Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 58 (Vol # 7) Dated 29 Oct 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 58 (Vol # 7) Dated 29 Oct 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 the page No 467 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)

பண்பாடு CULTURE
1.            God's and Man's Creations.  The whole world is a drama and God, those who know say is the string puller of a great drama of delusion.  Shakespeare is a world famous dramatist.  He says in his drama named, 'As You Like It' that, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players, they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages."  In the huge drama that God is conducting, man has also created an art form known as Drama. From the eerie times of the past, this has been an important form of literature.  In the Vedas here and there the mantras are to be found in the form of conversations between Siva and Pãrvathy or between someone as the Guru and Sishya.  Researchers say that this is the very origin of the dramatic form of art.  In Tamil we say 'Iyal, Isai and Nãdakam'; whereas in Sanskrit it is 'गद्यं पद्यं व नाटकं', for Prose, Poetry and Drama respectively.  In fact the real word for it in Tamil is 'koothu' – 'கூத்து'.  In Sanskrit there have been great dramatists whom we can lift on our shoulders and dance around celebrating the fact that, they are world's greatest, such as Kãlidãsa and Bhava Boothi, both of whom were greater as dramatists than simply poets.  In addition there have been Bãsa and Visãka Dutta, of some really good and worthwhile standard. 

The Special Quality of Drama
2.            Drama as a medium has a special quality.  You hear a lecture or narration of a story.  To some extent it registers in the mind.  When a talk is also accompanied by music, it adds to the receptivity of the audience.  Still the scene described is only imagined by our minds.  In a cinema, however much we get carried away, it is still shadow play.  But in a drama on the stage in front of you, there are real people enacting the scene.  It becomes that much more interesting and gets deep into our minds. 

3.            Great poets use many types of decorative devices to convey their ideas in an interesting way such as iteration, rhyme and other figures of speech such as metaphor, simile, personification, or antithesis in which words are used in other than literal sense, or in other than their ordinary locations like a student talking like a teacher; for some special effect.  In Sanskrit Dandi has systematised all such tricks in his book 'Dandi Alankãra' – 'दण्डि अलङ्कार'.  There is also a book in Tamil of the same name as 'தண்டியலங்காரம்'. This 'Alankãra' is only a cosmetic make believe and not real.  All decorations are like that only.  So, in classic literature that is known as 'Kãvya', whatever the decorative devices, the basic message is the inner meaning.  What gives life to literature, is the real meanings and feelings evoked.  That is known in Sanskrit as 'Rasam' that is the meaningful inner essence.  Description of nature, depiction of individual characters with their idiosyncrasies, feelings, emotions and responses depending upon the imagination and capacity for expression, makes novels enjoyable for reading and hearing known as 'Sravya Kãvyam' – 'श्रव्य काव्यं'.  The same thing if written as can be enacted on the stage with quotes of what each character is supposed to have spoken in sequence, with stage directions, divided into a number of scenes; becomes the 'drushya kãvyam' – 'दृश्य काव्यं', that is Drama.

4.            Instead of physical scenes before our eyes with actors coming before us on stage, enacting various scenes and expressing various scenes, some people may love to enjoy all this more by way of their own imagination. So a good writer of Dramas or what is known as 'Sãhitya Karta' may let the reader imagine the nuances by the power of suggestion, innuendoes, indirect implications and allusions known in Sanskrit for example as 'dhvani and vyangya' – 'ध्वनि व व्यङ्ग्य'.  The Director of the Drama or Cinema makes use of further tricks up his sleeve such as, background sound effects, asides and stage-whisper.  In the dramas of Kãlidãsa use of such 'indirect suggestions' are to be found aplenty.  Just because it is drama does not mean that everything was all on the shop-window! For example if we read his dramas such as 'Shakuntalam' and or 'Maha Vira Charitam', like you read any paper-back novels, you will be astounded and simply flabbergasted by the clever tricks played by the author, that it may even be better in front of your mind's eyes, than seeing it being enacted on the stage!  Of course, this depends on individual abilities to imagine and preferences to exercise one's mind!  Generally people do not prefer to exercise their minds by reading poetry and let one's imagination visualise the scene, but rather opt for the easier way of going to a drama which they attend in big crowds.  So, more than a book of poetry or a novel drama seems to be a more powerful medium for conveying the message.

