Saturday, October 19, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 53 (Vol # 7) Dated 18 Oct 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 53 (Vol # 7) Dated 18 Oct 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL 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 end of page No 430 of Volume 7 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 continually)

Panchagavyam
21.           More than cleansing us of the outer bodily impurities, it is important to cleanse us of our inner predilections.  The excreta of other animals that is to be washed off holding one's nose, when it comes as the Gomayam in the case of the cow, becomes venerable as the cleanser of our own proclivity and penchant for sinful activities, to be consumed as the medicine as a part of 'Panchagavyam' as advised by the Sãstrãs.  What is this 'Panchagavyam'?  The word 'Gavyam' means, 'that item for which the source is the Go or Cow.  Five such items together becomes Panchagavyam.  First three items are milk, curd and ghee immensely liked by everyone all over the world.  The other two items are also from the cow only, its dung aka Gomayam and urine aka Gomootram. 

22.           After a death in the house or birth of a new baby or some such occasion like when the a new house has been constructed, as part of the function, at the end of it, a function is held, known as 'PuNyaha Vachanam', literally meaning 'Sanctifying Statements'!  At the end of that programme they would give you this Panchagavyam to be consumed by mouth.  Do not be too squeamish about it.   They only add a wee little bit of cow's urine and dung!  The outer cleansing by Panchagavyam does happen but, that is not the main purpose.  As a major measure of cleansing, this Panchagavyam cleanses you of sinful backlog of past lives and that is not a minor issue.  All our problems including this very birth and resultant losing awareness of our oneness with divinity arise from our past accumulation of our bad Karmas.  If Panchagavyam is to cleanse us of it, and all the five ingredients of that Panchagavyam are from the Mother Cow, isn't she the greatest benefactor of us all?

23.          With cleansing of the bodily systems, Panchagavyam also enables us to get rid of the dirt of our past sins.  It is the corruption of the mind that spreads as all sorts of infections starting from the skin to the very marrow of the bones.  Please note that more than infections from outside, it is the state of inner imperfections of the mind, that is the inherent cause of diseases.  Consuming of Panchagavyam is meant to burn off both the inner and outer causes for all sorts of diseases.  The Mantra to be uttered while in-taking Panchagavyam means exactly this – 'like a piece of wood is burnt off by fire, let this Panchagavyam that I am consuming, may get rid of all 'Papa' – the sinful tendencies, that has spread from the outer skin to the core of my body till the bone-marrows'!  I quote the Sloka:–   
"yat tvak – asti gatam pãpam dehe tishtati mãmake |
यत् त्वक् – अस्ति गतं पापं देहे तिष्टति मामके |
prãcanam panchagavyasya dahtvãgnirivendanam ||  
प्रासनं पञ्चगव्यस्य दहत्वाग्निरिवेन्दनं ||"  'dahatu agni iva indanam' when combined makes that last phrase almost difficult to pronounce.  Here 'indanam' means wood used as fuel.  The phrase means, the way fire burns the wood, let this 'panchagavyam' burn away all my sins!  The things we get from the Cow from milk to dung, remove all our diseases, give us nourishment, divest us of all our past sins and make us pure enough for eventual ennoblement unto self-realization!  Milk, curd, butter-milk, butter and ghee have all got four great qualities.  One is that they are very nice to taste; second is that they are nourishing; third is that in addition to being food they also have medicinal value and lastly in addition to being useful temporally, they are also useful in a spiritual and Vedic way.

Usefulness in Medicine and Musical Instruments
24.          Along with the above credentials, since there is nothing to be below par about the cow, even its dung aka Gomayam and its urine have medicinal value.  Though nowadays there are ever new diseases being discovered every day, diseases such as babies getting boils in the stomach have become a thing of the past nowadays by preventive medicines controlling infections.  In the past when children used to suffer by this, Cow's urine was one of the main medicines for it, at least in our country.  As said in Vedic PuNyaha Vachanam that Pancha Gavyam removes diseases affecting from the outer skin to the inner most marrow of the bones, is also reiterated in Ayurveda Sãstrã.  The interesting additional information is that what is said in Ayurveda is also corroborated by Allopathy. 

25.          That cow's milk can be used in curing leprosy as confirmed by western specialist.  We also know that milk has calcium which strengthens the bones.  For many of the medicines in Ayurveda, the 'anupãnam' – 'अनुपानं' with which the medicine is to be consumed is cow's milk only mostly.  The curd, butter-milk and butter or ghee is the additive with most of the Ayurvedic medicines.  In music also if not the cow directly, cow's skin is used in the percussion drums as the surface where you beat, as an accompaniment!

To Kill a Cow is Tantamount to Killing One's Mother
26.          An important point to note about use of Cow's skin is that, only the skin of those animals which have died by natural causes are to be used and not of a cow that has been killed for its skin!  'Go Hatyã' that is, killing a cow, is a sin not to be thought of even in dreams.  In addition to the principle need for prevention of cruelty to animals, even to cause the slightest hurt to a cow is a despicable act.  We have seen how the Cow is as good as our mother.  So, to kill a Cow for whatever purpose is tantamount to killing one's own mother, for which there is no expiation or atonement whatsoever!  Actually the very purpose for which I started talking about the Cow was to make this categorical statement. 

