Sunday, September 14, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 85 of (Vol 2) of 17 Feb 2008.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 85 of (Vol 2) of 17 Feb 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 1930's to early 60's.


1. We are starting out on a new subject of Puranas, which is likely to be covered in about 12 or so e-mails.
Puranas are considered as the magnifying glasses of the Vedas. What is given in the Vedas in precise terse language is enlarged and magnified by the Puranas, especially the Do's and Don'ts of Dharma are deliberated in such a manner as to leave lasting impressions on the minds of the hearer and reader. If something is said in sharp and crisp language, it may be missed by the common man. The same thing in an interesting story may be well recieved. (I have purposely talked of the Hearer first and then the Reader. Because it is the Pouranikars who have been telling these stories over many centuries to the common man in India, in Temples. It used to be known as 'Pravachanam'. This used to be very popular till very recently, when the Radio and then the Television, took over the center stage. We will talk about this in more detail later).

2. 'Satyam Vada' says the Veda, meaning, 'speak the truth'. But the long story of Harischandra, brings out the problems in doing so and the name and fame accruing to a person having the courage of convictions to speak the truth. 'Dharmam Chara', says the Veda, meaning, 'live by the principles of morality'. The whole of Maha Bharata, the story of Dharma Putra, is a substantiation of the advice, 'Dharmam Chara'. Ramayana, the life history of Sri Rama and Sita Devi, is a magnification of the direction, 'Matru Devo Bhava, Pitru Devo Bhava', to mean, 'treat your parents as God!'. Tolerance, generosity, humility and humbleness, forgiveness, kindness and compassion, loyalty and faithfulness to one's spouse; and such character qualities, as directed by the Vedas, have been depicted by the role-models of either sex, in the Puranas.

3. These Nayaka / Nayikas (meaning heroes and heroines), of the puranas, have undergone and withstood much trials and tribulations. In our day to day life we committ many more offences of commission and omission, than some of these characters depicted in these puranas. They undergo much tougher experiences. But while reading these stories, we do not feel that, 'they are suffering because they are abiding by the principles of the Dharma and so let us not do so in our lives'. Rather, we look at their steadfastness of character and courage of convictions and get motivated to do so, ourselves. The trials and tribulations that they undergo, has a cleansing effect on our minds. At the end of their adventure, however difficult it might have been; their victories, name and fame; has a very positive effect on our minds, to emulate, in our own lives!

4. In our country, there is a general complaint that we do not have recorded History. Purana is History. But the so called educated people of to-day, do not consider any of these things as history, other than events that occurred in the period after Jesus Christ! They claim that there could be some truth in the Puranas as per their research. Such a statement is only to gain acceptance to their supposedly sincere research. Using that licence, they quietly insert such fictitious stories as the imaginary Aryan Invasion of a Dravidian land! {KTSV adds:- Do you mean to say that this country was invaded by an alleged non-Indian Race of Aryans and there is no record whatsoever? Forget about being recorded in paper, would it not have left an indelible impression of trauma, in the minds of millions of people of this country? Was that invasion prior to the time of Rama or Krishna? Or do we mean that all such evidence was obliterated from all records and people's minds too? British historians conveniently find the evidence!? All interested canard, introduced by Britishers for sustaining themselves in power and later exploited by local vested interest!}

5. Having made the convenient discovery of Aryan Invasion, then all the stories of the Puranas are declared as fiction, fib, myth, hyperbole, untruth and so on. Especially descriptions of wonderful miracles and super-natural events are targeted. Because they have already predecided that only what is within the purview of the five senses are possible, that anything beyond that are given a name of 'mystery' and not history. When such things do happen in life, they are given the name of 'co-incidents' and conveniently ignored. It is their 'History' books that are the text books in the schools. It is not good to so sideline all the Puranas, especially when there is nothing much in the books of history to motivate the young minds towards better behaviour. I am not saying that children should not know history. But they should know about Puranas as well, is all my humble submission.

6. One of the reasons forwarded for learning about history is that, 'History repeats itself'. That is in history, things happen the same way on many occassions. So if you know history and know what went wrong and how it went wrong, from the past you can learn lessons for the future. If this sort of developments take place, it can lead to a war, and the whole society will be badly affected. We have seen whole civilzations come tumbling down. The indicators are quite clear. So by knowing about the history, we can learn and guard against similar situations from developing. So, we should know about history, they say.

