Saturday, September 13, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 73 of (Vol 2) of 19 Jan 2008.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 73 of (Vol 2) of 19 Jan 2008.

(Note 1. 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! I offer my sincere apologies for the likely errors, as the one doing the translation. ---KTSV Sarma. Note 2. It may please be noted that the talk is dated some time in the late 1950's and early 60's.

1. Veda Purusha's hands is the sixth part of 'Shadangam', that is, Kalpam. Hands do the work. In Sanskrit, the root word for doing any work is 'kar'. 'Kar' in Hindi also is to do. In Tamil, the word for the hand is, 'kai' or 'Karam'. In Telugu, the word for the hand is, 'chei'. 'Chei' in Tamil means 'to do'. Kalpam is the Sastra that tells you as to what is to be done. Once we have learnt Seeksha, Vyakaranam, Chandas, Niruktam and Jyotisham, then what is to be done, is told by Kalpam. All the 'Paapam' that we have accumulated by doing all sorts of things that came to our mnd, to be off set, we have to do good things that will earn us 'Punyam'. What are those good things to be done? What are the material required for that? For that we need a house. For the house, we need to know the 'Vaastu' Lakshanam. The Mantras for that, it's way of utterance, meaning, and how to go about it, and the method of offering the effect of such actions to God, is all delineated by Kalpam.

2. The Kalpam directs as to, who should do what on which occassion. It defines the procedural aspects of place, material required, the number of Ritwiks to participate, etc. It is the Sixth of the Six parts of 'Sahdang's. So it is also referred as 'Shashtang'. May be that, it is this word, 'Shashtang', which over time became, 'Sadangu' as a generic name for all ceremonies! Kalpam has been written by many Rishis. For the Krishna Yajur Veda, which is rather widely prevalent in South India, they are, Aapasthmbar, Bodayanar, Vaikanasar, Sadyashadar, Bharathvajar and Agnivesar, who have authored the Kalpa Sutras. For the Rik Vedis, Asvalayanar's works are more popular, while Sankayanar's work is also followed. For Sukla Yajur Vedists, Kathyayanar has done the Kalpa Sutras. In Saama Veda, for Gowthuma Saakai, it is Laadyayanar; and for Ranayaneeya Saakai, it is Thraahyayanar. For Talavakara branch of the Saama Veda, Jaimini has done the Kalpam.

3. For each branch, Kalpam is in two parts. One is the Gruhya and the other is the Sroutha Sutram. The Sroutam part is what occurs in full form in the 'Sruthi' portion of the Veda itself. They are to be done in detail in a big gathering, for which special Yaga Saalai is to be constructed, not meant to be done in house-holds. What is to be done at home, within the family, has come to be called, 'Gruhyam'. From the time, the mother of the yet to be born is in the 'family way', till the individual's body is burnt in what is known as 'Dahana Kriyai', there are 40 Samskaras to be done. Even 'Dahana Kriyai' is a type of Homam only. It is called the 'Antyeshti', the 'final oblation', in which the human body itself is offered as the material being sacrificed.

4. Starting from 'Agnihotram', seven Havir Yagnas, seven Soma Yagnas and seven Bhaga Yagnas; total 21 Yagnas, a Brahmin is supposed to do. In this the first two sets of seven, cannot be done at home. They occur in the Sroutha Sutra and Gruhya Sutras cover the balance seven. Including these 21, are the 40 Samskaras. Samskaras are cleansing actions. What you do at home is Agni Hotram. What you do in specially constructed Yaga Saalas are the 14 Yagnas covered by the Sroutha Sutras. The names of people who have written the details of Sroutha Sutras, in various branches of the Veda, are those given in Para 2 above. What is done at home are the balance 26 Karyas and Eight Individual Characteristics known as 'Atma Gunas' to be imbibed by all. They include, Garbaadanam, Pumsavanam, Seemantham, Jaatakarma, Naamakaranam, Annapraasanam, Soucham, Upanayanam, Vivaham, Antyeshti etc., about which I will describe later on. The Eight Atma Gunas are: 1) Kindness, 2) Patience, 3) Acceptance and Tolerance(that is, lack of hatered), 4) Cleanliness( of body, mind and heart ), 5) absence of Adamancy, 6) Pleasantness, 7) lack of Greed and 8) Dispassion. They are part of common Dharma, required of all people of all castes and creeds!

5. 'Abhivaadanam', is a way of expressing our respect to elders, by introducing ourselves, in which we mention that we belong to so and so Gothra, by naming the first three Rishis of our forefathers, and so and so Suthra. Then we go on to give out the branch of the Veda and our name, ending in physically prostrating before the elders and touching their feet with our heads. The 'Suthram' mentioned while doing so, indicates the Sroutha Suthram. For example, Saama Vedis quote, 'Traahyayana Suthram'. Traahyayanar has doen only Sroutha Suthram. For that branch of the Veda, the Gruhya Suthram has been done by Gopilar. Since in olden times, Gruhya portion being almost similar, it was the major events of Sroutha Suthram which differentiated the followers. So to mention the Sroutha Suthram in introduction became the 'in-thing' and the practice continues in 'Abhivaadanam'. Of course, now-a-days, we have let go most of these practices by default, by our inattentiveness! We simply extend our hands for a 'hand shake', even before the elder does! What cheek!

