Saturday, September 27, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 119 (of Vol 2) Dated 13 June 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 119 (of Vol 2) Dated 13 June 2008

(To-day’s e-mail is a continuation of Deivathin Kural # 118 dated 11 June 2008. These are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti peetam, over a period of some sixty years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of last century. These have been published in Tamil by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each, as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the middle of Page 866, of volume 2, of the Tamil original. )

27. The last quoted mantra, is the one used in the marriage ritual, in which the would-be husband is telling the would-be wife, that since her birth, she has been handed over from, Soman to Gandarva to Agni and finally to him, a representative of the human kind. This mantra evidently indicates that the girl about to be wedded is post-puberty! Quoting this, the reformists claim that, they are not bringing an amendment not-approved by the Sastras, since they are quoting the Vedas as authority.

28. Further, they quote another mantra from the Manu Smruti, which means that after three years of waiting for an approach from a suitable match, if nothing fructifies, the girl is free to search for a suitable match on her own! “threeni varshaan yutheeksheda kumaari ritumati sati I oordwam tu kaalaat etasmaat vindati sadrusam patim II” ‘This evidently means that marriages were held post-puberty. Not only that, once having waited for three years for elders to do the needful, the girl is free to do her own search! The Manu Dharma Sastras are so modern and forward looking. It is only the narrow mindedness of the conservative groups who have rendered the whole system in to uncivilized crudity’, claimed the reformists! Now, if you ask me, “What is your answer to this Swami? What the reformists claim seems to be fairly on the dot”, I am giving the reply. Since you have understood their claim, you better listen to my reply too with equal attention!

Eight Types of Marriages.

29. Dharma Sastras, including the Manu Smruti, talk of eight types of marriages. They are, “braahmo – daivaha – tata iva arshaha – praajaapatyaha - tata aasuraha I gandarvo – raakshasa cha eva - paisaacha ashtamaha smrutaha II” (Manu Smruti III.21). That is, Braahmam, Daivam, Aarsham, Praajaapatyam, Aasuram, Gaandarvam, Raakshasam and Paisaacham, make up the eight varieties.

30. ‘Braahmam’ is the one in which, the parents of a boy who has completed his 12 years of Guru Kula Vaasam, go to parents who have a girl eligible for marriage. There is no ‘Dowry’ being given by the girl’s parents, nor any ‘Parisam’ being given by the boy’s parents; in this marriage. No ‘give and take’ or ‘levaa-devi’, no business transaction, in this marriage. Out of the eight modes described in the Dharma Saastras, this is considered the best.

31. Daivam is to attend a Yaagam being conducted and to give the girl as ‘Kanyaa Daan’ to the Ritwik doing or participating in the conduct of the Yagna. When otherwise you have not got a suitable match, in the normal course of events, you go and find a match in the place where Yagnya is being conducted! This is a little less in the order of merit. The boy’s party has to come searching for a girl, in the previous mode. That is the way it should be preferably, in keeping the women folk at a high pedestal, as per the Saastras.

32. Third method is the Aarsham, meaning concerning the Rishis. Something like the way Sukanya was given in marriage to Syavana Rishi. As per Dharma Saastras, to take two cows in exchange for the girl. Evidently the Rishi could have been a little older than in the other two previously mentioned methods. As the girl has remained unmarried in due time, this slightly not so well appreciated method may be adopted. The aim of the Saastras anyhow is not to make the marriage samskaara a business contract!

33. Fourth method is Praajaapatyam. This is again not a business transaction and so, does not involve any material exchange. The girl is about to or already matured enough. The girls parents may be old and do not want to delay the marriage any further. So, the girls parents go in search for a ‘Varan’. The method is slightly lower in the order of preference to Braahmam, mentioned earlier.

34. Aasuram is the next method. It means that it is an ‘ogre like’ activity. An unsuitable, unmatched individual, possibly against the wish of the girl concerned, literally buys the girl at a price, or by using wealth and misuse of powers, forces the marriage on her. This is not like Aarsham, where the boy gets the girl by donating two cows. Aarsham is a much more respectable method. Many rich people get a second or third wife by this method of Aasuram only!

35. Then is the Gaandarva Vivaaham. Dushyanta got wedded to Sakunthala by this method. The love marriages are all this method only. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They get married!

36. Rakshasam is for the boy to fight with the girl’s family and forcibly take the girl away and get married. Krishna Paramatma got married to Rukmini, by this method.

37. Last is the Eighth method of Paisaasam or Ghost like. Evidently this is the worst case. Neither the girl’s acceptance is there, nor are her parents acquiesced with money and material.

38. One end of the spectrum is Braahmam and the other end is Paisaasam, in that order of high nobility to average civility to crude devilry. Everyone cannot be on the same level. The greatness of the Hindu Saastras is that, it accommodates all varieties human sophistication, crudeness, idiosyncrasies and foibles. Most of the misunderstanding arises out of the unnatural demand for oneness, similarity and equality.

39. There are ‘Adi Vaasis’ of very crude and innocent behaviour. They may be very honest and down to earth naturalness. There are tribals, who may not be very sophisticated but true and straight forward. There may be people of indomitable courage, quick to take offence, but equally quick to forgive and forget. The world is made up of all sorts. The Saastras in accommodating all varieties, could let Kshatriyas have Gandarva marriages while some very knowledgeable girls could have, ‘Swayam Vara’ and select their own life partners! That is why and how, the Saastras strictly based on Vedas, could permit these eight types of marriages! Where is the problem now? Problem comes from misunderstanding the Macro view and misquoting the mantras out of context!

40. As I said before, Brhmam is the best. The marriage proposal is from the boy’s parents. It is done before the girl becomes matured. Dharma sutram itself say, “pradhaanam praak rito:” This is to be done at the girls’ eighth year of age(including the day of her being conceived), that is the seventh year after the birth day. Unluckily, years go by before this marriage by the brahmam method occurs. Then it is done by the Daivam or Aarsham or Praajaapatyam. For others, these and other methods are permitted, including the open ‘Swayam Vara’ method or the secret Gaandarvam, in which the girl herself make the selection. The mantras in marriages cater for all these eight methods!

41. So the mantras quoted by the well meaning reformists are from those meant as a common platform for all these eight types of marriages. The mantra meant to be uttered by the bride-groom to the bride that, ‘she has been ruled by Soman, Gandarva and Agni successively and that the human is taking over now’. It evidently means that the girl is already come of age, for child bearing! But, the fact remains that it is said even in ‘Balya Vivaham’. Even though he marries her now when she is yet a child, they are going to live as husband and wife only after she attains to puberty! So, the mantra is being said in marriage in advance to the eventual sexual union they are to have at a later date! So, the mantra is being said, ‘in advance’ mode! Now-a-days, we fail to carry out many samskaras in time and on the day of marriage, put them all together in one go, including the very essential ‘Upanayanam!’ Do we not? Please do not question me as to how is this mantra ‘in advance’ is being done. But still I will do so.

42. I will give just one example. Brhmachary does a ‘Samitaa Daanam’, every day. One of the prayers means that he is asking the Agni Devata to grant him with good progenies! This cannot be interpreted to mean that, Vedas intend that you should become a father first and then later one day get married! How ridiculous! Is not the prayer in ‘Samitaa Daanam’ being done ‘in advance’? In all other marriages, other than Braahmam, they are being done only after the girl has attained to puberty. There is no crudity or barbarity in the entire system! So, I am afraid all those well meaning reformists were ill informed, to say the least!

(To be continued.)



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