We are living in a time where an incident occurred due to some reason somewhere in
the world affects other parts of the World. A war is going on in Palestine and there is a
heated discussion upon that war at Palayamkottai. An election is to be held at Italy and
discussions take place here about which party shall win in that election. Hence, we are living
in a time where the relations with the outside world increased and also steadily getting
Living means not by giving the great responsibility of enriching the life of our country
and the lives of its people to someone who came from a country afar or not by giving to
someone whose head is adorned with bejewelled crown or to someone whose hand holds a
sharp and powerful sword. Now the situation is that the people has taken over power of
ruling themselves and proclaim they are the rulers of the country. The world too knew it very
well. In order to draw the world’s attention towards us, we had spoken about the speciality of
this country and its power that too in a poetic language.
Moreover, we were proud enough to declare our country as a golden one which has
no parallel in the world. We were also singing aloud that we have high and mighty Mountains
touching the sky, perennial rivers, fertile lands, great gardens which produces sumptuous
fruits. We have pearls in our seas and gold in our earth. All this is OK. But if someone asks
us about the condition of our education, we are in such a condition that our heads are down
with shame. We may say there are Vedic scholors, philosophers, and divine persons in our
country. Still some are repeating this for the umpteenth time. But if we enquire Kannan
whether he can put his signature, he moves around his head in a negative way. Muthan says
he forget how to sign. Of course Muniyan put his signature. But except the first and the last
letters, the remaining letters are nothing to do with his name. Majority of the people in our
country are in such a condition. A sharp sword; A powerful shield; Brave enough chest. But
the eyes are with less vision. Such a situation will not enhance the prestige of the country or
lead it to a good rule. Our Country’s situation should develop in proportion to world situation.
To achieve this, the condition of the house should be changed.
The goal of Library for every home is the basis for the plan to change the prevailing
situation in the country. World will not simply respect a country with its mountains, rivers or
its treasures alone. It will respect only the mental wealth of its people. So, mental health is
the basic requirement to achieve this goal. That too it has to be done very quickly. In our
country, Illiterates are in majority. This is the greatest curse. But is there enough mental
health among the literate? Are their homes cultivating good qualities to give enough
strength and beauty to the country? Are their homes are like gardens which produce good
ideas to the country? Only a long pause is the answer to these questions. If we don’t want to
hide the reality, if the world has to respect the conditions of our country, this situation should
be changed. If we try harder, we can surely implement the plan of ‘A Library for every home’
and enrich the mental resources of our country. We have more resources before us unlike
our predecessors. In their days, beside a forest, beside a river, beside a hermitage while the
students are sitting under the shade of big banyan tree, their Guru (Teacher), after finishing
his morning ablutions will come and teach them. It was a time writing in palm leaves with a
sharp instrument. Now is the time world is coming into our homes and shows us its beauties.
Now I am speaking and all of you are listening. Now we are many miles apart. Neither I nor
you are hermits. We are speaking and listening is not because of some boon bestowed upon
us by some rishi or God. It is an instrument brought forth by the science. We have got it. In
the days of our predecessors there is no such instruments.
Despite such advanced instruments, why there is very less mental health among us?
Because there is no effort on our part to increase it within our homes or to safeguard it. We
are not searching for such avenues.
Take most of the structure of our present day homes. There will be a hall. Beside that
there will one or two rooms usable for special occasions in the home. One of them will
always be locked. In the other room there may be a cradle. The child sleeping in that may be
disturbed by some other child. The elder child may go to mother and complain about this.
She will reply “go to puja room. Your father will be there. Tell him about this.” But he will not
be there. He may be taking rest near the cattle shed in the backyard. Our homes are more or
less like this only. It may have Puja Room, secluded room, Bed room, Kitchen etc. But if you
search for a room exclusively for books or reading, it will be difficult to find. In many of these
homes, books may be kept beside windows, above the pillars and even inside the Pillaiyar
Maadam (A hallow place within a wall to keep a lamp in the evenings). If you ask the owner
of the house whether he had any library in his home, a benign smile will come up on his lips.
The meaning of such smile is this is a home. Are you mad asking for a library here?
There may be table, Chairs, bureaus. Silver plates various kinds of utensils, Panneer
sprayer may be kept in those almirahs. It may even hold brass utensils. There may be
clothes like a small shop. Even medicines may be there like a tiny hospital. Even in homes
such as this, you may not find a library. Such a thought never occur to them and no
necessity develops for it.
They may point out that this brass pot was purchased at Srirangam. Other one was
purchased at Tirupathi when they went to attend the wedding of Deva. This plate was
purchased when they went to see a bride at Bellary. This carpet was bought during the
Karthigai Deepam Festival at Tiruvannamalai. This was purchased during the Arudhra
festival at Chidambaram. Likewise they may point out many pieces of utensils with details
when, where and on which occasion they were bought. But they won’t point out any books
mentioning the time and details of its purchase.
Like giving attention to the decoration of our homes, to the implements used during
festival days, attention should be paid to build a library in every home even if it is a small
one. While we are living at a time where knowledge has become the weapon, not giving
attention to this is indeed an act of treason committed in an indirect manner.
