Monday, July 19, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 43 (Vol #4) Dated 19 July 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 43 (Vol #4) Dated 19 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 last para on page number 244 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)

329. With the sole aim of showing off the Hindus in a poor light, the British historians wrote Indian History, with a slant as though Buddhism and Jainism had completely engulfed the entire Indian subcontinent. This is quoted by our historians also, for their own ulterior motive of parochialism! If such was the case, Adi Sankara could not have just come on the scene and redistributed everybody in to the four castes, once again! History instead of being a fairly accurate recording of the past for the knowledge of future generations became just anybody’s ‘cock and bull story’!
330. When the castes were doing the job that was traditionally theirs, the next generation of people did not question as to why, they were in so and so job! The carpenter’s son did not question as to why his father was a carpenter and so on! Instead, if later on some third person came and told them that henceforth they will belong to so and so caste, certainly there would have been objections galore. In such a vast country like India, if once all the castes had been thoroughly mixed up to a casteless level I am sure, we could not have gone back to square one! So, had this Buddhism and Jainism become all pervading as picturised by the British historians, the whole nation could not have come back within the ambit of control of Varna Ashrama Dharma at all!
331. From the time of Adi Sankara AachaaryaL, other religions started regressing and or shifted more to countries outside India, as discerned by most historians. That is true. But still, one man could not have brought back the whole of India back to Sanaatana Dharma. He had no support of any King or political leaders either. There is no evidence in literature or in history whatsoever that Varna Ashrama Dharma was brought back or newly established by any royal edict or some such thing either! This reinforces the point that the Varna Ashrama Dharma was never done away with despite the onslaught of other religions.
332. Nindra Seer Nedumaran a King in the South, converted to
‘SamaNa’ that is Jainism. But his subjects continued to follow their traditional religion and way of life. May be they were reluctant to openly display their deep rooted loyalties to their religion and traditional beliefs and customs. But, they did not convert wholesale to the new religions! Even those who did convert continued to practice their trades as they did before, without any noticeable change in their attitudes, beliefs, way of life and environment. So, when that king was reconverted to his original religion, the situation came back to what it was before! Some came back to their earlier religion while some remained as converts. The traditional festivals, visit to temples and other Karma Anushtaanaa-s recommenced as before! The caste wise trades and professions were never affected. (KTSV adds:- In the modern India too, this above point is underlined as though by the fact that, amongst convertee populations of Muslims and Christians, there are those who claim themselves to be Rajputs, that is Kshatriya-s, Vysyas and Dalits still and claim some political rights and privileges!)
333. So, these religions Buddhism and Jainism did not make much of a dent in the Indian social milieu at all! Leaving the social environment, even if we look at the changes in religious beliefs and practices, there was no mass movement to talk about! People did adopt the new religion so to say but, did not convert completely! For example when the king Nindra Seer Nedumaran changed to Jainism, his wife Mangaiyarkkarasi and minister Kulachiraiyar remained ardent devotees of Siva. (Later Sundara Murthy Nayanar challenged the SamaNa-s to ‘Anal Vaadam and Punal Vaadam’ that is, ‘ordeal by fire and flood’, defeated them and cured ‘Koon Pandyan’ of his disease. When from a hunch backed being, he stood straight like a ram rod, it was then that he became Nindra Seer Nedumaran! All three of them that is, the King, his Queen and Minister, are revered as great devotees of Siva as ‘Nayanmar-s’! Please relate to Para 54 of Deivathin Kural # 94 (Vol # 3) Dated 01 June 2009.)
334. Moreover, coming back to the main topic of our concern, In the Buddhist and Jain schools and universities, the number of non-brahmins were not much! As pointed out earlier, as they continued in their traditional jobs and trades, there was no need for them to learn from such educational institutions. Since there were such schools available, there may have been some non-brahmins who were keen on such intellectual pursuits! But their numbers were not substantial but only sparse, compared to what it could have been!
335. Thus to cater for projected mass conversion figures, there were more such educational institutions that came into being and they were bigger than anything anywhere else in the world. From within this student population also, the number who joined the ‘Bikku Sanga’ were rather limited. Though it is true, that there was a substantial increase in the number of ‘Bikkus’ due to which, there was a watering down of their standards of discipline. It still does not mean however that, people converted en masse to these religions either! Before this, only Brahmins mainly went through these three stages of life, namely Ashramas of Brhmacharyam, Gruhastam and Vana Prastam, from which some opted for Sanyasam. Some amongst them went directly from Brhmacharyam to Sanyasam. During those times the Sanyasi population amongst the total used to be around one percent or even less say. When people converted to Buddhism and Jainism, the number of Sanyasis would have gone from one percent to about four or five percent! Balance 95% of people was continuing in their respective trades or jobs as before.
336. If you have one practicing doctor in your colony say and suddenly if three or four doctors open their clinics in the same area, would you not feel a sense of there being too many of them? That is what happened in this case too. From one percent of the total population to 4 or 5 percent increase is after all a 4 to 5 times increase! So it did give an impression as though there is abundance. Then also, unlike the Hindu Sanyasis who do not stay in one place for too long and believe in roaming the countryside alone, these Bikkus were to be found in such collectives giving the impression of being too many! When the number of Sanyasis increases, as they are required to observe very strict rules of abnegation, there is likely to be a lessening of the strictness in their discipline! That is what happened here too.
337. To sum up, in the social set up, the Varna Dharma was not much affected. In the religious aspect too, practicing of the individual daily and periodic Karma Anushtaanaa-s continued as before. Collective conduct of festivals as per yearly calendar as well as those which were temple or area specific, were not affected adversely at all! Conduct of Pushkar Mela or Maha Kubha Mela or celebration of Deepavali or Ganesha Chathurthi or Gokulashtami and so on, continued as before! At the intelligentsia or administrative level of the government, there could have been some disinterest, when these religions of Buddhism and Jainism were on the ascendency, may be. On those occasions, there came a Sankara Bhagawat PaadaaL or a Thiru Gnaana Sambandar, to rekindle the Vaidic Religion to shine brighter than before!
338. We cannot fault all the British historians as being partial either! There are people who value truth more than anything in any walk of life. There are individuals like that and there are some organizations too who have stringent standards of integrity! Oxford University people have that sort of a reputation! If they publish a book at any time, they do not leave it at that in a limbo, so to say! They will keep on updating their data base and doing research on that. Then when they have collected additional information which is genuinely authoritative enough and it makes it imperative for them to change an earlier interpretation or finding, they would not hesitate to accept their earlier mistake in reporting or analysis! They would either publish an amendment or bring out a fresh edition with apologies! They have done so in the case of the Indian History!
(To be continued.)



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