DEIVATHIN KURAL # 117 (Vol # 5) Dated 24 Jan 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 117 (Vol # 5) Dated 24 Jan 2012
(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 page No 725 of Vol 5 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that here in 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated constantly)
654. Kanchipuram and Kumbakonam; Connections. Though our AachaaryaaL took Avatara in Kaladi, the place where Lord Siva gave a promise to his future father that he will be born as his son was in Trichur. Let me tell you about my research concerning Trichur and Sivaguru. As it contains more about the story regarding the evolution of Malayalam and less about our AachaaryaaL’s story, let me tell you that here itself. When people move from one country or place to another, due to love for the places left behind, they tend to give the old place names to the new ones. That is how in U.S.A., we find places named as New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire and so on, with a combined name for six of the north eastern states in U.S.A., together being called the New England. They did the same thing in Australia also and so you have a New South Wales and such names there! Similarly from Tamil Nadu when they went and settled in Malayala Desam, the names of villages and towns were also transported. Over time the names lost their original sheen and shine getting a bit changed in pronunciation, such as, ‘Aalawaai’ to ‘Alwaye’, ‘Pazhuvoor’ to ’Pazhoor’, ‘Kannanoor’ to ‘Kannur’ and ‘Maathur’ becoming ‘Mecheri’ and so on, are all names of places in Tamil Nadu becoming place names in Kerala.
655. From our AachaaryaaL’s time let us jump many centuries to the middle of the 18th Century A.D. At that time after having been located in Kanchipuram for many years, our Kamakoti Matam had to leave and shift elsewhere. Finally it was decided to shift to Kumbakonam. At that time, the general area of Kanchipuram was constantly being affected by the disturbed conditions due to what is known as the Carnatic Wars. There were a number of confrontations between Arcot Nawab, East India Company of the British, Commanders of the French forces, Hider Ali and some others. The very temples in and around Kanchipuram was being used as forts and strong points of the different armies. Armed fights and looting of villages was all becoming very normal activities using not only small arms but cannons and guns! So the Mataadipathy of that period, the 62nd Peetaadhipati Sri Chandra Sekharendra Saraswathi SwamigaL shifted the Matam to Kumbakonam. He had gone on a Yatra up to Rameswaram and on return went and stayed at Udaiyar Palayam in Trichy District.
656. Those days Tanjavur was a protectorate under the dominion of Maharashtra Kings. The King or Samasthana Adhipathi was a patron of the Matam those days. As per his wish, SwamigaL stayed in Udaiyar Palayam, a place well protected by forests all around, not much affected by the fights, wars and internecine quarrels all around in South India. There was one specific reason for the shifting of the Matam to some protected area. That is the Swarna Kamakshi statue made of pure gold. This statue used to be in one of the Sannidy-s inside the Kamakshi Kovil known as Kaama Kottam. That temple was and is under the control of our Matam. So, in the troubled conditions prevailing between people of other religions and countries, it was feared that anyone of the warring factions could grab this valuable Swarna Vigraha and abscond! So, when there was such a safe haven made available at Udaiyar Palayam, by the King of Tanjavur, promptly the invitation was accepted and the Matam shifted there. The Swarna Kamakshi was also taken away there. (From that time in the18th Century, till Kanchi Periyaval re-installed another statue of Kamakshi in Kaama Kottam in the year 1944, the sanctum sanctorum in Kanchipuram had remained empty.)
657. Not only Swarna Kamakshi, similarly in troubled times Nataraja of Chidambaram, Thiruvaroor Thyagaraja, Kanchipuram Varadaraja (Utsavar), Sri Rangam Rangaraja (Utsavar), etc., have had to leave their place and become mobile. They are all Rajas that too God in the form of Idols as Kings, instead of doing Royal Digvijayam, have had to hide themselves on the quiet and surreptitiously move about incognito! This pathetic state was reached because, the followers of our religion had lost faith in their own religion and did not have the temerity and gumption to stand and fight for their own. So, if you ask me as to why your Gods had to undergo such ignominy, I would say that this happened more as a divine punishment for the lack of courage, so as to rekindle their self respect and belief in their own Gods and not that the Gods had lost their powers! We as followers of our religion had to be punished for our lack of care and concern and may be by being taken around even secretively, so many more areas and people would have felt the pangs of our lack of cohesiveness and would have felt pin prick if not a jolt!
