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 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.)




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