Every home should have a library. After the basic necessities of life, the next place
shall be given to library. Instead of paying attention to decorative pieces, items of enjoyment,
the library should be given attention next to the essential needs of life. Food, clothing are the
basic needs. After fulfilling those needs the first place should be given to a library at home.
How much it will cost? Where the money will come? Some may raise such questions.
Many of them may not be able to buy books as required. To fulfil such needs, Government,
Municipalities, public welfare organisations should arrange public libraries. However, homes
should have a method of collecting books necessary to improve basic knowledge.
Besides acquiring new knowledge, we need many books to remove or forget some
pieces of knowledge acquired already by the people. They already knew about the sceneries
of Kailash, the impact of Vaikundam, the significance of Varalakshmi vradam, Thumbru of
Narada, Mridangam of Nandi, the notebook of Chitragupta, about Naragalogam, the benefit
of moksha, the beauty of Indralogam, the ethereal beauty of Menaka who dance there. They
knew Arumugham. They also knew about the peacock he rode on. They too knew about the
tussle between Valli and Devayani, the wives of Muruga. They have acquired knowledge
about all these and more.
If you ask where is Nandidurga Hills? What is the name of our finance minister? They
will not answer. The birth place of Cauvery? Won’t bother. Why there is no water in Palar?
Not a word to utter. How many textile factories? Don’t know. How long the river
Thamirabharani is flowing? Mum’s the word. What is their District’s dimension? They don’t
know. What is the income of the City? They don’t know and won’t try to know. But they know
Hanuman Prabhavam. They can utter the effect of going around Pipal tree. They can even
describe in detail stories on Vedhal, voodoo etc. They don’t know who had invented the train
they are travelling. But they can blabber about the holy water touched upon by feet of
Karunananda Swamigal, whom they will have darshan after getting down from the train, will
cure many illnesses.
Such is the mental strength of our people and they are in majority. Our present day
world is taking up research on the destructive power of Atom bomb and on the creative
power of racing towards the Moon. Our country is part of this world. Is it correct one? Those
who believe in the future of our country will not say it is correct. They will also say, it is not
correct. But what to do? To dispel such mirages from the minds of the people, every home
should have a library. Knowledge about our world should be instilled in their minds. It should
hold books to know about their country; to know about our world. Not specialised books.
Some books which provide basic truth of our time.
Those who have some wealth should create a habit of collecting book on the
occasion of some special functions in their homes; while returning from a place as a
momento; while awarding prizes for best efforts; Such moves will result in building up a
library very easily.
While collecting books for our homes, enough attention should be paid not to include
those books which sustain unnecessary and harmful thoughts already crept in the minds of
the people. If included, the minds will not be strengthened; instead it will become a marshy
land. It will be mired with old and regressive thoughts.
Planning for a library at home will not be successful if it consists three types of
Panchangams, an old bundle of panchangams, Pavalakodi malai, Panchamirtha Sindhu,
Bold type Vikramadiyan Story, the story of Vedhal, Harichandra’s Burial Ground chapter etc.
The mental strength we aspire through a library cannot be attained through such collections.
It will be like making the country suitable enough for the scoundrels.
Books which provide knowledge of the world, knowledge of useful activities should
be collected. Collecting books which instill old ideas and methods and naming it as a library
will result in a comical situation where the blind are collected in a place and christening it as
the Abode of Pathfinders.
In a library developed after getting enough in life, first place in the library of every
home should be given to the history of our country, books on various countries in the world.
Generally the library should have books which will give its readers clarity in their knowledge,
improve their courage and strengthen their discipline in place of books which proclaim our
living place as unlivable one, introducing Maya in their minds and obstruct their self
confidence or books which ridicule women and instill a belief in fate.
A library should have an Atlas, not Panchangam.
In this basic issue we should show our honesty and will power. Then only building a
library in every home will pave the way for the clarity of our thoughts and increase our
mental strength. It will also sustain our country. We cannot invite a tiger to tie-up a garland
and we cannot expect a sandal flavor in muddy water.
Out geographical knowledge showed fourteen logas. Those days our philosophy
justified even the necessity of human sacrifice. Our historical knowledge says that a king
ruled for 10,000 years. On the rights of women, it proclaimed about a good natured wife took
her husband in a basket to a brothel house. Our scientific knowledge said about a river of
fire and a bridge made of hair upon that river.
Getting books which instill those thoughts into our library at this hour will really harm
the interest of our country.
To give us an insight of the world we should have geography and history books. In
order to instill honesty, discipline and path for our living every home should have a copy of
Likewise we should have books on Sangam Literature written in a readable manner
to know the specialty of our Tamil Nadu. At the minimum, books which provide information
about many scientific inventions and to help the growth of the people and their life style.
Life histories of those who laid their lives during the independence struggle, those
who have purified the minds of people, those who have visited far off countries and those
who were great warriors.
If we are able to build such a library in every home, surely it will enrich the country
beyond measures. Yes. Every home needs a library. But it should contain books that remove
our ignorance and lead us to the path of progress.