Tuesday, September 07, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 68 (Vol #4) Dated 07 Sep 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 68 (Vol #4) Dated 07 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 page number 370 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.}
556. Let the Time Normally Wasted be Devoted for Learning a Vidya! “We have many problems. We are very busy with office work and household duties, running from pillar to post all of the time! You do not know these things sitting in some corner of the world in a Matam, without a care in the world, telling us to learn this and that! We are sorry that we just cannot obey all your injunctions!” You may give me such a reply. I only ask you to consider as to how much time do you spend on gossip, reading News Papers, seeing cinema in theatres or sitting in front of the Tele Vision watching soap-opera, playing cards and so on! If half of that time is spent on social service and learning some new Vidya, I am sure that the individual and the society will be better off and the particular line of Vidya will also get brighter! You may ask me a counter question as to why we the persevering, hardworking proletariat be denied some entertainment. “Do not we deserve the diversion?” If you sincerely get started with practicing some such Vidya, let me tell you, that it will be the best diversion! For your tired minds, that will instil enthusiasm and perk you up. I am not telling you to spend all your spare time on such things but only some fraction of it. You analyse yourself and evaluate as to what is the time you are usefully spending or wasting. Then out of that a portion may be spent on the sort of pursuits that I am recommending that is one of these Vidyas of our ancestors!
557. Having taken birth as a human being, if we do not make use of the sixth sense that is not to be found in just animals then, it is as good as wasting of a human life! For the animals it is no discredit to die as an animal as it is their Dharma. Nature has endowed us with a superior intelligence capable of logical inference. If we do not make use of it to raise and refine ourselves with the shining knowledge of one of these Vidyas, it will be tantamount to misuse of our endowment. We can discard all this for only one thing and that is attaining to clarity of comprehension and understanding of our very existence! Anything short of it is just not worth it. Not to try to ennoble oneself and simply ask the question as to why do all this is a lazy man’s excuse!
558. When Everybody Was a Vidwaan! When you look at some of the inscriptions about the proceeding of the meeting of village elders’ known as Maha Sabha Saasanam-s, you will find a phrase, ‘asesha vidwat janaa:’, which means, ‘all those learneds without any exception’! You will find such a phrase in this Matam’s official letters also. It is indicative of the fact that amongst all the assembled, all had expertise in some subject or the other. This is not an exaggeration at all. Though many of the non-brahmins may not have gone to school, they were the authorities in their own line of carpentry, agriculture, sculpture, pottery, fishery, music, dance, drama, playing on the flute or mrudang or some such thing! If you take Brahmins, mostly they were experts in at least two Vedas as Dwivedis! The Gurus of the Peetams were also omniscient experts in siddhantas like being worthy of titles such as Sarvagna or Sarvabhouma. They were like lions in their own field of expertise, to be feared and admired! These days when I ask some Pundit to explain the meaning of a word or padam in some portion of the Veda which may not be very clear to me say, his reply is, “I will check up the Bhashyam and tell you!” Me as the head of this Peetam and him as the Vidwaan both are typical of the modern age!
559. So you can consider as a self interest from my side that if you are all knowledgeable, I will be under some compulsion to keep up to it in my level of awareness and knowledge. As I said earlier, the standard of the students do decide the standard of the teacher too! If you are all very sharp and well informed, I better be on my toes! Otherwise, if I look at askance when you have a doubt, it will be pathetic, is it not so? So it works both ways. It is your responsibility to keep the Guru on the hop! If the Guru has to be clear about his knowledge of the Saastraas, it is the responsibility of the followers of the Matam to keep him sharp.
560. Way of Life and Age is no Bar! “Somehow we have lived our life so far. Suddenly if you say that we have to study the scriptures or learn an Art or Science, how can it be done? Is not there an age for learning? Is there not a saying that, ‘what cannot be bent at five cannot anyhow be bent at fifty?’” I agree with you that there is an age for learning and that there is a learning season in one’s life. But, if you have the feeling of inadequacy that despite being a citizen of this country, you are ignorant of any of its Vidyas, then there is always a chance that you could pick up anything at any age! The very process of learning some new Vidya will give you the bubbling urge and keenness of the youth, with its own inexorable logic!
561. If you have lived life in some manner because of which you may not be able to learn something new, then it is evidently the wrong way! Let us at least now follow the path that should have been ours, namely one of readiness to learn ever new things! Instead of asking ‘will it bend at fifty’, let us take it as a challenge that the proverb is meant to be taken as an affront! There have been many who have proved this point like Helen Keller, Nelson Mandela and Stephen Hawking! For example, recently there was this Professor Sundar Rama Iyer. He studied Saastraas only after crossing 50. Then in the Vidwat Sabha meetings, held when the Matam was located in Kumbakonam, attended by very knowledgeable expert pundits with years of authority and expertise, he would surprise all with his erudition of understanding of the import of the Saastraas! So, we have to endeavour to not only create a fresh crop of disciples but also try our level best to find our way back to Brhma Vidya through practicing at least one of the Saastraas or Arts!
562. Not the Government; People and Disciples Have the Onus. In the times gone by, even the Kings were great Pundits. So the King’s council used to be full of knowledgeable experts. The Kings used to honour the learned Masters with gifts, presents and endowments. Thus they used to nurture growth of Arts, Crafts and Sciences. Now it is needless for me to comment as to how with the formation of Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs Ministry and so on, only some face saving gestures are being made! Otherwise in such a big country with the population crossing 100 Crores, honouring some ten Pundits; giving some grants to two or three schools on the name of promotion of Sanskrit; one or two Chairs being formed in one or two Universities; conducting festival in the name of Village Arts for three or four days; are all only sops. Nobody is really interested except for promoting some kith and kin! Then when it comes to giving speeches about projecting the image of the country to foreigners, they are all ready. In doing all this we are not to talk about God, as we are a secular democracy! Any references to Rama and Krishna or Nataraja are supposed to be only as mythological figures! There is no meaning in cribbing about it. We should not expect anything better from the Governments either, whether it is Centre or State!
(To be continued.)



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