Saturday, January 04, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 88 (Vol # 7) Dated 04 Jan 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 88 (Vol # 7) Dated 04 Jan 2014

(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 middle of page No 664 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)

59.           Having run after Mãreesan in the guise of a deer for a long time, Sri Rama returned after killing that deer.  Surprisingly the image of the deer was no more and in its place was this Rãkshasa Mãreesan in all his ugliness!  The whole thing was a diversionary tactics to cause separation between Sri Rama and Sita and Lakshmana.  Before dying, this Mãreesan had shouted at the top of his voice, "Hé Lakshmana!  Hé Sité!""हे लक्ष्मणा! हे सीते!".  That too, he had shouted copying the voice of Sri Rama. Lakshmana had been on guard duty at their residing place in the forest, a thatched ParNashãla which had been constructed by Lakshmana for his elder brother and his wife to stay!  So this shouting by Mãreesan in the voice of Sri Rama was meant to pry away Lakshmana from his guard duty, so that RavaNa can enter the scene and take away Sita Devi in his aircraft Pushpaka Vimana!

60.          So the poet hints at Sri Rama running after the false deer by asking if he is at the end of his tethers because of having had to run after the deer in a short phrase, 'odik kaLaitto' – 'ஓடிக் களைத்தோ?'  At once he asks the next question, 'Or was it due to searching for Sita here, there and everywhere', 'deviyaith tedi iLaippo' – 'தேவியைத் தேடி இளைத்தோ?'  The scene changes quickly covering vast gaps in time and space as he asks, 'marangaL ezhum toLaitto' – 'மரங்கள் ஏழும் தொளைத்தோ?'  After Sita Devi had been spirited away by the wily RavaNa, Sri Rama moves hundreds of miles down South, searching over hills and valleys before he comes to the place, where he meets Sugrieva and made friends with him.  Sugrieva had an enmity with his elder brother Vãli, who was immensely powerful and Sugrieva was wondering if friendship with Sri Rama can be useful at all in opposing Vãli.  Sri Rama had to prove his might by felling seven huge trees, lined in a row, with just one arrow.  That is what the poet Kavirayar is asking about, 'If he is run-down by the effort he had to put-in in chopping off all those seven huge trees with just one arrow of his!'

61.          The story progresses fast with Hanuman flying over the oceans, locating Sita in the Asoka Vana as a prisoner, putting the whole of Sri Lanka to flames, returning to Kishkinta; and then Sri Rama reaching the southern-most part of Tamil Nadu over-looking the Palk Straits and especially the Gulf of Mannãr with a rag tag army of sorts to build the bridge over the Gulf.  The poet is asking Sri Rama if he is literally drained since by his nature, instead of only standing apart and doing supervision, Sri Rama would have been involved in the physical labour of building the bridge with the work force, generating the next question asking if he is tired due to all that arduous work in tying up the ocean, 'kadalaik katti vaLaitto' – 'கடலைக் கட்டி வளைத்தோ?'

62.          Then changing his staccato style asks two more questions which are relatively longer and gets done with the story of Sri Rama, as he has already raised too many questions anyhow.  The questions in the next two lines of the poem are 'ilankai enum kãval mãnagarai iditta varuttamo' – 'இலங்கை எனும் காவல் மாநகரை இடித்த வருத்தமோ' and 'iravaNãdiyarai tolaitta varuttamo' – 'இராவணாதியரை தொலைத்த வருத்தமோ'? The invading forces were essentially made up of monkeys and they instead of stopping at the battle field would often foray in to the protected city of Lanka and destroy buildings, forts and ramparts to smithereens.  During that time Sri Rama Swami, true to his promise of 14 years of life in the wilds, would not enter the city environs, but remain in the battle field in his camp.  Not only here, even when he vanquished Vãli, he did not enter the city of Kishkinta for attending the coronation of Sugrieva, but remained in the forest, sending Lakshmana to do the needful in the coronation.  Similarly later when he had killed RavaNa, for the coronation of Vibhishana he did not go to the city of Lanka Puri.  Next point is that, though it was only killing of an enemy who had taken away his wife, Sri Rama considered that a certain amount of stigma or Pãpam to be sticking to him for which he had to do Prãyaschittam of expiation.  Thus throughout his life we see that Sri Rama would repeatedly test himself against a very high standards of morality aka Dharma, which is the reason why that till date the world celebrates him as Dharma Murthy or an epitome of Dharma.

63.          When the Monkey Army destroyed the city of Lanka, he had two types of regrets.  One was that he was not able to be of any physical help and participate in the process as their commander, since he was restrained by Dharma that he was to stay in the forest / wild and not to enter any city for 14 years.  But the second reason was that, the city of Lanka was a huge and beautiful piece of art by their builder / carpenter named Mayan.  Sri Rama did not like the idea of its destruction despite the wartime compulsions!  The poet asks, "Is it that, to overcome that double entendre situation you had to go to sleep with an over dose of sleeping tablets, is it?" 

