Saturday, September 13, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 48 of (Vol 2) of 16 Nov 2007.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 48 of (Vol 2) of 16 Nov 2007.

( We are to remind the readers that herein, 'he' as a word stands for 'she' as well. When Tamil or
Sanskrit words are transliterated in English, the single vowel will indicate a short utterance and a double vowel will indicate a longer pronounciation. Words in Sanskrit script not being available, the transliteration spellings and thereby the pronounciation, especially of names may be at variance from what it should be!)


1. It is my sincere opinion that, the world is better off with the Vedam than without it, for individual and collective well being. This enormous capital wealth is now in a state of being ignored into oblivion, through utter carelessness and indifference! My constant worry is about the ways and means of reviving interest in the Vedas, to make it flourishing and thriving. For that, I keep doing some thing or the other, like start the Veda Rakshanam Trust, create a fund for providing Stipend for scholors of Vedas on retirement. But this is not the responsibility of this Matam and some such organizations only; but the duty of all of us too. Not on any compulsion, but on our own volition, we should all be actively involved in re-establishing this land, as the Home of Veda. I am saying this especially for Tamil Nadu! This part of the Earth is where the Tree of Veda, became deep rooted and proliferated in to a Forest of Veda, to be known as 'Veda Aranyam'. Not just a village or city, but the whole of South Indian Archipelago! It was not simply an exaggeration on the part of Bharathiyar when he sang, "...vedam nirainda tamizh nadu...", but, that is how this part of the world used to be.

2. From the First Sangha period, every where Veda 'Velvi' has been praised sky high. The Pandya Kings who staunchly supported conduct of a lot of Vedik Yagnas, were proud of bearing titles such as, "...pal yaga saalai mudu kudumi-peruvazhudhi...". About their capital Madurai, they used to claim greatness on two counts. One was that, 'because using cattle for repeatedly walikng over the harvest for, seperating the grain from the husk, will not serve the purpose; they would make Elephants do the job!' This 'self praise' was about their enviable standards of self sufficiency on the food front. The second one was the boast about how they used to wake up in the mornings. In Chera's capital of Vanji and Chola's capital of Uraiyoor, they wake up to the sounds of crowing of the Cocks, whereas in their Madurai, they wake up to the sounds of 'Veda Gosham'. Pariapadal song being quoted with this above meaning is as follows:- "naan maraik kelvi navil kural eduppa / emavin thuyil ezhudal alladai / vazhiya vanjiyum kozhiyum polak / kozhiyin ezhaadem peroor thuyile."

3. In Thirukkural, the ways of the Vedas are spoken of with obvious pride. In Vedas, 'Pancha Maha Yagna' is spoken about as part of the Nitya Karma Anushtana. The daily offering of oblations is supposed to be done for Five set of Life forms! They are, Devatas, Rishis, Pithrus; meaning in that order, Gods/Deities, Rishis and Souls of departed Ancestors. These three offerings are rather indirect. The fourth set is for living things, such as birds, animals, and even ants and insects. Before eating the days meal, you offer to crows, domestic animals and so on. Even the decorative artistic design, known as 'Kolam', done on the ground, was with coloured powdered rice, so that it can be food for sparrows and ants! Then the Fifth end of the Pancha Maha Yagnam, was for the visitors, known as Atithi. Vedas demanded that the visitor should be treated as God in human form! 'atithi devo bhava!' Now listen to Thiruvalluvar, "Then pulaththaar deivam virundu okkal than enraangu aimbulaththar ombal thalai." Thiruvalluvar is talking about the Pancha Maha Yagna in the Tamil language.

