Thursday, August 29, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 32 (Vol # 7) Dated 28 Aug 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 32 (Vol # 7) Dated 28 Aug 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL of Kanchi Kaamakoti 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 going ahead from page No 222 of Volume 7 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated continually)

312.            The sloka starting with 'गुरुर ब्रह्मा' is very famous         alright, but there is an equally good one by Thiru Moolar in Tamil, which is just the thing for melting one's heart in devotion and adulation for the Guru: -
"theLivu guruvin thirumeni kaaNdal
"தெளிவு குருவின் திருமேனி காண்டல்
(Clarity it is - to see the personage of the preceptor.)
theLivu guruvin thirunãmam cheppal
தெளிவு குருவின் திருநாமம் செப்பல்
(Clarity it is – to take his name.)
theLivu guru uru sindittal dãne"
தெளிவு குரு உரு சிந்தித்தல் தானே".
(Clarity it is – to meditate on his form.)  Having said some such sloka on Guru, one can start ones prayers or PãrãyaNam.  Here also a word of caution.  Some slokas are very powerful such as Lalitha Sahasranãma, Lalitha Trisati and Thiru Murugãrruppadai. It is better if they are received through a Guru or some such elder who is known to lead a pious life.  It is good to do so three times, for him to say and for you to repeat or at least once.  The idea is that a Mantra or some such sloka received 'guru mukamãga' – 'குரு முகமாக', is much more powerful and effective.  In the case of Lalitha Trisati, one of the 'Moola Mantra-s' of AmbãL should be formally ('kramamãga' – 'க்ரமமாக') obtained as an Upadesa from a Guru before learning to chant that Sloka.

313.            Even Slokas with Mantra Shakti, if we are ordered by a Mahatma to chant, such an order itself can be taken as Upadesa and obeyed.  Point I am making is that everyone can and should chant most of the slokas on their own and they are meant for such common chanting only, to enable the masses to get acquainted with those slokas and thereby become devotionally oriented.  Similarly in each household we could have a Pooja after a Guru Dhyãna as a simple procedure.  The Sãstry or Purohit, who takes care of the family in conduct of religious functions, could be the Guru to start the Panchãyatana Pooja in your households.  Even simple chanting of slokas, it is preferable to have someone as a Guru to initiate the process, as most of them do have some Mantra in them.  To feel that 'He is the Guru and we are the disciples', that attitude is important so as to obviate the feeling, that, 'I am doing a Pooja' or 'Do you know that I have been doing that Pooja for 25 years?'

314.            I am having two opposing thoughts.  On the one hand I look at the primary importance given to the Guru in our Sãstrãs when related to the scant courtesy shown to elders in the present day world, I wish to emphasise the 'Guru is needed and essential'.  On the other hand I do not want to deprive the common man an opportunity to be inculcating Bhakti, just because he could not find a suitable Guru, that in the bargain they will not chant even the simple slokas, and not do any pooja or stotra PãrãyaNam!  So I am tending to compromise as much as possible!  Normally, people in such positions as me, as the Head of Dharma Peeta-s, should not be compromising on matters of Sãstrã at all.  Because if Heads of such institutions start compromising, then people further down the channel or Heads of other such organizations will continue doing the same, so that there will be nobody observing or following the rule of the law whatsoever as given in the Sãstrãs.  So, as far as possible, we are supposed to be strict in the application of Rule of the Law as far as the Sãstrãs are concerned.  That is how I am persevering about which many may be feeling bad that I am not very practical!  May be many are sad or even annoyed that I am too conservative.  They may be feeling, "What is this Swãmiyar!  Not understanding the plight we are in, not understanding the changed circumstances of life today, he is just talking about some eerie past!"  Whereas I am in the state of an ant running between either ends of a piece of wood, both of which are burning as the Tamil adage says, 'iru thalaik koLLi erumbu pol' – 'இரு தலைக் கொள்ளி எறும்பு போல்'! 

315.            My view is like this.  Anyhow depending on present conditions people will do some compromises on their own.  Why should I make it official?  May be when conditions permit, they will return to doing things as required in the Sãstrãs.  But my giving them licence to go against the Sãstrãs may prove to be deleterious in the long run in that, they are likely to have a convenient excuse, "PeriyavãL himself has approved!"  If some of them are thinking of returning to the ways of Sãstrãs, I would prove to be the one to give them licence not to do so!  So, I am running the risk of being called 'too conservative'!  It is alright.  So, I am saying a few things keeping the changed present day circumstances in mind.  Then I am also insisting on a few things as inviolable as per the requirements of the Sãstrãs.

