Sunday, January 27, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 120 (Vol # 6) Dated 27 Jan 2013


DEIVATHIN KURAL # 120 (Vol # 6) Dated 27 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 the middle of page No 823 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)

371.  When you think of God as a repository of all excellent and sterling qualities as different from oneself, you have a feeling of devotion as well as fear, known as 'பய-பக்தி' in the Tamil language, which does not have an exact parallel in other languages!  In English while describing a morally well behaved person, they say that, 'He is God-fearing', which is the nearest to 'பய-பக்தி'!  That fear goes only when you realise that there is no separate existence to anyone of us as Jiva Ãtma as a different entity from God and that is the understanding of the Oneness of Adwaitam.  Then there is no separate giver and receiver of Vara!  Just for a temporary identification in our talks and discussion we use these separate words as God the Parama Ãtma the giver and the Jiva Ãtma the receiver of Vara-s.  So the Abhaya Hastam is an indication of that oneness as though God tells us, "Do not fret or worry or fear.  You and I are one and the same!"  From small fears, to the biggest of all fears, Janana – MaraNa Bhayam (the fear of repeatedly being born and becoming dead) to duality of separateness, God removes all of them by that Abhaya Hastam – indicating the state of Adwaitam.  So, it is not included as part of the transactions of giving and receiving of boons by the Varada Hastam.

372.  Those who do not subscribe to the Adwaita Siddhãntam will answer this question as to why should we have a separate Abhaya Hastam and Varada Hastam slightly differently.  They are likely to say that the fear of life known as the 'Bhava Bheeti' is the worst.  So, to remove that fear is the greatest Anugraha.  So as to retain its importance, that Abhaya Hastam is kept as separate from all other benefits granted by God and stop with that explanation.  In Abhaya Hastam, you may notice that the fingers of the right hand are pointing upwards.  They will say that they are pointing at the heavens such as Vaikundam and Kailasam.  We the Adwaitins will say that the fingers are pointing out at the sky which is Akhandam meaning indivisible like the state of Adwaitam.

373.  Now, if you look at the Varada Hastam, you may note that with the open palm the fingers are sloping down and pointing down wards!  "This matter of asking for this and that, demanding all the time, from others and rest of the world; is a bit of a deplorable thing.  Moreover the hand that is said to be giving is the left hand.  That is why giving and receiving with the left hand is considered below par mostly."  But there is scope for taking this whole thing in a more acceptable manner too.  In the Ardha Nãreeswara, AmbãL is the Left-half.  She is representing the dynamic aspect of Ardha Nãreeswara and correctly the Varada Hastam that is actively giving boons is the left hand.  For the action-less Abhaya Hastam state is part of the Right side – Siva.  So it is all in the rightness of things as they are.  In addition, if you ask as to what is the meaning of the downward pointing Left hand is indicating, the answer is that they are pointing out at the 'CharaNãravindam'!  "Catch hold of my feet and they are the biggest boon for you", they, the downward pointing fingers of the Left hand are saying!  Thus the Varada Mudra can be correctly interpreted.

"ஸ்தோத்திர முத்திரையை குறிப்பாலுணர்த்தல்"
Pointing out the Deity to Whom the Stotra is for

374.  Anyhow all this talk of Abhaya Hastam and Varada Hastam are all meant for other deities only and not for AmbãL, as the poet says, "You never show these Vara and Abhaya Mudras by hands" – 'त्वमेका नैवासि प्रगघटित वराभीत्यभिनया', (pronounced as 'tvamekã naivãsi praghatitha varãbheetyabhinayã').  He is saying this keeping Lalitha Tripurasundari in mind, to whom this whole Soundarya Lahari is addressed.  As the very smallest movement of Siva is also by her power, all that any deity does is also by her power only.  When that is the case, all that any of them does in terms of giving boons and protection from fear, is all by the power that she gives them only.  What others are doing with their hands, she does simply with her effortless grace through her legs.  So she does not have to display Varada and Abhaya Hastam-s.  But AmbãL as Bhuvaneswari has Varada and Abhaya Hastam-s and also as 'Bãlã' the child God!

375.  When the poet says, "त्वद-अन्य: पाणिभ्यां अभय वरदो दैवतगण:", that deities other than you are showing Varada / Abhaya Hasta Mudras, we should not presume that all other Gods have same two Mudras.  You come across PiLLaiyar in every street corner, banks of rivers or lakes or even wells; and walls of the houses facing T-junction of the roads.  Does he ever have either of them Varãbhaya Hastam-s?  No.  Nataraja has Abhaya Hastam and not Varada Hastam.  So also Vishnu-Durga has only Abhaya Hastam. Meenakshi Amman has neither and so also Maha Vishnu is seen with Shanka, Chakra, Padma and Gadha and no Varada/Abhaya Hastam.  This Kanchipuram Varadaraja despite his name or because of his name has only Abhaya Hasta Mudra.  By that hand he will be holding the mace or bludgeon known in Sanskrit as Gadha (गदा).  There is no need for him to give Vara and Abhaya Mudras as his consort Maha Lakshmi is ever sporting both.
Saraswathi doesn't have either.  Normally Durga and some SubrahmaNya Murthy-s have right hand as Abhaya Hastam and their left hand on their thigh, while VenkatramaNa Swami has the right hand as Varada Hastam and left hand on his thighs. 

