Sunday, July 31, 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 31 (Vol # 5) Dated 31 July 2011

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 31 (Vol # 5) Dated 31 July 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 187 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 updated constantly)
1. The sloka everybody knows or which I am assuming that everybody knows is: ‘gurur brhma gurur vishnu gurur devo maheswaraha I guru saatchaat parabrhma tasmai sri gurave namaha II’ It means that Guru is all the three Trinity in one. For him I pay my obeisance. Having given the three names of the Trinity as Brhma, Vishnu and Maheswara, and then separately mentioning Parabrhmam, it seems that they are not Parabrhmam, but only responsible for Srushti (creation), Stiti (maintenance) and Samhara (destruction or resolution). They have their roles cut out, but are not considered as the original basis of all existence for all actions, events and causes. Then why is it said that Guru is all these three as well as Parabrhmam.
2. Brhma is considered as the God without festivals and temples. Never has he been revered as the (muzhu muthar kadavuL) first complete God. For long, even as the Creator, he has not been eulogized much. In the Hindu calendar there are so many PaNdigais, that is, a particular day of celebration for a particular God based on the birth star or titi (day after new moon or full moon) such as, Rama Navami or Krishna Ashtami, PiLLaiyar Chathurthi and Varalakshmi Vratam or Sarasvati Pooja. Siva has a day/night of celebration every month as Siva Rathri and Vishnu has Ekaadasi (the eleventh) every fortnight! Thus in the whole year there will be something or the other. (Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Lovers’ Day, No–Tobacco Day and such, are all creations of the west, mimicking the Hindu calendar.) But in all this, there is no separate day earmarked for Brhma!
3. In your houses, you have various God’s statues and pictures. But do you have one for Brhma? If you have a Maha Vishnu’s picture, lying in the prone position on the thousand headed snake, you will identify Brhma seated on a lotus that extends out of Vishnu’s naval. If you have pictures of the marriage of Siva – Parvathi or Muruga with VaLLi / Deivayaani; you may see Brhma doing the job of the Purohit conducting the proceedings. Even there he will be one amongst the crowd. By tradition we do not consider him to be worthy of being prayed to though he is accepted as one amongst the Trinity!
4. The God for whom there is no Temple! Though India is full of temples with many Sannidy-s for many a God, where there are many celebrations for their birth day or victory day, there is no celebration concerning Brhma! Rarely after much search, you may find one such temple at Pushkar. Many people do not know that there is also one for Brhma at KumbakoNam. Kanchipuram and KumbakoNam are such places where there are temples in every nook and corner. (KTSV adds: Penukonda in AP, Chaul in Maharashtra and Uttar Kashi in Uttaranchal are also supposed to have 365 temples each, one for each day of the year, it seems. But I do not know if there is a temple for Brhma even in those places!)
5. In Kanchipuram there is a rare temple for Chitragupta, who is an official in Yama’s court. (Yama as you may know is the God of Death. Chitragupta is responsible for maintaining the individual account of Paapa and PuNya of each and every soul.) Similarly in KumbakoNam there is a rare temple for Brhma in Thirukkandiyur near Thiruvaiyaaru. It is the place where Easwara is said to have removed one of the five heads that Brhma originally had. The name of Easwara there is Brhma-Sira-Khandeeshwarar. In that temple, Brhma has a Sannidy. In Kongu Naadu there is one station Pandikkodumudi where there is a temple for three Gods of the Trinity. In Chidambaram , when you go around the Kanaka Sabha, there is a small cubicle where there is a sannidy for Chandiswara who is said to be Brhma. In Trichy, in the Uttamar Koil, there is one Sannidy for Brhma. All said and done it is only a drop in the ocean. The God who is supposed to write our fates known as our ‘Thalai Ezhuththu, does not seem to have taken care of his own fate thus!
