Monday, November 30, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 156 (Vol #3) Dated 30 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 156 (Vol #3) Dated 30 Nov 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 the 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 No 713 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.

25. In olden times the highest govenmental official who supervised the accounts was known as the ‘Perum Kanakku’ which is similar to the A.G’s Ofiices of to-day. The office at the unit level was known as ‘Kanakka Pillai’. ‘Pillai’ here indicates the scaled down version of the office and not the name of a caste. Though he was lower down in the heirarchy, he used to know all the tricks of the trade. In olden times the District Collector was required to start training in his job for a period as this Kanakka Pillai’s assistant.
26. It is sad to note that we have all come to some sort of a ground understanding that, as long as we can show on paper, that the debit and credit side tallies, accounts are OK! It is rather painful to note that, even this matching of the credit and debit has been given the ‘go bye’ at further higher levels of finance minister and such, that deficit financing has become an accepted policy at national, corporate and international levels, I am told! Simply they, the Governments make up the deficiency by printing more currency notes reportedly. All told, in the name of modern methods people’s needs have been endlessly enhanced, for which all prices and expenditure has been increased, thus resulting in all people becoming debt prone, lacking peace and quiet. Needs, income and expenses should all be kept under control. (KTSV adds:- I am surprised at the topical relevance of what Periyaval is saying in to-days world of Global Warming and Financial Meltdown! Global Warming is resultant out of reckless over exploitation of the Earth’s resources and Financial Meltdown is happening because of unprincipled deficit financing by individuals, companies, corporates and Governments!)
27. Income and expenses is there not only in money matters. It is applicable to all our transactions. If we speak too much it is like expense. If we get told off, it is part of income! What we say is gone from us and so an expense. What we receive is income even if it happens to be so many curses! Day and night, we are breathing, inhaling and exhaling. That is also income and outgo only! ‘Pranayamam, mantra japam, soham dhyanam’, have all been evolved so that there can be some control on this breathing. Hurried breathing cuts down ones longevity as also it affects the pulse rate and Blood Pressure. So we should be controlling our breath. In a day we should not be breathing more than 21,600 times. That is, each breath should last at least 4 seconds. When we are in a hurry or angry or agitated for whatever reasons, the breath will finish in one or two seconds. That is why, while doing pranayamam, we are trained to go to the other extreme of controlling the breath for longer periods! Our longivity and the level stage of ‘samadhi’ are both dependent on the breath being controlled. This is so because the breath that is ‘Prana’ and the life force that is ‘Atma’ are both arising from one and the same source.
28. The accounts that we show the world may be balanced by not so very correct or even unfair means. (Periyaval uses a phrase in Tamil, ‘mattai thookki aattil pottu’, which literally means, you lift the cows and put them in the column for goats and such! That is something like equating oranges with apples!) But, we should be accountable to our own self or our own conscience. Then we cannot do any hanky panky and expect to win! All our actions are under one scrutiny of God, who is called the, ‘…sarvadee saakshi bootham…’, meaning the witness of everything for all times! You can never dupe Him! He can never be fooled. For all our past sins, we have to place equal quantity of good deeds of equal weight on the other side to compensate. That account book is in His hands. Only when we do illimitable amount of good deeds can that account be balanced. For that we have to develop the right mental attitude. Before that, our thoughts, action, comforts for ourselves, expenditure on personal things, food, dress and all such things should be under scrutiny at all times. We should never lose sight of the fact that, this calculatedness is for our everlasting gain. Instead of looking only at the balance in our purse and bank account, we should start looking at this ‘punya laabham vs paapa nashtam’, that is, ‘gain through good deeds and loss through sins’!
29. To be calculative in what we earn and spend in terms of not only money, but also in all our good deeds and sinful actions, is based on the principle of ‘aparigraham’! Parigraham means accumulation. Opposite of that, Aparigraham means refusing to accumulate. Do not add to yourself even an iota, more than the barest minimum that is essential for you to be able to live is the ‘Aparigraha Dharmam’! (KTSV adds:- We will continue from here in the next e-mail. In the mean while think of how uniquely appropriate this principle could be for a world whose population is doubling itself every ten years! )



Saturday, November 28, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 155 (Vol #3) Dated 28 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 155 (Vol #3) Dated 28 Nov 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 the 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 No 709 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.

14. In observing the directions of our religion as of now, the pleasure that we get out of feasts during festivals, bhajans, dance and drama related to devotional music and doing Murthy Puja in temples and home; is not so easily available or noticeably seen to be available in the other end of the spectrum, that is, in mounam, dhyanam, meditation, vratam and such activities. In some odd corner of our minds, we have an idea that, though we do not know this, there must be some sense in doing what our fore fathers have done and what is mentioned in our saastraa-s; and so we are able to do these things. When we do so over a sustained period of time, moderation comes in, on its own!
15. When we mature in doing so, slowly what was not known starts becoming known. What is slightly discernible only to our intuition, that is, the the state of being completely submerged in the Paramatma becomes ‘sahaja’ that is, natural. Our ‘aham kaara’, ‘aham bhava’ is so erased that we do not even notice the fact of losing our seperateness.
16. In Bhagawat Gita, Bhagawan Sri Krishna advices us to avoid the extremes and follow the middle path in all our endevours, in Sloka 16 and 17 of Chapter 6. “naatyasnatastu yogo asti na cha ekaantamanasnata: I na chaati swapna sheelasya jaagrato na eva cha arjuna II yuktaahaara vihaarasya yukta cheshtasya karmasu I yukta swapnaavabhodhasya yogo bhavati du:khahaa II” The meaning of the two Sloka-s is given here. “Glutton will not attain to Yoga, nor will it be available to one who is being harsh with his body by overly fasting all of the time! The lazy, sleepy, dreamy character will not attain to it, nor will it be available to one who is ceaselessly awake. Yoga which rids one of woe is accomplished by the person who is, regulated and balanced in performing actions, recreation, sleep and wakefulness.
17. The word used here for balanced is ‘yuktam’. Tamil word with this meaning is ‘usitam’ that is suitable. Yuktam and Yoga are both from the same root word, ‘yuj’. Yuj means the connection or link. To link Paramatma with Jeevatma is Yoga. The suitable link is, being balanced and that is ‘yuktam’!
18. To go to the extremes is human nature or bent of mind. When we try to tell the mind to be regulated, controlled and balanced, it is not able to do so. That is why the Saastraa-s tell us to go to the extremes alternately. If your mind does not want to stick to controlled diet and the tongue is not able to abide with that, Saastraa-s give you series of occassions to indulge in sensual gratifications through feasting in festivals! You are told to eat a varieties of items of, ‘shad raso bedham’.
19. Then to counter over indulgence, we are told to fast and or observe mouna vratam on certain days. Some days are meant for celebration by singing, dancing and shouting to your hearts content, and some other days reserved for being reserved! Some how everything is made divinely linked on the one hand and then you are told to serve the past generations by Pithru Karyam and serve the present generations by panchayatanam, vaisvedevam, feed the guests, animals and birds. Then you are told also to sit down and do Prana Yama, catching hold of your nose, controlling the breath, with the mind fixed on the idea that, “brhma + eva + aham + asmi”, meaning that I am the same as Brhma!
20. To compensate for the human tendency which is not able to follow the ‘via media’, our religion gives a mix of extremes for practice, thereby bringing us to the mid way mode! Upavasam balances out the feasting. Our effervescent singing and dancing is balanced by the Mounam. Thereby we are herded in to the balanced state of appropriate, suitable ‘Yuktam’!
21. Any resource, power or material is not to be misused. Neither is it to be kept under lock and key, not available for use! We have to use them for our own sake as well as that of the society. Of all the benefits that can be obtained, the highest is ‘Easwara Sakshat Karam’ that is, meeting face to face with God or Self Realization! For that also, this balanced approach is the most suitable. You have to find your level. Only when Jeevatma finds his level as water does, he can reach the ocean of Paramatma. The fact that only by the measured approach can one attain to the supreme truth, has been emphasized by Thiru Moolar in Thiru Mandiram with these words which has the power of a Mantra:- “kanakku arindaarku allaal kaana vonnaadadu kanakku arindaarku anril kai kooda kaatchi”
22. We have to be measured in all our activities, thoughts and speech including the words and tone we select to express ourselves. We should maintain a balance in our dress, food, expenses, with the essential minimum and stop there. We should avoid all wastages, over use and misuse. We can not be uncaring of others or the world. We cannot benefit at the cost of hurt to others! That mental discipline has to imbibed and reflect in all our thoughts, actions and speech.
23. In the present state in which we find ourselves, this balance is attained only by the practice of the two ends of the spectrum of our aachaaraa-s. Initially our practice of the anushtaanaa-s, our understanding of its effects, our calculations and awareness would all be not yet matured. But the two extreme ends will mutually balance out and compensate, bringing us to maturity and fruition of peace. Then all our actions, thoughts and words will automatically be measured, balanced and evened out, proving to be pointers for others.
24. Please note as to how much importance we have given to ‘ganitham’ that is maths and to accounts, in our education system. That importance should be given to the subject of maths and accounts, in our life too! Now-a-days, only money has that priority. Every office has an account section. Then there are so many Accountant General’s Offices related to every department of the Government.
(To be continued.)



Thursday, November 26, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 154 (Vol #3) Dated 26 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 154 (Vol #3) Dated 26 Nov 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 the 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 No 704 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.

Function Within Limits

1. The next four e-mails will be on this subject. This may be related to our earlier e-mails on Being Calculative and Measured under the general heading of Social matters.

