KURAL # 68 (Vol # 7) Dated 22 Nov 2013
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 page No 530 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
Sri Matam & Tamil Grand Parents
Sri VaishNavas it has been a tradition to add two initials as 'U' and 'V' to
indicate 'Ubaya Vedanta' – 'उबय
that they are doubly qualified in Vedas in Sanskrit as well as Tamil. In the Sri Ramanuja Sampradaya as ancient
Rishis have given us the Vedas and Sãstrãs, these 12 Ãzhvãrs have given us
4,000 poems known as '
Divya Prabandam' – 'நாலாயிர திவ்ய பிரபந்தம்', which are considered to be of equal status and value as
the Vedas. The elders of that tradition are required to
be well versed in both Sanskrit Vedas and Tamil verses of this Nãlãyira
Divya Prabandam. The two initials 'U'
and 'V' were indicative of their expertise in both Tamil and Sanskrit Vedas as
the word 'Ubaya' means 'in both'. So
this 'U' and 'V' was as an abbreviation or acrostic / acronym.
was one U.V.Swaminatha Iyer. Being an
Iyer he was a Smãrthã, follower of Sankara that is, our ÃchãryãL and so he
could not have been entitled to these two initials as given to elders of the
VaishNava sect. His initials were due to
the fact that he was from a place known as 'Uttama-Dana-Puram' and his father
was one Venkatasubba Iyer. This
Swaminatha Iyer was virtually a devotee of the Tamil language that his talk,
research and even his very breath was all the time about this one subject of
Tamil Language. So having devoted his entire life and time for this one subject
of Tamil Classic Literature known as Ilakkiyam, we could presume or expect that
he would have read Nãlãyira
Divya Prabandam also, but not the way the VaishNavas meant by that
acronym. When it comes to God and
Bhakti, he was very much a devotee of Siva.
Two Who Really Very Actively Did Life-Long Service
3. I wished that he should really
deservedly become 'Ubaya Vedãnta'. By
saying this, I do not mean that he should be made to learn the Vedas by
Adhyayanam and chant the Ãzhvãr Pasurams.
I only wished that he should become sufficiently an expert in the Tamil
traditions of devotional literature and related to that become an authority in
the nationwide Sanskrit literature especially in connection with religious
Ãchãrã Anushtãnãs. I have this desire
about all Tamil Scholars, not only for U.V.Swaminatha Iyer only. For U.V.Swaminatha Iyer, who already was
exceptionally qualified in the world of classic Tamil Literature, instead of
just having Bhakti peripherally, I wished that he should have deep belief and
conviction in the Sanãtana-Sampradaya system and have devotion to our ÃchãryãL
who revived and rejuvenated the system, as that would so motivate others in the
world of poets and writers of Tamil Literature. As the Tamil world followed the
foot-steps of 'Tamil Patti' in ancient times, in this century should line up
behind this man who was well known as 'Tamil Thatha'. (I hope that you are aware that it is a
custom in Tamil to address an old woman as 'Patti' meaning 'Grand Mother' and
similarly old men are respectfully addressed as 'Thatha' meaning 'Grand
4. Karaikkal Ammaiyar was glorified by
Siva Perumãn himself when he addressed her as 'Amma'. Similarly this Avvaiyar Patti was glorified
when Siva's younger son SubrahmaNya addressed her as 'Patti' and asked her if
she wants the fruits heated or cold? Though Avvaiyar was an Avatara of Saraswathi,
the Goddess of Learning, at least temporarily she was made to look a bit
foolish, wondering as to how the fruits falling from the tree being shaken can
be hot or cold. But when the fruits fall
from the tree being shaken, as you know only the ripe ones will fall off the
tree. So, the old woman had to brush off
the sand particles sticking to the ripe fruits by blowing air from her mouth. Now this child seemingly innocently asks the
Patti, "They are hot isn't it? That
is why you have to blow air at it!"
Patti sees the point and feels slightly abashed. Thus Muruga could drive home a sense of
humbleness in Patti who might have thought of herself to be 'all-knowing'
5. What GaNesha the elder of the two
sons of Siva did was, to lift this Patti in all her humility by his Thumbikkai
and reach her all the way to Kailãsa in a jiffy. Normally we may come across a grandson taking
the granny's hands and guiding her to climb a bus or train and guide and usher
her from one place to another. Here this
PiLLaiyar child has just lifted this Avvaiyar Patti from this world and fetched
her to the very heavens in one go! To
catch hold of the hands of Thatha or Patti and guide them happens a little
later in life. When the baby is still
smaller the grandchild learns its first few steps as to how to walk as the old
persons speed with a walking stick will suit the speed of the baby trying to
learn to walk. But if the ancient world
of Tamil followed that Avvaiyar Patti then and this U.V.Swaminatha Iyer Thatha
now, nobody can match the speed that they demonstrated, so actively and
dynamically, never being static or taking rest in their entire life of service
to the humanity!
