DEIVATHIN KURAL # 151 (Vol # 5) Dated 30 Mar 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 151 (Vol # 5) Dated 30 Mar 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 941 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)
988. I had told you earlier that our AachaaryaaL’s Jayanthi, that is, celebration of his date of birth is done on Vaisaka Sukhla Panchami, throughout the country. So we should continue to do so on that day only. Similarly the general belief is that the place of his birth is Kaladi in Kerala. Though that is what is said in all Sankara Vijayam books, in one of the versions of Aananda Gireeyam, it is given as Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu! This may not be very correct. But, there is some material to be talked about Chidambaram. There seems to be a subtle connection between AachaaryaaL and Chidambaram. He obtained from Parameswara five Spatika (Crystal) Lingams, which he installed in Sringeri in Kodagu Mandalam, Kanchipuram, Kedaarnaath in the Himalayas, Neelakanta in Nepal, and in Chidambaram. The last one was kept with him in person till his last few days in the human body and finally given to Sureshwara for being installed in Chidambaram as given in the Aananda Gireeyam.
989. Chidambaram is indicative of the deep principles of the end of all philosophy aka Vedaantam. The very name ‘Chid + ambaram’ means the ‘inner sky of our very being’. Normally the places of religious importance are all indicative of incidents in PuraNas, such as KaaLahasti, AruNaachalam, Jambukeswaram aka GajaaraNyam aka Thiruvaanaikka and so on. Only Chidambaram is related to Vedantam rather than indicative of religious anecdotes. Related to PuraNas though it has a name as ‘Vyagrapuram’ or ‘Puliyur’, it is the name Chidambaram that is rather famous. All the poems of Tevaram in praise of Siva start with the mention of ‘Thiru Chitrambalam’ in Tamil that is also another way of saying ‘Dahara Aakaasam’ in Sanskrit! The small space in the cave of our heart (that is not the biological heart), is known as ‘Dahara Aakaasam’, ‘the sky of the self’. This inner being ‘dynamic Nataraja’ is there as the Nishkriya (sans action), Aroopa (sans form), and Rahasyam (secret). That space of the sky (Aakaasa kshetram) is not only indicating the five Bhootas or the basic elements but, the very core or essence of our being.
990. In one of his works known as ‘Yoga Taravali’, our AachaaryaaL has talked about the importance of Sri Sailam, in which he has talked of the ‘Aatma Tatva’ the quintessence of our principle of existence. Similarly, in another of his works known as ‘Viveka ChoodaamaNi’, he has spoken about the value of the word ‘Chidambaram’. In the end part of that book, while describing the liberated soul of a Jeevan Mukta he says, “As such a being is fully firmed in his Reality, for the apparent appearance, he may seem to be any which way; he may be all quiet or he may look like a mad man; dancing around like someone in intoxication; sometimes behaving like a child; hovering like a ghost; wearing any skin of a deer or tiger or roaming about in the altogether unaware of his body; such a person then is firmly established in the ethereal plane of Knowledge Absolute, the space/sky of Gnaana. In describing him our AachaaryaaL uses the word, ‘chidambarasta:’! PeriyavaaL Quotes the Sloka No 540 of ‘Viveka ChoodaamaNi’: – “digambaro vaapi saambaro vaa tvagambaro vaapi chidambarasta: I unmattavat vaapi cha baalavatvaa pisaasavat vaapi charatyavanyaam II” – rooted firmly in his Absolute Reality!
991. Close to the Malayala Desam on the eastern side in the Kongu Nadu there is another Nataraja temple in Perur. I had told you earlier that Trichur in Kerala is also ‘Thiruchivapperur’ where our AachaaryaaL’s parents Siva Guru and AryaambaaL had done Tapasya for begetting a child, isn’t it? Perur has a name as Aadi Chidambaram! Ambalam is a word more commonly used in Malayalam. In Tamil Nadu, Chitrambalam, Ponnambalam and VeLLiambalam are all words used for the Sannidy of Nataraja Perumaan only. The upper portion of this temple in Chidambaram is also in the form of a roof as found in Kerala, rather than the Gopuram structure as found in other temples of Tamil Nadu. All the Deekshidar-s in Chidambaram tie their hair and let it rest in the front of their heads as the Namboodri Brahmins of Kerala. When the Namboodri Brahmins wear it straight atop (known as Oordva Shika) in front, while those in Chidambaram let it fall to a side in front (known as Poorva Shika). They both let the hair have a free fall at the back, which is a similarity.
