Tuesday, July 30, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 18 (Vol # 7) Dated 29 July 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 18 (Vol # 7) Dated 29 July 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL of Kanchi Kaamakoti 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 going ahead from page No 120 of Volume 7 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at   http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated continually)

166.        Thus this sloka on Guru, which we have been discussing for quite some time now, embellishing the Guru with the ability to grant all powers of achievement, praises him as the eraser of all sins, omniscient, omnipresent and capable of sanctioning whatever the disciple may wish for and as the unseen Vishnu can raise the student to his own level of understanding, comprehension and abilities!  Then why are we calling Sankara Bhagawat PãdãL as 'our ÃchãryãL' and not as 'our Guru'?  I will come to that word now and tell you about its greatness!  The one who is well aware of all the rules and regulations of Ãchãrã including the 'why' of it instead of blindly following the tradition, also establishes the student in such implicit obedience, while sincerely following those Do's and Don'ts himself; is an Ãchãrya!  Then giving respect to that person, idea and concept, a capital 'L' is added at the end, to make it 'ÃchãryãL'!   The catch phrase here is 'swayam Ãcharate' – 'स्वयम् आचरते' as the very 'Life Line', which enhances the value of the word Ãchãrya!  He does what he teaches as a living example!  Then only will he be able to motivate the student.  Otherwise what is pleasing for the ears, eyes and mind may only be very fleetingly appealing, to be ignored or forgotten the very next moment.  So the Guru who does not only prompt from the back but leads the way is an ÃchãryãL!

167.        There are many names and titles by which Gautama Buddha is known in Buddhism (evidently), but amongst them all the most powerful is 'tatãgata' – 'तथागत' that is also very similar in meaning to 'स्वयम् आचरते'- going by the way teaches, he is basically not a hypocrite!  But Buddha did not follow the traditional ways but went by his own way.  Our ÃchãryãL followed the traditional ways of our Sãstrãs in letter and spirit and demonstrated by living by what he preached – those very Ãchãrãs!  Buddha is more popular nowadays because people like the watered-down-Ãchãrãs than be very strict about them!  But in Dharma Sãstrã Ãchãrya is defined as the one who having been given the Upanayanam and learnt the Vedas with all its parts up to Kalpam and also the 'Rahasya' of Vedanta, the Upanishads and teaches them as a Master!

168.        Nowadays the Guru and Ãchãrya that we know about are only the teachers in schools and colleges, whom in Tamil we call as 'Vãdyãr' – 'வாத்யார்'.  The Brahmin Pundit who visits our houses and guides us in the conduct of various rituals is also referred by this term 'Vãdyãr' – 'வாத்யார்', who is otherwise known as the Purohit.  So let me talk a little about these terms.  The Sanskrit word Upãdhyãya has become 'Vãdyãr' – 'வாத்யார்' in Tamil.  Though as required, the teacher is to be given DakshiNa that is some honorarium for his services, the real Guru does not expect to be paid and teaches.  He is not the one to fix the rates first and then teach!  He teaches with the aim of spreading knowledge.  Thus all these names as Guru, Adhyapaka, Upãdhyãya and Adhyaksha are synonyms emphasising a particular aspect of his profession.  The meaning of this word Upãdhyãya / Vãdyãr though has thus come down in colloquial usage, the real meaning is in the statement 'upedya: tasmãt adheeyata iti upãdhyãya:' – 'उपेध्य: तस्मात अधीयत इति उपाध्याय:'!  This definition contains within itself a whole drama with characters enacting the scene!

169.        A loving father takes his son to a good teacher.  A teacher who is not just pre-occupied with money making as the main aim!  He is showing such a teacher to his son, whom he is going leave in Guru Kulam with an aching heart, as he is going to be separated from his son presently. He is pointing out the Guru to his son and tells him, 'उपेध्य: तस्मात अधीयत', meaning 'Go to him and learn from him'!  'इति उपाध्याय:' he continues, 'Live with him and learn from him as he is your Upãdhyãya from now onwards!'  Thus within that definition there is a mini drama with three characters as the Father, Son and the Upãdhyãya!  We have to understand that a young boy leaving his household – the house that has been holding him till now with the Mother, ever doting on him – has to step in to the field of responsibility leaving his childish pranks and play, become more serious about the purpose of his life, live in a Guru Kulam, that is the teacher's residence and learn from his Guru the Upãdhyãya!    

'Desika' who Shows the Way
170.        Instead of such definition with drama, there is one more statement that defines a teacher as the one who simply gives education to the student as the Desika 'disati vidyam iti desika:' – 'दिसति विद्यां इति देसिक:' in which as the one pointing out the direction in which the student has to proceed is also the meaning that is alluded.  So Desika is another synonym for Guru.  Though in Vedas and Upanishads the word Desika is not specified, the meaning as the 'direction pointer' is very much there in the Vedas.   Guru leads the way and the disciple follows him.  In fact in one of the Upanishads the Guru is depicted as the one who shows the way for a lost person in the form of a story.

171.        In Chandokya Upanishad there is such a story, as we say in Tamil 'kaNNai katti kãttil viduvathu' – 'கண்ணை கட்டி காட்டில் விடுவது', meaning 'to leave in a forest blind-folded'.  There is a place known as 'Gãndhãram' and one of Dhrutarãshtra's wife was known as 'Gãndhãri' as a girl from that place.  In Anglicisation of Indian place names it came to be called the 'Kandhãr'!  Some say that it is what is known as Afghanistan and some say that it is the area of Peshawar north of Pakistan nowadays.  Let it be whatever!   There is a rich man.  A robber makes him his prisoner, blind-folds him takes him to a forest and absconds after taking away all his valuables.  This rich man's hands are also tied.  He is not able to see and starts shouting for help.  Finally a way-farer locates him, opens his eyes and shows him the way to get out of the forest.  Then he gets out of the forest, passes through some villages and is further shown the way back to Gãndhãram and thus gets back to his own home.  The Upanishad cryptically finishes the parable with the statement that, 'Thus only the one who gets an Ãchãrya can learn'!  Let me explain that story a little more clearly.

