Monday, June 18, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 10 (Vol # 6) Dated 18 June 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 10 (Vol # 6) Dated 18 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 63 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)
75. When SiruththoNdar got a son, he named him as SeeraaLan and conducted all the rituals as required of him for ten days says Sekkizhar confirming that the rituals were as observed by Brahmins when a child is born in the family. At this point it says that he did the needful functions of ‘the rightful rituals as required to be done in the first ten days after the child is born’, Quote “tangaN marabinil urimai chadangu dasa dinaththinilum pongu peru magizhchiyudan purindu kaappaNi punaindaar” Unquote! Anyone who has even the minimum knowledge of Tamil cannot misunderstand the words here! It means that he did all that is required of him as per family traditions. That makes it clear that, though Maamaathira-s were separately identified as being different to the Brahmins, they had the same rituals to be observed as being done in Brahmin families. Including the date of birth, the naming ceremony for a Brahmin child is done on the 11th day that is the same as the 10th day without including the date of birth as given in the Aapasthamba Sutra – ‘dasamyaam’. So has Sekkizhaar said ‘dasa dinaththilum’.

76. Then it is given that they did ‘neyyaadal vizha’ (Refer to Periya PuraaNam – 3677). It is not clear as to what is the meaning of this ‘neyyaadal vizha’. But still it is clear that the child had been born in ‘Koundinya Gothram. In the case of the birth of Sambanda Murthy also there is the mention of ‘neyyaadal vizha’ (Refer to Periya PuraaNam – 1933). Note that he was also one of the Brahmin boys amongst the 63 Nayanmaars, who are not all of them Brahmins! Then in SeeraaLan’s third year of age, it is mentioned that he was given the shaving of the front part of the head, known as the ‘Kudumi KalyaaNam’ – ‘vandu vaLar moovaaNdil mayir vinai mangalam seidu’ – Periya PuraaNam 3681. From these references one can clearly make out that Maamaathira-s had similar customs and traditions like Brahmins.

77. There is yet another big evidence to confirm this fact! There is a book known as ‘Sekkizhaar SwamigaL PuraaNam’ of some 600 years vintage. It is a book by one Umapathy Sivam or possibly by Umapathy Sivaacharyar of Saiva Siddhaanta movement. Anyhow the book is considered to be authentic enough by the followers of Saiva Siddhaanta Kazhagam. In that book it is given clearly as to, who belongs to which caste amongst the 63 Nayanmars. It says that the 63 Nayanmars were made up of 13 Brahmins, two from the Aadi Saiva GurukkaL, and one ‘Kurai Kazhal Maamaatra type’. Then the list goes on covering others such as Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and other castes. This ‘Kurai Kazhal’ is indicative of a pair of anklets worn which make tinkling sound when you walk. Though normally it is worn by Kshatriyas, here it is being mentioned as being worn by Maamaatra-s, who are being described after listing Vedic Brahmins, Saiva GurukkaL and before listing the real Kshatriyas. Thus it is clear that their standing in the social order is just after Brahmins and before Kshatriyas! After mentioning one such person, six Nayanmaars are listed who were kings of big states followed by five kings of smaller vassal states. Then there is the list of five traders / Vysyas, followed by 13 others who were VeLaaLars / farmers. Then the list goes on to cover other castes. Point to note is that both in Periya PuraaNam written by Sekkizhaar and the book on Sekkizhaar by Umapathy, there is mention of only one person as Maamaatra type and that happened to be the soldier Paranjyoti, who later became devotee / Naayanmaar SiruththoNdar; who is listed just after the Brahmins and GurukkaL and before even the Kshatriyas and so cannot be considered to be a VeLaaLa / farmer by any convoluting logic! Now let me quote from the ‘Sekkizhaar SwamigaL PuraaNam’ in Tamil:- “thiru maraiyor puraaNamavai padinmoonru, siva vediyar aranai vazhipatta puraaNam orirandu, kurai kazhal maamaatirar onru, aruvar mudi mannar, kuru nila mannavar aivar, vaNigar Kulathu aivar, irumai neri veLaaLar padin moovar......”. I have already given you the meaning of what is stated here in Tamil.

78. You might have heard about Aarumuga Naavalar. He was a contemporary of Ramalinga SwamigaL and well read and very knowledgeable in Tamil and Saivam. A great devotee of Siva, he would be sporting the white marks of three lines of Vibhuti on his forehead and all over his body in the fore arm, biceps, chest, shoulders with plenty of garlands of Rudraksha in his neck and head too. He is from Nalloor in YaazhppaaNam. He has lived in Tamil Nadu also quite a bit. From the primary books on Tamil to advanced research works, he has written much. In the religious line he has written quite a lot, starting from Periya PuraaNam and Thiru ViLayaadal PuraaNam in easily understandable prose, to deep scholarly analysis of intricate philosophical thoughts. He has run schools for teaching Tamil and printed & published many books himself! If the young Brhmachari students of Veda Patashaalaas went to each house with a begging bowl as part of their training in humility, for the sake of Tamil schools, he himself has gone on door to door canvassing, begging for help!

