Tuesday, April 30, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 164 (Vol # 6) Dated 30 Apr 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 164 (Vol # 6) Dated 30 Apr 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 page No 1127 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 constantly)

838.                Normally great poets are not too liberal with the use of words.  Being rather selective with the minimum number of words, they will leave the meanings to be more suggestive than apparent.  They will use synonyms rather sparingly except when wishing to emphasize the gravity in some rare cases.  Here, 'Lahari', 'Parévãham', 'Srotas' and 'SaraNi'; are four words of almost similar meanings about the flow.  May be the poet got literally carried away as he was describing the flow of the indescribable beauty of AmbãL!  There is a point in my saying 'words of almost similar meanings', which means that they are not exactly synonyms, but with just shades of differences.  Though the general public may look at it as synonyms, the discerning experts will appreciate the subtle and minute shades of differences.  So, literary maestros will aim for such shades of differences while selecting words, known as 'vãk-kumbanam' in Sanskrit literature!

839.                Here, between these four words there are some slight variations in meaning.  Lahari means the upward thrust from within as it happen in eddies but not the sucking motion as in a whirl pool.  Parévãham on the other hand is the slow spread in all directions as it happens when we drop ink on a blotting paper.  Srotas is the quiet gurgling flow of water along the channels.  SaraNi as I said before is the running of water in a straight line between embankments.  Evidently this cannot happen in a natural rivulet but a man-made canal or channel.  The beauty of AmbãL ebbs up as a Lahari, spreads as a Parévãham, touching the top-centre of the fore-head it becomes a Srotas and runs like a canal along the Seamantha SaraNi!  But when the Kesha Bhãram becomes its embankments, the flow refuses to be contained within those perimeters.  AmbãL's beauty has to be illimitable.

840.                Lalitha Sahasranãma says – 'vaktra lakshmi parévãha chalan meenãbha lochana' – 'वक्त्र लक्ष्मी परीवाह चलन मीनाभ लोचना' – meaning that 'if the face is the expanding torrent of beauty, the two eyes are the fishes moving around that pond'. Within the circular face it is somewhat under control then it flows up through that channel made by the dark hair on either side in a straight line along the Seamantha SaraNi.  If the face gets the importance for the whole body as –'vadana soundarya lahari', this Vakidu gets added importance as the channel of such flow of beauty, kindness and compassion!  When Sri Krishna was born, he had to be taken to the safety of Brindavan across the flooded Yamuna River, for which a path was created by tearing a way through the flood, comparable to Moses taking the downtrodden slaves to the promised-land through separation of a violent water channel!  Similarly there was a channel created here setting the 'Kesha Bhãram' on either side!

841.                This sloka should be meditated up on every day, deeply and wholesomely wishing for, 'तनोतु क्षेमं' so that AmbãL's beauty will protect us from being imprisoned by six the fold enemies of 'द्विषां ब्रुन्दै:' such as 'काम:, क्रोध:, मोह:, लोभ:, मद व आस्चर्य:' and increase our resilience making us immune to such temptations and pitfalls, thereby enabling us to attain to personal 'आत्म क्षेमं' without being 'बन्दी कृतं', thereby contributing towards the wellbeing of humanity in the true spirit of 'लोक क्षेमं वहाम्यहम्'!
तनोतुक्षेमं नस्तव वदन सन्दर्यलहरी परीवाहस्रोत:सरणिरिव सीमन्तसरणि: |
वहन्ती सिन्दूरं प्रबलकबरीभारतिमिर-द्विषां बृन्दैरबन्दीकृतं इव नवीनार्क किरणं ||

இடம் மாறிய இரு பாதி சந்திரர்கள்!
Two Half Moons Which Had to Change Places!

