DEIVATHIN KURAL # 121 (Vol # 5) Dated 01 Feb 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 121 (Vol # 5) Dated 01 Feb 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 the page No 750 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)
692. Celebrate Sankara Jayanthi With All Fervour and Devotion. I wish that all people will understand the importance of our AachaaryaaL’s Jayanthi and celebrate with high intensity of fervour and devotion that it deserves. May be because my life is centred around his life and his message to humanity that, his Jayanthi which ensured the survival of all other such holy days, should be celebrated with an abiding sense of gratitude, I am saying. Without our AachaaryaaL’s birth, Nrusimha Jayanthi, Krishna Jayanthi, Sri Rama Navami and such would not have survived at all, isn’t it? Would we have known that there was such a thing as Gita at all? May be I am greedy. Whether it happens or not, let me keep saying it. Wherever Sankara Jayanthi is conducted or celebrated, go there in such huge numbers that the organisers find it impossible to distribute the Prasadam!
693. By our celebrating his birth day, we benefit by remembering his words and views. We will get a chance to think of him and his message by which the confusion and cob-webs in our minds will be cleared. The sense of gratitude is an important quality of man isn’t it? Out of all human attributes, the sense of gratitude has been identified as the most important one by all great thinkers of the world. So, we owe much to that man who reopened the gates of heaven as though, by fighting and putting down all the Avedic traditions one by one; by reviving and rejuvenating the Sanatana Dharma; by enabling us to enjoy and celebrate Shivaratri and Sri Rama Navami and Krishna Jayanthi. As a token of our love and as an expression of our sense of gratitude, and our appreciation; it is absolutely justified that we celebrate his birth day as the biggest of all festivals.
694. Presently the greatness of this Jayanthi has not been conveyed to the people sufficiently. So if someone celebrates it somewhere, just ten or twelve people gather there. If we celebrate in the Matam people do assemble in sizeable numbers. The mistake is not of the people. It is only our fault that we have not been giving it enough publicity that people have not been made aware of its importance! For Aazhvar-s such as, Ramanuja, Desikar, MaNavaaLa Maamunivar and such, there are Idols in Vishnu temples. Since the Vaishnavas have a lot of faith and pride in their religion, on their birth days, special poojas to those Idols, decorations, circumambulation around the town with the Utsavar Idol, feeding the devotees and such things happen. For Appar, Sundarar and such 63 Nayanmaars and Umapati Sivam and such Saiva Siddhaanta SamayakkuravargaL, (for whom there are Idols lined up in the Siva Temples) and so their Jayanthi is celebrated with sufficient veneration. Generally all the 63 Nayanmaars are venerated together as part some festival or the other, when their Utsavar Idols are taken around with much celebration, to coincide with Arudra Darsanam for about ten days. But our AachaaryaaL’s Jayanthi, not exactly belonging to either Vaishnava or Saiva traditions, but being Smaarta Sampradaaya which is inclusive of both; there is no Idol for Sankara AachaaryaaL in any of these temples and so no celebration of the Jayanthi is conducted, except some rare temples where he has installed a Yantra or has done something special!
695. The Special Connexion with Kanchi Mandalam. The one exception to the above state of affairs is Kanchipuram only. Not only the Kanchipuram town but in the entire Kanchi Mandalam, there are many places where our AachaaryaaL’s Idols are installed. In the Kamakshi Temple, with a separate Sannidy there is a huge statue of Aadi Sankara. Further his Idols are installed in Ekaambreswarar Temple, Vaikunda PerumaaL Kovil, and Varadaraja PerumaL Kovil. Amongst them too, especially in Varadaraja PerumaL Kovil, on the approach to the Thaayaar Sannidy, there is a pillar in which there is Vyasa Bhagawan who lifts a finger to indicate the ‘Truth of the Oneness of Adwaitam’, below whom our AachaaryaaL is seated. Not only in the big temples, but also in the smaller ones such as, Siva Sthaanam, Sevili Medu aka Siva Linga Medu, PuNyakoti Aalayam, Airaavateshwarar Kovil and many other temples our Aachaaryaal’s statue can be seen. In the Airaavateshwarar Kovil, similar scene with Vyasa as in Varadaraja PerumaL Kovil is depicted, in which our AachaaryaaL’s statue is that of a very young and small child! Thus in Kanchipuram and surrounding areas Sankara’s statues are in many places.
696. Kamakshi who was very ferocious here was made amiable and pleasant by installing Sri Chakra and Kaamakoti Peetam, by our AachaaryaaL, as I told you earlier. True to that closeness between the two here, in whatever Aasanaas and Mudraas (sitting postures of the body are Aasanaas and signs indicated by the hands and fingers are Mudraas), the Goddess Kamakshi is sculpted in stone, so are our AachaaryaaL’s idols are also seen sculpted in those Aasanaas and Mudraas, here in this temple!