Drama & Feelings
5.            You take any drama and you will find all sorts of feelings being displayed in it.  Only when there is a mix of feelings and sensations it will be interesting.  If the drama is too full of any one type of feelings, it will prove to be a boring affair.  At the same time if the sensations are equally shared also, at the end one will wonder as to what was the message!  So in each drama, there will be one predominant thrust and depiction of other feelings will be complimentary to it, like the symphony in an orchestra.  Like if you take the 'VeNi Samharam' by Butta Narayana for example, the dominant thrust is about courage and bravery, while some bit of humour and sadness will also be touched. 

6.            Bhava Bhuti has written two dramas named 'Maha Vira Charitam' and 'Uttara Rama Charitam'.  True to its name, this 'Maha Vira Charitam' has bravery as the dominant character quality of Sri Rama is depicted in a big way.  Normally if the name of 'Maha Vira' is taken, one tends to think of the founder of the Jain Religion and North Indians will think of 'Hanuman'.  But Bhava Bhuti has depicted Sri Rama as bravest of the braves in this drama.  The same Bhava Bhuti in 'Uttara Rama Charitam', after Sri Rama Pattãbhishekam, when he tells Sita to go to the forest, he makes us all cry with inconsolable sadness.  As the critics say about Kãlidãsa that he is too good in the Alankãra of Upama, the quotation being 'upama Kãlidãsasya' – 'उपमा कालिदासस्य', Bhava Bhuti has a reputation for depicting agony and anguish that the quotation in his case is 'kãruNyam Bhava Bhutireva' – 'कारुण्यं भवभूतिरेव'!  Normally this Sanskrit word KãruNyam has mainly been understood as 'kindness'.  But amongst Navarasa, the word 'KaruNa' is supposed to mean sadness mainly.  We use it mainly to mean benevolence and affection.  For this Rasa of KaruNa from Bhava Bhuti, let me give you an example.

7.             Instead of crying out loud, beating oneself out of sheer disgust, when someone cursing oneself speaks derogatively about his ill-luck it touches deeper the core of our hearts.  Bhava Bhuti makes Sri Rama talk like that in 'Uttara Rama Charitram'.  There is a man Sambooka: who contrary to his status in life, undertakes to do a very fierce tapasya despite being advised not to do so.  As that would have a derogatory effect on social order, Sri Rama has pulled out his sword to kill him.  But his hand hesitates from moving on its downward swing.  It is then with the hand with the sword held high, Sri Rama tells himself the following lines, the meaning of which is given later.  
हे हस्त ....रामस्य बाहुरसि निर्भरगर्भखिन्न
he hasta….ramasya bhaahurasi nirbharakhinna  
सिताविवासनपटो: करुणा कुतस्ते?
Sita vivaasanapato: KaruNa kutaste?  Sri Rama is telling his hand, "Hey hand, you are Sri Rama's hand.  When Sita full with her pregnancy, was heartlessly directed by you to proceed to the forest, isn't it?  Now, how is that you are suddenly overcome with sadness and emotion?"  Though Sambooka was breaking social customs and norms, what he was doing was a noble act of Tapasya. Rama who was an epitome of righteousness in all his thoughts, speech and actions naturally hesitates in executing Sambooka.  So thus as Sri Rama is shown talking to himself deprecatingly, the writer of the drama is able to bring out extreme sense of anguish and sadness while also bringing out how deeply he loved Sita and abandoned her only to maintain his Kingly virtue of Raja Dharma!  Through self-criticism the author is able to bring out the nobility of the character, while also teaching us what is right and what is wrong.

8.            Though in a drama there were many different types of characters like the jokers, villains and side-kicks and some extras, one important part was highlighted in whom the audience was made to get interested, through whom it was aimed to bring home some morality points of good behaviour for the benefit of the society.  So generally the hero was always brave, calm, cool and collected, keen on peaceful and gentlemanly methods ever cheerful and so on.  The aim was to get the audience involved in such socially acceptable ways of behaviour.

9.            The world of drama in Sanskrit being as vast as the world outside, had a sort of an unmentioned rule based on the common man's belief that the good will prevail over evil eventually.  The dramatists had to abide with this unspoken agreement and so make the end always on a cheerful note.  Even in a so called tragedy such as Uttara Rama Charitam well known for pathos, though Sita after living in the forest and begetting Lava and Kusa is supposed to merge in the earth, as Sri Devi merging in Bhu Devi, the author has made a twist in the story that Sita comes back to Sri Rama, so that the drama may have a happy ending acceptable to the common man.  On the one hand the aim is to get the audience more interested in morally righteous attitudes and methods, for which the ending has to be pleasant and cheerful.  The other side of the coin is that people go to such entertainment to forget the problems of day to day existence.  Then what is the use of making the audience go back home with their heads hanging down in sorrow?  So it was as though there was a rule, which all writers and authors had to abide by, that in the old Sanskrit Dramas, there were no 'Tragedy' as they were all only 'Comedy'! 

