Friday, June 08, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 05 (Vol # 6) Dated 08 June 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 05 (Vol # 6) Dated 08 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 page No 30 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)

34. Nrusimha Verma had a reputation of being a patron of chanting of Vedas by Brahmins, conducting Sanskrit Gatika Schools, conducting of Yaagas and divine worship in all its variations. In the same vein, he used to nurture and support the art of sculpture in a big way. Even such a benign ruler was not able to overcome his Kshaatram or the need to take revenge. So having planned for long, he went on an offensive to Vaataapi and virtually razed it to the ground! He declared himself to be the ‘Vaataapi Konda Nrusimha Potta Raayan’ like some Title created by himself, and installed an inscription in stone in Vaataapi itself, as proof of having done so for posterity!

35. When such is the case, how can we expect the Chalukyas to be above such need for revenge? They had to defeat the Pallavas and destroy Kanchipuram as a tit for tat! Some one hundred years later at the time of Vikrama Aaditya II, they had come on an offensive down south and captured Kanchipuram. They could have destroyed the whole town with all its monuments. But by then there was also the Kailasa Natha Temple as an exemplar beyond compare for the intricacies of Indian Architecture, some years before, during the time of Rajasimha himself! You may have a question as to “How could a Hindu King destroy a Hindu temple?” As I told you earlier, the urge to take revenge knows no limits to its expression.

36. Such an unimaginable event has occurred in one of the Sankara Matam itself! (KTSV Adds: – From what is given in the Tamil original Vol V, page 31 of the Deivathin Kural, it is not clear as to where exactly the incident being described hereinafter occurred.) There was a Muslim leader who had much affection and respect for one of our Sankara Matams. His enemy was a Hindu King. What that King’s Hindu commander did was something beyond normal imagination. He decided to attack the Sankara Matam as the Mataadipathy there had the patronage of the Muslim leader, not even bothering that it was an organization in the name of our AachaaryaaL! The Muslim leader was magnanimous enough to still aid that Matam after this sacrilege by the Hindu commander, for repair and reconstruction! That is just an example as to up to what extent people can demean themselves, when they are overcome by a sense of vengefulness!

37. Kanchipuram was completely in the hands of Chalukyas King Vikrama Aaditya, presenting him with a golden opportunity to wreak revenge as he wished in retaliation of what had been done at Vaataapi. Here before him was the first temple that had been constructed with blocks of stones instead of the cave like things which had been carved into blocks of huge rocks in earlier times. There it was standing in front of him with all the sculptural beauty that can be engraved into stone! One order from him and his soldiers would have brought them all unto dust! That is the moment when his mind did an about turn! He had already been initiated in to Siva Deeksha Mantra. Whether it was his love for Siva or for the beauty of the art in front of him or both; he simply gave an order that, “Not a single stone of the temples were to be even touched! Once we have won the battle, the enemy population is as good as our own citizens! So, take care!” That was his order. So instead of looting and ransacking, he donated and embellished the temples in Kanchipuram and recorded his orders on stone on a pillar in a Mandapam in front of the Kailasanathar Temple.

38. Like Asoka had a change of heart after battle of Kalinga, here was another great change of heart, as I have come to know, that I shared with you all! Not only that Vikrama Aaditya was overwhelmed by the architectural beauty of Kailasanathar Temple, but on return to his place, he got constructed the Virupaksha Temple; which is almost an exact copy of the Kailasanathar Temple at Kanchi, for which he took the artisans from here in Kanchipuram. Thus their capital Vaataapi (later called the Badami), with nearby IhoLe and Pattadakal; all three located in Bijapur District, became equally famous and thriving as tri-cities of the Chalukya Kingdom. Normally when new kings took over, their coronation was done at Pattadakal. May be the name of the place evolved to mean ‘the place where Pattabhishekam was conducted’! Having started with PiLLaiyar, I am roaming about between Kanchi and Vaataapi! If you ask me as to what is the connection, I will say that there is an important connection!

