Saturday, August 14, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 56 (Vol #4) Dated 14 Aug 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 56 (Vol #4) Dated 14 Aug 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 second para on page number 313 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 updated constantly)
{Note: In these talks, PeriyavaaL is talking about Educational Institutions of yore, which were bigger than a single Guru Kulam, and possibly bigger than a school, with a number of teachers, curriculums and syllabuses. These were called variously as Gatika or Gatikai or Katika or even Kadigai. As per English grammer rules, a pronoun can be spelt differently based on the pronunciation. In these translations, I am sticking to Gatika and Gatikai.}

448. Without the name of Gatika Sthanam, there have been huge educational institutions in Tamilnadu in the districts of North & South Arcots and Chengalpattu. Between Pondichery and Kadalur, there is a place called Bahur. Here five copper plates were found one after the other, which contained a royal edict that there was an institution in Bahur with 14 departments for 14 Veda Vidyas, for which the King Vijaya Nrupatunga was making a donation of three villages as signed by the King’s Minister. This is dated in the latter half of 9th Century A.D. Near Bahur, there is a village Tribhuvanam, in which there is Varadaraja Perumal Koil. On its East, West and Northern walls, there are inscriptions on stone dated 1048 A.D., of the period of King Rajathirajan. From the inscription it is gathered that in Tribhuvanam, there was a fairly big educational institution in which there were 190 students and 12 Teachers. 60 students were learning Rik Veda while another 60 were learning Yajur Veda. 20 students were learning Sama Veda while the other students were learning other Saastraa-s. Out of them 70 were specializing in Vedantam and Grammer of rarity known as ‘Roopa Avataram’. The syllabus included RamayaNa, Maha Bharata and Manu Dharma Saastra.
449. Vaikanasa is a Vaishnava Aagama. Out of the important Vaishnava centres such as, Sri Rangam, Kanchipuram, Melkottai and Thiruppati, only in Thiruppati, the devotional procedures are conducted as per the Vaikanasa system. The other three places follow the Paancharatra Aagama. In the Tribhuvana Patashala, this Vaikanasa Aagama is one of the subjects taught. An important point in the inscription is the fact that, the students and teachers were forbidden from practicing into any other business or occupation other than education!
450. Between Vizhuppuram and Dindivanam, there is a place ‘ENNayiram’ also known as Rajaraja Chaturvedi Mangalam. From the very name we can understand that the village and its lands have been donated by the King Rajarajan for the Brahmins of that village who knew all the four Vedas. There is a Saasanam of Rajendra Sozha in that village as per which, there was a school with 340 students and 14 Teachers. Amongst them, 270 were in the Lower classes and 70 in the Higher classes. Amongst them, there were 75 studying Rik Veda; 75 learning the Krishna Yajur Veda; 20 learning the Sandogya Saakai of Saama Veda and another 20 were learning the Talavakara Saakai of Saama Veda; 20 were studying the Vajasaneyam or Sukhla Yajur Veda; 10 were studying the Atharva Veda with 10 doing the Bodayana Gruhya Kalpam and 40 doing the Roopa Avataram as specialization!
451. Atharva Veda in Practice. For many generations the Atharva Veda has gone out of practice. Only some portions of this Veda such as, some Upanishads and procedural matters are still known to some people. In this school of the Veda that I am talking about, in Tamilnadu, there were 10 students of this Veda. When I started this story about Gatika Sthana (some six e-mails back), I quoted about Atharva Veda teaching as mentioned in ‘Kalpa Taru’. So also in the school in Bahur, as it had a department, for each one of the14 Veda Vidya-s, there must have been one for Atharva Veda also. Kasakudi Saasanam too mentions that this Veda was being taught there. For some reason its followers and students seem to have vanished!
452. Out of the 70 in the higher class, 25 were specializing in VyakaraNam and 35 were studying Poorva Meemaamsai, (slightly different from Kumarila Bhatta’s,) known as Praabhakara Siddhantam and 10 others were studying Vedantam. (KTSV adds: - Poorva Meemaamsai is that line of Philosophy (or Siddhantam) giving more emphasis on ritualised activities. Kumarila Bhatta (an Avatara of Lord SubrahmaNya) was the fore most exponent of this line, who had done much to refute the Godless (Nir-Easwara Vaada) Religions of Buddhism and Jainism. Later Adi Sankara refuted this over dependence on Karma Kaanda of Kumarila Bhatta, to go beyond Karma Kaanda to higher principles of Bhakti and Gnaana of Adwaita. Uttara Meemaamsai is the same as Vedantam, which means the End of Veda-s or in other words pure and simple philosophy which goes beyond all religion! These concepts have been explained long back in Deivathin Kural # 74 of (Vol 2) of 21 Jan 2008 and subsequent e-mails!)
453. In KumbakoNam Nageswara Swami Koil also I have come across a stone inscription by Aditya Karikaalan, giving Maanyam or Endowmwnt to Prabaakara Meemaamsai. According to another such royal decree, in this Vaidic School in ENNaayiram, for the educators and students endowments had been made for the daily feeding of 506 Brahmins of all types.
454. There is a place by the name of Seevaram, 12 miles from Kanchipuram. Near that place, on the banks of Paalaar River, there is a village by the name of Thiru Mukkoodal, with a PerumaaL Koil. There is a Saasanam there of the year 1067 of King Veera Rajendra Devan. As per that decree, from the temple’s earnings, there were a Vaidya Saalai (Hospital) and a Vidya Saalai (School) being run. In that school the student’s distribution was as follows: - 10 in Rik Veda, 10 in Yajur Veda, 20 in VyakaraNam and 10 in Paancharaatram, 05 in Vaikanasam and another 03 doing studies in Saiva Aagama.
455. Veda Aagamaa-s. A point to note here is interesting. In these Stone inscriptions and copper plate carvings, having talked of Brahmins there is a distinction being made of followers of Vaidic procedures and Aagama procedures. People being called the Paancha Raatri-s, Vaikaanasa-s and those who observe the Siva Aagama Tantra-s, have been thus differentiated, while not treated as totally different either! Veda-s and Aagamaa-s have thus been treated as part and parcel of the same Sanaatana Dharma, it seems!
456. Near ENNaayiram there is a place PaNaiyavaram, where in the inscriptions we find that, there was arrangement for the daily feeding of 50 Brahmins and 10 Siva Yogis, thus differentiating between followers of the Veda-s and Saiva Aagama-s. In Kerala, even now during festival times, the first Pankti (that is the set of people who are fed) is supposed to be the Brahmins and Yogis. This system of feeding them is known as Agram! Similar must have been the custom in Tamilnadu too!
457. Equality. Unity in diversity is the most important classic principle of this religion as can be made out of many of these stone and copper plate carvings of edicts by the kings of yore. As pointed out already, under the same roof, these Veda-s and Aagamaa-s have been studied, taught and practiced. Not only that, at the level of education, we have not treated these differences as reasons for alienation. Saivam and Vaishnavam have thrived together and so have Veda-s and Aagamaa-s as well as Paancha Raatram and Vaikaanasam within Vaishnavam! More interestingly, the school might have been based on a Siva temple, in which Vaishnava students have studied may be Paancha Raatram or Vaikanasam system. Similarly, in a school based on a Vaishnava temple, Saiva Veda and Aagama subjects could have been taught. They were all treated as equally acceptable approaches to God!
(To be continued.)



At 3:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

很精彩的部落格 期待你的繼續加油..................................................


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