842.                In the next sloka (No 45) also though there is mention of the hair, the description of the face is more important.  About that only, there is a portrayal of the small hair known as 'alakam', which look like the filaments in the flowers.  Normally it is the custom to compare the face with the Lotus flower saying 'Muka Kamalam' and or 'vadana aravindam'.  Instead of such general comparisons, here the poet has compared the two part by part. One of the endearing aspects of the beauty of the lotus is the gradual blooming, which you may not be able to notice in smaller flowers.  The 'budding smile' of AmbãL's known as 'manda smitam – 'मन्द स्मितं', is similar to this slow blooming of the flower.  That smile reveals the nice set of teeth which look like the series of filaments known as 'किञ्जल्कं' seen inside the flower!  Like the lotus flower the face of AmbãL also has a pleasant fragrance.  In the lotus flower, there will be honey bees hovering outside as well as imbedded inside drinking the nectar!  Here the eyes of Parameswara, (who had burnt to ashes Manmata who had a bow with a string made of a series of bees), have become bees which are hovering around the face of AmbãL, drinking the nectar of the sweetness of her looks!  The series of very small hair around her face look like an army of small insects have invaded this lotus flower!  The poet draws many such parallels between the flower and the face!

843.                Like comparing the face with Lotus flower, it is quite normal to compare the face with the Moon!  But what can be interesting is when within such comparisons, if the poet can come out with some novel ideas! That is what he has done in the next sloka. The sloka runs like this:-
ललाटं लावण्यद्युति विमलं आभाति तव यत्
lalãtam lãvaNyadyuti vimalam ãbhãti tava yat
द्वितीयं तन्मन्ये मकुट घटितं चन्द्रशकलं |
dviteeyam tanmanye makuta ghatitam chandrasakalam |
विपर्यासन्यासाद उभयमपि संभूयचमिथ:
viparyãsanyãsãd ubhayamapi sambhuya cha mita:
सुधालेपस्यूति: परिणमति राकाहिमकर: ||
sudhalepasyuti: pariNamati rãkãhimakara: ||

844.                To compare the whole face with the full moon is a comparison handled by many poets from time immemorial!  Our ÃchãryãL himself has handled many such comparisons.   Mooka says in his 11 Sadakam, 'राका चन्द्र समान कान्ति वदना', wherein 'Rãkã' means a full moon.  Deekshidar for example in 'Kancha Dalayadãkshi' says – 'राका शशी वदने' comparing the face with the full moon.  Even the sloka under consideration is finishing with – 'राकाहिमकर:' talking about the full moon only, but not in comparison with the face of AmbãL, and had it been so also, there is nothing great about it. But what has the poet done?  From the earlier explanations you must have gathered that the set of words as –'मकुट घटितं चन्द्रशकलं'means that it is talking about the gems in-laid in AmbãL's crown which look like crescent moon and that 'ललाटं' means the fore-head.  The words 'लावण्यम्' and 'विमलं', everybody understands as 'beauty' and 'spotlessly so', respectively!  Now, 'द्युति' means 'brightness' and 'आभाति' means 'shines' and is the verb.  Now, 'तव' is yours and 'यत्' means which and 'तत्' means that and 'tat-manye' and 'tan-manye' both mean the same and 'manye' means, 'I think'.  Now if you put them all together, what do you get?

845.                "This beautiful and brightly shining forehead of yours which is without any faults or blemishes is the second form of the crescent moon of gems in your crown I think".  In more easily understood words there is a half-moon in AmbãL's head!  Both AmbãL and Easwara have the thin sliver of the crescent moon of the third night after new-moon and not the half-moon of the eighth night in their head or crown.  The difference between the half-moon and crescent-moon is quite clear whether you see in drawings or the statues.  In the half moon of the eighth night, the half circle will be clearly defined by the diameter.  In the crescent moon, the outer arc remaining the same, the inner arc will be touching the two ends of the diameter while the balance portion will seem to have been chiselled away.  Normally the crescent moon of the third night after the new moon appears only for a short period when some amount of twilight is still there and then vanishes, by the time the twilight is no more.  As compared to that, the fourth night's crescent moon would be rather noticeable!

