Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 70 (Vol # 7) Dated 26 Nov 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 70 (Vol # 7) Dated 26 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 last paragraph on page No 544 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)

Thillai ViLãgam; Statue of Sri Rama Found
22.           Confirming his opinion he came across the news that in a place known as 'Thillai ViLãgam' in ThiruthuraipooNdi Taluka of Tanjavur District, (similar to Chidambaram, in South Arcot District), that some hundred years back some people had unearthed and discovered in close proximity locations, statues of Sri Rama with Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman in a group and Sivakãma Sundari with Nataraja in yet another group.  Tamil Thatha also intensified his investigations and confirmed that this Thiru Chitra Kootam is the Divya Desam about which Kula Sekhara Ãzhvãr has sung that poem quoted in the previous paragraph.  Though he was not one of the Ubaya Vedãnta Vaishnavites, he was so keen about one of the two of Divya Prabanda PerumaL Thiru Mozhi, that is, Tamil that his hard work had finally paid off. 

23.          Since the place name was already known as 'Thillai ViLãgam', in the olden times it could have been Thillai Chitra Kootam also.  Discovery of Nataraja with his Consort and Sri Rama with his intimate Group as during his sojourn in the forest; the name 'Thillai Chitra Kootam' seems to be most appropriate.  The Nataraja Murthy was unearthed around a pond named as 'Ambala OoruNi' – 'அம்பல ஊருணி'.  So again the connection to Thillai Chitrambalam is re-established.  In the olden times, this place must have been famous as another Chidambaram.  Even now, Thiru VeNkãdu is referred as 'Ãdi' Chidambaram.  Out of the three thousand Brahmin families in Chidambaram known as the regular priests in the Nataraja Temple, some could have also been traditionally the priests in this Thillai ViLãgam too.  Because of that Kula Sekhara PerumãL could have mentioned in his Prabandam about, 'andaNargal oru moovãyiravaretta' – 'அந்தணர்களொரு மூவாயிரவர் ஏத்த', meaning that the same 3,000 families of Brahmins providing the priests in Chidambaram could have done so here too!

24.          It is very interesting to note the connection with Sri Rama and this Thillai ViLãgam.  After discovery of the statues of Sri Rama with Sita, Lakshmana and Ãnjaneya, they have been installed in a temple proper with a pond in front, now known as 'Rama Teertam'.  For long this pond was known as 'nalla piLLai pertrãL kuLam' – 'நல்ல பிள்ளை பெற்றாள் குளம்', meaning 'the pond of the Mother who got a good son'!  Who is that lady who got a good son?  Till day, Sri Rama is worshipped by the words of Vishwãmitra as 'kausalya supraja rama' – 'कौसल्या सुप्रजा राम', meaning that Kausalya is that mother who has begotten Sri Rama as the 'Supraja' and that word is directly translated in Tamil as 'நல்ல பிள்ளை'.  Near this village is a place known as 'kazhuvan kãdu' – 'கழுவன் காடு' and 'jãmbavãn odai' – '', reminding us of Jadãyu's role, in trying to prevent RavaNa from taking away Sita and later Jãmbavãn's in encouraging and motivating Hanuman by telling him that he does not know his own untapped powers and capabilities, while proceeding to Sri Lanka in search of Sita.  Then another six or seven miles away is the 'tambik kottai' – 'தம்பிக்கோட்டை', a fort said to have been built by Lakshmana the younger brother of Sri Rama.  Then further some distance away is a place known as 'ativeera rama pattinam' – 'அதி வீர ராம பட்டினம்', meaning the township of the very courageous Sri Rama!   