992. That the Deekshidars of Chidambaram had some special connection with Malayala Desam is revealed from a reading of Periya PuraaNam which lists all the life histories of the 63 devotees of Siva known by the collective name as Nayanmaars. From a place known as KaLandai, there was a Koortruva Naayanaar ruling over a small regional kingdom. His was one of the vassal states under the Chola Dynasty paying periodical duties known as ‘Kappam’. He was famous as a devotee of Siva. He had an army of infantry, charioteers, horse mounted and elephant mounted soldiers. More than the might of his army, he was powerful because of his devotion to Siva Perumaan by eternally chanting the Panja Akshara Mantra of ‘Namasivaya’. By a number of fights he virtually defeated or won over all the states of South India. Those days, the Kings of the Sozha Dynasty used to get their coronation done at Chidambaram as Nataraja the presiding Deity there was like a Family Deity for them. Though, they used to get their coronation done in their capital at Uraiyur or Tanjore that function was only something like an official or social event. But in Chidambaram, it was considered as a religiously approved sacramental function, conducted by the 3,000 Deekshidars. The Crown given there was also meant only for that occasion. After the function is over, the Crown will remain in the custody of the Deekshidars in Chidambaram temple only.
993. Koortruva Naayanaar having won over all other rulers went to Chidambaram and requested them to conduct the Coronation by the proper method. They however denied doing so on the grounds that they will not do so, except for a king of the Sozha lineage. Having had a difference of opinion with the existing ruler, they considered it incorrect to continue living in that place. The Crown was also not to be removed from the temple premises. So they made one from among their midst to remain as a custodian for the crown and went away to Kerala under the Chera King of that time in the Malayala Desam. Please note that instead of going to the Pandya Kingdom nearby, they went away to the far off Chera Nadu! May be they wanted to distance themselves from the point of conflict or that there was a natural affinity to the other location of Nataraja temple and or between Deekshidars and Namboodri Brahmins! From the way the event developed one can draw certain other relevant deductions too. Even when only one Brahmin was the caretaker of the priceless crown, the king with all his power was still obedient to the wishes of the religious community. Then as the story of Koortruva Naayanaar goes, he prayed to Lord Siva Perumaan to place his adorable feet on his head, which the Lord kindly did in his dreams, for him to get the exalted name as a Naayanaar. Let me remind the readers that Nayanmars are revered as great devotees of Siva that there statues are lined up in the outer Praharam of all Siva Temples in South India. Later Rajaraja Sozha also got the title of ‘Siva Paada Sekhara’ by the process of praying for Siva Perumaan’s adorable feet to be placed on his head, thereby continuing the tradition as set by Koortruva Naayanaar I suppose!
994. Now coming to the version about our AachaaryaaL’s being born in Chidambaram, when we made further enquiries, it was revealed that his father’s name was Viswajit and mother’s name was Visishta. Further digging in revealed that it was Abhinava Sankara of 788 A.D. whose parents were Viswajit and Visishta. The 61st Sloka of ‘Jagatguru Ratnamala Sthava’ as explained in the Sushama Vyaakhyaana by Vaakpathy Bhatta known as ‘Sankarendra Vilasa’ clarifies this point. It underlined the earlier discovery of how the Orientalists were mistaken about Aadi Sankara and Abhinava Sankara, confusing one for the other!
995. Aanandagiri also had a special attachment to Chidambaram it seems. In Aananda Gireeyam wherever there is description of how the child Sankara grew up, it says, “saaktchaat chidambaresa iva viraajamaana:”, meaning that, ‘he was effulgently shining like Nataraja’, in Aananda Gireeyam, 3rd PrakaraNam. In the same PrakaraNam, it also says that the place where he met Govinda Bhagawat Paada and got Upadesa was in Chidambaram! Though in other books, that place is said to be as differently as the banks of the Narmada River, Badrikashram, and Kaasi, we are to note that it was Narmada River bank as widely believed in the light of what I had described earlier. During that Upadesa, unknown to the outer world, we can take it as intimately connected to Chidambaram, not simply a place name on the map; but as indicative of the inner Chidaakaasa. We know that Govinda Bhagawat Paada was an Avatara of Patanjali. Patanjali is inalienably attached to Chidambaram. If AachaaryaaL’s Guru is like this, the Guru’s Guru that is the Parama Guru Gowda Paada also got Upadesa directly from Patanjali, when he was in that Patanjali Roopa of a thousand headed Aadi Sesha Naaga! Then, our AachaaryaaL is ever imbedded in Chid-Ambaram as ‘Chidambarasta:’ and so we can take it that his Guru gave him Upadesa in the ‘Gnaana Aakaasa’ of Chidambaram!
(To be continued.)
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