Friday, July 06, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 19 (Vol # 6) Dated 06 July 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 19 (Vol # 6) Dated 06 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 middle of page No 126 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)

153. In Bargava PuraNa there are two parts namely Upaasana Kaandam and Leela Kaandam. In Leela Kaandam, there are 12 Avataras of Vigneshwara described, giving a name for each. As per that, the Avataras are, GaNesa, GaNapathy, Vakrathunda, Phaalachandra, Gajaanana and so many others. Amongst them, there is the story of the Avatara of Dhumaketu also. Only after reading that PuraaNa I became aware of how this name has come into being. I had read the story long back. So, I will cut down the possibilities of errors by shortening the narrative as I am evidently more likely to make mistakes otherwise! (PeriyavaL says that with the tongue in his cheeks, smilingly!)
154. There was an Asura named Dhumaasura. Like Mahabali and Vrudrasura that we come across in Bhagawatam, he was one of the Raakshasaas endowed with excellent character qualities, along with demoniacal characteristics too, the latter being more predominant. There was a King of that time, whose wife was in the family way. Dhumasura came to know that she was to beget a child who would be born as an Amsam (a fraction of the divinity) of Maha Vishnu, by whom Dhumasura will be meeting his fate! So he called for his Senapathy (commander of the armed forces) and ordered him to go in the night and kill that Queen. But this Senapathy happened to be more morally oriented and hence was reluctant to kill a fine lady, that too when she was carrying! So also, he was wary of separating a couple. So, he lifted them both with the cot and carried them deep into the forest and left them there. As they were both devotees of PiLLaiyar, they were managing to eke out a living somehow, all the time praying to GaNesha to take care of them.
155. This matter came to the knowledge of Dhumasura and so, he went there himself well armed. The weapon he had specialized in was one which will fire such arrows that could create poisonous smoke at the target end, true to his name! Like the modern day projectiles that throw out tear-gas and poison gas by chemical means, those days such things used to happen by the power of Mantra! On inspection of the target end before launching his missile or whatever, he observed that the child was already born. He started firing his Dooma Astra missiles one after the other. This child of Vishnu Amsam was none else but, our PiLLaiyar. As the first son of Siva and Parvathy, now he took an Avatara as Doomaketu, with Vishnu Amsam, thereby bringing in oneness and amity between Saiva and Vaishnava sects of devotees of Siva and Vishnu! In the famous sloka addressed to PiLLaiyar we find “शुक्लांबरधरं विष्णुं”, (‘sukla ambhara dharam Vishnum’), at the very start don’t we?
156. The whole area was enveloped by thick poisonous smoke all around. This child God PiLLaiyar kept swallowing all that smoke, into his stomach. Dhumasura kept firing his shots and PiLLaiyar kept swallowing! Finally the Asura was tired, finished, worn out and done with! He neither had the strength to continue nor missiles to fire! Now PiLLaiyar started retaliating! Like Siva swallowed the ‘आलहाल विषम्’ Aalahaala poison once upon a time and retained it in his throat, here now PiLLaiyar was holding it in his Lambodara! Now he fired back all that smoke in powerful blasts, which counter attacked Dhumasura and destroyed him. Using the smoke as a weapon, he made his flag fly high thereby getting the name of Doomaketu! Dhumam is also called as Dhumram and so he could also be addressed as Dhumraketu.
“Om GaNadyakshaaya Namaha”
157. Among the Shodasa Naamaas, after Dhumaketu, it is गण + अद्यक्ष GaNaadyaksha. Adyaksha means Head or Supervisor or the Principal or the Vice-Chancellor. GaNapathy / GaNesha / GaNaadhipathy / GaNanatha and GaNaadyaksha mean the same thing. Parameshwara appointed his elder son PiLLaiyar as the Head of all Bhutha GaNas and the second son as the Leader of the Deva GaNas, as the famous sloka goes, ‘Gajaananam bhoota gaNaadi sevitam’ ‘गजाननं भूत गणादि सेवितं ‘ | That is how SubrahmaNya is called Deva Senapathy. As the husband of Indra’s daughter Devasena also, he is the Deva Senapathy. To manage the Bhoota GaNas is the tougher job. That is undertaken by the elder brother and done quite easily and happily. Even the other GaNas such as Deva and Manushya GaNas are also quite obedient and respectful towards him, knowing his might and kind heartedness. So, the name GaNaadyaksha can be said to be appropriately conveying the fact that he is the (अद्यक्ष) Adyaksha for all (जीव गण) living beings including Bhoota, Deva and Manushya GaNas!
“Om Phaalachandraaya Namaha”
158. The next name is ‘Phaalachandra’. You have to pay attention to the pronunciation which is not ‘Baalachandra’ as wrongly pronounced by many, possibly in the belief that it is supposed to mean, bright like a young moon and similar to the names such as Baala Krishna or Baala SubrahmaNya. In the case of Krishna and SubrahmaNya there are many stories of their childhood adventures, pranks, escapades and anecdotes. So it is but natural that they are being remembered for those events. In Valmiki RamayaNam there is no description of the childhood days of Rama and his brothers. In a hurry, the author says that Dasaratha thought of the children’s marriage and Viswamitra arrives on the scene and the story goes on. Similarly about Chandra also there are no descriptions of his childhood. The crescent is sometimes referred as Baalachandran. But, as it is not a very attractive and is also too fleeting, is not much preferred for naming children. Till recently in the south, Chandra was not very popular as a name for persons except some Ramachandran, Chandru and Chandra MouLi.
