Saturday, May 30, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 93 (Vol # 3) Dated 30 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 93 (Vol # 3) Dated 30 May 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 422 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.)

39. Please do not condemn your Aachaaryal-s who brought some changes in the ancient traditions. They retained more than 90% of what was our methods of old! Do not equate them with the modern day reformers. who want to jettison all our traditional customs and values. Especially, they retained all the nitya karma anushtaana-s as they are. They accepted completely, the Varna (Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra Varna-s) and Ashrama (Brhmacharya, Gruhasta, Vanaprasta and Sannyasa Ashrama-s) sub-divisions, which as a system is like the backbone of the Hindu Sanatana Dharma! Even in this some of them tried to make some changes in that they encouraged equality on the frame work of humaneness and not in Aachaara-s. But they did not recommend doing away with these sub-divisions of Varna and Ashrama!

40. If they did make some changes in the Aachaara-s existing prior to them, it was possibly to offset some people going off too far on a tangent, creating some imbalances at their time! If one might have tried to establish Vishnu at an exalted pedestal, it might be due to a trend prior to that in which, someone else might have put down devotion to Vishnu. For example there was this Appayya Deekshidar, a hard core Adwaitin. Not only did he do much to propagate the Adwaita Siddhantam but, he has written a treatise equating Siva, Vishnu and Ambal, calling them the three Gems, 'Ratna Thrayam'! But, later he himself had to go out of his way to establish a primordial place of importance for Siva! The reason was that at his time the 'Veera Vaishnava' movement had gained ascendancy! So, he had to move more in the opposite direction.

41. But it still does not mean however that it gives us license to decry those Aachaaryal-s. We are not to think that they were being disrespectful to any one God or the traditions of those days. Unlike the present day when with no understanding, all the past traditions are being discarded out of hand, people of those days were more conservative and more disciplined. Even then, If these Aacharyaal-s could evoke so much response from such a substantial portion of the populace, it is indicative of the power of their principled stands! Unlike the reformers of the modern day, in their personal life's, they were very disciplined and had the courage of convictions. This in turn could create a long line of equally devoted followers of impeccable integrity! The greatness of this religion is that, over thousands of years, it could nurture and spin off an endless series of Greats, Mahatma-s, Sadhu-s and Saints! Since every religion talks of devotion to God and since we all agree that God is evidently the one and only self same God, the only difference we can see is in the efficacy and impact of the Aachaara Anushtaanaa-s that could be the reason for a preponderance of Saints in this religion!

42. To strengthen this point of view, we also see that in these reform movements of the present day, there has not been such sustained production of quality human material. Amongst those who abided with the traditions of Vedic Saastraa-s mostly and made only some minimal changes, we find a series of Aachaaryal-s of very high quality and integrity, who could effortlessly exhibit the grace of God through their speech and actions! They could so easily pass on the grace and blessings of God to their followers and devotees. There are such Swamijis noticeable even to-day. (KTSV adds:- As I am typing this I am in receipt of information about Sri Sri Tridandi Chinna Jeer Swami doing the Kumbabhishekam of Sri Venkateshwara Temple in North Carolina, in US of A. I am separately forwarding this for your information.)

43. Instead of its being only publicity, the power of sustained practice of generations of such spiritual leaders has gone on in these traditions till date. These have all gone to strengthen this Religion to enable it to spread like the Adayar Banyan Tree. Without ever doubting personal antecedents and convictions, as we take our Mother, Father, Guru and Visitor to be God in human form, we are to follow their customs and traditions as God's directions to be followed with a sense of duty and sacrifice. That will endow us with both material wealth and spiritual power, as we go along!

44. So, instead of simply equating these with the modern day reform movements, all those born in these sampradaya-s which accept and follow Sruti, Smruti and Purana-s, are to sincerely adhere and abide with their traditional Aachaara-s. They are not to give up any of their traditions of their families, but may add some more of other's practices. For example, as a Saivite you may be used to attending Pradosha Kala Pooja and keeping fast on Sivaratri. You may add Ekadasi fasting and Giripradakshina of Thiruvannamalai on the full moon night! Personal preferences are to be set aside with a sense of sacrifice and the family traditions are to be adhered to.
45. The attitude should be one of acceptance of birth under certain set of traditions as God ordained. While effort should be constantly made to refine and ennoble oneself, but not to rebel against the family traditions. Looking at the chaotical lack of discipline in the country, we should refrain from setting a poor example of ourselves for the sake of others. As far as possible we should control and restrict our personal ambitions and desires.

46. Without going at a tangent against the traditional ways and methods, there is freedom for devotion to Ishta Devata Vandana. The point to be understood is that the intension of our religion of sanatana dharma has always been one of equal acceptance of all Gods. Say you are a Vaishnavite with love for Siva. You may not be able to 'not apply Namam' and apply Vibhuti on your forehead. Does not matter. First do your Vishnu Pooja and then you may also chant Siva Sahasranama. In the pooja with the Saligrama, you may also add a Siva Lingam. You may not join issue with those who may object to this Siva Pooja.

47. Say you are a Vaishnavite. You happen to have belief in Adwaitam You wish to do Biksha Vandanam to the Acharyal at the Sankara Matam. First do it to your own Acharyal of your family traditions and then organize the same for the Acharyal in Sankara Matam. Kula Aachaaram takes first precedence. Do that first to the maximum extent. What you do in addition for your personal satisfaction, should be acceptable in terms of Vedic traditions. That is the touch stone!

48. There is one default in the claim that you are only adhering to the age old traditions as per the 'Smruti' only! That ruling which says that, "...sikhaam pundram ca soothram cha samayaachaarameva cha I poorva: aacharitam kuryaat anyataa patito bhavet...", is to be found in the root 'Smruti' only. Those root 'Smruti-s' are saying that we have already given these rulings with sufficient scope for freedom of action. So, you have to follow the family traditions very strictly without any let.

49. Sankara Bhagawat Paadaal who devoted his whole life for re-establishing the pride of place for the 'Sruti and Smruti', in his 'Prasnottara Ratna Maalika', for the question as to what should be protected more than ones life, gave the reply that it is 'Kula Dharma' which should be so protected! He did not even leave any chance for doubt! For the question, "...praanaat api ko ramya: ?...", the answer is, "...kula dharma:...".

(To be continued.)


Thursday, May 28, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 93 (Vol # 3) Dated 28 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 93 (Vol # 3) Dated 28 May 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 para on page 416 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.)

30. On the battle field of Kurukshetra, Arjuna had thrown away his bow and arrows and was sitting on the platform of his chariot in abject dejection that he will never kill all his friends, relatives and elders and then hope to be happy after that! Then Sri Krishna spoke to him in the following vein. "Saastraa-s have laid down the Kshatriya Dharma of fighting for their rights. I am not telling a Brahmin to fight. You have to act as per the aachaara of your Kuladharma. There is no meaning in dithering in doing your duty." Having gone in deeper, he goes on to say, that it is better to die in doing ones duty. "...swadharme nidhanam sreya:...".
31. "Your 'swadharmam' that is the aacharraa-s as per your family by birth, even if seemingly inferior to another caste or creed, is better than others' dharma." He goes on to say that it is better to die in doing ones duty. Then as though to clinch the issue He warns that, "...para dharmo bhayaavaha:...", meaning that other's dharma is hazardous!
32. So, with this reply from Bhagwan, I can close the argument. But No. I am not able to give this reply to people who are asking if they could give up their Aachaaraa to which they are born, because of another question, which also has been based on the logic provided by me only.
33. What we call aachaaraa-s of our ancestors are only as old as eight or ten or possibly twenty generations vinatge. If we compare this with what they were doing prior to that period, we will find some additions and some deductions; as I myself brought out in my talks earlier. Say some thousand years back, may be our Aacharaa-s based on Sruti and Smruti were uniformly similar! Many of the Sampradaya-s have come into being subsequently and made changes in the Aachaara Anushtaanaa-s. Even these changes made by the respective Aacharyaa-s were not totally new. The changes made were generally less than 25% retaining the old customs and traditions to the extent of 75% or so.
34. So, the question that is thrown at me is on the following lines. "From the fore going it is evident that each Aachaaryal of these Sampradaya-s evidently made changes in the traditions existing then at their respective times. Is that not so? It automatically follows that each of the Aachaaryal was culpable for the very act of commission and omission of introducing new customs and ignoring the old ones! Why should we not do so? We are not becoming agnostic! We only want to make some accommodation for our Ishta Devata Upaasana. That is not asking for too much, is it? For that also you are saying that we should stick to the old traditions of our own families. How can this be correct? If we analyze our ancestors' aachaaraa-s and go back in history successively, what we find is that, in the matter of Ishta Devata Anushtaana, the practices of even a thousand years back is are amenable to our views only!"
35. Further they go on to strengthen their arguments. "Our religion has not projected any one God as the supreme Paradeivatam. Each Devata is extolled as great in it's own turn at some time or other! So each person depending on individual preferences, has the freedom to have his choice. In praising and venerating one God, other Gods are not to be decried. That is the only restriction! For this purpose only has this Panchyatana Pooja has been created, in which one is mainly revered while other Gods are also prayed to as part of the Family of Gods! Thereby the devotee develops a sense of equality between his preference and others."
36. "All this you have taught us. If in the interregnum these Aachaaryal-s have come and made Siva or Vishnu or Ambal as the Supreme Deity and others secondary and tertiary, what is wrong in our going back to the Aachaaraa-s as existing even before these Aachaaryal-s! We are not behaving like these so called Reformers who are recommending discarding of Veda's methods of Sruti and Smruti! We are not for doing away with the procedures of Karma Kanda and saying that only Vedantam is the be all and end all! When we know that the intention of the whole thrust of Veda-s teaching is not to give the Pride of Place to any one God and Ishta Deivata Pooja has always had the stamp of approval of the Veda-s; how can our genuine request to break away from the 'interim-family-tradition' be not approved?"
37. "We agree with the idea that it is preferable to die rather than renege on one's Dharma. It is our 'Kula Aachaara' which is not the original 'swa dharma'! So, our going back to our old ways is not objectionable at all. You have to approve this." This logic ties my hand and mouth completely. When already all rules and regulations are going by default, I should not be responsible for further loosening of control! So, let me give you a suggestion.
38. Do as per what is presently your Kula Aachaara. With that also pray to your Ishta Devata, as long as that is within the parameters of the prescription of the Veda-s. If possible make it the Panchayatana Pooja. For your Ishta Devata you may offer some extra Upachaaraa-s. Anyhow do not forego your family traditions please! Do not blame your Aachaaryal for having introduced some changes in the procedures existing prior to their times. You have to appreciate the fact that they remained true to the dictates of the Sruti and Smruti, i.e., the Veda-s to a large extent.

