Thursday, December 03, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 157 (Vol #3) Dated 03 Dec 2009.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 157 (Vol #3) Dated 03 Dec 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 last para on page No 717 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://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.

30. 'Aparigraha Dharmam' is not to accumulate even an iota of material more than required to be able to live, as I said. This in Yoga Saastraa is one of the five basic rules known as, 'Yamam', as given in Patanjali Yoga Sutram. "Yamam' is to keep under very strict control. Since even great sinners are kept under strict control, the keeper of Naraka or Hell is known 'Yama' or 'Yama Dharma Raja' Patanjali Yoga Sutram has the main purpose of controlling the mind. In it he talks about five principles of control. They are, 'Ahimsa (not hurting other life forms), Satyam (Truthfulness), Astheyam (refraining from stealing and not coveting others property including love, affection and sympathy), Brhmacharyam (movement in Brhmam including celibacy) and Aparigraham'!

31. The tendency to endlessly desire to possess each and every thing that our eyes fall upon, is to be curtailed. If this desire is curtailed, then the desire to get more money will be controlled, by which the urge to do any hanky-panky for getting more money will become less. This will lessen the greed and the restlessness that go with it. The incessant impulse to go to any length of moral depredation, to get just that few more rupees, will simply vanish.

32. Manu Saastram talks of five basic Dharma-s namely, Ahimsa, Satyam, Astheyam, Soucham and Indriya Nigraham. The first three being the same as the Yama-s described earlier, let us look at the last two, of Soucham and Indriya Nigraham. Soucham means cleanliness. Cleanliness of mind, heart and physical body, including mental and moral uprightness too. Indriya Nigraham, means that the senses are brought under such control that they only serve the purpose as instruments or tools. Instead of Patanjali's Aparigraham, Manu has spoken of only Soucham as, even adding one item more than required is equivalent to committing a theft, I suppose. So speaking of Astheyam (that is, not stealing), is as good as Aparigraham!

33. There are many definitions for theft. Even Sri Krishna has been called many names as a thief such as, "...ullam kavar kalvan...chit chor...", meaning 'thief of hearts' in Tamil and Hindi respectively! When income is less and expenditure is more, that itself is called a 'theft'! In Bhagawat Gita (3.12), Sri Krishna says that, if a man who gets all his requirements from the divine forces, uses them without offering it to Gods with a sense of gratitude, it is as good as stealing!

33. To keep to oneself anything more than required is tantamount to stealing. That is the way to follow the Dharma of Aparigraham. Our Adi Sankara Bhagawat Paadaal too has elaborated on this principle in Viveka Choodaamani. Having said that the first door for Heavens is Mounam, he adds Aparigraham as the next door. He says, "yogasya pratamam dwaaram vaangnirodho aparigraha:".

34. It is only after money came to be printed and minted, that the tendency to accumulate more and more, giving expressions to greed and uncontrolled expenses came into vogue. This situation led to cutting down of giving donations and philanthropic activities on the one side and accumulation on the other. This resulted in accentuating and widening the gap between the poor and rich. One may wonder if there was ever a time when printed and minted money was not there?

35. Yes, there was a time when barter was the only method of trading. You exchanged some produce or crafted article or material for something else. There was no Rupee or Dollar or Sterling. It was much later that various civilizations got stabilized in to nation states with their own governments, rulers and so on. Currency and coins came into being only later. The value of each and every item came to be calculated against the value of such coins. Till East India Company started ruling over India, use of minted coins was rather rare. Only some trading was money based. Even trades over the seas was on physical exchange of goods and material only. Those days, the value of the coin made of Gold and Silver was very close to what was its real value.

36. Only when later coins were minted by an alloy of nickel, brass, iron and such things, ending in printing of paper money, that there was no more correlation between its real value and what was mentioned on the coin or paper currency! That led to a situation as existing in to-days world of notional value of all these currencies, based more on imagination, speculation, manipulation and domination!

