Sunday, July 25, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 46 (Vol #4) Dated 25 July 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 46 (Vol #4) Dated 25 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 259 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)

359. Instead of being the friend, guide and philosopher only for some, Adi Sankara is the one to do good for all sorts of people, from the lowest to the highest, to the good, bad and ugly as well as good, better and best! He is the repository for ‘sruti, smruti and purana-s’ like a temple. He is the refuge for all in need of love, compassion and grace! I bow to him, who is the benefactor doing good for all, ‘namami bhgawat paada sankaram, loka sankaram’!
360. He got back the Brahmins to their original religion by intelligent reasoning and securely moored them to the ground of spiritual progress through the cords of Karma Anushtaanaa-s, so that they could try and successively ennoble themselves to an ideal life for the rest of the society to emulate and follow! Wherever he visited, he not only debated and conducted a war of words with opponents but repaired and renovated the local temples and revived the devotional procedures there. In some places he installed powerful Yantras and elsewhere, he pacified the ferociousness of the divine ‘Ugra Murthy’ installed there.
361. The moment we take his name, the one thing that comes to our minds is the idea of ‘Adwaitam’. It is alright to praise him for the fact that he did much to give the due importance to Adwaitam. But the persons who could really understand and fully comprehend Adwaitam are very few indeed! More than all this, we should thank Adi Sankara for the following things. First, our thanks are due to him, for restarting the Karma Marga for all people of all castes to do their appointed work or trades for their own individual ‘chitta shuddhi’ and the well being of the society. Second, we should thank him for, restarting Bakti Marga for all and sundry! Whether it is Ganesha Pancha Ratnam or Lakshmi Ashtoram, Kanaka Dhara Stotram or Sivananda Lahari or Soundarya Lahari; his innumerable poems are all capable of imbibing devotion to God even in the heart of a stone! He started the ‘panchayatana pooja’ to be done by each individual at his own home every day, in which you are required to combine the prayers to Ganesha, Siva and Parvathy, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Sun and Subrahmanya; thereby also bring the devotees of Ganapatyam, Saivam, Saktam, VaishNavam, Sauram and Koumaram into one main stream of Hinduism! The point to note is that prior to Adi Sankara Bhagawat PaadaaL, the followers of these deities were pulling in different directions as though they were totally different religions! Somehow or the other, what started as a discussion on Aachaarya and Upaadyaaya, led to a description of Adi Sankra’s eulogy! But let me connect back to the matter of education.
362. Other religions opened these huge universities and invited people of all castes to join them. Still the people were only interested in continuing with the traditional trades and crafts, as their own houses were the training institutions for them in their family business. They did not need these schools and colleges. Some of them did join these institutions but did not continue for long! Again it was the Brahmins and Kshatriyas, who could get interested in the cerebral exercises of concepts, principles and logical analysis! We read from the life history of Buddha that the Brahmins whom he opposed were the mainstay of his religion too, as they were the ones keen on such adventures! So, as I was saying, it was during the time when Buddhism and Jainism were dominant that the system of a team of instructors pooling their efforts came into being, giving raise to the concept of Upaadhyaya. Even then the Varna Ashrama Dharma was continuing.
363. For that matter, there is no need to investigate the past so much and confuse ourselves. It is enough to see the condition existing in the present day to identify the fact that Varna Ashrama Dharma is soaked in our very being. (PeriyavaaL says that it is permeated in our blood. In the modern parlance we should say that, it is programmed in our DNA!)
More than Buddhism and Jain religions, British missionaries tried to use more virulent methods of propaganda using innuendo and slander to criticise the Varna Ashrama Dharma. They also started schools and colleges. Actually they went one step beyond. They made their education the basis for employment in governmental jobs. At least during the Buddhist and Jain Universities, the Vaidic Chatur Dasa Vidya-s were being retained as part of the syllabus. Had it so happened that Varna Ashrama Dharma had completely been annulled and had there been no more inductees into some of these trades and crafts, there would have been a social collapse! That is why, it was in their interest to continue with these trades and crafts as before.
364. By the time the Britishers came in to the picture, they literally threw overboard anything connected to the Veda-s in their syllabus for education while inducting the Bible and all Christian concepts and themes in a big way. Industrial revolution was simultaneous, with this period in history. Automation, mechanization, and ever new sources of power were in the pipeline! Steel, aluminium, plastic, coal, steam, electricity, hydrocarbon based fossil fuels, channelizing of rivers and tapping of hydro-electricity, nuclear power and so on, ever new inventions and discoveries were pouring in every day. We almost reached the end of Varna Ashrama Dharma! Coupled with these changes, clever economic entrapment, propaganda of hate in the name of research in to history, spreading of a canard like Aryan Vs Dravidian Race divide, almost brought this Varna Ashrama Dharma to a nullity. When all over Europe and elsewhere, Jew baiting was going on, in India it was Brahmin baiting! Whatever way other trades and professions changed, adapted and survived, the six trades of the Brahmin, namely learning and teaching of Veda-s; doing and conducting Yagna-s; giving and getting Daanam; were most affected! Coupled with local ‘Paarpanane Ozhiga’ campaigns, the Brahmins were driven to poverty and penury!
365. It is here that the Brahmin co-operated the most with willingness in the destruction of Varna Ashrama Dharma! Except for some Vaidic relics like me, it had become a fashionable thing for the Brahmin to talk ill of the Caste system, as though it is the most heinous of the social customs, on top of the earth! Without realising as to how ignorant he was of the scientific reasonableness of the system, he was to actively participate and contribute in the act of self destruction!
366. But despite all the above, even when Varna Ashrama Dharma is almost defunct, when it comes to finding a suitable partner for marriage, it is interesting to note that people are sticking on to not only caste or ‘jaati’, but to further sub-divisions of those castes! (KTSV adds:- Since PeriyavaaL’s speech some 60 years back, the social milieu has changed further, with electronic innovations in the fields of communications, television, cell phones, globalization of economies and out-sourcing of jobs from the West to countries in the East. Inter caste marriages have become more acceptable, since then. But, even today, Casteism is not a thing of the past. Having depicted it as an Evil from the past, it has now become a convenient tool in the hands of the politician to flog an imaginary horse and grind his own axes! Today the Brahmin has left the scene mostly, for greener pastures overseas, not exactly pursuing his Braminhood, while within India, Casteism has taken different shapes for Vote garnering politics, in the so-called Indian Democracy! But, here PeriyavaaL is making a point, that people are still having some love for their own caste as against others’ castes! So, it is not a surprise that at the time of Buddhism and Jainism, it was but natural that, till the Indian populace was dependent on village based handicrafts, the castes had continued to not only survive but thrive!)
(To be continued.)



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