Friday, June 11, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 24 (Vol #4) Dated 11 June 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 24 (Vol #4) Dated 11 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 145 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.)
104. I must tell you another important thing about old time education, when all subjects were somehow or the other closely related to what is given in the Vedas. All Arts, Sciences and Crafts were thus evolved from the 14 Vidyas, as derived from the Vedas, suitable for the life of those days, in consonance with Vaidic principles!
105. It is rather surprising to note that Vaidic way of life has always been a ‘sangam’ (confluence) of many disparate ideas. Poorva Meemamsai for your information accepts only a portion of the Vedas that is Karma Kaanda. But that is part of Veda teachings. Saarvaaka which by itself does not approve of the Vedas is acceptable and is taught as part of Veda Adhyayana. Sankhya, Yoga and such things, which can neither be said to be supportive or against the Vedas, are also part of the teachings of Vedas!
106. Even when religions which were not ready to accept Veda as the authority and were not mentioning God (nir-Easwara-Vaadam), such as Buddhism and Jainism came into being, they also taught in their Viharas or Sangas, the ‘Chathur Dasa’ (14) Vidyas as taught in the Vaidic religion! When the professions and jobs diversified, Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas as people approved to learn the Vedas, studied together in the Guru Kula organizations. During the break between lunch and evening classes, the people of the fourth caste consulted the Gurus on matters of their area of interest!
107. So in some way or the other all the four VarNas were depending on the Guru Kula institutions. There was no intentional partiality or parochialism whatsoever! Even when they studied together, the syllabus or tenure or the age at which the curriculam started, were not exactly the same for all the castes. The differences were based on the need to know / learn basis. (This point is further explained later in this talk!)
108. Let these differences be aside. The more important point I have to make here is that, the three VarNas of people entitled to Vidya Abhyasa are all required to get Brhma Upadesam (that is, get yagnya upaveetam that is officially be given the Poonool, Gayatri mantra Upadesam and then have to learn under a Guru! It was not left to his choice to study or not study! Education was compulsory.
109. There was strong punishment for those did not abide with this! Those days, the worst punishment was ‘Jaati Brashtam’ that is, being declared an outcast! This is not a local order or something. This was a universal rule all over the country that, if a member of the Brahmin Kshatriya or Vaisya caste did not wear the Poonool, take the Brhmopadesam and learn under a Guru, he was set aside from the society! Spreading of the knowledge about the Vedas and learning of the Vidyas were considered so compulsorily important.
110. Just because it was compulsory education, it does not mean that you could make a half hearted effort! The whole course is to be taught to a willing student who was capable of putting his heart and soul in to the effort. The student had to be well behaved and disciplined. He had to have a high grasping power and retentivity! Having said that it is compulsory and then if you have conditions about the aptitude, what happens to the person who has lesser grasp and retentivity?
111. The precondition before joining the classes was to be given the Yagnyopaveetam / Poonool and Brhmopadesam of Gayatri Mantra. Once that is done, that person’s GrahaNa and DhaaraNa, that is his powers of grasp and retentivity, will increase immensely! Despite all this if there is someone who does not practice the Gayatri mantra properly and remains a dullard, he is not to be taught the Vidyas. Such a person may be made to do other useful jobs!
112. Even good seeds will be wasted if planted in infertile lands. Similarly warn the Saastraas, Sat-Vidya is not to be wasted in Asat-students! Saastraas have gone to the extent of asserting that, if a Guru does not get suitable students, he may die without ever imparting his education to others. But, he is not to waste his Vidya by teaching persons who are unworthy of being students! This advice is given in the form of a story.
113. Vidya Devata comes before a Brahmin teacher and tells him, “Treat me like a treasure to be protected carefully, used for worthwhile purposes of spreading and expanding knowledge and not to be given to worthless individuals. The recipient should be physically and morally a clean person, who is sincere about learning and controls his tendencies of indulging in sensual gratification! Please do not fritter away this possession of yours!” This is the direction of the Dharma Saastra.
114. Manu Saastra repeats this point that education is not to be imparted to a person who is not capable of taking care of such knowledge. It is not to be imparted to someone who is likely to misuse such knowledge for unfair purposes! The restrictions not to give alms to unworthy characters, is more stringently to be applied for dispensing education! Uncaring for the recipient’s worth, if someone imparts Vidya for pecuniary gains, he will certainly end up in the Hell says Dharma Saastraas. So better be warned!
115. Later Day Changes and Present Disorder! The arrangement was that, the student’s grasp and retentivity were to be assessed before imparting education to him. Once the coaching commences, the only area to be assessed was the student’s behaviour. Either he was failed on grounds of poor academics or not permitted to continue the studies at all. Now-a-days, (I am not talking about the Veda Patashalaas but, other educational institutions here,) if the student’s behaviour is like a rowdy, he is given marks to his liking as the teachers do not wish to antagonize him!
116. You do not have to look at the student’s behaviour or attitude towards the society or aptitude for studies anymore. How to gather as many votes as possible is the main question to be addressed! That is the only criteria, in the name of bringing up the down trodden and raising the standard of living of the unfairly denied sections of the society! These are surely to be done. But in the name of such claims, educational qualifications of unworthy characters are being boosted and they become weeds of the society as Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Professors, and even Vice-Chancellors of Universities and Judges of the State High Courts!
117. In the name of bringing up the backward classes, real performance of some classes of people are getting ignored, while other students of other classes are being preferred despite lower performance! The excuse being proffered is that, “Is it not so that some time in the past, your grandparents and forefathers were flying their flags high in education? Now it is not your turn to step back, even if you score high marks. You will get a vacancy only after accommodating all the other people of other castes! The students whose grandparents did not study at all in the past, for them we will keep the positions reserved!”
118. I do not understand as to how or in what way this can be logical or reasonable! One injustice of the present cannot undo an injustice of the past! Most importantly an innocent member of the present generation cannot and should not be made to suffer for some imaginary ills of the past said to have been done by some forefathers! They make a big issue of what they call, “Paguththu Arivu”, to mean learn by separation and differentiation! But this is neither justice nor “Paguththu Arivu”! This is simple illegal discrimination! This is what has been made ‘Legal’ in many parts of India, especially in the State of Tamil Nadu!
119. In the olden times when the society was divided in to four different castes based on the sort of work they did, the education system which was in consonance with such system is unilaterally declared as exploitation by some! Now more than ability and knowledge, the caste is being given importance unfairly, injudiciously, unjustifiably and this gross injustice is being given names such as Reform, Justice, Equality and Paguththu Arivu!
120. Nobody objects to the efforts to improve the living standards of not-so-well- to-do parts of the society! But that does not give you licence to put down those who are capable of progressing on their own! You can feed the hungry, by all means. But you should not deny the privilege of even a decent life to others for that reason! On the pretext of removal of castes, what is happening is emphasising the castes for vote garnering tactics, to sustain themselves in power! This is modern hypocrisy of a crass order!
(To be continued.)



At 5:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 8:38 AM, Blogger s. subramanian said...

Nowadays, I see many women learning/chanting Sri Rudram. I hear that some of the Swamijis are endorsing this. Do the sastras approve this? I would appreciate your learned comments. -


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