Tuesday, June 15, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 26 (Vol #4) Dated 15 June 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 26 (Vol #4) Dated 15 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 158 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 http://Advaitham.blogspot.com constantly.)
134. Utsarjan and Visarjan means the same thing, that is, to leave something or in other words, take a break. The ritual in which we leave studying of the Vedas for a period of about seven months is Visarjan. Again at the time of next AavaNi Aavittam, to restart the study of Vedas from where we left off is to do ‘Upa Kramam’, which is known as ‘Upakarma’! All other Vidyas such as, Siksha, VyakaraNam, Chandas, Niruktam, Jyotisham, Kalpam and such things of the 14 Vidyas are taught during this period. Study of classical literature and PuraNas is also done during this. This Utsarjanam in North India is the Saraswathy Pooja of Vasantha Panchami.
135. Now-a-days in our AavaNi Aavittam, the more important activity seems to be the feast in which ‘Iddly, PoLi and Vada’, play a major role! Out of the whole lot of Vedas one has to learn in a term of about six months, a portion is chanted by the ‘Vaadyaar’ and repeated by the participants in a lackadaisical way. Notwithstanding this, they do the ‘Utsarjana’ karma also, then itself! This is not even paying lip-service to the concept of ‘Upaakarma and Utsarjana’! I do not know as to why we have not done away with the whole procedure when it has lost its meaning and has just become a rigmarole! May be as I said before, the tradition survives for the sake of renewing the worn out PooNool and for the special eats prepared on that occasion! We are responsible for the condition of self ridicule have come to, for which we can blame no one!
136. During the time of Vidya Abhyaasam a Brhmachari is supposed to learn the Vedas and other Vidyas thus for periods of two terms each alternately and complete such studies in 12 years! When you try to learn more than your Veda, the one who learns two Vedas becomes a Dwivedi, master of three Vedas becomes a Trivedi and knower of all the four Vedas becomes a Chaturvedi. Then you can learn about Vedangam (other parts of the Vedas of the 14 Vidyas) and Vedantam (mastering all the Upanishads). These courses took anywhere up to 18 or even 36 years, as a celibate student, before you ever thought of entering the married life of Gruhasta Ashrama!
137. If Upaakarma and Utsarjana are meant for a student of the Vedas and Vidyas, how are they applicable for a married man leading the Gruhasta Aashrama? As per Saastraas, a Brahmins life is initially Adhyayana of learning followed by Adhyaapaka of teaching what one has learnt about the Vedas. This is true, whether you teach one student or run a Guru Kula of many students! When you do that, you have to start and end in those UpakramaNa and Utsarjana karmas, as per the schedule given in the Saastraas.
138. Even when you are not teaching anybody, you have to retain what you have learnt, without forgetting, is it not so? The process of chanting and committing it to memory is a lifelong endeavour! In Dharma Saastraas, the details of Upaakarma and Utsarjana are given in the portion describing Gruhasta Dharma and not in the part covering the Brhmacharya Dharma. Till education was considered as part of an approach towards divinity, starting with Brhma Upadesa, all learning was an effort in that direction. There is a function known as ‘Sama- Aavartanam’, which meant that you have completed all learning and are now ready to step into the world as a house holder. There is a marked difference in the way the Upaakarma is to be done by the Brhmachari who is yet to do the Sama-Avartanam and the house holder who has completed Sama-Aavartanam. Evidently the second procedure is for the married man so that he may not forget what he has learnt of the Vedas! It is known as ‘DhaaraNam’. Some Rishis have very clearly directed that even a married man should consider himself as a student when it comes to studying and reviving his knowledge of the Vedas, throughout his life!
139. Holidays. In this academic year of two terms, if you ask me if there are any holidays, the answer is ‘Yes’. Our elders did not consider it correct to simply overload the student with academics only! During the Adhyayanam these were known as days of ‘Anadhyayanam’, that is ‘no study days’! Each month, Amavasya, PourNami, two ashtamis (8 th titi after full/new moons) and two chathurdasis (14th titi after full/new moons), were ‘No Adhyayanam’ days. In addition, at the end of Upaakarma and Utsarjana there will be three days of Anandhyayanam. More over in the ‘Chatur Masya’ of four months vrata, there will be four days holidays. These are all known as ‘Nitya Anadhyayanam’ or official planned holidays.
140. There could also be unscheduled holidays like when there are ‘Naimittika’ reasons such as, floods, fire, dacoity and such things which cannot be planned for. Saastraas anyhow with humane approach forbid conduct of classes on such occasions! Similarly there will be no classes conducted when there is Solar or Lunar eclipse. During those times however, chanting of mantras already committed to memory, is required to be done, when the effectiveness of the mantras is said to be much more!
141. Is Use of Physical Force Permitted? When the system enables the student to go through the process of Adhyayanam with a not very tight schedule interspersed with sufficient number of holidays, what is the general accepted attitude of the Aachaaryaas supposed to be as per the Saastraas, is the question? The general approach is that in the name of love and kindness, the student is not to be spoiled. That is why he was sent to the Guru Kulam in the first place instead of being taught at home! So the Sishya is expected to abide with the directions of the Aachaarya at all times.
142. However that does not mean that the Aachaarya was a hard task master demanding implicit obedience at all times either! With love and kindness the student be guided on to a disciplined path, is the idea. If we look into the PuraaNaas and Itihaasaas, we come across many examples of deep love and mutual respect between them. The student was guided with kind and sweet words of advice. Often you come across the teacher addressing the student as, “Sowmyaa!”, which is a pleasant word, kind enough without being too pally! Gowtama Sruti clearly says that the student is not to be physically punished. Though later on it came about that, ‘to give Siksha’ meant ‘to give punishment’, that was not the original meaning of the word at all!
143. However, there may be some occasions when you have to dish out exemplary punishments to some! That is why there are proverbs on this point in all languages, such as the following ones! “Adiyaada maadu padiyaadu”, meaning, ‘the unbeaten animal will ever remain wild’! “Adi udavuvadu pol aNNan thambi udavaadu”, meaning, ‘a good thrashing is more useful than brotherly relations’! In the English language there is the saying, “spare the rod and spoil the child!”
144. Even for such things you may just use a cane to tap lightly and not use a whip or harsher methods, as forbidden by Manu Smruthi. You may hit in the back and nowhere else. You are never to hit in the head, says the Smruthi. Thus the Saastraas have gone into minute details of all eventualities and given directions! The main thrust was to instil a natural preference for discipline in the minds of the students from the beginning. The idea is that he should be able to auto correct himself as he goes along!
(To be continued.)



At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we‘re so proud of you!............................................................


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