(Speech made by the Jagatguru in reply to an address presented by Srilasri Somasundara Thambiran at the Dharmapuram Adeena Madalaya Devalaya Samaya Prachara Nilayam, Usman Road, Thiagarayanagar, Madras.)
When we think of the Dharmapuram Adeenam, it will be ingratitude not to remember the Lord of Vaideeswaran Koil. According to the traditions of this temple, Jatayu has sung the praise of Sri Parameswara enshrined therein, and the deity itself has been sanctified by Rig Veda. This place is known as Pullirukvetoor, Pul meaning bird (Jatayu), and iruk, Rig Veda. There are, in Tamil Nadu, temples sanctified by other Vedas also. It is the sanctification, through Veda mantras, that gives divinity to an idol or a linga installed in a temple. Great saints have, in the past, dedicated all the spiritual powers they had accumulated through their tapas (penance) to these temples, so that lesser mortals, who worship at these shrines, may get the benefit of their valuable spiritual achievements. In some temples the Linga is of sand; but the spiritual power that has been poured into them by the great saints has sustained the sanctity of these Lingas. Hence the expression வெண் மணலே சிவமாகி (Ven manale sivamaahi) which occurs in one of the Saivaite songs.
We require the grace of God for the removal of our physical and mental ailments. That is the significance of the expression அர நாமமே சூழ்க (ara naamame choozhga). I am finding that the name of Hara (Siva) has begun to pervade everywhere in this city.
The Madaalaya Devalaya Samaya Prachara Nilayam is the gift of the Dharmapuram Aadeenam to Madras and it has been doing very useful work, in spreading religiousness among the people. When we think of some of the flourishing Adeenams (Mutts), like the Dharmapuram Adeenam, we have to remember with gratitude the service, sacrifice, and tapas of the great founders. Those now in charge of these Mutts can do nothing better than follow the footprints of those great founders.
Good results flow even when a person pretends to act as if he were deeply religious. There is a verse in Sanskrit whose meaning is that it is the effect of worshipping Siva that endows a person with all worldly riches, like elephants and horses at his door-steps, and a number of beautiful women to serve in his house. The expression Siva poojaa vidheh phalam (शिवपूजाविधॆ: फलम्) which occurs in that verse is also construed to mean that all the riches are due to performing pooja in the wrong way (avidheh अविधॆ:) signifying that when pooja is performed in the right way, a person realizes God. There is a story that a robber chieftain pretended to be a great devotee and was performing elaborate pooja to Lord Siva every day, in order to attract the attention of the king of that country. After a few days, the king himself came and paid his respects to this pretender. This opened the eyes of the robber to the Truth, and he realized that if by pretending to be a devotee he could make the king come to him, he could attain God Himself by becoming a true devotee.
That is why we say that the tongue should be trained to utter the name of God constantly. What we think of in our wakeful moments, we see in our dreams. So also if the tongue is trained to utter God’s name under all circumstances, it will automatically beseech God, at the moment life departs from the body, when it will not be possible for the dying man to remember God consciously.
There are some people who think that all that is necessary for a person is good conduct (ozhukkam - ஒழுக்கம்) and not divine grace (அருள் - arul). This is a mistaken view. Good conduct without devotion to God is like a flower without fragrance. When people of this country were fighting for independence, making immense sacrifices, the watchword given to the people was “country first, everything next”. I had occasions to talk to some of the leaders and I asked them whether it was right to place all the emphasis on country, relegating God and religion to the background. Their reply was that if the country became independent, everything else would follow. That has not happened and the effect of this wrong approach is being felt today in all spheres of life and it has become difficult to control even a child.
History has seen the rise and fall of many empires. We have seen recently what happened to Hitler’s nationalism in Germany. Political status is a fluctuating factor. Therefore, the emphasis on country is all right only up to a certain point. Political power once lost can be regained; but if we lose our soul, everything is lost. If the soul force (atma balam आत्मबलम्) is lost, no country can survive for long. I was told that at a school function, some years ago, Prime Minister Nehru asked everybody to be seated when a prayer song was being sung, but called upon everyone to stand up, as they naturally ought to, when the National Anthem was sung. This illustrates the undue emphasis laid on politics. At least during Gandhiji’s time, people used to sing Rama Naam. Even that has disappeared now.
We require God’s grace to get rid of our mental ailments. Our heart should be filled with love if we are to banish evils like lust, anger, hatred and greed from our heart. God resides in everybody’s heart; but He is being elbowed to the background by our selfishness and the various passions. By driving out these passions with the help of love (anbu - அன்பு), we will succeed in making our heart pure for God to reside. It is only by developing our force through devotion to God that we can hope for the lasting prosperity of the individual, society, the nation, or the world. Let us, therefore, develop devotion to God for the welfare of ourselves and the world.
March 30, 1958.