Monday, November 02, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 144 (Vol #3) Dated 02 Nov 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 144 (Vol #3) Dated 02 Nov 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 648 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.)

186. All the teachings of Chandogya Upanishad, as advised by Sanat Kumara to Narada Maharishi ends in the confirmation that all religious and spiritual discipline for clearing the mind of its cob-webs and unwanted growth, can and will occur only with control over the diet! That control can best be achieved through 'Swayam Paakam'. In old age, the greatest and most powerful diverter in the human body is the tongue. Hearing may have defaulted. Vision may have departed. We may not be able to even perambulate or lift a book, as our limbs do not co-operate any more! But the tongue would still hanker after the taste bud's promptings, despite the stomach's objections! You might have heard many old men complaining, "I miss my wife. No one can match her cooking. How well she used to feed me! Now I have to patiently wait for this daily morsel of food!"

187. That aside, as they are trumpeting that basic education should be made free for all, in which all self discipline and morals are to be included; I am very clear that this basic principle of 'Swayam Paakam' should also be included. All political and social leaders too insist that cooking should be included in basic education. But, they are talking about a total mix of everyone cooking for everybody together! There can be no chance for self improvement in this. Rather everyone would be equally brought lower down! This is self improvement through individual effort, without corrupting others who may have progressed ahead and without getting corrupted by others may not have yet evolved to the level which we may have come up to. Not only for primary education, much is talked about Old People's Education too. They could also be taught to cook for themselves.

188. In these plans for education, the much talked about idea is self reliance, without being dependant on others. So if everyone gets his own food prepared by himself, there will be a national saving of resources and a break on the price spiral. If it is held that it is reformation to make everyone cook for everybody, regardless of caste and creed; it is a greater reformation for everyone to cook their own food. They talk of many things in the name of social reformation. But the point to note is that, the society is made up of many individuals. So to correct and uplift individual attitude and behaviour, is the real social reformation. So, it is necessary to teach Swayam Paakam at the primary and secondary level of education itself!

189. That male elders should be knowing cooking, is clearly mentioned so in the Saastraa-s. There is clear direction to this effect, in the following sentence:- "...panchaasat vatsaraat oordwam na kuryaat paani peedanam...". This means that after 50 years of age, one should not remarry. Generally after the death of one's wife, people remarry even after having attained to the ripe old age of 50, on the pretext of the fact that there is nobody suitable to cook at home and that children have to be taken care of. At an age when one should be thinking of going in to Vana Prastha Aashrama, preparatory to taking Sanyasa, to get embroiled once again in the complications of married life, is not in the rightness of things!

190. Similarly, many a overage brhmachari celibate, thinks suddenly of marriage only when faced with a situation when there is no cook at home because his mother who had all along been taking care of him, is no more. This is not getting a 'saha dharmini' or life partner for maintaining Dharma but, a marriage of convenience. This can be obviated if Swayam Paakam is in vogue. More than ever before, in to-day's world wherein, everybody is roaming about the whole world looking for employment, Swayam Paakam is even more relevant. You can avoid obesity, ulcer in the stomach and such problems, as you can say 'good bye' once and for all, to all fast foods and uncooked and half cooked riff raff, served in the eateries of the world. Some Pongal or Kitchdi, some Roti or cooked rice / wheat with curd and such body friendly items, can always be made without much effort.

191. To think that the menu has to have half a dozen items and that the kitchen has to have umpteen number of cereals, pulses and spices, is the reason for our mental and physical stuck-up-pedness! Rasam, sambaar, vatta kozhambu, curry, koottu, podithuval, varuval, oorukaai, vadaam, appalam, chutney, curd and so on and so on! The list is endless. Cooking all this can have a series of crisis situations such as, apprehension about, over flowing / frying / cooking / charring and fear about too much or too less, salt / tamarind / chillies! This is where a reformation is badly needed.

192. We must cut down on these avoidable unnecessaries! Make food light and cooking a simple operation. Make some poories and have it with milk. You can have your stomach full and would not fall sick. You can store it for days. Poories are suitable while on travel too. You can avoid eating in odd sort of places. Poories with 'Sattu maavu', is ideal as packed food. Dry fry some rice and powder it, to make 'sattu maavu'. This can be eaten as it is with milk or curd or butter milk! It is a filling and nourishing energy pack, contributing to Sattva Guna in oneself!

193. For making such food, you do not need even the pressure cooker and such devices. Pressure cooker may help in cooking rice well. But somehow, use of the pressure cooker prompts us to go for more varieties and additives. More usage of tamarind, chillies and spices, can only lead us to more expenditure on medicines and treatments.

194. So, keeping the requirement of these things at the barest minimum, we should restrict only to a few items of food materials, which are Saattvic and have the qualities of 'Madhuram and Snigdam'. 'Madhuram' means sweet. I am not recommending use of more sugar or sugar like items. There is a sweetness inherent in rice and wheat and cereals. By adding salt, chillies and spices, we are completely obliterating the natural sweetness, taste and fragrance of our food items, including the vegetables. To retain the natural taste of the food item is 'Madhuram'! 'Snigdam' means some thing soft and nice as against dry and rough. It does not mean that it has to be dripping with ghee.

195. If every one cooks his or her own food, how to do ‘atiti satkaaram’ or taking care of the guest? That is also an important duty of a house holder, is it not so? If that is your question, my answer is that, you may give the guest all that is required to cook for himself. That is how they would prefer to get heir food prepared. So, that should do most sufficiently! To so take care of the guests, is known as, ‘sataavrutti’! Many of the North Indian visitors to South India, never used to accept cooked food, but prefer to be given the material in kind. So, you do not have to think that Swayam Paakam is any hurdle in taking care of the guests. If you want that they should directly eat what you give, then give them milk and fruits. If you give cooked rice with milk to a thief, he may give up thieving for ever. That is how the milk nurtures goodness in people. I am saying, ‘with that give him some nice fruits too!’

196. Whether you are a student or an office goer or retired man, learn such simple methods and cook for yourself. I am addressing the men folk especially, in saying this!

(To be continued.)




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