DEIVATHIN KURAL # 18 (Vol # 6) Dated 04 July 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 18 (Vol # 6) Dated 04 July 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 119 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)
“Om Vinayakaya Namaha”
143. सुमुकस्चैकदन्तस्च कपिलो गजकर्णक: लम्बोदरश्च विकटो विग्नराजो विनायक: - The next name is Vinayaka, one of the famous names of PiLLaiyar. A name that is more popular in the South than in North India. PiLLaiyar’s birth day is formally known as Vinayaka Chathurthi in the South and as GaNesha Chathurthi in the North. In most of the temples in the south you will find that his name is Siddhi / Varasiddhi / Selva / Swetha / and so on with a Vinayaka added, is how he is addressed. One of the very famous poems of Avvayaar is ‘Vinayakar Agaval’. Vinayakar means a special leader, capable of controlling many.
144. All Castes Are Great in Some Respect or the Other. There are caste names such as Nayak in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and Nayakar in Tamil Nadu. Despite the differences in spelling and pronunciation, they all mean the same name of a caste, to mean a leader. There is a general belief that has taken deep roots nowadays that the Caste arrangement known as VarNa – Aashrama system has created some set of people as the oppressors and some other set of people as the oppressed! So they claim themselves to be the ‘Thaazhthi Vaikkap-pattavargaL’, to mean that they are forcibly downtrodden and subjugated! In the bargain they get certain additional privileges such as reservation of seats and scholarships in educational institutions and later in employment some must be filled quota. This has been the main pre-occupation of all political parties in India since Independence that in the name of classless and creedless society, the whole edifice has been eaten away inwardly, by creation of so many more names of castes! That is, any typical and abnormal names are claimed to be a different caste that is oppressed! This was not so in the olden times. In fact they all had pride, rightful pride in whatever was their caste and considered themselves to be as important as anybody else! So, instead of inferiority or superiority complexes, they had mutual respect without any haughtiness! From the fourth caste, there were ‘Mudaliyars’, (முதலியார்) as people in the first place in the society like the ‘Agarwal’ in the north with the same meaning. The first place or position is ‘Agra (अग्र) Sthanam’. So the people in the first place in the society were Mudaliyar / Agarwal. PiLLai similarly meant someone worthy of respect. For example good quality coconut used to be known as ‘PiLLai Thengai’. If you look into the VaishNava Guru Parampara, you will see that even Brahmins were referred as ‘Mudali’ and ‘PiLLai’. Similarly in the tradition of Saiva Siddhaantam, Sambandar is a Vedic Brahmin, Sundarar is an Aadi Saiva, and Appar is a VeLaaLar. All these three put together have been referred as ‘Moovar MudaligaL’ as the ‘Foremost Trio’!
145. Raja is the word for king in most of the Indian languages which has become Raj, Rao, Rai, Roy and so many other such variations. In Tamil Nadu the word Rao generally brings before our minds, the Madhva Brahmins. But in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh where there are more Madhva Brahmins per se, there are many in the fourth castes who call themselves as ‘Rao’. Similarly there are some people from the Vysyas known as ‘Shetty’. In fact that word is derived from ‘Sreshta’ which means eminently special. This word has many variations such as ‘Chettiyar’ and ‘Sate’ (सेट), differently spelt in different languages! Still it means that the person is a respectable man of means and wealth. Anyhow without too many internecine quarrels and caste based idea of higher and lower, they worked with the idea that each caste in its own way was important for the whole society. It is also clear that when one sub-caste named their own selves with some pride, it was accepted by all others without any objection. So you had Nayaks, Raos, Shetty Mudaliyar and Agarwal with equal validity in almost every caste! The most important point is that, they all accepted their fate in this present life as a fair and justified result of their past lives in previous births and played their part to progress individually and contribute for the society’s well being!
146. This equality was not only necessarily in work or role, but in their attitude of rightful pride in their contribution to the society and in mutual love shown to others. The Nayak word meaning ‘a leader’ was there in all the VarNas. Among Nayak-s in Maharashtra there are Brahmins. In Tanjore and Madurai Nayak Vamsa are all Kshatriyas. Then there are Nayak-s and some Nayudus (also from the same root) from Karnataka and Andhra who are from the fourth VarNa. Like Baala can be mentioned as Balaka, similarly Nayaka can be shortened as ‘Naaya’ or ‘Naayan’. That word becomes Nayar in Kerala in the Malayalam language. They are also very respectable people from the fourth VarNa. In Tamil Land very respectable devotees of Siva are called ‘Naayanaar’. If Naayanaar is singular the plural is Nayanmaar! Amongst the 63 Nayanmaars all the castes are represented, the only common denominator being their having devotion to Siva! In the Thiruvaroor temple where Sundara Murthy Naayanaar sang about all the 63 Nayanmaars, the temple priests are all called Naayanaar-s only!
