Saturday, July 17, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 42 (Vol #4) Dated 17 July 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 42 (Vol #4) Dated 17 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 240 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)

319. As I was saying, in those days Vidya Abhyaasam was thus specially meant for the Brahmin boys. Others did not envy the Brahmins for this. For them to learn their professions, stay in Guru Kula was not considered necessary. If and when need be, they could always refer to the Aiyar for any technically complicated issues in their professional subjects and or in matters concerning Dharma in human relations! There was no jealousy from his side, for the Brahmin’s learning of the Veda-s or observing his Anushtaanaa-s. So also there was no high headedness from the Brahmin’s side as though he is a man from the Mars!
320. They were all happy doing what was their appointed role by birth, in the society. They lived with the idea that the Vedas chanted by the Brahmin and the Yagna-s conducted by him were for everyone’s benefit. Their thought process ran on the following lines. “The self imposed restrictions of the Brahmin show us also as to how we should behave in society. If the Brahmin’s role is important for the society’s welfare in a spiritual way, our appointed role is also important for the society in a practical and material way! So let him do his job. We need not disturb him and or compete with him.” This is how the people of the other three castes looked at the situation for not only centuries but for thousands of years! There was no problem of understanding or unity in the society!
321. Both Buddha and Mahavira misunderstood this arrangement. For them to think so, the Brahmins of that period must have been partially responsible, due to lacking in the strength of their Anushtaanaa-s and or their understanding of the concepts of philosophy! Due to a mistaken notion of belonging to a higher caste, they might have stood more on formalities and demanded some special status and privileges. Buddhists and Jains instead of correctly identifying such behaviour as aberrations, when they held the system itself to be wrong and faulty, may be they fell into a trap of their own making. This led to a temporary boost in followership or converts, which however did not necessarily mean true understanding! So, they started big training institutions to teach in the colloquial, boosting conversion into their religion!
322. Still, the point to note is that, while people were converting to these religions in a big way, people continued to work in their ancestral trades to which they were born to! As far as the Brahmins were concerned, though their loyalty to Veda Karma Anushtaana got a jolt, it helped in waking them up from a reverie somewhat! Other caste people too remained in their traditional professions only. Carpenter remained a carpenter and a sculptor remained a sculptor and so on. The only difference was that instead of a being a Hindu carpenter or sculptor, they called themselves Buddhist or Jain so and so!
323. In other words, Varna Dharma was never removed or erased! The non-brahmins’ involvement in ‘tatva vichara’ that is, getting into comprehension of philosophical matters was rather limited! He accepted the idea that Brahmin was not superior to himself any more, but there ended his analysis and foray into philosophical concepts and principles! Thus his understanding of Buddhism and Jainism was limited. Thus as long as he did not kill and eat, he could eat the meat and flesh of any animal. That is why though ‘Ahimsa Paramo Dharma:’ is the highest principle in both these religions, their followers are not very strict about being vegetarians!
324. Generally you may notice that any mass movement will be found to have a following based on the points against which it is raising objections. When it comes to observing the rules and regulations being imposed by that movement, people only pay lip service to it! For example, when Mahatma Gandhi raised the slogan, “Throw out the White Man from India”, it got a lot of support. When these very followers were exhorted to observe the principles of, ‘Ahimsa (non-cruelty), Satyam (truthfulness), discipline and devotion to God’, you would be shocked to note that there were not very many ready to live with those requirements!
325. Instead of understanding the logic of why the foreigners should be thrown out from the Indian soil, the desire and greed for power was the greater driving force! So the movement caught everybody’s attention. But, when it came to the standard of discipline demanded by Gandhi, people were not ready to accept them and live up to it. That is human tendency. To realise one’s own mistake and correct ourselves is not as popular as raising objections to others mistakes, even if they are only imaginary! If I tell you to conduct a mass meeting against conversion of Hindus into other religions or against agnosticism, just one word from my side will do! You will form a big committee, have preparatory meetings, conduct publicity, collect funds and one day hold a popular meeting in which there will be verbal fireworks and passing of wholesome resolutions! But, if I tell you to live strictly as required of you in the Saastraas, will you listen to me? If I tell you to do Sandyavandanam three times a day and Brhma Yagnam and Vaisve Devam daily, there will be an immediate reduction in the number of people attending my Pooja and lectures!
326. The above is the reason why, some of the rules as required to be observed by the followers of Buddhism and Jainism were never taken up seriously. Here I must talk about one aspect of some of the impositions by these religions, which were never going to be practical. Unlike the Hindu Sanatana Dharma which has much inherent freedom and alternate arrangements of expiation for each error, default and aberrant behaviour, both Buddhism and Jainism are very strict in Ahimsa and Sanyas (renunciation). Between these two religions also, in Jainism the rules on renunciation were much stricter for all people, without much let! Comparatively Hinduism believes in a gradual tightening of the restrictions depending on growth with age and maturity! So there were many conversions into these religions but, simply they just changed the name of their religion! (KTSV adds:- Indian society somehow adjusted to the influx of Buddhism and Jainism for the next 12 to 13 centuries. But with the forcible entry of Muslim religion and the advent of Sikh religion, the scenario changed drastically. Despite all that, people continued to be in the same job or profession as of old, with the fear that now anyone could do anything, in terms of employment and profession! I think the problem of unemployment started from there, which was further irrevocably complicated when Curzon introduced English based education in India. Then the flood gates were opened forever as though, for unemployment, competition and mutual hate as to who should do what to whom? Now let us go back to PeriyavaL’s narrative.)
327. So even after the advent of Buddhism and Jainism, Varna Ashrama Dharma continued as before. If you read the inscriptions in stone (known as Saasanam), by kings of that period like Asoka, we can discern that those kings were aware of the fact that to play with the Varna Ashrama Dharma setup was to disturb the apple cart so to say, as that would be tantamount to disrupting the whole social structure! I will give you one argument in favour of this point!
328. It is a historical fact that Tarka Saastra experts like Udayana Aachaaryar, Vedic Karma Anushtaana Expert like Kumarila Bhatta and finally Adi Sankara AachaaryaL, defeated the exponents of Buddhhism and Jainism and re-established the Varna Ashrama Dharma. When they did so, they did not start from scratch in a vacuum! Despite all these onslaughts, within the Hindu Sanaatana Dharma, Varna Ashrama Dharma had continued to survive!
(To be continued.)



At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since it is the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.............................................................


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