172.        Similar to the rich man who was kidnapped and taken away from his home and hearth, are all of us who are lost without direction in the forest of this worldly life.  The deceiving Mãyã is the thief who blinds us from reality and robs us of the wealth of knowledge.  One major difference is that like the thief who runs away, Mãyã does not easily leave us and run away!  Exactly like the victim who is crying for help, we are all lost cases who do not know as to where to go and how to seek help!  Like that some time in our lives too we get the thirst for vision!  The way-farer who removes the blind-fold and shows us the way out of the forest, back to our reality of our oneness with the Brhmam is the Ãchãrya.    He is the channel for Anugraha.  He removes our blindness of ignorance and grants us the vision.  So then we are able to trace our way back to the origin or source of our very being.  Thus the Jiva returns to his own state, which we call Moksha reached by proceeding on the path as shown by the Guru!

One Guru or More Than One
173.        In the parable it is not shown as though the way-farer himself personally brings this rich man back to his origin.  He goes away after removing the blind-fold and generally showing the way.  So also the Guru does not usher the Sishya back. This man then asks many other villagers enroute about how to go to Gãndhãram and becomes knowledgeable enough to be referred as a 'Pundit'!  So if we now relate this to the Jiva finding his way back to Gnãna, he has to gradually progress by the Sãdhana Krama, at various stages referring to a number of knowledgeable authorities like that man from Gãndhãram asked many villagers for further direction on the way.  So when initially the blind-fold was removed, it is tantamount to opening of his eyes to reality and not the complete attainment of Gnãna.  All those who gave him further directions are the Upa Gurus, confirming the earlier teaching by the one who removed the blind-fold.  That is how I understood the story.

174.        Then I was wondering a little more about there being more than one Guru.  Why should it have been said that he asked for direction from many other villagers on the way?  The way farer who opened his blind-fold could have completely explained the way back or guided him by accompanying him, isn't it?  Especially the sentence, 'Only the one who gets an Ãchãrya gets Gnãna' made me mull over it.  Though there were many others who gave him directions, they are like the direction pointers on the road side, confirming the earlier advice by the one Guru who opened his eyes.  So there is a need for others also, as Dattãtreya says that he had 24 Gurus to mean that he learnt from many the important lessons of life!  Similarly, one Guru tells you the way but then at every stage there will come a Guru who will enable you to progress to the next stage.  The Upa-Guru is not to be thought of somewhat secondary or tertiary.  They are all equally important.  In later dates there have been great saints who have had more than one Guru, like Rama Krishna Parama Hamsa.  Initially there is one who gives you Brhma Upadesa at the time of Upanayanam.  Then there is one who teaches you the Vedas as 'Vidya Guru'.  For Gruhastas to assist you in doing Karmas there are Vãdyãrs.  Then the one to give Sannyãsa Ãshrama could be a different one.

175.        (After some deliberation PeriyavãL continues.)  Let me tell you something more about the Vidya Guru.  He is the head of the Guru Kulam, the main one for the Brhmachari students.  He teaches many things but, may make use of other instructors to assist him.  From the talks of the Guru in 'Taitreeyam' in 'Siksha Valli', when he talks to the students who have completed their studies and are going back to their homes, something like the Valedictory speech in the Universities at the time of Graduation these days; we can make out that he refers to a number of teachers in plural as having taught the students.  In Ãpasthamba Dharma Satra it is given that the Vedas should be learnt from such experts who know their Veda well.  One man in his life time cannot be expected to know all the Vedas well!  The Atharva Veda is not so much in vogue.  So, there have to be at least three Gurus.  The point given there is that the student has to be completely dependent on that Guru and totally surrendered unto him during that period, when he is in his care!  Later in the same vein it is said that if a point is not fully understood under one Guru, the student is free to approach another Guru for clarification of the point not very well understood!  It is also given there that the Vidya Guru should stop giving orders to the Sishya once the study is over.  He is not to treat the student like a bonded labour!  In South India, it is that Ãpasthamba Dharma Satra which is much in use.  I am not saying all this to further weaken the Guru Bhakti, which is already a rare commodity these days.  Guru Bhakti is very important of course!  But there are some limitations and parameters, which I wanted to show.  Now, let us go from Vidya Guru to Ãshrama Guru.

(To be continued.)



Sunday, July 28, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 17 (Vol # 7) Dated 27 July 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 17 (Vol # 7) Dated 27 July 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL of Kanchi Kaamakoti 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 going ahead from page No 112 of Volume 7 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at   http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated continually)

158.        I told you the story of the PouraNik and the King to underline the idea that when the speaker fully understands the inner meaning of his talk, then the audience will also be enabled to absorb the teaching better.  Isn't there a vast difference between chanting without understanding and doing so with understanding the meaning of the mantra being chanted?  That is why MaNikka Vãsagar differentiates between these two when he says, 'solliya pãttin poruL uNarndu solluvãr' – 'சொல்லிய பாட்டின் பொருள் உணர்ந்து சொல்லுவார்', as compared to 'mumbo-jumbo' by others!  That PouraNik had repeatedly iterated study of Bhagawatam 21 times and was motivated to give up worldly involvement!  Other subjects are not like that and so nobody will be suddenly urged to give up their teaching profession!  Even if we were teaching religious books, we who are so rooted in normal life, involved in all these pulls and pressures, will not be suddenly impelled to abdicate and resign!  When we fully comprehend what we are talking about, it will enhance our instructional abilities and our students will be benefitted.  That is what is expected of us and that will suffice. It is not only that the students should be studying with absolute concentration and sincerity, so also the teacher should be whatever the number of iteration.  In higher studies of abstruse and nebulous subjects, iteration may also lead to greater understanding!

