By Periyava

Translation From Tamil By V. Krishnaraj

மதத்தின் பயன் : தெய்வத்தின் குரல் (முதல் பகுதி)

Usefulness of Religion: Deivathoin Kural (part 1)


C:\Users\krishnaraj\Documents\MY ADDITIONS\PQ\PERIYAVA\UsefulnessOfReligion1-23.docx.   

 தர்ம-அர்த்த-காம-மோக்ஷங்களுக்கு ஸாதனமாக இருப்பது மதம். இந்த நான்கையும் புருஷார்த்தங்கள் என்பார்கள்.  சாதனம் = instrument; equipment; device; aid; contraption means, medium 

Religion is instrumental for Dharma-Artta-Kāma-Mokṣa, called Puruṣārthas (Meaning of man).

The four goals are 1) dharma = righteousness; 2) artta, or wealth; 3) kāma, or pleasure; and 4) Mōkṣa, or liberation. In Tamil Dharma is Aram or virtue. Arttam (அர்த்தம்) is wealth. Kāmam is pleasure. Mōkṣa is Vīdu, abode of God or liberation. Arttam follows Dharma and means ‘To think of want.’ Whatever Puruṣa (man) thinks of as necessity is Puruṣārtha. What does he regard as wants? Since we of lesser maturity think of money and possessions, this earned the name ‘Arttam.’ Economics book, we call Arttam. Arttam gives a temporary insignificant happiness Our Acharya observes this Arttam (wealth) is a big Anarttam (meaningless and useless entity) in Bhajagovindam and this Arttam, having been given to us, confiscates the wholesome Mōkṣa.

Object of Human Pursuit: Moksa or Liberation

Man thinks of being forever in happiness with no deficiencies. Happiness is twofold: Temporary and Permanent. Kāmam is evanescent pleasures of all worldly kinds.  Mōkṣa or Vīdu is permanent Supreme Bliss. Those who are not familiar with the Supreme Bliss think of and want sensual pleasures.

What we really want or need is the fourth (Mōkṣa). What is commonly asked for is sensual pleasure. Eating dinner gives us pleasure. Being a High Court Judge is another kind of pleasure.  When we receive a welcome address, that is again a pleasure. These pleasures are not everlasting. These minor pleasures, earned by whatever means, is wealth. It could be grains, cash, house, or slaves. Wealth is the instrument of pleasure, which we enjoy, experience over a short duration and are done with.  The same pleasures we long for soon thereafter.

The everlasting Supreme Bliss, thought of as nothing superior, is Mōkṣa. That is Home (Vīdu = வீடு). We wander all over town. We are in dire straits.  We aspire to go home. There is one in the jail. When he exits the jail, he goes straight home. Vīdu (Home) means liberation. We are in the corporeal Jail (the body). We think the body is us. That is wrong. (We are the soul enclosed in a body.) The body is the jail for us. Our true Vīdu is Blissful Mōkṣa. We should remain in our Home leaving the jail. Swamy (God) incarcerated us in the jail as punishment for our crime of Pāpakarmā (Sinful activities). Swamy reduces the prison time, pardons, and discharges us from the prison. While remaining in the jail, we should not commit more sins and increase the jail time. Freed from jail, we should try to enter the true Home. That Home is the limitless Bliss. The Supreme Bliss transcends time, country, and matter.

I am leaving to the last, the Dharma, the first and foremost in Puruṣārthas. Virtuous deed is Dharmam. In Tamil, the first saying goes, ‘Desire to do Aṛam.’ Though Dharma is a virtuous deed, it is a word for Giving.  The beggar supplicates, ‘Serve Dharma, O Dharma Mother.’ We use the compound word, ‘Dhāṉa-Dharmam’ – Giving, the Virtuous Deed.  The Tamil meaning of Dhāṉa Sāsanās is Aṛa-k-kattalai (societal service, trust). From the said viewpoint, giving what is ours is Dharma. If we gave what is ours to others in the previous life, that giving in the present birth yields issue (offspring, progeny = Benefit, dividend received) for our benefit. The purpose of Dharma is matter.  As matter is an aid to Bliss, Dharma is an instrument for matter. It is just not giving only! Whatever Dharma you give to others in goods and services, they return to you as fruits in the form of goods. Not choosing or expecting reciprocal wealth for your goods and services, leaving the fruits to the will of Īśvara, not expecting any fruits and doing self-dedication, which guarantees removal of impurities and attainment of Supreme Bliss. Dharma standing for Giving is the instrument for attainment of Home and Supreme God. Dharma is conducive to wealth, and through it conducive to Bliss and when done with no ulterior motive or expectation of fruits becomes the instrument to attain Vīdu (Liberation).

If you do Dharmam, you get means, with which you can do more Dharmam.  Arttam (means, wealth) is instrumental for Dharmam. Trivial pleasure neither finds fulfillment nor is instrumental for others. The water poured on hot sands disappear. Likewise, trivial pleasures, neither fulfilling nor instrumental, destroys the mind, wealth, and Mōkṣa, and self-destructs.  But giving up the small pleasures is difficult. Religion came into the fore to help us gradually give up the trivial pleasures and take us from trivial pleasures to Supreme Bliss. Religion directs the mind first to Aṛam (Virtue), advises how to acquire wealth with honesty and integrity, instructs how to enjoy permitted pleasures until the onset of maturity and how to give up the said pleasures, and points to the eternal Bliss that is Vīdu or Mōkṣa.

Mōkṣa is obtaining freedom from bonds and enjoying total freedom and eternal Bliss. Religion was established for us to attain Mōkṣa.

It is obvious that people did not get permanent wellness. Religions appeared on the horizon to bring wellness to humanity. That state of eternal wellbeing is Mōkṣa. Only when we give up chasing after worldly pleasures, everlasting wellbeing is obtainable. Dharmic order and favorable community life become necessary to attain the declared goals. The religion, whose aim is Mōkṣa, has established these Dharmas. The elders understood what we call Dharma is religion.

Subject to Māyā Sakthi’s imperative, we became humans and think we need these trivial pleasures. What we think we need is Arttam (அர்த்தம் = wealth). Though we do not need wealth and pleasure for our total wellbeing, our elders gave in to our human nature (and needs), and made these parts of Puruṣārthas.  The elders listed Dharma as the first mandatory injunction to induce and inculcate Dharmic feeling in man; Dharma in turn will prevent wealth and pleasure (அர்த்தம், காமம் = wealth and Pleasure) causing wholesale ruination of man and keep the twosome under a measured control. Just as we believe we need wealth and pleasure as a necessity, we should regard Dharma as essential. Under these circumstances, Dharma will pull and remove the poisonous tooth. Dharma will take us to the most essential destination of human life, Vīdu.