Thursday, February 20, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 109 (Vol # 7) Dated 20 Feb 2014

 DEIVATHIN KURAL # 109 (Vol # 7) Dated 20 Feb 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 middle of page No 830 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)

25.          AruNodayam means the arising of AruNa said to be the charioteer of the Sun, something like an advance notice of what is to come.  As the saying goes, 'ãnai varum pinne maNi osai varum munne' – 'ஆனை வரும் பின்னே மணி ஓசை வரும் முன்னே' meaning, that the tinkling sound of the bell in the neck of the elephant will precede the arrival of the animal.  Similarly the deep red colour of AruNa precedes the arrival of the Sun by a period known as 'Muhurtam' – 'मुहूर्तं ', (which is made up of two 'Nãzhi' – 'நாழிகை' in Tamil or 'नाडि' in Sanskrit lasting for 24 minutes each,) totalling 48 minutes.  A Muhurtam earlier than Sunrise itself the red colour spreads on the eastern horizon announcing the arrival of the Sun.  On that day of DeepãvaLi, we should be getting up early enough to be able to take our oil-bath some 48 minutes before Sunrise.  Just because we have to do Abhyanganam one Muhurtam before Sunrise, to bathe at 2 or 3 º Clock in the night is incorrect, over doing and torturing children. 

26.          That in this Snãnam, in the oil we use Lakshmi Devi should reside and in the water we use Ganga Devi should reside; is the prayer of Bhumãdevi.  Relating to the second part of the prayer by Bhumãdevi, the phrase 'Ganga Snãnam' has become famous.  In fact the method of greeting on that morning is to enquire each other as to whether they have had 'Ganga Snãnam'!  Though we seem to have forgotten the fact of Lakshmi Devi in that oil applied, it is that fact that connects up DeepãvaLi with Sri Krishna, Bhumãdevi and Lakshmi Devi.    In fact in North India DeepãvaLi is celebrated more as Lakshmi Pooja.  All business people close their previous year's account books and open a new one from that day!  From this also we can see the greatness of Bhumãdevi, that without caring for any self-praise, she has catered for the appreciation of the other wife of Vishnu, Sri Devi and Ganga Devi who is considered to be in the same status as Parvathy with Parameswara; to be the main two to be remembered and adored on DeepãvaLi. 

27.          Easwara has a name as Gangadhara.  So it is natural that we connect Ganga and Easwara at once.  But Ganga is connected to Vishnu also in a big way.  When Vishnu in his Avatara as Vamana Brhmachari measured the universe by taking three steps, the first step covered all the other worlds, the second step measured all the nether worlds.  Before the third step could be placed on Earth, Brhma came running and poured Teertam on his legs.  It is this water that became the Ãkãsa Ganga ever bubbling under his feet never letting him put his foot on Earth.  One stream of it was brought down on Earth, by a great effort on the part of Bagiratha as the Ganges River on earth for retrieving his Pithrus from remaining in a state of suspended animation for ever.  But if Ãkãsa Ganga falls directly on Earth, as she will not be able to bear that force, out of his extreme compassion, Easwara bore the brunt of it on the matted hair on his head and enabled it to fall on Earth in a more controlled fall.  So, all told Ganga aka Ganges is related to both Siva and Vishnu.  Bhumãdevi thought that it is not enough to do something new in memory of her son's death like having an oil bath in hot water before sunrise and also not enough to make people happy in the bargain; but she felt that she should also enable people to get a lot of PuNya as a result of that.  So she prayed for as a boon that she ensured Lakshmi's Sãnnidyam in the oil applied to the body and Ganga's Sãnnidyam in the hot water used in the bath wherever, on DeepãvaLi day!   

Gita: Deepãvali's Younger Brother
28.          Bhumãdevi did not think of whether Ganga is related to Vishnu or Siva.  Without differentiating between Saivam and VaishNavam all the people give importance to the Ganga isn't it?  So, the Snãnam on DeepãvaLi should have the same effect and value as Ganga Snãnam is the boon she asked for and obtained.  Generally if you read any Sthala PurãNam, you will see that it will be said that, 'It is as good as Kãsi or more exalted than Kãsi'.  So what does it mean?  It means that Kãsi, without any comparison is higher than all others with whom it is compared, like a common denominator in maths.  Similarly while talking about the greatness of any divine water source aka Teertam the comparison is made with the Ganges River.   It automatically means that the water of Ganga is supreme by itself beyond compare. 

29.          Our ÃchãryãL says in Baja Govindam: -
bhagawat gita kinchit adheeta
भगवत् गीता किञ्चित् अधीता
ganga jalalava kaNikã peetã |
गङ्गा जललवकणिका पीता |
sakrdapi yena murãri samarchã
सकृदपियेन मुरारिसमर्चा
kriyate tasya yamena na charchã ||
क्रियते तस्य यमेन न चर्चा ||
That means, "Whosoever does some reading of Gita, drinks even a bit of water from the Ganges and does pooja for Murãri even once, he has nothing to do with Yama the God of Death anymore."  That is, instead of going to Yama Loka and repeatedly falling back into the cycle of birth and death attains to the ultimate state of divinity.  That is what Appar SwamigaL said, 'namanai anjom' – 'நமனை அஞ்சோம்' and Nammãzhvãr said 'நலியும் நரகும் நைந்த; நமனுக்கிங்கு யாதொன்றுமில்லை', meaning that Yama has no jurisdiction over the one who has taken a sip of the water from the Ganges, exactly as said by our ÃchãryãL!   Surprising thing in this sloka is that, the four things mentioned here such as Gita, Ganga, Murãri and Yama' are all in some way connected to this DeepãvaLi festival.

