Saturday, January 13, 2007

Deivathin Kural Series - 80

Om Namah Sivaya.
Deivathin Kural # 80 of 04 Oct Oct 2006.

1. These e-mails are translations of talks given by the erstwhile Pontiff of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over more than sixty years, published by Vanady Padippagam, T.Nagar, Chennai, India, in ten volumes, in the Tamil language. On line version of this book in Tamil is available at 'www.kamakoti.org'. The english version is likely to be available very soon. These e-mails are simply an effort on the part of the sender, to share some of his bliss, as it is said, 'Yam perra peru peruga ivvaiyagam'. When he adds any personal observations he uses the phrase, 'KTSV adds'.
2. The next 11 chapters are about 'Panpadu' ie., 'Culture'. To-days chapter is from his lecture, titled, 'Panpattin Idayasthanam', ie., 'Heart of Culture', in pages 395 to 398, in Volume 1 of Deivathin Kural. Unless specifically mentioned, he or man includes, she or woman.
3. 'Kala' in Sanskrit, 'Kalvi' in Tamil, 'Culture' in English, 'Cole' in French, have a common root meaning. Since it is a matter concerning all humanity, it has a similar sounding word, with a similar meaning too. 'Kala', means something that keeps growing, like 'chandra kalai' for the crescent moon. Similarly 'kalai' or art gives sustained growth to the mind. There is no end to this growing. Even the Goddess of learning, 'Saraswathi', says, 'Learnt is a handful, while not yet learnt is as big as the world'. So she keeps at it. The word in Tamil, 'kalacharam', is of recent origin. "Panbu' and 'Panpadu', are the earlier words, bringing in a connotation of delicate subtility of expression.
4. Noble nuances of expression, has grown in to many art forms of, dance, drama, sculpture, music, literature, painting, cinema, handicrafts,
pottery and so on. It has also taken the form of, sacrifice, service and philanthropy, in its concern for human welfare. This idea when it expands the utmost, takes the form of universal unconditional Love! That is the highest Culture, because it is the noblest of human expressions, wishing to enfold the whole Universe in its embrace.
5. What is the measure of a Nation's culture? Everyone in a country cannot be cultured. The liers, fools, thiefs and frauds, will also be there. Despite their being, how do you assess, a country as OK or not OK? After investigating a patient with many ailments, the Doctor may say, 'Nothing much to worry about, since his heart is OK.' Similarly, despite many problems, which is the 'Heart of the matter', for a Nation's well being?
6. Yes, such a 'heart of the matter', can be identified. That is the Nation's culture, expressed through its Literature. This is the touch-stone.
The words of their great poets, 'Maha Kavis', is the yard stick. There will always be good and bad poets. But what stands the test of time, are clean expressions, unburdened by the weight of narrow interests and flimsy thoughts. Such a persons words are the authority.
7. Yes, it is true that, the words of religious pioneers has importance. But while establishing a religion, there is a compulsion that, other religion's principles have to be countered, and one's own have to be asserted. Like a tailor, own has to be held firmly, some cutting has to be done of unwanted portions and own weak issues have to be bolstered. For a person purely involved in literary creation, this compulsion is not there. He can describe, whatever he has been witness to, give full reign to his imagination, without a sense of one's own, he can afford to be impartial. He has the poetic freedom, to depict the whole world, the way he wants, whether others accept it or not. He is beyond aspirations for name and fame. If he also happens to be clean at heart, what occurs in his mind is the highest form of culture. He gives expression to his views without fear.
He cannot tell some thing that does not occur to his mind out of fear or gratitude.
8. To know the true value of a nation's culture, you have to read these authoritative utterances of such great poets of that country. We do not know if to-day's literature will last and for how long? But what has infiltrated peoples daily life, for thousands of years, being quoted by the unread and the learned alike, words of poets like, Mahakavi Kalidasa, Avvaiyar, William Shakepear and Tennyson, should be taken as truely representative. Then when Religious leaders such as Kumarila Bhattar and Vedanta Desikan, quote the words of a poet, then his words become, 'Authority' of that country's culture! Kalidasa was such a poet.
(To be continued.)
Sambhomahadeva.

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