QA: On Lamentations
The topic of death is very sensitive. We often read that Kshatriyas should not lament for death. Why is it said so?
See, different tattvas are looked at. It is important to understand these principles. If we don’t understand, we will not be able to know where to apply what. Basically it is very important to see where to apply what appropriately. Now there are the 5 senses, pancha indriyas. There are jnana indriyas and karma indriyas. Karmendriyas are the organs of action, jnanendriyas are the organs of perception, or data gathering and then it is given to the manas for processing, then it is stored in the chitta, it is further processed by buddhi for decision making, so for that ahamkara is also a tattva, because for all these processes, “I do” or the sense of ownership becomes important. But this further is governed by the jivatman. Jiva is like this space within the room which is conditioned by the walls and everything else. If the walls are taken away, what happens to the jiva? Actually if you see, space is space, so we can say that nothing happens, yet everything happens. Both can be said and yet its not mutually contradictory. In fact nothing happens, even the walls are actually space, their essence is space. There is nothing. Similarly is the jivatman, it merges into the paramatman or brahman, and hence sarvam brahma mayam- All this is divine. If you are able to see this, it is jnanam. When can you see this? When the instruments become sattva. Only when the mind becomes sattvic, this becomes translucent, that you can see reality for what it is. If this is not the case, you simply cannot see it. So now there are the karmendriyas, the organs of action, and jnanendriyas, organs of perception. Proper and effective utilization of the organs of action is very very important. What guides the organs of action is the buddhi and manas. At that level, how should the senses behave? The senses should be sthiram, stable and firm. When there is appropriate decision and guidance, it should act, and act decisively. It should not act waywardly, it should act decisively. That is effective and efficient action. That is why this body is also trained. We do surya namaskar, asana and pranayama so that the organs of action are decisive, in their act, as per the command of the buddhi and the jivatman. If this is not so, you will see that it will be wayward. It will not be effective and it will not achieve its necessary goal, and it will not be efficient. This applies to everybody. A warrior, when he is commanded, he should act decisively, that is why so much training goes into it. Training the organs of action, let us say, for example, shooting…now the olympics took place, and each skill is displayed. That is like a kshatriya. Each skill, so much practice goes into being effective and efficient. If it is not so, you miss the mark. So the organs of action should be trained that way. The senses, which are jnanendriyas, how are they trained? The senses are trained. What is training? Now we see something, desires arise. When we see something, there is data input and desires arise. That is an untrained behaviour of the senses, because the senses don’t have proper direction and they are doing their own thing. How are the trained senses? If the organs of action should act decisively, and effectively achieve its goal, how should the senses be? What needs to be seen, only should be seen. What is not suited for the purpose, should not even come into sight. Each sense should operate at this level. If this is not the case, decisive action is not possible, because only after the senses, do the organs of action come into play. This is what is beautifully illustrated in Arjuna’s story. His organs of action are perfected, and senses are also perfected. The senses are so perfected that there is no wayward vision or wayward movement of the senses. That is why indriya samyama is considered so very important. In indriya samyama, there is no vishaya dhyana. When there is nothing to be done, senses will be in abeyance. Vishayangala dhyanam irukathu. If there is dhyana in vishaya, if we constantly engage the senses in some objects, there will be no indriya samyama. There is no withdrawal and application. Withdrawal and conscious application is a very important training to the manas and the senses. If there is no indriya samyama, there will not be a conscious application. There will be wayward application. Wayward application is untrained behaviour. This is the logic behind time application. Where should you apply this? Only if you understand the logic behind this, you will know how and where to apply what- that is appropriate behaviour. If this is not the case, you will apply something, straight-jacketed and apply everywhere and feel frustrated, because ethukku ethungarthu puriyala. This sense of perspective becomes