Sri Chandramoulisvaraya Namah:
VEDA DHARMA SASTRA PARIPALANA SABHA (Regd.)
Publication No. 9
Friday, 17th Purattasi (3.10.1947)
Jivas in the world are known as ‘Pranis’, as they have ‘Prana’, which means life. Hence all living beings are called Pranis. All living Pranis are always doing some act or the other. Ant is crawling; bird is flying or eating. Man goes to office and works, or ploughs the land and grows food. He does many acts like these. None sits quiet without doing anything. Bhagavan refers to this in Gita:
“Na hi kaschit kshanamapi jaatu tishthaty-akarmakrit” (Gita 3:5).
This means that no human being is inactive even for a second.
We see in the world man always doing some act or the other. One in a small place has fewer activities to do, whereas one in a large place has more activities to do. Why should everyone keep doing actions like this?
Only if we keep doing some action, we can avoid trouble. To avoid trouble, many acts have to be done. There is no trouble like keeping quiet without doing anything. There is something in us which propels us to do actions. Somebody has instituted hunger for everybody. That hunger makes everyone do actions. If we do not do actions, hunger strikes us. We have to do acts to seek medicine for the disease of hunger. If we are afflicted with headache, it disappears on application of medicine. It comes later only after a long time. This disease of hunger is not like that. It is very different from other diseases. This disease has to be treated with medicine many times in a day. Everyone has to act to seek medicine for this disease. Tiger attacking deer, cat pouncing upon rat and snake catching hold of frog are all for treating this disease of hunger only. Man wearing many disguises and earning money using his smartness is also for this only. If he is hungry, he seeks rice and cooks it. He works for rice. It is necessary to work if we have to maintain the body. It is not possible to be inactive even for a second.
If we don’t work, this body will become useless. It is not as if a rich man need not work. In fact he has more work to do. He is always worried about the safety of his money at the place where he has deposited. Hence he keeps working for that. In comparison with a ‘unchavritti’ brahmana (literally, brahmana who lives on foodgrains gleaned from field), one who has ten lakhs of rupees has to do more work. There is no end to his work.
Thus the types of work which man does are many. One is work he does for maintaining his body; another is work he does for the sake of his dependents. People like child, wife, father and mother have been entrusted to him. There are certain things he has to do for them. Further, he has things to do for his cattle, dog, cat if he has love for it, farm labourer who works for him etc. He has also things to do for the village society. It is the responsibility of those at home to swab and keep the house clean. Family is an assembly of ten persons. Village is an assembly of a thousand people. Just as family activities are necessary for a person, activities for village society are also necessary. There are then many activities to be done for the national society.
Out of activities divided like this, actions like brushing teeth, washing clothes, bathing, eating etc. are done for one’s own benefit. Actions like cleaning the house, swabbing, getting the articles required for the house etc. are done for the sake of the house; i.e. for oneself and his dependents. Digging channel, repairing lake, constructing village hospital, making arrange-ments for disease removal and such actions are related to the village society. Actions related to the nation are well known these days.
Out of activities being performed by us, in addition to those for appeasing our hunger, there are those intended for protecting others. It is but natural for the powerful to help the powerless. The powerless are entrusted to the care of someone who has the ability. The child is nurtured by the man, who is able. When he becomes old and weak, he is nurtured by the child, who has now grown into adult. This kind of change is natural in the world. This nature is observed not only in man, but also in other creatures like animals and birds. Birds and animals look after their young ones. This nature is also seen in all small creatures like worms and insects, cats and monkeys.
Activities are going on in the entire world. Man does many types of actions. He engages in them and seeks cooperation of others. He digs channel, sets up medical clinics, looks after government, and looks for ways to remove difficulties. Sacrificing selfishness, he looks after common activities in addition to personal acts. He also goes to the field, works in office and thus engages in many acts for earning money.
