Saturday, September 11, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 70 (Vol #4) Dated 11 Sep 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 70 (Vol #4) Dated 11 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 379 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.}
571. Normally everywhere the property rights goes from father to son. In Kerala it goes down through the maternal route. (KTSV adds that he had noticed that similar is the case in Meghalaya amongst the tribals of Khasis. There not only do the assets are endowed to the women of the family, but also all decisions are taken with the approval of the girls and that too the youngest. Similarly in Andhra Pradesh I have noticed that the parents do Namaskar physically to the daughters and consult them and take their advice for all decisions in the family especially amongst the Yadava community. Among the Bhutias the Hindu/Buddhist tribals of the Himalayan Mountains, to get a girl in marriage, the groom has to present so many ‘Chori Gaays’ to the girl’s father! ‘Chori Gaays’ are the cattle of Yaks, which are like financial assets. You get milk, cheese and wool when they are alive. When the Yaks die the skin is used as dress material for making cover all like an overcoat, which protects them during extreme cold climate of winter months. The meat is cut and hung over the everlasting fire in the middle of the hut. So they get somewhat heated and smoked. This is cut in to pieces and carried in the pockets of their overcoats, wherever they go. While out of the house grazing the cattle, they will be out for the whole day or at times even for a couple of days. They will keep these pieces of meat and cheese in either of their pockets which they will keep munching! So, you can imagine that to make a gift of so many cattle is a big prize for getting a girl in marriage! But she will become a major work force in the new household! These are the regional ways of countering the male chauvinism of the societies I suppose. In Kerala, the system is slightly different, which PeriyavaaL explains.)
572. So, in Kerala the property goes to the Mother. Anyhow as a keeper of the house, she will not be able to manage the property herself. So, on her behalf it is her brothers who take care. When that elder or younger brother dies, it will devolve to the daughter on whose behalf her brothers will act as the managers. So the ladies retain the power while management is that of Mama / Uncle to Marumagan / Nephew and the process continues. This is known as the ‘Marumakka Daaya Murai’! Daayam is a Sanskrit word. This means the right on property. Those who have such property rights are known as ‘Daayaadis’, by tradition.
573. In the Kodungalur area many of these Rajas were Kings by such relationships. Though they were all Raja by name they were all average middle class or even poorer. In our place if only the poorest had ‘Kanji’ that is thin gruel as the meal, there these Rajas had it as the main and only course! At least our poor people had a mud pot as the utensil; those Rajas did not even have that! They had to make do with the leaves of the Jack fruit tree plentifully available in Kerala. Though so poor materially, in their knowledge of the Saastraas, they were all past masters! When I say this I am not exaggerating but telling you the truth. Not only the men folk but the ladies too had expertise in some art or the other. Though they did not make any effort to earn name and fame, some names did become widely known to the outside world. Actually one of these Rajas was famous enough to get the title of ‘Maha Mahopadyaya’ from the British. I would recommend that these poor Rajas who were so great in knowledge of the Saastraas, should be taken as an ideal to be emulated by all with an interest in this line!
574. I had visited this place in Kerala prior to 1930. After another 40 years, I came across a similar place, this time in Andhra Pradesh! It was not spread over the whole village or township as before. But the family was big enough in which each of the members were experts in some Vidya or the other! It was both surprising and satisfying to come across a whole family so motivated and so well qualified! They were known as ‘Hari Sodarulu’ or ‘Hari Brothers’! There were five brothers from Eappur near Tenali. I met them in their house in Vijayawada. The elder was known as Hari Venkatasubbhaiya. He had four younger brothers. They had all specialized in Vedas, Veda Bhashyam, Smruthies and PuraNas. They had published books connecting the subjects of their studies. Not only that, they had taught all that they knew to their children. Their children are all taught Sanskrit from age five. It was immensely pleasing to hear their children of varying ages conversing fluently in Sanskrit!
575. In olden times without any let, people were all well educated and knowledgeable including the women folks. There are stories of some visiting Vidwaan spending the night prior to a debate, running away after listening to the house-maid speaking fluent logic in chaste Sanskrit, as he realized that the level of education in that village must be very high! In another story, the visiting expert gets disheartened listening to the domestic parrots conversing among themselves! These we hear only in stories. But for once I could experience such overall high standard of learning in a whole family!
576. If such erudite scholars consider their learning as a loving offering to the divinity of God, without any expectations of worldly gains, on the one hand their Vidya will shine and I am sure that they will not be let down even otherwise! There have been many like that. It is not that only Thyagaraja Swami as the supreme devotee of Sri Rama never bothered about name, fame or royal recognition. There have been many such people who had different priorities! For an artist more than money, it is the name and fame which are difficult to do without. When we think that we have brains and have had the opportunity to gain proficiency in some field, immediately we look for recognition, appreciation, awards and doctorate. This is how ‘Vidya Garvam’ affects us. Then we start thinking that this world does not deserve our brilliance! So, the need is that as we aspire for knowledge, we should persevere to become ‘vinaya sampanna’, a repository of humility!
577. When I say that Pundits should not run after name and fame, I do not mean that they should essentially be poor and should not be given recognition and kept under the blanket of poverty and penury. I was talking about what their attitude should be! But it does not mean that such should be the society’s look out too. Wherever we see them it is our duty to support them in whatever way we can. Each one of us should sacrifice some time or resource to take good care of such capability, knowledge and mastery! It is our job to see to it that they are looked after and their ability and mastery is well transferred to the children of the next generation!
(To be continued.)



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