very very important. In fact that is the reason why lamentation was considered…. now for appropriate stages, it was considered important. For example, Yudhishthira and others are advised by the rishis and Krishna, and other mahatmas that, you should have courage. You must not leave your determination and apply your jnana. Kshatriya dharma is to fight an dharma yuddha. If lives are lost for its sake, then that is not wrong. And actually only the body goes, other than that nothing happens. The processes of the buddhi should not dim. It should not be coloured by the manas, So manas kattukula vai. Mano nigraha. Manasa kaatukulla vai. Apply the buddhi. Don’t lose your reason. Reasoning powers should not be clouded by the emotions. If the buddhi is clouded by emotions then ullathu ullapadi paakamudiyathu. Then the senses become wayward and the organs of action become useless, because there will be no clear direction. This is what happens to Arjuna in Arjuna Vishadha Yoga. Because the manas clouds the buddhi, hence such an expert warrior, he will start feeling, the organs of action will become weak. Padapadanu nadingi, ithu vizhunthu, senses will become blurred and he will become wayward. Krishna ennapannuvar?. Don’t lose your reason. If reason is lost, you will not know what is what, perspective is lost and hence action becomes dissipative. The consequences of such dissipative action will further entangle you in cycles. That leads to karma bandhana, and you will not get mukti, that karma will not liberate you. And hence lamentation was considered inappropriate for well-born people. People born in good families. Because people born in good families will not lose their reason. If reason is lost, you will give way to anger and all other emotions and there will be conflict. Constant conflict in such places. There will not be happiness. So it is said that you should not lose your reason at any cost.
So we were talking about these women after they lost their husbands.
Yes, about women…kshatriya stri, for example, Duryodhana’s wives are described as, even sunlight has not touched their faces. Because they are such high-born princesses. Such royal blood, that everything is taken care of for them. Their whole purpose is to maintain their sense of dignity and bearing, such royalty. And Duryodhana is a chakrvarthi, after the Pandavas are exiled, he is the monarch of the entire earth. And such high-born princesses. And all the elders of the Kuru family pick and choose who comes into the family and for what purpose. Reason is not lost. There is love, but reason is also there. The head and the heart go together. Sometimes, the heart overrules the head, but that is also in balance. The balance of mind is never lost, because the consequences are laos looked at. If we don’t consider the consequences, for now we do something, … consequences means that is the role of the buddhi.
even lamentation is designed in such a way that the buddhi is not obstructed in its functioning, in its pure functioning. Bhakti is not …buddhi mangi pordhu kedayadhu. Buddhi mangi pochuna bhakti kedayathu. That is ajnanam. Everybody celebrates Krishna Janmashtami. Krishna, even in the midst of the battlefield, he was calm and collected, that means the buddhi avalo ongi irukku. Otherwise how can you be calm and collected? You will be mindless right? You will be blinded. That did not happen with Sri Krishna. So lamentation, such great high born princesses, till then even sunlight would not have touched them, they were paraded in the roads with no ornaments, no jewels, just a simple white cloth, evn now that is the tradition, pottu koda kedayathu. Why was this? Becase it is understood that now your dharma, artha, kama is done. You should no longer pursue the trivarga. You should look at the fourth one. That is how the reasoning is. You should not vida, you need not. Because that is a liberating constraint. Even that is a constraint. What is the constraint that you adopt so that you liberate yourself from this? Till now what has held you on? Dharma, artha and kama. Because there is a husband, and family, dhrma artha and kama operate. It is not a moksha karaka. Only a few people used to adopt, that is why Brahmacharya ashrama, grihastha ashrama, in that dharma, artha and kama are pursued, after that in vanaprastha ashrama, dharma is central, but towards moksha. In sannyasa ashrama even dharma is given up, only moksha. Everything is towards mukti. That is how for widows, it was a great opportunity that was presented to them,till now dharma, artha kamala thaane, you deck up yourselves, you pursue these stuff, then it was made clear to you, a platform was offered to you to pursue moksha. Hence these were simplified. Nowadays because people cannot see this reasonng they assume that it is a social injustice. What a tragedy, actually? It’s not a social