A Srirama Desikan reader

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A Srirama Desikan reader

  1. 1. A SriramaDesikan ReaderExtracts from his Literary WorksAyurveda Bharati, Abinava Vishrutasushruta, Kalaimamani,SamskritaratnaPandit Sri Sirungattur Nadathur Sriramadesikan Extracts from the works of Sriramadesikan (21.06.1921) - A great literary scholar inSanskrit and Tamil.He has a wide range of publications in Sanskrit, Tamil and Englishto his credit.He has been striving untiringly for the cause of National and linguisticintegration of India by rendering classical and most popular Sanskrit works into Tamiland vice versa.A Sri-Vaishnava by practice and scholarship - his writings in English, Sanskrit and Tamil- intend to represent the mainstream Sri-Vaishnava syncretic views on the Indian Cultural 1Tradition .Indias Cultural Heritage 2The encyclopedic synthesis sponsored by the Ramakrishna Institute of Culture is a sym-bol of the renaissance of Hindu thought and ideals as well as a treasure house of ancientlore; and the whole range of Indian civilization and the variegated products of Hinduculture have been dealt with in several volumes dealing with religious philosophies, lit- 3erature and the arts and sciences from the twilight of time up to the present day .Theadmitted achievements of India in the directions of assimilation, adaptation and synthesisof various points of view surmounting all diversity and conict will be illustrated by themovements recorded in these volumes. 1 This prefatory note and the extracts - compiled by sudarshan.therani@gmail.com - email for anyclarications 2 Ayurveda Bharati, Abinava Vishrutasushruta, Kalaimamani, Samskritaratna PanditS.N.SRIRAMADESIKAN, Siromani 3 http://sriramadesikan.com/religious-and-literature-articles/ 1
  2. 2. 2The religious, artistic and philosophical developments in India demonstrate Indias con-sistent striving towards Samanvaya, that is, reconciliation and concord.Culture patternshave been modied from time to time.Dierent environments diversied racial contri-butions and innumerable local and historical traditions have not aected basically thecontinuity of Indian Culture during more than six thousand years.Volume II of this liter-ary tour-de-force comprises studies of the Ithihasas, Puranas and Sastras.This volume will be specially signicant in the light of present day Indian conditions andcould be invaluable for a proper solution of the problem of national integration whichis now exercising the minds of Indian leaders.The conviction of the immanence of theSupreme Being in every animate being leading to a realisation of the dignity of eachindividual is the message taught by this volume and would be of critical importance forcreating those bonds of love and service which are indispensable for to-day and tomorrow.From another point of view, the contributions contained in this volume would be of importas they would put in proper perspective the values emphasised in modern civilisation.India,while not decrying economic advancement of social utility, has always stressed the im-portance of human personality against all challenge to it.Neither stark individualism norcollectivisation can solve the problems confronting us and this lesson is specially conveyedby the Itihasas and the Puranas.The Amara Kosa, describing the main characteristics ofthe Puranas specially points out that the commands of the Vedas are like those of amaster (Prabhu Samhita), whereas the teachings of the Itihasas and the Puranas may becompared with the advice and counsel of friends (Suhrit Samhita).The Epic Age duringwhich the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha received their nal shape, was a period ofracial and ideological conlict; and, historically speaking, this period produced the twogreat Epics as well as the Manu Dharma Sastra, the Codes of Yajinavalkya, Narada andParasara and the earlier Puranas.Great mental expansions and new political outlooks were the characteristics of thisage.Gradually, the idea was evolved that India, in spite of its various kingdoms, racesand creeds was essentially one.This fundamental unity is enforced in several passages ofthe Mahabharatha.The Kurma Purana, in describing Bharatavarsha emphasises such unitynotwithstanding the diversities of race and culture; and the earlier Vayu Purana strikesthe same note.The Hindu scheme of life expressed in the formula, Dharma- Artha-Kama-Moksa, which had originated earlier was, during this period, perfected and codied.Idealtypes of character representing all stages of human life became epic heroes.Not only theideal Sannyasi or the Rishi but ideal king, the loyal wife and brother, the disciplined anddiligent student, the citizen active in his avocation and the peasant as the guardian offundamental virtues and loyalties were each presented in the Itihasas and the Puranas asexamples and symbols of the variegated Indian life.The inuence cannot be exaggerated of such examples of human potentiality and achieve-
  3. 3. 3ment as Rama, Lakshmana, Kausalya, Sita, Hanuman, Bharata, Yudhishthira and Bhima.Theformula afore-mentioned of Dharma-Artha-Kama-Moksa, became more than formal whenit was illustrated by the innumerable lives of the characters described in the Puranas andthe Itihasas.The stories, epilogues and parables contained in them were not put togetherfor the purpose of furnishing a chronologically accurate history.Subsequent researcheshave demonstrated that the Itihasas and the Puranas are more accurate historically, ge-ographically and chronologically than was at one time supposed; but it can never beforgotten that they were composed rather to furnish examples and models than to recordspecic historical incidents in dry detail. Moreover, while each Purana exalts a particulardeity, it must be noted that the catholicity and the uniformity of the Hindu approachto the Supreme are armed at every turn.For instance, Rama is described as a devoteeof Siva and Aditya and so was Arjuna.The Vayu Purana, in fact, asserts that he whoarms superiority or inferiority among divine manifestations is a sinner.From the time ofMacaulay, it has been a favourite pursuit of some critics to deride the geography and de-scription of the Puranas and to accuse them of exaggeration or distortion. Some specialvirtues are, in their opinion, grossly over accentuated as in the case of Sibicakravarthi,Harischandra and Karna. In many ancient scriptures including the Egyptian Book ofthe Dead and the Old and the New Testament, there are to be found similar inherentimprobabilities and historical contradictions.But it must not be ignored that these greatproducts of the human mind were not intended to be substitutes for historical handbooksor for Directories like those of Baedaker or Murray.A proper interpretation of the Itihasasand the Puranas would be to regard them as the works of gifted seers, who availedthemselves of certain ancient or recent historical and religious traditions and wove thosetraditions into narratives, anecdotes, episodes and homilies, these works reecting andreproducing certain attitudes towards life.In truth, there are a body of writings whichare popular expositions of inherited truths and messages, their avowed purpose being todiuse their purport amongst the people at large.Thus, the Ramayana furnishes pictures of kings who led a spiritual life and of ascetics whoplayed a great part in the aairs of nations. Dicult situations are pictured, whose impacton several human souls is brilliantly analysed.Dharma, as the chief factor for the shap-ing of human life, is the underlying motive of the Ramayana and its many episodes.TheMahabharata is not only a picture of a great internecine struggle illustrating the conictof human motives and human attributes but a repertoire of comprehensive secular andreligious learning. It is not simply a great poem but also a manual of ethics, politics andmorality.It can well be asserted that the Ramayana and the Mahabharata have through-out been the foundations of Hindu ethics and beliefs. Whatever the respective datesof the several Puranas may be, they embody ancient legends as the very name Puranasignies.Whereas the Epics deal with the actions of heroes as mortal men and embody
  4. 4. 4and illustrate both human virtues and frailties, the Puranas mainly celebrate the powerand the work of various Super-human personages and deities.The Pancalaksanas described by Amara Simha as characterising the Puranas are not foundin all of them.The contents of many Puranas are very old but many of the later oneshave a denite sectarian bias.They are nevertheless valuable record of the several Hindubeliefs, which originated next in order to the Vedas and which incorporated hero-worshipas well as divine worship and they may be rightly described as essentially pantheistic incharacter.Although a particular divinity may be essentially gloried, nevertheless, thereis an underlying quest for unity of life and of Godhead.Almost all the Puranas are inthe form of dialogues between an exponent and an enquirer.Thus, the Vishnu Puranawas a gift to Pulastya by Brahma.Pulastya communicated it to Parasara and Parasarato Maitreya.The Puranas are divided into three categories, viz.the Sattvic Puranas, theTamasic Puranas and the Rajasic Puranas.The Vayu Purana is the oldest of them.Butperhaps the Markandeya Purana and the Bhagavata Purana are the most celebrated andlatter ranks in popular appreciation as almost equal in value to the Ramayana and theMahabharata, expecially as it deals at length with the Krishna incarnation and with allthe activities of that Supreme Avatar.From the literary point of view, perhaps, the most perfect is the Vishnu Purana.ThesePurana and the several Upa Puranas, of which eighteen are generally named, whenrightly construed are neither mutually contradictory nor even purely sectarian.Regardedas a whole, they furnish a compendious portrayal of human rights and obligations and asexpressive descriptions of Hindu life, as it has been and ought to be lived.The Ramayana,for instance, is a mirror of the highest ideals of Hindu culture and civilisation.In his lec-tures on the Ramayana the Right Honourable Srinivasa Sastri declared that it furnishesimpressive illustrations of cause being followed inevitably by eect, of Karma, re-birth anddestiny and that it embodies generalisations of experience in private and public aairsenshrined in proverbs, maximum and rules of chivalry and state craft.The Mahabharata,as Dr.Radhakrishnan has indicated, contains an illuminating account of the Indian geniusboth in the nobility and greatness and its tragic weakness and insuciency. The Mahab-harata speaks of men and women who are animated by strong passions, both good andevil but the purpose of this Epic is to show the futility of the betrayal of ideals and thepursuit of evil.It stresses that an underlying purpose and guiding destiny are inseparablefrom human history.The appeal of the Bhagavata Purana is to the Bhakta. Devotion and detachment inseveral forms are embodied in attractive stories.The Sage Vyasa, having edited the Vedasand composed the Mahabharata, had nevertheless not attained serenity and the Bhaga-vata was, as it states, composed on the advice of Narada, who told Vyasa that he couldattain peace of mind only by the contemplation as a true devotee of the deity and his
