Saturday, November 12, 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 81 (Vol # 5) Dated 12 Nov 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 81 (Vol # 5) Dated 12 Nov 2011

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavaaL of Kanchi Kaamakoti 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 No 486 of Vol 5 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)
303. In both exporting and importing, it is the attitude that is important. You may export anything any amount. It has to be done without creating a local scarcity on the one hand and on the other hand the attitude should not be one of ‘let the country that imports our goods go to dogs’! It is wrong to think that however much the artisans and craftsmen in that country may suffer it is of no concern to us! Countries like India and China are capable of producing all their requirements from within their country. If they do not import, the countries which are dependent only on import for many of their needs, are bound to suffer. So, we cannot be too overly strict in being self sufficient. So after that, though I decided to use only Khaddar and not to make use of mill clothes at all, I started going slow on telling others to use only Khaddar.
304. What I came to say was that, while it is true that our industries should not suffer and our wealth should not be frittered for people of other countries to make undue gains, towards which if we take some measures, somebody else suffers as a result of it! Not only people of other nations, within India too handloom and other textile industries suffer if we give too much attention to Khaddar! If you give support to labour intensive handicraft industries, machine intensive industries suffer and vice versa. So many legislations have been enacted with some good intention to help out some sector only isn’t it? Has anyone of them been passed without objection from some other sector? You take any policy matter, somebody or the other is ready to do walk-out or demonstration or hartaal against it, isn’t it? What does it mean? It means that however good a plan, it is going to hurt some set of people or the other!
305. All the political parties have come into being only for the good of people. Why only political parties, all the religions of the world have been founded with very noble intentions only. But political parties are always fighting each other and religions are always at logger heads! Whose side is correct and whose is wrong? In the social arena starting from individual selfishness, it takes many forms as nepotism, parochialism, regionalism, racism and even nationalism as against internationalism, leading to so many splinter parties. If nothing else, for some assumed insult to a mother tongue, people are ready to take cudgels! Similarly in the spiritual field too, since nobody is able to see eye to eye with anybody else’s point of view, there are so many religions. Even when they may personally appreciate some of the noble principles and viewpoints of other parties or religions, ‘n’ number of things come in the way of openly accepting the same for reasons of ego, hegemony, loss of face and or likely objections from other members of one’s own party or religion! So objections, fight and confrontations seem to be the only alternatives. If you do something good for some deeply religious lot of people, the reformists object. If you make it convenient for the reformist, the others call it irreligious, saying that the Rishis will curse or even God himself will punish. If you try and facilitate one language, some other language is found to be on the decline, at least in some people’s minds. If you help the farm labour, land owners are feeling the pinch somehow. A part of the society has been considered as backward caste (B.C) and others forward, and you know the misuse, abuse and chaos it has led to! There is not a single thing on which all the people are united and are of one mind that it is good for all universally. At the least there are some ten or five percent who bear the brunt of some deleterious effect!
306. There is no better project than construction of a temple. Even in that sort of a job huge mighty rocks when they are transported, unloaded, erected, chiselled, smoothened and placed on high walls or on top of huge edifices, many injuries and accidents could take place. The whole country side gets in a festival mood for ‘Ratha Utsavam’ which happens once a year, with millions of people virtually milling around! (Rath representing horse driven chariots of yester years, is a behemoth of a structure made of wood reinforced by steel and iron scantlings or girders. It has two wheels of some 10 or 15 feet diameter. The whole structure may be 100 to 150 feet tall and weigh some 100 tons. On the day of the festival the Idol of the local temple is placed on it and thousands of people pull the Rath by two huge chains extending from the Rath on either side, pulling it along the four main roads in a circum ambulation around the temple.) In all that high excitement there will at least be one Mr. Character who will find it convenient to come under the wheels of the Rath, and be crushed to death!
