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.)



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