Wednesday, June 20, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 11 (Vol # 6) Dated 20 June 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 11 (Vol # 6) Dated 20 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 page No 70 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)

82. During those days, there was one well known Tamil laureate Meenakshi Sundaram PiLLai, holding court as a great authority on Tamil language matters. He was not a Brahmin, but was above all narrow parochial view points and caste considerations. After one look at Gopala Krishna Bharathiyar’s Nandanaar Charitram, he had ruled that it was incorrect on his part to have mixed imagination with the truth, however much he may be sympathetic with the plight of poor people. The story about Nandanaar occurs as the story of ‘Thiru NaaLai Povaar Naayanaar’ in Periya PuraaNam, which is a book of authority as the last of the Thiru Murai, of tremendous religious significance, belief and faith. (That phrase ‘Thiru NaaLai Povaar Naayanaar’ can be translated as ‘the Naayanaar who would go tomorrow or some other sacred day’. That is never today!) To add a ‘cock and bull’ of imaginary, unreal fiction to it was totally unwarranted in his opinion. As luck would have it, it so happened that, Gopala Krishna Bharathiyar came to that very Meenakshi Sundaram PiLLai for a poem of praise known as, ‘Sirappu Paayiram’ to be included as an introduction in the printing of his poems! Meenakshi Sundaram PiLLai did not want to insult a guest who had come searching for his address either, by discussing the merits and demerits of his work. So he told him, more so as to avoid him, “You have set this in the style of a musical drama and I know nothing of music whatsoever. Please go to some other person who has knowledge of Tamil and music along with devotion for Siva, to get a suitable introduction, as I think that I am not qualified enough to do justice to the requirement!” He told his student U.V.Swaminatha Iyer the real reason for his avoiding writing this introduction ‘Sirappu Paayiram’, from whom I came to know about this story!

83. Though Gopala Krishna Bharathiyar went away, he came back again a few days later. Every time he came, Meenakshi Sundaram PiLLai would have some excuse or the other to avoid writing the introduction like saying, “Your writing being appealing to both Tamil scholars as well as the common man will become popular on its own I am sure Sir!” or things like that! If PiLLai was thus parrying and avoiding, Bharathiyar was also equally adamant! So once he came at the stroke of twelve on a hot summer afternoon. It was clear that PiLLai was resting inside the house. Bharathiyar sat in the raised platform like open air room with a roof in the front of the house known as ‘ThiNNai’ in Tamil, meant for visitors to rest. Having nothing else to do, he started singing some of the songs from the very Nandanaar Charitram, for which he was trying to get Mr. PiLLai to write the introduction. These songs were sung so beautifully with such intensity of feelings that Mr. PiLLai who was half asleep was literally captivated and transported to the Seventh Heaven! Though he had his objection about the factual contents being contrary to the original source of Periya PuraaNam, and that the writing contained Tamil grammatical errors; now, all those objections seem to be washed away in the flow of music and the flood of pure devotion! So as to not cause any obstacle in that flow, he continued to act as though he was still sleeping. Bharathiyar came to the ‘Varugalaamo’ song.

84. Already this word was one of the bones of contention! In Tamil the word for ‘coming’ is ‘varudal’ and ‘going’ is ‘podal’. The variations could be ‘varugai’ and ‘pogai ’. Now what is this ‘varugal’ and ‘varugalaamo’? But now the depiction was that Nandanaar was looking at the spires of the Chidambaram temples from afar and pleading with the God if he could enter the environs of that sacred city at all? On the one hand he was just melting in his divine love and on the other there was so much regret and hesitation because he was born as a Pulaiya, the untouchable! Having arrested the unseen Lord God Nataraja and made him stand in front of his eyes, he is now in the process of asking him if he could also enter the portals of the temple, the spires of which are seen! That plea made by Nandanaar sometime in the past, when now heard in such desolate poignancy, virtually melted the heart of Meenakshi Sundaram PiLLai, if not Nataraja’s! All the earlier objections to the grammatical and factual errors of the case just went out of contention! “What a great devotee he is? What business did I have to deny anything to him let alone some ‘Sirappu Paayiram’! How foolish of me to have caused him to come to my house repeatedly for this simple thing like a poetical introduction for his book? It is shameful on my part that my pride does not seem to know any limits!” Thinking on these lines, he came out running and fell in the feet of Gopala Krishna Bharathiyar! The song ‘Varugalaamo’ (to mean ‘May I come in’!), caused Meenaakshi Sundaram PiLLai to come and ‘Sirappu Paayiram’ to come from him! He ended up saying, “I am sorry Sir, for causing you to come walking to my door front so many times! Whatever be my other objections to write the ‘Sirappu Paayiram’ for your Book of Poems, today I have come to realize as to how great a devotee of Siva, You are! You have the power to melt the listener’s heart. I have no right to present myself as a stumbling block in the way of such a great person. From today I am your devotee! I shall just now give you the ‘Sirappu Paayiram’ and I do hope that you will find it acceptable!”