  5. 5. 5incarnations.The Bhagavata, at the same time, recognises the principle of relativity, andits spiritual prescriptions are adjusted to the dierent stages of individual development.The psychology of bhakti has been closely studied and expounded in this most popularof the Puranas.The Itihasas and the Puranas are specially remarkable for the number ofepisodes contained in them. The most remarkable, of course, are the various Gitas, themost renowned of them being the Bhagavadgita.It was the revelation granted to Arjunaby Sri Krishna at a critical period not only for the Kurus and the Pandavas but for Indiaas a whole.It has been severally described as embodying pure monism or qualied monismwith the introduction of Prakriti.It has been described as the Sankhya Yoga and many commentators have made the Gitathe basis for their several and divergent interpretations. Rightly viewed, however, theGita is not a weapon for dialectical warfare.As Sri Aurobindo would show, it is a gateopening on the whole world of spiritual truth and experience and the view it gives usembraces all provinces of the human mind and soul.It maps out, but does not cut up orbuild walls.The Gita came into existence after the period of the Vedas and the Upan-ishads.It starts with a freely conceived synthesis and constructs a harmony of knowledge,love and works (Jnana, Bakthi and Karma) through which the soul of man can directlyapproach the Eternal.It truly seizes on the very obstacles to spiritual life and compelsthem to become the means for richer spiritual conquest.The body and the mind areto be utilised for the coming up of the divine life.In ne, the Gita may be describedas a gospel of the divine perfectibility of man.It may be remembered that, in additionto the Bhagavadgita, there are interposed in our sacred literature other works entitledGitas, notably the Astavakra Samhita being a dialogue between Janaka and Astavakra;the Avadhuta Gita being a conversation between Dattatreya and Skanda, the Anu Gitafound in the Asvameda Parva of the Mahabharatha and the Uddahava Gita embeddedin the Bhagavata and containing the last message and instructions of Sri Krishna to hisdevotee, Uddhava.The basic message of all the Gitas is thus enunciated in the Astavakra Samhita.You,namely, the immanent self, do not belong to the Brahmin or other castes nor to anyAshrama.You are beyond visual perception and are detached (i.e. beyond attachment)and beyond forms.Witnessing all phenomena, you are happy (i.e.you preserve your equi-librium.It is in the Uddhava Gita that Sri Krishna says: In the beginning men had but onecaste known as Hamsa In the Bhagavadgita, the Lord proclaims; The four castes werecreated by me to function according to individual qualities and inheritance.The conclusionis thus stated: He who does his duty in consonance with his innate potentiality incurs nosin The main requisites are again declared to be detachment and faith in the ultimate.The Dharma Sastras and the Artha Sastras and the legal treatises implementing theirpractical application by means of a hierarchical judicial system comprise normative sci-
  6. 6. 6ences devoted to the practical methods by which life should be regulated; persons shouldbe educated and trained; trade, commerce and economic progress stimulated and theright ends of human life secured.The Manu Smrti is the leading Dharma Sastra andKautilyas Artha Sastra and Kamandakis Niti Sastra are celebrated manuals on polity.TheMitakshara, the Dayabhaga and other legal treatises purport to be based on the DharmaSastras; and until recent legislation changed the law in some respects, these governed hu-man and family relationships amongst Hindus.They expounded rules that outlined rightsand obligations which were enforced by means of specic sanctions.The king or rulerfor the time being was the nal appellate authority, but he was bound by the dictatesof Dharma and was obliged to recognise usage and custom founded on the practice ofgood men in the various parts of the country.Such customs were recognised as valid eventhough they may be local or regional.The King was described as the fashioner of thetimes.This maxim meant in essence that the law was not static but could move with thetimes. The Manu Dharma Sastra contains the teachings expounded by his pupil, Bhrgu.Itpurports to set out the rules of all sects and communities. Many verses of the ManuSmriti occur in the Mahabharata.Other Dharma Sastras were also compiled by Narada,Yajnavalkya, Gautama, Apasthamba and others.It is not possible, here and now, fully todiscuss the contents or purports of these Dharma Sastras but they belong to a periodwhen, after the Epic age, India had settled down into social and economic strata.Eortswere made by sages and seers to formulate the rules of life to be followed at each stageof human existence and by the various social and economic groups.The Dharma Sastraspresent an analysis of man in society.The Manu Smrti and the succeeding Dharma Sastras treat social life from the point ofview of religion and morality.On the other hand the Artha Sastras (of which Kautilyas isthe most well-knit and logical) take account or all previous literature on the subject.Inthe words of Kautilya himself, Artha is an object of men and this Sastra aids in the ac-quisition and protection of property and the governance of each country.Kautilya himselfrefers to various schools of polity including those of Yamini, Badarayana and others. HisArtha Sastra is undoubtedly based on the logic of the material interests of kings andmonarchs and the means of securing them and it may be worthwhile to note that laterliterary tradition has often assailed Kautilyas utilitarian point of view.Kautilya recognised the presence of small states and discusses their inter-relations. Butbasically his outlook is in favour of an expanded empire and he is remarkable in havingenvisaged the Chakravarti Kshetra as the whole country stretching from the Himalayasto the Southern Ocean. As is well known, Vishnu Gupta or Kautilya, otherwise known asChanakya, was not only celebrated as a king-maker but is now regarded as the greatestexponent of realistic policies of governance and of methods of diplomacy as applicable toa period of foreign impact and internal disunity.In general perspective, the Ramayana may
  7. 7. 7be regarded as describing the penetration of Aryan culture into the whole of India.TheMahabharata not only reects the culture of a particular age but symbolises various formsof struggle between the forces of good and evil.The Bhagavadgita is a great work of syn-thesis and the Bhagavata itself is marked by a great spirit of accommodation.The ManuDharma Sastra furnishes detailed instructions regarding social rules and practices.Manussystem is based on deliberate emphasis on the need and importance of the conservationof social order.It summarised and insisted upon custom and convention at a time when they were as-sailed.Kautilyas Artha Sastra and the other Sastras prove that both the practical andtheoretical problems of economics and politics were closely studied by our ancients.TheDharma and Niti Sastras contain lessons invaluable to us relating to the nature and limitsof sovereignty, the basis of local government and records of representative institutions,theories of punishment, the functions of the policy and the principles of taxation.A greatdeal of realism can be perceived in these works, side by side with the idealism underlyingmost Hindu literary and religious eorts.In the Hindu view of life, ideals and activities werenot divided up but considered to be inter-dependent.Society was viewed as individualsand on the reconciliation and equipoise of duties and obligations, whether of individualclassess or functionaries, was held to depend the harmony, not only of a particular com-munity, but of the whole creation.Life, to quote Professor K.V.Rangaswami Aiyengar, in his Raja Dharma, was a contin-uum not interrupted by death and so were deed and thought.In dealing with the DharmaSastras it must be remembered that a great deal of misunderstanding has arisen fromthe mis-translation of Manus term, Varna.It has always been translated as caste, whereasit should be, as rightly pointed out by Vincent Smith, rendered as class or order.TheManu Dharma Sastra realises the distinction between Varna and Jati (Class and birth),a distinction accentuated in the Bhagavadgita, which speaks of Varnas as dependent asmuch on mental equipment as on heritage.The uidity of the institutions of caste hasnot been rightly appreciated in most studies of Indian institutions.Vyasa and the PuranasTradition ascribes to Krishnadvaipayana Vyasa the authorship of the 18 major Puranas.ThisVyasa is the son of Parasara through Satyavathi. Since he was born in an island, he wasDvaipayana and since he was of dark complexion, he was Krishna.It is still an unsettledissue as to which of the 18 Puranas were authored by him.South of the Vindhyas, a verseis in vogue listing the 18 thus.There are two beginning with M Matsya and Markandeya,two with B - Bhagavata and Bhavishya , three with Bra - Brahama, Brahamanda and
  8. 8. 8Brahama vaivarta , four with V - Varaha , Vishnu, Vamana and Vayu, One with A Agni,one with N Narada, one with P Padma, one with L Linga one with Ga - Garuda,one with Ku Kurma and one with Ska - Skanda.The Sri Bhagavatha which indicatesthe number of slokas in each Purana, omits Vayu purana and includes Siva purana.Butthe irony is that the Vishnu purana which gives this sloka count is held by some as theproduction of a latter intellectual, probably Bhopadeva.They say that Devi Bhagavatamis, on the contrary, Vyasas work.The orthodox view has no patience with what is described as a historical approach.Theirony about Purana literature is that it has undergone additions, interpolations and mu-tilations of the text down the centuries. These `modications, if at all they can beso described are the out come of both scholastic and royal egos.The kings wanted theirnames to be included in the Puranic list of dynasties to perpetute their memory as patronsof religion, arts and what not.The scholars who were stumped for an explanation of someof their contemporary customs introduced into the texts names of ascetics of particularorders as well as the Athivarnasramis.The chronological code of the Puranas suers fromgreater ambivalence than that of the Vedas an ambivalence which is the outcome of areluctance to shed the pleasing mythology that had grown round the code.For example,the Vedic mantra used for aseervachana Samjnanam, Prajnanam, Vignanam etc.is acode about the half thithis, but it is amusing to note because of the ignorance of priestsand yajamanas, the obeisance which the repetition of the code elicits, as if a shower ofthe choicest blessings of Providence is being brought down for the benet of the yaja-mana and his family, not excluding the cousin of the fortieth remove living abroad who,the yajamana considers his potential refuge and support in his own lean years.This is mentioned not for amusement but to press the point that the code of the Puranasitself, in its exposition in diverse forms, has led to host of avoidable misreading and to thespecious argument, on the basis of that misreading, that the apparent inner contradic-tions were proof positive against the commonness of their authorship.The Puranas haveve characteristics, Sarga, Pratisarga, Vamsa, Manvantra, Vamsanucharita.Of these ve,the Sarga and Pratisarga are the roots from which spring what are known as the Trithayaof Vamsa, Manvantara and Vamsanucharita.If the rst two are the basic characterstics,the remaining three are an extension, through interaction, of these basic characteristics.Thus the extension of the universe out of the Brahman through his sankalpa is expatiatedupon in the stories of kings, Manus and dynastic and sacerdotal expositions.I hasten tostress this point precisely for calling o satire - totally undeserved which is heaped uponPuranas as constituting nothing more than the understandably ctional themes which arevery good bedtime tales for putting children to sleep.The authors of this view go so faras to say that the dictum that the Puranas are an elaboration of Vedic truths is a politecompliment paid to them to keep them alive and is nothing more than that.These will
