Saturday, September 27, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 101 (of Vol 2) dt 21 April 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 101 (of Vol 2) dt 21 April 2008

(Continued from Deivathin Kural # 100 (of Vol 2) dt 19 April 2008, under the Heading, Dharma Sastram [Smruti].)

30. We were about to consider how Mahakavi Kalidasa has talked about Smruties in ‘Raghu Vamsam’. We were talking about how Sri Rama got his name ‘Raghava’, from his great grand father’s name of Raghu. Raghu’s father was Dilipa. For long he was issueless. He went to his family Guru, Vasishta. Dilipa told Vasishta, “ Swami! You know that I am without a progeny. For my family to continue, You have to bless me suitably.” In Vasishta’s posession, there was a cow, known as Nandini, an off spring of the famous Kamadenu. He gave Nandini to Dilipa the King, with instructions to take care of the animal personally. The King was thus given a shepherd’s job and he accepted it in all humility! That is indicative of the reverence with which the Guru’s words are received!

31. From that day, the King Dilipa was functioning as a shepherd. He would take the Nandini to the forest for grazing. During the day at a suitable river or pond, he would give it a bath while rubbing its body vigorously. To protect the animal from all types of dangers, he carried a bow and arrows. Thus he attended to all the aspects of the animal’s creature comforts. He virtually was like a shadow for that animal, in that, he would stand when it does; lie down when it does; stand, walk or run when the animal does! Kalidasa says, “…chaya eva taam bhupathir anvagachchat! ...”, in Sanskrit.

32. When thus, Dilipa was taking care of the cow Nandini, Dilipa’s wife Sudakshina, would follow both of them for some distance every morning, on their way to the forest. Having seen them off some distance, as an abiding well behaved wife, reluctantly she would get back to the house and await their return till the evening. Once his job was over as a shepherd, she would take care of him, as he would be tired after a hard day’s work! She in turn was now like his shadow.

33. At the time of Sita’s marriage, Janaka, her father described the ‘Pativrata Dharmam’ of a devotedly faithful wife, in similar terms. He told Rama, “Sita my child will follow you like your own shadow!” He said, “chayeva anugata”. This comes in Valmiki Ramayana. Kalidasa too describes the entire Dynasty from Raghu to Rama and goes on to describe Lava and Kusa too. Though his aim was to talk about the story of Rama, he covers the entire dynasty from Raghu and called his ‘magnum opus’, ‘Raghu Vamsam’. In it, while talking about how Sudakshina was following Dilipa proceeding to graze the cow Nandini, he happens to talk about how the Rishis made the Smruties. His intention was not to talk about the Vedas and Smruties, per se! His aim was to describe the intensity of the follower, in the act of following.

34. He is describing as to how Sudakshina was walking behind the cow Nandini. Nandini is walking ahead. Focusing her attention with her eyes fixed on the hooves of the cow, she followed the cow for some distance. By the hooves of the cow, the dust on the mud road is kicked up. That dust is holy and venerable. Looking only at the dust thus kicked up, Sudakshina is following. More than other capabilities of his, Kalidasa is famous for the use of ‘Upama’ or ‘comparison with apt example’, leading to the epithet, “…upama kalidasasya…” It is here that he says that the way Sudakshina was following on the foot falls of Nandini , identifying it by the dust kicked up, with the manner Smruties follow the Vedas by their meaning! I Quote the Sanskrit slokam: - “tasya: kuranyasa pavithra paamsum apaamsulanam dhuri keerthaneeya l Maargammanushyeshwa ra dharma patni srutherivaartham smruthir anva gachchat ll

35. ‘pamsu’ means dust. ‘kuranyasa’ means by the fall of the hooves. The dust is ‘pavitra’ or holy. As it is the dust of the cow’s feet are considered as holy. This cow is the daughter of the famous ‘Kamadenu’ further adding to its sanctity. The lady Sudakshina, who is the recipient of that holy dust, is of a character devoid of any smudge. ‘apamsulanam dhuri keertaneeya’, that spotless, blameless Sudakshina, was following those holy dust of the Nandini’s hooves; as Smruties have been evolved by the great Rishis, following strictly the meaning of the words of the Vedas! ‘srutherivartham smruthir anvagachchat’. ‘anvagachchat’, she followed, ‘as Smruties follow the verbatim meaning of ‘sruti’, that is the Vedas! She went only some distance behind the Nandini. Exactly similarly, Smruties do not repeat all that is said in the Vedas. They are only notations from memory, but without missing any of the steps of the Vedas and their meaning! They do not repeat all the Mantras of the Vedas, but talk about their application and procedures. There is a ‘lakshana’ or qualification where we use the ‘Upama’ in literature. The example quoted is always more apt to the point of description. When you compare the beauty of the face to the moon or lotus flower, moon and lotus flower should be more beautiful in reality! Similarly here, Sudakshina is pure and totally devoted. She is closely following the footsteps of the cow for a short distance. It is as devotedly as the Smruties are following the Vedas. When Kalidasa says so, it means that, the fact of Smruties being a close follow-up of Vedas, do not require any more proof.

36. Sruti-Smruti; Sroutam-Smartam. To differentiate between Sruti and Smruti is not done. Sruti, Smruti and Puranam, are all from the same tradition. A song adoring Adi Sankara calls him the ‘temple’ of this trio, “…sruti smruti puraananaam aalayam karunaalayam, namaami bhaghavat paada sankaram loka sankaram!...”. They are different entities but, complimenting each other, as they are meant to be. His followers are called the ‘Smartas’. He came into being so as to re-establish the Vaidik ways. His followers are Smartas. This means automatically that Vedas and Smruties are but one. Some of the Karmas as given in the Vedas directly, we call them ‘Veda Karmas or Srouta Karmas’. The other anushtanas as given in the Smruties, we call them, ‘Smarta Karmas’. The classification does not mean any difference in the level of importance whatsoever!

37. Oupasanam, Srardham, Bhaga-Yagnas are all Smarta Karmas. They are not to be considered as higher and lower in importance. Puranas give Veda Dharmas in the form of stories and anecdotes. Smruties give them as procedural instructions. Vedas were intuitively perceived by great Rishis, in their inner self. They are not their cerebral exercises. It is said, “…srutim pasyanthi munaya:…”. The Rishis see the Vedas. What they saw or perceived was then, brought to memory or remembered and became Smruties. Vedas’ coming into being is a natural occurrence. From that, what was recollected from memory became Smruties.

38. Nyaya Sastram gives a lakshanam to Smruti in these words, “samskara janyam gnanam smruti:”. The word ‘samskaram’ can be interpreted in two ways. One is ‘to make good’ or refinement. The second is the indelible impression in the DNA of the genes, by generations of good actions or Karmas. Here, samskaram has also been defined by the word, ‘ateendriyam’, to mean a sense beyond the sensory perception! So the experience of the Vedas and the impression of ‘déjà vu’ when expressed verbally became Smruties. The point is that, memory does not get triggered without a real experience or ‘anubhava’ sometime in the past. So the basis of Smruti is Vedas only. As Puranas fill in the gaps for what is left uncovered in Mahapuranas and Itihasa, Smartam fills in the gaps of what is not covered in the Sroutam. So they are both equally authoritative.

39. Samskaram. I used the word Samskaram and gave the two very close meanings, in the above paragraph. The best refinement is to. take us closer to God. In that process, there are supposed to be 40 different Samskaras, in life of an individual. Let us get to know these in more detail in the next e-mail!



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