Sunday, February 07, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 186 (Vol #3) Dated 07 Feb 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 186 (Vol #3) Dated 07 Feb 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 the page No 848 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.)


1. Dharma, Artha, Kaama and moktcha have been identified as the four aims towards which human beings are to aspire and work for, (chatur vida phala purushaarta). (KTSV adds :- Each of these four words have a wide range of meanings. Let us look at them, before we proceed with Periyaval’s talk. Dharma means, righteousness, morality, being observant of the rules of the society and one’s duty as required of one’s position or status in the natural or social structure. Artha means, money, wealth, resources, meaning and approach attitudinally. Kaama means what is desired, wished for, aspiration, expectation and lust. moktcha means, liberation, freedom, transcendence and mission of life or Self Realization! There is a logic in the order in which these words have been serialized. We will talk about it, if and when necessitated.)

2. Here ‘artha’ means, ‘the material that is useful in day to day living’. For practical living one needs a house, clothing, food and so on. To be able to buy these things we need money, which has to be earned. But to be only interested in this endless cycle (of being born, growing, trying to find answers to life’s challenges of making ends meet, growing old, death and again to be born,) would mean not ‘artha’ but ‘anartha’. That is what our Aachaaryal says in ‘Bhaja Govindam’, “artham anartham bhaavaya nityam”, meaning remind yourself every day that to be running after money for living - that is, ‘artham,’ is ‘anartham’.
3. You can not live without the means of survival! In trying to understand the meaning of life and things such as ‘atma’ and ’parama atma’, if everyone becomes a sanyasi, who is to cater for their needs and requirements? Some body has to earn the ‘artha’ for them also! So, all normal human beings have to be involved in earning a livelihood, alright. They have to satisfy their normal desires and wants. Instead of letting the needs get the better of oneself, within limits, they have to earn so as to cater for their requirements. It is here that meaning of ‘artha’ joins ‘kaama’ ! But we should not stop there. One should never lose sight of the final aim of ‘moktcha’ and remain at the level of ‘artha and kaama’ ! For all this, from the beginning, one should have complete devotion to the first of the four principles, that is,‘dharma’!

4. 'Dharma' has been mentioned first due to the fact that, as we progress towards the end aim of 'moktcha', the intermediate aims of 'artha' and 'kaama' cannot be avoided. But while earning a livelihood and enjoying the fruits of one's labour, we are not to go against the first principle of 'dharma' ! If we go astray and permit 'adharma' to corrupt our 'artha' and 'kaama', then the final aim of 'moktcha', will be forgotten for ever. That is what Appar is warning us when he says, "...pala pala kaamaththaraagi...", meaning, 'having a plethora of desires and wants' !

5. It is alright to have some desires. It is alright if we do not have the dispassion to erase the desires completely. But that material is not to be obtained by unfair means. We are not to thieve for satisfying our wants. We are not cheat others for our personal gains. You can enjoy sex with your wife! Even with one's own wife, we are not to have sex on days forbidden by the Saastraa-s! When it comes to others wife, they are not to be even thought of as an object of 'kaama' but to be thought of as one‘s own mother! You can earn money, but not get bribed for favours granted. You can gain, but not by deceiving others. Thus 'artha' and 'kaama' have to be fenced and fortified with 'dharma' ! Only then, one day or other the end gain of 'moktcha' would fructify and not otherwise!

6. ‘Artha’ is pronounced as ‘artham’ in Tamil and means, ‘meaning, matter, material, currency, cash and coin’. (This last word ’coin’ is known as ’naanayam’ in Tamil, which also means ’honesty’ ! The sense of honesty is thus closely related to all money matters in our religion.) The four aims of existence namely, ‘dharma, artha, kaama and moktcha’ are said to be ‘aRam, porul, inbam and veedu’ respectively in the Tamil language. Thiruvalluvar in Thirukkural has mainly divided the whole book in to three main parts of the first three principles dharma - artha - kaama respectively as ‘aRathuppaal, porutpaal and kaamattuppaaal‘, respectively. Then he has made a ‘Thuravara Iyal’ in aRathuppaal itself. In it starting with the idea that ‘the Grace of God’ is as important for the end destination as ‘artha’ or ‘porul’ for this worldly life, he has devoted more than 130 Kural-s towards ‘moktcham’ known as ‘veedu‘ in Tamil!

7. To protect oneself from rain and sun shine, you do need a house. To guard against hunger we do need to have some food at regular intervals. To protect the body from the vagaries of the weather and so as not to feel ashamed, we do need some clothes. To cater for these needs of creature comforts, we need money and we have to learn as to how to handle money. That would also mean that we have to learn the methods of increasing income and controlling expenditure. These are the subject of ‘artha saastra’ the Fourth Upaveda.

8. When you look at ‘artha saastra’ per-se, you will be surprised to note that, more than economics, it is covering statesmanship, statehood and inter-state politics! In Thirukkural too, in ‘porut paal’, from the outset he talks about government and rule of law only. Then in many chapters, he covers aspects of good governance, autocracy and bad governance, jurisprudence, ministers, spies, messengers, their duties, army, forts and battlements, tactics and strategy, taxation and such things in detail.

9. A single man’s requirements are housing, clothing and food. But, when it comes to management of these things for the whole society, the local and national governments have to come into play! For what cannot be done individually, you need wider and broad based infra structure for managing efficiently, controlling sensibly, maintaining internal law and order and protecting against external threat.

10. The basic necessities of an individual are all covered by that one word, ‘artha’. He may cultivate the land or have some special capabilities or he may produce something or do trade and commerce. But in a society, there will always be some who do not want to work for earning themselves. They will try to gain these ‘by hook or crook‘. Such people have to be prevented from exploiting others who are involved in fair professions of earning a livelihood. So you need legislature for enacting laws of the land, police to ensure law and order, judiciary for solving disputes, prisons for meting out punishments.

(To be continued.)




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