(To be continued.)



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 92 (Vol # 3) Dated 26 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 92 (Vol # 3) Dated 26 May 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 410 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. Some Aacharaa-s themselves are rather lenient and make it easy for the aspirant. Fasting is good for reducing the negative Karma. An empty stomach is good for meditation and the breathing exercises of 'Prana Yama'. But in the temples with the early morning ritual of 'Thiru Palli Ezhutchi', they distribute Akkara Adisil, Puliyodara and Dadiyonnam(curd rice)! As it is prasadam, you do not feel like saying no to it! Then the Gurukkal says, "It is alright. Have this. God knows your mind. Though you do not wish to eat, God knows that you are eating it only because of your wish to abide with your elders' traditions. For that itself He will bless you with concentration when you do meditation! Or alternately take the prasadam now and eat it at home after doing your Prana Yama and Meditation."

22. That you have given up your ancestors' Siddhantam of Adwaitam or Dwaitam or whatever, need not be known to others. That is your inner conviction. By the power of your good actions of the past (i.e., samskaara), or study, or experience, or by God's blessings, you may progress with that inner conviction. Outwardly continue with the Aachara-s as done in the past to which born, so that, you keep cleansing your mind. Do not leave the old Aachaaraa-s and rituals, even when you do not need them any more, for the sake of others who may not be yet so advanced as you are! This is His command in the Gita.

23. Having been born in one sub-division of the religion believing in a particular Siddhantam, following that set of rituals to which born and progressing in some other Siddhantam; is this only a theoretical possibility or practical too? Yes, there have been people like that! There is one Sri. A.V.Gopala Achariyar of the Vaishnava cult. He has done much service to his branch of the religion. He is closely associated with the Ramakrishna Mission. He conducts 'Vidvat Sadas' of Vedic scholars and honours them. He also has deep respect for Sankaracharya and Adwaitam. He continues with the Aachaaraa-s of his Vaishnava background, while also being a follower of Sankara! (KTSV adds:- Periyaval is referring to this gentleman who used to be known as 'Anna'. He was the Principal of the Ramakrishna Mission High School (Main) in T.Nagar, Chennai. I had the opportunity to see him often and listen to his talks, when I was a student of the seventh class in the academic year 1952-53, in the East branch of that school. He has written the Tamil book on Sandyavandanam with translation of the Sanskrit mantra-s.)

24. There are many foreigners of the west who visit here and evince much interest in the teachings of Sankara Acharyal and Adwaita Siddhanta. They happen to continue to be ardent devotees of Jesus Christ and are regular visitors to the church. Conversely it is also true that there are many followers of this Matam, who have a lot of respect for me and our Acharyal; but believe more in the Bhakti Marg of the Dwaita Siddhanta. They tell me, "Whatever you may say, we somehow love being devotees of Ambal than the Adwaita philosophy of unity with God! Even if Ambal Herself gives us Darshan and says that she will absorb us unto her, our reply is likely to be a flat denial. We will tell Her, 'Amma No! We rather love to love You! We want to be your devotees, rather than be absorbed in You!'." The same sentiment has been expressed by an Azhwar devotee of Vishnu who says, "...ichchuvai tavira yaam poi indira lokam aalum achchuvai perinum vendane arangamaa nagarulaane...". That means, 'we would not like to give up this pleasure of loving you, even if we were to be offered the Kingdom of the Heavens in lieu!' So, the point is very clear that, the Aachaaraa-s of this religion do not become an obstacle for the inner convictions of Siddhanta, what ever it may happen to be, either born to or later acquired!

25. There is another question to which I have to give the answer. Till now I have been talking about 'tatvam' apart from any particular obeisance to any particular God or Deity. (The word 'tatvam' literally means 'tat = that + tvam = you'. This word in usage has come to mean 'philosophy or the deeper meaning'.) In our religion the philosophical concepts and procedural directions are inseparably mixed. If some one has to abide only with the traditions of his family and have some other inner theoretical concepts in which one firmly believes in; there could be a conflict of interests and aachaara! The problem becomes multi dimensional when one is confronted with the idea of 'Ishta Devata' of exclusive devotion for only Siva or Narayana or Anjaneya and so on.

26. Visishtadwaitin does not stop at the philosophical stand point of, 'one Paramatma as the indwelling spirit in all Jeevatma', he goes on to identify that one Paramatma as Vishnu with so many arms, such and such description and details of how his Pooja is to be done. Saiva Siddhantists go on to an exact copy of a similar stand point of view, with Siva as the exclusive, indwelling Paramatma! If you have to do continuous decorations for Vishnu(alankaara priya:), you have to do endless bathing with anointed waters for Siva(abhisheka priya:)! Though the Adwaitin says that God can be adored in all forms and the formless, in such Smarta families, for generations there have been 'Siva Pooja or Saligrama Pooja of Vishnu or Sakti Pooja of Sri Vidya Upasana'!

27. The problem does become multi dimensional under this situation. Which Siddhantam / Aachaaram / Ishta Devata Pooja; to continue and which one to give up? If my mind tells me to worship Siva, and my forefathers have been Vaishnavite Vishnu Bhakta-s, what should I do? If I tell him, "Do all your Karma as per Saastraa-s as per your family traditions. Then also do pooja for your Ishta Devata. When it comes to Gnaana, believe in whatever Siddhantam your inner conscience approves", I will be sounding at odds with myself repeatedly, depending on the back ground of each individual!

28. I am myself in a quandary when even in the most common Nitya Karma Anushtana like Sandya Vandanam there are variations! In the sankalpa, when it says, 'Parameswara Preetyartam', since the word Parameswara reminds us of Siva, some people say, 'Bhagawat Preetyartam'! Say if someone is born in a Saivite family, but wishes to become a Vishnu devotee, he will feel happy only if he applies the Namam while chanting 'Keshava, Narayana, Madhava...' and so on. To do as per family aachaara, he has to apply only vibhuti, while applying which he has to say, 'Om Namah Sivaya'. There are crisis of conscience galore!

29. Should I say that I take back all my words? Can I tell you all to forget about old aachaara-s, believe in a God and to him you pray in some way! I can not say that either! When the whole lot of people are ready to break free of all rules, restrictions and regulations, if I put up my hands now, I will committing an unpardonable sin of opening the flood gates as though! Some may be sincerely trying to find a via media between their Aachaara-s, Ishta Devata Pooja and their inner convictions of Siddhanta! For others it will be license to indiscipline. So I am tempted to go by what Sri Krishna Paramatma Himself said in the Gita, that we should never give up the 'Kula Aachaara' that is, the family traditions!

(To be continued.)



Sunday, May 24, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 91 (Vol # 3) Dated 24 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 91 (Vol # 3) Dated 24 May 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 404 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.)

11. If you have to believe in the Saastraa-s then there is no value in arguments. However much the logic in the arguments, whether we understand or not, we have to have faith that there may be truth in the Saastraa-s beyond our comprehension. When it is a matter of faith, it means that it may be beyond our brains and intellectual grasp. In things within our comprehension there is no need for any belief. The very word belief is used when the things are beyond direct evidence. So the belief in Saastraa-s, religion and God are all such that they are not necessarily within the ambit of understanding.

12. Having said so, instead of simply leaving at that unilaterally, let me give some of the logic also for saying that, even within the sub-divisions of the Hindu religion, one must stick to the traditions of the ancestors!

13. First question: Because of our convictions in the principled stands(siddhanta), can we shift between Adwaitam and Dwaitam and Visishtadwaitam? For that reason can we forego the traditional aachara-s of the family in which born? Answer: Conviction in the principled stands is entirely an inner understanding based on either a systematic study or a deep personal experience! That understanding should not be of a peripheral nature. One should be able give a detailed analysis of the logic as to why one has that conviction. This conviction may be due to that individual's 'poorva samskaara' i.e., the good actions of the past. No one can have an objection to this sort of deep inner convictions! But, now listen carefully to what I have to say. If some one develops that sort of a deep conviction on a principled stand ('siddhanta') of a different sub-division of the religion, it still does not mean that he has freedom or license to change or give up the Aacharaa-s to which born!

14. What is this? (Any Para 13 invariably leads to a quandary! That aside!) You are saying that it is acceptable if some one has or changes his belief in a different set of philosophy, but it is wrong to go against the traditional Aachaara-s to which born? There seems to be quite a bit of confusion here! Let us analyze this point in detail. On doing that we will see that there is no direct connection between Aachaaraa-s and inner convictions of Siddhanta! Though there is no direct connection, there is some indirect, long winded connections! When I say this, it does not mean that I have joined forces with the so called reformers of the Hindu Religion, against whose lack of logic I have been talking for the past so many days! Like them, I am not saying, “Siddhanta is a matter of inner convictions, for which there is no need for these outer signs and rituals.”

15. What I am saying now is that, in these Aachaara rituals, generally there is not much of direct connections with the inner convictions of Siddhanta! I have repeatedly emphasized that all the religious rituals are meant for the individual’s laundering of his own mind, which I called, ‘Chitta Shuddhi’! I did not say that these rituals are meant to enable a person to come to a clear understanding of Siddhanta. Whatever Sri Krishna Paramatma has said in the Bhagawat Gita and Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva and Saiva Siddhanta Aachaaryaa-s, have talked about various signs to be worn on the body and the Karma-s to be done; are all meant for ‘Chitta Shuddhi’ and not for self realization of the Siddhanta!