846.                Now if you look at the forehead of AmbãL, it will be seen to be almost like the half-moon as Lalitha Sahasranãma says, 'ashtami chandra vibrãja dalika sthala shobhitã' – 'अष्टमी चन्द्र विब्राज दलिकस्थ्लशोभिता'.  So what have you?  One crescent moon is with its bottom down and another half-moon with its bottom up.  That means that they are not concentric!  Now is the fun!  Now let us put the last two lines of the sloka in prose order and try and understand the message!  The end two lines of the sloka are as under:-
विपर्यासन्यासाद उभयमपि संभूयचमिथ:
viparyãsanyãsãd ubhayamapi sambhuya cha mita:
सुधालेपस्यूति: परिणमति राकाहिमकर: ||
sudhalepasyuti: pariNamati rãkãhimakara: ||  Let us rephrase them in prose order and try to understand.  Let us take this 'उभयमपि मिथ:' –   These two half-moon in the crown and the other half in the forehead are mutually opposite – that is the upper half is down and lower half is up.  Now let us reverse them and put them together, that is, join them – 'विपर्यास न्यासाद'.  Please do not read it as 'viparya –sanyãsãt' as though somebody has taken to 'Sannyãsa' after resigning from this worldly life.  Read it as – 'viparya nyãsãt'.  As of now the moon in the crown and the moon formed by the forehead – 'lalãta' are not concentric – let us put them 'ulta – pulta' and make them concentric – that is the meaning of 'viparya nyãsãt' – now do we not have a full-moon?  They have to be joined – 'संभूय: ' – made to stick together!  How is it to be done?  What is the material to be used as a gum or glue?

847.                Yes there is a way!  You do not have to go searching very far.  There is the Amrita in the Chandra itself, isn't it?  That itself is a good paste as well as a good adherent – 'सुधा' = Amrita and 'लेप' = paste.  It also'स्यूति:' stitches; the English word 'sew' is derived from this root word only.  Normal sticking can tear off but not what is well stitched!  Putting these two halves together, making use of the sticking glue from the Moon itself, if both are joined together as though well stitched; it can become a wholesome moon – 'राकाहिमकर: परिणमति' – we will see to it that it does get converted in to – 'परिणमति' become a Full-Moon!  Instead of comparing AmbãL's complete face with a full moon, describing only the forehead as half a moon and then bringing the crescent in the crown into play, reversing their orders and joining them making use of the Amrita as the sticker paste and stitching them together after reversing their order; thus having made quite a bit of factitious moves the poet finally completes the imagination by making it into a full moon as 'राका हिमकर:'!

848.                Finally while talking about the full moon, having said the Amrita in it as 'Sudha', thinking of its production of cold dew as related the 'Raka' – full Moon to production of dew, snow and ice.  Especially the full moon in the month of 'Mrugasèrsha' or 'மார்கழி' is in the star 'Thiruvãdirai' known as 'ஆதிரை' in Tamil and 'आर्द्रा' meaning very wet which is mentioned as 'आरुद्रा' star.  As it is there is onset of winter.  With that, is the full effect of 'राका हिमकर:' in that night.  That night they will be doing Abhishekam to Nataraja Swami the whole night with sandal wood paste.  That fully wet condition is what is known as 'आर्द्रा'.  Next to him will be the daughter of the Himalayas fully and equally drenched in kindness and compassion, as given in a sloka by Appayya Dikshidar, 'vãme bhãge dayãrdrã himagiri duhitã' – 'वामे भागे दयार्द्रा हिमगिरि दुहिता'!  Having called her 'Hima Giri Sute' at the very start of the Soundarya Lahari, in 42nd sloka; while talking about her with 'राका हिमकर:' now, it seems that our ÃchãryãL was deeply thinking about Thiruvãdirai Abhishekam in the month of Mrugasèrsha it seems.  This talk was also on that particular day in the month of Margazhi - 'மார்கழி' in the year 1958!

(To be continued.)



