Friday, June 04, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 21 (Vol #4) Dated 05 June 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 21 (Vol #4) Dated 05 June 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 128 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.)

(KTSV Adds:- Today’s topic could be best understood by revisiting Deivathinkural # 26 of (Vol 2) of 24 Sept 2007 and subsequent e-mails of that vintage in which we have covered the origins of Sound and Creation under the generic heading’ Vedam’.)

65. These two Gujarathis Munshi and Joshi that I mentioned have been considered as Kulapathi not because because of establishing and running a University like organization, to suit the original meaning of a Kulapathi. Mr. Munshi has founded many educational institutions in the State of Gujarat and the Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan as a cultural centre with branches all over India. Mr.Joshi has been a highly respected teacher in Theological Highschool, Adayar, Madras. So they are addressed as Kulapathi as a mark of respect.
66. When a person like Vasishta is the Guru, many would have been aspiring to learn at least a few things from him just for the pride of having been his student. Just to fulfil their desire, those great teachers too would have accommodated those students, employing many assistants, supervising the overall coaching, initially taking some classes and towards the end, taking over the tuition completely in their own hands!
67. There have been such great educationists in the past. In the 19th century there was a Raju SaastrigaL in Mannarkudi, a past master in all Vedic matters. There were many students, of vastly differing age groups of the next two or three generations claiming themselves to be Mannarkudi Raju SaastrigaL’s students! All of them just could not have learnt everything under his tutelage! Mostly they must have studied under his senior students.
68. At the end of the first Sarga of Raghu Vamsa, Sage Vasishta is referred as ‘Kulapathi’. In Sakuntalam, KaNva Maharishi is similarly referred as ‘Kulapathi’. After some passage of time, there was a proliferation of Saastraas and Kaavyaas that when there were Gurukulas with ten thousand students, may be, there were heads of such educational institutions being called ‘Kulapathi’! Ten thousand students may be an exaggeration. Possibly there were thousands of students!
69. Point to note here is not the exact numbers. There were such huge organizations that had come into existence where, there have been such Gurus who have had the ability and wherewithal to take care of enormous number of students, not only feeding the brains but also the feeding the stomachs! Here the ‘Kulapathi’ has been defined as, “yo anna daanaathi athaya payathi”, meaning ‘the one who feeds and educates!’ May be they were supported and financed by the local chieftains and Kings, as they were doing yeomen service for the society by creating educated and disciplined people for the country! Whatever it is, there was no question of doing all this for the sake of making money whatsoever! Let me emphasize however, such huge organizations were rare and smaller Guru Kulams were more in vogue.
70. The Origin and Growth of Education. In the good old times far back when Vedas evolved, some saintly souls by God’s Grace, simply came to understand the meaning of Life and Existence, as revealed to their mind, intelligence and inner being! This understanding they shared with their friends, relatives and children. The earliest schools evolved like that. Initially they were some letters and combination of letters known as ‘Aksharas’ and ‘Mantras’! Arts and Sciences evolved much later. They were known as ‘beeja mantras’ or the ‘root or the seed’ letters and words. Their meaning, concept and method of ‘upasana marga’ became separate ‘Vidyas’!
71. When the Rishi uncaring for the mundane animal concerns of food, shelter and protection, was deeply engrossed in esoteric understanding of existence, when all his attention was totally absorbed in the ever expansive ‘antahkaraNa’, with the micro merging into the macro cosmic, revelations occurred. As Manikka Vachagar says, “avan aruLaale, avan thaaL vanangi”, meaning, ‘that we pray and worship that God by His Grace!’ That revelation is conveyed to the disciple for the sake of future generations, again by god’s Grace only!
72. These Upadesa when given by one great sage to another equally evolved soul it had the power to influence the minds of future students for generations to come! Like the Nachiketa being given Upadesa by Yama Dharma Raja (Katha Upanishad) or Sanat Kumara advising Sage Narada , these instructions have the power of eternity in them. For example Yama Dharma Raja’s Upadesa to Nachiketa, related to Swarga Loka is Agni Vidya, later to be known by the disciple’s name, as Nachiketa Vidya!
73. Similarly, there are other Vidyas known by the name of the disciple to whom it was imparted, such as, Upakosala Vidya, Satya Kama Vidya and Maitreyi Vidya, occurring in Upanishads. It is interesting to not that these highly philosophical crunch points have their names evolved out of the aspiring student’s name and not in the name of the Deity or the Sage who did the Upadesa! This bear out as to how the sincerity, devotion and keenness of the disciple has been specially recognised and honoured!
74. Out of all knowledge, ‘Brhma Vidya’ is considered as the end of all such things worthy of our attention. That is the quintessential of all such Vidyas, in Vedas and Upanishads! Within the ambit of what is Brhma Vidya, there are many separate areas of study and practice such as, Panchagni Vidya, Madhu Vidya, Vaisvanara Vidya, Samvarga Vidya, Dahara Vidya, Antaryami Vidya and so on!
75. Practice of each one of them involves much rituals, procedures and observances. These have been obtained by God’s Grace by many sages of varied schools of thought. They have had access to the related Mantras and Suktas (collection of such mantras), through a process of extra sensory perceptions, normally beyond human capabilities. Having learnt these things, these masters did not want to keep it to themselves. They wished to let others know their findings purely as a gesture of their love for humanity. When they started imparting this knowledge to others the earliest schools and Ashrams came into being.
76. Their intensions can be succinctly put into words as, “yaam pertra peru peruga ivvaiyagam”, meaning, ‘the honour and bliss we have received may be made available to the world at large’! These households where such knowledge was imparted came to be called as ‘Rishi Kulam’. So, all education was essentially a family tradition restricted to individual households, which became the forerunners of later day schools, colleges and universities, when people started going to other such Rishi Kulam for the sake of wider knowledge!
77. In teaching anything, you will note that language is the main tool. The language is refined, nurtured, defined and moderated by the restrictions of discipline as imposed by the grammer. If the oldest literature of India are the Vedas and Rik Veda is the oldest of them all, you cannot help taking note of the fact that, in the Rik Veda itself the effect of its grammer, VyakaraNam is so evident! Grammer rules may be there in all languages, some rather strict and some rather loose and liberal.
78. Evidently stricter application of grammer rules indicates greater refinement and precision. Loose grammer on the pretext of usage may lead to greater acceptability and more dialects but not preciseness! If Sanskrit is an example for a highly scientific and refined language, English is an example of the latter! Anyhow, setting aside this discussion on languages, it is enough to note that, as early as the time of Rik Vedas, the Sanskrit language was already a very scientific and precise language, while being widely practised by the masses!
79. When it comes to chanting of the mantras, each letter of the mantra was to be uttered in any of the four ‘swaras’, which could be lower, normal, higher or further higher notes! They conveyed this to the students the way that they had heard, while first listening in to it in the ether and seeing it in the akasha or the sky! If the ‘proof of the pudding is in eating’, the proof of this above statement of mine is in the fact, that those undulations could be conveyed over centuries and even thousands of years, and reproduced in the nook and corner of this country of ours that is India word and letter perfect, simply by ‘KarNa Parampara’, by the tradition of Guru-Sishya!
(To be continued.)



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