Sunday, March 29, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 71 (Vol # 3) Dated 29 Mar 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 71 (Vol # 3) Dated 29 Mar 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 last paragraph on 307 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://advaitham. blogspot. com constantly updated.)
27. Our Religion repeatedly insists that all the seen-manifested and unseen-unmanifested, are so many forms of the One God only! So as not to let this underlying principle become forgotten, we address every Devata and even other human beings only as Swami! We refer to every deity as Swami, the Omnipresent(Sat), Omniscient(Chit), Omnipotent(Sarva Shakti), and Satchitananda Swarupam. Even if that Deity is not aware of his oneness with the one and only God, our job it is to remind him of the fact and not let him forget his true source of identity! Thus we are believers of One God only and not Multi-Theists! We believe in One God as the 'Antaryami' the indweller of all forms and species! Thus while reminding them of their oneness, our religion emphasizes that those individual deities should be venerated in ways and means specially meant for them!
28. If you ask me as to, 'why should this be so ?' I would ask you a counter question, 'what is the human being after all ?' He is also another seen manifestation of God only! Those secular people interested purely in social service too, claim that service to people is to service to God! Though they are all one God only, service to them means to help them where they need help! A blind man needs to be guided in the right path. A sick man needs medical care. Unemployed needs to be employed. Uneducated requires education. A hungry man needs food. Helping them means that you have to provide what they need and not one uniform treatment! Exactly similarly, each of the Devata needs to be venerated and revered in his own special way, while not forgetting that “...sarvam brhma mayam jagat...” , 'everything of the world is God only!' 29. But to get that vision is well nigh rare. Before this happens to become ones constant vision, he has to have his mind thoroughly cleansed to a very high degree. For that laundering of the mind are all the daily and peridical duties laid out for each individual of each Varna and Ashrama. His duties as a son, brother, husband, wife, friend, king, soldier, servant, parent, student, devotee and so on; are all meant to cleanse that individual mind of all the cob-webs of Karma of many life times past! To do obeisance to each individual Deity, is also part of this process only. By doing Yaga, Yagna, by giving alms, donation, by doing social service, by persevering in the path of abnegation and by doing japa and meditation; is all part of the process towards that purpose. 30. Bruhad Aranyaka Upanishad says, “...yagnena, daanena, tapasaa...”, laying out the preparatory activities in comprehending the principle and concept of 'What is God!' Daanam is not only what is done with money but, includes all help rendered with the mind, speech, body and material. Similarly, the Upanishads which claim from their exalted heights that, “...'there is no father or son; no deity or devotee and so on'...”, also come down to ground level and say, “...'deva pithru kaaryaabyaam na pramati tavyam'...” , meaning that we are not to let go by default our duties towards the Deities and Forefathers by our absent mindedness! 31. Though on the one hand we presume symbolically relationships such as wife, husband, father and son, between Gods, it is also true that there are many such life forms in existence wherein such relativity does happen to be! When we reach such perfect vision and comprehension of one God in all that exists, then all other representative, intermediate, transitory existances will vanish from our perception! By then the urge to do Paropakaaram will also cease. It does not mean however that a person has become inert, uncaring for others. But, once a person has arttained to universal vision at the end of devotion or Gnana, then without any intension or will on his part enormous amount of benefits will automatically accrue to millions of people. (It is said that when one man attains to Gnana, seven generations of past and future will benefit! One can site clear cases of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Amirtanandamayi Amma as proof of this statement!)
32. The argument that other religions by not talking of 'multi theism', facilitate concentration of attention on the one God are all only verbal claims, without much basis on reality! In truth, they are struggling without much opportunities of experiencing the ultimate. At the cost of repeating myself, I would reiterate that relatively there have been a plethora of God Realized Souls in Hinduism than any other religion put together! That prompts me to say something else in a lighter vein.
33. What is selfishness? What is the highest benefit that can accrue to You? Is it not self realization as a goal than any other achievement? “Whatever the number of deities and or manes, I do not need any of them. I have nothing to do with them. After all, they are all your creations only, is it not so? Whatever they need, it is your job to fulfill! The one who planted the tree has to provide the water also. Whether you do it or not, it is your look out! If they get annoyed and trouble me in the bargain, it is still an insult to you only! You are the supreme power. By my adhering to you, if I were to win disfavour from all these minor powers in being, it is totally your responsibility only!” Such could have been the approach of our religion. Instead, our religion which is accused of being too selfish; has made its followers care for all varieties of creations of God, as though they are all Gods! In other words, this religion has enormously more Paropakaaram content than any other religion! That is the reason that, there have been more Saints and Sages than any other religions of the world! Not only in the past, but in the present too there are more God Realized Souls who have evolved through this religion. Such will be the case in the future too, for millions of decades yet to come!
(To be continued.)


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 70 (Vol # 3) Dated 24 Mar 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 70 (Vol # 3) Dated 24 Mar 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 304 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://advaitham. blogspot. com constantly updated.)
21. Our own life and the lives of our wife and children are the wards entrusted to us as our responsibilities by Easwara. To take care of them and do the correct Samskaara for them at the right time, is our entrusted duty. What ever we do for their welfare is also in some way a Paropakaaram only, till we have come to realize our oneness. To draw a line that all our duties are towards the individual self and family only, saying “There ends my Paropakaaram' would be wrong!” When we can, where we can, without drawing any line of demarkation, we should do our bit for the welfare of all others. When you direct all your efforts only for the welfare of your self and your family, you will never find any time or resources for Paropakaaram. At the same time it is also true that, if you take care of your self and your family reasonably well, you will always find time and resources for Paropakaaram!
22. We must take care of ourselves and our relatives. While doing so, we should also endevour to detach ourselves and enable our relatives to detach themselves, from the worldly involvement. As we are in a physical body which is a home or house for the Jeevatma, we are concerned about the physical body and the relatives. Similarly, this body is a resident in this world. So we have our duties towards the world and other inhabitants of the world. This responsibility is never to be forgotten! Other than this seen world, there are other unseen worlds too. We have our obligation towards the inhabitants of those unseen worlds too. After death we are transients in Chandra Loka, Pithru Loka, Naraka Loka, Swarga Loka and so on and then after a period are back in this world again. Divasam and Tarpanam and such activities meant for the known and unknown residents of these varying Loka-s. Seen in that light, these should also be considered only as Paropakaaram! 23. You will be surprised if I say that, “The 'many Gods concept' by which this Hinduism is flogged, ridiculed and looked down upon, is also an aspect of Paropakaaram only!” Like the Jeeva of human beings and other life forms in this seen and many unseen worlds, there are many Divine Life Forms with varying powers, good and bad. Though all are one only, in practical experience this is not known to us. So also except for some Devata-s such as Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathy, Ganapati, Subrahmanya, Siva, Vishnu and some such, not all of them are aware of their oneness with the Paramatma! Having their own name, shape, weapons, decoration and characteristics, they are like so many appointment holders of the heirarchy of the Government of God. What we call the power of Nature are governed and exhibited by these Devata-s.
