Monday, June 21, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 29 (Vol #4) Dated 21 June 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 29 (Vol #4) Dated 21 June 2010.

(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. Today we are proceeding from the second paragraph on page 175 of Vol 4 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at constantly.)

173. The reason that both the Guru and the disciples behaved with so much simplicity, was due to their being a close knit family devoid of any sense of alienation whatsoever! There were no secrets between them. This sort of meeting of the minds and heart and total transparency is just not possible in any organization! Once the Guru started imparting knowledge, there was no holding back! When Pippalaada says that he will teach all that he knows, he comes forward to teach everything he knows, with no reservations! We hear about professors fearing that the disciple will overtake him or something, publishing the student’s thesis as his own and such things! More than all this, the love and compassion that developed in the Guru – Sishya relationship can never be seen in any other arrangement!
174. Test, Polish and Shine. Initially gem stones are tested so that they may be correctly identified including good and bad aspects. Then after identification, they are cut so as to remove the aberrations, incongruities and blemishes. Then they are polished to increase their lustre and shine. Similar is the action of the Guru with the disciple. The testing is not uniform but, varies with each material of which the gem is made of. So also with the Sishya here! There have been occasions where without teaching anything for a number of years, the student has been made to do all sorts of household work!
175. For example there was this disciple named Upakosalan. (Ref to Chandogya Upanishad [4.10.]) His Guru was Jabala Satya Kama. As per the syllabus and curriculum of those days, he was running a 12 year course for students. Many students were learning Veda Saastraas under him. Only Upakosalan was kept out of such coaching. His job was to take care of the three household fires known as “xy and z”! For 12 years he did that without ever complaining or even murmering about it!
176. The regular procedure is to conduct a closing function known as ‘Samavartanam’ and send the Brhmachari back home so that he could get married and start his Gruhasta Ashrama, as I had told you earlier. Satya Kama had done this Samavartanam for all the other students and this Upakosala was still at his job of taking care of the three ceremonial fires of the Guru’s household! Upakosala did not show any agitation or loss of patience!
177. It was Satya Kama’s wife who lost her patience. She went to Satya Kama and told him the following words. “This boy has been sincerely observing all the rules and restrictons of Brhmacharya. For 12 years he has been sincerely doing his job of taking good care of the ritual fires. You have not been instructing him as required. If you are not to incur the wrath of these fires, you better start his coaching without further delay!” She was almost ready to pick up a fight with Satya Kama on behalf of this boy Upakosala! There is something very interesting here! First, it shows as to how affectionate was the Guru’s wife towards the students! For the children away from their homes, she was like a mother indeed!
178. Here we come across an example of what is called a ‘Dharma Patni’, that is, how a devoted wife could be concerned about Saastraas and Dharma! One is a wife like NaLayini, who obeyed her husband unquestioningly, without giving her mind to whether his action is legally and morally correct or not! NaLayini carried her sick husband in a basket to a prostitute’s house, to fulfil his wish. Here is a wife of a Guru Kula Aachaarya, who is concerned that injustice should not be done to an innocent Brhmachari under her motherly care and that her husband should not run the risk of erring in his duties! Here she is demurringly reminding him of his duties!
179. Similar is the incident of Rama and ‘Pativrata’ Sita! (KTSV adds:- ‘Pativrata’ is a word that may not have an exact synonym in any other language, as the concept is peculiar to the Indian ethos only! The nearest word or phrase could be ‘a devoted wife’! Here, that husband for the ‘Pativrata’ is the be all and end all of her very existence. He is the Guru, provider, protector, the man in her life and the only man in her life! She will not even think of anyone else as a consort, even in her dreams. That is why on his untimely death, she would climb the pyre of his dead body for self immolation! I called it untimely death as otherwise she would precede him in death, when she is called, ‘Sowbhagyavati’ and ‘Sumangali’. Men were also required to be equally devoted to their wedded wife and such a person was called, “eka patni vrata”! Sri Rama was known by that epithet!)
180. I was going to tell you about that incident involving Rama and Sita. Rama was contemplating going for a stay in the forest for 14 years, as required of him by Kaikeyi’s wish, leaving young Sita in Ayodhya! She told him at that time the following words! “Is not the wife supposed to serve, support and be with her husband under all circumstances? You just now pointed this duty of a wife to your mother and pleaded with her to remain beside your father. Did you not? Then how can it be that, the same principle is not applicable to my case? What justice is there in your telling me to remain here, while you are going away?” She caused him to accept her line of argument and went to the forest with him!
181. When Rishi Satya Kama’s Patni told him “Please take immediate action to right the wrong of not instructing Upakosala for so many years, lest the three fires tended by Upakosala end up cursing you”, it is not a caution against an imaginary threat! Those three fires in the household of a Rishi are real dynamic and living powers in being! Those fires are nurtured and maintained because, we believe in their salubrious beneficial powers. That her fears were genuine and warranted is revealed by the subsequent story! Despite her this entreaty, Rishi Satya Kama just went out of the Ashrama as though he wanted to further test the situation!
182. Upakosala was now really worried. He started ruminating thus. “Despite Guru Patny’s request, our Guru has gone away without replying! Because of me there seems to be differences of opinion between Guru and Guru Patny!” He was worried and so could not partake his food! Guru’s wife asked him as to the reason for his not having food! His reply was in these words, “I am sorry Amma! My mind is afflicted and so I am not able to eat!”
183. Then those three fires, that he had been tending to for the past 12 years, displayed their effective presence. They decided amongst themselves on the following lines! “Poor chap! This lad has done so much for us for so long! Today it is painful to see him agonised that he is not able to have even his food! Let us give him the needed Upadesa ourselves.” Those three fires gave him separately individual ‘Agni Vidya’ and together they imparted knowledge of ‘Atma Vidya’! However, without Guru, if they give all the Vidya, as it would be tantamount to undermining the importance of the position of the Guru, having given him the philosophy of the principles, they left the procedures and techniques for the Guru to fill in!
184. Achaaryaa returned to the ashram calling for Upakosala! He came forward with a reply, “Yes Sir! Bhagawaane!” Though the Guru was still testing the lad and the boy was genuinely grieved, there was no dilution of their mutual love, respect and affection! One look at the boy’s face the Guru could see that it was shining with the effulgence of knowledge! He said, “Sowmyaa! Who has given you Upadesa?”
185. The boy was in tenterhooks! He did not know if it was a mistake to have received Upadesa from anyone, in the absence of the Guru! He was also worried that, may be it was a mistake to listen to them the Fires! Then he did not want to complain about them, whom he had been nursing and tending to for so many years! Nothing can and should be hidden from the Guru either! He said, “Who else, my respected Sir! Only today these three fires were slightly different from normal”. He had passed in his final test also. Guru was aware that the Fires will do the Upadesa, not being able tolerate any further delay! He knew this not only because of his omniscience but because he had gone through an exactly similar experience in his life too!
(To be continued.)



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