37. Even as late as two centuries back, between the public, the trades were based on barter. Even the Government was paid its due in terms of one sixth of the produce in the agricultural lands. Balance grains could not be turned in to money since after all the whole nation was basically an agricultural one. Almost everyone had some piece of land and did sow and harvest some item or the other from the land. So, there were more outlets or distribution centres, where cooked food or agricultural produce were either given away free or issued in exchange for other items of produce. Running of the government involved supervising of Varna, Ashrama and Dharma activities of the society. Poor feeding and traveller’s feeding was either managed by the local government office bearers or rich traders and land holders. You cannot keep a year's produce, for more than a year or two! You neither had modern facilities to keep them for long. So, it was natural that Aparigraham, that is not stocking, hoarding or accumulating was the accepted methodology. With the introduction of coins and printed currency notes, all the ills of hoarding and accumulation of wealth became a way of life that, Parigraham started climbing Himalayan heights!
38. You do not have to search far and wide to see as to how well Aparigraham was the in thing some three or four generations back. Mud pots, stone grinder and such things, made up the household utensils. Households were known as 'parnasalai', that is, leaves of Palmyra or coconut trees formed the roof of a house made of some wooden beams and mud walls. Black beads known as 'karuga mani' were the jewels. Mighty Kings like Dilipan living in palaces, came and fell in the feet of Maharishi-s like Vasishta, who lived in such dwellings only.

39. Even as late as 18th and 19th centuries, our fore fathers have lived a life of utter simplicity and high ideals. It is only in very recent times that we have gone in for more and more money, hoarding of wealth and luxuries, that we have lost sight of the noble principles of Aparigraham and our social high standing. This tendency to amass wealth and surround oneself with such status symbols, only leads to more and more fear of being pounced upon and looted. The peacefulness of the idea of Aparigraham is lost forever!

40. Here I have a personal request to make. You have a custom of showing your respect by presenting me with a Golden/Woollen Shawl when I visit your places. This has been going on for quite some time now. This custom has been there from before my time. It was alright in the past. Then the country was in better shape and my predecessors were deserving of such adoration. In these days of scarcity and rationing, it is just not on for you all to give me a costly Shawl, as you have been doing. For long I have been wanting to talk about this. I have been keeping quite since my refusal to accept your gesture may be misunderstood. But since I have spoken to you all in such elaborate details about ‘Aparigraham’ as a badly needed noble principle, I feel free to tell you about this to-day. I am a Sannyasi. It is just not on for me to cover my body with a ‘Chaadar’ that is a Silk or Woollen shawl costing some 500 to a thousand rupees! I am asking you all sincerely to refrain from doing so from now onwards!

41. One thing comes to my mind. There was a custom to honour great scholars and Pundits by presenting them with a Golden/Woollen Shawl, called ‘ponnaadai’ in Tamil. U.V.Swaminatha Ayer once brought a Tamil Vidwaan here and asked me to present him with a shawl like that. I told Mr. Swaminatha Ayer to do so himself. I did not approve some of the ideas and principles of that scholar’s. He was aware of these differences of views, and so was Mr.Swaminatha Iyer. His aim was that these differences should be smoothed out between me and that Tamil scholar.

42. So, when the time came for this formality, that Tamil scholar spoke that I should ‘honour him with a shawl as well as approval of his ideas and concepts. In Tamil the word, ‘pothanum’ , has a double meaning. One is ‘to cover’ and the other is to ‘praise’! In that meaning that Tamil scholar, requested me to cover him with a shawl as well as approve his ideas. Now I am talking to you about that incident so as to request you that, to honour me, you do not have to cover me with a costly shawl!

43. Personal wealth and expenses should be kept under the strictest control. Mahatma Gandhi was a shining example of ‘Aparigraham’ in personal and public life. So is Vinobha Bhave these days. Our political leaders while paying lip service to these stalwarts of Aparigraham, are pulling the nation very fast in the opposite direction! It seems as though they want to show the world that we are not lacking behind in this so called progress!

44. Governments and their ideologies are not for ever. Sanaatana Dharmam is for ever. That is also the way towards permanent peacefulness and Shanti. Conservation and avoidance of extravagance has relevance to-day and for ever. Let us try and be calculative in all our actions, speech and expenditure and work towards conservation, thereby attain to contentedness and peace. If I keep talking, you may start wondering as to whether, I believe in what I am saying. Before you come to that conclusion, let me come to mine and stop here and now!



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