24. As there are people of varying degrees of good and bad qualities, so are there animals and all life forms of varying shades of good and bad qualities. So are there amongst Gods too. Some who do good on being adored and cherished, some who are benignly or malignantly natured, some who are satisfied by Satvik devotioanal practices and some which are pleased by Rajasic and Tamasic offerings suchas beheading of animals and offerings of liquor! Some who come under the influence of specific mantra-s and so on. Kaththaayi, Katteri, Karuppanna Swami, Veera, Muneeswara, Irulan, Ayyanar and so on are all such manifestations. Some of these are capable of responding according to your that is, the devotee's nature and approach too. 25. If we pray to them for some exclusive benefits, it is being selfish. But if we pray to them for the welfare of the whole village or community, then such prayers are only part of Paropakaaram! Let me go one step higher and say that, these prayers are done not only for our well being but, also for their well being! They are also in some way or other, not fully mature enough to have realized their own fullest potential. They are also so many more life forms only. They too have their aspirations and desires. So to satisfy their hunger and desires is PAROPAKAARAM only! It is believed in this religion that, all these have to one day or the other in future, manifest in the human form to attain to Gnana! That is the greatness of the human life form! With this point in mind, the order of protocol can be, God, Man, Deities, Mobile Life forms (Jangama), Static Life Forms (Sthavara) and Inanimate (Jadha). 26. If other religions talk of Social Service as a noble responsibility of human beings, plese note that, it involves doing your duty only towards the members of the seen world. Whereas Hinduism addressess its concers towards members of the seen and unseen world too! Going a step beyond all other religions, Hinduism is concerned with the One Supreme Power in all its manifested(seen) and unmanifested(unseen) forms! From the Vaidik's Yaaga and Yagna, to the Poojary's Padayal; it expands the far reaches of Paropakaaram! The Pancha Maha Yagna addressed to the Devata-s, Rishi-s, Pithru-s, Seen-manifested-s and Unseen-unmanifested-s; the sacrifices in Homam, Bali, Mantra Adhyayanam, Tarpanam and all such offerings; are all part of the system of helping others, that is Paropakaaram only!
(To be continued.)


Saturday, March 21, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 69 (Vol # 3) Dated 22 Mar 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 69 (Vol # 3) Dated 22 Mar 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 302 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://advaitham. blogspot. com constantly updated.)
16. In the last e-mail dated 17 March 2009, we had raised a query as to why India is a 'Land of Sages and Saints'? Not only is it so, but also recognised to be so, by rest of the world! What is the reason for this? The reason for this is that, in all the seemingly selfish activities of Nitya Karma Anushtana, Yaaga-s, Yagnas, the 40 Samskaara-s and so on, there is a dynamic under current of individual refinement towards perfection! Though we are all seemingly seperate individual entities, in reality we are one self effulgent Atma Chaitanya! But that fact is hidden from our own eyes and awareness, like the Sun covered by the clouds! That cloud is the Good and Bad effects of our own Karma of the past. To relieve the individual Jeevan from this seeming unawareness about his own potential for perfection, is what all the Samskaara-s are meant for. In the process, we are not left to fend for ourselves alone individually! We are connected to so many relations, kith and kin, caste and creed, wife and children and so on! These are also the effects of past Karma-s only!
17. If Karma – Vasana-s (the remnant smell of old connections) are the reason on the one hand for staining our minds there by screening the reality from us; the ties so created known as 'Karma Bandham' ties us up in knots of duties towards others for generations! The Jeeva Atma inside the home of this physical body, has to clear his accounts with each and every one in ones house-hold and with so many other Jeeva Atma-s that one comes across in ones life time! You just cannot clear these accounts unless and until, you do your duties towards them. The darkness of unawareness continues till the accounts have been cancelled out! You just cannot walk away from the binding and blinding effects of Karma! Till then you cannot know Your Self and God! Your 'Sat Karma', that is, meritorious good actions have to cancel out the accumulated demerits. Then only the cloud will move and you can have what is known as, 'Atma Saatchaatkaar' or 'Self Realization' that is, 'the re-introduction to your effulgent beingness!' This 'Sat Karma' is in the form of so many duties towards your own self, your kith and kin, your immediate society, your region, language, nation and humanity as a whole and last but not least, all other life forms!
18. We know and observe that in the case of some, this 'Gordian Knot' of Karma is cut in one stroke, without seemingly much effort on their part, like in the case of some of the saints and sages of India! But in their cases too, there must have been a preceding life of intense Tapasya, sacrifice and devotion! For all others a very slow, gradual progress after repeated trial and errors is inevitable. Saiva Siddhanti-s call this 'Iru vinai oppu', meaning, the balancing the merits and demerits of the effects of ones Karma!
19. Except for some who are by nature dispassionate enough, others have to go through life by performing their duties with care and diligence, thereby reducing the stored demerits of the past. Since this has to be done while still living in a human body through 'Sat Karma', certain amount of effort has to be directed towards, the body's sustenance, medical care, and earning ones lively-hood; which are all seemingly selfish actions only. Instead of over involvement in such activities, these should also be carried out in the attitude of doing ones duty only! Exactly on similar grounds, one should take care of ones family of wife, children and parents and the specific duties towards them as given in the Saastraa-s too. One does not have to feel ashamed of doing these duties as being selfish, for the simple reason that they are your duties only. But, you have to be careful when you are tempted to be unfairly parochial!
20. When the duties as mentioned in the Saastraa-s are performed with the relevant Mantra-s, they benefit you in the ways of this outer as well as your inner world. They become the cause for material benefits while simultaneously cleansing your mind too! When you do 'Pumsavanam' to the baby that is 'the-yet-to-be-born' in the womb of the pregnant mother; 'Jata Karma' to the newly born baby'; and 'Upanayanam' at the right age; these duties performed contribute towards purifying and cleansing that individual, safe guarding him or her from future developmental hiccups!
(To be continued.)


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 68 (Vol # 3) Dated 17 Mar 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 298 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://advaitham. blogspot. com constantly updated.)