  9. 9. 9have us believe that the mighty intellect that Vyasa was who could discern the impercep-tible unity of the Vedic texts and could give them in very well arranged four samhitas ofthe Rig, Yajus, Sama and Atharva Vedas suddenly became so senile as to indulge in dish-ing out incredible mythological stories and well-spun out religious yarn of undecipherablecount.First let us take some of the alleged contradictions.Take Prahlada Charitra in Matsya,Vishnu and Bhagavata.In Matsya Purana, the story is that, after the long trial and tribu-lations that Prahalada underwent, he was able to convince his father of the supremacyof Narayana.Hiranyakasipu calls a truce declaring that after all there is no need for quar-rel between one who rules and who will rule after him.After such reconciliation, thefather and son live in peace for some years.One day a lion, not man lion but a sim-ple lion appears at the court. The guards fail in trying to drive it out.It comes verynear the throne.Hiranyakasipu asks Prahalada as to whether it was a real lion. The sonstands up, folds his hands and worships the lion as reecting the Viswa Roopa of LordNarayana.Hiranyakasipu laughs and jestingly sts the lion, gets killed and is succeededby Prahalada.In Vishnu Purana, the suerings imposed on Prahalada by the father are detailed.A truceensues.And the Purana ends the episode saying: After this, one day Vishnu slew Hi-ranya.In both these versions, the killing is after Hiranyakasipu had called a truce andfather and son were living amicably.In Sri Bhagavata, the punishments inicted on Pra-halada are given in a single verse.The avatara is described in magnicent detail.The cynicsput the question as to how the same event got described in three entirely dierent ways.Another example of the alleged contradiction is the Daksha Yagna episode. In mostPuranas which described it Daksha perishes after his daughters immolation in her ownyogagni in the sacricial yard.In Vayu Purana, Sati teases Siva about his meekness inthe face of the insult her father had cast on him by not inviting him for Yagna.Siva iscalm. But Sati jeers at him still more.She does not go anywhere near the place of theyagna.But Siva unable to bear the hurt of her taunts appears out of the sacricial re asVeerabhadra, kills Daksha and destroys the sacrice.The traditional explanation of these contradictions is that Puranic events diered accord-ing to Kalpa.It is like Bali becoming Indra in one Manvantara and Anjaneya becomingBrahma in another.But those who read the text closely will discover some astonishingbits of truth that help unify the apparently diverse texts.The basic Veda mantra behindthe Prahlada story, Kaya Adhava meant one who does not husband his body or does notcare for his body.He is naturally in great ahlada or bliss Hiranyakasipu means one witha gold couch that is one who husbands body and goes after luxuries that pander to thebody and carnal instincts.Those who are eager for the pleasures of this world will stop atnothing to get them.But they do not get them.The pleasures on the contrary chase the
  10. 10. 10one that spurns them.The eminence that Prahlada got is an instance in point.You may ask: What about the contradiction which consists in a mere lion, killing Hi-ranyakasipu in Matsya Purana and a Man-lion eecting that killing in other Puranas?I do not have to provide the answer because Vyasa himself does.The lion is known asPanchasya - broad faced.The human body is ve faced in the sense of being motivated bythe ve senses.Hiranyakasiputvam led to domination by senses and destruction.Prahladawas sword to the senses and so transcended them.The lion-face is only an allegory.Hencefull lion or a lion-face does not constitute any worthwhile dierence in describing theoverwhelming eect suered from the senses.In the Daksha episode, Siva is said to havecaused destruction easily because Siva is re and through re he burnt o everything.Thesubtle reference is here to the re of avarice which consumed Daksha and left him dullheaded.Vyasas insistence on allegory is clear from the elaborate manner in which, in every Pu-rana of his, he describes the origin of the universe and its inhabitants.Like the spiderspitting out the web and withdrawing it, Brahman by his sankalpa projects and absorbsthe worlds.The rudder which the beings of the world cannot aord to lose hold of is thedivinity which has shaped them and their destinies. The sum and substance of this basicteaching of his is contained in the interesting verses from the Bhagavata Purana.Dakshareborn as Prachetasa creates 10,000 sons known as as Haryaswas and asks them to dopenance for multiplying creation.They are met by Narada who says there is a nationwhich is in the sole control of a ruler.There is an opening in the that country from whichthere can be no getting out.There is a lady there who takes many forms and a male whoruns after her.There is a river in that country which ows at the sametime from one andthe same point towards opposite directions.Here are 25 shore huts.One hears sweet andattractively ctional and distinct music also there from the swans.There is a wheel everspinning fast which has edges as sharp as a lancet.Without understanding this, what isthe point in languishing for creation?The puzzle when resolved is simply this: There is only one master for the world, namely,God.The hole in the world is death out of which none can be extricated.The lady referredto is the play of ve senses to which man is a prey.The river owing in opposite directionsis the river of life which leads to mortality as well as immortality according to the conductof the individual concerned. The shore huts are the 25 tattvas.The music of swan is theattractive Vedic texts of Karma marga promising this, that or the other for doing this orthe other yajna.The wheel is Kala chakara.Knowing the limitations of the world in thismanner, one should conduct oneself with its master namely God.All other eort will befutile.No wonder, on hearing these words of wisdom, the Haryawas betook themselves tothe quest of the Lord.Vyasa is the author of Brahma Sutras, which are aphorisms proclaiming Vedantic truths.It
  11. 11. 11is only natural that, in this Puranic works also, he took care to highlight the need fordiscriminating between material welfare and spiritual well-being.The thread of expansionof the Innite through nite creations is displayed as the means to understanding the realroots of happiness that happiness.That does not consist in running away from the orginbut running towards it.Such running towards the origin calls for a constant remembranceof God.Says Vyasa through Suka. Until you are able to discern God in all the innite creations of his around you, you willhave to do Sthoola Dharma of God as constituting and indwelling in all such creation . Thus the story part of the Puranas has a validity which is ingrained in the Paramarthikatexts of Vedantic literature.Even while describing the details of the the Hindu pantheon,the principle of unity as consisting in the oneness of God is not sacriced.Brahma comesout of the navel of Vishnu.Rudra comes out of the anger of Brahma.Everything comesout of the primordial waters indwelt by Narayana.Everything collapses in the wrath ofSiva.The fundamental force operating underneath all creation is Sakti.Being feminine, Itis made into a goddess to whom the other gods are vassals.But time and again Vyasaclaries the symbolism behind all such description, whether it is the Krodhaakaraankusaof the Devi, the Kala charka of Vishnu or the Chandrahasa or thunderbolt of Siva.Havingbeen composed for less evolved souls like ourselves, the Puranas present the essence ofthe formless innite through a diversied spectrum of forms each of which has a bunchof qualities which will appeal to the select core of its special worshipers.These forms arerelatively unreal but they help in leading the savant to the real.The fullment of theprayer Lead me from the unreal to the real becomes easier by cultivating such personalGods.As regards the political code of the Puranas, the emphasis is on democratic monarchywhere, if the king transgresses the guidelines of councillors representing public opinion heloses the right to govern and can stay only as an ornamental head.The Hindu concept is that he, who is devoid of Vishnu Amsa, cannot be born to rule.Sinceroyalty is a birth right, the annihilation of the king is taboo.Most of the Puranas are one inreiterating the sentiment contained in the familiar verse of the Mahabharata.The state ofthe country is the direct outcome of the condition of its ruler.There can be no extenuatingcircumstance for the ruler for deviating from the dharmic path.Sage Veda Vyasa and Indian CultureThe great Sage Vyasa is the architect and upholder of our national culture.Our Bharatiyaculture is rooted in the extant Vedas and Upanishads, and our philosophies are dierentexpositions of the Brahma Sutras, all of which we owe to this Vyasa.We may hold that this
  12. 12. 12universal thinker still meets the needs of diering view-points and ideals; This may be theowering of his reputed `VISAALA-BUDDHI. His birth is very signicant - the son of theredoubtable Brahmin Sage, Parasara and the maiden SATYAVATI MATSYA GANDHI,brought up by a sherman.As the child was dark in colour he was called Krishna.At onestroke, the inferiority complex pertaining to the dark-complexioned humans is annihilated,paving the way for an integrated culture.In the legends about the celestial antecedentsof Satyavati, born inside a sh and her previous births, we may divine the integration ofdierent cultures of all regions north and south; celestial, human, and sub-human too;manifest to us as the universal VYASA: PARASARA ignored the shy odour of Satyavatiand saw in her only a t vessel for containing a while his immortal progeny a rst stepin eradicating the prejudice of caste, colour, occupation and environment.Every humanbeing can become `fragrant in life, through the grace of a great and noble person, by-passing an apparent dishonour. As Vyasa was born in an island Dweepa he was calledDvaipayana.But he could not be held in an island, even for an instant i.e., he could notbe `insular in any sense; he was to soar into the empyrean worlds wasnt he Vishnuhimself ? `VYASAYA VISHNU - ROOPAYA VYASA ROOPAYA VISHNAVE NAMO- VAI - BRAHMANIDHAYE - VASISTHAYA - NAMO NAMAH. He is credited with the authorship of all Puranas, the upa-puranas, and the epicMAHABHARATHA, which is an encyclopaedia of our national culture.Sage PARASARAhimself exclaims: - `Who but Lord NARAYANA could have composed the MAHAB-HARATHA? Looked at simply as a story, there is no parallel to this epic in the world, in themultitude of sharply dened characters and the vast range of incidents, tragic andcomic, embracing all parts of the land and even beyond.It canvas is indeed the wholeworld! Again, what a wealth of subsidiary stories is treasured in this epic! It is enough toremind ourselves of SAVITRI SATYAVAN and NALA-DAMAYANTI, in this context, letalone the story of SITA-RAMA and SAKUNTALA DUSHYANTA in it. That SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA and VISHNU SAHASRANAMA are but incidentalportions of this epic staggers the imagination! What about worldly and spiritual coun-sels expounded directly in the SHANTI and ANUSASANA PARVAS? Need one goeselsewhere, even in modern times, for relevant guidance, in sphere, including politics! This epic also is a grand mosaic of all cultures and beliefs worship of INDRA,VARUNA and other celestials evolving into the worship if UPENDRA VISHNU! AGNIabiding in SIVA the progenitor of KUMARA; the LINGA form of ADMIRATION: SIVA SAHASRANAMA expounded by SRI KRISHNA, SUN-WORSHIP; DURGA or KALIworship; GANESA POOJA; glorication of SRIMAT NARAYANA in the PANCHARATRAmode.
