THE MAHASVAMI OF KANCHI
I could have remained alone peacefully in any village offering pooja and absorbed in meditation. But those charged with the duty of study of the Vedas should not leave the Vedic studies and they should do everything to preserve the Vedas. Veda is the cornerstone -- root -- of all our religious discipline and culture. The Sanathana Dharma enshrined in Vedas should be maintained in its pristine purity for all times to come.
It is the duty of the Brahmins to do what all is necessary to maintain the glow of the torch of Vedic Dharma, not merely for the present but also for posterity. The superiority of Brahmins is a misnomer. It was never intended to pamper the ego nor to look askance at other communities as something inferior. The Brahmin who was a repository of Vedas was intended to cater to the spiritual and material welfare of the ENTIRE community; to lead an austere and simple life, have Adhyayana of Vedas, Vedangas, (ancillary sciences - aids to interpret Vedas) and meditate on the Devathas (Cosmic centres of divine power) of Veda mantras invoking Divine grace for the welfare of others. This has to be one in a spirit of dedication without expecting any return.
People gather in thousands only in cities. Therefore, it enables me to talk to a large number of them directly, instead of remaining in a remote corner of a village and talking to a few and who in turn, convey them to others. It is only on this consideration, I am coming to cities, although, Mutt discipline suffers considerably, causing inconvenience to you, to me and to one and all.
At enormous cost you compete in erecting shamiyanas and "Pandals" from place to place and notwithstanding great personal inconvenience, you gather to listen to my speech. My mind does not however, permit me to talk without touching on your faults, though it may upset your mind. After taking all your money, I feel it would be purposeless if I go away without telling you what I consider good for you, the country and the world. That is why, I am repeatedly telling you "preserve and protect" the Vedas and those who are making efforts for the same -- namely Vedic families engaged in the traditional way with Achara & Anushtana in Vedic studies, those who work for their continuance, and those who follow the ancient Dharmas.
Whether I have the strength to make you do it or not, I have come to at least din it into your ears repeatedly "Do this, do this".
You shower gold on me, you observe elaborately the festival to mark my ascension to the "Peetha". Out of your affection you are taking pleasure in this activity. For this purpose, you elect committees, work day and night and make collections. But how can this shower of gold be a permanent feature for the "Mutt", for all future "Acharyas"? If there is no Veda, where is the need for the "Mutt" or for a Pontiff? Therefore, I ask you to direct this enthusiasm (in arranging, showering gold (Kanaka Abhishekam) the festival to mark the ascension to "Peetha") by doing everything necessary for the preservation of Vedas, form committees, frame rules and arrange for funds for achieving this objective.
It does not matter, if the preservation of Vedas cannot establish a living for life today, but your work will certainly go down in the annals of history as a lifelong service for the generations to come. Under the auspices of a cooperative movement, from village to village, please start classes to impart one hour daily the Adhyayana of Veda Mantras and their application in life, to boys commencing from their eighth year, for ten years. This is the real shower of gold for me, festival etc.
Nothing is possible without hard work. If we voluntarily take a job, do we not willingly bear all difficulties? If there is a possibility of getting a big post and earn more money on completing certain studies conducted by certain University in a certain continent, we immediately ask for the syllabus and make all arrangements to sit for the examination there. We do not mind the difficulties involved. Should we leave the Dharmas exclusively meant for us, because there are difficulties? Work carried out under difficult conditions gives more benefits, more sense of achievement.
I am happy to see in the cities the tremendous developments in conducting Bhajans, services in temples and Pravachana of "Puranas". Yet if you allow their root i.e. the original, the Vedas, to decay, how long can the other activities survive? That the father as Guru, should impart Veda to his son has been the tradition. Because this duty has been forgotten, the religion has started shaking. Because the Brahmins have neglected the Adhyayana, there is so much strife, troubles, and opposition that we see in the world today.
I am not worried that casteism is dying out. What I am really worried is about the decline in the prosperity of the world. I am worried, if the Vedas and its repositories are lost, it would be impossible to create this generation again.
"World prosperity" is not merely the gain out of chanting of Vedas or performing "Yagnas". High ideals could be achieved by the study of Vedas, even by people of all countries. From these ideals, everyone attains spiritual upgradation. How did the people of other countries get the curiosity to read the Vedas? When they came to India they found a group devoting their entire life to the preservation of Vedas. They asked themselves, "what is this (Veda) which makes people to sacrifice everything and concentrate only on its study." They became curious to know about it and started research. They learned many things. They learned from the researches particularly about the unity in the different cultures, all over the world. My opinion is that apart from being useful, in the beginning Vedic culture was prevailing over the entire world. A thorough research by others will lead to the same opinion. When it is known that there is one common bond serving to unite people, different in their ways and habits of dress, food and worship, there develops world unity and equality among different religions. In our very country if there is no separate group sacrificing every thing for the sake of Veda, how can others get a liking to it? If we too leave it as useless subject how can others get interested and try to understand its ideal? Because of our indifference, we become responsible for denying others the benefits that are given to humanity by the Vedas. For the sake, not only, of all communities in our country but also people of all other countries, it behoves on the present generation to ensure preservation of Vedas and the continuance of Vedic tradition. Without doing this, there is no gain in your showering gold on me.
You may then ask me why I agreed to the "Kanakabhisheka". Because I accepted it, all of you are gathering like festival crowds. I get many people to listen to me. It serves my purpose. That is why I agreed to fulfill your wishes.
