Tuesday, October 26, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 91 (Vol #4) Dated 25 Oct 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 91 (Vol #4) Dated 25 Oct 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 middle of page number 513 of Vol 4 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that here in 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated constantly)

1. “Once upon a time there was a war between Devas (Divine beings) and Asuras (Demoniacal beings)”, says Chandokya Upanishad, 1st Adhyayam 2nd Kaandam. Adi Sankara while writing his Bhashyam says, “Here what is referred as the Devas are none else but the tendencies of the senses and mind that have been cleansed by regular practice of Karma Anushtaana. The senses when not controlled by Karma Anushtaana will have the tendency to run after immediate and repeated gratification. This tendency is known as Demoniacal!” Then he goes on to say that, “This battle between Devas and Asuras is the same as what has been going on from time immemorial, in every living being eternally”, (‘sarva praaNishu prati deham devasura sangraamo anaadikaala pravrudda:’). That is, these very tendencies of extroversion and inversion are Asuras or Rakshasaas and Devas or Angels, he says. That is to say that this conflict between going-out (bahir-mukha) and turning-in (antar-mukha) bent of mind, in each and every individual life forms are the eternal battle between the good and evil, referred in the Upanishad as the Deva-Asura War; says our Adi Sankara AachaaryaaL!
2. By his saying this we are not to construe that he is like the modern western or even eastern so-called analysts who very knowingly declare that none of the PuraNas have ever occurred and that they are all symbolical and allegorical stories only! In the Upanishads in many other areas, there is mention of the conflict between Devas and Asuras. For example in Kenopanishad, 3rd Kaandam, there is a description of how Paramatma fought on behalf of the Devas and won it for them. In such places Adi Sankara has not given any interpretation that they are symbolic. In Brhma Sutram, while interpreting, ‘devataadi karaNam’, he says, “As we are living on the earth, the Devas reside in the Deva Loka. They are sensually happy go lucky people. They also suffer due to loss in battle and go through periods of loss of face, name and fame. Some of them by such experiences become sufficiently fed up with this (Deva Loka) worldly life and so become dispassionate enough to seriously turn to the philosophical Brhma Vichaara and thereby attain to Gnaana and Adwaita Mukti!”
3. But in Vedas and Upanishads too in some places to bring out a subtle point or two, there are some stories that are woven around the Deva – Asura dichotomy. This is known as ‘Artha Vaadam’. That is, the story is not for the sake of the story. It is like a medium through which the message is conveyed. The above mentioned story in Chandokya Upanishad is like that only as per views of Adi Sankara. Here, ‘Devas’ instead of referring to any particular life form, are personifying the divine forces that draws our attention from mundane, prosaic and ordinary run of the mill sensual pleasures; redirects our minds towards eternal value systems! In Bhagawat Gita, Bhagawan Sri Krishna lists out all the Divine and Demoniacal qualities systematically in the Chapter entitled ‘Deivasura Sampat Vibhaga Yoga’. In it he has given all these qualities in their order of priority as though. Starting from fearlessness and clean courage, He goes on to list the following qualities. Daanam (giving charity), Tapas (austerity, ascetism and penance), straight forwardness, Ahimsa (nonviolence), Satyam (accuracy / truth), Tyaga (giving up claims enabling others to fulfil their real or felt need), Santam (quietude or tranquillity), absence of anger, jealousy and hate; tolerance and forbearance; kindness and love towards all life forms; are the angelic qualities of Devas. He calls these qualities as Deivee Sampat, meaning divine assets. These very qualities are said to be at conflict with tendencies which are contrary to this as being exact opposites. That is the war between Devas and Asuras in an allegorical sense!
4. These demoniacal qualities are Damba (fraud, deceit and hypocrisy), garva (pride and arrogance), krodha (anger and wrath), curses and ignorance are the avoidable negative ogre like qualities. Further, to do against whatever are the Do’s and Don’ts as given in the Saastraas, to do contrary to Aachaaraas, to be untruthful and animal like behaviour are all the qualities of Asuras. What relieves us from the worldly ties and propels us towards liberation are the divine qualities and those that get deeply mired in further involvement are the demoniacal, He clarifies. Then he says, “Arjuna! Do not fear as to what we are destined for. You are born to inherit the divine assets only”, He assures. From this we can gather that both these divine and demoniacal qualities are in every human being,
5. We can see for ourselves that these opposing pulls are ever present in each one of us, that the war between Devas and Asuras, is happening in us all of the time! There is somebody who is telling us in our ears as though, “Do good to others. Do not be a wastrel! Do not be annoyed. It is wrong to be greedy. Go to the temple and pray to God. Control your mind. There you were being quite foolish. I am sure that you can do better than that!” It is as though there is a second or third person in us. We also get prompted to do wrong things totally against our own good intensions! Somehow, mostly the second prompting seems to be more powerful. Then we go astray, slip and get derailed! We feel bad, feel insulted or suffer loss of face and prestige. Again we try to walk as per the first voice, make a resolution and fail to keep up to our own expectations! There are then more promises to ourselves that we fail to keep, than anybody else doing so! It is like the ‘sarukku maram’, a game of fun played in India in which, an athlete in minimum of clothing, with his bare body smeared with oil tries to climb a highly polished cylindrical wooden beam that has been coated with oil! Try as he may, despite repeated trials, he will keep slipping down. Our personal efforts to steer a clear path of virtue in this world is like that only. But still there is an inner voice that is correcting us and egging us on to greater efforts to win this battle. Someone keeps telling us, guiding us on to the right path too, while it is also true that alternately the temptation to adopt the illegal short cut is also all the time being presented before our minds! This wrestling between good and evil is going on in us all the time. That is the fight between good and bad ‘Vrittis’. ‘Vritti’ is the flow or run. ‘Chitta Vritti’ is the flow of thoughts. Every type of thought is a flow and it is a vritti. Like this every fraction of a second there are hundreds of vrittis. In it there are some ninety bad ones. There may be some ten good ones. The good ones are the Devas and bad ones are the Asuras.
6. 99% of the times, the winners in this battle are the Asuras only. But when the one percent victory is achieved by the Devas, somehow we experience some happiness, some satisfaction! At that moment, we feel thrilled with the clarity as though we understand the purpose of existence! Then the darkness envelopes again. Then we feel, “Let the Asuras win”. Then they keep on winning battle over battles. On deeper thought, with all their victories there is no inner fulfilment. No clarity. Further confusion and turpitude results! You feel like crying. We decide not to do that anymore! Then when the temptation occurs, we ignore it, once, twice and even a third time. Then without knowing that we are doing that, despite all our intentions we give in to the Asuric forces! That pull or power or flow or whatever, it may be desire, lust, hate or greed; some such power --- like in a flood or thunder storm --- in a flash whisks us away and so many more sins done by us, are added to our negative entries in our Karma account!
(To be continued.)



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