Tuesday, August 13, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 24 (Vol # 7) Dated 12 Aug 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 24 (Vol # 7) Dated 12 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 165 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   http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated continually)

230.            There is clear evidence of the fact that Guru will ensure that his entire knowledge is transferred to the disciple.  Upanishads show that to do so, is his duty.  Like these six Sishyas in Prasnopanishad, I told you earlier how Swetaketu confirms this fact in another Upanishad.  Ego and pride can never be of any use to a Guru.  We saw how the Guru has to be 'Vinaya sampanna' while for a disciple this is the basic Qualitative Requirement (Q.R.), like absolute fidelity in a wife.  Still the phrase 'Vidya Garva' – 'विद्या गर्व' has always been there in use as there were always some who had that weakness.  That is how this boy Swetaketu returned from his period of stay in a Guru Kula with his head floating in thin air that, "I know everything"!  One look at him and his father knew as to what ails his son!  So he asked him a smart question. 

231.            He asked him, "Have you come to know that after knowing which, all questions will become already asked and answered, unthinkable will become already thought of and what is beyond comprehension and understanding is already known; have you learnt that?"  He asked his son thus to know as to whether he has learnt the essence of Brhma Vidya, because he wanted his son to become aware of the fact that, had he learnt the essential message of Brhma Vidya he would not have become so full of conceit and haughtiness.  Had he just asked if he had learnt Brhma Vidya, the answer would have been 'Yes'!  The Upanishad confirms that he had done Adhyayanam of all the Vedas.  So, simply he would have said, "Yes, I have learnt".  He wished his son to realise that he had not learnt the essence of Brhma Vidya and that he should get over his ego.

232.            Though imperious Swetaketu was a learned man, still interested in further learning.  So he must have thought, 'Is there such a Vidya that will make the unknowable, unthinkable and unquestionable; already known, thought of and answered?  I seem to have missed out something important here!  At least now let us learn it from our Father.'  So, without bluffing he tells the truth that he does not know.  But, even now instead of accepting the possibility that his own pride could have been the cause of his ignorance, transfers the blame on his teachers by assuming, "They may not have known, as otherwise they would certainly have taught me that!"  Here he uses a word 'noonam' – 'नूनं', meaning certainly and surely!  From his this statement, we saw earlier as to how the character quality of the Gurus of those days was revealed, that they considered it their duty to completely convey all their knowledge to the student.

233.            The reason for his saying so, I guess was because, what his Father had said earlier was deeply etched in his mind.  For that part of the story we have to go back a few lines in the Upanishad.  First his father himself had taught his son some and then sent him to other Gurus and encouraged to attend Vidwat Sadas.  Thus he had been to a Sadas of one Raja Rishi Pravãhana.  He had asked Swetaketu five questions such as, if he knew the facts of Pithru Loka and Deva Loka?  Those five things had not been taught to him.  He had made an impression as though he was omniscient.  Seeing his actual level of knowledge and conceit, that Raja Rishi had ticked him off slightly.  Being haughty, he could not bear this and came home much offended.  He asked his father, "As though you have taught me everything, you had sent me to that Raja Rishi's Sadas!  Do you know how badly I was ridiculed?"  His father spoke to him pacifyingly and told him, "I was really not aware of answers to those questions.  Had I known, why shouldn't I have told you?"  This had remained in his mind and later attending another Guru Kulam, seeing those teachers being so sincere, he evidently repeated what his father had told him, to his father himself about other Gurus!

Upadesa that is Like a Crown on the Head of Vedas
234.            Then the story goes on that Swetaketu became humble and more receptive and requested his Father to give him Upadesa and he gave him the highest of counsels known as Maha Vãkyãs.  As the head is the most important part of the 'eight cubit' body, for all that is given in the Vedas, the Upanishads are the most vital known as 'Sruti Siras' – 'श्रुति सिरस'Wherever in the Upanishads it is said that the individual Jivan and the Brhmam are integrally one and the same are all called Maha Vãkyãs.  From within those Upadesa-s four are selected, one each from the Vedas, are referred as the Maha Vãkyãs, meaning great sentences like quotable quotes.  Out of that four also the one that is the Head is the one in which Guru tells the Sishya, 'tat tvam asi' – 'तत्वमसि' meaning 'You are that'! It is the Sãma Veda Maha Vãkyam.  That sentence is spoken by the father Uddãlaka ÃruNi as the Guru to his son Swetaketu, in the story that we have been going through.  Anyhow the point I was making was that, the Gurus of yore did not leave any deficiency in transferring all their knowledge to the disciple.

