My duty is to impress upon you again and again that it is your responsibility to keep the Vedic tradition alive. Whether or not you listen to me, whether or not I am capable of making you do what I want you to do, so long as there is strength in me, I will keep telling you tirelessly: "This is your work. This is your dharma." It is for the sake of the Vedas that the Acharya established this Matha. So, no matter how I keep deceiving you in other ways, as one bearing his name I should be guilty of a serious offence if I failed to carry out with all sincerity at least the responsibility placed on my shoulders of protecting the Vedic dharma. That is why I keep speaking again and again, not minding the tedium, about the need to sustain this dharma.
It has not been all talk. A number of concrete schemes have been and are being implemented in pursuance of our ideal. I have come here to beg of you for your help. If you think I am not begging for your help, take it that I am issuing you a command to serve the cause of the Vedas. However it be, the work I have undertaken must be done.
Vedam odiya Vediyarkkor mazhai
Niti mannar neriyinarkker mazhai
Madar karpudai xnangaiyarkkor mazhai
Madam munru mazhai enappeyyume
According to this well-known Tamil poem, the earth will become cool and the crops will grow in plenty only if it rains thrice a month. It rains once for the Brahmin who chants the Vedas in the right manner; it rains once for the king who rules justly; and again it rains once for the woman who remains true and constant to her husband.
It is not in my hands to make sure that the rulers rule justly, strictly adhering to dharma. Sannyasins like me have nothing to do with the government. But I believe that, as the head of a Matha with the duty of protecting dharma, I have a responsibility with regard to the other two matters. How does a religious head see to it that a woman adheres to her dharma, remains true to her husband? The trends seen today are contrary to stridharma (code of conduct for women). I have the title of "guru" and so it is my duty to warn womanhood against things that are likely to undermine their dharma. When child marriages were prevalent there was little opportunity for women to go astray. If a girl is already married before she attains puberty she will develop strong attachment for her husband. If she is not married at this age she is likely to feel mentally disturbed. But our hands are tied because of the Sarda Act1.
But, if I have not entirely washed my hands of the subject, it is because of the hope that public opinion could be created against the Sarda Act and the government compelled to respect it. After all, so many other laws have been changed in response to public opinion or otherwise. Unfortunately, the attitude of parents and of women in general has become perverse. Instead of trying to conduct the marriage of their daughters in time, parents send them to coeducational colleges and later to work along with men. When I see all this I inwardly shed tears of blood: Jam losing my confidence in my ability to arrest this trend.
If Brahmins keep chanting the Vedas, the rulers will rule justly and women will remain steady in their wifely dharma. It is in this hope that all my efforts are turned to maintaining the Vedic dharma.
You must make a gift of your sons for this purpose, also of your money. Well-to-do people must help children of the poor with cash so that they may be encouraged to learn the Vedas. We need money to pay the teachers, to buy books, to administer the Vedic schools. We have drawn up a modest scheme to raise funds. You pay one rupee a month and in return you will receive (by post), apart from the blessings of the Veda Mata (Mother Veda), the prasada of Sri Chandramaulisvara after the puja performed to him at the Kanchi Matha. If you send your donation mentioning your nakshatra [the asterism under which you are born] the prasada will be sent to you every month on the day on which the asterism falls.
Nowadays, we receive "chain letters" invoking the name of Sri Venkatachalapati (of Tirupati) and with the threat added, "If you don't send copies of this letter to such and such number of people, you shall turn blind or shall be crippled." Out of fear many people make copies of the letter to be sent to various addressees. I too sometimes wonder whether we could do something similar to promote the Vedic dharrna!
I do not ask you much - just one rupee a month. Don't you pay the governrnent taxes, whether or not you like to do so? Take this - the one rupee - as a levy imposed by me. It is a tax you pay to run my government, my Sarkar which is no bigger than a mustard seed2. You deny yourself a bit of your pleasure for this, your outing to the beach or your visit to the cinema. You will thus carry out a fraction of your duty and my duty will have been fulfilled.
The Child Marriage Restraint Act came into force in 1929 mainly through the efforts of Harbilas Sarda. The Paramaguru speaks more on the subject when he comes to the marriage samskara,. This discourse must have been given before the comprehensive new Hindu Code came into force.
In comparison with the vast government establishment.
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