316.            In the Sãstrãs themselves there is one proviso as 'ãpad kãla dharma' – 'आपद काल धर्म', that is, relaxation in rules that one is permitted in the times of peril.  These days are known as Kali Yuga in which the whole world has been deeply submerged in blatant materialism.  These times can be taken as really dangerous periods for Dharma and the partial relaxations that I have suggested as 'आपद काल धर्म' licences.  Ashtotras and Sata Namãvalis can be learnt and chanted or done with Archana on one's own.  But, some of them if starting with 'Bija Akshara' Mantras they should be learnt and started with Guru's permission only.  Anyhow whatever it is the value of chanting and PãrãyaNam is more if done through the aegis of a Guru.  In times of trouble and when one is unwell, some strict rules may be relaxed.  But once clear of such 'ãpad kãla' periods, it is prudent to go back to the old way as per Sãstrãs.  You might have heard of something known as 'ãpad Sannyãsa'.  When a person knows that his death is imminent, he may feel that is better that before his mortal coil drops off, he should take Sannyãsa.  At such moments he may do so on his own.  But, after some time if he is still alive, it would be better that he approaches a suitable Guru and take Sannyãsa in a formal manner.  So, I hope that I have made myself clear on this issue of when to and when not to relax the rules of the Sãstrãs. 

317.            Anyhow, there is one medicine for this Kali Yuga especially, the sweet medicine of Nãma PãrãyaNam and Bhajan.  These things can be done quite informally.  Nãma PãrãyaNam of 'Siva, Rama, Govinda, Narayana' and such can be done without the PraNava Mantra, at any time.  Even in this it is preferable to do a small Dhyãna and think of your Guru, before you commence.  That itself will instil Vinaya on the one side and also work as a tonic.  Of course even in the case of simple Nãma PãrãyaNam, it is best to start doing so at least the first time through verbal initiation by some elder who is known to be all the time chanting those divine names.  That is why even Bible debars taking the name of God in vain!  Anyhow, you do not have to postpone taking God's name because of this embargo.  The embargo is against 'taking God's Name in vain and not against taking God's name with love and Shraddha'!

Guru for Public at Large – If Not a Personal Guru
318.            All the people should think of God constantly.  For this there should be more prayers, Bhajans, PãrãyaNam, and Pooja and such activities should all the time be increasing.  At the same time PaNivu and Adakkam as a quality in people should be imbibed for one to be able to conquer one's own ego and pride.  That does not mean that one should be lacking in self-confidence.  It is the conceit that has to be won over.  For that you need a Guru to whom with genuine respect we should be devoted.   For this all the lakhs and crores of the populations of the world need to have a Guru.  To cultivate each and every individual like that, will there be people to hold that position and status as a Guru?  That too, in the present day world, when it has become the in-thing to accept any 'Tom, Dick and Harry' as leaders and idols if there is enough following (like in face-book or twitter) and question the credentials if anybody is known as a religious Guru; even if there are worthy Gurus, to know such worth and approach them with humility, how is it all to happen?  It is still a million dollar question as to whether all the millions will find a suitable Guru to have the intimate relationship with, as it is supposed to be between a Sishya and Guru, I wonder!

318.            At the same time, we also note that, all the people of the world believe in someone or the other, as a Great Mahatma, a saintly man or some such thing.  Though this period in history has got a sobriquet as the 'era of distrust and disbelief', if a cinema actor can have millions of followers, everyone who calls himself a Guru has enormous following.  People in hordes collect around the so called God-Men of this world in countless numbers.  Though they do collect around in such masses not all of them are truly believed and followed!  While it is also true that many of them are truly great and many of their followers do sincerely follow them in word and spirit!  Those saintly persons do advice their followers the value of making one's own life divine and how to make one's life religiously effective.  Though initially people go to them for solving their problems or to get their wants and desire fulfilled, as time passes there is noticeable and substantial good in such an arrangement as they do try and follow the Upadesa practically in their lives.  It is here that Mahatma becomes their Guru and their followers their disciples. 

319.            If the followers are many those Gurus cannot have individual relationship with all of the followers.  But they generally give Upadesa to the masses.  If the devotees decide to follow the Upadesa in letter and spirit, they become the followers automatically in the true sense.  They may not get individual 'Mantra Upadesa', but he says in the loud-speaker and the whole lot of them repeat the Mantra and that is as good as each one getting a Guru of his own and getting 'Guru Mukha' Upadesam.  You see I am here in Kãmakoti Peetam as Jagat Guru and there are others like me in the other such Peetams established by our ÃchãryãL with the same title as the Jagat Guru.  But do we separately and individually give Upadesa to each and every man?  It just cannot be done.  What we do is to generally tell you all about what our ÃchãryãL has spoken about divinity and how to conduct oneself in this life that gets conveyed to the other people of the world through the Newspaper / Magazines / Television and other such media.  So, many people of the world are considering us as the Guru and themselves as our followers. 

320.            Thus a 'Mahatma' should be approached as one's Guru and whatever we do in terms of Bhajan or PãrãyaNam, should be done after paying our respects to that Guru and all the Gurus of the world.  Thyagaraja SwamigaL paid his respects to – 'entaro mahãnubhãvulu', meaning 'many great people of great experience' and I am saying 'எவரோ மஹானுபாவுலு', as to whosoever he may be of the past present and future would-be greats, we should pay our regards to them also before we start our Pooja or Bhajan. 

(To be continued.)



