Friday, August 06, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 52 (Vol #4) Dated 06 Aug 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 52 (Vol #4) Dated 06 Aug 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. Today we are proceeding from page number 291 of Vol 4 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated constantly)

408. Mayura Varma and his Vidya Guru Veera Sarma, had gone to Kanchi from Shimoga to learn about all the Saastraa-s with all it parts and sub-parts, that is, sa + anga + upa anga = saangopaanga. This is mentioned in a stone carving on a pillar in, Pranava Easwara Swami temple in Talakunta in Shimoga district as inscribed by, Kakutsa Varma, who ruled over the same kingdom two generations later. This is mentioned as such in, ‘Epigraphica Indica’ 8th Volume, where it is said, “...ya: prayaaya pallavendra pureem...ghatikaam vivesa...” from where I am quoting! Here Kanchi is being referred as, ‘pallavendra puree’ and ‘ghatikaam vivesa’ means, they joined the Gatika, the educational organization!
409. From this what we gather is that, a King or a Prince, takes his Guru with him and goes hundreds of miles away, to a place which is not even a part of his kingdom, for the sake of learning Saastraa-s with all its parts and sub-parts, to a Gatika Sthana in Kanchipuram. I hope you can visualize from this that the educational institution in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, was as great and important as Nalanda and Dakshasila. At the time of Mayura Varma, Kanchipuram was being ruled by a Pallava King by the name of Skanda Sishya. He is reported to have won a Gatika from a king by the name of Satyasena as gathered from an inscription at Velurpalayam by the Third Vijaya Nandivarma. This Velurpalayam is located seven miles northwest of ArakkoNam. This inscription is to be found in ‘South Indian Inscriptions, Second Volume, Fifth Part’ as given hereafter:- “skandas sishyas tato abhavat – dvijaanaam gatikaam raagna: satyasenaat jahaara ya:”.
410. The phrase, ‘dvijaanaam ghatikaam’ means that it is a gatika of the Brahmins, which again means a school where Brahmins were studying the Vedas. The quote from Kalpataru also indicates that even the Atharva Vedam which is almost defunct today was being taught there! The fact that it has been taken over from an opposing king, it has to be big enough with a vast area with buildings, to be worthy of being a war booty! Moreover, it must have been a place of learning not only of other Vedas but also Dhanur Veda, capable of producing a stream of well trained soldiers! Above all that, as a spring and source of knowledge, it was worth taking over by the Sovereign on a winning note!
411. The word ‘dwijaaanaam’ means people who are born twice. This is equally applicable to Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vysyas, who are supposed to be born again, when given the ‘Upanayanam’ and Gayatri Mantra. So, a Gatika meant for the twice-born people, has to be catering for all the three castes. So it is correct to deduce that the teaching there must have included, Veda Adhyayanam and Adhyaapakam, soldierly subjects of Archery, physical training, Tactics and Strategy, Equestrian arts as well as riding of Elephants and other animals, riding chariots and also, Artha Saastram, economics and business practices! So it must have been valuable enough to change hands between kings at the end of a confrontation! It is evident that, the Gatika was catering for the education of the ‘twice born dwijaaanaam’ of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vysyas. Mayura Varma of Shimoga mentioned a few minutes back is a Kshatriya, while his Guru is a Brahmin.
412. The enemy king Satya Sena is the same as being referred as Satya Putta in the Asoka Saasanam in which, (‘putra’ has become ‘putta’ in the inscription). A little more research revealed that these ‘Satya Putras’ were one of the many Southern regional heads, during Asoka’s time. (There is a mention as a Post Script in the lower margin in page 293 of Deivathin Kural, Volume 4, that the details of this research by SwamigaL may be published later on.)
413. From another Velur Palayam Saasanam I gathered that Nrusimha Varma constructed the Kailasa Nathar Temple in Kanchipuram. While doing so, he reconstructed the ‘dwijaaanaam’ Gatika Sthanam. The inscription says, ‘punar vyataanaam’ meaning ‘reconstructed’! It also means that, the Gatika was very much in existence before his time and so was reconstructed. Look at the sloka in the Saasanam:- “tat putra soona: nrusimha varma / punar vyataat yo gatikaam dwijaaanaam / silaamayam veshma sasaangamouLe: / kailaasa kalpam cha mahendra kalpam.”
414. The phrase ‘silaamayam veshma’ means a temple made of hard granite rocks. Nowadays, all the old temples that we see in existence are made of granite rocks only. So one may wonder as to why this is being mentioned specially! There is a reason why it is said so here. King Mahendra Pallava was the first who started making temples of stone. At that time wherever there were huge rocks, he got the temple made out of it on the spot, by carving into it! Before his time, the temples were made of wood and bricks. His was the first ever temples made of single rocks! The next development took place a hundred years later, at the time of Nrusimha Varma known as Raja Simha Pallava. He innovated the method of cutting stones into big pieces and carry it wherever he wanted and use them as blocks with which the temple was constructed. The first such temple was the Kanchi Kailasanathar Aalayam. This is being mentioned in that sloka quoted above as, ‘silaamayam veshma’ !
415. When hillocks were tunnelled into and temples were made, they were known as, ‘kudaivaraik koil’. That is, you have to go in search of the place where the stone was, as though in search of God! Later the technology changed that the stones were brought where you wanted to construct the temple. That is ‘as good as God coming in search of us’! This also led to the first ‘kattidak koil’ that was built up by blocks of stones sculpted to the required sizes! Since this was a replica of God’s abode of Kailasam, it was called the ‘Kailasa Kalpam’. Since Nrusimha Varma got this done on the lines of what had earlier been done by Mahendra Varma, it is mentioned as ‘mahendra kalpam’.
416. Mahendra Varma was redirected back to the fold of Vaidic Religion by the efforts of Appar Swami. He is the one who had made the typical ‘kudaivaraik koils’ at Maamandur, Mandagappattu, Pallaavaram (or Pallavar Puram) and in the caves below the Trichy Rock Fort Temples. He was there in the 7th Century A.D. His son was another Nrusimha Varma. He is the one who had gone up to Vaataapi in the North, famous and well known for his prowess in wrestling as ‘Maa Malla Pallavan’! He is the first Nrusimha. He is not the one who constructed the Kailasa Nathar Koil. The credit for that goes to the Second Nrusimha, the grandson of the First, known more as ‘Raja Simha’. He is just taking the name of his great-grandfather as he has followed his footsteps, by saying ‘mahendra kalpa:’! The phrase, ‘sasaanga mouLi’ is indicative of Siva who has the crescent moon on his braided hair locks. The poem is not only important as a historical record of a new style of construction, but also has literary merit by the play of the letters ‘sa-kaara’ sounding sweet to the ears, silaamayam veshma sasaangamouLe:!
417. Koil & Gatikai. It is in the rightness of things that Nrusimha Varma reconstructed the Temple for cherishing ones devotion to God and the Gatikai for enhancement of knowledge! It is the Veda Mantras learnt in the Gatikai that goes to make temples and the stone idols, truly sacred! It is the rituals such as, ‘PraNa Prathishta’ of invoking the divine presence in the sanctum sanctorum of ‘Garba Graha’, ‘Kumba Abhishekam’ of sanctifying the temple premises and the daily Pooja of the God’s Idols; that makes the temples really sacred! These rituals with the mantras are learnt in the Gatikas. The benefits of peace and bliss we get are like the fruits of the trees, in which the trees are the temples of which the roots are the Vedas hidden in the background! That is why Vedas are hidden and known as such as ‘Marai’ in Tamil!
(To be continued.)



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