Thursday, December 24, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 167 (Vol #3) Dated 24 Dec 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 167 (Vol #3) Dated 24 Dec 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 the 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 page No 768 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

DHANUR VEDAM

1. Ayur Vedam came into being for providing physical well being and fitness. Dhanur Vedam came into being so that the physical prowess so obtained is put to disciplined use for morally correct purposes of safety, protection and defence of ones society against internal aberrations and external threats. An English adage goes, ‘Fair is foul and foul is fair in war and love!’. But, our effort has always been to maintain our style of fairness even in war like situations. That is the reason for bringing the art of fighting within the purview of Saastraa-s that a portion of Veda-s was devoted for this purpose!

2. Though the ideal has always been 'ahimsa' and universal love, at all times, there has been some nation or the other going to war with neighbouring countries, nurturing expansionist ambitions. So, to be prepared to defend oneself against external aggression has been an unavoidable necessity, throughout human history. To bring the art of conduct of war within the ambit of some amount of control and discipline, to teach the warriors the principles of strategy and tactics, methods of effective use of weapons, and to streamline the ways of making those weapons, you needed a proper studious and scientific approach. That is to say, ‘ fighting a war is such a serious business that it should not be left only to the whims and fancies of the soldiers!’ For this reason Dhanur Vedam came into being.

3. Veda-s contain many descriptions of Deva - Asura conflicts. Indira fought and won over Vruddira Asura on a moral point of Dharma. To defeat Adharma and re-establish Dharma, every Deity has had to sort out some asura or the other in some battle, from which that Deity got name and fame, as described in the Veda-s and Purana-s. Tripura samhaaram, Jalandarasura vadam (vadam and samhaaram are Sanskrit words for killing or destruction), Hiranyaktcha / Madhu-Kaitaba / Tarakasura / Padmasura / Mahishasura / Chandamunda / Bandasura / Ravana / Kamsa / Narakasura / Kaurava respectively, have been killed in various wars for which we praise Easwara / Maha Vishnu / Ganesha / Subrahmanya / Ambal / Rama / Krishna / Pandavas respectively. So, they got the prefix or suffix as Purari / Tripurari / Murari / Mahishasura Mardhini and so on!

4. 'Ari' means enemy. Kamari, Kalari, Kajari are all names of Easwara. He defeated Kama, Kala and Kajasura to get those names. Ganesha killed Gaja Mukha Asura. That means his opponent also had the elephant like face like Ganesha himself! The Rishis in Taruka Vana, got too much of pride that, they were too well read and too powerful that they obtained through their austerities. They created a Kajasura to fight Parameswara. He was roundly defeated by Parameswara, and got the name Kajari. Krishna killed an Asura called Mura. So Krishna is addressed as Murari.

5. Mardhanam is to pummel, grate and mince the opponent in to peaceful and pieceful submission! By dancing on Kalinga's head Krishna did both nartana and mardhana. Then He told him "OK! Now you can go! Behave yourself in future, lest you get another dose of this treatment!" So, Krishna is called Kalinga - Mardhana. He is called Madhava or Madhusoodana, since He sorted out a Rakshasa by name Madhu. He has another name Kesava because He had killed another Asura who was known as Kesi.

6. In all mythologies of the world, the whole narrative is around a major event of war, like in Iliad. "Fight for the sake of Dharma" was the main thrust of the message by Krishna to Arjuna in Maha Bharata. Those seven hundred sloka-s rendered in the battle field of Kurukshetra, known as Bhagawat Gita is the foremost Book of Philosophy in the whole world to-day! Historically famous heroes have all been great warrior kings such as, Alexander the Great, Chandra Gupta Mourya, Raja Raja Chola, Caesar, Napoleon and Asoka. In literature too, great warriors have been eulogised widely. In Indian literature, to so praise great fighters who have also been morally upright as well as great administrators, a special classic literary mode has been evolved, known as 'Barani'!

7. Dhanda Neeti. In this world of functionality, for the sake of justice, it becomes necessary to enforce rule of law supported by punitive power to be applied for offences of omission and commission. So you need an arm of the government to take care of the enactment of laws and ensure their application, including legislators, lawyers, advocates, police, judiciary, jails and wardens. For protection against aggression from outsiders you need the Army. So, the Dhandam that is, the 'stick', is to be applied for maintaining internal law and order and against external aggression.

8. This idea of discipline inculcated internally and enforced externally can be viewed from yet another angle. If you carefully look into it, discipline is more true when it is applied from within as self discipline and is rather poor when it has to be ensured from without ! In the Indian context, the three castes entitled to wear the yagna-upaveetam are given a small green branch of a tree with some green leaves, at the time of his initiation to Gayatri mantra. This is a symbolic representation of the 'stick' for self discipline. The aim is to win over the six internal enemies of 'shad ripu' of kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, aascharya, namely desire, anger, greed, delusion, passion and wondrous amusement respectively. This is the duty of every individual, if his aim is to ennoble himself instead of being another animal!

9. Then it is the job of the King to keep the internal enemies of the state namely, thieves, robbers, culprits, murderers, corrupt bureaucracy and external foes of the state, under observation and control. So, at that level too there are internal and external enemies. Here too symbolically he holds a 'dhandam' a stick, that is the 'sengol', meaning the fine rule of law. The royal mace or sceptor or baton also are part of any regalia meant for this purpose only! He has to maintain law and order by punishing the offenders and prevent others from offence by fear of punishment. In our system, for control of the inner and outer enemies of the state, Kshatriya is required to learn the art of war, for which there is Dhanur Vedam!

10. Because there is war and conflicts in the world of transactions, our fore fathers did not require that all the strata of society should learn and practice all the war like activities. They did not require that all should give much importance to physical prowess! Only the Kshatriya caste were to pay attention to this training and expertise. Adhyapakam that is, teaching is one of the six jobs of Brahmins who are called the 'shad karma nirata:'. Teaching the Veda-s including Dhanurveda, is their job. To that extent the Brahmin is also required to keep himself physically fit and agile. He is also required to be master of this Veda too, like Drona Acharya and Krupa Acharya, that is if he has selected this to be the area of his specialization! That also means that not all Brahmins were required to be experts in this!

(To be continued.)

Sambhomahadeva.

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