DEIVATHIN KURAL # 14 (Vol # 6) Dated 26 June 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 14 (Vol # 6) Dated 26 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 89 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 http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated constantly)
108. A few iconography experts have told me that, “The Vaataapi GaNapathy in Thiruchengaattaankudi is not in the style of Chalukya period sculptures. It is more like what is found in other Vigneshwara statues of Pallava period only. The crown, the rope known as Paasam and the hook used to control the elephant known as Ankusam; both found in the upper hands are exactly like what is in the statues of the south!” I observed that both the feet are so bent that the souls of the feet are facing each other, more like the Ganesha statue in PiLLiyar Patti, where the feet of course are a little closer. In both, the crown almost looks similar. We know that the statue in PiLLiyar Patti is very much Pallava Art, as one of the temples in which they went chiselling in to a huge rock known as ‘Kudaivarai Koil’, instead of constructing. Of course the very noticeable thing is that, the PiLLiyar has only two hands instead of four and is resting the left hand on his hips. Nobody has explained to me, the reason for this!
109. One of those experts extended the reason that, having won a great battle at Vaataapi, Paranjyoti might have been much moved by the GaNapathy there with devotion and so might have uprooted and taken him along to Kanchipuram. Then later when he settled finally in his own village, he might have got the statue repaired and re done to his liking by some local artist, which could be the reason for the absence of Chalukya sculptural style there. I have heard another opinion too. As per that, ‘Paranjyoti might have brought the statue of GaNapathy from Vaataapi, but Thiruvaroor being the Mulaadhaara Kshetra, he might have installed the Vaataapi GaNapathy at that place, as the statue of GaNapathy there seems to be made of Chalukya style only.’ I am not giving any decision or making any judgment on this, but only informing you of the many views existing. In the Shodasa Naamaas (sixteen names) of GaNesha, we are still at Kapila.
110. Kapila is red like honey, a deep dark brownish red. A cow of the hue is called ‘Kapilai’. The Rishi who gave the world the Sankhya Saastra was one Kapila Muni. To revive and fetch the sixty thousand sons of Sagara to the heavens, after they had been turned to ashes by Kapila; Bhagiratha is said to have made the super human effort of bringing down the Ganges River from the heavens to the Earth. Then there is this Kapila (Vigneshwara) who let the Cauvery flow by tripping Agasthya’s Kamandalam. Then there was this Sanga Kaala poet by name Kapila, who was much devoted to Vigneshwara, as a poet in the court of Paari VaLLal. (VaLLal is a title given to a great king or ruler who also happened to be a benefactor and philanthropist.) After the death of his benefactor Paari, the poet Kapila was like a guardian for his two daughters. He wished to get them married and then give up his life by fasting unto death, known as ‘Vadakku Iruththal’ in the Tamil and as ‘Praayopavesam’ in Sanskrit. As nobody came forward to marry them and since anyhow Kapila did not wish to continue living after the death of his beloved king, he handed over the girls to some respectable people and did Praayopavesam as revealed by the stories of that period literature. Before giving up his body, he prayed to Vinaayakaa. That poem is known as, ‘Mootha Naayanaar Thiru Irattai MaNimaalai’, included and preserved as part of the 11th Thiru Murai, said to have been written by Kapila Deva Naayanaar. (There are supposed to be 12 Thiru Murai amongst the devotional literature of Saivam.) He is considered as different from Sanga Pulavar Kapilar, by some scholars. Whatever it is, GaNapathy as Kapila has been eulogized by a poet also known by the same name Kapila. After the death of the Sanga Kaala Kapila, his wish of getting the two daughters of Paari VaLLal married was fulfilled by the efforts of Avvaiyar who was also a very ardent devotee of Vigneshwara, by his blessings only!
“Om GajakarNakaya Namaha”
111. GajakarNaka is the fourth name amongst the sixteen. It is not only that he has the face of an elephant and so is Gajamukha, but his ears have to be specially mentioned also, it seems. Now, what is so special about his ears? All other drawings or statues of Gods will have a big half circle of halo almost connecting the shoulders. Inside that arc and below the crown on the head, we will have to search for the ears. Normally the big hanging ear studs known as ‘kundalam’ will generally indicate the likely location of the ears. But Vigneshwara is an exception to this. His elephant ears are spread as big as the face itself on either side shining big. At the least there is some clarity, that all our prayers, complaints and pleadings will be heard in full. When the ears are not visible, it is slightly disappointing isn’t it? But Vigneshwara as GajakarNaka is attentively hearing our pleas as his ears are wide open unlike other deities’ ears which are flush with heads as though. Here he seems to be attentively listening to our prayers only, encouraging us. All other animals have their ears like a cup whereas only the elephant has a fan like ear that is flat. The cup like arrangement in the ear in other animals is for receiving the sounds and direct it inwards. But the elephants have a super sense of hearing that PiLLaiyar does not make an effort to hear us.
