Wednesday, June 06, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 04 (Vol # 6) Dated 06 June 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 04 (Vol # 6) Dated 06 June 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 going ahead from the middle of page No 22 of Vol 6 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)

Vigneswara Gayatri

26. There is a Gayatri Mantra for each Devata. When the Brahmin boy is given the Brhma Upadesa, he is given a Gayatri Mantra. That Gayatri Mantra is addressed to the power of God as the Savitaa in the effulgence of the Sun. Gayatri is a Mantra of 24 letters of three Paada (or foot) of eight letters each. In the first line or foot one name of that Devata will be mentioned and say, ‘let us know so and so’. In the second line another name of that same Devata will be mentioned and say, ‘let us do dhyana (meditation) on that Devata’ and in the third line there will be a mention of a third name of the same Devata and say, ‘let that Devata tickle our Arivu (mind, brains and intelligence) and encourage us to follow the right path’. In the Gayatri for Savitaa Devi that is in the effulgence of the Sun, the first two lines together says, ‘let us do dhyana’ and the third line says ‘let that Devata tickle our Arivu and encourage us to follow the right path’. As given in Maha NarayaNa Upanishad, in these Gayatri Mantras which are quite popularly in usage addressing Siva, Vigneshwara, SubrahmaNya and Nandikeswara; as their first name in the Gayatri Mantra is common – as ‘tatpurusha’. That is, Quote, “tat purushaaya vidmahe mahadevaya deemahi”, Unquote. In that, instead of ‘mahadevaya’ you can substitute with ‘vigneshwaraya / subrahmaNyaya / nandikeswaraya’! But in Atharva Veda, there is an Upanishad by the name of ‘GaNapatya Atarvaseersham’ in which there is a GaNapathy Gayatri. That one starts with ‘eka dantaaya’ instead of ‘tat purushaaya’! I hope you now understand the importance of the phrase ‘eka danta’!

“Om Kapilaaya Namaha”

27. That ‘Kapila’ is the third naama, the word ‘kapila’ meaning that he is brownish red or brick red. GaNesha is in different colours. He is ‘sukhla ambaradaram’ like the white colour of the sky or ‘sasi varNam’ meaning white like the moon. In Thiru Valam Chuzhi near KumbakoNam and in Idumbaa Vanam near Thiru Thurai PooNdi, he is the ‘VeLLai PiLLiyar’ or the ‘Sweta Vinayaka’. Avvayaar has sung about him in the Agaval as the ‘neela meni’ to mean the ‘blueish body’, whereas elsewhere in the poem starting with ‘vaakkundaam’, she herself has referred to him as ‘tuppaar thirumeni’ to mean that he is of the colour of the coral! Anyhow, that child God must have given ‘darshan’ in so many different forms and colours, to that old grandmother! I hope you are aware that Avvayaar prayed to this very PiLLaiyar and got old age as a boon, while still in her preteens! So this child God had evidently a large corner in his heart to accommodate this grandmother of all. In North India wherever you see his statue, they would have smeared a lot of ‘Sindur’ (ochre like the kumkumam in the south) on his statue.

28. Thiruchengaattaankudi Vinayaka. In our Sozha Desa, there is a place by name ‘GaNapatheeswaram’ with a temple for GaNapathy. Its place name used to be ‘Chengaadu’, to which if you add a ‘Thiru’ in front and a ‘kudi’ at the end, you have the name of the place Thiruchengaattaankudi which is also known as ‘GaNapatheeswaram’. In Tamil books, this would have been shortened as ‘Thiruchengattankudi’. ‘Chengadu’ means a ‘red forest’. The reason the place became a red forest was that, when Vigneswara defeated Gajamuka Asura, his blood was flowing all over that place like a river. So the black elephant skin on GaNesa also became red, for him to be called ‘Kapila’. As he had killed a brave warrior GaNapathy thought that he had a stigma known as ‘Veera Haththi Dosha’. So as to get rid of the same he had to do Siva Pooja, like Sri Rama did after killing Ravana in the battle field, that the place became Rameswaram. Similarly this place became GaNapatheeswaram.

