Monday, January 26, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 48 (Vol # 3) Dated 25 Jan 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 48 (Vol # 3) Dated 25 Jan 2009
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the last para on page 209 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man' includes 'woman' too, mostly.)
(Note:- These e-mails are all available at constantly updated.)
325. Just as recently as 20 to 30 years back, there was no need for 'Old Age Home' and 'Widows Home' in our country. Why was it so? It was so because, there was no need! They used to be taken care of by relatives. Almost in all households, there used to be at least one old distant relative, other than a grand father/mother and may be a great-great grand father or mother! But these days, people may give parties and feasts for show; or give donation to be given a prominent spot in the newspapers. But taking care of old people has almost gone out of fashion!
326. Now with the decline of joint family system, even the relationships such as elder and younger brother, has no closeness, respect, compassion and intimacy! Till there was the joint family system, in each family, there were Father, Mother, paternal and maternal uncles and aunties, a variety of cousins, their wives, children, some grand children and some great grand children and some orphaned distant relatives and so on. The family contained anywhere between 25 to 40 members. In that sort of a set up, a few oldsters were not considered as a burden at all. They were of some use in baby sitting, mending household things, taking care of the cattle and of help in cooking or telling stories of the past, which contained gems of moral principles! People made themselves useful to the family in some way or the other.
327. Problems galore started and mushroomed when each newly married couple started cutting off from the joint family system. What had been the tradition for thousands of years, have become defunct in two to three generations. With the influx of these western ideas, many of the time tested family methods and systems have gone out of practice. This has killed the family norms and Dharma, that it is ones duty to take care of old relatives. On occasions such as births, deaths and accidents, we should personally present ourselves for any assistance at our own expenditure. Or at least send the money to that hapless soul, that we would have spent in visiting him.
328. In marriages, we should cut down on all the wasteful expenses on show and pomp. These days all the thrift is shown only in giving of Dakshina to the priest. Money flows like water as though the flood gates have been opened, for music, dance, orchestra, band, lighting, dress, food, stage decoration, fire works display, emceeing, hiring the function hall and so on, with ostentatious display of pompousness!
329. Other than contributing liberally for the expenses related to the Vedic activities and the Dakshina for the Vedic scholars attending the function, we should develop the mind set to so at all times. Because of the absence of such mentality, we have reached a stage when such persons qualified enough to conduct your functions, have become extremely rare! There is no other 'Paropakaaram' that can be even thought of, than nurturing, supporting and helping the growth and maintenance of the community entrusted with studying, teaching and propagation of the Vedic Mantra-s! Before Vinoba Bhave thought of Bhudhaan movement, all the old Kings of this land donated land entitlements to the Vedic scholars all over the country.
330. We should help and assist even the very poor to conduct their important functions related birth and death; as per the Saastra-s. Without show and pomp, purely as per saastra-s, the expenditure would not be too heavy! My list of things 'to be done' for 'Paropakaaram', is continuing to grow. In that you can now add, that there should be some place established in each locality, where poor people can get a 'community hall' for conducting marriages and such functions at affordable cost and some other place earmarked for conducting the 'Apara Karya-s' for the departed kinsmen.
331. I have spoken in detail about periodic Tarpanam (done every month on New Moon and other occasions such as solstice and eclipse) and Divasam (done once a year on the same 'tithi', [i.e., the day after New/Full Moon;] of the same fortnight of the month in which the individual died). I said that these activities are also part of 'Paropakaaram' only! I said that these things will reach the intended destination in the form most suited for their present incarnation, in what ever life form!
332. When a person dies, he or she does not reach the 'pitru lokam' at once, nor is there immediate re-birth. It takes a year to attain to attain to the position of 'pitru'. [KTSV muses:- May be their near and dear ones do not let them pass on the one hand and neither do their attachment let them vanish from the present scene so quickly either, I suppose.] There are some parallels in these beliefs between various religions about what happens to the individual soul, after death! We say that the Jeeva crosses the Vaitarani river and reaches the Yama's abode. Greek mythology says that the soul crosses the river of Styx and reach Hades. In the abode of Yama, we say that there is a guard dog who does not let anyone get out. Exactly similarly they talk of a three headed dog known as Cerberus, which guards the exit routes out of Hades!
333. For this period of one year that the Jeevan takes to reach the Yama's abode, we conduct certain functions every month, for the benefit of the soul's satisfaction. In this journey, there is even talk of giving packed food for use enroute. Christians call this Viaticum, I believe. For persons who do not have children of their own, we give 'pindam' at places like Gaya, Badrinath and Gokarn. Christians celebrate the 'All Souls Day' once a year for the departed souls. Praying for the ancestors is a custom prevalent in many of the Eastern countries, such as China, Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia; as well as in Egypt, Mayan civilization in South America as also amongst Red Indian tribes of America. When there are such wide spread beliefs and convictions amongst people all over the world, it must be based on truth!
334. For the conduct of 'Pitru Karyam' and such activities of other communities and religions too, it is the responsibility of the society, to make suitable arrangements. The first one in this is the 'preta samskaaram', i.e., the procedure for the correct disposal of the dead body, to bury or cremate respectively This is a very important Karma.
(To be continued.)



Post a Comment

<< Home