159.        One more thing.  While the teacher should be keen on complete transfer of what he knows to the student, one word of caution.  First of all the teacher should have patience and not be in a hurry.  If you try to impress the student with the vastness of your knowledge or try to stuff all that in to the student, nothing may get in!  Here we should remember the example of the Hundi (aka the piggy-bank) which has a small hole for the coin to be inserted!  You may have a bag full of coins.  You cannot put them all in one go in to the Hundi, but only one by one!  You have to check if the coin you inserted earlier has gone in or stuck at the entrance may be by touching it or by shaking up the Hundi.  Similarly the level of the student's absorption should be checked by way of question and answers.  Then go for the next item.  As a teacher you have to be balanced, patient, not easily provoked to anger and be encouraging.  I do agree that it is difficult to teach some students who are slow on the up-take.  But you will agree that it is more difficult to teach a student who is a little too smart!  Even in the example I have quoted about Hundi and student's in-take, I know that the problem is more as the teacher is not dealing with one but many students.  But still, the teachers should realise that they are working in a noble profession of preparing the young to take over the responsibilities as future members of the society and citizens of the Nation!  I said all this because of the important fact that the teachers are shaping those who are going to shape the future!  It is teachers who should be insisting that the syllabus and subject content should be aimed at enhancing both knowledge and character of the student!  In the olden times, the system catered for it and presently it does not.

Secular Education
160.        There were teachers in the past also who were teaching such subjects, which had no connection to Ãtma, Religion and Dharma.  But they were small in numbers, to be searched for and located rarely.  For example it was a difficult job to find a Guru who taught Agnosticism and so were teachers in the art of gambling.  In the art of stealing, that is in Choryam, if there were teachers they were doing it stealthily unseen, I suppose!  (PeriyavãL laughs saying this!)  Other respectable secular subjects were GaNitam (Maths), Ãyur Vedam (Medicine), Shilpam (Sculpture), Chitram (Drawing), Bowthikam (Physics), Rasãyanam (Chemistry), Nrutyam (Dance), Gitam (Music) and Dhanur Vedam (Archery).  Even these did not refrain from teaching morals as a secondary subject!  For that matter even religion as a subject was never divorced from morality.  The individual if he were to make any progress in Ãdhyãtmic subjects, he had to first of all have a clear conscience and cannot hope to make any progress with a pricking conscience, isn't it?  Not only this, the teachers too would avoid such a student, whatever may be the subject of their teaching!  During the Britishers' reign at least there was a subject as Morals, as part of the curriculum, from the beginning!  Over time this has also been shunted out as invariably these moral stories had some religious connotations and they did not want it in the secular set up!  If the governments have so misunderstood and misinterpreted ideal secularism as anti-Hinduism, there are reports of teachers themselves instigating students in politics, protests, sexual subjects and immorality!

161.        To add insult to injury, in this Tamil Nadu, learning of Sanskrit that was very much prevalent even during the Britishers' time from the secondary school level, has been virtually given the go-by, after the country's independence!  It is sad but true that this wonderful and most scientific and systematic of the languages (which is reportedly more amenable for computerisation and for being digitalised, because of its being scientific), which could have given strength to the idea of National Integration, which is so flimsy as of now, has been denied to the younger generation of this country, especially in Tamil Nadu!  It is an open secret that it is hatred for Hinduism in general and Brahmins in particular, that is the cause of Anti-Sanskrit movement.  But in Sanskrit other than the religion, there are various other subjects too, which are denied to the people of this country because of this bias against the language!  There are many other intellectual subjects in that language without any connection to the religion as such, that are admired all over the world as food for thought.  In subjects such as literature, arts and science there are treasures waiting to be discovered in that language!  In state-craft, medicine, surgery and nursing there are still gems to be mined in Sanskrit!  It was not a caste specific language but was the unifying influence throughout India from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari that anybody interested in advanced studies learnt first.  Forget about me, classified as a religious man and take a person like Vivekananda much admired by all including the revolutionaries.  He had much admiration for Buddha and the Buddhist religion.  He has said that maximum harm was done to this nation's high culture when the Buddhists ignored Sanskrit and adopted the Pali language for their religious propaganda and scriptures!  I am sad that such a heritage is lost to people of this State of Tamil Nadu because of the parochial stand of the powers in being!  I wonder if there is any glimmer at the end of the tunnel!  In olden times there was no education without Dharma.  Dharma is not simply a property of any one religion.  Use any of its synonyms, still without the discipline of morality no society is going to survive!

Guru – Ãchãrya
162.        Keeping Dharma only as a secondary issue, if an Ãchãrya taught secular subjects, he was also given only a secondary status in Dharma Sãstrãs. While discussing the qualitative differences between the Guru and Ãchãrya it has been Guru who has been kept at a higher pedestal.  But in another way it is Ãchãrya who has been given the pride of place, as for example in Manu Smruti.  Not looking for or caring or expecting remuneration, the one who teaches Vedas, Vedãnta, Dharma, Devotion and Gnãna is the Ãchãrya.   The one who does it for remuneration, teaching Veda and Vedãnta with due attention to Dharma is Upãdhyãya.  The one who teaches secular subjects to enable the student to find his way to sustenance is Guru, as per that classification.  But this definition cannot be considered as acceptable amongst the intelligentsia, because, for long it has been the tradition, to accept and address all religious teachers as the Guru.  Amongst all such who are considered as Guru, the few who pave and show the way for Gnãna are thought of as the Ãchãrya.  You can see the direct connection between 'Acharam' as 'religious discipline' in addition to the power of the Ãchãrya as the one who practically shows the way by being the ideal, apparently for the world to see and know, of what the Sãstrãs, especially Ãtma Sãstrãs are aiming at!

Adhyaksha – Adhyãpaka
163.        With that phrase 'apparently for the world to see' brings me to another such titles by which the teacher is known and that is Adhyaksha.  Though these two words Adhyaksha and Adhyãpaka both start with 'adhya', they are not similar in meaning.  In Sanskrit 'aksha' means the eyes.  So, the one directly observing the learning process of the students and teaching by the staff is the 'Adhyaksha', a position normally given to the Vice-Chancellors of Universities.  By the meaning of the word it is more nearer to what we call the Overseer or Supervisor.  Adhyãpaka is the one who makes the student do Adhyayanam.  Though this word can be applied to any of the studies, it is particularly applied to learning of the Vedas.  'Ayanam' means to follow a specified route.  The idea is to learn the Vedas without errors in pronunciation and syntax by iteration till committed to memory using the various Krama in which, the order or sequence of the words are purposefully changed in each Krama.  Once learnt by this method, the effect is that they are remembered for ever.  The one who teaches Vedas by this method is Adhyãpaka.

