Saturday, June 01, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 180 (Vol # 6) Dated 01 June 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 180 (Vol # 6) Dated 01 June 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 page No 1248 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 constantly)

1018.      After the description of the neck the hands of AmbãL are glorified in two slokas No 70 and 71.  Normally the hands are compared with the lotus, isn't it?  Accordingly one sloka relates to Brhma who is 'Lotus born' – 'Padma Sambhava' and in the next his mother Padmavati.  When Swami punishes protection is given by the mother – AmbãL.  Brhma had five heads like Parameswara and got too much of head weight.  As a punishment Swami removed one of them, just like plucking a flower or fruit from a plant.  His other four heads were saved by the act of his running to AmbãL and praying to her.  She saved him by covering his four heads with her four hands!  Earlier in the fourth sloka having said that she gives 'Abhayam' without showing any Abhaya Hastam, here it is proved that she gives protection by all the four hands!  Brhma himself is 'sarasija bhava' – 'सरसिज भव' – meaning lotus born.  AmbãL's hands are also like lotus only.  From the shoulders down to the wrist the hand is like the lotus stem and the end portion of hand itself is like the lotus flower.  So Brhma prays to AmbãL so that each of his heads may be saved by each of her Hastam, says our ÃchãryãL the poet! 

1019.      Then it occurred to him that he had not done full justice to the hands of AmbãL in the comparison.  So he made amends for the error in the very next sloka by relating the lotus flower to Lakshmi Devi!  I am analysing his thought process.  "In AmbãL's hands the finger tips and nails especially are so deeply red without any cosmetics that the lotus petals are nowhere near in redness.  In fact their colour is whitish, close to pink.  How can the lotus match this hue of deep red?  Anyhow I have made this statement by the power of expression given by AmbãL only and it cannot be far wrong!  So, let me gallop this horse of imagination a little further."  He is conversing with AmbãL herself, "Ume! Katham katayãma: kataya!"" उमे! कथं कथयाम:, कथय!";  – meaning "Uma! You tell me as to how, am I going to describe this?" Thus in the 71 sloka the poet has expressed his 'agony and ecstasy'; 'agony' of not finding a suitable comparison and the 'ecstasy' part is more of a 'make-do' or rather a compromise of being able to make amends!

1020.      What is the compromise?  Lakshmi is said to live in the lotus, isn't it?  May be due to her feet, which are also said to be 'lotus like', the lotus is getting some extra red-hue.  Not only that.  Her feet are smeared with red arrack and she may be just touching the lotus petals playfully with her feet.  So the red hue of the lotus petals may be further enhanced.  May be then the redness of the flower could match the redness of the hands of     AmbãL, just fractionally!  That is the compromise solution for justification.  Even then instead of saying that the lotus has equalled the hands of AmbãL in redness, the poet says, 'Somehow, let them get some equality' – 'kayãchidva Sãmyam bhajatu kalaya' – 'कयाचिद्वा साम्यं भजतु कलया'!  The idea is that, since Lakshmi's name has been taken, AmbãL's hands will grant all wealth to the listener or reader of these slokas, as additional benefits.   

Milk of Divine Gnãna

1021.      Then in the 'Kesãdi Pãda VarNana', the poet has described the chin in the sloka No 72 and then comes down to the breasts in the next sloka No 73.  In it the poet says that her milk is not just equal to Amrita the divine nectar but much more than that, for which he also provides the logic.  The Devas who have partaken Amrita are ever in the middle-age and do not attain to old age.   But Ganapathy and SubrahmaNya do not even attain to middle-age but ever remain young – 'kumãrou adhyãpi' – 'कुमारौ अध्यापि', as Thiru Murugãrruppadai says, 'என்றும் இளையாய்'.  What does it mean?  Without giving in to sensuality and salaciousness, they remain epitomes of Gnãna as small children are 'avidita vadhu sanga rasikou kumãrou' – 'अविदित वधू सङ्गरसिकौ कुमरौ' – without knowing anything about copulation with women.  Bhagawat PadãL our Acharyal is saying that 'in our minds – 'na: manasi' – 'न: मनसि', there is not the slightest craving for sexual gratification', including himself with those two children of AmbãL, as he took Sannyãsa directly from infancy!  (He has every right to include himself for one more reason, of having had partaken that milk.  We will come to that shortly.)     

1022.      Devas who move from childhood to adulthood without ever touching old age, are forever given to bodily cravings only!  So evidently, better than the Amrita from the Ocean of Milk (Ksheera Sãgara), the milk of Gnãna from AmbãL is far better, isn't it?  In South India Ganapathy is believed to be a 'nitya Brhmachari' while SubrahmaNya is with VaLLi and Devasena.  In the North India is SubrahmaNya who is a Brhmachari while it is GaNesha who is with Siddhi and Buddhi or Vallabha.  Our ÃchãryãL who was essentially a Brhmachari celibate has co-opted South Indian GaNesha and North Indian SubrahmaNya aka Karthikeya and composed this sloka showing that the milk of AmbãL is the giver of Gnãna!

