Saturday, March 22, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 122 (Vol # 7) Dated 23 Mar 2014

 DEIVATHIN KURAL # 122 (Vol # 7) Dated 23 Mar 2014

(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 931 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)

60.           What do we call a man with too much pride?  We say that he has got too much head weight suffering with conceit.  If the animal was a 'Tiryak Jantu', it is alright if it was to grow with 'talai or mandai ganam' – 'தலை or மண்டை கனம்', that is head weight, as it can manage without losing balance.  But in the way we are built, growing tall, if we become 'top heavy' the equilibrium will be lost and we are likely to fall.  God has so created us with the head on top, so that we may not develop this conceited attitude.  Otherwise we will become entitled to be called the highly derogatory term 'patit or patitã' – 'पतित् or पतिता', meaning someone who has slipped and fallen from the right path and gone astray! 

61.          To avoid such falling from grace, to go down on ones knees and falling flat on the ground in Namaskãram will help.  A man standing can fall and get hurt and so can a sitting person get hurt to some extent, but not a person who is physically and attitudinally already humble most, lying flat on the ground.  As the height increases greater is the effect of a fall.  So also is the case of people in high position socially.  Higher their social standing greater is the fall, loss of face and difficulty in regaining ones name and prestige!  Actually it is impossible to regain lost glory as the society will level him with a smirk and laughter. 

Offload Head-Weight with a Bent Head
62.          Let alone appreciation or otherwise by the world and society, what is intrinsically good for a man?  What gives him inner satisfaction and peace of mind?  Is carrying the load more pleasureful or unloading it?  Highest load is the pride and egotism.  You get rid of that and feel free and light as a feather.  The action that helps in lessening that burden is to bring that head down at par with the rest of the body at the level of the ground, known as Namaskãram.  If others bring us down, it is an insult and if we ourselves control our egotism, it is an honour.  Instead of bending one's head in shame, it is better to be humble with a bent head.  One is a dis-grace and the other happens to be good manners.  That is what Appar Swami meant when he said, 'thalaiye nee vaNangãi' – 'தலையே நீ வணங்காய்', meaning 'please show devotion and humbleness with a bent head.' 

Why do We Fall Flat on Our Face – குப்புற விழுவது ஏன்?
63.          This act of Namaskãr should be done with care, attention and concentration and is not to be done flippantly and haphazardly.  Nothing else should be looked at while going down on your knees with the legs close to each other with the hands initially guarding one's chest from getting injured and then raised straight above the head doing Anjali.  As I said, to bend your head in shame is something else and to bow one's head in humility is something else altogether.  All the sense organs that pull us away are in the front of the body, isn't it?  To turn them away from the world is this arrangement of doing Namaskãra.  To fall on one's face or showing your back while running away are all considered as demeaning and a disgrace.  But, being sensitive about other's respect for ourselves is important only till one cares for this Ego.  But once that is gone, we are the King!  The King who has won over the Ãtma, known as 'Jivan Muktan' – 'जीवन मुक्त' – 'ஜீவன் முக்தன்'!

64.          When that happens, there is no Namaskãra.  But in the state we are in, to be able to run and execute this life we will be keeping those feelings of respect and disrespect or insult; 'mãna and avamãna' – 'मान व अवमान', to be made use of on occasions where required.  Instead of being overly conscious of it, we will be keeping them in control.  But there are occasions and places where we couldn't care less for respect and disrespect and throw them off.  What are those occasions and places?  Those are the Sannidãnam of Easwara and the presence of elders and Mahatmas.  There we do not have to care for others respect for us at all while being most respectful.  We will fall flat on our faces and show our back side, as the initial steps in the progress towards being victorious in the battle of winning over Ãtma. 
This will also enable us to control our ego in those places where required without being too finicky.

65.          Yes, we are not to show our back in front of people whom we respect.  Even when taking leave of them, we should simply back out while still facing them, when we are standing erect.  We fall on our face to demonstrate our subservience, isn't it?  So, when flat on the ground, we have to show our back as it cannot be avoided.  But while doing Dhyãna we should be erect without sagging.  No bending of the head then.  That is important and does well for Self Realization.  But still, in a state of immaturity it can lead to the wrong destination of conceit.  For that some humility should be administered as an antidote.  That medicine is this act of Namaskãra.  At that time without the least feeling of pride, bending one's head, showing our back we should lie down low and that will do the best like a 'Lehyam' (Ãyur Vedic medicine) made of sugar of the palm and cow's ghee.

The Lower State Where the Rain of Grace Reaches
அருள்மழை சேரும் 'தாழ்நிலை'
66.     Instead of looking for high position we should abide with lower positions with humility.  Like the water seeks the lower ground automatically, if we abide with ourselves, then the shower of Grace will flow to us and surround us.  As an indication of that only, we lay our whole body from head to feet, flat on the ground.

