Sri Ramajayam. This Vedic culture exists even today (though impoverished) and Arthur

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1 Sri Ramajayam Religion A cry from the depths From time immemorial past the prime Vedic culture dominated our peninsular India i.e. Bharat.. The Tamil saints (Azhwars) have made mention about the chorus recitation of Vedas in their respective poems which are collectively known as,divya prabandam. The loud voice raised in chorus during the Veda ghosha was like the roaring sea. Barring the few pilgrimage centers of North India, the rest of the 108 divya desams scattered over South India followed the Agama mode of worship. If the information contained in the verses of the said prabandam are any indication there existed thousands of Brahmin families dedicated to the study (adhyayana) and recitation of Vedas in temples while performing service to the deity (sevas) and during ceremonies at home and social functions involving Vedic rituals would quite often be a rhythmic flow in numbers referring to the Vedic culture consisting of 3fires, 4 Vedas, 5 maha yagnas, 6 fold Vedic profession / 6 limbs (angas ) of Vedas, 7 fundamental notes (swaras of music) and at times the sequences would stand completed with the mentioning of the 8 directions of propagation of Vedic culture. This Vedic culture exists even today (though impoverished) and Arthur MacDonell pays glowing tribute to it (page 8 of the First Edition published in 1900) Sanskrit is still spoken as the tongue of the learned by thousands of Brahmins, as it was centuries before our era. The Vedas are still learnt by-heart as they were long before the invasion of Alexandar and could even now be restored from the lips of religious teacher if every manuscript or printed copy of them were destroyed. The wedding ceremony of the modern Hindu, to single out but one social custom, is essentially the same as it was long before the Christian era. The beauty and freshness of ideas in Rig Vedas, ceremonial mantras of Yajur Veda, the musical rendering of Sama Veda, and prayers couched in lilting melody of the useful lores of Atharva Veda by their fervid devotion, boundless optimism and moving faith This rich Vedic tradition or culture has suffered a catastrophic decline if we go by the observation made by Sri. Krishnaswamy Iyengar in his article written in the year thodox prescription is fast disappearing and the circle of persons that can repeat faultlessly the whole of the samhitas is fast diminishing. It is the Vedas that are the foundation of the Hindu religion and no devout Hindu can neglect the preservation of such a noble heritage. There are a few savants of Krishna yajus, but in the case of Shukla yajus or Sama or Atharva, scholars have become so rare that they have now to be sought after and with them if there are a few anywhere, such learning will soon become extinct! Needless to say that seventy years later the situation now in 2010 is no better than what it was.. The one primary cause for the decline may be for the lack of support for the Brahmins themselves. The state or the Government has miserably failed to support the rich Vedic culture.david Fawley squarely blames it on anti-brahmanism - Vamadeva Shastri (allias David Fawley) makes the following candid observation They are the real false Brahmins who, devoid of spiritual values use their influence in 1

2 the Government, media and educational system to denigrate the great spiritual traditions of the land. The blaming of Brahmins is a good play for groups who stand to make political gains through anti-brahmanism They (Brahmins) have not disappeared. This is because behind the Brahmin class, are spiritual values which however often people fail to live up to them, cannot be ignored. The idea of a class of society devoted to the spiritual pursuits standing above financial and political motive is a great idea that needs to be instituted again in one form or the other all over the World. It is time for the anti-brahmanism to be questioned. Anti-Brahmanism is no more acceptable than anti-semiticism or negative stereotyping of any class, religion or ethnic group. The basic values that the idea of Brahmin class represents-like truthfulness, simplicity and compassion-are good and laudable in any enlightened culture. s- Veda, Vipra and Vishnu. We may ask what constitute the adorable qualities of a Brahmin? The answer is given by Gitacharya in Bhagavad Gita chapter 18 verse 42.(BG 18.42): They are nine qualities such as control of the senses and the mind, austerity, purity forbearance, uprightness, general knowledge, spiritual knowledge and indomitable faith in religion. The ninth one, namely faith is a priceless virtue of a Brahmin and is explained very beautifully with copious references, taken from Bhagavad-Gita itself. He has followed it up by making a special mention about it in Srirangagadhyam. A penitent appeal to God for forgiveness is i. For the title of this article we have borrowed the definition of religion given by a Christian monk. According to him : Religion is a cry from depths. The noblest nature among men has been a religious one. No soul of mighty faculty of sensitivities are strong enough to sound the depths, fine enough to feel the heights, of this world history and grandeur, has been an indifferent, irreligious soul. They have bowed to the royalty of religious truth, either by joyful possession of it or by their cry for it. Only the surface of our nature can nourish an aesthetic plant. When its depths are ploughed the latent seed of faith begins to germinate. The most popular verse, given below, is from Draupati. It is prescribed for daily remembrance during Sandyavandana. her modesty was outraged Bhagavad-Gita it e heart was torn asunder with the prospects of in the battle field at Kurukshetra. in waging this war. I feel better to beg and live the life of a mendicant than kill and enjoy the comforts of a kingdom. I am confused about what is righteous and what is not. O Krishna, enlighten me about what is ultimately good for the soul. I surrender un. 2

