DEIVATHIN KURAL # 171 (Vol #
6) Dated 14 May 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 1182 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
913. If the first sloka in Soundarya Lahari of 100 slokas
started with the word 'Siva', exactly after the first half is over in the 51st
sloka as the central one, our ÃchãryãL the poet has made use of this 'Sive' as
the catch word or pass word. Note that
the Siva Nãma occurs in the very centre of the four Vedas. (Refer to what is
given under the heading 'Siva Nãma Mahima', paragraphs 24 to 27 in Deivathin
Kural # 210 (Vol # 3) Dated 11 April 2010, about the value of the 'Siva' Nãma
and how it occurs in the centre of the Vedas.)
914. We were talking about Navarasa in the previous
edition. In fact there are only eight
Rasas. Shãntam is not a Rasa at
all. It is not just an assumed posture
or Bhaava without any deep feelings or sensationalism, any additives or need
for celebration, though it is a great Anubhava!
But, 'how to call it a Rasam' has been an objection by litterateurs,
artists, dramatists and actors! Against
this, some among such people themselves, have maintained that Shãntam is also
one of the Rasas only and as applicable to other Rasas have identified the
circumstances, background, instigators, accelerators and indicators! They have also codified the facial, hand and
bodily indicators and mudras; clearly establishing this Shãntam also to be one
of the Rasas. So, there are two such
schools of thought and traditions.
915. Only in the last
sloka we saw ÃchãryãL using the phrase 'नवरसास्वादतरलौ',
being interested in complete range of nine different tastes of dramatic ethos;
immediately followed by depiction of how AmbãL expresses those Rasas by her
eyes. So, there has to be a ninth Rasa
also as Shãntam, isn't it? There is one
more confirmation from the next sloka. There in the 52nd sloka, is the
description of how Manmata using AmbãL's sight as his arrow, shooting it at
Easwara, is chasing away his Shãnta Rasa – 'पुरां भेत्तुस्चित्तप्रशमरसविद्रावण ' – 'having the effect of chasing
the Prasama Rasa from the mind of Purari Siva'! 'Sama' means balance and
equanimity from which the word 'Shanti' evolves, that is also mentioned as
'Prashanti'. That is the same as
'Prasama' and so 'Prasama Rasa' is the same as 'Shãntam' as a Rasa.
916. Earlier while talking about the dance of Ãnanda Bhairava-Bhairavi
dance (in sloka No 41) the poet had clearly mentioned as 'navarasa maha
thãndava' – 'नवरस महा ताण्डव'. So undoubtedly our ÃchãryãL has accepted the
concept of there being nine different Rasas.
But once this Shakti has become calm and peaceful, and her dynamism has
gone like Siva; may be the poet did not wish to enlarge on the subject. If some people say that there are only eight
Rasas, some others go to the extent of including 'Vãtsalya' as the tenth in the
line! But, since our ÃchãryãL is
considering her as the Mother and himself as the child, that Vãtsalya Rasa also
has anyhow be taken as included! So thus, by relating these eight Rasas openly
and two indirectly to the eyes of AmbãL, in one sloka our ÃchãryãL has amply
demonstrated his expertise in poetical composition.
917. One of the many beautiful descriptions of beauty in
Soundarya Lahari is about Devi Meenãkshi that is also related to the eyes
only. That very word Meenãkshi, means
(no pun meant here), Meena Lochani / Meena Netri or someone with the eyes that
look like fishes! Not only her temple at
Madurai in South India is famous the world over as a treasure house of
architectural beauties, she is famous as a 'vara prasadhini' – giver of
abundant boons. From ancient times she
is also famous for the beauty of her eyes!
Sometimes I used to feel utterly dejected that her name is not to be
found mentioned in neither Lalitha Sahasranãma nor Soundarya Lahari, which are
like the two eyes among panegyrics addressed to AmbãL! But on a closer look my complaint was erased. In both Lalitha Sahasranãma and Soundarya
Lahari, though the name Meenãkshi is not mentioned directly, it has been
indirectly alluded to. In fact this indirect allusion is more powerful than
just quoting her name since subtlety is more powerful than gross!
