Saturday, June 16, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 09 (Vol # 6) Dated 16 June 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 09 (Vol # 6) Dated 16 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 56 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)
65. Mahendra Pallava had embraced the religion of Jainism which had no VarNa – Aashrama separations or divisions. Appar Swami had also done the same thing of dilly dallying with that religion for quite some time and then returned to the fold of Sanaatana Dharma. Mahendra Verma while still in Jainism had tormented and pestered Appar Swami in ‘n’ number of ways for going back to the Hindu Religion of Sanaatana Dharma! But Appar had repeatedly escaped unscathed from whatever the hazards he had to face! Having seen miracles after miracles that nothing could affect or hurt Appar in any way and having observed and noted his deep belief and convictions; Mahendra Pallava also returned back to the Vedic Religion of Sanaatana Dharma. On return, he would have been rather serious about his faiths and beliefs and would not have dared to joke about it by calling himself a product of a mix of religions! May be this going out and returning to the fold of Sanaatana Dharma, could have been the cause of his calling himself a ‘Brashta’, but not ‘SamkeerNa Jaati’! Finally the puzzle was solved. The researchers of the field of Music were the ones to finally find the answer.
66. In ‘SamkeerNa Jaati’, the Jaati was indicative of Raaga and not a caste, they said. In Bharatha Saastram itself the word ‘Raaga’ is not there, but only Jaati, like a name for a type or variety. Some hundred years before Mahendra Verma, there was one Musical genius Matangar who had coined the word ‘Raaga’ to mean a tune within the confines of a discipline of having a set pattern of Swaras in the ‘Aarohanam’ and ‘Avarohanam’ (that is in the ascent and descent). Depending on this set pattern the definition (LakshaNa) and name of the Raaga will differ. Then for some period of time both the names ‘Jaati’ and ‘Raaga’ continued to be used. This gentleman Matangar had mentioned a mixed Raaga possibly made of Aarohanam of one and Avarohanam of another Raaga and named it as a ‘SamkeerNa’ Raaga! It is clear from the Kudumia Malai carvings on stone that Mahendra Verma had studied music and specialised in such Raagaas and so had given himself such a title, there by bringing an inevitable conclusion to the irreconcilable puzzle, of his title.
67. Let me tell you as to what I know about this SamkeerNa Jaati or Mixed Raaga to the extent I am aware of. Presently, in Carnatic Music, as per the classification by one Venkata Mukhi, there are supposed to be 72 basic Raagaas identified as MeLa Karta or SampoorNa Raagaas, which have all the seven notes within the octave, from which all other Raagaas (whose numbers theoretically could run into millions) have evolved. These 72 Raagaas have been grouped in two major divisions, having the lower or higher of the two ‘madhyama’ Swaras aka notes known as ‘Suddha madhyama or prati madhyama’. The lower madhyama swara occurs in the Raaga SankaraabharaNam and the higher one occurs in the Raaga KalyaaNi. With these two Madhyama Swaras as the basis, the 72 MeLa Karta ragas have been divided in to two equal halves of 36 Raagaas each. In this Carnatic music system, as well as its forerunner method of singing known as ‘PaN Paaduthal’ as while singing the Tevaram Songs, no Raagaa can have both the Madhyama Swaras. As you may know, between the starting lower ‘sa’ and the next level ‘Sa’, there are six notes such as, ‘ri’, ‘ga’, ‘ma’, ‘pa’, ‘da’ and ‘ni’; known respectively as Rishabham, Gaandaaram, Madhyamam, Panchamam, Daivatam and Nishaadam. Each one of these notes that is, the ‘ri, ga, pa, da and ni’ could also have two varieties each. In them it is possible for a Raaga to have a different one variety of ‘ri, ga, da, and ni’ in the ascending order and then a variation of notes in the descending order! But in our South Indian Carnatic music, there are no variations in the ‘Madhyama’ note in AarohaNam and AvarohaNam! Get this point clear that, within a Raga it will be either ‘Suddha Madhyama Raaga’ or ‘Prati Madhyama Raaga’. Within one Raaga there can be no mixing of the Madhyama Swaras at all. But Mahendra Verma had created such Raagaas as having two different Madhyama Swaras alternating between AarohaNam and AvarohaNam. There are seven such Raagaas mentioned in the inscriptions on stone found at Kudumia Malai. Those Raagaas could be collectively named as ‘SamkeerrNa Jaati’, which in turn he could have taken as a title for himself!
68. His ideas had still not been followed in the South India. Only in what is known as Hindustani Sangeet, more widely prevalent in North India, there are Raagaas with varying Madhyama Swaraas between the ascending and descending order within a Raaga. As the tunes of these Raagaas are rather popular and have mass appeal, some of these Raagaas have been accepted in the Carnatic Sangeet too, I was told. I was talking about how it is wrong to super impose some of these modern ideas on the past. As inter caste marriages have become the order of the day, I was talking about how Mahendra Pallavan is thought to be the product of an inter-caste marriage, by the title he had given himself, though the reason for it lies elsewhere. It is some such twisted logic that is the reason for Mahendra Verma’s son’s army commander, who was a ‘Maamaatra Brahmin’ to be thought to be a farmer, because of some people’s penchant for locating some red-herrings of the so called, ‘Tamil – traditions’!

