Wednesday, June 03, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 95 (Vol # 3) Dated 03 June 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 95 (Vol # 3) Dated 03 June 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 435 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://advaitham. blogspot. com constantly updated.)


1, We have been talking about this subject 'Aachaara' for so may issues of Deivathin Kural, that it is interesting to note that we have not clarified exactly as to what these are, except in Vol 1 & 2 of Deivathin Kural series. We have talked about how we are better warned not to become a 'Patitan' by reneging on the set of Aachaara to which we are born! Generally if someone is maintaining his family traditions, we understand that he cares for maintaining some standard for cleanliness of the body and mind, called 'Madi and Vizhuppu'. Here 'Madi' means clean and 'Vizhuppu' means not yet clean. A person is 'Madi', when he has washed and bathed; wearing clean clothes; wearing the dhotie in a particular way known as 'pancha kaccham'; his hair is shaved in the front part of the head; he has long hair at the back of the head known as 'kudumi'; has applied the 'Namam or Vibhuti' in the fore head; wearing his 'Poonool' the sacred thread; for important activities he consults the astrologer or refers to the Panchangam himself; does not frequent the clubs or hotels; does not eat the forbidden foods; or use the forbidden eversilver utensils because it is only made of iron; such a person is understood to be a person of Aachaaram! This is rather a crude definition!

2. These are only the outer signs. All the Do's and Don'ts of a religion are Aachaaraa-s. All the rules and regulations of outer indications, behaviour and inner attitudes are included in it! It is wrong to assume that only the outer signs and behaviour constitutes Aachaaram. The inner attitudes and understanding the why of it are equally or even more important than the outer how of it! Aachaaram mainly contributes to cleanse, ennoble and raise the inner person through the outer activities and rituals. Aachaaram can be translated as, 'ozhukkam' in Tamil, which Thiruvalluvar considers as more important than even ones life! Aachaaram is that path of Dharma which encompasses the inner and outer life so uniformly that it should be guarded as more precious than our life itself! The nearest synonym is a mix of character and conduct, both of which are good and positive. Morality and ethics are mainly concerned with this world of transactions. If you can now include the inner attitudinal aspects to morality and ethics, then you are very close to what we refer as 'Aachaaram'! That includes all actions, signs, rituals, traditions with the rules and regulations of Do's and Don'ts. These seemingly outer actions and behaviour which contributes for inner flowering of the human in his individual, family and social capacities; as evolved by our ancestors is what is 'Aachaaram'!

3. Outer to the Inner. In the philosophical vedanta way, it is the human body which is the outermost. The innermost is the Atma. So, the outermost sphere the body, is the 'anna maya sarira'. The Maha Gnani-s have almost always ignored this outer sphere of exitence. They were so lost to their identity with the body that, they were almost unaware of it. We hear of so many greats, who were dirty, untidy,without bathing or properly dressing up. (Compare this with the amount of time and money we spend on cosmetics these days, in actual life, in the print media, television and the big screen!)

4. Contrary to this, Aachaara requires us to pay attention to physical cleanliness. That one should take bath, wear clean fresh clothes. That we should take clean vegetarian food, neatly and freshly cooked, which is not too spicy and that too in moderate quantities. Over eating and spices that would excite the senses are to be avoided. Thus it starts off with much emphasis on the outer cleanliness and inputs in to the system. Only with such care and control we could one day hope to reach that level of total unconcern for the physical being. With that aim of reaching the inner world of Atma, we start with strict control over the cleanliness of the body, house, surroundings and so on.

5. If we start off with thinking as to what is the need for all this, then it can end only in neither being here nor there! Yes, it is true that Aachaaram on its own does not create or make apparent our inner reality as a direct effect. But one day if we are to reach that level of inner perfection, then it has to begin with bodily, family and social cleanliness, discipline and strict control! Without Aachaaram, it can only end in making that ideal unattainable!

6. It is said that, "...aachaara heenam na punanti vedaa:...". For a person devoid of Aachaaram can never hope to become cleansed to purity through any amount of study of the Veda-s! However much sacred the waters of the Ganges or some such Teerta Sthan, in an utencil of skull bone it will still be cause for abhorrance only! However good the milk, in a bag of animal skin, it will still be undrinkable! However well read you may be in the Saastraa-s, all your expertise is only a waste for your self and the world, without the moderating influences of the good actions of Aachaara-s say the Saastraa-s.

7. Some modern Swamiji-s talk very knowlegeably about the Veda-s and Upanishad-s. With much research and analysis, books are written with extensive cross references of quotable quotes! But that alone cannot give them the authority without the cleansing influences of the Aachaaraa-s in their inner attitude and outer behaviour. Having themselves left the practices of the Aachaara-s there is no value in their advices either. The value of your speech has to be borne by your exemplary behaviour too. For generations after generations a whole pantheon of great Rishis and Saints have shown the path by living it. That is how the words 'Sadaachaaram and Sishtaachaaram' have evolved to indicate the rigorous practice by excellent people of a very high order of discipline and noble intensions of self abnegation for purposes of common good! That is the human asset which endowed India with Sruti Smruti and Purana-s and nurtured the Sanatana Dharma of Hinduism!

8. Whatever anyone may say, the inner self realization through Gnaana and experiencing of God through devotion are both unattainable unless, through intense 'tapasya' one has arrived at that level of inner and outer purity, like Gold being rid of dross through intense heating! Those who say that all Aachaara is about outer peripheral show off, can talk but not come any where near, let alone reach!

9. The Samanya Dharma-s in Aachaara. Out of the five common points of Samnya Dharma, 'Chousam' that is cleanliness is the fourth. The five principles common for all people are 'Ahimsa, Satyam, Astheyam, Chousam and Indriya Nigraham'.

(To be continued. In the meanwhile you may refer to Deivathin Kural (Vol 1) under, "Samanya Dharma-s"; and in (Vol 2) under "40 Samskara-s".




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