SRI CHANDRAMOULISWARAYA NAMAH
SRI GURUBHYO NAMAH
SRI KANCHI KAMAKOTI SANKARACHARYA MAHARAJ MUTT
1, Salai Street, Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu- 631502
DHARMO RAKSHATI RAKSHITAH
VAIDIKA DHARMA IS PROTECTED BY PROTECTING BRAHMANATVA
ACTION PLAN FOR RISE OF BRAHMANA SAMAJ
Sanatana Dharma has been the foundation stone of Indian civilisation and culture for millennia. Iswara incarnated himself as Sri Adi Sankara in the land of Bharat about 2500 years ago for resuscitating Sanatana Dharma and showing its antiquity and superiority and thereby the path of well being of humankind.
By way of a practical step in order to activate this process, he established Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Math in the ancient and historic Kanchipuram town in Tamilnadu and became himself the first Peethadhipati (Pontiff). He set up Srichakra in the Kamakshi temple in front of the Devi and took his seat on the Sarvagna Peetham. Right from those ancient times 2500 years ago till now the unbroken tradition of glorious Acharyas has carried out their responsibilities with devotion and dedication in accordance with the instructions of Sri Adi Sankara and provided the necessary vision and leadership to the entire society in religious and spiritual fields.
The basic support of Sanatana Dharma and Sri Adi Sankaracharya’s principles is primarily the brahmana group of society, as told by Bhagavan Sri Krishna himself in Sri Bhagavadgita. For the protection of dharma, good conduct and character of the entire humankind, it is primarily the brahmana who is the capable and responsible medium through the power of his mind and intellect.
Owing to historical reasons, inexorable flow of time, the consumerist tendency of the human mind and extensive spread of materialism, unexpected changes have happened in the character, conduct and ordinary behaviour of the brahmana caste in individual and group level in the past few years, particularly in the present twentieth century, resulting in a blow to the well being of the entire mankind. Owing to the determination of permitted and prohibited acts for brahmanas through systems of government in the process of human development through centuries, there has been a very close cause –and- result relationship of the high and low nature of the brahmana’s conduct and behaviour with the conduct and behaviour of the general public.
In consideration of the above facts and, being anxious over the fall in the conduct and outlook of the brahmana community in the last fifty-sixty years, Parama Pujya Acharya Mahaswami Sri Jayendra Saraswati and Bala Acharya Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswati have instituted many steps for removal of defects prevalent in the brahmana community in order to control this trend, to increase awareness and sense of responsibility in brahmanas with respect to the defects in the present era and to bring the conduct and behaviour of this preeminent group of the nation to the right path. Description of some of those steps is given below:
1. Free Upanayanam of deserving boys in 8-12 age group. The maximum age for upanayanam is fixed at 16 years in the Sastras. After 16 years, this samskara loses its meaning and effectiveness. It will be appropriate to mention here that people financially strong should not only bear the expenses for conducting this samskara for their children, but also donate extra money so that the organisers of this samskara can meet the expenses of upanayanam of financially weak brahmanas’ children, resulting in the availability of this facility to weak brahmanas free of cost.
2. To make such new brahmacharis proficient in basic Vedic study and other rituals- learning Sri Rudram, Chamakam, different Suktas and simple and easy-to-memorise portions of one’s own branch of Vedas and compulsory observance of Sandhyavandanam and other essential rituals.
3. After completing the processes mentioned in items 1 and 2 above, teaching of Samskrit. Samskrit is the mother of all languages and is such a medium which contains exhaustive fund of knowledge of Vedas, Sastras, Itihasas, Puranas and Mahakavyas. Students do not face any problem in learning different languages in a young age. In fact, for each and every boy and girl in India, it is essential to learn the Devabhasha (divine language) Samskrit, Rashtrabhasha (national language) Hindi, world language English and mother tongue.
4. Arranging classes of classical music for students of schools and colleges (boys and girls).
5. Arranging religious classes so that the students may memorise the verses etc. for worship of different gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. Included in these verses will be illustrative examples like Sivanandalahari, Soundaryalahari, Bhajagovindam plus stotras and bhajans in different regional languages like those of Alwars and Nayanmars in south India, Sant Gnaneswar in Maharashtra and Mirabai and Jayadeva in north India.
6. Arranging bhajan classes where the children will learn the different singing styles of Ashtapadi of Sri Jayadeva, kirtans of Sant Tyagaraja and religious bhakti music composed by other scholars.
7. To run a centre where children will learn making of yagnopavitas (sacred threads) and use of takli and charkha for making thread from cotton.
8. To confer proficiency in preparing good cassettes which detail Sandhya-vandanam, Oupasanam and other essential daily rituals prescribed for brahmana community so that the cassettes can be played on such occasions like upanayanam etc.
9. Printing, publishing and distribution of books detailing Vedic mantras and rules of observing rituals mentioned in item 8 above and stotras and bhajans mentioned in item 5 above and making these books available to the general public free of cost or at very low prices.
10. Training children in mantras and rules of observance of different auspicious, religious samskaras like Punyahavachanam, Abdapurthi, Aksharabhyasam, upanayanam etc. It must be remembered that forty samskaras, commencing from Garbhadhanam, Pumsavanam and Seemantham and going upto Antyeshti (Post-death), are compulsory for every brahmana. Though it is not easy for the youngsters to learn the procedures of important samskaras like marriage, yagnas etc., it is certainly possible for them to memorise the mantras and learn the procedures for performing ordinary samskaras.
11. Teaching the procedure for preparing Vibhuti, kumkum etc. at home.
12. Teaching the rules of performing rituals like Panchayatana Pooja as laid down in Sastras and about the materials required for such rituals.