There are only three essential needs for man. He needs food to appease hunger; clothes to protect himself from heat, cold etc. and shame; a place to rest. These three are more necessary than all others. The articles he accumulates beyond these three are useful for looking after children, their marriage etc.
In order to obtain his essential requirements, man has to do many things. His essentials are to earn his food every day, construct his house if destroyed and sew his clothes when torn. But he also earns things necessary for certain persons entrusted to his care. He earns the medicine of food for the permanent disease of hunger of not only himself, but also for others. There is a speciality in calling hunger as disease and food as medicine.
“Kshud-vyadhischa chikitsyatam pratidinam bhiksh-oushadham bhujyatam
Svadvannam na tu yachyatam vidhivasat-praptena santushyatam|
Sitoshnadi vishahyatam na tu vritha vakyam samuchcharyatam|| (Sadhana Panchakam 4)
Sri Acharya instructs us in this verse to treat the disease of hunger. A sick person will only consume the amount of medicine required for treatment of the disease. He will not seek tasty medicine and keep on consuming it. Further if he can get low-priced medicine, he will buy that and consume. Similarly one should eat the quantity required for appeasement of hunger only. The import of the verse is that ordinary food should be adequate.
Apart from activities for oneself and his dependents, man performs certain strange acts. A few of those extra activities are now discussed. One wears a thing called cross; he constructs a building called church. There is no material to appease his hunger there. Another wears Rudraksham and Vibhuti; will his hunger go away by wearing them? Will they serve as clothes? Another rubs the ‘Namakkatti’ and wears ‘Tiruchurnam’. These are not part of the essential activities mentioned earlier. These do not help in matters of hunger, clothes or house; nor help the dependents. These are extra actions. One takes a ‘Panchapatram’ and ‘udhdharani’ and does something making some sound. He does something called ‘Sraadham’. He calls brahmanas and feeds them. Will all this appease his hunger? No. He fetches stones from hill and constructs temple. That does not help him for residing. They lock the temple at night. It is not useful even as protection from rain. Of what use is it?
Some others do a number of things in the name of religion. Some quarrel over religion and break their heads. Do these actions not appear as unnecessary extra acts?
Applying Vibhuti, wearing Rudraksham, constructing temple, performing Sraadham, doing brahmana santarpanam (feeding and honouring)- all this can be characterised as extra activity for man, is it not? What is the benefit of such extra activities? In some places people dance in the name of bhajan. It dries up the throat; it has no relation with work in office. That keeps happening unnecessarily. Don’t all these activities appear unnecessary? Let us examine whether they are necessary, why they should be done and what their benefits are.
Why does man earn? Is it not enough if he appeases his hunger every day? If he begs somewhere, he will get food; he can also eat in choultries. He does not keep quiet thinking as to why he should earn, when he could get food. If one is asked to choose between a bellyful of cooked food, a measure of raw rice and cash of ten rupees, he would choose the cash. Why? His need is cooked food. Why cash? Cooked food is adequate only for one time. Raw rice will last for two times. The cash will be useful for ten times. Man likes that which will help him for a longer time.
Mother packs cooked food for the boy who goes to school. When we go to a place at a little distance, we pack rice and other things. In earlier times, there was no train service. One could not travel as he liked. But the new conveniences cause only financial loss in terms of expenses on train fare, restaurant, bus, coffee etc. Apart from these, if one goes to a large town, there is expense of buying new things. All these expenses are incurred these days. In olden times, for the number of days spent in another place, one would save on food expense at home; also, gain strength of legs by walking.
