Monday, April 14, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 133 (Vol # 7) Dated 14 Apr 2014

 DEIVATHIN KURAL # 133 (Vol # 7) Dated 14 Apr 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 the second paragraph in page No 1024 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)

Those Deserving Namaskãra – Age Limits
184.                  In the matter of whom to do Namaskãra, it was the custom to do Namaskãra to someone who is elder by at least three years.  For others, they used to say that you may show your respect by any other method like may be an Anjali.  But, how to keep track of other's age?  Especially in these days when the practice is becoming almost extinct, so as to encourage and enlarge this practice as much as possible, it is better to just do it to whosoever looks slightly older than oneself.  Even by strict rules of the Sãstrãs, there are some younger in age than oneself, to whom this Namaskãra is due.  For example, elder brother's wife is to be respected by a Namaskãra, even if she is younger in age.  So also the wife of one's Guru is to be respected like that.  Similarly any elders' wife is to be respected like that, whatever be their age.   Anybody who is greater in education, elder in character qualities, more experienced in certain fields, great devotees, those known to be Gnãnis or Sanyãsis are to be revered irrespective of age, even if they are younger.  The Guru's son should also be included in the above list.

185.                  I said that when you do a Namaskãra, you may as well do it to both that person and his wife.  That is said as 'dampati sameda' – 'दम्पती समेद'.  Similarly when you are doing Namaskãra, if your wife happens to be there, she may not stand there as a mute witness!  You may as well do it with your wife and the children included, as a family.  Unity of the family has been emphasised by our elders in such ways and it is an automatic lesson for the children in inculcating humility.  The more you fall in other's feet, lesser will be your own conceit, is the idea. 

No 'Nama:' in the Singular
186.                  The elders we go in search of for doing Namaskãra, whether they bless us themselves or pray to God on our behalf or simply transfer our Namaskãra to NãrãyaNã, without any concern of their own, whatever it is; without thinking about that, what we should do for all of them is to just drop this body flat on the ground with a 'Namo Nama:' – 'नमो नम:', somehow blessings of God will flow to us in some form or the other!  Never is it done or said singly.  Even in the colloquial we say, "A thousand Namaskãrãs to you" or in the letters we say, 'Koti Namaskãrãs' or 'Ananta Koti Namaskãrãs'!  (One gentleman used to write letters to PeriyavãL in which unlike the phrase more commonly used as, 'Ananta Koti Namaskãrãs', he used to write 'Ananta Namaskãrãs' only.  One day, the compiler of these speeches by PeriyavãL, Sri Rã. Ganapathy overheard PeriyavãL talking to that gentleman.  "I used to wonder as to why you are cutting out the 'Koti' in 'Ananta Koti Namaskãrãs', only for a short period.  Then it was clear as to what you mean!  The word 'Ananta' itself means infinite and it is not to be qualified by a finite number as 'Koti'!")

187.                  I was saying that Namaskãra is not to be in the singular, but at least 'Namo Nama:' should be there.  In fact in Durga Saptasati there are many slokas which end in 'Namastasyai, Namastasyai, Namastasyai, Namo Nama:' – 'नमस्तस्यै, नमस्तस्यै, नमस्तस्यै, नमो नाम:' – stacking up a whole lot of prostrations.  I have already told you as to how a part of Rudram containing so many Namaskãrãs is called as 'Namakam' itself!  For elders who are far advanced in age we should do Sãshtãnga or Panchãnga Namaskãrãs at least four times.  Then amongst Vaishnavãs there is a tradition to carry on doing Namaskãra till the elder notices it and says, 'enough'!  We are heir to such a legacy that so nurtured and nourished this tradition of doing Namaskãra, that it is an offence if we let such tradition go waste or defunct. 

188.                  That this action of Namaskãra is done with humility, wishing for further reinforcement of that quality, is important.  If this basic attitude is missing, doing Namaskãra is like any other physical exercise only!  We should not let this noble means of inculcating Vinaya become an exercise in futility!  (Here PeriyavãL is punning on the word 'Dandam' in Tamil as the word has four different meanings as a pole, waste and punishment, while remaining a synonym for the act of Namaskãra.  He says that this golden opportunity 'Dandam' for inculcating humility should not be permitted to go waste (Dandam), by being used only as an exercise (Dandãl) to build up animal power, as otherwise it will prove to be an exercise in futility (Dandam), instead of being used as a means for refinement and ennoblement!)  To reduce and thin down to nullity the fattened 'Ego', the only means available is through Vinaya that we should repeatedly do Dandam to our elders before us in human form saying, 'Namo Nama: & Namo NãrãyaNãya' – 'नमो नम: व नमो नारायणाय'.

That Which Enables Attainment of the Very Purpose of Existence
189.                  The Veda (Taitreeya Upanishad 3.10.4) says, "Think of God as Namaskãr and worship that all your desires will start doing Namaskãr to you".  What does it mean?  We do Namaskãr to God in the Temple and elders, with so many wants or desires to be fulfilled that there is no end to them.  There is an adage in Tamil which goes, 'ãsaikkor aLavillai' – 'ஆசைக்கோர் அளவில்லை', meaning that there is no end to our desires!  When one want is satisfied five more come up in its place.  So, sensibly one should pray for the removal of desires – 'wish for annulment of wishes' that is said in Tamil as – 'vendãmai vendi' – 'வேண்டாமை வேண்டி'!  That stage of being devoid of wants is the one in which desires will be doing Namaskãrãs to this man.  He is not doing any prayers of wants that the desires are praying to him doing Namaskãrãs to him saying, "Sir!  Why are you ignoring us?  Please open your eyes in our direction!"  This is what is being mentioned by the Sruti with literary nicety.