147. The Prefix ‘Vi’. In the name Vinayaka, before Nayaka there is this prefix ‘Vi’. PiLLaiyar is the leader of all the Siva GaNas, as their Nayak. But what is the meaning of adding a ‘Vi’? In the Sanskrit language this ‘Vi’ is one of the prefixes. Its specialty is that it can change the meaning of the following word in two different and totally opposite ways! For example, the word ‘Malam’ means dirt, to which when ‘Vi’ is added the word becomes ‘Vimalam’ and the meaning becomes the opposite that is, ‘devoid of dirt’! Now taking another example, the word clean in Sanskrit is ‘shuddh’ (शुद्ध). It becomes ‘Vishuddh’ (विशुद्ध) on adding ‘Vi’ and meaning is not opposite but reinforcing the original as ‘very clean’! Then we use a word ‘Vipareetam’. The word ‘pareetam’ means ‘that which is revolving in an orderly manner. When the ‘Vi’ is added, the word ‘Vipareetam’ conveys the meaning of ‘disorderly’ or ‘abnormal’! Again, ‘Jayam’ means ‘victory’ and ‘Vijayam’ also means ‘Victory / Victorious’ or a special victory! Take this word ‘Visesham’ (विशेषं) which we use to mean ‘something special’. Here ‘sesham’ normally means ‘some balance or residue’. With that meaning ‘Visesham’ cannot mean ‘something special’, isn’t it? But ‘sesham’ has another inner meaning as what is left after removal of all non-essential things from it. Then the balance does become special and so it is ‘Visesham’! There is another word, ‘sishta’, which has evolved from the word ‘sesha’ only. Instead of one amongst many, what stands apart distinctly or people with distinction are to be considered as ‘Sishta’. So now to add to its special meaning as distinct by its special qualities, make it ‘Visishta’!
148. Vinayaka Either Way! When you add ‘Vi’ to ‘Nayaka’, does it convey the opposite meaning or accentuate the qualities of his being a leader? If I say that it does both, you may wonder as to how in the case of PiLLaiyar even the simple or special pre-fix, which normally gives either / or of special / opposite meanings; has to be more special in giving both the meanings simultaneously! Let me explain. ‘Davan’ means husband. Madavan means husband of ‘Ma’ that is Lakshmi and husband of Lakshmi is Vishnu. ‘Vidava’ means the wife who has lost her husband. Similarly, Vinayaka means the one without a leader. He is the special leader as Vinayaka and as there is no other leader above him, he is the supreme and so again he is the Vinayaka!
149. It seems that one devotee went to God. He told God, “It is alright that I am an orphan without anybody to take care of me and so I am ‘Anaat’ (अनात्) and so are you, without anybody as your master or guardian! So, you are also अनात्, isn’t it?” Like that without a leader above him he is Vinayaka and thus the pre-fix ‘Vi’ gives the opposite meaning and anyhow as we have seen before, he is the leader beyond compare and so is the Visishta Vinayaka, very special, exceptional, unique and unmatched! So, both the variations are perfectly fitting in the case of Vinayaka!
150. ‘Amara Kosa’ is the dictionary / encyclopedia in Sanskrit, written by one Amarasimha, who was a Jain. In that book eight names of PiLLaiyar are given. They are, “vinayako, vignaraja, dvaimatura, gaNadipaa: | abyekadanta, heramba, lambodara, gajaanana: ||” (विनायको, विग्नराज, द्वैमातुर, गणादिप: | अब-येकदन्त, हेरंब, लम्बोदर, गजानना: ||). Among these names, Vinayaka, Vignaraja, Ekadanta, Heramba, Lambodara and Gajanana; are the six names occurring in the Shodasa Naamaas also. GaNadipa is there as GaNadyaksha. The only addition is ‘Dvaimatura’, which means, ‘the one with two mothers’! AmbaaL is one mother and the River Ganges is another. In the case of SubrahmaNya, the six sparks from Siva’s third eye morphed into six kids in ‘SaravaNa Poigai’ a pond created by the natural flow of water from the River Ganges; and so she is considered as another mother. In the case of PiLLaiyar though there isn’t such close connection, as Ganga is said to be pouring out from his matting hair locks in Siva’s Jatamudi, she is being held respectfully in the position of a wife, Ganga is also a mother. The point I wish to emphasize is that the first of the names in Amara Kosa is Vinayaka amongst PiLLaiyar’s names.
“Om Dhumaketave Namaha”
151. The next name is ‘Dhumaketu’. The word ‘dhuma’ means smoke. Normally the smoke from the stove that burns wood or coal and from the exhaust of the oil burning engines are all known as ‘Dhuma’. But, the fragrant smoke generated by burning materials such as sandal wood or ‘agar’ are called ‘Dhupa’ or ‘Dhoopa’. Now the word ‘Ketu’ means a flag. The one who has smoke, as a flag like tail is Dhumaketu. The comets are seen to blaze across the skies with a trail of what looks like smoke. So the comets are known as Dhumaketu in Sanskrit. But normally this word instead of being taken in a nice way is always considered to be a problem creator, possibly because of the ominous and foreboding reputation of these comets, which are all generally preceding some huge world level catastrophe! Already PiLLaiyar is Vignaraja or Vigneshwara! Now what is the need for another name of foreboding nature? So I looked into Vinayaka PuraNam.
152. There are two PuraNas about Vinayaka. One of them is by Brughu Muni and so is known as Bhargava PuraNa. As what is related to Raghu is ‘Raghava’, what is related to Bhrugu is Bhargava. The other PuraNa is by Mudgala Rishi. As per the logic of, Raghu to Raghava and Brugu to Bhargava; the PuraNa written by Mudgala should have been known as ‘Moudgalya’ isn’t it? But sometimes logic does not seem to be very logical! This PuraNa is known as ‘Mudgala PuraNa’ only! Regarding the ‘Dhumaketu’ Naama of Vinayaka, I got the clarity from Bhargava PuraNa.
(To be continued.)
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