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.)




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