Tuesday, January 01, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 107 (Vol # 6) Dated 01 Jan 2013




DEIVATHIN KURAL # 107 (Vol # 6) Dated 01 Jan 2013

(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 729 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   http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated consonantly)

புண்டரீகம் : நாமம்
Pundareekam : Nãmam

236.  The word 'Pundareekam' in Sanskrit means a white lotus or a white tiger.  To apply the white sign of mark with Gopi Chandan (a type of clay available on the banks of the Yamuna River which makes a white/ slightly yellow mark when dried) or sandalwood paste or ashes made of cows' dung added with certain unguents and fragrant ingredients, is also known as Pundareekam.  To apply this in three parallel lines on the fore head (as followers of Siva do) or three vertical lines on the fore head (as VaishNavas do) is said to be known as, 'to apply Pundareekam' or 'Pundareekam Poduvathu' – in Tamil 'புண்டரீகம் போடுவது'.  As the followers of either sect used to assemble in huge numbers and after applying the mark of Pundareekam used to sing in praise of God and shout hail for their deity, this phrase 'Pundareekam Poduvathu' has also come to mean shouting in chorus.  In this also there is variety.  The leading singer or the one conducting and orchestrating the demonstration of devotion would say "नम: पार्वती पतये!" and the assemblage will respond with a combined shout of "हर हर महादेव!" or for "गोपिका जीवन स्मरणं!" by the lead, the reply would be "गोविन्दा गोविन्दा!" or for "जै पुण्डरीक वरदे!" the response would be "ஹரி விட்டல!".

237.  In fact this shouting of God's name by various assemblages of devotees in huge numbers happens in and around a place known as Pandaripur on the banks of Chandra bhaga River.  The Aiyappa devotees assemble in hundreds of thousands in that small saddle known as Ponnambala Medu deep inside the forests in Kerala with a few lacs of people coming in and going out through mainly two ingress routes, all of them shouting Hail to Aiyappa.  But there in Pandaripur are more than one route converging from all the directions of the compass, from the rest of India.  In earlier times, once you have taken a Vratam (a vow of abstinence) and taken a Deeksha to visit the temple of Aiyappa at Sabari Mala or the Vekateswara at the Seven Hills in Andhra Pradesh, or Pandari Natha in Pandaripur or Dwaraka Nath in the Gujarat, or Jagannath in Puri, Orissa in the East or Badrinath in Badrikashram in the North; people used to go walking bare foot over miles for days on, in what was known as Yatra / Jatra, singing and dancing praise of the Lord all the way! 

238.  In Pandaripur, this "Jai Pundareeka Varade!  Hari Vittala!" shouting was rather famous, which came to be called as 'Pundarikam Poduvathu'.  Once in Tanjavur, in Tamil Nadu the Maharashtrians came to power, they brought in and made famous their traditions of Hari Katha, wearing of LaavaNi(a typical dress of the women folk), their special dishes of Rasa Vaangi & Daangar Pachchadi and this 'shouting of Hail to the Lord', rather famous in Tamil Nadu also!  So with the earlier 'Namah Parvathee Pathaye – followed by Hara Hara Mahadeva' and "Gopika Jivana SmaraNam – followed by Govinda, Govinda'; shouting of "Jai Pundareeka Varade!  Hari Vittala!" was also added.  The process of such shouting came to be known as 'Pundareekam Poduvathu' or 'புண்டரீகம் போடுவது', became the in-thing, which over time became the catch phrase for all such 'shouting Hail to the Lord!'  With a slight twist in meaning, to fool others as though you are great devotees of the Lord; came to be called 'நாமம் போடுவது', that is,'Nãmam Poduvathu'!

239.  In China for ages there has been the custom and tradition to drink tea.  Much later when the Britishers started capturing the power all over Asia in the name of trade, they picked up the habit of drinking tea.  This new custom became so popular that it became an important part of the menu and in the bargain, like lunch, supper and dinner 'Tea-Party' became a by-word.  Even in parties where Tea is not served may be called a Tea-Party!  Like that, shouting the Hail of whichever God's Name came to be called Pundareekam Poduvathu.  One more idea occurs to me.  As I said Pundareekam means the white lotus and Chidambaram (where the dancing Nataraja's Temple is located), is also called 'Pundareekapuram' as that place itself is mentioned in the Sãstrãs 'हृत पुण्डरीकं'.  Then, Sri Krishna with the lotus like eyes is called 'पुण्डरीकाक्षन'. 

240.  "That is alright; but still it is not clear as to why such a name calling as 'Pundareekam Poduvathu' came to be the catch-phrase for all such gathering of devotees shouting Hail to the Lord?  Trying to answer that question, I have to tell you about the practice of, 'நாமம் போடுவது', as to how it is done!  Vaishnavas while applying the vertical sign of 'Nãmam' on 12 places in their body, chant the 12 names of VishNu as, "Keshava, NãryaNa, Mãdhava, Govinda, VishNu, Madhusudana, Trivikrama, Vãmana, Sridhara, Hrushikesa, Padmanãbha and Dãmodara – केशव, नारायण, माधव, गोविन्द, विष्णु, मधुसूदन, त्रिविक्रम, वामन, श्रीधर, ह्रुषिकेस, पद्मनाभ व दामोदर".  These द्वादस (twelve) names are chanted for the application of the sign in 12 places on the body including the forehead. So, this very act of application has come to be called 'Pundareekam Poduvathu' or simply 'நாமம் போடுவது' that is, application of 'Nãmam' like the coin with the Sovereign's emblem came to be called a Sovereign or further simplified as 'Savaran'!  In the past the sign or symbol marked in the forehead was in the form of a lotus or a petal of the lotus in a small size which looked like a grain of gingili / sesamum seed.  This in Sanskrit is called 'Tila' from which 'Tilakam' became the word for the mark so applied on the fore head.