(To be continued.)


Sunday, October 27, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 57 (Vol # 7) Dated 27 Oct 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 57 (Vol # 7) Dated 27 Oct 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 the middle of page No 458 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)

Do Not Waste Milk in Coffee
60.           I have to tell you one more thing about the gains from the cow that we get.  The true value of that is about the various things that it gives which we use in divine worship, Vedic activities of Yagnyas and for our nourishment, such as the milk, curd and ghee.  But unluckily most of that milk is nowadays wasted in adding to coffee which is bad for our health.  The milk that is like the divine nectar is being spoiled in adding to the poisonous caffeine decoction which is harmful to our mind and body.  Like protecting the cow from being sent to the slaughter houses, we have to pay attention to self-protection of 'Ãtma RakshaNam ' – 'आत्म रक्षणं' also and get out of this bad habit of drinking coffee.       

61.          Instead of drinking coffee a number of times, a portion of that milk can be given to temples for Abhishekam of the deities or contributed for poor sick patients and or reach the stomachs of poor children.  Without ever knowing the taste of milk when there are lacks of poor children, having a cup of coffee many times a day is tantamount to a crime against the society.  Instead of coffee in the morning, it is better to drink 'mor kanji' – 'மோர் கஞ்சி'. It is said 'takram amrutam' – 'तक्रं अमृतं', in which 'takram' means butter-milk which is said to be as good as amrutam or nectar that gives immortality.  Since we can get three measures of butter-milk (aka 'மோர்') from one measure of milk/curd, it is more economical too.  Some people by nature cannot drink milk being allergic to 'lactose'.  For such people 'Go Mãtã' sanctions this butter-milk from the milk itself.  For people who are already obese or have such diseases that they are forbidden to consume fat, we can make use of curd from which butter has been churned out, which is also a type of butter-milk only, because it is really fat-free.

'Neideepam' – 'நெய்த்தீபம்'
62.          Since the number of Yagnyas being conducted has drastically come down, the chance of using cow's ghee for that has lessened.  But since Puja in houses, Matams and temples are still in vogue, we could take to lighting up more lamps, which use cow's ghee as the fuel in it.  We could ourselves make curds, churn and take out the butter, melt it, thus preparing clean and pure ghee which can be used at home for 'Neideepam' and also contribute the ghee for usage in Matams and temples.  As the ghee-lamps spread white light all around, they will also light up our inner beings and instil sanctity.  It is very good for such lamps to be lighted in the Sannidy of deities.  We must ensure that at least on Fridays the fuel used in temples are cow's ghee.  What 'Go Mãtã' provides us with all her kindness we must put to effective use.  Now what is happening is that on the one hand we are not making proper use of her services or misusing them while failing in our duties towards her!

63.          Instead of being ignoring and ill-treating each other, we should be mutually supportive of each other, as Bhagawan Sri Krishna said about how Devas and Human beings, (using the phrase ('parasparam bhavayanta:' – 'परस्परं भावयन्त:' Bhagawat Gita, Chapter 3, Sloka 11.), that they should be complimenting each other by words, deeds and kind.  At the time when the cow is yielding milk, the gains and nourishment that human beings get from the cow is much more than what we do in taking care of the cow, like what a child gets from the mother.  Later when the cow is not able to yield milk, like when our mother is too old, we should not be forgetful of what we owe her!  So, it is necessary that we establish many more such organizations which will take proper care of 'Go Shalas', for which people should subscribe in terms of money, effort and physical labour unflinchingly.  This idea of 'Go Rakshana' that is deeply soaked in our blood as an intrinsic Dharma should cause us to get involved actively in this task, exactly like the way a cow aspires and tries hard against all hindrances to run and feed its calf.