85. But if all others praise Bharathiyar for giving a new form and shape to the original story of Nandanaar, PiLLai ignoring that aspect and setting aside all his other objections to errors in factual contents and grammer, wrote the ‘Sirappu Paayiram’ simply dwelling on devotion to Siva and the power of music to move the listener’s minds and heart, even when you are not qualified in music! PiLLai remained firm in his point of view very truthfully and faithfully, from the beginning. Now it is clear that there is much stuff in his point of view too. Nowadays people know about the Nandanaar story only from what is revealed in dramas or cinemas (or the U-Tube in the present day world). What is given there is only Gopala Krishna Bharathiyar’s version, in his words in his songs! Even if you attend religious discourses known as ‘Kaala Kshepam’ or search in Tamil Literature books in the libraries; it will be found to be Gopala Krishna Bharathiyar’s version and not the story of ‘Thiru NaaLai Povaar Naayanaar’, as given in Periya PuraaNam. I have carried out a test of my own. All sorts of young and old from various castes and communities keep visiting me, isn’t it? I keep probing about what they know about Nandanaar. From that I gather that almost everybody know only about how Nandanaar was an untouchable, who suffered in the hands of a Brahmin PaNNaiyar in various ways, as though it is not enough to be devoted to God, but to add spice to it you need the cruelties that human beings inflict on each other! You have to have a villain and preferably a Brahmin villain, the better, it seems! I just wanted to say as to how even History or some story of the PuraNas with equal authority of veracity, in the hands of researchers and people of literary ability and imagination, can make fiction seem real and imagination overtake the truth! I feel there has to be some control over what we call, ‘poetic licence’ and the need for ensuring veracity in research work! (KTSV adds:- Of course nowadays, the Multi National Corporations in various fields especially in medicine and agriculture are using all research work as vehicles of advertisement and propaganda for their own products at whatever monetary and social cost to the countries of the world!)

86. Army Veteran Becomes a Religious Worker. Let us go back to Aarumuga Naavalar and his book mentioned in para 78 previous. I was talking about as to how in his book the Nayanmaars have been serialised as Aadi Saivas, Vedic Brahmins, Maamatira Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vysyas, VeLaaLar and Pulaiyar Jaati. Though not practicing as Suddha Vaidic Brahmins, Maamaatra Brahmins were considered in a status above the Kshatriya caste as seen in that order. Paranjyoti from that caste only, having been a Soldier-Brahmin of renown, became Siruthondar in his later life. Paranjyoti in his earlier life though had training in Archery (Dhanur Veda), Fencing (sword play) and in riding and training horses and elephants, was already an ardent devotee of Siva. Keeping devotion in his mind, he exhibited his bravery and prowess in soldierly qualities! Joining Nrusimha Verma’s Army, he became the leader of Elephant based cavalry. He went up to Vaataapi and defeated the Chalukyas. There he amassed much wealth in terms of gold, gems and what not, all of which he presented to his King on return, keeping only the Vaataapi GaNapathi for himself!

87. When the King asked him as to how he could be so courageous as to lead the army and defeat the Chalukyas, which the King himself could not achieve; he just stood in all humbleness. He was never one to make much of his own self, his abilities or achievements. So he kept quiet. But other ministers were aware of his abilities. The very word ‘Mantri’ means the one who protects the information in his mind. Mantra is the information kept in the mind and protected as – ‘man + tra = mantra’. That is why when you do chanting of a mantra it is more powerful when done on the quiet without making a show of it. Similarly the Mantri protects secrets, plans, policies and intentions of the government. This protection is mutual. You protect the plans and policies to obviate misuse and mismanagement and the plan protects you in turn from slander and misunderstanding.

88. In the name of Research and Analysis, one gentleman of dubious intensions and distinctions has come to the conclusion that, ‘Brahmins created the lie that the Kshatriya King should take Brahmins in to his ministry for their Mantra Shakti as though they are some magical powers! So whether there was such power or not, they could create such an atmosphere as though, the power of the brawn was second only to the power of the brain of the Brahmin, that even the king had to be afraid of what this Brahmin could do with the power of his Mantras!’ Nothing can be further from the truth. The Mantra in the hands of the minister is the correct, prudent advice by the minister based on probity, morality, sincerity, integrity and honesty, with the help of Dharma Saastraas, Artha Saastra and humaneness. This has nothing to do with some ‘mantra’ powers at all!

(To be continued.)




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