16. Whatever the Siddhanta, to comprehend the truth of that aspect of philosophy, one has to attain to such maturity of the mind, free of dirt! That mind which is to reflect the Truth, cannot do so till it is dirty or shaking, whatever the Siddhanta. So, ‘Chitta Shuddhi’ is a pre-requisite in all these various schools of thought. The ‘Siddhi’ part of Siddhanta is directly dependent on obtaining of Chitta Shuddhi. That is done by these Aachaara Anushtana Karma-s. So my earlier statement that Siddhanta and Aachaara Anushtana Karma-s are not directly related; but through the eventual attainment of Chitta Shuddhi, which happens through Karma!

17. The point will be clearly understood shortly. There are many Siddhanta-s in the world. But the Karma-s are approximately similar. If we light up a oil lamp, another lights up a candle, in colder environs. We keep Chandrayana Vratham and the Muslim keeps Ramzan fast. The Pooja done in our temples is similar to what is done in Jain and Buddhist temples. Dwaitins and Visishtadwaitins have similar rituals for inscribing the signs on the body through heat! Their ‘Anubhava’ of Siddhanta do differ, despite the similarity in ritual. (Here this word Anubhava is to be understood as not simply experience but, as the inner conviction beyond the sensual experience!) Some of the present day Acharya-s say for Adwaita Anubhava, there should be no ritual what-so-ever. But they also do, as laid down by the Adwaita Aachaaryal-s and their Matam-s, as far as the rituals of bathing, eating, drinking, visit to temples and yatra, doing tarpanam for the pithru-s and so on. Whether Saiva or Vaishnava, there is no difference between them when it comes to abhisheka, archana and the 64 upachaaraa-s. May be one puts the Tulasi leaves and the other uses Bilva Patra! May be that one has a Saligramam and the other a Shiva Lingam! May be there is difference in the Neivedyam Menu! One keeps a sleepless fast on Siva Ratri and the other does it on Ekaadasi! But the purpose is the same - that of Chitta Shuddhi! Similarly the outer signs too; may be Vibhuti or Namam or Thiruman on the forehead; may be ‘madi-saar’ sari with a left or right twist; even with the Sannyasi, who has gone beyond all Do’s and Don’ts, there is Eka Dandam or Tri Dandam!

18. Despite being adherents of different Siddhanta-s, if we are doing similar rituals such as, Sandyavandanam, Pooja, Bhajan, Fasts, visit to temple towns and religious places of importance, obeisance to the Pithru-s and so on; what does it mean? One is that whatever the inner convictions of Siddhanta, similar basic Aachaara-s are still required. Second point is that Aachaaram and Siddhanta are not directly correlated. Third that minor changes in Aachaaraa-s does not make much of a difference. But without Aachara-s, there can be no understanding or comprehension of any of the Siddhanta-s! Till all his back log of demerits are cancelled, he has to carry on cleansing his self and his accumulated load to be laundered! All the Aachara-s are for this purpose only.

19. It does not matter as to whether he washes his load in the river or well water; in his own washing machine or gets it laundered in a shop for that purpose; Chitta Shuddhi he has to obtain! For that he better do it the way his ancestors have done, 'without disturbing the apple cart!' So, for the sake of Siddhanta, you do not have renege the Aachaaraa-s of the family in which one is born. "...poorvair aasrita: kuryaat...", need not be transgressed and become a fallen 'patitan'! You are welcome to genuinely accept any Siddhanta, if you sincerely convinced of the truth of that. The point is very clear. Aachaaraa-s are about outer behavior. We do not want to have apparent indiscipline there. Siddhanta-s are the inner convictions, which is purely personal and individual.

20. Initially Aachaaraa-s are meant for one's own ennoblement. Once you have attained to a certain clear levels of maturity, they are still required to be maintained and observed, for the sake of discipline in that community. Stick to your Kula Aachaaram even after attaining to your highest level of 'Chitta Shuddhi'. Once you have reached that, you do not have to be told, as you would have become a role model to be emulated! ( To be continued. ) Sambhomahadeva.


Friday, May 22, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 90 (Vol # 3) Dated 21 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 90 (Vol # 3) Dated 21 May 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 399 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 Sub Divisions of the Religion

1. In the previous lecture, I had mentioned a sloka which talked of '...sikhaam pundram, soothram...'. These three aachara-s of keeping long hair at the peak of the head, wearing the Naamam or the sacred thread, as part of the outer signs worn by a Hindu of any one of the inner sub-divisions within the Hindu Sanatana Dharma. Those born in whichever sub-division should follow the traditions as applicable to that sub-division, is what is being conveyed.

2. Then a question arises. Hindu religion is a Veda Matam (Matam meaning Religion). It's first basis is what is called the 'Sruti' that is, another name for the Veda-s. Veda-s were never written but only heard and learnt. That is why the name 'Sruti' came into being to mean, 'what is heard'. The next basis is what is known as ‘Smruti’ or ‘remembered’! These are also based on Veda-s only as short notes, hints, explanations and some direct and some indirect indications of inner meanings. So, for the Hindu Religion, Veda-s are like the life breath. Thus the various sub-divisions of the Hindu Religion are all based on the differences in the interpretation of what is said in the Veda-s.

3. Within that there are many variations. One decides on Dwaitam. Another says Adwaitam. Still others say, Visishtadwaitam, Suddhadwaitam, Dwaitaadwaitam and so on. One says that all the Deities in the Vedic Matam are all one Paramatma in various forms. Another claims that Vishnu is the supreme God and all others his appointed staff only. The same position is given to Siva by Saiva Siddhantists. They all claim that their belief is validated by the Veda-s. So all the other names such as, Vaishnavam, Saivam etc., are all only sub-titles and Veda Matam is the main title, they claim! Here is where that question arises.

4. When does a man become befallen? Is it something wrong to shift to and fro within the Vedic religion or not? Sloka talks of 'sikhaam, pundram, soothram...', then of 'samaya aachaaram' and then warns that if we do not follow the traditions of the ancestors, we will become, 'patitan'! What does this mean? Are we free to change within the customs and traditions of the sub-divisions of Hindu religion or not? Or does it mean that we are only being warned about changing from Hinduism to other religions such as Christianity, Muslim and so on? What is the argument?

5. The argument is on the following lines. The word 'mada-antara' means, all those religions which do not have Veda-s as the basic document. Bible, Quran, Tripitakam, Zend Avesta and Guru Granth Sahib are the documents which form the basis for, Christianity, Muslim, Buddhism, Parsi and Sikh religions respectively. So, it is wrong to shift to one of these religions which do not have Veda-s as the basic scripture. OK agreed. But, what is wrong in shifting within what is Hindu religion? What was the condition before these sub-divisions came into being? You have said yourself that Hindu Religion at some stage has accommodated all varying and opposing view points and interpretations. Even before the creation of divisions of Adwaitam, Dwaitam, Saaktam, Koumaaram, Vaishnavam, Saivam and so on as separate traditions; the Hindu at whatever stage of development or maturity he was in, was a devotee of Vishnu or Siva or Kumara!

6. On the aspect of principles he either believed in the eventual oneness of all as an Adwaitin or that Jeevatma and Paramatma can never ever be one as a Dwaitin. Whether you look at Sruti or Smruti, there is no one common platform. There is no conclusive principle or concept. So depending on individual conviction everyone had their own Ishta Devata and procedure for its deification and veneration. So the commonness was unity in diversity. The unifying idea were the Dharma Saastraa-s which were followed similarly. In the same family you could find one Siva Bhakta and another a follower of Vishnu. There was no difference between them when it came to observing the Nitya Karma Anushtaanaa-s of Sandyavandanam and Pancha Maha Yagna-s, and the forty Samakaraa-s over ones life time!

7. If Sankara spent his entire life time in bringing the unity between the six different traditions of Saivam Saktam, Ganapatyam, Koumaram, Vaishnavam and Souram; and oneness between the three paths of Karma - Bhakti - Gnaana, this was immediately followed by the differing Siddhanta-s of Ramanujacharya and Madhva. So the question can be put into these words now. Can a person who has been born in Saivite family, become a devotee of Vishnu or not? After all these differences became more clearly defined only after Ramanujacharya and Madhva. Before that was there not the freedom to follow ones own path, as long as he remained within the parameters of Sruti and Smruti? How can doing something slightly different from Kula Dharma be such an objectionable sin as long as one's conscience permits that?

8. The question extends further. They counter me with my own earlier statements.
Sankaracharya himself did not think of his followers as a new division of the Hindu religion. As observers of Sruti and Smruti, they are 'Srouti-s' and 'Smarta-s'. Sankaracharya's followers did not opt to call themselves by any new name! Later Sri Ramanujacharyar's followers were known as Sri Vaishnava-s and Sri Madhva's followers were known as 'Maadhvaa-s'. Whereas the followers of Sri Sankara were known by the common name as applicable to all Hindu-s as the followers of Dharma Saastraa-s. He re-established and re-united the traditions that were already existing before his time. He only cleared some of the misconceptions of his time as people were overly becoming slaves of the Karma Kaanda per se!

9. It is the Acharya-s who came after Sri Sankara, who gave their traditions some new names and while following the already existing traditions of the Hindu religion, added some new Aachara-s such as, 'Sama Aasrayanam' and 'Mudra Dharanam'. Slightly lessening the importance of 'srouta' and 'smarta' karma-s, they gave some additional importance to some of the Purana-s. Some changes were introduced in wearing of signs in the body. With this information that I have conveyed, people ask me the question that, "when the later Acharya-s have introduced changes in the traditions, remaining as a Hindu, why should I not switch over to other traditions?" So goes the argument.

10. Though the question seems to be pertinent, I am to interpret the Saastraa-s as they are. Having advised you all to follow your own ancestors, I should not deviate from what ancestors have opined! So I insist that each man should follow the customs and traditions to which he is born. If we are to believe in the Saastraa-s, then there is no scope for arguments. Belief and faith are not open to intellectual gymnastics.

