Saturday, August 01, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 113 (Vol # 3) Dated 31 July 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 113 (Vol # 3) Dated 31 July 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 503 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.)

159. Not only that there are five types of Snaanam, there are five stages in bathing. That is, the Mukhya Snaanam has five specific parts. They are given in this sloka quoted here:- “sankalpam sukta patanam maarjanam cha agamarshanam I devataa tarpanam cha eva snaanam panchaanga uchyate II”.

160. At the start of any activity, a declaration is made for the information of ’whosoever it may concern’ that, it is being done for the sake of absolution of past sins (as a praayaschiththam of past paapa-s), and so as to please the Ruler of the Universe (parameshwara preetyartam). This is known as ‘Sankalpa’. The first part. So here too sankalpam is done before the activity of Snaanam!

161. The second part is ‘sukta patanam’. This is to chant ‘Veda Sukta-s’. Next is 'marjanam', that is to sprinkle water on oneself with certain mantra-s. That is something like the initial wetting preparatory to the dipping or dunking. This immersion has to be done three times. While doing so, 'Agamarshana Suktam' is to be chanted three times while remaining submerged. If you cannot remain breathless for the period of 'Agamarshana Suktam', to be completed, then you may chant the Gayatri Mantra. This is to be chanted once separately as its five parts, then in two halves and then as a whole. Thus the mantra is to be chanted thrice, for three dunkings. If the water is too cold or you are breathless, then you may simply say three times, the Pranava Mantra of 'vohmm'. This should not be made the daily short cut! That would be tantamount to laziness and deceit. When you are in a hurry, you may use the 'gowna' method, with the regret in your heart for your inability to do it the 'pradhaana' method. Then God helps you in making up for the shortcoming of the 'gowna' method, as well as removes the hurdles in your way. If you are trying to dupe your way, then you are giving the license to God to dupe you! Then you have to do the 'deva-rishi-pithru tarpanam', while still standing in waist deep water. That completes the fifth part of the 'snaanam'!

162. What looks like a simple activity of bathing, has these many definitions and rules of procedure! Every part of life, from the coming into being of a child to disposals of the dead body, without differentiating between them as big or small and or as worldly and spiritual; every small act has been divinified by drawing your attention repeatedly to your inner self, the Atma. That is the way the Aachaaraa-s have been evolved.

163. Taking the simple act of bathing, I told you so many things about its types and parts. Before that I told you as to how you have to make use of 'doorva' grass and 'mruttika' - the earth from the ant hill; in bathing. There are still more rules that I have not spoken to you about! If we were only interested in the outer cleanliness, we can do with soap, shampoo and bathing salts. For the inner cleansing, we need the often unknown, un-understood and not much liked rules given by the most clean Rishi-s in the Saastraa-s.

164. For example, in a river we should face against the current while bathing. In a pond, whatever be the flow in it, we should face the Sun. On occasions when you cannot face the Sun, as while bathing in the night or after pithru-karma-s (aachousam), or after birth of a child (soodakam), we should be facing the East or North. You are not to pass urine or excreta directly in water. Evidently since the same water source like the river or pond may be used by others, this should be done sufficiently away after digging a shallow pit, which should be covered by earth after the act is over. Even when you are having a bath at home near a well or in the bathroom from tap water and bucket, you should face the East and follow as many of the rules as possible. Generally for all Karma-s East is preferred while for pithru-karma-s, it is done facing the South.

165. The Saastraa-s are full of detailed, minute and elaborate instructions on every action during these rituals. I spoke about the direction to face while bathing and other activities just now. For example there are clear instructions on how to sit during various actions. During Dhyana, it is Padmasana. For all other activities it is Suhasana, except for Aachamanam(three sips of water to start with, described hereinafter), when you are to be on your haunches with the two elbows in between the knees. During Sankalpa, your left hand palm should be on your right thigh, enclosed by the right palm, cross wise.

166. During Pranayama, your right hand should be folded in a manner so that, the index and middle finger bend inwards, lightly touching the right nostril with your thumb till inhalation; then while retaining the breath, the thumb and ring fingers should be lightly closing both the nostrils; then slightly easing the pressure of the ring finger during exhalation. This pressure and easing with the fingers alternating, during inhalation and exhalation in the reverse direction next.

167. Similarly there are instructions as to which finger to bend and which one to extend during Aachamanam, and so on. For each there is a measure with limits. For Aachamanam, the water held in the palm of your hand, should be that much only in which a grain of green gram could submerge. For each Tarpanam offering of water with sesame grains, the amount of water should be that much as to fill the horn of a cow, 'go srunga pramanam', say the saastraa-s! Similarly there are clear instructions as to how many Darba grass for holding in between small and middle fingers during many of the pooja / yaaga activities (except for Aachamanam) and how many darba grass to be kept under ones seat; how many grains of sesame seeds / quantity of Ghee / Havis / which item should be kept in which direction; so on and so on! Initially it can look flabberghastingly too complicated, these rules and regulations of the Aachaaraa-s! By practice these will become second nature.

168. Do we not learn to control the clutch, gear, accelerator, indicator, wind shield wiper, horn, lights dip and dim and so on and still drive a car, that too in the traffic conditions (of hundreds of different varieties of vehicles each of untold numbers, all competing with each other for a piece of the road) and road conditions (with next to nil road marking signs and boards, with pot holes and uncovered digging , competing with meant to be and not meant to be speed breakers), as obtaining in a country like ours? Do we not still drive safely enough, as schools of fish avoid bumping against each other in the deep! With practice Aachaaraa-s can and do become our second nature, so that during the function, our minds are deep in the inner realms of the self or at least thoughtless, instead of bothering about the rules and regulations of the Aachaaraa-s!

(To be continued.)




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