Friday, July 23, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 45 (Vol #4) Dated 23 July 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 45 (Vol #4) Dated 23 July 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 page number 254 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 updated constantly)

348. When Buddhism and Jainism were ascendant, Varna Ashrama Dharma was not defunct totally but was ‘avyavast’, i.e., disorganised and irregular, not intact but not liquidated either! There was this accusation that the Brahmin was not impartial. His behaviour must have been at least partly to be blamed and so his reputation was under a cloud, so to say! There must have been some lessening of standards in the quality of his Yagna-s, conducting Yagna-s for others and impartial capacity to give judicious advices! For the conduct of day to day business in the society, as it was convenient to continue with the traditional caste wise trades, people were continuing to do so. They were neither aware of the Hindu Vedanta nor the concepts of Buddhist or Jain philosophies. Even then some of the well behaved Brahmin-s who could attain to some level of maturity, were functioning as simple devotees. Their losing the social ‘leadership’ seems to have adversely affected their effectiveness also! With that, they seem to have been derailed somewhat from their original path towards certain deceitful, scary and ugly methods of misuse of procedures by people like the Kapalika-s and Mantravadi-s! The general mass of people who converted to other religions, instead of Siva or Rama or Krishna simply shifted their allegiance to Buddha or some Tirtankara! For them the change made hardly any difference! It cannot be said that they were aware of the principles, ways and means of that religion.
349. Were there not others, in those other -isms who were in the same position as the Brahmins in Hinduism, for the common man? For this question the only answer can be a simple ‘No’. Despite being a Hindu religious leader, impartially speaking, I have to say this answer only. In both Buddhism and Jainism, there were many great scholars, excellent saints, brilliant thinkers and philanthropists aplenty! Actually I myself had a deep admiration for the philosophy of Buddhist Nagarjuna! It is also true, that these Bikku-s were more forthcoming in their dealings with the common man. Instead of remaining aloof on a high pedestal, they would move close to the proletariat without much ado! Still they never assumed a position of leadership as such.
350. What is this ‘leadership position’ that I am talking about? To cause others to follow and emulate our actions is the ‘leadership’ I am talking about! Staying in the Gruhasta Ashrama, when someone by his eminent example inspires others to emulate and do things the way he does by way of honesty, integrity, truthfulness, fairness, and such qualities in his dealings with his wife, children, friends and relatives, with his boss, co-workers, sub-ordinates, other people and other life forms in general; automatically evoking the admiration of the people, become the role models to follow. It is this leadership that I am talking about. In the Sanaatana Dharma, the Brahmin was providing this role model, living the greater portion of his life as a house holder, as one amongst us all, inspiring and encouraging by his very being! This cannot be done by a Bikku, who is all recluse, loner, abstainer and ascetic! When Buddhism and Jainism thus created a whole lot of Bikku-s, the very standard of what was ‘Sanyasa’ became watered down. With many such people going astray, to be a Bikku became something to be laughed about!
351. That is, first by the fact that they were not one amongst you but a class apart, they lost the ‘leadership’ of being the role models to be emulated! Then when they failed to live up to the high standards of self-denial, they became something to be laughed at with derision! To fully understand what I am saying, you should read the book written by King Mahendra Pallava, titled ‘Matta Vilasa Prahasanam’! I am not interested in the humorous aspect of it, but the truth of the situation that was there those days. Despite the advent of these two religions, despite whatever the social changes, Varna Ashrama Dharma did not collapse completely and people did not forsake the trades and crafts that they were pursuing from birth!
352. All the principles and concepts of these religions stop at what is known as the intelligentsia level. What Udayana, Kumarila Bhatta and then Adi Sankara AachaaryaaL did was to repeatedly contest, oppose and disprove these religions at that level! Here is something done by AachaaryaaL not achieved by anyone else. Let me explain. Already experts in Tarka Saastra and Meemaamsaka had driven the advocates of Buddhism and Jainism out of India almost. These two concepts of Tarka (Logical Debate) and Meemaamsa, finish with the intelligentsia and does not reach the ears of the general populace, being a subject not possible to be comprehended by the common man! AachaaryaaL’s Adwaita too is an abstruse subject that may not be understood by most. If the very process of understanding and comprehending is so difficult, as a matter for experience, ‘Adwaita Anubhuti’ is one in a trillion chances, for some rare individual to achieve! So having set aside those other religions through debates and demonstration, for the sake of the general public, he encouraged and reinforced the paths of Karma and Bakti, re-establishing the traditional methods and procedures of worship at the individual level at home and at the collective level at the temples, day to day as well as during festivals. This was done by goading and encouraging the Brahmins to restart their Vaidic Karma Anushtaanaa-s thereby regaining their leadership roles, motivating the rest of the population to mimic and follow the leaders!
353. I hope I have made myself amply clear as to what I meant by this leadership role! It does not mean however the sort of political gimmick resorted to in the name of leadership. It is not flag marches with banners and placards! It is not staged demonstrations, speeches and mutual scratching of each other’s backs by way of titles and awards! It was all silent leadership. They simply started living with simplicity, sincerity, doing their duties with lack of cruelty and covetousness. This is what I meant by silent leadership!
354. Through such behaviour of the Brahmins as role models, automatically resulted in a revival and rejuvenation of the entire Indian Hindu ethos. This is the contribution of Adi Sankara Bhagawat PaadaaL! That is, if you think of India, you should think of morality, truthfulness, simplicity, devotion, mutual unconditional love and such qualities which are like oxygen for breathing. Fully deserving the name Aachaarya, he paid attention not only for the growth of brain and mind, but to the uplifting of the human being to the desirable qualities of humaneness from crass selfishness! This he taught to the masses of India and through them to the whole world, in double quick time that too.
356. He went around the whole country and defeated many proponents of opposing views and concepts. Those differing views and concepts of the other religions took to heels. Still the Vaidic Hinduism (that is called as ‘Brahminical Hinduism’ in that book ‘Oxford History of India’), could not have been considered as re-established till, people had restarted their old ways of Karma, Bakti and Gnana Marga-s. This revival of the Vaidic ways of life along with Adwaita Siddhanta is what made it the victory of Hinduism over the other religions!
357. Though it is generally said that Adi Sankara mainly re-established the Gnana marga among the tri-fold Karma / Bakti / Gnana marga-s, in fact, he is also equally responsible for strengthening the other two, as I have already explained. Karma and Dharma go together. Playing your appointed role as per your caste in which you are born is Karma. Doing it as righteously as possible without transgressing the rules of the society is Kula Dharma or Swadharma! By doing thus ones duties, one attains to clarity of mind and heart. In that clean state, you concentrate all your attention on God the Easwara. When that deep concentration fructifies in to ripeness you get Adwaita Anubhava of oneness with God! That is the step by step process our Adi Sankara AachaaryaL has streamlined for us.
358. In this, Smruti the Dharma Saastraa-s tells us all our Karma and Dharma. What imbibes devotion i.e., Bakti are the Puranas. What tells us the ways and means of Adwaita Gnaana are the Veda + Antam = Vedantam, the doctrines as given in the Upanishads. If Sruti is the Head, the Feet are the end Vedantam of the Veda Mata! You have to go up to the top from down below, to reach the highest of Gnaana! For all these Sruti for Gnaana, Smruti for Karma and Purana for Bakti, our Adi Sankara AachaaryaaL was the Repository or the place of Refuge, the Temple or Aalayam. So the Sloka says, “sruti smruti puranaanaam aalayam karuNaalayam I namaami bhagawat paada sankaram loka sankaram II”
(To be continued.)



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