Sunday, April 28, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 163 (Vol # 6) Dated 28 Apr 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 163 (Vol # 6) Dated 28 Apr 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 second paragraph in page No 1120 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 constantly)

827.                "கருடா சுகமா?" (meaning, 'Hi! Garuda, are you OK?') is the question by Ãdi Sesha the Giant Snake, who happens to be the Bedstead and Mattress of Maha Vishnu known in Indian Mythology as PerumãL – 'the Big Man'; addressed to Garuda the Eagle, the official carrier of Maha Vishnu and "இருக்கிற இடத்தில் இருந்தால் சுகம்", is the reply by Garuda (meaning 'If you are in the rightful place, everything will be OK!').          The reference to the context is as follows.  Normally PerumãL would either be sleeping in the Ksheera Sãgara that is, the Milky Ocean or holding court in Vaikundam as the Overall Ruler of the Universe.  Only when he is resting in the milky ocean the Anantha / Ãdi Sesha – Garuda and Vishvaksena would all be in simultaneously present.  PerumãL would be happily lying on Ãdi Sesha as his bed, known to his devotees as 'Anantha Sayanam'.  Vishvaksena would be in attendance and Garuda will be having a darsan of his master by hovering in the air!

828.                This snake Ãdi Sesha is ever afraid of visiting the Durbar in Vaikundam where PerumãL would be holding court!  There it is Garuda who is more important.  When PerumãL is sleeping in the Milky Ocean, This huge snake known as Anantha / Ãdi Sesha bears the weight of PerumãL.  Then he stays there.  At that time Garuda remains in the skies in the Milky Way and has darsan of PerumãL with due reverence.  But the moment PerumãL leaves his bed then only Garuda has all the importance as the official carrier of PerumãL.  He has to take him all over the world.  In each temple he is PerumãL's Number One devotee – known as 'Periya Thiruvadi', directly in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum like that of Nandi in front of Siva's Sannidy everywhere.  He not only bears PerumãL's weight but, instead of remaining rooted to one place like Ãdi Sesha, is always in a hurry flying hither and thither!  Somewhere in some corner of the world, if somebody like the elephant Gajendra gets his leg caught by a crocodile, and sends an S.O.S by shouting, "Ãdi Moolame!" he has to take his PerumãL there ever so quickly!

829.                As you know already, the snake and eagle are always sworn enemies.  Always the eagle is the winner who will make mincemeat of the snake!  Though even the army is afraid of the snake, (as the adage says, 'பாம்பென்றால் படையும் நடுங்கும்') for the snake, Garuda the Eagle is the very personification of fear, like the 'Simha Swapna' (or dreaming of the Lion) for the Elephant and just the thought of the cat for the rat!  Though this Ãdi Sesha is the bed for PerumaL in his sleep and otherwise said to be carrying the weight of world on itself, one look at Garuda Ãzhvãr is enough to make him cringe in panic!  So he is always afraid of going to the Vaikundam or any other place where this Garuda will have ease of access!  Normally though he is so afraid of Garuda, when Garuda came to the skies of the Milky Ocean, Ãdi Sesha got a bit emboldened!  That too when PerumãL was so protectively lying over him, as the reverential poem goes, "பச்சைமாமலை போல் மேனி" – meaning, 'with a body like a green huge mountain'!  Not just emboldened, but a little too brazen! 

830.                Normally when you meet someone older in age or power and status, you should be paying your respects to him, in fact doing Namaskãra!   You should not be calling him by his name.  If he is equal, even then you should not be taking his name, but only enquire about that person's well-being.  Only if that other person is younger in age or status, you may address him or her by name!  In the eyes of the Ãdi Sesha, Garuda was ever big, respectable and to be avoided as far as possible.  But now as I said he became a bit cheeky, because of PerumãL's presence.   At least this was a chance of once in a life time!  So he called Garuda by name and asked, "Dear Mr Garuda, are you alright?" – That is the meaning of, "என்ன கருடா, சுகமா?"  Garuda got the message immediately.  He also quiet cleverly answered, "If you are in your rightful place, everything has to be OK!"

