Saturday, November 24, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 88 (Vol # 6) Dated 24 Nov 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 88 (Vol # 6) Dated 24 Nov 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 596 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)

31.    Often Nandikeswara used to get suddenly angry.  He pounced on our ÃchãryãL and pulled the palm-leaf manuscript in his hands, that in the scuffle, out of the 100 slokas the last 59 were taken away and only the first 41 were left in the hands of our ÃchãryãL.  Don't you feel annoyed at Nandikeswara's behaviour?  He could have been more diplomatic.  After all ÃchãryãL was only carrying what had been gifted to him by the Divine Couple of Pãrvati & Parameswarã themselves!  I would however be thankful to Nandikeswara, you know why?  You listen to the balance story.
32.    'AmbãL gave with her Anugraha and in that we have lost more than half!  She gave it thinking of the welfare of the public at large, like handing over to a trustee.  It is sad that I have not been careful enough and foreseen this eventuality.'  Thinking on these lines our ÃchãryãL was feeling bad.  He was one who was all the time thinking of the benefit and welfare of the common man that he was famous with the epithet, 'संकरं लोक संकरं', pronounced as 'Sankaram loka sankaram', meaning 'the do-gooder benefactor of the worlds', spending every moment of his life for that purpose only!  So his sadness was genuine and warranted.  But AmbãL spoke to him by an ethereal announcement, "Sankara!  Do not feel bad and fret.  It was my intention that you should compose and write the missing 59 slokas yourself.  At once like opening of the flood-gates, he poured out 59 poems describing AmbãL from head to foot and completed the 100 poems. 
32.    The first 41 Slokas are all Mantra Sãstrãs, which only a few people can comprehend and do dhyãna with very stringent rules for chanting.  That part of the Stotram is concerned with Mantra Yoga, KuNdalinee Yoga and such highly esoteric and abstruse ideas that even the slightest deviation from the procedure could have negative effects.  It is not correct to view it flippantly as after all it is in worshipping our Universal Mother, and so, why are we being too strict about it?  That is why She has caused these stringent methods to be created, which has to be done absolutely faultlessly only.  When there are very easy approaches such as visit to temples, chanting of Stotras, singing of devotional Keertans and Bhajans available; if we undertake Japa, Yoga and Sri Chakra Pooja and then do them carelessly, we are only asking for trouble!  Mother is bound to take it as mischievousness on our part and dole out punishments accordingly.  We should leave such procedures as meant for some who are seriously keen on those methods.
33.    Our ÃchãryãL instead of being kind only to some portion of the society had universal love for all types of people.  There is a poem in the Kannada language that he is 'one who turned sinners into saints'.  So, instead of letting her remain only in the form of abstruse mantras, he described her from the head to foot (केशादि पादं) as a picture of beauty that could be conceived and enjoyed by all who read or hear the poems.  Thus AmbãL's beauty it seems took an Avatara as his poem 'Soundarya Lahari' (सौन्दर्य लहरि – the very word सौन्दर्य means beauty).   There is a tradition calling the last 59 poems as सौन्दर्य लहरि and the earlier 41 poems together are called as 'Ãnanda Lahari' (आनन्द लहरि). Reading the scripture methodically, that is known as 'PãrãyaNam' (पारायणम्), though the first part is 'Ãnanda Lahari' and the second part is 'Soundarya Lahari', the whole book together is known as सौन्दर्य लहरि only. 
34.    The story I told you about our ÃchãryãL's visit to Kailās, is given in Mãrkandeya Samhita in poetical form.  Closely following that story in Mãrkandeya Samhita word to word in prose form, is Ãnanda Gireeya Sankara Vijayam.  There are also other versions on how the poems of Soundarya Lahari came into being.  There are people who believe that the whole work is conceived and written by our ÃchãryãL only.  Even if it were true that he brought the first 41 slokas from Kailās, there is nothing wrong in attributing the authorship to him. Firstly because he is the one to bring it out from Kailās, a place unapproachable for most of us!  You may note that other Rishis too who were the Seers aka 'मन्त्र द्रष्टा', have been accredited with authorship of the mantra, though they are only responsible for making the mantra known to the world.  By that logic our ÃchãryãL can be considered as the author for the whole of Soundarya Lahari.  There is yet another reason for this.  If the original Soundarya Lahari is the work of Parameswara, our ÃchãryãL being an Avatara of the same Parameswara, there is nothing wrong in accrediting him with the authorship.  
35.    The first 41 slokas are full of subtle points of Mantra Saastra, Kundalinee Yoga concepts and very secret aspects of worshipping Maha Tripura Sundari aka Sri Vidya  system (paddati – पद्दति), very useful for aspirants in that line known as 'Sri Vidya Upãsaka'.  Still it is the second part which is remarkable for beauty, sweetness, selection and suitability of words and their meaning, profundity and sagacity, that people can read repeatedly and enjoy!  If you look at the statues made in olden times whether in stone or metal or a mix of clay and limestone, say if there is a slight damage, it is well neigh impossible to repair and restore it to the original shape.  Similarly in the Soundarya Lahari slokas it is impossible to take out a word and replace it with any other word.  The fact that our ÃchãryãL lost more than the half of the slokas from what AmbãL had given, worked out in our favour as otherwise, we would have been denied the power of the expression of our ÃchãryãL, for us to read, enjoy and thereby become devotees of AmbãL!  So we should all be thankful to Nandikeswara. 

