Monday, November 26, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 89 (Vol # 6) Dated 26 Nov 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 89 (Vol # 6) Dated 26 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 the last paragraph in page No 603 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)

39.    Say there is a King ruling over a country and he has a grown up son.  The prince let us say is good and equal to his father in every respect as known to all the people.  He is also quite respectful and obedient to his father.  All this is OK in the eyes of the world.  But If the queen were to tell her son, "Now that you are equal to the King in all respects, you take half the country and rule over it", it would not be in the rightness of things and grossly inappropriate, isn't it?  If you slightly change the narrative and say, some enemy captures portion of the lands and the queen sends her son to go and fight with the enemy and regain control; telling him to rule over that portion; that will be quite on the level, you will agree.
40.    In certain matters, instead of directly broaching the subject, it is more prudent when indirectly but clearly the fact is alluded to.  That ÃchãryãL is Easwara Avatara was made clear to the world indirectly thus by AmbãL through the incident in which Nandikeswara played the same part as done by Narada often, in PurãNa  / Ithihãsa  incidents purposely enacted.  The end in all such incidents will only be for the good of all participants.    By making Nandikeswara play the villain, it was clearly brought out that a Sanyãsi should not lose his calm even in adverse circumstances and not get annoyed even with an opponent.  Having so demonstrated his good behaviour, she made his equality with Easwara known to the world in a delicate way, by asking him to complete the book of poems!
41.    By this we have been lucky to receive amongst us a book called Soundarya Lahari in which the earlier part is superlatively rich in subtle points of Mantra Sãstrãs, Kundalinee Yoga and Sri Vidya paddati and the balance half is excellently glorious in expressions, as nowhere to be seen in devotional literature!  It is Sãstrãs, poetry and Stotras combined in one.  The only other work that can come anywhere near for excellence in all these three aspects is possibly Lalitha Sahasranãmam!    
42.    One point that should be noted is that, even in the earlier part in Soundarya Lahari which is mainly mantra Sãstrã portion there are stotras which are steeped in devotion as well as being very valuable as a piece of classic literature.  At the highest pinnacle of devotion, to completely surrender and remain with no will of one's own is described in the 27th poem (starting with the words – Japo jalpa:).  Even earlier in the 22nd poem (starting with the words – Bhavãni tvam), using that very phrase, simultaneously there is description of 'the devotee in duality as the subject and Bhavãni as the object'; with the second meaning derived out of the same two words that simply by mentioning those two words 'the devotee becomes She', the ultimate state in Adwaitam!  In the latter part of 59 poems, it is pure devotion in classic poetical literature.   If you carefully search, one or two subtle points of Sãstrãs may be noticed such as the 'Gathaaste manjatvam' the 92nd poem and the 97th in which the principle of 'tureeya' is mentioned.  Otherwise the latter part is out and out superlative poetry!  So the whole of Soundarya Lahari as the name indicates is an 'Ocean of Beauty' in devotional poetry, conveying a greater emphasis in poetry rather than abstruse Sãstrãs.  There are some who have written Bhashyam for it conveying the idea that even in the latter part, there are hidden secrets of Sãstrãs.  But I would rather look at it as mainly 'devotional poetry'.
43.    Further it occurs to me, 'I do not know if I should say this, but anyhow I am saying', that, 'I wish that at Kailãsa itself Nandikeswara should have taken away all the 100 poems and our ÃchãryãL could have done more justice to description of AmbãL's beauty!  There are enough Sãstrãs for talking about Mantras and Yantras!  Why bother to bring them in to poetical form?'  To such an extent, it is full of endearing qualities of poetical skilfulness and expertise that our ÃchãryãL has displayed in Soundarya Lahari, to attract people's mind and soak them in devotion!  So this stotra stands high as devotional literature.  Parameswara as the 'all knowing Sarvagna' that he is, even at the time of composing the original version, has assumed himself to be a devotee of AmbãL and written it full of devotion and poetical nuances to match the latter part that would be written by his Avatara one day, so that the whole will seem to be by the same composer in the same style as though!
44.    I must mention one more thing.  Though I am saying that the latter portion is pure devotional poetry, those 59 poems are also as powerful as Mantras. In the whole of Soundarya Lahari, each sloka can be chanted as Mantra Japa and they benefit the person chanting, in so many different ways.  Since they are the words of Parameswara or ÃchãryãL or AmbãL's Grace in them; even without the presence of Sãstrãs or Bhija Aksharãs, they are as good as Mantras.  Midas' touch was supposed to convert anything into gold.  Like that, ÃchãryãL's every word is Mantra only.  The water from the well in our house has to be sanctified by chanting mantras.  But the water in the Ganges River is by itself sanctified, whatever be the use such as for anointing Vishvanatha at Kãsi or for us to bathe or for irrigating the fields, isn't it?  Similarly, though the subject matter may not seemingly be about mantra but, description of AmbãL's beauty, his words have the power of Mantras.  If all his writings are such, especially 'Soundarya Lahari' and 'SubrahmaNya Bhujangam' are really powerful Mantras! 
45.    Since the original was completely Mantra Sãstrã and he added to it for the missing portion, the slokas have automatically gained the power of mantras, in Soundarya Lahari.  In the case of SubrahmaNya Bhujangam, the context is different.  There was an occasion when he, our ÃchãryãL fell ill.  He assumed that the reason for his falling ill was so that he may write a suitable Stotram which could be chanted by anybody falling ill and thus be useful.  So he composed SubrahmaNya Bhujangam, which is a powerful therapy for diseases.  Soundarya Lahari on the other hand is useful not only for amelioration of illness but also for many other types of benefits!