8. When such arguments are thrown at us, we ourselves start wondering if our religion is rather crude and uncivilized? Other religions have a God and have a simple procedure of approach to that God. Why do we not have such a mature attitude like that? Starting from a crude 'Kaatteri' i.e., ' deity of a lake-side in a forest', to village deities to, impartite, indivisible, undefinable, indescribable, omniscient, omnipotent, Para Brhmam, we have mix of all sorts of Gods, Devata-s and deities!
9. The all knowing learneds in our own religion say, “There is no such problem in our religion. We have evolved from crude origins may be. But the mature position is one in which, meditation on the supreme power of the Paramatma with absolute devotion without any expectation of 'Quid Pro Quo', is the essence of our religion! But since this religion is all inclusive without any exclusivity, a lot of weeds have survived and also thrived, virtually over growing the main crop of cultivation! Mainly the vested interest of priest-hood has turned our religion in to such a state of affairs!” This phrase 'vested interest of priest-hood', is a respectable way of saying that Brahmins are exploiting all other caste-s!
10. I am not going to agree with the above statement and say, ”Yes our religion is high philosophy in which, 330 million deities, the 'Pithru' related functions and ceremonies are all un-wanted, non-essentials to be weeded out!” I agree that instead of concentrating on the one God through devotion and meditation, we have a variety of ways of pleasing the souls of Pithru-s and an abubdance of methods of pleasing a whole pantheon of secondary and tertiary Gods! But, instead of saying that as a criticism, I am going to say, “Yes, that is our way! This religion is like that. Appease the Katteri-s and Karuppanna Swami-s through Bali! Do Nava graha shanti. Conduct Maha Ganapati Homam, Mruyunjaya Homam and any other homam as suggested by the Pundits! Do Pancha Maha Yagnam every day if you are a Brahmin. Do Divasam and Srardham in all sincerity and elaborateness, exactly as demanded of you by the Saastra-s. Instead of being tight fisted, be liberal when paying the Priest for his services!”
11. What ever they are saying as criticism, I am not going to dispute and deny apologetically! With pride, I am going to insist with rightful pride that, it is our way and with all logic too. Yes, it is high philosophy to think of God only as one universal power. Yes, all our prayers should be directed towards Him only. Yes, it is good to direct our efforts of service towards humanity as a whole! Having agreed to all that, in the same breath I am going to insist that whatever is done in this Hindu religion is still directed towards the same noble intentions and ideals! How is that? That is the million dollar question!
12. The under current in whatever is done by way of religion in Hinduism is addressed at that one God only. The process simultaneously achieves the high ideals of individual cleansing of minds and universal humaneness! Your reaction can be another, “Howzzat? You are talking in riddles!” My answer hear is, “Yes! Many Hindus do all this with no understanding but only faith and belief. That is also the reason why many Hindus, who have neither the understanding nor faith, are giving up being a Hindu! Or, in other words, they are non-practicing Hindu-s who have neither the belief nor the understanding as to why we are doing this or not doing this!”
13. All that exists, is that One Unique Entity only, call it what you want, as Parmatma or whatever! All the living forms of humans, animals, birds, fishes, insects, germs are all manifestations of that one power in being says Hinduism! Why only animate living things, but seemingly inanimate non living matter and non-matter too, is also that one power in being only holds Hinduism! But this is easily said than done and understood!
14. If other religinists insist on one God, if some others talk of Nirvana or Kaivalya, ask them if they have a personal experience of that one God? Ask them as to if any one amongst them have realized? A person who is capable of answering in the affirmative can only be one in ten million!
15. But, here in India, where all the religious practices are seemingly not concerned about God or the Soul, there have been a long line Realized Souls going on from pre-historic times till date and it goes on! For every one known Realized Being, there are many hidden from the public eye! This is the Land of Saints and Sages! I am not saying this. Rest of the world says so! We run to the West and other countries for material and modern technological benefits while; they are all coming enmass to our shores for 'Atma Abhivritti'! This is a fact of life! Why? What is the reason for this?
(To be continued)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 67 (Vol # 3) Dated 15 Mar 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 67 (Vol # 3) Dated 15 Mar 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 294 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://advaitham. blogspot. com constantly updated.)
1. Normally Hinduism is criticised on two counts. On the one hand we say, 'ekam sat' that is, there is one Brhmam only which is manifested as so many individual entities. So, when this becomes clearly understood, you can stoop all devotionary activities, we say. On the other hand, more than and unlike any other religion, there are just too many Gods, each with his own family of wives, children and assorted retinue of their own! Thousands of temples, hundred thousand stories, festivals, celebrations, functions, mantra-s, tantra-s, yantra-s, special days and holidays galore!
2. Unlike the other religions which have one fixed God, one centralised prayer and procedures for devotion; we who talk of 'Adwaitam', have too many Gods small and big! Christians have their Christ, Muslims their Allah, Sikhs have their Guru Nanak. They have their Gurus or the one who established their religion held in very high esteem. Then there is Buddhism and Jainism for whom there is no God! But their Guru are practical epitomes of attaiment to Nirvana or Moksha, whom they revere as ideals to be followed. It is we who call Buddha an Avatara, an incarnation amongst ten Avatara of Vishnu, not they! They consider Buddha and Jain respectively as a complete realized beings to be emulated. Though these two religions do not believe in the existance of God, they do believe in the theory of Karma and re-birth. Till Nirvana or Kaivalya is achieved, they believe in the effects of good and bad actions and their influence on ones life. So, as long as the world is there, they believe in a hierachy of various powers in being and their appeasement through rituals. So, they do have extensive procedures for devotional activities. Only Hindus have a whole pantheon of Gods, calling them Swami this and Swami that! This is one criticism!
3 3. Another criticism. “It is alright that you have many Gods and procedures for their satisfaction and appeasement. But you spend too much time on satisfying the dead and gone ancestors, calling them one generic name of 'Pithru'!” This criticism seems to hit the nail on the head! In other religions, it is enough to have devotion to one God. Whether you do Dhyana or meditation; Japa or do the Rosary, it is enough. May be some community singing of Psalms or prayer songs. You are done! But in this religion which tells you 'tatvamasi' that you are God, spends too much of its time on propitiating the dead and gone Pithru-s! Even a man who does not do Pooja for ten minutes, does this 'Divasam' for hours! The word 'ceremony' in Indianised English has come to stand for these Pithru related activities!