30.          I have always been saying that this Gita is like a younger brother of DeepãvaLi festival.  Why?  What is the special importance of that festival, have I told you about it? In a totally unexpected situation, that is at the worst time of the loss of her son, this mother has given birth to a festival of DeepãvaLi as the King of all Festivals.  So also this book of Gita stands out at the pinnacle of all such books on Religion, Philosophy, Principles and Noble Truths!  Known as 'Geethai' from ancient religious leaders to even social and political leaders of modern times such as Tilak and Gandhi; much adored and venerated by them all including Saints, Rishis and Thinkers uniformly and universally.  They celebrate this book so much; because of its intrinsic value of noble ideas of eternal relevance and its birth in a totally unexpected point in time and space!

31.          Normally Tatva Upadesam is done in a peaceful atmosphere, in an Ãshrama on the banks of a River, say deep inside a forest, by an old Guru giving Upadesa to a very young Sishya.  Here everything is contrary to that expected ambience.  Krishna is of equal age as Arjuna and is his charioteer.  The place is the battle field where any moment one could lose one's head and life.  Uncaring for one's own life, this student is keener on knowing the truth of existence.  From the sloka in which Arjuna said that 'I Surrender unto you Krishna, please order me in the form of Upadesa', 'sishyastheham sãdi mãm prapannam' – 'शिष्यस्तेऽहं सादी मां त्वां प्रपन्नं', commenced the Bhagawat Geetha as blessing for all of us.  So if DeepãvaLi is tops amongst all festivals, Geetha is tops amongst all books of valuable advices; both sanctioned by Sri Krishna! 

32.          Next we have so far seen the connection between the Ganges and DeepãvaLi that our ÃchãryãL talks about.  Thirdly he says that we should propitiate Murãri.  When there are many other names for Sri Krishna, we just saw a few lines back that when Bhagawan killed the Field Commander of Naraka Asura, Mura that he became Murãri.  Finally our ÃchãryãL is talking about not being afraid of Yama.  The very name of Naraka brings before our eyes the Hell of Yama Dharma Raja.  Moreover as per Sãstrã we are supposed to do TarpaNam for Yama on DeepãvaLi.   In North India on the eve of DeepãvaLi they light up a lamp and call it 'Yama Deepa'.

Why Ganga Snãnam?
33.          Thus it looks that our ÃchãryãL wrote this sloka thinking of DeepãvaLi only, it seems.  Let it be.  I was telling you as to why we are required to do Ganga Snãnam on DeepãvaLi.  Bhumãdevi wished that the day of the death of her son may be celebrated without let as a festival, with MangaLa Snãnam, wearing of new clothes, eating of choice delicacies.  In this as an innovation contrary to custom, she got Sri Krishna's approval for this oil bath before day-break.  Though Bhagawan himself had agreed to it, so that people may not fear going against tradition of this oil bath aka 'Abhyanganam', she was wracking her brains.  Once people are made aware of the fact of the presence of Lakshmi in the oil that is used for Abhyanganam and the presence of Ganga in whatever water is used for bathing that day, nobody will think contrarily and fear breaking of tradition, as there will be PuNya that they will be entitled to.  That is how it came to be known as Ganga Snãnam. 

34.          Additionally she got the Vara that all those who take Ganga Snãnam that day, may be saved from fear of Hell / Naraka Loka and death due to accidents and diseases.  She is not only the mother of Naraka, but for all people on Earth, she is the Mother.  That is why even in the English language, this phrase 'Mother Earth' is in usage.  Go-Mãtã, Bhu-Mãtã and Veda-Mãtã are all thus universal mothers.  The first Go-Mãtã is the Cow as the Mother and is just not the verb 'go' only!   Anyhow as directly the mother of Naraka Asura she got the boon, that the day should be celebrated as 'Naraka Chathurdasi'.  But nowadays we see that name only in the books of Panchãnga, that even Tamil calendars carry the name DeepãvaLi only, which means 'Rows of Lights'.  That is how it is celebrated in North India.  We have Kãrthigai as a festival of lights.  So far it will be known to all of you mostly.  Now let me go to that part of the story not known to many of you – about 'Cauvery Snãnam'.

'Dosha' for Bhagawan
35.          The word Dosha means a smudge, error, blame or stigma.  When all the people are rid of all smudges and happily celebrating the DeepãvaLi festival, the one who granted all those Vara-s, let himself become liable for many a blame.  The Do's and Don’ts of Sãstrãs have a binding on all.  May be to prove this to all, God as an Avatara subjected himself to such a Dosha I suppose, to demonstrate as to how having become liable, one has to bear with it.  Thus he was subjected to a blame known as 'Veera Hatti Dosha'.  This accrues when you kill a brave man.  Though Naraka Asura was a devil of a character, there was no denying the fact that he was a brave warrior.  With 'Veera Hatti' Bhagawan's brilliance like a Blue Diamond was affected and he became dull and emaciated.  When we look at people who are not their normal self and seem to be under some noticeable stress and strain, we ask, "Are you under Brhma Hatti Dosha?"  Brhma Hatti is said to happen when you kill a Brahmin!  Sri Rama Chandra Murthy got not one but three Dosha-s at the end of the battle in Sri Lanka! 

(We will talk about it in the next issue of Deivathin Kural.)




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