  13. 13. 13 Like VISHVAMITHRA in TRETA-YUGA, VYASA of the DWAPARA YUGA was auniversal friend.It is his `SNEHA for all being pouring out of his `ARAVINDA LOCHANAthat is the oil that keeps the MAHABHARATA ever glowing `TAILA POORNA PRAJVALITO JNAANA MAYA PRADEEPAH. His is not a light to be a hidden ina bushel it is the blazon from the mountain tops! But alas, VYASA ends the epic on a note of frustration that no one listens to thecounsel of `DHARMA bestower of all the ends of life! This is valid to-day, more thaneven before! We have alas to recall here the greatest book of DEVOTION SRIMAD BHAGA-VATAM attributed to VYASA, as composed by him to gain peace of mind! It is asignicant pointer to us that this has become deservedly more popular than VISHNUPURANA. VYASA is the author of BRAHMA SUTRAS, which are aphorisms of VEDANTICtruths.It is only natural that, in his puranic works also, he took care to highlight the needfor discriminating between material and spiritual welfare.The thread of expansion of theinnite through nite creations is displayed as the means to understanding the real rootsof happiness.That happiness does not consist in running away from the origin but runningtowards it.Such running towards the origin calls for a constant remembrance of God.SaysVYASA through Suka: Until you are able to discern GOD in all the innite creations of his around you, youwill have to do STHOOLA DHARANA of GOD as constituting and indwelling in all suchcreation. Thus the story part of the Puranas has a validity which is ingrained in the PARA-MARTHIKA texts of VEDANTIC literature.Even while describing the details of theHINDU PANTHEON, the principle of unity as consisting in the oneness of GOD is notsacriced.BRAHMA comes out of the primordial waters indwelt by NARAYANA and ev-erything collapses in the wrath of SIVA.The fundamental force operating underneath allcreation is Sakthi. Being feminine gender, it is made into a goddess to whom the othergods are vassals.But time and again VYASA claries the symbolism behind all such de-scription whether it is the KRODHAAKARAANKUSAA of DEVI, the KALACHAKRA ofVISHNU or the MANDRAHASA or THUNDERBOLT of SIVA.Having been composedfor less evolved souls like ourselves, the PURANAS present the essence of the formlessinnite through a diversied spectrum of forms each of which has a bunch of qualitieswhich will appeal to the select corps of its special worshippers. As repositories of knowledge about arts and sciences, the PURANAS have no paral-lel.Astronomical information relating to planets and their movements and other Zodiacaldetails are provided in BHAGAVA in the SISUMARACHAKRA VARNAM.The mountainsand rivers of BHARATA and other varshas are also there but it is dicult to identify them
  14. 14. 14now because the names have changed.Speculation about anti-matter which is todaysscientic masterpiece is there in the BHAGAVATA which speaks about the AADARSATALOPAMA region.The huge holes that swallow nebulae and other heavenly bodies aredescribed also in interesting detail.When I read about them at college, I put it down formere scientic ction, but lo! Modern science vouches for its validity. The VARAHA PURANA has a chapter on DHANUR MASA.In modern language, thePURANA says that the human body is kept in perfect health by a proper balance of infrared and violet ingestion from the suns rays.The ingestion is automatic for the body ifyou take a walk between 4 and 5.00 a.m.in DHANUR MASA.BHAJANS may have beena later invention to forget the chill besides soliciting GOD at the same time. When any mention is made about GARUDA PURNA, people think that it speaksonly about funeral obsequies and the journey of the unliberated soul after death.ThePurana has 3 parts BRAHMA KANDA providing the usual Puranic stories, PRETAKHANDA speaking of unliberated souls and ablutions to them and ACHARA KHANDAwhich describes the various facets of MANI, MANTRA and OUSHADA.The Chapter onVAJRA PAREEKSHA or test of diamond is so simple to grasp that when I compared noteson it with a diamond merchant, the latter was amazed at that accurate knowledge.Thechapters on OUSHADHA supply information on common maladies and remedies.Thediscussion on alchemy that is conversion of base metals into gold mentions quantitiesof ingredients to be mixed.The quantities when added up become equal to the atomicweight of gold.There is mention about a method for measuring the noxious state of liquorswhich can be corrected by mixing certain fruit juices like those of wood apple and ginger. The AGNI PURANA, like VARAHA PURANA, is a store house of information onsecular and religious architecture.The lay-out of a city, a medium town and a village,road making, the selection of stones for idols, the planning and construction of Temples even from one big rock as in ELLORA KAILASANATHA temple, the lay-out of roomswhich will add to comfort and the lay-out which will breed white ants right in the heart ofthe drawing room are all presented in pithy passages. Special fumigants for mosquitoesand bugs are also indicated.The ingredients are not easy to identify.But it is worthwhileidentifying them because their application is described as being capable of keeping at bayfell diseases like TB Cancer. The BRAHMA VAIVARTA PURANA stands in a class apart.It consists of four partsthe BRAHMA KHANDA of usual PURANIC lore, the PRAKRUTHI KHANDA glorify-ing SAKTI in her various forms, the GANESA KHANDA which gives inkling into theorigin of GANAPATHI cult both in its pristine and degenerate form as also the bat-tle between GANESA and PARASURAMA. The fourth KHANDA is KRISHNA JANMAKHANDA.This KHANDA will raise many an eyebrow it has more than raised those ofthe famous litterateur and critic Mr.NIRAD CHOUDHURY because of the openly erotic
  15. 15. 15narration of KRISHNA RADHA love episode.How much of it has been composed by Vyasaand how much by later authors, it is dicult to avert.But it can hardly be gainsaid thatthe VALLABHACHARYA SCHOOL of VAISHNAVISM which popularised the RADHAKRISHNA cult must have had a lot to do with the interpolation of the texts.Indeed thetext is erotically more audacious than the most sexy pieces in JAYADEVAS ASHTAPADI. Of course the PURANA says that all this is intended only for those who have controlledtheir passions.The SRI BHAGAVATAM is more straight forward.In BHAGAVATA, theKING PARIKSHIT, after listening to the RASALEELA episode asks how it came aboutthe KRISHNA, who came to the world for establishing DHARMA indulged in adharma? If, as some of the pundits of today say, the RASALEELA is an allegory and representsthe GOPIS or JEEVATMAS pining for union with KRISHNA the PARAMATMA, SUKAshould have said so.But what SUKA says is this: Transgression of DHARMA by thegreat is not unknown, nor even their inexplicable doings.But is may not tarnish them.Butordinary men are forbidden from emulating them.Because RUDRA drank poison andsurvived, the ordinary man cannot expect so survive by emulating RUDRA. Indeed sofar as the great are concerned, it is their precept and not their practice that should befollowed.Message of Lord Sri KrishnaMiracle and supernormal manifestations are associated sooner or later with the lives ofall the worlds heroes.Buddha, Christ, Muhammad and Sankara and even later devoteeslike Nanda and Tyagaraja have this halo around them.It is no wonder therefore that somany miraculous happenings cluster round the careers of Rama and Krishna. Dealing with the Gopi story, it cannot be forgotten that throughout the literatures ofthe world, the love of man to his Ishta Devata is likened to the love of a woman towardsher lover and the bliss of divine communion is likened to the joy of physical union.TheBiblical Song of Songs, the saying of Jesus Christ likening God to the bridegroom and thesouls to virgins waiting for their spouses, the recorded experiences of medieval Christiansaints like St.Theresa and St.Gertrude who recounted the caresses bestowed upon themby Christ, the assertion of St.Catherine that she was betrothed to Christ and was givena ring by him, fall into this class. The Gopi episodes may best be regarded as symbolic of ideal devotion. SwamiVivekananda, dealing with this aspect of Sri Krishnas life has dealt with it as the de-lineation of a love that is supreme that does not care for anything in this world or theworld to come. The Lilas in Brindavana may be and have so been interpreted as anallegory of religious experience.Referring to the story of the hiding of the clothes of the
  16. 16. 16milk-maids, Sadhu Vaswani remarks that the critics forget that the incident relates to atime when Sri Krishna was less than ten years old.Some have expounded this incident asthe approach of the individual soul naked before its maker without the Vastra or theexternal accompaniment, under which burden our life is stied. Mr.Sampatkumaran in his brochure on Krishna cities in connection with this episodewhat is said of Jesus on one occasion, namely that in answer to a question of his dis-ciples. When wilt thou be manifest to us? he replied When you shall be stripped andnot be ashamed . Sri Krishna is to us the greatest spiritual mentor and his teachings through the Bha-gavadgita, the Anugita and the Uddhavagita embody the essence about the duties of lifeand the obligations of the human soul in response to the impact of the seen and unseenwords. Everyone has his several and allotted duties.Sin arises not from the nature of thework but from the disposition with which the work is performed.When such work isperformed without attachment to results, it cannot tarnish the soul and cannot impedeits quest.True Yoga consists in the laborious and necessary acquisition of experience andknowledge and the passage through life in harmony with the ultimate laws of equanimityof non-attachment to the fruits of action and of faith in the pervasiveness of the SupremeSpirit.Absorption with that spirit is possible of attainment along several paths and nopath is exclusively to be preferred and none is to be disdained.Sri Krishnas doctrinesare also described in the handbook (by Mr.Sampatkumaran) as embodying a protestantmovement laying stress on the personality of God and his accessibility to devotion.Whilstfollowing the Hindu ideal of the Asramas, the Gita stresses the importance of knowledge,charity penance and worship and does not decry life as evil. Na hi deha bhrta SakyamTyaktum karmani asestah Yas tu karma phala tyagi satyagity abhidhiyate.(Bhagavat Gita 18:11) Nor indeed can embodied beings completely relinquish action; verily he who relin-quisheth the fruit of action, is said to be a true relinquisher . Nityam sanga-rahitam Araga-dvesatah krtam Aphala-prepsuna karma Yat tat sattvikamucyate (Bhagavat Gita 18:23) That action which is prescribed by scriptures and whichis done without the sense of doership and without passion or prejudice, by one who doesnot seek its fruit, is said to be Sattivic. (Bhagavat Gita 9:34) Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskurumam evaisyasi yuktvaivam atmanam mat parayanah (Bhagavat Gita 18:65) Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, adore Me and makeobeisance to Me, thus uniting yourself to Me and entirely depending on Me; your shallcome to Me - This I truly promise to you; for you are dear to Me. These three verses may be said to be the quintessence of the teachings which are a
