Wednesday, May 22, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 175 (Vol # 6) Dated 22 May 2013


DEIVATHIN KURAL # 175 (Vol # 6) Dated 22 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 middle of page No 1212 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)

(Please note that in the last mail (# 174), there was an error.  In paragraph 956, for the existing ' शोतांशोरमृतलहरी माम्लरुचय: & shotãshoramrutalahari mãmlaruchaya:' - please read 'शीतांशो: अमृतलहरीं आम्लरुचय: & sheetaamsho: amrutalahareem ãmlaruchaya:')

958.        When women laugh the poets will say that from their pearly white teeth a white brilliance lights up the scene.  That is how our ÃchãryãL is saying – 'smita jyotsnã jãlam tava vadana chandrasya' – 'स्मित ज्योत्स्ना जालं तव वदन चन्द्रस्य'.  'Tava vadana chandrasya' – your moon like face's, 'jyotsnã jãlam' –   moon-light web of a smile; the poet pauses.  Then what happened?  There is this bird known as 'chakor – चकोर, aka the Chukar Partridge. What does it do?  Traditionally it is believed to be very fond of the moon light and that the Chakor drinks the moon light as its staple food!  It is believed to be so fond of the moon that looking at the moon rise it seems, they will keep on looking at the moon with such concentration that, as the moon moves from the eastern sky in the evening till it sets in the morning, they may turn their necks following the moon continuously through an arc of 180 degrees while their body remains static, that they may die due to getting their necks broken! 

959.        AmbãL's face being like the moon and as her smile and teeth add to the moon-light, these Chakor birds are drinking it – ' पिबतां चकोराणाम' – 'to them the Chakor birds'– something is happening.  What is happening to them?  "अतिरसतया चन्चुजढिमा आसीत"!  What is this 'Athiirasam'?  Is it something like the fried sweet 'Athiirasam' made normally along with Vadai and Pãyãsam, is it?  'Athirasam' means that it is extremely sweet, though the sweet dish of that name is not being referred here.  Because of drinking that extremely sweet moon-light with the brilliant smile of AmbãL, the beaks of the Chakor birds have become insensitive, it seems.   All their eating and drinking is done by their beaks only, isn't it?  'अतिरसतया' – because of too much sweetness – 'चन्चु'    their beaks – 'जढिमा आसीत' – have become insensitive.  What to do now?  How to overcome this debility?  How to make the beaks sensitive again?  Whatever has to be done, those intelligent birds have realised by themselves. Since they have drunk deep the intoxicating liqueur of the smile of AmbãL's moon-like face – 'स्मित ज्योत्स्नाजालं', they have become very smart and found the anti-dote!

960.        Are we able to keep on eating the same sweet dish, just because we like it and it is available in plenty?  However much the cherished item, after some time the satiation level is reached, isn't it?  We have to have something of a different taste for a change and then we can go back to our indulgence.  That is why there is this adage, 'variety is the spice of life'!  That is why along with sweets they prepare the savouries.  But more than the salty items, a bit of sour taste is better as a counter to sweet items.  Having filled themselves up with the 'AmbãL's 'manda-hãsa', the nectarine sweet smile – sweeter than all the sweet dishes that we know of, those birds searched for something sour tasting!  Say, we have had a bout of fever for three or four days and we have been having medicines, tablets, capsules, potions, syrups and injections.  We feel that our tongue is vapid like a piece of wood or rubber!  Then we ask our mother or wife to bring us something tangy like a bit of citrus fruit or pickle, don't we?  If we are offered milk porridge, we ask for buttermilk porridge.  So also, these birds went in search of sour buttermilk porridge.  अत: - So, ते – those birds आम्लरुचय: - interested in something that tastes like the gooseberry, started searching.  What did they find?

961.        The moon was pouring the nectarine moonlight – 'शीतांशो: अमृतलहरीं'.  AmbãL had given them the ability to drink the moonlight, may be to show how sweet is her smile – 'manda hãsa'!  Hence those birds tasted the moonlight, which they found to be exactly what they were looking for – buttermilk porridge sour enough to their liking!  Thank God that we have found the anti-dote!  For the beaks of ours which had become vapid by the super sweetness of AmbãL's facial moonlight of a smile, we have found a way of bringing them back to senses!  The moonlight of the sky is the sour buttermilk porridge, which we will drink to our stomach's content!  So what did they do to the 'sheetaamsho: amruta lahareem'?  By 'काञ्जिकधिया', by the knowledge that it is  the 'puLik kanji' – the sour buttermilk porridge, 'निशि निशि' – every night, 'स्वच्छन्दं' – freely to their heart's content, 'भृशं' – sufficiently, 'पिबन्ति' – they are drinking the moonlight!

962.        Our ÃchãryãL's Avatãra was in Kerala / Malayala Desam.  In Kerala this porridge is known as 'Kanji'.  Drinking of Kanji in Kerala is as much widely popular as well as ceremonious like the 'tea drinking 'chado or chanoyu' in Japan.  They have their own method of preparing Kanji with its special recipe, which they are very proud of.  Normally the moon light is spoken of highly as nectarine and the Chakor birds are eulogized for being fond of it.  But a poet's greatness is in terms of throwing a new light on an existing belief and concept, isn't it?  Our ÃchãryãL brings out as to how even the highly spoken of nectarine moonlight is only as good as 'sour porridge' in comparison with the moonlight of the face of AmbãL further enhanced by her smile to be far superior and sweeter than anything we know of!