831.                Ãdi Sesha asked about Garuda's wellbeing.  There is no problem about his welfare.  Fear is the worst unease, isn't it?  Garuda Ãzhvãr has no such worry.  Only in the case of Ãdi Sesha the Snake, half the life time is lost in fearful thoughts and worries!  Only when PerumãL is with him he has absolute peace and wellbeing.  So, when he was asking about Garuda's wellbeing, Garuda poked him in his ribs as though saying, "If you are in your rightful place, everything has to be OK, the problem is only when one is in the wrong place at the wrong time!"  Even the planets have their own place of residence or a sphere of influence where they are powerful and not in the wrong place.
832.                This Darkness was hiding somewhere in some corner of the world.  Its enemy is Light. But their enmity has always been too one-sided, the darkness always being on the losing side!  Just the young sun has to show his face and the darkness has to run away!  "Even if we have the whole world under our reign throughout the night, the moment there is the slightest indication of the arrival of the Sun, we are under compulsion to disappear!  Why so?"  This is its greatest complaint and crib!  "Somewhere, sometime or the other, we must grab and catch hold of the small baby-like Sun and tie him up in knots", was its ambition!  So now, when AmbãL had rolled all the darkness of the world and made it her 'केश भारं', coiffuring it, applying plenty of oil, dividing it in to two parts and kept the 'Bãla Surya' just very close, there was no holding back the Darkness anymore! Suddenly it was happy, thrilled and courageous!

833.                That 'Uchchi Tilaka Surya' was encompassed and invaded from all directions and all the rays emerging were gobbled up!  Normally it is the light that swallows the darkness.  But, here the opposite was happening, that darkness had swallowed the light.  (KTSV adds:  Though our ÃchãryãL and PeriyavãL in explaining him may be getting copiously poetic in their expressions, it is worthwhile making note of the fact that their statement is not contrary to science!  A blue flower looks blue because it, (by 'it' is meant the material by which the flower is made of,) is absorbing all the colours other than blue and letting out only that colour!)  This Sindoora Tilakam like the young Sun, should normally have spread in all directions and turned all the hair in to thick waves and streaks of reddish hue, isn't it?  Instead it has been permitted just one streak of red as the Seamantham / Vakidu to go up and all other light has been virtually swallowed!  So, this black darkness of her hair has won the battle and prevented any other light from coming out, it seems. 

884.                The scene is too good to be lost sight of but worthy of being meditated upon!  Think of it!  The Mother of the Universe of exemplary fidelity to be emulated as a model by all of us and eternal Sumangalitvam to be aspired for by all of us; has applied Kumkumam as a huge round Tilakam at the top of her forehead.  The Vakidu above that is a red streak of lightning.  All around closing-in from all directions are the waves of the 'केश भारं', the surrounding blackness of the hair and the redness in the centre, mutually high-lighting each other.  It looks as though the heavy darkness of the hair is challenging the young Sun like Kumkuma Tilakam as though saying, "Now, show your prowess!"  It looks as though it has eaten up all other rays of light other than the one red streak shooting up!

885.      Why has it left that one streak of light – 'Rashmi'?  If that is also not there, then what will be the evidence of, there having been a fight?  There are many things in life that are red.  So we will see that Sindoora dot also as something like that.  When there is just one streak of Sunlight, only then we will wonder as to what happened to the rest of them!  Then only we will know that all other rays of the Sun have been won over by the powers of darkness!  "द्विषां बृन्दै:" – means 'by the hoards of the enemy forces'.  This word 'द्विष' is the root for all 'dwesham' or hatred.  This extreme darkness of the waves of black hair are looking like marauding waves of the enemy forces by which Sun seems to have been made a prisoner of – 'बन्दीकृतम् इव ' – as though jailed by the opposing forces of darkness – so seems the fate of the young Sun!  Not only that all other rays have been gobbled up, the question remains if there is any freedom for this one ray of light? That also is not there!  It is that ray of light that is in jail, while others have been virtually swallowed!  It just cannot move right or left!  It has to be a straight line Vakidu.  It cannot deviate from the straight path!  It does not have freedom of movement!  If you want divine presence – 'दिव्य सान्निध्यं' – it cannot be at an angle – 'கோணல் வகிடு கிடையாது' – it has to be straight.  Similarly, it has to be made of clean and unadulterated 'மஞ்சள் கும்குமம்', no 'maida Kumkum' and no 'jigna pigna' either, got it? 