  17. 17. 17logical sequence of our ancient scriptures and an indispensable process in that evolution ofthought which began with the Vedas and was continued in the Upanishads.The knowledgeof the self, the union of that self with the Supreme Self and the processes by which suchunion can be implemented are all essential components of the Hindu solution of theriddle of the world.Yajnavalkya desiring to bestow his properties on his wives is asked byone of them, Maitreyi, If the whole world with all its wealth be mine, could I becomeimmortal? The answer was and cannot but be, Dear one, the life of the wealthy, thylife might become; by wealth however, there is no hope of (obtaining) immortality .Thencame the great teaching of the Brhadaranayaka Upanishad which is summarised in theSecond Chapter, Fourth Brahmana, Fifth verse, beginning with the worlds, Sahovacanavaare patyuh kamaya patih priyobhavati etc. Freely translated He said Behold, not indeed for the husbands sake the husbandis dear, but for the sake of the self, is dear the husband, Behold, not indeed for thewifes sake the wife is dear, but for the sake of self, is dear the wife.Behold, not forthe Brahmans sake the Brahman is dear, but for the sake of the self, is the Brahmandear .The Upanishad goes on to declare:- Behold, not for the gods sake the gods aredear, but for the sake of the self are dear the gods.Behold, not for the Vedas sakethe Vedas are dear, but for the sake of the self, are dear the Vedas.Behold, not forthe sake of the universe the universe is dear, but for the sake of the self is dear theuniverse.Behold, the self (Atman) is verily to be seen, heard, minded (and) meditatedupon. Behold, O Maitreyi, by seeing, hearing, minding, knowing the self all this (universe)is comprehended . The teachings of the Gita are seen to be a restatement and an amplication of thetruths which have been the special heritage of our race. The main characteristic of Hinduism may be said to consist in its continuity, its orderedevolution, its adaptability and its tolerance. Hinduism, in its varied aspects, recognisesthe inevitable varieties of human life and human experience, the needs of individuals inseveral stages of evolution and the natural reactions to life and destiny of persons inseveral stations.No religion makes so many allowances for environment and heredity andfor the too frequent falling away from the ideal.While rigidly adhering to the fundamentalpostulates of an all-embracing Dharma and of an inexible doctrine of Karma, it doesnot rely on any formal revelation as such for its validity. Miracles have been recorded inthe sacred books but no miracle is an essential part of its tenets and belief in miracles isnot a condition precedent to salvation.It preaches that good and evil actions leave theirinevitable traces on human life. The root theory of Karma has been felicitously adumbrated in a Buddhist scriptureand Budda and Krishna are truly kindred spirits and are united in their emphasis onKarma and reincarnation and Dharma.
  18. 18. 18 The books say well, my brothers! Each mans life The outcome of his former livingis; The bygone wrongs bring forth sorrows and woes, The bygone right breeds bliss. He cometh, reaper of the things he sowed, Sesamum, corn, so much cast in pastbirth; And so much weed and poison-stu which mar Him end the aching earth. If he shall labour rightly, rooting these, And planting wholesome seedling where theygrew, Fruitful and fair and clean the ground shall be, and rich the harvest due. Such a faith if rightly appreciated cannot but lead to tolerance and understanding ofall points of view and tolerance has been, in the main, the key-note of Indian history.Abetter example of wide comprehension and toleration cannot be given than the prayerin the play of Hanuman nataka, which is set out below, wherein Saivites, Vedantins,Buddhists, Jainas and agnostics are regarded as following paths that must lead to thesame goal. Yam Saivasamupasate, Siva iti, Brahmeti vedantine Bauddha Buddha iti pramanapatavah Karteti Naiyayikah Arhanityatha Jaina Sesananatah Karmeti Nimemsakah Soyamvo vidadhatu vancitaphalam. Trailokyanatho Harih May Hari, the remover of sin, the Lord of the universe, whom the Saivas worship asSiva, the Vedantins as Brahman, the Buddhists as Buddha, the Naiyayikas clever in logicas the Agent, the followers of the Jaina doctrine as Arhat, the Mimamsakas as Karma grant you the boon of boons.A few thoughts on MahabharataI.VYASA BHARATHA Bhagavan Vyasa was an eye-witness to the great Bharatha war.Afterthe close of that war, he retired to the Himalayas and thought in solitude about the eventsthat had occurred since creation, which he cognised by Yogic powers.Then, with manyincidental episodes and the life-stories of several great personages, he composed theMahabharatha, dealing primarily with the Pandavas and the Kauravas. It is said that there are one lakh of slokas in this work.There are 18 major divisions Parvas. There is no new topic which would be learnt from any other work, which is notcontained in this.No other work also contains all that is dealt with in this .This is a truestatement testifying to its grandeur. In the 64th chapter of the Adi-parva there is the story of Uparisravas. From this, thestory proceeds step by step to its close with the ascent of the Pandavas to the CelestialRegion.This part alone was comprised in the original Mahabharatha of Vyasa.Here thereis not to be found the usual technique of one person asking for a narrative and anotherretelling it.It is in the ancient form of a story being told direct to children.Vyasa himselftaught his work to his son Suka and to his disciple Sage Vaisampayana.In response to
  19. 19. 19an invitation from the king Janamejaya, Vyasa with Vaisampayana attended the Serpentsacrice performed by that king.When the king requested Vyasa to narrate the story ofthe Mahabharata, the later asked his disciple to recount the story as learnt by him.Whenthis narration was progressing, the bard suta, listened to it, and then went to the Sagesassembled at Naimisaranya.There requested by Sages like Saunaka, Suta began to narrateto them the story of Mahabharata as he had learnt at the court of Janamejaya.Buthe preferred the narrative by speaking about (1) Where and how Vyasa composed theMahabharata (ii) Who transcribed it to Vyasas dictation (iii) how it was propagated inthe world, (iv) the number of chapters and slokas, (v) detailed contents, (vi) the stoppingof the Serpent sacrice by Astika, thus rescuing the serpents and (vii) the narration thereof the Mahabharata by Vaisampayana in the presence of Vyasa.This covers the rst51 chapters.Chapters 61-63 detail the events connected with the Serpent sacrice.Fromchapter 64 onwards, the real story of the Pandavas begins and progresses till the victoryof the Pandavas in the Great War.The whole pf the text, including the prefatory 63chapters, has been printed and is known as the Mahabharata. II.VAISAMPAYANAS BHARATA.When Vaisampayana is narrating the Mahabharatalearnt from Vyasa, Janamejaya interrupts him and asks for elaboration of particularepisodes and Vaisampayana complies. It is thus clear that Vaisampayana must havedeparted from the strict order of Vyasas composition, to meet Janamejayas requests.Hemust have also departed from the text of Vyasa and narrated some portions in his ownway.If there are no interruptions to a narration, one can recount a story he has heard,with little or no variation in detail or extent.But if there are interruptions, it is commonexperience that the narration will vary in order, extent, etc.from the the original story.Itshould therefore be recognised that Vaisampayanas story could not have correspondedexactly to Vyasas text in order, number of slokas etc. The position is dierent in the case of Valmiki Ramayana.In the prologue to that workit is indicated that Lava and Kusa sang the 24,000 slokas, in the presence of the heroRama himself to the accompaniment of tala.It is also said that Rama listened silently tothe recitation to the end, without any interruption by himself, with questions etc. So,Valmikis text of 24,000 slokas has endured till now, with little or no variation, and isavailable in book-form.This is why special sanctity is attached to the Ramayana which isprescribed for Parayana, to receive various benets. When one sings the songs on predecessors, without any alteration, we say that heis singing the `Kritis of old composers.But if he gives merely the substance of the old`kritis, using his own words, we do not say that he is singing `kritis. In many places,Vaisampayana, without indicating that he is following Vyasa, recounts many stories andputs words in the mouths of the characters. So, it is very much like that only Vyasasstory has come down to us and not his actual slokas troughout.
