சக்தி விகடன் - 28 Dec, 2010   2010-12-28-part1-2

Edited on April 20, 2018

 Ramana Maharishi 

   Author: Balakumaran

Gambhīram Sēṣaiyar is a Telugu Brahmin. He belongs to Mulukki Nadu near Hyderabad. His ancestors like Akkaṇṇā, Mādaṇṇā…served as ministers to Sultan. Appreciating their services, Sultan gave them a title, ‘Gambhīram.’

Gambhīram:  1. Depth, profundity; 2. Profound knowledge; 3. Majestic air or bearing; manliness.

Sēṣaiyar belongs to that illustrious lineage.  Being a Rama devotee, he chanted the name of Rama. Vivekananda’s lectures and books were magnetic to him.  He performed Hata Yoga as recommended by Vivekananda. Attracted to Sri Ramaa, he shared with him his spiritual thirst, Pranayama and other pursuits. Bālaswāmy known later as SriRamaa Maharishi understood his interest.  aiyar was not a Tamil; therefore, Periyava explained his tenets in prose form instead of poetic form for his easy understanding. Those explanations became books by Gambhīram Sēaiyar from his notes taking of what Periyava told him.

   Because of it, Bālaswāmy’s conversations compact with substance and ease of explanations, the world received. The Janani’s fame shines because of it.  The intelligent and able Jñāṉi’s proximity with the true and loving devotees bore fruits. These conversations were of great help for the future devotees of Sri Ramanamaharishi.

Hata Yoga has many categories.  There is a progressive advancement between stages. Only by the practice of Hata Yoga, one can discover “Who am I?” (This is refuted by Ramana.) It declares that by analyzing closely the enquiry into God, one can obtain liberation.  Hata Yoga is the treasure of Bharata continent. Since the advent of Sanatana Dharma, Hata Yoga was in practice. Hata Yoga has eight divisions, Yoga Aṣṭāṅgam.  What are they?

To begin with, there are two prerequisites: Iyamam and Niyamam (Yama and Niyama): Good behavior and good Gunas, courteous speech, anger-free words, truth telling, no backbiting, food restrictions, moderate sleep, Brahmacharya, seeking solitude…

Third, the Asanas.  Diseases of the body are inimical for search of God. Self-enquiry will not be possible. Disease affects the mind. Disease-preventive measures involve Asanas (postures).  These postures are important.  

These postures help keep good digestive tract, assure strength of limbs and neck, ensure proper and adequate blood flow to the brain, and maintain proper nerve function. From the opening at the end of the spine to crown of the head, there are various Chakras. For their proper functioning, the body and its functions should be healthy. For the stimulation of these Chakras, these postures are of great help. The above are according to Hata Yoga. These postures help control the mind.

Fourth, Hata Yoga teaches Prāṇāyāma.  The breath is taken via the left nostril, held and exhaled by the right nostril.  Then, the breath is inhaled via the right nostril, held and exhaled by the left nostril. The aspirant should seek the help of an expert and do the breathing exercises like inspiration, retention and expiration on a timed scale. Hata Yoga insists on correctly performing breathing exercises.

Because of the exercises, the wandering mind becomes quiescent and steady. Breath and mind are connected. When the mind is excited the breathing is out of whack. This precipitates a negative feedback on the mind resulting in vicious cycle. For the quiescent mind, breath control of many types is essential. Proper breathing exercise helps proper blood flow.

Hata Yogam tones down the excitability, helps with normal blood flow and assures to optimal body functions. 

Fifth, Hata Yoga explains ata Yogam explains Pratyāhāra (the withdrawal of the senses from the objects of sense). Uninterrupted Mantra Japa helps quieten the mind. Mantra Japa is like a chain, which when held by the elephant’s trunk stops the animal from moving the trunk. Likewise, Mantra Japa quietens the mind. The Mantra japa should be learnt from a Guru. Pratyāhāra helps lessen or eliminate anger, agitation, hatred, desire… 

Dhyāna  (meditation) comes after Dhāraṇā (steadiness). Dhyana is not concentration of the mind. It is not one-pointed. When the mind is one-pointed and Dharana path is followed, Vikṣepa (blossoming, விகசிபம்) is produced (while pursuing the path of Dharana). After a long practice, coming suddenly under the influence of the mind, it is knowing, ‘I am this.’ Forgetting the burden, mind enters itself and remains there. The form of the deity being the object of meditation at the beginning, realization takes place that the mind’s form is that of the deity itself and the mind remains merged in the form of the deity.  Or, it remains immersed in the great formless effulgence.