886.                In 'Bandham' if it has the fourth of the letters 'dha' then amongst its many meanings, one of them is 'to be made a prisoner of'.  But here, since it has the third letter 'dee – 'बन्दी' it means simply a prisoner and 'बन्दीकृतम् इव' – means 'as though made a prisoner of'. OK, looking at AmbãL's Sindoora Seamantha Rekha in the middle with her 'केश भारं' on either side, it looks as though the 'Bãla Surya' has been arrested by the enemy forces of darkness and we are looking only at one ray that has managed to squeak through.  "OK, it is alright!  It seems as never heard before, this good for nothing weakling Sun, seems to have lost the battle to the forces of darkness.  But what is its connection to the most salubrious Soundarya Lahari?

887.                In an earlier sloka we had seen that using the blackness of the Tamo GuNa AmbãL gets rid of the darkness of ignorance, isn't it?  Similarly, the poet underlines the value of the Seamantham that has been 'made prisoner of' in a different way.  In fact he says, the Seamantham of AmbãL remains the residence of Maha Lakshmi as always.  If it has been defeated it is only an illusion – 'बन्दीकृतम् इव', the emphasis being on the last – 'इव', meaning 'as though' it has been imprisoned!  Nothing like that has ever happened.  In fact the first two lines of the sloka talk of the victorious high point of the floods and the latter two lines only talk of the low point of the floods as though there has been a defeat!  Read the first two lines again and look at its meaning: -
तनोतु क्षेमं नस्तव वदन सौन्दर्यलहरी-
tanotu kshemam nastava vadana soundarya lahari
परीवाहस्रोत: सरणिरिव सीमन्तसरणि: |
parivãha srota: saraNiriva seamanta saraNi: - it means "Amma!  The beautiful flood from your beautiful face along the channel of the Seamantha SaraNi may grant us all salubrious benefits!  Please note that there are four words with similar but not exactly the same meaning as, 'लहरी', 'परीवाह', 'स्रोत:' and 'सरणि:'!  We will look at them a little more closely in the next issue of Deivathin Kural.

(To be continued.)



Friday, April 26, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 162 (Vol # 6) Dated 26 Apr 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 162 (Vol # 6) Dated 26 Apr 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 last paragraph in page No 1113 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 constantly)

818.                As per Sãstrãs, the place where ladies have to wear the Kumkum as an indication of being married and wishing for a long life for their husband and thereby for their continued wellbeing as a person well cared for and protected; is the Vakidu – the line of parting of the hair from the centre of the start of the hair line going right to the top of the head!  The centre point of the eye brows       , being the location of Ãgnã Chakra, is where we try and concentrate our minds and visualise the Paramãtma.  So, we apply Vibhuti or Chandan / Sandal wood paste there and so also the Kumkum is applied there.  Still application of Kumkum there between the eye brows, has no direct connotation to Sumangalitvam.  From olden times the practise has been that Sumangali ladies used to apply the Kumkum first in the Vakidu and then also apply the same in the fore-head between the eye-brows.

819.                Maha Lakshmi is also known as Bhãgya Lakshmi.  To get her blessings and assure oneself of her presence, the Kumkum should be applied at her place of residence – the Vakidu.  There are some who apply the Kumkum copiously all over the length of the Vakidu.  If not that, at least at the starting point of the Vakidu some Kumkum should be applied.  But AmbãL is having the red Kumkum powder applied to the length of the Vakidu as the sloka says – 'वहन्ती सिन्दूरं...सीमन्त सरणि:' – only when you have the Kumkum applied all along that line, it will look like a 'SaraNi' – a straight path, as otherwise it will only be a round dot.  From what our ÃchãryãL is continuing to say – that it is like a life-line for the imagination of the poet and the literary merit of the sloka – we can make out that, there is a big circle initially and then it is a red continuous line. There is no greater pleasure, bliss and good-luck than thinking of and visualising the Seamantham of AmbãL, in whose divine person, the residence of Maha Lakshmi has been decorated with the red Sindooram as Kumkuma Alankãram!  