697. Though normally our AachaaryaaL is thought of with four of his disciples namely, Padmapaada, Hastaamalaka, Thotaka and Sureshwara. But the books that talk about his stay in Kanchi describe six other disciples who went about strengthening the six religions known as Shan Madam namely, GaaNaapatyam, Koumaaram, Saaktam, Saivam, Souram and VaiNavam, established by our AachaaryaaL. At the end of the books there is description about the fact that these disciples report to him about what they had done to strengthen these six religions firmly, all over India. So we see the figures of these six disciples, three on either side in the Kamakshi temple Vigraha and in the Sri Matam’s Pooja Graham too. Not only in Kanchipuram but also in Poovirundavalli, Paappaan Samudram, Maangaadu, Thiruvorriyur and many other places we see AachaaryaaL’s statues.
698. Normally the one who is more noticeable by his absence in any of the temples, is plentifully found in the temples between Kanchipuram and Chennai because, this was the last place where he lived and dropped his mortal coil and so has made a lasting impression on people’s mind in this part of the world. But the truth remains that in temples all over the country, our AachaaryaaL’s statue is not there. That is why we do not remember and celebrate his Jayanthi. The one due to whom the very devotional procedures in temples came to life, for him there is no statue and no celebrations! Still by the sheer dint of his hard work and the power of his Aatma Shakti, all over the country, the very word ‘AachaaryaaL’ has come to mean SankaracharyaL and it is our and our Matams’ duty to make his name, message and fame known to the world. For the AachaaryaaL who has no statues or idols, it is his Matams which are the gross bodies. Including Ramanuja, for all the Vaishnava and Saiva Siddhaanta Mahatmas, there are no Matam like organizations created by them. Only the statues are there. So the Matam has to rise up to the expectations to make our AachaaryaaL’s Jayanthi memorable enough as it deserves.
699. Conduct of Sankara Jayanthi in Kamakshi Aalayam. Kanchi Kamakshi Aalayam is closely related to this Matam. That temple is also closely related to AachaaryaaL’s life history. So there is a life like statue there with a high roof, a separate Sannidy and Utsavar Vigraha. The size of the Vigraha is bigger than normally what we see for anyone who has been a human being. That too instead of the puny human figures of today, it seems to represent his times when people were strong and able bodied. There the Sankara Jayanthi is celebrated in a satisfactory way. Jayanthi can be celebrated in two ways. One is Garba Utsavam which starts 10 days prior to the date of birth and finishes on the Jayanthi day. Instead of ten months pregnancy, ten days Utsavam is celebrated. The other one is Janma Utsavam, starting on the date of birth and finishing on the 11th day with PuNyaha Vaachanam.
700. In places where they do Garba Utsavam, ten days before the Sukhla Panchami would mean it has to be started in Krishna Paksham, which would mean during the waning period of the moon. This is not considered preferable and so, they start on the Amavasya day and finish it in Panchami on the fifth day. But in Kamakshi Kovil, it is celebrated as a Janmotsava, starting on Sankara Jayanthi and finishes on the full moon day. This is done as a part of activities by the organization of the temple Devasthaanam itself. Nowhere else is it done like that but, is done based on individual devotees’ contributions.
701. To compensate for there not being much of celebration elsewhere for the Jayanthi of our AachaaryaaL, in Kanchipuram it is being done rather elaborately. Every day the Utsavar Vigraha of our AachaaryaaL is taken out, brought to the Gayatri Mandapa outside Kamakshi AmbaaL’s Sannidy, kept on a high pedestal and decorated. Then they chant ten slokas from Soundarya Lahari, which is one of our Aadi Sankara AachaaryaaL’s most wonderful of compositions. With Deepa Aaraadhana the rendition is offered to AmbaaL Kamakshi as ArpaNam. For each sloka there is a Deepa Aaraadhana. In ten days all the slokas of the Soundarya Lahari are thus presented to AmbaaL Kamakshi. On the last day there is a change in the procedure. In the outer Prahara there is a Sukhrawara Mandapa. There Utsava Kamakshi and Utsava AachaaryaaL are both brought up and decorated. The last ten slokas of Soundarya Lahari are chanted and offered to AmbaaL as ArpaNam. As the Prasada from AmbaaL our AachaaryaaL is given a Parivattam (something tied around the head in honour like a Tiara). My wish is that similarly his Jayanthi should be celebrated in temples all over the world!
(To be continued.)
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