Extremes For Measured Averages

2. There is one Saastram which tells you to make a variety of items and eat to your hearts content! Puja Kalpa-s which tell us of the method of performing a Puja step by step, are supposed to have instructed us like this. At the time of offering to God, it says, 'naivedyam shad rasobedam', meaning 'six different tasting varieties of preparations are to be presented to God. Only show Him. 'Nivedayami' means 'I am informing you that all these items are presented before you'. It does not mean that 'I am making you eat'! Only some rare person like Namadeva can make God partake of our offering. We all only show and inform. By being kept in front of God and shown to him, the items shown become God's Prasadam for us. That we eat. So, Saastraa-s are said to have made us prepare a lavish layout and partake that!

3. Another side of the story is that, Saastraa-s tell us of many abnegations. Instructions such as, only fruits may be allowed and or, not even a drop of water to be taken. On one side is Veda-s being chanted in chorus, Ramayana Navaham in which the epic is read through with explanations in nine days, Bhagawata Saptaham in which Bhagawatam is read through in a week's time, Hari Katha, Bhajan, Jalra, Chipla, Mrudang and so on. While describing the behaviour of His devotees, Bhagawan Sri Krishna says in Gita 10.9., "...katayantascha maam nityam...", meaning that, His devotees will be continuously talking or singing or even dancing riotously, thinking of God and His exploits in this world. Drums, Fire Works and Celebrations!

4. The other end of the spectrum is to sit down silently, catch hold of your nose, controlling your breath, uncaring for rain or thunder or even earth quake! One side, give an animal as a sacrifice in a Yagnam; on the other feel that you have to expiate for your so called sin, even for plucking too small a vegetable or the bud of a flower! One side Muni, Katteri and such horrendous shaped forms of 'Ughra Rupa' deities, on the other very colourful, nicely decorated, almost human like forms of Gods, some with two / four / eight / ten / eighteen hands; from a small rat to Eagle to Lion as divine carriers! The other end is the idea of God sans characteristics and name or form, no God, no devotee, all one - Adwaitam - Vedaantam - end of Veda-s!! Look at the apparent contradictions galore in our Saastraa-s!!!

5. The idea is to move from the known to the unknown. To guide us on our path, the Saastraa-s tell us of all the possible combinations of existence. What do we know or see? We get to know of only 'Dwaita Prapancham', the universe of opposite poles, with all sorts of gradations in between. Everything is a spectrum. Many tastes, many scenes, many questions, anger, regret, love, peace, passion, dispassion, knowledge, ignorance, a variety of feelings, abundant names, plethora of forms, endless guna-s, characteristics, life forms, multitudes of varieties, enormous numbers in each variety, static sthavara, mobile jungama, creatures, crawlers, animals, birds, herbivores, carnivores, countless and endless, everything unique, unity in diversity with uniqueness being the commonest property in every iota of existence! That is the world of life we see, smell, feel or know!
6. What is the state we are supposed to be in? What do we do not know and need to know? The answer is that we need that behind all this Dwaitam, there is Adwaitam as the basis, they say. There is no taste, no sound, no form, no name, no guna; all oneness the cause of all this! To make the known in to divine, are all the sloka-s, puja-s, mantra-s, 'neivedyam shadraso bedam,' nitya karma anushtaanaa-s, festivals, teerta sthaan-s, hari-katha, gentle and fierce deities, and their pleasant and furious actions!

7, But, we should not stop at only the known. To get to know the unknown and open our intuition are the Vratam-s and fasting by skipping the meals and restricting to bland diet; mounam - noiselessness and meditation on nirguna Brhmam - nameless, formless divinity.

8. It is not enough to only touch the extremes. The known has to be linked to the unknown. Our way of life has to be connected in all its aspects to the divine and the link between the known and unknown has to become evident in our being, thoughts, actions and speech! What is that link? That is in moderation, the via media. Before this country attained independence, there was a set of people who advocated moderation. They were known as the middle roaders. Their advice was that we should not be too hasty in asking for liberation from the British rule! At the same time, we should not let the Britishers have so much of unbridled power either! After obtaining independence from the Britishers, the logic of their policy became clear.

9. Instead of going to the extremes, to take the middle path is the measured of response. Instead of over reacting it takes the average or mean. 'Jyamithi' in Sanskrit is the Geometry. 'Jya' is the Earth. 'Mithi' is the mean. From the methods used for measuring the earth for constructions of Homa Kundam to Temple premises, this science of Geometry evolved. Kshetram is also the Earth. Kshetra Ganitam is the name that came into being.

10. There is a strong case for the average via media in everything that we do. Our actions, speech, earning, expenditure, the amount of thinking, in our food, in our dress, spending time in work and entertainment, in each of them instead of over doing, there is a very strong case for recommending a controlled, measured approach. If we get used to applying this principle in all our actions and responses, we will learn to keep the balance at all times.

11. How will we get this habit of selecting the via media? That can be done only by God's Grace. How can that God's Grace be obtained? It is for this purpose that Saastraa-s have given us to be done Anushtaanaa-s in two modes of extremes. At the known level, festivals, feasts, music, dance, bhajan-s, variety of Gods and methods of venerations are there. At the other level are all the abnegations of vratam-s, fasts, rules and restrictions on dress, food and approaches to nir-guna brhmam! As the equal weights are placed in both the plates of the balance, the plates will come to a steady state of equality! A sense of moderation will prevail in all the aspects of our life.

12. If you tie a rope and tell it not to sag, it will not be able follow your instructions. But if you erect two poles in the middle and tie it tightly on either ends, it will now stretch across the gap tightly without a sag. Similarly, our life which tends to go to the extremes, when given the Anushtaanaa-s of must/should/may be done weightage, through that we will find the happy via media, certainly. In other religions, when they lay much stress on Ahimsa (as in Buddhism) or Celibacy (as in Catholic Church) or Arupa Dhyana of the formless God (as in the Muslim religion), many fail to follow. In all these religions there are more who do not practice the religion than otherwise! On this point, our religion accepts more variety and more changes and thus caters for each man, his own unique method, approach and path. You cannot say that the pujari or priest in the temple is more religious than the farmer who utters God’s name once in the morning, when he wakes up and once before he goes to sleep! There are more special Ishta Devata-s in this religion than elsewhere.
13. I have already spoken in detail as to how, keeping the Ideal Aachaaraa-s meant only for some, we have enabled others also to follow those ideals, without making such behaviour compulsory. Because of these flexibility and multi pronged approach, this religion has more longevity than any other, undoubtedly. This will continue to be so even in the future.

(To be continued.)



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 153 (Vol #3) Dated 24 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 153 (Vol #3) Dated 24 Nov 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 the 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 No 696 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. From this state of 'mano laya:', we will progress to complete God consciousness. From no-thoughts to God-thoughts. We will be aware, sans the pull of the sensual urges. It will be pure bliss that knows nothing else. Then from God-thoughts, it will be the state of thoughtlessness, with the complete annulment of any sense of separateness. The mind will be no more, as 'mano nigraha:' will result. Wholesome silence will prevail.

31. Param Brhmam cannot be grasped by the mind and or speech. It can only be grasped and displayed by the silence, sans mind and speech! "For the 'principle of what is Brhmam' which cannot be explained by speech or language, it is only Mounam which does the interpretation", says Aadi Sankara Bhagawat Paadaal in Dakshinamurthy Stotra:- '...mouna vyaakyaa pragatita para brhma tatvam...'.

32. Now we have all sorts and combinations of thoughts. From here we have to progress to 'zero thoughts', to 'God thoughts'. Then instead of thinking of God as a separate entity, merge in to that totality. With that aim we should be practicing Mounam on some days. Right from the beginning, if we are careful to see that we should not get stuck at the all blank level of 'mano laya:', everything will be alright. (KTSV adds:- I wonder if Gowtam Buddha did not go beyond this 'Soonyatvam' and thus ended up espousing the 'Nir Easwara Vaadam' of a Godless religion! I may be wrong!)
33. Between 'mano laya:' and mano nigraha:' I happened to have brought in Easwara. When the mind stops all its oscillations and empties out, if you bring in the 'Easwara Smaranam' it is again a seed thought for the ebbing of more thoughts, is it not so? Having started the effort to stop the flow of thoughts, when we reach a stage of thoughtlessness, instead of keeping quiet, if we think of the idea of a God, (who anyhow is beyond thoughts and speech!), would such action not be tantamount to opening the flood gates as though, for the influx of all sorts of thoughts again? We know how deceptive this mind of ours can be! So we may come to a decision that, even if we do not get total Gnaana, it does not matter. Let it be 'soonyatvam', as long as it does not end in running from pillar to post, dancing to every whim and fancy of the tyrannical mind!

34. Actually, we do not have to worry or fear about such possibility of falling back to square one! Once we have had some amount of practice to reign in the mind and have had some experience of the maturity of thoughtlessness, there can be no reversion. Once after much effort we have directed our mind towards God, He takes over the control. Then He will not let us slide down! Then our march towards perfect Mounam is inexorable!

35. For the fear of thugs and robbers, we call the help of God the Policeman. Once he chases away all the unwanted elements and saved us from peril, will He punish us also? No, never. He may just go on with his other calling. Similarly, having chased away all other thoughts, having fetched us to the destination of mindless Gnaana, He the God will not be 'He' anymore, as we would have merged into Him by then!

36. So also the co-operation with good people known as 'Sat Sang', that will take us to total dispassion. It is not possible at once to become totally delinked from all our attachments. First you get attached to good company to enable you to leave bad company. As a fruit when it becomes fully matured, it delinks from the mother plant on its own. Similarly the Sat Sang will one day lead you to dispassion. So does our Aachaaryal say in Bhaja Govindam, "...sat sangatve nis sangatvam...".

37. So also, from God-thought, no-thought will occur. This is not the Zero / Soonya level. This is the state of totality, filled with Gnaana. There is another meaning for 'Sat Sang'. This not just the company of good people only. For ever the true and only true being is the Self, that is the Atma. Oneness with the Atma is the SAT SANG! All other co-operation with good people leads to this finally. What is now beating the drum as I, me and mine, that Ahamkaara, Aham Bhava, Ego, goes away for ever. We from this detestable weakling metamorphose in to that mighty, venerable, omniscient, omnipotent being! Till we think of ourselves as different from that, me and mine ideas will persist. With oneness realized and experienced, the troublesome prone me and mine disappears forever! This final stepping across the Rubicon happens involuntarily.

