Tuesday, May 14, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 171 (Vol # 6) Dated 14 May 2013


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 updated constantly)

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 japa-nayana-paishunya-chakitã:
निलीयन्ते तोये नियतं अनिमेशा: शफरिका: |
nileeyante toye niyatam animeshã: shapharikã: |  

920.                Let 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!

என்னையும் அருள் நீராட்டிவை, அன்னையே!
Bathe Me Also in Your Compassion, Mother!

924.                After 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!

(To be continued.)

Sambhomahadeva

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