918. As Lalitha Sahasranãma goes on describing AmbãL,
there is one line which goes as, 'vaktra lakshmi pareevaha chalan meenaabha
lochana' – 'वक्त्र लक्ष्मी परीवाह चलन मीनाभ लोचना'. The
phrase 'vaktra lakshmi' means 'facial effulgence'. That is, AmbãL's effulgent beauty
of the face is a flow – 'pareevaha'. Where
there is a flow of water there will be fishes.
Here the flow is her facial beauty of brilliance in which her long eyes
are the fishes. The word 'lochana' means
eyes and the act of 'looking' is 'lokan' in Sanskrit. Because the world is seen – it is known as
'loka' – 'लोक'. So, 'fish like eyes' – 'मीनाभ लोचना', is in other words is the same as 'Meenãkshi'! So, one complaint about her not being there
in Lalitha Sahasranãma is cancelled.
Now, let us look at Soundarya Lahari.
919. In Soundarya Lahari, in the sloka in which her eyes
have been related to a number of cities, one of them is the southern Madurai, in
which Meenãkshi Amman's temple is located.
So it means that, though the name Meenãkshi has not been mentioned, at
least the place name has been referred. Added
to that, out of the many slokas in which her eyes have been described, in one
of them, that is the 56th sloka, the first two lines are like this –
तवापर्णे कर्णे जपनयनपैशुन्य चकिता:
tava aparNe karNe
निलीयन्ते तोये नियतं अनिमेशा: शफरिका: |
nileeyante toye niyatam
animeshã: shapharikã: |
us look at the meaning of the above two lines. When AmbãL
took birth as Parvatha Rajakumari and did tapasya for getting married to
Parameswara, while other Rishis in the forest also doing tapasya, ate at least the
fallen dry leaves, she forsook even that.
Hence she got the name as 'AparNa'.
Here the poet is addressing AmbãL as AparNa. 'Tava' = your; 'japa nayana' = eyes (which
seem to be) talking to; 'karNe' = (with) the ears; 'paishunya-chakitã:' =
afraid that they may be complaining about (themselves); 'shapharikã:' = the
female fishes; (become) 'animeshã:' = ceasing to wink; 'toye' = in the water;
'nileeyante' = submerge; 'niyatam' = this is certain.
921. Why are the
fishes, keep swimming under the water, coming up only occasionally? Here ÃchãryãL is assigning a reason for that. The fishes observed the AmbãL's eyes
repeatedly run up to the ears. Not
leaving any blade of grass or worm or even insect unattended to, AmbãL is ever
alert looking with concern in all directions.
So when the eyes look towards the sides, it seems as though her eyes
will touch the ears. At such moments it
looks as though they are exchanging some secrets, as witnessed by the
fishes! They are wondering as to what
can be the secret? As AmbãL's eyes are
continuously fluttering about in her concern for 'Loka anugraha', these fishes
are copying them, in their movements under water. So now, the fishes are afraid that AmbãL's eyes
may be complaining that these fishes are competing with us! How can these poor fishes withstand the wrath
of AmbãL if she were to take any action against them? That is what they are afraid of and so, they
remain submerged most of the time, swimming deep under the water!
