Saturday, September 27, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 143 (of Vol 2) Dated 22 August 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 143 (of Vol 2) Dated 22 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 middle of page number 974, of volume 2, of the Tamil original, as a continuation of Deivathin Kural # 142 of 16 August 2008.)
12. There are many things, concepts and ideas, which we had known / discovered / innovated and were not known to the rest of the world. But there was one thing unknown to us, which was responsible for our successive downfall in physical, scientific and spiritual fields! That was the destructive power of the gun powder. We came under the Muslim Rule, due to our not being able to withstand the power of their Guns and Artillery. It was the power of the Artillery, that brought us down like falling in the mouth of the snake, in the game of Snake and Ladders! Even now, if we make efforts to revive our of Ayur Veda and such old disciplines, we could make our return journey to a life compatible to our Sastra-s, easier!

Swadesh-Videsh; Old-New
13. I am not saying that we should set aside anything and everything foreign to our country. What ever amongst the foreign things is useful for self improvement and for the general welfare of human beings, should be accepted and absorbed, if it is not against our National culture. Our policy has always been, “vasudeiva kutumbakam”, meaning ‘the whole world is one family’! Adi Sankara said, “sarva deso bhuvana trayam”, meaning, ‘all the three worlds are our home-land’! In Tamil it is said, “yaadum oore yaavarum keleer”, meaning, ‘listen everybody, every town is our habitat’. So, ‘nothing is to be discarded for being alien’, is our attitude.
14. Kalidaasa in ‘Malavika Agni Mitra’, says, “Puraanamityeva na saadu sarva / Na chaapi kaavyam navamityavatyam I Santah pareetchyaan yatarat bhajante / Moodhah parah pratyayaneya Buddih II”. This could be translated to mean that, ‘Nothing is to be discarded out of hand without the test of its usefulness. To be narrow minded is to close our eyes just because something is new’. That is alright. But, the state of affairs now-a-days, is the exact opposite of what Kalidaasa describes! Anything Indian is being discarded because it is traditional, local and old. As against this, anything western is considered as modern and so is adopted and or copied, without a thought about its usefulness and possible deleterious effect on the mind and attitude! This is also very wrong!
15. So, even though some of the western methods and modes may be somewhat useful, it must be stated here that, mostly our time tested habits and attitudes are even now more appropriate and suitable. Though many of the younger generation seem to like to copy the west in dress and behaviour; we must note that, a major proportion of the people of the west to day are fed up with the evils of the effects of unbridled consumerism, market oriented economy, proliferation of credit and debit cards and their orientation towards seeking, grabbing, grasping self-gratification at whatever cost! There are many who in hundreds of thousands are turning towards Yoga, Bhajan, Meditation and Aatma Vichaara! We must take note of this.
16. People of the western world, who have fully experienced the good and bad aspects of the so called modern day life in all its glory, are completely disappointed with their lot and see the virtue in our way of life! They are coming in hordes to embrace whole sale, Indian traditional value systems. I am not recommending that we should take up what they are discarding as good for nothing. But we should try and become experts in all their sciences and technology, for two reasons. One is so that, we may try and relate their usefulness in to-days life for the common man. Second is so that, we may relate it to our value systems and explore ways and means of reviving and rejuvenating our own sciences and Sastra-s.
17. It is quite easily possible to make the modern day science, a tool in the hands of people whose soul aim is ‘Loka Kalyan’. Kumarila Bhattar learnt the ins and outs of Buddhism to be able to point out its faults. You have to be an expert in the system to be able to find its faults. “Kalavum karru mara” says a proverbial advice to the learner. It means literally, ‘even thieving learn and forget’. There are so many things to learn that if you make a list of things to learn, thieving may come in the end and you may never have time enough for it. So even thieving has to be learnt. Now take the word, ‘learn’. You have to learn it fully, totally; leaving no uncertainty in your learning process. Then to go beyond that, to transcend, you have to forget it as unworthy of your attention! So, before ‘Knowledge’, before you set out to learn anything, ‘character is more important! Otherwise knowledge is likely to be applied for the wrong reasons and purposes. That moral correctness comes from religious upbringing.
18. Upaveda-s, other learnings, science and technology etc., though may be useful only for happy and comfortable living, have to be learnt. As long as the basic under current is devotion to God, all Arts, Crafts and Sciences could be learnt to make life easier and comfortable, without going astray by their corrupting influences. For this we should be firmly established in the principles of morality as guided by our religious tenets of the Sastra-s.

Initially Required For Later Transcendence.
19. Why only Upaveda-s? All Karma-s, all that the Dharma Sastra-s say and all the Anushtana-s that the Karma Kanda-s have delineated, have to be given up one day. So as to over come, you have to fully learn, know and master them. To reach that end position, all this has to be there initially! Point to understand is that, all that is seen, read, learnt, known, experienced and practiced are all there, so as to know God and be devoted to Him! Thiruvalluvar asks, “Karradanaal aaya payan en kol---vaalarivan narraal thozha ar enin?” , meaning, ‘what is the use of all the learning, if he does not have devotion to God?’
20. All the learning of Vidya-s, doing Vaideeka Karma-s, visiting temples, bathing in sacred waters, et al., are of no use, if you do not have reverence to the all knowing, all pervading, power in being? So says Appar, “Gangai aadil en? Kaaveri aadil en? Kongu than kumarith thurai aadil en? Ongu maa kadloda neer aadil en? Engum Easar enaadavarkku illaiye!”, meaning, ‘What is the use of bathing in Ganges or Kaveri or Kanyakumari? If your mind is not fully absorbed in the all pervading divinity?’
21. Similarly, Adi Sankara Bhagavat Padaal, in ‘Bhaja Govindam’ says, “kurute ganga sagara gamanam / vrata pari palanam atava danam / gnana viheenaha sarva matena / muktim na bhajati janma satena”, meaning there by that, ‘You may go on a pilgrimage from Ganges to Kanya Kumari, do many austerities, give away many alms and so on; you cannot get Mukti even after hundreds of such lifes, without aspiring to Gnana!’ That Gnana is to become aware of the omniscient God! This sentiment is repeated in ‘Manusmruti’ too. About that in the next E-mail!
(To be continued.)


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