'பசு வதை தடைச் சட்டம்'
Enactment of Laws Banning Cow Slaughter
64.          In this Dharma of protecting the cows which is a joint responsibility of the government and the masses, whatever the people do voluntarily as a support, the main task before the government is to enact laws completely banning slaughtering of the cows.  For this also incessant and tireless promptings has to come from the people.  In addition, instead of completely relying on the preventive enactment of laws only, people of all castes and religion have to be motivated to ensure this by wide publicity, motivating even those with a difference of opinion to be converted and to accept this by an approach devoid of anger, full of peace, patience and love. 

65.          It may please be noted that Muslim Emperors of India such as Akbar and Shajahan and the erstwhile King of Afghanistan Amir were fully convinced of this need for protecting the cows from slaughter and had enacted laws in their time.  So if we put it across rightfully and sensibly, I am sure and hopeful that all people will support this cause.  As the government also cannot be expected to enact laws against any one sect or creed, as long as all sorts come together on a common platform, I am sure there will be majority support for this noble task and the cows will get legal protection too.

66.          Government enacts laws to save a few entities from total annihilation and elimination from existence such as even very cruel predators in the forests.  The sandal wood tree for example has such a protection as known to all.  Let me tell you about one such tree not known to all.  That is the 'Iluppai Maram' – 'இலுப்பை மரம்' aka the Mahua Tree.  You are likely to wonder if that tree is all that valuable!  For the tribal people in the Santãl PargaNã areas between Bihar and Bengal, this Mahua tree is something like a life line.  There used to be an act that this Mahua tree is not to be felled at random.  So looking at it from the materialistic point of view or from religious aspect, there is much justice in protecting the Cow from inhuman treatment including its slaughter.  So, without any difference of any denomination, all citizens of the country should come together to support enactment of laws to protect the Cows and cause the Government to do so.

67.          From time immemorial since the Cow and related to it some very sacred ideas and principles have been the cause for some of the serious and very noble features of our culture, we have to ascribe a uniquely prominent place for the Cow in our national view and see to it that they are protected forever with care and nourishment.  'Go SamrakshaNam' is supreme Dharmam, PuNya and primordial duty of ours.  Cow's welfare will give well-being to the whole nation.  If we protect the Cow from cruelty, sins will be less and peace will flourish.  Opposite to this if we treat the Cow cruelly the whole world will suffer the ill-effects.  To ensure justice in the whole world it is necessary to protect the cows.  As per the words of the Sãstrãs, the Dharma Devata himself stands as a Bull on the four legs of Tapas (Virtue), Shoucham (Purity and cleanliness), Daya (Kindness) and Satyam (Truth).  With that Bull of Dharma the Cow (Go Mãtã) is also there.  She gives the very Dharmam as her milk as 'dharma dudha' – 'धर्म दुधा', as Mother Cow.  Bhagawatam says because the Kali Purusha dealt with this pair cruelly, this Kali Yuga is so full of a whole array of immorality.  So 'Go SamrakshaNam' is one of the imperatives of this Yuga, so as to ensure some semblance of order and morality.  Sri Krishna Swami as Gopala should bless us that we may be saved from the stigma of having failed to take proper care of the Cow!

68.          In the Maha Bhãratham as you may know, in the last chapter known as Anushãsanika Parvam, Bhishma lying in a bed of arrows gives Upadesa to Dharma Putra (and all assembled including the other four brothers of Pãndavãs mainly), on all Dharma and acceptably moral ways of governance.  Both Vishnu Sahasranãma and Siva Sahasranãma also occur in that chapter only.  In it Bhishma elaborates on the value of the cow by way of a story from the past.  In the story there is an occasion when King Nahusha is under compulsion to purchase a Maha Rishi by the name of Syavana.  The king was aware of the fact Sage Syavana was so supremely invaluable that even if his empire spread over three different Lokas, it would not be equal to that great Rishi!  So the King was in a quandary as to what to do. 

69.          At that juncture a Rishi born in the belly of a cow comes forward and advices the King that he should give a Cow as an equal to value of the Rishi.  The Syavana Rishi also whole heartedly accepts the deal and says – 'gobhistulyam dhanam kinchit' – 'गोभिस्तुल्यं न पश्यामि किन्चिदिहाच्युत', meaning, 'I do not see anything as valuable as a cow here, Oh King!'  Accordingly the King Nahusha purchases the Rishi by giving a Cow as the price and then lets him go free.  There is nothing greater than donating a cow and that is the best expiation of all sins of the past.  But we must ensure that the recipient of the donation is capable of looking after the cow.