(To be continued.)



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 89 (Vol # 3) Dated 19 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 89 (Vol # 3) Dated 19 May 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 393 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.)

128. Aachaara inculcates discipline. It is wrong to think of traditional rituals of Aachaara as an outer activity only. It cultivates the most noble attitudes and mental control. Once your intentions are orderly and attitude and behavior are disciplined, you attain exceptional powers. Not only that individual controls his own nature, he starts controlling others' and the environment's nature too! When the Brahmin observes his Adhyayana Aachaara, for that reason itself, there will be one of the three rains per month, says a Tamil Proverb:- "...vedam odiya vediyarku ore mazhai...".

129. Similarly for the women who remain faithful to their husband, there will be one rain:- "...maadar karpudai mangaiyarku ore mazhai...". The same message is given by Thiru Valluvar's Thirukkural (much acceptable to the 'Paguthu Arivaalar Iyakkam', one of the so called reform movements of the Tamil speaking world), too. Thiruvalluvar says, "The woman who does not adore and revere God, but adores and reveres her husband, has the power to cause the rain fall, whenever she orders so!" I quote:- "deivam thozhaal kozhunar thozhudu-ezhuvaal, peyuenap-peyyum mazhai". The King who rules without failing in justice, also has this power to cause the rain fall! I quote:- "...needhi mannar neriyinarkku ore mazhai...". On the flip side, if these people are undisciplined, the brahmin, the wife and the king; the Mother Nature is bound to misbehave!

130. Valluvar himself says that is the king fails in his duty of impartial justice, others will also forget their discipline. The brahmin will forget his Aachaara of Veda Adhyayana- "...aru thozhilor nool marappar...". If one link in the chain goes off track, the train will derail. Similarly the in the society too, indiscipline in one sector affects the discipline in other sectors too. Not only that! When the king fails in his duty, says the Divine Poet Thiruvalluvar, 'the availability of milk in the market will be affected'. I quote, " payan kunrum...". Your common sense logic of 'paguthu aridal', that is, 'inference by differentiation' will not work here.

131. Even the immutable, inviolable natural forces are subservient to the mind of a disciplined human being. The One God's expression of Dharma is the outer manifestation of discipline in Nature and inner manifestation of the discipline of the human mind. In this whole set up, it is only the human mind which can knowingly bring the divine ambience palpable by its disciplined orderly conduct! No other form of living and non-living beings, ( animate and inanimate ), can do this. That is why, it is said that even the divine beings have to go through the human form eventually for their own sublimation. Possibly the word 'emancipation' came into being, for that sole reason! It is only with that divine power of God that, man could control the outer natural forces of the physical, chemical, organic, inorganic, micro and macro world!

132. It is discipline that keeps the Sun Moon, Planets, Stars and the inter play of their gravitational forces in an order. Not only physics, only when the 'Manas' is in order, these forces will remain under control. When the 'Manas' is not in order, then there will be aberrations in the outer nature of the world says 'saraka samhitai' of Ayur Veda!

133. We see many wonderfully remarkable occurrences done by highly disciplined beings, in the stories depicted in the Puranas. Like the faithful wife who has the power to order the rain to fall, Kannagi as the 'Queen of Faithfulness', order the fire to pounce on the whole city of Madurai, to avenge the unfair killing of her husband Kovalan! In the same city of Madurai, when 'Samana-s' torched the building in which Thiru Gnaana Sambandar was staying, he could not only escape but could direct the fire to punish the Pandya King, for abetting the arson! The Pandya King was afflicted by 'Veppu Noi', possibly of high fever! That was only to retrieve the King back in to mainstream as a devotee of Siva.

134. Newton's Law says that 'action and reaction are equal and opposite. This law is a finding by Re-search by Newton (and not his creation!) A law that was already existing as a part of the theory of Karma! Let me explain. Not only actions have that effect. Even thoughts have that effect. In addition one has to take into consideration the power of a disciplined mind over other minds and the forces of Nature. Thus Karma theory is equally applicable in the mental, metaphysical and physical plane. A part of that, knowingly or unknowingly, has been identified by Newton as applicable in the physical plane.

135. A point for correct understanding here. 'Reaction is equal and opposite' is not to be understood as qualitatively opposite but only in direction. When you throw a ball against a wall, the ball comes back with the same force but in the opposite direction. But if you throw a ball, you cannot expect a flower bouquet in return! Your good thoughts will generate favourable responses. You reap what you sow. Your unconditional love will generate good will. You cannot do a sinful act and expect to benefit. That is the Law of Paapa (sinful acts) and Punya (meritorious acts), which remains applicable now and forever!

136. If this Nature was simply a physical phenomena, the Sun would have cooled down to inertness many millions of years back say the scientists! Somehow the heat continues to be generated from inside the Sun. There are many guesses being forwarded as postulates for this. The oldest postulate is that it is the power of God or Easwara. It is this power that for the universal Dharma continues to nurture Sun with undiminishing heat. Though the scientists may carry on raising questions and finding answers for that, they will finally arrive at the question of 'origin' of the Universe, the blind end. There are some greats like Einstein who call it the power of God with all their reverence and humility. Man's discipline of mind, thoughts and action or the lack of it; is yet another aspect of the same divine power and order.

137. In Vishnu Sahasranama Phala Sruthi, it is beautifully brought out that, the order of the inanimate world and the order of human nature are both held up by or borne by the power of Dharma. The way the stars, planets and galaxies are held up in their places in space; the way the oceans are held without spilling over from the round earth; the way the Directions are held in space without any reference point; is all by the subtle power of the God who is of the form of Dharma, the Rightness of things! "dyough: sa chandra-arka-nakshatra: kam disho bhoor-mahodadih: I vasudevasya veeryena vidrutaani mahaatmana: II"

138. Having said that it is the vitality of Vasudeva which is holding all this in place in space, it goes on to say that, this man who is of the animate Chaitanya Prapancham, his senses, mind, intelligence, character, liveliness, strength, bravery, the physical being that is the 'kshetra' and the indwelling 'kshetragna' the Atma; are all of the form of Vasudeva. "indriyaani mano bhuddhi: sat-tvam tejo bhalam dhruti: I vasudevaatmakaan-yaahu: kshetram kshetragna eva cha II". So it is all of the form of God, inside and outside, here there and everywhere, both animate and inanimate, then, now and forever!

139. Even the seemingly lifeless, inanimate and inert materials of this world and universe, are all inter connected and tied up in the path of Dharma by the power of God. At the top of the animate world of living things are the human beings, who have a mind of their own with freedom and option to do good or bad. The most important point in this is the fact that, Man has the option to successively correct and discipline and ennoble himself. In that the helpful adjuncts are the Saastraa-s. In them the Aachaara-s are the foremost. That sloka is like a full stop to the series of talks on Aachaara that I have been giving in the past few days:- "sarvaagamaanaam aachaara: pratamam parikalpate I Aachaara-prabhavo dharmo dharmasya prabhur-achyuta: II" , For all the Aagamaa-s, that is the Saastraa-s, the first step is the discipline of Aachaara, from which Dharmam evolves. The Lord of Dharma is Achyutam the God. Achyuta means the static and steady basis of all existence. Everything else can move, change, metamorphose, transform and vary only when there is one thing at least remains without variation! That is Achyuta.

140. Thus the universe of living beings and non-living things have been systematically coalesced in to uniformity of oneness, through the discipline of Aachaara. Through Aachaara, our individual life, family life, social life and the existence of all animate beings and inanimate things; are to get cohesiveness! However much modern you may get, you cannot undo or undermine the value of discipline in all our dealings with each other, other living beings and seemingly lifeless material world! That is Dharma inculcated by the Aacharaa-s. May that God Vasudeva, Achyuta grant us that.



Sunday, May 17, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 88 (Vol # 3) Dated 16 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 88 (Vol # 3) Dated 16 May 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 388 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.)

