Monday, July 06, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 104 (Vol # 3) Dated 04 July 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 104 (Vol # 3) Dated 04 July 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 second Para on page 472 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.)

78. Brahmins are known as, “...shat karma nirata:...”, to mean that they are eternally responsible for six duties namely, ‘Adhyayanam (learning the Veda-s), Adhyapakam (teaching the Veda-s), Yajanam (conduct Yagna-s themselves), Yaajanam (get Yagna-s conducted for the sake of others), Daanam (give alms to poor) and Pratigraham (take alms from the rich). This, ‘shat karma nirata:’ is referred by Thiruvalluvar as ‘aru thozhilor’. (Here ‘aru thozhilor’ does not mean agriculture, trading and such, as mentioned in some modern day translations of Thirukkural! The reference is to the last Kural in the Adhikaaram on Kodunkonmai.)

79. When the king is irresponsible in his duties resulting in tyranny, the 'aru thozhilor' 'nool marappar', meaning will forget their Veda-s! That will result in a whole lot of problems to the whole world. (It will be seen that this word ‘nool marappar’ will not apply if agriculture, trading and such professions were meant!) When Brahmin fails in his duties, the whole society suffers. Nay, the whole world suffers! The word used is "kedum". Now go back to the Kural I quoted on how important it is for the Brahmin not to let his Aachaaraa-s go by default!

80. "marappinum othuk kolalaagum paarppaan pirappu ozhukkam kunrak kedum". There he is saying that the Brahmin's not doing their duties by forgetting the Veda-s, will lead to a general calamity for the whole world - 'kedum!' Here he is saying that, 'it is alright for them to forget their Veda-s, they can always relearn, but it is a greater loss if the Brahmins are to let their Aachaaraa-s go by default! Thiruvalluvar is not part of those who say, 'No need for the archaic Veda-s, discipline alone will do'. He does not side with those who say that, 'No need for the Aachaaraa-s, Vedantam will do most sufficiently!' Further, he is not part of those who want neither the Veda-s nor the Aachaaraa-s and want to do away with the Brahmin as a caste! Thiruvalluvar clearly wants that, One, we are not to do away with the Brahmins as a caste; Two, Brahmins are not to give up or forget even temporarily chanting of the Vedas; Three, even if they are to temporarily forget chanting of the Veda-s, they can and should always relearn, but most importantly, they are not to let their Aachaaraa-s go by default! Thus his advice is purely as per the Saastraa-s and totally as per the Sanaatana Dharma!

81. In the light of this we can try to understand his earlier statement that 'high or low caste is not by birth, but by his Ozhukkam!' According to the Saastraa-s, there is no mention of any Jaati / caste, as higher or lower. The four fold responsibilities of work is distributed to each caste on the basis of the individual's 'swabhaava' or nature, which is by birth. Exceptions are always there and we also know that exceptions only prove the rule!

82. In the Varna-Aashrama division of work, the distribution of the work load is absolutely equitable and very sensible. Here Thiruvalluvar opines that anyone who carries out his appointed load of work as per his Varna and Aashrama, is to be highly respected.

83. Continuing logically it follows that though to follow one's aachaara is important for all, for a Brahmin with a special lot of activities listed as his duties, it is extremely more important that he shall not fail in the conduct of his duties, so that it may not be having a overall deleterious effect on the society and world at large! He can relearn his Veda-s even if he forgets them, but he should not be failing in his Aachaaraa-s! That is the message of this Kural:- "marappinum oththuk kolalaagum paarpaan pirappu ozhukkam kunrak kedum."

84. In the same vein Thiruvalluvar goes on to say that Ozhukkam that is, disciplined observance of one's customs and traditions, gives the direct benefits to the individual, family and society. It also causes a response of gratitude from the rest of the society. There will also be the unseen indirect effects of Punyam which will fetch good results some time in the future. In the same breath he also goes on to say that 'not doing so will always be deleterious!' I quote the Kural now:- "nanrikku viththaagum nal ozhukkam -- theeyozhukkam enrum idumbaith tharum."

85. Varna /Aashrama Dharma-s. Instead of having the same custom and tradition for all people, Sanatana Dharma distributes the work load in a very sensible manner, based on 'Swabhaava' that is individual nature, which is by birth. Here let us be reminded again that Varna-s are Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vysya and Sudra and the Ashrama-s are, Brhmacharya, Gruhasta, Vanaprasta and Sannyaasa. Balyam or childhood is prior to Brhmacharyam, not considered as one of the aashrama.

86. The individual's duties are different depending upon his Varna and the particular Aashrama that he is in, at a particular point in time, in his life. His duties as a student, as a married man, as a person in the process of de-linking from worldly involvement and as a renunciate, will vary! Varna Dharma is related to his profession and Aashrama Dharma is related to his development of maturity in life. Put together, they are known as Varna-Aashrama Dharma. This is not invidious discrimination. They are not any water-tight compartments. This set up is meant to raise each individual from the particular position he finds himself any time in his life and progress from there, keeping in view the interests of the individual as well as the society. The wisdom and universal compassion of the Rishi-s who evolved the system are beyond doubt. (To be continued.) Sambhomahadeva.



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