Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Epics as a Reference

The Mahabharata is the final referance point of our village people - the stories they quote from it are sub plots that i had not heard of even. Eashwaramma's son-in-law, almost blind, poorer than poor, holds the people rapt as he tells stories from the Bharatam into the night, sitting on a mat spread before his hut.

Ratnakka tells me, referring to the Mahabharatam, "The gods themselves had to go through all this, what about us humans". The people say as they hear the stories, "what was difficult even for the gods will be difficult for us also ...", and find strength to struggle. 

The Pandavas practiced goodness and still suffered - so the worth of goodness was questioned by some, someone asked. But the question is whether the Pandavas themselves had felt that goodness had been worthless. It was Eashwaramma's logic again, that the reward of goodness is always given - and the reward is manashanthi. Peace. At having let belief and act harmonize.

And then the scriptures say that there is peeda - which is part of life, which comes and goes. And dukham which is different and which one needs to transcend. Peeda, pain, cannot and need not be avoided. In the village Ratnakka said, 'If we are born as people, there will be sufferings. Even the Gods suffered, see."

The scriptures talk of  the Kunti stotram ... where Kunti begs the god to keep her cup of sorrows full - as that keeps her thoughts close to God. Annasamy Anna told me the same thing - how the mendicant who begs for his daily meal is most fortunate because he remembers god all the time.

Everything that is in the Geeta or the Mahabharatha, I am able to find echoes of in the words and stories of the common, illiterate people of the villages.

Prasad Krishnan .. I think it is wrong to say that 99% don't have a clue about what the Upanishads say. Every Hindu has some understanding of the underlying understanding. For instance, 99% Hindus would probably intuitively believe in (a) Aandavan being everywhere (immanence) unlike Abrahamics (b) Rebirth (c) Karma and the rule (d) Value of following ahimsa-satya.
They may not phrase it in the same language, but doesn't mean they don't understand it intuitively (and hence doesn't mean they are not motivated by it if they really believe it).

One has to merely look at works (especially the lyrical/puranic) of the the various saints of this land in their own vernaculars to understand how much this level of understanding was quite common.
These are the ABCs of Hindu Dharma. Anyone who believes in these is Hindu. And nearly every Hindu has an understanding of these, in my somewhat-uninformed opinion. I don't know of any evidence to the opposite.
Not everything any Brahmin says can be slotted into "Brahminism" as defined by the left.


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