39. Aanaimuka and Agasthya. Agasthya Maharishi is related to Vinayaka the Elephant Faced God. Both have protruding bellies. Agasthya is said to be thumb sized, (‘angushta maatra’)! He is called the ‘kuru muni’, the shorty saint! Similarly Ganesha is said to be ‘vaamana roopa’ as in –“mooshika – vaahana modaka – hasta chaamara – karNa vilambita – sutra / vaamana roopa maheswara putra vigna – vinaayaka paada namaste //”. In Vaamana Avatara, Vishnu came as the short statured Brahmin boy. So, ‘vaaman roopa’ means short in stature. On the one hand the sloka says, ‘vakra thunda maha kaaya’, to mean big bodied while on the other he is supposed to be ‘vaaman roopa’! Of course, he is small and big too. As Avvayaar says in Vinaayaka Agawal, ‘aNuvukku aNuvaai appaalukku appaalaai’ meaning ‘smaller than the atom and beyond the beyond’! In Hampi, in Karnataka, there are two statues of Vigneswara, one some 10 feet high and the other some 20 feet! But their names are indicative of being very small. The 10’ PiLLaiyar is marked as the ‘Sasivukallu’ meaning the size of a grain of mustard! The 20’ Vinaayaka is called the ‘Kadalaikkallu’ meaning the size of a ‘Chick-pea’ aka ‘Bengal-gram’. Do not think as to how odd it is that for such a small sized person as that of a grain of Mustard or Chick-pea, there is such a big statue. In fact we can never make a life-sized statue for him at all. We have just made an effort to the extent that we are able to in all humility! In relation to his immensity, what we have done is only as good as an iota in comparison with the whole universe!

40. I was talking about the connection between Vigneswara and Agasthya Muni. When Agasthya had imprisoned the River Cauvery in his handy Kamandalam, it was Vigneswara who came in the form of a crow and tripped the Kamandalam causing the River to flow once again! Though Agasthya was instigated to instant rage, once he knew that it was his favourite Vigneswara, the rage turned into devotion. In Tamil they ridicule someone who is trying to curry favour as ‘catching a crow’! Here from chasing a crow, he became a fan of that crow – who was in fact Vigneswara! Let me come back to the ‘Vaataapi’ episode! In it Agasthya is the Hero! There were two Raakshasa brothers named Vaataapi and Ilvalan (ILVALAN), who used to jointly dupe the world. Unlike the overt cruelty of most Asuras, this team of Asuras used subterfuge to trap saintly persons and feed on them! As it is the ogres are fond of feeding on human flesh. Here the bodies of Saints and Rishies soaked in years of chanting Veda Mantras was really ‘sweet meat’ for them!

41. For that literal ‘sweet meat’ these two brothers had hatched a plan. The elder Ilvalan would take the form of a pious Brahmin and go to some Rishi or Muni everyday and request him to come and feed in his house that day. That Rishi dependent on such food from others only, will mostly trustingly accept the invitation. There Ilvalan would have cut, cooked and kept ready to be served, the body of his own brother Vaataapi! Such people like a Rishi or a Muni, do not go about flaunting their super human powers, all of the time. Without knowing that they are being deceived they would eat the food served. Then after the lunch or dinner, they will be offered areca nut and betel leaves in combination as Taamboolam and requested to rest for some time. Now the elder brother Ilvalan will call for his brother ‘Vaataapi’ and say, “Vaadaa Vaataapi”! At once, the younger brother will reform in to the shape of goat and come out of the guest’s stomach, tearing it open! Now the brothers will have ‘sweet meat’ to their fill, as per their plan!

42. The same thing happened with Agasthya also and Ilvalan called for his younger brother to come out. But Agasthya being constantly in Vigneshwara’s protective field of influence, could see through the trick. He lovingly caressed his own stomach and said, “Vaataapi jeerNo bhava!” The Asura was instantly digested and assimilated by the fire of ‘Vaisvanara’ in the stomach, which is nothing but the fire of Paramaatma. Seeing this Ilvalan was shaken up and surrendered to Agasthya in awesome devotion, is one story. As per another story, he pounced on Agasthya in frustration and Agasthya used a blade of grass as a weapon against him by the power of his Mantra and sorted him out! Agasthya venerated and did pooja to GaNapathi, after this incident for GaNapathi to get the name of the ogre as a prefix that, from then onwards, GaNapathy in that form came to be known as Vaataapi GaNapathy!

43. In Thiruvaroor there are many GaNapathy temples. Amongst them there is ‘Vaataapi GaNapathy’ also. Deekshidar’s song ‘Vaataapi GaNapathim Bhaje’ is wrongly thought of as a song on Thiruchengaattaankudi Pillaiyar by many. In the Keertanam itself, it is mentioned that he is, ‘moolaadaara kshetraa stitam’ and Thiruvaroor is that Prithvi Sthala aka ‘moolaadaara kshetraa’. Agasthya when on his visit to various centres of religious significance had installed Vaataapi GaNapathy there.

(To be continued.)




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