  20. 20. 20 III.SUTA BHARATHA Similarly, we may conclude with reasonable certainty that Sutaused his own words in recounting the Mahabharata stories to the sages at Naimisaranya; infact, he does not say that he is simply repeating Vyasas slokas or those of Vaisampayana.But according to the present text, it appears that the Sages listened in patience to Sutasnarration, without interrupting him at any time with questions.So, Suta, might haveclosely followed in order and extent, the narration of Vaisampayana.There was no needfor Suta to make any departures.This is the basic dierence between (a) the narration ofVyasas story by Vaisampayana and (b) the narration by Suta of what he had heard fromVaisampayana. IV.CURRENT VERSION Some sage among those assembled at Naimisaranya musthave written down the story commencing from Sutas visit to the Sages at Naimisaranyaand his subsequent narration, without alterations.This has come down to us as Mahab-harata.We are currently treating the whole work including the prefatory 63 chapters asVyasas composition.As already indicated, Vyasa must have told his disciple, only the partof the story coming from the 64th chapter and Vaisampayana amplied it in his narrativeto Janamejaya; which was later recounted to the Sages at Naimisaranya by Suta.In thecircumstances, it does not appear appropriate to hold the current text as Vyasas workalone.It would be truer to say that what we have now is many times removed from Vyasasoriginal version.It is perhaps on this account that Mahabharata has not been accordedthe sanctity attached to the Valmiki Ramayana as t for `parayarna. V.SOME DRAW-BACKS Because Mahabharata contains many tragic events, con-icts of brothers, terrible war, etc., ordinary people do not come forward readily toexpound it or listen to it . Some put forward this plea and gave a story to support it.It isthis - In the 15th Century A.D.there was Ruler named Varapati Aatkondaan in KonguNadu. Villiputtorar was his state poet and a great Vaishnavaite too.In response to theRulers request, this poet composed about 2,000 verses in Tamil, recounting in brief thestory of Vyasas Mahabharatha.This became famous later as Villi Bharatham .The poetwas rst expounding his work in the assembly of the Ruler and the people, when he dulycame to the portion in which Duryodhana refuses to yield to the Pandavas even a littlespace to thrust a needle in .Just then, the poets younger brother, who had been de-frauded of his birth right a share in the ancestral property in his early years by the poethimself, interrupted the narration and exclaimed that the poet had no right to descanton Duryodhanas misdeed, when he himself was guilty in the same way.The poet at oncegot confused and lost his peace of mind.So he abruptly stopped his exposition.Further,he did not complete the epic.Even today, the incomplete work alone (upto the souttikaparva) is available to us I have heard this story from learned persons. Mainly having regard to the fratricidal conict people refrained from reading or ex-pounding Mahabharata, in later times! They were afraid to do so!
  21. 21. 21 The general statement that Mahabharata contains one lakh of slokas may, if at all,apply to Vyasas original version. It does not, and need not, apply to the subsequentversion.No extant version seems to have one lakh slokas; only a less number of slokashas been printed. There have arisen innumerable works based on the Mahabharata stories. No oneexpects the number of verses in such works to have any relation to the number in theoriginal epic. VI.Bhagavad Gita The famous Bhagavad Gita is only a part of of the Mahab-harata.Even that has passed through many hands in narration Sanjaya, Vyasa, Vaisam-payana, Suta etc.So, could not it have been altered at such ways? If so, there arises thequestion `Is it wrong for us to hold that the extant Bhagavat Gita contains the actualslokas spoken by Lord Krishna? We may consider this in detail: (1).Sanjaya had got the gift from Vyasa of televising the incidents of the war andexplaining to Dhritarashtra.Why could not he have got also the power of repeating thedialogue between Krishna and Arjuna exactly? (2).As the text of the Gita is in verse from like the Ramayana, it seems proper tohold that all the persons from Vyasa to the Suta at Naimisaranya had reproducedthe Gita slokas without alteration. (3).Sanjaya was listening to the Gitopadosa of Krishna.He did not himself raise anydoubt, during the dialogue. (4). What did the Pandavas and the Kauravas assembled at Kurukshetra do? Thisquestion was put by Dhritarashtra to Sanjaya.Thereupon, Sanjaya expounded the Gitahe had listened to, i.e.the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna 18 Chapters and about700 slokas.Dhritarashtra did not interrupt the narration with any question of his own.So,there is no doubt that the Gita Slokas had passed unaltered at each stage of narration (a) by Vyasa to Vaisampayana, (b) by Vaisampayana to Janamejaya and (c) by Suta tothe Sages of Naimisaranya. (5).When a story is being told inevitably, questions would be asked and to suit them,the sequence of the story would be changed and the narrator would be forced to use somewords of his own.Even now, it is the practice to have a parayarna done without changeof text and to listen to it the same way, to get the desired benet. (6).We may therefore believe from Sanjaya to Suta, all the 700 and odd slokas ofthe Gita have passed unchanged and come to us also, through traditional upadesa in thesame manner. It is nothing to be wondered at that persons of great diligence procient in Yoga,had memorised 700 Slokas devotedly and passed them on to us.Even ordinary personsare able to memorise the text nowadays. Though Mahabharata as such has not come to us in the very same slokas of Vyasa,
  22. 22. 22the Gita portion alone has been preserved without the least change.This is why the Gitais esteemed so much and treated as sacred.Kalidasa RamayanaDevotion to Sri Rama is Valmikis gift to humanity. Sanskrit poets like Bhasa Bavabuthi,Kalidasa, Murari, Dinnaga Bhoja were all inspired by the ancient bard.Among their worksthe Raghuvamsa of Kalidasa is a unique composition. Of the nineteen sargas those from the tenth to the fteenth are matchless. Theexploits of the ancestors of Rama from Dilipa to Dasaratha are the theme of the rstnine sargas.This may be taken as a preface to Kalidasas Ramayana . The verses from the sixteenth sarga to the end deal with the greatness of Kusaand twenty one others down to Agnivarman may be taken as the drawing of the greatvamsavali to its logical end. The death of the sages son caused by Dasaratha unwittingly (ninth Sarga) forms the Upodgatha and runs parallel to the singing of the epic in the presence of Sri Rama byLava and Kusa in the original.The death of the Munikumara is mentioned in Valmikistoo (vide Ayodhya Kanda). Valmiki states that Dasaratha met the blind parents of thedeceased. But Kalidasa is not explicit about either the blind parents or the death of theirson in their presence. PARALLEL SARGAS 10 11 The tenth and eleventh sargas epitomise the matter in the Balakanda of the orig-inal.The twelfth repeats events contained in the Ayodhya to Yuddha Kandas in theoriginal. Sri Rama, with Sita, takes an aerial ight from Lanka to Ayodhya in a PushpakaVimana.Along the course, he points out many spots where they had spent memorablemoments.All this is mentioned in the thirteenth sarga.The rst fteen slokas of the four-teenth sarga deal with the description of the Lords coronation and the rest of the slokasrepeats events from Uththara kanda. The episode of the death of the Munikumara in the original ( Balakanda ) has beenbeautifully dealt with by Kalidasa.Having described the death of the boy and the conse-quent curse of the sage in the ninth sarga, Kalidasa states in the tenth that, after tenthousand years Dasaratha performed the Puthrakameshti Yagna . There is the scene ofDevas describing their suerings to Lord Narayana in the Milky Ocean, and the prayersare studded with Vedantic dogmas. These are innovations of Kalidasa.The Adikavyagives a dierent version.The aicted Devas report their woes to Brahma whom they metat the yagna of Dasartha.In Kamban the story is dierent.The Devas report the matterto Lord Paramasiva, who, joining hands with them and Brahma, seek the help of Lord
  23. 23. 23Narayana. Kalidasa further elaborates the secrets of the birth of Ravana and says that SriNarayana promised riddance through Ramavathara.The secrets of Ravanas birth and hisvalour are reported by the Devas to Narayana according to the original and Kamban.Theepisode of Lord Vishnus assurance runs parallel in both Kamban and Kalidasa.As seenfrom the original and the work of Kamban, the Devas are ordained to be born as monkeysby Brahma and Vishnu, whereas Kalidas says that the decision was made by the Surasthemselves. The distribution of the divine payasa among his concerts by Dasaratha is another illus-tration.Valmiki states that the available quantity was divided into two of which one halfwent to Kausalya.Of the other half, fty per cent was the share of Sumithra, and of theremaining fty per cent, one-half went to the Kaikeyi and yet another was served to Sum-ithra second time.According to Kalidasa, the available quantity was equally distributedbetween Kausalya and Kaikeyi who, in their turn, shared half of theirs with Sumithra inaccordance with the kings wishes.The Padma Purana , Adyathama Ramayana and Bhoja Champu follow Kalidasas version.That the quantity spilt over in the vessel wasgiven again to Sumithra by the king is Kambans version. The queens, who conceive as a consequence, feel in a dream the grace of a divine dwarfwith wheel and discus and enjoy the sojourn of the seven sages and Goddess Lakshmi.Thisis entirely Kalidasas innovation.The Padmapurana and Kambans Ramayana speakof Lakshmana, Bharatha and Sathrugna as incarnations of Adisesha, Sankhu and Chakra,and it appears as if Kalidasa indirectly brings home the point by reporting the dream ofthe divine touch . The curse on Ahalya, according to the original, is that she should become invisibleto the naked eye.Kalidasa, on the other hand, seems to follow the Padmapurana andstates that Ahalya was turned into a stone image. Sri Vedantha Desika also seems to agree with Kalidasa in this, whereas the narrationin Bhojachampu is in conformity with the original. According to Valmiki, the arrival of sage Viswamithra coincides with the deliberationsof Dasaratha over the marriage of his sons.Kalidasa slightly amends it when he statesthat the deliberations took place together with the arrival of the Brahmin from the courtof Janaka carrying the news of the valour of Rama in breaking the Siva bow. Theinauspicious signs such as the howling of foxes, the ight of vultures, and the halo roundthe sun on their return journey after marriage are all Kalidasas innovations. KAKASURA SARGA 12 Barring the coronation, the twelth sarga is a ne epitome of the original from the Ayo-dya to Yuddha Kanda.Many interesting innovations occur however.According to Valmiki,Kaikeyi asks Dasaratha for two boons, one, the enthronement of Bharatha and the other
