Friday, September 26, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 98 (Vol 2) Dated 01 April 2008.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 98 (Vol 2) Dated 01 April 2008.
(I am resuming the normal translation of Periyaval’s after returning back to India . This is a continuation of Deivathin Kural # 97 of (Vol 2) dt 18 Mar 2008.) 7. “…vedo akilo dharma moolam…”, says Manu. Yes Vedas are the source, origin and root of all the actions that we are required to do dutifully, morally and logically. Dharma Sutras written by Aapasthamba, Gowtama and such would be short and terse as Sutras are required to be. The Smruthis of Dharma Sastras on the other hand, as done by Manu, Yagnavalkya, Parasara and such are in the form of slokas in detail. But for all of them the common grounds are the Vedas only. What should we do, how should we do it; is all as given in Vedas only. To identify, analyse and enlarge upon the injunctions of the Vedas, is the job of Dharma Sastras. The code of conduct of human beings is the subject matter of Dharma Sastras. 8. ‘I am required to do such and such a job. But I do not know as to where to find the necessary reference for these things in the Vedas. After all Vedas are supposed to be, “…anataa vai vedaa:…”, i.e., endless. Most of these things have almost disappeared too. How am I to proceed? There do not seem to be many who know the answers to my queries! What to do?’, is the problem facing most of the well meaning, good intentioned adherents of the Hindu Dharma, who sincerely wish to follow the dictates of the Vedas. 9. Manu gives the answer to this quandary. He says, “OK. Then I will tell you one thing. There have been great Maharishis, who knew the Vedas’ in and out. They have written notes on the Vedas, known as Smrutis. Look them up!” That Smruti is the Dharma Sastram. “…vedo akilo dharma moolam! tatvidaam cha smruti sheele…” Smruti means notes from memory. ‘Vismruti’ means madness of forgetfulness. The Dharmas and Karmas for various occasions and contingencies have been collected, collated, sorted and then written in the language that could be easily understood. The Do’s and Don’ts are given in detail there.10. All the Karma Anushtana of the actions to be taken by us, are given in the Sixth part of the Vedas known as Kalpam. They contain, Gruhya, Srouta and Dharma Sutras. From the time a yet to be born is formed as a fertilized egg in the Mother’s womb; all the Karmas to be performed till the person’s death; are all clearly described. The actions may have to be performed by the elders of the family; the parents of the yet to be born; by the individual himself or herself and finally by the progenies/survivors of the departed soul. So the Karmas to be performed cover the period from waking up till going to sleep and from birth till being put on the funeral pyre and again beyond! So the Karma Anushtanas are daily, periodic, seasonal and yearly.11. Smrutis and Upasmrutis. Manu, Parasara, Yagnavalkya, Gowthama, Haritha, Yama, Vishnu, Sankara, Likita, Bruhaspati, Daksha, Angiras, Pracheta, Samvartha, Achanas, Athri, Aapasthamba and Sadatapa, are those eighteen Maharishis, who by their superhuman capabilities could know all the relevant portions of the Vedas and listed Smrutis known by their names! Other than these 18 Smrutis there are 18 more ‘Upa-smrutis’. These have been written by, Jabali, Nachiketa, Skanda, Loukakshi, Kashyapa, Vyasa, Sanat Kumara, Santanu, Janaka, Vyagra, Katyayana, Jadukarnya, Kapinjala, Bodayana, Ganatha, Vishwamitra, Paiteenasa and Kopila. Baghawat Gita is also considered to be an authoritative Smruti, as it is not directly part of the Vedas. Since there are many such Smruthis, some points given in one may not be in some other. Here tradition and elders views will be the guiding principle. Some of the doubts can be clarified by referring to some books known as Dharma Sastra Nibandanas. 12. Some of these Smrutis are incomplete. For example some of them do not make even a mention of Sandya Vandana Mantras. May be that what was known traditionally as a day to day anushtana, was considered too basic to be mentioned. Some of them do not contain the Sraddha mantras. Elsewhere they have failed to mention some Do’s and Don’ts of physical cleanliness and dietary restrictions. May be that some of the authors did not want to make it look too restrictive on what was basically understood and accepted!13. Here the Sastra Nibandanas are of great value. Not leaving anything to chance or imagination, some very learned greats have evolved these Nibandana books after referring to all the Smruthis. In North India , the one written by Kasinatha Upadyaya is adhered to. In the West, it is the ‘Mitakshari’. There have been some civil court cases, where they have accorded the Mitakshari, a status equivalent to the Acts of the Government. Kamalakar Bhatt’s ‘Nirnaya Sindhu’, also has much following in Western parts of India . In Maharashtra there was a minister by the name of Hemadri, who combined all the Dharma Sastras in to one big digest known as ‘Chaturvarga Chintamani’. In the South, the book of authority is ‘Vaidyanatha Deetchideeyam’ for all householders. For those who have renounced the worldly pursuits and taken to Sannyasa, ‘Visweswara Samhitai’ is the book of reference. (To be continued.) Sambhomahadeva.


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