Thursday, December 20, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 101 (Vol # 6) Dated 20 Dec 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 101 (Vol # 6) Dated 20 Dec 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 the page No 688 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)

170.  "शिव शक्त्या युक्तो यदि भवति शक्त: प्रभवितुं
न चेदेवं देवो न कलु कुशल: स्पन्दितुमपि |
अथ्स्त्वां अराध्यां हरिहर विरिन्चादिभिरापि
               प्रणन्तुं स्तोतुं वा कथ-मकृतपुण्य: प्रभवति ||" 
The above is a repetition of the first poem of Soundarya Lahari given in the last paragraph of the previous edition of Deivathin Kural, in which the trans-literation in the English script and translation has been given.  Now, let me give you the word to word translation.

171.  (शिव: देव:) The divine Siva (शक्त्या युक्त: भवति यति) only when united with Shakti (शक्त:) becomes capable of (प्रभवितुं) creation {and related jobs (एवं न चेत) otherwise (स्पन्दितुं अपि) even to make the slightest movement (कुशल: न कलु) not capable, isn't it? (अत:) So, being (आराध्यं) venerable revered (हरिहर विरिन्चादिभिर अपि) by Hari, Hara and Brhma also; (अकृत पुण्य:) those who have not earned their merits (कथं प्रभवति) how can they be able (प्रणन्तुं) to worship or (स्तोतुं वा) venerate?  Our Stotram commences with this sloka.

172.  An important stand point of Sãkta Tatvam is conveyed in this sloka that, 'The power over the holy trinity of Brhma, Vishnu and Rudra is AmbãL only.  Even Siva aka Easwara who is the Para Brhma Swaroopa, by her motivation and promptings, moves from his Nishkriya status of Adwaitam to do the transactions of the dual world.'   "You are adored and venerated by the Trimurthys aka Holy Trinity and other Deities as you so richly deserve to be!  You are moving and making the Brhmam do your biddings.  So, all that action from a fly or ant taking even one step is your wish, your power and your Sankalpa.  That being the case, if a person prostrates before you and worships you can that happen by his own whim and fancy?  When I feel devotion and love towards you and wish to do Namaskãra, is it my action?  Is it out of my own volition?  I have started this composition of stotras.  Can this happen without your power, intention and permission?"  Thus our ÃchãryãL asks AmbãL.  Instead of directly posing the question, he asks in an implied manner. 

173.  In the same indirect manner, he is asking a few more questions.  "Even the urge to worship you is kindled in our minds by your Sankalpa only.  That also you do not instil in everyone's minds simultaneously, since though you are the Mother of all, our past Karma is the basis of such Anugraha from you!  An undeserving renegade will never be prompted to even think of you let alone pray to you!  What is that qualitative requirement to become deserving of your Grace?  Over many a life times, we should have done our bit for the clan, community, nation and humanity at large as well as other forms of life, to deserve your Grace!  Otherwise without your permission, who can ever be doing Namaskãra or worshipping you?"  Thus instead of directly saying so, he is alluding to his being lucky enough to be a devotee of the Mother!

174.  This use of indirect allusion is an important embellishment of the poetical expression.  Certain things should be told without telling by indirect indications! Then only, there will be literary charm.  If there is a fruit, its essence should not be dripping or oozing out but the fruit should contain the juice inside.  After all, that is the difference between poetry and prose!  Two words indicate this in Sanskrit, 'रसवत' and 'सारवत'When you give your guest fruit juice, what do you do?  Remove the non-essentials and take out only the essence of it isn't it?  This is what is said in Tamil as 'சுருங்கச்சொல்லி விளங்க வைத்தல்', meaning, 'to make succinctly clear by being brief'!  The juice of a basket of lemon fruits can be contained in a small glass jar!  Like that, keeping ones observations and opinions to the minimum, if we put across the crunch points in a cogent manner, it becomes beautiful.  Like a musician varies the Swaras in a sangati without making it repetitive so that the fans can grasp the inner nuances by themselves; that is how poetry should be written. 

175.  In the light of what I have said so far, there is one more meaning that should be guessed by the reader, understood and enjoyed, in this first poem!  It is said there, "प्रणन्तुं स्तोतुं वा कतम अकृत पुण्य:प्रभवति?", meaning as to how, 'someone who has not accumulated credit values of PuNya (antonym of Sin) ever do Namaskãra to you and worship you?'  The one asking this question anyhow is prostrating before Goddess just as he is saying this.  Does it mean that he is claiming himself to be so qualified and thus patting himself on his shoulders?   Such an interpretation will be far from the truth of the extreme humility of our ÃchãryãL!   In sloka-s 57 and 84, he goes on to say, "give me also your side-long glance" and "keep your feet on my head also", respectively so beseechingly!  He would never claim that he is something special with apparent conceit!  So what is the suggested meaning?

176.  What did he say first?  That she causes the immobile principle of Siva to move, he said isn't it?  So also accordingly, 'she is making me, who has done no PuNya and so does not deserve to write poems, suddenly become capable of writing poetry, which is all her Grace only', is how we should understand the meaning!  To the question, 'How can someone who does not deserve to write poetry start praising you?, 'Still if I can do so, it is evidently you Grace and Anugraha.  Your special ability, to move the immobile Siva, has no limits, that it can cause me to become a poet too!'  If it can move Siva, it can cause even a simpleton like me to become a master of poetry!  That is more like what he must have meant!

