Saturday, December 22, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 102 (Vol # 6) Dated 22 Dec 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 102 (Vol # 6) Dated 22 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 694 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 consonantly)

183.  I said that in Soundarya Lahari also such a scene of this clash between the hero and heroine occurs.  That is in the 85 and 86 slokas.  Out of the 64 Upachãra-s (actions done ceremonially to take care of a guest of honour or the divine being that we have invocated                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              in the idol before doing Pooja), one is Pãdyam, of offering water to wash their hands and legs before being seated.  For AmbãL such water being offered is the Ganges River flowing from Siva's matted hair.  What does it mean?  Evidently Siva is doing Namaskãra to her and his head is touching her feet in the process!  In the latter sloka, this is mentioned more clearly.

184.  As per poetic tradition, the moment the husband so falls in the feet of the wife, she does not immediately pull in her legs and stand up with apparent haste feeling that her husband has so exhibited his servility to her and their quarrel is over and done with!  But in poetical parlance so as to give more importance to the aspect of wooing, still she will continue to display her anger, she would refuse to accept his prostration and lightly kick him with her legs.  Then he will catch hold of her legs showing his concern saying, "Oh!  I hope your feet may not hurt!  Are you feeling any pain?"  Only after that she will get appeased.  The poetical description will go on such lines.  Since this had to come in our ÃchãryãL's words as divinely ordained, there is such a scene described in Soundarya Lahari (refer to Sloka 86).

185.  As a Jagat Guru, our ÃchãryãL's aim was to tell the whole world the strict rules and regulations as per Dharma Sãstrãs on as many occasions as possible.  Then it was his intention to stress and emphasise the need for being devoted to divinity through slokas full of Bhakti and then talk about Tatvam (principles of philosophy) and Gnãnam and matters such as what the disciple is to learn and how he is to behave and how the Guru is to tutor and mentor his disciples.  But now on AmbãL's directions, he had to author this composition in which, as per Sãkta Tatvam he had to praise AmbãL much above the importance given to her husband Parama Siva!  Secondly as per the traditions of literature, AmbãL as the Nayaki had to be placed in a higher pedestal than the Nayak!  When all the Dharma Sãstrãs insist that wife should be respectfully caring and concerned to the husband's every wish, this description of Siva and AmbãL as Nayaka and Nayaki; could convey a totally different message!  Then what will happen if all women start emulating such behaviour, as AmbãL causing their husbands to prostrate and then kicking on their heads?  So as to compensate in advance I suppose, at the very start of the 100 poems, he must have decided to put the Lord's name Siva as the first word itself!  Let all the women of the world note that the proverb 'கல்லானாலும் கணவன், புல்லானாலும் புருஷன்', (that even if he is only a stone or a piece of grass, the wife should win over his heart by her humbleness, giving due respect to the husband), still holds good!  The women should learn from William Shakespeare as to how to go about what his heroine did in "She Stoops to Conquer!"  So, our ÃchãryãL started the poems with the phrase, "शिव: शक्त्या युक्तो..."

186.  Then within the hundred poems, there are many occasions when he has clearly spelt out that she AmbãL was very strict in meticulously following the rules of conduct as an absolutely devoted wife is required to do in maintaining 'Pãtivratyam'!   When she is seated in her royal seat of throne known as 'Simhãsan', while all the Devatas are coming forward and paying obeisance to her, if her 'Pati' that is, her husband comes along, she will at once get up in a hurry and run forward in all her love to welcome him.  Then her maid servants would be telling her to be careful lest she may trip on the crowns of the Devatas prostrating before her (in sloka 29)!  In another place (in sloka 64), our ÃchãryãL describes as to how, 'By endlessly talking about her husband's greatness, her tongue is deep red like the hibiscus flower'!  In another sloka (No 66), she is happily listening to Saraswathi Devi, who is singing and playing on the VeeNa (the famous stringed instrument), encomiums of praise of Siva's Leela of various escapades known as 'திரு விளையாடல்கள்'. When men do Namaskãra they are supposed to do 'Ashtãnga Namaskãra', with eight parts of the body touching the ground.  The eight body parts are forehead, two cheeks/ears, two hands, two legs and chest.   Whereas when women do so, they are required to go on their knees and touch the ground with forehead, two palms and two knees and this is known as Panchãnga Namaskãra.  By repeatedly doing Namaskãra to her husband, her knees it seems have become quite hardened, (as given in sloka 82).  Then finally in the 96th sloka, he calls her 'Numero Uno' – Number One amongst Pativratãs, by saying, "सतीनां अचरमे"!

187.  Our ÃchãryãL was rather keen that he should not cause the general public to construe what is contrary to the Sãstrãs as ideal and so started with the name of the 'Pati' Easwara first. In the Veda itself, it is first, 'mãtru devo bhava' and then 'pitru devo bhava'.  Still, as he had to depict AmbãL as being superior to Siva repeatedly later in the text he seems to have first used the Siva Nãma and then her name, thereby indicating that her being with him adds to her greatness.  So first 'Siva' and then 'Shaktya'! In fact, they are the foremost parents of all humanity!  They are the original couple Easwara and AmbãL, in which he adds to her glory and she adds to his greatness!  In truth, they are 'சரி நிகர் சமம்' or 'अन्योन्य सदृशं', that is to say 'more equal than a balance can be', if I may coin a new adage! 