241.  This is more of a decorative mark on the body.  But the way to do it as per the Sãstrãs is to apply three parallel lines across the fore head horizontally.  The dry ashes so applied came to be known as 'Vibhuti' to mean omnipotence and omniscience on the one hand and to remind us on the other hand that our origin and destination in this physical body is dust / ashes!  The Vibhuti is mixed with a little water and made into a paste and then is applied with the first three fingers simultaneously.  Then in the centre a bit of fragrant sandal wood paste was used to mark a small lotus.  With the passage of time a lot of changes took place in this application of Vibhuti also.  Within Smarta Sampradaya itself some people started applying Gopi Chandan, (a type of light yellow coloured clay which looks like the sandal wood paste,) instead of Vibhuti in the shape of small petal of lotus vertically.  Then the VaishNavas used what is known as ThirumaN, a naturally occurring chalk piece and marked their forehead with white coloured vertical 'U' with a central streak of red.  The basic point was to make it look like the feet of God which was anyhow often compared with the lotus flower.  The lotus is called 'PuNdareekam', which is also called 'Pundram'.  Some people totally left using the Vibhuti and started wearing the mark made by Gopi Chandan, not only as a decoration but as a sign of their tradition.  The name PuNdram became all inclusive of wearing any sign on the forehead, though none of the signs looked any more like a lotus flower or petal.  The vertical Nãmam came to be called the 'Oordva PuNdram'.  When a new custom becomes a tradition, it starts attracting everybody's attention, isn't it?  So, wearing of PuNdram became a common name for all such signs on the face. 

242.  Now funnily the cycle may have come around a full circle that, what was a sign applied on the body while loudly chanting the 'Nãma' / Name of God, came to be called a 'Nãmam' and it was already either PuNdareekam or PuNdram.  So, now Nãmam = PuNdareekam = God's Name = the sign worn on the body and forehead = to shout God's Name with adoration, love and devotion = 'PuNdareekam Poduvathu'; whether you take the name of Ganesh or Hanuman or Siva or Vishnu!  I said that we do PuNdareekam Poduvathu by chanting Siva's name.  As Hara is also equally famous as Siva, in 'Vãzhga  AndaNar' Padigam Sambanda Murthy SwamigaL has said, "அரன் நாமமே சூழ்க", meaning 'let the name of Hara permeate the environs'!  But in this first sloka of Soundarya Lahari our ÃchãryãL has kept Hara as the one doing the job of Rudra only.  Hara with Brhma and VishNu is prostrating to the AmbãL, who having allotted the job to them has also given the necessary power to carry out the job: 'अथस्त्वां आराध्यां हरि हर विरिन्चाधिभिरापि'.

சிவத்தின் ஸ்பந்தனம் (அசைவு)
Movement of Siva

243.  AmbãL has commanded Hara that is Rudra to take up a whole time job of Samhãra making full use of his abilities.  But in the case of Siva she has just moved him ever so slightly!  Even that slightest movement 'Spandanam' – 'स्पन्दनं' is not possible for him as it is said in the sloka – 'स्पन्दितुमपि'.  He was like a lake whose waters were placid without the slightest wave or movement.  In him the Parabrhma Sivam, the first wave, the first shiver or tremor was this desire to look out, Kãmam or Ichcha!  The first movement was this desire.  What was ever as it is, in such an inactive – inert – Nishkriya – Siva, if there was a movement, there has to be a causal power behind that, isn't it?  What was ever in him as the sentient and lively intellect, she not only metamorphosed as the 'इच्छा शक्ति' & 'क्रिया शक्ति', but has also caused this action in Sivam!

244.  If you further go to the bottom of it, if someone feels a desire for or to do anything, first of all he has to be aware of his existence!  In deep sleep we are not aware of ourselves.  In that time is there any desire in us?  I am not talking about dreaming or the stage of not yet being fully asleep.  Say we have swooned or the doctor has given us anaesthesia.  Is there any desire during that?  So, if Parabrhmam felt the stirrings of a desire to 'look out' – 'बहिर्मुख', just prior to that it must have become aware of its being.  Before the awareness 'I am that I am', to get that knowledge is itself an action in it!  That is the first wave in the placid waters of that lake.  Even that action is that of Shakti.  She is the one who made the Brhmam aware of the Self!  That knowledge of oneself, 'the 'I' – knowledge the 'me' or 'अहं' or 'நான்' – this experiencing of the Self is known as 'Parãhanta' or the I-ness.  In Tamil we have a word 'அஹந்தை' which is this sense of being an individual – whose other forms are pride or conceit.  This is the 'Ahanta', thinking of oneself as different from the real Self the Ãtma, but wrongly identifying oneself as the unreal and ever changing physical body with its mind, Chittam and intellect as the Self!  If our confusion at our level is 'Ahanta', for the Parabrhmam to get to know itself is 'Para + Ahanta = Parãhanta'!

(To be continued.)

Sambhomahadeva

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