Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 64 (Vol #4) Dated 30 Aug 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 64 (Vol #4) Dated 30 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 351 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 http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated constantly)
{Note: In these talks, PeriyavaaL is talking about Educational Institutions of yore, which were bigger than a single Guru Kulam, of the size of a School or College or even University, 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.}
525. Vastu Saastram should be consulted even before planning to site a township and locating a house in it. It takes in to consideration the prevailing winds, seasonal changes to it, availability of water and tendency to drought or floods and so on. Then when constructing individual houses, the availability of wind, water and sunlight, and how the effluents have to go out of the house and the township; are to be planned. More than all this, it is necessary to work out as to how the divine radiations are to be made available for the township and individual houses. Then the house location and positioning of living area, pooja room, bath room and the kitchen, has to be suitable for the conduct of Nitya Karma Anushtaana and periodical rituals. Vastu Saastram tells us about all this. The modern, uniform constructions of box like structures I am afraid, do not take the Vastu requirements in view.
526. Shilpa Saastram. When you think of construction of temples, this Shilpa Saastram comes in to play. We in this country are bequeathed to an awesome endowment of enormous sculptural heritage which is the envy of the world over. Instead of titillating, these divine sculptures and structures are meant for cleansing the inner dirt of our minds. It is not enough to praise our heritage. We have a responsibility to nurture and protect the rare breed of existing experts known as Sthapathy-s. Then we have the task of encouraging and streamlining the learning and training of the next generation of Sthapathys. For this purpose we have been inviting such people and honouring them in the Aagama Sadas meetings. Ever since we started this gesture, by God’s Grace their lot seems to have made a remarkable turn for the better! Since every day a new temple is coming up somewhere or the other here in India as well as in foreign countries, the very discipline of Shilpa Saastra is gaining name, fame and recognition!
527. For this too the Government has started a school of learning with a workshop. The teaching for this trade was in the hands of Brahmins in ancient times. Later it has become a family trade of a separate caste of people, not identified as Brahmins. So there is no chance of any mixing up of the Saastra’s purity. The job requires an input of extremely strenuous physical hard work the whole day with a deep sense of commitment and devotion. Brahmin or whosoever, if for once he gets on with this job, just could not have had time for any other Anushtaana! So it is in the rightness of things that it has become a separate caste of its own known as an Aachaary or Aacharya. (So also is the case of Aachaary or Aacharya as a caste who are practicing as gold / silver smiths or carpenters!) Otherwise he could not have done justice to the professions of being a Brahmin as well as Sthapathy in Shilpa Saastra.
528. Similar is the case of Brahmins who taught the Ayur Veda Saastra. If he has to do his personal Nitya Karma Anushtaana and then teach the theory for recognition of diseases and suggest the treatment and dietary taboos known as Patyam, he could not have had the time for doing justice to his being a Brahmin. Here again was a coming into being of a separate caste of Vaidyar or Vaidya. (In North India this caste of Vaid being capable of wielding a knife and do surgery, over the years for the sake of livelihood ended up being the barber! The Vaid was the one who cared for the sick people, prescribed herbal medicines, carried out surgeries and prescribed Ayur Vedic medicines as the village doctor. Then he was also the one who gave a quick shave as the village barber!) Anyhow, having branched out as a Sthapathy or Aachaarya or Vaid, with practice they could teach the profession of being a sculptor or smith or vaid quite efficiently to the next generation of students.
529. Coming back to the caste of Sthapathy-s, having sufficient knowledge of theory, they were capable of assessing and selecting the stones, cutting them and sculpting the required statue and building up the required edifice. Their Saastra was known to them by heart! Even now there are such people who can surprise you with a non-stop rendition of their portion of the Saastra, for an hour or two. The Brahmin was consulted only when there was a doubt in interpretation. These people called themselves as Viswa Karma as a caste. Mostly you will find that these people believe in a God known as Viswa Karma, which can be literally translated as, ‘World Work or the one who works the World, which should mean the Creator’!
530. Till very recently, they used to keep the ‘Kudumi’, wear the dhoti with a ‘Katcham’ and wear a Yagnyopaveetam like a Brahmin does, maintaining a strict disciplined behaviour socially, morally and in being vegetarians! They never had any hatred towards Brahmins and or the language of Sanskrit! But, nowadays in the name of Equality and Sama Dharma, there are schools being formed by the Government agencies. The situation is not likely to remain as conservative of ancient traditions as before! I am afraid that there will be a watering down of traditions! But, that will not affect the sanctity of the temples much. Let me explain.
531. Very strict observance of Do’s and Don’ts would mean that any slight deviation is going to cause much changes in the level of purity of the work, as it happens in the case of chanting of the Veda-s. In the case of the work of Sthapathy-s the Rules and Regulations are not so strict. So there can be some aberrations in the fineness of the work. Even then when he has somehow sculpted the stone and constructed the temple, it is the Aagama Saastraa-s by which Kumbha Abhishekam is done, that is going to invoke the divinity in each and every part of that temple! So these minor deviations in the level of Aachaaram of the sculptors get covered up!
532. Village Arts. By tradition if the village ‘Poosaari’, (Tamil variation of ‘Pujari’, the man who does the devotional work in a small ad hoc temple, not exactly constructed as per Aagama Saastraa-s), is playing on the ‘Udukkai or Dholak’ and telling ‘Bharatham’, his work is also an art to be protected and saved from extinction. We should make arrangement for saving his art form so that, he may be able to teach his art form to his son or somebody else. Similarly Karagam and Bommala Attam etc should also be made to survive. U.S. of America prints on its Dollar, ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’. In our country all these village art forms are somehow deeply related to our belief and trust in God! It is our duty to see to it that these art forms do not become extinct due to lack of care!
533. There are many more Saastraas. Today we have Physics, Zoology, Geology, Engineering and so on. There are the root Saastraas for these too in ancient India. If we look into Varaaha Mihira’s ‘Bruhat Samhita’, Bhoja Raja’s ‘SamaraangaNa Sutra’, we can know about them. But once the Western sciences came to be known in India, these ancient studies have gone out of fashion due to lack of awareness and knowledge. So there are no knowledgeable people in these things and so no teachers! At least people could take up research in to these areas, bring out the facts and become expert teachers or masters! We must encourage such studies for Master of Philosophy and Doctorate. Then they can train others. That will be real Re-search! That will also be real Doctoration as we will be taking care of areas of knowledge that have become sick!
(To be continued.)



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