188.  We often use a word 'samayam' as a synonym for religion.  This word is evolved from the absolute equality between Siva and Sivã aka Siva and Shakti.  In Sãkta and Saiva Sãstrãs, there is a Upãsanã Marga, which is all internal without any outer display in which you are required to do the complete procedure of worship mentally imagined as 'bhãvanã rupa'.  In it AmbãL and Easwara have to be thought of as equal in five different ways known as 'pancha sãmyam' or 'पञ्च साम्यं'.  These five points of equality are as follows.  First.  He is Siva and she is Sivã; when he is Hamsa, she is Hamsi; when he is Bhairava, she is Bhairavi; when he is Samaya, she is also Samaya.  Second.  In their shape and form too they are equal.  Both Kãmeswara and Kãmeswari are red, have four hands (चतुर भुजा), three eyes (त्रिनेत्र), sport the crescent moon on their heads, have the same weapons, Bows, arrows, lasso and goads.  Third.  Their place of residence is also the same, the same top centre of the Meru; or the centre of island of gems in the midst of the ocean of nectar (अमृत सागरे मणिद्वीपे मद्ये) or the centre point of Sri Chakra.  Fourth.  Their five jobs are (सृष्टि स्थिती संहारा) creation, maintenance, destruction or erasure, (तिरोदान of माया) veiling of Maya and its removal.  Fifth.  The benefits endowed by them to the world are also the same that is, Anugraha (अनुग्रह) or Moksham!

189.  Thus talking about the equality or parity, this idea should be deeply etched in our memories.  When all living beings are to be looked at with equanimity, it would be wrong to find too many differences between deities.  That too, to try and differentiate between divine beings that are to be thought of as the universal parents, is nothing short of anathema.  So, at the bottom of our hearts we should be thinking of them as equally good only.  However when approaching one of them, pleading and beseeching as 'Daddy' or 'Mommy', we cannot help thinking of them as the best.  Such an attitude will also help in our loving regards being total and over flowing.  In that context neither Mother nor Father will take it as an affront.  As the child wishes, the Father or Mother will underplay their part and adjust.  In the world of literature, the poet as a child will have this freedom accorded by each other.  Thus as a Sãkta Tattva Sãstrã as well as an exemplary literary piece, this Soundarya Lahari does depict AmbãL at the apex of glory, generally.  As regards the general relationship between husband and wife, our ÃchãryãL was careful enough not to cause any ripples in the equations as acceptable to traditional Dharma Ãchãrãs.  So keeping her in a high pedestal, often by giving a boost to Easwara's importance, he has made up the balance.  At the very start also, that is why, he has first place the Nãma of Siva and shown the name of Sivã as following!

'சிவத்துக்கும் ஜீவ சக்தி; ஆண் பெண் பெயர்கள்'
'Live power for Sivam Also; Names of Men and Women'

190.  But, surprisingly though it has been started with the name of Siva, here too the devotees of AmbãL will see or depict the power of Shakti only.  What they are likely to say is, "As Siva and Shakti are together here, it is not only that the name of AmbãL is coming immediately following, in name of Siva itself, the first 'si' is indicative of her presence!  Only by that combination of the vowel 'I' with the consonant 's'  and the vowel 'a' with the consonant 'v'; there is life in Siva!  How is that?  Let me tell you something you may not know!  In the Tamil language, the consonants are known a 'mei ezhuththugal' (மெய் எழுத்துகள்) meaning 'body-letters' or consonants are also known as 'Siva Aksharãs, while the 'uyir ezhuththugaL' (உயிர் எழுத்துகள்) meaning 'live-letters', which are vowels, are also known as 'Shakti Aksharaãs'.  This 'I' / '' / '' / '' is AmbãL.  The Brhmam sans any work is named 'PraNava'.  Similarly for the Sivam sans any work, the dynamic Shakti as the active power is combined to form 'Siva-Shakti' and for that there is a 'PraNava' and that is this 'I' or '' or '' or ''.  In the lotus of our hearts AmbãL is seated in the form of Lakshmi and Sri Suktam says that 'I am surrendering to that Sri in the form of ''.  Sri is also in that form of '' only, isn't it?

191.  Amongst names of the males, there are many which end in the 'a', like Rama, Krishna, Sankara, Narayana, GaNesa, SubrahmaNya and Ramana.  In Sanskrit these names will end in 'visarga' which looks like the punctuation mark 'colon'.  In Hindi these words end in an abrupt consonant letter such as Shankar and Narayan.  This is becoming the habit in South India too as though more fashionable!  Normally women's names generally end in 'I' or '' or '' or '', such as Lakshmi, Narayani, Saraswathi, and so on.  The word finishing in 'a' if turned in to 'I' becomes a name of the female gender, like Sankara and Sankari or Narayana and Narayani.  There is a speciality in Vaishnavi and Narayani.  These two names instead of the wife of Vishnu are indicative of AmbãL, who is said to be Vishnu's sister!

(To be continued.)




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