Friday, September 06, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 35 (Vol # 7) Dated 05 Sept 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 35 (Vol # 7) Dated 05 Sept 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 243 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)
(Note: - The last paragraph in the previous issue of Deivathin Kural has been marked wrongly as 345 instead of 341.  It may please be corrected.  The error is regretted.)

342.            In the world affairs of ever new discoveries, it is noticed that none of them give lasting happiness and/or satisfaction, but keep 'upping-the-ante', that by the time you get some benefit from any one commodity, it is already out-dated and you have to struggle for the next version, for which you have to face the cost, competition, class struggle and deal with disgust and hate.  The net result is a loss of inner and apparent peace.  By the modern discoveries and inventions, before one can get used to one, there is something else, which we want, without ever knowing if we need them or not!  This human body has to be maintained hale and hearty, so that using this body one may do all that we have to do, to live in this competitive world and raise ourselves above the day-to-day struggles in trying to find some idea about the 'purpose of existence'! 

343.            So, this human body is metaphorically called the wall on which pictures are painted, as the Tamil saying goes, 'suvarai vaiththe chiththiram' – 'சுவரை வைத்தே சித்திரம்'.  This picture painting is about visualizing, the 'why and logic of life'.  But in trying to keep this wall ship-shape in perfect condition, all the time is spent.  Though it is necessary to keep the body efficiently functioning, we must record in our minds that, we do take care of the body so that we are able to get above the physical and mental planes of existence.  If we are going to spend all our effort and energy in maintenance, strengthening and beautifying of the ever dissipating physical body, and get involved in the ever increasing wants, with the 'one-up-man-ship' and competitiveness coupled with it, we would have wasted this opportunity of being born as a human being!  For this, there is a beautiful saying in Tamil that to be born as a human being is very rare, as there are so many other life forms in which one could have been born.  The saying goes, 'aridu aridu mãnidarãi piraththal aridu' – 'அரிது அரிது மானிடராய் பிறத்தல் அரிது'.

344.            If we were to waste this opportunity of being born as a human being, without making this life of deficiency into one of completeness, by overcoming all this fight for supremacy by standing firm on the ways of Love and Prém instead of Hate, by giving instead of grabbing, by opting for the calmness of peace instead of agitation, by selecting permanent Ãnanda instead of the fleeting pleasures of life; it would be sad indeed!  This wall has been provided for us to paint this above picture of Love, Prém and Ãnanda and not for anything else!  This ability to opt for the right things on all occasions is inculcated by three qualities.  One the right attitude cum orderly behaviour, two the moral uprightness, and three the devotion to divinity and God; as three inflows combining as a confluence of 'triveNi sangamam' – 'त्रिवेणी संगमं'!  This can only be through Religion and by no other route.  The powerful essence of three herbs most beneficial for human beings is known as 'tri-phala' – 'त्रिफला'.  So you can name the above three qualities as 'त्रिफला' also.  Instead of using perishable juices of plants as the base for such paints, if you use the eternal value systems of 'त्रिफला' as I have explained, the picture so painted on this wall of human body, we will realize the purpose of our existence of eternal bliss.  So these central and state Governments have a role to play not only in taking care of the physical wellbeing of this wall, that is, our bodies only, but enable in its' realizing its purpose of existence, in the spiritual wellbeing of citizens through the religious disciplines and progress.

The Limit of Government's Responsibility in Matters of Religion
345.            When I say that the Governments have a role to play, I should also say that the line has to be drawn very cautiously as to its limits.  While the Governments have a responsibility in the spiritual wellbeing and progress of its citizens, it is not to be handed over to the Governments completely either.  This is not to become another department of the governments.  They are not to cross this line of actual control of what is the responsibility of the religious organizations whatsoever.  To enable the religious organizations function independently, within the national framework of the constitution, is that limit.

Laws Contrary to Religious Freedom Should Not be There
346.            Whether the Governments are supportive of the religious institutions or follow the principle of benign negligence as far as religions are concerned, that is, whichever the sort of secularism the Governments of the country adopt, they should not be passing Laws forbidding the social mores and traditions of the religions, which have been stipulated after taking into consideration the religious followers' role as the citizens of the country.  Even after adopting the wrong approach as far as secularism is concerned, if the governments believe in interference of religious matters, we cannot agree to them.