4 4. In offices and factories, in governmental or private businesses, this word 'ceremony' has magical effect. No body will object to your taking off, ten to fifteen days for ones mother or father's ceremony! Then one day every month for one year and after that one day in a year is 'divasam ceremony' other than New Moon Amavasya Tarpanam in which a lot of water mixed with rice and gingelly grains, flows to the Pithru-s benefit! Even after decades have gone by, these grand fathers and grand mothers keep coming on the Srardham days to receive their due without fail! Mostly it is the past generations who get these respects and not brothers and sisters!
5 5. Other than these, the religion requires us to conduct many Yagas and Yagnas for the benefit of oneself and our off-springs. In other religions, birth day and even marriages are much simpler. Blow a candle and cut a cake. Birth day function is over. Exchange rings, affirm vows and marriage is over with a feast! Here, Vratam, Kasi Yatra, Oonjal, Ammi midi, Mangalya Daaranam, Garba Daanam, Pumsavanam, Seemantam, Jaata Karma, Naama Karma, Vidyabyasam, Upanayanam, every year Ayush Homam, and so on and so on! Marriage is to have four days 'Oupaasanam'. As the Adwaita Guru, I keeping crying hoarse that people are not conducting that 'Oupaasanam' any more! In all this though there is some invocation of God often, it is not for the sake of devotion but, more for personal benefits of good birth, good education, good growth, good employment, good income and everything centered around the material and worldly benefits of the individual only!
6 5. What is like the back bone of all Vaidik Anushtana, the Brhma-Deva-Pithru-Manushya-Bootha Yagna-s already covered in my earlier talks quite extensively; having nothing about Dhyana or meditation and self-realization! There is no deep rooted devotional sublimation involved in these activities. Mostly they are all demands for ful-fillment from many deities, local devata-s, offering 'Bali' sacrifices as though offering bribes in exchange!
7 6. Thus the criticism is two pronged. Let me repeat. One is that while upholding the idea of one Paramatma, instead of giving your total devotion to that one supreme power, you are scattering your efforts directed towards hundreds of thousands of Gods! The other criticism is that instead of taking care of living people, your efforts are towards those that are dead and gone. As a part of both points of criticism, is that there are too many rituals, functions, ceremonies and so on, all for purely selfish reasons that I should live happily, my children should be happy! I am sick and for my well being, I should conduct Nava Graha Homam. Son should study well for which I should do Medha Dakshina Murthy Pooja. I am faced with some problems in business, so I should appease the Kula Deivam (family deity) or Karuppanna Swami (some local ghost or ogre), by offering sacrifice of blood letting of some live animal! (These days, this blood letting has been mostly replaced by the decent act of breaking the coconut!) Some other problem and you appease Rahu or Ketu or Sani! Rahu and Ketu are only shadow planets and Sani is the Saturn! All these acts smack of crass selfishness with an element of bribery thrown in! So, how do you answer these allegations?
8 (To be continued.)
9 Sambhomahadeva.


Friday, March 13, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 66 (Vol # 3) Dated 13 Mar 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 66 (Vol # 3) Dated 13 Mar 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 on page 289 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://advaitham. blogspot. com constantly updated.)
51. When I used to give lectures, I have often quoted the proverb which means, 'If you take care of other's children, your own child will grow on its own'! It is true that there is such a proverb and it talks of a very high level of service attitude. Though literally it does not mean to deprive your own child of any benefits, their serious involvement in social service may have resulted in their own family being ignored. There have been cases of Nayanmar in their extreme devotion, totally becoming unaware of the normal state of affairs. When they do go to that extreme state, their own affairs are automatically taken care of by God's grace!
52. I have heard of an incident about this in a lighter vein! A wealthy woman much interested in social service, incurring much expenditure goes to a slum in a car and feeds a baby with milk powder from Scandinavia while her own baby at home is breast fed by her Ayah Amma, who is actually the mother of that child in the slum! That is, we should not dupe ourselves that we are doing much by assuming some greatness for ourselves about this idea of social service!
53. For all this, one basic awareness is necessary. We should never be under the impression that this world is running better because of our service! One who planted the tree irrigates it too. The creator of this world knows how to take care also! We are only a tool in his hands. Paropakaaram is only a method by which we can get rid of our accumulated load of demerits. Instead we are not to assume that we are so essential that in our absense all social service will come to a stand still! Our duties towards ourselves and our families too enable us to cleanse our own minds. Domestic duties are priority one. Only after completion of domestic duties, can we think of social service duties! By God's grace some of us have lesser responsibilities at home. For them social service is the only method for 'Chitta Shuddhi'. Some of us may be too overloaded with domestic duties. Normally on the average, all of us will have some time and resources for social service.
54. Anyhow, leaving one's own work in others hands, neglecting our duties towards the family, if we go for so called social service, instead of 'Chitta Shuddhi', it would have only added avoidable dross! Instead of giving good result, Paropakaaram in that boy's case has had deleterious effect! For having ignored his duties as given in the Saastraa-s, he has been punished thus.
55. Service is a mental attitude. I have quoted a few proverbs. One more occurs to me now. That is, “than kaiye thanakku udavi”, meaning 'our own hand is our help'. That hand should be extended for others help also! But if it is not of help to oneself, and we prove to be a burden for other members of the family; then to make a big show of involvement in social service, is nothing but, 'poodle faking'!
56. If you are working for the world, we are likely to be praised. Doing ones duty at home we are not likely to get much of praise, yes. Having failed to do our duty at home and having dumped our own work on others, then to be getting annoyed with other members of the family, it is nothing but deplorable bad behaviour! Such a person does not have the right attitude towards service!
57. The ideal service mentality is defined by love and humility! There is a Tamil word for people in social service, 'thondar'. Tamil literature is full of encomiums of praise for them. Others can be so. But the person in service, should not think too high of himself! He should not have even an iota of self-importance! He should be an epitom of humbleness. If he had love at heart, he would not have been irritable with his own parents!
58. We should be carrying others load and not push our load of work on others. That is an insult to the very idea of service! Our hands should be extended to others help and not expect others to do our work load. Any one who thinks of doing social service, should take a vow that, having taken care of my duties towards myself and my family, then only will I get involved in service to others! That includes your duty towards parents, wife, children, brothers and sisters.
59. Our daily prayer should include the following:- “Oh, God! Enable me to do my duties towards the members of my family. While doing so, also enable me to be of use to Your Universal Family of Vasudeiva Kutumbakam”.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 65 (Vol # 3) Dated 11 Mar 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 65 (Vol # 3) Dated 11 Mar 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 on page 285 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at* http://advaitham. blogspot. com constantly updated.)
