Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Mar 10 09:58:21 CST 1998

On Sat, 14 Feb 1998 Chelluri at AOL.COM wrote:

>                                          Brahmaiva Satyam
> This discussion is interesting.
> I want to talk about several matters but like to see the response first how
> the members feel about the following.  All I am going to post has relevance to
> advaita.
> Jnaani/Jeevanmukta
> I have great reverence to paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti peetam.  In his
> presence mind becomes quiet and I feel nothing.  Absolutely nothing.
> Incidents.
> My cousin, she is now 70 years old. She was married when she was 12 and her
> husband died 6 months later.   She remained a widow "cause of the tradition.
> She told me the following.
> She along with my father and other members went to see Paramacharya when she
> was 20.  Attendents of Acharya stopped her at the door and did not allow her
> to go in to see the acharya.  They told her 'cause she is widow she can not go
> in.  When they are telling the reason, a DOG went thru without any obstacle.
> She asked me although she is human she did not worth as much as that Dog.  She
> asked me why?
> I told her her when I know the answer I will let her know.

In our shastras a code of conduct is prescribed.  It is not uniform, there
are variations for times, places, castes, gender, and stages of life.
Plus there are certain things where we are given a choice of actions.  In
each case there is a right and wrong way.  It is human beings which have
the power to make that choice.  In a sense putting the dog in the same
position as your sister is a false comparison.  The dog was not going to
see the acharya, it was just moving around a prisoner of its own animal
impulses.  Your sister had the choice to do or not do and the intellect to
comprehend it.  This makes us a much higher being than the dog even if she
couldn't enter.

As another post has pointed out religion provides a discipline and it is
not realistic to assume it will always coincide with ones own wishes.

> Second Incident.
> My relative told me the following.
> Everybody is in line to receive Tirtham (holy water) from Paramacharya.  When
> a young tamilian girl took her stand, Swami refused to give her tirtham.  At
> that moment it seems the young girls husband died and swami refused to give
> her tirtham. A telegram came from Madras stating the girl's husbad died and
> she is widow.
> I dont understand the reasoning. Do you?
> When I went to see him in late 80's I have seen widows in the line and there
> was no problem.  Does the acharyas react to times?

There is nothing wrong in wondering why people do things.  The best way
to know is to ask them.  I don't know exactly what you mean by tirtham.
Either we don't have this ceremony or it is called by some different name.
But if it is some kind of blessing than that may be why the paramacharya
excluded the widow.  According to our shastras a widow is amangala and
should not be involved in blessings.  I don't think that means she should
be excluded altogether because on the contrary some authorities say a
widow should spend all her time in religious activity.  Several widows
(and widowers) are invited to my wedding and I see nothing wrong with them
taking part but they will not be involved in the vidhis etc.

So why did the paramacharya adopt a stricter attitude than was required.
The answer I think is that the shastras ony pescribe the minimum.  Those
who love dharma try and go beyond the minimum.  For instance on Ekadashi
days there is a fast.  But that is interpreted to mean one should eat only
one meal.  Like some people I don't eat at all.  This is a higher form of
the vrat which I do because I like it and am strong enough to do it but I
could not condemn someone who just did it the normal way.  They are
fulfilling their duty.  In the same way if the present acharya isn't as
stringent in this case as the previous one it doesn't neccessarily mean he
cares less or anything.  Maybe the next one will again be more stringent.

Hope this answers the question.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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