Wednesday, January 20, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 178 (Vol #3) Dated 20 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 178 (Vol #3) Dated 20 Jan 2010.
(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 middle of the second para on page No 814 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.)

59. Having got rid of 'Devadaasi' as a tradition, we have made it imperative that every child, especially girls learn music and dance. This has led to more problems than what was solved! Now every girl is motivated to become a model or actor. Their logic is like this. "I have a nice figure. I know music and dance. I am able to evoke a fair response from the audience. Why not I make this a profession and earn a lot of name, fame and wealth?" In the name of professional ambition and popularity, they become ready to stoop down to any lower level. What suffers is the 'stree dharma', which is the basic foundation on which the whole edifice of social discipline rests in the Indian context!

60. Uncaring for such hazards and pitfalls, in the name of social reform and improvement of arts, much has been sacrificed on the alter of human greed and lust! Having asked the question as to why should there be a separate caste as 'devadaasi-s', now the general moral standards of the whole society has been brought down! In the garb of democratization, I am afraid that much harm has been done to the high ideals of Indian civilization and social standards!

61. The Varna system has been so evolved that all professions of the society may grow without tresspassing in to each other’s areas of responsibility. If there are any aberrations in one area, we should take measures to make corrections and amendments to improve and not do away with the whole system. If any part of the body is infected, you treat that part of the body and not remove it completely. Prevention before and treatment of the illness afterwards is the way it is done. You do not resort to surgery as the first step. These days for all illness of the society, it has become the trend to shout one simple slogan ‘remove all differences based on castes’! That has become the universal panacea!

62. Still, on dispassionate analysis, we will see that there is no suitable alternative to the ‘caste system’. All the possible requirements of the society are well taken care of by the caste system. When mistakes occur, they can be localized and corrected easily. Caste system is like the human biological system. Various parts of a body such as, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, legs, skin, head, heart and so on; are all meant to do their part of the job for the whole. Every part of the body cannot do the job of the other parts! If they try to do so, there will be sheer chaos!

63. The Vaidya who was supposed to learn and practice Ayur Veda was known as the ‘Ambashta Jaati’! Somehow this name has accrued to the barber caste. They carried the knife not to shave your face, but to carry out surgery if need be. Even as close as two or three generations back, they used to be clean and well dressed, read the pulse through the ‘naadi’ and prescribe Ayur Vedic medicines. Similarly, those who were required to practice the Gaandarva Veda were the Bharata Jaati or Bharata Putra.

64. The name of this jaati is from the name of Bharata Rishi who wrote the Bharata Saastram, in which there are many checks and balances to ensure that the rules of dharma and morality are never transgressed. In the drama, if there were two characters play acting as lovers or husband and wife, in actual life too they should be wedded to each other. Anyone cannot act as anyone else’s wife. When the drama starts, there will be a ‘sutra daara’, who introduces all the participants. But first he will call forward his counterpart ‘natee’, who should also be his wife in real life too. There were no exceptions to this rule!

65. Even if the drama was based mainly on a story of love, the man and woman couple were not supposed to cross the limits of decency, decorum and propriety. Normally such scenes instead of being enacted, would be conveyed by some narration by one of the characters in the drama. Pointing out these things, we passed a resolution in a ‘Sadas’, in a place known as Ilayaattang Kudi, binding on all artists in dramas and cinema. Well all that was done only for my satisfaction that, I have also done something about the pathetic state of affairs!

66. Some 50 to 60 years back, it was the custom for boys to be dressed as women to obviate the need for women of the society to come on stage. Some Brahmin boys became famous for their artistic capabilities of speech, dance and acting. But in Dharma Saastra there is clear injunctions against even such seeing of males dressed as a girl or girls dressed as a man! When the couple are actually wedded, they will apply self control over their exhibitionism. When they are both girls or boys, it may have been allright for them to touch each other a little more intimately, but one has to think of the effect on the minds of the audience! Anyhow all this is just not approved by the Dharma Saastraa-s. So to keep a caste meant for this specific purpose as Bharata Putra and let them apply self control and censorship was the best solution.

67. According to the saastraa-s none of the four castes were permitted to do any of these activities such as acting, dance and music as a profession as a way of earning their livelihood. Anybody can do singing as a way of enjoying himself or as a ‘naada upaasana’ and or do ‘naama sankeertana’ and entertain people, but not as a livelihood. He can do ‘uncha vrutti’ as a person singing devotional songs as per tradition and live on alms! The only people who were permitted to earn a living through singing, dancing and drama were from the jaati of Bharata. They used to call them, ‘melakkara jaati’. We often hear about cultivators of music, known as ‘chinna meLam’!

68. In the temple gatherings on important occasions, there were two troupes of entertainers. One was the ‘periya meLam’ consisting of the players of Nadaswaram (the long wind instrument) , Davil (the big percussion drum), the second nayanam and jaalra completing the troupe. The ‘chinna meLam’ on the other hand, used to be consisting of the dancers, nattuvanaar (who sings the jati), the singer and instrumental support artists. Within these two ’chinna meLam’ and ‘periya meLam’, this Bharata Jaati was contained. Probably this is the reason that, the Brahmin as a community, despite learning vocal and instrumental music, or joining many other professions such as, I.C.S., I.A.S., Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Lawyers and Advocates, Land owners and agriculturists such as Jamindars & Mirasdars and so on, never picked up Nadaswaram or Davil! I am just loudly thinking!

(To be continued.)




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