Monday, May 31, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 19 (Vol #4) Dated 01 June 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 19 (Vol #4) Dated 01 June 2010.

(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. Today we are proceeding from the last paragraph on page 119 of Vol 4 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at constantly.)

38. Mukhopaadyaaya has become a sub caste as though, amongst Brahmins in Bengal! It means actually, ‘a teacher of Vedas’! Mukha is the face or the word, which is a synonym for Vedas. He is a teacher or Upaadhyaaya in the Vedas. Similarly, the four Vedas in Sanskrit would be ‘Chathur Veda’. This with some modification over usage, translation and time, becomes ‘chattar’ or ‘chatter’. Do not ask me how? With an Upaadhyaaya added, it becomes ‘Chattopaadhyaaya’ as though it is some special caste amongst the self same Brahmins. For all you know that man with that name to-day, may not know even a portion of a Shaka of a single Veda!
39. RamakrishNa Paramahamsa was born in a Chattopaadyaaya family. He was married to Sarada Devi from Mukhopaadyaayas. Bandopaadyaaya means, ‘a respectable (vandya) Upaadyaaya family’. So, somehow or the other, Upaadyaaya has become a synonym for respectable almost! That is how, during the Britisher’s time, well read respectable people were given a title ‘Mahamahopaadyaaya’. Many amongst them were those who had conducted such Veda Paata Shaalas, uncaring for name, fame and wealth, eve spending their own money in running such an organization!
40. Work as Worship of God! There are many professions, businesses, jobs and avenues. All of them are ways of earning one’s keep. No one considers it as something to be ashamed of. But, to make an earning out of worshipping God and teaching children was ever looked down on! Well that was the ethos existing in this land where, to feed others was considered a privilege and to charge money for that was considered anathema! To educate was another ‘Upaasana’ of the Vidya, equivalent to worshipping God. To present a bill of charges for that ‘Upaasana’ was unthinkable!
41. Everyone had to do their own ‘Thozhil’, that is his appointed part of the job in the society, to which born, to make a living as per the Saastraas. If you ask as to what is the ‘Thozhil’ of a Brahmin, refer the old Tamil Literature and you will know that they had six clearly defined duties to perform. The Brahmin was called ‘aru thozhilor’ in Tamil and ‘shat karma nirata:’ in Sanskrit. What were they? One is ‘Adhyayanam’, that is to learn the Vedas. Here there could be no income!
42. Second duty is to teach, that is ‘Adhyapanam’, not only the portion of Vedas, that he was required to know but also other jobs. He could not be expected to know all of them. Other than his expertise in the portion of the Vedas in which he was required to be well versed, he may know one or two of the other 14 Vidya Sthanas. It may be as varied as Archery or Carpentry or Ayur Veda or Artha Saastra or Music or Dance and so on! He was supposed to have specialized in those lines and have such knowledge as may not be available with the one practicing that profession! He could clarify doubts of the practicing professional and so would act as a consultant whenever required. But for all this he was not to be paid or expect to be paid! The professional receiving the advice may pay something as ‘DakshiNa’. The BrahmiN should be satisfied with that, whatever it is! He should never endeavour to convert his knowledge and advice in to getting involved in running an industry and or charge any consultation fees! Basically his aim should never be making money but, spreading knowledge as an offering to God!
43. Not knowing such noble intensions of the Brahmin community and then to accuse him of having written the Saastraas for his own personal aggrandisement, is exhibition of ignorance! If you look at it with an open heart, you will see that, the BrahmiN never retained any privileges for himself. Rather, he put himself under any number of self restrictions and disadvantages, so as to persevere with greater intensity towards perfection. Some aberrant behaviour on the part of some should be correctly seen as exceptions and not the rule!
44. Erpadu Igazhchchi. In the six fold duties, leaving aside the Adhyayanam and Adhyaapanam, the balance four were Yajanam, Yaajanam, Daanam and Pratigraham. These are conducting Yagna oneself, conducting Yagna for the sake of others, giving alms to poor people and receiving alms, respectively. In this you will note that Yajanam and Daanam involve only expenditure and no income. When you conduct Yagna for others, you may get DakshiNa from the one for whom you are conducting the function. Similarly, Pratigraham means that you are the recipient of Daanam from others.
45. But here too, you are cautioned on the one hand that to accept Daanam is a bit of a come down. You are encouraged to learn to beg, so as to kill the sense of pride in you during your Guru Kula days. Then, if you receive from some unworthy individuals as listed, there is a whole lot of expiation required to be done! Who has made all these restrictions? These are all restrictions self imposed by the Brahmins on themselves and put them down on record in the Saastraas! Since Yaajanam is a duty, while doing it, they would prefer to get the minimum as DakshiNa and spend that amount in their own activities of Daanam!
46. So though they have six professions or jobs, in three of them namely, Adhyayanam, Yajanam and Daanam, there is no scope of income at all! They are all outgo only. In Yaajanam and Pratigraham, there is some scope for income with many ifs and buts! The only area where there can be income is Adhyaapanam! That is also considered as Vidya Daanam and not to be viewed as a source of revenue! This is the sort of self imposed restrictions the Brahmins subjected themselves to!
47. Even though the Guru may accept whatever the disciple gives unasked, even here, some teachers have kept a premium on the timing. When the Guru was fully satisfied that he had done his all for student’s education and he was convinced that the disciple has learnt it all, only then was he prepared to accept the DakshiNa offered!
48. There is an occasion in Brihad AaraNyaka Upanishad, Fourth Adhyaya, First BrahmaNa. Yagnavalkya is the Guru. King Janaka is the disciple. After every portion of the teaching is over, Janaka offers some DakshiNa. Every time, the Guru refuses to accept saying that “My Father is of the opinion that, till completion of the Upadesa, no DakshiNa is to be accepted!”
49. A Value not to be Found Elsewhere in the World Easily! This is one area of a vast difference between the way a teacher is perceived by the student in India and elsewhere in the world! The teacher, Guru or Aachaarya is God or God’s representative in India. The student is supposed to forsake all other relations for the sake of this one relationship. He is to become a ‘sarva sanga parityaagi’! This concept was not known elsewhere! They stopped at knowing the subject well and good instructional ability. Nothing more! They themselves did not know better and so were not looking for more in the student either!
50. Let us look at this difference between the Indian concept of what is a Guru or Aachaarya and how the rest of the world looked at a Teacher or Instructor! We did not stop at the depth of knowledge of the subject matter and instructional ability! We went far beyond to the highest pinnacles of human existence! With these two qualities of knowledge and ability to impart that knowledge, the guru should have lived a life of exemplary quality and character. He should not only know the Vedas, but should have lived as per that, going into the impeccable Karma Anushtaana and Aachaaraas, unsullied over a life time.
(To be continued.)



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