Sunday, August 08, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 53 (Vol #4) Dated 08 Aug 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 53 (Vol #4) Dated 08 Aug 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 second para on page number 296 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)
{Note: In these talks, PeriyavaaL is talking about Educational Institutions of yore, which were bigger than a single Guru Kulam, and possibly bigger than a school, with a number of teachers, curriculums and syllabuses. These were called variously as Gatika or Gatikai or Katika or even Kadigai. As per English grammer rules, a pronoun can be spelt differently based on the pronunciation. In these translations, I am sticking to Gatika and Gatikai.}

418. Maintaining the traditions of kings like Nrusimha Varma, in later periods there have been rich land owners and business people like the Chetty / PiLLais of Nattukkottai and Nagaraththaar-s, who have done much for the upkeep of this religion! They also used to repair and refurbish the temples by turn, while doing which; they have renovated the ‘Paata Saalai’ connected with it. Thiru VaLLuvar says clearly, “kartradanaal aaya payan enkol? vaalarivan narraaL thozhaa ar enin!”, meaning there by, “Tell me as to what is the use of education if they are going to be agnostic and not devoted to God?!”
419. While talking about educational institutions, for Thiru VaLLuvar to be referring to God as ‘vaalarivan’ is absolutely appropriate. This word means ‘Omniscience’. The one who knows all that is to be known is ‘vaalarivan’! However much you may learn, instead of adding to your pride and conceit, it should make you realize that all your knowledge is only an infinitesimal fraction of His Omniscience! We should be devoted to God and be doing, ‘narraaL thozha vendum’, in all humbleness! This is what is said in Sanskrit as, “vidya vinaya sampanna”! This phrase means that, a learned person will be naturally endowed with humility!
420. 8th Century A.D. There is another inscription on stone that the Gatika Sthanam in Kanchipuram was in good condition in the 8th Century too. Refer South Indian Inscriptions, 4th Volume, as found in the pillar in Kanchipuram Vaikunta PerumaL Koil. At one time the Pallava dynasty ended without a legal heir to the throne. There was a period of uncertainty when there would not have been any prince in waiting, as heir to the throne! At that time amongst the branch progenies with a lien on the throne, there was a Hiranya Varma as a king of a vassal state. All the elders of the state went to him and requested him to let his son Parameswara Varma to be the King in Kanchipuram. He agreed to the request and sent his son accordingly. Then the Vaidic experts conducted the ‘Rajya Abhishekam’ to Parameswara Varma to be the King. The stone inscription on this event lists the names of the dignitaries who went on representation and then those who conducted the religious ritual anointing Parameswara Varma as the King include the Instructors of the Kanchipuram Gatika Sthanam. This is a clear indicator of the high respect at which the Gatika Sthanam and its instructors were held in the society.
421. The Chalukyas ruled from ‘Badami’ also known as ‘Vatapi’! They used to name themselves as Vikrama Aditya or Satya Ashraya. There have been wars between these Chalukyas and Pallavas. Then there have been friendly ties between these States with marital relationships sealing the friendship treaties. There is a record of some philanthropic donation made by one Vikramaditya Satyashraya, (a combination of both the names given in the second line above), inscribed on stone, in the northern most pillar in the series of pillars located west of the Maha Mandapam in the Kailasa Nathar Koil. In it, a reference is made to the teaching staff in the Gatikai in Kanchipuram with due respect, while mentioning that to go against these directions would be tantamount to the sin of committing murder of such great souls! This inscription in Sanskrit is to be found also in Epigraphica Indica, III part, page 360.
422. Generally the Royal Saasanam has three parts. First part is known as ‘Prasasti’, meaning ‘a word of praise’, for the people making an endowment in the name of some great human being who is no more! Having made some endowment, it will talk about the greatness of his fore fathers and the nobility of the one making the gift. Then is the second or ‘Madya’ part containing the details or main contents of the decree or edict. Then finally are the Vyasa Gita Slokas, the end part. Normally this part will be saying as to how those who abide with the instructions as per the proclamation are likely to benefit and those who act against it are running the risk of accumulating much horrendous sins! Normally, the highest or worst such sin is killing of a lactating cow on the banks of the Ganges! To act against the edict, as etched in the stone pillar in Kailasanathar Koil is as great a sin as killing the great souls of the Gurus of the Gatikai in Kanchipuram, it says! From this you can clearly make out as to how great be the respect with which they were revered!
423. From another such edict on stone, we can make out as to how surprisingly huge was the Gatikai sprawling like a small township on its own! There were seven thousand students in that Gatikai. In North Arcot district, near Gudiyatham Taluqa, near Tiruvallam village, on a rock face in the river Niva, was this Saasanam found! It is found published as part of South Indian Inscriptions, First Volume, Part I. Having talked about another such endowment, it ends up saying, that the one who acts against the edict would be as much a sinner as the one incurred by “killing all the 7,000 people in the Gatikai”! That is indicative of the size of the institution!
424. In Nandivarma Pallava’s “kasakudi cheppedugal”, meaning copper plates of Kasakudi, as mentioned in the South Indian Inscriptions, 2nd Volume, 3rd Part, the Brahmins known as ‘Bhudevas’ (meaning, that they were as good as angels on ground), these kings were so devoted to construct and take care of the Gatikas. These Gurus in these Gatika Sthanams, though not running their own Guru Kula, were knowledgeable in all the four Vedas, very good in personally observing the Karma Anushtaanaa, maintaining such high standards to be revered at par with Gods on Earth, as revealed by these Saasanaas!
425. Like this Gatika with 7,000 students, we get to know about schools with 3,000 and a thousand students, also. In North Arcot, Cheyyaru Taluqa, there is a village by the name of ‘Brhma Desam’! The very word ‘Brhma Deyam’ means what has been donated to a Brahmin. In that village there is Chandra Mouleeswarar Aalayam. On the northern wall of the Garba Gruha (sanctum sanctorum) of that temple, it is inscribed, “thrai rajya katika madyasta moovaayiravar”, is indicative of the fact that the Gatikai was located in the centre of three states and that there were 3,000 students studying there. There are such inscriptions with words such as, ‘ezhaayiravar’ meaning seven thousand and ‘Gatika Sahasram’ which means that it had a thousand students. Even if some may think of it as an exaggeration, I do not see any logic as to why anybody should over state the numbers, to carry a falsehood as a message to the future! It is not likely to be an exaggeration, in my opinion.
426. Like in Kanchipuram, in the 6th Century itself the Kings of the Telugu speaking lands had cared for and nurtured such Gatikas. There were such Gatikas on the banks of Godavari River. In Tuni Taluqa, in a place known as Chikkulla Agraharam, while digging for a pond, a copper plate Saasanam was found. It was mentioning about a Vikramendra Varma II of Vishnu Kuntina Vamsa or dynasty, who accumulated a lot of meritorious PuNya (merits as opposed to Sins), by establishing proper facilities for a Gatika; Quote, “yataa vidhi vinirmapita katika vaapta puNya sanjayasya” Unquote.
(To be continued.)



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