67.          Sãshtãnga Namaskãram.                   This action is known as Sãshtãnga Namaskãram.  Sãshtãnga means 'with eight limbs'.  Eight parts of our body should be touching the ground when we do this action.  People are of the opinion that because eight body parts, namely, forehead, two shoulders, two hands, chest and stomach known as the torso, two legs will be touching the ground, it is called, 'sa + ashta + angam = sãshtãngam' – 'स + अष्ट + अङ्गं = साष्टाङ्गं'.  One gentleman has written that this definition has been interpreted variously.  In that one version is that head, chin, two ears, two hands and two legs; constitute those eight parts.  The fore head and the chin cannot touch the ground simultaneously.  So also the ears cannot touch the ground without turning the head.  So, we have to understand that we have to move our face by different actions for all these parts to come in contact with the ground. 

67.          There are other versions. What everybody knows and does is to mainly let their head down to lessen their pride and let the torso touch the ground since it has the stomach and chest with many of the important parts as the hearts, lungs, spine, kidneys, and liver.  Then there is another version in which the 'bhujam' – 'भुजं' or arms and 'hastam' – 'हस्तं' that is, the hands have been separately mentioned as different body parts! There are many more versions and if we read all of them, we may get confused and may walk away saying 'good-bye' to the very idea of doing Namaskãra; that is, 'Namaskãra to Namaskãra'!  So, forget about the different versions of Sãshtãnga Namaskãra that I have told you so far.  Now, I shall tell you just two versions with a slight variation between them, one as per Vyãsa Smruti and the other by Ãpasthamba Rishi as given in the Maha Nyãsa preparatory to doing Pooja for Uma-Maheshwara.
68.          The sloka as given in Vyãsa Smruti is this.  'Dhorbhyãm padbhyãm jãnubhyãm urasã sirasa dhrusã | Manasã vachasã cheti praNãmo ashtãngameerita:' ||  The sloka as per Ãpasthamba Rishi is this.  Urasã  sirasã dhrushtyã vachasã manasã tathã | Padhbhyãm karãbhyãm karNãbhyãm praNãmo ashtãnga uchyate ||  As per the first sloka, the body parts listed are, 1) Hands, 2) Feet, 3) Knees, 4) Chest, 5) Head, 6) Eyes, 7) Manas aka Mind and 8) Speech, making up the eight parts.  In the second one, knees are not mentioned and ears are included.  The sloka lists 1) Chest, 2) Head, 3) Eyes, 4) Speech, 5) Manas, 6) Legs, 7) Hands and 8) Ears.

69.          Both the slokas have included the Mind, Speech and Eyes.  The question arises as to how to how to lay down mind and speech?  We thought that in Namaskãra we are required to lay down the whole body on the ground!  Then, how are we to lay the eyes down, though they are parts of the body only?  The answer to that is, instead of physically laying them down, one should mentally control oneself while doing Namaskãra, not thinking of anything else, not speaking or conversing and not letting our eyes roam about here and there, thereby being sincere and serious in our act of Namaskãra. 

70.          If these subtle parts occurring in both the slokas are set aside, we are left with five.  In them hands, legs, chest and head are common.  One sloka mentions the knees and the other talks about the ears instead. Within these we get eight body parts as there are two each of the eyes, legs, one head and one chest, two knees or two ears; making up eight.   In both the slokas what is mentioned as 'urasã' should be understood as the torso, inclusive of chest and the stomach.  When the chest touches the ground normally the stomach will also be in contact with the ground.  As given in the second sloka which mentions the ears, you may observe people turning their faces right and left to ensure that both the ears touch the ground. 

71.          Both the slokas make a mention of the feet as 'padbhyãm'.  But in the first sloka it is evidently meaning the feet as there is a special mention of the knees as 'jãnubhyãm'.  In the second the word 'padbhyãm' evidently means the whole leg including the knees, which are not separately mentioned.  Instead the ears are additionally mentioned in the second sloka.  Here is a point to take note of.  In the way of Sãstrãs, ears are a very important part of the body.  All Sãstrãs are based on the Vedas, which has a common name as 'Sruti' which means what is 'heard'!  Out of the five basic elements, sound is the defining quality of the Sky / Space and the ears are the one to receive that Tanmãtra of sound.  It is believed that the sacred Ganga is in the right ear.  While doing PrãNãyãmam we are to hold either nostrils open or closed alternately.  At that time the hands are said to get dirty by exhalation, which is cleansed by repeated touching of the right ear between each PrãNãyãma.  You may be ready with a question, "All that is O K Swami, how to ensure that the ears touch the ground?"  To give you a reply to that question, I will have to describe the whole procedure of how to do Ashtãnga Namaskãra.

(To be continued.)




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