6. There is one reason for this state of affairs, as per ‘Ideeham’, that is, what is traditionally believed to be so! This is said to have occurred in ThiruvaNNaamalai in Tamil Nadu. Once Brhma and Vishnu seem to have got into an argument as to who is more important and powerful. One is the Creator of the Universe and the other the Maintainer. To bring their fight to a close, Easwara stood between them as an effulgent spectre of light, the top and bottom ends of that effulgence were to be tracked by Brhma and Vishnu respectively. Whosoever returns having identified the ends first was to be declared the winner. Brhma got haughty enough as to why he should go to the feet. So he got up on his Hamsa Vaahana (that is the swan as his carrier) and flew up to locate the top. In all humbleness Vishnu started digging the earth in his Varaha Avatara (that is in the form of a boar). Neither of them was successful and returned without reaching the ends. Vishnu was humble enough to accept his defeat. Brhma was also unable to reach the top but asked the petal of Ketaki flower (known in Tamil as ‘Thaazham Poo’), falling from Siva’s hair to give false evidence on his behalf. When Brhma claimed that he had reached the top and that he has a witness, Siva emerged from the effulgent light. He cursed Brhma that he shall have no one doing pooja to him on earth and that he shall have no temples. He appreciated Vishnu for his truthfulness and gave him the Chakra Aayudha and gave his Left part of the body to be known and revered as ‘Ardha Nareeswara’ meaning, Easwara with half female body. As a punishment for having agreed to give false evidence the Ketaki flower is not considered to be sacred enough, that it is not included in religious functions. From being the Jyotir Lingam in ThiruvaNNaamalai Siva is said to have cooled down to being the hill of that name. This is the story from the Saivites’ side. Vaishnavites may not agree and may actually have objections.
7. There are some more stories about Brhma committing such faux paus. The story in Kandiyur is also like that only. Otherwise why should Siva remove one of his original five heads? This is also a story from the Saivites only. But one cannot help wondering as to why there is no temple and no celebrations for Brhma? When both the sons of Siva, GaNesha and Muruga have temples, festivals and all celebrations, why is that Vishnu’s son Brhma does not have any festival or a temple of his own?
8. There is a story with slightly different versions as per Vaishnava traditions about this. Brugu Maharishi is said to have tested the holy Trinity as to who is suddha-satva-murthy. (That requires an explanation. Suddha means pure and ‘satva – murthy’ can be translated as an embodiment of the Satva GuNa. Such a person should be calm and quite with love towards all even in very adverse circumstances, despite provocations!) To test this Brugu Maharishi tried to behave rudely with each one of them with much show-off. He first went to Brhma Loka with ostentation. Brhma did not get annoyed at once, but did not say welcome either. Brugu on his own pulled up a chair and sat down as an equal. Now Brhma got angry. Brugu asked, “When you give in to anger so easily, how can you claim to be much ‘suddha-satva-murthy’?” Brhma got more annoyed and so Brugu cursed that Brhma may not have any temples in his name on earth.
9. Then Brugu went to Kailasa. Easwara was quite quiet most of the time. But when Brugu over played his act of provocation, Easwara came to poke him with his Trishul. Brugu cursed that Siva may not have any statue of his own in his temples but only a stone sphere-head. That is why Siva is represented by Siva Linga in the sanctum sanctorum of his temples as per the story. Actually Linga is only a symbolic representation of Vayu (air), Jyoti (fire or light), Aakaasa (space), Prutvi (earth or matter) and Jala (water). Linga is a representation of ‘Roopa and Aroopa’ meaning both with form and formless. As the story is meant to praise and extol Vishnu as the foremost amongst the Trinity, Siva is depicted as not the ‘suddha-satva-murthy’. But Brugu’s curse has not been much of a curse really as far as Siva is concerned!
10. Finally Brugu went to Vaikunda. As Maha Vishnu was asleep, it pains me to say even, that Brugu kicked his chest with his leg. PerumaaL is said to have still not got annoyed but said ‘My dear Sir, I hope your feet are not hurt’ and massaged Brugu’s legs with loving care and complete self control! So, Vaishnavas hold the view that due to Brugu Maharishi’s curse, there is no temple for Brhma.
(To be continued.)



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