64.          With that, similar to Sri Rama's capability of showering the opponent with arrows, the poet was happy with having thrown so many questions at his aim.  So he decided to end his barrage with a last question that brings out the innate greatness of Sri Rama, saying 'iravaNãdiyarai tolaitta varuttamo' – 'இராவணாதியரை தொலைத்த வருத்தமோ'? First he felt bad for having to destroy the beautiful Lanka City for the errors of commission and omission by RavaNa and his coterie.  Then having destroyed them all and gained fame and name as 'Veera Rãghava', he was regretting the force of circumstances which compelled him to destroy RavaNa and others!  "Especially that RavaNa was so powerful, physically strong and brave, with an indomitable spirit, knowledge of the Vedas, and ability of playing on the VeeNa!  It is just sad that instead of correcting him I had to kill him."  Thus talking about how Rama had a soft corner in his heart even for his worst enemy, Kavirayar felt that it was as good as celebrating Sri Rama's Pattãbhishekam / Coronation and finished with his parody.  Closing that stanza of CharaNam there, he sang two more stanzas.  Having made use of Ramayana as the basis for his satire and parody; the poet wished to needle Krishna also like that, making use of the Bhagawatam as the basis for the second stanza.  So, after Ishta Devata, he has come to Kishta Devata.     

65.          After finishing that stanza, as he had sung about two of the Avataras Rama and Krishna in the third stanza, he has sung about Ranganatha who was Maha Vishnu himself, in the third stanza of CharaNam, as asked for by the local intelligentsia.  In it there are no questions, no satire or innuendo.  Very devotedly he has sung that third CharaNam and completed his poem.  Instead of coming in the story portion of the Rama Nãdakam, it has remained a song standing apart by itself.  So this is a Kruti and not a Daru.  If I explain the words and meanings, of the two stanzas about Krishna and Ranganatha also, I will not be able to talk about the dancer Nataraja of Thiruvãdirai song at all.   Already we have consumed much time.  So, having put an end to this sleeper's story let me go over to the narrative about the dancer!

Pãpavinãsa Mudaliyar and Kavirayar
66.          The Ninda Stuti about the dancer Nataraja was composed and sung by Pãpavinãsa Mudaliyar.  There is no information about his life history.  In the 18 Century, when the Tulja Royal Dynasty was ruling over in Tanjore, he had obtained Royal Endowment from the King of that time, it seems.  AruNachala Kavirayar was also a contemporary of his.  After Arangetram at Sri Rangam, he wished to present it in the Kings court in Tanjore too, as he belonged to that state.  But that was the time the army of the Muslim leader Madarmal had surrounded and laid a siege on Tanjore.  So he could not do as he wished.  But he went to many other Patrons of Art in Tamil Nadu and had been plentifully honoured.  MaNali Muthu Krishna Mudaliyar is said to have done Kanaka Abhishekam to AruNachala Kavirayar. In his time itself, the Rama Nãdakam had become quite famous all over the Tamil world and Kavirayar has lived with much affluence and prosperity.  Sufficient info about his life is also available. 

67.          With regard to Pãpavinãsa Mudaliyar however, we have very little information available.  His Ninda Stuti songs on the dancer God Nataraja is the only thing available and they were quite popular some time back.  Still for many years now, I do not hear any more of his songs being sung.   The song about which I am going to talk to you now, was rather famous once upon a time.  Mudaliyar has set his songs to be suitable for Abhinaya in Dance form.  They are known as 'Padams' as stand-alone songs and not a series with a continuous narrative of stories.  Unlike Kavirayar, Mudaliyar makes fun of this dancer with a whole array of spoofs, caricature and mockery, quite openly.  But that is, instead of being vitriolic and insulting, is quite acceptably pleasant and friendly.  In the mockery one can still make out the deep devotion pregnant with deep inner meaning.  I wish to talk about one of his songs addressed to the Dancer of the Thiruvãdirai Star.

The Song on Nataraja by Pãpavinãsa Mudaliyar
68.          When we are even slightly wounded in the leg, we walk with a limp.  Due to some other major injury or paralysis or arthritis if one leg is badly off, we will make use of a walker or crutches, without putting our body weight on that leg, isn't it?  Nataraja is also keeping his left leg up in the air and is standing on his right leg which is resting on what is known as 'Apasmãra Purusha', who is called 'Muyalagan' in Tamil, who looks like an ogre.  In fact it is an allegorical representation of unworthy thoughts.  Like the asymmetrical and absurd thoughts, when the hands and legs are randomly pulling in all directions such a disease is known as 'Apasmãra Kushtam' or Muyalaga Valippu.  As unworthy random thoughts are not gross but subtle and not visible to the eye, such convulsions have been given a gross form and named as 'apasmãra kushtam' or 'kãkkã valippu' in Tamil.  In fact, it has nothing to do with the Crow known as Kãkkã in Tamil.  It is in fact an aberration of 'Kai-Kãl Valippu', meaning convulsions affecting the hands and legs.

69.          Looking at the dance pose of Nataraja in which he seems to be standing on 'Apasmãra Purusha' with his right leg and keeping his left leg so straight up, Mudaliyar is thinking that, possibly Siva has received that disease unto himself and the state of paralysis so caused seems to have become very serious, that he is not able to put his left leg down at all!  In fun the poet is questioning Lord Siva, "You who were walking around quite normally seem to have become lame in the left!  Can you tell me the reason as to how this has come about?"  This song is in the Raga Kãmboji and the earlier one by Kavirayar is in the Raga Mohanam.  The words of the song are like this:- 'nadmadit tirind umakku idathu kãl udavãmal mudamãnadu enendru solluveeraiyã' – 'நடமாடித் திரிந்த உமக்(கு) இடது கால் உதவாமல் முடமான(து) ஏனென்று சொல்லுவீரையா'!

(To be continued.)




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