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 31 (Vol # 7) Dated 26 Aug 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 31 (Vol # 7) Dated 26 Aug 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL of Kanchi Kaamakoti 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 going ahead from page No 215 of Volume 7 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated continually)

Vedas & Sãstrãs to be learnt from Guru – AmbãL's Plan
302.            If Shraddha means complete trust and belief in whatever the Vedas say, why should we not read and learn all those Vedas, Sãstrãs and methods and procedures of Sãdhana, on our own?  You should not strive on your own because, that Veda itself says in Chandokya Upanishad, "Become Ãchãryavãn that is, a true disciple under a Guru.  Then only will you be able to understand the message".  Mundakopanishad says, "Seek for and find a Guru and follow him". Rik Samhita gives us the direction that, "You are an Akshetravit who does not know the inner world, whereas Guru is a Kshetravit who knows that, through whom you can also learn". "Only learning through the Ãchãryãs verbal and oral directions are useful and effective" says Satyakãma Jãbãla in Chandokya Upanishad.

303.            Words and the meaning of those words as understood by one's brain is not 'the be all and end all' of Veda's messages.  There are enormous powers inherent in those very letters making up those words.  They are of the form of hidden treasures.  If that power is to be made evident, it will not happen by self-study, alone whatever the number if iteration and efforts at interpretation of their meaning.  Then how are we to understand them?  How will it be revealed?  In answer I will give you a counter question.  What is a religion meant for?  It is there for enabling us to understand and enjoy divinity and God.  If Vedas are the books of religion, how are we to understand and get that divine power ourselves and or to know that it is already within us?  Firstly when those Rishis who are 'Mantra Drashtãh' – 'मन्त्र द्रष्टा:' the Seers, could physically see / visualise the Mantras as though written against the wide expanse of this sky or the sky of their minds 'Mano Ãkãsa', then itself AmbãL had devised a plan.  Not a five-year or ten-year plan, but a plan forever. 

304.            Let all those people in other religions get those fractional advantages and some divine powers by reading and learning on their own.  Even in this Vedic religion, the Veda Mantras, Tantra Saastra Mantras and the vide variety of slokas and stotras that are available and meant for the general public to read and commit to memory for developing Bhakti in their hearts, be read by individual efforts.  In fact if even those things are read with some guidance from some learned elder who is regularly chanting them, it is much better!  But let us not make it compulsory.  But one thing should be made compulsory and that is, the refuge of all the powers, all the beneficence for the individual and the world at large, the Veda Mantras must be learnt through a Guru!  Let us not flippantly play around with them! 

305.            This greatness should not be permitted to be made light of by anybody.  If anyone is to comprehend this greatness, he has to first realise his own negligible and utter smallness.  So AmbãL decided and planned on this juicy drama.  I think the biggest thing that a man has got is his mind or Manas.  That he has to sacrifice and cause oneself to become absolutely humble before he can understand of comprehend the usefulness of Vedas.  The instrument for learning and knowing is this Buddhi or Mind.  The word Veda also means 'to know'.  So before he can know the Vedas he has to cause his mind to become an absolute zero, a nullity.  This purpose and message of the Vedas have to be made unreachable by the mind.  His sense of pride and conceit has to become nil and give him 'PaNivu' and 'Adakkam' – 'பணிவு' and 'அடக்கம்', as the basic Q.Rs. for him to proceed ahead.  That is how it occurs to me.  AmbãL has the ability to make the impossible possible and resolve the unsolvable.  This capability is known as 'aghatita katinã pateeyasi' – 'अघटित कठिन पटीयसि' in Sanskrit.  Thus it was her plan that the highest of creation the Man should realise his own infinitesimal smallness before he can have some idea of what is infinity, the divinity of God as given in the Vedas!

306.            The plan is that when the Seers or 'मन्त्र द्रष्टा:' who absorbed the Mantras which are God's form, that is 'Easwara Swaroopa' – 'ईस्वर स्वरूप', in a way as Akshara that is imperishable form of sounds represented by those letters; while absorbing the Mantras should also imbue and fill within themselves, the root of all that power, the peace of Shãntam, which in turn can only be conveyed to those who become their disciple, when they receive the same as Upadesa from generation to generation of Guru – Sishya lineage!  This is not the sort of communication between inanimate machines or through words or letters or blue-tooth technology or internet, but live communication of life, of making you realise what you knew and were ignorant of that knowledge!  When the Guru tells as it enters the ears, the message is also reaching the life in you, reaching the heart of the matter!  The idea, principle and the peace are conveyed in one bleep like the Laser beam between one life to another and the plan ensures for it to remain an unbroken chain of continuous communication from a Guru to a Sishya and so on!  That is how AmbãL has intended that the meaning of existence should be passed on powerfully from old to the new in unbreakable stream as a 'Chaitanya Maya' – 'चैतन्यमय' of sentient legacy.

307.            So, the best thing to do on this one occasion is to pack up our brains and throw it in the gutter or keep it in cold storage.  With that we should sincerely believe that we have to receive Upadesa from a Guru with absolute devotion and faith as laid down by the authority of Vedas that we have to surrender to the Ãchãrya, if we have to truly be saved from this endless cycle of repeated births and deaths.  Come to think of it, even if we take all the other religions of the world and look at their main principles, can you learn anything on our own?  Let alone the religious principles, even mending a shoe or fixing a leaking pipe or repairing the choked carburettors, despite the do it yourself books of that genre, isn't it true that, when an experienced person tells us 'how to' don't we all benefit immensely?  When his life force coupled with his experience comes through are we not learning instantly?  Then why are we so ungracious in being in this very important matter?  May be you can fix a leaking faucet on your own or mend a torn mosquito net.  But, AmbãL has so ordained that in this important area of learning the Vedas and their message, 'self-study' is just not going to be successful.  We just do not know the why of it but do know that it is so!

