Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL #179 (Vol #4) Dated 20 Apr 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL #179 (Vol #4) Dated 20 Apr 2011

(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 1,005 of Vol 4 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated constantly)
178. Meanings of the 12 Names of Maha Vishnu. We have seen in detail the meaning of the name Dhamodara. Now let us see the other 11 names. ‘Govinda’ means the one who commands and controls the senses. Here ‘Go’ means the ‘Indriyas’ that is, the senses. Thirumoolar said, ‘paarpaar agathup pasu aindu’. While on the one hand, we human beings are all animals or cattle only and God is the Good Shepherd; what Thirumoolar refers to are the inner senses, which are five and the controller mind is the sixth not really one of the senses! Similarly there is an interpretation about Kesava the next name. ‘Ka + a + eesa + va = Kesava’, in which ‘ka’ is Brhma, (Vedas say that ‘ka’ is Brhma),‘a’ is Vishnu (agara mudala ezhuththellam aadi bhagawan mudartre ulagu), ‘eesa’ is Easwara; put together it is ‘Kesava’. Similarly, ‘Ohm’ which is a single letter in Sanskrit, is said to be a combination of ‘a + u + m’ in which, ‘a’ is Vishnu, ‘u’ is Easwara and ‘m’ is Brhma; the Tri – Murthys in one is ‘Ohm’. So is Kesava!
179. Now let us look at Madhava. Like honey the Madu, Madhava is sweet natured. This is also a special name for Krishna. Maha Vishnu also has this name. Madu and Kaitaba were two Asuras whom Vishnu sorted out. So there is a meaning that because He killed Madu, He got that name Madhava. ‘Ma’ is Lakshmi the consort of Vishnu. In the word ‘Kaamaakshi’ too, the underlined ‘ma’ has the meaning as ‘great’ as a name for AmbaaL. Siva’s Patni is ‘Sivaa’. Like that ‘Ka’ that is Brhma’s Patni, Saraswathi is ‘Kaa’. Since for AmbaaL Lakshmi and Saraswathi are like the two eyes, she is having ‘Kaa’ and ‘Maa’ as the two eyes, making the name Kamakshi.
180. Appayya Deekshidar also in his Kruti ‘Neerajaakshi Kaamaakshi’, points out the fact that Lakshmi and Saraswathi are the two eyes of Kamaakshi when he says, “saarada ramaa nayana”. In Tamil language too, ‘maa’ stands for Lakshmi and ‘davan’ means husband and so Maadhava means the Lord of Lakshmi that is, Maha Vishnu. The woman for example who has lost her husband is ‘vidava’. Maadavan is also ‘Maaramanan’.
181. Amongst the 12 names, next is ‘Madusudanan’, which we saw already, as the one who killed the Asura Madu. This name is of Maha Vishu, but normally more in use as a name of Krishna, which is all one and the same. Similarly the name ‘Hrushikesa’ is for the one who is in control of his ‘hrushika’ the senses. The Easwara of the senses is Hrushikesa. In Gita, often the name Hrushikesa has been used for Krishna in many places.
182. Amongst the 12 names, Narayana, Vishnu, Sridhara and Padmanabha ; have all been directly indicative of Maha Vishnu. Trivikrama and Vamana are about Vishnu’s Avatara as the short brahmin boy who begged Maha Bali Chakravarti for only that much land as can be measured by three steps of his and then went on to become the ever growing Giant Trivikrama whose two steps measured all the Earths and Heavens! The rest of the six names of Kesava, Madhava, Govinda, Madusudana, Hrushikesa and Daamodara; are all considered as the names of Krishna only. The names meant for Sri Rama, Nrusimha and other Avataras are not to be found in these 12 special names known as ‘Dwadasa Naamas’. Veda Suktas make special mention of Maha Vishnu’s Avatara as Trivikrama while, late Puranas, Bhajans and Keertanas have all mainly eulogised Krishna as the PoorNa Avatara. Thus the Dwadasa Naamas cover only these two Avataras. Out of the 12 names, Daamodara and Govinda have both been used in the sixth sloka of the Shatpadi, while in the first one he has started with addressing Vishnu as already quoted, “avinayam apanaya Vishno!”