43. Even if a person is not able to convince his parents about having to do Paropakaaram, he should avoid any ill feelings and bitter confrontation. As per Saastra-s all Dharma is secondary to obeying parents wishes. Even if they wrongly advice you, You are not to disobey them. You may pray to God asking for the parents' correct understanding. But you are not to defy your parents.
44. In the case of wife and children, the context is different. More than our duties towards them, they are bounden to abide with your wishes and direction. If they come in the way of your social service duties, you may not listen to them. We must do what we can for the society's well being and could make use of ones wife and children in doing so! Whatever the case, do not go to extremes. Social service is not to be undertaken totally ignoring the requirements of your wife and children.
45. There is an important point here psychologically. When a person ignores his duties at home and goes for social service, the dis-affection he earns, has a negative influence all around! Instead, if he involves himself in social service while still taking care of his duties at home, that creates an atmosphere of all round co-operation. The net result is that others are also motivated to join the process.
46. Let me tell you a trick for social service. That trick is pleasent behaviour uniformly towards all. Not only with others in the society and other co-workers in social service but also with people at home. Such behaviour will win over their hearts and they are likely to think, “Poor chap at least he is doing something good for the society. Let us cooperate with him as much as possible!”
47. Even if someone was otherwise eminently eligible to take up Sanyasa, if he is the only son of his parents, no one will give him the Sanyasa Ashrama! Similarly, if he is a Gruhasta who has left his family in the lurch, he will not be given Sanyasa. Let this point be very clear. Sanyasa is not running away from responsibilities. It is not something of a cover for your failures. When you are not eligible for giving up the worldly responsibilities, how can you be entrusted with the task of helping the society?
48. I am sorry that I did not tell you about this in clear enough terms. Neither am I going to restart giving lectures. But I intend telling this to those who visit me. Even when I decide to comp-letely give up everything, further responsibilities keep coming to me. The trend now is to give undue publicity to things that I say and some things that I do not say also. Like that, let this opinion of mine that – leaving personal work and family responsibilities, you should not get into social service – also spread around.
49. This visit by the parents complaining about their sons over involvement in social service at the cost of ignoring his Nitya Karma Anushtana and responsibilities towards his family of his parents, is not a case in isolation. There have been such occassions before. People have written to me letters on similar lines. There was a Brahmin gentleman who was also a practicing advocate whom I pulled in to my own work completely, to find out as to which branch (shakha) of the Veda-s was prevalent in which part of the country. He had to put in a lot of efforts to collect the data! He had to search in the nook and corner of this vast country, in every small hamlet / pettai / puram and village! His wife and only daughter had to withstand much seperation and deprivation.
50. The mother and daughter used to visit me and take me to task! “Dad's practice is gone down the drain. His health has gone bad. I have forgotten as to how my father looks like, because when he comes home I may be in school or sleeping and by the time I am back from school or wake up from sleep, he may be out again on another trip! Why are you making him run from pillor to post like this?” Still I used to think that their problems are theirs; my work is important to me! They gave up troubling me resigned to their fate! Though on the one hand they had this complaint, on the other hand they had a lot of love and regards for me. They remained faithful with gratitude as they assume that my blessings are the reasons for many of their good fortune! What ever be one's behaviour, wife and children should remein faithful to him. On that logic, my action can be exhonerated. But when it comes to the logic that a Guru's position comes only after that of Mother and Father, I have no excuse whatsoever! (To be continued.) Sambhomahadeva.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 64 (Vol # 3) Dated 09 Mar 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 64 (Vol # 3) Dated 09 Mar 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 on page 276 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://advaitham. blogspot. com constantly updated.)
Fraud and Hipocracy
36. Leaving ones own job in the hands of others, if you launch yourself in social service, it is a fraud. Forgetting your duties towards your parents, brothers and sisters, wife and children, if you claim that you are helping the world, it is nothing short of hipocracy. Having done this, when parents and relatives point out, you get annoyed and angry, means that the act of Paropakaaram has not benefitted you in any way. Universal love and pleasant behaviour is the character quality of a social worker. In the name of service to others, if you get gruffy with your kith and kin, what is the use of your service, as you have not imbibed humility? It is like going for a bath and smearing oneself with mud and slime!
37. We should always be aware of our own limitations. We are born in this world as human beings and hence subject to many limitations. Our desires and ambitions could be great and vast. May be that they are sincere and serious. But our duties towards our close relatives has a greater compelling priority. So, our efforts for social service has to be without jeopardizing that responsibility towards one's own family! There is a saying in Tamil meaning, 'when his own mother was begging for alms, he was donating cows!'. The instructions as per the saastra-s are quite clear on the subject that one's personal jobs should never be given to others. Before Indian Independence, C.Rajagopala Acharyar was the Prime Minister of the Madras Precidency. Even then, he used to wash his own clothes! Similarly we hear about many high officials getting their own shoes polished themselves! There is no loss of prestige, if you are self dependent. Actually it is demeaning to the self to give one's own personal jobs to others! To be projecting an image about oneself as a great philantropist and then transfer our work load on the other members of our household and spoil the goodwill in our own house is to really to undermine our prestige!
38. Saastra-s say that each man should wash his own clothes. It is also said that each one should wash his portion of the rice for the day's food and cook it too! (This is what is called, 'swayam bhaagam' in Sanskrit!) In Tamil there is a saying, 'kandai aanalum kasakki kattu', which means that, even if your clothes were slightly worn out 'wash and wear'! It did not say get it washed by others! (Periyaval puns on the word 'kasakkum'. The word in Tamil has a double meaning. One is bitter and the other is crushing!)
39. The daily activities of man mentioned in the Dharma Saastra-s, requires that he should take care of all his actions himself. Even the leaves and flowers needed for the pooja are to be collected by himself. For the person in the position of a Guru, his disciple may take on some of the works on Guru's behalf. Those who are sons may have to take some of the load off the parents.
40. Even very high level acharya-s have done their work on their own without ever leaving these to their disciples. Vedanta Desikan who was the pioneer Guru of the Vaishnava tradition, was one such, who used to do 'Uncha Vruthi' that is collecting the grains for his daily food by begging for the same and cook his own food! Thyagaraja Swami in Thiruvayyaru, did the same for his sustenance. They say that Mohammed Nabhi too, despite being the religious and temporal head for the muslims, was totlly self dependent for his personal maintenance!