Why This Drama of Snatching of the Palm-Leaf Manuscript?

36.    'But why should AmbãL have given an old set of poems, then get part of it lost and then ask him to compose and make it complete?  She could have simply ordered him to sing in praise of her, isn't it?  We can never know her reasons for what did happen.  But some ideas occur to me, which I wish to share with you all.  For worshipping AmbãL there is Mantra Yoga Paddati and the Bhakti Marga method.  People in Mantra Yoga method should not look down upon the devotees in the other path – "Look at them!  They have no discipline, systematic procedures, intensity of worship and restrictions on diet and behaviour; as we have.  Simply singing Bhajans and Keertans is no worship I say!"  Similarly those in the Bhakti Marga should not be thinking ill of the Sri Vidya Upãsaka-s, like saying, "Not knowing as to how to look at AmbãL as our own Mother, appreciating her beauty, endearing qualities and power deeply engrossed in devotion, these people are simply chanting mantras and involved in Yantra Pooja, as though they are going to achieve Maha Siddhis!  It is all too pathetically selfish, isn't it?"  There is more than one path for same destination.  Each method is as suitable to individual preferences.  There could be some who are equally interested in both the approaches.  So it is possible that our Universal Mother AmbãL could have decided that she should have one Grantham for both types of devotees of Hers.  She could have wanted that the devotees in the Bhakti Marga should have some exposure to matters such as, Mantra Sãstrãs, Kundalinee Yoga and Sri Chakra Upãsana; which are like endowments of our Nation's hoary traditions.  Even without proper initiation such as taking 'Deeksha' / 'दीक्षा', simply reading them as Stotras they may benefit to some extent, she could have thought.  With that when you add a portion with poems of high quality literary content soaked in true devotion, it would be a wholesome treat indeed, as per Her evaluation and decision!
37.    Now you may have yet another view, such as, "Why bring in such an avoidably funny behaviour by a respectable person as Nandikeswara?  AmbãL could have simply ordered our ÃchãryãL to write such a book as per specifications as She wanted!  Our ÃchãryãL had all the knowledge as required, I am sure!"  Such an argument can also be given reply to.  We do not know as to what were there in the portion snatched by Nandikeswara.  May be they were not meant for the human world and suitable for other types of existences.  So AmbãL could have thought of taking out only the portion suitable for human beings and then add some poems purely on the subject of devotion.  More than all this, in this way with the first part as having been written by Kailãsa Sankara and the second half by Kãladi Sankara, by making them co-authors of the book, their oneness has been underlined.  May be AmbãL might have wanted to combine the Stuti by God and the Stuti by God's Avatara and make it into one book with the drama of Nandikeswara.
38.    Again you could raise yet another doubt.  You could say, "Why make Nandikeswara waylay our ÃchãryãLAmbãL could have simply handed over only the 41 Slokas and told him, "These 41 Slokas I have taken out of a book authored by Siva himself.  The balance 59 slokas are not required for people on earth.  Since it has been taken out of a Sadakam containing 100 poems, you write 59 slokas and add to this and give it publicity as a Sadakam."  If that is your question, then my answer is that AmbãL just could not have done that!  Though Kailãsa Sankara and Kãladi Sankara are one and the same, the action by AmbãL as suggested in the above question would have been a double insult to both!  In the garb of an Avatara, our ÃchãryãL was humility personified.  That is why he has gone searching for them all the way to Kailãsa to pay his obeisance to them.  Now to give him a portion of the Sadakam by Siva, asking him to complete it wold mean, a total lack of decency and tact.   That would mean a lack of understanding on her part, the ideal of 'Vinaya' that our ÃchãryãL was projecting.  But if a situation is created in which ÃchãryãL happens to lose a portion of the book, then to tell him to make it up, would have been quite decently normal simultaneously projecting the fact of their oneness to the world at large!  Hence the drama by Nandikeswara was necessary!

(To be continued.)




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