183. Our AachaaryaaL starts the sixth stanza with, “daamodara guNamandira”. I have already told you about the meaning of the word Daamodara. ‘GuNa Mandira’ means a person in whom all the virtuous qualities have found a refuge in. Birds find their place of rest in a nest. We live in houses. Kings live in Palaces. Though God is everywhere, we install God in a specially constructed edifice and name it the Temple that is called a Mandir in Sanskrit and many of the Indian Languages. So GuNa Mandira means living embodiment of all the endless salubrious qualities. The word GuNa has another meaning as a rope or cord. In the name Daamodara also we saw that the word ‘Daama’ has a similar meaning of a cord! In the entire Shatpadi Stotra, we notice thus a continuous braiding of words and their meaning. That is the logic of this word ‘guNa mandira’ following the word ‘daamodara’ in the sloka. So ‘GuNa Mandira’ is another name for God in whom, all the ‘ananta kalyaaNa’ traits have come to reside! That phrase ‘ananta kalyaaNa’ means, ‘the wonderful, pleasant and beneficial qualities that are endless’!
184. Those with some partial knowledge about Adwaita Saastra tend to raise a doubt with a question such as, “Is it not wrong on the part of our AachaaryaaL to be praising God’s traits and qualities? Because as we know Sankara Bhagawat PaadaaL firmly established the Adwaita Siddhanta, as per which the ultimate reality as the Para Brhmam is the Nishkriya NirguNa thing without any ‘to be performed duties and qualities and traits. So also is this Jeevaatma. Till this Jeevaatma has a mind of his own, he has qualities, traits, naama (name), roopa (including big, small, shape, size, colours, pleasing or repugnant), aspirations, desires and so actions to be done leading to planning, scheming in an endless cycle! He has to do ‘Gnaana Vichara’ tracing back all these things to his thoughts, from the thoughts to the source all thoughts the mind, bring that mind to a standstill, finally erasing it completely. In the process he realizes his oneness with the Nishkriya, NirguNa Brhmam. That is Moksham and Adwaita Anubhava, our AachaaryaaL’s confirmed view point! So is it not wrong on his part to be making prayers to God as a repository of all ‘KalyaaNa GuNas’, however salubrious they may be?
185. Both Ramanuja AachaaryaaL and Madhva AacharyaaL are of the view that Sriman NarayaNa is the source, spring as well the dwelling place of all such ‘KalyaaNa GuNas’. Our job as the Jeevaatma is to drop all our other inclinations and tendencies and finally reach the Param Dhaama of Vaikundam and eternally live rejoicing in appreciation of the wonderful and salubrious traits and qualities of His! That is their idea of what is Moksham. For our present discussion, these two above paragraphs are good enough, to bring out the salient differences in these three view points of Adwaita, Visishtadwaita and Dwaita. In brief we can say that Sankara talked about NirguNa Brhmam and the other two spoke about SaguNa Brhmam.
186. The question is, “Is it alright for Sankara Bhagawat PaadaaL who mainly spoke about NirguNa Brhmam, to be eulogising the SaguNa Brhmam with words such as ‘GuNa Mandira’?” “Yes”, is the answer to that question! What do we gather from Sankara’s Bhashyams? At the end when everything is one and the same NirguNa, is Moksham. That is when the Paramaatma and Jeevaatma are merged as one with no separate identity whatsoever. In them the Paramaatma as the supreme ruler Easwara creates, sustains, nourishes and reabsorbs all. While doing so, He is the SaguNa Brhmam. To be apart from that but to be managed, permeated and governed; and forever to be praying and serving Him is the job of this Jeevaatma. To love God and to love the act of loving God is the Upaasana approach that Ramanuja and Madhva AachaaryaaLs have both recommended. You would have realized from the talks so far on Shatpadi that our AachaaryaaL has also extensively dwelt on the Upaasana Approach! The only difference is in the end point of the devotee becoming one with the object of devotion!
(To be continued.)



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