4. Let us look at another Thirukkural. If the King fails in his duties, it will affect the government overall. But religious activities wise, it will adversely affect the Cows and Brahmins. The reason why these two are being bracketed together for specific mention is due to the fact that, it is the cow's milk, ghee and the dry cow-dung-cakes, which are all important for conduct of Yagnas; and the Brahmins are those who conduct these. So, a prayer is made at the end of all such functions that, "...the King may be successful in his endevours, let people be happy, let Cows and Brahmins be well cared for...", and so on. Thiruvalluvar is expressing exactly this very sentiment, saying that, if the King's rule fails, the society will be deprived of the benefits accruing from the Cows and Brahmins:- "aapayan kunrum aru thozhilor nool marappar Kaavalan kaavaan enin." 'Aapayan kunrum' means, the usefulness of cows will lessen. 'Aru thozhilor', is a literal translation of the Sanskrit phrase for Brahmins as, 'shat karma nirathar', meaning, 'those having six responsibilities'. {Those six responsibilities are namely, 1 & 2) 'Adhyayanam and Adhyaapanam', meaning, learning and teaching Vedas; 3 & 4) 'Yajanam and Yaajanam', meaning, conducting Yagnas on their own and for the sake of others; 5 & 6) 'Daanam and Pratigraham', meaning, to give Dakshina, when you conduct Yaagam on your own and recieve Dakshina, when you conduct it on behalf of others.}

5. The above quote is from 'Manu Smruthi'. There is another Dharma Saastra book known as 'Parasara Smruthi', in which the daily routine of the brahmins are given slightly differently, as :- "sandhya - snaanam japo homam devataanaam cha poojanam I Aadityam vaisvadevam cha shadkarmaani dine dine II"
One is Sandhya Vandanam; that should be done after due bathing. A Brahmin should never be afraid of taking a cold water bath. Preferably he should take three times bath, one in the morning 'praatha: snaanam', second in the noon, 'maadhyaanneekam' and then in the evening, before Sayam Sandhya Vandanam. (In Sanskrit, the words in the sentences could be in any order, while the meaning is accepted in a reasonable order. So, though here it is given as 'sandhya - snaanam', snaanam should precede sandhya.)

6. Now-a-days, arguing for the sake of arguements, light hearted comments, and innuendos especially where inappropriate; is on the increase. Adi Sankara, in his final upadesa of 'Sopaana Panchakam', says, "...dustharkaat suviramyathaam...", meaning refrain from flippant remarks. Especially while discussing the very respectable Vedas, irreverence and cheekiness should be avoided. There is nothing wrong in clarifying one's doubts. But to give oneself unlimited freedom of expression may not be in order. The reason why, instead of being, 'snaanam-sandhya', it is given the other way, is due to the fact that, for a Brahmin, more than any other Karma, Sandhya Vandanam is the most important one. So while talking about Karma, Sandhya has been given the pride of place!

7. Out of the Six duties, first is the Sandhya-Snaanam. Second is Japam. Remember, in Baghawat Gita, Sri Krishna says that amongst all Yagnas, he is Japa, ("...yagnaanam japosmi..."). Japa of mantra given to you by a Guru. It could be Gayathri Mantra Japa, as part of Sandhya Vandanam. (Actually, for a person given the 'Gayathri' mantra, during 'Yagnopaveetham', there is no need for any other mantra!) Third is Homam, that is Yagnam. Fourth is Devata Poojanam -- a ritual, ceremonial, individual, daily veneration of God or a particular 'Ishta Devata' representative of the God; containing sixteen successive steps known as 'shodasa-upachaara-pooja', done may be elaborately or in a condensed form of five steps of, '...ganda, pushpa, doopa, deepa, nivedana...'. Then is the 'Aadityam', meaning, 'Atithi Upachara' ie., taking care of visitors. Last is the 'visvedevaa', or taking care of all life forms, mainly feeding them!

8. Valluvar is talking about those who do all this as, 'aru thozhilor'. In a country where the King is not functioning well, the Brahmins will not be doing their duties well. They will not be doing 'Veda Adhyayanam and Adhyaapanam', ie., learning and teaching Vedas; and so they will forget their Vedas; which he says in Tamil as, "...aru thozhilor nool marappar...". It is clear that Valluvar wants that the government should be strong, the King should rule well and the Brahmins should not forget their Vedas!

9. While describing the six faces of Tamil Deivam Murugan Swami, Nakkirar in Thirumurugarruppadai, a Tamil classic of the Sangha Period, says that one of the faces is meant for protecting the Brahmin's Yagna activities of those, who are conducting the Yagnas faultlessly as per the Vedas:- "....oru mugam mandiram vidiyin marapuli vazhaa adu andanar velvi orkkum me....".

