Thursday, August 01, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 19 (Vol # 7) Dated 31 July 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 19 (Vol # 7) Dated 31 July 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 128 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)

Great Mahatmas Who Have Had Many Gurus
176.        In our Adwaita tradition, we are duty bound to pay our homages to VidyãraNya SwamigaL after our ÃchãryãL Ãdi Sankara Bhagawat PãdãL, because of his enormous contributions in many ways including, writing such venerable books of reference as, Panchadasi!  It is seen from the Guru Vandana slokas that he has given at the beginning of his books wherein he has mentioned the names of Sankara Ãnanda, Bhãrathi Teerta and Vidya Teerta; as his three Gurus!  Those who wish to study the Sãstrã seriously and systematically must read this book Panchadasi, in which Guru Vandana is addressed to Sankara Ãnanda.  In his earlier position VidyãraNya SwamigaL was known as Madhavacharya as a Guru as well as a Minister for the Kings of Karnataka Harihara initially and after him, then for Bukkaraya.  Since he had held such high level positions in the Government of Karnataka, this name as Madhavacharya continued to remain in vogue, even after he had taken Sannyãsa and become the Jagat Guru in Sri Sarada Peetam in Sringeri.  From that position his contribution to the spread of the Siddhãntam of Adwaitam is enormous to say the least.

177.        If Ãdi Sankara, our ÃchãryãL countered and vanquished 72 wicked religions of his time and established Adwaita Siddhãntam as the final destination of the Vedas, VidyãraNya SwamigaL as Madhavacharya as a minister under Harihara and Bukkaraya did remarkable service in successfully countering the Turk / Muslim invasion of South India from the North, who were destroying the Hindu Temples razing them into virtual ruins!  He also managed to delimit the influence of Dwaita Siddhãntam of his namesake from Udupi and the Veera Saiva Siddhãntam, which were on the ascendant those days!  His brother SãyaNa it was who wrote Bhashyam for all the Vedas.  Continuing as a minister and Guru for Harihara and Bukkaraya he did exceptional and significant service in propping up a Hindu Sãmrãjya to stand as a bulwark against offensive inroads of Muslim influence in South India!  Other than Panchadasi he has authored many other books also, from which we can make out that he had one more Guru by the name of Bharatiya Teerta.  If I am remembering correctly, at the beginning of the book 'Jaiminiya Nyãyamãlã  Vistaram', he says – 'Bharatiya Teerta Yateendra krupãm avyãhatãm labdvã' – 'भारतीय यतीन्द्र कृपां अव्याहतां लभ्द्वा', meaning that he has attained the endless blessings of that Swami.  At the start and end of another book namely, 'Jivan Mukti Viveka' he has paid his respects to one Vidya Teerta Yatisreshta, the third Guru that he has mentioned!  Now it may look as though we are referring to many persons by the name of VidyãraNya Swami or that he may be referring to his one Guru, by many of his names.  I agree such a doubt can be there. 

178.        Now let me give you the clinching argument. He has authored another book by the name of, 'Anubhuti Prakãsikã' in which he has discussed 12 important Upanishads.  In it at the end of each chapter, he makes a prayer to his Guru 'Vidya Teerta Maheshwara' for some particular blessing.  In one of these prayers he refers to this Vidya Teerta as his most important or main Guru, so to say 'mukhya Guru' – 'मुख्य गुरु'!  These are all Sannyãsa Gurus.  In another book by the name of 'Sarva Darsana Sangraha', in which he talks of the important points of principles of other religions in an unbiased manner, he has mentioned the name of 'Sarvagna Vishnu' as another of his Gurus!

179.        Dattãtreya is a great Guru in Vedãnta, Sri Vidya Sampradaya and Yoga.  He is said to be a combined form of Brhma, Vishnu and Maheshwara.  As I said before and as given in Bhagawatam, he says that he had 24 different Gurus in which are included both living and non-living entities such as, the earth, air, ocean and a spider, wasp, bee, insects; a bird with fish in its beak, animals such as an elephant, a hunter and a maid; things which we cannot think of as Guru ever!  As he learns one important lesson from each, he calls each one of them his Guru.  So all said and done the point I am making is that there can be more than one Guru in our lives and that is the way it has been in practice!

Pati Vrata & Guru Vrata
180.        There can be genuine doubt here.  How can there be more than one Guru, when you are required to be totally beholden to him, faithful and loyal?  As we are supposed to be surrendered unto the Guru, a woman is supposed to be loyally devoted to one man!  Can a woman be so devoted to more than one master?  It sounds shameful to even say such a thing!  Can the idea of 'SaraNãgati' be shared?  Those can be one's genuine doubts.  It is good to completely surrender to one Guru.  But it is not exactly like the woman being totally surrendered to one man as the 'Pati' – 'पति', generating a specific word as 'Pati Vrata' – 'पति व्रत'In fact for this quality of total devotion to one's husband, as it is known as 'Pãtivratyam' in Sanskrit and 'கற்பு' in Tamil, I wonder if there is a synonym in the other languages of the world!  Yes, the English word nearest in meaning is fidelity.  But devotion and loyalty to a Guru need not be taken in the same spirit.  As a woman while being totally devoted to her husband, is and can be loving towards other members of the family; a Sishya or disciple can be so devoted a particular Guru till a certain progress in the spiritual path and hence there can be more than one Guru at various times in the 'pilgrim's progress'!

