Thursday, December 04, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 24 (of Vol 3) Dated 05 Dec 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 24 (of Vol 3) Dated 05 Dec 2008

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyavaal 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 second para of page number 104, of Vol 3, of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein the word 'man' includes 'woman' too. )
(Note:- These e-mails are all available at constantly up-dated.)
The Story Related by the Mongoose.
78. Once upon a time many years back in Kurukshetra, there was a period of scarcity and drought. Even rich land owners were in poverty. You can imagine what must be the condition of poor people like this 'uncha vrutti brahmin'! His wife could forage some little bit of food grains stowed away some time in the past, in one of the utensils. That they salvaged now and cleaned and powdered it. There were four persons in his house-hold. Other than himself, there were his wife, son and daughter-in law. "OK. Let us eat this powder and somehow get through this night. Tomorrow morning without even this, we are sure to die of starvation!" So saying they were just about to partake of that powder. At that precise moment, there was a beggar who came in front of their house!
79. It was a very embarrassingly delicate situation. But, even then none of the family members lagged in their sense of hospitality! All the four competed with each other that, their share should go to the guest. It was a clash of interest that the guest should be served against their concern for each other! 'Athiti satkaaram' that is, hospitality is a social responsibility. With that there was a 'family dharma' of their attitude towards each other.
80. The wife was insistent that her share of the edible material should go to the guest, and not her husband's, as she could never see her husband go hungry! The daughter-in-law similarly argued that she cannot let her newly wedded husband go without food. The son was adamant that he cannot be a silent witness to his parents sacrifice leading to certain death while filling his own stomach! Normally we may end up jumping the queue and bashing each other, if we were to get our hands on some dole, whereas we are likely to withdraw from all competition, if we were to give something!
81. Surprisingly, in this poor brahmin's family, they were all competing with each other, trying virtually sacrifice their very lives! To give Daanam is not the prerogative of rich people only! Here this poor family was displaying as to how large their hearts could be. What the King Rantideva and his family did, was being enacted by this family too, without being aware of the intensity and nobility of their extreme expansiveness! Finally the poor brahmin told them, "I being the head of this family am required to safe guard your welfare. It is my duty to take care of this man's hunger."
82. So saying, he gave his share to the beggar. He ate that, but was not satisfied. The wife handed over her share smilingly. The beggar ate that also. "Can I have some more please", he said. With glee, the son parted with his share. The visitor was still not done yet. The daughter-in-law was happy that she was not denied the opportunity to make her contribution! The moment the guest had partaken this, he disappeared from the scene.
83. There was a shower of flowers from the skies. There was heraldic aerial announcement as follows:- "I am the Dharma Devata. I came to test your strength of character. You have fared exceptionally well in this examination. I have never seen a family of such level of co-operation and hospitality! That one handful of rice-powder has ensured a place for each one of you in the Heavens! Please proceed to your place in the heavens."
84. Celestial angels were immediately there with heraldic fanfare and heavenly carriages. ‘Uncha vrutti’ brahmin’s family got into that decorated carriages and went to heavens. That means evidently, that they gave up their lives in this world. Like Kusela, they did not get all the wealth in this world itself. They did not do this expecting a life in the heavens. They believed in hospitality and willingly sacrificed their life for that belief.
85. Having narrated this story, the Mongoose further said, “At that time I was in Kurukshetra in that poor brahmin‘s house. Some of the cereal flower that they had given to the beggar had spilt on the ground. It is that on which my body had touched that a part of my body became golden hued!” Even now, we praise such expansiveness of heart as ‘golden hearted’, don’t we? “Since then, I have been testing myself to see if there is any other place or occasion to match that poor brahmin’s hospitality in quality, with the hope of becoming golden totally. I have tried many such events in many places. That is why I came here too”, said the Mongoose!
86. What we learn from the stories of Rantideva and Unchavrutti Brahmin, is that, the highest dharma is daanam. Daanam should be done without keeping anything back, without any reservation! To save someone we may have to place our very lives in jeopardy! Then when it comes to giving something to a man in need; you do not care about his caste or creed or religion or nationality or whether he or she is good or bad! There is no time for doing all this assessment! ‘Can we help and how well can we do that?’, are the only questions to be answered.
87. Where you have to look at the differences, we should be doing so. While appreciating music or arts, the subtle small differences are very important. Similarly in normal times, for the welfare of the society, those differences in duties of Karma Anushtaana and Aachaaram has to be maintained. But, when it comes to occasions of crisis management, all these minor differences of caste, creed, status and position, should all be ignored!
88. Especially when it comes to appeasing hunger, the following quotation from Thiru Moolar's Thiru Mandiram should be the guide line! "Yaarkum idumin, avar ivar ennanmin", meaning, 'when it comes to feeding, do not differentiate as to who it is'!
(To be continued.)



Post a Comment

<< Home