Sunday, June 24, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 13 (Vol # 6) Dated 24 June 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 13 (Vol # 6) Dated 24 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 82 of Volume 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)

98. I said that Harsha had a title as Uttara Pathy Easwara. It was during Harsha’s time that Pulakesi was the King in South India, who fought against Harsha causing him to cut short his ambitions from further expansion down South. After this incident, Pulakesi could declare himself as the DakshiNa Pathy Easwara. That Pulakesi was vanquished by Paranjyoti, the commander of the Pallava forces. This same Paranjyoti became Siruthondar as a devotee of Siva and the guest who came to him claiming that he had been fasting for six months said that his name was Uttara Pathy Easwara! To him Siruthondar serves the meat dish made by killing and cutting his own, only son SeeraaLan! Then we find that this Atiti who came to him, mainly so as to make his enormous capacity for sacrifice for the sake of the guest, known to the whole world is enshrined as Uttara Pathy Easwara in Thiruchengattaankudi!

99. That place Thiruchengattaankudi is in Sozha Desam. But here in Kanchipuram itself, there are two temples called, ‘Piravaattaanam’ and ‘Iravaattaanam’, both Easwara temples. The Easwara in those two temples are known as ‘Piravaattaana Easwar’ and ‘Iravaattaana Easwar’ respectively. Harsha Vardhana’s capital was known as ‘Thaaneswar’. Give attention to the meaning of the words here. The most static block of total non-responsive, non-reactive thing is ‘SthaNu’. The Lord of such absolute piece of stillness is ‘Sthaana Easwara’ that in usage over time has become, ‘Sthaneswar’ or ‘Thaneswar’! Now, ‘piravaa’ means unborn and ‘iravaa’ means deathless! So, the God who is never born and is absolutely static as ‘SthaNu’ is, ‘PiravaattaaNam’ and the God who is never dead and also ‘SthaNu’ is, ‘IravaattaaNam’! Thus it seems that this capital of the Pallavas have appropriated the ‘SthaNu Easwara’ also from the Harsha Vardhana’s capital ‘Thaneswar’!

100. Think of how many heads this man Paranjyoti must have chopped off in battle, (though basically being a Brahmin by birth), simply severed with his sword, on the battle fields of Vaataapi! May be to atone for such acts of his only, God must have played this Leela, causing him to cut his own son’s head, one and only son that too! Arjuna despite being a Kshatriya had to be told, cajoled and encouraged to fight on the battle field. Without being told by anybody, without being motivated by personal preferences and prejudices, Paranjyoti did what was ‘Swadharma’ of his, that is, naturally his duty as a man born into the caste of Maamaathira; destroyed persons of the enemy forces! Then once he had become simply a devotee of Siva, his ‘Swadharma’ had become a matter of taking care of devotees of Siva! In that state when Siva himself had come in the form of a Bhairava Yogi, without any hesitation or attachment, he could literally make mince meat of his own one and only son and feed the Atiti! The Bhairava Yogi did not particularly ask for his son but, only some only son of a mother! Siruthondar on his own made a sacrifice of his own son! I am finding it embarrassing to even talk about it! Not only he as a father could do that, but his wife, the very mother of the boy could cook and serve him without any hesitation, in service of the visitor Atiti!

101. They served the guest Bhairava Yogi without telling him that it was their own son who had been killed and cooked! He also played his part to the hilt literally! He said, “How can I eat alone? Please call your son to sit down with me and eat to give me company.” Siruthondar only said that, “He won’t be available now”. Now the guest said, “If that is the case, I will also go away without eating here. If you wish me to eat, call him”, he literally commanded with assumed annoyance. Having no other option, the couple went outside and called for their son, “SeeraaLa come!” By the grace of Siva Perumaan who had play acted all along, their son SeeraaLan came running in perfect condition, to their utter surprise! The Bhairava Yogi disappeared and in his place Siva gave them Darshan with AmbaaL and Bala Subrahmanya as Somaaskanda. Thus the story goes on (in Periya PuraaNam – 3743), “........malai payanda taiyalodum saravaNattu tanaiyarodum taam aNaivaar”, that is to say, when initially the Bhairava Yogi had requested that the couple together should cook and serve such a food; finally gave them Darshan as a divine couple with their child!

102. The elder son Vigneswara had to atone for having killed the Gajamukha Asura by making him bleed; by doing Siva Pooja as I told you earlier; thereby causing the name of the place to become the ‘red forest place’ – Thiruchengaattaankudi and for Easwara installed at that place to be known as GaNapatheeswara! Another similarity occurs to me just now. Like Siruthondar chopped off the head of his son SeeraaLan, earlier Siva had sliced his own / AmbaaL’s son’s head that later he became Gajaanana. In my trying to give the meaning for the name ‘Kapila’, saying that it means red; turning the whole city red as Thiruchengaattaankudi, then having taken you all to and fro between Vaataapi and Kanchipuram; the story and research have all gone far, very far off! Still let me tell you that we have not gone astray and are all on the right lines only!

Different Views about the Vaataapi GaNapathy’s Vigraha/Idol.