177.  'PraNantum', to do a Namaskãra, is done by the body.  'Stotum', to write poetry is done by the mind, speech and hands.  First you have to think of God with devotion.  Then come 'Vaak' (speech) and 'Kaayam' (body).  So, in the very first sloka, all the three of mind-body-speech (mano-vaak-kaayam) have been surrendered to the Goddess.  This seed sown here, by the hundredth sloka becomes a huge tree giving fully ripe fruits of total self-surrender – SaraNãgati of Ãtma SamarpaNam.  It is true that a person without past deeds of PuNya cannot even think of God, let alone do Self-surrender to the divinity.  So there is no question of his proceeding in the path of devotion aka Bhakti Marga.  Similarly for proceeding in Gnãna Marga too, in sloka No 2 of Viveka ChudamaNi, he says, "मुक्तिर-नो सतकोटि जन्मसु कृतै: पुण्यै: विना लभ्यते"That means, "A person, unless he has done PuNya (that is, morally the right actions) in a hundred crores of life times before this one, cannot even decide to proceed in the path of Gnãna and attain Mukti!"

178.  One interesting point to note here.  Whether it is the path of Bhakti or Gnãna, a man can come to the decision to proceed on the right lines only by the Grace of God.  This fact has not been mentioned openly in the book of devotion Soundarya Lahari.  Whereas in the book that describes the path of Gnãna such as Viveka ChudamaNi, (though Gnãna Marga is mistakenly viewed as one in which all considerations of God and Divinity are packed off and set aside), at the very start of that book(Sloka No 3), our ÃchãryãL says,
"दुर्लभं त्रयमेवैतत देवानुग्रह हेतुकं | मनुष्यत्वं मुमुक्षुत्वं महापुरुष संश्रय: ||", meaning, "Manhood, burning desire for liberation, the capacity to surrender to a man of wisdom --- these three things are rare indeed, and wherever they are found, they are due to the Lord's own Grace."  This is what MaNikka Vãsagar also says in Tamil, "அவன் அருளாலே அவன் தாள் வணங்கி", (Siva PurãNam line 18) meaning 'even to pray to God, you have to have his sanction!  You do that because, his Grace is evident!'

179.  The sloka is starting with the phrase, 'Shiva: Shaktya'.  The 'Siva' word has the meaning of 'Parama MangaLam', denoting that it is highly salubrious! Though the sloka says that only when Siva is with Shakti he can even move as otherwise he is virtually inert, still it does not start with the word Shakti but, Siva.  Though normally we put the ladies name first like we say Mrs and Mr, here Siva without being one with AmbãL has no relevance almost.  If he is still alive after consuming the 'Kãlkuta' poison it is the effect of her 'Thãtanga', that is, the ear-stud, (says the 28th sloka later).  Her importance is to that extent!  Still, the book starts with his name Siva and then only her name occurs!

180.  These days (when everybody is vociferous about gender equality for whatever reasons), you may have some difference of opinion.  But our ÃchãryãL was very particular about reminding us of the ways of the Dharma Sãstrãs ever.   Easwara and AmbãL were very different to the worldly couples as we know of.  By tradition and habit we call the women folk as 'Abala' as the weaker of the two. The husband is supposed to provide the protection by his power.  But in this divine couple, the order is changed.  She is the power, with her name also indicating this as Shakti!  To tell someone to keep quiet we often tell him, 'சிவனேன்னு கிட', meaning 'just be like Siva, doing nothing' don't we?  Then when somebody starts off with tremendous amount of force for any endeavour, we say, 'He started with much Shakti'!

181.  The Dharma Sãstrãs are meant to show the way for our attitude and behaviour in day-to-day life also.  In that the wife is meant to be subservient to the husband.  In fact she is required to treat him as a disciple treats his Guru, with respect, ardour, love, admiration and obedience.  But between Easwara and AmbãL it is rather different.  Even as a matter of esoteric principles, he is the Nishkriya, NirguNa Brhmam 'The Pure Being'!  Whereas she is the Universal Power that runs and manages not only this one world but the whole lot of them from the minuscule being to the macro cosmos!

182.  Not only in the mystically abstruse sense do we say and hold that Siva is powerless and Shakti is powerful; if you take the traditions of literature also, in amorous depictions, it is the heroine (known as Nayaki in the Indian context) who is given a higher position and status than the hero (known as the Nayaka).  When there is a fight or misunderstanding between the two and as the problem is about to be resolved, the poet will say that finally the hero went and fell in her feet!  That is how it is picturized in Gita Govindam (19th Ashtapathi).   There Sri Krishna pleads with Radha, "Be kind hearted enough to please place your feet on my head as a decoration!"  The same thing has been said in the case of the couple Siva and AmbãL too in PurãNa-s and certain literary works also.  This scene is enacted in Soundarya Lahari itself, towards the end! 

(To be continued.)




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