Mind is not under its control usually. Now it entered in to a greater entity (Āṉmā).  The merger of the mind with Āṉmā results in  realization and the mind stays bonded to Āṉmā. Now and then the mind separates from Āṉmā, participates in worldly activities and goes back to Āṉmā to remain bound to it. It is like the married woman desirous of consorting with her husband (time and again), the mind desires and consorts with Āṉmā to remain bound with it.

To those who are deep into meditation (Dhyāna), the world affairs look different. Exiting that union for changing clothes, eating or conversing with others, it can renter Dhyana.  That being so, some faculties are awakened.

Nature’s movements and people’s ins and outs are apparent. These deep meditators can help those with grief and are models of mercy. That mercy helps the needy with love and concern. The benevolent help strengthens their Dhyana. They remain deep in Dhyana.

The eighth is Samadhi, as spoken in Hata Yoga.  Samadhi is the state, forgetful of ‘I and Ātmā.  It is impossible to explain it further. It is a subtle state beyond words. It is ‘I’-less state. It is a state of forgetting. The practitioners do not know what they do. Nothing remains in memory. They do something. But, whatever they do, it is always right. It is a wonderful artifice.  It is a state of merger with God. Hata Yoga is an Ambrosial Vessel. Not all can attain this kind of realization.

Virtuous and sharp pupils will gravitate to the great Gurus, who in the manner of a magnet attract good pupils. They are a cause for celebration. The intelligent pupils question the Guru; the appropriate answers and the thought processes stimulated by them in the Guru make the Guru-pupil interactions fruitful. The feeling of satisfaction from imparting knowledge to the most deserving finds fulfilment in the Guru.

Gambhīram Sēaiyar’s knowledge of Hata Yogam and his deep opinions appealed to Bālaswāmy, who needed a pupil conversant with Hata Yoga for (postulation and) elaboration of ‘Who Am I?’

Bālaswāmy told Gambhīram Sēṣaiyar, “Hata Yogam is not necessary. Āṉma enquiry itself is enough for enquiry into ‘Who Am I?’

Sēṣaiyar: “Hata Yoga is not my recommendation or my initiative. That was mentioned by Vivekananda.  It is not his initiative either.  It is coeval with Sanatana Dharma. They were observed with great care and efficiency. Many subtleties were established in Hata Yoga and spread by Gurus throughout the country.

Prāṇāyāma is not merely inspiration with Kumbhaka (retention) and expiration. There are very many variables.  Yama and Niyama dictate what to eat, what not to eat and when not to eat.

Sēṣaiyar said with some unhappiness, “There are restrictions on how much one can eat. Gurus were clear in their recommendations. If you declare Hatayog is not necessary, that proposition should be opposed in a proper way. “

Bālaswāmy explained it in a conversational style. Though Sēṣaiyar of Telugu origin had poetic abilities and published multiple poetic books, Periyava’s explanation was given in simple text with diligent care for the comprehension of the Telugu man. That conversational textual explanation was translated in many languages for the benefit of many people.

Bālaswāmy, the future Ramana said with clarity, “For the beginners, Hatayoga is good, but will not accomplish clarification of the enquiry of ‘Who Am I?’ “

Let us obtain Darsan

Images: K.Rajasekharan

Sakti Vikatan December 28, 2010  part 2

Kanchi Mahan, the deity of compassion.

Akhila Kārttikēyan the relative of ‘Pradoam Māmā’ said, “Bodily inconvenience, wind, rain, day or night, inconvenient time… are immaterial for Pradoṣa Māmā if it dawned on him to have Darśan of Maha Swamy. The Mutt was about four km from his house. He thought it was a rare grace to obtain Darśan of Periyava.

    ‘Pradoam Māmā’s’ natal name was Venkatraman, an employee of the Indian Railways in Salem and Madras. Every Pradoṣam (evening), he obtained Darśan of Periyava. Once, Periyava himself observed, “Aren’t you the one that comes every Pradoṣam (evening).” Since then the word Pradoṣam got stuck to his name. Later, he lived in Kanchi. The stories narrated by Karthikeyan are exhilarating.   

Once, there was a fierce downpour.  The Government issued a weather alert.  He ignored the warning. Pradoam Māmā was given protection by the grace of Mahāperiyava on his 4km return trip back home from Darśan of Kānchi Periyava. How could it be anything else?