A story was doing the rounds about a person who spent his time with little expense cleverly in this manner. There was one Krishna Iyer at Chittoor near Palakkad. He set up a large bank. Out of the profit from the bank, he established a Pathasala to train more than 70 boys in Vedas and Sastras. Those who studied in that Pathasala used to study later in the Samskrit college set up by V.Krishnaswamy Iyer. There was another person called Muthu Ganapathigal at Tiruvaiyaru, who had also started a Pathasala like that. He arranged for some 100-120 boys to study Vedas. He organised food for those boys somewhere. For this he used as capital the cash he would collect by way of fine from employees, who committed mistakes. He taught Vedas himself. One day an office employee came there, saw the boys and exclaimed to the Vedic scholar: “You are spoiling these boys unjustly! What is the use crowding them here like sheep for ten long years? You have done nothing for their livelihood! Had they studied English, they would have come to a good state.” A person sitting next to the scholar responded: “By crowding them here without sending them for English education, half the expense is avoided. Whatever they would have spent on dress, cropped head, bicycle etc. had they gone for English education, is all saved now. That expense would have eaten up half of their earning. As that is saved now, it is as good as earned. The remaining half we make them earn with our teaching. Further even if they do not learn here, there is benefit by their not turning to English education.” This makes it clear that there were people in those days, who spent less and lived a fruitful life.
Even in those times, while travelling to a place at a distance of 50 miles, they used to carry rice with them. With increase in distance to be travelled, there is increase in the things we have to carry.
We do not think that it is enough to earn for a day’s food and that we need not worry about the next day. We accumulate for the next day also as we would suffer if any difficulty arose. We would not need money if we do not care for the next day’s wellbeing. When cooked food was given to servants, there was no satisfaction. Then they thought of supplying rice to them. The servants could utilise the quantity of rice as required and sell the balance. Only an unintelligent man will accept that which would be adequate for a few days. A wise man will go for things which would be useful for many days.
When we accumulate things thus for future use, how long do we plan for? One day? One month? One year? How much do we build up? A thousand? Ten thousand? The more we collect the better for our welfare. None knows the time limit upto which one should plan to be comfortable. The day fixed by Parameswara is the limit for that. But we wish to remain comfortable always.
Is this money etc. adequate to keep us comfortable even beyond the time limit mentioned above? All this will help only till the body lasts. There is no use thereafter. We do acts for remaining comfortable in future. We should do acts which would keep us in comfort always. We should no doubt do the acts which we are presently doing. In addition we should do something in order to avoid being in trouble at any time. We do not die at any time; it is the body that dies. After death we do not have these limbs. Like insuring for future, we should do things even now for keeping us in comfort for ever.
Suppose we live at the foot of a hill. We have a thousand rupees in our hand. All the cash is in the form of coins of small denomination. The thieves arrive at that time. If we climb up the hill and reach the other side, there is no fear. At that time somebody comes and asks if we need currency notes in exchange for all the cash we have. What would we do? We will immediately pass on the bundle of small change to him, get the notes in exchange, run up the hill and reach the other side. But the notes should be currency valid in the area on the other side of the hill. Our situation is similar now. If we do things useful for future using our present ability, we will not face any difficulty.
Somebody may ask: We should remain comfortable here; what is the guarantee about our future life? In case we live in future, should we weep then?
The theist (asthika) says that we live even after this present life and that we should therefore do good things. The atheist (nasthika) asks what certainty there is that we live in future. The answer is: if we do good things now and if we live a future life, it will be good for us. If we do not have a future life, we lose nothing. In both cases, there is no difficulty for the asthika. In case we have a future life, the atheist will be in serious trouble!
Hence to do good things is always good. If we have to travel to some place, our mind should be happy. When we travel after leaving this body, we will face trouble, if we have not done such actions here, which would remove those difficulties. We can find out from the path of Gnana the acts which would so protect us after death. For the deeds done now, even if there is no fruit now, there will be fruit later. Our ancestors have told us the truth about Atma, which Newton has now unfolded about physics. Our Sastas tell us clearly that every action has a reaction.
Christians do not accept life after death. But certain things, which they tell, show that they accept life after death without even their own knowledge. They say that after leaving the body here, there is judgement day and that the jiva goes to heaven or hell depending on acts done here. Though the body, which could be subject to pleasure and pain, rests here in a box, they say that the jiva experiences pleasure and pain being in another body. We call the same thing as life after death. Just as actions done here in this life influence pleasant and unpleasant experiences later in another body, there must have been a life earlier than this and the actions done in that life moulded our present experiences, is it not?
