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.



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