Thursday, January 23, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 97 (Vol # 7) Dated 23 Jan 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 97 (Vol # 7) Dated 23 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 page No 732 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)

Ladies as Guardians of Sanãtana Dharma
1.            Whenever our religion has been in great danger, it is the women-folk, who have saved it from peril.  It has been said – 'stree moolam sarva dharma:' – 'स्त्री मूलं सर्व धर्मा:' meaning that they, the women-folk are the root cause for all morals, discipline and order in our society.  What is the name of our Religion? To call it the Hindu Religion is an error, as given by foreigners.  To call it the 'Veda Matam' or Sanãtana Dharma would be more appropriate.  Vedas when referred to as a deity is called the Veda Mãtã as a Mother.  Our religion itself has been considered as feminine and it has been saved and protected by women mainly. 

2.            Mostly they have been unquestioningly obedient to their husbands, as the adage goes, 'kallãnãlum kaNavan pullãnãlum purushan' – 'கல்லானாலும் கணவன் புல்லானாலும் புருஷன்' meaning, 'whether the husband is like a stone or grass and whether he does right or wrong, the wife is to be implicitly obedient and surrendered unto his will'!  Here 'KaNavan' and 'Purushan' are synonyms meaning the husband.  Though most of the women are extolled and eulogized for their faithfulness and subservience known as 'pati vrata dharma' – 'पति व्रता धर्म', there have also been women who have corrected their husbands and mended their behaviour, guarding them from going astray.  There have been such women who have been responsible for changing the course of life, of their husbands and or children from being too involved in the ways of the world, make an about-turn to one of complete surrender to divinity and Gnãna, as can be gathered from our old PurãNãs and literatures concerning Gnãna!  Especially two such ladies who were Queens have to be mentioned.    

3.            One such lady is Queen Chudala, about whom there is description in 'Yoga Vãsishtam' which is like a reference book on Gnãna and how to go about attaining to that state.  While she has been one to correctly differentiate and identify what is Ãtma and what is not that, by doing 'ãtmãnãtma vichãra' – 'आत्मानात्म विचार', while at the same time having achieved all the powers of what is known as 'Ashta Maha Siddhi' attained through Yoga also.  Her husband Chikidwaja though above any blemishes as such, was highly and deeply involved in worldliness as a King with royal aspirations and tendencies.  He is gradually turned firmly to the path of Gnãna Marga, by the influence of Chudala.  There is a saying in the Sãstrãs that a wife is a companion for the first three aims in the quartet of Purushãrtha, namely Dharma, Artha, Kãma and Moksha.  But in this case, the wife Chudala is the driving force towards Self-Realization, as the story goes on differently, beautifully differently!

4.            There is another queen, another Gnãni by the name of Madãlasa, whose story occurs in Mãrkandeya PurãNa. (Literal meaning of the word Madãlasa in Sanskrit is the intoxication by liquor.)  Though inwardly she was a self-realized being, outwardly she was like any other woman who keeps home only.  She begets four children.  For the first three children, she gives Gnãna Upadesa from the time they are sleep in a cradle and she sings lullabies for them.  So they give up the normal life and go into the Nivrutti Marga.  The fourth one she trains in Pravrutti Marga, so as to be able to take up the job as a ruler of the State.  Then finally before going on to Vana Prastam for doing tapasya in the forest with her husband, she writes down her instructions to her fourth son secured in a ring, so that at a suitable time, later in his life he will also be able to undertake Sanyãsa. 

Women who Guarded their Religion and Nation from Peril
5.            These are individual cases of those who helped their own sons or husband to proceed on the Ãdhyãtmic Marga.  I was not intending to talk about them but about those who by their love of their religion saved the whole country from the perils enshrouding their religion.  I started talking about how a whole religion is in the process of being disowned and downgraded in a whole country!  When a husband leaves the Veda Madam and is converted to some other religion, instead of remaining unconcerned that, 'his wish is my command, let him do whatever'; a woman reconverted her husband and a whole State that he was ruling, back to their original Veda Madam, is the person thinking about whom I had started today's speech. 

6.            Her name is Mangayakarasi, respectfully addressed as 'Mangayrkarasiyãr' respectfully, included as one of the 63 Nãyanmãrs, who lived up to her name which means, a 'Queen of Women'.  By name a queen and by her attitude and behaviour also a queen amongst women, she was the Queen of Pãndya Kingdom.  She was the wife of the then King of Pãndya Desam some 1400 years back.  She was the daughter of the King of the Sozha Kingdom.   At that time the Sozha dynasty was somewhat down in their power and domination.  In the North of Tamil Nadu, it was the Pallava Kingdom on the upswing under Mahendra Varma and in the South it was the Pãndya Kingdom which was dominating under Mãravarma.  Both of them had left the Vedic Religion and had embraced the Jainism.  First it was Mahendra Varma who returned back to the fold of Vedic Religion by the efforts of Appar SwamigaL.

Thilakavathiyar and Thiru Nãvukkarasar
7.            Let me tell you about that story.  The Pallava King leaving Jainism (known as 'Samanam' – 'சமணம்' religion in Tamil), back to Saivam is the second part of the story.  Before that Appar himself had left Saivam and gone to Samanam.  For such a man to have become one of the four great Nãyanmãrs, known as 'Saivak KuravargaL' – 'சைவக் குரவர்கள்', to have sung so many songs with a melting heart, to cause melting of the heart of those who hear his songs, to have been given the title as 'Vageesar' and 'Nãvukkarasar' by Siva the Lord himself; all the credit goes to another lady only.