119. Achievements of the Past & Present Degradation! Till we were all following the dictates of the Saastraa-s, that is, till the common man was generally disciplined and observed his part of the Karma Anushtaana, and the leaders were also adhering to the 'Nitya Karma Anushtaana' sans attachments, this country was a model of excellence in Dharma, Devotion, Gnaana, culture, civilization, arts, sciences, handicrafts and hospitality, as borne out by history. Since the so called Reformers started their messing about, we have been on a downward spiral. On the pretext of raising the lot of the common man, downtrodden and deprived, we have all been hurtling down, with no end in sight!
120. In imagining the upliftment of the masses, we are finding the equality in the rock bottom. When the fully realised Saints, who were Rishis of effulgent Atma Gnaana, despite being totally free of the need to do any Karma, were still abiding with all the requirements of Karma Anushtaana; the country was not only far advanced spiritually, but were also much admired world over for their achievements in Astronomy, Mathematics, Medicine, Sculpture, Fine Arts of Dance, Drama and Music; Literature, Economics, Foreign Trade across the seas and so on! There is no truth whatsoever in accusing us of being a backward nation, for our belief in 'Mayawaad'. Yes, the whole world including you, me, them, this and that; are all unreal maya. But that belief is at the highest levels of inner comprehension of the reality. In the practical 'vyavahaaric' level, we took the world and all that it contains quite seriously; with the firm belief that it is all manifestations of God! So, we gave the utmost importance to the highest moral standards, with which we dealt with every one else and everything else.
121. It is only under the Muslim rule and then under the British rule; when the Hindu society was subjugated and the whole country came under foreign rule. It is only since then, that we have come to be considered as a backward nation! The backwardness was not due to our culture or philosophy or Aachaara-s! If the English based education was the penultimate nail in the coffin, the up-start reform movements from within the country and from within the Hindu religion, for some sincere and some insincere reasons, was the last proverbial nail! The common man who would progressively cleanse and ennoble himself, was left scot free in the name of freedom. Then there was no stopping this country from the vicious cycle.
122. There are people to claim differently. Their argument runs on the following lines. "You may say that we have lagged behind in religious matters. But in matters of Science, both pure and applied; atomics, electronics, information technology, business management, engineering, avionics, space exploration and medicine and so on; we have progressed by leaps and bounds!" I agree with you on the above. But the question remains, 'as to at what cost?' In the name of freedom from the observance of the Aachaara-s, we have economically and financially become slaves of the western nations! Where we have lost is in moral standards! What was known as 'Dharma Bhoomi', has become one of the most corrupt countries. You can claim progress in commerce. But if you hear the comments of those who are importing from us, you will have to have second thoughts! "These Indians send some quality samples. Then they despatch sub-standard materials! They are morally corrupt." Such is their comments about India. Even in joint scientific experiments, they do not trust the Indians fully. In the olden times due to self imposed discipline, our foundations were strong on which the mammoth edifices of arts and sciences, name and fame could be built up! Without that strength of such foundations, what ever progress are seemingly being made, are likely to fall like a pack of cards!
123. I feel sad that the essential tool of character building in the common man, the Vaidik Aachaara-s, has been done away with, so easily that people have absorbed the idea as though it is a 'veda vaak', that is a decree as given in the Veda-s! There is no need to discuss this subject any further with arguments and counter arguments. What ever I have said already in the past 12 e-mails are all not required at all! How do you decide as to whether a medicine is effective on a patient or not? As long as the medicine is being given, the disease is under control and when you stop the medication there is deteriration in the patients condition. Do you need any more proof? Exactly similarly, till the old customs and traditions of old aachaara-s were there, there was much progress in all fields and more than anything else there was unity and discipline! Do we need any more proof of the fact that this national body is sick and the Aachaara-s are not to be meddled with anymore!
124. The moment you stop the medicine one time, if there is relapse of the disease, don't you realize that the medicine has to be restarted? Once you have renegged on Saastraa-s and Aachaara-s, there has been loss of peace and tranquility, in both individual and social lifes. Even now if people do not understand the symptoms and the remedy, what can be done? It is the leaders of the society, who are refusing to see the writing on the wall! Yes, it is always difficult to accept that one's mistakes. When the whole ship is ready to sink, should we not try and salvage what we can? Still there is time. At least you are listening to my saying this. Instead of just listening, you should be energized in to action! It is not enough to hear the weather forecast that here is to be a storm. You have to take action to safe guard against likely damages. Over many thousands of years, the religious aachaara-s have been protecting the mass of this country on the straight and narrow path of Dharma. That you have heard me, has to be shown in action, at least from now onwards.
125. "sikhaam sootram cha pundram cha samaya aachaarameva cha I poorvai: aasrita: kuryaat anyataa patito bhavet II" A simple 'kudumi' hair style, a 'poonool' of three threads, 'naamam or vibhuti' on the forehead and things like that; please follow the foot path of our ancestors, lest you become a fallen angel! We consider God to be the 'patia paavana', the saviour of the downtrodden. At least you may remember the song made famous by Mahatma Gandhi, "...patita paavana sitaram...". That Sri Ram was a stickler for the injunctions of the Saastraa-s. Instead of falling too low and giving Him too much work, let us move in the direction shown by our forefathers and pray to Him to lift us and protect us.
126. Our Aachara-s have come to us with no information as to who evolved those and when! We know of only of the recent Guru-s such as, Adi Sankara, Sri Ramanuja Acharyar, Sri Madhvar, Sri Chitanyar and so on. Prior to that except for some names, we do not know as to who authored which sampradaya! Unlike Christianity, Sikhism and Muslim religion, there is no proper recording of these things. If the traditions of those religions are like the highway of the modern world, with records of which engineer laid the roads and opened by which leader. Ours are like the foot tracks of yore. The macadam tar road may look very impressive. But, it is the foot path which can take you to the destinations untravelled by many!
127. The foot path becomes better with usage. It does not need periodic repairs except some sweeping. No possibility of an accident. It will never finish in a blind alley! It is an open path polished by our ancestors by walking over it. Though it may not have much pomp and show, but very comfortable. With an easy walk it will take you to the final destination of all destinations! Even in places where you may not be able to lay a road, it is this foot path of our ancestorrs' aachara, that will enable to reach even places other wise inaccessible!

(To be continued.)



Friday, May 15, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 87 (Vol # 3) Dated 14 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 87 (Vol # 3) Dated 14 May 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 384 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.)

110. This 'sreshtan', that is, the superlative human being who is a Gnaani as well as a Bhakta, has to come down to the level of the common man and show by example as to how the common man is supposed to lead his life! Though for the Gnaani, it is an unwanted come down, he does become easier to emulate. The common man is already at the lowest rung of the human beings. He may descend to further lower levels of existence, only if he does not follow the Karma as given in the Saastra-s. Once he starts doing the aachaara-s as given in the Saastraa-s, he has already got on to the first step on the ladder for climbing up from where he is.

111. So, though these Aachaara-s at the initial stages give only mundane returns, they are fulfilling an important purpose of keeping the senses from going astray, on the one hand and successively cleansing his mind on the other. The 'sreshtan' who is above all this need for a return from the Karma-s, has to observe these aachaara-s sincerely without any attachments. Seeing him, the common man wishing to emulate, finds it easy to follow suit. He may find it difficult to copy actions such as Dhyaana and Atma Vichara! He has neither the time nor the aptitude, as yet for such things. As he matures he may do that also! But since the returns of other aachaara-s are more apparent, he will find it easy to emulate despite the efforts involved. So, as he does these Karma-s, there is the apparent worldly gains ('Drushta Phala') and the not so very apparent gains of cleansing of the mind and slow erosion of desire for them and attachments (Adrushta Phala'). Thus the gains indirectly include some returns for the society such as the individual's discipline, the family's being taken care of and awakening of interest in the society's wellbeing! This is the 'nish kaamya karma'. The route for that is through 'kaamya karma'!
112. The 'sreshtan' who is at a higher level, for motivating the common man, has to show the way by doing 'nish kaamya karma' without attachments. Even if this 'sreshtan' does not point out the direction, people will always keep doing something or the other, wanting this or that. They do not stop from such activities even for a moment. " hi kaschit kchanamapi jaatu tishtat akarmakrit..." Because, Nature that is the Maya tying them up in the knots of 'satva-rajo-tamo guna-s' causes them to endless actions. "...kaaryate hyavasa: karma: sarva prakrutijair gunai:...", says Bhagawat Gita [3.5.].

113. So, even when this Vidvaan or Sreshtan are not there to act as a role model and demonstrate exemplary behaviour; the average mass of people are likely to keep on doing something or the other for the sake of their own satisfaction. This energy is being canalized through the disciplined modes as approved by the Saastraa-s. Though the 'kaamya Karma' that is , the satisfaction of desires is the objective, the means of doing so, instead of being left to individual whims and fancies, is made to follow the path as approved by the Saastraa-s. There by the means of doing so is up-graded in value.

114. Though the action is aimed towards satisfaction of desires, it is moderated by the dictates of the Saastraa-s. "Get up at 4 AM in the morning. Take a cold water bath. Let the food be not too spicy or non-veg. So many restrictions on food and drinking habits. Restrictions on dress, behaviour, language and so on!" Such control is not likely to be there when you are free wheeling! When control is lost, indiscipline and dirt increases. The same when done with discipline increases peace and cleanliness. When you act as per your whims and fancies, pride and conceit increases. There is no place for reverence and devotion there. The actions as per the Saastraa-s, makes you understand that the 'Phala Dhaata' is not a random chance but, God Himself. That slowly but surely inculcates a sense of gratitude towards that God! He does not need our gratitude. We need to develop such attitude to grow in to maturity ourselves!

115. Sugar Coated Pills. The way the individual being is cajoled into better behaviour and disciplined attitude, is like using sugar coated pills being given to cure our illness. The gains of 'kaamya phala' are the sweet sugar coated pills. The child does not know that too much sugar is not good for his health. Similarly majority of the individuals are not aware that they are likely to fall by the way side, due to their over indulgence. The Rishis the path finders of the Saastraa-s, out of their infinite love of the common man, wish to correct him without violently turning him about. Their message is that, 'this is activities approved by the Saastraa-s by doing which you can gain all your desired results. But, going for desired results means that you have to face many hazards. As you get the desired results through controlled disciplined actions, the aim is to get over the urge. The child does not know initially that the sweet pill has medicine inside. Later he gets over the need for satisfying the urges as well as the need for the medicines!

116. Another factor. Though here Lord Sri Krishna has spoken about 'Kaamya Karma', as you start doing the activities as given in the Saastraa-s, there are also some 'Nish Kaamya Karma-s' too. For example, there is Sandya Vandanam, required do be done thrice a day. It does not say as to what is the effect for doing it. But, it is very well emphasized that not doing Sandya Vandanam is sinful. Fearing this people are under compulsion to do this daily ritual. As you do many things for apparent gains, you are compelled to do certain things out of fear of the demerits. (It is interesting to note however that Sandya Vandanam contains a beautiful collection of ideas, concepts and mantras, from all over the Veda-s. Actually doing this one Nitya Karma, even without knowing the meaning, is enough to take you across the 'Bhava Saagaraa', as it contains the 'Ashtanga Yoga' of 'Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi'. More than anything else, it contains the japa of Gayatri Mantra. Elsewhere, Kanchi Sankaracharya, the Periyaval has said that, for a person initiated in to Gayatri Japa, no other Mantra is ever required! If doing Sandya Vandanam without understanding a word of it is good enough, doing it with understanding the meaning of each and every word, is immensely beneficial to the individual, the family and the society!)

117. High Pinnacles of Excellence of the Past & Abysmal Nadir Reached Now. What some of the reformers recommend now is that, no body including the common man need to do any of the traditional Aachaara-s as given in the Saastraa-s. They should all be treated at par with a Gnaani and be discussing the finer subtle points of 'Tattva Vichara'! What the Saastraa-s and Bhagwan Sri Krishna say is the exact opposite that, the Gnaani too at par with all, should be doing the Karma as required in the Saastraa-s! Both are talking of equality, from totally different view points!

