Sunday, January 22, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 116 (Vol # 5) Dated 22 Jan 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 116 (Vol # 5) Dated 22 Jan 2012

(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 middle of page No 718 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)
645. When I said that Tamilians are too fond of their comforts, I meant only the pulse-eating-brahmins and not the non-brahmins! (PeriyavaaL smiles while saying this.) Others are very hard working capable of high levels of tolerance. They knew all the tricks of agriculture and capable of doing aggressive marketing of their produce. So it was the Tamil non-brahmins who populated Kerala in a big way and started planting and cultivation of Black-Pepper, Oak trees, Coconut, Sandal Wood and a variety of Spices in a big way, making use of the plentiful water supply. Then fish was available both from the seas and a number of rivers, rivulets and ponds. Life was plentiful and satisfying. The Chera Kings were all of Tamil origin only for long. So, a parallel civilization came into being as in Tamil Nadu. As the majority was Tamils, others also spoke the same language. All this happened even before the historical times till Sozha, Chera and Pandya dynasties were alternately predominant at various times. When others from the East went there some Brahmins also must have migrated to Kerala due to divine interest as many temples and temple towns came into being in that land. Parasurama himself created some of them. Initially there was a restriction against immigration as imposed by Parasurama which got diluted over time. Anyhow he himself went incognito, not seen by anybody and after that some Brahmins from the mainland could have gone on visiting the religiously important temple towns and settled there.
646. Historically recorded period starts around Asoka’s time. In his Saasanam inscribed on stone slabs, about places where he spread his views on peaceful co-existence, there is mention of Kerala also along with other places of India. This is proof of the fact that there was civilised social life in that part of the country already. It was part of Chera Kingdom and Tamil was the language there. Silappadigaram a Tamil classic literature is from that land only. Cheramaan PerumaaL Naayanaar, who sang the Tamil divine songs of Thirumarais as part of Saiva Thevaram collections was a King in Kerala. So also Kula Sekhara PerumaaL, who sang the poems as part of the Vaishnava’s Nalayira Divya Prabhandam collections in Tamil was a King in Kerala. Therefore our AachaaryaaL also in his time must have spoken Tamil. All Brahmins those days must have been well read. There could not have been any Brahmin who had not done Adhyayanam and knowledgeable in Tamil and Sanskrit. Within themselves they must have spoken in Sanskrit and with others used the Tamil language.
647. Though our AachaaryaaL came down to the Earth as an Avatara for rekindling and rejuvenating the Sanaatana Dharma and did his all for re-establishing it on very strong footings, with the passage of time there was deterioration set in once again! In that flow of events, suitably misusing some of the traditions introduced by Parasurama, other than the first son of the families even amongst Namboodri Brahmins, started resorting to marriages with women of other castes. When such relationships were created, a mix of Sanskrit and Tamil did come about, which could have been the seeds of for a new language to sprout. By this intermingling causing some dilution of standards of austerity, some good by-products were also there. By this, in Kerala all castes became knowledgeable in Saastras and Puranas. The education standards did improve especially fluency in use of Sanskrit words. For example more than any other part of India, taking a bath early in the morning and visiting the nearby temple wearing clean clothes with much noticeable devotion and piety is the practice by people of all castes in Kerala.
648. I do not for a moment wish to say that non-brahmins are uneducated, unclean and things like that at all. Due to the type of work that they have to do especially the proletariat, cannot afford to care for cleanliness so much. Whether a factory worker or involved in agriculture or in the job of clearing the garbage, they just cannot be too finicky about cleanliness as a Brahmin is required to be in his duty! Then if you take any of the craftsmen, their children learn their trade from childhood from their elders, whether it is carpentry or masonry, separating and spinning the silk thread or sculpting a stone in to shape! Going to school would be a double unaffordable loss as it would mean, missing on the job training and being coached by one’s grandfather / father / uncle, and loss of cheap labour. So generally they would send one of the children to school so that he could act as the in house accountant, manager and correspondent, while others would be given on-the-job-training! Since such people contribute substantially to the well being of the society, the very Saastraas have been liberal in the standards of cleanliness expected of them and in their case Adhyayanam is also not a requirement. Still, the fact that in Kerala the standards of education, knowledge of the Saastraas and Do’s and Don’ts of the Sanatana Dharma, are way ahead of the rest of the country; indicates the apparent effect of the brahmin influence.
