Wednesday, July 11, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 22 (Vol # 6) Dated 12 July 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 22 (Vol # 6) Dated 12 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 last para on page No 147 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)
“Om SoorpakarNaaya Namaha”

“वक्रतुण्ड सूर्पकर्णो हेरंब स्कन्दपूर्वजः”
182. SoorpakarNa is the next name. After that, there are only two names to complete the sixteen. SoorpakarNa means a person having ears as big as a winnowing basket, more like a tray open on one side, about 12 inches wide at the closed end and 18 inches at the open end. The grains of cereal or pulses are separated from their husk by holding the winnowing basket by both hands and giving it a thump and shake. The heavier grains stay on in the tray while the husk and dust gets blown away. In Tamil it is known as முறம் (‘muram’). SoorpaNaka in RamayaNam who fell in love with Sri Ram and whose nose and ears were cut off by Laxmana, had such a name as she had nails as big as a tray of ‘soorpam’, that is शूर्पं aka muram. As per Sanskrit rules of grammer on conjunction, the न becomes ण when wedged between two consonants without a vowel and so सूर्प + नका = सूर्पणका. If her nails were of the size of a tray, you can imagine as to what would have been her figure and form! Already when Pillaiyar has been called as ‘GajakarNaka’, now to be again giving him a name as ‘SoorpakarNa’ is reiteration that too within 16 selected names, isn’t it? No. Let me explain as to how.
183. Keeping his un-foldable ears which are not funnel like, I had said that he hears all our prayers fully. So we had seen that one of his names was GajakarNaka. But is he hearing only our prayers? The omnipresent PiLLaiyar hears all our other talks too. Most of it must be non-essential riff raff only. Even in our prayers, there may be some whims and fancies. If he hears all of our prayers, he is likely to be over loaded with superfluous data, isn’t it? To receive only the essential and filter out the non-essential, his ears are said to be like a soorpam / शूर्पं aka முறம் / muram. How is that?
184. What does the muram do? After the harvest, the grains of cereals and pulses are winnowed and the nonessential husk, sand particles and dust, are blown away by the wind, while retaining the essential grains by the power of gravity, as I had explained already. His ears which are like the soorpam / muram in shape and form are constantly moved back and forth, blowing off the unwanted riff-raff and retaining only the needed essentials. (Here in the Tamil original PeriyavaaL plays ‘pun’ on the double meanings of the words ‘Vendiya Vs Vendaada’. Vendiya / வேண்டிய could mean what is requested or essential and Vendaada / வேண்டாத could mean what is unasked for or non-essential!)
185. When we were comparing his ears with a fan, we noted that they chase away the flies and bees, while cooling the cheeks which are wet with the liquid that oozes out, when the elephant is in the state of musth. The same ears when compared to the winnowing basket or tray, we note that he discards the non essential prayers while accepting those that are essential and fair. If his ears were conical, one could expect that he would listen to even prayers that are unfair and not good for the person asking for it! But his ears are not like that. Though he may listen to all, he will assess and evaluate, accepting only the fair and reasonable ones while blowing off the unwanted non-essentials! That is why this special name of ‘SoorpakarNa’ is distinctly added!
“Om Herambaaya Namaha”
186. The next name is ‘Heramba’. Till date nobody has convincingly explained to me or maybe that, I was not attentive enough to absorb the meaning. There is one Bhaskara Raya, a great Sanskrit scholar of the highest order, very knowledgeable in Mantra Saastraas, who has written the Bhashyam for Lalitha Sahasra Naama, well known amongst Pundits. He has also written a Bhashyam for the GaNesha Sahasranaama. In it I checked up as to what is the meaning and explanation that he has given for the Naama ‘Heramba’. There are two meanings given there for the word, ‘Heramba’. One is that, ‘he is the ‘Saiva Tantric Pravartaga’ meaning that he is the one to initiate the very devotional procedures to Siva or that the person is a man of indomitable courage! I am afraid that however much I may try, I do not know or understand as to how these two meanings are arrived at, by Bhaskara Raya, of all persons! Then there are some researchers who claim that the Tamil word for buffalo (எருமை) has transformed into ‘Heramba’. Once again, I do not know as to how that happens!
187. One of the greatest assets of the Sanskrit language is that, almost all the words can be traced back to its root-words from which they have originated to become that particular word. Still there are some words which are exceptions to this! Words whose source or origins can be etymologically traced back are known as ‘Yowhikam’ and those words whose etymological source cannot be traced back are known as ‘Roody’. May be this word ‘Heramba’ is one of these ‘Roody’ ones! (KTSV adds: - Both Yowhikam and Roody are Sanskrit words written in Tamil in the text and so I am at a loss to guess as to what would have been the Sanskrit word. If PeriyavaaL is finding it difficult to correctly interpret the meaning of the word ‘Heramba’, I am finding it difficult to correctly transliterate these two words ‘Yowhikam’ and ‘Roody’, in to English! Anyhow ‘Yowhikam’ seems to be normal and ‘Roody’ seems to be abnormal and ‘rowdy’!)