820.      Lakshmi is ever a friend, Saki, Kinkari and attendant with AmbãL.  Lakshmi and Saraswathi are ever present on either side of AmbãL waving the Chãmara – as the Lalitha Sahasranãma says, 'sa chãmara ramã vãNi savya dakshiNa sevitã' – 'स चामर रमा वाणी सव्य दक्षिण सेविता'!  On occasions, instead of having them as attendants, AmbãL has them as her two eyes – when she is 'Kãmãkshi' – 'Kã' is Saraswathi and 'Mã' is Lakshmi and 'Akshi' means the eyes; so you have, 'Kã' + 'Mã' + 'Akshi' = 'Kãmãkshi'!  Later in one of the slokas of Soundarya Lahari, (in sloka No 64), ÃchãryãL says that AmbãL has lifted Saraswathi and given her a place in the tip of her tongue.  One of the greatest gifts or Anugraha of AmbãL is the 'Gift of the Power of Verbal Expression' or what is known as, 'vãk pradãnam' – 'वाक् प्रदानं'!  This has given rise to the saying that when we come across erudite scholars with noticeable 'gift of the gab' we often say that Saraswathi, the Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom is seen to be dancing in the tip of their tongue!

821.                Relate this to an expression by MaNikka Vãsagar, when he says in 'Portrith Thiru Agaval' – 'nãththigam pesi nãththazhumberi' – 'நாத்திகம் பேசி நாத்தழும்பேறி', meaning, 'with a tongue that has developed irremovable scars by mouthing atheistic views'!  Instead of such talking nonsense of agnostics and atheism, AmbãL is all the time talking about the greatness and endearing qualities of Easwara like an eternal spring that, her tongue is red like the Hibiscus flower.  This flower is known as 'Japa' in Sanskrit!  You also know that to keep repeating a Mantra with a rosary or chaplet is also known as 'Japa'!  When you keep repeating a mantra knowingly mentally it is said to be 'doing Japa'.  (When you keep chanting the Mantra for long periods, that it almost becomes your second nature, then even when you are unaware of the fact, you are doing the Japa unknowingly.  Such a state is known as 'Ajãpa Japa'!  Like for example, you wake up from deep sleep and notice that you were already chanting the Japa, then you may know that it is 'Ajãpa Japa'!)  That aside, the poet is punning on the word Japa, that by doing 'Japa' of Easwara's endearing escapades, her tongue has attained the colour of Japa.  At that time, Saraswathi (at the tip of AmbãL's tongue), who is normally white and dressed in white, becomes red like a statue made of rubies!  In many places AmbãL is said to have caused the fair Siva to become red.  Similarly she has caused Siva's sister Saraswathi also to become red and thereby a revolutionary in modern political terms, (says PeriyavãL with a 'tongue in cheek' humour)! We noticed earlier that some devotees see AmbãL as 'AruNa Saraswathi' and sing 'Sringara Lahari' of the amorous genre!  Here the imagination is that the normally white Saraswathi has become red herself!  Out of the two persons doing 'Chãmara Kainkaryam' for AmbãL, one that is, Saraswathi has been given the honour by keeping her at the tip of her tongue.  The second that is, Lakshmi has been raised to the high heavens virtually, by lifting her above the head and keeping her in the Seamantham as Sindooram aka Kumkuma Alankãram!

822.                Seamantham as such, is the residence of Bhãgya Lakshmi in all married ladies.  Then the Seamantham of AmbãL, who is the source of all salubriousness and wellbeing, must have given Lakshmi a further boost in her stature and standing!  And that is what is referred by Abhirami Bhattar as 'Uchchit Tilakam' – 'உச்சித் திலகம்', at the very start of his great poem 'Abhirami Andãdi', as the 'Pinnacle Par Excellence'! Please pay attention – he did not say the Tilakam on the forehead but on the top – 'uchchi' – 'உச்சி'!  Sumangali ladies other than wearing the Kumkumam on their foreheads must wear it on the 'Vakidu' also always!  As described in the previous sloka, in the black forest of 'karu neidal' flowers, that is AmbãL's hair, this red line is running across dividing the whole area in to two parts.  Normally this parting of hair though is fair and white.  The redness – AruNa Ãbhã of AmbãL coupled with the redness of Sindooram that can turn both Siva and his sister Saraswathi to red; has made the Vakidu a brilliant red – the red Seamantha SaraNi in between the black waves of her hair on either side. 