649. Though it was not an island all by itself, when it was not so well connected by means of transportation, Kerala was having certain benefits of inaccessibility and isolation from the Mainland, unaffected by some of the social irreligious tendencies! So, when a typical local lingo, developed into a full-fledged language by its own right, all people of Kerala accepted it with pride as their mother tongue. This is how the language Malayalam came into being. Having spoken so much about the story of Malayalam let me tell you the balance also. After Malayalam had become well established, for some reasons some brahmins from Tamil Nadu migrated there and settled closer to the Tamil Nadu instead of going deep inside Kerala. Some shifted from the area of Coimbatore to Palghat and settled near Pallasena. Others from Tenkasi through Sengotta went near Trivandrum. Their Tamil is another version with a scattering of Malayalam in pronunciation.
650. When I said that Kerala developed with its own culture unaffected by the happenings in the Mainland, you should not think that it was totally isolated and that its culture was alien to that in the Mainland. The Vedic culture is the culture of what is India. Like a main river in which a number of tributaries come and join, many flows such the different cultures of Kashmir, Punjab, Central India, Rajasthan, Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu joined to make what is the Indian Vedic culture. To give yet another example, if you think of Indian culture as a tree, these were its branches and the roots were the Vedic one. So when Parasurama settled brahmin-s from Tamil Nadu as the original citizens, he ensured that Indian Vedas, Puranas, Temples, Yagnas, Vratam-s such as for Shivaratri, Ekadasi, and Somavaaram; Karma Anushtaanaas, Adhyayanam, Adhyapakam, chanting of Veda mantras and establishment of Veda Patashaalaas were all brought in. So, even when elsewhere in India these were not being observed or becoming subdued, with the expanding influence of Buddhism and Jainism (Muslims followed by Britishers were to come much later), in Kerala these were more assiduously being observed. So, it was in the rightness of things that our AachaaryaaL’s Avatara also took place there.
651. Later, things happened topsy turvy, trending in the opposite way and I must mention that also. Since the whole of the eastern border of Kerala was the range of mountains, it was not much affected by the upheavals that occurred in the Mainland India alright. But what was in the west of Kerala? It was all the Arabian Sea. So with the thriving trade of Black Pepper, Cardamom, Sandal Wood, Oak timber and Ivory, there was also in influx of traders and visitors from the west and they started settling there. For many Jews, Christians and Muslims, Kerala became the Mother Land! Though unaffected by the changes in the mainland, they ended up accommodating all and sundry! Anyhow, all this is part of the side effects of our own culture which believes in ‘Atiti Devo Bhava’!
652. Let me tell you one more surprising thing. Though the people of Kerala accepted foreign religions, when it comes to Hinduism, after our AachaaryaaL, they did not accept the other Sampradaaya-s of Vaishnavas and Madhvas. Do we not see that even in Padmanaabha Swami Temple or Guruvayoorappan Temple they do not have Vaishnava Bhatta-s, but only Namboodri brahmin-s including in Sabarimala Aiyappa Temple. This can only be considered as their devotion to our AachaaryaaL who took Avatara there, after searching for a suitable place in the whole of India.
653. In recent times with the laying of roads and rail communications to and fro between Kerala and rest of the country and advanced education available all over, the somewhat secluded society of Kerala has started spreading all over the country as well become more international. In every foreign country today among expatriate Indians, Keralites form a major chunk. Without standing on prestige, they are ready to go anywhere and do any sort of work and thus have proved to be as industrious and ubiquitous as the Sardarjis of Punjab, making their presence felt in every nook and corner of the world! People from that part of the country where our AachaaryaaL was born are leading in literacy, today in the whole of India! There are still those in Kerala who are assiduously safe guarding our oldest religious traditions of Sanaatana Dharma on the one hand and on the other, it was there that ‘Aalaya Pravesam’ was done for the first time (entering of the temple by those not traditionally permitted from times of yore) and the first communist Government was installed democratically!
(To be continued.)



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