Not Stopping at Vinaya, Telling the Truth
235.            At the start of Prasnopanishad I told you how a Guru told his very learned lot of six disciples that 'he would tell them if he knew the answers to their queries', with complete Vinaya.  Then he answered all their questions.  There are thus six parts in the Upanishad, each known as a Prasna and hence the name of the Upanishad.  The word 'prashna' – 'प्रश्न' in Sanskrit means a question or problem.  In Tamil the same word has become 'பிரச்சனை' used to indicate unmanageable problems.  At the end of the sixth part, the same Rishi who said that I will reply if I know the answer says, 'That is all that I know about Brhmam'.  He says this in all Vinaya, lest the disciples may go in search of some other Guru wondering if they have to.  He also adds, "That is all there is to it"!

236.            If Vinaya is the most important quality of a Guru, he also has to solve the problem and remove the confusion from the minds of the disciples, isn't it?  Bhagawan Sri Krishna did exactly that only to Arjuna in Gita.  Starting from the first chapter known as 'Vishãda Yoga' – 'विषाद योग', he goes on with another 17 chapters to remove the confusion and dejection from the mind of Arjuna, isn't it?  Such being the case, so as not to create more confusion in the minds of his students, here this Guru in at the end of the six chapters clearly says, "That is all there is to know and there is nothing more!"  That is the time when those six brilliant students tell him, "You in fact are our Father" and do Namaskãr, prostrating at his feet in all humility and gratitude!

Unmatchable and Priceless – Guru's Upadesa
237.            Instead of saying that they did Namaskãr the word used in the Upanishad is that they did Archana – 'archittãrgaL' – 'அர்சித்தார்கள்'.  As we know to do Archana means to chant various names in adulation and reverence and offer flowers at the feet of the idol as also the Ideal!  The word Archana, instead of indicating only this particular part in the procedure, is indicative of the whole process of thanks-giving.  Our ÃchãryãL explains this beautifully with a preamble.  By Guru's Upadesa the disciples have become 'krutãrtha' – 'कृतार्थ', meaning that they have attained the very purpose of being born in this world.  So they were wondering as to what they should do in reciprocating the Guru's kindness!  They could not find anything.  That Rishi in Chandokya Upanishad said that even if the disciple were to offer the whole world surrounded by the ocean as DakshiNa, worthless characterless people are not to be accepted as a Sishya and given Upadesa.  Here the supremely worthy students were discussing amongst themselves, it seems, that they cannot pay back the Guru properly in any way!

238.            Our ÃchãryãL who says the above in his Bhashyam, at the start of Upadesa Sãhasri says, "Even if you were to give the whole of the earth surrounded by the ocean with all its wealth, it will not be equal in any way to Guru's Upadesa which is bigger and more valuable than that!  On one side, what is a principled stand of a Guru not to demean himself and the value of subject he teaches, is reflected exactly similarly as the view of his students who feel so much beholden to their Guru that they know that they can never pay him back!  So, they picked up flowers and showered them at the Guru's feet in an overwhelming sense of gratitude as 'pushpa anjali' – 'पुष्पाञ्जली'.  Normally our ÃchãryãL is not verbose.  But if this word 'archyanta:' – 'अर्चयन्त:' has made him rather loquacious, it is indicative of his love and adoration for his own Guru as well as his keenness to teach this to the future generations of disciples.  Those six disciples while so demonstrating their veneration to their Guru were also paying their respects to all Masters and Gurus, saying, "Namaskãr to all Parama Rishis, Namaskãr to all Parama Rishis!"  ÃchãryãL's Bhashyam says that the repetition is to emphasise the veneration!

The Upadesa – Coming Down from Generation to Generation
239.            If there is a father, he has to have his own father and that grand-father must have had a father of his own and thus go back to the origins.  When we do Srãrdham, we do try and think of the elders who have been and pay our obeisance to them, isn't it?  Similarly the Guru, that is also a father, has to have had his Guru and the lineage must go back to the origins of existence, and they are all venerable.  We should never forget them or forget to be beholden to them, for the wealth of knowledge they have bequeathed to us all!  Past Masters as elders and Gurus over generations have done the best for their disciples, for it to be conveyed to the next in line with such enormous love and best wishes.  The only way we can respond is by being thankful to them all for literally carrying the torch!  Our ÃchãryãL calls them 'Sri Vidya Sampradaya Kartãs', meaning the creators and carriers of the Sri Vidya traditions.

240.            These words of advises as Upadesa and methods of training one's mind and body as Anushtãna have so much of sense and logic that has the cumulative weightage, that would be most useful for the present and future generations, instead of individuals trying to find their own way with their limited abilities, scattered brains and lack of purpose and sincerity!  Past masters preached only after successful application of what their Gurus taught them.  All the talk of 'free thinking' is only a lame excuse for not applying sufficiently and pretending to do so!  One could be a pioneer and have path-breaking success, but the likelihood of percentage of success is point one in tens of millions! It is better for all of us who are the common lot, to better go by the tradition!

(To be continued.)




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