Saturday, September 27, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 121 (of Vol 2) Dated 17 June 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 121 (of Vol 2) Dated 17 June 2008

(To-day’s e-mail is a continuation of Deivathin Kural # 120 dated 15 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 middle of Page number 879, of volume 2, of the Tamil original. )

56. In every country and in every religion, there are very refined, cultured women of a very high moral attitude and behaviour. Still, they may not be aware of the very concept of Pativratyam and Sumangalitvam. They have some idea of faithfulness and that quality is treasured the world over. But the logic of the concept and its institutionalization in the society, as done in India has not been done anywhere, except some in the East Asia influenced by Indian that too, Hindu culture! In the name of, modernization and civilization, to think of changing this will be tantamount to cutting the very root of what is our culture!

57. Before ideas like love and romance can sprout in the mind, if the girl gets someone as a husband, only then there will be the natural acceptance and devotion with obedience evolving, which in later years can develop in to adoration and love. In Andhra and Maharashtra , even to-day, women have a lot of rituals of Vratam, teaching them self denial and abnegation! One of them is for the virgin maiden to assume Parameswara as her would be husband and adore him. Then when she gets married, she continues the worship of the Husband as Parameswara! So finally all women end up adoring their own husband as God Himself!

58. Purely on belief, to think of any body as God Himself, without questioning, is possible only at very young ages. So your blind belief of that young age, becomes a conviction of later life, confirmed and reinforced. Then and only then, will she be able to surrender her all, without any reservation, diffidence, condition, self-pride and embarrassment! That is transcending the cycle repeated birth and death. That is Moksham! Bakthi, Gnaana, Tapa-s, Pooja, Yagna, Yoga; are all aimed at this destruction of self-consciousness and pride or ego or ahankara! This is easily made possible to women of the land by this process.

59. Our Puranas are full of stories of such women who could attain to greatness by this simple process of being devoted to their husbands. Nalaayini, Anasooyai, the very Mahalakshmi as Sita Devi; Daksha’s daughter Parasakti herself as Sati; Savitri the wife of Satyavan who could argue with Yama, to recover her husband; Kannagi, whose one angry look could burn the township of Madurai, when he was wrongly accused and killed as a thief; Vaasuki the wife of Thiruvalluvar! The list is long and to think of them is to feel genuine pride that we also belong to that sort of a culture, which could give rise to an abundance of such sterling characters! They are held closer to our hearts than the so called Gods of Heavens! We bow our heads to them. If you ask me why, we do not know as to how to explain. But, we are thrilled, just thinking of them.

60. “To think of one’s husband as God is all non-sense! Superstition. This is the male-chauvinism at its best or worst! These are all methods of keeping the women under a tight leash.” However much one may hear such criticisms, we can only say, “Yes. Whatever you may say, that is our National heredity about which we are rightfully proud! We have Himalayas and Ganges ! We think of them as incarnations of God. We do not look at them as Europeans see the Alps . We do not have the same attitude towards the river Ganges, as Americans have towards the Mississippi . We are not looking down on you that your women are not adoring their husbands as Gods, the way we do! You are saying that, ‘Lord God made them all!’ We are seeing Lord God in them all!

61. For you, marriage is a contract. For you it is an adjustment and accommodation. For us it is a life long commitment! We adjust and make do. If this is the level that women are raised, think of the automatic compulsion on the man, to behave deserving such adoration! I am not saying that they all were too great beyond reproach. But the ideals of society demanded that! To interfere with this is to harm the very fabric of the nuances of the society.

62. To say that ‘Balya Vivaham’ is physically harmful is only talking without substance. Though she gets married young, physical union is permitted only after their coming of age. Even afterwards, there are a lot of restrictions. The couple is required to abstain from sex on many days of the week and fortnight of the moon calendar, including full moon and new moon! Only now-a-days, with no restrictions, people are more prone to all sorts of nervous disorders and mental aberrations of extra marital sex. To say that ‘Balya Vivaham’ led to the occurrence of more ‘Young Widows’, is an exaggeration. Even for ‘Balya Vivaham’, the bride-groom must have been of the age group of 15 to 25 years of age. You can go back in whatever available statistics and see if that age group is more prone to die. Their number must have been very limited indeed. So the number of young widows must have been a very infinitesimal percentage only.

63. I agree that it is painful to see a young girl becoming a widow. But it is painful at whatever age! Looking at the substantial gains, to the society and the girl especially, in ‘Balya Vivaham’, the risks are worth taking only. Even now, when the girls are getting married beyond the age of 20 or so, some of them do become widows, due to Rail or Plane or Road accidents. If you stop ‘Balya Vivaham’ on the grounds of the happening of widowhood, can we guarantee that it will not happen now? We do not have that power!

64. As per our culture, if the women were to consider their husband as God, and there by if they were to attain to the highest gain of ‘Janma Nivirti’, that is, Transcendence, why not? That is the way given in the Sastra-s. Leaving that people say that, ‘they are reading a lot, getting educated, are employed, become professionals and so on; so they will choose their own husband; this is progress.’ I only feel extremely dejected at the degradation we are subjecting them to, in the name of progress!

65. Reformists on the other hand cry that, ‘women are being kept as chattels, without any of the human rights! ‘Balya Vivaham’ leads to ‘Balya Vaidavyam’!’ I am crying on the other hand that, in the name of reformation and progress, we are enabling them to come down from the high pedestal in which they are held by our society and religion! In the name of advancement, we are facilitating their irrevocable down fall and abasement! I am exactly in the same position as was Arjuna in Bhagawat Gita when he said, “strishu dushtasu vaarshneya jaayate varna sankaraha I Sankaro narakaayaiva…” Women of to-day are accepting it, with their parent’s concurrence, is the added agony to me!

66. More than all progress and advancement, I am afraid of a future date in which they would not even know what they are missing! I am told that the women have not gone over the horizon, just because they are going for higher education and becoming professionals! I have also not lost all hope. Cinema and Novels and News Papers and Tele Vision are all adding to my apprehension! It seems that I am the only one who is worried like this, on behalf of all parents of girls! Young Widowhood is not such a problem as it is made out to be. This is a much greater one! If widowhood in young age is a smudge on the face of the Indian society, for women to lose their chastity and not care about it, is a much greater blotch on the face of the entire Nation!

67. Every month, there is supposed to be three rains. One for the Brahmins who are chanting the Veda-s. One for the incorruptibility of the rulers of the land. One for the women who are chaste and pure! I have no control over the rulers, I am afraid!

(To be continued.)


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