Thursday, June 02, 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 02 (Vol # 5) Dated 03 Jun 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 02 (Vol # 5) Dated 03 Jun 2011

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavaaL of Kanchi Kaamakoti 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 page No 9 of Vol 5 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated constantly)

10. Who is Vaageesar? May be Thirunaavukku Arasu had such a name as the meaning of both the above underlined words are similar that the person referred is the King of the spoken word! His name was ‘MaruLneekkiyaar’. Then later when he joined the Jain Religion, he was given the name of ‘Dharma Sena’. Then when he returned to his original religion and composed and sang his first Tevara Padigam, Parameswara’s voice came up as an ‘asareeri’ and endowed a title on him as the ‘Thiru Naavukku Arasu’, the king of the tongue! The same title in Sanskrit is Vaageesar, as the king of the spoken word! Later when Thiru Gnaana Sambandar addressed him as, “Appare!”, he got a name as ‘Appar’ also. But here in the PiLLaiyar sloka the ‘Vaageesar’ we are referring to is not that ‘Appar’ SwamigaL! Here we are talking about celestials, is it not so? Who amongst the celestials are known as ‘Vaageesar’?
11. Two amongst the Devas, have that title or surname as Vaageesa. One is Bruhaspathi and the other is Brhma. Bruhaspathi is the Guru for all Devas, (represented by the planet Venus) highly knowledgeable on all subjects. When someone shows off too much, there is a way of levelling him down by asking him if he thinks himself to be another Bruhaspathi? Other words with the same meaning of Vaageesa are also used to refer to Bruhaspathi namely ‘keeshpathi’ or BrhmaNaspathi’. It is interesting to note that as the very incarnation of knowledge and erudition, the BrhmaNaspathi of the Vedic period is the same as PiLLaiyar of the PuraNic period! When Vinayaka Murthy is being invoked and installed in an idol this Vedic Rik for BrhmaNaspathi is chanted.
12. That Devas do pray to PiLLaiyar through their Guru Bruhaspathi is clear from the “vageesaadhyaa: sumanasa:”. It shows the Guru of all the Devas himself prostrates to GaNesha thus showing the way for all celestials. Then the creator Brhma is also known as Vaageesa! ‘Vaak’ stands for Saraswathi the Goddess of all things spoken, written in poetry and prose, including literatures of all types, as She is the Goddess of Wisdom! As the Saraswathi’s husband Brhma is the Vaageesa.
13. Brhma is the creator. The moment we hear of the word creation, what comes to our mind is the Time factor. Year, month, week, day, hour, minute and second are all measures to calculate time. So, at the start of the year, when we do ‘Panchanga Patanam’ of reading the predictions for the year, we think of Brhma and the fact that Brhma and all Devas pay their obeisance to Vigneswara, at the start of all their activities. As Brhma is mentioned as the ‘Vaageesa’, it is to be discerned that for all matters related to knowledge, reading, writing and all fine arts, should be started after due prayers to GaNesha. Thus, from time immemorial it has been the custom in our country, the first thing written in any Palm Leaf of paper or note – book, is “Sri GaNaathi Pathaye Nama:” ( Refer to the first chapter in Deivathin Kural 3rd Volume, under ‘PiLLaiyar Suzhi’!)
14. As Brhma reminds us of the dimension of Time as the creator, we pray to PiLLaiyar that he prays to, at the commencement of every year. Similarly, as Brhma is the Saraswathi Kaantan, the PiLLaiyar that he reveres, is prayed to at the start of any book and literature too. That is why people habitually chant ‘vageesaadyaa: sumanas’ sloka before starting the reading of Vaalmeeki RamayaNam and then only the sloka addressed to Saraswathi, ‘dhorbhiryukta’ sloka is chanted.
15. When there is an Itihaasa Kaavyam to be chanted, it is in the rightness of things that we first pray to Saraswathi as the Goddess of all learning and knowledge. But why should we be praying to PiLLaiyar before that also? We do so to avoid any interference or stumbling block, even in our prayers to Saraswathi! There is one more important reason for this. It is not only that there can be a hurdle to our making the prayers. The concerned celestial being to whom we are praying to may not be able respond favourably for whatever reason. They could be faced with certain impediments in their path. If you read the PuraaNa Itihaasaas, you may notice that there have been some hurdles faced by Parvathy Parameswaras, Maha VishNu and Subrahmanya Swami and other gods too. On all those occasions, it is Vigneswara whose help they have sought and got rid of their problems.