13. Teaching the youngsters on the right eating habits, the need for eating satvic food, avoiding food from restaurants as far as possible, economy in expenditure (the old saying, ‘simple living and high thinking’ refers), cultivating the habit of savings, the basics of banking etc. In short, living lofty life with minimum comforts without acquiring wealth greatly in excess of one’s own mundane necessities.
14. Cultivating good and time-honoured habits- like development of feeling of oneness, compassion and benevolence towards diseased, handicapped and deprived people and providing economic assistance in the service of people.
15. Arranging voluntary social service in hospitals and health centres, serving the diseased and persons awaiting death, organising help at the time of death. In our Indian tradition and culture, organising help in the final rites of dead persons in the neighbourhood is reckoned to be the highest service.
16. Organising classes for teaching English, simple mathematics, social science, history and geography so that the youngsters can become the best and capable citizens of the nation. These classes should be organised free of cost for economically disadvantaged members (brahmanas) and where possible, these classes should be organised for the general public also by levying very little fees.
17. Organising free hostels for brahmana children in classes 6 to 10 and providing simple dwelling, food and pure and healthy environment. They should be kept away from sensuous entertainment as students desiring acquisition of knowledge should live simple, hard, pure and ordinary life in our tradition. Our aim should be as in the proverb, ‘Live to eat or eat to live?’. It should be compulsory for students living in such hostels that they perform acts of compulsory daily purification, do rites like Sandhyavandanam thrice a day, perform Agnikarya (Samidadhanam) in morning and evening, wear simple dress free from show and engage in such conduct, by which the youngsters develop into ideal men, worthy of emulation as described in our ancient culture and civilisation.
18. Establishing old age homes for aged, weak and deprived members of the brahmana community. In this matter also the brahmanas, who are economically strong, should donate somewhat more than they spend on their own personal needs so that the expenses on weak and disadvantaged brahmanas can also be met. Here also the principle enunciated in item 17 above will be applicable.
Such old people can live in these old age homes who have spent their mundane lives completely in their homes; but whose ardent desire in the evening of their lives after taking retirement from service is that they should get an environment in which they could spend peaceful and satisfied lives in their last days free from difficulties and pressures and perform some religious activities and ordinary individual observances.
19.Establishing hospitals and clinics in different centres where modern, ordinary as well as most modern treatment could be made available free of cost to weaker sections of the brahmana community as needed during illness. In these efforts is also included making available economic assistance to those existing hospitals which are in need of guidance and financial and other assistance.
20. Establishing Veda Pathasalas for imparting Vedic education as per established practice to individuals/ students who are eligible to receive such traditional Vedic education.
21. Setting up centres in different places, mostly in cities and towns, where the residents of those places could perform Aparakriyas (post death rites) for their dead forefathers. Nowadays it is almost impossible in most cities for middle and economically weak classes of people to perform, as per prescribed procedures, such obligatory samskaras in their own residences like flats. People feel the crying need for such specially designated places.
Efforts are also needed in the direction of providing facilities to the brahmana community by way of specially designated centres for performing sraaddhas for their forefathers as per prescribed procedures and availability of different materials required and Purohits for performing sraaddhas and assistance in preparation of food etc.
Aachaaram (conduct as per tradition) and proper environment are very essential in Aparakriyas and annual sraaddhas and it is very difficult to meet these two requirements in one’s own individual residence.
22. Organising tours for students in schools and colleges to factories, industrial establishments, trade centres and commercial offices and religious and holy places situated in different parts of the country. Bearing the expenses on such tours in society as a whole.
23. Imparting to men and women of the brahmana community, knowledge of rules of performing vratas, rituals, Deepa puja etc., chanting of stotras in the places of worship at homes morning and evening and procedures of performing different Pujas.
24. Habit of wearing traditional Vedic apparel after bath and visiting nearby temple once in the morning or evening as per convenience should be inculcated in religious minded men and women of brahmana community. Habit of regularly going to temple should be inculcated even in small children. Habits formed in childhood continue till end of life. While visiting temple, purity of mind, words and actions should be maintained. By chanting stotras on the way to the temple, while in the temple and on the way back home, this type of mental attitude will be formed, which will pave the way for easily obtaining the grace of Iswara. This is also the most crucial purpose of forming the habit of going to temple.
25. Adopting the principles and traditions of Dharma sastras in the matter of naming the newborn child. In our society it has been the very ancient and time-honoured practice to name the newborn baby (male or female) after the names of gods and goddesses of Hindu pantheon. The main thought behind this is that the number of times the names of such children are uttered, uttering the names of Iswara, gods and goddesses that many times will automatically take place, resulting in acquisition of merit. In addition there is also the practice in most families of giving a special name to children for religious and spiritual pursuits, this name being that of the (paternal) grandfather or grandmother. For mundane purposes like use in school and service, there is also the practice of giving the child a worldly name, which does not violate the provisions of Dharma sastras.
There is no doubt that in order to put into practice the above plans of action, sufficient funds are required. Hence you are requested to assist in this effort by extending your help with body, mind and money and be the recipients of the grace of Iswara and Guru.
V. Ramanatha Iyer, Officer-in-charge ‘Punyabhumi’,
Adminstrative Office: “Kamakoti Sankara Kripa”,
1089, Sector 8, R.K.Puram,
New Delhi- 110022.
“LOKAH SAMASTAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU”
Translated from Hindi by: P R Kannan, Navi Mumbai
(These points were said by His Holiness Bala Swamiji and recorded by an old scholar Shri Vaikunthanath Upadhyaya of Varanasi who had the fortune of accompanying His Holiness during his yatras in north India & Nepal during early ninties.
The material was printed in Delhi by a devotee many years ago. )
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