8.            When Appar was in Jainism, he was not known as Appar or Nãvukkarasar, but was known as Dharmasena.  That was not the name given by his parents, which was 'MaruL Neekkiyar' – 'மருள் நீக்கியார்', meaning 'Remover of Ignorance of Mãyã'.  Later evidently some urge to experiment caused him to embrace Jainism and when he became an instructor in that religion, he named himself as Dharmasena.  The credit for pulling him back to Saivam goes to his elder sister known as 'Thilakavathi', respectfully called 'Thilakavathiyar'.  True to her name she was a 'Thilakam' – 'तिलकं', meaning a mark worn on the forehead with sandal wood paste mixed with fragrant unguents, an ideal woman.

9.            Her devotion to her husband in other words 'Pãtivratyam' is of a surprising quality!  It is alright to be loyal and devoted to one's husband after marriage.  But in her case the marriage never took place and they had not even met each other!  Even when she was only a child, her parents had decided to give her in marriage to one 'Kalip-Pagiyar' a leader of men in the army.  He had gone to fight a war somewhere in the North.  Before his return her father had died.  Immediately her mother had also given up her life as per the system known as 'Sati', in which the wife also jumps in to the funeral pyre, not wishing to continue living without the husband!  Thilakavathy and MaruL Neekki were both very young at that time.  Still their mother gave up her life in the pyre of her husband. 

10.          When these two children, as sister and brother were thus stranded as orphans, as luck would have it, news came of the death of Kalip-Pagayar on the battle field.  It was then that Thilakavathy came to the decision to give up her life also, by the 'Sati' system by which her mother had died.  Her logic was like this, 'As my parents had decided to give me in marriage to Kalip-Pagayar, I am as good as married to him.  So I have to go by the path shown by my mother.'  Thus she was about to light up a pyre to do another 'Sati'.  There was no love lost whatsoever in this case.  It was MaruL Neekiyar who was virtually in doldrums!  He cried that, when he is solely dependent on his elder sister, her decision to give up her life uncaring for this orphaned brother is as good as an order to die!  So, he will commit suicide before that, he said.  This changed the sister's mind.  She decided to live on for his sake, but as a widow, following the discipline meant to be observed by them as per Pati Vrata Dharmam.  So now, she totally devoted her life as a Tapasvini with Siva Bhakti and in taking care of her younger brother. 

11.          After he grew up a little, MaruL Neekkiyar leaving their village Thiruvamur, went to Thirup-padirip-puliyur for further studies.  The Patali tree is called Padiri Maram in Tamil.  Like the capital city of Asoka, known as Pataliputra in the North, this is the southern version.  There MaruL Neekkiyar came across the huge schools run be the Jains.  The place where the Samana Munis stay used to be known as 'PaLLi' – 'பள்ளி'.  That name has come to stay in Tamil as a synonym for schools.  Jains have done much in spreading education all over the country, which should be mentioned with appreciation.  But their purpose of educational service, as it happens the world over, is with missionary zeal of spreading their religion. 

12.          This is exactly what happened with MaruL Neekkiyar also.  Slowly but surely he got converted to that religion!  As an intelligent boy, he did well in his studies and became an Ãchãryãr and changed his name to Dharma Sena.  Especially then, as the King of the Pallava Dynasty, Raja Mahendra Varma had given royal patronage to Jainism, that it had become a powerful force in being.  Here back home Thilakavathy had left Thiruvamur, and gone to North of Katila Nadi near PaNrutti, to a place known as 'Thiruvadikai' – 'திருவதிகை', where there was a huge Siva Temple.  She used to devote all her time in cleaning up the temple premises with a broom and mop; plucking the flowers from the garden and making garlands for decorating the Murthys; chanting Siva Nama all the time.

13.          Once she came to know that her younger brother had embraced Jainism, she felt extremely sad, much more than what she had felt when her parents and her yet-to-be-but-never-was husband had died!  She used to cry before her God all the time, asking him to save her brother who had gone astray and converted to another religion.  She was ever in tears praying to God with this as the only prayer, asking for her brother to be saved from this anathema of leaving one's own religion!  One can visualise the intensity of her feelings by the fact that God appeared in her dreams and told her, "Amma!  Please do not fret.  Your brother in his past life had fallen short of total realization.  That blemish has caused him to experiment and join some other religion.  To reduce his past load of Karma, I shall now give him the 'Soolai Noi' – 'சூலை நோய்'.  He will suffer for some time and as a result, he will be thrown out of their religion and will also suffer from his guilty conscience and regret the fact of converting to other religion.  Thus he will come back as an ardent devotee of mine!  His intelligence and poetical acumen are yet to become known and praised all over the world!"  Soolai Noi is a type of colic pain in the stomach.  (KTSV adds: – Appar's condition as described here is similar to what is described as 'Yoga Brashta' – 'योग भ्रष्ट' by Bhagawan Sri Krishna in Bhagawat Gita.  Please refer to Slokas No 41 to 47 in Chapter 6.)

(To be continued.)




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