Saturday, May 28, 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL #196 (Vol #4) Dated 28 May 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL #196 (Vol #4) Dated 28 May 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 the second para on page number 1,109 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)
100. Then KaaLidaasa was well chagrined and imbibed humility as an asset. You can make out this fact from his slokas. For example, at the start of his Magnum Opus Raghuvamsam, he says that his effort to write about the whole of Raghuvamsam, that is the Raghu Dynasty, was like trying to cross the vast expanse of the ocean with the help of a small dinghy boat! He goes on to say that his attempt was like a shorty trying to pluck a fruit hanging high above him.
101. You might have heard about how, when Kambar’s ego was on the ascendant, he was dealt with a snub by Avvaiyaar, who is known to be an Avatara of Saraswathi Devi the Goddess of wisdom, as far as Tamilnadu is concerned! Kambar happened to see the ‘Aarai Keerai’ plant which gives out four leaves for every stem. He wished to compose a puzzle without telling the name of the plant. He posed the puzzle to Avvaiyaar in these words, “oru kaalil naalu ilai pandal adee”, which means, ‘on one leg a thatch of four leaves adee’! The last word ‘adee’ is a slightly discourteous word, normally used by elders when they are addressing much younger girls. Avvaiyaar was intelligent beyond compare! So to be tested for knowledge was itself an affront on the part of Kambar! Then, Avvaiyaar being an old spinster to be addressed as ‘adee’ was insulting enough for her to get sufficiently annoyed. So she gave him a mouthful and a tit for tat!
102. She said, “ette kalava lakshaname emanerum pathiye kuttichchuvare koozhaangkalle aarai adaa sonnaai adhu?” Having given him a mouthful, she says, ‘aarai adhaa sonnai?’ This means ‘whom are you telling?’ It also means, ‘Are you talking about the plant, ‘Aarai’, that is ’Aarai Keerai’? Since he used a not so very respectful ‘adee’, she counters with an equal rejoinder, ‘adhaa’, a word used in addressing tiny toddlers. I hope you understand, ‘ette kaalava lakshaname’! In Tamil intigers, ‘a’ represents figure 8 and ‘va’ is 1/4th. So, ‘a va’ should mean 8 into ¼ = 2. That would mean, ‘you two legged character’! It also means, “ava lkshanam” means ‘you ugly specimen’! Then she says ‘eman erum pathiye’ means the buffalo which Yama the God of death rides. ‘Kutti chuvare’ means ruins of a broken wall, and ‘koozhaang kalle’ means, the rounded stones of a moraine! That is what I meant a mouthful!
103. After this incident Kambar also became quite humble devoid of conceit. Similar to KaaLidaasaa’s humility, Kambar also shows how he had become devoid of self conceit. Kambar says at the start of his Magnum Opus RamayaNa that his effort to write the epic of Ramayana was like that of a pussy cat which decided to drink off the whole of Ksheera Saagara the Milky Ocean and started licking it in all earnestness! O K! Similarly Avvaiyaar’s ego was also sorted out by none other than Lord SubrahmaNya. This incident may be known to you.
104. One a hot day in a semi desert terrain, Avvaiyaar happened to halt under a tree for some shade. She was tired and thirsty. As she rested on the ground, she heard a voice from atop the tree. “Hi! Pattee (grandma), are you tired? Do you want some fruits to eat? Do you want it hot or cold? What should I drop from the tree?” She looked up and saw a young boy dressed like a shepherd. She was wondering as to how a fresh fruit from the tree can be hot or cold! She said, “Please give me some not so very hot fruits”. Lord SubrahmaNya shook the tree and some Naval (berries) fruits fell. Automatically only the ripe ones fell. She picked some and blew away the sand particles sticking to it, before eating them. The boy laughed sounding like tinkling bells and asked, “So Pattee, did you get hot fruits? Is that why you are blowing on them?” Avvaiyaar felt surprised and slightly chagrined that though she is thinking of herself as a great ‘know all’, she has had to face a small boy who could have one up on her! She put her feelings into a poem immediately. “karungaalik kattaikku naaNaakkodaali irunkadalit thandukku naaNum”, meaning that, ‘the axe that would not hesitate in chopping a strong (oak like) black wood will fail with shame, when it has to chop a plantain tree!’ From that day she considered humility as a blessing from the Lord and as a direction to improve her attitude in to sweetness and maturity! At once the taunting boy took his Swaroopa of true form as Lord SubrahmaNya and gave her many boons. Then he asked her to answer all his questions as to what is cruel, sweet, big and rare? For each one of these questions, she entertained the Lord with a beautiful poem in answer!
