Thursday, May 28, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 93 (Vol # 3) Dated 28 May 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 93 (Vol # 3) Dated 28 May 2009

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the last para on page 416 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://advaitham. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

30. On the battle field of Kurukshetra, Arjuna had thrown away his bow and arrows and was sitting on the platform of his chariot in abject dejection that he will never kill all his friends, relatives and elders and then hope to be happy after that! Then Sri Krishna spoke to him in the following vein. "Saastraa-s have laid down the Kshatriya Dharma of fighting for their rights. I am not telling a Brahmin to fight. You have to act as per the aachaara of your Kuladharma. There is no meaning in dithering in doing your duty." Having gone in deeper, he goes on to say, that it is better to die in doing ones duty. "...swadharme nidhanam sreya:...".
31. "Your 'swadharmam' that is the aacharraa-s as per your family by birth, even if seemingly inferior to another caste or creed, is better than others' dharma." He goes on to say that it is better to die in doing ones duty. Then as though to clinch the issue He warns that, "...para dharmo bhayaavaha:...", meaning that other's dharma is hazardous!
32. So, with this reply from Bhagwan, I can close the argument. But No. I am not able to give this reply to people who are asking if they could give up their Aachaaraa to which they are born, because of another question, which also has been based on the logic provided by me only.
33. What we call aachaaraa-s of our ancestors are only as old as eight or ten or possibly twenty generations vinatge. If we compare this with what they were doing prior to that period, we will find some additions and some deductions; as I myself brought out in my talks earlier. Say some thousand years back, may be our Aacharaa-s based on Sruti and Smruti were uniformly similar! Many of the Sampradaya-s have come into being subsequently and made changes in the Aachaara Anushtaanaa-s. Even these changes made by the respective Aacharyaa-s were not totally new. The changes made were generally less than 25% retaining the old customs and traditions to the extent of 75% or so.
34. So, the question that is thrown at me is on the following lines. "From the fore going it is evident that each Aachaaryal of these Sampradaya-s evidently made changes in the traditions existing then at their respective times. Is that not so? It automatically follows that each of the Aachaaryal was culpable for the very act of commission and omission of introducing new customs and ignoring the old ones! Why should we not do so? We are not becoming agnostic! We only want to make some accommodation for our Ishta Devata Upaasana. That is not asking for too much, is it? For that also you are saying that we should stick to the old traditions of our own families. How can this be correct? If we analyze our ancestors' aachaaraa-s and go back in history successively, what we find is that, in the matter of Ishta Devata Anushtaana, the practices of even a thousand years back is are amenable to our views only!"
35. Further they go on to strengthen their arguments. "Our religion has not projected any one God as the supreme Paradeivatam. Each Devata is extolled as great in it's own turn at some time or other! So each person depending on individual preferences, has the freedom to have his choice. In praising and venerating one God, other Gods are not to be decried. That is the only restriction! For this purpose only has this Panchyatana Pooja has been created, in which one is mainly revered while other Gods are also prayed to as part of the Family of Gods! Thereby the devotee develops a sense of equality between his preference and others."
36. "All this you have taught us. If in the interregnum these Aachaaryal-s have come and made Siva or Vishnu or Ambal as the Supreme Deity and others secondary and tertiary, what is wrong in our going back to the Aachaaraa-s as existing even before these Aachaaryal-s! We are not behaving like these so called Reformers who are recommending discarding of Veda's methods of Sruti and Smruti! We are not for doing away with the procedures of Karma Kanda and saying that only Vedantam is the be all and end all! When we know that the intention of the whole thrust of Veda-s teaching is not to give the Pride of Place to any one God and Ishta Deivata Pooja has always had the stamp of approval of the Veda-s; how can our genuine request to break away from the 'interim-family-tradition' be not approved?"
37. "We agree with the idea that it is preferable to die rather than renege on one's Dharma. It is our 'Kula Aachaara' which is not the original 'swa dharma'! So, our going back to our old ways is not objectionable at all. You have to approve this." This logic ties my hand and mouth completely. When already all rules and regulations are going by default, I should not be responsible for further loosening of control! So, let me give you a suggestion.
38. Do as per what is presently your Kula Aachaara. With that also pray to your Ishta Devata, as long as that is within the parameters of the prescription of the Veda-s. If possible make it the Panchayatana Pooja. For your Ishta Devata you may offer some extra Upachaaraa-s. Anyhow do not forego your family traditions please! Do not blame your Aachaaryal for having introduced some changes in the procedures existing prior to their times. You have to appreciate the fact that they remained true to the dictates of the Sruti and Smruti, i.e., the Veda-s to a large extent.

(To be continued.)




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