Saturday, September 25, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 77 (Vol #4) Dated 25 Sep 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 77 (Vol #4) Dated 25 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 last para on page number 419 of Vol 4 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that here in 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated constantly)
44. Other authoritative scriptures such as Artha Saastram and Sukra Needhi were mainly centred on economics, diplomacy and politics; were still mostly amenable and complimentary to the Dharma Saastra. For convenience of practicality, in some areas they do deviate from the constraints of Dharma ever so slightly. But even here they are not to go against the directions of Dharma in their basic effect on the situation. Dharma Saastra which is one of the four Saastraas amongst the 14 Vidyas of the Veda will still hold the place of authority of primary importance when there is an apparent conflict between applicability of the Saastraas. The Kings of Tamil Nadu took pride in claiming to have implicitly followed the Manu Needhi and not Artha Saastraa!
45. What I mean to say is that, at the time of the rule by the Tamil Kings, it was not that once an order was passed it was draconian that cannot be amended, nor was it that the rules could be amended to suit the whims and fancies of the people in power, at the drop of a hat! Basically it was that, the Dharma Saastraas’ rules had to be kept intact. When the very tree of governance was having the Dharma Saastraas as the root; it had to be protected. Whatever changes that were brought in had to be without any deleterious effect on the root! When required some pruning was done by these amendments at the branches and not at the root! That is how the third qualification of the aspirants for election was revised.
46. Knowledge of the Saastraas and Work Efficiency. The fourth of the qualitative requirements: The aspirants had to be learned enough to know as to what is Vedic Dharma and know about our Saastraas. Along with that they should also be practically capable of managing things. The wordings in the edict are as follows: - “vedattilum saastrattilum kaaryattilum nipuNar”. The next requirement is very important. The fifth qualitative requirement says that their wealth should not have been ill begotten! This is like a moral fencing around material wealth, that the future holders of membership in the Sabhas which are going to run the administrative show be incorruptible. Then only they can even stand for election for becoming a member! The wordings are: - “artha suddhamum aatma suddhamum udaiyaar”.
47. This election is yearly. Member this year cannot expect to be a member the next year also. Actually he is not permitted to be a member for the next three years. The wordings of the edict reads: - “moovaandin ippuram vaariyam seidilaadaar”! Evidently this is to ensure that the members are not enabled to gain any untoward advantages accruing due to their own actions or decisions as a member. So you could be elected any number of times to this membership as long as there are clear three years gap between each time. Automatically you are prevented from spreading your influence and getting the roots of corruption firmly established.
48. The next condition is also complimentary to the fifth and sixth conditions. It says that the new members should not be close relatives of those who have been a member in the past! The wordings of the edict are as under: - “vaariyam seidu ozhiththa peru makkaLukku aatma bandukkaL allaadaar”. Now let us look more closely at these conditions of requirements.
49. First the aspiring contender has to have at least a ‘kaal veli nilam’, that is some quarter acre of land say! He should be having a constructed house on that land and paying ‘theervai’, meaning a land or property tax. You may feel that when there is land, there must be tax. But that is not necessarily so. Brahmins and some poor craftsmen were normally donated land by the king and such lands were not taxed. To be a member of the Sabha, the aspirant has to own land for which he should be paying tax, is the rule!
50. Ideal and Practical. You may question the logic of this ruling on the grounds as to why a poor man should not be permitted to stand for election? This argument may be ideal but not practical as per the views of our ancestors. Anyhow, you will agree that a poor man should be utilizing his time in eking out a living and not wasting it on analysis and discussions of administrative and legal matters! The Dharma Saastraas are ideal but practical. Otherwise if you let anybody and everybody become members of these Sabhas, it is likely to be an exercise in futility and hypocrisy! That is the reason why, the Saastraas have divided the society into so many VarNas and Ashramas, with their Aachaaraas, duties and appointed roles to be played. That is how the ideal has been tightened for some and loosened for some others. This does not mean that ideals have been compromised, but only made practical. That is, without bringing down the high ideals, raise human capacity step by step to obviate and avoid human foibles successively thereby fetching one to the level of the ideal! This is the way in all walks of life applicable to all people. Since politics is concerned about daily changes, practicality has to be more down to earth, amenable to human psychology. That is how the rules were made and the people making the rules were controlled! The Sozha system is a clear evidence of this statement.
51. In the times of Sozha Kings that we are referring to, politics was not totally divorced from religion as is being done nowadays. Even my talking as though Dharma and Divinity are two different things is an error! Nothing in life can ever be considered in isolation without connecting to God! Let alone politics, we cannot even breath or utter a word without that divine sanction and blessings. To talk about morality sans divinity is simply insincere and pompous rhetoric!
52. Those Rishis of yore who understood God and God’s ways and methods, devised these Saastraas. If we think of ourselves as too smart setting aside the Saastraas as superfluous or unnecessary from politics, we will only end up deifying the market forces and such nebulous concepts leading to chaos! The political ideologies of the west and the communist bloc of countries, all suffer from the same fallacy.
53. During the Muslim and British Rule. Before the Britishers, many areas of this country were under Muslim rule. They were a mix of Turks and Moguls, who came in as herds of marauders. But once having attained the power, they settled down to establish fairly stable rule of law, leading to inevitable mixing of the cultures in the bargain! The Muslim rulers had much devotion to their religious beliefs. Like us they had the Shariat which was something like the Dharma Saastraas only. But their aims being one of destroying Indian Hindu culture and Aachaaraas, there was wide scale desecration of temples and historical monuments, going hand in hand with large scale forcible conversions of Hindus into their religion. So the governance was anti-Vedic in more ways than one! However I must mention two mitigating developments. Though there were forcible conversions in to their religion, not all the Sultans were so interested. Actually some of them even tried to prove themselves to be benign rulers of all. So wherever forcible conversion was not the main agenda, they let the Hindus to sort out most of their problems through Jaati NaattaaNmai! To that extent, our ancestral procedures continued to be applied. Jaati NaattaaNmai system worked even better as people basically wished not to escalate and go outside the community to settle their differences! The second point was that the Muslim rulers did not thrust their rules and laws of Shariat on the Hindu population in general.
(To be continued.)



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