6. In the olden days, the Sroutha Karma was done by not-so-well-to-do Brahmins if need be by resorting to begging. Those who had enough wherewithal, did the Soma Yagam, every spring season. They were known as 'Prathi Vasantha Somayyaji'. That is, if their income was sufficiently more than the likely expenditure, they did this. But now the conditions have changed. However rich you are, your need and greed is more than the income! For each year's income, they have three year's expenditure waiting! If the poor man has penury in poverty, the rich man has paucity aplenty! They call it, 'deficit financing' and 'credit rating'! Because of the changes that have come into being in general in everything, mental poverty is affecting the very rich too. There is a saying in Tamil, "...alavukku meerinaal amitamum visham...". This means that, 'when you cross the limits, even nectar can be a poison'. Within moderation, we can do much! The trouble is that the 'alavu' being a relative term, people suffer due to lack of moderation and self discipline. Actually a modern proverb says that, "expenditure always has a tendency to meet the income and overtake it". The man of moderation tries to control the expenses instead of all the time looking for opportunities to increase the income!

7. According to the Suthras, there are many differences in the get-up such as Sikha, Pundram and procedures of Karma Anushtanam. Some have 'Oordva Sikha' and some 'Poorva Sikha'. That is the way you tie the hair which has been permitted to grow, when a portion of the hair has been shaved off. Half of the head would be clean shaven, with the hair tied into a nice tuft, at the back or front. Similarly, there were differences in the way they smeared the 'ashes or Thiruman', on their forehead. These were more for ease of identification. These things should be done as per the customs and traditions of the family.

8. 'Sulpa Sutram' is a portion of the Kalpam, which tells us about the various directions and specifications for a 'Sayanam for the Yaga Salai', or the place specially prepared for the purpose of conducting Yagna, where a big gathering is likely to assemble for participation. The Sulpa Sutram is of two types, ordinary and special. Katyayanar, Bodayanar, Hiranyakesar and such, have written the Sulpa Sutram, for their respective Kalpams. The one method that is widely adopted by all and sundry, is known as the, 'Aanda Pillai Prayogam'. He was from Thiruppanandaal. In Thiruvidai-Marudoor there is a Ganesa Temple, where the God has a special name of, 'Aanda Pillayar'. This gentleman who wrote the 'Sulpa Saastram', possibly got his name from that Deity. Now-a-days, mostly all Sroutha Karma Yagas are done as per 'Aanda Pillayar' prayogam only. Anyhow, the very conduct of Yaagas are on a decline. To some extent, Gruhya Sutram is still being followed. Other than this, all functions are as per customs and traditions of other countries and religions, such as parties in the club house and ball-room dancing!

9. All our Saastras try and capture the Lotus Feet of God. What ever you read in the Saastras, they are about God as to how to benefit everyone individually and collectively. It is a sad state of affairs that, the conduct of Sroutha Karmas have come to a grinding halt! Amongst those who have done the Kalpam, other than Thrahyayanar and Kathyayanar, others such as, Aapasthambar, Bodayanar and Aaswalayanar, have written both Sroutha and Gruhya Suthras. In addition there are some Dharma Suthras. They delineate the moral code of conduct, to be observed at home, in office, in business and public. Even the English Laws of the land when they were formed and enacted, these Dharma Saastras have been referred and taken into consideration. Manu and Mitakshari Rule books, have evolved out of these only. In Rik Veda, Vasishtar and Vishnu; in Krishna Yajus, Manu, Bodayanar, Aapasthambar and Hiranyakesi; in Saama Veda, Goutama; are the authors of these Dharma Sutras. Atharva Veda is not in practice these days and hence, their Kalpa Sutras have gone by default!

10. Kalpam teaches every small action as to how best it can be done. The idea was that by our every action, we were to think of God, breath in God, move in God and do everything with that devotion and adoration all of the time. So they contained the Do's and Don'ts, for all our actions. They even gave you advice as to how to build your house, with instructions on where the Puja room should be, where should the Kitchen be and bathrooms and latrines be. What to do? Now-a-days we just cannot help letting these go in to oblivion, what with living in apartment blocks, becoming an economic necessity! May be that the answer lies in using common function places, kept and maintained purely for Vaidika Karyas. Come what may, they say that, 'as the going gets tough, the tough get going'. The answer lies in adapting to modern living conditions, without giving up on traditional customs!

11. Kalpam is the sixth in Shadangam. I will talk about the 40 Samskaras mentioned in this Kalpam, in detail later, while talking about Dharma Saastras. Out of 14 Vidya Sthanas, we have cursorily covered, the four Vedas and Six Angas of Seekshai, Vyakaranam, Chandas, Niruktam, Jyotisham and Kalpam. In the coming days, we will cover the balance Four Vidya Sthanas.




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