190.                  A person who approaches respectable and qualified elders daily, doing Namaskãr to them and serving them diligently taking care of their creature comforts, stands to benefit in terms of longevity, knowledge, fame and power; says the Manu Smruti (2.121), I Quote: –
अभिवादन शीलस्य नित्यं वृद्धोपसेविन: |
abhivãdana sheelasya nityam vruddhopasevina: |
चत्वारी तस्य वर्धन्ते आयुर विद्या यशो बलं ||   
chatvãri tasya vardhante ãyur vidya yasho balam ||  (In the above quote there are some difference in the versions for the word 'vidya' in the second line as 'pragnã' or 'dharma', meaning awareness and morality.)

191.                  The effect of dong Namaskãrãs have been variously extolled by statements in our Sãstrãs such as, 'the greatness and nobility (that is, Shreyas) attained by a person lying like a Dandam on the ground, cannot be reached by even someone who has done a hundred Yagas'.  Then again it is said that, 'it is not correct even to say that one sincere Namaskãra is equivalent to doing ten Aswamedha Yagas as, the one who has done ten Aswamedha Yagas has to be born again, whereas this act of Namaskãra gives Mochanam aka relief from rebirth'!

192.                  One gentleman (Appayya Dikshidar in a poem known as 'Kuvalayãnandam' has mentioned this fact of Janma Mochanam from Namaskãra with poetic beauty as a prayer to Parameswarã says: –  
वपु: प्रातुर्भावात अनुमितमिदं जन्मनि पुरा
vapu: prãturbhãvãt anumitamidam janmani pura
पुरारे न क्वापि क्वचिदपि भवन्तं प्रणतवान |
purãre na kwãpi kwchidapi bhavantam praNatavãn |
नमन्मुक्त: संप्रत्यहमतनु: अग्रेब्यनतिमान्
namanmukta: sampratyahamatanu: agrebyanatimãn
ईदीशक्षन्तव्यं तदिदं अपराद त्वयमपि ||
eedishakshantavyam tadidam aparãda dvayamapi ||  The poet is saying, "Parameswarã!  You have to pardon two of my mistakes.  One is that I have not done Namaskãra to you in my last life.  That I know because, I have been born in this life.  Had I done Namaskãra then, I could not or would not have been given this life.  The second sin that you have to pardon is that I am not going to do Namaskãra to you in my next life, because I know that there will not be a next life, as I have done Namaskãra to you now and got rid of future births!"  Thus he has very cleverly and interestingly brought out the 'Power of doing Namaskãra'!

193.                  At the end of Bhagawatam there is this sloka of immense beauty, word play and deep meaning.  It says,
नाम संगीर्तनं यस्य सर्वपाप प्रणासनं |
nãma sankirtanam yasya sarva papa prNãsanam |
प्रणामो दुःख्समन: तं नमामि हरिं परम् ||
praNãmo du:khasamanam tam namãmi harim param ||
There is beautiful rhyming between the start of the first line as 'nãmam' and second line as 'praNãmam' and in between is the word 'prNãsanam'.  Let that be on a side.  Let us look at the word meaning.  The chanting of the 'out-of-this-world-name of Hari', as it is kills all sins, says the first line.  The narration of Bhagawatam could have been completed there in all fairness.  But instead of ending the script there, it has been completed with the mention of the greatness of Namaskãra, saying 'praNãmo du:kha samana:' – ' प्रणामो दुःख्समन:' that doing Namaskãra is capable of cancelling all our sorrows'.  So I am doing Namaskãra to that Hari says the author, 'tam namãmi harim param' – 'तं नमामि हरिं परम्', with which the narrative ends!

194.                  'I am going to do Namaskãra to that exotic 'out-of-this-world' stuff Hari, chanting of whose names will cancel out all sins and doing Namaskãra to whom removes all sorrows', is the meaning of the complete sloka.  When the sins are cancelled out, aren't the sorrows removed?  It looks like a good question.  But the answer is that cancellation of sins does not remove sorrows.  You can become absolutely pure devoid of sins, morally correct, righteous and almost perfect in attitude and behaviour.  But there can still be a sorrow, a sense of deficiency and a feeling of not being complete!  That completeness happens only when you surrender unto him, by way of a Namaskãra.

195.                  To sing in praise of God as 'Nãma Sankeertana' is all still part of doing work.  When all work ends in total surrender of SaraNãgati, you fall in Namaskãra.  That is why Suka ÃchãryãL has completed the Bhagawatam giving the highest importance to the Namaskãra, the act of self-surrender.  All sins are bad intentions converted into despicable actions, to cancel out which we have to opt for 'Nãma Sankeertana', by which Pãpam goes, but Tãpam remains and becomes intense!  This cannot go till we are there as yet another separate entity, instead of becoming one with God!  When we surrender unto God and become inert like a piece of dead wood with the Gnãnam that it is his prerogative as to when and how to absorb us back unto his self; we have no more Pãpam and no more Tãpam, because 'we' are no more!  This is the end sloka of Bhagawatam.  The sense of this sloka is perfectly reflected in one of the end slokas of Bhagawat Gita.  We will consider that in the next issue of Deivathin Kural.

(To be continued.)




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