If the prevailing hatred, ill-will and anger are to vanish, those who are born with the duty of preserving Veda, should show them by action, by a simple, peaceful living. Others may not understand the effect of it immediately. The society may not see the difficulties if the study of the Vedas is forgotten in the same way as they see the difficulties when shops are closed due to "Hartal". But in fact the loss due to stoppage of Vedas is immeasurable. That the life-long sacrifice of some for the preservation of Vedas will be of benefit to the society will be realised by all in course of time. It is the Veda which prescribes so much discipline as is required to raise man to his real stature. There are various disciplines for man alone, various disciplines for the society. Discipline means laying "Bunds".Can there be a lake without bunds? If the bunds are removed on the consideration that the flow of water should not be obstructed, all water will go waste; the village will be ruined. What is amazing is that our religion which has the maximum discipline has become one without any discipline whatsoever.
I am wandering from village to village and giving lectures ceaselessly with the object of converting to the discipline, those who ought to be the guides to the society.
In short, what do I want you to do? Bhagwan Shri Aadi Sankaracharya before He left His body gave short pieces of advice through five verses. I am telling you what He uttered in the beginning of the very first verse "Vedo Nityam Adheeyataam".(Learn /Chant the Vedas everyday).
Instead of crying that everything has gone and that whatever is left will also vanish soon, it would be proper for us to start the habit of preserving the good things that remain and see that they grow further. If we act in that manner, even those, who are at present following the wrong path will take to the right path in course of time.
It is with this confidence I am putting into your ears about the ancient customs. I do not say it is superior because it is "ancient". But you should not discard it saying "it is useless", just because it is ancient. You should not consider one acceptable and the other not acceptable because it is "modem" or "ancient". Acceptance should be only after examining its usefulness. Let us accept the modern if it is good. Reject the old if it is bad. Similarly, let us reject the bad in the modern, take the good ones from the old. Even Kalidasa says so.
I gave lectures on other subjects. I have spoken about Bhakti, Jnanam, customs etc. They are good subjects. Yet they are only like branches, flowers and fruits. Their origin has a root and that root is "Veda". Without the root there is nothing. There is no point in telling about other subjects leaving this subject of Vedas behind. If this ancient subject is to be discussed, shortcomings have to be told. After spending some days with you, talking about other subjects and after having moved as one among you, even to me friendship and liberty with you, have developed. I need not therefore hesitate to point out your shortcomings.
I have therefore taken up the subject of Veda. Have I not come here mainly for this purpose? Still can I abruptly start talking about my mission? After you, who take considerable pleasure in welcoming me, finish your work, I can talk to you about my work. Preservation of the Vedas is that work.
I am asking you, like Vinobaji, to give me one "Sampathi Daan". Everyone should study (Vedas) daily and make your children do it -- let this be on one side. It is no doubt an important duty. There is another work much more important than this i.e. Vedic Schools are slowly vanishing. You should, apart from preventing their closure, help them run Veda Patashalas continuously uninterrupted. For this purpose, you should give financial help both to the students and the teachers. Further, you should establish many more schools to teach Veda, to teach their meaning and to conduct tests on these subjects. During the period of studies, the students should be given stipends. On passing examination, suitable prizes depending on marks obtained, should be given. Veda can exist only if you do so. For all these, funds are necessary.
There are certain Trusts for this. Many have given lands separately. Like Vinobaji I received "Bhudaan". Land Ceiling Act has come. We cannot say what will be the title to the land. That is why I am asking for "Sampathi Daan".
Every month on the day of your Birth star, put one Rupee in a Savings Box, remembering me (am I not asking you to give?) On your birthday add another five rupees. This is an increase made recently because of the increase in cost by way of postage charges. At the end of the year send the accumulated amount to Veda Rakshna Nidhi Trust. (Now this amount stands enhanced to Rs. 100/- p.a. because of steep increase in all costs )
You are spending a lot. You pay taxes. This is the tax I levy on you. For me you have to pay a rupee a month. Thus if everyone does this, just like the saying "Many drops make an ocean". Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust will become self sufficient.
OF ALL THINGS, THE ONE I CONSIDER THE MOST IMPORTANT IS THAT THE VEDAS SHOULD BE PRESERVED SOMEHOW OR OTHER, AND HANDED OVER CONTINUOUSLY TO THE NEXT GENERATIONS .
If you ask why there should be Veda,
firstly, if the sounds from the chanting of Mantras and the Vedic Yagnas, and connected services, prevail in the world, there will be great prosperity for all.
Secondly, if unity and peace are to be established, people of all countries, will have to know that Veda was once a Universal religion. For this, there should be a group in our country dedicating their entire lives for the Vedas. In order, thus, to have prosperity and mental peace, now and for ever, not only in our country but also all over the world, I am emphasising that preservation of Veda is very important.
There should be no Brahmin in the next generation who has not studied Veda. Nowhere it is said that Brahmins are for controlling and for ruling others. For the sake of unity in this country as well as all over the world, I am asking that Brahmin should preserve the very ancient Dharma he is possessing.
It may be asked how the existence of a small group here in our country is going to cause prosperity to the whole world. Take a power house. Only four persons are working there. But the whole town gets light. If those four persons do not work, the whole town goes into darkness. Similarly, it will be sufficient if there are only a few to hold the Vedic Flame for universal prosperity.
What is the difference between "for me" and "for you"? Both "you" and "I" are the same. My work is your work. If the Veda is saved, that is the work which gives the greatest credit to all. By doing it, you get prosperity.
OM TAT SAT
Courtesy: Vanati Padhippagam , Madras, A free translation from the compilation of the speeches by His Holiness Kanchi Paramacharyal as published by "Vanati Padhippagam " Madras.