If Religious Tenets Crossed – Equality in it too Between Religions
347.            Even if at times one has to accept any interference by the Governments in the religious matters, in conduct of functions of one religion, then the same should be equally applicable to other denominations of religions too.  If for some reasons the Government considers it necessary to enact rules or laws contrary to religious beliefs and practices, then at least the principle of equal Rights and Privileges of the citizens should not be lost sight of.  I am talking about things such as Marriage Laws and rules regarding division of properties and estates within families.  If and when such laws are enacted instead of making it applicable to one set of people in one religion and then leave other people of other religions, then there will be a grave mistake of shaking the very foundations of being a Democratic Republic, of the Principle of Equality in duties, rights and privileges of citizens!

Areas Not in Government's Jurisdiction
348.            Before enacting any law especially concerning matters impinging on religious sensibilities, it is the duty of the government to obtain consultancy from suitably qualified persons known for their impartiality and knowledge.  For this they should be forming a consultancy group in each areas of relevance.  In today's world economics, industry, commerce, public works, transportation and defence seem to be the end of Government's concern.  Such being the case, the area of concern of religions being one of the God and the inner soul or being of man the Ãtma, it is evidently outside the scope and purview of what the Governments of the world are dealing with.  So the people in the government have no idea of subjects of the concern of the religions.  So, this is an area where the governments of the world are not to enter and enact rules, isn't it?

A Separate & Independent Organization of Reps of all Religions
349.            As a continuation of the idea that I have been developing, it would be prudent to legally constitute an independent organization made up of representatives from all religions as an autonomous body with complete powers, on whose deliberations the Government should not interfere.  But after the deliberations, the consensus arrived at by them will have a binding effect on the government's policies.    Such an organization could be called the A.R.C. as an acronym for All Religions Consortium, or some such thing.  Based on the recommendations of such an entity the government may enact laws as and when required.  In a country like ours where there are many totally divergent religions, to plan on instilling and developing the common value systems of all those religions such as devotion, love, truthfulness, honesty, service, humility and such, we do need such an organization.  To work towards inculcating and developing common value systems should be the aim of such an organization, made up of representatives from all those religions.  Based on their recommendations if need be, the Government could enact laws.  Similarly within religions having a number of varying sub-divisions, they could benefit by the formation of such mutual consulting groups.  They should emphasise on the common value systems to bring greater understanding and cohesion between them.  By this they would be able to make their members feel that they belong to a larger family system who have welfare of their members as their main aim.  A lot of internecine quarrels as between sects and sub-sects of the religions could be obviated by such efforts.

350.            Not only because the government has a responsibility towards ennoblement of its people's minds, but because such a set up will reduce tensions and contribute in maintenance of law & order and peace; all the expenses of such a set up should be borne by the government itself.  Who are the people who could participate in such mutual consultancy groups?  Evidently they should be those who have learnt all their religions books of authority and have devoted their entire life in practically living by their tenets.  With that they should be knowledgeable in world affairs, with hands on experience of peoples' problems and practical difficulties in day to day life.  Only such people will be able to come out with practical suggestions and be able to put their ideas in to action.  All the religions should be fairly represented in such consultancy groups and the functioning of such organization should be completely handed over to them with no overt or covert interference from the side of the Government.

Religious Leaders Should not Interfere in Governing
351.            Having said that government should not interfere in the functioning of such an autonomous body as A.R.C., I should immediately also emphasise that religious leaders should not play politics!  This consultancy organization should not be thought of as an opportunity to popularise their own religion and show down other religions.  The aim of such an organization should be mainly peace and greater understanding between religions.  This is not a forum for debate but for mutual understanding and avoidance of acrimony.  Politics and governance are such areas in which with knowledge and experience, there is more scope for name, fame, status and positions of power.  These areas are full of obstacles, pit-falls and hazards for people interested in religious pursuits, whichever religion one may belong to.  So, a period of time in such an A.R.C., should be used for reminding, encouraging and congratulating the government when needed and enabling, informing and clarifying the followers of one's own as well as other religions.  But when the Government's reps step across the imaginary line of the threshold, the members of such an organization, as Religious Leaders, should have the courage of conviction to boldly tick them off, instead of currying favour with the government's reps!  More than this, they should not make their association with such an organization even temporarily permanent.  Otherwise from being a sweet-water-lake as Religious Leaders, they run the risk of becoming a puddle of decaying muck of sin as political aspirants, which is a great come-down!  The political leaders and bureaucracy dealing with such an autonomous organization may consider this tenure as an opportunity for intrinsic progress and ennoblement.  So they may take active interest in understanding the religious concepts and principles but, the religious leaders may not take similar interest in the ways of the government and politics.  Their entire attention should be towards the religion and religious principles only.  Because there is a new government in the making, I spoke about their job first.

(To be continued.)




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