164.        I started telling you the defining qualities of a Guru.  I could have simply told you some typical characteristics and his qualifications and left it at that.  Then I started giving the meaning of other such words for Guru as Ãchãrya and Desika.  In the process, other synonyms started pouring in to my mind and thus we have covered quite a bit of ground and come far afield.  When separating the Aksharãs making up the word Guru, the letter 'U' that occurs twice has a meaning as 'Vishnu'.  In Vishnu Sahasranãma he has a name as 'Guru', about which our ÃchãryãL in his Bhashyam has mentioned that as Vishnu is the begetter of all living beings, it is very apt that he is called a Guru.  As I went about explaining this, other stories also came in.  Let me also tell you some of the other stories in the same vein.

Defining Characteristics of a Guru Occurring in Sishya
165.          As the first letter 'G' in Guru is 'Siddhi Prada', from small advantages of Iham, slowly all sorts of greater and greater benefits and blessings start accumulating to the Sishya one by one.  The word Siddhi though refers to the eight great attainments such as 'ANima' (अणिमा meaning the ability to assume or become as small as the atom) and others, and the Guru may teach each one of them; the literal meaning of the word is the state of 'attainment' or 'achievement'.  As the Guru is the 'sarva siddhi pradayaka', he is capable of enabling the student to whatever his ambitions desired or worthy of achievement.  Then he is also the 'Pãpa Hãraka' the remover of all sins of the Sishya.  Now, since the 'U' is Vishnu as 'Avyaktam', it means that his capacity for blessing is all embracing and universally true.  Thus it is hinted that Guru makes the Sishya as himself!  He can and does enable the student to achieve all that is to be achieved and reach a stage where there is no need for becoming anymore as he is already achieved, attained and is not the 'Vyakti' the individual but the 'Avyaktam' the source!

(To be continued.)



Friday, July 26, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 16 (Vol # 7) Dated 25 July 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 16 (Vol # 7) Dated 25 July 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL of Kanchi Kaamakoti 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 going ahead from page No 105 of Volume 7 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at   http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated continually)

148.        By this process as described in the last two paragraphs anything taught including Atheism, thieving, betting and all sorts of jugglery including of accounts is considered as Vidya and anybody teaching that subject systematically is thought of as the Guru.  But this has watered down the ideals to quite an extent and makes the man a fractional entity within one's mind and brains.  Further, this brings down the concept of what is a Guru!  Keeping increasing knowledge as the only criteria, when teaching any subject is considered as Vidya, our attention is only partial!  Thus in the process, we are ignoring a wholesome growth of body, mind, intellect and broader perspectives and saner attitudes!  With his brains and abilities, the Guru's main area of concern is excellence in character, as it used to be!  Instead when the Guru is only required to make the student knowledgeable and capable, this is bringing the Guru from the high pedestal from his exalted position!
149.        It is wrong on our part to think that our forefathers identifying human brain as a stupendous equipment of God's creation, thought of Vidya as paying their sole attention to the brain's growth and refinement, and their systematic tutoring was considered as the sole job of the Guru.  This is not the way our forefathers meant it at all!  For running this worldly life efficiently, these subjects of arts, crafts and science are also required.  Though not directly related to efficient management of matters and materials, there are also subjects purely for the mind, intellect and entertainment such as dance, drama, sculpture, history, linguistics and games.  Unlike thieving and gambling, without classification as good or bad, there are so many such avenues of knowledge opening out and proliferating prompted by science, especially the digital science these days.  They are all required at some time or the other for the pleasure and relaxation that they provide and so it has been since the commencement of civilizations.

150.        In our country, such teachers in various other subjects too, not only in Ãdhyãtmic subjects of religious connotations, except in gambling and thieving, have been of excellent character and behaviour, kind and large hearted, with high morals in their personal life and laid emphasis on the need for discipline and good behaviour in their teachings also.  Morals, discipline and being devoted to divinity was always part of their instructions along with whatever the subject matter in which they were proficient in.  Their students too gave them the sort of adoring respect as deserving.  The students in the bargain learnt not only the subject such as arts or science, but also gained in terms of growth of brain, brawn, intellect and good character by the Guru's personal example and moral radiation in terms of kindness and love of humanity.  But when it comes to 'Ãtma paripakvam (refinement) and poornatvam (wholesomeness)', they had to approach other Gurus for that.  So there were Gurus who were glorified as Ãchãrya or Desika by our fore fathers!  Nowhere else in this entire world have there been such system of Guru – Sishya relationship wherein the sole aim of the Guru was to refine the individual Sishya to such purity that he as a Jiva will come to recognise the indwelling divinity in his self, as confirmed by the intelligentsia of the world today!  They have not seen anywhere else everything in the world has been so spiritualised as here!  Some of the Teacher-Student nexus in martial-arts in the East seem to be copying of the Indian tradition!

Present Day Depravity
151.        In the present day, especially since our Independence from the British rule, stuffing the brains has come to mean education while completely ignoring the soul / character / heart of the student!  Before independence, much before that, they introduced the educational system in this country with the immediate aim of inserting English and making us all clerks in their reign, business and bureaucratic organizations, as an avenue for local employment.  The long term goals were to keep us subjugated and destroy the educational systems existing in this country and keep us as slaves and bonded labour forever!  But it was done so intelligently like baiting the fish to take a bite and get hooked!  After independence we wished to change the system and it did change, but for the worse!    There is neither education nor a system.  I am not talking about the syllabus only, but that also!  Further complication has crept in, in the name of secularism.  Secularism in India is a multi-headed Hydra!   Blatant corruption and vote-bank politics has entered every walk of life in India, further complicated by all varieties of casteism and the quota system! 

