Wednesday, October 09, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 49 (Vol # 7) Dated 09 Oct 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 49 (Vol # 7) Dated 09 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 in page No 404 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)

Service without Affecting Studies
13.           In all educational institutions, the areas in which the student community can participate and contribute for the welfare of the community and nation have been defined and identified, called 'extra-curricular activities', in which the students may be able to do their bit without adversely affecting their studies.  It is better that students restrict their 'social service' within what is conducted under the aegis of the institution in which they are studying and not more than that.  If they find time without hurting their studies, with the permission of their parents, they may participate in social service activities being conducted by other organizations and agencies.

14.          Here the educational institutions themselves have to be extra careful, as these sort of extra-curricular activities bring more name and fame to them.  They tend to give greater importance to such activities than paying attention to the aspect of conduct and exhaustive coverage of the syllabi.  This drastically affects the academic performance of the average and below-average students!  Anyhow whatever social-service activities they may organize, they should guard against any connection to any of the political parties. 

Cinema, Media & Sports
15.          Amongst the destructive attractions, with politics I must add Cinema, Media and Sports.  Other than some educational documentaries all connections to the cine industry should be completely avoided like politics, in my opinion.  From what I get to know about the cine industry, I am afraid that, I just cannot have any other opinion.  It is not to be touched even with a barge-pole! Still, entertainment is essential for all and sundry as without that life becomes too humidly tortuous, agreed!  In this present day world of 'freedom of all sorts'; I dare not opine differently! So, loosening the severity of my point of view, I suggest that students may see a cinema if generally approved in the public as a fairly good movie, that too only occasionally. 

16.          What I said for the cinema is also applicable for other entertainments such as dance, drama and such things.  Subjected to limitations of self-control, I say that rarely and very rarely they may also be permitted to attend such entertainments.  The reason for my being over cautious in this is due to the fact that they are inherently like habit forming drugs.  Talking about drugs, starting from coffee and cigarette there are many hazards to which the children are vulnerable these days.  They should all be totally detested, abhorred and avoided by the student population.  (KTSV Adds:  – This is a world-wide problem in all countries.  But when PeriyavãL spoke about this, the drugs were not so wide spread.)  There is no chance of relaxing on this issue at all as I did about cinema and drama. Useless and redundant coffee, cigarette and other such items whose names I detest even spelling out, should be avoided as you would the plague!

17.          The next items of distraction are the news-papers.  In trying to out sell each other most of the news-papers have resorted to sensationalism.  This is further complicated by the advertisements clamouring our attention all the time.  In fact these news-papers and other periodical magazines could enlighten the public about matters spiritual, cultural and general knowledge.  But in practice other than reporting about the news, they all seem to have their own axes to grind along with gossip about the stars of filmdom and sports!  This results in young minds being attracted and thus corrupted by prurient reporting!  So it is very difficult for students to really do selective reading.  However, one can always learn from such what is essential and what could and should be avoided.  It is easier to say this, but can be done.  At this age as a student one does get the quality of stubbornness, isn't it?  So you be stubborn and have the conviction that to succeed in studies and become a good citizen of the country for the future, you are going to be clear in sticking to the path of righteousness avoiding all pit-falls of all sorts of pulls and pressures from all sides and I shall pray for your success.

18.          Finally I come to the sports.  That seems to be major attraction for the students today.  Play and games are very important alright.  To jump about forgetting any care, to get rid of boredom and tiredness is good indeed.  Sports and games in any discipline are good avenues for inculcating self-discipline and learning with the development of team-spirit.  But please remember the proverb that says, 'beyond limits even Amrita can be poison' – 'aLavukku meerinãl amirtamum visham' – 'அளவுக்கு மீறினால் அமிர்தமும் விஷம்'!  You have to have the sense of proportions, because at your age and always too, you have to develop the sense as to how you are going to apportion your time, as time is the most important commodity you have.  So, daily some half an hour to one hour is the maximum you can afford to spend in sports and not make it a whole time business.