It is necessary to do certain acts which would be useful to us after this life also. The acts done for remaining in permanent joy are what we reckoned as extra acts earlier. Wearing Vibhuti and Rudraksham, doing Sraadham etc. are acts which will help us to remain in perpetual happiness. The more such acts we do now, they will help us more later.
Apart from those acts which will help us during our present life in this body, we should do acts which would help us permanently for crores of years later. The currency of our country is not valid in Russia. If we have a king common to all places, his currency will be valid everywhere. There is a king common to all the fourteen worlds. He is Parameswara. There is a currency of his, which is valid in all the worlds at all times. What is it? That is dharma.
At the time Rama was leaving for the forest, he went to Kausalya Devi for taking leave. Is it not the practice for the mother to pack eatables for the child who is going to another place? What to give to a child who is going away for fourteen years? She did not know. She thought deeply and said:
“Yam palayasi dharmam tvam dhritya cha niyamena cha|
Sa vai Raghava-sardula dharmas-tvam-abhirakshatu||” (Ayodhya Kandam 25:3)
“O Raghava! I am unable to do anything to protect you. Dharma alone is there (to protect you). The dharma, which you have been protecting steadfastly and with discipline, will protect you. That is the only blessing I can give”, she said. Dharma, which we protect, protects us later. The dharma, which served as protection to Rama, is the one which is valid in the vast kingdom of Iswara. In addition to acts we do usually for children, parents, native place, country etc., we must do such acts which will bring constant happiness to Atma. Let us enquire as to what those acts are.
We should surrender our acts to Iswara. Parameswara is the final limit of all Gnana. Once we surrender our act to him, that act will fetch us permanent happiness. If that act is not new, but something done traditionally by our elders, it becomes very easy. Even if it were a bad act, if it is not done to satisfy our desire or anger or for our physical hunger, and is done as an extra act and surrendered to Parameswara, it is dharma.
What dharma to practise? We are well exposed to dharma, which our elders have practised traditionally for many years. They have practically experienced constant happiness. It is enough if we get hold of that dharma; if we invent something new, it will be wasteful effort; there will be doubt as to whether it is good or bad. Hence it is better to practise dharma, meant for us and which has been practised by our elders all these years.
This means we have got to do something extra. That must not be for our hunger, family, native place or country. It must have come to us by tradition. It must be surrendered to Iswara. It must be done with steadfastness and discipline. That is dharma. That alone will give us permanent happiness.
All acts done by us with our three instruments, viz. mind, speech and body, should be dharmas. We have to exchange our currency into the currency of dharma. We must expend all our powers in that dharma alone. Dharma done in this manner will be valid at all places and times. This is what Kausalya Devi invoked as protection for Rama. The dangers Rama faced were very serious; Rama crossed them all with dharma alone.
Man should always do acts which would help in his going upward. Among creatures, all except man grow across. They are known as ‘Tiryak (cross) Pranis’. Man alone grows vertically. His form shows he is superior. If he is in the path of dharma, even other creatures will respect him. If he is in the path of adharma, even his own brother will leave him. This is clear from the story of Ramayana.
As Rama was in the path of dharma, even animals like monkeys helped him. As Ravana walked the path of adharma, even his own brother left him. (Though Ravana was in his own kingdom, he was not protected despite vast armies). One who follows dharma finds happiness at all places.
Hence that dharma alone will serve as the armour. If we practise dharma, not for our desire or anger or livelihood, but as extra act, traditionally handed to us, with steadfastness and discipline, that dharma will give us permanent happiness.
VEDA DHARMA SASTRA PARIPALANA SABHA
Translated by: P R Kannan, Navi Mumbai
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