Saturday, September 27, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 141 (of Vol 2) Dated 14 August 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 141 (of Vol 2) Dated 14 August 2008

(These e-mails 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 from the last Para in page number 964, of volume 2, of the Tamil original, as a continuation of Deivathin Kural # 140 of 09 August 2008.)

Brahmin’s Daily Routine

104. Let me now cover what is supposed to be a Brahmin’s Nitya Karma Anushtaana, that is daily routine, which is quite tough! He has to get up five Nazhigai prior to Sunrise, that is at four in the morning. They used to say, ‘pancha pancha ushat kale’, that is, at the 25th nazhigai (‘five multiplied by five’). From the previous day sunset, till the next day sunrise, in those twelve hours, there are 30 nazhigai. So each hour is equivalent to 2 & ½ nazhigai. From the 25th nazhigai till sunrise, is known as Brhma Muhoortam. That is the time he has to get up, do his morning ablutions, have a bath in cold water and do Sandya Vandanam. Then any other ‘Japa’ he might have undertaken is to be done. Then he has to do the Oupaasana and Agnihotra Homa-s. Up to this is Deva Yagna. Then he has to do the Brhma Yagna. That is chanting / learning Veda-s. In this there are some ‘Tarpanam-s’ to be done. (Some authors of Sutra-s place this Tarpanam, later.) By now two hours would be over. (That is, the day time period is considered to be of 16 hrs, from morning 0400 hrs to evening 2000 hrs. If this period of 16 hours is made into 8 parts of two hours each, the first part is over by now.)
105. The second part of these eight parts of two hours each(I.e., from 6 to 8 in the morning), is to be spent in Adhyapakam, that is teaching the Veda-s to students. Then he has to pluck the flowers meant for the day’s pooja. Then as he does not have any fixed income, if he does not have any ‘maaniyam’ endowed by King or his local representative; he has to go and beg well to do householders and collect money and materials for three requirements. One is for conduct of Yagna-s, two for giving ‘Daanam’ as part of such conduct of Yagna-s and third for his and his family’s daily needs. He has a right to beg for this. Out of the six duties of the Brahmin, ‘Pratigraham’ is what he receives for his own sake. Out of this a substantial portion is given away as ‘Daanam’. People question as to whether a Brahmin has a right to receive ‘Daanam’? They should note that he has a duty to give ‘Daanam’, and that too, a substantial portion of what he receives. Then he is the Giver / Dhaata, in the subsequent Athitya and Bootha Yagna-s, that he is required to perform everyday! By now, it would be nearing 9 or 9 ½, and time for the Madyanhikam bath. That he does and do the mid-morning Sandhi. Then is the Pitru Tarpanam done with water. Then is the daily Pooja of Deities with 64 steps known as Shodasa-Upachara-s. Then the Homam done in fire. By now the fourth part would be over, around 12 noon!
106. Homam and Pooja takes care of the ‘Deva Yagna’. Chanting of Veda-s covers the ‘Brhma Yagna’. Tarpanam done with water and sesame seeds, covers the ‘Pitru Yagna’. In the ‘Pancha Maha Yagna’, ‘Manushya Yagna’ of taking care of guests and visitors and ‘Boota Yagna’ of looking after birds, animals and such; is yet to be done.
107. Keeping these two requirements in view, in the day’s fifth part, that is from twelve to two in the afternoon, is Karma Vaishvadevam is done. In this cooked food is offered as ‘Avis’, while some amount of cooked food is kept in various places around the house, as ‘Bali’ for other life forms! The with the necessary mantra-s, food is offered to the dogs, crows and such. Then the food is to be offered to whosoever comes in search of food. Then is the taking care of guests, invitees and the uninvited! That is the Atithi Satkaram or Aatithyam. If only every body takes care of this, Aatithyam and Vaisvadevam, there will hardly be any problems related to unemployment, begging and thieving! Think of it!
108. Only after this, the Brahmin can expect to be fed. Till then he is not to have tea / coffee / tiffin and such. You may have butter-milk or milk. In addition on the days that he is required to do Paaka - Havir - Soma Yagna-s, it may take more time. During such times, there is some adjustments in other Karma-s. On the days of Sraardham, it may take much more time! Sraardham itself is started only in the Aparanna Kaalam. As we divided the early morning 4 ‘O’ clock to night 8 ‘O’ clock of 16 hours in to Eight equal parts, the period from sunrise to sunset of 12 hours have been divided into Five parts of Six Nazhigai each. As per this, if the sunrise is at six, 6 to 8-24 is Praatah Kaalam. 8-24 to 10-48 is Sangava Kaalam. 10-48 to 1-12 is Maadyanhikam. 1-12 to 3-36 is Aparaanna Kaalam. 3-36 to sunset is Saayam Kaalam. Immediately after the sunset is Pradosha Kaalam. Dosham is the night time. (Pra-dosham is the pre-night or the early part of the night. See the similarity between English and Sanskrit words prefix of ‘pre’. Similarly the words ‘that’ and ‘tat’. But that will be going deeper into Philology!)
109. Sraardham I said should be done in Aparaanna Kaalam. Pooja and such Deva Karyam is done only after completing the Pitru Karya-s. So on those days, the Brahmin may not get to his food till late in the evening. After food /Bhojanam, he is supposed to study Puranam! Then he is to teach carpentry / archery / sculpture and such subjects in which he is a teacher / Aacharya! By then it will be time for his evening Sandya Vandanam, Oupaasana Agni-hotram, other Japaa-s, night time Vaisvadevam, Satkatha Sravanam and then only food! Many days he is supposed to have, ‘palakaaram’ which is light food like fruits and salad. On Ekaadasi anyhow he is to fast the whole day and can think of food only the next day afternoon!
110. Without a break, it was Karma after Karma after Karma! There is a mistaken notion amongst non-Brahmins that the Brahmin’s life is a cake-walk. But no it is a grueling, back breaking routine, which is taxing enough that it also keeps his mind from going astray! Even those who have to attend to office work these days, can do most of the Karma, before they go to office, if they get up at the Brhma Muhoortam of 4 O clock and do the Sandya Vandana, Oupaasana, Agnihotra and Brhma Yagna Karya-s. Maadyanhikam could be slightly pre-poned to Sangava Kaalam. I am saying this only to adjust and accommodate to the changed circumstances of to-day’s world. Evening after coming back from the office, most of the Karma could still be done as required. If you have the mind, there is always a way! On holidays, you could do full justice to all the Karma-s!
111. Even those who have to go on shift system of work, can keep adjusting the timings and somehow try and do all one’s Karma-s, as far as possible. One should have the urge and sincerity of purpose, to do justice to one’s duties. That itself has some value. God in all his kindness, is sure to notice that. There is no meaning if you were to cry and fear your approaching date of retirement. Your attitude should be one to feel, “Thank God! From the date of retirement, I will be able to do all my Karma Anushtana-s! There are people who learnt much of the Veda-s after their retirement!
112. Ours is the oldest of all religions! The Anushtana-s of our religion have benefited the whole of humanity and other life forms for millions of years! We should try our level best to see to it that, this religion continues to thrive and flourish for the welfare of the whole Universe!


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