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Kanchi Maha Periyava Teachings - Important Teachings Of Kanchi Mahaswamigal

Kanchi Maha Periyava (20 May 1894 – 8 January 1994), or the Sage of Kanchi or Kanchi Mahaswamigal, was the 68th Jagadguru of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham. This is a collection of important teachings of Kanchi Maha Periyava.

When our shirt loosely fits us we can take it off easily. But if the shirt is tight, the taking off might have to be made with some effort. And when we are required to take off our very outer skin, imagine how difficult it could be. Just as the skin is sticking to our body, our mind is sticking to us, but in deeper proximity!

A dirty stinking sticky cloth becomes pure when the dirt, stink and stickiness are off the cloth. It is not necessary to look for another cloth. The same cloth, when the dirt, etc. are off, becomes the pure cloth. So also for our Jiva we don’t have to look for a new entity called Brahman; if we can remove the present dirt and stink of the mind, that should be enough. The same person will emerge as the pure Brahman. But that is exactly the formidable task – to remove the dirt and stink that is so deeply adhering to mind!

The process of developing detachment from objects of affection – changing over from raga to vairagya – should start when we are still in the full enjoyment of our senses.

When a dispute is settled, not by the judgment of a court, but by agreement, the parties to the dispute part as friends. Similarly, we must mentally become ripe and get ourselves detached from our attachments.

For that purpose we require the grace of Ishwara. Sri Shankara Bhagavatpada, in his Shivananda Lahari prayed to Ishwara to save him with his grace or mercy without minding his disqualifications.

Let us each pray to Ishwara to bless us with His grace, for that alone will accompany the soul and be a source of constant strength.

What is the obstacle to one-pointed meditation? The answer is the unstill mind.

All problems are caused by the mind, by the desires arising in it. It is not easy to control the mind and keep it away effectively from desire.

If we ask the mind to think of an object, it seems to obey us for a moment, but soon it takes its own course, wandering off. The mind must be kept under control. Thinking and non-thinking must be governed by your will. Only then can we calm that it is under our control, that we are masters of our own consciousness.

Now we keep crying for no reason. If the mind is under control, we will keep smiling even if there is cause for much sorrow. And under the gravest of provocations it will not be roused to anger and will remain calm.

There is mangala or an auspicious air about happiness that is characterized by dignity and purity.

One must be cheerful all the time and not keep growling at people on the slightest pretext. This in itself is extremely helpful, to radiate happiness wherever we go and exude auspiciousness. It is better than making lavish gifts and throwing money about.

To do a job with a feeling of lightness is anayasa.

To be light ourselves, creating joy wherever we go, is mangala.

We must be like a lamp spreading light and should never give cause for people to say, “Oh! He has come to find fault with everything.”

Wherever we go we must create a sense of happiness.

We must live auspiciously and make sure that there is happiness brimming over everywhere.

Man undergoes troubles and pains in a greater measure than other animals; but that is compensated for by this capacity to acquire Jnana, which makes for the realization of Truth and the experiencing of Aananda or Supreme Shanti.

He is the Paramataman in whom all auspicious qualities are fully affirmed in a superlative measure. Even as the ocean is the repository of all waters, Isvara is fullness, the All. There is no other to him. He is the All without a second. That is Advaita. Idam Sarvam Purusha Eva, all this is the Paramatman, says the Sruti.

Our duty is worship Him in this way with devotion, and if we do so, He reveals His true nature to us. Bhagavan says:
Bhaktyaa Mam Abhijanaati Yaavaan Yaschaami Tatvatah

The word, Bhaktyaa, meaning through devotion, shows that bhakthi is the means for the realization of the truth of God's nature.

To say 'I have devotion to God', and not to act upto His commands is meaningless. Performance of prescribed duties is the sign of true devotion. Doing one's Karma, one should dedicate it to God.

All of us take care to keep our bodies and our clothes clean. But do we bestow any attention on our inner or mental cleanliness?

Inner impurity is the result of desire, anger and fear.

It is common knowledge that when one is in the presence of one’s mother, one keeps all evil thoughts under control. Similarly in the presence of the Divine mother we should control our evil thoughts.

We can cleanse our hearts only by the holy water of meditation of the Divine mother.

When the heart is so cleansed, it will learn to distinguish the real from the unreal, which will result in the end of births.

A day spent without a conscious attempt to clean one’s heart, is a day wasted.

Impurity of cloth or body will lead to disease which will last only for one lifetime. But impurity of heart will lead to diseases which will afflict the soul for several births.

A mother may tie the hands of her child who has the propensity to pick up and eat mud. This seeming cruelty of the mother is for the good of the child. Similarly troubles are verily God’s grace to save us.

In the entire picture of life, troubles form but a tiny spot.

In our inability to visualize the past and the future, we complain when we suffer in the present.

A proper perspective will enable us to understand our present plight in its proper setting.

While desire fulfilled leads to further desire, desire frustrated turns into anger, like the rebound of a ball thrown at a wall. A person in the grip of desire are anger loses his reasoning power and consequently all his actions will be in the wrong direction. When desires become subordinate to the mind, the mind begins to dwell upon the Atman undisturbed and a person steeped in the contemplation of the Atman realizes the Supreme.

Doing good through thought, word and deed is truthfulness. All that does ill is untruthfulness.

It is not enough that you speak to a man what is good for him. You must speak with affection and the one to whom your words are addressed must find them acceptable.

If you speak harshly nobody will listen to you even if you mean well. Thus words that serve no purpose do not constitute a truth.

Your speech must be beneficial and, at the same time, capable of bringing happiness to the man to whom it is addressed. This is truthfulness.

Teachings On Six Internal Enemies

The first three of the six internal enemies are kama, krodha and lobha. The remaining three are moha, madha and matsarya. The six internal enemies together are known as Shadripu.

If you think about the six enemies, they are all born from desire.

What is moha? It is the state or remaining under the spell of something, losing one’s mind over it, due to one’s desire for it.

Madha is also based on desire. It is vanity and haughtiness over indulgence in objects of desire and the arrogance that results from the satisfaction when a desire is fulfilled.

Matsarya is jealousy. Why do we become jealous of someone else? It is because the other person has something that we do not have. When we are deprived of something, such as money or influence, we feel jealous. The desire to possess what is missing is the cause of matsarya.

So all the six internal enemies have the same root, desire.

Therefore, to end the deva-asura war that is constantly afflicting us, we have to get rid of the asura called desire, the root enemy.

The only way that jiva can attain the peaceful state is through the destruction of desire.

Kanchi Mahaswamigal Teachings on Samam 

The mind always remains agitated by constantly thinking of those, which it thinks give pleasure. That is why we do not know the joy of peace. If we realize the blemish in the objects of enjoyment and discard them with disgust, we can make the mind remain steady in the athma, which is of the form of peace.

Constantly think of the blemish caused by ‘vishya vratham’ (the objects of the enjoyment of the five senses – sound, touch, form, taste, smell) and discarding them and controlling the mind is called ‘samam’ – samauchyathe.

Putting it briefly, ‘samam’ means controlling the mind.

The reason why the mind goes after objects of enjoyment is the impression of previous expressions carried over through several births. Even after the death of the physical body, that impression enters into the subtle body and when life takes another birth and enters a new body, it becomes active again. Therefore, if those impressions are completely given up, the mind will of its own calm down.