823.                Mostly we are not able to appreciate such beauties and subtleties at all.  We look at the utility value in terms of our being able to make use of it in some way!  Some of us do appreciate things for their intrinsic aspect of beauty.  Poets do so with some comparisons and imagination, expanding and enlarging the scene!   Looking at the utter blackness on either side with the streak of red in between, what does the ÃchãryãL see?  He says, "prabala kabaree bhãra timira dvishãm brundair bandeekrutamiva naveenãrka kiraNam – प्रबल कबरी भार तिमिर द्विषां बृन्दैर्बन्दीकृतमिव नवीनार्ककिरणम्, meaning thereby that it looked like a streak of the early morning Sun breaking out of the surrounding darkness!

824.                'Arka' means Sun and 'naveena arka' means brand new Sun and 'naveena arka kiraNam' means the early rays of the new young Sun just breaking out. How is he? He is absolutely red, the colour of Raja Rajeswari – 'udhyat bhãnu sahasra ãbhã' – that Abhirãmi Bhattar has mentioned as the first words of his poem 'udikkinra senkadir' – 'உதிக்கின்ற செங்கதிர்'!  As the time passes and the sun rises this golden red of the sun becomes more that of the whiteness of silver. ÃchãryãL is seeing the Seamantha Sindooram as the first rays of the Sun.  At the start of the Vakidu is a big red round Tilakam which is like the Sun and the streak of red above that is like the first ray of the young sun, O K.  What is this "prabala kabaree bhãra timira dvishãm brundair bandeekrutamiva naveenãrka kiraNam", which sounds like a tongue twister and teeth breaker combination?  Please explain that!  That is the sound effect of the words by themselves!  By the very sound effects of the words the poet is able to convey the subtleties or the lack of it!  The words themselves sound as though somebody is coming to fight with someone else!  Who is coming to fight with whom?
825.                Earlier the poet was talking about mainly the Seamantha SaraNi as the red streak of brilliant light which we are now seeing as the first ray of the early morning Sun.  Then there are the words, 'prabala kabaree bhãra timira dvishãm'.  Here this word 'prabala' means powerful and famous, 'kabaree bhãra timira' means the heavy darkness of the thick dark hair is going to fight.  When you are strong and powerful, you will try and test your power against opponents, isn't it?  Darkness will fight with whom, with Light?  Normally in a dark room if you bring in a small lamp, the darkness will simply go without leaving a forwarding address, without even a 'good bye'!  Here the young 'Bala Surya' is just too young and AmbãL's 'kesha' - 'केश भारं' is the darkness which is very strong and famously powerful and ready to fight!  That too, if this 'bala Arka' – 'young Sun' was somewhere in the hand or leg, this hair may not have been able to show much of its prowess or animosity!  Here this young Sun is marked at the very start of the hair-line!  So now, we can make a go of it, the dark bundle of hair could have thought!

826.                Moreover this 'Kesha Bhãram' or 'kabaree bhãra' has been having too much of licence and liberty from AmbãL.  Otherwise when daily the sun comes out we know that darkness just goes.  When you get Gnãnam the way Agnãna vanishes is often compared with the speed with which darkness goes with the arrival of the Sun!  Then how dare this so-called 'prabala kabaree bhãra' even presume that it can fight with the Sun?  AmbãL has not only given it space in her head, but has attended to its daily care with 'ghana snigdha slakshanam', applying oil daily, combing and polishing it, wearing all the heavenly flowers there!  I think that they have literally have had too much of pampering and support, that they have become 'prabalam' as well as a 'problem' undoubtedly!  An oft repeated story in such situations is about how the Garuda the Eagle was asked if he is alright and doing well and he is supposed to have replied that                                                                                                              "It is OK, if you are where you are supposed to be"!  That is also a similar story.  The question was asked by Ãdi Sesha on whom PerumãL would be resting in Ksheera Sãgara aka the Milky Ocean and the question is addressed to Garuda the official carrier of PerumãL!  We will look into that story in the next issue of Deivathin Kural, before proceeding with what happened between the Darkness and Light – in Soundarya Lahari!

(To be continued.)