152.        The academic qualification and merit is not the basis of selection as student but graded quota for various castes is the criteria! So you can be less qualified and may find being selected if your caste is one of the Backward Classes or the so called minorities.  So every family claims itself to be a minority on the basis of the Grand-Father's name! Thus intrinsically divided in to many groups which do not see eye to eye on any issue, we are bracketed together as one huge behemoth as 'the Hindu' and suffer in the bargain!  The trend is to claim oneself to be a non-Hindu for one's share of the pie! So then, it is a huge muddle' wherein power of physical threat, bargaining power of money and readiness to give and take bribe in the name of donation and pure bribe have a field-day!  Such threat is not only for admission for enrolments only but for passing examinations too!  When the students are behaving like this, the management and the teacher's community are also interested in their individual pecuniary benefits, whatever the means!  This is further complicated by the State and Central Governments not knowing as to where to draw the line between integration and differentiation and favouritism based on vote-bank politics, go in for more and more reservations for various minorities that the end result is one of 'confusion confounded'!

153.        What has suffered in the bargain is that the equation between Guru and Sishya has gone from the ideal to doldrums!  What was the cause of a golden culture for the world to look at with awe and admire, has been so eroded that one is afraid of thinking as to what the future holds!  Then it is sad to think of the fact that the present day governments in India are not even aware of the need to correct the erosion.  It is true that there are problems galore in all directions.  Still it is education where we need to bring in discipline, morality, good attitude and behaviour if it is to make some difference in the minds of future generations, isn't it?  I do not know if my talk now is going to make any dent on the situation, I do not know!  The only thing we can do is to go back to the stories of the past, if only as a temporary relief!

154.        Though I am saying that we have to go back to the old stories of the past, I wish to say a few things to the present day teachers as an appeal from my side.  Since it is they who have come to this profession of teachers, first of all they should realise that even if they have become teachers as a means of earning a living, they should be first of all happy that they have landed in a very noble profession.  If they take this job as an opportunity that they have been blessed with to contribute positively for the future of this Nation, my talk so far will not be a waste.  Yes they are not having all the time as the Guru in the olden times when they lived together in the same Guru Kulam.  So they should not come to the conclusion that they are to strictly stick to the lesson plan and that they cannot make an impression on the attitude and behaviour of the student at all.  As the student is hearing what the teacher says, he is also watching how the teacher behaves on various occasions.  The students are at an impressionable age and so what you say and how you say it is also going to make an impression.  Even in a not so very bright student, the teacher's behaviour is going to leave an impression.  So, if the teacher is going to be just paying attention to the lesson plan and ignore student behaviour, he will be doing a disservice to his calling.

155.        To be an epitome of what we teach in terms of one's own behaviour and basic attitudes is one important aspect.  The other part is to be sincere and serious in preparation, delivery and ensuring that the subject taught is well received.  To teach distractedly in the class and then arrange to conduct special classes as private tuition for some remuneration, is basically wrong and Adharma!  That will be amounting to a sin that having come to a noble profession you manipulate it for some pecuniary advantage to oneself, which will prove to be a 'one way ticket to Hell and damnation'!  They should be afraid of even thinking on such lines. People in other professions make use of their subject of education only partially.  Think of a B.Sc. Chemistry as an officer in the Army or a Head Clerk in an office!  Their knowledge in Chemistry will be an utter waste.  But teaching is one line wherein we make full use of what we have learnt as its capital!  While being a teacher one can continue to be a student and keep enhancing one's knowledge base. 

156.        Since he is teaching the same subject repeatedly, he is also reading it again and again and it is likely that some grey areas earlier are likely to become clearer, especially in higher studies.  Also if one were to refer to ever new books of reference, especially in subjects which are continuing to expand; one is likely to keep gaining greater insights.  The questions asked by intelligent students will also further enhance and enlarge the knowledge base of the teacher to his and the student's advantage!  They can thus deserve to be known as Masters by their acumen, teaching ability and in their ability to instil the subject deeply in the minds of the students. 

157.        There was this PouraNik who used to give lectures on PurãNãs.  He went to a King to tell him about Bhagawatam as he was keen on the awards and presents the King is likely to give.  After some time, the King was intelligent enough to notice that PouraNik had not imbibed any of the qualities of Bhakti or Gnãna or Vairãgyam.  So he gave him some gifts and told him to come back after reading the Bhagawatam once again.  PouraNik did that.  This time he got some more awards and was once again told to read the PurãNa once again.  This happened 21 times!  After the 21st time the PouraNik did not return to the King's court for many days.  The King sent his men to investigate.  They reported that the PouraNik had given up this worldly life and gone to the forest for deep meditation so as to get Bhagawat Anubhava, forsaking all his worldly interests.  Now the King decided that now is the time to go to the PouraNik as a Guru!  He went and located this Guru, surrendered to him and requested him to now tell him about the Bhagawatam.  The PouraNik was deeply merged in his self that he did not even notice the presence of the King.  But eventually he did recognise the presence of the King and was grateful to the King for opening his mind and eyes to the deeper meanings of what one has to learn from study of the Bhagawatam!  So, he did lecture the King on the PurãNa and all the subtle points of the PurãNa in a way that will make a deep impression on the King!  So goes the story.  I am not suggesting by any chance that the teachers should study their subject matter so deeply that they should give up teaching as a profession!  (Saying this PeriyavãL laughs deeply!)

(To be continued.)



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 15 (Vol # 7) Dated 23 July 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 15 (Vol # 7) Dated 23 July 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL of Kanchi Kaamakoti 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 going ahead from page No 101 of Volume 7 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at   http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated continually)

Mother Also as Guru
139.        Guru's main job is to put the disciple on the right path, isn't it?  In doing so the Mother, Father and the Preceptor that is Guru, have all got equally important roles to play.  This also has been pointed out by our ÃchãryãL.  Only just a little earlier we have seen as to how our ÃchãryãL had said that the Mother is the main cause of the good character qualities in a child. By the fact that the child is born of her blood, her genes and grows drinking her milk produced from her body, listening to her words and responses to situations day in and day out, since the learning process commences from the very inception, the importance of the Mother's Role cannot be over stated!  Then she teaches the child many small stories of morals and through them the Do's and Don’ts of life, in passing.  By constant exposure to her attitude in general and behaviour with reference to the context, the child learns in a very subtle manner.  Thus there is the proverb also which says, 'thãyaip pola piLLai, noolaip pola selai' – 'தாயைப் போல பிள்ளை, நூலைப் போல சேலை ', meaning that, 'The cloth is as the thread is and the child is as the Mother'!