963.        Earlier on we saw as to how, when the divine Devas are getting destroyed in Maha Samhãra despite their having partaken the Amrita, Easwara alone survives that holocaust though he is said to have consumed the Kãlakoota poison because he has the eternal company of AmbãL who is a virtual embodiment of Chidãmruta and Chaitanyãmruta rasa I told you!  Here we are seeing that the Amrita of Moon or Chandra (who also came out of that churning of the Milky Ocean like the Amrita), is not as great as the smile of AmbãL's face!  Making use of the Chakor birds' fondness for moonlight as the basis, the poet's imagination has made the moonlight a tasty palatable dish that is only second rate or even tertiary as compared to the highly preferable smile of AmbãL's 'Vadana Soundarya'!  In fact all that Vadana Soundaryam and Chaitanyãmruta of AmbãL are in fact her kind Grace, for which we should all aspire by becoming baby Chakor birds!

964.        Though like the Chakor birds, we are not able to eat or drink the moonlight, we do have and are very fond of moonlight dinner.  To organize a dinner on the sandy banks of a river on a moonlit night used to be a major social event in earlier times!  The very atmosphere on a moonlit night is something wonderful.  Ignorance is darkness and knowledge is considered as light and so the Sun is called the 'Gnãna Suryan'!  But, all said and done, the daylight of the Sun is still hot which doesn't make us feel comfortable, except during the early portions of the spring season I suppose, when the winter is just easing out!  Purusha Suktam says that from God's mind is the Moon born – 'chandrama manso jãta:' – 'चन्द्रमा मनसो जात:' and so we can imagine how nice, cool and pleasant the Paramãtma's mind must be!  So, AmbãL who is ever so kind is related to the Moon in so many ways as Lalitha Sahasranãma says that she lives in the Chandra Mandala – 'चन्द्र मण्डल मध्यगा'!  Her 'Tithi' – 'तिथि', like the 'Chaturthi' for GaNesha and 'Navami' for Sri Rama, is also the 'PourNami' (the Full Moon), on which day there is special Pooja for her.  She is adorned by the crescent moon on her crown. Inside the head of Yogi-s she cascades as a full-moon – the moon-light of bliss.  ÃchãryãL has given us all the Full-Moon of her beatific smile to meditate upon and drink the milk of divine kindness springing from there, to be repeatedly drunk like baby birds of Chakor!
தாம்பூலப் பிரசாதம்
Tãmboolam as Prasada
965.        After talking about the pearly white brilliance of AmbãL's teeth, the poet talks about the pure white Saraswathi becoming wholly red due the red colour of AmbãL's tongue in sloka No 64, which I had touched upon earlier.  In the next sloka No 65 the poet talks about AmbãL having the Tãmboolam and her munching it, as it is done by the mouth, tongue, teeth and the lips.   When we do pooja, at the end of it, all the consumables offered to the deity are offered to the assemblage as 'Prasãda' as the divine residuum.  Here the residuum we are talking about is the 'Tãmboolam'.  {Tãmboolam is made of a combination of powdered and scented areca nuts with betel leaves on which some lime (Calcium Oxide in very small quantities) is applied.  Some 64 different scented ingredients in small bits are added such as cinnamon, cardamom, clove, edible-camphor and such items.  These things are rolled in betel leaves and offered as 'beeda' / Tãmboolam.  The whole thing is chewed in the mouth for some time before being swallowed.  On the one hand it makes the mouth redder and also helps in secretion of digestive juices.  This is considered as indication of Sowmangalyatvam in women.  In fact in earlier times, when going to meet an elder in the society, the first thing offered is this Tãmboolam [known as 'வெற்றிலை பாக்கு' in Tamil] as a gesture of honour and respect.}  Here what is being distributed are bits of Tãmboolam already munched on by AmbãL, as – 'uchchishtam' – 'उच्छिष्टं' or what we know in Tamil as 'எச்சில்'!  Do not run away saying 'Yukky' in to-day's colloquial!  While mostly we have no idea of what is 'எச்சில்', we do not make much of a fuss about having a bite from another's plate if the morsel is tasty enough!  Having said that let us now proceed with the sloka No 65.

966.        OK, Tãmboolam makes the mouth red.  How is the white colour related there?  The camphor powder added is white  and it looks as though some amount of powdered moon has been added in it – 'shashi visada karpoora shakalã' – 'शशि विशद कर्पूर शकला'.  Having talked about Saraswathi in the tip of the tongue of AmbãL becoming red from being absolute white in the previous sloka, the poet did not wish to leave out the white colour as part of the ingredients of the Tãmboolam in the mouth of AmbãL.  Other than the powdered moon-bit of camphor being white, this little bit of lime added is also white.  Since we take the name of Saraswathi for all literary efforts such as writing Bhashyam or poetry or any composition; ÃchãryãL must have thought of including some whiteness to indicate Saraswathi, may be!

967.        In South India especially in Tamil Nadu ladies having Tãmboolam in their mouth, that too a mouth full, is supposed to be a wholesome indication of their sowmangalyatvam!  That is how it is described in Lalitha Sahasranãma as, 'tãmboola poorita mukhi' – 'ताम्बूल पूरित मुखी'!  That is how we should be thinking of her, as having a mouthful of Tãmboolam and retain that vision in front of our mind's eyes!  There is no better Prasãda than her 'उच्छिष्टं' that is 'எச்சில்'!  For us with bodies of flesh, blood and bones the saliva in our mouth is 'uchchishtam' to be abhorred.  AmbãL's form and figure is imperishable 'akshara maya, mantra maya swaroopa' of pure love.  So her 'उच्छिष्टं' is also 'utkrushtam' – 'उत्कृष्टं', meaning highly valued!  Who will get it?  We will see that in the next issue of Deivathin Kural, the voice of God! 

(To be continued.)

Sambhomahadeva

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