38. For that to happen, we have to start with trying to keep quiet, with our mouths shut tight and our mind riveted on our Ishta Devata, may be Uma-Maheswara or Laxmi-Narayana or what ever! Then this thought will also go, by the Grace of God, when ever it has to happen. Till then Dhyana and Japa will continue. From mulling over all sorts of thoughts, one may directly get merged in God-thoughts or it may happen gradually, via a period of thoughtless blankness with a dose of powerful attachment to the divine!

39. Social Service. For the past six months or so, I have been talking about what you have to do. Your Vedic responsibilities, Karma Anushtaanaa for protecting Dharma and what you have to do for social service. To day I turned to the subject of Mounam. This is also social service only. More than what you can do for the society, the highest service will be by your silence! Not only in terms of not saying or doing anything negatively, but also, because of the fact that, this control of the senses is the most potent Atma Sakti, doing good to the society. Hence I thought of advising you all to practice this Mounam for at least half an hour every day.

40. The cause for taking up this subject by me to-day, was due to a topical point of discussion in recent times. All the schools in India start the day with some prayer meeting in the morning, attended by all the children. Amongst the political leaders in the country, there are two types of opinion about whether there should be a students prayer meeting or not. Amongst the leaders, there are those who believe in God and some who do not! The Government has declared its firm belief in secularism. But the tradition has been there for long, that stopping the prayer meetings could lead to objections from many. At the same time, when the student population is a mix of different religious denominations, the selection of the prayers is a problem.

41. So they have decided that, before starting the classes the students may observe a period of silence. When small children are being told to observe Mounam, I thought of telling that to the big children too! Are they the only students? You, me, we are all students only. In this school that is the world, we are all students for life time, learning various things. To-day you have learnt about Mouna Vidya. ‘Mounam is gnaana varambu’, meaning that silence is the brim of Gnaana, the threshold, the Rubicon of Brhma Vidya.
In this life, it is important to learn as to what we are required to do. It is equally important or even more important for us to learn as to how to be without action, speech and thoughts! To think of thoughts as prompted by the vagaries of the mind and give them shape in the form of words and express it; means that we have not achieved the purpose of being born at all. To learn when to talk and when not to talk, itself is a lesson to be learnt.

42. Since coming to Madras, I have learnt a lesson. (From Oct 1957 till April 1958, Periyavaal was camping in Sanskrit college, Luz, Mylapore.) The lesson learnt is that the peacefulness of Mounam is permanent and not a transitory one. Amongst all difficulties, it can make you happy. Life can never be devoid of problems. Problems will always be there. Our backlog of Karma can only be cancelled by going through suffering. But it should not be seen as suffering. It is in this that I have learnt a lesson, during my stay in Madras. Let me explain.

43. You all come hear to see me doing Puja, for which you come in such numbers that the hall is over crowded. You wait patiently for hours without any tea or coffee or even water, till you have the Teertam from me at the end of the Puja. Many of you come without having had any break-fast, I know. You under take all that trouble uncomplainingly. Some amongst you in your exuberance of devotion start some Bhajan or sing some sloka happily. You do that in all good intention. But as that leads to much noise and distraction, some people thought it necessary to hang placards with the message, 'Silence Please'. I gave instructions not to hang such placards. Do you know why? I took it as a challenge for me to learn a lesson as to how to concentrate in my Puja, without getting distracted. Now I have learnt as to how to pay attention to my Puja, despite the distractions.

44. To day I spoke about Mounam, not so that I could make you keep quiet. I talked about Mounam so that, all of you may benefit by experiencing the pleasures that accrue from it. Since you have all had the pleasures of singing Bhajans, and chanting sloka-s to your hearts content, I decided to draw your attention to the pleasures of 'summaa irukkum sugam', that is, the pleasures of keeping quiet not doing anything!



Sunday, November 22, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 152 (Vol #3) Dated 22 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 152 (Vol #3) Dated 22 Nov 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 the 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 second para on page 690 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.

15. Fasting and maintaining silence go together. The devotees of Ambal would keep mounam throughout the Navratri / Dasehra with Oru Pozhudu! We talk of many unwanted things, gossip about others, curse and criticize all and sundry, thereby insult Saraswati the Goddess of Speech. As a Prayaschittam (act of expiation), on the star of Saraswati Devi, i.e., Moolam, people used to fast and keep Mounam. (Kanchi Periyaval used to keep Mounam on Moola Nakshatram.) Daily we should be doing Dhyana for at least half an hour, keeping Mounam.

16. Keeping Awake Avoiding Sleep. With fasting and Mounam, yet another abnegation can be added quite profitably! On those days we keep our mouths shut without eating and talking, we could also keep our eyes open to avoid going to sleep! To keep awake the whole night spending the time on Dhyana, Paaraayana, listening to devotional songs being sung, or stories of playful exploits by Krishna in Bhagawatam and such Puraanaas, chanting the Sloka-s and Sahasranama-s and so on! The idea of not closing the eyes is to mean remain wide awake and not go to sleep.

17. Sivaratri and Vaikunta Ekaadasi are both observed like that. It does not mean that you see five or six movies on the CD player and feel that you have accumulated bags of Punyam! With Upavaasam and Bhajan, you have to add the third item of remaining awake the whole day and night. When it says in Gita that 'you cannot attain to Yoga by fasting and keeping awake only', it does not mean that you are not to keep such Vratam. What is meant is that by such Vratam alone is the aim not achieved. On every given opportunity, if you fast, maintain Mounam, keep awake the whole day and night, giving all your mind to the pursuit of divine goals, there is no doubt that you will succeed to Yoga! Elsewhere Krishna Paramatma clarifies that Saastram is the authority when you have doubts, "...tasmaat saastram pramaanam te..."! Let us have no doubt on that point!

18. Start & End Point. Mounam means no expression. Closing your mouth, if you express your views by some sign language, it is no good! Where it is inescapably necessary, you may write and show your response. But the ideal is what is known as 'Kaashta Mounam', meaning, to be as unresponsive as a piece of log! Once you have made up your mind to keep Mounam, no sign language, no writing and showing!

19. Initially one may find it difficult to leave all responsibilities, works and thoughts aside and be silent. You have to set yourself some time limits. A few weeks for using sign language, a few more weeks for writing your response with mounam. Then switch over to total silence. Anyhow the ever active tongue is tied for some time duration thus, I suppose giving raise to the phrase 'tongue tied'!? By this process slowly but steadily, we get control over the mind of ours. By dint of practice we will find that we are getting over our faults and getting really pacified to perfection of real Mounam!

20. Mounam thus started is a method of approach and reverence to God. Then when you attain to perfection, you will silently come to the realization that, the Easwara or God or Rama or whatever name you call him, is no one else but you, him, this, that and everyone and everything! That ideal stage or state is the one when there is complete Mounam of no talk, no sight, no feeling, no thought, the ideal state of real silence, beyond time, beyond space!

21. Even in deep sleep, when an ant moves over us, we scratch it out of existence. When a mosquito starts biting, we smash it to smithereens! When there is a breeze, we pull our blanket more tightly around us. Change the side on which we are lying. In the morning we are not aware of what we had done. That is without the slightest awareness we would have done all that. With no thought of the 'deha aatma buddhi', that is without our wrong identification of ourselves as the physical body, we would have done so much in protecting this body!

22. The nervous system functions under the control of the brain, as we know. Many actions of ours are intended by us known as voluntary actions. But even amongst involuntary reflexes, there is so much of 'body consciousness'. If we feel that we are being tickled, we tend to laugh. With some indications of danger, our hairs stand on end. Faced with real danger, our stomach is in a churn and adrenaline starts flowing. In a crowd, if one person yawns, we all brake out yawning.

23. Think as to how will it be when we are in true Mounam! Even if a python were to move over our body, we will not be aware of it physically, in that, there will be no reflexes! Heat or cold, we will be sitting like a fixed statue in perfect concentration in Dhyana or Samadhi. As the 'deha aatma buddhi' is completely gone, the deep rooted instinct to protect the body will not be there. He is the one who has won over all his senses known as, 'Jitendriya'!

24. When we have trained ourselves to this level of self control, our human weaknesses, compulsions, attitudes and fears would have all gone. The inner fire then would be recognized as the effulgence of the 'Atma Jyoti'! The power of the Sun, Moon and the Stars would all be seen here in us! What was dormant and covered by ashes would suddenly be cognized as incomparably more bright than a million Suns! This small spark of brilliance would lose all its separateness and merge in to that and would become that light of all lights! As we progress all the burning sensual desires will lose their brightness, becoming dimmer and dimmer, finally merging in to that one resplendent luminosity of 'Atma Jyoti'! That is the end!
25. If we are all the time stirring and disturbing the ocean floor, we will never be able to locate the pearl lying there. Our mind is all the time in a churn because of endless thoughts that, the pearl of the inner self is never seen. True Mounam is to stop the endless emanation of thought waves in the mind. For that, this outer silence of the vocal chords is only an enabling prelude. The royal entrance to the kingdom of Yoga is to stop talking says Aadi Sankara Bhagawat Paadaal in Viveka Chudamani, Sloka 367:- "Yogasya pratamam dwaram vaang nirodha:".

26. To Stop Thoughts. With silence of the mouth, everyday we should spend some time in blocking the thought waves, say the Saastraa-s. "...tooshneem kinchit a-chintayet..." which is difficult to achieve. Even when we sit down with that intention, the question remains as to how to stop the flow of thoughts? How not to think of anything? There remains a thought that, ‘we should not think of anything‘! It is said that in Tamil, "...sindayai adakkiye summaa irukkum tiram aridhu...".