  24. 24. 24the banishment of Rama for 14 years.But Kalidasa emphasises the banishment and makesthe coronation of Bharatha subsidiary.From the work of Kamban the duration of the exile,14 years, is conspicuously absent. The Kakasura episode actually belongs to an earlier period.The incident did happen atChitrakuta.Valmiki actually makes reference to it in the Sundarakanda , when Sita sendsa message to Rama through Hanuman.Kamban closely follows Valmiki. Kalidasa perhapsfelt a deviation necessary and appropriate and he narrates it in a dierent context.He listsit with the experience of Rama and Sita at Chittrakuta.He has drawn inspiration from Padmapurana . SARGA 13 In the thirteenth sarga, Kalidasa, with his vivid imagination and poetic skill, reiteratesall the interesting experiences that Rama and Sita had, experiences which one nds in theoriginal of Valmiki. Rama draws the attention of Sita to three specic events.He restson Sitas lap after a hunt on the banks of the Godavari at Panchavati.He attempts todecorate Sitas cheeks with the tamala shoot near Chitrakuta.He renounces the jewelledhead gear in exchange for matted locks at the abode of Guha, when Sumanthara burstsinto tears cursing Kaikeyi.All these events are narrated by Kalidasa in his intimitable style,but they do not occur in Valmiki. The reference to the banyan tree, Shyama, which Valmiki describes in the AyodyaKanda is not made by Kalidasa, but Sitas attention is drawn to it on their way backto Ayodhya.In accordance with the wishes of Sita, Rama is said to break the journeyat Kishkinda, and then resume it accompanied by a few vanara women.This event isdescribed in Valmiki.Kalidasa makes no mention of any such event, SARGA 14 The fourteenth sarga opens with a description of the Lords coronation.It is celebratedin the suburbs of Ayodhya according to Kalidasa, but in Ayodhya itself according toValmiki.The news that Sita is deserted in the forest by Lakshmana in compliance withthe orders of Rama is brought to Valmiki by his disciples who have gone in search ofKusa grass etc.This is in Valmiki.A slight deviation occurs in Kalidasa who states thatwhen he was collecting darba, Valmiki himself accidentally met Sita etc. SARGA 15 The fteenth Sarga is notable for its deviations from Valmiki.The kernel of Utharakanda,the Lava-Kusa episode, has been woven in a dierent texture by Kalidasa. The story according to the original, is that Sathrunga, on his mission to overcomeLavanasura stays at Valmikis hermitage enroute, Sita gives birth to Lava and Kusathe same night.Since Sathrunga completed his mission, twelve years passed.He restsat Valmikis hermitage on his return journey to Ayodhya.He listens to the matchlessrecitation of Ramas story by the twins.He is immensely happy.Reaching Ayodhya he tells
  25. 25. 25Rama of his victory over Lavanasura, but not of his experiences at Valmikis hermitage.The author does not seem to hint that this was deliberate. Deviations Kalidasa, on the other hand, does not speak of Sathrungas return to Valmikis her-mitage after destroying Lavanasura. Sathrunga returns straight to Ayodhya, and hedeliberately keeps his experiences at the hermitage a secret at the command of the sage.This is in tune with the main trend of the story.Perhaps Kalidasa felt the moment in-opportune for posting Rama with the information. Had Sri Rama known of the birth ofthe twins, he might have asked Sita to return with her children to Ayodhya.If that hadtaken place Valmiki would have had no opportunity of training the children in recitationand the two purposes of the sage that Sita should be asked about important incidentsin her life and that the twins should recite the great epic would have been defeated bythe violation of the time factor.Valmiki appears to have been waiting for an opportunemoment to present the children.The screening of information from Rama is, therefore, inperfect accordance with the original text.It reveals Kalidasas deep insight into the mindof Valmiki. The sage, accordingly, takes the children to the court of Rama, who performs theasvamedha.Summoned by the Emperor, the children recite all the exploits from NaradaValmiki Samvadha down to the departure of Rama and his followers to Vaikunta, includ-ing their own life story in twenty four thousand beautiful slokas.The recitation remindsRama of his consort.Under the inuence of the melodious recitation, he recognises theidentity of the children and sends for his consort.This is the story in the original.ButKalidasas version is slightly dierent.Moved by the recitation, Rama makes enquiry ofValmiki and the latter informs him that they are his own children. The Kalidasa innovation of the disclosure of the identity by the sage is signicant.Itlends support to the view of a certain section of scholars that the Uthara Kanda is notValmikis, for the Lava Kusa episode is a means to an end, the end being the voluntaryrealisation of identity by Rama. Sita, after making the vow, enters the bosom of mother earth.Rama is lled withremorse.He is in no mood to listen to the twins when Brahma induces him to listento the completion of the story.Valmiki says that the recitation was undertaken in twoinstances, one as a preface towards the end of the rst four sargas and the other later, atthe performance of the aswamedha after deserting Sita in the Utharakanda . It raises areasonable doubt which of the versions has been handed down to posterity, whether allthe verses are genuine and whether they are exact numerically.These questions could beanswered only after careful research by competent scholars.
  26. 26. 26Bhakthi Yoga, Jnana Yoga and PrapattiYogaFollowing the logic of religious intuition, it is concluded that the BRAHMAN of the UP-ANISHADS and BRAHMASUTRAS, the VASUDEVA of the GITA and the BHAGAVANof the AGAMAS connote the same Supreme SELF-SRIMAN NARAYAN, to be known byBHAKTI-YOGA which is the direct means.This meets the demands of metaphysics andsatises the supreme call of love-Jnana turned to BHAKTI.The practice of Bhakti presup-poses some elaborate disciplines for the sublimation of feeling as well as the training ofthe intellect and will.The opening sentence of Ramanujas SRI-BHASHYA is signicant:- May my Jnana blossom into devotion to BRAHMAN or SRINIVASA whose nature isrevealed in the UPANISHAD as the self that, out of the sport of love, creates sustainsand reabsorbs the universe with a view to saving the souls that seek His Love.Brahmanas indweller of the soul is both the means and the end. Worship is the practice of the presence of the inner self, through the stages of rmmeditation, repetition and the orison of union. When the vision is turned inward, it willbe realised that VASUDEVA is in all beings the life of all lives, nearer to the self thanit is to itself.Thus spiritual intimacy and the unitive consciousness are promoted. As the righteous Rules of the universe, the Lord dispenses justice according to the`KARMA of the individual without caprice or cruelty.When the moral self becomes de-sirous of liberation in moksha, the redemptive will of the Supreme is recognised; theegoism is eaced in service.The worshipper prays to the GIVER of all good, who confersthe sweets of life and removes the bitters. Then comes the higher stage when the Atmanis intuited.Here there is no bargaining; there is only consecrated service.The Lord read-ily accepts the eight petalled ower of devotion noninjury, kindness, patience, truth,self-control, austerity, inwardness and jnana.Divine grace is to be relied upon as the onlymeans to liberation, Whom the LORD chooses, unto him He reveals Himself . Whenthe devotee seeks God, God also seeks Him-the lover and the beloved are nally united-this is the realm of liberation `mukti. The doctrine of love of God as inclusive of all nature and all living beings does notstop with the negative ethics of mere non-hatred; it is really positive friendship andcompassion (`Maitra and `Karuna) for all.How satisfying! The LORD is the supreme personality transcending all and holding all within the in-nite range of his glory.He is neither impersonal nor identical with all, nor a-cosmic.Devotionalself surrender is the sure way to redemption. The philosophy of devotion is a ladder of love from earth to heaven and the philosophyof divine grace is a ladder from heaven to earth. The subtimity of the whole design is
  27. 27. 27only matched by its symmetry. But this is too sublime for the ordinary human being tofollow.Hence the PRAPATTI-YOGA has been devised as a universal panacea. JNANA YOGA What shall it prot a man if he gains the whole world, but loseshis own soul? The realization of the inner self is the goal of Jnana yoga.This startswith the idea that the body is not the soul, though physical well-being is essential tospirituality. Even self-culture and the formation of pure habits are only means to self-knowledge.Spiritual endeavor begins by self-renunciation to get rid of the spirit of ego.Butthis self discipline is not to be self mutilation or self extinction.Then by entering intothe inner sanctuary, consciousness does not act in the plane of the senses but returns tothe center of being.By repeated practice, the soul is enriched and not annulled. The Yogic Sadhana consists of the eight well known stages (i) moral practice oftruthfulness, non-injury, contentment, continence, poverty and the will to receive nofavors or benets.(ii) discipline of the mind body, (iii) the practice of specied postures Asanas (iv) control of the vital breath in order to attain psychic control, (v) thearresting of the outgoing senses and attuning them to the inner sense (vi) the focusing ofthe mind on an object, by withdrawing it from the distractions of sense and the tumultof dispositions (vii) state of ceaseless introversion and (viii) contemplation of the soul bydirect intuition Samadhi. The end as self realization is also a social good in the sense that the progressof humanity has no meaning apart from the spiritual growth of the individuals thatcontribute to society. This view is opposed to that of mere utilitarianism and humanism.Humanity is not the arithmetical total of individuals; likewise, the striving for a betterworld as a substitute for `other worldliness is a species of secular morality, not foundedon spiritual values of life and will have no stability.Humanism may be a corrective to thematerialistic and super naturalistic ideal of life, but it may have its nemesis in exclusiveindividualism.The Vedantic ideal (according to Ramanuja) is that of a spiritual communityof souls, providing an opportunity for the gradual realisation of each self as an atmanand not as an object. The earlier progressive stages are (a) acquisition of wealth forthe welfare of all, (b) the disciplined satisfaction of desires and (c) the moral life ofrighteousness as distinct from the asserti on of rights.Though the nature of a mans dutymay be determined psychologically by his station in life and `Svadharma , his ethicalmotive is derived from the universal ideal of righteousness. Ramanujas ethics demands not only self knowledge by the removal of error butalso self denial by the destruction of egotism.It therefore gives the deepest explanationof the philosophy of the spiritual and social self.The true meaning of brotherhood canbe explained by the immanence of the supreme reality in all souls and their essentialsimilarity. According to Ramanuja, the Bhagavat Gita starts with the morals of disinterested
