Saturday, May 29, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 18 (Vol #4) Dated 30 May 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 18 (Vol #4) Dated 30 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 last paragraph on page 113 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.)

26. In the way of life of a Hindu, that is a person who believes in the eternal Sanaatana Dharma, there is a meaningful symbolic ritual for all the important events of one’s existence. He just does not have sex like any animal does. There is a ritual function known as ‘Garbaa Daanam’, meaning donation of the pregnancy, in which a new life form is created. After pregnancy, before the child is born, ‘Pumsavanam’ is done. Then when the child is born there is ‘Jaata Karma’, welcoming the new Jeeva and casting the horoscope, followed by ‘Naama Karma’ the naming ceremony. Then before the child is three years of age, the child is given ‘mottai’, that is, a clean shave of the hair on the head, two or three times at the family deity’s temple, may be in different locations. The next important function is the ‘ChowLam’, in which the child is given a hair cut officially. Actually the head is clean shaven and a tuft of hair at the rear apex is left untouched. This later on becomes his ‘Kudumi’. All this is done (or got done) by the father of the child.
27. Such a father is the child’s Guru. Then the person, who carries out the Upanayanam and teaches him the Vedas, is the Aachaarya, as per the Manu and Yaagnavalkya Smruthies! The present day father however neither does the rituals of the first part, of the Guru nor the second part, that of the Aachaarya. He is simply the biological father, who happens to be not doing the things that a Guru is required to do, nor fulfil the duties of an Aachaarya. Possibly in the past as the boy was sent to live in another household other than his own, so that he may not feel alienated, he was told that the other gentleman was ‘like a father only’ and that is why, he was also given the same name as a Guru and his household was called the Guru Kula, possibly!
28. The High Position in which the Parents were Held! Even if he does not give Vidya Abhyaasam, the ‘Pita’ that is, the Father was given a high status in Manu Smruthi, even higher than that of an Aachaarya! It says that Aachaarya is ten times higher than the Upaadhyaaya who teaches for an income. The Father is regarded higher than 100 such Aacharyas. The Mother is regarded higher than 1000 Fathers!
29. In Yangnavalkya’s time, either the father or elder brother got the Upanayanam done. Only when these two were not there, others could take over that responsibility. The father or elder brother should however be qualified to initiate the boy in Brhmopadesa. The qualification is that, they should have done Adhyayanam in their part of Veda Shaka and should be capable of teaching others, that portion of the Veda that is Adhyaapakam. Then he should not be doing any job that is taboo for a Brahmin! I wonder as to how many of the present day fathers will be able to foot the bill as above!
30. In some Smruthies, Guru is used as a common name for all elders. Elders such as, father, elder brothers, grandfathers, uncles, father-in-law, village elders, the king, elder statesmen, even elder ladies such as mother, grandmothers, mother-in-law, stepmother and so on, have all been referred as Guru! Here Manu says that though the word Guru refers to many elders as given above, it mainly points to the biological father, who having sired the child, brings up and educates. Actually the word ‘gourav’ available in some form or the other in most of the Indian languages, means that it rightfully belongs to the Guru. Since the Aachaarya gives the child the wealth of education, he becomes equally respectable as the Guru, the father! So it becomes applicable to all those who teach us something or the other. The subject could be as varied as the contents of the encyclopaedia! Whosoever is a tutor or teacher or trainer or mentor is a Guru! “Amongst them all, we can never fully appreciate the ‘Gourav’ or greatness of a Guru who teaches us ‘Atma Gnaana’ in its completeness”, says Manu!
31. Younger Guru. Once you have accepted someone as a Guru, it makes no difference if that person is younger in age! He should be respected as being a Guru. When it comes to learning, the teacher’s age is of no relevance. Dattatreya while listing 24 different things as his Guru includes animals and birds, in the list! For this Manu tells us a story.
32. Angiras’ son was taking a class for his own brothers. He started with a, “Listen Children!” address. His elder brothers did not like this and complained. They were told, “When you do not know something, let it be any portion of Vidya / knowledge, the one who knows is the elder and you are only students. He has every right to call you as, “Children! The one who knows is the elder! Not just someone who has gray hair”!
33. Aadi Guru Dakshinamurthy is young, teaching by intense silence! His students are ripe old ancients! Picture this awesome scene in your minds says the sloka! Under the banyan tree, look at them sitting there! Despite the silence, the doubts of the disciples are being blown to smithereens! I quote the sloka. “chitram vata taror moole vruddhaa: sishya: gururyuvaa I gurosthu mounam vyaakyaanam, sishyaasthu chinna samsayaa: II”
34. There are five methods of considering someone as elder to oneself. Wealth automatically has its effect in all walks of life in all the countries. Whether the person is a Lord or Millionaire or political bigwig, people respect them, without being told to do so! Even younger persons, if in a higher ranking relationship such as, elder brother’s wife, or parents’ brother or sister, get their respect. Then those who are really old, from whatever status, get respected as senior citizens! Fourth is the one who has done some great achievement such as having done Maha Yagna or winner of the Noble Prize or Padma Bhooshan and so on. Then is the really learned one being respected for his scholarly accomplishments! Evidently the respect is successively higher in that order!
35. Between mother, father and teacher, we should not be trying to compare and contrast, as they are all worthy of all our respect and regards. I told you elsewhere as to how the Mother is considered as being thousand times higher than the Father. Still the Guru is to be considered in a higher status! By devotion to the parents if a man is worthy of the heavens, by devotion to the Guru, he becomes worthy of Brhma Gnaana and so is to be considered as the highest! To serve them is very beneficial. We are also warned that treachery or mischief against them can be very damaging!
36. Correcting the student can be of three types. One is by Teaching as to what he is doing wrong. Second is by the power of one’s grace. The third is by way of Veda Samskara function of a ritual for cleansing the errant student. The second method cannot be brought within the purview of Saastraas. The Aachaarya teaches and corrects the student using the other two methods, thereby becoming an Adhyaapaka. Upaadyaaya (or Vaadyaar) is the one who works under him.
37. Upaadyaaya or the Vaadyaar got a boost in position and reputation, when each and every teacher in all walks of life got that name and title! As the number of real Aachaaryaas who did not bother about an income but did their teaching as fulfilling their duty to which born, started dwindling down and teaching became a profession for livelihood, the Vaadyaar as a professional title started gaining in stature in the society. People started trumpeting the fact that they were teachers earning a livelihood! What was simply Mukerji, Chatterji and Bannerji, started calling themselves with pride as Mukhopaadhyaaya, Bandyopaadyaaya and so on!
(To be continued.)



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