In india in the days before the Christian era, there were no pagans. In the days before the Islamic era, there were no infidels. In the days before contemporary science, religion was respected, the air was not polluted, nor was the water; the lands flourished, and family life was strong. Extended families worked together, obedient to the laws of the land, to the religion that guided them through life; and to their parents, grandparents and great grandparents homage was given. "Those who bear children of blameless character will be untouched by evil for seven births," the weaver declares, alluding to reincarnation and encouraging prayer before conception to reach up to the upper worlds rather than down to the nether worlds to embody a soul. In Indian cultures dedicated to ahimsa, corporal punishment in homes and schools was not as much in vogue as nowadays, and in the purest of traditional ashrams it was totally unacceptable as a systematic method of education.


Home life was strong. Parents loved their children and spoke with them of God, Gods, gurus and of the laws governing family life that this section of our weaver's weft explains. It is here that praise is given for well-behaved youth who make parents ponder, "By what great austerities did we merit such a child?" The weaver puts great stress on hospitality, explaining that the whole purpose of maintaining a home and earning wealth is to provide hospitality to guests. Speaking words of praise with a cheerful smile, gratitude, giving help in the hour of need, possessing self-control, virtuous conduct and gracious hospitality--all this was the way of the day.


He offers a new look at wealth, observing that if one is profoundly impoverished yet remains just, the world will not regard him as poor. A good lesson for us in today's world. In the chapter on self-control he alludes to the Brahmaloka, or highest heaven, explaining that self-control will place one among the Gods. Then he refers to the Narakaloka, or lowest Hell, by saying the lack of self-control leads to deepest darkness.


The weaver says, "Morality is the birthright of high families, while immoral conduct's legacy is lowly birth," inferring that what was done in a past life determines the joys or pains in the next, and what is done in this life will affect the one to follow. Adultery was a "no no" then as it is today: "Hatred, sin, fear and disgrace--these four never forsake the man who commits adultery." This wisdom seems to be drowned in the free-flowing freedom of expressive life that today floods the world, but now we may turn to Weaver's Wisdom, pulled from the deep past and dressed in American English and modern Tamil to persist into the future of futures.


He explains what great goodness the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, will do when envious, inharmonious conditions arise in the family, saying "Fortune's Goddess, intolerant of those who cannot tolerate other's success, introduces them to her sister, Misfortune, and goes away." On and on, leaving no stone unturned, the weaver explains that we have the duty to form and maintain a society of excellence, and gives us the tools to do so. Any nation or community can benefit from this wisdom, now released into the world language of today.


We have been careful to maintain the weaver's gender distinctions within each verse, as well as the literal meaning of his words. Some might seem surprisingly blunt now and even "sexist," but this was the way of the day then, when men were Gods and women were Goddesses, when gracious ladies were found at home and not raised as men, when men were understanding, kindly, patient and forbearing. We hope those days will be rekindled, and the warmth of the home and the family within it, the true stability of a nation, will return and human communities will enter a bold new beginning.



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