Friday, February 08, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 125 (Vol # 6) Dated 08 Feb 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 125 (Vol # 6) Dated 08 Feb 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 856 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)

ஸ்வரூப வர்ணனை
Description of Form & Figure of AmbãL

426.  क्वणत् काञ्ची धामा करिकलभ कुम्भ स्तन नता
     kvaNat kãnchi dhãmã kari kalabha kumbhastananatã
          परिक्षीणा मध्ये परिणत शरच्चन्द्र वदना |
                   pariksheenã madhye pariNata sharchchandra vadanã |
     धनुर्बाणान् पाशं सृणिमपि दधाना करतलै:
          dhanurbãNãn pãsham sruNimapi dadhãnã karatalai:
          पुरस्तादास्तां न: पुरमथितु: आहोपुरुषिका ||
                   Purastãdãstãm naha puramathituhu ãhopurushikã ||
[क्वणत् = sweet tinkling sounds (made by) काञ्ची धामा = the golden belt worn around the hip (containing small bells) that she is wearing, करिकलभ कुम्भ स्तन नता = slightly bent because of the weight of her breasts which are like the swelling on head of a young baby elephant, मध्ये परिक्षीणा = very narrow at the hips, परिणत शरच्चन्द्र वदना = having a face that is like the full moon in autumn season, धनुर्बाणान् पाशं सृणिमपि = bow, arrows, lasso and the goad, करतलै: दधाना = being held in her hands, आहोपुरुषिका = the Queen Consort of, पुरमथितु: = Easwara who destroyed the Tripura-s; न: = our, पुरस्तात् = front, आस्तां = may she kindly appear.]

427.  She is wearing a golden belt with small bells attached to it.  When she walks or moves, they make tintinnabulation – like the word 'KvaNat', that is evolved from the sound it makes is known in Sanskrit as – 'sabda anukarana'.  The golden belt like thing worn in the hips over whatever dress, is known as 'ஒட்டியாணம்' in Tamil and 'Mekala' in Sanskrit.  If the Mekala had also small tinkling bells attached to it, it was known as 'Kanchi', which could also be called as 'मणि मेकला / மணி மேகலை'. In Tamil literature there are said to be five great works known as 'காவ்யம்', amongst them MaNi Mekalai is one, in which the heroine has the same name as that of the title as மணி மேகலைAs the story goes she feeds people suffering from drought conditions with food from her 'Akshayya Pãtram' which is said to be ever full.  It is a story based on Buddhism.  Mani Mekala is said to have got this utensil 'Akshayya Pãtram' with magic powers of being ever full, from her Guru a Buddhist Bhikshu.  

428.  But Kanchipuram already has this similar story prevalent from time immemorial about AmbãL Kãmãkshi, feeding the poor from an 'Akshayya Pãtram' that she is also called as Anna PooraNi.  There is a very old adage in Tamil that says that she is, "இரு நாழி நெல் கொண்டே எண்நான்கு அறம் இயற்றியவள்", meaning with two measures of rice she could do 32 philanthropic activities; 'Anna Dãnam', that is, poor feeding being just one such activity.  The word 'Nãzhi' is a measure for volume, mostly used in retail trade for grains and liquid, and is slightly more than half a litre.  There is a poem by Avvaiyar Patti in which she says, "உண்பது நாழி உடுப்பது நாலு முழம்".  I suppose one Nãzhi of rice if cooked would have been sufficient for one time feeding of a small family, and 'naalu muzham' or six feet of cloth would have been enough for a person to wear.

