Sunday, December 07, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 25 (of Vol 3) Dated 07 Dec 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 25 (of Vol 3) Dated 07 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 page number 109, 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.)
88. Rantideva did Daanam with the vision that whosoever the beggar may be, it is another form of Narayana! Ilaiyaan Kudimaara Naayanaar while suffering under absolute poverty, when approached by a devotee of Siva, thought that the person who has come asking for alms was Siva only. He went back to the fields in pouring rain. He then recovered the rice from the fields which he had sown only in the morning! This was dehusked, cooked and served to appease the Siva Bakta's hunger! Siva who had come to him in the garb of a devotee, gave him darshan in all his splendor, with the sliver of a Crescent Moon and Ganga on his matted hair, sitting on the Bull as a Vaahan. That story is described in Periya Puraanam.
89. Amongst all daanam, 'anna daanam' is something special! In Bhagawat Gita, Sri Krishna says that [Ch 3. Sloka 13.], one who searches for food to appease only his own hunger, has to bear the brunt of all his ill deeds. No one will share the burden of his sins! When he eats without sharing, it is as though he is eating his sins only!
90. 'Anna Daanam' has the special capability of fully satisfying the recipient. Money, clothes, jewels, landed property and such may never satisfy the person receiving to such an extent to prompt him to say 'enough'! He or she may be greedy enough to never say 'No more'! When it comes to 'anna daanam', this limit is easily reached. He will rather plead with you to stop serving any more! When he expresses his satisfaction thus, the giver gets complete satisfaction for having provided the food.
91. There is a direct connection between providing food and sustaining life in that body! That is why there is a quote from the classic literature in Tamil Manimekalai, "undi koduttaar uyir koduttaare", meaning, 'the one who provided the food is the giver of life'! Manimekalai is a classic of the Buddhist genre. The five big classics of Tamil literature only go to prove that in that period, the traditions of Vedic religion, Buddhism and Jainism were thoroughly in a mix in the society. In Kanchipuram Manimekalai gets the Akshaya Paatram which enables her to remove all people's hunger during a drought. Many eons before that, Kamakshi Ambal did the same Anna Daanam in Kanchipuram exactly as Anna Poorani did in Kaasi in North India. The Mother of the Universe, 'Jagan Maata' here, 'iru naazhi nel kondu enn naangu aram iyarrinaal', meaning, 'with two measures of rice she did 32 dharma-s'.
92. The 32 dharma-s include all the moral stipulations of acceptable human behaviour! In general parlance, out of all donations of daanam, only anna daanam is considered as, 'Dharmam' too. Even the beggar in South India in his night rounds, will only say, "Oh Amma! Dharmam podu thaaye!". Dharma Saalai means a place where you get free food. That is why in Avvai's words, "eedal aram", where donating food has been equated to Dharmam!
93. There is a contradiction here. When there is a Donor, there has to be some one to receive it as a Donee. But the saastraa-s which speak so high of donation, speak very low of the act of receiving donation! One of the famous prayers says, "Oh God! Give me a life in which I do not have to ever beg anybody for anything". Aathichoodi, a string of single line morality instructions by Avvai says, "eevadu vilakkel" meaning, 'never give up giving', immediately goes on to say, "erpadu igazhchi", meaning, 'it is deplorable to be begging'! What is the greatness of a philanthropist, if there is none to receive his largess!
94. There is a sloka which says, “the one who keeps chasing beggars with the words ‘naasti, naasti’, meaning ‘nothing here, nothing here’ in his past life, has to beg saying, ‘dehi, dehi’, meaning, ‘give me, give me’, in this life!” In the Mahabali story, Vishnu because he had to beg the Mahabali, felt so small that he took the small form of avataara of ‘Vaamana’, it is said.
95. The reason for considering the act of begging as a deplorable thing is due to the fact that, unless unavoidable, we should be standing on our own two feet and not be dependent on others for anything! As far as possible, it is the expenditure which should be controlled, to remain within the income. All the social evils of corruption, black money, bribing and so on arise out of greed only. Once you have tasted easy money through unfair means and begging, there is no end to how low a man can stoop! Begging should be only the last resort and not the easy way out, at the drop of a hat!
96. For big public projects, one has to resort to collecting donations, say for making a community hall or constructing a hospital or conducting the Kumbabishekam of a temple. Even here one has to guard against wasteful expenditure. Economy and thrift should always be a guiding factor in such activities.
97. In olden times, a brahmin’s entire time was occupied by Veda Adhyayanam, Yagna, Pooja, Dhyana and Veda Adhyapakam. He just did not have time for normal earning of an income. Then he was entitled to accept donations and largess from whosoever came forward to give! Sanyasi having renounced had to be dependent upon doles only. Moreover he had to work hard at nullifying his ego and pride. Begging was ordained for him. For all others begging was taboo!
98. There are 32 kinds of such Daanam/Dharmam activities described in our saastraa-s. The first is feeding others. Then giving for birds and animals. Then offering of Tarpanam for Deva-s, Rishis and Pithru-s. The offering of ‘Bali’ for Yakchara-s, Kinnara-s and such non-material subtle beings. The construction of community halls, digging of wells and ponds, making gardens for public use, and so on; finally ending in establishing kiosks for drinking water, with the least amount expenditure and effort.
99. Though it may not cost you much, it is a very powerful way of rejuvenating a visitor to your village or township, to give a glass of water or light butter milk laced with salt and a lemon, quenching the thirst of parched throats! These acts of subtle ‘Dharma-s’ which has been going on for generations are going by default now-a-days! In Kanchipuram, Ambal has done all these ‘Dharma-s’ Herself! In Thiruvaiaru too as ‘Dharma Samvardhini’, she has done all that to personally supervise conduct of such activities!
(To be continued.)


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