70.          Syavana Rishi then says a few things praising the greatness of cows in general.  One of what he says is as under: -
निविष्टं गोकुलं यत्र श्वासं मुञ्चति निर्भयम् |
nivishtam gokulam yatra swãsam munchati nirbhayam |
विराजयति तं देशं पापं चास्यपकर्षति ||
virajayati tam desam paapam chãsyãpakarshati ||
That means, "Where the cows are happily breathing without fearing as to what peril awaits them, that nation or country will be bright and cheerful devoid of all sins".  Let our Bharath Desh be like that.  To make it happen in terms of intention and necessary action by us all, may Sri Krishna aka KaNNa who looked after the cows as dear to him as his eyes, bless us to be able to similarly take care of them!

(The Chapter on 'Go SamrakshaNam' is over.   Deivathin Kural will continue with the next chapter on 'Culture'.)



Friday, October 25, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 56 (Vol # 7) Dated 25 Oct 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 56 (Vol # 7) Dated 25 Oct 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 the middle of page No 451 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)

50.           As Go-SamrakshaNam is one of our essential duties. Instead of brushing it aside as impossible, despite the obstacles we should manage the same, whatever the difficulties and expenditure.  There will not be too many insurmountable problems.  Only because they do not give milk anymore and it is proving to be wasteful expenditure for the owners to feed and take care of them, and the likely income that they could gain by selling it for its flesh and skin, they are tending to send it to the butcher, isn't it?  With some initial capital and effort we can take care of them and save them from being sent to the slaughter houses.  No amount of effort and money can be considered as too much, if we can save them from the agony and ignominy of being slaughtered!

51.          Like the peelings of vegetables, the strained water after cooking rice is also quite good as a feed for these cows.  Earlier on, this particular item known as 'sãdam vadiththa kanji' – 'சாதம் வடித்த கஞ்சி', regularly used to be given to the cattle. Ever since the introduction of the pressure cookers and too finely polished rice for cooking in house-holds, cattle have been denied the privilege of sharing this essence of cooked rice because there is no more 'kanji'!  We can alternately collect water used for washing the rice before cooking or cooked rice left as balance from the previous day and give it to the animals.  That is also acceptable.  In our gardens, if we apportion an area for growing 'agaththi keerai' – 'அகத்தி கீரை', a type of a leafy vegetable that is much liked by the cow; that would be most welcome.  Each one of us in our own way should get involved in this noble task of looking after this animal, thinking that we are literally feeding God himself.  Once we get that attitude, our efforts will not be a burden on us.  That is why there is a Tamil adage 'manam irundãl vazhiyundu' – 'மனம் இருந்தால் வழியுண்டு', meaning that,  if you have the mind you will have the way! In this respect you have to have clear intention.

Protective Farms
52.          Finally what all of us should do whole heartedly together is to establish a number of protective farms for such stray or abandoned animals, where they can get their stomach full and live in healthy hygienic surroundings, especially catering for cows which have stopped yielding milk.  Simultaneously we should officially ban sale of beef anywhere on this land that is India.  The original owners intending to sell it for leather and meat may bargain over its price.  We have to patiently tell them about humaneness and the PuNya they stand to gain in the divine books of justice!  Many such owners may really be poorly off.  We cannot expect much philanthropy from them anyhow.  Just because of the cost we should not let even a single cow be taken to the slaughter houses.  Do not look at the task only in terms of money involved in purchasing such cows, taking care of them in their old age and feed them and arrange for their burial / cremation.  Looking at the importance of the job as a very honourable service, any amount of effort that we have to input is not too much.

Joining as a Family in Taking Care of the Cow
53.          We have to create awareness in the society as to how important it is to take care of the cow without its being taken to the abattoirs.  If we get the society awaken to this idea of this need, then there will be enough money and volunteers collecting to do the needful, I believe given the vast population that we have in our country.  It is enough if some four or five like-minded people get together to tackle this job in each area or locality.  A point here is that the volunteers and the financiers should not be standing apart as different people.  The financier should also be a volunteer ready to contribute with physical labour and the volunteer should also be contributing in terms of money instead of being only a person just employed.  Then only there will be total involvement in the cause.  Then only also they will coalesce as one big family, not with a profit but service motivation. 

54.          My wish is that all of us Hindus should be pooling our resources like this as one family in this task.  Moreover we should put it across to other people belonging to other religions in an acceptable manner that, the whole society joins hands as one family in this noble task.  Our religious beliefs may differ but in preventing cruelty to animals with 'Jiva KãruNyam' – 'जीव कारुण्यं', as a common platform.  Thus people of all religions should be together in executing this plan and stand hand in glove and shoulder to shoulder.  That is my dream and my sincere wish!

