'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.
[You are reminded that reviewing the previous week's posts will become essential as the meanings of the Sanskrit terms may not be repeated. There may come additional or alternative meanings, but all should be noted. As study progresses, the technical terms must necessarily become 'second nature' to the student. When the Sanskrit is used, the translation will fall easily into place - or likewise, if the English is used, the Sanskrit term must easily come forwards.]
Please revisit THIS post and chant the mangala-charana. Please use the TattvabodaH label to access all posts relevant to this text.
The Subtle Body - suukshma shariira - the Guru is expounding the role of the senses; last week we saw the basics of the organs of knowledge (jnaanendriyani). This week, it is the organs of action are studied.
वाचो देवता वह्निः। हस्तयोरिन्द्रः। पादयोर्विष्णुः।
पायोर्मृत्युः। उपस्थस्य प्रजापतिः। इति कर्मेन्द्रियदेवताः।
वाचो विषयः भाषणम्। पाण्योर्विषयः वस्तुग्रहणम्।
पादयोर्विषयः गमनम्। पायोर्विषयः मलत्यागः।
उपस्थस्य विषयः आनन्द इति।
vaacho devataa vahniH. hastayorindraH. paadayorviSNuH.
paayormR^ityuH. upasthasya prajaapatiH. iti karmendriyadevataaH.
vaacho viSayaH bhaaSaNam. paaNyorviSayaH vastugrahaNam.
paadayorviSayaH gamanam. paayorviSayaH malatyaagaH.
upasthasya viSayaH aananda iti.
"The five organs of action are; speech, hands, legs, anus and the genitals. The presiding deities of the organs of action are; Agni of speech, Indra of the hands, Vishnu of the legs, Yama of the anus and Prajaapati of the genitalia. The function of speech is to talk, the of the hands to grasp things, of the legs locomotion, of the anus elimination and of the genitals pleasure (procreation)."
In the same fashion as with the organs of knowledge, the Guru clearly states functions of the physical organs which enact experience. Clearly and simply it is stated that the five are speech (as in its capacity found in the vocal chords, tongue, lips), hands which give the capacity of grasping (and all the capability that implies), legs which permit the ability to move, anus - a most important action of the body is to eliminate waste product to prevent illness, and the genitalia. The latter are described as 'for pleasure' but this is in context of procreation - what other incentive would there be to reproduce if there was not some reward for the action? This is the implication.
All of these are just matter objects contained within each body. Without the mind to activate them, they are nothing. The are tools of the body, and require practice and training from childhood to manage them optimally. As with the jnaanendriyas, each has its particular job to do, though there is greater scope, in one fails, for another to take up its work - for example there are many artists who can paint with their mouth or their feet if their hands are incapacitated. Similarly, hands can be used to communicate where voice cannot. Hands can move us around, should the legs fail… and so on. It is worth noting that the tongue has not just the physical function of assisting in eating and speaking, but also has perception (knowledge) through the function of taste.
With regards to ruling 'deities' we are told that Fire rules speech… and we know this well! We use fire-related expression even about speech itself - "heated discussions"… "he gave a fiery talk"… For this reason we can understand that speech can be a destroyer as much as an invigorator. It is worth remembering, though, that there can be times when, no matter how we word things, the one who hears will make of the words what they will - it's a tricky business! The intention behind our words is as important as the words themselves. Much is written in scriptures with regard to speech and how it can be the difference in our interactions with the world.
[As the other major philosophy here at Aatmaavrajanam is within Christian teaching, here are a few examples (from King James Bible Online where a full list can be found ):
Ephesians 4:29 - Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Psalms 19:14 - Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Colossians 3:17 - And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
James 5:12 - But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
Proverbs 15:4 - A wholesome tongue [is] a tree of life: but perverseness therein [is] a breach in the spirit.
Proverbs 15:1 - A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
Proverbs 21:23 - Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles]
How often we hear also that actions speak louder than words. Hands will carry out the instructions of the mind - and sometimes it is seen that these actions are in contradiction to what might have been said. Indra is the Lord of Rain and Thunder; both can be a benefit but both can also be problematic; he shows great skill in the use of his 'weather weapons' - equally, we have dexterity and strength in our hands which can be used for both benefit, but sometimes for mischief.
Vishnu is the lord of known universe and requires long legs to traverse it! Mrtyu (aka Yama) is the Lord of Death, which is fitting enough for elimination of wastes which have been used up by the body.
We saw that 'pleasure' was said to be the function of the genitals, but it must be seen in context of procreation and we know this by the presiding deity being Prajaapati, the Creator Himself. Why then say pleasure? Children are a long-term project, are they not? Regardless of whether there is joy or agony throughout that project, it certainly would not be begun were there not some incentive or reward for taking it up. Thus the pleasure involved in procreation, short-lived though it be!