Wednesday, February 24, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 191 (Vol #3) Dated 24 Feb 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 191 (Vol #3) Dated 24 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 second para on page No 868 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.)

52. The Sanskrit original of that remark of Kusa about the exemplary attitude and behaviour of the Kings of the Raghu Dynasty quoted in the previous para, is from 'Raghu Vamsa' 16.8. Chanakya also has said in Artha Saastra that Kings of States can just not be weak enough to nurture special attraction for wealth, women and wine. They just cannot even give in to anger, lest they go astray to become the laughing stock of the society. He goes on to quote negative examples of such people from history. Kings should be given much practice in weaponry and discipline to be able to carry out hard tasks without losing ones intensity of concentration and perseverance!

53. Yes, the 'Raja-s' , the Kings did take care of their own and their royal family's comfort. That was whole heartedly the wish of the 'Praja-s‘, the citizens too. But to think that the concept of 'Welfare State' was not prevalent those days, is completely wrong! Construction of 'chatra-s' for travellers to stay, with free feeding, dams across rivers*, establishment of 'Aathurasaalai' that is, Hospitals, planting of trees alongside roads, and such activities, construction of Temples with the necessary infrastructure for their maintenance and up-keep, where public discourses were held on Puraanaa-s and Itihaasaa-s; sculpture, architecture, dance, drama and other handy crafts were nurtured and encouraged; were all Public Works of a Welfare State in effective functionality only! ( * - 'Kallanai' is one of those dams across rivers, mentioned above. It is a rare engineering wonder, which is still functional across the river Kavery, in Tamil Nadu even after more than a thousand years after it's construction!)

54. The King had a number of departments under him with a minister each for clearly identified, seperate functional responsibility. Not only did he take care of the welfare requirements of the citizenry but also took care that they remained law abiding through morality, discipline and adherence to the dictates of Dharma! He also functioned as an Ideal to be emulated. He got the Temples constructed, ensured their functional efficiency, got periodic Yagna-s conducted, ensured celebrations of festivals in all of them at the appropriate times, honoured the noble exemplary citizens for their life time contributions in various fields of Arts and Crafts, thereby motivating the common man to emulate them.

55. Here, when I say that he honoured exemplary citizens, there is a trumped up charge in recent times that, 'these were the Brahmins, who Lorded over the Kshatriya-s for their selfish interests, on the pretext of having Brhma Tejas'! In fact, this accusation is based on the ignorance of how simple and secluded was the life of a Brahmin those days! Even Chanakya himself, who was considered to be very clever, adept in in all tricks of every trade, despite the fact that he was the main manipulator for elevating Chandra Gupta Mourya to the level of the supreme ruler and had his complete trust; lived a life of total abnegation in a hut, with poor man's clothes and was a 'swayam paaky', cooking his own food himself!

56. Similarly Brahmins as Purohit-s, Rishi-s running Gurukula, or simply living by themselves; always lived in huts called '’parna shaalaa', meaning a 'house of leaves', on the barest minimum of 'Artha'! They did not go about offering advices to the Kings on all sorts of matters unsolicited, so as 'to grind their own axes'! There is no such evidence or proof of any one doing that sort of manipulation! It is the Kings who invariably went to the Rishi-s seeking advice, anugraha and aasirvadam! If the King's life was tough and demanding, the Brahmin's life was equally or even more tough, demanding and austere too! By his daily and fortnightly and periodic observance of rituals, the Brahmin drove his self and his family to extreme perseverance and self abnegation, so as to contribute his level best for the welfare and benefit of the whole nation! It was not in his nature and ethos to exploit others for his own selfishness!

57. Even the King had no extra constitutional privileges! When his son accidentally ran over a calf with his chariot, Manu Needhi Chozhan(the Chola King who strictly adhered to the dictates of Manu Dharma), ran his chariot over that son of his! To-days politicians just have no idea of the mind set of the Kings of yore! Because, the Kings of the past, felt themselves to be responsible not only for the welfare of his citizens, but also for their discipline and behaviour. He felt that it was his bounden duty to ensure that they do not commit any sins. The 'paapa' or demerits for their errors of commission and omission, he felt accrues to him directly! This is what he had been instructed in his 'Gurukula' days! "raja rashtra krutam paapam!" As a converse of this principle, the sins by him will affect his whole country, he believed and knew too. He had been instructed that, for his sins, the very Nature will become vengeful and affect all the people by way of earth quake or floods or draughts!

58. Thirukkural talks in detail about this aspect of a cruel rule of tyranny by an irresponsible king, called 'kodungkonmai'! The tears shed by the masses of such a ruler will nullify all his wealth, like the marauding forces of an enemy. Misrule will lead to failure of the rainy season; milk production will reduce; productivity of the agriculture will fail; brahmins will forget the Veda-s and default in conduct of the Yaagaa-s; thus the whole country will be affected, warns Thiru Valluvar!

59. It is this ideal as to how a king has to maintain his and his citizen's good conduct and discipline, that Kalidasa depicts in 'Raghu Vamsa'. Dilipa in his capital is passing through a garden in the night time. There are women sleeping in the benches there, with no fear of molestation whatsoever! In Raghu Vamsam 6.75.,"...when in Dilipa's rule, even the air dare not move the sleeping lady's clothings, how could a human being risk doing so?.." , asks the poet!
60. Not only human beings were to be the target of the king's protection and care! Animals, birds and the flora and fauna too were the recipients of the king's compassion and love! Even in hunting there were taboos and controlling limits. Many kings applied their own self imposed restrictions to hunt only dangerous carnivores. Even while conducting Yagna-s wherein sacrificing live animals was in vogue, to kill endlessly too many animals was also considered a 'paapa'! Like the king Sibi Chakravarty who, in trying to save the life of a dove that had surrendered to him, cut and gave his own physical body, as compensation to the vulture which claimed the dove as its rightful prey; there has been Pari Vallal who gave his royal chariot for a Mullai creeper! When he had halted for a short period near the creeper flowering plant, he noticed that the plant had spread her tendrils over his chariot. He did not have the heart to disturb the plant! So he simply walked away from the scene! That is the sort of sensitivity and nobility those Kings were attuned to!

( To be continued.)




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