3 Duryodhana suffered depression although for different reasons. That is why the first chapter of Bhagavad-Gita is titled as Vishâda yoga and for a full length discussion about it refer to our article in Saptagiri magazine. In this materialistic world of today, one wonders whether at all it is possible to practice spiritualism; Western scholars themselves have condemned man obsession with machines. Bertrad Russell in his bo The Impact of Science on Society Satan.. Robert SD Ropp describes this tan in his book The New Prometheans :- A gigantic machine of destruction has developed in our midst and is swallowing up an ever greater fraction of our resources. Even if we do not fall a victim to this Moloch, we face other dangers.over crowding maddens us, our cities are seething cauldrons of unrest, our fostering megalopolises poison air and water, our agriculture lays waste the soil on which it depends, our insane above writings were written nearly a half a century ago. To get a feel of insane greed one can read books such as Dilip H the earth - market under God. According to the Indian author Gurucharandas (from his book The difficulty of be, the great epic Mahabharata can teach valuable lessons even in modern times he ferocious competition of interest and passions that Duryodhana exemplifies is a feature of the free market. The only remedy for the soul, drowning in the sea of greed of materialism, is to look away from it and resort to spiritualism as advocated by Ramanujacharya. This is typified in the tanian dedicated to him. th en unbecoming low simile we refer to the passage describing this Ramanuj ure and softened by devotion, melted and as he was massaging, tears rolled down from the corners of his eyes like flames of fire and fell on the thigh of Yadava. Now there is an attempt by the politicians, who in collusion with certain religion leaders, want to steam roll and bring all the Hindus under one banner sarva samaya samarasam. This can only destroy faith and with the loss of faith the values are bound to vanish. What is desirable and what has been invoked from time immemorial past is the time honored toleration. Artificial unity mongering is and fatal to the religion. (from the book olerance or E Close on the heals of the menace posed by equalization within Hinduism, is the threat of conversion from outside. This sensitive issue will be found thoroughly discussed in the book on conversion which has several articles contributed by leading religious leaders who are still doing yeoman service to protect Hinduism and enlighten the Hindus. The agenda for the politicians can only be an economic one and should never enter the domain of faith. 3