79. This man who has done much creditable service for Tamil and Bhakti has also written ‘Periya PuraaNa Vachanam’, as I told you earlier. There also, it is given as to who belongs to which caste amongst the 63 Nayanmaars. Of course, they were all equally and uniformly devotees of Siva, without any sense of differentiation whatsoever! It is us who need these details of who had come from which background to get rid of the cobwebs in our own minds! There are some differences between what is given here and the list as given by Umapathy Sivam. That is not of much importance as to what are those differences either. We are more concerned with what is given in its preamble or introduction. We do not know if that was written by Aarumuga Naavalar or somebody else who happened to print or publish it. There it is strongly emphasised that Aadi Saiva AachaaryaaLs who have taken Siva Aagama Deeksha are the highest amongst human beings and that while such is the case, to still give the first place of importance to Vedic Brahmins is wrong and sinful. That is, though there is no hostility with Brahmins as such, the book prioritizes Vedic Brahmins after Aadi Saivas. In such a book we can be certain that it would not have classified someone as Brahmin when it is doubtful if that Naayanaar is a Brahmin at all, isn’t it? In that book I have seen, first are listed four Aadi Saiva Naayanmaars including Sundara Murthy SwamigaL; then 12 Vedic Brahmins such as Thiru Gnaana Sambandar, Somaasi Maara Naayanaar, Rudra Pasupathy Naayanaar and so on; then it gives just the name of SiruththoNdar, mentioned as ‘Maamaatra Brahmin’! Then there are names such as, Seramaan PerumaaL, Nedu Maara PaaNdyan, Kochchengat Chozhan and such other kingly types of Kshatriya Naayanmaars; then listing Vysyas (like Kaaraikkaal Ammaiyar and Iyar Pagai Naayanaar), VeLaaLar (13 of them including Appar SwamigaL), Kuyavar (Thiru Neelakanta Naayanaar), Ekaaliyar (Thiru Kurippu Thonda Naayanaar) and finally ending with Pulaiyar (Thiru NaaLaippovaar, that is, Nandanaar etc)!

Nandanaar: Imagination Conquering Truth

80. Since I mentioned the name of Nandanaar, I have to give you an example of how fiction and imagination become the authority over truth and facts. Those amongst you who know the story of Nandanaar would have conclusively got it in your minds that he suffered much as a farm hand under a cruel and dominating Brahmin PaNNaiyar (rancher)! But in fact, in Periya PuraaNam which is like an authority on the stories of the 63 Nayanmaars, there is no such Brahmin character at all in the story of Nandanaar. He was not under the employ of any rancher. For people who do their appointed role of a job, would have been given some lands as royalty for cultivating and benefitting from the proceeds of such cultivation. Such well defined lands were known as ‘Thudavai’. Nandanaar had such a land which he was cultivating. The people of the untouchable caste known as ‘Paraiya or Pulaiya’ used to deal in the animal skins, intestines, nerves and such things that are used for making the leather surfaces which are stretched taut on drums and the strings in stringed instruments of music. They would also deal with ‘Gorocanaa’ the bright yellow orpiment from the bile of the cattle, taken out when the domestic cattle dies, used in paints, some Ayur Vedic medicines and for making Tilak, worn as a mark on the forehead, specially by the ladies. But this Nandanaar was ever in thoughts of Siva that keeping only the returns from the land as his income, he used to donate all other by-products of his profession, to be used for the Berikai (drums) and VeeNa like stringed instruments, to the Siva Temples. Gorocanaa was given away to the temples for making some fragrant unguents to be smeared on the Siva Linga. He used to go to a number of Siva Temples and sing and dance in extreme devotion. There is just no whiff of information as though he was treated like a slave by a cruel PaNNaiyar!

81. The creator of the cruel Brahmin PaNNaiyar is also a Brahmin only! In the last century, there was a Gopala Krishna Bharathi, a great man of very respectable attainments and devotion for Siva. He was also a good singer as well as a writer of poetry and composer of music! He remained a celibate throughout his life and died on Maha Shivaratri night. He was a friend of the poor and downtrodden. Putting his abilities together, he wrote dance dramas which were much popular. During those times evidently he came across a Brahmin PaNNaiyar, who was very inhumanly cruel with some of his workers in the farm. Those who worked under that PaNNaiyar took it all without objecting; blaming and cursing their own fate only. Seeing this Gopala Krishna Bharathi super imposed the life of Thiru NaaLai Povaar Nandanaar there and wrote a number of songs, set it to music and created a work of art based on fiction and imagination! So rightfully a land owner Nandanaar became a slave labourer under a cruel Brahmin land lord, who would never let him go to any temple! The musical drama became famous and a motivating and rallying point for the nationalistic movement and a convenient weapon to beat the Brahmins with for casteism! In the bargain, Thiru NaaLai Povaar Nandanaar’s story from Periya PuraaNam went into the back ground, unknown! Look at the irony here that a well meaning Brahmin (Gopala Krishna Bharathi) provides the proof of cruelty by a fictitious Brahmin character in a drama; that is so nicely hoisted on all Brahmins of the society!

(To be continued.)




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