19.          But the problem is that young people today instead of participating in sports spend more time in witnessing sports and athletic meets, listening to commentary about those events or in reading the sports column in the news-papers.  Every day and every week after week they spend hours in doing this.  It is painful to hear about such wastage of one's time.  If they need some diversion, they could spend some time in watching or reading about it.  But to be deeply lost in cricket commentary with the exams pending does not seem to be very sensible.  (KTSV adds: - This was PeriyavãL's reaction before the advent of Television and 50 overs and 20 overs cricket with scratch teams made up of a mix of participants from all the countries, with big money involved in franchise selections of players at astronomical rates, further vitiating the atmosphere with rumours of betting!)

The Old Time Places of Education
20.          As you already know, the old time schools were known as Guru Kulam.  This youth is an age in one's life when there is a clash of conflicting feelings and emotions.  This is a period when the urge for speed and immediate action tends to go uncontrolled.  But simultaneously this is the time when you need to learn self-discipline and control over your mind and body.  In the olden times all children at the age of seven to eight were taken to Guru Kulam, which was basically the household of the Guru.  There, in Guru Kulam the freedom was less and restrictions on Do's and Don'ts were more and rather strict, compared to one's own household.  In this 'set-up' when the children grew up and reached puberty, automatically you copied your elders and thus good behaviour and discipline were inculcated very naturally.  Comparatively in today's world, one is much free in one's own household and the tendency continues also in the school.

21.          Because of this basic difference in the atmosphere in a Guru Kulam and one's own household, it is more difficult to instil discipline in the schools nowadays.  The children take liberties with their parents, while the father and mother also often tend to 'spare the rod and spoil the child'.  Guru Kulam was not like that.  There the Guru would show love and affection when required and be otherwise rather strict.  Lacking in discipline at home when only in schools certain amount of control is exercised, children do try and exploit loop-holes.  Such blemishes between the period of onset of puberty and advent adulthood, goes to the head as in slightly later times of one's life, as totally wrong and sinful tendencies.  When the foundation is not strong, it is natural that the edifice is shaky. 

22.          Anyhow what is the use of talking about Guru Kulam, when such arrangements have become a thing of the past!  As an impractical thing, talking about Guru Kulam would prove to be drinking imaginary milk and like a picture of vegetables on paper that will not be available for cooking.  But still because of the lack of it, we must think of some alternate arrangements, to bring in control.  That is to make children realise the essentials of discipline, we must think of some alternatives, so that children do not behave 'like a bull in a china shop', causing breakages and getting punished for it!  So, somehow we have to control this reckless young bull, by passing the rope through its nostrils and holding the reins!  Then only the bull can be of any use to itself and others.

23.          The animal bull has to be reined in by the handlers.  For the bulls of young humans it is the job of teachers in schools and elders at the household.  But, it is no good if the control is in others hands, for the youthful bulls amongst human beings.  Having been born as a human being, he has to be made aware of the need for self-control himself.  That is the difference between human beings and other animals.  He should be made willingly obedient for righteousness and opt for order over uncontrolled recklessness and also be obedient when others exercise authority over him, reasonably.  It is like the trained bull which does not object to being reined in.

24.          Once the youthful people of today come to this clear understanding that they shall not waste this opportunity of human life compared to millions of other life forms in which he could have been born, then, you have made the bull accept its being reined in.  How to make them care for this need for discipline?  Elders have to keep telling them.  To be able to tell the youngsters to care for and inculcate discipline, the elders have to be a disciplined lot themselves.  Otherwise, who will bother about only verbal advices which sound more like hypocrisy only!  Whatever they may know or not know, they are very much aware of modern day terminologies such as 'generation gap'.  So they are likely to shut you up with a pliant 'Yes' though they do not mean it, especially if you are not practicing what you are preaching!  In this matter of leading a disciplined life, in respect of majority of elders, it is rather questionable and doubtful.  So how are they going to advice the younger generation?  So, at least for the sake of the younger generations they have to first bring in discipline in their own life first, before being able to advice the youngsters.

(To be continued.)




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