118. Who is correct, the reformists / neo-swamiji-s or Saastraa-s / Bhagwan Sri Krishna? For an answer all that we have to do is to look at recent history and compare it with the state of affairs as obtaining these days! We will talk about this in the next edition of the Deivathin Kural!

(To be continued.)



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 86 (Vol # 3) Dated 12 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 86 (Vol # 3) Dated 12 May 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 para on page 378 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.)

101. End Effect. So, all said and done, all these various reformation movements recommend removal of many of the old customs and traditions and replace them with new ones. Like the 'cat which has tasted the milk', once trained in breaking rules and regulation, people fearlessly break the new ones too! All the work done is for selfish interest with a boost for, 'I, Me and Mine'! When you liberalize the severity of the Karma, the result is also a watered down version. Chitta Shuddhi remains as elusive as ever. When you say, 'No Karma only Vedanta', laziness and sloth is the result. When Aachaara is given up, Unaachaara infiltrates, since there is no effective filtration! Eating and drinking whatever you wish, rabble rousing, sinfulness and hypocrisy are all the End Effects.
102. “The well read knowledgeable people of the society should not thus mislead the proletariat and release them in to the flow of Adharma”, warns Krishna in Gita. I started this subject from that point. Then I have touched on many issues, all of them bearing on the main issue of ‘Observance of Samaya Aachara’. People have to work. They have to work to earn a livelihood. In doing so, they have to always look at the possible gain in every action of theirs. In their condition, the highfaluting language of, ‘nish kaamyam’ that is non expectance of gains; ‘naish karmyam’ that is non-observance of karma and rituals; ‘dhyana’ and ‘gnaana’ etc., will not work. I told you that Bhagwan has said all this in Gita. I also told you that those who recommend these are ‘avidvaamsa:’, meaning, unlettered proletariat!
103. So, what should those learneds 'vidvaamsa:' do? Should they also recommend cutting down on Karma and directly jump to 'dhyaana'? Sri Krishna Bhagwan Himself recommends 'Karma Sannyaasa' burning off all actions to ashes through Gnaana! But, that He does much later in the Sadhak's development into maturity, in the end. In the early stages what is His advice? He says, I quote, "...avidvaamso yataa kurvanti Bhaarata kuryaat vidvaam-stataa..." He calls Arjuna by the National name of Bhaarata, as though He is addressing all the people of India. Here He tells some thing very interesting! The learned leaders of maturity should do exactly like the common man does, when it comes to Karma Anushtaana. They should not stand apart as though they are above all requirements to do so, though they are! Normally the proletariat will be told to copy the leaders. But here He is advising that the Leaders should lead by example as to how the mass should go about doing their duties very sincerely! He clearly says that the Gnaani should also do as the Agnaani does, when it comes to Karma Anushtana.
104. The Agnaani is attached to the desired results; he does all the Karma-s as given in the Saastraa-s, for the purpose of getting fruits of his labour only. Bjhagwan says that the Gnaani should also do all those Karma-s. Yes, the Gnaani should not be attached to the gains obtainable through these Karma-s as they are the entrance portals of Hell. He puts a qualifying clause that the Gnaani should be doing all those actions 'sans attachment'! I quote, "...kuryaat vidvaan tataa asakta:..." . That last word 'asakta:' meaning 'sans attachment'.
105. Earlier while talking about all the 'avidvaamsa:' He starts with the word 'saktaa:', meaning those with attachment. Whatever those with attachment to sensual pleasures and minor gains do as Karma Anushtaanaa-s, should also be done by these 'vidvaan-s' 'sans attachment'. Why should he do so, when as a Gnaani, he has attained to the highest gain? How can he be doing these actions of Agnaani-s? If those are your questions, Bhagwan says that he should not do so for the sake of the gains for himself but, for the sake of the rest of the people of the world!-- "...chikeershu: loka sangraham...". The word "sangraham" is very close to the word 'secure', a word often used by the Navy. They secure whatever is on the ship against the buffetting of the topsy turvy seas, lest they are lost for ever. Exactly similarly, with the utmost care, the Gnaani who has risen above the normal wants of the world, secures the other souls not yet attained to Realization, against the likely ups and downs of the 'samsaara saagara!'
106. Yes the Gnaani should not be having desires and or attachments. But God's Grace is evident through his actions. He causes him to have the compassion for the others and work for their up-liftment! He causes the Gnaani to wish to secure these 'not - yet - realized - souls' against the pitfalls of this world.
107. That is, so as to raise the common man to higher levels of understanding, the Gnaani too has to do all the Karmas as ordained in the Saastraa-s. He has to be a role model, motivating the common man to emulate him. They will develop an interest in things such as Gnaana and Bhakti only much later as they mature. They just cannot have a taste in things such as that, as yet! Even to do the Karma as required, they need to be motivated. For them to become like him, he has to become like them first. This Gnaani who is also a devotee, though has gone much beyond the need for attachment to Karma-s, has to act as though, he is still interested in the gains of Karma! (Exactly opposite to many to-day, who are play acting as though they have gone beyond all Karma and have become experts in Vedanta!)
108. The question that can be raised now is, "wouldn't they be liable to be accused of hipocracy?" No. In reality, for him there is no difference between inside and outside. Gnaana is a state of total detachment. Nothing sticks to him, neither a praise nor an accusation! Another explanation. He is not play acting as a Vedantin. He is not interested in self aggrandisement. He is in a state of thoughtless, actionless fullness. Despite being in a state of not having to do any more action, out of infinite kindness to others, he is ating as though he is also still bound by the ties of Karma! This is the highest level of 'thyaga' and not 'mithyaachaara'.
109. OK. Why should he come down from his high pedestal and act as all aspirants are required to do? I said that he has to do that, so as to be role model for being emulated. Bhagwan Sri Krishna says that there is an inherent urge in all people to emulate the role models of people who are considered great and excellent. But, if the role model's actions are too difficult to copy, then they may fail in their efforts and to cover up their failure, may try and play act.. It is for this reason that, the real leader of men will come down to their level and do things in a way that is possible to be copied. Bhagwan says in Gita [3.21.], "yad yad aacharati sreshta: tat tat eva itaro jana:..."
(To be continued.)


Monday, May 11, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 85 (Vol # 3) Dated 10 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 85 (Vol # 3) Dated 10 May 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 374 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.)
93. People get the wrong impression that whatever these Swamiji-s do is the way that it is to be done! They are all deeply reluctant to leave the original religion to which they belong. So they do use the bells and conches while doing the pooja-s, do Akhanda Parayana of religious scripts, conduct elaborate Yaaga-s and Yagna-s in much large scales. People get the impression that these are the real propagators of the Hindu Religion and so join them! To clinch the issue, these Swamiji-s call forth qualified experienced Pandits of well established reputation in Sanatana Dharma and practices of Aachaara and conduct Vidvat Sadas. These experts in Veda-s are honoured with awards and remuneration! So, the observers of the spectacle are motivated to join, thinking that thereby they are also making up for reneging their duties earlier. What they do not realize is that these are all mainly publicity stunts!
94. What happens when get closer to the facts? Though the scale and magnitude is definitely higher, there are many deviations from what is given in the Saastraa-s! Most importantly, in the name of equality, not so well qualified persons are given various important posts such as Hodha, Brhma and so on. Then as a matter of convenience, certain liberties are taken with rules of restrictions and penances. Come to think of it, our own Saastraa-s talk of many alternatives in materials used and procedures to make it as 'devotee friendly' as possible. Still in these large scale conduct of Yaaga / Yagnaa-s, the deviation in materials used and procedures are far from the acceptable!
95. When you are conducting an experiment in the lab for example, you cannot play around with the parameters such as temperatures, duration, materials, dresses and equipment to be used and so on! If you do, the results will never be as predicted by Science in earlier such endevours. You cannot have personal opinions on such things. The same applies to Karma-s as per the Saastraa-s too! If you do something out of the way, something awfully goes wrong, some equipment fails and people may even get badly injured! With the Karmic experiments the immediate effects that go wrong are not necessarily evident! So it gives you the mistaken notion that you can experiment in any outlandish way! This is the difference between Science and Saastraa-s. The effects of experimentation in Science are immediately seen - 'Drushtam'. In the case of Saastraa-s the results are not-seen - 'Adrushtam'! The beneficial effects when you do correctly and the adverse effects when you play around with the rules; remain not so very evident. After all God is known to be an actor behind the scenes. When so many Yagna-s, mass Parayana-s, Laksha / Koti (Lac / Crore) Archana-s and such are being conducted, the very fact that there is a vast increase in chaotical occurrences of disturbances, natural and unnatural calamities; is indicative of the ineffectiveness of such experiments in the application of Karma as per Saastraa-s!
96. Modern Vedantins. Instead of going away from the religion separately, there are another set of people who claim to be the true protectors of our Religion. They recommend discarding and disposing all the Karma-s as non-essentials, while retaining only the 'Philosophy' portion called the Vedanta. For them everything other than Vedanta is all the husks and riff-raff to be discarded! Without Anushtaana Karma, we can never raise the 'Aam Aadmi' the Common Man, successively over a number of life times (unseen) or in one life time (seen); to the level of 'Chitta Shuddhi' required for realization of any of the points of Vedanta that they talk about! Without 'Chitta Shuddhi' not a word of the Vedanta can be comprehended in the right perspective! I do not mind endlessly repeating myself that without relentless hard work 'Chitta Shuddhi' can never be yours, without which Vedanta can never be understood, comprehended, absorbed or assimilated! That is why even these Vedantins who got rid of all Karma, made the followers work at handicrafts or spin threads from cotton or some such manual labour, to keep them busy!
97. The point I am making is that, these efforts to reform this very scientific religion are all exercises in futility. Instead our minds should be working towards how well to do one's duties as ordained in the Saastraa-s as per the caste, creed, Jaati, family job or profession in which we are born! Saastraa-s initially has given the man that sort of a Karma, to suit his mental attitudes and physical capabilities, so as to enable him to gain means to satisfy his sensual urges and physical needs. Thus over a period, the pull of these senses lessen. As the mind becomes cleansed, the need to work out your Karma-s become less and less, when meditation becomes easy and natural and you attain to the level of 'Krita Krutyaha', meaning, 'one who has done what ever he was required to do!' Instead, if you start from the beginning on the lines of Dhyana and Vedanta, what happens?
98. Instead of answering this question in my own words, let me quote what Sri Krishna Bhagawan says in Gita [3.6.] I quote:- "karmendriyaani samyamya ya aaste manasaa smaran I Indriyaartaan vimoodhaatma mityaachaara : sa uchyate II" That means: If you say 'There is no realization in work and so we can forget about all this work and directly enter into meditation at the mind level, that is Dhyana, what does the mind do? Does it think of God who is anyhow unthinkable? It simply thinks of those sensual pleasures only; ['indriyaartaan manasaa smaran'] . Unless the whole system is cleansed through sincere hard work involving all the senses, the mind will never raise above its base inclinations!"
99. Outside, this individual may be identified with many superlatives as a great 'Philosopher, Tattvagnaani, Rishi, Bhagwan' and so on. (Especially now-a-days with the proliferation of the printed media and all the TV channels covering News, they seem to have only the superlative degree of comparison in all their expressions!) Whatever such adjectives added to their names, however much they may shine on paper and or speech, they are all 'vimoodhaatma' says Bhagwan! He calls them 'idiots'!
100. Not only that! This man whom we value as a great thinker, philosopher and reformer, who is saving us from blind beliefs and inane rituals, He calls him 'mityaachaara:', simply a hypocrite who does not practice what he preaches and does not know what he is talking! In Tamil this man is known as "vaay vedaanti", 'one who speaks of Vedanta only in talk! He has forsaken all Karma and says that everything depends upon The cleanliness of the mind. But he is play acting as a great Vedantin! He talks of high ideals while his mind is wallowing in base desires and sensual gratification only! I am very sad to be telling you all this. But, the fact remains that while they are all the time talking about Vedanta, their actions are not so much above board and rather full of lapses. Let those who follow the Aachaara-s be not very intelligent, somewhat selfish with not much of compassion in them. But, at the least they are not so full of lapses. That is the power of discipline inculcated by the Aachaara-s!
(To be continued.)


