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.)




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