181.        In temples though it is named after and is for one particular God, are not there many a Sannidy for many of the other Gods?  Other than Nitya Karma Anushtãna, we are to do what is known as 'Panchãyatana Pooja', in which we invoke, install and do pooja to GaNesha, Siva, Pãrvati, Surya, Vishnu and SubrahmaNya, don't we?  (This became the practice after Ãdi Sankara made brought differing and mutually quarrelling followers of Ganapathyam, Saivam, Sãktam, Souram, VaishNavam and Kaumãram together!)  We still have our idea of a favourite God to whom we are totally surrendered to also, isn't it?  Similarly we may have many as our teachers and be devoted to one, without there being any dissonance.  There are more Gurus because there are many ways in which the Ultimate can be approached.  Within Ãtma Sãstrã, there are many 'shãkãyen' – 'शाकायें' or branches.  So also there are likely to be many specialists in those branches.  When there is one house doctor, on his advice don't we go to consult many other specialists?  Like that for some specific purpose we may have to go to other Gurus.  There is one class teacher who may take classes on Maths or English.  For other subjects like History or Geography, other teachers may visit classes.  Even in universities there are visiting professors.  So also there can be one 'Mukhya Guru' and other 'Upa-Gurus'. 

182.        Another way of looking at it is to take the example of a musical concert.  There is one main singer in support of whom there could be other singers or instrument players such as on the Violin, Mrudang or Ghatam; who are all adding to the symphony only.  They add to the singing by the main singer and make the music wholesome.  Like that to complete and compliment the job of the Mukhya Guru other Upa-Gurus are there.   Take the example of food.  Plain cooked rice and simple and quiet Iddly, though it is the staple diet or the main food, it does not get in to the stomach easily!  But when you add some 'Chutney' or 'MiLagaippodi with Ennai', see how you gobble it up!  Like that the Main Guru may simply be giving one word or even give Upadesa in silence.  As in our immature stage it does not get in or not received or absorbed fully, when other teachers quote extensively from the Sãstrãs with a number of examples the Upadesa may become easily comprehended and palatable!  One who is Mukhya Guru for one may be Upa-Guru for another and vice-versa.  The visiting Geography teacher may be the class teacher for another class, isn't it?  All told, it is important to completely surrender oneself to one Guru without any fractionalization of loyalty and trust. 

183.        Sometimes rarely, but it does happen that, even when a disciple is totally surrendered to one Guru and is making certain progress, without any need for going to or seek another Guru, somehow the circumstances so necessitate his having go to another Guru.  On such occasions, the disciple may continue having the same quantum of faith and loyalty towards both the Gurus, that as far as he is concerned both the Gurus are his Mukhya Guru only.  But the only condition here is that he will have to inform the first Guru and take his permission and go to the second Guru with his concurrence only; as otherwise it will be tantamount to 'Guru Droham', that is betrayal, duplicity and perfidy!  I am not talking about such cases but, what happened due to Poorva Janma Karma effect.  There are also some cases when the earlier Guru sends his student to other Gurus despite his being totally devoted, may be to enlarge his experience base!

184.        But you may still ask the question as to, "How to divide loyalty between two as there is an English proverb that you cannot serve two masters?"  My answer to that question is that this question can occur only to an outsider who does not understand the ethos involved at all!  The concerned persons, the disciple, the first and second Guru do not have this doubt.  There between the two Gurus there is and can be no animosity, competition and or distrust.  The disciple goes to another Guru when told by the earlier Guru with equal trust as he always had.  This matter is understood by experience and not theoretically.  Aren't Easwara and AmbãL also existing as one entity as Ardha-Nãreeswara?  Brhma, Vishnu and Rudra are separate as well as one, aren't they?  There have been great Mahatmas who have had more than one Guru.  They could not have been disloyal to any or otherwise could not have become great themselves!  They would have known that it is one ennobling, elevating and purifying power that comes in our lives in so many forms like the same man wearing different dresses in different occasions! 

185.        There can be a problem only when, what the different Gurus say are in different wave-lengths and are saying things contrary to each other.  They will be mutually complimenting and filling in the gaps only or adding further steps in overall progress of the disciple's comprehension only.  You could be a VaishNava under the tutelage of a Smarta Guru. On occasions where there is a procedural or theoretical difference there will be someone to remind you about it.  So there can be no hesitation or guilt in the minds of the disciples at all.  The aspiring student will be progressing happily in his path.  In our studies of such subjects there are no other evidences more needed than the Upanishads and the stories in them.  We see in the Upanishads many characters have been depicted as having learnt from more than one Guru.  The story from Upanishad about a rich man from Gãndhãram being left with a blind-fold in a forest is what was told to a Sishya named Swetaketu.  His own father Uddãlaka ÃruNi is the first and Mukhya Guru in his case.  It is the father who sends him to different Gurus initially.  Then one day the father asks the son, a question about Ãtma.  The boy replies, "My Teachers do not seem to be aware of the answer, as otherwise they would have told me about it!"  Referring to his Gurus he uses the word 'Bhagawanta:' – 'भगवन्त:' in plural.
(To be continued.)




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