308.            Whatever her plan or otherwise, we have to come to the clear conclusion that for our redemption there is nothing worth its while to be achieved by our own efforts.  With Adakkam we should simply recognise the fact that to receive the Vedas through the mouth of a Guru with complete trust is the only way.  When I say Vedas, they are inclusive of the Mantras given in Mantra Sãstrãs, only indirectly indicated in the Vedas, which should also be learnt through a Guru only and not played around with.  I do not know as to whether they are occurring in Vedas or not.  Among branches of the Vedas, many have become forgotten nowadays.  May be these Mantras were part of those branches.  Anyhow in our religion the Mantras, Tantras and Tatvams will be useful and meaningful only if they are learnt through a Guru, is a dictum not to be messed with.  In this, I must make a mention of 'Yoga Sãstrãs' too including Patanjali Muni's Ashtãnga Yoga as so many Yoga Schools that have come into being.  I hear that in Yoga becoming popular, in the west much experimentation is going on, about which I am somewhat apprehensive.  These Yoga things should be learnt and practised only through a qualified Guru while strictly being under his supervision and constant attention.  Otherwise the results can be quite dangerous and harmful!  (KTSV Adds: - True to PeriyavãL's apprehensions, I hear that in the US of A, doing Yoga with a pet dog known as 'Doga', is becoming popular!)

General Simple Worship and PãrãyaNam
309.            To receive Upadesa and Mantra through the oral Upadesa from a Guru is not necessary for all persons in all walks of life.  This is evidently meant for some aspirants who have cleansed their minds, buddhi and chittam to quite an extent and with absolute dispassion have already progressed far afield, towards the important goal of Ãtma Anubhuti and Self-Realization and those students learning the Vedas in the formal manner of Adhyayanam.  Normally all people should be devoted to God and grab every opportunity to do some small prayers every day and or visit temples.  If the human life has to be meaningful and fruitful, we should think of God who has given us the gift of life, as often as possible and conduct this life as per his grace.  But if we were to think of God on our own, what do we know about him or her?  How can we think of God when we do not know anything about God?  Here, there is much help available as Slokas and Stotras written by great Saints who were also poets who have left us the legacy as prayer songs, Bhajans, Keertans, Slokas, Stotras, available and set to music in almost all the regional languages in India.  Those poems are ever ready to come running to us, give us a hand and lift us up from the doldrums.

310.            Those songs and poems having been written by those who have personally experienced God's Grace, capable of instantly soaking us in deep devotion, bringing tears of love of God to our eyes.  It is the great bountiful luck of this country, that there have been many great and true poet-cum-devotees, scattered all over this sub-continent coming up like a continuous stream.  That too, this Tamil Nadu is much fortuitous in having had all the Nãyanmãrs and Ãzhvãrs and many more before them and afterwards who have just poured out their hearts in devotion in thousands of songs in easy Tamil on all and every names of Gods in all glory!  These are poems that people can learn on their own by reading and committing them to heart.  They need not be learnt only by 'word of mouth' of a Guru.  If an experienced good soul, were to give you those poems, all the more better, but not compulsory.  Whatever the sloka or poem, it is better to start with one on PiLLaiyar.  As it is most such stotras start with invocation of the blessings of GaNesha and Saraswathi mostly. 
311.            It is also suggested that one may preferably think of whomsoever we consider as our Guru and say one of the generally applicable slokas on Guru.  We all know that God is almighty and omnipotent.  There is nothing special about standing in all humility in front of God.  We do inculcate Vinaya, Adakkam and PaNivu by doing so.   But to do so to stand in front of such a person who had come on this world like us and has risen to the highest divinity or in memory of him, does instil the sense of humility and to do so is something special really.  The very fact that a simple man could rise like that is a very encouraging example before us in our minds, with the idea that, what he has done in his life, we could also aspire for.  Though there is no compulsion that such slokas have to be sung only after some Guru teaches us, but it is good to think of such while chanting a sloka on Guru, which are plentifully available.  We all know of one such sloka which shows us how the Guru represents all the Gods: -
"gurur brhma gurur vishnu: gurur devo maheswara: |
"गुरुर ब्रह्मा गुरुर विष्णु: गुरुर देवो महेस्वर: |
guru sakshãt parabehma: tasmai sri gurave nama: ||"
गुरु साक्षात परब्रह्म: तस्मै श्री गुरवे नाम: ||"
(To be continued.)



