Wednesday, June 02, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 20 (Vol #4) Dated 03 June 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 20 (Vol #4) Dated 03 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 124 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.)

51. Aachaarya should have three defining qualities (lakshaNam). One, he should know the ins and outs of the Saastra, ( ‘aasinoti saasra artham’ ) its meaning and purpose – at least the portions in which he is supposed to be an expert! Two, he should be a role model in the practical aspect of the area of his expertise ( ‘swayam aacharate’ )! Third, he should so ensure in the observance of what he teaches that the students will become firmly rooted in the principles which he teaches ( ‘aachaare sthaapayitya api’ )!
52. Knowledgeable in the teachings is only the ‘vidwaan’. The one who practices the Saastraas in his day to day life is the ‘anushtaataa’ or further higher, ‘anubhavee’, to mean well experienced and not taken as an Aachaaryaa! Without practicing what you preach, you can only hope to call yourself a ‘prachaarak’ and nothing more! When all these three are to be found together, then only can you be called Aachaarya!
53. That is what ThiruvaLLuvar said, “karka kasadu ara karka kartrapin nirka adarku taga”, meaning ‘learn faultlessly, then having learnt thus, live by what you have learnt!’ With what VaLLuvar said add another requirement, to teach and train others in what you have learnt and lived by! It is our rightful pride that we have had many who have done extremely well in all the three areas of learning and thereby knowing, living by ones learning and imparting that to others, in this country of ours!
54. The self same VaLLuvar has also said that, ‘poruL illarku ivvulagam illai’, meaning that ‘life is worthless for the poor’. Despite his this statement, purely for encouraging even the poor and so as to let Vidya grow for its own sake, our Brahmin scholars have been so deeply into a sense of sacrifice! If with such an attitude, someone starts doing his appointed duties without a care in the world for selfishness, then all the wealth of the world automatically accrues to him! Sruthi itself says, “tyaagena ekena amrutatvam aanasu:”, (Taitriyopanishad, NarayaNa Vallee, Daharavidya), that only by sacrifice have many attained to greatness!
55. After years of sincere observance of Karma Anushtaanaaas, when you become devoid of all mental aberrations, the resultant clarity of the mind inculcates dispassion and detachment. This in turn enables one to treat other’s children as your entrusted wards to be constantly refined and educated. Such a reputation in the society commands a natural respect from all and sundry. Otherwise, if you are told to think of someone as God and surrender your all to him, who is going to listen to it?
56. For thousands of years, for generation after generation there have been many such greats living the life of spotless behaviour, with a sense of sacrifice sans selfishness, a capacity to treat others children as one’s own with love, kindness and compassion. That is the reason the disciples too could attain to such greatness maintaining the tradition! This is a uniqueness as not to be seen in any other country elsewhere in the whole world. In some of the Asian countries, may be in the past few hundred years, similar tradition was to be seen, as influenced by the Indian culture!
57. It is not that there were such Gurus only in teaching of the Vedas, even in secular subjects there have been such excellent Gurus and Aachaaryaas. They may not have been divinely endowed. But, they have displayed the highest of ideals of human behaviour. Some of them have shown some weaknesses such as being quick tempered or shown some partiality, but that has had no effect on the completeness of surrender by the students!
58. The level of Instructorship also evoked the highest response from the student community too! Otherwise, how could a teacher in Dhanur Veda like Drona Aachaarya, evoked a response of total surrender from a student like Ekalaiva? The discipleship of KarNa to Parasurama is yet another example of the same genre!
59. Even a dance teacher was honoured and respected as ‘Nrutya Aachaarya’ in our country. For them unimpeachable moral standards has been as much a requirement as mastery of the subject! There was this Hindu Musician Taansen, a lion in the art of Music, that he could command the respect of Akbar’s royal, mostly Muslim assemblage! His Guru Haridas was as good as any Rishis of yore that he was known as Haridas Swami!
60. Similarly in Thiruvaiyaru about 100 years back there was this gentleman known as Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan, a carnatic classical musician. He was respectfully referred as ‘SivanvaaL’ without even mentioning his first name! Not a single day did he miss the ritual of worship of Siva, nor did he ever miss out doing the Trikaala Sandya Vandanam. If by chance he has gone to some nearby town and his box containing the pooja materials failed to fetch up, that day would pass in fasting! The Kutchery that is the musical performance would be scheduled to finish before 6 in the evening or start after 6.30 p.m., so as not to interfere with the evening Sandya Vandanam! If by chance the concert started later than five in the evening, then you could always have a 30 minute ‘commercial break’ as they call it now-a-days, for the conduct of the ‘Sayam Sandya Vandanam’!
61. Scheduling, programming, cash, business and such things were taken care of by his elder brother Ramaswamy Sivan. He was also a devoted man of excellent character and literary merit. He has authored and composed music describing the life of the 63 Nayanmars. Leaving all affairs in the hands of the elder brother, the younger Sivan devoted all his time in singing and practicing his music. He had many disciples, who came to him as bees come to a flower to partake of the nectarine sweetness of his music. They stayed in his house and learnt music by hearing him practicing! All his students were boarding and lodging as non-paying guests. No one knows as to if they paid any Guru DakshiNa or not! Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan never bothered about such mundane matters! It is but natural that they regarded him as God in human form!
62. Music and Dance masters, those who taught the student the art of fencing with swords, masters who taught their disciples the art of wrestling and so on; uniformly, they all behaved in a manner as befitting to deserve being considered as Achaarya. When imparting knowledge the nuances of art took priority over such base considerations as making money! It is inevitable that such master instructors were looked upon as divine incarnations only, surrendering to whom the disciples took pride!
63. All this happened when teaching was not a profession for earning a living! It was not a business contract or transaction then. From time immemorial, till recently education was not institutionalised and was propagated by individual efforts only. Nalanda and Taxila came up as Universities only during the period of Buddhism’s ascendency. The elders in our religion did not feel the necessity of pooling in the instructors of different schools of thought to run a centralised institution! Individual Aachaaryaas ran their own Guru Kula, may be supported by some Upaadhyaayas as assistants.
64. Rarely in some places, there have been such Gurus who have conducted such Guru Kula organizations where all the branches of the Vedas were taught by a number of qualified instructors, in each branch covered by the Vedas, Saastraas and Vedantam covering the Upanishads! In them the classes for the juniors would be conducted by the seniors and there would be a number of experts as authorities in their own branch of study! The head of such organizations have been known as ‘Kulapathi’. In Bharatheeya Vidya Bhavan there has been one Kulapathi Munshi. In Madras there has been one Kulapathi Balakrishna Joshi. Both are Gujarathis.
(To be continued.)



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