Friday, May 08, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 84 (Vol # 3) Dated 08 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 84 (Vol # 3) Dated 08 May 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 370 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.)
83. As I said earlier, in the time tested traditions of Aachaara, there is the strength of heuristic principles over years of experience refined by trial and error with sensible application of repeated corrections attaining to perfection, custom made to each individual. The point to be understood is that on the one hand there is universal oneness in the innate essence of all animate and inanimate existence. Simultaneously on the other hand, it is also true that every individual entity across the micro and macro cosmos, are unique. There is no leaf or iota or hair or thumb impression or the signature made in the retina of the eye like any other, anywhere, anytime! Hindu Dharma Aachaara caters for both this oneness and uniqueness! Read that para again and try and understand every word of it!
84. This can never be so in any of the systems created by these neo-reformers. The point I am making is that constant and continuous reformation has been inherent in the Hindu system of Aachaara-s. But in the methodologies newly created by any of these modern leaders, who may be great themselves with any or all of the 'Ashta Maha Siddhi-s', this weight and strength of the Aachaara-s cannot be there! They may be able to inspire and cleanse some of the close followers who have surrendered to them, but not all. But what the Hindu system could do to all and sundry over a long period in a slow and steady manner cannot be matched by any other system. Even if that leader as an individual was wonderful and great, the system he creates cannot come any where near the checks and balances of the Hindu Aachaara in terms of optimization and effectiveness! Then what happens after that leader is no more? Hinduism is not so dependent on one leader and his life time work!
85. In the Dharma Samsthana-s of the Hindu Religion like this Kamakoti Peetam, the individual head of that organization is not so very important. Whosoever is the head of such organizations at any time, it is the 'sampradaaya Aachaara Anushtana-s(traditional, ritual observances), principles and conceptual Siddhahnta-s; which are more important. The 'peetadipadhi' the head of such organizations gets his power by years of faultless observances of all the Aachaara-s by his predecessors as well as himself! It is this power which enables him to help wash and launder the generations of dirt accumulated by the followers. It is for this purpose that all the Aachaara-s are for. Yes it is a tall order to observe them all. Dosage of the medicine is as per the seriousness of the disease, is it not so? Some of the diseases may need surgery. Saastram does this also! Depending on the number of wounds, the patient may require many bandages. So do the Saastraa-s tie you up in knots of bandages as the only way of restraining this mind which is ever ready to run away far!
86. These modern Swamiji-s generally speak in the following mode. "All that Aachaara are not required. No need for fasting. Everything is the blessings of God only. Eat what you want. What is there in wearing a Dhoti in Pancha Kacham style? God is not concerned about what you wear. He is concerned only with your attitude." Saying these sort of things, they encourage dilution of all efforts with some singing of Bhajan-s, Japa and Dhyana. May be their Love and power of blessing may help some for some time. But when every soul is having enormous accumulations of balance Karmic accounts to settle, how long lasting can these Swamiji-s influence be? May be some temporary peace and some relief. Those who come after them can neither keep the erstwhile standards nor can their followers avoid the impression that Hinduism is an easy going proposition!
87. If you chant 'Rama' once is enough. Lalita Sahasra Namam does say, "sukhaaraadya" and "sulabha gati:"; meaning 'easily venerated and easily attained'! But to say that God is easily obtained is meant to encourage and save people from despondency and hopelessness. Of course God's capability is not the point under doubt. Once we surrender totally or get the deep conviction of His Omniscience and Omnipotence, there is no problem. All the problem is for our own minds to be convinced of the fact of God's immanence here, there and everywhere! So, some can attain to great Gnana, seemingly with no or little efforts. But, that is no logic for all and sundry to give up all their efforts of traditional Aachaara.
88. To make people go by the short cut is alright in some cases. But that cannot be the way of the world. 99% of people will have to go through the primary, secondary, higher and advanced stages of learning in any discipline, if they wish to progress. So, it is clear that dilution of Aachaara-s has had very injurious effect on the entire society. 'You do not need to wear glasses to know that there is an abscess in your palm,' is a Tamil proverb. Dilution of Aachaara has neither let people become non-believers in religion, nor has it let them progress. The net result is rather negative. To-day, it is a small percentage who are wholly non-believers or wholly dependent on Sanatana Aachaara-s. Majority of people are all followers of some Swamiji or the other. Under this condition, if there is a general watering down of all social and religious norms; what does it mean?
89. Some as per old Aachaara-s and some actions as per modern ideas; is the hotchpotch arrangement prevalent to-day. Though there seems to be some good in this, net result is negative. Leaving the old Aachaara-s will result in 'falling from what ever level one has evolved up to' as I said earlier, 'patito bhavet'! Nothing can be worse than that!
90. Another argument put forward is that we should have 'catholicity'! That is, we should have more universality and liberality as against being orthodox. But, that is a matter of one's mental attitude. But in action you cannot mix different procedures and rules. Can you for example mix the Rules of the Football game with the game of Cricket? If you accept tradition it has to be total acceptance and not partial. If you accept some and leave some, it is the logic and reason that suffers. In the relation between the Guru and Disciple or Husband and Wife; if for some things there is implicit obedience and for certain other things there is independence; will it not be a funny situation? But when the surrender is complete, even if the Guru / Husband does not fully deserve, the disciple / wife still benefit immensely!
91. Similarly, even if some not so very acceptable aspects are there in a tradition, leaving them aside, if you can totally manage to dissolve your 'Ahankaara', you may find the other shore! But if you endevour to make changes in the tradition, this very 'Ahankaara' may infiltrate and assume gigantic self importance and corrupt the whole process! When each Swamiji has objection to some aspect and no uniformity between them, the question still to be addressed is as to which one to follow and which one to discard?!
92. "We are also doing Yaagaa-s, Yagna-s and Veda Parayana", they say. I rather feel that it would have been far far better had they refrained from doing so! By doing these things, people are duped that it is the tradition to do so!
(More about this in the next e-mail.)


