Friday, October 16, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 138 (Vol #3) Dated 16 Oct 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 138 (Vol #3) Dated 16 Oct 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 page 615 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.)

125. So, I hope that the point is clear that milk and its products is not to be avoided but, used only on the principle of controlled and balanced usage. It is criminal to deny milk to the calf and not to let it reach the person who needs it more, like poor children and sick people. Instead, it is being consumed after being poisoned by adding coffee. This has a double negative effect that it is going to hurt the user as well as hiking the price for the poorer people. The user becomes the addict while hurting the genuine needs of the poor patients, by making it beyond their reach. If you stop drinking coffee and assist in distributing the milk to the poor, you will be moving in the right direction.

126. Chewing the Betel Leaves. Like the urge to 'drink' liquor and 'blow' smoke, there are many who are addicted to the habit of chewing the betel leaves. The three ingredients are betel leaves, areca nuts and calcium in the form of lime! It is known as 'paan' or 'vetrilai-pakku' or 'Tamboolam'! The fourth addition is fine cut tobacco that is treated to make it invitingly fragrant, known as 'zafrani' or 'panneer pugailai'! This is a detestable habit peculiar to us Indians.

127. Many are slave to the habit of constantly having a mouthful of these ingredients, continuously replenished. The tongue gets thickened. Hunger is lessened. They do this all of the time, while doing whatever like talking, causing a steady spray of red saliva falling uniformly on all the bystanders or sometimes leaking from the corners of their mouth. There is no 'Aachaaram' here, no status symbol either! 'Snuff' is another of such horrendous habits! A fine powder of tobacco is sniffed in to the nostrils. The one chewing the tobacco will spit every where and the one sniffing it will sneeze every where! Those who have both these habits along with the habit of chewing the 'paan' or 'Tamboolam' can be quite a menace to the God-fearing common man, against all civic sense!

128. There is nothing wrong in married people having the Tamboolam after meals, especially the ladies. In moderate quantities it helps in digestion and the lime adds to the supply of calcium. In 'pooja' of Gods, 'Tamboolam' is the final offering after food. It is a symbol of 'Sowbhagyam', that is, 'wedded bliss'. It is digestive, cleanser of the blood flow, and a source of calcium. Despite all this, it is not 'Saattvic'. That is why it is not prescribed for bachelors and Sannyasi-s! The house holders have to have some Rajasa guna-s. So they are permitted Tamboolam. But it does not mean however, that one does so endlessly! What ever it is, the user should have the habits under his control and not become a slave to the habits! Sweets and items made out of ghee are only Saatvic. Since they satiate within limited use, they are OK. Even here, over usage leads to diabetes and obesity!

129. In trying to explain the cleanliness of materials, I have gone far a field. Vegetarian food while enabling us to inculcate the Saattvic guna-s, does not hurt or harm other living beings. As this spreads in the world, there will be less and less of murders, rapes and thefts. If you take a census of the murderers, you will find hardly any vegetarian amongst them!

130. So, if we want peace in the world, we should become peaceful. For this we should imbibe Saattvic qualities through our food. As we said before, the food is the nutrition not only for the body but also for the mind. So, our Saastraa-s have approved use of some and forbidden use of certain other materials. As far as food is concerned, vegetarian is approved and non-veg is not. Simply by the severity of their observance of ‘Ahimsa’ that is, non-cruelty in all their thoughts, ideas, concepts, speech and action, some great saintly souls have so influenced the atmosphere that there was apparent unconditional love in their surroundings. You came across in their vicinity, a lioness feeding a baby elephant,; a calf would be guided by a tiger; a baby snake would be given shade by the spread of a peacock’s feathers; baby rat would be protected by a cat; and so on! It was in one such place on the banks of the Thunga river in Sringeri, when Aadi Sankara came across a snake guarding a pregnant frog, that he established one of his Peetam-s known as the Sarada Peetam.

131. If we are to perpetuate such traditions of peace that could overcome even natural innate enmity, we are to practice and propagate ‘Ahimsa’ through Vegetarianism. Even in Saattvic food items, extremes of bitterness, sourness and spices are to be avoided. Similarly, onion, garlic, radish and drum-stick are against Sattva Guna.

132. Even in completely Saattvic quality food, the quantity is also important. Ideal is one meals a day. May be you could stretch it to, one meals and one Tiffin. Two meals and one light Tiffin is the order of the day, these days. At the least we should see to it that we do not over eat. As per Dharma and Vaidya Saastraa-s, the stomach is supposed to be half filled with food, one fourth with water and another quarter left for possible gas / air! Even if you are maintaining a system of two meals a day with a Tiffin in the morning or afternoon, it is better to cut down on some eating and or keep complete fast on days like, Chaturthi, Shashti, Kruttika, Pradosham and such days. Having fasted the next meal should not be too heavy! Once in a fortnight, you should fast completely one day. That is the Ekadasi ‘Upavaasam’! I will talk about this in more detail later.

133. Hunger is like a disease. For disease, we will take the medicines as per the dosage prescribed by the doctor, will we not? Exactly similarly, the food should be eaten as we would consume medicines. That is how Aadi Sankara has advised, “...ktchud vyaadischa chikitsaam...”, there by meaning, ‘take food as the medicine for the illness known as hunger’! Do not eat for the tongue. Do not search for tasty food. “...swaad vannam na tu yaasyataam...”! Be happy with what you get by chance. “..vidhi vasaat praaptena santushyataam...”.

134. When we eat for satisfying the taste buds, eating goes beyond control. But when our attitude is such that, we feel the need to appease the hunger, then we will not cross the limits. We will then not suffer from, indigestion or gastric acidity or obesity!

135. On occasions, some of the accepted materials also become taboo. Milk and curd are both Saattvic. But during night time, curd is to be avoided and butter milk preferable. After noons are not OK for plain milk. Many of the normally acceptable pulses and vegetables such as, Bengal gram, okra and pumpkin, become forbidden during Sraddham for Pithru-s. Even in bitter gourd, the long one is acceptable and the small one is not. Similarly, there are some special rules for the ‘four-month-vratam’ known as ‘chatur masya vratam’.

(To be continued.)




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