376.  Lalitha Tripurasundari has neither of Varada or Abhaya Mudras.  Instead she has Ikshu Dhanus (sugar cane bow) and Pushpa BhaNa (flower arrow) in the left and right hands.   But in one of the later slokas (Sloka No 70), our ÃchãryãL has mentioned that, not only one but all her four arms are capable of offering Abhaya to her devotees.  Once upon a time Brhma is said to have had five heads and one of them was severed by Siva.  So it is said that Brhma describing the beauty and power of her hands is praying to her with the hope that each of her hand will protect his other four heads from further threats from Siva's nails!  May be because she has to counter the likely threat from her husband's hands and doing so with her legs would not be in order, in this case she is providing the protection to Brhma from fear, with her hands, I suppose!

377.  So all said and done, other than the Tripura Sundari form, AmbãL in all her other forms has both or either of Varada / Abhaya Hastam.  Other than AmbãL other deities have either or both Varada / Abhaya Hastam-s and what they do with their hands, the poet in all his liberty says that, "You do both the jobs of giving Abhaya and Varada with your feet themselves!"  May be it is a bit of an over exaggeration.  Showing of Mudra he calls 'Abhinaya' (अभिनय) as the dancers depict various Mudras with their hands.  In the 'Nãtya Sãstrã' also they have made use of the sign language of Mudras as they occur in Mantra Sãstrã.  To show various feelings and attitudes on the face and postures of the body is Abhinaya and to depict particular meaning especially with the fingers of the hands are known as 'Mudra'. 

378.  In the first three slokas, amongst many different forms of AmbãL, it is not mentioned as to which one particularly is being referred and title also happens to be 'Ãnanda / Soundarya Lahari'.  Only in this fourth sloka some clue seems to have been given – as one without Varada / Abhaya Hastam-s.  Still though what has been talked about is what is not there and not what is there!  It does not talk about how many hands are there and so on.  The secret is being maintained till the seventh sloka, wherein after a description like in a Dhyãna Sloka, the poet has clearly stated Her to be LalithãmbãL – Tripura Sundari – the Atidevata for Sri Vidya Tantra; once again without mentioning her name!  Instead of making it openly clear the poet manages to keep technique of sustaining the reader's interest alive by maintaining the suspense factor till the end.

காமமும் அநுக்ரஹமாகுமா?
Is Lust also Anugraha?

379.  In the next sloka in the first half, it is stated that at the time of churning of the Ocean of Nectar, Maha Vishnu took Avatara as Mohini and managed to cause Siva to feel attracted towards him in the form of Mohini Avatara, only by worshipping you.  When the Ocean of Milk was churned by the Devas and Asuras, using Maha Meru Mountain as the churning stick and the snake Vasuki as a rope to be pulled from either side, wrapped around the Mountain.  Maha Vishnu came out of the churning process as Mohini Avatara.  By her beauty and cleverness she managed to befool the Asuras from partaking the Amrita / Nectar and give it only to the Devas.  She managed to enamour Parameswara, giving birth to Ayyappa Sãsta alias Hari-Hara Putra, as a result of the union of Hari as Mohini and Hara.  In Siva Padãdi-Kesãnta Stotra, our ÃchãryãL has described Sãsta as the third Siva Kumara along with PiLLaiyar and SubrahmaNya.  It is in the Kerala, the birth place of our ÃchãryãL where that Hari-Hara Putra Sãsta has become rather popular in recent times as Sabari Malai Ayyappa with followers from all over South India, flocking to his temple deep in the forests of that State in millions, throughout the year that too after taking a vow of abstinence and continence, living the life of devotion, doing daily Pooja, Bhajan worshipping Ayyappa.

380.  That the first urge happened in Brhmam to look out of itself and the subsequent transactional interest that was created, was kept as the initial starting point of the love affair between Brhmam and its Shakti as the basis; I said that Kãmeswara and Kãmeswari are the first primordial couple as husband and wife and as the Father and Mother of all creation.  That Maha Vishnu in his Avatara as Mohini, a beautiful damsel could involve Parameswara in taking an amorous interest in her, was as a result of praying to AmbãL gives us a clue that, the target of our devotion in Soundarya Lahari is none else but Kãmeswari, which deduction is further reinforced by the fact that she is sans Varada /Abhaya Hasta Mudra-s in the earlier sloka. 

381.  The second part of the sloka further strengthens this guess.  The second part of the sloka says, "Manmata the God of Love (known as Cupid or Eros in other religions), by obeisance to you got your Anugraha that from being unseen to rest of the world, became visible to the eyes of his consort Rati Devi and manages to enter the mind and heart of even die-hard men of continence who are called 'Jitendriyas', (who have mastered their mind and control over their senses) and causes love and lust in them!  Easwara had turned Manmata into ashes.  It was Kãmeswari who had resurrected him into life and reinstated him in his job.  So our guess is further reinforced that she is the divine being described in Soundarya Lahari!

(To be continued.)

Sambhomahadeva

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