Villiputhuraar and AruNagirinaathar
105. Villiputhuraar was a great poet having written the whole of Maha Bharatham in Tamil poetical form. We hear that he had the heinous habit of calling other poets to compete with his self in debate, defeat them and then cut their ears! ArNagirinaathar it was, who defeated him by singing the Kandar Andaadi. He did not cut his ears for his crimes but, advised him to be more kind and humble. That is why ArNagirinaathar is famous as an epitome of compassion and liberal mindedness, that the epithet, “karuNaikku AruNagiri” became famous!
Neelakanta and Mahadeva
106. Neelakanta Deekshidar was a great man in many respects. From the family angle, he was the grandson of Appayya Deekshidar’s brother. Appayya Deekshidar as you know was considered as an ‘amsam’ of Lord Siva! This Neelakanta was very good in study of the Vedas and observing strictly all his Anushtaanaas. He was well known as a great Pundit, a good devotee and a man of high standing as the Chief Minister under Thirumalai Naicker, who renovated the Saraswathi Mahal and Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai. He was also the repository of wonderful character qualities of humaneness and kindness. Such a man however did suffer from a bit of a head weight, at some point in time as being too good!
107. At the time of Deekshidar, that is end 16th and early 17th century, in Tanjavur in Pazhamaarneri village, there was one Mahadeva Saastri. Though well knowledgeable in all Vedas and Saastraas, he was not as famous as Appayya Deekshidar. The world of pundits knew about him and his erudition. In Pazhamaarneri there is Airaavatheswarar Koil (Temple). The AmbaaL there is known as Alankaareswari. It is this AmbaaL to whom Mahadeva Saastri was highly devoted. Deeply soaked in devotion over time, he started getting Her directions and orders! As he was not having any issues, he got a direction from AmbaaL to proceed to Madurai and get the blessings of Madurai Meenaakshi Amman, who was known to be with total ‘Chaitanya Vilaasam’ of AmbaaL Parasakti. So he went to Madurai and prayed to Madurai Meenaakshi Amman in all seriousness.
108. Deekshidar had already heard about this Mahadeva Saastri. He wished to meet him. However great you may be on occasions, position and status does go to one’s head. You know how power corrupts! He wished to meet Saastri without any blemish to his position and status. He waited for a suitable opportunity and was hoping that Saastri may one day come to meet him on his own! But after Saastri had the Darshan of AmbaaL Meenakshi Amman, he was not aware of anything else but his devotion to Her! So, there was no thought or wish of meeting anybody else.
109. The all knowing AmbaaL intended that Deekshidar should become aware that with Vidya, Vinayam is an important asset and through him the world should also learn a lesson in Vinayam, I suppose. So She created the suitable series of events. One day Deekshidar was proceeding with all the pomp and show as appropriate to his status, in a Pallakku (ceremonial carriage) that is lifted by four persons on their shoulders. Mahadeva Saastri at that moment was returning home after a Darshan of AmbaaL without any other thoughts than her lotus feet in his mind! As every bystander was exhibiting their difference and respect to the Minister passing by, here was one Brahmin who walked across uncaring for anything other than AmbaaL’s lotus feet, lost in his own world! Deekshidar saw this. He wrongly assumed this to be an affront! He said, “Who is this character with the hanging ears crossing my path, even after seeing the great Sri Neelakanta seated on a Sivika! Give him the ‘Ardha Chandra’ treatment”, he told his servants.
110. I hope you understand as to what is ‘Ardha Chandra’ treatment. It is nothing but being propelled from the path by the scruff of your neck known as ‘galtha’ in the colloquial slang! (KTSV adds: I am not quoting the whole slokam. People interested may see it in page 1114 of Vol 4 of Deivathin Kural in Tamil.) But what is interesting is the last line in the sloka and the reply given promptly by Mahadeva Saastri!) The fourth line says, “tat = that (what Deekshidar said); aakarNya = having heard; Saastri = Mahadeva Saastri; gnaana lavaadya moodam tam deekshitam = that idiot deekshita who was bloated with pride despite his limited knowledge; jarit yuvaacha = quickly replied.’ He said, “The Sun has gone down, the moon is not yet out and only a few stars are hazily seen. In this dim light it is but natural that the fire flies should think of themselves to be too powerfully brilliant!”
(To be continued.)



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