Sunday, December 6, 2009

Padhuka sahasram

Introduction to “Thiruppadukamaalai”
    By Vaikunthavasi Sri R.Kesava Ayyangar

Last posting appeared on November 10, 2009  can be read

                                             from here


          The word “Politics” though it began well, has in course of time acquired an odium and has a tale to tell. In popular usage the word has a synonym for “dirty game”. One of its meanings, according to a writer on Politics, is “blind free fight”. The dictionary meaning of the phrase “engage in politics” is the “strife of rival parties”. Such is the modern meaning of the word, and that meaning tells its own tale. Predicting the nature and function of rulers in Kali age that holy sage Suka said “ Robbers in disguise” and “rulers will devour the people”(35)  The former is presumably their inter-statal, and the latter their inter-statal function. Historians and philosophers have borne testimony to the truth of the sage’s prophecy. Seneca complains :-  “we are mad not only individually, but nationally. Why do we restrain homicide and the murder of individuals but glory in the crime of slaughter which destroys whole nations? There are no limits to our greed, none to our cruelty. And as long as such crimes are committed by stealth and by individuals, they are less harmful and less portentous; but cruelties are practised in accordance with acts of senate and popular assembly, and the public bidden to do that which is forbidden to the individual” (36). To such rulers and states Seneca and Lucan have given the appellation of “robbers” (37). Cicero says:- A pirate being asked by Alexander from what wicked motive he infested the sea replied “from the same which leads you to infest the whole world” (38) Quintus Curtius cites the instance of Alexander to whom the Scythian ambassador said “You pretend to be the punisher of robbers and are yourself the general robber of mankind” (39). Lactantius says” Men captivated with appearance of vain glory give the names of virtues to their crimes”(39) Speaking of Philip, Justin says:-“ In deciding a dispute between two rival kings he stripped both of their dominations with all the treachery and violence of a robber.”(39)  According to Seneca, states were “bribed into bondage” by Philip and “ruined” by Alexander (40). He adds other names also to the list in that Epistle. The sage Suka, in his infinite mercy for mankind, has not stopped with the horrowing description, but has also prescribed the remedy for it. That remedy is, in substance, the service of man in his freedom from selfdom. That service is the theme of the author’s poem

                         …………………To be continued
(35). Bhagavata XII. 12 .12; XII 13.32.  (36) Epistles XCV (37) Seneca. On Benefits !.13.3 Cf Hugo Grotius on War and Peace Book II Ch.I wherein they are quoted. (38) Republic. Book III. 15& 23 quoted in Hugo Grotius, ibid. (39) Quoted in Hugo Grotius on War and Peace and in Campbell’s Note. Book II Ch 1. pp.174 and 175. V. 1.1: Cf. also Kelsey’s Note ibid Justin calling them “Robbers” is quoted. (40) Epistles XCIV