112. The elephant uses the ears like a fan and that is a beautiful sight to watch. Only the elephant can so use its ears like a fan so rhythmically and so often. Other animals like the cow and goat can some time twitch their ears but not repeatedly like an elephant. This regular beat of the elephant’s ears is a name given to a beat in music as ‘Gaja TaaLam’! This word TaaLam is also the name for the Palm tree. The palm tree leaves are also used to make the hand held fan used in summer time. The count for music kept with our fingers is also known as TaaLam. For human beings to move their ears like an elephant is a difficult thing to copy or achieve. That led to the evolution of the proverb for impossible acts, “Gaja KarNam pottaalum nadakkaadu” to mean that, “Even if you were to do a ‘Gaja KarNam’, you cannot do that”, whatever that act being referred to may be! This saying is often misunderstood to mean to do a ‘front roll’ or ‘kuttik-karaNam’, like a baby elephant often does. But that is not what is meant here. To wave the ears like an elephant is what is meant by ‘Gaja KarNam’. Like this word, there is another word ‘GokarNam’. The word KarNam normally means the act of piercing or making a hole. In the body of a cow, if you just jab with your finger or some sharp object, you will see the cow reacting with a wave like shivering with its hair standing on end spreading outwards from the point of impact like a flow of concentric circles, exactly like it happens when a stone is dropped in a pond of water! That is called ‘GokarNam’. It is certainly very rare for a man to demonstrate ‘Gaja KarNam and GokarNam’ simultaneously! Some people can do that. What is difficult for us, Vigneshwara can demonstrate that quite playfully, as revealed by the name, ‘Gaja KarNaka’!
113. In the elephant’s waving of the ears with the attractiveness, there is also a purpose. During certain times when the elephant is in a state known as ‘musth’ it has some secretion around its cheeks, which make the animal slightly inebriated or even mad! During such occasions the animals are pestered by flies and ants. So naturally they have been endowed by God with big ears that can also be used like a fan, chasing away the pestering hoards of flies and ants. The oozing of ‘musth’ on the elephant’s cheeks has been described by our AachaaryaaL in Ganesha Pancharatnam saying, ‘kapola daana vaaraNam’; ‘kapolam’ means the cheeks, ‘daanam’ is the oozing liquid. PiLLaiyar’s oozing liquid is the flow of compassion only. It is supposed to be very sweet, at least for the insects like the flies, honey bees and beetle! This has been mentioned by our AachaaryaaL in the first sloka of Siva Bhujangam, “galat-daana gantam milat brungaa shandam”. PiLLaiyar is going on waving his ears chasing away the flies and other insects, not in anger. For this child God Swami, this is also a play only. The bees and beetles also come to him to play with him only. His very darshan is drinking of nectar for them. They have to play with him. He has to fan them and so they hover around his cheeks. Don’t we surprise a child by shouting in a child’s ears and take pleasure in its horripilation, shivering with its hair standing on ends? Like that the mass of beetles come with the buzzing sounds for fun sake. Knowing it to be a play, he will also play along, repeatedly chasing them away by the movement of his ears and in the bargain feel a little cooler as the fanning of the ears and evaporation of the liquid oozing there brings down the temperatures!
114. There is one Raghava Chaitanya, who has written a poem ‘Maha GaNapathy Stotram’ in which, with mantra Saastra matters some beautiful descriptions occur with excellent verbal expression. In it there is a description of how Vigneshwara is waving his ears for chasing away the insects by a string of beautifully interconnected words – “daana aamoda – vinoda – lupta – madupa protsaaraNaavirbhavat – karNa – aandolana – kelano vijayate devo gaNagraamaNi”. The word to word meaning is given hereinafter. The phrase ‘daana aamodam’ means the sweet smell of the liquid oozing out when the elephant is in musth. This liquid has a heavy invigorating smell. That smell is very alluring and exotic (vinoda) as well as attractive for the insects, that they want to just drink it all. Those ‘lupta madupa’ are the intoxicated bees are to be chased away (protsaaraNam) – from this thought arises (aavirbhaavaat) a play (karNa aandolana kelanam) of moving the ears back and forth. The ‘swing’ is called the ‘aandolam’ or even ‘dolam’. As part of the marriage ceremonies, the couple are seated in a swing and moved to and fro while all the visiting ladies collect together and bless them by singing suitably. Similarly when in the temples the God and Goddess are symbolically married as part of the celebration, the portion in which they are seated on a swing is known as ‘Dolotsavam’!
115. When Vigneshwara is moving his ears and chasing away the bees and beetles, he seems to be fetchingly more beautifully – ‘vijayate’! He seems to be victorious, successfully chasing away the attacking hoards! Here PiLLaiyar has been called the ‘gaNagraamaNi’. GraamaNi is a leader of a collection of people or a village. Graamam is a small village and the village chief is a GraamaNi. As he is the leader or head of all GaNas, he is GaNesa, GaNapatrhy, GaNaadipa, GaNanaayaka and here GaNa GraamaNi! Though he has many followers of GaNas, he does not need anybody to be waving the fan for him as he does it himself! That is why he is known as ‘chaamara karNa’ – ‘mooshika vaahana modaka hasta, chaamara karNa….’. As GajakarNaka he does chamaram (waving of the fan) for himself as he is the KaraNam (action), KaaraNam (cause), Karta (the doer) and Karuvi (the tool) and everything else also!
(To be continued.)
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