injustice, it is a moksha karaka. But that understanding is not there. That is why those who wished to remarry would be allowed to, because innum antha pakuvam varale nu artham. If they had been very faithful, that is why chastity was so guarded because you’re so devoted, that is the quality of devotion. Women used to be so devoted to their husbands that once the husbands are gone they are free. They get liberated, actually, because that is the quality of devotion. It happened with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. There was a farmer. He understood that for the farmer the only limiting constraint was his buffalo,so he killed the buffalo and the farmer got liberated. Because what is your limiting constraint? If that is not there, your mind is stilled. There will be no more throw, because all your throw is towards the husband, that is what is devotion. That is what is cultivated in bhakti. Why do we celebrate Krishna Janmashtami. Even in Amma’s case, all her throw was towards Krishna- Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Krishna,…finally, when that is taken, the mind is stilled. Now our throw is dissipated, diverse. So that is the quality of devotion, that was cultivated in women from a young age, so that they are chaste, they maintain their chastity, and do everything only for their husbands. Husband is gone, that’s it, it becomes a path for moksha. But only if these qualities have been cultivated, not otherwise. Otherwise you are again stuck in dharma, artha and kama. And I am talking of a good society, not adharmic society. The pursuit of kama is considered appropriate, but subservient to dharma. So dharma, artha and kama, the trivarga was considered important. Yaruku antha stage vanthatho, th society should offer a platform for them to take the next step, hence they would take a step towards moksha. This understanding is key. This was the role of lamentation. So that they see, ‘Che! Avalo thaana vazhka?” It should create that vairagya, by which they take the step forward towards moksha. This was the role of lamentation. Adichu azharthu,”Poitangale”, because you see, avalothana vazhka? All your devotion has been towards that, and hence that becomes a possibility for moksha, for you to take the chatur, the fourth step, not the first three, because that has been completed. Hence, you see the meaninglessness of the pursuit of dharma, artha and kama and you develop virakthi for the world, vairagya, there will be no attachment, because kadavula nambi iruntha husband poyachu. Then, in that extreme emotion, extreme grief, and you are disconsolate, you cannot console yourself, you cannot make peace within yourself. You cannot only redirect it and cannot be pacified. Because anyhow he is dead, that is how your bhakti was cultivated towards your husband, it simpy cannnot be pacified, and hence, when that object of devotion suddenly is taken away, it is an explosive situation, in that extreme virakti, they would aspire for moksha, What is there in this world? Fie on this life. Is that all? This body, it would have experienced such royal comforts , now the vultures are eating away, and taking flesh off their bodies. The description is such, the wives of Duryodhana, have to take flesh from different places to piece together Duryodhana’s body. Wild beasts and vultures koda sanda pottu, various parts, the eyes missing from the body, it is a gory sight. Just before that they would have seen him as the most handsome. Such a contrast. When you see the right opposite of something, there is a shocking dent created in that veil of ajnana or maya, there is a split in that, and you see beyond, because you would have assumed that it is permanent, that sukha and happiness. Patha just like that, killed in war, and butchered, not killed, it is not one body. Kathari azhambothu, it creates extreme virakti, extreme viraga. That attachment gets redirected into something supreme. And so people were directed appropriately. But still at that time, appropriate instruction was given to them to direct them towards moksha, otherwise that step would not come, it is not automatic. They would fall from understanding. Hence they were given appropriate instructions, for well-born people. Hence when Yudhishthira kadarri azhambothu, rishis would admonish them, you have read the shastras, you have been trained properly, by great rishis, you have excellent people around you, your father Pandu was such a great king, you belong to such a great lineage and now nee buddhihenama act panraye, apdinu solluva. So that they regain that sense of balance. And then apply themselves to the Truth. Because all these diverse forms are not the Truth, the Truth is One. But yaaruku vanthu, intha instruction, proper birth illayo, they are steeped in ajnana and hence they cannot see this fact. If they lament, it is understandable.