தமிழ்க் குழந்தை
The Tamil Baby

1023.      In a subsequent sloka (No 75), the poet is saying that the divine milk of AmbãL causes the one who has taken that milk to not only become a Gnãni but, also gives him the ability to versify his knowledge and awareness in to poetry so as to share it with all the people of the world.   He says, "Mother!  Your breast milk that imparts Gnãna, love, kindness and beauty, that is all coming from your heart like an ocean – 'hrudayata: paya: pãrãvãra: parivahati' – 'ह्रुदयत: पय: पारावार: परिवहति'.  It is like the essence of the gifts of the Goddess of all Learning, Knowledge and Arts, Saraswathi – 'sãraswatham iva' – 'सारस्वतम् इव'.  That Gnãna you fed to the baby of the Tamil lands – 'drãvida sisu' – 'द्रविड शिशु' – 'தமிழ்க் குழந்தை'," he says.  So, what happened?  He has not only bypassed the bodily urges, he has also become such a poet who wins over the heart of well- known and famous poets – 'kaveenãm proudãnãm ajani kamaneeya: kavayitã – 'कवीनां प्रौढानाम अजनि कमनीय: कवयिता'! 

1024.      This phrase 'प्रौढ कवि' means a poet with a sound literary ability, not immature and not too old.  When a girl moves from childhood and steps into adulthood, as they say in English, 'comes of age', she is called 'प्रौढा' pronounced as 'proudhã'.  When the enzymes of adulthood are flowing in the blood some effect will be noticeable as boosting of ego and a bit of head-weight or being proud!  The effect will be seen in one's writing also.  Cleverness and mental gymnastics will be more and the ability to attract the heart will be less.  But this poet who said the milk of divine kindness of AmbãL is flowing like an ocean of milk – 'पय: पारावार: परिवहति'; added to the many other springs and floods of kindness, beauty, and beneficence that have been described in this Soundarya Lahari; has affirmed that this 'Dravidian child' which has drunk that milk, is capable of writing poetry that will touch the hearts of all its readers including the expert litterateurs with distinction.

1025.      Normally people in the south are all aware of the story in which there is this baby who was virtually a toddler aged only three, not yet capable of talking except possibly for lisping as only small children can do!  The toddler had followed his father when he was proceeding to the temple pond to have a dip in the water.  The baby had followed him but suddenly found the father missing and cried due to hunger and fear.  AmbãL came down from the heavens and breast fed the baby.  When the father came out of the water he was surprised to find milk on the child's lips and chin.  When he asked the baby as to who had given him milk, the child who had not spoken even a few words, burst out in an impromptu song of his creation, pointing out at the sky.  His name is known to most of us as Thiru Gnãna Sambandar who is one of the famous foursome out of the 63 Nãyanmãrs who have sung the Thevãram songs.  So the moment we say, Dravida Sisu or 'தமிழ்க் குழந்தை', it is construed to be referring to Thiru Gnãna Sambandar. 

1026.      But I had told you as to how this epithet Dravida Sisu or 'தமிழ்க் குழந்தை' could also mean our ÃchãryãL as a similar but different drama had occurred in his life too!   (Please refer to paragraphs 819 and 820 of Deivathin Kural # 132 (Vol # 5) Dated 23 Feb 2012 for details.)  Here anyhow he is writing in all humility, without claiming, "I am the one who had drunk the divine milk of Gnãna" accompanied to beating of his own chest, but as though he is referring to a third person.  Malayalam evolved as a language only a thousand years back or so.  Before that Tamil was the language there and Kerala was also Dravidian Desam only.  So there are sufficient grounds for our ÃchãryãL to be known as Dravida Sisu, about which we can all be rightfully proud!  (Please note that I am not saying that the epithet 'Dravida Sisu' is only applicable to one of them, Thiru Gnãna Sambandar or our ÃchãryãL exclusively, but to either with reference to the context.)

1027.      We all know that our ÃchãryãL is an epitome of humbleness.  Such a humble person, even when he is talking about as though referring to a third party, should not be saying that he has become a 'kamaneeya kavi' much sought after by well-established maestros, since it can mean some self-praise indirectly, isn't it?  But when you think about it deeply, you will note that there is no indirect self-praise involved.  Here what is being praised is the greatness of AmbãL's milk of divine kindness that imparts Gnãna, health, wealth and poetical excellence!  When talking about that, it is natural and appropriate that an example is quoted about the boost given to those who have been lucky and ordained to get the benefit of that milk! He who had earlier prayed to AmbãL saying, "Amma, here I am in this forgotten corner of I do not know where, please let your glance fall on me also", it is very much on the cards for him to say that AmbãL's divine milk had lifted him from the doldrums to the pinnacle of Everest of literary eminence!

1028.      There are many stories and anecdotes about 'Dravida Sisu' by many researchers who have not found the end of it despite much investigation and analysis.  We need not bother about it and it does not make any difference as to who it is.  We do not even need the poetical abilities.  All we need is a thirst for the grace of AmbãL to impart that Gnãna, for which we may continue praying with pleasure and hope!

(To be continued.)




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