188. When the five PaaNdava brothers were located in Indra Prastha before their ‘Vana vaasa’ of stay in the forest; their eldest brother Dharma Putra wished to conduct Rajasooya Yaagam, in preparation for which he had sent his four brothers in the four different directions to establish their suzerainty over all the states and rulers in the way. The one who went south and won over those states was Sahadeva. One of the states that he won over was known as Heramba, as given in the Maha Bharatham. Maybe that is the area which came to be known as ‘Mahisha Oor’, which later could have become Mysore. That may be the connection to Heramba and the Mahisha, which in Tamil is எருமை! Those people of that state lost in battle to Sahadeva. But they were known to be very fond of praising themselves it seems. So, people full of vanity and conceit it seems used to be called as ‘Heramba’. Similar sounding is the Tamil phrase, ‘ரொம்பவே or ரொம்பவும் பண்ணிகிறான்’ to mean that someone is over boasting. Anyhow, whatever was the form of GaNapathy that was revered in that state of Mysore might have been called as Heramba GaNapathy, possibly!
189. This is only a guess work based on similarity of sounds and so may be right or wrong. “Do not look for meaning of every word as though you are a master of etymology! Is not the Heramba word pleasing to hear? Like me, in that word there is sweetness and gravity, isn’t it? Does it not sound quite appropriate? If so, why not call me as ‘Heramba GaNapathy’ and be done with? Why do you keep referring to dictionary and the book of thesaurus for the name of God?” It looks as though with such logic, PiLLaiyar on his own has named himself thus as Heramba GaNapathy! Whether he belongs to that one place of Heramba aka Mysore; he has become All – Indian alright! This name Heramba GaNapathy is there in the Shodasa Naamaas as well as the sixteen statues of Shodasa GaNapathy in SeNpaakkam Temple near Vellore, that I told you about earlier!
190. The Elephant Revered by a Lion! Heramba GaNapathy’s figure and form is uniquely special! He has five faces. All five are of the elephant. Deekshidar has sung a classic Keertanam starting with the words, ‘pancha maatanga muka’, on one of the many statues of PiLLaiyar in Thiruvaarur. Siva has five faces, as required to be meditated upon in ‘Panchaktchari’ Dhyaanam. Our AachaaryaaL too has made fun of that. As he has five faces, Siva has a name as ‘Panchaasyan’, in which the ‘pancha’ means five. The lion is known as ‘Panchaasyam’ and in this the ‘pancha’ part of the word means wide spread. With that connotation only, while the word ‘Prapancham’ means the Universe, the ‘pancha’ part of the word indicates the widespread nature of the world. If you take that part to mean ‘five’ then we can take it that the universe is made up of the five basic elements of water, air, space, fire and earth. Let that be aside.
191. Both the Lion and Siva have the name of ‘Panchaasya ending in m / n’. Though mighty big and powerful the elephant is always afraid of the Lion. I do not know as to how they could read the mind of the elephant in its dreams, that even to think of the lion in its dreams means panic for the elephant! So, there is a proverb in Tamil for anything unthinkable as, ‘Simha Swapnam’, that is, ‘dream in which the lion appears’! So, out of fear of the Lion the Elephant may even die. While this is true that, though normally the lion will pounce upon the elephant and try to smash its head, when faced with the herd of elephants the lion may prefer to vanish from the scene. When such is the love/hate /fear relationship between them, if a Lion was to do Pooja to an Elephant, isn’t that a major miracle? This is what our AachaaryaaL commented on in the first sloka of SubrahmaNya Bhujangam, starting with Vinayaka Stuti.
सदा बालरूपापि विघ्नाद्रिहन्त्री
महादन्तिवक्त्रापि पञ्चास्यमान्या ।
विधीन्द्रादिमृग्या गणेशाभिधा मे
विधत्तां श्रियं कापि कल्याणमूर्तिः ॥१॥
192. Vigneshwara is ever a child or looks like a baby. Still he is capable breaking even the mountains – that is, brakes through even such huge obstacles as big as a mountain. ‘Maha danti vaktraapi panchaasya maanya’. Here ‘danti’ is the elephant which has the tusk of ivory. In GaNapathy Gayatri, it is the दन्ति name that is invoked for instigating good sense in us. Then it finishes saying that this elephant is venerated by the Lion! Having said that he is only a baby, he goes on describing the impossible being made easily possible! So, when he says that ‘despite being an elephant, he is being prayed to by a lion’, we are likely to wonder as to how that could be? Then we will know that here the reference is to Siva and not the lion. When Siva ventured out for Tripura Samhara and failed to first pay his regards to GaNesa and he got the axle of Siva’s chariot broken. Realising his mistake, Siva had to correct his inadvertence and that is – पञ्चास्यमान्या!
(To be continued.)



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