429.  This Akshayya Pãtram had a magic quality that, though it could contain only two Nãzhi of rice, as long as you keep taking out it will continue to get refilled from within, endlessly.  So Anna PooraNi could carry on not only feeding the poor and hungry but, could also conduct 31 other 'அறம்' – philanthropies and such socially valuable activities.  By another calculation there are supposed to be 64 such Dharma Kãrya-s.  It is a list containing all sorts of avenues by which you could help 'men as well as manes', meaning, human beings as well as ethereal beings.  By condensing those 64 into 32, the most important ways of helping others has been listed.  That is what has been mentioned as "எண் நான்கு அறம்".  These days when everything of the past is twisted around, people could claim that Kãmãkshi PurãNam has been written based on the MaNi Mekala story.  But the fact is the other way around as Kãmãkshi as a name has been there from before the time of 'Sanga Kãlam' by which works in Tamil Literature are dated as the Earlier and Later Sanga Kãlam.  There was a poetess of the 'Sanga Kãlam' period was known as 'KãmakkaNNiyãr Nappasalaiyãr'.  This name 'KãmakkaNNiyãr' is the Tamil version of what is Kãmãkshi in Sanskrit.  We can safely deduce worshipping of Kãmãkshi and the story of her doing Anna Dhãnam with the Akshayya Pãtram must be already part of the folk lore prior to even Sanga Kãlam, isn't it?  Anyhow I wished to point out as to how the later day story of MaNi Mekala was centred on the place 'Kanchi', which has the same meaning too!

430.  The first three words of the sloka, "क्वणत् काञ्ची धामा" contains a hint that the Goddess being referred is LalithãmbãL.  In this big country, from the southern end Kanya Kumari till Ksheera Bhavani in Kashmir, there are many temple-towns of AmbãL.  Bhagawathi in Kerala; Chamundeshwari and Sharada in Karnataka; GnãnãmbãL, BramarãmbãL and Kanaka Durga in Andhra; TuLaja Bhawani in Mahrashtra; Ambãji in Gujarat; Vindya Vãsini and Anna PooraNi in Uttar Pradesh; KãLi in Bengal; Kãmãkhya in Assam; VaishNavi in Jammu; Meenãkshi, Akhilãndeswari, Dharma Samvardhini, KamalãmbãL, BãlãmbãL, Sivakãma Sundari and Veda Samrakshani are all from Tamil Nadu; to name only some prominently famous ones!  Despite the above fact, the only one seen to be having all the characteristic signs, attributes and weapons as given in Sri Vidya Tantra that Lalitha Tripura Sundari is supposed to have; is Kãmãkshi in Kanchi.  There is a Tamil proverb that says "ஊரைச் சொன்னாலும் பெயரைசொல்லாதே", as a warning while talking to strangers as a precaution lest there is loss of identity! Though this proverb is not exactly applicable here and there is sufficient grounds for mentioning the name, throughout Soundarya Lahari the Deity's name is not mentioned, and so by saying "क्वणत् काञ्ची धामा" I think that the poet has alluded to Kanchipuram undoubtedly.

431.  The whole earth is considered as a Goddess called Bhumã Devi.  If we think of the world in such a form of a Goddess, its centre, the place of the navel is Kanchipuram.  As the Kanchi / Mekala is worn in the hip covering the navel from view, that place on the earth came to be called the Kanchi.  Dhãma means a cord made by twisting a number of threads together called in Tamil as a 'சரடு'.  When Yashoda tied a rope around the hip/stomach of Krishna as a baby, he came to be called as 'Dhãmodharan'.  This hip belt with tinkling bells is made of twisted threads of gold that it is called as "काञ्ची धामा ".  When AmbãL walks, not only her anklets but the bells in her belt around the hip, known in Tamil as 'ஒட்டியாணம்' also will make the 'jal – jal' tinkling sounds.  Starting from the centre of the earth, if this 'काञ्ची धामा /ஒட்டியாணம்' has to go around the whole earth and finish at the same spot from where it started, it must be really very big.  It is that jewel that is around the hip of AmbãL.  So, it seems that, it must be really very broad!  But, how is it in truth?

