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|Cry 'Grow' - Don't Cry 'Perish'|
(HinduDharma: Varna Dharma For Universal Well-Being)
To speak on the other hand of the glory of Tamil culture, constantly recalling the words of Tiruvalluvar and others who extol love and divine grace, and to raise on the other hand the cry of hatred against a certain community - with the display of posters everywhere proclaiming such hatred - does not seem to me right. It goes against the very spirit of Tamil land and causes me great anguish. If you cry "Grow", instead of crying "Perish", all the hatred and all the quarrels will vanish. Instead of agitating the abolition of the caste system, people must star a movement to build more and more temples and spread devotion.
If everybody joins in this endeavour, the devotion that brought all of us together in the past as one family will again become a powerful source to reunite us and create a sense of universal well-being. If there is devotion, there will be no caste hatred. Such was the case during all these centuries. There was caste in the old days but it did not cause bitterness amongst the communities. It is not caste itself that is to be faulted but the hatred arising from it. So to attempt to destroy this institution is like burning a house to kill a rat. The movement to put an end to the caste system has disrupted the old division of labour and together with it caused discontent, disquiet and jealousy among people. Hatred among the different communities has grown like a big tree with many branches.
It is time that we opened our eyes to the evil and started making effort to substitute the campaign with its cry of destruction with a movement to bring all classes and castes together so as to promote devotion to Isvara and service to humanity. It will be one way of ignoring caste hatred. Countering caste hatred as such might have the effect of refuelling it. If we ignore it and turn our minds to other matters - other noble matters - bitterness due to caste will cease by itself. Suppose you are admonished not to think of the monkey while taking medicine, you will perhaps be tempted to do the opposite(that is to think of the monkey). Similarly, when we keep all the while speaking against the caste hatred, the effect will be the opposite, that of reminding people of caste differences and of arousing feelings of inferiority among some sections and of superiority among others.
It is important for all to become involved in a good cause, like the construction of a temple, or some public welfare scheme. Good feelings like love will surely spring in the hearts of people; at the same time much good will be done to society in general. Today, it is because people are not involved together in such [constructive] work that they turn their minds to destructive ideas, to argumentativeness and to gossip and quarrels. Unfortunately, some people think that if they inflame hatred between the communities or instigate quarrels or disputes, they will be able to gather a crowd of admirers round them. If we are all the time engaged in constructive work there will be fewer opportunities for trouble-making; indeed people will not find the time to do evil.
People go in procession until their legs ache, raising cries against this and that. Would there not be all-round growth and prosperity if all this manpower were employed to good work, if all the energy of people were turned to some constructive task? There is one type of "growth" that is higher than all others, it is the love that springs in the hearts of people. I think there must be a "tight" time-table for all: performing religious rites; worshipping at temples; listening to religious discourses; all castes working together for a divine cause or being engaged in social service. Adhering to such a time-table would mean universal happiness and prosperity. Besides, it would obviate the necessity of raising the cry of hatred against any caste.
There are certainly no differences between one jati and another so far as "status" is considered; that is one jati is not inferior to another or superior to it. All jatis have produced great men - Appar, Nammazhvar, Sekkizar, Nandanar and Kannapar to name a few. The Acarya himself has sung the praises of Kannappar in his Sivanandalahari. The sastras declare that it is a sin for anybody to regard himself as superior to others. Great men have shown us the way in this matter. They have spoken, abasing themselves, "Nayinum kadaiyen"; "nayadiyen". People don't share this kind of humility in the present age of freedom - and that indeed is the cause of much of our trouble. We must regain the old sense of humility and modesty. If so, Jati will be confined to work, functions, and will not in the least be a cause of any feelings of differences. If all people adopt the same style of living that is simple and virtuous, there will be no cause for jealousy or heart-burning.
Whether or not we have the courage or the spirit of sacrifice to work towards this ideal, a way will open out for us if we at least recognise the ideal. May we have success in achieving this ideal with the blessings of Amba.
For a general background, please see here