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Devoted, even when intoxicated!


That which is vague­ly referred to as the “mind” is bet­ter under­stood through the frame­work of “antahkarana-cha­tush­taya” as explained in the Shrutis. Antah means “inner” and karana means “instru­ment”. Man­as, chit­tha, bud­dhi and ahankara form the four-fold inner instru­ments. And antahkarana-shud­dhi is of utmost sig­nif­i­cance in the path of a sad­ha­ka. Shri­man Adi­narayanan, guides us by say­ing “Con­tent of the mind is the con­scious­ness. Hence it is impor­tant that we look at the con­tent we hold”. It is through the antahkarana we expe­ri­ence the states or avasthas of jagrat (wak­ing state), swap­na (dream­ing state) and sushup­ti (deep sleep state). It is in this kshetra or field of antahkarana lies the sadhaka’s work.

Var­i­ous sages, sid­dhas and mas­ters have laid phe­nom­e­nal empha­sis on cre­at­ing inner con­di­tion­ings of the satt­va guna. The impor­tance of the con­tent that deter­mines the con­scious­ness can be learnt from Bha­ga­van Sri Krishna’s words in the Bha­gavad Gita (Verse 5, Chap­ter 8 — Akshara Brah­ma Yogah).

anta-kāle ca mām eva smaran muk­tvā kale­varam |yah prayāti sa mad-bhā­vam yāti nāsty atra samśayah ||

Bha­ga­van says that “who­ev­er, at the time of death leaves one’s body, remem­ber­ing Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.”

With­out work­ing on the dom­i­nant con­tent of the mind, how could one achieve this? In the last moments, when life will be ebbing away, one is like­ly to pos­sess no con­trol over one’s body and the ten­den­cies of the mind. Even after phe­nom­e­nal sad­hana, one’s sthi­ra is test­ed. The sto­ry of Jad­ab­hara­ta in the Bha­ga­va­ta Purana shows how king Bhara­ta, a realised soul, slipped into the trap of attach­ment towards a fawn of a dying moth­er deer. He took care of the young deer and died think­ing of the deer. Then he was born a deer in his next birth. But his past sam­skara helped him to realise God in due course when he was born as Jad­ab­hara­ta. As Jad­ab­haratha, he was res­olute to be unwa­ver­ing in his con­scious­ness so much so that all his actions seemed to be that of an jada(idiot).

There­fore, it takes immense tapas and guru kri­pa to train one­self to be amidst every­thing yet with the con­tent of the mind steeped in the Supreme Brah­man. It is impor­tant we real­ize this, in order to under­stand the great­ness of Sri Appaya Dik­shi­tar.

Sri Appaya Dik­shi­tar was a revered pro­po­nent of Advai­ta in the 16th cen­tu­ry. Born in Adaya­palam, he lived in Thiru­van­na­malai, Kancheep­u­ram and Vel­lore. He was an eru­dite schol­ar, expert in the per­for­mance of yaj­nas, a yogi and a great San­skrit poet. He was well-respect­ed and high­ly-recog­nised by var­i­ous kings and schol­ars of his time.

Swami Sivananda Saraswati hails Sri Appaya Dikshitar saying “After Sri Sankara, the world has not seen a genius—a yogi, bhakta and scholar—like Sri Appayya.”

He was a great Shi­va devo­tee. His great­ness also stoked the neg­a­tive ten­den­cies in a jeal­ous few. In one such occa­sion, some had con­vinced the king that Sri Appaya Dikshitar’s true nature must be test­ed by mak­ing him con­sume an intox­i­cant. The king too was con­vinced that under intox­i­ca­tion, one is like­ly to speak their true mind and reveal all that is con­cealed with­in. Swa­mi Appaya Dik­shi­tar was unper­turbed and was ready to self-exam­ine him­self under the influ­ence of intox­i­cants.

Sri Appaya Dik­shi­tar con­sumed the juice of the datu­ra fruit to induce an ine­bri­at­ed state and instruct­ed his dis­ci­ples to write down what­ev­er he says. His utter­ances took the form of a devo­tion­al out­pour­ing and became a stu­ti! Hailed as the Atmarpanas­tu­ti, Dik­shi­tar describes his “woes as one sub­ject to the ills of mun­dane life and pray­ing for the final release from the bonds of Sam­sara.” This lit­er­ary work is also referred to as Unmat­ta Pan­chasati as all the fifty vers­es in this work, were com­posed at a stage when Sri Appayya Dik­shi­ta had no con­trol over his men­tal fac­ul­ties. Unmat­ta उन्मत्त in San­skrit means mad, fran­tic or intox­i­cat­ed.

Through this inci­dent, Sri Appaya Dik­shi­tar show us how res­olute a tapaswi can be! His con­scious­ness is filled with Atma-arpanam to Lord Shi­va show­ing us how to live amidst every­thing in the state of Sha­ranaa­gati. Swa­mi Sivanan­da Saraswati hails Sri Appaya Dik­shi­tar say­ing “After Sri Sankara, the world has not seen a genius—a Yogi, Bhak­ta and scholar—like Sri Appayya.”

Aum Shri Gurub­hyo Namah!

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