26.          Having made use of the milk-supply from the cow to the fullest as long as possible, having sold that milk and made money, now when the expenditure on its feed is thought of as an avoidable expenditure, to sell it off for its meat and skin to the butcher or abattoir, is as bad as killing one's own mother because of old age and her inability to be of any useful work.  The meat of the cow is like one's mother's flesh.  To eat beef is as bad, though because all over the western world it is an acceptable practice, many in India too are picking up this as a fad!  The skin of the cow that has died of natural causes only can be made use of for making musical instruments like the drums.  Because our Indian Music is closely oriented to divine activities and since in the temple itself these instruments may have to be played, after the cow has died of natural causes, its skin may be used for this purpose.  But to kill an animal just for its skin will never be excused by God anyhow!  Similarly the 'Gorochana' – 'गोरोचना' taken out from its stomach, which in fact is 'a piece of hardened bile of the cow', is used as an additive in preparation of highly valued aromatic unguents of fragrances.  Because of its unique source the cow being considered sacred and holy, the Gorochana is used in the offerings as 'Upachara' that is devotional services to God in the temples.  But to kill a cow for its skin or flesh or Gorochana is just not justified at all.

27.          Horn of the Cow is Also Special.  The horn of the Cow is called 'Go Srungam'.  Since the cow is considered as so sacred, its products are all welcome as offerings to God in the temples.  So also the Gorochana taken from inside its body is fit enough to be made use of as 'Easwara ArpaNam' – 'ईस्वर अर्पणम्'. Many people would be aware of the fact that Nandikeshwara the Bull plays on the Mrudang Vãdhyam in Easwara's Sannidy.  But some of you may have noticed that when Abhishekam is done on Easwara, the milk is made to fall on the Shiv Ling through a horn of a bull/cow known in Tamil simply as 'mãttuk kombu' – 'மாட்டுக் கொம்பு', for a period of one complete chanting of Rudram and Chamakam – Ksheera Abhishekam for Shiv Ling by Go Srunga Dwaram, is considered most sacred and appropriate!  As it is, Shiv's carrier / Vãhan is the Bull.  So, isn't it in the rightness of things that 'the bull-rider should be bathed in milk poured through a cow-horn'!  If the feminine gender cow directly gives milk from its udders, it is the bull that works so hard in the field to provide us the cereals and pulses.  So the whole of humanity is indebted to the creed of bulls and cows for countless number of benefits!  So we should be demonstrating our appreciation and gratitude instead of hurting, killing and eating its meat!  The slightest hurt to that animal should be anathema to be abhorred.  With such bathing by milk, please take note that all the five items of Pancha Gavyam are also used individually or together in Abhishekam of the Shiv Ling.

'Neiabhishekam' – 'நெய்யபிஷேகம்'
28.          Out of the five items we generally know about the bathing of Shiva with milk or may be that we have seen curd being used.  We have not seen much of use of Cow's Ghee for Neiabhishekam or even heard about it, may be because it is too costly or a bit of a bother handling it.  But in Trissur in Kerala Abhishekam with ghee is the regular affair.  The ghee will be like slabs of ice from the Himalayas and does not degrade or decompose for days or even months.  The Archakas will keep on putting more and more ghee on the Shiva Ling every day and keep removing some of the ghee from down below.  That ghee so removed from the Shiv Ling is known as 'purãtana ghrutam' – 'पुरातन घृतं'; meaning 'Ancient Ghee'.  It is supposed to be having curative properties.  Older the better it is supposed to be.  The Ayurvedic doctors there in Kerala will be having a ready supply of that ghee collected from the temple years before. 

29.          We do not have to go all the way to Trissur in Kerala.  Here near Thiruvaiyaru there is a place known as 'Thillaistãnam' and the Siva there is known as 'neiyãdiappar' – 'நெய்யாடியப்பர்', meaning the 'Daddy who keeps playing in ghee'!  In fact the place name evolves from the Abhishekam given to Lord Shiva with ghee / Nei as 'thirunei snãnam' – 'திரு நெய் ஸ்நானம்', which went through some metamorphosis as 'thiruneiththãnam' – 'திருநெய்த்தானம்' in Appar and Sambandar Thevãram songs and finally has become 'Thillaistãnam', as though it has some immediate connection to Thillai in Chidambaram!

30.          Other than milk, curd and ghee, there is no tradition of giving Abhishekam to Siva with the Gomayam or the urine of the cow separately.  But Abhishekam by all the five items together as Panchagavyam is considered to be something special.  Appar Swami has sung that, to give Abhishekam to Siva with the Gomayam, is an act of great honour to all the cows of the world: –'ãvinukku arungalam aran anjãdutal' – 'ஆவினுக்கு அருங்கலம் அரன் அஞ்சாடுதல்', in which the word '' means the whole lot of cows and 'அஞ்சாடுதல்' means to bathe with Panchagavyam. Please refer to the Thevãram starting with 'sortuNai vediyan' – 'சொற்றுணை வேதியன்' in 'Namah Sivãya-padigam' – 'நமசிவாயப் பதிகம்'.

(To be continued.)

Sambhomahadeva 

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