Monday, June 07, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 22 (Vol #4) Dated 07 June 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 22 (Vol #4) Dated 07 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 second paragraph on page 135 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.)

80. Having said that our Vedas have been handed over from generation to generation, with perfect integrity to ‘uchcharaNam’ that is pronunciation, of the letters and words with correct undulations of the swaras, over thousands of years with total uniformity, in the nook and corners of what is India, I now add that, all this was done without ever writing it down! (KTSV adds:- The first time we hear about any writing is when PiLlaiyar wrote down the Maha Bharatha as dictated by Sage Vyasa!)
81. Now the moment we mention school, we immediately think of black board, chalk piece, pencil, pen, book, note-book, paper, and so on. (Now since PeriyavaaL said all this, we have had, tape recorders, slide projectors, printers, DVDs, Ipods and Ipads and so on also being added to the above list of writing/teaching materials!)
82. Now we have come to understand that the moment we say education, we are thinking of the written letters and words. By ‘Akshara Abhyasam’ we mean, ‘Vidya Aarambham’, when we teach the child to write the first of the letters of the alphabets! From the writings of the two great authorities in Tamil Thiru VaLLuvar and Avvaiyar, we can make out that letters and figures of numerals had gained the prime of place, even 2,000 years back, as they say that they are as important as the two eyes on the face!
83. But, from the time of Vedas, for thousands of years, all learning was being done only by the spoken words! The student repeated what he heard and committed it to memory. Even when the written word evolved, the Veda Mantras were not written down, as the intention was to ensure that they eternally retained their divineness! What is the connection?
84. If you wanted that, the Veda Mantras are chanted continuously and their sound vibrations are spread in the cosmos eternally, how will you ensure that? This can only be done if you make it the life time duty of a set of people from birth, making them dependent on their doing so, for their livelihood and sustenance, with a taboo against any deviation’! For this if they were to be reading it from books referring to it off and on, such an arrangement will not suffice! Many of the sounds of Vedas cannot be put down in words. Their undulations and emphasis cannot be correctly indicated. Any mistake in their intonations, emphasis and pronunciation can lead to unpredictable deleterious effects!
85. Most importantly, if it becomes a book that may be referred occasionally, the person chanting it may not be giving it the necessary total attention. Anything less than 100% concentration, just will not meet the purpose! The effectiveness of the Mantras is either Zero or One, depending on the total involvement of mind, heart and soul! There is no proportional effectiveness quotient here.
86. The moment it is available in writing, instead of committing it to memory, the tendency will be to think, “It is alright! If and when needed we will refer to the book!” Instead of the mantra permeating his being and him being soaked in the mantra, it is likely to become a peripheral encounter! This is the reason for keeping the ability for writing at arm’s length away!
87. This is the reason why, a student of the Vedas is required to be intelligent as well as, well behaved. Veda mantras will instil and shine only in a man of clean conscience and show him in a brilliant light! That is why a student of the Vedas is required to maintain celibacy till he is approved to lead a married life in an acceptable manner by the society. So, the period of learning the Vedas, namely Adhyayanam was and is as good as a period of ‘Tapasya’ of abstinence with a purpose.
88. At the time of birth, even a Brahmin is as good as any child from any caste. He becomes a ‘second time born’, that is a ‘dwija’, only after the Upanayanam ceremony of being given a ‘pooNool’. So does a Kshatriya and Vaisya. Then when he starts ‘Vidya Abhyasam’, he becomes a Vipra. All these three things put together, he becomes a Srothri, says the Saastra. “Janmanaa jaayate soodra: samskaarer dwija uchyate I Vidyayaa yaati vipratvam thribhi: srotreeya uchyate II”
89. When he fully absorbs the Vedas known as ‘Brhma’, having moved in ‘Brhmam’ as a Brhmachaary, gets the Brhma Gnaana Siddhi, then only can he be called a BrahmaNa and not before and not simply by birth! That is, as compared to the limited modern day idea of education as a qualification for employment and earning your keep, our idea of what is education was a very noble one of utilizing ones brains, memory and intelligence for gaining, knowledge, awareness, and expertise, not only in this worldly affairs but, in the field of Atma Gnaana and Self Realization! In this method of imparting education the Adhyapaka will reiterate each portion of each mantra five times. The student who catches hold of what is being taught, the very first time, used to be known as, ‘eka sandha graahi’!
90. Kulam, Gothram, Chaatran, CharaNam and Such Things. We often hear a sentence that we should check the Kulam and Gothram of people when we find out about their origins. (The aim of the so called reformists of our religion seems to be to do away with such divisions.
Even this statement of theirs is with an ulterior aim of perpetuating certain other parochial goals only. But I am not going to talk about that subject now.) A number of families of the sons of one particular Rishi of the same Gothram was known as one Kulam. The Guru Kulam or Rishi Kulam evolved from that.
91. When we say Guru – Sishya tradition, it seemingly looks as though too objective a relationship. In fact it was not so. It was rather closer than that, made up of nearer blood relationships. So, initially a particular Vidya gleaned by one particular Rishi as a Mantra Drashta, was spread amongst his close relations. But later these findings by the Rishis, their Vidyas and the Mantras for them were mutually exchanged. Then people of many Kulams and Gothrams grouped themselves together and called it a branch of a particular Veda. Thus the nomenclature of Shaaka came into being. Then the Guru Kulam for each Shaaka came into being. Then some of them expanded to include more than one Shaaka in their teaching or even more than one Veda in their syllabus!
92. Student, Vidyarthi, MaaNaakkan, Sishya are synonyms for what was commonly known as ‘Chaatra’, which is again more in vogue in the Hindi world of to-day. ‘Chatram’ means an umbrella. So Chatra possibly evolved from that word that the Guru protected him from vacillations of life as an umbrella protects one from the vagaries of the weather! From this one can gather the love and compassion that the Guru had for his disciple! Thus, education instead of being only a matter of brains and knowledge as obtaining in the modern world of today was equally concerned in the wholesome development of an individual towards attaining to the purpose of one’s existence!
93. The school or college then was known as a ‘CharaNam’ as gleaned from PaaNineeyam. The final destination of all beings is Parama Padam. This word Padam is a synonym for the feet and CharaNam. Like the body stands on the two feet, all education was dependent on the support provided by the CharaNam, otherwise known as the Guru Kulam.
(To be continued.)



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