159. Among the planets of Saura Mandalam (Solar System), except for Sun or Surya, and rarely the Moon or Chandra; nobody uses the names of the other planets, for naming children! Nobody calls himself as Angarakan or Buda. The name Bruhaspathy (Jupiter) is used more derisively to question someone who thinks too high of himself, “If he thinks of himself as good as a Bruhaspathy”! Then the name of Sani (Saturn) is used only to curse others. The normal way that the name of Sun is used in the south is Surya Narayana and not Surya per se! Ravi and Bhaskar or Bhaskaran is a very common name used in the south, whereas in the north Ravi, Divakar, Prabhakar, Aditya, and MarthaaNd; are quite popular. Of course in the south too, these names are becoming more common. The point I am making is that, other than the Sun, names of other planets are not used for naming children. Surya is one of the Gods included as part of the Panchayatana Pooja, as the five deities are Vinayaka, Siva, AmbaL, Vishnu and Surya. One of the six religions established by our AachaaryaaL as Shanmadam is, Sowram with Sun as the Primordial God! So anyhow, I am talking about the name Baala Chandra though rarely used in the olden times and becoming somewhat popular in Kerala especially and somewhat in Tamil Nadu; is not a name of Chandra the Moon as a child and is neither spelt nor pronounced as is being done mistakenly!
160. It is Phaalachandra (फालचन्द्र) meaning, the one having the moon on his frontal locks of hair. The word Phaalachandra has the same meaning as Chandra MouLi and Chandra Sekhara. Having the moon as an ornament in the head, would at once bring to our minds a description of Siva only. But there are two more who, have that honor or have given the honor to Chandra the Moon to adorn their heads. One is AmbaaL. KaaLidaasa in SyamaLa Dandakam says, ‘chandra kalaa vatamse’ (चन्द्र कला वतंसे). Our AachaaryaaL also while describing as to how she, instead of occupying only her part of half of the body, that is the Left side of ‘Ardha Naareeshwara’, seems to have taken over the whole; is pointing out the presence of the Moon in her crown saying, ‘sasi choodaala makutam’! In Lalitha Sahasra Naamam too there is, ‘chaaru chandra kalaa dhara’. Not only Siva’s wife but the elder son too has the moon as an adornment!
161. PiLLaiyar & Chandra. Vigneshwara has much connections and relationship with Chandra the Moon. Chandra made fun of PiLLaiyar because of his head weight that he is too beautiful and that PiLLaiyar is ungainly and ugly! In turn PiLLaiyar cursed him back that nobody will even look at him anymore and that if they do they will be the victims of scams. People started cursing the Moon that it is next to impossible to avoid looking at the moon in the evening and or night time and if they do by chance, they are the target of all sorts of blames! They cursed the Moon that he may disappear forever from their sights! Becoming ashamed of his very existence, he went and hid himself under the oceans. This resulted in large scale calamities. Ebbs and tides of the oceans were affected. Trade winds, seasons and weather were adversely affected all over the world. The herbs dependent on the moon light for their nourishment started perishing leading to increase in diseases and pestilence!
162. Devas and Rishis went to Chandra the Moon and told him to go back to Vigneshwara and convey his apologies. “He being very easy to please, will easily exonerate you and in the bargain you need not suffer in ignominy anymore and people will also benefit and be relieved of their problems!” Chandra realized his mistake and also could see the way out of the situation. PiLLaiyar was also ever ready to excuse him and cancel his last orders and issue fresh ones! To make a mark on people’s minds that ‘Pride and Prejudice’ are both equally to be abhorred he said, “On my birth day Titi of Chathurthi, people are to avoid looking at the Moon and that they can do so on all other days. If they do chance to look at the Moon on the Chathurthi Titi, they will be subjected to some false scam and propaganda.” Further reducing the severity of his ruling he said that, “To get rid of the ill effects of such Chandra Darshan, all they have to do is to hear story of Sri Krishna and Syamantaka Mani!” Then with over flowing compassion he ruled that at the end of GaNesha Pooja on Sankatahara Chathurthi, people should also do Pooja for Chandra the Moon! Then finally he lifted the Moon once again sky high by wearing him as an ornament on top of his head, thereby becoming फालचन्द्र Phaalachandra, to be included as one of the names in the Shodasa Naamaas!
163. Baa can be stressed and made into the fourth Bhaa ‘भा’ and the name would then become ‘भालचंद्र’, to mean ‘having the Moon adorning the forehead’ as the word भाल means the forehead. Whether फालचन्द्र or भालचंद्र, (it is not बालचन्द्र), Vigneshwara is the very form of kindness and compassion. The one who had committed a blunder, even if he only deserves to be kicked, the moment he requests to be pardoned, Vigneshwara not only absolves him of all blame, but raises him to the top most level of respect. That is the power of the Naama फालचन्द्र that we have been discussing!
(To be continued.)



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