Sunday, August 25, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 30 (Vol # 7) Dated 24 Aug 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 30 (Vol # 7) Dated 24 Aug 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL of Kanchi Kaamakoti 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 going ahead from page No 208 of Volume 7 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated continually)

292.            Commenting on the two Upanishads' remarks about the so called Self Styled Intellectuals who claim their own selves to be Dheera-s and Pundits as 'janganyamãNã:' meaning those who go every which way and 'tantramyamãna' meaning those who use all sorts of tricks, our ÃchãryãL says, "Such people other than going astray themselves are the cause of affecting young people's minds too", ticking them off and partly regretting the state of affairs!  Not arriving at any conclusion or end, like the bulls tied to a grinder-stone or water-pump of yore; they keep going round and round or up and down, repeatedly ad nauseam, with no end in sight!  Sankara has commented on their, this pathetic condition of perplexity and giddiness as 'vibhramanti' – 'विभ्रमन्ति'.     

293.            The one to guide you directly on to the path towards the destination is the real Guru.  These fake Pundits without coming to the aim keep roaming about in some imaginary world of their own.  Such self-styled renegades of the past who kept fabricating flimsy facades and suffered are their fictitious ideals to be quoted as being equally independent models!  This has been described by the Upanishads as the 'blind leading the blind' to their dooms, reflected exactly like a photo-copy in the Bible!  To follow these No-Guru-characters a whole series of such rebels will come in to being who will create the tradition of No-Tradition!  All this talk came about because, for self-realization it is not enough if one were to understand and absorb the meaning of what the Maha-Vãkyãs convey, all by oneself using all the abilities that one can muster and command!  Such people who think themselves to be highly knowledgeable are declared to be 'panditam manyamãnã: moodã:' – 'पण्डितं मन्यमाना: मूढा:' by both the Upanishads, meaning that they are 'Idiots'!  Our ÃchãryãL has said the same thing (in the third declension or Vibhakti that the word undergoes) in his Bhashyam as 'pandita mãnibhi: moodai' – 'पण्डित मानिभि: मूढै:' meaning in other words though claiming themselves to be great scholars, they are simply-self-styled idiots!

294.            Then our ÃchãryãL talks about some of the pseudo philosophers of those times who like the 'vãi vedãntigaL' – 'வாய் வேதாந்திகள்' of the present day world, used to say, "What is the need for a Guru?  If we analyse the Maha Vãkyãs of the Upanishads with a clean heart and mind, understanding and comprehension should be automatically accruing".  He asks the question on behalf of such people, 'anta:karaNa samsuddhena swayam gnãnam prakãsate | veda vaakyai: ata: kim?' – 'अन्त: करण संशुद्धेन स्वयम् ज्ञानं प्रकाशते |  वेद वाक्यै: अत: किं?'!  Then he answers this question with, 'iti na sãmpradam' – 'इति न सांप्रदं'.  That reply 'इति न सांप्रदं' means that, "Making such a statement is not very appropriate!"  It means that it is rather daft!

295.            It is not very sensible or reasonable to say that we can understand the Maha Vãkyãs on our own, because, for us the Vedas are the way, evidence, logic and authority.  Vedas say through the Upanishad that 'Ãchãryavãn that is, the one who has a Guru only, gets to know the truth' and saying this, our ÃchãryãL quotes the relevant portions of the Vedas in evidence.  Those people will still insist, "Why do we need the Vedas?  Our own mind and conscience are the authority."  I do not know as to how to make them convinced by speaking any logic at their own level of 'paguthtu arivu' – 'பகுத்து அறிவு' of which they tend to be much proud of. Come to think of it what I am talking is also 'பகுத்து அறிவு' only of 'discerning through differentiation'!  Anyhow, for our ÃchãryãL Vedas as a whole is the primary authority.  For him it is as important as one's breath.  With extreme love and respect he says in one place in his Bhashyams as explanatory notes on the Vedas, represented as the Mother Veda Mãtã, 'mãtru pitru sahasrebhyobhi: hitaishiNã Veda:' – 'मातृ पिथ्रु सहस्रेभ्योभि: हितैषिणा वेद:', meaning that 'She, Veda Mãtã does more good than a thousand Fathers and Mothers'!  He always insisted and emphasised on the value of 'Upadesa through a Guru'.  

Veda PramãNa, Other Religions
296.            If you ask as to why should we accept the Vedas as the authority and why not one's own mind and conscience, the only answer that I can give is that, only in this religion of Sanatana Dharma made up of those who believed in the Vedas as the authority, have there been so many great Mahatmas as a continuous line like a chain, from times immemorial of thousands of years till date!  Even when one or two other religions sprouted in this country and seemed to be great or even if you accept that they were really great, our ÃchãryãL Ãdi Sankara clearly proved that their doctrine was fallacious and caused them to leave the shores of India or reduced them to a pathetic minority, isn't it?  As time went on, those religions too have drawn much from this religion based on the Vedas and made a mix of their own points of principles and are far different from what was originally as avowed by their founders. 

297.            Though their founders claimed, "One's own brain, buddhi or mind is the authority.  There is no need for a Guru or any outside agency to lord over you and give you advices or Upadesa", those who followed them have made a Guru out of them and have written books of unquestionable and unassailable authority.  Whatever the religion, like a constitution for the government of a country, in each religion there are such scriptures commanding absolute authority!  Those religions exist as unique only based on such authoritative scriptures to which every member of such religions humbly submit and accept.  Then there have been quotable quotes from those followers who command the same respect as Gurus of those religions, isn't it?  That has enabled many of their followers to have some unique high experience raising them to the level of leaders in their own religions, which is the cause of continued sustenance and growth of those religions.

