Friday, November 08, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 62 (Vol # 7) Dated 08 Nov 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 62 (Vol # 7) Dated 08 Nov 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 page No 491 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 updated continually)

Adwaitam in Swayamvaram
1.            The Greatness of NaLa and Damayanti.            The King of Vidharbha Desa, the father of Damayanti had arranged for the conduct of 'Swayamvaram' for his daughter.  'Swayamvaram' is an ancient custom for selecting a suitable match for their nubile young princesses.  Eligible bachelors from other kingdoms would be invited to attend the Swayamvaram.  The visitors would be seated decked up in all their fineries.  The would-be-bride is ushered in by her father and as they walk along the line of suitors.  She would be having a garland of flowers in her hand.  So as to enable her to make her choice, a minister or some such official having interviewed the suitors before, would introduce them one by one, pointing out their qualifications and exploits.  The bride to-be had the complete freedom to select any one of them as her would be husband and the person so selected was known as the 'Vara:' – 'वर:' which meant literally the 'Selected'!  The way it is done is that, the girl to be wedded would place the garland in the neck of the person whom she has selected, completing the act of Swayamvaram!

2.            In the case of NaLa and Damayanti, though they had never met, they were already lovers.  She had come to know about NaLa as the King of Naishada by his fame and reputation and had already come to a decision that when it comes to her marriage, she would wed only NaLa.  Similarly NaLa had also come to know about her beauty and womanly attributes and character qualities and fallen in love with her.  So it was a meeting of minds to this extent that they were exchanging notes, if not by texting, post, e-mail and twitter as it happens now-a-days, but by sending a messenger swan as the go-between!

3.            Without knowing about it Beema the King of Vidharbha, had arranged to conduct this Swayamvaram for his daughter Damayanti.  All the eligible kings from near and far had reached for the Swayamvaram.  Not only the Rajas of earth, even celestial beings such as Indra, Agni, Yama and VaruNa, having heard of her exceptionally incomparable Soundarya had also come to participate in the selection process as contenders.  Unlike the earthlings, the aspiring celestials were very much aware of fact that NaLa and Damayanti were almost as good as betrothed!  They knew that Damayanti being of such high fidelity that, having selected NaLa in her mind as her would-be husband would not even glance at anybody else, even if he happens to be the King of Heavens!

4.            If by chance if she were to select one of them, there may be only one method which was yet to be contrived.  They thought that if NaLa himself were to recommend that she should select one of the celestials, she may be agreeable.  So they approached him and asked him if he would help them.  In all his innocence of their ulterior motive, he promised to help them.  Their request was that NaLa himself should go as a messenger to Damayanti, to tell her that she should select one of the celestials, instead of NaLa as the husband!  Is there any parallel for this sort of a situation in history or fiction?  NaLa and Damayanti were already lovers intending to get married.  NaLa knew that she is going to select him from all the assembled suitors looking forward to which, he had come from his Naishada to Vidharbha.  Such being the case, these people are asking for him to recommend to Damayanti that she should select one of the celestials!

5.            Why did the Devas put NaLa in such a quandary?  They were aware of the excellent character qualities of both NaLa and Damayanti and that is why they tested them like this.  They knew that once having selected one person, Damayanti would not even think of any other even if he happened to be the King of Heavens.  So they knew that even if they were to stand in the line-up for Swayamvaram in all their effulgent get up as heavenly celestials, Damayanti would only select NaLa the Man.  So if at all they were to have some off-beat chance NaLa himself had to recommend their case they thought.  Similarly they knew also that NaLa was such a man of his words that he would never go against his own promise.  That is why they first wangled a promise from him and then spelt out what he was to do.  Without any hesitation or qualms they requested him to go on their behalf as a messenger to Damayanti.  NaLa was a great chap, very truthful.  For their sake he was ready to sacrifice his love, so as not to break his promise that he will do their bidding, whatever their request and came forward to go as a messenger.