4 The law courts of India, in the various judgments have upheld that Hinduism is a way of life. The manual for the way of life is th code of conduct of humans is popularly known as manava dharmam or Sanathana dharma. Its essence is contained in the life of renunciation known by the jargon Sanyasa ashrama. The life of a sanyasin is well established in Ahimsa. For a detailed discussion the reader is invited to our article Saptagiri Jan The word Hindu is himsa dûyathe which means the one, who feels aggrieved at or causing injury (himsa) to others. (vide Merutantra ) The word Yathi is synonymous with sanyasi and Ramanuja earned the title Yethiraja i.e. king among Yathis. What an irony of fate that the self same Yadhavaprakasha who was, turned a new leaf and became an ardent disciple of Ramanuja himself. At the instance of Ramanuja, a treatise on the code and conduct of an ascetic (Yethi dharma Samucchayam) was written by Yadavaprakasha.. Swamy Deshika, in his poem Yethiraja Saptati waxes lyrical on the life, works and philosophy of Ramanuja in seventy four lilting verses one for each dedicated to the seventy four mutts established by Ramanuja. The following verse describes the pleasing form of Saint Ramanuja In the above verse person is mentioned. It starts with the sacred thread (yagnopaveetha),which is the hallmark of Brahmanism. The thridanda, the staff held in the hand is the distinguishing feature of the order of a Sanyasin. (The Tridanda formed by combining three vertical sections spliced from a bamboo stick is said to represent symbolically the three restraints of thought, word and deed).the caste mark (pundra) on the forehead is un-mistakably that of a Vaishnavaite. The upward pundra is symbolic of up-liftment and up-rightness. The avatar of Yethiraja is the result of good deeds (punya) accrued by countless inhabitants of the three worlds. The purpose of this avatar is to show the path of surrender as the means for salvation. All these particulars can only pertain to a Vaishnava sanyasis and particularly to Sri Ramanuja The penetrative mind of Dr. K.C. Varadachari has investigated the deep malaise affecting the modern society: Our present world has been more tried than the past because of the chaos introduced by science. What is the pattern of the chaos? It is indeed the triumph of technique over the values of life which refuse to conform to the scientific pattern of law. These are values more important than what science has been able to assure; Law indeed is the promise of science and whilst giving us laws it has also made Man has been cheated out of his freedom by the growth of outer system of The forces that he has unleashed and can unleash yet, are precisely the forces that can also smother him, entirely. Further, the values so very necessary for his individual comfort and solace also seem to wither away under the strain of the modern search for 4

5 mechanical power yoked to the ulterior demands of vital and political power. This then is man has to pay for security. Freedom is the price that man has to pay for the purpose of survival in the modern dictator-ridden world of scientific men. Mephistophiles did not offer a greater gift than the Modern dictator. And what does he offer?. To keep the animal needs alive and abolish the spiritual and the abolished, his freedom condemned in the name of the collective and the universal. mother of all lamentations proceeding from the depths of oneself. Either we evolve into a divine being or we perish. As Coleridge puts Again referring Man can triumph over animal as he has already done so far even in this race for universal love and power. The power so far has been through love of his body but the prophets and rishis envisaged this day when there is more need to save the soul and the individual than his body. Culture is the preparation for the great emergence of the divine and not as man. fragmentariness of these values. They catch hold of some one value artha or kama economic materialism or hedonistic materialism or the cross between them which is to day known to the world as the industrialism of the capitalists or communistic variety and so distort the Soul and understanding of man and by a procrustean method almost annihilate the one thing that culture seeks to preserve, the freedom in the world by a superior realization of the freedom that belongs to the essence of existence of oneself. It is only when man becomes really man or human that he can be trusted to use the knowledge and powers that science grants wisely and for all. Else it can become a menace not only to humanity and civilization but to life itself. Such a disaster to civilization must at all events be averted and finally be made impossible. To avert we have the niggardly League of Nations and compromising League of Intellectual Cooperation. But to make it impossible, is wanted a genuine culture of the individual, the discovery of his immortal essence, Supreme Spirituality and integrality and humanity. In other words what is required is the finding of the uniqueness of each individual, his self which is Supremely Divine. This is the Supreme truth, The whole of the Vedic civilization is the effort started at the very dawn of history to prepare for this great future step that mankind must make :- the study of the Upanishads, the Aranyakas and the Brahmanas in this light of the preparation of man. Building up man in the Devine by the Devine light and force and delight is a revelation to which there is no parallel in history or pre-history. This is the sacred literature of the Aryans capable of being and in fact calculated to be the sacred Revelation of all humanity Veda. Vedas can be many but there is only one Veda. The integral four fold Veda of the ( Complete works of Dr. K.C. Varadachari vol. 9 p 357). 5