140.        Observing and taking note of all this very sympathetically with understanding, our ÃchãryãL while commenting on a point in Katopanishad, quotes the instance of the last chapter in Brihad ÃraNyaka Upanishad also and says that as per the systems and order of the Vedas, like Guru, the Father and Mother too are the 'pramãNa kãraNam' – 'प्रमाण कारणं', meaning the primary causes in shaping the character of the child and hence have an equally important role to play.  Guru is anyhow the Guru.  We saw as to how the Father was also the Guru.  Now it is clearly brought out that the Mother too has role of a Guru.  Like the last chapter in Brihad ÃraNyaka Upanishad completely devoted to listing the names of Saints and the respective Mother's names, there are two occasions in Chãndokya Upanishad too, where along with the name of the famous person's name, his Mother's name has been given! 

Reference to Sri Krishna
141.        One of them is the Sri Krishna Paramãtma himself!  This is the earliest reference to Sri Krishna which proves beyond doubt that he was not only a famous character of literary value and folk-lore only but also God in human form as a historical hero, say learned authorities!  The reference is in the Chãndokya Upanishad wherein there is description of 'Purusha Yagnya', which is done by those who feel that they should live for 116 years in this mortal body.  It is a point to note that he lived for more than 120 years.  He took this Upadesa from a Rishi by the name of Gora Ãngiras.  After taking the Upadesa it is said that he became devoid of 'thirsts'!  ÃchãryãL in his Bhashyam has said that after taking this Upadesa all his aspirations for any further knowledge also was sated.  Aspirations, desire, passions and thirsts are all almost synonyms such as 'ThrishNã' – 'तृष्णा' and 'Ãsai' – 'ஆசை', in Sanskrit and Tamil respectively.  This is an unquenchable thirst which grows more pronounced with every feeding like the fire.  Note that this word 'ThrishNã' in Sanskrit and 'Thirst' in English are very similar sounding while also being synonymous!  Gautama Buddha would refer to it as 'Thrishna' only while in 'Pãli' which is a vernacular of Sanskrit, it will be mentioned as 'tanha'.

142.        We should not jump to the conclusion that Krishna who is supposed to be a 'PoorNa Avatara' was so brazenly keen on such flimsy desire like wishing to live long in this world of Iham!  In this Vidya, the first three portions of those 116 years are crossed only by this Jiva of individual unit of existence, by repeatedly sacrificing his five PrãNãs to divine beings as various Rudra-s and Ãdityã-s.  We do not know as to what are the meta-physical secrets hidden in such procedures!  But Sri Krishna, who was famous in the Art of stealing especially butter, must have come to know all of them secrets certainly!  Let that matter be aside.

143.        We were on the subject of the son's identity by the mother's name.  Here while taking Krishna's name it is referred as 'Krishnãya Devaki putra' only.  Generally he is famous as the son of Vasudeva.  Even in the '116 years of life' Yãga, it is the divine beings known as 'Vasus' who are important as the basis of such longevity!   Still, vide his penchant for magical abilities he has caused himself to be known by the mother's name of Devaki rather than the father's name of Vasudeva!   In the Bhagawatam there is no description of physical consummation of the pregnancy by which his Krishna Avatara is said to have taken place (like the 'Immaculate conception' when Jesus Christ was born',) but, the seed of Krishna's conception is said to have moved from the mind of Vasudeva to the mind of Devaki!  But when it comes to the development in the womb of Devaki the further progress of the child coming into being is like any other period of pregnancy.  So there is natural justice to give Devaki the position as the Mother of Krishna, more than assigning the position of a Father to Vasudeva!

Satyakãma Jãbãla
144.        The other name so mentioned in the Upanishad is that of 'Satyakãma'.  His name means 'one who is desirous of truth.  He was the son of a lady whose name was Jãbãla.  There is no mention of the father of Satyakãma or what happened to him in the narrative of the Upanishad!  Satyakãma looking at other children of his age going to attend Guru Kulam wished to join them as a student, (though he was slightly older than them, I presume).  He expressed his wish to his mother and since the Guru would ask for his Kulam and Gothram asked his mother about it as to what it is. She told him, "My dear son!  You know that I am living my life as a house-hold helper.  In my youth you were born.  I never asked your father as to which Gothram he belongs to and so I do not even know our Gothram and your father is no more.  Since my name is Jãbãla, you add my name to yours and tell them the truth."  The boy went to Rishi Gautama's Ashram and approached the Guru and said, 'satyakãma jãbãloham asmi bho:' – 'सत्यकाम जाबालोहं अस्मि भो:' and did Namaskãr to the Guru, instead of the normal expanded version of 'Abhivãdaye', that is used as self-introduction while displaying one's respect to elders, by doing Namaskãr.   The Guru appreciated his truthfulness and realised that this boy must be from a highly well placed back-ground, though evidently not well off materially presently! He decided to take the boy under his tutelage, conducted the boy's Upanayanam and gave him Brhmopadesa and continued to teach and train the boy, as the story goes.  I came to tell you about the fact that there are occasions in our Upanishads wherein the person's identity is by way of the mother's name too.  Within that, we also see as to how truth always excels instead of being too stuck on false prestige.  One should also take note of how well the Rishi has correctly given more importance to the yet to be student's sincerity and truthfulness, instead of being too finicky on formalities.  This brings to mind the ThirukkuraL 'ellã viLakkum viLakkalla, sãnrorkku poyyaa viLakke viLakku' – 'எல்லா விளக்கும் விளக்கல்ல சான்றோர்க்கு பொய்யா விளக்கே விளக்கு', meaning 'All lights are not lights, for sensible and refined people truthfulness is the only light!'   