6.            There are some great Mahatmas who are known for their integrity and truthfulness that they are worthy of being remembered every day in the morning as we wake up from sleep as advised by our elders.  By such action we will also imbibe their qualities of truthfulness, morality and sense of sacrifice.  By thinking of them like this every day, we will also be motivated to face the world with confidence and be successful, while our own deficiencies and diffidence will be lessened.  There are at least four such people.  One is NaLa, next is Dharma Putra, third is Sita Devi and the fourth is Sri Krishna Paramãtma.  The sloka is as follows: -
पुण्य श्लोको नलो राजा, पुण्य श्लोको युधिष्टिर: |
puNya sloko naLo raja, puNya sloko yudhishtira: |
पुण्य श्लोको च वैदेहि, पुण्य श्लोको जनार्धन: ||
punya sloko cha vaidehi, puNya sloko janardhana: ||

7.            In fact there is no end to the crisis situations and quandaries faced by these four.  But despite that they remained unshakeable from the straight path of Dharma, never going astray and thus were successful in their lives.  By remembering their names every day morning, we will also be motivated to be like them and walk on the path of Dharma.  NaLa sacrificing his most desired love for Damayanti accepted the task of going as a messenger on behalf of the Devas.  There was much security at the approaches to the royal palace where Damayanti was residing.  How could NaLa go there without being challenged and recognised?  It is here that Indra true to his reputation as a great magician did his trick.  He made NaLa unseen temporarily for all others except Damayanti by making him 'aroopa' – 'अरूप'.  NaLa reached her place unseen by others, visible only to her eyes and she was thrilled to see him coming to her! 

8.            But he NaLa true to his promise given to the Devas spoke about the great qualities of the divine celestials and told her that any one of them, Indra, VaruNa, Yama or Agni, were more preferable than himself as her husband.  Damayanti however would have none of it as she was clear in her decision and told him that despite the recommendations of NaLa, she cannot be unfaithful to him, whom she had already opted for in her heart as her would-be husband.  Having so decided once, to opt for yet another person as her husband would be an unpardonable crime and sin in her opinion.  NaLa came back unsuccessful in his endeavour and told the Devas about it.  They were already aware of all this.  They were happy with his sincerity and truthfulness.  So, they gave him a few boons.

9.            Then it was time for Swayamvaram.  The hall was full of the kings from various kingdoms.  NaLa was also there.  But instead of one NaLa there were five look-alikes.  Everybody was flabbergasted to see this.  How did this happen?  The four celestial beings were not only wearing similar dress and accoutrements but were exact look-alikes physically and in complexion.  How will Damayanti identify as to who is the real NaLa?  If she places the garland on one of them and he happens to be not the real NaLa but one of the Devas, they will consider him as the winner of the lucky draw.  So, that was the magical delusion caused by the Devas.  First they had shamelessly gone to NaLa for help and now have become fake NaLa look-alikes!  The attraction and desire for woman is so alluring and deceptively dangerous!

10.          Damayanti came to the Swayamvara Mandapa.  She kept walking across the whole line of suitors, thinking of only NaLa.  Finally found five of them instead of one!  She just stopped perplexed.  "There does not seem to be any difference between them at all!  If I now place the garland on the wrong persons shoulders, there will be a great blunder and failing in 'pãtivratyam' – 'पातिव्रत्यं' (meaning fidelity and faithfulness)!  How am I to get out of this faux pas?"  She was standing there undecided and wondering as to what is to be done!
Mothers' Sacrifices
11.          NaLa's story has been beautifully narrated in poetical form in Tamil by the poet Pugazhendi.  The root source for that is the 'NaLa Upãkhyãnam' in Maha Bhãratham.  This has been rendered in to verse in Sanskrit by a poet known as Sri Harsha.  That is known as 'Naishadam' as it is the story of a king of the Naishada kingdom.  As this was a strong medicine for all scholars studying classic literature, it used to be said, 'Naishadam vidwat oushadam' – 'नैषदं विद्वत् औषदम्'.  When we say so, it also means that average readers cannot easily understand it, as being a hard nut to crack literally and literarily!  Let Damayanti keep standing in the Hall of Swayamvaram wondering as to whom she should put the garland on and in the meantime let us look at the story as narrated by Sri Harsha and how he became so smart and intelligent.

(To be continued.)




Post a Comment

<< Home