Care of the Cows is PuNya & Ignore is a Sin
55.          To take care of the cows is a noble venture that gives all wonderful returns, while saying which I am not able to abstain from saying that to ignore this task is an execrable sin, as there is sufficient and sound basis.  In the life of Raja Dileepa of the Sun Dynasty, there is evidence for both my above statements.  When he went to the Heavens in Deva Loka, he comes back without doing circumambulation of Kãmadenu, the wish fulfilling Cow.  For that mistake he is cursed with not having any progeny.  When there is a curse, there is also some avenue for release from the curse, isn't it?  What is that?  There is Nandini in the residence of his family Guru Vasishta's ParNashãla.  On his Guru's advice he takes care of that Nandini like a shepherd with his wife Sudhakshina, washing, grazing and taking good care of the animal for a period.  By this service his curse is lifted and they get an off-spring who is named 'Ragu' – 'रगु' – 'ரகு'.  What is there in a name, you may say.   But, Ragu becomes so famous that from his name the Sun Dynasty itself comes to be known as 'Ragu Vamsam' – 'रगु वंशं', in which Lord Vishnu himself is born later as Sri Rama, and he gets to be known as Ragurama!   

The Way Cows Were Cared for in Ancient Times
56.          Though it is meaningless to talk about it now, I am not able not to talk about it also!  Before the Britishers took over the reigns of governance of this country, in every village and city there were lands meant for grazing by cattle vide orders of the Governments those days.  The British unaware of the importance of these areas' usage as grazing grounds and or ignoring the need for looking after the cattle took over all those lands as their property.  From that time itself the cattle were badly done to.  Similarly there used to be ponds around the village meant for the cattle to drink water.  They are not to be found to be present anymore.  Government should create such ponds as part minor irrigation works.  What was a number of villages has become the Madras city, in which 'Mandai VeLi' and 'Amainda Karai' were such areas full of ponds, once upon a time, meant especially for cattle to roam about graze and quench their thirst. 

57.          Let me tell you one example of how people used to care for the cattle.  Born as a human being, you were required to observe 32 stipulations or injunctions enjoined on the individual as 'aRangaL' – 'அறங்கள்'.  Doubling that there is another system by which the injunctions were 64!  One of them for example is known as, 'Ãtheendu kurri niruvudal' – 'ஆதீண்டு குற்றி நிறுவுதல்'. What does that mean?  The cow scratches itself using its rear legs only.  Many places of its body cannot be reached by its rear legs.  What can that poor animal do then?  It cannot tell us to do it either as it has no means of expression, being 'Vayilla Jivan' – 'வாயில்லா ஜீவன்'.  So what is done is to install firmly on the ground some stone pillars of irregular edges at suitable places in the open where it will be convenient for the cattle to scratch their bodies as they wish!  It is pathetic that in a country like ours, where we took pains to cater for even such small things as enabling the animal to scratch itself as a Dharma enjoined on the human being in the past, nowadays we are letting them roam about as virtual skeletons, under nourished and uncared for and letting them be killed for beef!  It is a thing to be ashamed of and a sad commentary on our deplorable attitude as individuals and as a nation!

Nation's Asset
58.         While talking about 'Go SamrakshaNam' we have to express our gratitude to some who are organizing and managing 'Go Shãlã' like the Nagaraththar aka Nattukkottai Chettiyars in South India and those who organize 'Pinjra Bhol' in North India, in which they take care of such cattle.  In the olden times to ensure that the cattle are fed well, they used to maintain vast tracts of land for this very purpose as common public properties.  Since almost all places have become cities and metropolitan townships, there is hardly any place left for cattle as grazing grounds in this concrete jungles that towns have become!  At times but very rarely some head of the municipal authorities wakes up to the absence of 'lung space' in the cities and shows some interest in creating gardens and play grounds. This also happens only sporadically in some places.  But the way the world is going, at least in India there is no 'Town Planning' done at all!  Because of the enormous value of 'real estate' there is a lot of under-hand dealings and corruption in land transactions.  At least in the sub-urban areas we should be thinking of creating some grazing grounds for cattle in which ponds should also be dug in suitable sites.