Guru Much Higher Than Mata and Pita
145.        All said and done finally the Guru is to be considered much higher than one's mother and father.  Though we do regard the four of them Mata, Pita, Guru and Deivam with equal reverence and consider our mother and father highly, consider them as Guru or even God incarnate; the titles are inter-changeable.  Mother cannot replace father and vice-versa.  But Guru and God can be and are considered as the other three.  (KTSV adds: – In this light the 'single parent drama' of the present day world is rather a non-sense!)  These tying attachments (known and referred as 'Pãsam' or the rope) to one's parents and their attachments to their child of course, are very strong.  Displaying that attachment they often end up giving too much freedom while bringing up the children.  With that they manage to instil some discipline and teach something alright.  But, that is only secondary and informal.  With that their teaching and putting the child on the right path is over.  Even if the child does not necessarily start walking on the right path, they turn a blind eye to it, as it is one's own offspring!  But the Guru's job it is to mainly ensure the right attitude and behaviour, though he may have abundant love for the disciple.  Everything else is only secondary for him.  That is why, our ÃchãryãL has said in Bala Bodha Sangraha, which is like a Primary in Adwaitam, (like the one by Avvaiyar Pãtti in Tamil 'அரிச்சுவடி',) that 'between mother, father and Guru, it is Guru and only him who teaches what is good for the student, truly good and only good, when he says 'appa amma charaNamillai guru dãn' – 'அப்பா, அம்மா சரணமில்லை; குருதான்', meaning 'Father and Mother are not the refuge but only the Guru'.

Growth of the Brain and Heart
146.        The heart mentioned in the above paragraph heading does not mean the physical heart that is pumping blood all over the body.  Instead the heart of the matter that is the body, it is the heart of the being!  Since in the present day, all education as covered by the word Vidya has come to mean all the subjects that are taught in schools and colleges such as Arts, Sciences and Crafts, then on the play-grounds and shop-floors, the stages and studios that; all teachers, tutors, coaches, mentors and instructors have come to be called as Guru!  They teach not necessarily the 'right-way' but the right-way as well as all sorts of tricks!  So, how can we give them the pride of place as the only refuge?  If you take the one subject of the game of Cricket there are separate coaches for the bowling, batting, fielding and may be even betting!

147.        Not only today, even in the olden times, there have been subjects such as 'Nãstikam' (which has in itself both atheism and agnosticism), which has been recognised as a Vidya for which there is a Sãstrã named 'Sãrvãkam' with Bruhaspati as the Guru.  Gambling is very much a recognised and artful science.  Thieving for example is an art form known as 'Chouryam' with a Main Master by the name of 'Moola Deva'.  As he was the son of a lady by the name of 'KaraNi', he was also known as 'KaraNisutha'.   Vidya and Sãstrã are the same.  As they are all enhancing one's knowledge base they are all subjects for study.  Having learnt the art, whether you use it to earn your income by stealing or by doing policing to catch the thief or steal in the garb of a policeman; is left to your choice!  So what ever be the line of learning or education, in it, whosoever is the teacher or the master, he becomes the Guru.

(To be continued.)



Monday, July 22, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 14 (Vol # 7) Dated 21 July 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 14 (Vol # 7) Dated 21 July 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL of Kanchi Kaamakoti 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 going ahead from page No 94 of Volume 7 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at   http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated continually)

128.        By the fact that the end portion of Brihad ÃraNyaka Upanishad contains a whole lot of the names of the Rishis of yore, along with the names of their respective Mothers, we are not to misconstrue that they were their respective Gurus and taught them Brhma Vidya or some such thing.  Neither in the main Upanishad nor anywhere else is there any such mention that they gave them any Upadesa in any field but only that the Mother was automatically responsible for their good character.  It is true that we learn from those Upanishads that in their times, there have been ladies who have participated in discussions and debates in deeply ('Ãdhyãtmic') philosophical matters with highly accomplished Vedic scholars of those times.  Similarly except for the one place where Yãgnyavalkya is said to have talked about Ãtma and related matters with his Patni (wife) sitting beside him, there are no description anywhere of a Sthree (woman) getting Upadesa from any Guru.  May be there were some women who were interested in philosophical matters due to such environment as obtaining in a Guru-Kula.  When I say environment, I mean the very company of such highly read scholars and Ãtma Gnãnis whose wife they happened to be as the Guru-Patni and the constant radiations they were subjected to.  More than anything else, due to their own internal aspirations some of them must have been so motivated towards such subjects of interest.  But there is no evidence whatsoever of their being either disciples of any Guru or their having taken the role of a Guru, anywhere in the Vedas or Upanishads or Sãstrãs or PurãNãs! 

129.        Maximum that we get to know about this subject is that, from the time of Vedas and Upanishads, till some Yugas prior to the Kali Yuga is that, some Mantras and some Upãsana methods and procedures have been conveyed to the women folk by the elders at home at times.  Mostly like some of the Upanishads, later day Darsanas and some not too abstruse Upãsana procedures and some Vidyas, Arts and Handicrafts; and some worldly subjects useful in this day-to-day life are the sorts of subjects that seem to have been taught to the women in general.  Rarely some Veda Mantras might have been taught to some who were keen for Japa, Tapas, Dhyãna and Pooja and some very keen on philosophical subjects might have been instructed on such matters, but rarely as we can guess.  But unlike all the boys being taught the Vedas, Upanishads and Darsanas, only some keen girls exceptionally brilliant seem to have been taught some of these subjects.  We notice that the subjects taught to the students in a Guru Kula were starting from the Vedas to some of the later day literature covering many subjects.  There were also some girls not necessarily of that very house-hold, but the percentage of such students were one or two only.  What I am saying is all intelligent guess work only.

130.        In that Brihad ÃraNyaka Upanishad that I had quoted a little earlier, in a slightly earlier portion than the last one with the list of names of Rishis and their respective Mothers; there is a mention of what rules and regulations of Do's and Don'ts one should follow to get an off-spring with certain desirable character qualities.  Here there is a mention as to what are the rules of discipline one has to follow if one wishes to have a girl child who will be a 'Punditai' – 'पण्डितै'!  From this, one can discern that there were such parents in the society then who wished to have knowledgeable, erudite scholars as their girl child!  But here, our ÃchãryãL in his Bhashyam clarifies that this word 'Punditai' does not necessarily mean a girl highly qualified in esoteric and abstruse philosophical subjects, as the parent would have wished for intelligent girls to be born to them so that they may be experts in 'Gruha Tantram', which should be something like what is called 'Home Science' or Internal Domestic Management!  Well for that matter, running a house-hold efficiently is no joke and is a highly complicated art!  If every organization needs an Internal House-Keeping Department, so does every house-hold needs efficient management if the society is to thrive and prosper!  So, our ÃchãryãL has felt about it.