"உத்தமத் துதிகள் மூன்று" – 'Three Great Prayer Songs'

46.    Many great poets have sung in praise of AmbãL as Lalitha.  Of course she has many names and forms as Durga, Bhuvaneswari, AnnapoorNeswari, KãLi, and many others too. I am now restricting myself to talk about her as Lalitha.  Rãjarãjeswai, Kãmãkshi, Kãmeshwari, Tripura Sundari are the names by which AmbãL is worshipped in Sri Vidya Paddati, and it is all addressed to this Devata Lalitha only.  So we find that the 'Ati Devata' (अति देवता) in all this is Lalitha and it is in her name we find Lalitha Ashtotram, Lalitha Trisati and Lalitha Sahasranãma Stotram.  Out of many devotional songs addressed to her, three are very famous, special and extremely powerful.  They are 'Ãryã Dvisati' (of 200 poems) written by Durvãsa Rishi, 'Panchasatee' (of 500 poems) written by Mooka Rishi and our ÃchãryãL's Soundarya Lahari.  Chronologically Durvãsa is first, ÃchãryãL is second and Mooka is third.  So Soundarya Lahari is like a gem in the centre of the series. 
47.    Those three author-composers are very close to us like kith and kin.  For our Kãmakoti Peeta Adheeswari (or presiding deity) Kãmãkshi, all three of them are much closely related.  For this Kãmãkshi temple, it is Durvãsa Rishi who had laid down the procedures for worship (Pooja Kalpam), as per which till date the Pooja is done.  Everybody knows as to how our ÃchãryãL is related to our Matt as the Founder Father.  In the case of Mooka, from being a deaf and dumb from childhood, he flowered into a poet by the Anugraha of Kãmãkshi only.  The oldest is 'Ãryã Dvisati' in poetical metre known as 'Ãryã.  It is addressed to the deity, whose one of the names is also Ãryã.  This is not to say that she is the Goddess only for the race of Aryans and that does not include the Dravidians!  These race divisions are only man's creations and not God's.  Actually there is no such Race.  In Sanskrit people higher up in the social order were addressed as 'Ãryã', like 'Sir' or 'Your Highness'.  This was a mischievous canard created by Britishers when they were ruling over India as though there was an Aryan Race somewhere in some part of the world who migrated to India and chased the local Dravidians South and East!  It is all pure fictions from the fertile imagination of the so called rulers of India. 
48.    I was talking about the word 'Ãryã'.  In Tamil this word becomes 'ஐயன்' pronounced as Ayyan for the male and 'ஐயை' pronounced as Ayyai for the female gender.  Such address was for any high class of people in any caste.  But normally since Brahmins were well read – at least those days – (PeriyavaaL smiles while saying this), they were addressed as 'ஐயா', later mistakenly taken as a separate caste.  Even then it was only the name of a 'Jaati' or 'type of people' and not a Race! In one Race only all the four 'Jaatis' were there.  Rather they were known as 'Varna', like different colours of the same white light!  Aiyar, Aiyangar, Maadhvar are three different sub-divisions within the Brahmins as a Varna.  You take Vaisyas for example which is the trading community, in which we have Naattukkottai Chettiyars, Berichchettiyar, Devaanga Chettiyar, Arya Vaisyas and many others.  Of course the trend nowadays is that even family-names over a period are considered as sub-caste names.  In Gita and Dharma Sãstrãs, where the Four Varna is mentioned, nowhere does it say that the first three are Ãryan Race and the fourth Varna is the Dravidian Race!  This Race business was a creation of Britishers, as a suitable tool with which to nurture and enlarge internecine differences between people of India, which was further exploited politically by people who had their own axes to grind in Independent India.  Anyhow let us set aside this matter as I have already dealt with it in detail some time back and let us now come back to the word 'Ãryã'.
49.    Ãryã is the name of AmbãL.  Our ÃchãryãL's mother's name was ÃryãmbãL.  Rishi Durvãsa composed his work of 200 poems known as 'Ãryã Dvisati', in the Ãryã metre addressing Ãryã as the AmbãL's name.  This work has another name as 'Lalitha Stava Ratnam', in which the word 'Stava' also means Stuti, a devotional rendering. 

(To be continued.)




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