27. However, the bright side of it is that, when you sit down with this intention, with regularity of practice, it becomes possible, with God's Grace of course! We can only make an effort. The 'Phala Dhaataa' is God Himself! As Tayumaanavar said, we have to sit down 'summa' and keep on trying to be without a thought. Leave the rest to Him to do the needful! (KTSV adds:- That is why, many Gurus have given this as the Upadesa to their disciples, "...summaa iru... or ...tooshneem bhava... or ...sumneru... or ...oorika undu..", in Tamil, Sanskrit, Kannada and Telugu languages respectively! So have many parents, [Father and Mother being the foremost Guru anyhow], have told their sons or daughters to 'keep quite'! Arunagiri Naathar has also mentioned that he got those two words as the advice from Lord Muruga Himself. We will again refer to him in the next para.)

28. When we try to do this as a Sadhana, at some point in time, the mind will become blank without any thoughts. It will be a vacuum or zero experience of nothingness! It will not be 'Atma Anubhava'. There will be no brilliance or effulgence. The question will come to the mind as to whether, 'this is the experience that we have been waiting for?' Though we will be aware that the mind has come to a stand still, we will also be aware that, "This is not IT".

29. This is not the state of ultimate! I called it the 'Atma Jyoti'! So will it be in the form of a fire? In the English language too it is called the 'Enlightenment and or Illumination'! This is not the Gnaana that analyses and knows another. This is Knowledge itself! This is knowing without a second or another. But the state we are in, is yet another sleep only. Without a thought, there will be vacuum, for a period. Saint Arunagiri Naathar describes this state of affairs as, "...amma porul onrum arindilane...", meaning, '...mother, I did not know any meaning of it!...'. Aadi Sankara calls it 'mano laya:'. This is not yet, 'mano nigraha:'. Not to be afraid, because you are well on your way at the penultimate pause!

(To be Continued.)



Friday, November 20, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 151 (Vol #3) Dated 20 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 151 (Vol #3) Dated 20 Nov 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 the 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 685 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 are informed of what ever is in the outer world by the five instruments of senses, awareness and cognition known as 'Gnaana indriya-s'. The objects, sceneries, colours and sights are seen by the eyes; sounds, music and noises are heard by the ears; smells, aromas, fragrances and stink are discerned by the nose; roughness, softness, hardness and smoothness etc are noticed by the skin or touch; the six different tastes are recognised by the tongue. Then there are the five 'karma indriya-s' of legs, hands, mouth, anus and penis; for walking/running, giving/crafting, speaking/singing, excretion, urination and procreation; respectively. In this it is only mouth which is an instrument of
cognition (of taste) and action (of speech)!

2. Other Gnaana Indriya-s have a comparatively simpler job of sensing and reporting to the brain. Whereas this mouth while being an instrument of sensing and action, is also involved in experimenting, testing, investigation and analysis. Other parts do not have to strain so much. The mouth does not stop at tasting, but bites, masticates, secrets saliva, swallows; thus participating in eating, munching, gulping, swallowing and digestion. When not eating it is talking or gossiping! I am sure that it was the intention of God to see how well we control this.

3. There is a proverb in Tamil, which goes, "...vayirai katti vaayai katti...", meaning 'controlling ones stomach and mouth'! As this part of the body is responsible for all the material inputs into the body as food of varying tastes of likes and dislikes and also responsible for all the speech; I suppose the intention was to reduce its work load by half, with a strict reign, as is done with the mouth of a horse! Food and speech, both are to be reduced to the absolute minimum.

4. In practice we do the exact opposite. Both the jobs we give more than required to the mouth. Mouth is the most overworked in the human body. Over feeding with an endless series of break fast, lunch, supper, dinner, Tiffin, snacks and beverages are being pushed into the stomach continuously! During all this and at other times we are chattering endlessly!

5. Both have to be curtailed drastically. We have been adviced by our elders on the following lines, as I am telling you now! "Do not eat anything and everything and there by spoil your health. Eat only limited quantities of saatvic aahaara. Once in a while be even without that, by skipping a meal. Similarly, do not speak whatever comes to your mind. Do not speak ill of others. When you speak, let it be measured and deliberate. Let it not be hap hazard and in passing. Avoid gossip and speaking ill of others! Speak on God and good things. Chant the Veda-s and or Sloka-s in praise of God! Sing Bhajan-s. Once in a while shut your mouth and keep quite. Be silent!"

6. Nowadays everywhere there is talk. There are many who have made a profession of being 'speakers'. There are meetings, marriages, get-togethers and so on in which, loud-speakers are fitted, leading to a cacophony of sounds creating noise pollution! Looking at such a state of affairs I feel that, when someone observes 'Mounam' that is silence, in addition to whatever good it does to him, he is doing a service to the society by keeping mum!

7. All these conflicts start with arguments for and against any situation. If you keep silence, at least by one day you postpone the confrontation. That is a social service. There is a proverb in Sanskrit which goes "mounam kalaham naasti", meaning, 'with silence conflict is obviated'. Not only that it avoids confrontation, it is a positive power too. That is why it is said, "mounam sarvaartha saadakham", meaning, 'silence is a means of all gains'!

8. Through control of the mind all the senses can be controlled. This can be achieved only through sincere practice. The eating is to be curtailed. Speech is to be cut down. This urge to express ourselves constantly and continuously is to be controlled, through mounam. Through mounam, slowly but steadily, control of the mind will become easy!

9. Nature of a Muni or Saint is Mounam. The very word Muni or Munivar, is from Mouni, who remains silent. Muni is one who has his mind under control. Though silence is the second nature for a saint, it is also an instrument to control ones own mind, when you are still a Sadhak trying to do so.

10. The Muni who has become a Brhma Gnaani, happens to give up being silent and not being silent also, says Brihad Aaranyaka Upanishad 3.5.1.! How can it be? Initially he read the Veda-s and scriptures in becoming a Pundit. Then he participated in many discussions and arguments, in trying to understand the truth of it all. Once he has come to comprehend the quintessential truth, he gives up his scholarship as well as all arguments. Total silence now becomes his way of life. Then he gives up silence as well as not being silent!

11. That is, he has no more point of view. He has no arguments to be won. There is no personal opinion to be conveyed or emphasized. Even when he does make a point, without any intension on his part, they will be God given truths! But, he will not be thinking that he is making a speech. More than that, even when he is seated in Silent mode, he will not be thinking that he is observing a Mouna Vratam! That is the state the Upanishad is talking about. It is far away from our present state. To approach anywhere near, we should start observing the Mouna Vratam.

12. Like for fasting, for Mounam too the Dharma Saastraa-s have scheduled suitable dates. You might have heard it said, "mounena bhoktavyam", that is, 'do not talk while having your food'! You should not be eating while talking and not talking while eating either. Do one of the jobs meant for the mouth. This automatically would mean a control on vacillations and prevarications of the tongue. If you are going to keep silent while eating, you will not be saying things like, "this is good, more of that, give me some ghee" and so on!

13. Monday, Thursday and Sunday are suitable for Mouna Vratam. May be Sunday is the best as during the week days one is likely to have office work and such requirements. At the least one could start with half a day's silence to begin with. Mahatma Gandhi had an enormous work load. If the father in the house has many responsibilities, the Father of the Nation evidently had many things to do, all of them involving talking to people. Still, he maintained a day's silence, every week without fail. He is really an example to emulate.

14. Mounam with fasting will be ideal. When the mouth is denied of both its passionate activities, you will find that the mind is getting deeply focussed in religious pursuits! Whosoever your Ishta Devata, you can do these two things of silence and fasting with gainful advantage, on days meant for their remembrance, like on Sivaratri or Shashti or Ekaadasi.

(To be continued.)



Wednesday, November 18, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 150 (Vol #3) Dated 18 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 150 (Vol #3) Dated 18 Nov 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 the 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 679 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.

47. There is a word 'Raja Bhogam' meaning, Royal Enjoyment. The Kingly families have a right to eat all varieties of meat and drink liquor. Even they have observed the Ekaadasi Vratam quite sincerely with evident discipline. When you think of Ekaadasi, you cannot forget Ambarisha and Rukmaangada. There is a Sloka that is to be thought of, early in the morning on waking up, with a cool mind, about venerable Bhagavata-s, that is, people known for their high intensity of devotion.
"prahlaada naarada paraasara pundareeka
vyaasa ambarisha suka sounaka bishma taalpyaan I
rukmaangada arjuna vasishta vibishanaadeen
punyaan imaan parama bhaagavataan smaraami II"

48. The two names of Ambarisha and Rukmaangada are included here based mainly on the observance of Ekaadasi Vrata. King Rukmaangada required all the citizens of his State observe the Ekaadasi Vratam because of which, they were all highly advanced devotees of God, rid of the normal human fallacies and frailties. This is mentioned in the Narada Purana. Not only the high strata of society, people from the lower rungs too became famous due to their keeping Ekaadasi Vratam. Kaisika was a Sudra devotee of such merit that, one of Ekaadasi-s came to be known by his name as, 'Kaisika Ekaadasi'!

49. Names of Ekaadasi. In a year since there are 365 days, normally there will be two in each month making a total of 24 Ekaadasi-s and in some years there will be 25 of them. In Padma Puranam seperate names are given for these 25 Ekaadasi-s, the method of observance, and those who benifitted by such action.
Danur (Mrgasirsha) month it is called the 'Utpatti Ekaadasi' to start with. Next in Sukla Paksham, it is the 'Moksha Ekaadasi'. It is this day on which the ocean of milk was churned and the Amirta the Nectar of immortality was expressed. So also, on this day Krishna is said to have given Gita Upadesa to Arjuna on the battle field of Kurushetra. It is celebrated as 'Gita Jayanti'. Third is the Saphala in the month of Thai Krishna Paksham. Next is the 'Putrata'. Fifth is 'Shatthila'. Then are 'Jaya, Vijaya, Aamalaki, Papa Mochanika, Kaamada, Varudini, Mohini, Apara, Nirjala,' respectively. Bhima observed complete fast without even water during this 'Nirjala'. So far 14 Ekaadais-s are over with this Sukla Paksha Ekaadasi in the month of Aani.

