Sunday, October 18, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 139 (Vol #3) Dated 18 Oct 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 139 (Vol #3) Dated 18 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 620 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.)

136. Chatur Masya Vratam. To talk about this four month's period of abnegation, I have to talk to you about 'Sauramanam' and 'Chandramanam', the two types of Panchangam or calenders, based on which these calculations are made. Sauramanam, is the system followed in Tamil Nadu, which is based on the movements of the Sun. According to this, as the Sun enters Mesham, Rishabam, Mithunam, et al., the twelve Rasi-s representing 12 of the nearest galaxies closest to the solar system, with which the Sun is aligned, (as seen from the Earth?). On the first day of such alignment, is the first day of the month of Chithirai, Vaikasi and so on as per the calculations. After 12 such months when the Sun again enters Mesham, is the first day of the New Year, as per the Tamil Calender.

137. In our country, most of the other regions follow the calender of the Moon, known as 'Chandramanam'. According to this, the first day or 'Pratamai' after the New Moon or Amavasya, till the next Amavasya is one month. On the Prathamai after last Amavasya in the month of Panguni or Phalgun as per Tamil calender, is the New Year for Teluguites and Kannadigas, called Yugadi. Malayalis follow the Tamilian's system. They also have their month of Medam, as the Sun enters the Mesha Raasi. They call it the 'Vishu'. Only in naming the months, they use the name of the Raasi itself. So the names of the months are, Medam, Edavam, Mithunam and so on. The point of difference between Malayalam and Tamil calender is that, we Tamilians follow the system of 'Chandramanam' in naming the months, like Chitrai, Vaikasi and so on. That is, the name of the month is derived from the Star on which that month's Full Moon occurs. In Chitrai, the full moon occurs on the star Cithra. (This has been clearly described under the heading 'Sikshai; the Nose of the Veda-s', in the Second Volume of Deivathin Kural, which may be referred for more details.) Another point of difference between what we Tamilians follow and what the Malayalis do. They do follow the system of 'Sauramanam' but call their month's names based on the Raasi in which the Sun is entering is one difference. So our New Year's Day coincides with their 'Vishu'. But that is not their New Year's Day. That happens to be, our fifth month of Avani.

138. Another peculiarity about the Chandramanam system. Their month starts on every Prathamai or the first day after Amavasya. Thus their months are always less than 30 days and the total for 12 months will never add up to 360 days. But a year is supposed to be of 365 and a quarter of a day, the time taken by the Earth to go around the Sun! To compensate for that in Chandramanam system, they add a month called, 'Mala Masam' after every three years. During that month no auspicious activities are undertaken.

139. In trying to explain the 'Chatur Masya Vratam', I went in to the details of 'Sauramanam and Chandramanam' systems. In the month of 'Aashad / Aadi', on Sukhla Paksha Ekadasi, (S.P.E., for short, that is, one day after the new moon), Bhagawan Mahavishnu goes to sleep in the Ocean of Milk - Ksheera Abdi. He continues to have his nap in Aavani/Sravan, Purattasi/Badrapada and Aaswina/Aippasi. He wakes up in Kartik S.P.E. This period of four months are known as Chatur Masya, that is S.P.E., in Aashada to Kartika month. The Full Moon in Aashada is known as Vyasa Poornima or Guru Poornima. There is a notion that the four months start from Guru Poornima. But, actually it commences from the Ekadasi preceeding that.

140. Most of the festivals occur during these four months only. Gokulashtami, Ganesha Chaturthi, Nava Rathri, Deepavali, Mahashashti, Kartigai are all occuring in this period. But in this four months of the Sun's Southward journey or Dakshinayanam, we are not supposed to conduct Subha Karyam that is auspicious functions such as Marriages, Upanayanam, Kumbha Abhishegam and such. Though the period is full of common festivals, they are not suitable for auspicious events of individuals and Temple's festivals, basically because of Dakshinayanam. This is the time for sincere regular prayers and vows of abstinence. In this Aachaara Niyamam, that is, discipline in food intake is important!

141. Amongst even such materials that is normally accepted as OK in other times, in each of these four months, one variety of item is set aside as taboo. As I said before, this vow could be from Ashad S.P.E., to Kartik S.P.E., or Month of Sravan to Kartik. First month we are not to have any vegetable. For side dishes you are to have only Appalam/Papad, Vadam and such. Since Tamarind and Green Pepper are also Vegetable, they are not to be used. You can use butter milk and ginger for mixing with the rice. In Badrapada month curd and butter milk are forbidden. In Ashwin month, no milk. In Kartik no ghee and no pulses! With rice or bread, you can have simple boiled vegetables!

142. To some extent the Madva-s are maintaining this Four Month Vratam religiously. Even if they are not doing so in daily food at home, at least in Sraddha they are keeping upto the requirement. Others are not caring for any of these restrictions. Only Sanyasi-s who are followers of Aachaara traditions, are maintaining these taboos. When even taking of Sanyasa is not as per the Saastraa-s and going askew, I feel diffident of commenting on this subject!

143. What is essential at times are to be avoided at other times. Whatever is a must for the householder including Vaidic Aachaaraa-s, are all to be done away with, when one takes the Sanyasa Ashrama. The very Aachaaraa-s which tell us as to how to control the food inputs, also tell us as to how on other times we are to do without some materials. I told you some of those Do's and Dont's. In them there is one rule known as 'alavanam', which means 'no salt'! On the one hand there is a proverb which says that, "uppu illada pandam kuppaile", meaning, 'material without salt is as good as dirt', to go on to do without salt, seems an anachronism. Hyper sensitivity is due to salt. Relate this to the often levelled taunt which says, "Dont' you have any shame? Dont' you add any salt to your food?"

144. When you are a travellor in the path of Self Discovery, these senses of insult to one's ego, shame, taking offence, hurt to one's pride and such things, are best avoided by cutting down on salt completely. Sanyasi-s are supposed to be having bland diet. If Doctors prescribe such diet for certain reasons, Saastraa-s do so for certain other reasons! You can practically see this when 'Varuna Japam' is done praying for rains. When those who are chanting the mantra-s are on bland diet, the Japam is effective and otherwise when they fail to do so! Fasts related to Murugan such as, Tuesday, Shashti and Kruttika are all done 'alavanam'. These are all examples of the fact that on occasions Saastraa-s proscribe certain items, which are normally acceptable.

145. 'Swayam Bhagam'. That means, 'To cook one's own food'. I spoke about the need for the physical and attitudinal cleanliness of those who cook and or handle your food. Though we may not be able oversee the cleanliness of the farmer and the tradesmen, at least look at the server of your food. So, I had not approved of eating in hotels, messes, canteens and hostels. Having generally approved of cooking and serving by Mother/Wife, I had insisted on their need to be clean physically and be deeply into devotion! All that was only preperatory to my final instruction to you to cook on your own. This is the main topic of further discussions!

(To be continued.)




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