Saturday, September 27, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 115 (of Vol 2) Dt 02 June 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 115 (of Vol 2) Dt 02 June 2008

(This is continued from Deivathin Kural # 114 (of Vol 2) of 31 May 2008. These are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti peetam, over a period of some sixty years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of last century. These have been published in Tamil by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each, as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding ahead of last paragraph of Page 847, of volume 2, of the Tamil original. )

59. That even a sick man is to do the Trikala Sandhya Vandanam and do the Pranaayaamam is indicative of the fact that, there is nothing too difficult in it. Actually doing this Sandya Vandanam and Pranaayaamam, many of his diseases will disappear and never recur! It is said in Manusmruthi :- “Rishayo deerga sandhyatwat deergam ayuh avapnuyuh I Pragnam yasascha keerthim cha brhma varchasam eva II” This means that, ‘Rishis by practicing Sandhya Vandanam for long number of years, attain long life, keenness of mind and intellect, name and fame and imbibe the qualities of the Brhmam!’

60. In Abhivadanam, (that is, self introduction), we mention the names of the first few Rishis, in whose lineage we have taken birth. From that Rishi onwards Sandya Vandanam has been done and Gayatri has been chanted! For the sake of maintaining that continuity at least we are bound by duty to do our Karma Anushtana. In each Gothra, as per tradition, one, three or five Rishis names are mentioned. They had obtained long life, name and fame, and Brhma Trejas, by doing Sandya Vandanam and Gayatri Japa; and that is why, their names are being mentioned till date in our individual introduction. We are not to cut this continuity. With Pranaayaamam, we are to get ‘chitta aikagriyata’ and do the ritual without any mantra lobam, involving our mind, speech and action! It should be done without hurrying up, with Shraddah and devotion. We should keep bringing the meaning of the mantras to our mind. We have done many sins by mind, speech and action. We have to compensate for that with this ennobling act of chanting the mantras by speech, deeply applying our mind to meditating the Gayatri Mata, and finally sprinkle the balance water on ourselves as an act of sanctifying. Sandya Vandanam is a combination of Karma Yoga, Bakthi Yoga and Gnana Yoga too.

61. What Happens to the Female Gender? Along the way, I had said that the ‘twice born’ (once at the time of birth and again when given the poonool, inclusive of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vysyas!), are supposed to do the Sandya Vandanam for the sake of people of the fourth caste and women folk too. I also mentioned as to why people of the fourth caste are not required to do Sandya Vandanam. Now I am going to mainly consider the status and position of Women in our society. Why is it that, they do not have these Anushtanas and Samskaras?

62. Punyaha Vachanam, Naama Karanam, Abda Poorti at the end of the first year, Anna Prasanam; are common for all. The Choulam (that is Kudumi), Upanayanam, and all the rituals in Brhmacharyam; are all not there for the female gender. Then she is part of the Vivaha Samskara. After that for all the Samskaras, Man is the Karta / doer. But in all of them she stands with the husband. She joins the Homam in Oupasanam only. Why is this so? Even some of the rituals done before the birth, such as, Nishekam, Pumsavanam and Seemantam are addressed towards a male child. So does it mean that, as some of the ‘people of the reformists movement’ and ‘women’s liberation’ claim, is it true that in Hinduism, women are considered as second rate citizens and kept in the dark about their own status in the male dominated world?

63. What was the logic that I gave, for keeping the fourth caste, without many of the Samskaras? Because of their role in the society, some of these rituals are not required for them, I said. Even amongst the three castes required to do Sandya Vandanam; not all of them are required to do Veda Adhyayanam and Adhyapakam. Not all of them are required to know all the Mantras and do all Yagnas. ‘Work is worship’ and so they attain to Gnana through the intensity of their involvement in their scheduled duties and work. But, that does not prevent them from attaining to very high levels of devotion and name and fame in the society, as evidenced by the preponderance of people from the fourth caste amongst Azhvars and Nayanmars, (the Vaishnavite and Saivite devotees of renown, in South India ). This point is amply proved when you study the Bakthi movement all over India . Bhagawat Gita says, “swakarmana tam abyarchya siddhim vindati manava:” That is to say, ‘Work is worship’.

64. Similarly, the differences in Samskara evolved based on the differences in their roles. However much one may try to go against nature, all said and done; woman have a very important role of ‘child bearing and nurturing after birth’. For which man is hardly suitable and is ill equipped. He may make do when compelled under unavoidable circumstances! Not otherwise. As the four Castes have their roles and work load cut out for them, exactly similarly, the work load is clearly delineated between the two sexes in the household too. What we see now in the world is very much a confused state of avoidable inconvenience to both the sexes. (KTSV adds:- I am reminded of a limerick. There was this boyish looking girl / and girlish looking boy, / who got married to each other. / throughout the night / they were fighting with each other / as to who would do what to whom?) So what is being denigrated as disparity and discrimination, by ‘the so called reformers’, was only avoidance of duplication and correct division of labour, with a double emphasis on the word, ‘labour’.

65. The hard work around the house and the market place and society was the job of the Man. To look after his creature comforts, to cook and feed him and the off springs was the job of the Woman. Their work was an equitable division of responsibility based on capability. He had the unenviable job of learning from a Guru - Adhyayanam, teaching to the next generation – Adhyapakam, and earning a lively hood. He had to do the Yagnas and Yagnas for which she had to be of help. His job it was to protect and take care of the mantras and Samskaras. Don’t you give special protection to glassware in packing? Do we not take special care when transporting Kerosene and Petrol? Do we not isolate a space traveler prior to his journey and on return? Mantras too have radiation. The doer has to be specially protected and so was the Brahmin given some previlages.

66. For the sake of the welfare of the world and society at large, if a brahmin was to be born, from the moment of his placement in the womb some procedures had to be adopted to ensure his special cleanliness, before and after birth. Instead of only fighting for ‘rights’ for a mistaken notion of equality; with real liberal mindedness, if we look towards the sincere wellbeing of all the members of the society, it will be seen that there were no partiality or insult intended whatsoever! If some brahmins misused their position, they were to be blamed individually and not the whole system to be denigrated!

The High Status of Women.

67. There are objections on the grounds that women were not entitled to do the Yagna Karyas on their own. But if you look into the fact that a Widower is not entitled to do Yagna Karyas either, you will note, that there was no intention to put down the women on the grounds of their gender or any other grounds whatsoever. Vivaham is known as ‘saha dharma charinee samprayogam’, meaning, ‘a joint effort between the two in high morality’. Sensual pleasures and extending of the family tree in to the future was an incidental aim and not the main aim! So the wife is a ‘Dharma Patni’(meaning legally, morally and spiritually wedded wife) and ‘saha dharma charinee (meaning, a partner in life’s journey of morality)’, intensely related to Dharma in the rightness of things.

68. Brhmachary does his ashrama dharma on his own. So does the Sanyasi. But the householder ‘Gruhastashramee’, instead of doing things on his own, does so with the woman as his wife as an equal partner. The denial of rights to the widower to do Yagnya Karmas, in the absence of his wife, is a clear indicator of the high pedestal in which Hindu Dharma holds the Women! She was the better half and without her he was worst of!

Sambhomahadeva.