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.)




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