25.          Even today if we were to serialize the statues of Sri Rama with Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman for classic beauty of form and craftsmanship, this Sri Rama from Thillai ViLãgam will be amongst the tops, I am sure.  Even though it is only a statue, one could feast one's eyes for hours just looking at them.  It is not even correct to say that it is craftsmanship!  It would be more appropriate that Sri Rama and others have re-emerged through the hands of the 'Shilpi'.  One of the specialities of this place is that, what is known as 'Rama Saram', the arrow in the hands of Sri Rama, at the base-end instead of finishing bluntly or an inverted crescent has finished with a triangle, with the base of the triangle bearing the brunt of pressure of the tout string of the bow. Another point to note is that at the right hand wrist of Sri Rama is to be found the protective 'Rakshai' tied by Kausalya, so that he may not be too badly affected by the evil forces when this 'நல்ல பிள்ளை' set out to proceed to the forests for 14 years, so obediently as per the wishes of the step-mother.

26.          While the idols of Sri Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman are all beautiful to take one's breath away, as Ãzhvãr has sung, 'thiral viLangu Maruthi' – 'திறல்விளங்கு மாருதி', instead of revealing his bravery, the statue is more demonstrative of his humility and devotional subservience.  In almost all his statues, especially in the presence of his Lord, Hanuman prefers to keep his power and prowess under control.  Here he seems to overdo his humility holding his hands close to his body with his left hand in his lap and right hand closing his mouth.  There is one posture in which Sri Rama is depicted getting his coronation aka Pattãbhishekam done in which Bharatha and Satrughna are also seen to be standing; this one in which only Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman are depicted in Temples, they are normally called 'Chitra Kootam' or 'Pancha Vati'.  But since the latter is the place from where Sita was abducted away, it is not mentioned as being depicted in the temples and only the name of 'Chitra Kootam' is taken.  Though in Chitra Kootam Maruthi had not joined them, he is included in the worshipful procedures.  Just like Nandikeswara is always included in the festivities for Siva and Garuda Ãzhvãr is always included for the Maha Vishnu Pooja, here Ãnjaneya is also giving us Darsan. 

Those Who Constructed the Temples
27.          The statues of 'Sita, Lakshmana and Ãnjaneya with Sri Ramachandra Murthy', were located in Thillai ViLãgam in the year 1862 A.D.  For the construction of temple around the area, there is a connection to yet another Tamil Patti, a Sumangali Patti.  (A lady is considered as Sumangali when her husband is still alive.  Generally women prefer to die without ever becoming a widow, that is, to depart from this worldly existence while being a Sumangali.)  She is the wife of Sri Gopala Krishna Iyer, the engineer, and before her death she had requested her husband to contribute 60,000 Rupees for the construction of Sri Ram's temple there.  That is big money those days!

28.          I do not know as to how true this story is that I am going to narrate now.  It seems that Gopala Krishna Iyer's wife died requesting her husband to contribute Rs.60,000/- for the construction of the temple for Sri Ram.  When it came to writing the cheque in words and numbers, while starting writing in numbers first, instead of 6,000/- he added one more zero unintentionally and wrote 60,000/-.  After a minute of hesitation, giving more value to his wife's earlier request and may be submitting to God's will; he ended up contributing the full amount for the construction of the temple it seems.  A few years later, in 1892 A.D. some farmer while digging in the area of 'Ambala OoruNi' happened to strike against the statue of a huge Nataraja with his consort Amman Siva Kama Sundari, that was brought to the notice of Nattu Kottai Chettiyar family known as Peri.Na.Me.KaNa., who got the temple constructed as suitable to Nataraja Murthy known as 'Sabhai'.

29.          Looking at the sets of Sri Rama with others and Sri Nataraja with his consort; and hints and clues in terms of names of the deities involved, the devotees got motivated to go by the general arrangement between Govinda Raja and Nataraja in the environs of the Chidambaram temple.  The Sannidy-s for Sri Rama and Nataraja were similarly positioned on ground and both the temples took shape accordingly.  Research and findings by U.V.Swaminatha Iyer, that is, Tamil Thatha, further added to the fame of Thillai ViLãgam and as though to make up for the popularity of Nataraja in Chidambaram between Govinda Raja PerumaL and Nataraja, It is Sri Rama who became more famous and popular in Thillai ViLãgam.

(To be continued.)




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