10. The 'Aim Perum Kappiyam' or the five big literary works, about which any Tamilian is rightfully proud of, are mostly related to Jaina and Buddhist religions. Still, they are rather appreciative of the practice of 'Vaidika Dharma'. The reason is that the Sanaatana Dharma of Veda in practice meant not only tolerance of differing points of view; but, accepting other's right to live by what they preach and practice. In Silappadikaram everywhere, the Brahmin's chanting of Vedas and conduct of Yaagas, have been spoken of, in glowing terms. This is not simply my observation, but what people very well qualified in these literatures have confirmed. They say that, "...aarana odaiyum sendhee vettalum...", are rather highlighted with much pride. Kovalan the Hero is a Vaisya by caste. The fact that he used to do many of the 'Nitya Karma Anushtana', is mentioned in passing, in the course of the narrative, many a time!

11. Many of the Tamil words and phrases much in usage, are originating from these practices of Veda Karyam, which are indicative of their wide prevalence in the social fabric of life in Tamil Nadu! Yajanam and Yagna have been referred as 'Vettal and Velvi', from time immemorial. The Yagna Mandapa or edifice constructed as overhead covering is called, 'sayanam', which is referred to as 'parappu'. This word has come to mean the spread of any area of constructed or enclosed space. If the word has come from other religious practices, they cannot have original Tamil words for them. Let us take the case of the Christian Bible. It is called the 'Christian Veda' with due veneration. But instead of words like 'Velvi' and 'Marai', it continues to be called the Bible. While calling it the 'Vedam', we are doing so based on an existing word in usage! Other than Bible, we have other Vedas. But other than 'Velvi', we have no other 'in-lieu' word for the act of 'Yagnam' and there has been no-other-such-activity either! This is clear evidence of the fact that, it is not a name coined for an activity imported into Tamil way of life. Similarly, 'marai' is the name for Vedas in Tamil. It is not as though, there was something known as 'marai' earlier, whose name was given to the Vedas.

12. This word, 'marai', is most appropriate for Vedas. Let me explain. The normal meaning of the word 'marai', in Tamil is, something that is 'hidden'. In Vedas, those portions whose meaning should be guarded, is declared as 'rahasyam'. In Upanishad, such portions are marked or notified as 'Upanishad'. Even amongst Brahmins who are sort of having a licence or considered as having full freedom of chanting the Vedas, are cautioned to be careful about some portions and their meaning, like this! The Tamil word goes one step beyond and calls the whole of the Vedas as 'Marai'. If some of the licenced, authorised practitioners were being told to apply diligence, by the word 'rahasyam' meaning secret, the word 'marai', in Tamil is guarding against exposure of the Vedik statements from all those who are not likely to respect its meaning and purport! From the beginning, the attitude of the Tamils has been one of guarding against 'democratising' the approach to Vedas; possibly to avoid the eventual likelyhood of, 'familiarity breeds contempt'?

13. There is another reason why, the word 'marai' is more than appropriate! All the salubrious effects of the Vedas, would not be made known or become clear, at once. Many of the internal benefits, would become apparent only with the deepening of understanding. The immediate effects that can be seen are 'drushtam'. Those effects that cannot be seen are, 'a-drushtam', ie., not seen! Thus the not-seen or 'adrushtam' are hidden and so automatically, 'marai'.

14. There is yet another reason as to why, the word 'marai' is most apt! Vedam is the 'root' of our life revolving around, Temples, Devotional activities, Pooja, Bakthi, Religious celebrations, Dhyanam / Meditation and finally Gnanam. All these things can be likened with the 'seen' aspects such as, a tree, its trunk, branches big and small; leaves, flowers, small of the / not yet ripe / fully ripe / fruits. These are all the 'seen' portions of the tree of the way of life. The Vedas are the 'unseen' root of this existance, which is all hidden underground! What is hidden is 'marai', naturally!

(We will continue with our discussion as to how Vedas are and have always been a part and parcel of the Tamilian way of life and that it is not an 'imported' item of merchandize, from the so called North!)




At 4:26 AM, Blogger Sivasiddhi said...

Thanks for your research and info Aiya


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