Friday, August 21, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 118 (Vol #3) Dated 20 August 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 118 (Vol #3) Dated 20 August 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 the 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 middle of page 522 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 constantly updated.)

204. In South India, for long, even in very religiously orthodox families, much of what is called ‘in-breeding’ has been there! Sister’s son with brothers daughter, known in Tamil as ‘aththaan & ammangaal’; brother’s son with sister’s daughter, known as ‘ammanji & aththngaal’; were considered as most suitable for being married. That is, cousins with a common grand father, used to be called by an epithet, ‘murai payyan/penn’, meaning, 'made for each other' as though! This is against the Saastraa-s. Going one step beyond, for a girl, her Mother’s Brother, known as ‘Maamaa‘, was the first choice for marriage. In the North India, they ask, “What is this sacrilege?”

205. Because of a more bitter winter than in the South and much longer period of domination by Muslims in the North, it is to be expected that they should be less orthodox and they are in some respects. Like we see the Pujary in Kasi and Badri Nath temples wearing shirts with a jersey and an overcoat! Even Sadhu-s would be smoking from the common Hukka, as an accepted social custom! But when it comes to this exchange of bride/bride grooms, they are more true to the dictates of the Saastraa-s than we are in the South.

206. In certain other respects too, they are more strict with their aachaaraa-s. There has been an occasion when I was taught a lesson in Aachaaraa by a North Indian Lady visitor to this Ashram! Let me tell you of that recent incidence. (This was possibly in 1956.) In Gorakhpur, there is a Gita Press. They publish a periodical known as, ‘Kalyana Kalpataru’, a religious periodical. Those people with some devotees organized a trip down South, to places of religious merit. There were some 400 to 500 people in some ten buses. They also visited this place, Kanchipuram. That day it was a day of ‘mouna vratam’, (i.e., a vow of silence) for me. I was sitting under the mango tree that day, as they arrived. They came to me singly to pay respects to me. As Prasadam I gave each of them some sugar candy crystals. Some of them I noticed took it with some noticeable amount of reluctance.

207. One lady was frank enough to tell me bluntly in Hindi that, sugar candy as prasadam is of no use and that I may as well give her some other thing as prasadam! Now I understood the reason why others were reluctant to receive the prasadam from me. In earlier times, for refining the molasses animal bones were being made use of. So evidently they had stopped making use of sugar candy as prasadam in Hindu religious organizations. I had known this when visiting North India during my Pada Yatra-s in 1934-36. Subsequently however sugar manufacturers in South, had informed me that they had changed the process of refinement of the molasses by using some other materials, so as not to hurt the Hindu religious sentiments. Accordingly we had reintroduced use of sugar candies as prasadam.

208. The process may not have changed in the sugar mills in the North or the change if any may not be known to the visitors from Gorakhpur that day. So many of them before her may have reluctantly accepted my giving them the prasadam, so as not to upset this Swamiji! But that Lady must have thought that, after all Swamiji-s come and go, but the Aachaaraa-s are more important. So she was brave enough to flatly refuse my offer and ask for something else as Prasadam! I understood and gave her some Vibhuti and Kumkum instead. That day being my day of ‘Mouna Vratam’, no explanation was offered. I make the point, to bring home that North Indians are more Aachaaraa conscious than us in the South in many ways.

209. During Brhma Charyam while doing Guru Kula Vasam, the boys are to wear the Veshti with Katcham with an upper veshti, known as Anga Vastra, as per the Saastraa-s. Of course there are no more Guru Kula Vasam in the real sense these days, as they used to do in olden times when, the students used to live as part of the Guru’s household while learning Veda-s and Saastraa-s. Now-a-days, there are some Veda Patashala-s being run in some places, more like any school with a number of Adhyapaka-s.

210. But in places wherever there are young boys learning the Veda-s in the North, wearing of Pancha Katcha Veshti and Anga Vastram is being strictly followed, from the time they start. Here in the South our boys, remain with a simple one-wrap veshti, till they get married. To my knowledge, even non-brahmins wear their Veshti with katcham in the North, whereas here in South, especially in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, have only this 'thattu chuththu', that is the single wrap-around! This is 'anaachaaram and asaastreeyam!', that is, contrary to what is given in the Saastraa-s!

211. 'Brhma Yagnam' is an Anushtana to be done for Deva-s, Rishi-s, Pithru-s, human beings (like visitors and guests) and other living beings (like birds, animals and insects). Bachelor boys including those, whose parents are alive, are also required to do the whole of Brhma Yagnam procedure. Some how it had become the custom for boys whose parents are alive to let this part 'on pithru-s' go by default! That is being daft to say the least. After all, the 'tarpanam' is addressed towards the 'pithru-s' who are no more and not to those who are alive. Even those whose parents are alive, are essentially required to pay their respects to the ancestors of the particular branch of the 'Shaka or sutra'! Not to do so is 'anaachaaram'.
(To be continued.)



Post a Comment

<< Home