'Ãththichchoodi' – 'ஆத்திச்சூடி'
wrote a number of poems addressing the children putting across high philosophy
in acceptably simple language that will reach the young minds. She knew that children were the seedlings of
future generations of citizens. If they
have the right sense and the correct attitude towards life and others, morality and good behaviour will
automatically be ensured. So she taught
the Veda Dharma and Manu Dharma in very simple words. Vedas as Prabhu Samhita can generate commands
such as, 'Satyam Vada' and 'Dharmam Chara'. She humbly wondered if she as an
old woman can issue such orders or commands.
So, instead of saying, "You have to obey whether you like it or
not", she put it in acceptably pleading tone, "Why don't you love to
be well behaved and do the right thing?" she says, 'aram seya virumbu' – 'அறம் செய
book of 109 aphorisms is known as 'Ãththichchoodi', it is one of the names for
Easwara. Before teaching anything the
first lesson to be taught is an expression of subservience and gratitude to
God, isn't it? To think of divinity
should be the first thought and that is our Indian and Tamil culture. Even if the story is about a love affair or a
comedy, to pray to God expressing our obeisance is always the first page or
song called the 'Mangala Sloka' or 'KadavuL Vãzhthu' – 'கடவுள்
வாழ்த்து', that was
known as 'Nãndi'
Sanskrit. There is no book in Tamil
without a prayer to God. So, in this
first book like a Primary Reader, Avvaiyar is referring to Parameswara as
wearing the 'Aãthi' flower. 'Aãthi' is the flower that Siva is 'Choodi' meaning
wearing on his head. Let me quote the
full sloka of two lines: -
Aththichchoodi amarnda devanai
Eththi eththi tozhuvom yaame.
is described to be carrying many things on his head, for example the crescent
moon, Ganges River, Snake, a garland of skull bones, Konrai and Aãthi
flowers. Amongst all this, the Crescent
Moon is rather special, as it is very beautiful and indicates his
kind-heartedness. Isn't it a very pithy
statement when someone is too fond of something to say, "He keeps him on
top of his head and dances around"!
Having been sinful when the Moon is just wasting away, then regretting
the same falls in the feet of Parameswara intending to expiate, Siva in fact has
lifted the Moon high above his head, and danced in celebration. It is that posture called and known as
'Chandra Mouleeswara', the Swami venerated in this Kanchi Kãmakoti Matam.
9. This name 'Ãththichchoodi' reminds
us of Chandra Mouleeswara and you ask me how.
This flower of 'Ãththi' in shape is like a sliver of crescent moon
only. In colour also it is a pale yellow
instead of being golden, closer to the hue of the crescent moon. The original name anyhow seems to have had
something to do with the ubiquitous Agasthya Muni, who has a penchant for
turning up in the most unexpected of places.
This green leafed vegetable known as 'Agaththi Keerai', which is a
favourite of the Cow, may be was first identified as a very useful herb by
Agasthya Muni. Though Easwara had
thousands of other names, may be that Avvaiyar selected this particular name of
his as 'wearing the Ãththi' to remind the children that it was this Agasthya
Muni who got the eternal nectar of Tamil language from Siva. As the name also reminds us of Chandra
Mouleeswara, the Presiding Deity of this Matam, it is a matter of additional
satisfaction and pride to me also!
Vidwãn-s and Sri Matam
10. I get some personal satisfaction by
creating a connection with this Matam for whosoever is a great Tamil Scholar. Because the general impression about this
Matam in the outside world is that with us only Sanskrit has all the importance. They feel sad that unlike the VaishNavas who give
equal importance to Tamil and Sanskrit, in this Smãrthãs Matam, they do not
contribute for the principle of Ubaya Vedanta!
There is a historical reason for this.
Ãdi Sankara Bhagawat PãdãL carried out all his actions on an 'All India Basis'
only that he had to be understood and ensure acceptance on that basis. Like in Kanchipuram and Sringeri in the
South, he had established Matams in the West, North and East in Dwaraka, Badrinath
and Puri Jagannatha, respectively. So
language wise he had to make use of a language of All-India acceptance and
orientation. So, all Sankara Matams have
had a greater connection to the Sanskrit Language from the beginning. But at the same time, our Matam at
Kanchipuram has always been showing keenness in developing its Tamil
connections. Tamil Scholars have always
been honoured by the Matam. Sri
U.V.Swaminatha Iyer himself has confirmed that before the start of the 20th
Century, he has been to our Matam some 20 to 25 years before that and that the
Pundits in the Matam have appreciated his speeches then and that ILayathankudi PeriyavãL
who was the head of the Matam at that time, had given him blessings.
11. People have started differentiating
widely between Tamil and Sanskrit only recently from the start of the 20th Century. I have been sincerely wishing to change this
status-quo and bring everyone under a total equal care of Chandra MouLeeswara's
Grace that in his presence we should all join hands as his beloved
children. So like the Sanskrit Pundits I
started honouring Tamil Vidwãn-s also on a regular basis. That is how I pulled U.V.Swaminatha Iyer to
come to the Matam and through him – 'तत्-द्वारा'
– I wished to help the Tamil-world to develop a sense of acceptance and
affinity to Vedic Karmas, Ãchãrãs and Traditions.
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