69. ‘Mahamaatras’ became ‘Maamaatra’ in Tamil, for those Brahmins who left their Vedic profession and shifted to other avocations and careers, mainly to soldiering and medicine, so as to differentiate them from others born and practicing as brahmins. There is sufficient evidence that such people were holding positions of high standing in the governmental jobs of that period. The very word ‘Mahamaatra’ is indicative of a high capacity; ‘maha’ means big or huge and ‘maatra’ means a measure or scale. So in what respect is he supposed to be big? He is big in, “mantre, karmaNi, bhushaayaam, vitte, maane, parichchede / maatra cha mahatee yeshaam maha maatraastu te smruta: //”
70. Here, ‘mantre’ does not mean mantra Saastras but in giving sensible advices to the king, that is to say ‘in ministering’! Thus the Mahaamaatras have a major role to play in the decisions of the cabinet of ministers. Then in ‘karmaNi’, that is, in direct action including in operation theatre and in theatres of operation of war, such a person has much to do. In ‘bhushaayaam’, that is get-up, style and ornamentation he is high class and in ‘vittam’ that is in money and materials he is very rich. What else is he tops in? In ‘maane’, that is in matters of protocol and conventional customs he is second only to royalty. Then in ‘parichchede’ that is, in dress, uniform, accoutrements and the retinue of followers; the Mahamaatras have real high class! The slokam goes on to say that they are such people whose standards are rather high in terms of counselling, protocol, dress, uniform, accoutrements, wealth, retinue and followers; are considered as Mahaamaatras – as the poem says – ‘mahamaatraastu te smruta:’. These matters, in the time-frame that we are talking about, just cannot be applicable to the farmers and land lords. So the fanciful claim by some that Mahamaatra Paranjyoti is from the ‘VeLaaLar’ community is proved to be wrong.
71. In the Sanskrit Dictionary cum Encyclopaedia known as ‘Amara Kosa’, the word Mahamaatras has been mentioned. Rajas are said to be of many varieties like Chakravarty, Saarvabouma, Mandaleshwara and Samraat. While talking about such people’s followers, one of the first mentioned is ‘Mahamaatra’ or the minister and then only ‘Pradaani’ (prime / chief) and ‘Purohits’ are mentioned.
72. Manusmruti is one of the oldest reference books on Dharma Saastra of primary importance. The word Mahamaatraas finds a place in Manusmruti itself! It is about crimes by people of high standing in the hierarchy. Such people cannot afford to be found guilty of errors of commission and omission. The king has to be doubly harsher in dealing with such people as, ‘Mahamaatraas, Chikitsakaas (meaning doctors), Sculptors and Female Artisans. More than regular criminals, errors of omission and commissions by these four have a greater impact on the whole society. When Mahamaatraas or Ministers are corrupt, the bureaucracy and departments under them and governance in general in the entire nation or state gets corrupted. When doctors are corrupt, instead of curing the illnesses there will be endemic problems of health. If the Sculptor is corrupt, the making of temples, devotion to divinity and the moral force in the society will suffer setbacks. The fourth in the list are the courtesans meant for ‘Shodasa Upachaaraas’ in the Temples as well as display and demonstrations of fine arts in the Royal Courts including for foreign dignitaries and for development of fine arts in general. If they are corrupt, they can misuse their influence causing a collapse of moral standards! So, corruption in these four categories are to be considered as ‘Kantaka’ that is, ‘thorns’ on the side by the king and so punished more severely! (Refer to Manusmruti, 259th Sloka in the 9th Adhyaayam.) The fact that Mahamaatraas are the ones being mentioned as the first of the administrative body bears out their importance.
73. Though they may have given up the very important profession of their Vedic duties, service in the medical profession or soldiering, were also done very efficiently by them to be worthy of a special name as Mahamaatraas, something like a standard scale of efficiency for the whole of society, in all walks of life. Though these Mahamaatraas may not have done much Adhyayanam (not extensively studied the Vedas), while talking about Paranjyoti, Sekkizhaar in Periya PuraaNam says that he had read the Aayurveda in depth and had extensively studied the Saastraas and literature in the Sanskrit language. (Refer to Periya PuraaNam 3662, “aayuL vedak-kalaiyum, alagil vada noork-kalaiyum”.) He was also an expert in Dhanurveda (that is, Archery) and handling of Horses and Elephants. (Refer to Periya PuraaNam, “thooya padaik-kalath thozhilum thurai nirambap payinra vartraar paayumada kunjaramumpariyum ugaikkum paNbu meya thozhil vinjai inum mediniyin melaanaar”)
74. When Thiru Gnaana Sambandar came to Thiru Chengaattaankudi, Paranjyoti had returned there as it was his birth place and had come to be known as ‘SiruththoNdar’ as a Naayanaar. Many Nayanmaars were family members as Gruhasta-s / house holders. SiruththoNdar invited that divine child to his house, lifted the child Sambandar to give him a hug and enabled him to rest his legs on his chest, which was adorned by PooNool, as described by Sekkizhaar. (Refer to Periya Puraaam 3682 – “munnool ser ponmaarbir siruththondar pugali kaavalanaar tham nannaamach chevadigaL portrisaithu nalanchirandaar”) So certainly, he could not have been a VeLaaLar farmer at all, by any stretch of imagination!
(To be continued.)



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