298.            Still it can be proved with statistics that there have been whole array of greats in this Sanãtana Dharma as nowhere else of Rishis, Munis, Gnãnis, Yogis, Raja Yoga / Mantra Yoga Siddha Purushas and enormous hordes of simple, disciplined multitudes of devotees, who have had the highest of experience through the simple path of Bhakti!  Then there have been an enormous profusion of books of infinite numbers, detailing subtle methods for each and every individual which continue to be produced, while still strictly abiding with the dictates of the Sãstrãs.  To top it all, it is this religion more than any other which has clearly delineated a plethora of step by step methods to be followed by every ardent aspirant, detailing a path for his particular progress, custom-made so to say known as 'Sãdhana Marga', without hurting any other soul, still based on the Sãstrãs while remaining true to the Vedas!  All this has been based on the foundation of accepting Vedas as the authority!  What more logic or analysis do we need?  Let us also whole heartedly accept the Vedas as PramãNa and follow it simply submissively.  That is what occurs to my mind as the best way.

Shraddha towards the Vedas and Guru
299.            Somewhere along the way, I mentioned one thing important.  If we hand over this mind of ours to some authority with trust, faith and discipline, that very act can give us the highest experience.  For all those elaborate words there is one simple word known as 'Shraddha'.  To have Shraddha in Vedas, Sãstrãs that are based on the Vedas and the Guru who quotes fluently from them; that one act or attitude from the aspirant is enough and nothing more is required.  Yes, we know everything in world by our Buddhi, which is one word inclusive of brains, intelligence, memory and ability to process and analyse.  But it is that Buddhi that stands as a block in our understanding of the inner world!  That is how AmbãL has meant it to be.  Though we are being tested like that, the solution is simple.  That Buddhi has to be given the sane advice, "You are alright for all practical purposes as far as dealing with this world is concerned.  When it comes to the inner world and understanding of the reality of our inner being, you have neither the authority nor any responsibility or role to play!  That inner world's details are as per what God has given in the Vedas and Sãstrãs as revealed to Rishis the Seers!  You are permitted to read, absorb and understand the Sãstrãs to the extent you can and that is all!"  To tell us this, the system, nature, or God, call it whatever, has ordained for such great Mahatmas, Ãchãryãs and Maha Purushas to come among our midst in our lives as a Guru!

SaraNãgati – Surrender
300.            To lay our Buddhi prostrate is SaraNãgati.  To make it clear to our own minds symbolically only the act of doing 'Sãshtãnga Namaskãra' – 'साष्टाङ्ग नमस्कार' has been evolvedEight parts of the body in the case of males and five parts of the body in the case of females are to touch the ground.  In that, the most important part to be brought down from its high-altitude and attitude is the head!  The Sãstrãs lay down the rules to which we have to lay ourselves down!  You have heard of the Tamil word 'keezh padidal' – 'கீழ் படிதல்', that is what it is. For that inner submissiveness to Vedas and to God as the main message of the Vedas, the outer indication is this act of Namaskãra.  When you do Namaskãra to others, you are indicating your submissiveness – 'keezh padidal' – 'கீழ் படிதல்' not to any man on earth but to the God in him!

301.            Here there is no work for the brain, ego and Ahankãra.  Instead there is trust, faith and belief known as Shraddha.  When there is a heat wave, we know it and so do we know when there is cold breeze blowing.  With such certainty and clarity we should know that in the unseen world of inner dynamics of Ãtma Loka, what Vedas say is the Truth, not meant for anyone's individual unfair advantage but one's own individual spiritual progress.  This certainty is Shraddha.  If we take that Shraddha as the capital input, it will take us to the state of implicit obedience known as SaraNãgati of complete கீழ் படிதல், where there is no work for our Buddhi and no place for any more questions!  (KTSV adds: - Vibhishana surrendered to Rama before the battle between Sri Rama and RavaNa was enjoined.  There, it is worthwhile to read other's reaction and Ãnjaneya response.  Within the Sanãtana Dharma the Vaishnavites give much importance to this idea of Surrender known by the term 'Prapatti'.   Amongst other religions, a lot of importance to this principle of surrender is given in Islam.)

(To be continued.)