50. 15th is the Aadi Krishna Paksha Ekaadasi called 'Yogini'. In the next Sukla Paksha Ekaadasi, Maha Vishnu is said to go to sleep, starting the Chaatur Masya Vratam, called the 'Sayani'. This is followed by 'Saamika' and 'Putrada' (this name is a repetition), Aja, Padmanabha, Indira, Papankusa and Rama', till which Vishnu continues to sleep. In the 24th, that is the Krishna Paksha Ekaadasi in Kaartika, he wakes up. That is called 'Prabhodini'. Next day the Chaatur Masya Vratam is complete. The 25th one that comes at times is called 'Kamala".

51. Thus we should all observe these Ekaadasi Vratam-s so extolled in our religion. Instead of simply fasting, it should be done in the true spirit of 'Upa Vaasam', that is, 'living with God'! For this purpose throughout that day and night, we should read the purana-s, chant the sloka-s, sing bhajan-s, do dhyana, listen to Hari Katha Pravachanam-s, and spend all the time in such activities, by applying body, mind and heart! Thus we should inhere Bhakti, Gnaana and Vairagya; that is Devotion, Knowledge or Awareness and Dispassion, there by achieving the purpose of our being born in this world.

52. Let Us Attain to Poornatvam. On Vaikunta Ekaadasi, Maha Siva Ratri, Gokula Ashtami, Rama Navami and such days, if we people born in this country, do not observe Vratam by controlling our mouth, body and mind, it will be shameful to our existence. Our wholeness lies in being mentally happy even if our stomachs are only half full. I Pray to God to bless us with such an attitude of satisfaction and completeness (poornatvam).

53. Like medicine for diseases, food should be taken as a counter for hunger. I mentioned earlier that food is to be taken for satisfying ones hunger and not for the prevarications of ones tongue, as told to us by Adi Sankara. There is one difference between other diseases and this disease of hunger. If you apply a balm for head ache, it disappears. Then it occurs only some other day, much later. So also with fever and other ailments. But with hunger, it occurs again and again, three times a day or even more. Thus God orders the nature to keep testing us. It is an honour for us to pass this test and gain the prizes of good health and self ennoblement.

54. Our clarity of purpose is important. We visit some friends or relatives. They offer something to us, that may be taboo for us because of our observing a Vratam. At that time we should not deviate from our intended path just so as not to hurt them or oblige them. We should be able to say a firm 'No' in all humility, without making a big show of it, simultaneously without compromising our principle! Our behaviour could be an example for them.

55. Looking at how meticulously the widows in Bengal observe this Ekaadasi Vratam, we should carry home a lesson or two! Out of necessity, the bengali brahmins do include the fish as part of their diet. These widows do not eat fish even on normal days as a self imposed discipline. They observe this Ekaadasi Vratam so strictly that, not a drop of water is consumed. In summer it could be very hot like in an oven. Despite the parched mouth and throats, they refrain from drinking water. There were deaths due heat stroke. Still there was never a compromise.

56. Looking at the pathetic state of affairs, socially concerned people called for a meeting of knowledgeable Pundits to see if there were any ameliorating provisions in the Saastraa-s, for some relief to these widows in terms of acceptable bevarages! But No! The widows declared in no uncertain terms that, come what may, they will not drink water or any other drink. "You can bathe us. Pour water in to our ears. Still we will not drink even a drop of water, during the Vratam," they said.

57. We should never accept defeat that, we are not able to control the tongue. Adam fell down from his exalted position by eating the forbidden apple, they say! Similarly, we should not eat any of the items forbidden in our Saastraa-s. When subjected to temptation, we should ask ourselves as to whether this taste is going to last! After a few minutes the taste is lost, instead of lasting. It does not remain in the tongue. Is it going to stay in the tummy for ever and make us rid of hunger permanently? No! All control is self control. All discipline is what is imposed on our selves, by our selves only! Discipline imposed by others will not lost long!

58, I pray to the God Almighty, to give us this sense of understanding!



Friday, November 13, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 149 (Vol #3) Dated 13 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 149 (Vol #3) Dated 13 Nov 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 the 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 673 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.

36. When observing Chandrayana Vratam, each day you are supposed to eat only once, that too only those many morsels as meant to be eaten that day. All Vratams are commonly known as, 'oru pozhudu', meaning once only. But then, having eaten that 'oru pozhudu', people take liberties by having a sumptuous, wholesome and filling spread known as 'palahaaram' of Iddly, Dosa, Uppuma, Vada and so on. The word 'palahaaram' could be taken to mean, 'many eats' or 'only fruits', with a pun on the word 'pala'! Real Upavaasam is eating fruits only!

37. Amongst Vratams, Ekaadasi has the pride of place. There is a sloka which goes like this:- "na gaayatryaa: param mantram na maatu: para deivatam I na kaasyaa: paramam teertam na ekaadasyaa: samam vratam II". There is no mantra above Gayatri; there is no God above one's Mother; there is no sacred river superior to the Ganges in Kaasi; says the Sloka, finally adding that there is no Vratam equivalent to Ekaadasi! Look at the selection of the words. The other three have nothing above them, would mean that there could be something equal. But in the case of Ekaadasi as a Vratam, not only that there is nothing above it but also, it is not even equalled!

38. Who are required to observe this Vratam? Dharma Saastram says that all human beings, both men and women, from eight years of age to 80, are required to observe this Vratam! Caste, creed, gender and any other differentiation does not matter. Uniformly all people are required to observe this Vratam:-
"ashta varsha adhika: martya: apoornaaseeti vatsara: I ekaadasyaam upavaset pakshayo: ubhayo: api II" With love and care the tiny tots less than eight and old people above eighty are both excused. Not that they are forbidden to fast but they are not required to! In places like Maharashtra, there have been mothers who do not breast feed their children on Ekaadasi days! The Saastraa-s are rather humane and so do not expect such extreme discipline.

39. We must start such ventures with a belief that we can manage and will be shown the way by God. The idea is not to make it a self torture but to build self confidence and reliance. On other Upavaasa days, we may have one time some Tiffin's and once some fruits and milk. Ekaadasi too could be started like that and later made progressively difficult.

40. Preferably Ekaadasi should be 'water less' too! To do so is very difficult. Then the stage lower is to have fruits with milk. Next lower level is to have 'oru pozhudu' of sattu maa and poories.
Then is 'rendu pozhudu' of once some Tiffin and once some fruits. Then we should not make it further watered down and make a joke of fasting! There is allowance for people who are sick, that they may have some porridge or gruel. If you have cooked food on Ekaadasi, please do not call it Ekaadasi Vratam any more. In fact having decided to undertake the Vratam, if we are fickle minded to eat cooked food, that is tantamount to 'eating the shit of a dog' say the Saastraa-s!

41. If your question is as to, 'how can you be expected to work on the Ekaadasi days as it is not declared as a Govt holiday', I will answer you in two ways. Everyone may undertake the Vratam and then ask the Govt to grant a holiday on Ekaadasi-s. Then the more important point is that, by foregoing food for a day, we will slowly come to realize that we are more energetic and lighter on those days! Rather we will start looking forward to greater efficiency and spritefulness that results. We will actually become more productive. This human body has one great quality. It gets used to habits and adjusts to any set patterns. So we can train ourselves not to become incapable of hard work on those days. If we are interested in spending the whole day in devotional activities, then we have to go back to the Govt to grant us holiday. But, first let us make ourselves deserving of such grant!

42. In the whole year, even if we are not able to make a complete 'suddha upavaasam' on all the 24 or 25 Ekaadasi days in a year, at least on Vaikunta Ekaadasi we should have such a complete Upavaasam! In Bhagawatam it is mentioned that, Bhima could never tolerate his hunger. So he was not able to maintain complete Upavaasam on these Ekaadasi days. So he took permission from Vyasa to do so once a year. That was not the same as Vaikunta Ekaadasi.

43. In our country, we should try and make this Ekaadasi more widely observed by all caste-s. It was so till some decades back. Only in the past two or three generations we have been defaulting on this. Even now because some Madhva grand mothers are observing this Vratam in some corners of the country that, we still have some rains and not complete draught! As this is a Vratam to be observed as per directions of Dharma Saastraa-s, it is applicable to all caste-s and sub-sects of Madva-s, Vaishnava-s and Smaartha-s. But in this, it is the Madva-s who are very sincere.

44. Normally amongst all traditional rituals, those in which mantra-s from the Veda-s are chanted, are priority one, as Veda-s are the basic scriptures in our religion. Then amongst Pithru Karma-s and Deva Karma-s, Pithru Karma-s get priority. Like if you have Rama Navami and your departed Father's yearly falling on the same day, Father's Karma will be done first! Ekaadasi has no scriptural Vedic relevance. Similarly in chanting of God's names and singing Bhajan-s, no Veda mantra-s are involved.

45. Sraaddham is a very serious Vedic Karma addressed at the Pithru-s. In it after the offering of food to the Brahmins representing the Pithru-s, the balance is to be eaten by us, the later generations of the Pithru-s. If Ekaadasi occurs on the annual of the Pithru, then what takes priority, is the question. Smaartha-s and Vaishnavite-s think that Pithru Karya takes precedence and so Ekaadasi Vratam is to be set aside. As we are doing something as per directions of the Veda-s, we are incurring no sin, is our view. But Madva-s are of the view that Ekaadasi takes precedence. They may postpone the Sraaddham to the next day and maintain the fast on Ekaadasi. The next day i.e., on Dwaadasi, Sraaddham that is to be done normally after 12 noon, is done very early in the morning, by the Madva-s!

