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Social Services and Sri Vaishnavism: part I

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Thu Jul 12 2001 - 19:46:56 PDT

Dear BhakthAs : Dr.Sadanand and Sriman Rajagopalan 
and other BhakthAs have posted insightful articles on
the subject.This is a very important subject .The subject
is not confined to Sri VaishNavaas alone but it is
valid for all VadhikAs , who accept Vedham for
their different darsanams.

VedAs have given a lot of  attention to this Subject.
Sri AgnihOthram RaamAnuja TataachAriAr , a great Vedhic
scholar has published a valuable book called" Eternal
Relevance of VedhAs " ..TT DevasthAnams published this 
book in 1985. I recommend it to you highly.There are 12 
chapters in this book. The following four chapters have 
a lot of relevance to our subject matter on Social 
services (Obligations) of any one . More so for VaidhikAs,
who believe in Vedhams . These four chapters with ample
quotations from Samhithais are :

1) Consciousness of DharmA
2) Creation of Social Consciousness
3) Political Consciousness
4) Economic Cosciousness 

I will refer to some passages from these chapters
to serve as food for thought :

** Dharma , Artha ,Kaama and Moksha are the Four
PurushArthAs ( Life-aims). Among them , Dharma 
comes first because it permeates in the other 
Three. ..Dharma means a way of life, to be followed 
here in this life. In its essence, it means discipline. 
VedhAs say: 

    " DharmO visvasya Jagatha: pratishtha:
      DharmE Sarvam prathisthitham ".
(i-e)., The entire world civilization is rooted in Dharmam.

** Coming to discipline(Dharmam ) , VedhAs focus on it 
under the titles of Rtam , Vrata .Violation of Dharma is 
equivalent to violation of Divine Law. Dharma is classified 
under Svadharma discussed by Lord Krishna ( SvadharmE nidhanam 
srEya: paradharmO bhayaavaha:). Lord Krishna warns that 
human beings must strictly follow their dharmas , even if
they injure them.He says further that following one's 
prescribed duties is itself a worship of God.

** All dharmAs are taken as Character and conduct also.
They are termed  as CharanAs ( Ways of Life). From 
the practical point of view , Dharma is taken as CharaNA .
The Famous sambhAvanA manthram  dealing with "CharaNam "
contains deep upadEsams on the Vedhic way of life ,
character and social consciousness, service to fellow 
human beings. This Vedha manthram is as follows:

" Charanam pavithram vitatam purANam yEna pUtas
  tarathi dushkruthAni tena pavitrEna suddhEna 
  pUta: athi pApmAnam aratim tarEma , lOkasya 
  dvAram archimat pavithram jyOthishmat bhrAjamAnam
  amruthasya dhArA bahudhA dOhamAnAm charaNAn nO lOke 
  sudhithAm dhadAthu "

(Meaning): " Character is purifier . It is extended to
all walks of life and it is ever new (PurANam: PurApi 
navam is purANam according to Niruktham). By following 
good character, one can cross all bad actions. Purified by 
such character , one can cross even the sins . It is 
the entrance gate of life. It is always shining, having
a lustre. It can give glory and immortality in many ways.
Such CharaNAa must bestow upon us good thinking".

This lack of character results in tragedy that kills
knowledge and good thinking (Paapa: prajAnAm nAsayathi).
Character makes man a divine being worthy of worship
because one with good character and anushtAnam 
protects himself and othrs also . A man with rtham
leading a dharmic way of life inspired by character
(Charana) ultimately attains Moksham , while helping
others .

I will provide additional thoughts for reflection
on Social consciousness , duties to fellow humans 
from Sri AgnihOthram RaamAnuja TatAchAr's monograph
in the next posting.

V.Sadagopan 


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