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 83 (Vol # 3) Dated 06 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 83 (Vol # 3) Dated 06 May 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 364 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.)
72. Contrary to getting 'Chitta Shuddhi' and scaling down of one's greed, the exact opposite happens when you are successful in your efforts through agitations and strikes! You get used to the idea that you are able to manipulate the management or government through such means. So you try various methods to further threaten for more and more demands and privileges which become rights in your perspective! So, if you win it leads to more demands and if you lose, it leads to more hate campaigns. Both are dirts in the mind. So far I talked about the social reform movements. Now let me talk about the religious reform movements. What is this reform aimed at?
73. On the name of equality, they wish to raise everyone to the highest level of religious understanding and comprehension. Everybody has the freedom to do so, OK! But that very idea causes loss of humility and instigates conceit! Their leaders label all tradition as orthodoxy or superstition and encourage breaking away from them. Their followers get further ahead and are ready to break any and every rule, including the Do's and Don'ts of their own leaders. This only leads to lack of discipline and purposefulness! Another odd and funny observation!
74. All government leaders, intellectuals and press, pay encomiums of praise for the pioneers of such movements, celebrate their birthdays, give write ups in news papers and magazines, install their statues and bring out postal commemoration stamps and so on. But if you carefully observe as to who are the hard core followers of such movements, you will find that the majority of them are only fence sitters. 90% of them are vary of leaving the so called orthodox, superstitious Hindu religion!
75. While I am saying this with a bit of pride, I know that this is more a case of being slighted and insulted! Remaining in the traditional Hindu religion, they shout the slogans for the reforms. What does it mean? It means that they do not have the courage of convictions for either continuing with the tradition or adopting the new system! This is as good as double disloyalty! This mistake is done by not only the common man but by some pseudo modern leaders of very high reputation that they are thought to be great. Knowingly or unknowingly they are responsible for such double dealings!
76. Since I am the head of a traditional religious institution, my this statement I know will immediately provoke a response from others that it is a case of vested interest! Despite that likely criticism, as it is wrong not tell what I sincerely feel, I am making this statement. Now-a-days there are many Swami-s who have come in to being. They do not say or claim that they have come out of the parent body of Hinduism and evolved in to a new religion of reform. If they have any organization on their names, they still do not separately identify themselves as Brhma Samaj and Arya Samaj people do! Their situation is very similar to the majority of people who keep adhering to Hinduism because they do not have the courage of conviction to leave!
77. These Swamiji-s claim themselves to be representatives of the Sampradaya Sanatana Dharma of Hinduism only! They do talk of Veda-s and Upanishad-s very knowledgeably. They edit and publish books on all such subjects. They celebrate all Hindu festivals and conduct Bhajan-s and Yaaga-s and Yagna-s. Looking at all this, their work seems even better than what we do in the traditional organizations such as ours. Their work seems like a revival and renaissance of Hinduism. Some of them are endowed with great oratorical capabilities. They are able to put across subtle points and ideas of Vedanta in a manner that is well received and deeply etched in the listener's minds! Still some of them do have the power to forestall accidents and cure people of diseases. So the followers do start doing some of the Anushtana-s that they were required to do originally.
78. So, these Swamiji-s who are not part of the ancient dharma peetam-s, but modern creations of the times, are doing some wonderful work for the revival of the religion, undoubtedly. Especially when some of us are being repeatedly downgraded and derided by the intelligentia and national leaders thereby creating adverse publicity for organizations such as ours in the minds of the modern generation; these Swamiji-s are responsible for retaining some hold and sway over the minds of the modern generations, therby preventing the total collapse of the religion! Let it be so by some Siddhi like powers of theirs or whatever, we have to be thankful for their noticeable contributions in spreading the good words of the religion!
79. Since this is a good business proposition, there is a fair percentage of pseudo Swamiji-s too; and some people may be duped by them! There cannot be a Divine Messenger and Messiah in every road turning. But undoubtedly the number of such is mushrooming. So people may be confused as to, “eththai thinraal pittam theliyum?”, meaning, ‘by eating what insanity will prevail’! As this goes on, foreigners too while decrying Gurudom and Swamidom, are falling on their feet like ants swarming over a piece of jaggery and become their disciples.
80. Just because they could be fake Swamiji-s, we cannot call them all fake either. Whatever else is fake, it is a fact that some people do go to them in search of some relief. Some problem is solved. There is some solution found. To that extent they are utilitarian! He or she may not be true to their own professed ideals and principles. It does not matter. It is a fact that some people are truely benefitting in terms of becoming more devoted and observing some of the Achara Anushtana-s at the least, by listening to them! To that extent it is good.
81. But when it comes to ‘observance of the religious achara-s’, what happens? Most of these Swamiji-s discard and do away with most of the religious rituals. Most of them do not differentiate between caste related observances. Many other Achara Anushtana-s have been discarded as not suitable in modern times by these Swamiji-s. In deciding as to which Achara to be retained and which to be discarded, the factor is rather a matter of convenience. Some are retained as the essential and some done away with! By telling that we the orthodox organizations have ignored the spirit and are clinging on to the skeleton only, they have done away with these Achara-s, which actually form 90% of our religious activities! Thereby they are creating a delusion in people’s minds that what they profess is the correct Hindu Religion!
82. It is here that I feel that the movements which separate from the main stream Hindu Religion are better than organizations which are killing the essence of this religion while sticking on to it in name and form! If you have some differences of opinion, it is better to discuss the same thread bare. If you cannot still gulp some ideas, then it is better to depart amicably. But having differences of opinions on matters clearly spelt out in the Saastraa-s and still adhering to the name and form of Hinduism, and injecting their own ideas in to the religion, is totally unacceptable! This is like the story of the ‘camel which initially put it’s face inside the tent and finally ended up-rooting the tent itself!’ Not only that they have installed themselves, they rather recommend doing away with organizations like ours! We are not worried about protecting ourselves. I am not crying for the death of the traditional Hindu Religion either. But I do feel very bad about the ‘loss of the opportunities of the masses to progressively refine, mature and ennoble themselves, as provided by the Sanatana Hindu Dharma!
(To be continued)


Monday, May 04, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 82 (Vol # 3) Dated 04 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 82 (Vol # 3) Dated 04 May 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 359 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.)
62. From where they are, adjusting to the state of development of their minds, slowly you have to guide them towards higher and higher goals. Saastraa-s are meant to progressively mature and refine their minds, finally leading to a state of perfect equi- poise and clarity. Enroute there are many not essentially spiritual but banal materialistic returns which are also made available, so as to prevent you from getting carried away in their direction! By this process, they get some of their intended returns as well as, getting the unintended 'Chitta Shuddhi', which is like a by-product initially and the intended end-product finally.
63. Even when you go for worldly aims initially you do get to the final aim of 'Chitta Shuddhi'. What have I been saying all the while, in the past six e-mails? I have been telling you that for the sake of worldly equality and material benefits, to try and change the religious traditions is being irresponsible leading to further pollution of the mind. There seems to be some contradiction here. Let us look at it more closely!
64. Three Types of View Points. One view is that the Religion is meant to enable you to get all worldly benefits upto a certain stage. Through that you raise to higher levels. So there is no need for any reform. Another view is that Religion is meant for the highest esoteric level of the Atma and it's realization; so, all other abstruse rituals and procedures should be got rid of. Third is that Religion should be co-opting material advancement, self respect and should be more amenable to logic, reason, and scientific outlook! Whatever is contrary to this in the Religion should be eradicated,refined and reformed! That is, within the felt need for refom there are two views. One is that, the Religion should be so reformed as to make the 'Atma Anubhava' available to all and sundry! The other is to put an end to these talks of 'Atma' and such subjects, not within the purview of reason and logic! But in the aspect of equality between man and man, the latter two are in agreement with each other. So far in my talks, I have been treating these reformers at par, thereby making an error. Now I have a better understanding, which I wish to share with you! Set aside the party which disapproves of Hindu Religion per say. We are talking about the two sides both of which profess social equality for all as well as being anti-Aachara; one for aims of Atma Lakshyam and the other for material, this worldly Lakshyam!
65. The latter mentioned side which professes Equality amongst all human beings and is Anti-Aachara; is all political. Their reps talk of Labour / Student / Women's movements, but they are mainly interested in the political power. In Independent India, people have come to realize the enormous opportunities for exploitation available in the field of politics. That has been the ulterior motive for all. Though they very well know about the differences between social aims and political aims, knowingly or unknowingly everything has become political. We have Indianised Democracy and corrupted it. We have the greatest amount of freedom in this country, upto some extent. If we have the freedom to do good, we also have the freedom to do bad, more than the sort of freedom available in any other part of the world! It is our bad luck that when the not so very bad have refrained from politics as something to be kept at arm's length, the not so very good have taken to politics as fish to water! Let it be so.
66. These social reformers, having set aside the traditional old duties and Achara-s, have got the people highly interested in more and more material advancement, through hook or crook! As part of the process, strikes, demonstrations, disturbances, physical pitched battles, looting and arson; have become a day-to-day affair! These things are also 'Karyam or Karma'. But, how vast the difference between these 'Karma-s' and the 'Karma-s' mentioned in the Saastraa-s such as, Sandya Vandanam, Surya Namaskaram, Archana, Pooja, Yaaga-s and Yagnas, done with a holy attitude with God's blessings and grace in the mind! Both are addressed towards worldly advantages only. While one is a destructive force, the other is a constructive one of peace, harmony and sacrifice. You be the judge and decide as to which is the better 'Karma', to be retained and which one to reform and done away with!
67. The difference lies in the attitude and perspective. When you do business or your profession or house-hold duties, with a sense of humility and beholdenness towards, God, the Deities, ancestors, elders and Saastraa-s; there is a clear acceptance of your part in the cosmic whole! When you do these very things with the sole purpose of selfishness and personal profit, there is a qualitative difference in the approach. In one you are using the very natural forces for understanding and comprehension of that which is beyond as well as within all dimensions of time and space! This-worldly benefits are automatically incidental! In the other approach, you are mainly interesteed in exploitation.
68. When Saastram says do things within these parameters, we refrain from exploitation, wastage and indiscipline. The under current of belief and trust in God, the inherent humbleness and order, causes our minds to be cleansed. As we progress on the path, you grow and mature in to a stage where you could not care less for the minor gains and pleasures of life. Your goal of life refines in to nobler levels. That is the reform needed towards individual perfection. You will agree that between unbounded greed and crass selfishness as suggested by the reformers and the disciplined approach of the traditional Achara-s, there is a vast difference, as between the high pinnacles of the mountains and the nether reaches of the gutters! Now, you be the judge and say as to who needs to be reformed?
69. Thus doing things with ones thoughts centered on God with a trust in the traditional methods is vastly different from, functioning sans reference to God or traditions sans discipline, direction or principles, purely motivated by narrow selfishness! While the former starts the process of 'cleansing one's mind', the latter makes one more and more self centered uncaring for morality and humaneness. I will give you a small example.
70. Let us say that we do some Karma as directed in the Saastraa-s, with proper Aaachara. But the intended purpose is not served for some reason. We do not become frustrated immediately and lose all faith in the system. We console ourselves somehow that we cannot undo the effects of our own Karma and carry on! In a similar situation when our efforts are a failure in the political fields, our reaction is one of further agitations, strikes, bundhs causing destruction! Think of what happens to the 'Chitta Shuddhi' aspect on both the above scenarios!
71. Continuing with the same logic, let us see as to what happens when there is success instead of failure. We did some pooja or prayed in a temple or did some specific Yaaga and got the desired result like some promotion or appointment or clinched a contract. One the one hand we are thankful and show our gratitude by some donation to charity or something like that. But we are shy of repeatedly going back to God for these gains of worldly life. We upgrade our aims and refine our need to demand more and more favours and say, "God! Your's will be done. Why should I keep pestering you with demands?" (To be continued.) Sambhomahadeva.