16. If they become ‘kruta krutya:’ just by praying to GaNapathi, it also means that when they have failed to pray to him, they have had to contend with difficulties! So whether you pray to Saraswathi at the commencement of creating a literary master piece; or pray to Maha Lakshmi for money availability; or praying to Surya Narayana for relief from any disease; whatever divine being you pray for whatever reason; for that God to be able to help you, we have to start with a prayer to GaNesha that is the Pillaiyar. That is how we have been doing in this country for eons of time traditionally!
17. Whether it be Rudra Abhishekam or Chandi Homam or a Swami Samaaradana for Venkata RamaNa Swami; we do not start without a ‘suklaam bharatharam’ to PiLLaiyar first. So, to whosoever God we are approaching for whatever purpose, it is the custom and tradition to first pray to this Baby Elephant God before anything else, as a rule.
18. Mannarkudi PeriyavaaL. One gentleman has made a sloka on this subject slightly in a lighter vein. I said ‘Periyava’, without mentioning his name directly as is the custom when referring to great people. There is nothing great in a person like me being referred as a ‘Periyava’ as we get that sort of a title even without being so great intrinsically! But in his case, he was neither a head of a Matt nor was he a Sanyaasi. He lived as a house holder guru with a huge following of disciples. To the extent of being known as a ‘Kulapathi’ he had been running a Guru Kulam and was responsible for creating many a learned Pundits. To learn the Vedas is Adhyayanam. To teach the Vedas is Adhyapakam. If you are a teacher of Vedas, you are called Upaadhyaaya. If you are a great Upaadhyaaya, you are known as Maha Mahopaadhyaaya! He was one such under whom not only very learned pundits learnt, but even Sanyaasi’s learnt and or got their doubts cleared! In addition to being an authority of Vedic knowledge, he was also a man of sterling character and a devotee of Siva. Strictly living by the rules and regulations of Nitya Karma Anushtaanaas and all the Do’s and Don’ts of Aachaara that, people with reverence referred to him as ‘PeriyavaaL’ quite naturally! To be able to clearly identify him they used to refer to him by adding the place name ‘Mannarkudi’ to PeriyavaaL!
19. Mannaarkudi PeriyavaaL lived for almost a 100 years from early 19th to the start of the 20th Centuty, as though to define the phrase ‘gnaana sheela vayo vruddha:’! An off spring of the Appayya Deekshidar’s lineage, his name as given by his parents was Thyagaraja Sarma. As he had done many a Yaaga, he used to refer to himself as ‘Thyagaraja Magi’. In his childhood, as he was referred to by elders as ‘Raju’, he was also famous as ‘Raju SaastrigaL’. This PeriyavaL was thus an embodiment of the epithet, ‘vidya vinaya sampanna:’! Amongst his teachers was one Gopalacharyar. Later this Gopalacharyar’s son was his student. Whenever the student used to enter the room, PeriyavaL used to stand up and show his respect to this student as due to ‘Guru Putra’ the son of his Guru! Endowed with the qualities of devotion, sincerity, good character and vast knowledge; though he had many Sanyasi-s as his students, till the end he never took Sanyaasa on the grounds of not having that much dispassion and worth! He had so much humility!
20. In the year 1867 when Queen Victoria’s Coronation was held, the then Government of India in their efforts to establish their suzerainty, decided to award the Title of Maha Mahopaadhyaaya to learned Pundits, all over India. One Pundit from North India and one from the South were selected from amongst many for the award. When our Raju Saastry was informed of this, he just kept quiet saying, “What? Are they thinking of granting the title of Maha Mahopaadhyaaya to me? In olden times it used to be given only to great well known persons of superlative attainments! No I am only a simple being. I do not deserve such titles!” Neither did he accept such name and fame nor did he go to Delhi for accepting it. Forgetting it, he just continued his daily Siva Pooja and carried on. Government officers waited for his visit to Delhi in vain. Later they requested him to come and accept the Title at least from the District Collector at Madurai. Then finally the Scroll, cash and connected materials were sent to his house directly and finally he accepted them reluctantly!
21. With Vidya normally we find conceit invariably. He was contrary to that norm. At the start of Vidya as we pray to Vinayaka and as a prayer to GaNesha is the first invocation at the beginning of every subject; all that I have said about Mannarkudi PeriyavaaL is also offered as a flower in Lord GaNapathy’s feet only and it is not a deviation from the subject!
(To be continued.)
Sambhomahadeva.

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