Devotion for Dharma

இத்தர்மத்தை பிற்காலத்தில் எவர் காப்பாற்றினாலும் அவர்களை இன்றே  நான் அடிபணிகிறேன்
“I bow down to those who preserve this Dharma in the future

N. Sethuraman was highly patriotic and proud of the heritage of India. He not only brought out the dates and feat of the Chola, Pandya and Pallava kings but also the high moral values and ethics held by these kings. Every book and publication of his emphasizes the dharma (charity) performed by the ancient kings. N. Sethuraman’s devotion for the dharma performed by the kings and the preservation of this dharma by the successive kings including enemy kings, is evident from the following highlights taken from his Tamil publication “Munnaalile Kaariyam Irundhapadi” (முன்னாளிலே  காரியம் இருந்தபடி).

In the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, there existed loyal kings of small kingdoms under the then ruling Chola kingdom in Tamil Nadu. One such kingdom was ruled by king Kulothunga Prithiveeswaran. He carried out a dharma in the year 1195 AD. He built a Shiva temple in memory of his mother, in the town of Pithapuram. He donated lands and created endowments for the temple. He also inscribed these contributions in stone and copper plates. The inscriptions state these. “This temple has been built in memory of my mother. I have donated lands and created endowments for dharma. Protect this dharma. When one day, if enemies take over my kingdom, then let those enemies also protect this dharma. Because the enmity is between men. The enmity is not between man and dharma“. N. Sethuraman deems this inscription as great advise for the wellness of humanity. Thus he says that the governments can change over the course of times, however it is the duty of every ruler, every citizen to protect the dharma carried out by the ancestors.

The king Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan proved his ideals in action. He was crowned in the year 1216. He came victorious over the Chola dynasty who were ruling for close to 300 years. However Sundara Pandya gave the kingdom he won from the Cholas, back to the Cholas. There are two inscriptions, in the district of Pudhukottai, belonging to Sundara Pandya’s 3rd regnal year. They were both inscribed at the same time in 1218 AD. In one of these inscriptions, Sundara Pandya speaks of his victory over his enemy, the Cholas, by proudly stating how he brought to an end the 300 year old dynasty. Definitely this speaks of Sundara Pandya as a great warrior. In the next inscription, the attitude of the king completely changes. He portrays himself not as a warrior but as a protector of dharma. The inscription reads, “I renovated this temple. During this period some of the inscriptions were in a ruined state. The ruined inscriptions stated the dharma contributed by the Chola king Kulothunga I. Therefore I have re-inscribed these inscriptions and put them back on the temple walls.” He further states that “My enemy is the Chola king, not the dharma contributed by him”.

There is a temple in the district of Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu which holds the inscription of Parakrama Pandya. It is dated 1452 AD. He engraved these inscriptions in the form of 10 verses. “On this day, I bow dow down to those that offer services to this temple”. He further states, “On this day, I bow down to those who offer services to this temple on any day hundreds of years later”.

N. Sethuraman states that the persuasion on dharma in the inscriptions of the Chola, Pandya and Pallava kings of Tamil Nadu are so poignant that they touch our hearts. These persuasions are usually engraved at the last paragraph of their inscriptions. N. Sethuraman calls to attention some of those:

“The holy feet of the one who preserves this dharma resides on my head”

“Let those who preserve this dharma attain virtue as though they have dipped in the holy river of the Ganges”

“Those who destroy this dharma will incur sin”.

“I bow down to those who protect this dharma in the future”.

N. Sethuraman often mused over the disbandment of human values over the course of time. He envisioned a society with righteousness and dignity that were carried by the ancient kings. This culminated in his patriotic vision to protect the dharma, that is left behind in the ancient temples and scriptures. He reiterates in every book and publication of his, that these legacies should be preserved as they aid us in preserving goodness and morality in the society.