Friday, September 03, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 66 (Vol #4) Dated 03 Sep 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 66 (Vol #4) Dated 03 Sep 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 361 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, 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.}
541. Proposed Actions to Be Taken. In this big project, the immediate action to be taken is to collect all knowledgeable experts in Saastraas and put them in a school or Guru Kula and encourage them to teach in whatever way they can. Provide the administrative support to them in terms of funds, collection materials for study and research, and get some of these reference books printed and so on. These experts should be encouraged to run Guru Kulam on their own or provide them with the infra structural facilities, so that they are given only the responsibility to act as teachers.
542. Such masters once identified, should have at least some four students who should grasp all that they know so that, later these students could carry the baton of knowledge so learnt as though in a relay race, for the future generation of students. It is our ancestors’ direction that once you learn something, it should not be permitted to die with you. It has to be entrusted to some other worthy student who will carry the burning torch of knowledge in to the future!
543. In life we have four stages or Ashramas as Brhmacharyam, Gruhastam, Vanaprastam and Sanyasam. Similarly, in learning also there are four stages. They are Adheeti, Bhodam, AacharaN and PrachaaraN. Adheeti means learning well. Bhodam is understanding the subject in depth, becoming an expert. AacharaN is to live by the learning! The first two are being done even nowadays. It is the third area which is going by default! Remember the Thiru VaLLuvar direction, “karka kasadu arakkarka, kartrapin nirka adarkuttaga”, meaning, ‘learn and learn well faultlessly, then having learnt live by what you have learnt!’ The definition of a Vidwaan or Pundit does not end there. Then he has to teach the youngsters, to spread the knowledge as a lamp does spread light! That is PrachaaraN!
544. Sri Harsha has said this with poetical brilliance. He has written King NaLa’s biography as ‘Naishadam’, because NaLa was the King of Nishad. Actually it is a work of art that great writers are fond of reading! There is proverb in Sanskrit to the effect that “naishadam Vidvat oushadam” which means that, ‘naishadam is like a tonic for Pundits!’ In it when he talks about how the King NaLa was learning the 14 Vidya Sthanas he has given this information. He has played a pun on this word ‘chaturdasa’! The word ‘chaturdasa’ could mean, four plus ten or the four stages as, ‘chatur = four and dasa = ten or stages!’ In education the four stages are Adheeti, Bhodam, AacharaN and PrachaaraN as I said before. So the poem means that King NaLa learnt the 14 Vidyas and went through the four stages of education! The poem reads,
“adeeta bhodha aacharaNa prachaaraNai:
dasaas chatasra: pranayanupaadibhi: I
chatur dasastvam krutavaan kutasvayam
navedmi vidyaasu chaturdasa swayam II”
545. PrachaaraN does not mean what is done nowadays in the name of advertisement and propaganda in the various media! So many details and statistics are quoted which can never be checked for veracity. While we also know that even when the data can be checked for truthfulness, it can always be interpreted in so many ways! They will say that they have fixed so many tube lights in so and so city and installed so many bore wells and pump sets and that so many crores of rupees have been spent. The public has no method of verifying the data. Whom to believe and whom not to?
546. These people who carry out religious conversions are very good in this business of propaganda. By hook or crook, by the lure of money or employment, whole lot of masses are herded in to their religion and the same statistics of conversions padded up with some figures that can never be counter checked, are used for further propaganda! Then they will claim that Hinduism has a very atrocious monster known as ‘Casteism’ which is the reason for their conversion!
547. Then if you catch hold of any of these converts and ask them as to why they changed the religion, and as to what was wrong with our religion, they will give a blank look! If you insist with your interrogation then they will come out with some statement as follows. “It is not that we found anything drastically wrong with our own religion and or that we found something too attractive with theirs! Telling you the truth, we do not know much about either of the religions and have not much interest, as we are more concerned about making a earning for living. They presented us with these things and gave us this amount of money. Then they promised us these things and give us some rights as available only on conversion! We went to their religion for these things and not because we have understood their religion or because of some special love for their religion!”
548. I said all this so that you may not be put off by the word ‘PrachaaraN’ as part of the four stages of learning. In our religion, we do not believe in converting anybody to our own religion. We rather believe in ‘Inversion’ as against conversion! That is, we recommend that every individual looks into his or her own self and correct the wrongs; cleanse the dirt and cobwebs; identify the good qualities, refine, raise and ennoble! So, here PrachaaraN only means that the Vidya you have learnt may be taught to some worthy student and not be wasted out. In our culture, it is anathema to do publicity by quoting impressive numbers. Education requires that it should be imparted to students worthy of receiving that knowledge. That is the only criteria! Thus without propaganda, each student is to first learn and learn well to become a Vidwaan i.e., a Pundit oneself! Then he should take over the responsibility of the role of a Guru and train the next generation of students to continue the process. Like the roots of the plantain tree sends out the off-shoot of the next tree, to train the next generation of Gurus is our way! When you inter your hard earned wealth in the ground, you are considered an idiot! It is a greater crime of omission to let your acquired expertise go waste, without being transmitted to another worthy student! That is the way of our ancestors! So, in these rare areas of knowledge that I have been talking about, if we find a Vidwaan, whose expertise is likely to be lost for the future, for reasons of poverty and penury, it is our duty to find the suitable students as a service to ourselves and to our culture!
(To be continued.)



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