Thursday, December 31, 2009

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 170 (Vol #3) Dated 01 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 170 (Vol #3) Dated 01 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the second para on page No 780 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

32. Sastra-s are of three types, namely, Muktam, Amuktam and Muktaamuktam. All those words are derived from the root word in Sanskrit ‘much’. Muktam are those that get released from the launcher or launcher’s hands, such as arrows and missiles. In Tamil, words such as ‘viduthal and veedu’ are about the idea of leaving or release from, that is mukti. The pearl gets detached from the mother of pearl. That is why its name is Muthu in Tamil, indicating release from its source! Mukti in Tamil literature is referred to as ‘muththi’. So, the weapons that get released from the thrower’s hand are muktam-s. Even a stone thrown from the hand is a muktam. So are all arrows.

33. Amuktam are weapons such as sword, spear and the mace. Even these may be thrown in the heat of battle. The bow is always Amuktam while the arrow is Muktam. Paasam is a rope with a sliding noose in the front with a slip knot. This is thrown at a running animal at a distance, while holding the other end of the rope. The loop gets around the prey’s neck and the slip knot tightens around the neck as the prey tries to get away. In the wild west of America, they used to call it the ‘lasso’! You can see this ‘paasam’ in the hands of Ambal and Ganesha, in the upper left hand. This paasam is a Mukta-amuktam. Some Chakra-s because of some peculiarity in their shape and the thrower‘s ability, technique or knack, will get released, attack the target by cutting and slicing; and then return to the one wielding the Chakra, which is a Mukta-amuktam! Boomerang is another weapon of this variety.
34. Not withstanding making any thing an Astram by use of mantra-s, there have been some greats who got the Astram from the particular Devata for that Mantra. When they use such weapons, the weapon will come back to the one who has the authority to use it, as though! Or may be they have to chant another mantra for the Astra’s return. To get back the Astram thus is known as ‘upa samhaaram’! You are not supposed to release such ‘Divya Astra-s’ without knowing the mantra for their retrieval!

35., The idea is that disciplined use of weapons required that you should not use a weapon without knowing its capacity for causing destruction! If it causes more than the intended amount of damage, you should be aware of the method of its retrieval. Those were the restrictions on use of such weapons, so as to avoid harm to innocent bystander’s person and property. It is only now in the so called modern world of supposed progress that Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) with nuclear war heads are being stocked, for which there is no ‘Upa Samhaaram’ !

36. Those days the fighting force was of four types namely, Ratha-Gaja-Thuraka-Padaadi, meaning chariot /elephant / horse borne and foot soldiers respectively. Since such a force had four parts, it was known as ‘chatur-anga-sena’. The same name of ‘Chatur-angam’ has been given to the game of chess. In that game of chess too there are four types of forces with their own set of rules as to how they can move and their own area of reach and range.

37. Amongst them they had rules that they can fight only with forces of equal status. That is, the foot soldier had to fight with the foot soldier of the opposite army. The mounted soldier was not supposed to fight or kill the foot soldier and so on. As they say, the plan is the first casualty in war. It is these rules of discipline that were the first casualty, as the armies proliferated. Like the division of the army in to platoon, company, battalion, brigade and so on, earlier also there were Akshouhinies. Each such unit had 21,870 chariots and equal number of elephants, 65,610 horses (triple of the earlier number), 1,09,350 foot soldiers (five times the 21,870). The 'Maha Vira-s' could fight from chariots with 10,000 such charioteers to be able to get that title as MahaVira! These details are to be found in Maha Bharata.

38. In the battle field, the armies were formed in so many formations known as 'vyuham', such as Garuda vyuham or Padma vyuham. They would look like a Lotus(padma) or Vulture(garuda) from outside. As you go inside it will be more complicated. There is an adage that, 'anything is easier to get in than get out of!' I think that the adage must have been coined from the fact that, Abhimanyu the son of Arjuna, knew as to how to enter the Padma vyuham. He did not know the method of getting out! He died fighting.

39. Other than the four constituents of the Army, there was the Navy and Naval tactics and strategies. Only the Air Force is a modern entity unknown in earlier times. But there were some Asura-s who were capable of making use of the third dimension and some divinely endowed who could counter their offensive! The Thripurasura-s did make use of the third dimension to fight their battles.

40. Forts. To protect the town and the State from foreign invasion, construction of forts and moats around it involving massive efforts were necessitated. The greater the likelihood of invasion and investment, such defensive construction had to be evolved. Rana-s of Rajasthan constructed these forts in Chittore and other places. Sivaji had got many such forts made in Maharashtra. 'Arann' is the fort and 'Agazhi' is the moat. Chera, Chola and Pandya kings did construct forts in the south, for their fight against each other. South especially what was Madras or Chennaipattinam and south of it, were not so much affected by foreign invasion as rest of India was.

41. That there is one whole Adhikaram on Arann in Thirukkural is indicative of the importance of such an arrangement. It provided security to the citizens of the state while proving to be a protective guard against invading and marauding forces. That is why we cherish and revere great people of renown as Arann protecting Dharma and Truth. Fort in Sanskrit is ‘Durgam', meaning 'not easily entered'. Ambal is called 'Durga'. In the north, all towns with their names ending in Durg indicate that there were forts. Similarly the names of the towns ending with 'gad and or gada', like Kanhangad, were all based on forts. In Tamil Nadu, they were called Kottai such as Pudukkottai, Senkkottai, Palayamkkottai, Senjikkottai and so on. These are all tourist attractions of the modern day.

42. There were many secret underground passages, storage spaces, living areas especially for women so that they may not fall in the hands of the enemy, magazines for weapons and such things in the fort. It was a battle of wits as to who will last longer, the defence by the forces in the fort or the investing forces laying the siege! Like the vyuham in battle formations, there was much cleverness and ingenuity in the construction of a fort. It could be made as per Saastraa-s and scientific engineering skills. In addition to human engineering skills, mantra-s could be made use of to invoke the blessings of divine powers. Sri Chakram, Shad Kona and Sudarsan Chakra are all for getting the divine powers in their shapes and sizes in construction. The Kanchipuram city itself was reformed in the shape of Sri Chakram on the advice of Adi Sankara.

43. Many such subtle points about civil engineering of construction of the forts have been let go by default, in the present day world. We seem to take pride only in keeping them as ruins and relics of the past!

(To be continued.)




At 5:50 AM, Blogger Bob said...

I am not sure what you mean by the four types of forces on the chess board. Do you mean knight, rook, bishop and queen? Then what about pawns? Do you mean white black and the white player and the black player? I do think that chess is a great metaphor for decision making and an analysis of the decision makers biases.


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