Friday, August 23, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 29 (Vol # 7) Dated 22 Aug 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 29 (Vol # 7) Dated 22 Aug 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL of Kanchi Kaamakoti 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 going ahead from page No 201 of Volume 7 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated continually)

Guru Who Raises the Disciple to His Own Level
280.            The reflection in the mirror is only an apparent image and not the original in flesh and blood.  In the case of Guru – Sishya relationship, the Guru raises the Sishya to his own level and not remaining with that, enables the disciple to attain total equality and identity, not just be a copy or replica.  So also the Sishya will go on to raise his disciple to oneness with him sans differences except possibly in appearance in the eyes of the world!  Our ÃchãryãL using this example we have seen of the 'Sphatika MaNi' and its reflection, along with 'Sparsha MaNi' and any base metal, explains the situation that Guru's action is like that of the 'Sparsha MaNi.  The 'Sparsha MaNi' is the same as the 'Philosopher's Stone' said to be capable of transmuting any base metal, like the metal element Lead (Pb) in to Gold (Au) or Silver (Ag).  (KTSV adds: - Now let me not quote you the sloka, which once again is available to me only as a transliterated version of Sanskrit in Tamil.  Hence there could be some mistakes in spelling and pronunciation already.  This is likely to become further mutilated when the Tamil transliterated version is again transliterated into English!  So I am only giving you the meaning, while quoting some of the decipherable words from the sloka!)

281.            "I started saying that our ÃchãryãL compares the action of the Guru", says PeriyavãL, and then amends his statement that since our ÃchãryãL is saying, "Even if we search in all the three worlds, there can be no example that can be compared to what a Guru can do!"  The three worlds are the Earth, Heaven and Hell or here, there and everywhere or past, present and future or whatever!  Because basically what the Guru can do is just beyond compare!  The mirror just reflects and shows an image which is just a reflection that is immaterial.  What the Philosopher's stone or Sparsha MaNi can do is only convert a base metal into a nobler or costlier metal.  Actually this is used as a 'drushtãntam' – 'दृष्टान्तं' (another word for compare and contrast) about what a Guru does.  If by a touch of the touch-stone any metal like the iron or lead can become Gold, the Guru removes the ignorance from the disciples mind the 'andam tama:' – 'अन्धं तम:', this disciple who so enveloped by the deep darkness of ignorance is converted into gold of 24 carat purity! But he says that the example is not at all correct as it is no patch on the reality of what a Guru can do to the disciple! 

282.            It is true that the touch-stone gives the quality of gold to iron.  Iron is known as 'asma sãram' meaning the essence of tree.  If modern science says that natural gas, crude oil and coal are formed by plants interned under the earth, here the Sanskrit sloka is calling iron is also a similarly formed material as the 'tree-essence'!  So a touch of the 'Sparsha MaNi' changes even iron into gold – 'asma sãram swarNatãm nayati' – 'अस्मसारं स्वर्णताम् नयति'.  But, here is a huge difference; the touch-stone does not make iron into another touch-stone – 'na sparstvam tathã' – 'न स्पर्शत्वं तथा'! But a Satguru does something else.  What does he do?  'Satguru sweeyam sishye sweeyam sãmyam vidatte ' – 'सत्गुरु स्वीयम् शिष्ये स्वीयम् साम्यम् विदत्ते', meaning that instead of converting him, inverts you to let you find yourself or in other words, makes you another Guru!  Look at how our ÃchãryãL expresses it!  The phrase, 'sweeyam sishye' means instead of his, 'his-own disciple' as we say 'one's own'.  To that his-own disciple he gives 'sweeyam sãmyam vidatte' sameness, equality, oneness or homogeneousness. 

284.            The Guru transforms his disciple to his own level, being and identity.  Like MaNikka Vãsagar says, 'sivamãkki enaiãNda' – 'சிவமாக்கி எனையாண்ட', meaning that 'Siva made me him and ruled over me'!  This happens only in some cases as a change.  There is no limit to the power of blessing by the Guru.  Generally if the Guru happens to be full of all the qualities of his position and status and the Sishya is also meeting all the qualitative requirements as a disciple, he tries his level best and the Guru prods him to his optimum, thereby the Guru instils in him his own Anubhava and comprehension enabling him to attain to that exalted state of Siddhi!

Sishya's Worth and Guru's Kindness
285.            'Even if an unworthy character were to give all this earth surrounded by oceans as DakshiNa he is not to be given 'Vidya dãnam' because Vidya is greater than this earth', we have seen already as a statement by the Chandokya Upanishad.  After explaining 'Madhu Vidya' the Upanishad says that, "This may be taught to one's own eldest son or other worthy disciple".  This above statement has been made there as the ending.  For 'worthy', the word used in the Upanishad is 'praNaya' – 'प्रणय', meaning qualified, lovable and very well behaved as explained by our ÃchãryãL as the eldest son or such a worthy student.  He has also used a word 'yogya' – 'योग्य', meaning deserving to be taught.  Such a deserving person as a disciple or eldest son also becomes 'priyãrha' – 'प्रियार्ह', meaning loveable.  Deserving is the quality from the side of the disciple and loving kindness is from the Guru's and both these qualities have to meet for the student's Lakshya Siddhi. 

286.            So all put together it comes about that there is no occasion of the student arriving at the destination on his own steam.  In a book known as 'Tatvopadesa' – 'तत्वोपदेश', a PrakaraNa Grantha of his, our ÃchãryãL has clearly and emphatically stated this that 'sri guro: karuNam vinã' – 'श्री गुरो: करुणां विना', however much vast your readings and knowledge may be, 'You cannot know Ãtma'!  (I hope that you know that a PrakaraNa Grantha is an original work and not a commentary on an already existing work like the Bhashyams on Gita and Upanishads.)  In that book Tatvopadesa our ÃchãryãL is raising questions and answering them successively with suitable PramãNa.  What is Brhmam?  What is Jiva?  How is it that the Upanishads are saying that they both are one and the same? 