103. Some of the researchers have a different view. That is, “In Periya PuraaNam, while describing the details of what Paranjyoti brought from Vaataapi, gems, gold coins and ornaments, horses and elephants get mentioned. There is no mention of a statue of GaNapathy at all! So, it is incorrect to say that he brought the statue of GaNapathy from Vaataapi and so objectionable.” There is a contrary opinion too amongst them also. They say that, “Here Sekkizhaar is not describing as to what all Paranjyoti collected as War Booty from Vaataapi, but only what Paranjyoti presented to his King. The Vigneswara idol was kept for his personal daily worship and so there was no occasion to mention it here. For some reason Sekkizhaar seems to have missed mentioning about the Vaataapi GaNapathy idol being brought down south by Paranjyoti” they aver. I Quote – Periya PuraaNam 3665 here – “panmaNiyum nidhik-kuvaiyum pagattinamum pariththogaiyum inna eNNila kavarnde igalarasan munkoNarndaar” – Unquote.

104. Those who claim that Paranjyoti did not bring the Vaataapi GaNapathy to south make another argument too. Many kings have been bringing statues and pillars and install them as mementoes here in southern cities and towns, after defeating the rulers of the north India. Rajendran, one of the Sozha kings has taken an army up north, up to the Ganges River and then turning east, defeated a king of the Paala Vamsa in Bengal and then constructed a city known as Gangai Konda Sozha Puram, equal to Tanjore; with a temple to match the famous Bruhad Easwara Temple there. Around that temple we can see many examples of sculptural art exotic to local traditions. There is a big Mahisha Asura Mardhini statue which is unlike what is seen in our temples. Here the Mahisha Asura is running away. AmbaaL is using her spear known as Soolam piercing his back while with another hand pulling out his tongue! There is such a statue in Gangai Konda Sozha Puram at one place. In the main temple premises, in one of the enclosures in the outer periphery, there is statue of Durga which is typically a statue of Chalukya Art. In the main temple itself, the Nava Grahas (nine planets of the solar system) are arranged within a Yantra of Lotus that is also clearly not of local origin. Elsewhere in this city there is a statue of Bhairava – Bhairavi in red stone, the one look of which will reveal that it is not local material.

105. Near Gangai Konda Sozhapuram there is place known as Triloki, where there is a statue in which Parvathy and Parameswara are seated on the Bull Nandi. It was a piece taken from Royala Seema (which is the southern area of present day Andhra Pradesh) after defeating the NuLambars. Then there is also a Vigneswara who has come to South India from Bengal. His name is Ganga GaNapathy in KumbakoNam Nageswara Swamy Koil. Amongst the statues from Bengal, there is one remarkably outstanding work of art of a Nataraja, a dancing pose of Siva. Unlike the Nataraja statues of the south, this one is a copper statue of Siva on Nandi the Bull. It is not the famous posture of Siva with his left leg held high, above his head. This is one in which both the legs are planted on the bulls back, the legs forming a diamond like shape, known as the ‘square dance’ pose. In some old statues in Tamil Nadu itself there are such statues of Nataraja with the ‘square dance’ pose like in, Kooram, Nallur and Kodumudi. This Bengal Nataraja that I spoke to you about is located in Mela Kadambur near Chidambaram.

106. Amongst Chalukyas there are two dynasties known as Melai Chalukyas and Keezhai Chalukyas. Melai could mean western or upper or northern while Keezhai could mean eastern or lower or southern. Vaataapi was the capital of the Melai Chalukyas. The Keezhai Chalukyas ruled from a place known as KalyaNi. Rajendra Sozha’s son Rajathi Raja defeated these Keezhai Chalukyas and brought some pillars and statues of Dwara Paalakas (gate keepers) as memorabilia! Near KumbakoNam there is a Darasuram (which is a corrupted form of Rajarajeswaram). Rajaraja Sozha the Second, who gave such a name as Rajarajeswaram for that place, has installed those pillars and Dwara Paalakas and inscribed that those items have been brought from KalyaNi after defeating the NuLambars. In the big temple in Thiruvaiyaru also there are pillars of the type typical of the art of NuLambars. In Tanjore Bruhad Easwara temple also there is a window of that style.

107. The people objecting to Vaataapi GaNapathy being located at Thiruchengaattankuldi insist that, “When such artefacts are brought from elsewhere, either they have themselves mentioned the fact in stone inscriptions or it is mentioned in the poems like Ula / ParaNi of that period by poets or at least referred in later day literature. In this case, there are neither such references in Periya PuraaNam nor anywhere else! But there is one point of difference here. Mostly they were Kings themselves or commanders of victorious armies. So having brought some memento from the enemy territories, they were proud of their achievements and wished to publicise the same. They were keen on their name and fame being recorded forever on stone or metal frames. Hence those edicts on stone or copper plates or literature were made! Contrary to this, Paranjyoti after his great victory over Vaataapi, after return from war, gave up soldiering, official job in the government and became Siruthondar not caring for name or fame. So it is foolish on our part to expect a description in literature or inscription on stone for someone who had become nondescript literally!

(To be continued.)




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