote the Saastra, "...anaata preta samskaaraat ashwa medha phalam labeth...!"
(To be continued.)