46. During the mourning period after a death in the family (known as aasoucham) and or period of Theettu after a birth of a baby (known as soodakam), if Ekaadasi occurs, all sects are of the view that, the Ekaadasi fast will still be observed. During these periods all other fasts or Vratam, such as Soma Vaara Vratam, are defaulted.

(To be continued.)



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 148 (Vol #3) Dated 11 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 148 (Vol #3) Dated 11 Nov 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 the 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 666 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.

20. 'Wearing of poonool (Yagnopaveetam) alone does not make a brahmin, it is his attitude and behaviour that make him so'. If you are told so, it does not mean that, you straight away remove the poonool. If one custom or tradition or ritual is preferable than the other, it does not mean that the earlier mentioned is to be discarded. At times such a statement may be made to emphasize the latter. In Bhagawat Gita, Sri Krishna has under played one set of aachaaraa-s, to lay stress on another.

21. In the first Sloka of Chapter 6, He says that by not doing his duties and not carrying out Agni Karya (such as Oupaasanam, Agni Hotram and Yagnam), alone does not make one a Sanyaasi. I Quote, "sa sanyaasi cha yogi cha na niragnir na cha akriya: I". Anyhow, a sanyaasi is not required to do those things. He has no social responsibilities either. To get the correct meaning we have to relate to the first line of the Sloka, which says "anaasrita: karma phalam karyam karma karoti ya:", meaning, 'the one who does what ever work that happens to become his responsibility, does that without the sense of doership and without looking for the fruits of his labour, he is the real sanyaasi! Bhagawan Sri Krishna completes his statement that, "sa sanyaasi cha yogi cha", meaning that 'he is a sanyaasi and a yogi too'. Then only adds, not the one who has given up his agni karya and other karma-s!

22. If we understand the whole thing correctly, what is meant is that, a person in the sanyaasa ashrama simply believes that by giving up his duties and agni karya, he could claim to be a sanyaasi, he is grossly mistaken. As long as he continues to work for personal gains, he is no sanyaasi! He has to anyhow stop his agni karya and give up all other duties too. But the Qualitative Requirement (QR) is, 'to give up, me, mine, ownership and expectations'.

23. When the Upanishad says 'anaachakena', (to which we saw Adi Sankara's explanation in the last mail), the direct meaning is to 'be without food', the allusion is to 'give up all sensual pleasures!' That is why Aachaaryal says that, "here the QR is not about simply fasting!" To skip a meal off and on is good both for the body as well as the mind. That is why the saastraa-s tell us to eat only saatvic food when we do eat, on occasions skip a meal and on special occasions completely forego meals the whole day.

24. Festivals, Vratam and Ekaadasi. Some days are meant for celebrating the coming into being of some Gods or days in memory of their exploits. Some other days are meant for fasting mainly. All most all religions have days for fasting, feasting and festivals! In some we have to bathe , decorate ourselves with new clothes, do Alankaram for the Deity, do pooja, prepare multi course special items as the Neivedyam for offering to the God, then feast and be happy. For some we pay more attention to the devotional activities with complete or partial fasting. These are the Vratam-s such as, Kruttika vratam, Chaturthi vratam, Rishi Panchami, Pradosha vratam, Soma Vaara vratam, Sravana vratam and Payo vratam. Above all this is the Ekaadasi vratam. On other vratams we have at least one meal. Ekaadasi is complete fasting, i.e., 'poorna upavaasam'.

25. Other vratams are talked about by Puraanaas & Aagamaa-s. In them what is oriented towards Siva may not be observed by the Vaishnava sect. Similarly what is oriented towards Vishnu may not be observed by others. Ekaadasi is universally applicable to followers of all sects with in the Hindu religion, as it is mentioned in dharma saastraa-s, which is commonly applicable to all.

26, Vishnu was sleeping. At that time, there was a demon who made life miserable for all the living beings in the whole world. To destroy that asura, Vishnu's power came out in the form of a woman who was called Ekaadasi. Maha Vishnu was said to have taken Avatara as Koorma, Varaha, Dhanvantri and Mohini, on Ekaadasi days. Thus Ekaadasi is generally believed to be more Vishnu related. But at the time of the churning of the ocean of milk, when Aalahaala Visham, the poison was expressed, Siva consumed it. That was an Ekaadasi day. So that day we should all observe total fast say the Saivites.

27. Thus Ekaadasi is acceptable for both Saiva and Vaishnava sect-s. But as long as you are born as a Hindu and follow any Ishta Devata, you are adviced by the Dharma Saastraa-s to observe the Ekaadasi Upavaasam.

28. Let me list all the days mentioned in the Dharma Saastraa-s for keeping Upavaasam. Ekaadasi is for complete fasting. Sunday, Full Moon and New Moon, are to be observed as days on which you can have one meal in the day time and fast in the night. During the waning and waxing of the moon in each fortnight and on the Ashtami and Chaturdasi, we are not to have any food during the day time and have one meal in the night time.

29. Ramanavami, Gokulashtami and Sivaratri are also said to be days on which complete upavaasa is to be observed. But in practice sufficient changes have infiltrated, to make them days of feast rather than fast! In Krishna Jayanti, that is, Gokulashtami a variety of snacks such, Murukku, Cheedai, Thenkuzhal, Appam, Adirasam and so on are also made that fasting may not be possible! Guruvaara vratam is quite prevalent these days.

30. More than any other in South India, it is the Saturday vratam that is widely observed. Many have no dinner in the evening this day, with a prayer addressed to Thirupati Venkata Ramana Swami. Though there is no mention of this Dharma Saastraa-s, according to the saying that, "kalou vekata naayaka".

31. Similarly the monday upavaasa is widely being observed amongst the Saivite-s and Smartaa-s. In the North, without any difference between Saivite-s and Vaishnavite-s, this Soma Vaara vratam is popular. That is how Lal Bahadur Sastry too, when there was acute food shortage in the country, recommended foregoing one meal every monday as a upavaasa. Even govt official dinners on this day was avoided. Not to rely too much on rice only, roti made of atta was introduced in all eateries in the south, around this time.

32. Thus it was officially recognized for the first time that, to fast could make a substantial difference in the food stock holdings at the national level. In my opinion, if we all observe all the rules for fasting as per the dharma saastraa-s, we could create a food surplus and be able to export our surpluses to earn foreign exchange!

33. Chandrayanam is the name of a vratam. Though it is true that we can gain nothing by putting ourselves through very tortuous methods of fasting, for some people this may be the only recourse. There may be some who realize that their back log of accumulated sins of the past are so huge that, try as hard as they can, they would never be able to cancel out their debt! When they come to this correct understanding of their insurmountable position, they may opt to do this Chandrayanam. Note that there are anushtaanaa-s even more difficult than this, like the one observed by Mandana Mishra, when Adi Sankara met him, known as 'Pancha Agni Vratam'!

34. To observe such anushtaanaa-s is called 'krusram'. Those who cannot bear the agony of such observances, could alternately opt for doing certain thousands of Gayatri Mantra. Then there is something in lieu of that. We are masters of the art of reduction. We replace one difficult anushtaanaa for another 'krusram' of donating a cow known as 'Godaanam'! Then that was replaced by donating the cost of a cow. Then that was further reduced, finally reaching 6 & 1/4 anna-s, a fraction of one Rupee to be donated!

35. There are two types of Chandrayanam. One is known as 'katterumbu' and the other known as 'godumai'. Katterumbu is like the big black ant, narrow to start with, become big and then again narrow, twice like that! Godumai starts of thin, become fat in the centre and tapers down in the end. The idea is to start off with one morsel of food on pratamai that is, on the first day after Full Moon, keep increasing by an additional morsel, till you reach 15 morsels on the New Moon. Then every day you reduce the number of morsels, till you fast on the next Full Moon. The other method is the opposite that you fast on the New Moon and have 15 morsels on the Full Moon. That is, you increase or decrease the input with
waxing and waning of the moon.

(To be continued.)



Sunday, November 08, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 147 (Vol #3) Dated 08 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 147 (Vol #3) Dated 08 Nov 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 the 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 661 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.

10. When you are fasting, automatically the mind becomes lighter and gets easily absorbed in a divine ambience. That is why, on days when we are required to pray to God and or do things in memory of our ancestors, semi or total fasting has been advised in the Saastraa-s. Mahatma Gandhi too often fasted for self purification. He has recorded that on those occasions, he got clarity of mind and further motivation to progress on the path. Thus our fore fathers have laid the rules for Upavaasa, keeping in mind the welfare of the aspirer in both the apparent outer world and the real inner world. If everyone follows these rules of abnegation, there will be no scarcity of food in the world either!

11. Though it may be difficult initially, by practice we will be able to manage. The strength we derive from a sense of devotion and will to succeed, as we become aware of the advantages gained by fasting, will increase day by day. The pleasure of the sugar cane juice is obtained only by crushing the sugar canes. Similarly this body has to be put through the wringer of Upavaasa, to derive the bliss inherent in so doing. This is the meaning of the following Sloka:- “vrata upvaasa niyamai: klesita: sukham asnute I Ikshu klesaat yataa aanandam tataa praapnoti tat sukham II”

12. A merchant has to initially invest his own money as capital, to be able to buy goods and trade to make a profit. Similarly we have to invest our physical being to gain income for the inner self. Do dhyanam, that is meditation, even on days when you are not fasting and notice the difference in the level of concentration when you do fasting. For this gain you will be ready to face any amount of discomfort. More than my talking thus, you will directly know for your self, by experiencing practically the advantages that accrue by fasting. On the days of fasting, if you give your mind the pleasures of the nectar of one pointed concentration that accrues from dhyana, you will know for your self as to which is the greater of the two.