59.          The cow should be declared as a national asset.  Even after it has stopped yielding milk it is an asset only.  Till it is alive, it keeps giving dung isn't it?  That dung is useful as manure in agriculture.  Newly people have found ways of getting Gas out of it, known as 'Gobar Gas'!  This process should be further researched and investigated to make it cost effective.  But 'Go SamrakshaNam' should not be viewed only from the commercial angle.  As said earlier care of the cows instead of remaining at the materialistic and financial stand point should be considered from the Vedic and divine angle.  We should think that to take care of the cow is as good as looking after one's own mother in her old age.  Keeping only the financial returns one is likely to get in mind, treating it like any other commodity, and disposing it off for being butchered after it stops yielding milk, must be stopped henceforth! 

(To be continued.)



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 55 (Vol # 7) Dated 23 Oct 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 55 (Vol # 7) Dated 23 Oct 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 the last paragraph on page No 444 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)

40.           The Special Value of the Cow's Presence.  Giving its all for enabling us to conduct the Yagnyas,           the Cow has the power to cause the Mantras to be effective by its very presence or Sãnnidyam!  That is why to do Japa in the cow-shed known as 'Goshtam' – 'गोष्टं' that is the barn, is said to be a Crore times more powerful than chanting it elsewhere.   (A Crore is a unit of numbers that is, ten times a Million!)

All Devatas are Included in the Cow
41.          Because, in the Cow all 330 Million Devatas are included.  All the sacred 'Teertãs' of all the divine water sources are already there in the cow.  In all our temples a number of Sannidy of Devatas are there.  Besides the temple either there are rivers or ponds or a well whose waters are said to be very sacred.  But the Go the Cow is a temple in itself where all the Devatas are present with those 'Teertãs' also.  The Cow itself is a mobile temple for all deities of the Hindu Pantheon.

Go Mãtã and Lakshmi
42.          What is this 'All God's Pantheon'?  It is not easy to understand with our limited knowledge and comprehension.  It is confusing instigating some fear and not devotion!  So, particularly Go Mãtã is said to be Lakshmi Devi, the Goddess of Wealth and all Aishwarya.  In the Sanskrit dictionary, while listing a number of names of Lakshmi, it says 'Loka Mãtã' and 'Loka Janani'.  Go the Cow is that 'Loka Mãtã' itself.  On the one hand 'Go Mãtã' is said to be Lakshmi Devi and on the other hand, the Cow is said to be the living abode of Lakshmi.  There are five places which are considered as the abode of Lakshmi Devi.  One is the parting of hair at the centre top of the head of faithful married ladies known as 'Seamantham', second is the inner part of the Lotus flower, third is head of the Elephant, fourth is reverse side of the Bilva (or Aeglemarmeles) leaf and the fifth is the back side of the Cow.

43.          In the cow we have seen many apparent opposites and contradictions coalesce smoothly, isn't it?  Similarly instead of the front and face it is the rear end of the cow which is the sacred place of residence for Lakshmi Devi.  The Cow's face is cleaned, yellow turmeric powder is smeared and then the red ochre Kumkum is applied as a dot in the centre of the face between the two eyes and the nose / mouth and on the horns too.  All this is done only as part of the decorations, including a garland or two in her neck with some tinkling bells!   When it comes to doing the ceremonial Pooja/Archana, of reverentially taking its names and offering different flowers for each name or Nama; it is done to the back side of the Cow having the humps on either side with the tail in between.  There is nothing execrable about the cow, nothing mean or way down low.  In Matams like this one, daily morning the first Puja done is for the Cow and then only other rituals carry on, from which you can understand the venerable high pedestal at which the stature of the Cow is viewed.  Though the Elephant is much bigger than the cow, first it is 'Go Puja' and then only 'Gaja Puja'!