Women's Expertise or 'Pãndityam' Then and Now
131.        In the olden times, In the Vedic ways of life revived and rejuvenated by our ÃchãryãL, men did not go to an office to earn a living.  Staying at home, from the time of getting up early in the morning, they had their rigorous schedule of continuous engagements of Anushtãna-s wholly occupying all their time.  But they had enough income through Sambhãvana (gratis), Guru DakshiNa and Mãnyam (or endowments as given by the local rulers).  When the men were so busy, the ladies of the house-hold, in addition to running of the house helped their menfolk in the conduct of various duties and rituals.  In that sort of an environment their deep knowledge in any subject was not a required thing at all.  So their 'Pãndityam' (erudition) was neither very necessary nor useful!

132.        But in our times menfolk spend all their time in hours of work in office and in commuting between the home and work place.  Then if they get some spare time, it is spent in gossip, news-paper and in finding various means of entertainment!  So they remain uninformed of our religion and connected subjects including good literature.  When we look at all this, it seems that the relief to this lies in going somewhat against the directions as given by our ÃchãryãL.  By saying this I know I am committing a sin and it is not very correct that, quoting the changed times as an excuse, I have any right to advice you against what he has said.  But looking at the state of affairs in which; to earn a living, when the men folk have to go to an office and have no time to do justice to all their responsibilities of even Nitya Karma Anushtãnãs (daily rituals as ordained in the Sãstrãs,) I keep questioning myself as to what would have been our ÃchãryãL's own reactions, had he been present in the conditions existing in the society to-day.  After much deliberation, questioning myself and self-criticism I am saying what occurs to me as the alternative. 

133.        To-day the women who remain at home, have spare time available after cooking, cleaning and washing; and after the children have gone to school and the husband has gone to the office.  They have spare time available that would have been spent on the preparatory work and conduct of Karma Anushtãnãs that the husbands are not carrying out any more.  So now, after some rest, if their time is to be made use of instead of being wasted in gossip and so called 'time-pass', I am suggesting that our ladies at home should make a serious study of our Kãvya-s (religious literatures), Itihãsãs (of stories of history) and Purãnãs.  It will not only be a useful way of spending their time but also save us from the ignominy of being held responsible for the death in our life time, of our ancient gems of literature, which have been like a life line for our wonderful culture not for decades or centuries but for hundreds of thousands of years! 

134.        At least our ladies should read, study, discuss and resurrect those literary master pieces from oblivion, enhance their own knowledge and thereby protect them from extinction!  They should share the knowledge so obtained with their husbands and children so that there is a revival of interest on such subjects.  Men who are otherwise not reading any of these things and not believing that we could be bestowed with so much of sense, will at least believe what she tells must be true, since it is coming from their wives mouth! This would only happen if the ladies become very knowledgeable and authoritative in their expertise.  So they have to become so conversant that they will truly come to be called 'Punditai' as our ÃchãryãL said!  Till their 'Pãndityam' was thought to be in knowledge of the Vedas, there was some reluctance, as to how to call the women by that epithet, as the women are not entitled to study the Vedas!  Even now, I am keeping my hands off the subject of Vedas!  Other than the Vedas, (requiring some 12 to 18 years of daily grind, learning and using various methods of Adhyayanam,) let them learn all other religious subjects such as, Purãnãs, Itihãsãs, chanting of Mantras and Japa, Slokas and Stotras; and various other Kãvya-s!   I hope and pray that this suggestion of mine may not be considered as a sin or anathema but will have the approval of our ÃchãryãL!

135.        This Matam which runs in the name of our ÃchãryãL will be ready to extend all possible help to the society to enable women to learn and attain the expertise, by way of providing teaching staff, facilities for learning in their own respective areas and make available incentives, with our ÃchãryãL's blessings!  In summing up I have to say that instead of going to the office, to take care of the home affairs is the rightful duty of women which is also the 'Sthree-Dharma' as per Sruti, Smruti and Purãnãs, as family is the basic unit on which the whole edifice of the society depends for all value systems and socially acceptable attitude and behaviour.  That will recover our cultural heritage to some extent which has been permitted to go by default by the men of this country especially in the Brahmin community! 

The High Pedestal in Which Our ÃchãryãL Holds Women
136.        We should never carry away the impression that our ÃchãryãL had in any way thought any less of the position of the women in our society.  Though in the traditional order they did not have the privilege of learning and teaching of the Vedas, our ÃchãryãL had fully understood the very important role that women had to play in maintaining the disciplined attitudes and behaviour of the children and fully endorsed the same.  In this informal manner itself, he has said that women could attain to Brhma Gnãna too.  Gowda Pãda, our ÃchãryãL's Parama Guru has written a Kãrikai (Commentary) on MãNdookya Upanishad, which is considered as a 'Pure Adwaita Classic'!  In it there is a place wherein it is said that 'only some rare individuals have a clear conviction that Brhmam is the only truth that is never born, is without any variation as this and that due to time or space.  Only those rare persons can be considered to have attained to the ultimate knowledge of Brhma Gnãna!  But generally it is not comprehended by this Jiva Loka (world of birth and death).'  Here while explaining a phrase 'ye kechid' – 'ये केचिद्', our ÃchãryãL says these some rare individual includes women also – 'sthreeyãdyorapi' – meaning amongst women too – some rare individuals could attain to such intrinsic knowledge of certainty about the Brhmam!

138.        Our ÃchãryãL who says that a woman can attain up to Brhma Gnãna has also held them in very high esteem otherwise also.  Not only that, she is in the same status as the husband and Guru for her children, for her husband also she is the best friend, says our ÃchãryãL.  He has authored a poem of questions and answers known as, 'Prasnottara Ratna Mãlika' – 'प्रश्नोत्तर रत्न मालिका'.  In it he raises a question as to who is the best friend for a house-holder and the answer as suggested by our ÃchãryãL is – 'Baryã' – 'बार्या', meaning the wife!

(To be continued.)