41. Namadeva, Gorakumbha, Thiru Neelakanda Nayanar and such great poets and devotees of God, continued with their profession as a weaver or cobler or potter in their lives. Sivaji ruled the kingdom, having surrendered his self and his kingdom at the feet of his Guru Ramadasa. Despite such exalted position, Ramadasa continued to earn his daily keep by begging, 'madhu kari biksha'. {This word has a beautiful meaning, that is, to collect the alms as the honey-bee collects nectar from the flowers. It does not dry up the flower's source of honey. While taking the honey, it does the service of distributing it's pollen for the purpose of the spread of the species! There is a further restriction that you are not to take biksha from more than five house-holds!} The idea is not to trouble others for ones own requirements but accept whatever others can spare! So, if someone does the so called social service in the outer world and gets his own work done at home through others, it is sheer humbug!
42. The house-hold work and personal work should be those laid down as one's duty as per the Saastra-s. That means that you are not to cater for each and every out-landish, flimsy desires of theirs as though it is a duty of yours! If you do that, you will never have the time or resources or inclination for any other work. You need not bother about such demands of your relatives. (To be continued.)


Friday, March 06, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 63 (Vol # 3) Dated 08 Mar 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 63 (Vol # 3) Dated 08 Mar 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 276 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://advaitham. blogspot. com constantly updated.)
26. Why do I not talk about the worldly-wise individual responsibilities? I do not talk about such matters as they are not relevant to the inner spiritual refinement process. No one advicing on spiritual matters does so either. Because, with out ever being told every one is already on a selfishness drive. You can pray for everyone's happiness. You do not pray to God, “God! Make only me happy!” You do not need to be adviced to be selfish. Without ever being told, everyman is looking for his own and his family's welfare all of the time.
27. If his selfishness were to be for 'Atma Gnana', that is self- realization, it is OK. But, people never know when to stop being selfish. They have no understanding of the word 'enough'. There is a saying in Tamil which says, “podum enra maname pon seyyum marundu”, which means that, “the mind that says 'enough', is golden!” But, no one knows as to when enough is enough. They pray for more and more and do not notice that they are falling in to the trap of greed. Greed is like the fire that grows with every additional input! Once into this, they never know when to stop! It is a never ending endevour!
28. Not only do they pray for more, but persevere to amass wealth by hook or crook. Religious Dharma of Varna and Ashrama are ignored. Laws of the land go by default. Worldly wise thus become corrupt. They will neither have time nor inclination for Paropakaaram. To divert them on to the right path, we have to tell them to care for the public well being. You will agree that we can not be advicing them to take care of their self and their family! We have to tell them to become aware of the need to cut down on desires, their imaginary needs and necessities which are actually avoidable luxuries.
29. In doing so, it becomes necessary to tell them that it is not enough if they give all attention only to their self and their own families. We have to tell them that they must cut down on their worldly involvement, tighten their morality and pay attention to the fact that they have certain responsibilities as a member of the society in which they live!
30.But I realize now that even in this rendering advice thus, I have to be more careful. That husband and wife couple who spoke to me at length so sadly but sincerely have woken me up to the fact that knowingly or unknowingly, I have been not very careful. While talking about Paropakaaram, I should have laid a qualifying clause. In not doing so I am culpable for an act of omission! They must have suffered a lot and could normally have cursed me for my act of omission. May be considering my age and deservingly or otherwise my being in the position of a Guru, they might have refrained from using harsher words!
31. Let me come to their complaint. Their son, as yet a Brhmachari and employed, reading my advices on Paropakaaram it seems, got too involved in those activities. Reportedly, he does not bother for his personal duties towards his own self and his family! It was not clear as to whether he was working satisfactorily in his office or not! All the time, he was involved in, the project to collect a handful of rice from peoples houses every day, known as 'Pidi Arisi Dittam'; collection of vegetable peelings from houses for giving to cattle; then fetching these things to places where they are needed; then distribution of Prasadam-s from the temples to hospitals and jails and so on!
32. “He does not even have time for washing his own clothes” said his father, “his mother has to to do all that!”. “He does not buy anything, provisions or vegetables. His father the old man has to do all that,” said the woman. “All the Sun and rain are on his head only. He spends all the money that he earns on this. If we ask him anything he gets violently annoyed. We are afraid that we have lost our son. For fear of losing him physically also, that he may not come home at all, we are keeping quiet as far as possible! Still we are human beings only, is it not so? We are not able to totally go shut on the subject either. You have to advice him suitably for our sake”, they said!
33. Though they were being quite polite, I think of it as a 'tick off'! I do not intend to give long winded talks anymore! Still the number of people who come to meet me and ask for advice are on the increase. So from now onwards, when I tell them that they must do something good for the society, as is done in all the business contracts, I will include a qualifying clause of 'without prejudice to'! That is, “You are to get involved in Paropakaram only 'without prejudice to your duties towards your personal self and family'! I do not know if I will remember this, next time I talk on the subject of Paropakaaram or get carried away by my own exhuberance. But at the least, seeing how those parents are suffering, I feel compelled to tell you this.
34. To expect one's mother to wash ones used clothes is anathema! At old age of one's father, to compell him to take care of the house hold is blasphemy! I never meant that one should launch out on Paropakaaram, while one's own house is not in order! I do not know as to how much damage have I done in how many house holds! Many may not have had the mind to come and complain to me, since it would have been a complaint against me, whom they lovingly think of, as the 'Periyaval' the 'Big Man'! I can see the enormity of my unintended error!
35. Instead of taking their words as a curse or complaint, I think that I should take it humbly as an 'Upadesa'! Though the general rule is that mostly people are more concerned about feathering their own nest only, some could be pushed in a different direction by my words. So, while advicing that, “If you think of taking care of your own self and your kith and kin as the first priority and that you will take on the task of Paropakaaram after that, it will be something like waiting for the waves of the ocean to subside!”, I should add that, “For Paropakaaram's sake, you should never ignore your own self and family completely either!” That is the 'Upadesa' I get from this experience!
(To be continued.)


Thursday, March 05, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 62 (Vol # 3) Dated 06 Mar 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 62 (Vol # 3) Dated 06 Mar 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 272 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://advaitham. blogspot. com constantly updated.)
The Reason for Emphasis on the Individual.
19. By talking about how in Hinduism society's needs are not being ignored on the one hand, there has been a complaint that I have given too much license and liberty to people to ignore their Nitya Karma Anushtana and their duties towards their family to a deplorable extent. On the other hand, there has been charges levelled against this religion by people from other religions that, Hinduism caters for only for individual personal development at the cost of the society's needs!

