Wednesday, May 26, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 16 (Vol #4) Dated 26 May 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 16 (Vol #4) Dated 26 May 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. Today we are proceeding from the first paragraph on page 103 of Vol 4 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at constantly.)


1. We use the words Guru and Aachaarya at a high level only. Normally somebody who teaches us anything, we call him as ‘Vaadyaar’ or Teacher or Instructor. But someone who initiates us in some ritual procedure of mantra, Yagna or homa, is referred to as an Aachaarya. The gentleman who comes to our home and helps us in conducting a tarpaNam, divasam, chathurthi pooja or dwadasi pooja and such things is called a Vaadyaar.
2. When we learn music or dance from a teacher for a number of years, then that person is called a Guru. In schools and colleges the teacher who imparts education on any subject gets the prefix of a Teacher or Vaadyaar or Aasiriyar or Upaadyayar. In normal talk we call him as Vaadyaar and formally refer to him as Aasiriyar.
3. Somehow only in Tamil Nadu, even reporters and editors are referred as Aasiriyar. As the teacher in the school who introduces as to the written word is called the Aasiriyar, anyone connected with the print media have come to be known by the same word, Aasiriyar. May be the intension originally was that they should have the same commitment towards educating people of good knowledge and not any scrap! Upaadyaaya is the Sanskrit word from which is derived this word Vaadyaar. This should remind us of Adyaayam as a name for chapter or canto.
4. Your interpretation of Adhyayam is likely to be the chapter added to the story every week or month, in a serial novel, in a periodical. This name Adhyayam for each subsequent chapter is a recent nomenclature. In olden times, in the study of the Vedas, which was heard, repeated and committed to memory, these words of Adhyayam, Adhyayanam and Adhyaayam were being used. Later these words found their place in all written and printed materials of science, literature and philosophy! Come to think of it, there are many such synonymous words such as, section, sub-section, kaanda, canto, sarga, padala, parva, parichcheda, uchchavasa, ullasa, anga, prakaraNa, skanda and so on! Amongst them all, the word Adhyaya is basically from the Vedas.
5. That way, I will tell you one more example about how every word in Sanskrit is connected to the Vedas! Lesson is known as Paatham, in whatever the subject. The schools are known as Paathasaalai, including the one where you are taught not to follow the Vedas! Actually this word has evolved from the action of reading the Vedas. One of the daily activities of Brhma Yagnam is known as Patham with emphasis on the syllable ‘tha’ to sound something like, ‘tta’. The one who is learning the Vedas by heart is the, ‘Paathi’, from which words such as ‘tripaathi’ and ‘trivedi’ have emerged, to indicate someone who has learnt three Vedas! Someone who has learnt the Vedas in a form known as ‘Ghanam’ is called a ‘Ghanapaathi’. Another person who is learning the Vedas as a co-student similarly is called, ‘saha paathi’. This word ‘saha paathi’ has come to mean a colleague in any walk of life! Similar words are to be found in all the languages in India, clearly indicating as to how wide spread were all these customs and traditions related to learning of the Vedas!
6. The fact that these words are equally to be found in the oldest of Tamil literature proves on the one hand as to how deep rooted were the Vedic customs and traditions in Tamil way of life and on the other hand, disproves yet another canard created by the erstwhile rulers of India and reiterated by the proponents of Aryan Vs Dravidian divide, with their own axes to grind!
7. We were discussing the origin and meaning of the words such as Vaadyaar, Upaadyaar and Adhyaayam. To teach Veda is Adhyaapana and to learn Veda is Adhyayana. The one who teaches Adhyaaya of the Vedic lessons is the Adhyaapaka. So, the teacher is Upaadhyaapaka, but came to be called in usage as Upaadhyaaya. ‘Upa’ has many meanings. But mainly it has come to mean the secondary or assistant or subordinate, a step lower than the main one! For example, angam – upaangam; puraaNam – upapuraaNam and so on!
8. So, Upaadhyaaya is an assistant to the teacher, slightly less or inferior to the teacher. I will tell you why. Amongst teachers of Veda, there are two types as per the Smruthies. One is the Aachaarya and the other is the Upaadhyaaya. The difference between the two is clear from the Manu Smruthi, which is considered the most important reference book out of all Smruthies! Aachaarya is not one who teaches for the sake of earning a livelihood!
9. It is the duty of a Brahmin to ensure that what he knows and has learnt of the Vedas does not die with him. Instead, it should be taught to as many students as possible, to make the learning eternal! So, he would start a Guru Kula Pathasaala and teach his disciples. He would not demand any fees from those students. If the disciple offers something on his own, when he completes 12 years of learning, the Guru may accept. There will be no discussion, hassles, bargaining and regrets.
10. The interesting thing about Guru Kula Vaasa is that it is not like the day scholars of schools and colleges today! For 12 years, the student lives in the teacher’s household! He not only learns the Vedas, but also, manners, good behaviour and respect for elders! He lives with equal rights and privileges and helps in all activities as he would in his own house! The teacher takes the responsibility not only for educating him, but also for his thoughts, actions and attitudes! The Guru did not consider educating the disciple as services rendered; and so, did not expect to be paid for it! What he gets as ‘Guru Dakshina’ is treated as God’s blessings and not as ‘quid pro quo’ or with the idea of, ‘daaniki deeniki sari poyindi’!
11. One can feel proud that there were such institutions spread out in the nook and corner of this country, in every township and village! “The hungry ends up auditing the past”, says a proverb! That is why, I am telling you all these things that, such was our noble past, to re-establish which we should be straining our minds and resources.
12. Manu Smruthi makes a difference between such Aachaaryas and the (future, that is the present day) Upaadyaaya who would be educating the young of the next generation for a livelihood. Manu Smruthi calls such teachers ‘bruthaka adhyaapaka’, that is, one who works for wages, an employee! The Smruthi says that he will do a contract job of teaching a portion of the Vedas, for a pay! I quote:- “ekadesam tu vedasya vedaangaan api vaa puna: I yo adhyaapayati vrutyartam Upaadyaaya: sa uchyate II”
(To be continued)



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