7. Every Kalpa, the same sort of events occur. In every Kalpa, Ramayana, Maha Bharata, the Ten Avatara of Vishnu takes place. (Each Kalpa, which is only one day or a night in the time frame of the Brahma, runs to 4,320,000,000, human years.) So what is said in our Puranas are, repetetive evens as per Indian Sastras. The same thing is said, with a slight change in emphasise as, 'history repeats itself'. In our Sastras, the emphasise is on the individual's attitude and behaviour. Is there any body learning any lessons from history?But spread only by word of mouth, the Puranas has molded and modulated the minds of the masses in India towards a national ethos and morality, over thousands of years and even over such long periods as Kalpas. (There was a practical demonstration of this recently, when simultaneously New Orleans, in US of A and Mumbai in India, were affected by natural calamities. In both the places, there were floods, civic administration failed, electric supply failed, transportation was at a stand still. There was, theft, dacoity, robbery, rape and murders in New Orleans; while humanity acquitted itself creditably with display of mutual love and compassion, in Mumbai!.)

8. History is replete with Chegis Khan, Taimoor, Gajini, Malikapur and so on who have come, ransacked and destroyed whole cities and people. Every time such a thing like that happens, one more chapter is added to history. Does it make any difference in people's minds not to do so, or take efforts to prevent such events from happening? Again there has been such villains as Hitler and Mussolini, who were the cause for the decimation of thousands and millions. The point that is to be noted is that, history has to go hand in hand with rules of morality, which the Puranas do. Even in a democracy like ours, when an elected government behaves irresponsibly, permitting corruption, nepotism and parochialism, it loses the support of the masses. But the next elected government seems to repeat the same errors of omission and commission! So there is nothing to stop history from repeating itself. What Puranas do is to effect an indirect influence on peoples tendency to go astray.

9. History only gives date wise events. It does not contain much information on the follow-up. Whether the good were recognised with name and fame and whether the horrendous were sorted out, history is not concerned about reporting. As per the Karma System, automatically they will be getting their comeuppence alright. But the problem lies in our inability to connect up that this bandycoot comingout of the rat hole was say Mr.Hitler in his last life! It is not the job of the Historian, nor is he capable of discerning this fact. Though a Hitler or Gajini might have had a tremendous life of pomp and show; might have suffered horribly in hell or might have had a very miserable next life. But you never know! But in the case of Purana, it is concerned about that and the Authors of the Puranas had the capacity to find it out!

10. Puranas are also history only. But the aim of Puranas is to teach the people lessons of morality and encourage them to follow the path of Dharma. So only those histories are covered, that will have a moral of the story to convey. Either the characters depicted would have gained eminence for having the courage of convictions to stand up to their high principles of Dharma or for having suffered grieviously for going astray from the path of Dharma! So the stories are selectively highlighted with this purpose. Or the characters would have been followed up, in their next life. There are no stories in the Puranas, without this effect of good and bad actions being reflected upon. There is good and bad tendencies in every individual. There is a necessity to motivate people to select the path of Dharma and avoid the ways of sin. That cannot be done by the so called modern history. Even in economical terms, through the Puranas, we save on the policing expenditure, because we put the policeman in the conscience of each individual. Is it not more effective?

11. The very purpose of writing these Puranas has been to highlight those portions of the history which has some moral values. There was no necessity to simply elaborate the life of so many kings. Taking the Chandra or Surya Dynasty, just the names of kings might have been listed one after the other. When it comes to some life histories, with a message of moral to convey, then it would have been elaborated in detail. For example take the life of Druva. His father's name and his son's name may be mentioned, each in a line or two. But as Dhruva's own life has a message of devotion, perseverance and determination, that has been described in detail.

12. Our Nation's history was written by the Britishers, while calling our Puranas as 'cock and bull' stories. As though they are doing a fair and balanced reporting, they included some non-controversial material and mixed it up with some conveniently suitable ideas as befitting their 'divide and rule' strategy, such as, Aryan invasion of the Dravidian India! There are efforts to call their bluff and rewrite Indian History. But those efforts have got mired in the internecine conflicts and prejudices.

(More to come about Puranas. Happy reading!)



At 7:11 PM, Blogger Sundu said...

Fine and short description. Very useful for the present day youngsters.


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