Thursday, February 18, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 190 (Vol #3) Dated 18 Feb 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 190 (Vol #3) Dated 18 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 863 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.)

42. It is enough to go through this one work of Kalidasa by name ‘Raghu Vamsa’, to know about a whole series of kings of that dynasty. That classic literature is descriptive of all the important principles of both Dharma and Artha Saastraa-s. Those are the ideal situations, which were emulated in later periods, by various royal historical personages. Let me describe some of the points that now come to my mind.

43. The way the bee sucks the honey from the flower without the slightest hurt to the flower, while doing the favour of spreading its makaranda (pollen) to other flowers for pollination; the king should arrange to collect the taxes without the least aggravation, as they are doing the favour of filling the king’s coffers, which in turn are going to be used in people‘s welfare activities! Kalidasa is famous for incomparable examples of comparisons! For this tax collection he gives another excellent ‘upama’ (allegory)! ‘As the sun evaporates the water from water sources on the earth and later gives it back to the same mother earth as rains, Dilipa was expending the collected taxes for people’s welfare only!’ (Raghu Vamsa 1.18.). The Sun takes the useless salt water from the oceans and gives it back as nourishing rains inland. Exactly similarly Dilipa takes the wealth that is lying unutilized with people and returns it for their own benefit!

44. To the King the people were beholden for providing them protection and clean government. So, they were willingly his subjects abiding with his overall control and suzerainty. So he had a right to a high life style, with palaces for living, elephants and horses for riding, impressive clothing and jewels, collectively known as 'Raja Bhoga /Raja Upachara'! This is not to mean that he levied the taxes only so as to increase his own wealth. The concept of 'welfare state' was very much in practice, as evidenced by Kalidasa's statements!

45. Kalidasa describes as to how this 'Raghu Vamsa' name came into being in 4 or 5 chapters. The King Raghu went on a voyage of victory to all the neighbouring countries and came back with much wealth. Then he conducts the 'Wiswajit' Yaaga. In this he distributes all the wealth as 'dakshina' / 'daanam' / 'dharmam'! (The point to understand here is that, 'dakshina' is given to the Brahmin Purohit-s for conducting the rituals; 'daanam' is given as gifts or presents to other personages of equal standing like kings of neighbouring countries; 'dharmam' is alms given to the poor people.) In the process almost all the wealth is given away that, when a Brahmin by name Goutsar comes to him, he does not even have suitable utensils in gold or silver for giving 'paadyam for washing the feet of the Athithi and argyam for his drinking'! He had to use utensils made of mud! That is the King Dilipa! Now a days, let alone M.P.s or M.L.A.s, even a tax collector in a small municipality, has a huge accumulation of unaccounted wealth, as we come to know from the media, often times!

46. The definition that Kalidasa gives for the word 'Raja', (Raghu Vamsa. 4.12), is worth taking note of! Raja was most dear to the people because of his fan following! That definition is, "...raja prakruthi ranjanaat...". 'prakruti' means the citizens. 'ranjanaat' means his inherent capability to please! From the root word 'ranj' that is, his ability to please, comes the word 'Raja'.

47. Bhavabhooti was another poet. He has written 'Uttara Rama Charita', in which Rama says, "I am prepared to sacrifice anything for the sake of the happiness of the common folk. My love, friendship, compassion, pleasure and luxuries. Why go any farther, I am prepared to sacrifice my loveable wife Sita Herself, for their sake. Having sacrificed which, I will not be unhappy"! The poetic beauty in the drama is that, the fact of people doubting Sita's character comes to light only after Rama's this above quoted statement. There is some allusion about, 'how she, Sri Sita might have spent so many years as a prisoner of Ravana'! Rama sacrifices her after this, despite having no doubt about her 'paativratyam' (chastity)! It is then that Sita, as a pregnant woman, goes to live in the Ashram of Valmiki, in the forest, again!

48. Even before this, in Lanka, when Sri Sita was so keen on rejoining Sri Rama after such a long forced separation, despite having so much trust and longing for Her, instead of being 'could not care less' about other's opinion of His actions, to demonstrate as though, as to how much importance He gives for the public opinion, Sri Rama sacrificed her, in front of all the Rakshasaa-s and Vaanara (monkeys) Sainya (Army)! Sita had to undergo the test of fire literally! Then only when the God of Fire, Agni Deva Himself vouchsafed her 'paativratyam' (fidelity), as seen and known to all onlookers, She was accepted back! Then on return to Ayodhya, because of some gossip about Her, despite Her exceptional loyalty to Her husband, that Sri Sita was packed off to the forest once again, clearly proves that there was no 'autocracy uncaring for public opinion' whatsoever!

49. There was no limit to the Love that Sri Rama had for His wife, Sri Sita. He was a 'eka patny vratha' ist, totally true to that one woman Sita, as His consort! Kings were under no such compulsion! Actually tradition had allowed them to have more than one wife. There time was spent, in war, hunts, ministerial confabulations, public works and so on that, they were free to spend their leisure time in stress free atmosphere of certain amount of opulence and luxury. Even for the sake of good neighbourly relations with other Kingdoms, marrying eligible girls from other royal families was very much the in thing! But they were not so lost in these small time pleasures to the detriment of their Kingly duties!

50. In the 'Artha Saastra' Chanakya has tabulated a Kings daily schedule of engagements. In it a day is divided into 16 parts, in which some three or four parts only were meant for sleep and entertainment!
Rest were all hectic duties without any rest whatsoever! Similar to this time table as given by Chanakya, is the schedule of the kings as often mentioned in 'Raghu Vamsa' too. Even in the dead of night, the kings often had to go around in disguise, to personally check on the actual state of affairs in his kingdom! What was not being practiced could not have come as an event in stories only!

51. Though entertainment of the Kings were catered for, generally the Kings, due to their upbringing, training and coaching form childhood, never over indulged and remained within limits of self exercised control! There is an interesting anecdote about how well behaved the kings of the Raghu Vamsa were. Rama at the end of His tenure in this world of Human existence, took all the people of Ayodhya away to Vaikunta. Before that, he had established Kusa as the King of Kusavathi and Lava as the King of Charavathi. With the disappearance of all the people of Ayodhya, that city became deserted. The presiding Deity of Ayodhya was wishing to revive the life in that city. So she entered the sleeping quarters of Kusa at the dead of night and caused him to wake up. On waking up, Kusa was taken aback to see some unknown woman in his bed room! He tells her, "Who are you? Whose wife are You? With what intension have you come here at the dead of night? Are you not aware of the fact that, we from Raghu Vamsa believe in self control of the senses and that our minds will never entertain any desire towards other women!" Through his mouth, the poet succinctly brings out, the high ideals of the Raghu Vamsa dynasty!

(To be continued.)




At 4:09 PM, Blogger Ravi said...

Thanks very much for this huge labour of Love in translating the 'Deivathin Kural'.I stumbled upon this treasure trove!
The quality of Translation is excellent!
I have left a note to all about this treasure in this Blog of David Godman(about Sri Ramana Maharshi)-



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