  28. 28. 28action and the philosophy of the cognition of the soul and ends with the religious exposi-tion of the yoga of devotion.The last stage BHAKTI YOGA is itself a disciplinary processinvolving dierent stages; but in all stages, it is dominated by the single aim of seekingthe LORD and seeking Him face to face. PRAPATTI - YOGA The path of shastraic devotion is strewn with innite pitfalls andset-backs for the ordinary person.It is likened to a bridge of hair over a river of re, andthe individual soul with its load of ignorance and proneness to evil, has in this dark ageof confusion very little chance of reaching the goal of liberation. The way of `prapattiNYASA VIDYA or full surrender is the ultimate path open for the weak and the inrm. This preserves the essentials of devotion, dispenses with its pre-disposing conditionsand omits the non-essentials like the need for ceaseless practice.It is in fact a direct andindependent means to liberation. The only requisite is the change of heart or volitionon the part of the aspirant and his absolute condence in the saving grace of the pro-tector. Repent and believe and ye shall be free! The awareness of ones unworthinessand sin provokes the compassion of the LORD.Redemption is a justication by faith andnot by works not won by merit either.This path is universal in its eect to all castesand classes and guarantees salvation to all.It is natural and easy, securing immediateeect as well.This path Saranagati - is enshrined in the nal teaching of Sri Krishnain the BHAGAVAD GITA Renounce all dharmas and take refuge in Me; I will releaseyou from all sins; grieve not .But we have to recognise that even the will to serve theLORD by self eacement is only the gift of His grace: As already stated the LORD isultimately both the endeavour and the end.Here is no call to abandon - duty, it is a callto renounce the egoistic motive. This scheme of `prapatti is elaborated by the later Acharyas in its six parts (i)proper motive to follow the will of the Master (ii) renunciation of what will be repugnantto Him (iii) Absolute and rm faith in the universal protector (iv) feeling of incapacityto follow the prescribed path of action knowledge and devotion (v) seeking the LORDScompassion as the only hope for liberation and (vi) self oblation to the Master with theconviction that this itself is a gift of His grace. This is also considered under the aspects of the renunciation of the hedonistic, themoralistic and the egoistic views of life.All these forms of sacrice or service are deducedfrom the rst principles of religious experience consisting in the love of God and the love of man.It marks a radical or revolutionary change from the ego centric view to the Theocentric view Everything belongs to the LORD and is oeredto Him. Though as a moral fact sin is, in the religious realm, it ought not to be.Every soul isultimately redeemable and can attain liberation. If the Lord cannot prevent evil and sin,He is not Almighty; if He can prevent it but will not, He is cruel.But it is the basic faith
  29. 29. 29of redemptive religion that the LORD can and will prevent evil and sin. While in Christianity, judgement follows redemption, in SRI VAISHNAVISM of SriRamanuja, justice is overpowered by redemptive love. No gospel is more inspiring than the GITA call of compassion and its assurance ofdeliverance to all souls that seek it.Sri Ramanuja and VishistadvitaThe great Vaishnava Acharya - Sri.RAMANUJA is the supreme exponent of the philos-ophy of VISISHTA ADVAITA - described as `Qualied MONISM or `ORGANISMALMONISM as distinguished from the ADVAITA (Ideal Monism) of Adi-SANKARA. According to Adi Sankara, the ultimate armation of the Upanishads concerns theidentity of the individual soul with the attributeless Brahman, which can comprehendedonly by Jnana, Ramanuja dose not admit that there are any texts expounding an at-tributeless Brahman.Attributes are not limitations; for innitude itself implies innitudeof qualitative perfections.He does not subscribe to Sankaras theory of `avidya or igno-rance leading to the BRAHMAN with attributes (SAGUNA) and VIDYA or true knowledgeleading to the attributeless Brahman (NIRGUNA).According to him the all inclusivetheme of the UPANISHADS is BRAHMAN alone discernment of Brahman as real, con-scious, innite and blissful (SATYAM- JNANAM-ANATAM-ANANDAM) with exaltedattributes and altogether free from any imperfection.He himself set out the characteristicsof the philosophical attitude as devotion to truth, width of vision, depth of insight intowhat is essential, and openness of mind . He could hold no one as being outside the paleof redemption.Utter humility matched the splendour of his learning.His spirit of devo-tion commingled with that of knowledge (Jnaana), elevating both.VEDANTA is at oncephilosophy and religion, based on the tripod of the UPANISHADS, BRAHMASUTRASand the BHAGAVADGITA.Ramanuja reconciled and harmonised apparently contradictorytexts, by his unique suggestion of the `Body Soul (SARIRA-SARIRI) relationship betweenmatter and individual soul on the one hand and the supreme Reality on the other arevelation of far-reaching consequence, in the realms of mysticism and metaphysics. Ramanujas Commentary SRI BHASHYA on the BRAHMA SUTRAS of BADARAYANAhas received appreciation from modern scholars like THIBAUT.In regard to his commen-tary on the Bhagavad-Gita also, the general tendency is now to concede his thesis ofan activistic ethics, a theistic conception of the Supreme Reality BRAHMAN-re-in-forcedby the `last message of the pathway of BHAKTI (Devotion) and PRAPATTI (Surrenderto the DIVINE).In regard to the UPANISHADS, his interpretation is incorporated in hisSRIBHASHYA and the other work-VEDARTHA SANGRAHA, instead of in formal and
  30. 30. 30separate glosses. It shall be my endeavour to deal briey as follows with the teachings of RAMANUJAin regard to the three fundamental texts aforesaid.Ramanuja lists the varied types of textsand expounds their coherent signicance. Brahman is the ultimate Reality, the ultimategood.Matter and nite selves are real only as adjectival to the Supreme-they are parts ofthe splendour of Brahman.This philosophy is a `Monism that does not do away with theconcept of the Supreme Spirit the Highest Self.This enlarges the conception of Divineattributes, for the individual spirit (Jiva) is itself an attribute of `ISVARA. The ultimatespirit holds all things within It self and abides in all things. All that brings about the perfection of the nite self forms a fundamental characteristicof the Supreme reality.What constitutes the nal perfection for that self is the realisation,by way of experimental apprehension, of the Innite Divine. The central idea is that the LORD is the `Inner Soul of all the Jivas (Souls) andPRAKRITI (Matter) constituting His `Body. This analogy indicates: 1. The essential distinction between God and the Universe, 2. Their inseparable relationship, 3. The eternal dependenceof the Universe on the will of God, 4. The casual ecacy of God, 5. The immutable perfection of Gods essential Being 6. The inclusive and consummate nature of Gods relation to the Universe, 7. The character of God as a Supreme Person 8. The Universe being instrumental to the will of God. 9. Divine purpose 10. Reality of the Universe 11. Intimate accessibility of God to the `Jivas and 12. Gods supernatural transcendent body (APRAKRITA).The point to be noted is that all sentient and non-sentient beings together comprise thebody of the Supreme Person, for they are completely controlled and supported by Himfor His own ends, and they are essentially and wholly subordinate to Him.
  31. 31. 31 The Supreme Self is in no way subject to the limiting counter action of bodies outsideHis own body.He alone possesses a body with perfect immunity.His body is not determinedby Karmic law; the Karma itself is under His control.The Lord does not will something toget some benet for Himself.His creative action is not compelled by any reserve outsideHis own blissful will. Just as the devotee seeks to serve the LORD Himself, he should seek to serve hisLords self-manifestation in the form of His universal body.This aspect has also to bestressed.
  32. 32. 32 Copies of works Kalaimamani Shri.S.N.Sriramadesikan D-5, TURN BULLS ROAD, NANDANAM CHENNAI- 600035 TAMIL NADU INDIA PHONE: 91-44-24354246Shri.S.N.Sriramadesikans books in the form of CDs available at the above address 1. AVVAIYAR NITI WORKS Sanskrit Translation 2. ELLU NADAKA KATHAIKAL (Short stories of Seven Sanskrit Dramas) 3. ETTUTHOKAI (Sangam Literature Paripadal) Sanskrit Translation 4. IRUMOZHI ILLAKIA INBAM - A collection of Literary Articles (in Tamil) 5. KAMBARAMAYANAM (Balakandam) Sanskrit Translation 6. NALADIYAR Sanskrit Translation (With Tamil and English Expositions) 7. PATTUPPATTU (Sangam Literature Thirumurgatrupadi and Mullaipattu) Sanskrit Translation 8. SANGA NULKALIL VAIDHIGA KALACHARAM (A Research work) 9. SILAPATHIKARAM (Pugar Kandam) Sanskrit Translation 10. S.N.SRIRAMADESIKANS 60 Years in Literature Services 11. SRI ANDALS THIRUPAVAI Sanskrit Translation 12. SRI DESIKAMANI SATAKAM Sanskrit Poetry (Life of Vedanta Desika) 13. SRI KRISHNA KATHA SANKRAHA Sanskrit Poetry (Stories of Lord Sri Krishna) 14. SUSRUTHA SAMHITHA UTHRASTHANAM (Ayurveda Text) Tamil Translation 15. TIRUKURAL - SANSKRIT SLOKAS (Arattupal) 16. TIRUKURAL Sanskrit Translation with Tamil English Exposition VOL- I 17. TIRUKURAL Sanskrit Translation with Tamil English Exposition VOL - II 18. ANDRA KAVI VEMANA PADYAMULU Sanskrit and Tamil Translations

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