20. When I took up Paropakaaram as the main subject to be tackled, there have been objections that I am ignoring individual responsibilities. Exactly similarly, when I spoke about how the individual has to progress on the four major paths of Bhakti, Karma, Gnana and Raja Yoga-s with the main purpose of personal individual emancipation, there have been people who come forward to fight with me that I am not tackling the ills of the society! Fighting does not mean real fight. As I said that some of them had very genuine apprehensions.
21. I do not want to put up an excuse that the press is not reporting correctly. May be that while on one aspect of the issue, for the sake of the understanding of the listeners, I may be over stressing. Even while saying this it should not seem as though I am justifying my self. But I do accept that I get carried away by the very subject that I am talking about!
22. Forget about this person who is talking. Let us look at the subject. Vaidik religious functions, practices and ceremonies, are centered on the individual only. Social service is only apart of it. While carrying out such activities as needed for the society, it is the individual's refinement (Atma Paripakvam), that is the purpose. This has been very well explained in the talks on the subject of Paropakaaram! The receiver (of money or medical relief or education and so on), should not stop there. His response should be on the following lines. “OK. My problem has been solved by God's Grace. Now let me pay more attention towards self improvement and obtaining 'Atma Satchatkaara'!” If he stops only at taking advantage of the world's large heartedness, then he has not made optimum use of the opportunity!
23. I have spoken about social service, as well as about individual duties and responsibilities of the 40 Samskaaraa-s. In social service I have dwelved on distribution of free food; conducting free medical camps; 'Vidya Daanam' and imparting secular professional education; giving help in getting employed as well as coaching as to how to be self reliant in becoming manufacturer/producer; and helping people in getting married and so on. All these are this-worldly only and not spiritual matters.
24. But, while talking on individual Dharma meant for self improvement, such as Gruhasta Dharma and Stree Dharma, I have not elaborated on how he should behave for his own personal sake and family's sake, worldly wise! When I said, give alms to the poor, I may not have told that he should be well off to be able to help others. When advicing people to extend medical help to the poor, I may not have told him to take care of the sick persons in his own family. When I say dig a well or pond to alleviate the water shortage of the community, I couldn't have told him to lay a water pipe line to his own house!
25. The reason is obvious. When you do this for helping the society, it helps in your inner refinement. But, when you do this for your own kith and kin, there is no inner purity that is achieved. There is a fine line between selfishness and selflessness! When you get your daughter married at some substantial expenditure, though all the money goes to the other family, you are still getting this worldy satisfaction only, of feeding the 'Ego'! You may have some inner complaint that, you have been taken advantage of. But, look at a situation when you have been instrumental in getting some poor girl married and see the quality of the good-will generated and the Punyam you have become worthy of!
(To be continued.)


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 61 (Vol # 3) Dated 04 Mar 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 61 (Vol # 3) Dated 04 Mar 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 269 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at constantly updated.)
12. The Hindu Temples are depositories where the Rishi-s of yore have accumulated infinite quantities of assets of spiritual values from which the people of this country and the world at large continues to draw! This is an inviolable fact. It is also a fact the we continue to derive inspiration from the divine 'sanctum sanctorums' and anointed statues of these temples(that is, not only smeared with oils and unguents but also spiritually enlivened statues called Murthy-s in which ‘Prana Pratishta’ has been done). It is true beyond doubt that the devotional activities conducted in these temples continue to generate a constant supply of beneficial vibrations to all living things. These devotional activities are valuable because of being sincerely true to the 'Mantra Uchcharana', i.e., faultless rendering of mantra-s with the correct pronunciation and undulations in pitch, swara and emphasis. What happens in the Temples thus, is also meant for individual, personal advancement and not for collective emancipation!
13. In our Temples when many people assemble to conduct festivals and Kumbha Abhishekam and such activities, offering the Shodasa Upachaara Pooja-s, the purpose is different. These collective activities by themselves are not an end purpose of the religion! These are more for expressing our collective gratitude, love and devotion to God from whom the whole mass of living beings get so many benefits! Can you ever show light to the Sun? So, all those 16 Upachara-s with 64 or 72 materials as offerings to God, who we know does not need anything from us, are more symbolic of our combined gratitude!
14. But, as I said earlier, these activities are not an end in itself for salvation. Yes there have been people who have attained to oneness with the God just by circumambulation of the Temple premises, totally engrossed in devotion! There have been devotees who have so unconditionally sublimated themselves in the divine, that they have lost everything to obtain the supreme! But each one of those occasions are their individual efforts only. So our Religion is aimed at individual cleansing and attaining to purity through a way of life of strictest discipline and abnegation. Visiting Temples is thus complimenting individual efforts.
15. A controversial author of the west by name Arthur Koestler asked me as to why our temples are full of noise and bustle. I replied to him that our intension is not to make Temples silent as is done in Buddha Viharas and Churches. For the King we give a palace, with much pomp and show and also pay him taxes; don't we? Similarly, for the King of the whole Universe, we give gold and jewels with gems; huge artistic edifices; where festivals are conducted which show case our music, arts, crafts and culture; as collective expression of our appreciation and gratitude. When it comes to meditation and quite prayers, everyone could do it in their own homes or river banks or isolated places in hills, caves and forests!
16. When I say this, it does not mean that I am giving license to all and sundry for creating a raucous in the Temples. I am only talking about peeling of the bells, sound of chanting of the Veda Mantra-s, singing of Tevaram and Bhajans, Nadaswara Melam with Dhavil and beating of Drums and the sounds of Crackers and Fire-works when the Murthy-s of Gods are taken around during processions! These are done only when permitted by the laid down procedures as per the Saastraas!
17. These very sounds as approved by the Saastraas has the unique power to involve and submerge a person deep into the quietness of sublime aloneness. As the aim of meditation is to raise above the cacophony of the individual mind with its endless thoughts, despite this bustle of the Temple, you just close your eyes and mind for a few seconds and experience the bliss of oneness with God! You just sit in Padmasana or Sukhasana in front of the Deity Dakshinamurthy and start your Japa; pronto you are transported to a different realm of quietitude! Individual man, by cleansing himself by the observance of procedures and rituals meant for him depending on his Varna and Ashrama; is to live an exemplary life for others to follow. That is how the 63 Nayanmar-s and 12 Azhwar-s came into being. That only accounts for the historically known great saints of Tamil Nadu alone. Still there have been more from Tamil Nadu by the name of Sadasiva Brhmendra, Thaiyumanavar, Poondi Swamigal, Velur Mouna swami, Vallalar, Pattinathar, and so on! There have been many in Karnataka and Maharashtra chronicled in Bhakta Vijayam. Then the 18 Siddhas, Gorakhnath, Kabir, Sai Baba, many more Pir Baba-s, Ramakrishna Parama Hamsa, Aravinda, Ramana, Rama Dasa, Rama Teerta and so on, in to the 21 Century. The physically alive saints continue the tradition till date. To name a few, Mata Amirtananda Mayi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Dayanand, Swami Nityananda, Swami Onkaranand, Swami Tejomayananda and so on! For every swami's name that comes known to the world, there may be a thousand not slated for publicity but, contributing their silent bit for the welfare of the humanity at large! This is the live-wire part of this religion!