287.            Having raised such questions and answering them, he goes on to say, "Though it is true that it is reiterated that Ãtma is within all of us as our very life and being, we still tend to think of Ãtma as something in some Brhma Loka and ourselves to be a separate individual with a body and so are different.  Though intellectually we do understand that the Upanishad's statement must be correct, do we know it?  Many are under the impression that to discern the truth of the Upanishadic statements all you need are sharpness of wit, intelligence, keenness of mind, receptivity and retention of memory and logical ability etcetera!  That is how many think that they know amongst the intelligentsia.    So, there were people in the times of our ÃchãryãL also, who thought that they understood, as we can gather from his words.  Not only that, but by the fact that they are being referred by the very words of the Upanishads, we can make out that there have always been such 'all knowing' people, who thought that they knew, before him in the times the Upanishads were written!  But unless we go far higher from that cerebral level, we can never really understand this.  To do that, that is to bring the comprehension that intrinsically we are one with Ãtma with in our experience, can just not be done without Guru's blessings – 'श्री गुरो: करुणां विना' – says our ÃchãryãL!  You may do any amount of reading, analysis, discussions and mental gymnastics – 'tatãpi sakte neiva' – 'ततापि सक्तेनैव', you cannot do so except possibly naively thinking that you have been successful!  We cannot be successful in what?  In 'aparokshayitum' – 'अपरोक्षयितुं', that is in having the inner experience of what we are able understand cerebrally that the individual who thinks of himself as this body and the Ãtma aka Parabrhmam are one and the same!       

The Pseudo Gnãnis Exposed by the Upanishads & our ÃchãryãL
288.            But there are many who claim to have read and analysed on their own, arriving at a certainty entirely in their own steam affirming that there is no need for an external Guru while also claiming to be a Guru and a Gnãni!           Mostly they become victims of a type of 'Vidya Garva' which is Ahankãra in disguise.   Only when conceit has been erased to nullity, Ãtma will be experienced by oneself and not otherwise.  But, these people have constructed a concrete wall around their own self as though, inured themselves against any such plausibility!  But being intelligent, they can never accept that they have failed.  So they will claim success, going about wearing ochre clothes, Rudraksha Mala and displaying 'Chinmudra' with their fingers, giving lectures and publishing books.

289.            There have been such fakes at the time of Ãdi Sankara also and before that in 'Upanishadic Kãla' too, as they have been similarly described in Katopanishad and Mundakopanishad.  In those descriptions there is only one word of difference.  In fact, they both say that such people are enveloped by the darkness of ignorance, 'veshtyamãNã:' – 'वेष्ट्यमाणा:' in a cocoon of their own creation.  (As people wear a pant all over the western world, in South India they used to wear a two-yard or four-yard piece of plain white cloth with some border known as Veshti, to hide their modesty!  So PeriyavãL laughs while using the Sanskrit word 'veshtyamãNã:' – 'वेष्ट्यमाणा:' as it so aptly describes the fact of these fake Swamis enwrapped in ignorance hiding their lack of modesty!)  Then they highly appreciate themselves, as they claim to be very courageous as 'dheerãs' – 'धीराः' and highly knowledgeable as erudite scholars i.e., Pundits – 'panditã:' – 'पण्डिता:'

290.            Normally this word 'dheera' – 'धीर' is related in our minds with physical courage as that of a soldier or sports person and it is quite appropriate there.  But in the context of the Upanishads, Brhma Vidya Upãsakãs and Siddha Purushas are called 'dheera' more for their courage of convictions, faith and intuitive intellectual brilliance!  It is almost as good as calling them a Gnãni.  Even in Bhagawat Gita when Sri Krishna is saying that, a Gnãni does not collapse and swoon that the death of the body is the 'be-all and end-all', says 'dheeras tatra na muhyati' – 'धीर: तत्र न मुह्यति'! Here too, these people claim themselves to be very courageous because money starts pouring in with name and fame and they have to contend with a constant fear of exposure to non-acceptance and dis-approval as otherwise there will be a sudden loss of fame and name!  So, in a way they can claim themselves to be revolutionary soldiers as they are the mouth-speakers of ultra-philosophy, as Maha Kavi Bharathiyar said, 'vãi chollil veeraradi' – 'வாய் சொல்லில் வீரரடி'!

291.            Then they claim that they are 'Pandas' and 'Pundits', at least in the aspect of name-sake.  This word is also a claim for being a Gnãni!    Having matched each other word for word in describing the pseudo-Gnãnis of the world, Katopanishad and Mundakopanishad now start coining words of their own in onomatopoeia style to describe such fake Gnãnis, as 'janganyamãNã:' and 'tantramyamãnã:' and it is only here that they differ in describing these bogus pretenders.  The first word 'janganyamãNã:' means 'those who go in every which way' and the second word 'tantramyamãnã:' means those who try all sorts of tricks, like misusing their Siddhis, may be !

(To be continued.)