Friday, February 28, 2014

Wrinkle-Free or Guilt-Free ?

Have been very apprehensive about publishing this post . Has been lying in my drafts folder since 2009 along with a dozen other drafts infected by the writers' block bug !

Think it was 1990 or 1991 when I  first had a darshan of Maha Periyava,   Kanchi Shankaracharya at Kanchi mutt . Didn't know much about him or his teachings till then . But there was something about that visit that made me read his teachings more out of interest than out of spirituality then . Found his teachings so appealing and till date never get tired of reading his teachings or about  his devotees personal and spiritual experiences with him ...

One of his  teachings which struck a chord and touched a very sensitive nerve in me was about not using silk made by killing tens of thousands of live silk worms for a single saree .

Following a guru and following his teachings , I reaslised were mutually exclusive . looking at the number of devotees who were seen wearing silks for reasons of  'madi' while taking Periyava's Blessing .
To use a  modern jargon -  Periya was a true Rogerian who was totally non-directive in his approach and teachings  . He would still smile with benevolence and bless all with equanimity . A true avatar indeed and feel blessed  to have received his blessings twice while don't feel worthy to even sing his praise .

His grace that I decided to give up silks from then. Though by then I had my First Silk saree which I got for my sisters wedding . That I thought would be my one and only silk saree in this life time .

But it was not to be  so . Have to be honest here and share my biggest regret  .

1995. My marriage dates were finalised . And what I feared the most, happened . Volcanic amount of tension arose as I refused to buy Silk for my wedding . In fact those days , Nalli's used to sell something called "Periyava koorai pudavai "..which was a cotton version of the regular Tambram maroon colour wedding saree.

Dialogues went on for days ... It was a lone battle. Unfortunately my best commander was on the opponents side . ( My to- be- DH !)

Tried my Trump card . If I have to wear silks made by killing tens of thousands of silk worms for my Wedding... I requested that let Kanchi Periyava's name be not mentioned in the Wedding invite - the traditional Yellow -Pink vernacular Invite which usually starts with the line " with the blessings of Kanchi shankaracharya "  which is a customary format followed by our family irrespective of whether we follow his teachings or not .

All hell broke loose . Was branded as the most precocious daughter-in-law to be . The family periyava's overruled the real Periyava. Ended up with four silk sarees .

My biggest and only regret in life till date .

Have never forgiven myself for this . Felt that the Bride in me just gave up easily .

But didn't let that powerlessness last . Stopped wearing those silks and have never bought silk since . Life went on smoothly  despite the  alternate crumpled cotton options !

Volcanoes are dormant . Again one erupted when our daughter was born .. Everyone felt not wearing silks was my deal and it should not be thrust on an infant . Hmm.. waited till she was able to comprehend my reasoning for saying no to silks . She used to Love Pattu paavadais . But one fine day when she was about 8 years while we were at Kanchipuram ..she declared she too would  stop wearing silks made by killing silk worms .

More power to us . The volcano is inactive now and did remain so when it had a very good chance to erupt once again . My sons Upanayanam ! The priest asked for the 'pattu ' . And I handed out the Cotton variety .
He thought I didn't understand and repeated it by stressing "pattu" .   DH looked the other way and  family Periyava's giving be angry , annoyed and a few unmentionable-emotion soaked looks . ..

With a silent prayer I blurted out my rehearsed lines - " we follow Periyava's teachings , so No pattu " ! The family priest took a minute but gave a smile and said "There is nothing else to say " and gladly let us proceed with the cotton and Artificial silk.

Why would I dither to publish this  post  ?  You may wonder ...I feared being  labelled  Judgemental ,Condescending  , Patronising  and  being  side-lined as Miss goody two shoes or still worse a new-age Snob !

What has changed ?  for the fear to give way now to this post .. you may ask. I  Guess my own clarity of thought and the certain adamant will , conviction and bindass attitude that is acquired  as we puff and pant over the hill .

Fearless forty- plus  , I would say , when you try  to do all that you could not at  Tentative Twenty-plus !

Have a lot of good friends and loving family who wear silks . This is not in the least meant to offend them or preach my ways .

It is just that ,I don't want to end up with a bigger regret of not expressing myself . With a hope that those who understand my reasoning will move into a higher plane in the relationship ..

Have bundled up my Regrets -a.k.a the four silk sarees not knowing what to do. Wondering if I should give it away .. but not sure if I am right in passing over what I think is sinful .

Just what do you do with Regrets ??!

Confused as ever . Will I ever get to change my blog title .. ? Sigh,

But have enough clarity to drape myself  in only cottons . May not be wrinkle-free and as smooth as Silk .

But definitely guilt-free !



Admire you for the courage of your convictions.

Viji Ganesh said...

Thankyou Raji Muthukrishnan for the nice words and dropping by my page !

durga said...

I love the way you do what you truly believe in. Continue to be like this for ever. Most of us start our life thinking 'Log kya kahenge'. God bless you.

P S Iyer said...

Passion, purpose.

The silent power of conviction.

Am reminded of Rabindranath Tagore's quote

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
Rabindranath Tagore

Viji Ganesh said...

Thankyou Mr Iyer for those lovely words...

Radha Natarajan said...

Wow! Amazing read. Had me in splits in some places esp the part where the vathyar asks for pattu ..;-) . On a serious note you are a terrific writer sincere and so spontaneous ! Love your free frank style and would love to read more . Truly enlightening . Admire your firm stand and sticking up for your beliefs .

Viji Ganesh said...

Thankyou Radha for dropping by my blog. And such generous ,kind words . Makes me want to write more ...

Panchanathan Suresh said...

So what if you lost the battle with those 4 sarees, but Kanchi Mahaswamigal will be so proud of you Viji, for standing up and defending the Right Causes! That too even at such a young age at the time of marriage. How much Clarity and Bhakthi even then.

Such a beautifully written post!

Viji Ganesh said...

Thank you Panchanathan Suresh for dropping by my page and for the kind words.