18. Other than the years spent in young age as a Brhmachary in Gurukula Vasa and in old age in Vana Prasta/Sanyasa Ashrama, which not many people reach up to; a major part of ones life is spent in Gruhasta only as a house-holder. That is why, our Dharma Saastraas predominantly cover the Gruhasta's duties towards his self, his family of wife and children; relatives, towards his ancestors, living elders and seniors, others lower in status or wealth and so on quite exhaustively! The idea is to continue motivating him to become one of those mentioned in the para 17 above!
(To be continued.)


Monday, March 02, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 60 (Vol # 3) Dated 02 Mar 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 60 (Vol # 3) Dated 02 Mar 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 264 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at constantly updated.)
Self Help is the Best
1. To day I was exposed to two types of opinions on the same subject. One was praising me for the wrong reasons and the other criticizing me for the wrong reasons once again! Being criticized is better than being praised, in my opinion, as there is always some scope for improvement. Being praised on the other hand could lead to pride, which should always be guarded against. The one who points out our mistakes is thus more preferable. So, I got 'stotra upachara' and 'kandana maha upachara', thus. ( Reference to the context. This talk is dated sometime in the second half of 1976. His talks on Paropakaaram [covered in the last 43 e-mails], had been given much earlier than 1976. They were being published in the Tamil Kalki weekly magazine.)
2. What I had spoken about at various places, some time in the distant past, are being published in some magazines these days. Thinking that I am writing something new, one gentleman praised me for those write ups! Lest I may get head weight because of that praise, a husband and wife couple visited me immediately after that, as though sent by Ambal herself for that purpose, and gave me a very different point of view on the same subject. In a way I should say that they gave me a respectable dressing-down! Without any agitation, without ever crossing the limits of decency, they reprimanded me nicely. When they should have been angry, they were sorrowful. I should take their words as scolding only, so that I may take it in the right perspective and do some self analysis.
3. What was their objection to my comments on social service? Seemingly I have over emphasized Social Service to the extent that I am encouraging people to ignore and relegate their responsibilities towards their own self and their families! This was their objection. I do not know as to whether the press is reporting exactly what I said. I never ever considered that individual personal Karma Anushtana-s should go by default. I never recommended that Paropakaaram should result in not doing ones duty towards oneself and ones family! Neither will I do so ever.
4. May be while speaking on the subject, I might have over stressed the need for social service that I might have overlooked the possibility of such miss-understanding! That one should take care of ones own self and family, physically, financially is a natural requirement. Otherwise he himself will need Paropakaaram from others! We as Sankara Acharya Peeta-s and Mata-s, are mainly to plan and work for the welfare of the whole society. Hence I might have stressed the social service aspect. Since that husband and wife couple literally cried their hearts out, I have to emphasize the obvious need for individual, personal duties and its place of primary importance in our religion.
5. But this does not mean that we consider the individual and family to be of any less importance whatsoever. I have repeatedly said and emphasized that - the Hindu religion specifically addresses individual cleansing as of primordial importance. When a mistaken criticism is leveled against it that it is lacking in social awareness and spirit, in defense we do not have to explain as to how we are not ignoring the social aspect.
6. For our religion, the individual is more important than the society. If everyone 'religiously' does his duty, there would be no need for social service at all! It is only by the individual effort of self improvement and ennoblement that is of extreme importance to our religion. It is this strength and power of the individual, that has sustained this religion for thousands or lacs or even crores of years before any other religion could ever come to be known by such a nomenclature. It is this power that could sustain itself against the virtual onslaught of hordes of other religions and beliefs. Not only withstand the onslaught but share, adjust, absorb and accommodate, differing view points and dogmas. It is this power that continues to make Hinduism a vibrant, flourishing and effective movement till date.
7. It is my opinion that Hindu Dharma's critical interest area is the individual's disciplined life towards self improvement and ennoblement; for Christians it is Paropakaaram; and for Muslims it is control and discipline. Relatively speaking this Hindu religion is less organized. It lives and thrives on individual effort and attainment.
8. Buddha emphasized the importance of collective effort with a cry for "sangam charanam gachchami". Christianity too lays stress on conduct of 'mass' and 'congregation' for collective prayers. In Islam there is a high level of organizational control with systematic rules and regulations! They have ensured that their people are closely knit and remain attached religiously with structured restrictions and taboos. Thus all religions other than Hinduism are based on social cohesion and joint effort.
9. Meditation by individuals is there in all religions to some extent. In Buddhism especially, meditation has a very important role. However other than collective prayers and congregations for prayers, individual systematic personal efforts towards self realization is unique to the Hinduism. This includes the process of Iyama (control), Niyama (regular practice), Asana (physical exercise positions), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (taboos and restrictions on food and behaviour), Dharana (decision), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (total merging), known as Ashta Anga Yoga, which is special to Hinduism. The system of different combinations of Bakti, Gnana, Kriya and Raja Yoga, directly related to different preponderance of the Rajas, Tamas and Sattva Gunas; necessitates that there are not one common approach for all but customized approaches for each individual.
10. So the individual duties or what is known as 'swa dharma' varies according to the 'varna' (that is, brahmin/kshatrya/vysya/sudra) and 'ashrama' (that is, brhmacharya/gruhasta/vanaprasta/sanyasa). This is the major difference between this and other religions! Other religions have a uniform code of conduct for all. We have both the uniform code of conduct known as 'saamaanya dharma' common for all and specific customized duties for each based on 'varna and ashrama'.
11. You may raise a query that as others have collective prayers in Church, Gurudwara and Mosque, are we not also having Utsava-s, i.e., celebrations on special occasions? Answer to this question is that like their Mass and Namaz, we do not have collective prayers at all! Though the Temples have contributed in nurturing and protecting the tradition and civilization based on this Hindu religion, as the back bone does for the body, God's Grace and Blessings we get from the temples is to be assimilated and absorbed through individual observance of our appointed duties, roles and codes.
(To be continued.)