13. To the mouth devoid of food, if you give the juicier 'naama amirta' the nectar of God's names, plays and exploits as Japa that is rosary, Stotra that is chanting the praise of God, Paaraayana that is reading books of His exploits and Bhajan that is singing the noble qualities of God; it will prove to be food for the eyes, ears, mouth and the mind! For all this the basic preliminary need is for you to fast. Only then will you be able to get the maximum advantage. That is why, in the Sloka quoted in the previous e-mail, it is said that 'suddha upavaasam' is the first criteria and then the second is 'sat khathaa sravanam'!

14. Upavaasam is mentioned in Brihad Aaranyaka Upanishad - 4.4.22. It says that 'to attain the Aatmaa brahmin under takes the following activities namely, Adhyayanam, Yagna, daanam, tapas and upavaasam'. The word used is 'anaachakena'. 'Achanam', is food and 'anaachakena' means, by not eating food, that is by fasting.

15. For this Adi Sankara Bhagawad Paadaal has given a very philosophical bhaashyam. To avoid food is not simply fasting, but it is avoidance of all food for the senses. So he says that the mantra is telling us to do away with indulgence in fulfilling our desires. But in reality, for overcoming our desires, fasting does help. Achaaryaal was very much aware of this. When onslaught by other religions were about to carry away this religion as though in a flood, it was he who salvaged the Gyana, Karma and Bhakti Marga-s! Not only that, he was responsible for re-establishing the all absorbing relevancy of this religion, reviving the temples in the nooks and corners of India and enlivening the procedures for all sorts of individual and collective rituals and festivals. He re-established the 'Shan Madam', the six constituent parts of this religion, namely Ganapatyam, Saivam, Saaktam, Vaishnavam, Koumaaram and Sauram with Ganesha, Siva, Sakti, Vishnu, Muruga and Sun as the main God-s respectively, equally acceptable in the Hindu behemoth as the Mother Religion!

16. Amongst many of his achievements, 'Ekaadasi Vratam' became widely practiced due to his directions. He who is considered as the repository of all Sruti, Smruti and Puraanaas, "...sruti smruti puraanaanaam aalayam karunaalayam, namaami bhgavat paada sankaram loka sankaram...", could never have said a 'No' to Ekaadasi Vratam. His statement is to be taken as, against total fasting forever, as though to prove something which no one will ever understand, like a 'fast unto death'! There is no meaning in such extremism. To skip a meal off and on, is much closer to the real nature and more body friendly enabling Dhyana. 'Fast unto death', is against nature and nature will take its toll. Mind will go in to hallucinations thinking of the torture that the body will be suffering, that this can never result in 'Self Realization'!

17. As Adi Sankara was against all forms of extremism, Sri Krishna also advises similarly in the Bhagawat Gita -Chapter 6, Sloka-s 16 and 17 :-
"naatyasnatastu yoga: asti na cha ekaantam anasnata: I
na cha ati swapna sheelasya jaagrato na eva cha arjuna II - 16.
yukta aahaara vihaarasya yukta cheshtasya karmasu I
Yukta swapna eva bodhasya yogo bhavati du:khahaa II - 17.
The meaning is as follows:- Verily Yoga is not possible for him who eats too much, nor for him who does not eat at all, nor for him who sleeps too much, nor for him who is always awake, O Arjuna. Yoga becomes the destroyer of pain for him who is moderate in eating and recreation such as walking etc., who is moderate in exertions, actions, sleep and wakefulness!

18. Our Saastraa-s do not approve of fasting for many days. That will lead to total collapse of the bodily systems. Instead of cleansing the mind, it will end up in delirium. Instead of one pointed devotion to God, it will make you meander and hallucinate. That is why one meal in a day on occasions like shashti vrtam, soma vaara upavaasam, sankata hara chathurthi and total fast for a day in a fortnight, that is 'suddha upavaasam' on ekaadasi is what is recommended!

19. It is as though, in trying to counter extremism, Achaaryaal has over emphasized his objection to fasting. If we say that, 'wearing poonool that is, Yagnopaveetam alone does not make one a Brahmin', it does not mean that the speaker is against Upanayana Samskaara itself!' If some thing more important is to be emphasized, the earlier one may be so put down. We are not to understand that way. As it is more important for the Brahmin to behave implicitly correct morally, it is said 'the poonool alone does not make him a brahmin!' In Thirukkural similarly it is said that, 'more than conducting a thousand Yaaga-s, it is best not to hurt a single animal'. It is not to be understood that he is decrying conduct of Yaaga-s.

(To be continued.)



Friday, November 06, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 146 (Vol #3) Dated 05 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 146 (Vol #3) Dated 05 Nov 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 the 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 656 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. There is a sloka which says, "ekaadasyaam tu kartavyam sarveshaam bhojana dwayamI"! That is the first line of the sloka, which means, 'on ekaadasi day all people are required to do something.' What is that? The answer is promptly given, 'bhojana dwayam'! Literally it means 'eat meals twice'! It is something like feasting on Lent, the forty week days before Easter, when Christians are supposed to fast, pray and do penance! Ekaadasi is the eleventh day after new or full moon normally earmarked for fasting and prayers. The fast on Ekaadasi is total without even a sip of water for 24 hours, broken only the next day, after that day's prayers are over. If that day happens to have some extra responsibilities such as a festival or a Sraddham, then the time of breaking the fast may come to even three or four in the afternoon. Then to say that on Ekaadasi we should be eating two meals, seems far fetched!

2. But there is a pun on the word, 'bhojana'! As a one word, it means meals. When viewed as a combination of two words, it will divide in to, ''bho!' + 'jana', it would mean, 'Hey! you people', addressing people at large. Now the first line of the sloka means, 'Hey! Listen all of you, there are two things that you are required to do on Ekaadasi days'. What are they? The second line of the sloka says, "...suddho upavaasa: pratama: satkhathaa sravavanam tata: II". First job is to fast, that too 'perfect total fasting', that is, 'suddha upavaasa:'! Second job is to 'listen to the good stories of Godly exploits!' Now read the whole sloka once again with this clarification in your mind, "ekaadasyaam tu kartavyam sarveshaam bho jana dwayam I suddhopavaasa: pratama: satkhathaa sravanam tata: II"

3. 'Upavaasa' is fasting. It also means, to live closely with. To live closely with what? Evidently the divinity, that is God! That day unless you avoid any mundane activity such as eating and digesting the inputs, you cannot hope to live close to divinity. If the mind is to be brought to a stand still, it is essential to keep the stomach empty. Then only you can do Praana Yaama and focus the mind with single pointed devotion. Even if we are not to do detailed Rechakam and Kumbakam, only with deep uninterrupted inhalation and exhalation, can the mind be static in Dhyana. You cannot do this if your stomach is full and or over loaded with gas or whatever! So, the Saastraa-s lay down clearly that, the aahaara should always be light and once a fortnight we should observe 100 percent Upavaasa for one day.

4. Because of the mistaken notion that we are this body only, that is, 'deha-atma-buddhi' that, we are all the time concerned about taking care of the body, catering for every whim and fancy of this inanimate material, ignoring the reality in us, that is the Atma! To correct this situation, 'deha-atma-buddhi', has to go! For this a number of 'Upavaasa-s' have been devised to starve the body into submission and obedience, lest it continues with it's prevarications! When we learn to thus to ignore the body and pay attention to the Reality of the Self, only then, we will be moving in the right direction.

5. 'Even when you are hungry, continue the fast; even when you wish to gossip, maintain silence; even when the eyes are ready to collapse in to sleep mode, keep them open the whole night by reading some scripture or sloka or chanting.' As you keep at such practices, slowly you will learn to master the body. What ever happens to the body, the mind will be centered on God! These Upavaasaa-s and Vratam-s are so created to enable us to gain control over the mind and body. Yes, food is essential to be able to live. Otherwise we die. But, as the English proverb says, 'Eat to live and do not live to eat!' Keep it within control. More of food leads to many avoidable diseases. Even machines are given periodical rests to keep them in working condition. So also if this stomach is given periodical rests, it is good for the bodily health and control.

6. If you take the whole body, when we work for six days, we give it one day's break. But inside the body the various parts are going on continuously for ever, till one is alive. The heart can never be rested. But you can gain such control over your self to keep it in such good order, by avoiding anxiousness and stress and remaining cool and confident. The lungs can not be rested completely. But, even here through Praanaayaama we could get some order in its functioning. The one who practices Praanaa Yaama, will be having deep regular breathing with a slight raise in the pulse rate even in intense moments of physical and mental stress. The one who does not practice Praanaa Yaamaa, will be having breathing in gasps and his B.P. and pulse rate will be quite beyond normal, at such times.

7. But the stomach can be rested and should be so rested, periodically. Because it is one part of the body which is recieving raw materials from the outer world and constantly working to convert that material into digestible and absorbable, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamines and minerals. So it should be given periodical rests. It is the food that becomes blood and flows in to the brain. Brain is a very delicate part of the body. The Blood Pressure there should be not be high. Upavaasam helps in keeping of over all B.P. in acceptable range. So, to keep a fast is to ensure good health, though it may seem otherwise. I am quoting a sentence from Vaidya Saastra, which goes like this:- "...langanam parama oushadam...". This means that, 'fasting is the best medicine!'

8. You know why the word 'langanam' means fasting? The direct meanibng of the word is to 'cross' or 'jump over'. That is why it is called 'skipping a meal'! That is langanam. The religious scriptures too say the same thing as the Vaidya Saastraa. Thiruvalluvar too has said this. "Marundena vendaavaam yakkaikku arundiyadu artradu portri unin", meaning that when ever you eat, it is good to ensure that what you had eaten earlier has been digested! If you do so, you will never need any medicines!' This can only be done when you skip one or two meals, off and on!