'பசுவுக்கொரு வாயுறை' – 'A Handful of Grass for the Cow'
44.          To consider the cow as the God and doing Puja is secondary as it can only be done by some.  But there is a duty to be done by every one of us.  Every one of us should be giving the cow at least a handful of grass every day.  That is known as 'Go Grasam' – 'गो ग्रासं' in the Sãstrãs.  From this 'गो ग्रासं' only in English this word 'Grass' has evolved.  Thiru Moolar in Thiru Mandiram has clearly defined the daily duties of all of us, in these words.  In saying that each one of us should be giving at least one leaf for the God, that is one Bilva leaf for Easwara and one handful of cooked food at least for the beggar.  In between these two requirements he has inserted a line saying that we should be offering at least a handful of grass to the cow and then finishes the four lines beautifully saying that, the best we can do for each other is to offer 'good sweet words'!  Here are the four lines: -
யாவர்க்குமாம் இறைவர்க்கொரு பச்சிலை,
yãvarkumãm iraivarkkoru pachchilai,
யாவர்க்குமாம் பசுவுக்கொரு வாயுறை,
yãvarkumãm pasuvukkoru vãyurai,
யாவர்க்குமாம் உண்ணும்போதொரு கைப்பிடி, 
yãvarkumãm uNNumpodoru kaippidi,
யாவர்க்குமாம் பிறர்க்(கு) இன்னுரைதானே. 
yãvarkumãm prarkku innuraitãne.

Unpardonable Crime
45.          In the period that the cow gives milk and later when it has stopped giving milk, if we do not feed the cow properly, it is an unpardonable crime and a great slur on our name.  In this respect we are all erring by not taking enough care.  Though in our religion the cow is given a very high venerable status, a physical comparison of our cattle and those of other countries will reveal how we are being quite careless in this respect.  Though they do not consider the cow as venerable as a deity and eat the beef, in practical terms they do take much better care of the animals, feeding it well.  We feed the cow the minimum that our cows look puny in comparison.  We cannot get away from our responsibility by saying that they are fattening the cow for slaughter!  Whatever the reason, till it is alive are they not feeding it well?  Instead of feeding well and taking good care of them, often agitating that we should enact laws to stop their slaughter has no meaning.  Those who support their slaughter are likely to turn around and say, instead of keeping them in such pathetic conditions, it is better that they should be killed and relieved of the agony of such existence!  Then we will also be standing as 'Vãyillã Jivan' – like the cows, unable to give any reply!

Duties of the Government and the People
46.          This is not to be misconstrued that I am against enactment forbidding cow slaughter or that it should be delayed till people start taking good care of the cows even after they have stopped giving milk.  The preventive act should be made into a law as early as possible from the Government side.  Instead of stopping at that, it is the responsibility of the people to feed the animals well and keep them in good shape and good health as long as they live in healthy hygienic surroundings.  Though there are some organizations agitating for a preventive act debarring cow slaughter, nobody is talking about or doing enough to take good care of such cows which have become overage for giving milk.  There is justice in asking for complete cow slaughter and I wished to emphasise that it is our honourable and holy duty to take good care of the animals till their end days.

47.          We happen to belong to a religion which considers the Cow to be holy doing 'Go Puja' and at the same time sending it for slaughter for its skin/leather and meat or keeping them underfed and roaming about in the concrete jungles of our cities uncared for!  Unless we take good care of those animals till their natural death, we cannot even call ourselves as Hindus at all and that is the hard fact.

There is an Easy Way of Keeping them Well-fed
48.          Just to take good care of them, all of us do not have to work hard and make much sacrifice.  The task is such that any amount of sacrifice is well worth it in fact.  If some or many come forward to do this it will be very good.  But instead of going to much trouble, if we take care of one simple aspect, the problem will be solved to a large extent as many stomachs of the cows will be filled.  Especially today since most of the villages have become cities and there are not many grazing grounds available and in big cities there is just no possibility of grazing at all!  But we are all consuming huge quantities of fruits and vegetables.  If all the peelings of vegetables and such discards, if collected systematically and made available to these animals in a decent and hygienic way, on the one hand a sizeable part of the disposal of waste materials in civic management will be taken care of and the uncared for cows' stomachs can be filled.  This can be collected from hotels, hostels and individual houses too by some volunteers.  Nowadays most of the colonies are either multi storied or gated communities.  Civic sense and awareness and co-ordination will be essential.  We need volunteers to organise and execute such a plan in each area. 

49.          Please do not think that this is a hare brained scheme.  We are crores of people in this country.  Compared to our numbers the population of cattle and especially cows will only be a fraction. In that too, we need not worry about well-established Dairy farms and rich people's estates.   If done with sincerity and application, there will be much material collected if we include hostels and hotels.   We have to take care of only such animals in whose case the small-time owners are not able to do so for financial reasons.  In their case however we may have to make some monetary compensation to them after which the ownership will have to be transferred to such organizations or individuals coming forward to do this as a purely social and noble responsibility.  If done with diligence and application one can see the good effect of such while becoming worthy of Gopala Krishna's blessings too.

(To be continued.)