658. Not only Swarna Kamakshi, but also Nataraja, Thyagaraja, Rangaraja, and Varadaraja; they all finally found a temporary abode in the same Udaiyar Palayam as being well hidden, protected under the care of such Jamindars (land lords), as religiously very devoted. The Sanskrit word Swami has a meaning as ‘the owner who has a right of oneself’ and Tamil for that would be ‘Udaiyar or Udaiyavan’. True to that meaning all the important idols of God’s, from all over the important temple towns of South India, assembled as though for a meet in that Udaiyar Palayam. Then years later after peace had come about, they all went back to those temples from where they had been brought to Udaiyar Palayam except Swarna Kamakshi who finally reached Tanjavur! I will tell you about that story separately.
659. In Udaiyar Palayam both Sivan Koil and PerumaL Koil are there. There in the Sivan Koil, till date there are separate enclosures as, ‘Sabah Pathy Mandapam’, ‘Thyagaraja Mandapam’ and ‘Kamakshi Mandapam’, in memory of their temporary stay there. Similarly there is evidence of the fact that for a period Rangaraja and Varadaraja idols were located in the PerumaL Koil there. Those days the top man in Tanjavur was Pratapa Simha Maharaja. He wished to have the Sankara Matam itself shifted to Tanjavur, the capital of his state. At that time the Sankara Matam with SwamigaL and Swarna Kamakshi for a period stayed there. (This SwamigaL was the 62nd Pithadhipadhi known as Chandra Sekharendra Saraswati SwamigaL V in the years 1746 to 1783 A.D., whereas PeriyavaL who is narrating the Deivathin Kural is the 68th Pithadhipadhi of the same name Chandra Sekharendra Saraswati SwamigaL VIII.)
660. Then SwamigaL felt that he should shift to Kumbakonam on the banks of Cauveri River, (famous as one of the seven sacred rivers of India namely, Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Sindhu, Narmada, Godavari and Cauveri; instead of being stuck in the hustle and bustle of a capital city like Tanjavur. The King also agreed to it. The task of shifting the Matam to Kumbakonam was entrusted to the Brahmin Minister from Maharashtra Sri Dabir Pant. Accordingly the Matam was shifted to Kumbakonam with a row of houses around it as Agraharam. As the King and people of Tanjavur had hosted them in times of trouble, SwamigaL returned the hospitality with utmost gratitude by arranging to install Swarna Kamakshi permanently in Tanjavur. A new temple was constructed within Tanjavur and Swarna Kamakshi installed there permanently. She is famous now as ‘Bangaru Kamakshi’, as the words ‘Bangaru’ in Telugu and ‘Bangara’ in Kannada languages are synonyms for Gold. Shyama SaastrigaL sang many Telugu songs on this Goddess Kamakshi only that instead of Swarna Kamakshi, the name ‘Bangaru Kamakshi’ has come to stay.
661. The stories about how Swarna Kamakshi shifted from Kanchipuram to Udaiyar Palayam to Tanjavur and the change in her name to Bangaru Kamakshi happened, and the shifting of Kanchi Matam to Kumbakonam and such things are OK. But, we were talking about how the name ‘Trichur’ came about isn’t it? Now what is the connection with that? Let me come to that. When there was a need to shift the Matam to the banks of the River Cauveri, I was wondering as to why the SwamigaL then, selected Kumbakonam? Especially when there were many great religiously famous temple towns on banks of that river, what was the clinching point about Kumbakonam? Near Tanjavur, there is Thiruvaiyaru; where the River Cauveri runs as five rivers, also known as Panchanada Kshetra. Then there is Mayavaram specially meant for ‘Tula Snanam’ (bathing in the river on the day of Maham Star in the month of Tula is considered to be very sacred and beneficial). So why was Kumbakonam selected? When I thought about it, a number of ideas about Kumbakonam came up in my mind like the waves after waves on the sea shore! Specially, it occurred to me that in our AachaaryaaL’s very Avatara, there is a connection with Kumbakonam! Many such links could be discerned, and I wished to talk about them.
662. Trichur is called as ‘Sivapuram’ by Namboodri-s. You know that Tamil was their original mother tongue. In Tamil the sacred places used to have a prefix ‘Thiru’ before their names. So it would have been ‘Thiru Sivapperur’ or ‘Sivapuram’. Like in Madras itself, we have seen ‘Allikkeni’ become ‘Thiruvallikkeni’ and ‘Orriyur’ become ‘Thiruvorriyur’. Similarly when you add ‘Thiru’ to ‘Sivapperur’ it would become, ‘Thiruchivapperur’ which in turn could become ‘Trichchur’. The earlier ‘Sivapperur’ is located three miles SE of Kumbakonam. Here comes the reason for Kumbakonam to be selected for the shifting of our Matam.
(To be continued.)
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