9. Though we think that health is dependent on good food, food is double edged weapon. Food is the best friend of many a disease. When you have fever, what does the doctor say? There is an English proverb which says, 'starve the fever and feed the cold'. What ever the disease, along with the medicine, the doctor is most likely to tell you some restrictions on food. The fasting which helps body-wise is also good in lessening the grip of 'deha-atma-buddhi'. Many items of food though may be nourishing, could be having a corrupting influence on the mind. Though you may be eating only Sattva predominent food mostly, an occassional indulgence in quantity, can and does pull you down heavily. That is why fasting periodically is very good.

(To be continued.)



Tuesday, November 03, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 145 (Vol #3) Dated 03 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 145 (Vol #3) Dated 03 Nov 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 the 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 653 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.)

197. I have been talking to you, almost drilling it in to you, (From Deivathin Kural # 125 onwards), on the subject of 'Ahaaram and Aachaaram'. I am going to recapitulate on this subject now. The one simple act of 'Swayam Paakam' has many salubrious effects. First is Chitta Suddhi, second is health, third is thrift, fourth is obviating class / caste based quarrels, fifth is enabling adherence to Saastra-s rules that old men are not to remarry young girls on the pretext of having to have a cook at home, sixth is to give a boost to learning of the Veda-s, seventh is to lessen cruelty to animals, eighth is to demonstrate the ideal of simple Saattvic Aahaara to the society at large! There can be no greater social service than to spread peace!

198. More than anything else, it would evoke a compassionate response from God, that 'this child is persevering, taking efforts to control his tongue, so let us bless him!' For everyone to attain to this ideal, they should do Swayam Paakam from now onwards, at least for one day a week, to start with. Having said so much on this topic, I hope at the least some of you may be convinced to follow my advice. All that you have to do is to put it in action.

199. Aahaaram is not only the food we eat. Each of the five Indriya-s, that is the sense organs, have their own aahaara. Scenes and sights are the food for the eyes. Music and all the talks are food for the ears. All the inputs from the sensory organs become food for thought! In all this, we should ensure that they are not having a harmful effect on our senses, thereby corrupting the mind. Dirty scenes and pictures should not be seen, Unworthy talks and gossip should be avoided meticulously! All that we do, see, say and hear, should be enabling us to progress on the path of God Consciousness!

200. Amongst all the sense organs, it is the tongue which has the maximum potential for corruption, with the taste buds and power of spoken expression! That is why, a whole lot of do's and don'ts are about food only. On the one hand, we cannot live without food. On the other, if it is not moderate, balanced and controlled, it can lead you to untold miseries and problems. Heavy eating leads to obesity, inefficiency and many diseases. Most importantly if you eat too much, whenever you sit down to do meditation, you will go to sleep! In Tamil, there is a saying that man is, "sorraal aditha paandam", that is. 'food filled vessel'! For this vessel to be hale and hearty and for the mind inside that body to be clean and effulgent, we should be following the rules and regulations as evolved by our great Rishi-s of yore. I pray to God to make us understand the importance of these aachaaraa-s, to be observed diligently!

201. There is a prayer in Christianity which says, "Give us this day our daily bread!", telling us to pray to God for our daily needs. It is also said, "Man shall not live by bread alone!", in the Bible. It implies that man lives by devotion, awareness, love, compassion, humaneness and such noble qualities and not by food alone! The aachaaraa-s with regard to food, in our religion as given in our saastraa-s, clearly delianate the approach to this important subject. There is a Upanishadic statement which says, "...annam brhma iti vyajaananaat...", meaning, 'know that food is God!' In the words of Adi Sankara Bhagawat Padaal, I am praying to Mother Annapoorni Visalakshi, to grant you all not only a hale and healthy body, but also Gnaana and Vairaagya, that is Realization and Dispassion. "Annapoorne! Sadaa Poorne! Sankara Praana Vallabhe! Gnaana Vairaagya siddhyartam bikshaam dehi cha Paarvati II". Sambhomahadeva


Monday, November 02, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 144 (Vol #3) Dated 02 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 144 (Vol #3) Dated 02 Nov 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 the 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 648 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.)

186. All the teachings of Chandogya Upanishad, as advised by Sanat Kumara to Narada Maharishi ends in the confirmation that all religious and spiritual discipline for clearing the mind of its cob-webs and unwanted growth, can and will occur only with control over the diet! That control can best be achieved through 'Swayam Paakam'. In old age, the greatest and most powerful diverter in the human body is the tongue. Hearing may have defaulted. Vision may have departed. We may not be able to even perambulate or lift a book, as our limbs do not co-operate any more! But the tongue would still hanker after the taste bud's promptings, despite the stomach's objections! You might have heard many old men complaining, "I miss my wife. No one can match her cooking. How well she used to feed me! Now I have to patiently wait for this daily morsel of food!"

187. That aside, as they are trumpeting that basic education should be made free for all, in which all self discipline and morals are to be included; I am very clear that this basic principle of 'Swayam Paakam' should also be included. All political and social leaders too insist that cooking should be included in basic education. But, they are talking about a total mix of everyone cooking for everybody together! There can be no chance for self improvement in this. Rather everyone would be equally brought lower down! This is self improvement through individual effort, without corrupting others who may have progressed ahead and without getting corrupted by others may not have yet evolved to the level which we may have come up to. Not only for primary education, much is talked about Old People's Education too. They could also be taught to cook for themselves.

188. In these plans for education, the much talked about idea is self reliance, without being dependant on others. So if everyone gets his own food prepared by himself, there will be a national saving of resources and a break on the price spiral. If it is held that it is reformation to make everyone cook for everybody, regardless of caste and creed; it is a greater reformation for everyone to cook their own food. They talk of many things in the name of social reformation. But the point to note is that, the society is made up of many individuals. So to correct and uplift individual attitude and behaviour, is the real social reformation. So, it is necessary to teach Swayam Paakam at the primary and secondary level of education itself!

189. That male elders should be knowing cooking, is clearly mentioned so in the Saastraa-s. There is clear direction to this effect, in the following sentence:- "...panchaasat vatsaraat oordwam na kuryaat paani peedanam...". This means that after 50 years of age, one should not remarry. Generally after the death of one's wife, people remarry even after having attained to the ripe old age of 50, on the pretext of the fact that there is nobody suitable to cook at home and that children have to be taken care of. At an age when one should be thinking of going in to Vana Prastha Aashrama, preparatory to taking Sanyasa, to get embroiled once again in the complications of married life, is not in the rightness of things!

190. Similarly, many a overage brhmachari celibate, thinks suddenly of marriage only when faced with a situation when there is no cook at home because his mother who had all along been taking care of him, is no more. This is not getting a 'saha dharmini' or life partner for maintaining Dharma but, a marriage of convenience. This can be obviated if Swayam Paakam is in vogue. More than ever before, in to-day's world wherein, everybody is roaming about the whole world looking for employment, Swayam Paakam is even more relevant. You can avoid obesity, ulcer in the stomach and such problems, as you can say 'good bye' once and for all, to all fast foods and uncooked and half cooked riff raff, served in the eateries of the world. Some Pongal or Kitchdi, some Roti or cooked rice / wheat with curd and such body friendly items, can always be made without much effort.

191. To think that the menu has to have half a dozen items and that the kitchen has to have umpteen number of cereals, pulses and spices, is the reason for our mental and physical stuck-up-pedness! Rasam, sambaar, vatta kozhambu, curry, koottu, podithuval, varuval, oorukaai, vadaam, appalam, chutney, curd and so on and so on! The list is endless. Cooking all this can have a series of crisis situations such as, apprehension about, over flowing / frying / cooking / charring and fear about too much or too less, salt / tamarind / chillies! This is where a reformation is badly needed.

192. We must cut down on these avoidable unnecessaries! Make food light and cooking a simple operation. Make some poories and have it with milk. You can have your stomach full and would not fall sick. You can store it for days. Poories are suitable while on travel too. You can avoid eating in odd sort of places. Poories with 'Sattu maavu', is ideal as packed food. Dry fry some rice and powder it, to make 'sattu maavu'. This can be eaten as it is with milk or curd or butter milk! It is a filling and nourishing energy pack, contributing to Sattva Guna in oneself!

193. For making such food, you do not need even the pressure cooker and such devices. Pressure cooker may help in cooking rice well. But somehow, use of the pressure cooker prompts us to go for more varieties and additives. More usage of tamarind, chillies and spices, can only lead us to more expenditure on medicines and treatments.

194. So, keeping the requirement of these things at the barest minimum, we should restrict only to a few items of food materials, which are Saattvic and have the qualities of 'Madhuram and Snigdam'. 'Madhuram' means sweet. I am not recommending use of more sugar or sugar like items. There is a sweetness inherent in rice and wheat and cereals. By adding salt, chillies and spices, we are completely obliterating the natural sweetness, taste and fragrance of our food items, including the vegetables. To retain the natural taste of the food item is 'Madhuram'! 'Snigdam' means some thing soft and nice as against dry and rough. It does not mean that it has to be dripping with ghee.

195. If every one cooks his or her own food, how to do ‘atiti satkaaram’ or taking care of the guest? That is also an important duty of a house holder, is it not so? If that is your question, my answer is that, you may give the guest all that is required to cook for himself. That is how they would prefer to get heir food prepared. So, that should do most sufficiently! To so take care of the guests, is known as, ‘sataavrutti’! Many of the North Indian visitors to South India, never used to accept cooked food, but prefer to be given the material in kind. So, you do not have to think that Swayam Paakam is any hurdle in taking care of the guests. If you want that they should directly eat what you give, then give them milk and fruits. If you give cooked rice with milk to a thief, he may give up thieving for ever. That is how the milk nurtures goodness in people. I am saying, ‘with that give him some nice fruits too!’

196. Whether you are a student or an office goer or retired man, learn such simple methods and cook for yourself. I am addressing the men folk especially, in saying this!

(To be continued.)