Thursday, July 15, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 41 (Vol #4) Dated 15 July 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 41 (Vol #4) Dated 15 July 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 page number 235 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 updated constantly)

309. Thus when Buddha and Mahavira created new religions, in those religions, the concepts of Veda Pramanyam (inviolability of Vedas), Vedic Anushtaana (practice of rituals as per the Vedas) and Varna Ashrama Dharma (the division of the society in to four castes with some common and some exclusive duties and responsibilities), were not there! Instead of restricting anyone from reading and practicing the basic scriptures, it was open to all. So, instead of the small Guru Kula-s there was a need to have much bigger educational institutions, since all the people had to be covered!
310. Another factor contributed to this opening of the gates as though to all and sundry! Till then in the Guru Kula the most systematic, scientific and refined of the languages, Sanskrit was used. Normal common man was not capable of speaking or understanding this Sanskrit language. They knew only the ‘Praakruta’ (or Prakrit, meaning natural as derived from the word ‘Prakruti’?), it was the colloquial lingo known as ‘Pali’! The basic scriptures of Buddhism known as ‘Thripitakam’, was written in that ‘Pali’ language only. Similarly, the basic scriptures of the Jains known as ‘Angaas’ were written in another ‘Praakruta’ language known as ‘Ardhamaaghadi’ (may be what was spoken in the Magadh region during those times)! When you are interested in spreading your own religion to as broad a spectrum of the masses as possible, especially those who were not aware of reading and writing, you are bound to set up schools to teach them the art of reading and writing and interpose the religious books! We have seen this done by many of the Missionaries from the west, all over Africa, Indian sub-continent and Asia!
311. Guru Nanak, when he was keen on spreading the Sikh religion in Punjab, some 600 years back, there was no method of writing the Punjabi language. That is, there was no written alphabet for the graphic representation of the language on paper! At that time he had to create an alphabet! This was done and perfected by the time the next Guru Angad was able collect what Guru Nanak had said and what had been said by some of the Saints that he used to quote. As the language took shape through what was spoken by the Guru-s, the language so evolved got the name of ‘Gurmukhi’, to mean what has come in to being through the mouths or through the spoken words of the Guru-s!
312. Instead of using force and compulsions, through the process of imparting education by establishing schools, colleges and universities, they are able to convert people to their own religion quite peacefully and cleverly. That is what was done by the Buddhists and Jains! But when points of principles became deeper and subtler with arguments and counters; Sanskrit was found to be the more suitable medium of education! In the seventh Century A.D., when Harsha Vardhana was the King, Hieun Tsang visited India and reported that in Nalanda, the Buddhists conducted their discussions in the Sanskrit language. Anyhow, to start with, all teaching was in what was the spoken dialect, leading to creation of more and more schools and colleges!
313. I have already told you as to how the Vysya-s and Sudra-s had to refer to the Brahmin Aacharyas for consultation only on specific issues or clearance of doubts and that the Guru Kula-s were mainly places where Brahmin and Kshatriya boys learnt their Veda-s and Saastraa-s. Within them also it was mainly meant for Brahmin boys. So the curriculum and the syllabus had to be oriented towards their study of Adhyayanam of the Veda-s and the 14 Vidya Sthana-s. As I have said before, the syllabus of these Brahmin boys and Kshatriya boys could not have been the same, of necessity.
314. The Kshatriya boys evidently did not have to read and commit to memory all the Veda-s and the 14 Vidya-s, as was expected of the Brahmin boys. Similarly, the Brahmin boys except for those who took up study of Dhanur Veda, Artha Saastra and such things, could not have been expected to learn about those things extensively! There could have been some activities and classes which were common between the different classes of students!
315. As people who are also entitled to Brhmopadesam and learning the Veda-s, there could have been Vysya-s also among the students of the Guru Kula. But as the population kept on expanding and trade and commerce kept increasing with neighbouring countries and even overseas, with added importance of agricultural activities, on the job training in the shop floor and fields became more profitable than learning in the Guru Kulam, I suppose! This is the reason that the Vysya-s who are profit oriented, became more involved in production, cattle rearing i.e., ‘Go Samrakshana’, trade and commerce, as a life time job from childhood! Moreover, they had to constantly update their data on sales, balances, fluctuations in prices, stock situations and the related accounting, that they could not have had time for anything else! Their business deeply depended on their learning of various languages and the presence of mind in tackling a variety of customers, vendors, suppliers and so on. They cannot be referring to books or notes during their negotiations! So, their children, instead of going in for studies in a big way, believed in apprenticeship with their father or grandfather, on the job, ‘learning all the tricks of the trade’, literally I suppose!
316. All said and done, in the past thus, Vidyabhyasam meant the educating of the Brahmin boys mainly. That is why, even after the passage of so many decades and centuries, ‘Paatam’ a word indicating learning of the Vedas, became the root word for the name of all educational institutions as ‘Paatashaala’, originally meant to be a place where starting from the Gayatri Mantra all Vedas are taught! Similarly any teacher became ‘Aachaarya’, though now there could be an ‘Aachaarya’ for communism and even agnosticism! What was an assistant teacher of Vedas and Saastraa-s known as ‘Upaadhyaya’ has become a ‘Vaadyaar’, a slang synonym for all and sundry gang leaders!
317. Sishya or Vidhyarthi is a synonym for student or disciple. In Tamil, it is known a “MaNava or MaaNaakkan”, which might have been a derivative of the word ‘Manav’, from which the English word ‘Man and Human’ could have evolved! Manu is considered as the origin for all human beings, not only etymologically. (KTSV adds:- In Tamil when you write the letter ‘n’ with a double roundel, it is pronounced a little thickly, which is indicate by a capital ‘N’ in these e-mails.) This word ‘MaaNav’ means a young student, as he starts his education as a small boy really! This word was really known earlier as ‘MaaNi’ and meant, a young Brhmachari Brahmin boy given the ‘PooNool’ in ‘Upanayanam’! Since immediately after the ‘Upanayanam’, he proceeded to the Guru Kula and became a student, ‘MaaNi’ became a generic word ‘MaaNava’ for all students and disciples.
318. Thus in the olden times, Vidya Abhyaasam or education was specially meant for the Brahmin boys. Other caste people had no objections to that, as they did not think of it as a denial of rights or something! Every caste people were happily doing what was their job and playing their appointed role! It is only after the meaning of the word ‘Education’ itself had conveniently been changed and became the basic qualification for employment, that put the whole society was in a race for ‘one-up-man-ship’!
(To be continued.)



At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

量力而為,別勉強了,Cut your coat according to your cloth...................................................................


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