Tuesday, September 29, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 132 (Vol #3) Dated 30 Sept 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 132 (Vol #3) Dated 30 Sept 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 page 582 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.)

63. Though we do not give much publicity to ‘Ahimsa’ as the Buddhists do, those who have opted to become Sanyasi-s in our religion, cannot even dream of eating meat dishes. But when their religious Bikku-s eat all sorts of non-vegetarian dishes, it is but natural for the common man to make fun of such behaviour. But, their reply on being questioned about this is a facile one! They say, “Our Buddha did not talk about Aahaara at all. He told us not to kill. We do no kill any animal ourselves. But when others kill and sell the meat, we purchase the same as any material for food.

64. Is it the supply which creates the demand or is it the demand which creates the supply? Is the meat eater purchasing the meat out of his kindness for the butcher to sell his merchandise? I am sure that Thiruvalluvar had this very conundrum in his mind when he wrote this Kural, “thinnar poruttaal kollaadu ulagu enin yaarum vilai poruttaal oon tharuvaar ill” - Kural 256. This means that, ‘if there were no meat eaters in the world, the butcher’s shop would have had no business to be!’ The culpability for killing clearly rests with the non-vegetarian, says Thiru Valluvar.

65. Whatever people like Valluvar may say, Buddhists remained fond of their meat eating. The religion was on the wane in India and found new adherents and followers in Ceylon, Burma, Malaya and far eastern countries. We in South India have had a long standing relationship through sea trade with these countries. So the information spread far and wide that there were not many selling dressed meat in these countries. This need was filled by the Muslim families who were living on the east coast of south India from Tanjore - Nagapattinam - Ramanathapuram.

66. In our country itself, in places where Buddha and Asoka’s influence was mainly felt such as Eastern U.P. and Bihar, there are more per capita non-vegetarians. In these areas and Bengal where people are affected by floods and heavier rains, dependence on other than vegetarian food becomes a compelling necessity. In a lighter vain, the fish in these areas is called. ‘jala pushpam’, meaning ‘flower of water’. In Tamil there is a similar phrase for fish as, ‘neer vazhakkai’, meaning ‘water banana’! So, I was drawing attention to the fact that in some places the habit is borne out of economic and natural contingencies. But in other areas, if there are more non-vegetarians sans any valid excuse of contingencies, it is only due to the influence of Buddhists, amongst whom, ‘Ahimsa’ was a general rule, not followed by any! When you go to extremes, contrariness becomes the rule!

67. Successive progression from where we are towards the Ideal, is what is possible and practical. That is the way our Saastraa-s have indicated. The material used to make the food, and the persons doing that should both be suitably of the Saattvic quality, is the ideal situation. Gradually even the common man should be able to do so. For all others to get motivated to aspire towards that ideal, there should be some who are demonstrating to others, living a life seen to be worthy of emulation.

68. That is the role of the Brahmin in the Hindu society. So, it is essential that he should learn (that is, Adhyayanam) his portion of the Vedas and some additional art and craft such as Jyotisham or Ganitam or Handicraft such as Carpentry or war like arts such as Wrestling or Archery, etc., faultlessly to be able to teach others and train the trainers (that is, Adhyapakam)! His teaching does not end there. By example he is to teach others the high ideals of sacrifice, by living uncaring for name or fame, power or position, material or status or influence! It is this teaching that is more important! Saastraa-s have given this heavy responsibility only to the Brahmin in the whole social set up! Instead of understanding this, people are mistakenly complaining that he has been given too many facilities and privileges!

69. The Brahmin has the onerous responsibility of maintaining the Veda Mantra-s in memory in a letter perfect, intonation perfect and emphasis perfect condition. So, such a person’s body and mind is not to be corrupted by inputting liquor, meat and such stuff as per the Saastraa-s.

70. ‘Saiva’ Aahaaram. The most palatable items of Saattvic quality are these vegetarian ‘ahimsa’ food only, known as Saivam. Thiru Valluvar devotes a whole chapter of ten couplets for this vegetarianism called ‘pulaal maruttal’! This word ‘Saivam’ came into being because amongst non-brahmins in the South, they were mainly devotees of Siva who were uniformly vegetarians! So Saivam as a word evolved to mean vegetarianism and ‘A-saivam’ came to mean non-vegetarianism! Actually these devotees of Siva used to meticulously avoid anything with the slightest capability of affecting their minds and brains. They were known as those who had abnegated the ‘three Kaayam-s’. Here it does not mean the Sthula, Sookshma and Kaarana Sariraa-s. It means, those who have set aside usage of Venkaayam (onion), Ullikaayam (garlic), and Perunkayam (asafoetida). All these three items are required for making any non-vegetarian dish. All three are materials which impart Rajasa and Tamasa qualities!

71. It is funny to note that if it is Saivam denoting vegetarianism in the South India, in the North, it is Vaishnavam which is indicative of vegetarianism! In the South, Siva, Ambal, Pillaiyar with Murugan and sometimes with Ayyappa too, is the divine & happy, first family. Here Siva is a peaceful Shanta Swaroopi, a family man! In the North, Siva is Rudra the Kaala Bhairav and Parvati is Kali or Durga, both ferocious war like figures. Their devotees have always imbibed liquor and eat meat. Then in the North, Vallabhacharya, Ramananda, Chaitanya have all been influential enough to have mass following. They all preached certain philosophies very close to what Ramanuja Acharyar stood for. They all believed in Vishnu Pooja. North Indian Jains, who were staunch vegetarians already, when they returned to Hinduism, were all absorbed into Vaishnavism, there by adding to the number of Vegetarians who were Vaishnavites. So, Vaishnava Aahaaram in the North India is synonym for Vegetarian!

72. In the South, the motto of Saivam is ‘Anbe Sivam’, meaning, Love is Sivam. Here when Jains converted back to Hinduism enmasse, the one who caused such conversion was Thiru Gnana Sambanda Moorthigal. Thiru Naavukku Arasar and Appar were contemporaries of that period. They were all in some way responsible for the mass movement of devotees of Siva. So, it is but natural for vegetarianism and Saivam to be synonymous in the South India!

(To be continued.)




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