432.  It is 'परिक्षीणा मध्ये' – 'pariksheena madhye'.   'क्षीणा' itself means thin and when you add the prefix 'परि', it means very thin – and that is the characteristic mark of a Lady known as 'Sãmudrika LakshaNam' – 'सामुद्रिका लक्षणं'.  Normally in Tamil literature, such slim hips are compared with the thinness of a creeper plant as – 'துடி இடை' and 'கொடி இடை'.  OK, let us leave the beauty of the hips and look at the face, since after all, that is the most important part of the body!  When something is important, we say 'mukhyam' and that word, is derived from 'mukham' which means the face.  For the eight cubits body we say the head is 'pradanam'.  That word 'pradanam' also means important.   Then we say that 'the beauty of the inner will be seen on the face' – 'அகத்தின் அழகு முகத்தில் தெரியும்'.  How is her face?

433.  The sloka says, 'pariNata sharat chandra vadana' – 'परिणत शरत चन्द्र वदना'.  Rhyming with the 'pari' of the first word of the line, the poet says 'pariNata', known as 'மோனை' in Tamil.  Lalitha Sahasra Nãmam also is full of such rhymes.  Such rhymes while adding beauty to the poetical expression also makes it easy to memorise the poem getting it by-heart!  Her face is like the full moon.  That too not the moon in other seasons when it may be covered by the clouds but, the cool and not cold moon of the autumn season, when the sky is clear without any trace of clouds.  The word ' परिणत' means the fully grown.  Like the full moon spreads the pleasant light all around, the face of AmbãL is spreading her Grace, showering anugraha.  Later in the 63 sloka also, the poet has described the beauty of her moon-like face, when he says, "smita jyotsnã jãlam  tava vadana chandrasya pibatãm – स्मित ज्योत्स्ना जालं तव वदन चन्द्रस्य पिबतां".  (This sloka will be explained in detail in its place later.)

434.  The poet has so far described the jewel 'Kanchi', the hip where it is worn and her moon like face.  Now he has to talk about the hands and the 'Ãyudham' in those hands, especially because they facilitate in the identification of the deity as they are deity-specific – "धनुर्बाणान् पाशं सृणिमपि दधाना करतलै:" – the bow, arrows, lasso and goad – that she is holding in her hands.    This is the identification for the Atidevata of Sri Vidya Tantram.  Her name is Lalitha, Maha Tripura Sundari or Kãmeswari.  Not being very technical about it, she is Rãjarãjeswari too.  In this pose she has four hands, the upper two holding the Pãsam / lasso and Ankusam / goad in the left and right upper hands respectively; while in the lower two hands Dhanush / bow and Pushpa BhãNam / flower arrows in the left and right respectively. 

435.  We know of many pairs of opposites such as Rãgam – Dwesham, meaning likes and dislikes; loved and hated; adopted and discarded; and so on.  On a deeper analysis we will find that our entire life is contained in these two opposites of 'रागद्वेष' of attraction and revulsion!  Both should be kept under control.  They occur in the Mãyã Leelã of AmbãL and also vanish in the play of her Anugraha.  If we remember this fact, that she involves us and also she give us the release; then and only then they can be controlled.  Lalitha Sahasranãma says, "राग स्वरूप पाशाढ़या" – 'raaga Swaroopa pãshãdhyã' – meaning that 'she has the 'Pãsa' or rope that ties us up' and "क्रोध आकार अङ्कुश उज्वला" – 'krodha ãkãra ankusha ujwalã' -meaning that 'she shines as the Ankusa or goad of anger'.  Between Kãma and Krodha, the rope or Pãsa of AmbãL is indicative of the binding fetters of this worldly life.  It is the love and desire that keeps us bound.  Mother's love for the child is also a binding factor as though tied with a rope. The Ankusa or Goad symbolically represents the anger.  By anger whom de we hurt the most?  Not the other party but ourselves!  The other party may just walk away uncaring for our anger.  By anger we hurt ourselves the most!  Even modern science of Psychology says that a lot of energy is wasted by us when we are angry.  The funny aspect is that, more than the energy wasted by our anger when we are simmering inside, much energy is wasted when we happily come under the spell of Kãma, with our desire, wants, lust and greed!  This Kãma or desire that is seemingly good for us is the greater of the two evils!

(To be continued.)




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