307. Even construction of a temple may not be acceptable to all people these days! Let alone people from other religions, from your own religion there may be some who are likely to opine, “Why construct one more temple? Are the existing ones not enough? Actually we should be destroying some of the existing ones!” Construction of hospitals and schools are the only things universally acceptable nowadays, it seems! Yes, to remove bodily discomforts and to give education to youngsters are certainly welcome. But on the one hand such organisations are tending to be money spinning machines and on the other are proving to be avenues for spreading their own religions with missionary zeal. There could be a criminally minded somebody who may be lying quietly all by himself in some corner. By making him hale and hearty, you may be energising all his capacities for mischief that he may become a health hazard for many! Similarly the unread urchin may earn his livelihood by some manual labour. With an idea of enlightening him you try and give him education that he may develop into a perverted genius with a penchant for forgery and false witness! I am not focussing on the negative aspects leaving aside the good side of our endeavours. I am not saying that there are more possibilities for the wrong and evil side to every issue. I said ten or five percent possibilities are there for things to go wrong, may be even less. But the point I am making is that, any work, however noble the intention, runs the risk of inbuilt deterioration and corruption.
308. Think of it, as to how many times we ended up feeling bad about the unbridgeable gap between noble intentions and not so noble outcomes! The whole country or even the whole world heaped so much of encomiums of praise on Mahatma Gandhi for having struggled to achieve the Independence for India. But he was assassinated within six months of that Independence. Not only that, he had to endure the agony of partition of his beloved nation with resultant enormously massive transmigration with untold miseries that was forced on innocent millions! Looking at the uncontrollable mass fury, he must have cursed himself for having obtained the independence! Within those five to six months, for many of the unacceptably despicable behaviour of the people he loved so much, that he had to undertake fasting as self inflicted punishment to himself repeatedly! This is a classic example of how good intentions can go awfully wrong in action! There is an adage in Tamil which says, ‘kiNaru vetta bhootham purppattadu’, meaning, ‘the intention was to dig a well for water and what came out was a ghost’!
309. Another proverb. We try and do something to solve a problem. Temporarily it looks as though the problem is solved. But as time goes by, from the solution of the problem, there are many more problems that are spun off! The medicine administered to cure one disease causes a more serious disease, as the proverb says, ‘Remedy worse than disease’! Looking at all this, I am only coming back to my point that ‘to be quiet without doing anything is the best’! Actually there is another proverb which says, ‘summa irunda sangai oodik keduthaanaam Aandi’, meaning, ‘there was this shell lying undisturbed and the beggar who was passing by picked it up and blew on it reviving the ogre inside!’
310. Why talk about anything else? Let me give you an example from my own experience in the Matam. In some place where our camp was located some miles from the nearest township, on the last day of our stay there, we had organised ‘Anna Daanam’ (free food). Many poor people attended and ate to their fill. One whole bag of rice of some 100 kilos had been cooked with a variety of side dishes of vegetables and lentils. Not a drop was left in balance. It was very satisfying to see so many happy faces. What satisfaction? It was only our own pride and ego that made us feel, ‘see what a good thing we have done’ sort of a feeling. All the utensils had been washed and were being loaded in the trucks. As we were about to start our journey some women and children, may be numbering some 15 to 20 people landed up. They must have heard about the Anna Daanam late. Despite the heat of the day, they must have come all the way virtually running! As luck would have it, we did not have even dry rations left, as we do not keep huge stocks and the idea was to use up everything before going to the next village or township! The camp was also located slightly away from the township that to go and fetch some dry rations would have taken hours. Their disappointment was very tangible. Our satisfaction in catering for a thousand guests evaporated by our inability to satisfy the hunger of these few! We gave them some fruits and things like that with some cash. But the situation was almost painful to bear. If a thousand people have eaten, there is no reason to feel proud. Are we feeding them every day? Did we take care of them all these days? Are we going to feed them tomorrow? Somehow the world goes on, isn’t it? Because we announced that we are giving Anna Daanam, these people leaving their normal modes of satisfying their hunger have come running so many miles in this scorching heat! So at the end what is the balance? Have we ended up satisfying people or hurting people? Out of all giving, Anna Daanam that is giving food is considered as the highest! Even in that with all the good some awful problems do arise! That is what I meant to point out.
(To be continued.)



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