922. Like the Duryodhana who hid himself under water in Mahabhãratha,
these fishes finding it difficult to compete with AmbãL's eyes, also hide deep
under water, says the poet. The word 'Shapharika'
means female fishes, 'phishunya' means 'to complain', while 'chakitã:' means 'to
be shivering in fear'. Because they fear
that if they compete with the eyes of AmbãL, they are likely to lose in beauty
as well in their mobility, the fishes remain hidden under water! In Madurai 'பொற்றாமரைக்குளம்',
there are no fishes to be seen, as it is believed that ashamed of the beauty of
AmbãL Meenãkshi's eyes, they stay away from there! In this sloka, having compared the fishes to
AmbãL's eyes, and then saying that they hid themselves, the poet has alluded to
Madurai Meenãkshi only indirectly, in Soundarya Lahari. With that my second complaint is also
cancelled! (KTSV adds: In Chittoor in
Kerala, near Palghat, there is a place known as Palla Sena with a temple in
which the Amman is Palla Sena Bhagawathi as also known as Meen KuLathu
Bhagawathi. Some Brahmin families
settled there having gone to Kerala from Madurai. Whatever the name by which she is known, it
seems she is also Meenãkshi only, as the immigrants from Tamil Nadu missed Madurai
Meenãkshi so much that they constructed this temple for her there. The point I wished to make is that, though
there are no fishes in the temple pond in the Madurai Meenãkshi temple 'பொற்றாமரைக்குளம்', at
Palla Sena Meenãkshi Temple, the temple pond is abundantly thriving with an
enormous number of fishes! That is the
reason for the deity there being called Meen KuLathu Bhagawathi!)
923. The phrase 'animeshã:' means 'without winking' about
the fishes. The word 'nimisham' means
the time taken for one wink. In the
previous sloka only, AmbãL is also said to be not winking, by using the word
'nimesha'. If she closes her eyes, it is
'Samhãra' and if she opens her eyes, it is 'Srushti'! In her closing and opening of the eyes is included
all the 'Srushti' and 'Pralaya'! Lest
there may be 'Pralaya' she does not even close her eyes ever, says the
poet. In fact none of the divine beings
wink. The poet has said that, her
extreme compassion as the reason for not winking. Another reason occurs to me. Even for that fraction of a second, so that
her children may not be devoid of her care, she avoids closing of her eyes! Why did he say so for the fishes? Traditionally it is believed that fishes do
not sleep, while all living beings including trees are said to sleep periodically. (KTSV adds:- Of course Google / Ask Apps say
that fishes go in to an energy saving rest mode and do not sleep as other
animals do.) Here the poet that is our ÃchãryãL
says that the fishes being afraid that AmbãL hearing the complaint from the
ears, may come to fight with them and so, they go deep down to bottom, while being
alert all the time, watching out!
அருள் நீராட்டிவை, அன்னையே!
Bathe Me Also in Your Compassion,
we have thought of Meenãkshi, next is this sloka No 57, which is one of the most moving
prayers to be sung with a melting heart.
Evidently this was inspired when the Katãksha Amrita from AmbãL's eyes
was flowing in our ÃchãryãL's expression too.
But instead of saying that he is fully soaked in her grace, very
appealingly he is praying that her benevolence should be made available to him
also! Despite being at the apex of
devotion, awareness, efficiency and poetical creativity, with no pride or
prejudice whatsoever, he is at his beseeching best!
925. In fact we see that in the case of many Mahatmas, Nãyanmãrs,
Ãzhvãrs and such who were virtually seeing and interacting face to face with
God, soaking in their God-experience; often crying, "Will this dog also
get your darsan ever"! MaNikka Vãsagar
says, "நாயிற் கடையாய்கிடந்த வடியேற்கு தாயிற் சிறந்த தயாவான
தத்துவனே", meaning, 'For a person like me who was worse than a
mongrel, you are a principle more than a Mother!' We are such that, having committed monumental
blunders, we do not even know as to how to accept our mistakes and repent. We neither have the sense of gratitude for
the abundant blessings received without deserving, nor do we repent for our
impropriety! In such a situation, this
beseeching pleading by Mahatmas is in a way, God's blessing only. God may be thinking, "These children do
not even know how to cry and pray! Let
us teach them through the words of those who have had the Anubhava." So, through the words of such Mahatmas,
he teaches us as to how to approach him.
That is how our ÃchãryãL has been made to compose and sing these songs of
Soundarya Lahari, especially the next one in line, the sloka No 57!
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