Pradoam Māmā on his way to Mutt saw Tiruvarata Ōthuvār with his family and a motley crowd of devotees singing Tiruvāsaka poems and raising slogans like ‘Long live Namasivaya,’ and Long Live Lord’s feet.’ Pradoṣam Māmā was unhappy, because their invocations drowned out his usual invocation: ‘Aruṇāchala Śiva.’

Pradoam Māmā asked the fellow devotees to chant ‘Tiruvarata Ōthuvār as instructed by Ramanar. He insisted everyone including Tiruvarata Ōthuvār to chant ‘Aruṇāchala Śiva.’  He knew that ‘Aruṇāchala Śiva’ is no other than Namasivaya.

All came to the Mutt and had Darśan of Periyava.  Kānchi Mahāṉ asked to see Ōthuvār, a little while after Ōthuvār took leave of him.  The people there told him he left the place. Mahāperiyava gave a book to Pradoṣam Māmā and asked him to find out from Ōthuvār the year of publication of Thiruvāsakam.

It came to that he had to go to Chennai to carry out the order of Kānchi Mahan and locate Ōthuvār for the information. He took a friend to locate him. He went to the office he used to work before his retirement.

A coworker noticing Māmā said, “What a surprise. I was thinking of sending you a letter to report to the office to take your salary arrears amounting to a thousand rupees. If you have not come by here today, that check would have been sent back to Accounts Section.  Getting that money back to you is difficult.”

Those days, one thousand rupees are big money. Pradoṣa Māmā felt that Mahā Periyava carried out this play in his gracious offering of blessings.

It did not end there.

Locating Ōthuvār in Chennai, he asked him about the publication details. He did not know.  Pradoa Māmā gathered the sought-after information through others and went back to Kānchi Mutt.  Periyava hearing all he said, asked him to read the first few pages in the book. 

Pradoṣam Māmā opened the book and was shaken like a leaf in a brisk wind seeing Siva Purana starting with the invocation ‘Long Live Namasivaya’ (நமசிவாய வாழ்க).

‘Aruṇāchala Śiva and Namaśivāya are non-different. This way, Periyava in a subtle way made pradoṣa Māmā realize the non-difference.

Akilā Kārttikēyan narrated an incident involving Tiruppāvai-Tiruvempāvai.

That was 1949 when Mahāperiyava was in Tiruvidai Maruthūr.  A woman of higher caste came with a book every day, sang songs before Periyava and left. One day, Periyava queried Ramamurthy, “Do you know the songs of Tiruppāvai and Tiruvempāvai sung by the woman.”

He did not understand his query.  Periyava sent the man to Devarāja Bhāgavathar to find out whether people on the outside would sing along Tiruppāvai-Tiruvempāvai. Ramamurthy met with Bhagavathar, who said, “No one knows these poems. No one will sing.”

Ramamurthy informed Periyava about this. Immediately, Tiruppāvai-Tirvumpāvai Mānādu (conference) was organized by Kanchi Mahan.

At the beginning of the month of Mārgazhi, Periyava sitting on the elephant with the book and a light along with Ramamurthy and Kannan ordered them to sing the songs during the procession along the four streets adjoining Sri Mahāliñga Swami Temple.  With the blessings of Periyava, the Tiruppāvai-Tiruvempāvai conference took place with great success.

Since then, musical rendering of the poems took place. K.V.J, the Tamil exponent and others gave discourses on the songs. Periyava asked Uththandaraman, the official in charge of Hindu endowments Board to institute the rendering of Tiruppāvai-Tiruvempāvai in all temples in the month of Mārgazhi every year.

Heeding to the order of Periyava, T.K. Pattammal, M.L. Vasanthakumari, Ariakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar…spread the awareness by singing Tiruppāvai-Tiruvempāvai.

Sometime later, Periyava sporting a mischievous smile addressed Ramamurthy, “The high-caste woman’s songs, nobody would sing: that is what you said. Anybody singing now?”  Thinking of Periyava, as Īśvara Rūpam, he said, “There is nothing that can’t be done, if Periyava thinks of it.”

Once in Tanjore, pointing to Ramamurthy, Periyava said smilingly, “Now Tiruppāvai-Tiruvempāvai is sung all over by all. All that credit goes to Ramamurthy.”

Darśan will Continue