29. Vaataapi GaNapathy – Some Historical Facts. Later Vaataapi GaNapathy also came to this GaNapatheeswaram. Amongst many variations of GaNapathy, there is one Vaataapi GaNapathy. There was a Raakshasa known by that name. Muni Agasthya had to digest him for which he prayed to GaNapathy. Ganesha Bhagawan in the bargain got the name as Vaataapi GaNapathy. His idol was brought from a city of the same name to Thiruchengattaankudi. That place Vaataapi was the capital of ChaLukya dynasty. Amongst the kings of ChaLukya there were two kings with the name of ‘Pulakesi’, wrongly spelt as ‘Pulikesi’ by some! There is no ‘Puli’ (Tiger) or ‘Eli’ (Rat) involved. The Saasanams of those times used to be mostly in Sanskrit while some stone carvings are in Kannada language. Anyhow the word ‘Pulakesi or Pulakesin’ was supposed to mean, a feeling of cold shivers or goose pimples, when the hairs on the body stand on their ends! The word is similar to ‘Hrishikesa or Hrushikesa’. It is wrongly spelt and referred as ‘Rishikesa’ as though we are talking about the hair of a Rishi! In fact, in Sanskrit, ‘hrishikam’ means the senses. The ruler who controls and makes use of them is ‘Hrushikesa’, as per the interpretation given in Vishnu Sahasranaama Bhaashyam by our AachaaryaaL. There is yet another interpretation. The root word ‘Hrush’ has a meaning as ‘thrillingly happy’ when your hairs stand on their ends! A king or a hero will do such acts nonchalantly, causing a thrill in the minds of the spectators. Such a person is a ‘puLaka + easa = pulakesi’, to mean something like a ‘master thriller’!

30. Some other idea strikes me too. In the story we are going to view, there were two kings in competition with the Pulakesi II. One was Mahendra Verma Pallava and the other the mighty emperor from the North, Harsha Vardhana. This word ‘Harsha’ also has a meaning of horripilation! This Pulakesi was the one who had defeated Harsha causing him to withdraw from the battle field. So it is possible that he got that name as Pulakesi. Before becoming the king his name was Eraima. At the time of his coronation he might have adopted his grandfather’s name, as it fitted with what he had done to Harsha also! In Tamil the hair is known as ‘ALaka’. Kubera, The King of the Yakshas, who is also the Devata for Wealth is known as ALakesa and his capital is known as ALakapuri. So, this capacity to thrill the onlookers is the common factor between the names such as, ‘ALakesa, Hrushikesa and Pulakesi’.

31. Let me come back to the matter of the Pulakesi the Second! Initially after his father died, he was deceived by his father’s younger brother and went through a period of deprivation and penury. Later he defeated his tormentor and ascended the throne. By his organizational acumen and penchant for truth and morality got widely known as ‘Satya Aasraya’. Then he valiantly resisted the might of the Emperor Harsha Vardhana to remain north of the Narmada River. At that time in the Land of the Tamils there was this famous Pallava King, ‘Mahendra Verma’. In the drama written by him known as ‘Matta Vilaasa Prahasanam’, he calls himself as ‘Mahendra Vikrama Verma’, very knowledgeable in the disciplines of the Arts of Sculpture, Music and Dance as an artist and connoisseur of arts. Pulakesi the Second from Vaataapi came on an offensive down south and restricted the Pallava King and his army to remain within the fort area of Kanchipuram. Then after a few generations, the power of kingship went to some relatives known as ‘daayaadi’, by name Nandi Verma. When he donated some land to a Brahmin of the Bharadwaja Gothram who had done Soma Yaaga, the details of the donation are recorded in copper plates known as ‘Kaasaakkudi Plates’.

32. These recordings have much details of historical relevance about the king’s ancestors. In it there is mention of Mahendra Verma obtaining a great victory in a place known as ‘PuLLalur’. But it does not contain details as to against whom he had won. It must have been against the avowed enemies Chalukyas only, we can guess. But it is only a guess and not a certainty. That Mahendra Verma was roundly defeated by Pulakesi II is quite clear. Though in PuLLalur the Pallava army might have defeated the Chalukyas, it was only as repulsing the enemy who has entered your territory and not as though defeating the opponent in his ground. So the trouncing they had received in the hands of Pulakesi II had become a festering wound in the psyche of the Pallavas. This urge to take revenge can become all consuming hate. Mahendra Verma died without taking revenge. His son Nrusimha Verma, well known as ‘Maa Mallan’ for his wrestling prowess, went on an offensive against the Chalukyas and defeated them in their own grounds that, the very town Vaataapi was razed to the grounds! Pulakesi had not entered Kanchipuram. But this Maa Mallan had destroyed his enemy’s capital itself!

33. We have a word for anger and hate as ‘Aatram’, which is something like uncontrllable rage. Worse than that is the word ‘Kshaatram’, which is a consuming animosity eroding your innards! That is directly from the inborn characteristic of a Kshatriya. Though they may have many endearing noble qualities, this one obsession can do away with all those to their detriment! The very word ’Verma’ used as a title by Kshatriyas, has come to mean ‘nurturing enmity’ leading on to sheer cruelty. As there is a saying, ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’, is always related to people in governance. Yes, the kings cannot be expected to behave like Saadhus! But there has to be control and limits as imposed by oneself! One should not resort to cruelty even at the worst of times and situations. The unarmed civilian population should not be subjected to wanton reprisal and killings.

(To be continued.)




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